Tag Archives: Saugatuck Rowing Club

Roundup: AquaFit, Crabbing, River of Roses …

Westport has been the setting for many films.

But forget “The Gray Flannel Suit,” “The Swimmer” and “The Stepford Wives.”

My favorite is “Below Surface.”

The 20-minute documentary focuses on an unlikely subject: the Westport Weston Family YMCA’s AquaFit program.

Yet thanks to Patty Kondub — the energetic, creative and much-loved instructor who is the heart and soul of both the program and the film — the camaraderie, joy and, yes, life-saving experience that is AquaFit come vividly to life.

Dick Rauh — 96 years young — describes what the class has done for him. So do others, of many ages and from 4 continents. Patty melds them all into a young-feeling, tight-knit group that fulfills the Y’s dual mission of promoting healthy living and creating community.

AquaFit helped Patty herself through a dark time of her life, which she describes movingly.

But “Below Surface” is bright and alive — just like those morning classes. The cinematography makes it shine.

The film has been screened at festivals around the country, and won the “Next Great Filmmaker Award” at the Berkshires International Film Festival. It will be shown October 19 (noon, New Haven Public Library) at the New Haven Documentary Film Festival.

Now through October 1, you can watch it for free, thanks to the virtual World Peace Film Festival. Just click here.

It will be the most uplifting 19 minutes of your week.

(For the “06880” back story on “Below Surface,” click here.)


The start of tomorrow’s Long Lots School Building Committee meeting has been changed.

The new time is 6 p.m. (it was originally 6:30). That’s Thursday, September 28, in Town Hall Room 201/201A.

It’s a 6 p.m. start tomorrow for the Long Lots School Building Committee.


Conservation Director Colin Kelly has responded to complaints about crabbing at Sherwood Mill Pond. He says:

“The Westport Conservation Department reminds Westport residents that the act of crabbing is allowed and is covered by Connecticut Department of Engergy and Environmental Protection fishing regulations.

“People have the legal right to access state waters and fish for Blue Crab. The taking of Blue Crab requires no license, and there is no daily limit during the open season from May1 – November 30. The Conservation Office does not regulate the taking of crabs from the pond. The Sherwood Mill Pond Advisory Committee and the Shellfish Commission do not have authority to restrict the crabbing either.

“To clarify, this does not mean the Town has ignored the public requests for checking the crabbing. In fact, the Westport Police Department have conducted more than 50 patrols of Sherwood Mill Pond this summer. They have interacted with the individuals who are crabbing, they have actively provided education, and they have checked the catches to ensure proper measurements are being followed.

“The officers have used Infrared cameras to confirm that individuals were taking crabs and that any clams they have seen were dumped. They have worked individually and in conjunction with CT DEEP Encon Police. Officers have been proactive in responding to calls and will continue to provide our Town with this response.

“We want to inform the public that over 70 parking tickets have been issued along Hillspoint Road and the Old Mill parking lot in the last few weeks. One night alone had over 30 parking tickets issued. The Police Department will continue their oversight, including adding additional tactics in the future, to ensure that the laws are followed.”

Crabbing at Sherwood Mill Pond.


For several years, Saugatuck Rowing Club has commemorated loved ones lost to breast cancer — and raised funds for survivors — by turning the Saugatuck River pink.


Names are read aloud, and rose petals scattered into the Saugatuck River. They’re then swept out to sea.

This year’s “River of Roses” charity soirée is set for Sunday (October 1, 1 to 4 p.m.; ceremony at 3).

The $75 ticket includes  (of course) rosé cocktails, raw bar, charcuterie, lobster and pumpkin bisque, clam chowder, apple crisp, Donut Crazy and a cash bar, plus live music by Fake ID.

Proceeds support SurviveOAR, the empowering, supportive community that provides mental, physical and emotional healing to women with breast cancer after traditional treatment ends.

Six members will be compete in Head of the Charles race next month.

Click here for tickets, or to buy roses ($25 each). Click below, for highlights of the 2019 event.


Parents of children with special needs have plenty to think about.

Including finances.

