Tag Archives: Roseville Road

Roundup: Post Road Improvements, “Straight White Men” & A Drag Show …

“06880” is not a big fan of political photo ops. They’re — well, political photo ops.

But we’re happy to announce one set for Monday. The reason for it is a great one.

State Senators Will Haskell and Stephanie Thomas, State Representative Jonathan Steinberg, 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker and Department of Transportation senior advisor Carlo Leone will gather at 10 a.m. at the “Westport Plaza” (known to normal people as the Home Goods/Panera Bread shopping center near the Southport line) to celebrate $11.7 million in funding for Post Road safety and traffic improvements.

The work will add left-turn lanes at Bulkley Avenue and Roseville Road, and the Fresh Market light.

Work will begin this fall, and is expected to take a year.

Left-hand turning lanes are planned for the Post Road near here.

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The Westport Country Playhouse curtain rises May 24 on “Straight White Men.”

The cast of the comic satire — which ran on Broadway in 2018 — includes Richard Kline (Larry Dallas on “Three’s Company”). He’ll be directed by his Northwestern University classmate, WCP artistic director Mark Lamos.

Lamos calls it a “bold, exuberant, very funny comedy. Near the end it builds up to a surprising dramatic punch.”

The show takes place on Christmas Eve. Ed (played by Kline) has invited his 3 grown sons back home for pranks, Chinese takeout, and gossip. In between the male bonding rituals and conversations about money, work and love, they are forced to face their own identities.

Click here for tickets, and more information.

“Straight White Men” ensemble (from left): Devin Milord, Nick Westrate, Richard Kline, Bill Army. (Photo/Cynthia Astmann)

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Spots are going fast for Wakeman Town Farm’s summer camps. They include:

Little Farmers (4-6-year-olds): Children dabble in every farm experience from planting and harvesting fresh veggies to feeding the animals. Youngsters learn how to spot squash bugs, collect eggs from the coop, and where to look for monarch caterpillars.

Junior Farmer Camp (7-10 year-olds): Great for kids who want to get their hands dirty. They learn about sustainable farming by planning, planting and caring for a garden, feeding animals, and raising a successful garden using both modern and time-honored technologies.

Green Teen (6th-8th graders): The focus is on planting, watering and harvesting vegetables that will be donated to local food pantries. Representatives from receiving agencies visit the Farm, talking about food insecurity and how community volunteering changes lives. Students will also learn about rabbits, ducks, chicken, sheep, goats and alpacas. Environmental topics include composting, creating a pollinator garden, and the Zero Waste initiative.

Click here for more information, and to register.

Learning by doing, at Wakeman Town. (Photo/Inklings)

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Riverside Avenue between Charles Street (Tutti’s) and Railroad Place (Steam Coffee) will be closed to traffic Monday and Wednesday, for paving.

New York-bound passengers can be dropped off by driving through the eastbound (Ferry Lane) parking lot, and continuing under the railroad bridge. Passengers can also be dropped off in the Charles Street lot, and walk up the stairs to the platform.

This stretch of Riverside Avenue will be closed Monday and Wednesday.

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Deb Robicheau is the Westport Book Shop’s guest artist for May.

She’s showing sculptural mixed media boxes, created during the pandemic.  They incorporate comic book art from the 1930s through the ’80s. All works are available for purchase.

Robicheau — a visual artist, sculptor, painter, writer and screenwriter — has lived in Westport since 2010.

Deb Robicheau

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Westport Pride and MoCA Westport invite everyone to “All 4 Drag and Drag For All.”

The drag show (June 4; 5:30 p.m. cocktail hour, 6:30 p.m. performance, followed by a Q-and-A with the performers, at MoCA) is “an epic family-friendly experience.”

The headliner is 15-year-old Desmond Napoles, a New York City model, public speaker, fashion designer and voguer. Click here for tickets, and more information.

Desmond Napoles’ stage name is “Desmond is Amazing.”

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The weather was great when Charlie Stebbins led Thursday’s Aspetuck Land Trust nature walk at Smith Richardson Preserve.

