Tag Archives: Remarkable Theater

Roundup: Real Estate, Brunch, Mental Health …

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Westport’s real estate market continues to sizzle.

According to Brown Harris Stevens, though the 189 homes that closed in Westport in the 3rd quarter of 2021 represented a 29% decrease from the same period last year, that’s still the 2nd highest number of closings for the quarter in 20 years.

The average house closing price rose 5o $1.86 million, a 9% year-over-year increase and the highest for any quarter in Westport in the past decade.

Homes on average sold for 101.4% of the list price — the 2nd straight quarter it’s been over 100%.

Closed houses in the 3rd quarter spent an average of 58 days on the market — a record low. (Hat tip: Roe Colletti)

This house at 5 Hedley Farms Road in the Greens Farms neighborhood is on the market at $12.6 million.

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There’s something new on the menu at La Plage: brunch.

The highly touted restaurant at the Inn at Longshore starts serving this Saturday and Sunday (11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.).

There’s a raw bar and a la carte menu. The $25 prix fixe brunch includes a bloody mary or mimosa. The kiddy brunch menu is $15 — without, of course, the alcohol.

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Dogs and music are the themes of the Remarkable Theater’s next 2 movies.

The Imperial Avenue drive-in screens “Togo” tomorrow (Saturday, October 9, 6:45 p.m.). Appropriately, it’s the day before the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce Dog Festival. Canines are welcome.

“The Last Waltz” — the great film about the great band — will be shown Tuesday (October 12, 6:30 p.m.).

Click here for tickets and more information.

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Westport’s 25th annual Mental Health Breakfast is set for October 26 (8 a.m., Westport Library). Residents can attend in person, and join virtually.

The event will address the intersection of youth mental health and substance abuse. Dr. Aaron Wiener will offer insights about youth drug trends and the potential impact of recent marijuana legalization, followed by audience questions and further opportunities for discussion and networking among providers.

Click here to register in person. Click here for the virtual program.

Dr. Aaron Weiner

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The town has just received a big gift. Dorsky Gallery Curatorial Programs in New York donated 23 prints, created in the 1970s by noted artist Richard Hunt (b. 1936) to the Westport Public Art Collections.

The gift helps realize the Westport Arts Advisory Committeee’s initiative to “contemporize and diversify the public art collection,” says town arts curatoro Kathie Bennewitz.

The works will be featured in a 2022 exhibition at MoCA, showcasing WestPAC’s recent accessions and rich holdings.

1st Selectman Jim Marpe and town arts curator Kathie Bennewitz flank Noah Dorsky,. They admire the Dorsky Gallery’s gift of 23 prints.

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There’s no end to the wonders of “Westport … Naturally.”

Yesterday it was termites. Today we feature a mushroom. Matt Murray spotted this beauty in the small park on Compo Beach Road by Gray’s Creek — not far from the graves of men who died at the Battle of Compo Hill.

(Photo/Matt Murray)

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And finally … “The Last Waltz” — next Tuesday’s Remarkable Theater feature (see above) — includes some remarkable performances. None is as memorable as this closing number:

 

Roundup: Saugatuck El, Sustainable Westport, Screenings …

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Over the past week, 15 COVID cases have been identified at Saugatuck Elementary School.

Superintendent of schools Thomas Scarice says, “Although there appears to be very limited transmission within the school as new cases span multiple grades and classrooms, by definition, a sudden rise in the number of cases at this rate constitutes an outbreak.”

Officials asked the state Department of Public Health to review the cases, and the school district’s mitigating measures. Scarice said, “This discussion affirmed that community transmission (i.e. after school activities, large community social events, etc.) has likely contributed to the recent rise in cases at SES. As a result, it appears that in-school mitigating measures have been effective. “

The DPH recommended a round of surveillance testing for all students and staff at SES. Testing is set for tomorrow (Friday, October 1). 

Saugatuck Elementary School

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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Once again, the Westport Police Department will do its part to help.

The color of the town seal will change from black and gold to pink.

In addition, many officers will wear pink patches, and pink ribbon pins. It’s all part of a campaign to raise awareness of the deadly disease.

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Sustainable Westport has taken a giant step forward, with the appointment of 2 new co-directors.

Gately Ross has dedicated her career to the health and conservation of wild and domestic animals, and the health of the environment. She combines a deep understanding of ecology and human impact on populations and ecosystems with clinical practice, team leadership and training experience in veterinary emergency and critical care medicine.  

She has an undergraduate degree in biology from the College of Charleston, a masters of science from San Francisco State University, and a doctorate in veterinary medicine from Tufts University. A Westport resident since 2007, Gately lives in Greens Farms with her husband, 3 boys and rescue dog.

Johanna Martell has over 15 years experience as a legal and business advisor, with a focus on commercial real estate, corporate, tax and estate planning. She holds an undergraduate degree in political economy from Princeton University and a law degree from Georgetown University Law Center. A Westport resident since 2013, she also lives in Greens Farms with her husband and 3 sons.

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The Remarkable Theater continues its remarkable fall run. A few tickets remain for some intriguing upcoming screenings at the Imperial Avenue drive-in:

  • “Soul” (tonight, Thursday, September 30)
  • “Footloose” (tomorrow, Friday, October 1)
  • “Coco” (Saturday,  October 2)
  • “The Stepford Wives” (filmed partly in Westport! — Tuesday, October 5)
  • “Clueless” (Thursday, October 7)
  • “Togo” (Saturday, October 9).

Click here for tickets, show times and more information.