Westporter Kimberly Greenberg — a Morgan Stanley vice president — leads a free breakfast seminar for parents and caregivers, called “Protecting the Future for Your Child With Special Needs.”

Financial experts will share first-hand experiences on October 3 (9:30 a.m., STAR, 182 Wolfpit Avenue, Norwalk_. Tours of the renovated STAR center, including the new assistive technology lab and lending library, are also available.

To reserve a spot, or for more information, email ahenry@starct.org.


This event has flown under the radar. But it’s an important one.

Tomorrow (Thursday, September 28, 10 a.m., Westport Library), Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewicz, state Commissioner of Veterans Affairs Ronald Welch and 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker will recognize the service of Westport veterans who served during the Vietnam War era.

There will be a color guard, national anthem, and more.

Staples High School graduate Tim Barmmer was killed in Vietnam. He is memorialized at Veterans Green, across from Town Hall.


Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Service’s Jenna Baumblatt has been named Connecticut’s 2023 EMS Youth Corps Member of the Year.

The 18-year-old joined WVEMS as an Emergency Medical Responder 4 years ago, and is now an Emergency Medical Technician. She also serves on the WVEMS board of directors.

EMS runs deep in her family. Her dad Rick is a WVEMS staff paramedic; her mom Lynn is a paramedic at Norwalk Hospital EMS, and her brother James is an EMT in Bridgeport.

WVEMS president Michael Burns calls Jenna “an amazing person and caregiver who maintains multiple jobs, in addition to her volunteer service. She is an amazing asset!”

Jenna Baumblatt


Pam Rouleau is running a fundraiser with Nuvance Health for the Integrative Medicine Department at the Smilow Breast Cancer Center.

She photographed 13 people who have battled cancer — or still are — and depicted them along with their stories of survivorship.

Several members of the Saugatuck Rowing Club’s “SurviveOARS” team are included. Rouleau is a Survive-OARS rower too.

A reception is set for October 3, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the State Capitol in Hartford. It will then be on view through October 30. Click here for details.

Kimberly Wilson, Westport resident and Saugatuck SurviveOARS member.


Grammy Award-winning pianist Dave Kikoski headlines tomorrow’s Jazz at the Post (Thursday, September 28, shows at 7:30 and 8:45 p.m.; dinner at 7 p.m.; VFW Joseph J. Clinton Post 399).

Kikoski is known for his adept post-bop style and spontaneous swinging play. He has worked with artists like Roy Haynes, Joe Henderson, Ron Carter, Al Foster, Bob Berg, Michael and Randy Brecker, Chris Potter and others.

He’ll be joined by bassist Yuriy Galkin, drummer Vinnie Sperazza and saxophonist Greg “The Jazz Rabbi” Wall. Reservations are highly recommended: JazzatthePost@gmail.com.


Enjoy a trivia night — virtually, and for a great cause.

Tomorrow (Thursday, September 28, 7 p.m.), Neighborhood Studios of Fairfield County hosts “Quiz for a Cause.” All proceeds support arts education for children, primarily those with special needs.

First prize is 2 round trip airline tickets, from Avelo Airlines. Second prize is a gift from Westporter Christian Siriano’s The Collective West. Third prize is 5 private music lessons at Neighborhood Studios.

Participants are asked for a minimum donation of $45. Click here to register, and for more information.


Maintenance and upkeep of Baron’s South has gone to the birds.

So it’s not surprising that a flock of turkeys has taken over Golden Shadows, the “mansion” once occupied by Baron Walter Langen von Langendorff and his wife.

Morley Boyd spotted them, for today’s “Westport … Naturally” feature.

(Photo/Morley Boyd)


And finally … today is the 120th anniversary of “the wreck of the old 97.” The mail train crash was not the worst rail disaster ever — though 11 people died, and 7 more were injured — but it lives on, thanks to folks like Johnny Cash.

(“06880” loves delivering news like today’s lead story, about Patty Kondub’s AquaFit movie. If you love the news “06880” delivers, please click here to support local journalism. Thank you!)


Homes With Hope: Two Heartfelt Tales

Tacombi does not open until August 7.

But the much-anticipated restaurant has already made a great impression on Westport.