Wendy Levy was there. She snapped this shot of a blooming crabapple tree, for our “Westport … Naturally” feature.

(Photo/Wendy Levy)

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And finally … in honor of Wendy Levy’s photo above:

 

Roundup: $10,000, Logging Truck, VersoFest …

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Earthplace updated maps of their 74-acre sanctuary. Project Return repainted their North Compo Road home. The Westport Astronomical Society got a new solar telescope. Wakeman Town Farm bought a mobile chicken coop.

All of that money came from “Ruegg Grants” — courtesy of the Westport Woman’s Club. Established in 1995 by former member Lea Ruegg, they’re given each spring to a local non-profit with a project that makes a meaningful difference in social services, health, safety, the arts or education.

Previous recipients include, CLASP Homes, the Westport Police Department, Interfaith Housing, Mercy Learning Center, Toquet Hall, the Westport Rotary Club, Staples Players and the Westport Library.

Your organization could be next. The Woman’s Club is accepting submissions now through April 25, for up to $10,000 for a 2022 project. Click here for the application form.

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Bert Porzio is one of Westport’s real good guys. The tree service owner would do anything for anyone (and often has: Check out his Unsung Hero honors from 2018).

But his rental of the small lot on the corner of Post Road and Roseville to store logs has worried some residents.

They’re concerned about one of his trucks parked at the lot, blocking visibility of drivers coming down the Roseville hill.

Now, for the past few days, a logging truck has been parked across from McDonald’s. It’s on the sidewalk, just a few yards from Route 1.

Is it legal? Is it safe? “06880” readers have asked both questions.

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Al’s Angels is sponsoring a Fairfield rally, in support of Ukraine.

The event is tonight — Wednesday, March 30 — from 5:30 to 10 p.m. at Penfield Pavilion. 100% of all proceeds will go to 2 charities, working for the war-torn nation.

The $50 ticket price includes Ukrainian and “local” food, live music, a silent auction and raffle prizes. Scan the QR code below for tickets. (Hat tip: JC Martin)

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Verso Fest continues to get bigger.

The Westport Library has just added an intriguing panel to its 1st-ever media and music festival.

On Saturday, April 9 (1 p.m.), Dick Wingate — a Westporter at the forefront of music marketing, A&R and interactive technology for over 40 years — will moderate a panel on audio production.

Dick launched or developed the careers of Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello, Aimee Mann, Peter Tosh, Eddy Grant, Pink Floyd, Sarah McLachlan and Garland Jeffreys while at Columbia, Epic, PolyGram and Arista Records. He then pioneered the digital music business with Liquid Audio, as chief content officer. He now operates DEV Advisors, a media and entertainment consultancy.

Panelists include:

Datwon Thomas: editor-in-chief of Vibe magazine, and vice president of cultural media for MRC. He was founder and editorial director of men’s lifestyle guide King magazine, the urban car enthusiast’s favorite Rides Magazine, and editor-in-chief of hip-hop’s street authority, XXL Magazine.

Stephen Webber: Emmy-winning composer, musician, author, producer, engineer, and a leading innovator in music and the performing arts. He founded the Music Production, Technology, and Innovation master’s program at Berklee College of Music’s Spain campus. He’s Berklee’s dean of strategic initiatives, working on domestic and international projects in Los Angeles and China. A former A&R consultant for Universal Music Group, Webber has produced and engineered albums for a wide range of artists.

Travis Bell: audio studios Manager and in-house producer and engineer for Verso Studios. As owner/operator of Hamden’s Adorea Studios for 10 years, he earned acclaim from NPR and Rolling Stone for an array of different projects.

For more information on VersoFest, click here.

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This is a tough time of year for Homes with Hope’s food pantry.

The Gillespie Center program always sees a dip in donations between the holidays, and its spring food drive.

Rising food prices have proved a double whammy. More families are in need, while donors are also feeling the pinch.

Donations can be dropped off between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. at the Gillespie Center. It’s behind Barnes & Noble, next to Don Memo and Walrus Alley off Jesup Road. Click here for a list of most-needed non-perishable items.

