Tag Archives: Robbie Guimond

Unsung Heroes #202

Last month, “06880” reported the theft of Mitch Raboy’s standup paddleboard, from the Compo Beach kayak launch near Ned Dimes Marina.

Fortunately, that was not the end of the story. Mitch writes:

In our search for a replacement board, my wife and I went over to Westport Paddle Club. We asked about buying a used board or kayak at the end of the season.

While talking to one of the staff, the owner — Robbie Guimond — overheard us. He said he had read the sad story on “06880.”

He said he would lend us a board until the end of the season, when we could buy it or another if we wanted. No strings attached.

Our car wasn’t big enough to fit the board, so Robbie offered to deliver it to our house or the beach.

We now have a great board, filling the empty rack space.

This was all so unexpected. It turned a not very pleasant experience into a nice one.

There are some good people in our town. Robbie is definitely one of them.

Agreed! This is far from the only good deed Robbie Guimond — and the rest of the Westport Paddle Club crew — has done. He is a great choice for Unsung Hero of the Week. 

(Do you know an Unsung Hero? Email dwoog@optonline.net)

Mitch Raboy’s loaner paddleboard, courtesy of Robbie Guimond.

“06880” Podcast: Robbie Guimond

Robbie Guimond, owner of both the Westport Paddle Club and Bridgebrook Marina on Riverside Avenue, has lived and worked on the Saugatuck River for more than 20 years.

The other day, we chatted at the Westport Library for my latest podcast. Robbie has fascinating insights into the history of the river; its importance to Westport yesterday, today and tomorrow; its commerce and its pleasures — and of course, the future of the Cribari Bridge.

Click here to learn more about a piece of Westport all of us love, but few of us really know.

Screenshot of Robbie Guimond from “06880: The Podcast.”

Roundup: Patsie Bonardi, Keith Haring, Broadway …

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It took a while for this news to make it here. But it was worth waiting for.

After a long and legendary teaching career in Westport, beloved elementary school icon Patsie Bonardi returned to her hometown of Bethlehem, New Hampshire.

For her 90th birthday in June, the town gathered along Main Street. They celebrated her with a surprise “reverse parade.” Residents gathered outside the theater, post office and library, holding signs and cheering as she rode by in her convertible — with a police and fire truck escort.

Elementary school students held handmade signs.

Bonardi was a longtime supporter of the Colonial Theater, and served as a library trustee and Home Health Care Board member. As part of her birthday celebration, residents raised $1,300 in her name for the theater.

(Click here for the full story, from the Littleton Courier. Hat tips: John and Carol Waxman)

Patsie Bonardi, during her parade. (Photo/Angel Larcom)

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The “Piece by Piece” artwork was unveiled Friday at the Westport Library. Sixty local artists each contributed a panel — not knowing how it would fit into the “big picture.” They had no idea what the finished piece was.

Turns out to be a work by Keith Haring.

The final work impressed the Westport Library crowd. (Photo/Miggs Burroughs)

Individual panels were on sale, with proceeds split between the Library and the artist of that particular panel.

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Adam Bremen was born with cerebral palsy. He’s used an electric wheelchair all his life.

In 2017, he decided to become more physically fit. Thanks to water aerobics and the Keto diet, he lost 45 pounds. His next step was to create a good-tasting Keto-based snack bar. He called it Keto Krisp.

This past weekend — after quarantining for 16 months — Adam traveled from California to Westport. He visited his sister Erin, who lives here.

Adam had never kayaked before. But the crew at Westport Paddle Club took care of him. He and his family had a fantastic time.

He’s thanking them by sending a package of Keto Krispy bars. And he’ll wear his WPC t-shirt proudly.

Adam Bremen and Westport Paddle Club owner Robbie Guimond (front), with Adam’s family and WPC staff members.

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Sure, the Levitt Pavilion offers 50 nights of free summer entertainment.

But here’s a different kind of free show, at a very different site.

Karen Elizaga lives on Soundview Drive, between Norwalk and Westport Avenues. This Friday (July 16, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.), she’s hosting a group of Broadway stars.

Devin Ilaw (“Miss Saigon,” “Les Miserables”), Sarah Beth Pfeifer (“Lightning Thief”), Staples High School graduate Mia Gentile (“Kinky Boots”) and others will sing in her front yard. Everyone is welcome to gather on the beach, and listen.

The goal is to raise awareness — and funds, if you’d like to lend support — of Broadway for Arts Education. The non-profit provides arts education to underserved youth in New York, Haiti and India.

It should be a great event. And even though there’s no ticket, feel “free” to donate to this important group.