Tacombi Community Kitchen launched in 2020, during the early days of the pandemic. The goal was to provide food relief in New York City, where the restaurant began.

Today, under the auspices of the 501(c)(3) Tacombi Foundation, it provides over 9,000 meals weekly out of all 16 taquerias, in New York, Miami and Washington, DC.

They’ve given away over 750,000 meals to people in need. Each one is prepared specifically to be donated, with the same care as meals served to customers.

On Friday, Tacombi brought their generosity to Westport. They donated 50 meals to clients at Homes with Hope‘s Gillespie Center and Westport  Community Kitchen. They gave another 200 to other area organizations.

Tacombi meals, in the Homes with Hope kitchen.

“This is amazing,” says Homes with Hope CEO Helen McAlinden.

“They are a truly welcomed partner to Westport. Our clients loved the food!”

Friday’s delivery was just the start. Tacombi will continue to provide Homes with Hope with 50 meals a week.

Imagine what they’ll do for the town once they’re actually in business here.

FUN FACT: The name “Tacombi” is a combination of “taco” and “combi” — what Mexicans call a VW bus. The restaurant started as a retrofitted combi, serving as a food truck selling tacos on the beaches at Playa del Carmen.

It’s been a big — and hopeful — few days for Homes with Hope. Yesterday, 4 important groups — Sunrise Rotary, the Westport Rotary Club, Westport Police Department and Saugatuck Rowing Club — joined forces at Stop & Shop for a perishable food collection.

Some folks donated cash. Others picked up a flyer listing most-needed items, purchased them, and dropped them off as they left.

One family — a woman and 2 young sons — came for only one reason: to shop for the Gillespie Center.

“How generous!” McAlinden says.

The generosity continued all day long. Homes with Hope thanks the hundreds of donors and volunteers who stood outside for hours in the heat.

In a town with plenty, there are plenty who give back.

Rob Hauck of Sunrise Rotary with a cart full of groceries, donated by a woman and her sons.

(Homes with Hope can always use help. Click here for information on its food pantry needs; click here for information on all its programs.)

Roundup: GOP Slate, Young Shoots, World Champ …

The Republican Party of Westport’s slate for the November elections features a mix of current and experienced candidates, and 3 new faces.

Meeting Thursday night at Town Hall, the GOP chose incumbent Liz Heyer, and newcomer Judy Domkowski.

Former Board of Finance member Tom Lasersohn joins Rich Hightower and Perry Winter in the Board of Finance race. Two current members will not run for re-election. Jay DesMarteau is moving, and Jim Foster has switched his registration to unaffiliated.

Incumbents Amie Tesler and Patricia Zucaro, alternate John Bolton, and former member Jack Whittle will vie for seats on the Planning & Zoning Commission.

Zoning Board of Appeals vice chair Liz Won and alternate Michelle Hopson are running again, while Joe Sledge was nominated to remain on the Board of Assessment Appeals.


Only 2 Westport Farmers’ Markets remain before the “Young Shoots” photography contest deadline.

The 7th annual event — for students ages 5-18 — offers cash prizes in three age groups (and a chance to attend a MoCA art class). Click here to submit, and for more details.

But the WFM is a great place for artists too.

Quinn Fitts is a 14-year-old Westporter. He works in sculpture, pottery and watercolors. He’s also an accomplished glassblower and blacksmith.

A favorite subject is Farmers’ Market food. Here are 2 of his works:

“Carrots” (Quinn Fitts)

“Mushrooms” (Quinn Fitts)

Maybe next year, the “Young Shoots” contest will add an artists’ category.

Another creative shopper is Nisha Amir. She personalized her tote bag with a photo of her son, at the Bees Knees Ice Pops stand.

And maybe a “personalized tote bag” category too …?


You won’t find this in the Westport Police reports.

But maybe in New York’s.

Yesterday, the cops were called when the line at Popup Bagels’ Thompson Street  location in SoHo got too long.

At one time, over 400 people were waiting at the site that opened in May. Several platforms have named Westport-based Popup the “best bagel in New York.”

The next location is the Upper East Side. Details soon, for the fall opening.