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Michael Bolton moves on!

Not from Westport — he’s staying here. But the New Haven native advances to the next round of NBC’s “American Song Contest.”

Bolton sang “Beautiful World,” in the Eurovision knockoff that includes artists from all 50 states, 5 US territories and Washington DC.

The jury ranked him 5th, but votes by fans propelled him into the semifinals. He joins representatives from Rhode Island, Oklahoma and Puerto Rico. His video from the show is below. (Hat tip: Dick Lowenstein)

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Julian Lamb Orgel — the lively and musically talented cellist son of 1971 Staples High School graduate Paul Orgel — died in 2018. He was 26.

A fundraising concert in Colchester, Vermont on May 21 will endow a scholarship in Julian’s honor for the Vermont Youth Orchestra — a place, his family says, that “nurtured him and provided him with years of support, friendship and music-making pleasure.”

The program features the world premiere of “Songs With and Without Words,” composed in Julian’s honor by Curt Cacioppo, with his father on piano. There are also classical and jazz performances.

Click here for tickets and more information. Click here for more on Julian Orgel. (Hat tip: Diane Sherman)

Julian Orgel

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Jonathan Alloy submits today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo. He also sends this question: “Is your bird feeder deer-proof?”

(Photo/Jonathan Alloy)

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And finally … it was great seeing Peter Tosh’s name among the artists Dick Wingate has worked with (in the story above, on VersoFest).

He’s one of my favorite artists. And, like so many, gone way too soon.

Roundup: Easter Egg Hunt, Jersey Mike’s Subs, Roseville Full Stop …

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For years, people have asked WestportMoms to sponsor an Easter Egg Hunt.

Get those baskets ready!

The social media wizards have hopped to it (ho ho). The event is set for this Saturday (April 2, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.), on the big lawn in front of Saugatuck Congregational Church.

It includes make-your-own bags for egg collecting, courtesy of One River Art School; music by DJ Marcello; sports and games with Sara Holland; face painting; food trucks, pictures with the Easter Bunny — and of course, a hunt for 3,000 eggs.

The cost is $20 per family. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to Save the Children Ukraine.

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Jersey Mike’s’ Westport location may — or may not — be closed.

But the Norwalk store joins more than 2,000 others on Wednesday (March 30), in donating 100% of its sales to Special Olympics.

You read that right: Not 100% of profits. 100% of sales.

Making the offer even tastier, Westporters Rick Levin, Bob Levy and Sunny Sherman are buying a few hundred sandwiches. They’ll be donated to STAR of Norwalk, and Bridgeport’s Alpha Community Center and Cardinal Shehan Center.

The Jersey Mike’s at 360 Connecticut Avenue in Norwalk has been excited to work with Rick, Bob and Sunny on their idea. They’re ready to make those sandwiches — and all others that area residents order, on that special day.

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Many Westporters have expressed concern about the massive logs stored on the Post Road property near Roseville Road.

That’s not the only potential danger. Drivers heading south on Roseville have a tough enough time seeing westbound traffic, thanks to the blind curve.

Often now though, a logging truck parked on the lot makes it even harder.

There’s no “No Right Turn on Red” sign at that traffic light, for Roseville traffic. There should be.

Savvy motorists — at least, those turning right — cut through the McDonald’s parking lot.

Everyone else should just wait for the green.

(Photo/Joseph Signorile)

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It’s the time of year for swans and their eggs. The annual ritual is today’s “Westport … Naturally” feature. This photo is from Riverside Avenue, near the boardwalk by the medical offices.

(Photo/Gabriela Bockhaus)

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And finally … Taylor Hawkins, the ever-smiling, fierce drummer and occasional vocalist for Foo Fighters for more than 2 decades, died Friday in Colombia, at 50. Several drugs were reportedly found in his system. Click here for a full obituary.

Friday Flashback #254

Since the 1960s, the Post Road East/Roseville Road corner has been known for food.

First Big Top, then Roy Rogers, now McDonald’s — it’s where generations of Westporters have stopped for a quick (first real, then heavily processed) meal.