Free concert on Soundview.

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From horseback riders to model plane flyers, there’s always something going on at Sherwood Island State Park.

But yesterday might have been a first: an in-the-water wedding.

Patricia Auber was attracted by the singing and tambourine playing. She wanted to keep a respectful distance, so there are no details about the bridge and groom. Still, she did capture this wonderful photo:

A minister leads the ceremony, in Long Island Sound. (Photo/Patricia Auber)

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Noted Westport photographer Tom Kretsch, and Shapleigh Smith of Stowe, Vermont have been friends for 65 years.

The Newtown natives parted ways after high school. But they reunited in Stowe, where Shap lives and Tom bought a timeshare. at the Trapp Family Lodge.

Last winter they spent time photographing the back roads of the Northeast Kingdom. Now they’re showing their work, back in their hometown of Newtown.

This Thursday (July 15, 5:30 to 7 p.m.) is the opening of “Down on Vermont Country Road: Old Friends and New Visions” at the Cyrenius Booth Library on Main Street.  The show runs through Labor Day.

One of Tom Kretsch’s Vermont photos.

Staples High School boys soccer tri-captain Bruno Guiduli knows the important of giving back.

During the past year he’s raised over $2,300 for TOPSoccer. The non-profit helps special needs youngsters play the sport Bruno loves.

This Saturday (July 17, 8 a.m. to noon), he invites everyone to Wakeman Field. He’ll set up a special goal he built with his father, Barry. All are welcome to test their skills, while learning about TOPSoccer. Donations will be gratefully accepted.

Bruno Guiduli, with the TOPSoccer goal he invites everyone to shoot at.

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This weekend’s Fresh Market osprey update, from Carolyn Doan:

“I can’t believe how big they’ve gotten. I was there for breakfast. Dad brought a fish, right on time. He called from a tree to wake everyone up, and went over to the nest once all 3 were ready to eat. Two of the siblings are very affectionate with one another, which was wonderful to watch.

“They were stretching their wings a lot, so fledging is imminent.”

(Photo/Carolyn Doan)

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Speaking of young birds: Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo shows a pair of gorgeous baby robins. Cutest image ever?

(Photo/Jacqueline Byrne)

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Kendall Gardiner spotted this on Facebook:

A man in France takes care of the grave of an American soldier, killed on D-Day in Normandy, age 29. He’d like to contact any relatives he can find.

The soldier’s name was Sgt. Glenn Everett “Tex” Moats. He lived in Fairfield. If any “06880” readers remember the family, click here to respond. (Hat tip: Kendall Gardiner)

Sgt. Glenn Everett “Tex” Moats

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Nadine Cherna is proud of all her piano students. But she’s particularly proud of Eric Gordonos. The 13-year-old plays everything she asks, everything he can find — and then composes his own pieces. Here is an excerpt:

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And finally … speaking of talented young pianists, today would have been Van Cliburn’s 87th birthday. He rocketed too fame in 1958, when — just 23 years old — he won the 1st International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, at the height of the Cold War.

Cliburn died in 2013, at 78.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Westport Paddle Club Surfaces On The Saugatuck

When Downunder closed earlier this month, kayakers and paddleboarders mourned the loss of a rental and launch facility on the Saugatuck River.

Karen Jewell mourned the loss of her job.

For 9 years she ran the Riverside Avenue shop, and worked as an instructor. The day before it closed, Robbie Guimond — owner of Bridgebrook Marina, just a few hundred yards away — and his wife Taryn Bolotin saw Karen at Garelick & Herbs. He asked what she’d do next.

“I’m not sure,” she said.

On the spur of the moment — justlikethat — Taryn suggested she run something similar out of Bridgebrook.

Karen Jewell gets ready to paddle.

That was the day before Labor Day. Last Saturday — at the Slice of Saugatuck — Karen’s Westport Paddle Club opened for business.

Quicker than you can paddle, she had created a website, made an Instagram account and printed business cards.

She provides many of the same services as Downunder: kayak and paddleboard rentals, lessons and tours. Next year, she’ll add kids’ camps.

Westport Paddle Club is not a retail outlet. But Karen will help people buy kayaks and paddleboards — making suggestions, and offering resources.

With a 30-foot dock, Bridgebrook is a perfect spot. And the location is even better than Downunder. There’s a beautiful view of the Saugatuck Rowing Club next door; it’s further from I-95 than the store was, and the entrance is away from the busy street.

Westport Paddle Club is open Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday from 10 to 5, and weekdays by reservation. Click here for the website, email karen@westportpaddleclub.com, or call 203-998-1519.

Life on the Saugatuck River is good!