This is only half the line yesterday. It wrapped around the block in the other direction too.


Westport has a new world champion

Mason Banks joined fellow US Naval Academy midshipman/crew teammate Jackson Fuller to capture the lightweight men’s pair title yesterday at the World Rowing Under 23 Championships in Bulgaria.

Though it was well before dawn here in Westport, he was “cheered on” by a group of fellow Staples High School alums, watching the livestream.

Banks’ team won the race in 6:36.37, nearly 4 seconds faster than the Italian runners-up.

“It’s everything I imagined and more,” Banks says. “It’s one of the greatest honors that I could achieve at this age.”

Click here for a full USRowing report. (Hat tips: Jill Johnson Mann, Scott Robins)

Mason Banks and Jackson Fuller, on the winners’ stand.


Speaking of 2-person crews:

The Saugatuck Rowing Club was the site of a recent marriage proposal.

This was the scene:

(Photo/John Videler for Videler Photography)

The answer was: Yes!


Everyone loves the Westport Community Gardens.

And everything.

Plants, herbs and flowers attract an astonishing array of wildlife. This dragonfly paused just long enough to be captured — on camera — by Gardens director Lou Weinberg, for today’s “Westport … Naturally” feature.

(Photo/Lou Weinberg)


And finally … in honor of the message of love at the Saugatuck Rowing Club (story above):

(From Westport to Bulgaria, “06880” has got 06880 covered. Please click here to support our work. Thank you!)

Roundup: Yankee Doodle Fair, Neil Gaiman, Saugatuck Rowing …

Summer is here!

The Yankee Doodle Fair — the way we know that’s true — is almost all set up.

(Photo/Matt Murray)

The annual fundraiser for (and at) the Westport Woman’s Club on Imperial Avenue opens Thursday, at 6 p.m. It continues Friday night, and throughout the weekend.

Click here for details.


Neil Gaiman, author of “American Gods,” “Coraline” and “The Sandman,” is coming to Westport.

He’s the keynote speaker at StoryFest 2023. The 6th edition of StoryFest, the Westport Library’s annual celebration of reading, writing, ideas and community, will be held October 20-22.

Gaiman headlines opening night. The weekend includes panel discussions and other events, with authors Angie Kim, Gabino Iglesias, Stephen Graham Jones, Caroline Kepnes, Eric LaRocca, Josh Malerman and more.

Free registration for the keynote address begins June 20. The complete lineup and schedule for StoryFest 2023 will be announced this summer.

The largest literary festival in Connecticut and one of the biggest in New England, StoryFest drew more than 800 participants and 40 authors to the Library last year,

This year’s StoryFest keynote doubles as the Fall 2023 Malloy Lecture in the Arts,. The spring edition featured artist and former Psychedelic Furs frontman Richard Butler.

The Malloy Lecture in the Arts, delivered free to the public since 2002 thanks to the generosity of Westport artist Susan Malloy, highlight individuals who have had significant cultural influence and whose work has enhanced the understanding and appreciation of the arts.

Neil Gaiman


The Saugatuck Rowing Club Junior Rowing program showed well last Sunday, at the USRowing Youth Nationals in Sarasota, Florida.

The largest Youth Nationals ever drew over 4,000 athletes from 225 clubs and schools. Saugatuck Rowing Club sent 12 boats.

The women’s U17 4+ A boat, including  Clementine Kirt, Carolina Proctor and Alice Frascella of Wesptort, and Hannah Makmale of Weston), helped SRC defend its championships for the third year in a row.

In a thrilling finish, the Saugatuck 4+ B boat including Rylie Cordella and Olivia Saw of Westport, and Anne Studnicky of Weston, took silver, giving the club the top 2 spots.

Earning bronze: the men’s U17 4+ boat, with Westley Dick and Tommy Wright of Westport, and Daniel Lee and Davis Evans of Weston), along with the men’s U16 8+ boat, with Westporters Elena Nasar, Daniel Arava, Jack Mello, Liam Wiegand and Alex Proctor (Westport).