Previous generations headed to that spot for some slow, important work.

Blacksmith shop next to Roseville Road around 1925. it was torn down in 1928, as part of a road rewidening project. The Linxweilers moved their operation nearby. (Photo courtesy of Peter Morris)

A blacksmith shop stood for years by the unpaved streets. It was owned by the Linxweiler family. Their residence — a few yards west on Post Road East, next to the Fresh Market shopping center — still stands. It’s now part of Homes with Hope’s supportive housing program.

From blacksmitih to Big Top to McDonald’s: progress? Or regress?

Ins And Outs Of Post Road Shopping Centers

On July 8, representatives from Connecticut’s Department of Transportation gave a public presentation on proposed work on the Post Road. Much of it involves the stretch between Fresh Market, and the Roseville/Hillspoint Road intersection.

The $5.3 million project (80% federally funded, 20% state funds) would include special left-turn-only lanes, as well as traffic signals, curbing, curb ramps, sidewalks and crosswalks.

Proposals for the Post Road near Fresh Market.

Alert “06880” reader Jennifer Johnson agrees with many of the ideas. However, she also has concerns. She wrote the DOT about several, including the need for a sidewalk on the south side from Mitchells to the fire station, and care of the cherry trees in front of the Volvo dealer.

However, what really caught my eye was this:

Eliminate multiple single-property curb cuts. There are an excessive number of curb cuts (17) on both sides of the road, from the traffic light at Fresh Market to the light at Roseville/Hillspoint Road.

The number of curb cuts is a source of danger to people regardless of how they travel (foot, car or bicycle). Now is the time to correct problems that have evolved as the Post Road developed.

There are many ways in and out of the shopping centers, and adjacent lots.

I never thought about that — but now that I have, it makes a lot of sense.

Why do we need so many entrances and exits at Fresh Market? Across the street, there are also a number of ways to get into and out of the Dunkin’ Donuts/UPS Store/Westport Hardware/Mumbai Times lot. (No one ever calls it by its official no-meaning name, Village Center.)

There are other spots in town too with multiple entrances and exits, like Stop & Shop, and Aux Delices/Carvel/Stiles.

There are only a couple of ways in and out of the CVS/Trader Joe’s clusterf***. But at the end of her email, Jennifer notes that this intersection appears to have been ignored by DOT.

Finally, she asks that one person be appointed to oversee and coordinate all of DOT’s Westport projects (there are others besides the Fresh Market initiative).

Great idea! I nominate Jennifer Johnson for the job.

(For full details of the project on the Westport town website, click here. Questions about the Post Road project can be sent to  the CT DOT project manager: Brian.Natwick@ct.com)

Proposed work at the Post Road/Roseville/Hillspoint intersection.

Not Cool

There’s a noticeable lack of presidential political lawn signs in Westport this fall.

This might be one reason why:

hillary-lawn-sign

The alert “06880” who sent in this photo — taken this morning on Roseville Road — said: “I keep myself from defacing Trump signs. They need to control themselves too! ;-)”

November 8 can’t come soon enough.

Life On The Roseville Road Curve

The Roseville Road home is just about perfect. Built in 1923 on 2 acres of grass and woods, it’s handsome, welcoming and filled with love.

It’s where Linda Gramatky Smith grew up, and her father, Hardie Gramatky — painter/author/illustrator of “Little Toot” fame — worked. It’s where she and her husband Ken still live today.

Linda and Ken Smith's lovely Roseville Road home.

Linda and Ken Smith’s lovely Roseville Road home.

But no place is perfect.

Linda and Ken’s house sits on the dangerous curve, not far from the McDonald’s intersection at the Post Road. Time after time — often in snow, or at night — drivers end up on the front lawn. In the woods. Or through their stone wall.

Hardie Gramatky moved his family there in 1947. From then through his death in 1979, with unfortunate regularity, they heard the loud bang of a crash.

Homer Mills Sr. — a local mason — told Hardie that the stone wall was “my annuity.” Twice a year, he rebuilt it.

