Tag Archives: Rosie Jon

“06880, The Podcast”: Rosie Jon

My goal with “06880: The Podcast” is the same as with “06880,” the blog: shine a light on some of the most interesting Westporters I know.

Rosie Jon tops the list. Born without arms, she is an amazing artist. Multi-racial, she’s a strong voice for Asian Americans.

Rosie is a role model for us all. In our podcast, we chatted about many things: her art. Her advocacy for people with disabilities, and the AAPI community. Her life as a Westport mom.

It was a fascinating half hour, on the Westport Library stage. Click here, then click on my photo on the right to meet our amazing neighbor.

Screenshot of Rosie Jon, during the “06880” podcast.

Roundup: Car Thefts, Downtown, Melissa Bernstein …

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Lock your cars doors! Even — especially — in your driveway!

That’s the advice (it should be a command) from the Westport Police Department.

Four vehicles have been stolen here since Saturday. All 4 times, the doors were unlocked — and the keys were left in the cars.

Police have also responded to 15 vehicle break-ins in the past 6 days. Items were stolen from all cars — and again, the doors were unlocked.

The department reminds residents to lock all cars, and bring keys inside. Take valuables out of your car for the night too — cash, purses, wallets and electronics. It’s a good idea too to keep outside lights on, and motion lights activated.

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“Westport Downtown Merchants Association” was always a mouthful.

So chew on this: The organization has a new name.

From now on, it’s the “Westport Downtown Association.”

Sleeker. More inclusive. And it does not sound like it’s a radio station (WDMA).

But, the WDA says, they’ll still enhance the downtown experience for shoppers, diners and other visitors.

And they’ll still work with business owners, landlords — and merchants! — to improve the commerce and culture of downtown Westport.

Their website is http://www.westportdowntown.com. As easy to remember as it is to shop and dine.

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Since going public about her battle with existential anguish and depression, Melissa Bernstein has been interviewed by every major American media outlet.

Tonight (Thursday, May 6) she talks to a different audience: her neighbors.

Former CNN, NBC Sports and Fox News anchor Dave Briggs — also a Westporter — interviews the Melissa & Doug toy company co-founder today, on Instagram Live.

Melissa will talk about her life, and LifeLines: the project she and her husband Doug have created, to educate and empower people. The conversation is particularly apt now; May is Mental Health Awareness Month.

It’s available tonight at 8 p.m. on Instagram Live (@Westport Magazine). You can ask questions during the segment, or send them now: DM @DaveBriggsTV.

Melissa Bernstein

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Anne Craig no longer reports the news for Fox 5 New York and Channel 8 New Haven. She’s concentrating on her family, here in Westport.

But she continues to make must-see videos. (Remember this one on the yarn bomber?)

Now — right before Mother’s Day — she turns her camera on another inspiring local mom.

Rosie Jon is an outstanding artist who overcame what could be a major obstacle: She was born without arms.

Rosie is upbeat, optimistic, and very talented. Click below to enjoy Anne’s great tribute:

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Neighbors and Newcomers of Westport is one of the town’s great — and greatly unknown — organizations.

Far from a “welcome wagon” — longtime residents are as welcome as recent arrivals — it’s a fun, active group. Members enjoy clam bakes, coffees, holiday parties, kayaking, barbecues, happy hours, wine tastings and TGIF get-togethers.

They play canasta. They go hiking and to movies. There is a book club, culinary group and luncheon club. There are trips to museums, baby and toddler play groups, and girls’ nights out.

Well, they did all that before COVID. The pandemic forced every activity onto Zoom, or hiatus.

But as Westport opens up, the group is returning to in-person events. “With the energy of spring in the air, we are trying our best to serve our community,” they say. “We will of course continue to follow town guidelines in all activities.”

The first monthly event is tomorrow (Friday, May 7, noon): lunch outdoors at Arezzo.

In the works: Book Club (May 27, 7 p.m.), kayaking, and free Pure Barre classes for members.

Click here to learn more. Click here for the Facebook page; For membership information, email membershipnnwestport@gmail.com. For other questions, email presidentnnwestport@gmail.com.

Neighbors & Newcomers enjoy a hike.

 

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Calling all young artists!

Westport Public Art Collections seeks submissions from K-12 students for the 2021-22 school calendar. That’s the one that hangs in every kitchen. It lists all school events — and is decorated handsomely with student art.

Drawings, paintings, photos and computer-generated graphics will be considered (landscape orientation, please).

Artwork scanned at high res (600 dpi — JPG or PDF format file) or a good photo can be mailed to WestportSchoolCalendar@gmail.com. Include the student’s name, email, school and grade. Keep the original art, in case a re-scan is needed.

The deadline is May 28. Click here for more details, and to preorder a calendar.

The cover of the 2020-21 Westport Public Schools calendar was drawn by Sophia Sheng, Coleytown Elementary School 5th grader.

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Bedford Middle School 8th grader Ryan Tzou learned yesterday he was a winner in the Women’s History Month essay contest.

He found out in a great way: State Representative Stephanie Thomas surprised him during social studies class.