Saugatuck Rowing Club’s U-17 4+A boat national champions (from left): Coach Cody Silvester, Alice Frascella, Carolina Proctor, Madeline Casano, Clementine Kirt, Hannah Makmale.


Congratulations too to Derek Amlicke.

The Staples High School pole vaulter won the New England championship, clearing 14′ 3″ in Bangor, Maine.

Earlier this year, he set a new Staples record: 15′ 2″.

The sky’s the limit for Derek!

Derek Amlicke (Photo/Jacob Halsema)


Emperor Nero fiddled while Rome burned.

On July 2, State Representative Dominique Johnson will fiddle while while Westport celebrates.

The legislator — whose 143rd district includes part of our town — brings her bluegrass instrument to First Folk Sunday (VFW Joseph J. Clinton Post 399, 12:30 p.m.).

Johnson began playing violin at 2 years old in a Suzuki program. She discovered bluegrass through her grandfather’s family in Kentucky.

First Folk Sunday is a popular new folk series featuring Suzanne Sheridan (vocals and guitar), Bob Cooper (keyboards). and guest artists.

There is a $10 music charge. Brunch, plus a make-it-yourself Bloody Mary bar and Mimosas are extra.

For more information and tickets click here, email info@firstfolksunday.com, or call 203-222-1441.

State Representative Dominique Johnson


Last week, members of the Westport Domestic Violence Task Force and the student-led Staples High School Sexual Assault Awareness and Self Defense Club attended a private female self-defense training session at Fit Club Jiu-Jitsu in Fairfield.

The group practiced defensive tactics and learned practical skills, including situational awareness and how to avid potentially risky situations.

Instruction came from Fit Club owner/coach Joe Oppedisano, Staff Corporal Michael Ruttenber (Westport Police Department) Rob Curcio (Weston Police Department) and Detective Beth Leetch (Fairfield Police).

Trainers and trainees.


Westport Sunrise Rotary and Westport Country Playhouse Staff teamed up to help visitors at the SCP’s recent open house have fun playing”Toss the
Duck into the Bucket.”

It was a great promotion for Sunrise Rotary’s Great Duck Race (June 24, Jesup Green). Click here for details.

Promoting the Great Duck Race, at the Playhouse. From left: Mike Hibbard (duck), Giovanni Orozlo, Joe Watson, Chris Conte, Erin Reynolds. (Photo/Ashley Sweet)


On Monday, 30  Y’s Men of Westport and Weston and their guests toured the UN.

It’s the latest in their ongoing series of educational and cultural events.

The Y’s Men’s guide, from Uzbekistan, describes the Security Council. (Photo and hat tip/Dave Matlow)


Cedar waxwings are today’s “Westport .. Naturally” feature.

They’re also, as Westport Community Gardens director/photographer extraordinaire Lou Weinberg explains, “the bandits of the bird world. With their black masks and paintbrush tails, these beauties travel in flocks and love the serviceberry tree.”

He adds: “If you love birds, plant serviceberry and other native trees, shrubs, wildflowers and grasses. Nature wins!”

(Photo/Lou Weinberg)


And finally … Happy Flag Day!

The American flag was adopted on June 14, 1777, by resolution of the Second Continental Congress.[1] 

Two years earlier on this date, Congress adopted “the American continental army.” So happy birthday too to the US Army!

(“06880” is your hyper-local blog — and a non-profit. Contributions are tax-deductible. Please click here to support us — and thank you!)

Roundup: Pops Concert, Pink Aid, Pequot Library …

One of Westport’s newest — but quick-selling-out — traditions is the Westport Public Schools’ Pops Concert.

The Levitt Pavilion event — featuring the Staples High School Symphonic Orchestra and Band, Jazz Ensemble, Choralaires and other small ensembles — returns Friday, June 9 (7 p.m.). The host is Westport’s own music and media maestro, David Pogue.

Tickets will be available at staplesmusic.org beginning at 9 a.m. on May 31. They’re first-come, first-served — and free! (A donation of $15 per ticket is suggested, to help offset the concert’s production costs.)

The Levitt lawn opens at 5:30 p.m. BYO chair — but food trucks will be there for picnickers.