The stone wall after a recent accident. Drivers hit it when they fail to negotiate the southbound (toward McDonald's) curve.

The stone wall after a recent accident. Drivers hit it when they fail to negotiate the southbound (toward McDonald’s) curve.

The night Hardie collapsed — he’d just been honored by the American Watercolor Society — the wall was hit again. “This has not bee an good day,” the artist said. He died 2 days later.

In 1982, Linda moved with her mother to New Jersey. She and Ken bought the house, and for the next 11 years they rented it out. They were gone, but the accidents continued.

In 1994 — a year after the couple moved back here, and into their home — a 17-year-old speeder from Weston slammed into the post. His air bag saved his life. Linda and Ken got one for their own car.

A humorous plaque on the side of Linda and Ken Smith's house.

A humorous plaque on the side of Linda and Ken Smith’s house.

When Joe Arcudi — Linda’s 1960 Staples High School classmate — ran for 1st selectman, he promised to do something about the dangerous curve. (He recalled driving fast on the same “Rollercoaster Road” as a rite of passage in his own youth.)

After Arcudi was elected, he and Police Chief William Chiarenzelli met with Linda and Ken. They discussed a stop sign on nearby Colony Road, and a speed bump (there had been one a while earlier on Roseville near Whitney Street, but it was removed after a driver took it too fast and hit his head on his roof).

Ultimately, they settled on a couple of very large yellow signs with big arrows. Those have been a “significant help” in decreasing the number of accidents, Linda says.

But they have not stopped entirely. On Memorial Day morning in 2013, Linda drove out of her garage and felt a bump. It was a large rock.

Looking around, she spotted a car upside down near the woods. Fortunately, no one was still inside.

A Memorial Day accident 3 years ago put this car into the Smiths' woods.

A Memorial Day accident 3 years ago put this car into the Smiths’ woods.

A 23-year-old from Fairfield had flipped his car the night before, taking out a tree and pushing a rock toward the garage. He’d walked to McDonald’s, where a friend picked him up.

“His insurance company was great,” Linda says.

A couple of Sundays ago, at 12:15 a.m., Linda, Ken and their 9-year-old grandson heard a screech, then a crash.

This time, it was a 20-year-old Westporter. He was charged with traveling too fast, failure to stay in the proper lane, and operating a motor vehicle under suspension and without insurance.

The aftermath of the most recent crash.

The aftermath of the most recent crash.

“It’s no longer every 6 months. But it’s still very scary,” Linda says. “People travel too fast. We constantly worry that someone may die.”

“This house has been part of Linda’s family for almost 70 years,” Ken says. “This comes with the territory.”

He has a ritual. When a guest leaves, he walks onto Roseville Road. When the coast is clear, he gives the driver a wave.

That’s not Ken’s idea. For decades, Hardie Gramatky did the same thing.


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Smooth Sailing

An alert (and grateful) “06880” reader sent this along:

Thanks, Dan, for your blog about the huge dip in the road at Roseville & Post Road.  We went out to vote (yesterday) morning and saw that asphalt has been put down over the spot so that now the transition in moving from one road to the other is smooth.  I am not certain what levers you may have pulled to effect this change, but our car will be eternally grateful.  Now on to the timing of the signal lights.

“06880” would like to take credit for this near-instant response by The Powers That Be.  But we can’t.

At least, we don’t think we can.

The Town (and its subcontractors) work in mysterious ways.  At any rate, enjoy the ride.

And about those signal lights…

Post Road Paving

The current Roseville/North Avenue/Cross Highway paving project has gotten plenty of press lately.

At the same time, crews plow forward on the Post Road too.

An alert “06880” reader made the connection between the 2.  He pleaded:

Can we have just a few gobs from the many truckloads of available asphalt transferred into the gully that currently exists between Roseville and the Post Road, and causes one to hit one’s head on the roof if the car goes more than 1 mph?

Amen to that.

And while we’re asking for things we won’t get, how about delaying the traffic light at that intersection, so cars stop flying across from Roseville at the exact moment Post Road traffic starts to move?

A very bad intersection, in more ways than one.