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There’s a new program on the youth basketball scene.

The Westport Weston Family YMCA is introducing a basketball program for grades K-4. The program will introduce fundamentals in a fun way. Light competition begins for the 3rd graders.

The program is run by Mike Evans. The Weston High School all-state selection played at Hamilton College, then in Belfast and as a volunteer assistant coach at Harvard. He’s been a shooting instructor for NBA professionals too

High school students will help out.

Kindergartners through 2nd graders will have clinics on Saturdays, in November and December.

Third and fourth graders will have Saturday clinics, plus one weekday practice. They’ll play intrasquad games, and perhaps face an outside opponent too.

Click here for more information, and to register.

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Lewis Grossman is a Staples High School graduate, and professor of law and history at American University. He specializes in food, drug and health law. His new book — Choose Your Medicine: Freedom of Therapeutic Choice in America — examines that topic from the Revolutionary War to the Trump presidency.

He’ll be at the Westport Library on October 12 (7 p.m.) to discuss his findings. The event is both in-person and livestreamed. To register for a seat or watch from home — and purchase a signed copy of the book — click here.

Lewis Grossman

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MaryLou Roels describes her photo — today’s “Westport … Naturally” feature — as “the little things in life.”

(Photo/MaryLou Roels)

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And finally … in honor of tomorrow’s film at the Remarkable Theater:

 

 

Roundup: Animal Blessing, Footloose, Fall …

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The Saugatuck Congregational Church’s front lawn — broad, green and very “New England” — has hosted social justice gatherings, plant sales and a labyrinth.

On October 3 (noon to 1:30 p.m.), it’s the site of a Blessing of the Animals.

The event will be led by Rev. Alison Buttrick Patton. Pets should be leashed or safely contained.

“At this time of environmental upheaval, pesticide use and habitat destruction, there will be blessings bestowed upon the wildlife that share our planet, as they struggle to survive,” says co-sponsor Westport Animal Shelter Advocates.

Attendees will also consider how to be a blessing to other creatures.

Peter Reid, outreach coordinator at Wildlife in Crisis, will speak about protecting habitat for wildlife, and provide tips for the peaceful co-existence between wild animals and pets.

Earth Animal will provide treats for dogs and cats.  Light refreshments will be served for humans.

To learn more, call 203-557-0361 or email wasa1@optonline.net

Blessing of the Animals at Saugatuck Congregational Church.

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Fall is here. But the Remarkable Theater is not about to fold its tent — er, screen — and go away.

The dance classic “Footloose” highlights the upcoming schedule. The October 1 showing benefits the Westport Rotary Club. The admission price includes snacks.

Other films include “Soul” (September 30), “On the Waterfront” (October 5) and “Clueless” (October 7). Click here for show times and tickets.

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“Night at the Museum” was a 2006 comedy film.

This Saturday’s MoCA Westport event by the same name is no laughing matter. But it will be tons of fun.

Parents are invited to drop off their pre-K through 2nd grade youngsters this Saturday (September 25), from 6 to 9 p.m. Staff members will lead them in art activities, a dance party and games. Pizza is provided; pack a water bottle. (You can provide your own, nut-free food in a labeled bag.)

Click here for details and registration.

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Fall arrives today, at 3:21 p.m.

A Wilton Road family offered this “Here Lies Summer” RIP tableau.

Perhaps it’s also the first Halloween lawn decoration in town.

(Photo/Karen Kosinski)

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Meanwhile, Harvest Moon photos keep on coming. This well-composed one is courtesy of David Loffredo.

(Photo/David Loffredo)

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NextStep is a non-profit offering rehabilitation and fitness services to paralyzed people — is sponsoring a fundraising ride, from Boston to Washington.

Yesterday afternoon, the group stopped in Westport. They ate, drank water, enjoyed Main Street hospitality — then headed off again on their long, important journey.

A brief respite in Westport. (Photo/Jerri Graham)

 

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Ten years later, the killing of Osama bin Laden still resonates.

Next Tuesday (September 28, 7 p.m.) Mary DeRosa — deputy assistant and deputy counsel to President Obama, and National Security Council legal adviser in his administration — discusses her role during the planning and execution of the Navy Seal raid.

She’ll be interviewed by Westporter Steve Parrish. The event will be held live (click here for a seat) and via Zoom (click here to watch).

Mary DeRosa

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Many Westporters support Neighborhood Studios. The Bridgeport non-profit transforms lives, through high quality art, music, theater and dance instruction to underserved children.

The latest addition: Yvette Trujillo Rose. The longtime resident is the organization’s new development director. She’ll be reaching out to Westport businesses and residents to get involved in Neighborhood Studios’ many programs. Click here for more information.

Yvette Trujillo Rose

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Pippa Bell Ader and Diane Yormark were kayaking near Saugatuck Shores’ Bermuda Lagoon yesterday morning. They stopped long enough for Pippa to snap this beautiful “Westport … Naturally” photo.

(Photo/Pippa Bell Ader)

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And finally … as noted above, fall arrives this afternoon. John Coltrane says hello.

Roundup: Officer Honors, American Relay, Rach’s Hope …

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Congratulations to Mark Heinmiller: Westport Police Department’s Officer of the Year.

The detective received the honor last night, in a family ceremony at the Remarkable Theater.

A WPD press release called him “an incredibly accomplished and effective investigator who successfully closed a number of complicated cases over the last year. Heinmiller’s knowledge and dedication to his investigations has undoubtedly improved the safety and quality of life for all of Westport’s residents and visitors.”