2022 Pops Concert. (Photo/Allison Ginzburg)


The use of automated cameras to enforce speed limit and red light violations in Connecticut moved closer to reality yesterday.

The House voted 104-46 in favor. The bill now goes to the Senate.

Enforcement would be limited to school zones, pedestrian safety zones and other locations approved by the Office of State Traffic Administration. Speeders would have to go at least 10 miles per hour over the limit to get an automated ticket.

Fines would not surpass $50 for a first offense, $75 for a second offense. Revenues would go to municipalities, to be used for traffic-related expenses.

Click here for the full story, on Connecticut Mirror.

Red light traffic camera.


Pulitzer Prize finalist Nicholas Dawidoff is the main attraction tomorrow night at the Westport Library

He’ll join former Assistant US Attorney Althea Seaborn to talk about his book The Other Side of Prospect: A Story of Violence, Injustice, and the American City (Thursday, May 25, 7 p.m.).

He will be in conversation with Norwalk Community College Professor and former Assistant U.S. Attorney Althea Seaborn.

Dawidoff spent 8 years researching and writing in his hometown of New Haven. Urban decay, white flight and redlining helped contribute to the transformation of Newhallville. Dawidoff makes these symptoms of “racist neglect” vividly clear.

Books will be available for purchase and signing.

Nicholas Dawidoff


Breast cancer is no laughing matter.

But Pink Aid — the organization offering support and financial assistance to patients during treatment, and their families — will benefit from a night of comedy next month.

The event is June 1 (7 p.m., Chabad of Westport). Featured comedians include Cody Marino, Beau McDowell, Andrew Ginsburg and Nick Scopoletti. Tickets ($75 each) include 2 drinks, popcorn and candy. Click here to purchase, and for more information.


Twenty soon-to-graduate high school rowers were honored for their hard work, persistence and commitment Monday, by the Saugatuck Rowing Club. Nine live in Westport.

Saugatuck Rowing Club seniors from Staples High School (from left): Elisabeth Chadwick, Janna Moore, Dylan Halky, Wyatt Dodge, Jesse Herman, Luke Miller, Cooper Weyers, and Vincent Penna all attend Staples. Andrew Bacro (not pictured) attends the Pierrepont School,

The seniors and other teammates competed last weekend to qualify for Young Nationals in Sarasota, Florida in June.


First Five Guys closed (for renovations?).

Now there’s a “For Lease” sign in front of Shake Shack.

Maybe Big Top or Chubby Lane’s can come back …

(Hat tip: Bruce Schneider)


Robin Tauck returned to the University of Vermont on Sunday. This time, the 1977 graduate gave the commencement address at graduation ceremonies for the Grossman School of Business.

Robin is a longtime Westporter. She is a 3rd-generation oo-owner and former president and CEO of Tauck Inc., the luxury travel company started by her grandfather in 1925, and headquartered for many years here.

She is a business graduate of UVM, Stanford University’s Executive Business Program, and the University of Cambridge Leaders Sustainability Program.

She was recently honored at the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame in Hartford, for her career in “Global Impact.”

Robin Tauck


The Pequot Library is not actually in Westport.

But with so many local connections, it might as well be.

For example, Westporter Coke Anne Wilcox is president of the board of trustees. Caroline Calder serves as vice president, while Belinda Shepard and Richard “Deej” Webb are both trustees.

Westport poet laureate/Westport Writers’ Workshop instructor Jessie McEntee handles marketing and communications at Pequot.

Alex Heekin works in development. Jane Manners is the beloved children’s Librarian. Leslie Mahtani, also a librarian, works at the circulation desk.

Though the Pequot Library receives 20% of its annual funding from the town of Fairfield, it must raise the other 80% on its own.

One method: an annual Southport Garden Stroll. This year’s event — a behind-closed-gates peek at 8 stunning outdoor space — is June 2. Click here for tickets, and more information.

One more Westport tie-in: TV host/author/lifestyle expert/realtor Mar Jennings hosts the June 1 Champagne & Canapé kickoff party.

Pequot Library.


A new farm dinner — an “intimate, bourbon-inspired” event — has been added to the Wakeman Town Farm menu.

