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Tag Archives: Saugatuck Congregational Church
The agenda for next Monday’s Planning & Zoning Commission meeting (July 11, 7 p.m., Zoom) includes important discussions, such as converting the current Westport Rehabilitation Complex on Post Road West into a more modern eldercare facility, and redeveloping the 117-room Westport Inn into a smaller hotel with a restaurant, bar, event space, fitness center, pool and site improvements.
Two other interesting items are up for discussion too.
Birchwood Country Club wants to construct 4 pickleball courts, near their existing tennis courts. They’d fill a need — at least, for members of the private club — but they’re close to a few homes.
The ball will be in P&Z’s court.
The other intriguing item involves trampolines: Should they be regulated by zoning? And if so, how?
Most trampolines are above ground. But what about permanent, in-ground trampolines? A resident has asked for an interpretation.
Click here for the full P&Z agenda, including a Zoom link.
Westport Sunrise Rotary’s Great Duck Race returns this Saturday (July 9). There’s a new location — Jesup Green — but the same family fun.
The day begins with a 10 a.m. Fun Fair in the Westport Library parking lot. Activities include a Nerdy Derby, face painting and bubble machines.
At 1 p.m. on Jesup Green, 3,000 plastic ducks will slide down a 160-foot sluice course. Each wears a number, matching a $20 raffle ticket. The first 10 ducks down the course win money for their ticket holders. First place is $5,000. Second place wins $1,000. The next 8 finishers get $500 each.
The event is a major Sunrise Rotary fundraiser. Proceeds support charitable endeavors in this area, the state and around the world.
Click here for tickets. Click below for a sneak
The Great Duck Race is not the only water-related activity this weekend.
Sunday marks the 43rd annual Westport Weston Family YMCA’s Point-to-Point Compo Beach Swim. The mile-long event includes competitors from across New England and the tri-state region.
All proceeds go to the Y’s aquatics programs to improve aquatics safety in the community, including swim lessons for all ages.
There are 4 heats, based on ability. Advanced swimmers start at 8 a.m., followed by intermediate swimmers (8:05), beginners (8:10) and myTeamTriumph (8:15).
That last group is special. My Team Triumph is a national non-profit serving children, teens adults and veterans with disabilities who could otherwise not experience endurance events like open water swims, road races, or triathlons.
“Captains” (special needs athletes) are paired with able-bodied “angel” volunteers, who use specialized racing equipment such as rafts to pull their captains during the race. Special needs athletes who would like to participate must register in advance with My Team Triumph.
Eegistration can be done online at westporty.org/43rd and is $50. Walk-registrations costs $60, starting at 7 a.m. The top 3 men’s and women’s finishers win awards. Swimmers get Point-to-Point swim caps and t-shirts.
No small potatoes: 19 teenagers and 9 adults just returned from Saugatuck Congregational Church’s High School Youth Group mission trip to Maine,
They stayed in Old Orchard Beach, and worked on a Growing to Give farm in Brunswick. The organization raises organic vegetables using climate-friendly methods, and donates them to food banks and pantries.
The youth group also cleared trails for the Saco Land Trust.
Whatever’s old is new again.
Back in the day, movies like “Casablanca” drew large audiences to drive-in theaters across America.
Most drive-ins are long gone. But Westport has one: The Remarkable Theater, in the Imperial Avenue parking lot.
Last night’s screening was (of course) “Casablanca.” Here’s a classic photo, of a classic scene:
Next up: “Caddyshack,” on Monday. Click here for tickets, and the full schedule.
Westport Lifestyle Magazine’s July issue is out. Among the highlights: a deep dive into the Westport Library’s Verso studios. Click here to learn more about the professional-quality production facilities right under our noses (and open to the public).
Today’s “Westport … Naturally” feature is this visitor to Franco Fellah’s garden. Judging by its looks, I wonder if there is anything left for Franco to eat.
And finally … on this date in 1928, sliced bread was sold for the first time (on the inventor’s 48th birthday) by the Chillicothe Baking Company of Missouri.