Other awards included unit citations, certificates of recognition, meritorious service awards, investigator ribbons and life-saving awards.

Marc Heinmiller and K-9 dog Lola at work.

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Bacharach Community — Homes with Hope‘s supportive housing program for formerly homeless families — needs new roofs for its 3 homes.

They hope Westport has it covered.

“We’ve Got You Covered” — the clever name for the project — is reaching out to local businesses. They can redirect their 2021 state tax dollars for a 100% one-to-one tax credit, through the Neighborhood Assistance Act program.

“We’ve Got You Covered” is less than $25,000 away from its goal. To help sponsor the Bacharach Community roof project (minimum contribution: $250), click here.

The program deadline is October 1. However, payment is not due until December 31. For more information, email Janet Zamparo: jzamparo@hwhct.org

Homes in the Bacharach Community.

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When Nancy Wilson saw an “06880” post announcing the Great American Relay — a relay race fundraiser for first responders and military personnel, beginning September 11 in Boston and ending 38 days later in Santa Monica, California — she set out to find a team.

On Wednesday, her crew — Nancy, Jason Lucas, Kelly Konstanty, Lisa Goldstein, Karla Cohen, Lauren Leppla, Kenji Ogawa and Ken Gallagher — arrived in town. They handed their baton to Barbara Campbell, Elizabeth Hofmann and Jeffrey Wollman, who ran to Darien.

To learn more about the Great American Relay, click here.

Westport Fire Department personnel with runners (from left): Barb Campbell, Jeff Wollman, Ken Gallagher, Jason Lucas, Lauren Leppla, Nancy Wilson, Kelly Konstanty, Lisa Slow Goldstein, Karla Cohen Fisher.

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As Gold’s prepares for Yom Kippur, the longtime, always popular delicatessen wants its customers to know what’s going on.

Here are a few signs:

(Photo/Tracy Porosoff)

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One coming-of-age film, and another about what happens years later, highlight this weekend’s Remarkable Theater offerings.

The drive-in on Imperial Avenue screens “The Big Chill” — the still very relevant 1983 classic — on Friday, September 17 (7:30 p.m.).

The next night’s feature (Saturday, September 18, 6:45 p.m.) is “Luca,” a 2021 release about 2 boys experiencing an unforgettable summer.

Click here for tickets and more information.

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Three years ago, Rachel Doran — a rising senior at Cornell University, National Merit Commended Scholar, talented Players costume designer, and founder of “Rachel’s Rags,” a company that makes intricate cotton and fleece pajama tops and bottoms — died following a rare reaction to common medications.

Her family now has a mission: to support families with critically ill children. To help, they’ve organized an outdoor, family-friendly event for October 2 (4 p.m., Compo Beach).

Rachel’s grandfather “Pa” pledged to walk 1,000 miles in his 80th year to honor Rachel, and raise money for Rach’s Hope. He’s almost there. He plans to finish at the upcoming event — nicknamed “Walk the Extra Mile with Pa and Team Rach’s Hope.”

At the end of the mile walk, everyone will gather to celebrate Pa’s feat with a pizza truck, live music by Ellis Island, and beverages.

PJs are optional, but encouraged!

Click here for more information, and to register or donate.

Rachel Doran’s grandfather gets ready to walk. You can too!

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The Westport Tree Board in partnership with Earthplace present Call of the FOREST.

The science and enchantment of the global forest provides us with answers to modern dilemmas.

‘Call Of The Forest – The Forgotten Wisdom Of Trees’ is a documentary featuring scientist and acclaimed author Diana Beresford-Kroeger. The film follows Diana as she investigates our profound biological and spiritual connection to forests. Her global journey explores the science, folklore, and restoration challenges of this essential eco-system.

Beresford-Kroeger explores the most beautiful forests in the Northern Hemisphere from the sacred sugi and cedar forests of Japan to the great boreal forest of Canada. She shares the amazing stories behind the history and legacy of these ancient forests while also explaining the science of trees and the irreplaceable roles they play in protecting and feeding the planet.

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You could call it a “rain forest.”

“Call of the Forest” — a movie co-sponsored by the Westport Tree Board and Earthplace — was rained out in July.

The new date is September 22 (6:30 p.m., Earthplace outdoor amphitheater; indoor if rain).

The coumentary features scientist/author Diana Beresford-Kroeger as she investigates our profound biological and spiritual connection to forests. Her global journey explores the science, folklore and restoration challenges of this essential ecosystem.

Click here for more information.

In other Tree Board news, they’re joining with the Westport Library for a children’s “Oaktober oaktivity on Jesup Green (October 23, 11 a.m.)

Oak seedlings — courtesy of Bartlett Tree — will be available at both events (while supplies last).

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Today’s very serene “Westport … Naturally” scene comes courtesy of Lauri Weiser:

(Photo/Lauri Weiser)

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And finally … Lauri Weiser’s image above leads (naturallyto:

 

Roundup: Ida, Newcomers, Yappy Hour …

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Last night was crazy.

Yesterday afternoon, Dick Lowenstein stuck an empty pail outside his home.

This morning, it showed nearly 7 inches of rain.

(Photo/Dick Lowenstein)

But just a couple of hours after Hurricane Ida roared away, our beaches were calm.

If it weren’t for flooded basements, tree limbs on lawns and some ponds in places they shouldn’t be, it could seem like last night never happened.