It’s July 12. But, WTF notes, it makes a great Fathers Day gift.

Chef Lamour Workman promises that each course will be paired with a specialty bourbon, created by Bridgeport’s Fifth State Distillery.

Tickets are $125 each. Click here to purchase, and for more information.


Longtime Westporter Sophia Makowski, most recently of Wallingford, died peacefully on Saturday.

The 9th child of 10, and a “second mother” to several family members, Sophie is remembered for her “incredible endurance, priceless humor, sharp wit, and unending support of her loved ones.” Loved by all who met her.

Sophia’s funeral is tomorrow (Thursday, May 25, 11 a.m., Assumption Church). Interment will follow in Assumption Cemetery, Greens Farms Road.

Click here to leave online condolences. Contributions in Sophia’s memory may be made to the American Cancer Society.

Sophia Makowski


Thanksgiving is a solid 6 months away.

So this turkey figured it was safe to strut his stuff.

Luisa Francoeur took his “Westport … Naturally” photo on Broadview Road, during her morning walk.

(Photo/Luisa Francoeur)


And finally … Linda Lewis died earlier this month, near London. She was 72.

I never heard of her. But the New York Times took note. She was “a critically acclaimed soul singer and songwriter whose pyrotechnic voice propelled four Top 10 singles as a solo artist in her native Britain and led to work as a backup vocalist on acclaimed albums by stars like David Bowie, Cat Stevens and Rod Stewart.”

The newspaper added: “Ms. Lewis drew raves for her soaring five-octave vocal range and impressed listeners with her genre-hopping instincts, drawing from folk, R&B, rock, reggae, pop and — with more than a nudge from label executives — disco.”

Click here for the full obituary. And enjoy (as I did) this sampling of her work:

(If you get a ticket to the Westport Pops Concert, thank “06880.” You can say thanks with a contribution, too — just click here. Thank you!)

Roundup: Clocks Ahead, CHEF Fund, Verso University …

Tonight is the night we love to hate.

We lose an hour’s sleep — but we gain an hour of sunlight for the next 8 months. Set your clocks ahead for Daylight Saving Time.*

If you’re one of those who forgets between now and bedtime: Stick a Post-It note on the clock by your bed.

Sweet (if shortened) dreams!

* Yes, it’s officially daylight “saving,” not “savings.” Who knew?


In the aftermath of the death of Matthew Balga — the chef killed on Riverside Avenue last Saturday night, after leaving work at The Whelk — his co-workers and family have organized a fundraiser. Money raised will support culinary education in Connecticut.

“Chef Matteo” had worked for For the Food restaurant owners Bill Taibe and Rachel Golan for over 18 years. Friends said he loved classic cars, played the guitar, had a sarcastic wit, and “most of all, was a loving man who loved to cook.”

The Connecticut Hospitality Educational Foundation (CHEF) is the non-profit philanthropic arm of the Connecticut Restaurant Association. It provides education for future restaurant industry professionals, workforce development opportunities and scholarships. Click here to contribute. (Hat tip: Westport Magazine)

Chef Matthew Balga


The Westport Library offers plenty of innovative spaces and technologies, aimed at 21st century models of literacy and learning.

This spring, there will be more.

The Library is launching “Verso University.” The year-round series of high-level classes, workshops and lectures will further education and “learning for a lifetime.”

Offerings include one-time lectures, ongoing courses, and classes that meet weekly or monthly. They cover a wide variety of topics, with appeal to all ages and interests.

“Spring semester” includes

Launch Lecture: Martin Yellin on Space (Monday, March 13, 1 to 2 p.m.): Longtime Westporter and scientist Martin Yellin will provide an overview of the fascinating and unexpected discoveries made in space, and how we’ve begun to understand where we are and how we got here. Click here for more information.

The Range of Literary Realism: 4 Masterpieces of 21st Century Fiction, with Dr. Mark Schenker (Tuesdays, April 4 & 18, May 2 & 16, 2 to 3 p.m.): The noted lecturer in English at Yale University examines novels that reflect the range of literary realism as portrayed in 21st century fiction:

  • April 4: Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel
  • April 18: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon
  • May 2: Life After Life, by Kate Atkinson
  • May 16: Small Things Like These, by Claire Keegan

Got Problems? Think Them Through for Better Problem Solving! (May) Problem-solving coaches Mike Hibbard and Patricia Cyganovich will teach problem-solving processes to use in any area of life.