There is no record of when the phrase “the greatest thing since sliced bread!” was coined.
(“06880” may not be the greatest thing since sliced bread. But we do rely “greatly” — okay, entirely — on reader support. Please click here to help.)
Saugatuck Congregational Church occupies an important place in Westport — not only spiritually, but historically and geographically.
It was where our town began — literally. Meetings to form “Westport” — separate from Norwalk, Wilton, Weston and Fairfield, each of which we were once part of — took place there in the 1830s.
The church was originally located diagonally across the street, where the bank and Shell station are now. It was moved across the Post Road in 1950 (on logs!) in 1950, an event commemorated in Life magazine.
Now, the broad lawn a few yards from Myrtle Avenue and downtown marks it as a quintessential New England church. It’s a perfect spot for things like a healing labyrinth, and the Blessing of the Animals.
It’s also where a pair of angel wings stand. The original idea, Lois Himes notes, was for people to stand in front of the wings for a photo, then “go forth and do God’s work by being an angel.” (Click here to see.)
The wings were the subject of last week’s Photo Challenge. Lois identified Nancy Engel’s image correctly. So did Diane Bosch, Susan Iseman, Jenny Rago McCarthy, Janice Strizever, Jalna Jaeger, Karen Kim, Lynn Wilson, Joelle Malec, Susan Miller and (the lone male) Eugene C. Gavin. Congratulations to all!
This week’s Challenge involves Fred Born (who, like everyone who is born, eventually died). Do you know where his plaque is? And if so, can you tell us more about him (beyond his talents as a boater, machinist and storyteller)? Just click “Comments” below.
Last Saturday night, the Westport Police Department received several calls from locations around town. All concerned a group of youths in a vehicle, shooting projectiles at pedestrians. One victim was struck in the eye.
Callers provide a detailed description of the vehicle. Officers found and stopped it near Greens Farms Road and Compo Road South.
All 3 occupants were juveniles. Police found toy air guns that fired gel-like projectiles at high speed.
The teens were participating in TikTok’s viral “Orbeez Challenge.”
The 3 juveniles were charged with multiple counts of assault 3rd degree, reckless endangerment 2nd Degree, and breach of peace 2nd degree. They were released to their parents.
Victims from that evening are encouraged to report the incidents to the Westport Police Department.
A photo contest for the cover of the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce 2022-23 Visitors/Membership Guide is now open.
In 2015 and ’17, the Chamber received over 1,000 pictures from dozens of photographers, amateur and professional. Westport residents Mark Litvinoff and William Scalzi won, with their shots of the Levitt Pavilion and a serene dock setting respectively.
Scores of runner-up photos were used inside the 68-page booklet and map guide. Every winner received credit in the publication.
Any resident or businessperson from Westport or Weston may submit what they believe is the “quintessential” photo that represents our community. Use Dropbox, Google or an email attachment to send one or more photos to firstname.lastname@example.org; use the subject line “Photo Contest.”
The deadline is June 19. Be sure to have a full resolution of the photo for printing, but email a lower resolution for greatest efficiency.
Questions? Use the email above, or call 203-227-9234.
An “06880” reader reports that on Sunday, a number of homes in his Long Lots neighborhood lost water.
He called Aquarion, and was told there was a water break somewhere on Long Lots Road. That’s a first for him, in over 30 years here.
The break — apparently near Fairfield County Hunt Club — was fixed a few hours later. However, brown water persisted at least through yesterday.
What’s particularly distressing to him is that Aquarion never called him — either about the break, its cause or its resolution. There was a notice briefly on the water company’s website, he says, but it was soon gone.
As Rev. Alison Patton heads to her sabbatical, visiting minister Rev. Dr. Jim Antal hits the ground — and Saugatuck Congregational Church — running.
The climate activist delivers a public lecture on June 9 (7:30 p.m.): “Let’s Makek our Coastal Community a Climate Leader!” The event is co-sponsored by Wakeman Town Farm and Sustainable Westport.
The lecture is followed by a community conversation about the topic.
