As the year ends, Westporters look back on a tough one. COVID is still hanging around. The stock market plummeted. Our nation is politically divided.
Compared to Ukraine though, we live on Easy Street.
Our new sister city of Lyman is entering its 10th month of hell. The Russians are gone after 5 months of occupation. But they left devastation behind.
Buildings lack roofs and walls. There is virtually no electricity or heat. Fire trucks and police cars were demolished. Debris is everywhere.
You can click here to read the latest devastating news, from yesterday’s New York Times. (This news just in: Earlier today, a Russian missile hit the police station. Only 2 patrol cars are left in the town.)
You can see some brutal images too — taken, coincidentally, by Westport native/Staples High School graduate/Pulitzer Prize winning photographer Tyler Hicks.
On this final day of 2022, please help Westport’s drive to help Lyman.
Our goal is $250,000. As of yesterday — less than 2 weeks after we began — we’ve raised $219,200. Wouldn’t it be great to reach our target today?
Tax-deductible donations can be made to Lyman through Ukraine Aid International — the non-profit co-founded by Westporter Brian Mayer. Please click here. Click the “I want to support” box; then select “Support for the City of Lyman.” Scroll down on that page for other tax-deductible donation options (mail, wire transfer and Venmo). You can also donate directly, via Stripe (click here).
(Hat tips: Elisabeth Keane and Sharon Fiarman)
After Italian and Chinese food, what’s next?
When blandly named but popular Westport Chinese Takeout closed in October, it left a void in Saugatuck.
That’s where — decades earlier — the original Arrow Restaurant began. (The name comes from the angle of the road, where Franklin Street meets Saugatuck Avenue.) When it outgrow that location, the Arrow moved around the corner to Charles Street.
Work has begun on Lomito. The windows are still papered over. But there are new steps, and a spiffy logo. Two signs promise: “Opening soon.”
Connecticut Magazine is out with their annual “40 Under 40” list.
Among the 40 people under 40 years old who are “changing the game in Connecticut and beyond”: Westporters Drew Angus and Julia Marino.
The writeup on Angus — a 2007 Staples High School graduate — says:
Finding success as a musician is not easy, explains this Bridgeport-based and Westport-raised singer-songwriter. “In this business, behind all the accomplishments and successes are many more unsuccessful projects and ideas that just never quite worked out,” Angus says. “It takes a certain kind of drive and a sick love for things not working out to be successful in creative ventures like music.”
Fortunately for him and fans of music everywhere, Angus has that drive, as his easy-to-listen-to, melodic New Americana music propelled him to be a finalist on American Idol in 2016. He’s also shared the stage with Harry Styles and Nile Rogers on Saturday Night Live, as well as Pat Benatar, Ann Wilson of Heart, and Andrea Bocelli. He has also toured with Marc Broussard and last summer impressed his hometown music fans with a set at Sound on Sound festival in Bridgeport.
When asked what advice he has for aspiring songwriters, he urges artists to not over-revise their work. “Finish those songs and put them out,” he says. “There’s a point of diminishing returns when changing lyric, melody or mix on a song no longer makes it better but just different or actually worse. Sometimes version one is actually the magic take.”
For Olympic silver medalist Marino, it reads:
Lots of notable folks can boast about throwing out the ceremonial first pitch for a Red Sox game at fabled Fenway Park, including slopestyle and Big Air snowboarder and Westport native Marino. But she also has bragging rights none of those others can touch. In 2016, Marino, then an 18-year-old World Cup newcomer, replaced an injured teammate to compete in the Polartec Big Air event held at Fenway Park … and won.
A hit at Fenway, she returned to throw out the ceremonial first pitch in 2017, and again for a Red Sox-Yankees game in August 2022. Eighteen was a good age for Marino, who that year also became the first woman to land a double in slopestyle competition, according to her U.S. Ski & Snowboard team bio, landing two in the same run, a cab double underflip and a double backflip. Marino is most famous, of course, for winning a silver medal in women’s slopestyle at the 2022 Beijing Olympics (slopestyle is snowboarding down a course filled with terrain-park features and obstacles like rails and jumps.)
Also a 2018 Olympian and a seven-time X Games medalist, Marino loves photography, making videos, and spending time outdoors with her family and dog.
Click here for the full Connecticut Magazine “40 Under 40.”
The Westport Farmers’ Market: It’s not just for fresh produce anymore.
Well, everyone knows that. But here’s more proof, if anyone needs it:
Through January, the Market will host a 4-part lecture series, Thursdays at 1 p.m. at Gilbertie’s Herbs & Garden Center on Sylvan Lane.
Each presentation is 20 minutes, followed by a Q-and-A.
- January 5: “Yoga is (Not) a 4-Letter Word: Demystifying the Practice” (Abbey Chase, owner, Abbey Chase Yoga)
- January 12: “Muscle Activation, Neurological Inhibition, and Chronic Pain” (Dr. Andrew Crape)
- January 19: “The Lymph” (Rev. Dr. Mark L. Heilshorn owner, Dharma Massage Therapy)
- January 26: “Gut Healing and Anti-inflammatory Bonebroth Detox Soup” (Christine Beal Dunst, CEO and co-founder, Embody Wellness Company).
This photo is a bit of a mystery.
Matt Murray noticed all these shoes lined up at Old Mill Beach.
There was no one nearby. No one swimming.
Who owns them? Why are they there?
Maybe it’s part of SyFy’s annual “Twilight Zone” marathon. The annual event — an homage to the show and its creator, former Westporter Rod Serling — began at 5 a.m. today. It runs through 4 a.m. on Tuesday.
Click here for the full schedule. (In case you’re wondering: “A Stop at Willoughby” — the classic Westport-themed episode — airs Monday, at 5 p.m.)
Congratulations to Dr. Cindy Dunbar. The 1976 Staples High School graduate was recently inducted into the National Academy of Medicine.
A Harvard graduate who specializes in hematology, she’s had an amazing career. Click here for an in-depth interview. (She begins with her youth in Westport — and her interest in music and theater. It continues to this day.)
Click here for a more scientifically oriented piece. (Hat tip: Ed Stalling)
It wouldn’t be a holiday without a photo of Jolantha.
Weston’s favorite pig welcomes the new year in (as always) style:
Today’s “Westport … Naturally” image combines a favorite subject (the beach) with a manmade-but-natural offering.
As the holidays wind down … enjoy!
And finally … who needs Guy Lombardo (or Dan Fogelberg), when we’ve got Mariah Carey?!
(The year is not yet over! You’ve still got a few hours to support “06880” — and, because we’re a non-profit, take a tax write-off. Please click here. Thank you!)