Tag Archives: Readiness Collective

Fishin’, Not Fission: Paddlers Celebrate Cockenoe Purchase

It took years of protests, high-level negotiations, and the help of the state legislature.

But on December 23, 1969, a real estate deal closed. The town of Westport bought Cockenoe Island for $200,000.

The seller — United Illuminating, a utility company predecessor of Eversource — would no longer follow through on plans to build a 14-story nuclear power plant on the island, a mile off Compo Beach.

The next day’s Westport News carried a memorable headline: “Cockenoe Island Safe in Sound.” Life magazine called it one of the 10 most important environmental victories in America that year.

Cockenoe Island was saved, in perpetuity.

Exactly 52 years later, a group of area residents — many of whom had not been born when Westporters saved Cockenoe — commemorated the event.

Twelve canoes, kayaks and paddleboards headed out from the Compo Beach kayak launch to the island, and around it. They braved 33-degree weather and 11-knot winds.

After circumnavigating, everyone went ashore. They made a fire and sipped celebratory cider. Two bald eagles greeted the group.

Cockenoe paddlers celebrate.

Organizer Sefra Alexandra cherishes winter paddling. A leader of BOATanical Expeditions, she leads trips to raise awareness of the biodiversity and resilience of our ecoregion. Most take place on the Connecticut River.

But Alexandra — also a member of the Explorers Club — wants to popularize “backyard expeditions.”

“We all have a role to play in stewarding the re-wilding the lands and waters around us,” she says.

BOATanical Expeditions was joined as host by 2 other groups. The Readiness Collective is a social club offering emergency and daily life training. Riprour is an outdoor adventure community that leads excursions throughout Fairfield County, while raising funds for organizations like Aspetuck Land Trust and The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp.

Among the paddlers: Jesse Levin, Danielle Roberts, Sefra Alexandra and Rocky Progano.

Though fishin’ replaced fission long ago, Alexandra knows that keeping effluent out of the Sound is an ongoing battle. So she asked paddlers for donations from the Cockenoe paddlers. Funds go to East Norwalk Blue, a free bilge pump-out program run by Norm Bloom of Copps Island Oysters.

Bloom also provided the safety boat for the Cockenoe paddle.

Last week — half a century after its purchase by the town of Westport — Cockenoe Island was once again “safe in Sound.”

Roundup: 3rd Moderna, Modern Thermometer, Polestar EVs …


The Westport Weston Health District will host a “3rd dose” Moderna vaccine clinic — for moderately and severely immunocompromised people — on September 10 (1 to 4 p.m., Senior Center).

Appointments can be scheduled here. Bring your vaccination card to the appointment.

The CDC’s additional dose recommendation includes people who have:

Been receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood

Received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system

Received a stem cell transplant within the past 2 years, or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system

Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency

Advanced or untreated HIV infection

Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that suppress an immune response.

To learn more, speak with your healthcare provider. Click here for the CDC website.


Polestar2 — an all-electronic vehicle — is giving test free test drives to the public. From now through Sunday (11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.), they’re doing it at Bedford Square.

If you’ve never driven a fully electric vehicle, this is a great. chance. Everyone is welcome — so long as you have a driver’s license!

Polestars, at Bedford Square.


On Wednesday, Bob Weingarten went to Town Hall, for house research.

Usually he signs in at the front desk, and heads to the Town Clerk’s office. This time, he was asked for a temperature check — and to do it himself.

There’s a device, just inside the main door. Stand in front, and get a readout.

I haven’t been in Town Hall in months. I don’t know if this is new and noteworthy, or not news. It could be cool — or a story like George H.W. Bush’s surprise at how a supermarket scanner works.

You be the judge. I’m just passing along Bob’s photo.

(Photo/Bob Weingarten)


2003 Staples High School graduate Jesse Levin owns the Readiness Collective — an emergency training club and outfitter in Norwalk. Earlier, he opened a pop-up shop in Bedford Square.

After the chilling news from Afghanistan, Jesse turned the Collective into am ad hoc volunteer emergency operations center, to facilitate emergency evacuation efforts.

We have turned our training club, The Readiness Collective into an ad hoc volunteer emergency coordination operations center to facilitate efforts under way for emergency evacuations in Afghanistan.

Professional logistics and disaster response experts on site help guide volunteers on how to contribute. They’re tied in with working groups on the ground, and assisting from abroad.

Recent efforts include the expatriation of 20 targeted Afghan nationals and their families to Uganda, critical medical advice provided to parents of a young girl injured by a tear gas canister and unable to reach medical help, and the development of overland evacuation plans for wide distribution.

Jesse’s Collective needs help and support. “Just bring a computer and a willingness to dig in,” he says.

Offices are in the SoNo Collection (just off I-95 Exit 15 in Norwalk, Level II0. Questions? Email ready@readinesscollective.com, or call 203-275-7297.

Jesse Levin, providing aid in Puerto Rico.


Sure, Westport Book Shop is the go-to for “pre-owned” (okay, used) books and more — including music.

But they also run an online store. It’s got a selection of new, sealed CDs, in categories from pop and oldies to classical and jazz.

Click here to browse the online selections.


Three attorneys at Westport-based FLB Law have been named to the Best Lawyers in America list.

The FLB honorees are managing partner Stephen P. Fogerty, and attorneys Alan S. Rubenstein and Leslie E. Grodd.


Seen the giant sunflower at Viva Zapata?

The restaurant’s Sam O’Mahony explains today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo, growing out of the 2nd-floor window boxes:

“We didn’t plant sunflowers this year! We’re assuming a bird dropped it up there last summer from our garden in the side yard.”

(Photo/Sam O’Mahony)


And finally … in honor of Town Hall’s new temperature scanner: