Tag Archives: Row House

Roundup: STEM Journal, Rainbow Crosswalk, Pop-up Art …

STEM Journal features an intriguing and diverse array of science-related articles. Topics include the space station, Alzheimer’s, impulsivity, molecular medicine, Conway’s Game of Life, neuromodulation and gene therapy, spina bifida, the philosophical and psychological impacts of music in America, the water crisis and forever chemicals.

Impressive stuff.

Even more impressive: It’s the Staples STEM Journal.

Led by editor-in-chief Will Boberski, layout editor Sam Zwick-Lavinsky and faculty advisor Amy Parent, the publication is completely researched and written by students.

The spring issue is online. Click here to see the remarkable scope and breadth of these teenagers’ work.

But the Staples STEM Journal does not stop there.

They recently hosted a series of presentations by scientific researchers throughout the state. Topics ranged from deer population management to quantum physics and genomic sequencing.

They’re always looking for interesting contacts. So, “06880” readers: If you work in STEM and want to speak with the Journal students this fall, email Will  (wb1003566@students.westportps.org) or Amy at (aparent@westportps.org).


Speaking of Staples: Students Ryan Sunjka, Jack Schwartz, Jackson Tracey and Lucy Barney are members of the Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital junior board.

Last week, they organized a fundraising competition at Row House. Teams of 3 vied to row the farthest on erg machines, in 30 minutes. The goal was $10,000.

The teens blew past that mark. They raised $15,000 for Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital.

They thank all who helped. And “06880” thanks Ryan, Jack, Jackson and Lucy, for all they do to help others.

From left: Jackson Tracey, Jack Schwartz, Elijah de Brito (competitor), Ryan Sunjka, Henry Hoeffner (behind Ryan; Weston High School and board member); Blake O’Looney (Pierrepont School and board member); Lucy Barney.


Westport Police report 1 custodial arrest between May 17 and 24. A man was charged with disorderly conduct, violation of a standing criminal protective order, and threatening (2nd degree), following a domestic violence incident.

Police also gave the following citations:

  • Traveling unreasonably fast: 13 citations
  • Failure to comply with state traffic commission regulations: 11
  • Operating a motor vehicle under suspension: 3
  • Failure to drive in the proper lane: 2
  • Operating a motor vehicle without minimum insurance: 2
  • Failure to obey stop sign: 1
  • Improper turn: 1
  • Operating a motor vehicle without tint inspection: 1
  • Operating a motor vehicle without a license: 1
  • Operating an unregistered motor vehicle: 1
  • Improper use of markers: 1
  • Failure to obey traffic control signals: 1
  • Failure to register commercial vehicle: 1.

Each window in Connecticut that has tint applied (other than factory- tinted) must have a certification label in the lower left corner. Who knew?


Westport’s downtown is about to get a bit more colorful.

The Board of Selectwomen voted 3-0 yesterday to approve a rainbow crosswalk at Taylor Place and Jesup Road, by Green & Tonic. Avisual celebration of LGBTQ Pride Month, it will be installed adjacent to Jesup Green, where Westport’s Pride celebration takes place June 4 (1 to 3 p.m.).

The design will incorporate the colors of the Pride flag. It’s planned to be in place all month. Public Works director Pete Ratkiewich will review it after the first week, to ensure the materials are holding up.

At the Board of Selectwomen meeting yesterday, 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker expressed hope that the rainbow crosswalk could become permanent, as part of the refurbishment of downtown.

Westport joins a host of North American cities and towns with rainbow crosswalks, including Ames, Iowa; Athens, Georgia; Atlanta; Birmingham, Alabama; Bozeman, Montana; Colorado Springs; Covington, Kentuckyl Cupertino, California; Dallas; Great Barrington, Massachusetts; Juneau, Alaska; Key West, Florida; Lethbridge, Alberta; Long Beach, California; Memphis; Miami Beach; Minneapolis; Newport, Rhode Island; Ottawa; Philadelphia; Plymouth, Massachusetts; Portland, Maine; Provincetown, Massachusetts; Salmon Arm, British Columbia; San Diego; San Francisco; Seattle; Vancouver; Swift Current, Saskatchewan; West Hollywood, California; Westfield, New Jersey; Windsor, Ontario and Woburn, Massachusetts.

Rainbow crosswalk in Kennebunkport, Maine.


They’re b-a-a-a-c-k!

Five lifeguard chairs have been moved from winter storage to the Compo Beach sand.

Lifeguard service begins Memorial Day (Monday, May 29), and continues through Labor Day. A guard will be at Burying Hill Beach too.

One more sign that — the still-60s temperatures notwithstanding — summer is almost here.

(Photo/Matt Murray)


The Art Collective of Westport’s pop-up shows are always fun.

At the next one — in addition to food, wine, and great conversation with the 11 artists — you can also win an original painting by Kat Evans (value: $900).

Just leave your name and email at the opening reception (June 6, 6 to 8 p.m., Westport Country Playhouse barn), or from June 7-10 (6 to 10 p.m.). There is also an artists’ talk Sunday, June 10 at 4:30.

Besides Evans, artists participating in the show are Sue Benton, Zvi Goldman, MaryEllen Hendricks, Judy Katz, Niki Ketchman, Michael Ledner, Jane Lubin, Katherine Ross, Greg Ziebell and Florence Zolan.


Update on the l-o-o-o-n-g odyssey of the Bayberry Lane bridge project.

Yesterday, Westport Department of Public Works engineer Keith Wilberg sent this email to “Bayberry Lane Bridge residents”:

“The contractor installing the guide rail has hit ledge when installing a few of the posts. We need approvals from the sttate Department of Transportation to revise the installation procedure of the few posts, as they are paying the bulk of the construction costs.

“I find this infuriating, as I have been promising you that the bridge and road will be opening up as of April. Needless to say, I am not happy with the contractor.

“In the meantime the contractor, having little work to do to complete the project, has not scheduled or sent any workers to the site, as there is little (short of the guiderail) left to do. So you are correct that there has been no activity on site for far too many days.

“The town has proposed a solution to the contractor whereby they will install concrete jersey barriers behind the guiderail in the areas where they are having problems with the posts, thus enabling us to open the road to traffic by Friday afternoon. They have agreed to this.

There will be some small amount of incidental clean up to do, but in short, this should get the road open by Friday and finalize the project.

“I appreciate your patience with all of this, and please know that no one wants this bridge open more than I do.”

Bayberry Lane bridge, last November. (Photo/Sandy Rothenberg)


Four days after the fun-filled Day of Champions, donations for Experience Camps continue to roll in.

The tally raised so far is over $244,000. That will fund summer camp for over 1,200 youngsters, who have lost a parent or sibling.

Congratulations to the QBack Kings. They led all 20 teams in fundraising, with a whopping total of $39,510!

Seen Sunday, at the Day of Champions.


Run — don’t walk — to Weston’s 29th annual Memorial Day Weekend 5K.

Sponsored by the Weston High School PTO, it’s the only USATF-certified road race course in the town.

Runners of every category are joined by joggers, walkers and baby strollers. There are trophies, a Kids’ Fun Run, obstacle course, food truck and more.

Click here to register, and for more information.


Longtime Westport resident Janice Dean died yesterday. She was 88.

She and her husband Evan Dean moved from Alton, Illinois to Rochester, New York, and then Westport while raising 8 children.

At age 46, Janice decided to pursue higher education at Sacred Heart University. She earned a bachelor of science in business administration, graduating magna cum laude in 1983.

She obtained her real estate license, and managed Scott Associates in Darien for many years. She proudly led them in the transition to computerization.

In retirement, Janice and Evan traveled extensively, frequented New York City, and played golf and bridge. Janice achieved Bronze Life Master in the American Contract Bridge League in 2016.

At 85 Janice took up chess. She displayed her competitive spirit by effortlessly defeating her children and grandchildren.

Janice Dean was predeceased by her husband of 63 years, Evan, and her daughter Jennifer Dean Burke. She is survived by her childrenMark (Jaime), Christopher (Carline), Jayne (Gaetano Albani), Eric, Mary Ann (Mark Lindwall), David and Thomas (Andrea), 19 grandchildren and 1 great-grandchild.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held Friday (May 26, 10 a.m., Assumption Church). Interment will follow in Assumption Cemetery on Greens Farms Road. Click here to leave condolences.

Janice Dean


This bicycle isn’t going anywhere, from its spot on Sylvan Road South.

But it — and its flowers — caught the eye of Anne Bernier. It’s a well-composed, colorful, and very intriguing “Westport … Naturally” shot.

(Photo/Anne Bernier)


And finally … Tina Turner died yesterday, at her home in Switzerland. She was 83, and had suffered from complications of a stroke and kidney disease.

But in her prime, she was amazing. The New York Times — not a source for hyperbole — called her “the earthshaking soul singer whose rasping vocals, sexual magnetism and explosive energy made her an unforgettable live performer and one of the most successful recording artists of all time.” (Click here for a full obituary.)

That was all on display one spring weekend, when I saw her at Brown University. She was still with Ike (she left her abusive, cocaine-addicted husband in 1976 with, the Times says,”36 cents and a Mobil gasoline card in her pocket”). I have never forgotten that night.

(It’s hard to keep up with everything in town. But “06880” tries. If you like what we do, please support us with a contribution. Click here — and thank you!)

Row, Row, Row Your Erg

Everyone can row.

It’s a low-impact activity that builds both aerobic endurance and muscular strength. Cardio and resistance workouts burn ginormous numbers of calories, and use every major muscle group.

But not everyone has the time to get out on the river. (Or wants to — particularly before dawn, and in our fickle New England weather.)

Now they don’t have to.

Row House is open to anyone, for 45-minute sessions on an ergometer.

It sounds like all the work, with none of the fun. Rowers have love/hate relationships with “ergs” — rowing machines. Workouts can be brutal — but at least the reward is a boat on the water. The Row House is just a storefront, in Compo Acres Shopping Center.

Yet there’s something about that workout — competing against yourself, while rowing with everyone else (“all in the same boat”), with music blasting, lights pulsing and a coach urging you on — that keeps people coming back again and again.

Westport’s Row House is owned by Dana and Rob Montefusco. The couple — her degrees are in speech and language pathology; his in architecture and construction management, and he was a personal trainer — were looking for an exercise-related project.

Row House — which grew from its first Columbus Circle location in 2014, to over 250 franchises across North America today — seemed perfect.

Dana Montefusco, at the Row House front desk.

They opened last April. Now the 25 machines are in constant use. The youngest rower is 13; the oldest, 80. There are husbands and wives, mothers and sons, fathers and daughters.

Some rowers work out at 5:30 a.m., before the train. Then come people with flexible schedules. Late afternoon draws the after-work crew. Weekends are a broad mix.

Feedback is great. “I’m surprised — it was fun and enjoyable,” one person said. “I’m not in pain!”

Another headed to Row House after surgery. It was the only exercise her doctor approved.

A third liked the fact that ergs give a full body workout. (Rowing is 60% legs, 30% core and 10% arms, Dana says.) “I don’t have to do something else afterward,” he noted.

One of the 25 Row House ergs.

Row House works hard to make workouts fun. One day there is a rowing relay race; another day, one side of the class competes against the other.

Row House coaches are an attraction too. An eclectic bunch — they include business executives, marketers and teachers — they create a welcoming environment. (They also instruct newcomers on proper technique.)

Colby Mello is one of the coaches. A 2008 Staples High School graduate whose day job is in consulting, she runs evening and weekend classes.

“There’s a huge misconception about rowing machines,” Mello notes. “People think they’re devilish machines. That’s why they’re usually empty at the gym.”

They’re not empty at Row House.

Row House offers monthly memberships (4 sessions for $99, 8 for $135, unlimited for $167), and class packs ($155 for 5 classes,$260 for 10). The drop-in fee is $32. For more information, click here.