In addition to his public talk, Rev. Antal will share a 3-sermon series, “Responding Faithfully to the Climate Crisis,” at Saugatuck Church on the first 3 Sundays in June.
Drawing from his activism and his book “Climate Church, Climate World: How People of Faith Must Work for Change,” Antal will challenge attendees to see their place in the work of climate justice.
The 10 a.m. topics are:
- June 5: “Welcoming the Fullest Truth”
- June 12: “Attenting to the Source”
- June 19″ Living Into a New Story.”
The public is welcome to attend those services too.
Terrence Dunn was sworn in as Westport’s new fire marshal yesterday. He replaces Nate Gibbons, who has retired.
1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker calls Dunn “a genuine and humble leader who has the skills and experience necessary to ensure that the Fire Department continues to provide exceptional service to the community.”
He was hired as a Westport firefighter in 2003, and promoted to fire inspector in 2009. He graduated from the University of New Haven with a major in arson investigation and a minor in criminal justice.
Along with state certification as a fire marshal, Dunn is licensed as an assistant building official. He is first vice president of the Connecticut Fire Marshal’s Association, a member of the Fairfield/New Haven County Fire Marshal’s Association, the International Association of Arson Investigators, and District 8 Building Official’s Association.
A formal pinning ceremony on June 21 (5 p.m., Christ & Holy Trinity Church) will celebrate the department’s promotions and medals.
“The Wall That Heals” is a replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington. Since its dedication in 1996, it has been displayed at nearly 700 communities across the country.
From tomorrow (June 2) through June 5, it will occupy a place of honor at Veteran’s Memorial Park in Norwalk.
Yesterday, the Westport Police and Fire Departments helped escort it from its staging area at Sherwood Island State Park to the park. Click here for details of the exhibit.
Anthony LoFrisco is a Westport motorcycle rider. He’s organized a series of rides.
But they’re not just rev-up-the-engines-and-make-loud-noises jaunts. Starting last Sunday, and continuing each month through August, they deliver donated items to food pantries throughout Fairfield County.
The first was to the Gillespie Center in Westport, from Grace Community Church in New Canaan. Parishioners provided cereal, peanut butter, jelly, pasta sauce, canned goods and other items.
The weather was beautiful. The riders — on 4 BMWs and 1 Harley — met at the Westport train station, headed to the church, then returned here for the drop-off.
The next deliveries will be in Stamford, Bridgeport, and then the Gillespie Center again. Anthony invites everyone to drop off non-perishable food items at 11:15 a.m. on June 26, July 31 and August 28 — and/or join the motorcycle riders.
For more information, email email@example.com.
This weekend, celebrate Connecticut Trails Day (actually, 2 days). The event draws thousands of people of all backgrounds, ages, abilities and interests, across the state.
Friends of Sherwood Island State Park will host 4 hikes:
Saturday, June 4: Butterfly Walk (10 a.m.): Explore the gardens and natural areas around the park’s Nature Center, searching for caterpillars, skippers, moths and butterflies. Bring binoculars and a camera or smartphone. You’ll learn how to report your findings on iNaturalist, so scientists everywhere can see how these insects are doing.
Saturday, June 4: Kayak Paddle (1 p.m.): See Sherwood Island from the water. Explore the park’s shoreline. Bring your own kayak, canoe or other paddle craft, and a pump/bailer. A life vest and whistle/horn are required by state boating regulations.
Sunday, June 5: Archaeology Walk (1 p.m.): See interesting terrain, and examine traces of past inhabitants, from 1000 B.C. to the 1940s. Learn about recent excavations, including Native American, early settlers, and onion farmers.
Sunday, June 5: Nature Walk (2 p.m.): Go beach to beach along Long Island Sound. Discover habitats, inhabitants, birding locations, viewing platforms, a purple martin enclave, and other special features of this waterfront park. Other points of interest include Connecticut’s 9/11 Memorial, model aircraft airport, trail heads, wetlands, and a pine forest.
Click here for more details. For questions, and to register (recommended, but not required), email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 203-984-1488.