Old Mill Beach, just after sunrise. (Photo/Matt Murray)

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Lost in last night’s weather news: The Parks & Recreation Commission approved a conceptual plan for a small area of active recreation (pickleball and bocce) on the Baron’s South property last night.

The vote was 3 for, 1 abstention.

In the plan below, one bocce court is just west (below) the Senior Center. The pickleball courts abut Imperial Avenue, on the lower left side of the plan. Click on or hover over to enlarge.

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“Newcomers” groups are great — in theory. In reality, they often bring together only other newcomers.

Neighbors & Newcomers of Westport is different. The club is a mix of recent arrivals and more seasoned residents. It’s a perfect way for newcomers –and there are a ton — to immerse themselves in Westport, while meeting others in the same situation, and those who know the ropes.

N&N activities include a book club, beach walking, tennis, Girls Nights Out, meet-and-greet and other gatherings.

The new season begins with coffee at Compo Beach (September 14, 10 to 11 a.m.).

Click here for more information.

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Congratulations to Jacob Troelstra. The 2015 Staples High School graduate — and 2020 graduate from the US Military Academy at West Point — completed Army Ranger School training.

Called the toughest combat leadership course in the world, t tests physical and mental endurance of soldiers under sleep and caloric deprivation for 62 days.

Jacob now heads to Fort Campbell, Kentucky as a platoon leader.

Jacob Troelstra

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The first 2 nights of  “Stars on Stage from Westport Country Playhouse” are already wrapped.

The final two tapings — for a national television audience, after noted producer Andrew Wilk works his editorial magic — are tonight. There are 2 shows: 7 and 9 p.m. Brandon Victor Dixon (NBC’s Jesus Christ Superstar, Hamilton) is the star.

A few tickets are still available. Click here for details.

Shoshana Bean shined during Tuesday’s taping at the Westport Country Playhouse. She was joined by Luke Edgemon and Melanie Nyem. (Photo/Carol Rosegg)

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Today at MoCA Westport, it’s double trouble: monthly Yappy Hour, plus the regular Happy Hour (5-7 p.m.).

It’s a great way to meet other people — and dogs — in the museum’s great outdoor space. You can also purchase cocktails from Bar MoCA (this week’s custom cocktail is Honey Lavender Bee’s Knees), and enjoy free admission to the new “Between the Ground and the Sky” exhibit.

All dogs must be leashed!

Happy scene from the August Yappy Hour.

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This Labor Day weekend should be remarkable — at least, Remarkable Theater-wise.

The schedule for the Imperial Avenue parking lot drive-in includes:

  • Friday, September 3: “Stand by Me” (7:45 p.m.)
  • Saturday, September 4: “The Graduate” (7:30 p.m.)
  • Sunday, September 5: “The Sandlot” (7:30 p.m.)

Click here for tickets and more information.

The “Stand by Me” kids.

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The Westport Weston Health District has a new director of clinical services.

Vanessa Hurta has worked in healthcare for over 17 years, including primary care and preventive cardiovascular medicine, clinical research and teaching. Her most recent position was nurse practitioner for Yale New Haven Health. She has lectured and written about hypertension and obesity.

In other WWHD news, travel and vaccination clinic operations are expected to resume by mid-September. Call 203-227-9571, ext. 224, for appointments.

Vanessa Hurta

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The Levitt Pavilion is not quite finished.

They’ve added one more (great) show: Pete Muller and the Kindred Souls. The date for the intriguing instrumental/vocal quartet is September 26th (7 p.m.).

Click here for tickets, and more information.

Pete Muller and The KIndred Souls.

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Marla Cowden, Democratic Registrar of Voters, will leave office September 13.  She has served as Democratic Registrar for 11 years.

The new Democratic Registrar is Deborah Greenberg.

Marla Cowden

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The September/October issue of Westport Magazine includes a cover story on Kitt Shapiro.

The lively owner of WEST is the magazine’s face for its fall fashion feature. There are also interviews with Instagram stars Emily Rosnick, Zac Mathias and (the biggest) little Piglet.

Particularly timely: a chat with Rob Marciano about covering the weather.

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The view from the Westport Weston Family YMCA’s fitness center is gorgeous — and ever changing. Floor-to-ceiling windows look out over woods, water — and wildlife.

Treadmill, erg machine and elliptical users are used to seeing interesting things. But yesterday’s view was particularly intriguing. And worthy of inclusion for “Westport … Naturally.”

(Photo/William Strittmatter)

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And finally … the great, versatile (R&B, rock, funk, soul, gospel) keyboardist Billy Preston was born today, in 1946. He played with Little Richard, Sam Cooke, Ray Charles, the Everly Brothers, Rolling Stones, and Beatles — among others — and also achieved fame with solo recordings.

He died in 2006, age 59, from kidney and other ailments.

 

Roundup: Sunday Service, Blau Gardens, $500 …

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For years, one of Westport’s best traditions is the Sunday beach service at the Compo Beach cannons.

Four Congregational churches — Greens Farms, Saugatuck, Norfield and Wilton — and the United Methodist Church — rotate as hosts.

This morning, Norfield invited the Pivot Ministries Choir to join in.

More than 20 men from the Bridgeport faith-based residential recovery program for drug and alcohol addictions added their spirit and inspiration, offering renewal and strength amid life’s challenges.

Two Sunday services remain: August 22 and 29 (8:30 a.m.). All are invited. Bring your own chair or towel, or sit on the stone wall, benches and tables. Beach stickers are not required; tell the gate attendant you’re there for worship. You can stay until 10 a.m.