“Ryan told the triumphant story of his grandmother, a Chinese immigrant who experienced countless obstacles in her life that she never let hinder her dreams and goals,” Thomas said. “Ryan’s love and admiration for his grandmother poured through the carefully constructed words in his essay, which made it both inspirational and heart-warming to read.”

Ryan Tzou with State Representative Stephanie Thomas (left) and Bedford Middle School social studies teacher Gabrielle Tripuzzi. He holds a citation for his essay.

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The other day, “06880” reported on Staples High 9th grader Cameron Mann’s current gig: He’s part of HBO Max’s “Mare of Easttown” cast.

Three years ago he was part of a 2018 workshop: “The Secret Garden.” Presented for top Broadway professionals and theatre owners, it was directed by Tony Award winner Warren Carlyle, and starred notable actors.

The production is being streamed tonight (Thursday, May 6), and will be available on demand May 7-9. Proceeds go to the Dramatists Guild Foundation and The Actors Fund. Click here for details.

Cameron Mann

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Two photos. Call them “Beauty and the Beast”?

First: Spring colors continue to dazzle Westport:

(Photo/Rowene Weems Photography)

Next: Fertilization project underway at Compo Beach:

(Photo/Les Dinkin)

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And finally … on this day in 1954, Roger Bannister became the first human being to run a mile in under 4 minutes (3:59.4).

At least 2 Westport runners (Steve Wheeler and Henry Wynne) have beaten Bannister’s record.

The current world record is 3:43.13, by Hicham El Guerrouj of Morocco. Who knew?!

 

 

 

Anne Hathaway And “The Witches”: The Sequel

This morning, “06880” posted a heartfelt letter from one Westporter to another.

Rosie Jon — a mother of 3 and accomplished artist who was born without arms — asked Anne Hathaway to think about the message her character in the new movie “The Witches” conveys.

Rosie Jon (Photo courtesy of Mindy Briar for Westport Lifestyle Magazine)

The Grand High Witch’s deformed fingers and toes — and other physical differences — are portrayed as evil.

Speaking for the limb difference community, Rosie wrote:

We don’t blame you. We love you. And I feel strongly that this is an opportunity for you to use your platform to educate children and adults about how disability is not something “ugly” or “scary,” but something to embrace with love and acceptance.

Rosie urged Hathaway to reach out, and help heal the hurt she’d caused.

The actress already has.

Hathaway posted on Instagram:

I have recently learned that many people with limb differences, especially children, are in pain because of the portrayal of the Grand High Witch in The Witches.

Let me begin by saying I do my best to be sensitive to the feelings and experiences of others not out of some scrambling PC fear, but because not hurting others seems like a basic level of decency we should all be striving for.

As someone who really believes in inclusivity and really, really detests cruelty, I owe you all an apology for the pain caused.

Anne Hathaway in “The Witches.”

I am sorry. I did not connect limb difference with the GHW when the look of the character was brought to me; if I had, I assure you this never would have happened.

I particularly want to say I’m sorry to kids with limb differences: now that I know better I promise I’ll do better.

And I owe a special apology to everyone who loves you as fiercely as I love my own kids: I’m sorry I let your family down.

She ended by mentioning the Lucky Fin Project, a non-profit that helps children with limb differences.

Rosie mentioned it too. Here’s hoping it benefits from the attention of these 2 great Westporters. (Hat tip: Trey Ellis)

Rosie Jon: Open Letter To Anne Hathaway

Rosie Jon is a Westport mother of 3. She’s an artist. And she was born without arms.

Rosie is an advocate for all children — “gifts from Heaven,” she calls them. She is especially passionate about children born with special abilities.

So Rosie is disturbed by Warner Brothers’ new movie “The Witches.” It portrays witches with deformed, toeless feet which they hide by wearing  pointed shoes, and 3 -fingered claws they hide with gloves.

The Grand High Witch — leader of all the world’s witches — is played by Anne Hathaway. 

She too is a Westporter. Rosie asked “06880” to post this open letter to her neighbor:

Dear Anne Hathaway,

For my children, having a mother with no arms has given them a daily lesson on how our differences are what make us special and unique.

They know that nothing is impossible when you live your life from your heart and soul, loving one another, no matter what our differences are.

Rosie Jon (Photo courtesy of Mindy Briar for Westport Lifestyle Magazine)

So it saddens me deeply to see a community that is close to my heart be hurt by your latest movie.

I admire you and your work, and how you put your heart into everything you do.

I also love that you are a fellow Westport mother. You have shared your big,
compassionate heart for others with our town too, such as joining our town’s
peaceful protests for Black Lives Matter back in June.

We know you care deeply about those who don’t have a voice.

Because I have always appreciated your work, I wanted to let you know that
your latest movie, “The Witches,” by Warner Bros. has caused heartbreak in the Limb Difference community. It has hit me and others in this vulnerable community especially hard.

The children’s film, based on Roald Dahl’s book, took the liberty of changing your character from the original story, to have a limb disability to add “fear” and “evil” to the character.

Anne Hathaway in “The Witches.”

Unfortunately, this has been very hurtful to a community of “lucky fins” who
already have to face a world that judges anyone with a difference with fear and discrimination.