1999 Staples High School graduate Kyle Martino has been the National High School Soccer Player of the Year, MLS Rookie of the Year, a US men’s national team athlete, and a highly regarded analyst on NBC Sports.
Now he’s the founder of the Over Under Initiative. The non-profit increases access to sports in urban neighborhoods, by converting basketball courts and other blacktops to multi-sport spaces. Martino designed the innovative and elegantly simple conversion process himself.
On June 13 (5:30 p.m., Autostrada, 499 Post Road East), Martino joins Westporters Dan Donovan, Mark Kirby and friends for a fundraiser. Tickets are $250 each. To attend and for more information, email email@example.com.
Lou Weinberg sends along this gorgeous “Westport … Naturally” image of a Lansdowne song sparrow — and adds a link to its equally beautiful song:
And finally … Happy Connecticut Trails Day!
The Great Lawn at Saugatuck Church hosts lots of events. Social justice rallies, blessings of animals, plant sales — you name it, it’s there at one of Westport’s most visible and handsome sites.
Yesterday, it was an Easter egg hunt. Hundreds of youngsters raced around, finding thousands of eggs.
The afternoon was organized by WestportMoms — the multi-platform social media group, not a generic bunch of mothers — with volunteer support by Boy Scout Troop 36.
Want Mark Mathias’ video version? Click below:
Speaking of Easter:
For 15 years, 1971 Staples High School graduate Jalna Jaeger has decorated a tree on her property (3 East Avenue in Norwalk, not far from Stew Leonard’s).
It’s an homage to Ostereierbaum — the German tradition of filling trees and bushes with Easter eggs. It’s always colorful and fun.
This year, it sends a message.
Most of Jalna’s eggs are blue and yellow: the colors of Ukraine.
Many Americans are doing what they can to show support for that embattled nation. But Jalna’s Ostereierbaum tree may be the only one like it anywhere.
As Russian troops retreat in parts of Ukraine, the horrors of their occupation are only now beginning to be known.
One of the world’s first looks at what the invaders did — and left behind — comes today in the New York Times. A story headlined “‘This is True Barbarity’: Life and Death Under Russian Occupation” describes the past month in Trostyanets, a strategically located town that soldiers finally fled a few days ago.
“A monthlong Russian occupation reduced much of the town to rubble, a decimated landscape of mangled tank hulks, snapped trees and rattled but resilient survivors,” the Times says.
The piece is accompanied by more than a dozen photos from Tyler Hicks. The Pulitzer Prize winner graduated from Staples High School in 1988. Click here for the full story and photos.
There was plenty of action yesterday at Sherwood Island State Park.
Michele Sorensen — Friends of Sherwood Island’s next president — organized volunteers to plant beach grass. It helps revitalize the dunes, and prevents erosion.
They’ll return over the next few weeks. But they need others. Click here to help, via Signup Genius.
How’s this for a warm-and-fuzzy, pooch-friendly photo?
Unfortunately it was taken at Compo yesterday — the day after dogs were prohibited from all town beaches.
Hopefully the woman was unaware of the rule, not flouting it.
She and her buddy can return October 1.
Today’s “Westport … Naturally” image features a strong, handsome eagle. They’re hard to photograph well. But Steve Halstead nailed it.
And finally … on this date in 1865, Union forces captured Richmond, Virginia, the capital of the Confederate States of America.
Just over 100 years later the Band included that pivotal moment, in Virgil Caine’s lament — though he puts the date as “May the 10th”:
Whenever a minister moves to a new church, there’s a story.
The story was particularly intriguing when Rev. Alison Patton came to Saugatuck Congregational Church.
It’s one of our oldest congregations. In fact, the meetinghouse was where Westport was founded — from parts of Norwalk, Fairfield and Weston — in 1835.
Even more intriguing: The new pastor did not actually have a church to preach and work in. It was closed for rebuilding, after a Thanksgiving fire that nearly burned it to the ground.
What impelled her to take on that challenge? What has she learned about Westport in the years since? Why is social justice so important to her church, and to her personally? What drives her interfaith work in Westport?