Pivot Ministries at this morning’s Compo Beach Sunday service. (Photo/Gloria Smithson)

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“06880” is not a real estate agency. But from time to time, a property  deserves a shout-out.

This is one.

Designed by theatrical stage set designer Ralph Alswang, it’s set between towering great oaks. The gardens — by advertising executive Barry Blau — were created in response to the house. They incorporate native plants interspersed with a blend of exotics.

A group — Friends of Blau House and Gardens — hopes to retain the property, so it can become a community asset and resource for small non-profit organizations. They’re looking for ideas, interested people and organizations that can benefit and/or help.

If interested, click here or email R@RobertCohenArchitect.com. (Hat tip: Peter Gold)

Blau Gardens

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One of Westport’s top community events — the annual Catch a Lift fundraiser — has just announced a new date and location.

Originally scheduled for September 13, the special ceremony honoring the 20th anniversary of 9/11 — will now be held at Compo Beach on Friday, September 10.

Starting at 5 p.m., there’s 3 hours of food and drink trucks, music, and words from Catch a Lift veterans. The national nonprofit organization helps post-9/11 combat-wounded servicemen and women recover and rehabilitate, physically and mentally, through physical fitness, motivation and support. So that 9/11 Eve date is both appropriate and poignant.

Beach stickers are not needed to attend.

The Compo event will kick off an action-packed weekend. There’s a Saturday workout (September 11, Westport police station, 1 p.m.) and Sunday family bike ride (September 12, Ridgefield).

Click here for details and information, including how to help with auction items, and more. 

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The Westport Downtown Association’s 3rd Shopping Day of the summer yesterday was a great success.

The weather cooled substantially from the previous week. The sun was out. With plenty of music, food and great goods, it was a relaxing way to start the weekend.

Except for everyone driving in Parker Harding Plaza. Each car had to maneuver slowly past this red vehicle. No, that was not a legit parking space.

But hey! What’s the inconvenience of hundreds of other drivers, compared to the right to park as close as possible to the action, right?

(Photo/Susan Garment)

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Martha Stewart no longer lives in Westport. But someone channeled her the other evening at Compo Beach.

I’m guessing the menu was not hot dogs.

(Photo/Karen Como)

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If you found a card with $500 on the ground, what would you do?

Most Westporters (I hope) would try to find the owner. Some would look to see if anyone was watching, and slip it into their pocket.

Few would probably go as far as Gabrielle Perry to return it to whoever lost it.

As reported by News12 Connecticut, the 2016 Staples High School graduate spotted the card in the Maritime Aquarium parking lot last month.

The envelope read “Reverend Dennis … thank you for marrying us.” Inside was a “really sweet, heartfelt note” to the minister. It was signed “Christina and Dave” — no last names.

Gabrielle enlisted a friend’s mother, who is good at Google searches. She found a registry for Christina Ulreich and David Kean. That led to Ulreich on LinkedIn.

The weeding was marred only by the fact that the gift to the reverend was lost the night before, at the rehearsal dinner. She and her new husband were stunned — and thrilled — at Gabrielle’s perseverance.

Congratulations to the new couple — and to Gabrielle, of course. Click here for the full News12 report.

Gabrielle Perry

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Most Levitt Pavilion nights are one-and-done.

But Jesse Terry had an opening act Friday. Clueless — a local band that’s been together for several years — warmed up the crowd with a powerful performance.

The band includes 20-year-old Westport guitarists Jake Greenwald and Zach Rogers, drummer Witt Landau (a rising Staples High School junior), and keyboardist/vocalist Ethan Walmark (a rising Staples sophomore).

Ethan Walmark (Photo/JC Martin)

Witt Landau (Photo/JC Martin)

Looking for entertainment this week?

The Levitt schedule includes:

  • Tonight (Sunday, August 15): Dan Levinson’s Palomar Jazz Band
  • Tuesday, August 17: Treehouse comedy
  • Wednesday, August 18: The Pop-Ups (Children’s Series; special needs celebration)
  • Thursday, August 19: Buffalo Rose (modern folk)
  • Friday, August 20: Lizzie No (singer/harpist/guitarist)
  • Sunday, August 22: Nellie McKay (American songbook)

Click here for (free!) tickets, times and more information.

Around the corner, the Remarkable Theater shows the animated classic “Coco” tomorrow (Monday, August 16, 7:45 p.m.) and “Get Out” on Wednesday (August 18, 9:15 p.m.). Click here for tickets and more information.

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The dog days of August are a great time to fish. This Saugatuck River snowy egret at the right idea — and posed nicely for today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo.

(Photo/JC Martin)

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And finally … on this date in 1939, “The Wizard of Oz” premiered at Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Los Angeles.

Roundup: Bob Le Rose, Barbara Pearson-Rac, Movies …

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In 2012 Bob LeRose — founder of 2 Westport favorites, Bobby Q’s restaurant and the Blues, Views & BBQ Festival — was diagnosed with a rare soft tissue cancer. He was given 2 years to live.

Over the next 10 years Bob endured numerous surgeries and countless treatments. He also opened new restaurants in Norwalk and Greenwich,  continued to produce the Labor Day festival, and helped his wife Kelley raise 2 daughters.

But the disease has persisted. Bob needs physical and occupational therapy nearly every day, to regain his strength so he can get to the hospital for blood transfusions and immunotherapy. He also needs a special bed and wheelchair. Many other expenses are mounting too.

Nearly a decade of medical bills have taken a toll on the self-employed restauranteur. Bob’s many friends — all of whom have been touched by his generosity — are giving back.