The limb difference community wants the world to see that our differences are to be celebrated, not feared.

A wonderful organization called Lucky Fin Project aims to “celebrate the wonderfully made, one ‘lucky fin’ at a time.” I would love for you to take the opportunity to see the beauty of this organization that is helping the world see
children with limb differences as precious gifts, who were born to make a difference — and definitely not be seen as scary “witches.”

We don’t blame you. We love you. And I feel strongly that this is an opportunity for you to use your platform to educate children and adults about how disability is not something “ugly” or “scary,” but something to embrace with love and acceptance.

We can help families have these important conversations at home. For instance, I address this in my blog post, from my own personal experiences living in Westport with a limb difference.

My dear friend Anne Lawton, a journalist and fellow Westport mother, and I would love to interview you (maybe via Zoom?) to send out a
message of hope to these beautiful children.

I also know an extraordinary 11-year-old girl, Maddie Hostetter, who has modelled for Tommy Hilfiger Children’s Adaptive Clothing Line, whom we can invite to share her experiences living with a limb difference in today’s world with
us too.

But most of all, reaching out to this community and lending your hand to them will help heal some of the hurt that this movie has caused.

With love,
Rosie Jon
(xtraordinaryratherthanordinary@gmail.com)

Roundup: Yarn Bombing; Coffee Roasting; Black Duck; More


Everyone loves the Yarn Bomber. Now you can learn her secrets.

No, not who she is. Even better: how she does it.

The Yarn Bomber is bringing her talents — decorating trees and street signs in beautiful, uplifting colors — to the masses. She’s created a virtual knitting course, and anyone can join.

For just $50 you get needles, starter yarn, 5 days of instruction (1 hour a day), knitting videos, online tutorials, and a live public socially distanced yarn bomb at a scheduled date. All supplies can be picked up will at Westport Yarns.

The Yarn Bomber can also accommodate custom group sessions for groups (minimum of 6 participants).

Email yarnbalmer@gmail.com for more information.

Yarn bombing at Compo Beach (Photo/Judy Auber Jahnel)


There are plenty of places to buy coffee in Saugtuck, from Dunkin’ to Donut Crazy.

There may soon be one more.

A sign next to Tutti’s — in the storefront occupied briefly by a kombucha bar — advertises ILSE Coffee. It’s the work of 2013 Staples High School graduate Lucas Smith, and Rebecca Grossman.

They started a Kickstarter campaign. Their goal is to open a “dream cafe and marketplace.” The roastery/market will include specialty coffee, pastries, sandwiches, small plates and to-go food, along with wine, beer, cocktails and retail items. They hope to host coffee cuppings, seminars and workshops too.

The goal is $10,000. The deadline is August 1.

As of yesterday though, the Kickstarter drive was $9,999 short.

Lucas Smith, in the Saugatuck space.


Speaking of Saugatuck — here’s the news you’ve all been waiting for:

The Black Duck is back open!

Just in time for summer, all’s right with the world.

(Photo/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)


Uncertain weather today forced a postponement of the Supper & Soul Drive-in/Tailgate Concert. The event — featuring the Tom Petty Project — is now set for Sunday (July 5, 6 p.m.).

Tickets for tonight’s show can be used on the new date. If you can’t make the new date, contact the sponsoring Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce (matthew@westportwestonchamber.com). There’s a wait list for the sold-out show.

During the show, anyone with comments or concerns should call 203-851-2771.

The Chamber and Westport Library will also hold a streaming concert next Sunday (July 11). Part of Supper & Soul, it features the ’80s hair band Mullett. Tickets are $10.80. Click here for details.


In these challenging times, support groups are more important than ever.

But physical distancing and other rules make it challenging for organizations to offer that support.

Positive Directions — the Westport-based prevention and counseling agency — can help. They offer free, weekly virtual support groups for people trying to achieve healthy lifestyles, after battling substance abuse addiction.

There are special sessions too for family members, and young adults. Click here for details.


Kami Evans — who as “Kami’s Kloud” provided tons of Westport information on social media platforms — will move back here with her family in August. She’s been in England since 2018.

Her newest project is working on a global social media campaign, incorporating local artists. Her first video stars Westport’s own Rosie Jon. Born without arms, she paints (beautifully) with her toes.

Rosie’s current project — #WeAreOne — is “so poignant right now,” Kami says.

Click below for Rosie’s video. Click here for links to all of Kami’s platforms.


Westporters Chris and Amy Overman were ready to start a family. Yet at 38, Amy struggled with infertility. For 6 years, the couple tried many treatments.

After 13 failed cycles — including IUI, IVF and stem treatments — Amy read a chapter in her infertility book that many people skip: egg donation.

It’s expensive. But the Overmans received an egg donation. They’re now the proud parents of a son, Ryder.

Two years later, Amy paid it forward. She gave $10,000 to the Norwalk-based Nest Egg Foundation — and called it the  Ryder Grant. Now, someone else can benefit from an egg donation.

The Foundation’s application window for the 2020 fertility grant program runs through July 31. Connecticut and New York residents are eligible.

For more information, including grant application eligibility criteria and how to become a donor, click here


And finally … a fitting tribute to the late John Prine.