Those are some of the topics Rev. Patton and I discussed in the latest “06880” podcast. Now — thanks to the Westport Library– you can hear our conversation. Just click below.
Yesterday marked the second straight Thanksgiving without a traditional community feast.
The decades-long event has had bumps before. When Saugatuck Congregational Church was recovering from a fire, Christ & Holy Trinity Episcopal Church stepped up to host.
Some years there were more than enough volunteers to cook, serve and clean up. Other times, folks did double or triple duty.
But the feast was always there: an in-person affirmation that our town is truly a “community.”
COVID changed the event. This year dinners were delivered to recipients.
They were grateful (and well fed). They gave thanks.
But fingers are crossed that next year, the Thanksgiving Community Feast will be in person once again. Our town would be truly thankful.
Tonight marks the 83rd anniversary of Kristallnacht — the night the Nazis’ repressive policies toward Jews turned violent. At least 91 men, women and children were murdered; 1,000 synagogues were attacked and vandalized, with over 300 demolished, and at least 7,500 Jewish-owned businesses were destroyed.
The number of eyewitnesses to those horrors is rapidly fading. But tonight, a special commemoration (Tuesday, Saugatuck Congregational Church, 7 p.m., in person and livestream) includes Ruth Zimbler. As a child, she watched her synagogue in Vienna burn.
Two days later, she and her 6-year-old brother escaped on the Kindertransport to the Netherlands. Her story — filled with love, hope and optimism — is a chance to hear from a survivor who was old enough to remember, and at 93 still young enough to tell her story.
Co-sponsors include The Conservative Synagogue, Temple Israel, Federation for Jewish Philanthropy, and Merkaz Community High School for Judaic Studies.
At 5:55 a.m. this morning, Westport Police officers responded to Saugatuck Shores on a report of an elderly male who was missing.
Officers immediately searched the area, and saw the man partially submerged in the water. Working quickly in the cold, they deployed a canoe located nearby.
One officer held the man’s head above the water, while others lifted him into the canoe. Once ashore, the Westport Fire Department helped bring him to waiting EMS personnel.
They evaluated the man, and transported him to the hospital for further treatment.
While his condition is unknown, any injuries did not appear life=threatening.
If it’s mid-November, it must be time for … the indoor Westport Farmers’ Market.
Gilbertie’s Herbs & Garden Center once again hosts the long-running institution. The winter market opens Thursday, November 18. It runs every Thursday (except Thanksgiving) through March 10, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
It’s open-air, throughout 3 greenhouses. Favorite summer vendors return, with high-quality locally grown or raised fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses, milk, baked and prepared foods, plus handmade items.
WFM kicks off the season with a celebration. Bubble and Brew, and Parlor Pizza, will set up trucks outside the greenhouses. Staples graduate Luke Molina will play music. while Mae Farrell entertains youngsters in the Get Growing program with a nature-inspired craft.
A Riverside Avenue improvement project — involving demolition of the concrete roadwaym and reconstruction of the pavement — begins today.
Traffic on Riverside Avenue between Bridge Street and Saugatuck Avenue (the area of Viva Zapata and the Saugatuck Rowing Club) will be restricted to northbound (headed toward the Post Road) vehicles only. All southbound traffic will detour down Saugatuck Avenue to Charles Street.
During paving — planned for this Thursday and Friday — the road section will be closed to all but local traffic. All other traffic will be detoured around Charles Street and Saugatuck Avenue.
“Doubt: A Parable” — the thought-provoking play running now at the Westport Country Playhouse — has earned great praise.
But no one has mentioned that Kerstin Anderson — the woman playing the young nun — has a Westport connection. She’s the daughter of 1976 Staples High School graduate Ted Anderson, and the niece of longtime “06880” reader Britt Anderson.
Neither Ted nor Britt live in Westport now. But both were on hand opening night. They were proud of Kerstin — no “doubt”!
Westport artist Steven Parton’s oil painting, “Anticipation,” is being shown at the 93rd Grand National Exhibit of the American Artists Professional League, in New York’s Salmagundi Club.