A GoFundMe page has already raised over $100,000. Even more will be needed. Click here for more information, and to contribute. (Hat tip: Audrey Rabinowitz)

Bob Le Rose, with his wife Kelley and daughters.

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“06880” paid tribute to Barbara Pearson-Rac yesterday. She died Tuesday, after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. She was 75 years old.

Her official obituary notes that the Brooklyn native was inspired to serve her community because of John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address. She chaired Make a Difference Day for over 25 years, was president of the board of First Night Westport Weston, and vice president of the board of the Breast Cancer Survival Center.

She was also an author, writing a series of mystery novels featuring the character Diana Jeffries.

Barbara is survived by her husband Frank, daughter Sara, son-in-law Steve, grandsons Simon and Gabriel, sister Carol, brother-in-law Steve, nieces Amy and Erica, many cousins, and all the lives she touched through her community outreach and writing.

Her funeral is set for today (Beth Israel Cemetery, Woodbridge, New Jersey, 11 a.m.). In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.

Barbara Pearson-Rac

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The Remarkable Theater calendar continues to be filled with remarkable — or at least, very entertaining — films.

Here’s what’s ahead:

  • Monday, August 9: “Mamma Mia!” (8:30 p.m.)
  • Wednesday, August 11: Scream” (9:15 p.m.)
  • Monday, August 16: “Coco” (7:45 p.m.)
  • Wednesday, August 18; “Get Out” (9:15 p.m.)
  • Monday, August 23: “Stand By Me” (7:45 p.m.).

Click here for tickets and more information.

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MoCA’s fall benefit has something for everyone.

“The Art of Jazz” includes live music by Grammy Award-winning saxophonist Wayne Escoffery, a live auction led by TV personality Dave Briggs, a silent auction, and entertainment by DJ Mo.

It’s Saturday, September 18 (7 p.m.) at the museum. For tickets and more information, click here.

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Sunny the Duck is popping up all over town. Yesterday he loomed over the Saugatuck River.

(Photo/Susan Lloyd)

The iconic waterfowl advertises Westport Sunrise Rotary’s annual Great Duck Race (actually, this year a raffle on August 6).

The fundraiser helps support a host of charitable efforts. There are 8 prizes, including a $5,000 Visa gift card. Click here for details and tickets.

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Speaking of animals:

On Tuesday Olaf and Elsa, domestic white rabbits, were abandoned outside Wakeman Farm. A call to Westport Animal Control brought the assistance of Westport Animal Shelter Advocates.

Always-helpful Schulhof Animal Hospital stepped up to board the pair until an adopter or rabbit rescue organization is found. WASA purchased new rabbit bins for their comfort, and will fund their visit to a “rabbit vet specialist.”

Click here to donate to the cause. Interested adopters should call Westport Animal Control (203-341-5076) or WASA (203-557-0361).

Olaf the rabbit.

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Bob Meadows — director of the Westport Observatory — has just returned from the 85th Convention of Amateur Telescope Makers (“the world’s oldest amateur star party”).

He’ll offer a report on August 17 (8 p.m., Rolnick Observatory, 182 Bayberry Lane). The public is invite. For more information, click here.

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Last week’s torrential rain did not deter crowds at Quidley & Company’s show.

There was art, cuisine (catered by OKO, the restaurant next door at the gallery), and good conversation.

Cynthia Melchiorri created this collage to celebrate the event.

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Speaking of art: Not everyone at Wilton’s Sunrise Assisted Living can get out and enjoy it. So Westporter Jane Hutchison is bringing it to them.

Next Wednesday (August 11, 4 to 6 p.m.), she’s arranged a show. Artists include Westport’s Nina Bentley, Mercedes Arenberg, and various local photographers.

As at any art show, wine will be served.

One of Nina Bentley’s typewriter works.

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Haskins Preserve is Westport’s somewhat-hidden-in-plain-sight gem on Green Acre Lane. You can read about it here — and see Rachel Markus’ great “Westport … Naturally” photo below:

(Photo/Rachel Markus)

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As the setting sun broke through the clouds on Tuesday, after years of 2nd and 3rd place finishes, the Longshore Men’s 60+ tennis team clinched 1st place in their division of the Fairfield County Tennis League with a tense 6-4,4-6, 6-4 win over second place Milbrook. It was the very last match of the season.

(Photo/Matthew Levine)

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And finally … on this date in 1888,  Bertha Benz drove from Mannheim to Pforzheim and back. It is considered the first long distance automobile trip in history.

Roundup: Main Street Patio, Duck Raffle, Remarkable, Invasive Plants …

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Today’s “Summer Outdoor Shopping Days” includes opening day for a new downtown merchant.

Local to Market — the new tenant at the old Remarkable Book Shop/Talbots — received approval yesterday to have 2 farms, Silverman’s and Shaggy Coos from Easton, sell their good on the patio. They’ll be there — along with other outdoor vendors downtown — until  6 p.m.

The Local to Market patio is open, across from Cold Fusion.

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Westport Sunrise Rotary’s 12th annual Duck Race is on. It’s also the 1st — and, they hope only — one that’s run virtually, as a raffle.

To avoid big crowds, there’s no race. Instead, winners will be selected in a random drawing on dry land August 6.

But the prizes are Duck Race-worthy: one $5,000 Visa gift card; one $2,000 Visa gift card, and 6 $500 Visa gift cards. Money raised helps fund the Sunrise Rotary’s many excellent charitable programs.