Today’s amazing “Westport … Naturally” fall foliage shot shows a Jennie Lane/Mayflower Parkway scene, off South Compo. Enjoy it while it lasts!
And finally … on this day in 1967, Rolling Stone magazine published its first issue. You know what song that means:
Saugatuck Congregational Church has been awarded a $50,000 Lilly Endowment Clergy Renewal Program grant. Funds allow congregations to support their pastors with the gift of extended time away from their ministerial duties and responsibilities.
Rev. Alison Patton will begin her 3-month sabbatical in June. She will volunteer with a marine conservation program in the Maldives, and spend time with her family on a regenerative farm in Costa Rica.
Patton says, “I used to think I wanted to be a marine biologist. I now know I’m not a scientist; I am an admirer of the natural world in all its rich biodiversity. In the face of a worsening climate crisis and multiplying threats to biodiversity, I believe we are called to help craft a sustainable future for our planet. I am excited to use this time to take a deep dive into 2 biodiverse environments, to witness the impact of climate change, explore what’s being done to combat it and share some of that adventure with my family.”
Kim Mathias — moderator of Saugatuck’s Church Council — says the congregation will also benefit from this time of rest and renewal.
“Spending time outdoors during the pandemic and working on this grant application have fueled SCC’s interest in environmental issues,” she notes. “While Patton is away, the congregation will deepen its connection with our local ecosystem, exploring the beautiful coastal community of Westport and surrounding towns and digging deeper into the issues surrounding climate change. They look forward to renewing relationships with one another while learning how to better protect our coastal environment.”
AAPI Westport was created in March 2021, following a rise in violence and racism against the Asian community. The mission of the group — which stands for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders — is to foster a sense of belonging within the community, while increasing AAPI visibility and awareness throughout Westport and beyond.
The organizers — all mothers — hope to create an environment where their children feel proud of their heritage.
Today they launched a website. Their Instagram is @aapiwestport.
Anyone interested in helping further their mission, through financial support or volunteering time, should email firstname.lastname@example.org.
It seems like every week, the Staples High School girls swim and dive team sets new records.
The latest came at the FCIAC championships last week. And not 1, but 3 records fell.
In a big way.
Freshman Annam Olasewere set a state and FCIAC record in the 50 yard free, with a time of 22.77. Her 50.18 in the 100 yard free also set a new FCIAC record.
Senior Jessica Qi finished second in that event, with a season best 52.21. Qi also took second in the 200 free with a time of 1:56.05
The relay team of freshman Annam Olasewere, Ayaan Olasewere and seniors Ella Alpert and Jessica Qi set a new FCIAC record in the 200 free relay (1:36.27) and also won the 400 free relay (3:31.87)
Staples moves on to compete in the Class LL and state open championships. More record-setting performances may be in the works.
Speaking of sports: The Staples High School boys soccer team raised thousands of dollars for their program — and several thousand more for Bridgeport Central High School’s soccer team — at last night’s annual Quiz Night.
The winning trivia team — Jacob Greenberger, Jackson Hochhauser Spencer Levine, Murilo Moreno, Jaden Mueller and Caleb Tobias. plus Oliver Clachko, wrestler/lacrosse player Nick Augeri and lacrosse player/WWPT-FM sports director Max Udell — answered questions like “What was the first word spoken on the moon?” (“Houston”), what is the only mammal that can fly (bats), and what is the first game played in “Squid Game” (Red Light Green Light).
They also took first place last year during COVID, when Quiz Night was virtual. This year’s event — which drew about 150 participants — returned again to the Staples cafeteria.
As the weather turns cool, some equally cool classic cars turn up at Compo Beach.
Andrew Colabella spotted several — including this one, with a classic pose — over the weekend.
“Westport … Naturally” never gets tired of autumn leaf pictures.
Of course, before we know it they’ll be done. And we’ll move on to snowscapes.
And finally … on this day in 1932, Franklin Roosevelt was elected 32nd president of the United States.