Tickets are $25 each. Click here to purchase.

Westport Sunrise Rotary members, with Sunny the Duck.

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“Grease is the word …”

“Grease” is also the feature film this Monday (July 19) at the Remarkable Theater drive-in on Imperial Avenue.

The gate opens at 8 p.m. The classic movie begins at 9. Click here for tickets.

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Laura Axthelm sends this photo …

… and writes:

Where in Westport would you see this spiky, invasive vine?

“It’s not hard to find. It may be in your area. Persicaria perfoliata — commonly know as MAM (Mile-A-Minute) vine — can grow more than 6 meters long over a season.

The University of Connecticut Horticultural Extension Service started using biological control agents. This can be effective, but they brought weevils to our neighborhood. It still spreads.

It has triangular leaves. Its stem, petioles (leaf stalks) and leaf veins are covered with small, backward-facing recurved prickles. A “ tear thumb” plant, it is easy to pull out, including the roots. Gloves are necessary, as it is very prickly.

Gardeners pull it when they see it. The weevils are hard at work, but deer eat MAM and disperse the seeds. Please spread the word about the simple fix for this non-native plant’s mile-a-minute spread: Anyone can pull it out.

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Speaking of eating plants: “Westport … Naturally” travels to Baron’s South today. Cathy Walsh spotted this buck and his 2 young offspring the other day. They were relaxing, after feasting on wineberries.

(Photo/Catherine Walsh)

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And finally … on this day in 1955, Walt Disney officially opened Disneyland, in Anaheim, California.

 

Roundup: Lifeguard Save, Point To Point Swim, Art Show …

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Despite the urgent alert on cellphones, last night’s severe thunderstorms skirted Westport.

Other parts of the state  were not so lucky. Nearly 20,000 Eversource customers in central and northwestern Connecticut lost power; 81 roads were blocked.

The utility is now preparing for the remnants of Hurricane Elsa. We may get rain tomorrow, into Friday.

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Westport Public Works employee Don Saunders has always been proud of his daughter Morgan.

These days, the entire department is proud of her.

Last week, the 17-year-old Calf Pasture Beach lifeguard saved a 9-year-old from drowning. She spotted the child face down in the water, sounded an alert and raced to help.

When she found no pulse, Morgan began CPR. It worked. The girl started breathing on her own.

Morgan is a rising senior at Norwalk High School, and a member of the swim team. This is her first full year as a lifeguard.

She’s already proven she’s a pro.

(Click here for a CBS New York story on Morgan’s rescue. Hat tip: Liz Lyons)

Morgan Saunders

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What a combination! MoCA Westport and the Westport Farmers’ Market are collaborating on a new project. It culminates in an exhibition in late August.

“Between the Ground and the Sky” will feature photography from the “Who Grows Your Food” initiative, a photographic journey celebrating the farms and farmers associated with the WFM.

As part of the collaboration, a Family Day (Saturday, September 11) at MoCA includes art, food and music.

The centerpiece of “Between the Ground and the Sky” is over 50 large photographs of local farms by Anne Burmeister and Ashley Skatoff. They tell a compelling story of the importance of local farms and farmers.

Westport Farmers’ Market director Lori Cochran says, “This program embodies the essence of our organizations. Bringing together art, education, community and knowledge of agriculture, featuring the hands that tend the land, results in more than a fun event – it creates an impact that will last a lifetime.”

MoCA executive director Ruth Mannes adds, “We are thrilled to partner with the Westport Farmers’ Market to share this important aspect of our economy and our lives with the public.”

“Lost Ruby” by Ashley Skatoff — part of the Farmers’ Market/MoCA exhibit.

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Get your goggles on!

The 42nd annual Compo Beach Point to Point Swim is set for July 21  18 It’s a ton of fun — and a key fundraiser for the Westport Weston Family YMCA’s aquatics program.

There are awards for the top 3 male and female finishers, and t-shirts for all. To register, click here. For more information email jrojas@wesetporty.org, or call 203-226-8981, ext. 139.

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The Westport Library and Artists Collective of Westport are collaborating on their first live, all-member show since December 2019. The theme could not be more apt: “Community.”

The 2-part exhibit — on view from July 10 through September 28 — will occupy all 3 Library galleries.

“Piece by Piece” is a 5’ x 12’ installation created by 60 Artists Collective members. Each artist received a 12” x 12” blank panel, and a 6-inch square section randomly selected from an iconic painting.

Each artist thencreated an individual piece, replicating a part of the larger painting in their own style. They will not know what the final painting looks like until it is revealed when the exhibit opens.

Each 12” x 12” piece can be purchased online for $100. Proceeds support the Library and the artist. Click here to purchase, and for more information.

Along with the exhibits, there is an art trunk show in the lower parking lot this Sunday (11 a.m. to 4 p.m.).

Part of the Westport Library/Artists Collective show.

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The 59th annual event Westport PAL Golf Tournament — named for former Police Chief Samuel Luciano, a staunch PAL supporter — tees off on September 13, at Longshore. With the 4th of July fireworks canceled for a 2nd straight year, this is PAL’s biggest — and most important — fundraiser.

The day begins at 7 a.m. with a continental breakfast and putting contest. There are 2 tee times: 8 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

There’s a shotgun start, scramble format; lunch; more golf, then dinner, raffles and prizes (hole-in-one, hula hoop, longest drive, closest to pin).

The cost is $175 per golfer, $700 per foursome. Sponsorships are available too, from $150 to $5,000 (largest sign at first tee, banner on dinner tent, complimentary foursome). Click here to register, sponsor — or just donate to PAL.

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And one more upcoming event: “Pitch Perfect,” at the  Remarkable Theater drive-in (Monday, July 12 9 p.m.; gates open for tailgating at 8 p.m.). Click here for tickets and more information.

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There have been some scintillating games at this year’s Euro 20 (the European soccer championship, postponed from last year).

Games are particularly great on a big screen. There’s no bigger screen than the one at Vivid-Tek. That’s Mark Motyl’s store a few doors from Fortuna’s. He sells 110-inch theater screens — which, with the tap of a button, hides in a customized credenza or bench when not in use.

Mark invited me over yesterday to watch the Spain-Italy semifinal. We were in Westport, not Wembley.

But it was hard to tell the difference.

Mark Motyl, minutes before the Euro 2020 semifinal.

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1st Selectman Jim Marpe says:

“It was with great sadness that I learned of the passing of Wally Meyer, former Westport 2nd Selectman and longtime member of the RTM.  He served with my predecessor, Marty Hauhuth from 1985 to 1989.

“Wally was also an active participant in making Westport a better place by helping found Project Return, and through his many years of service and leadership with the Westport Rotary Club.

“Wally was a special Westporter — always willing to share his opinion, but also willing to lend a helping hand.  He will be missed by all who knew him. My deepest condolences to his many friends and to his family.”

Wally Meyer

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Today’s “Naturally … Westport” photo shows a dog.

Not just any pooch, though. This one has great taste. He is first in line, waiting patiently for Joey’s by the Shore to open.

(Photo/Jeff Fiarman)

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And finally … on this day in 1992, the New York Court of Appeals ruled that women have the same right as men to go topless in public.

Roundup: Drs. Al And Jean Beasley, Sunrise Rotary, Remarkable Mondays …

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Norwalk Hospital will dedicate 2 newly renovated pediatric emergency rooms in memory of Dr. Al Beasley and Dr. Jean Beasley.

The husband-and-wife pediatricians were beloved in Westport. Dr. Al died last year; Dr. Jean passed away from cancer in 1973.

The most recent issue of Catalyst — the magazine published by Nuvance Health, Norwalk Hospital’s owner —  devotes 2 pages to the Beasleys. The story notes that Al was the grandson of a Harvard-educated attorney who founded the Boston chapter of the NAACP; his father graduated from Harvard, his mother from Radcliffe. Al served 2 years as an Army reservist, the 4 years in the Air Force during the Korean War. He and Jean married while they were attending NYU Medical School.

Dr. Al Beasley was also a major benefactor of Staples Tuition Grants, in honor of Dr. Jean. (Hat tip: Burton Stuttman)

Dr. Jean Beasley and Dr. Al Beasley

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Sunrise Rotary Club sponsored a food drive collection yesterday, at Saugatuck Congregational Church. Norwalk’s great Person-to-Person organization was the beneficiary.

Sunrise Rotarians collect food. (Photo/Nick Mathias)

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Mondays are remarkable at the drive-in.

Upcoming screenings at Westport’s Remarkable Theater at the Imperial Avenue parking lot include:

  • The Breakfast Club (June 28, 8:45 p.m.)
  • Dirty Dancing (July 5, 9 p.m.)
  • Pitch Perfect (July 12, 9 p.m.)
  • Grease (July 19, 9 p.m.).

Click here for tickets, and more information.

“The Breakfast Club”: still hilarious after all these years.

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John (Jackie) Laux of Jersey City died June 9 in Midvale, Utah after a brief battle with pancreatic cancer. He passed at home to the tune of the Grateful Dead, surrounded by his wife Marybeth, son Robert, and daughters Kristen and Molly.

Jackie and Marybeth had recently relocated to Utah to live out his lifelong dream of becoming a ski bum and being closer to his grandchildren, Devyn and Callan Laux, and Maggie and Noelle Giusti.

Jackie was an accomplished hockey player, playing goalie for Iona College. He made many lifelong friends on the ice, a tradition that continued through his final years while refereeing youth hockey in Connecticut.

Jackie also loved golf, and was a proud member of Shorehaven Club in Norwalk. Surrounded by friends, he enjoyed the fresh air, light beers and moderate exercise, then met his children by the pool to catch a swimming, diving or tennis match.

He was always excited and proud to watch (or coach) his children’s soccer, baseball and softball games, and tennis matches. As his children grew, their joint love of sports grew into family gatherings at New York Giants and Rangers games.

Jackie’s generous personality garnered him hundreds of friends around the country. He was quick to lend a helping hand or buy a drink for a friend in need of company (or just plain fun). He connected with others instantly and deeply, and leaves behind a lasting impression on all who knew him.

Due to COVID, a private memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. on July 12 at Westport’s Unitarian Church, and broadcast via Zoom (click here for the link). Following the service, family and friends are invited to Penfield Pavilion in Fairfield (5 p.m.).

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Jackie’s name to Huntsman Cancer Institute or First Tee of Metropolitan New York.

Jackie Laux

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Staples’ spring hockey team won the Southern Connecticut Hockey League Division 3 Spring hockey championship, thumping North Branford 7-0 in the finals. Incoming captains Andrew Gebicki, Jason Wolgast and Cole Feinleib led the team.

Staples: spring league champs.

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo features a bee. It’s gorgeous — but the bee is also hard at work.

(Photo/Tracy Porosoff)

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And finally … Happy Industrial Workers of the World Day!