Fiction Writing Master Class, with Gabino Iglesias (May): Renowned noir writer and Westport Library StoryFest alum Gabino Iglesias teaches a master class-style writing workshop.

Crew Call (Rolling admission, spring through fall): Crew Call is a training program focused on live media production skills. Volunteers of all ages gain real-world experience in video recording and production. Crew Call participants support many Library productions.

Marty Yellin launches the Verso University series.


The walk from Schlaet’s Point to Old Mill will soon look different.

254 Hillspoint Road has been approved for demolition.

It sold in January for $5 million.

254 Hillspoint Road


Rowers love to hate the erg machine. That’s the fitness machine they use relentlessly on land.

But recently, junior members of Saugatuck Rowing Club eagerly jumped on board. The occasion: a “Row for Dough Erg-a-thon” fundraiser for Homes with Hope. The local non-profit provides supportive housing and a food pantry, in downtown Westport.

Both boys and girls teams participated in individual 10K races (over 6.2 miles), and raised over $6,500.

SRC junior rowers also volunteer at the Gillespie Center food pantry, and helping with other Homes with Hope projects.

Saugatuck Rowing Club captains (from left): Jack Kiely, Lauren Schramm, Hannah Clemens, Dylan Halky, Cooper Levinson, Janna Moore.


In 14 years of photos showing entitled parkers, “06880” has shown Range Rovers, BMWs, Jeeps, and just about every other make and model of car.

We’ve never called out a motorcycle, though.

There’s a reason: They can park just about anywhere.

Except like this:

Yesterday, at Wakeman Field. (Photo/Gery Grove)


Speaking of stuff that shouldn’t be there:

Sal Liccione sends along this picture …

… and a note: “It’s been there for 3 weeks.”

I assume he’s talking about the garbage, not the car. (Hat tip: Sal Liccione)


Over 200 fans filled the Westport Library’s Trefz Forum for last night’s Blue Coupe concert. The band includes former Alice Cooper guitarist Dennis Dunaway, and Joe and Albert Bouchard of Blue Öyster Cult.

The event — a benefit for VersoFest, the music and media festival that kicks off March 30 — was co-produced by the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce.

They’re collaborating on upcoming shows too, including Verso Fest‘s Sunflower Bean (March 30), the Smithereens (March 31) and the Johnny Folsom 4 at “Supper & Soul” (May 13).

Blue Coupe, at the Westport Library. (Photo/Matthew Mandell)


Connecticut Attorney General William Tong got up early yesterday, for an important session: He addressed the Westport Sunrise Rotary Club’s meeting at Greens Farms Church.

Tong discussed his role as the chief civil attorney for the state, including notable litigation on tobacco, opioids and gun control.

Attorney General William Tong at Westport Sunrise Rotary. (Photo/Dave Matlow)


Last night’s “Teens at MoCA” Film Showcase drew a good crowd to the Newtown Turnpike space.

More than a dozen teenagers screened films they made — each 5 minutes or less. The event — and a raffle — benefited the Teens at MoCA group.

Ava Waldman of Teens at MoCA introduces a film. (Photo/Cynthia Dempster)


Westport author Elaine Clayton’s “The Way of the Empath” was just named one of the Best Spiritual Books of 2022, by Spirituality & Practice.

A wide range of topics and religions make up the list. Click here to see.


Spotted at Compo Beach, and very appropriate for our “Westport … Naturally” feature: a “sea turtle.”

(Photo/Pam Kesselman)


And finally … in honor of the very entitled dude who doesn’t know how to park  his motorcycle (story above):

(Two important things to do before bed tonight: 1) Turn your clocks ahead; 2) Thank “06880” for reminding you. Please click here to make a contribution. Thank you!)

Pic Of The Day #2139

Saugatuck Rowing Club (Photo/Tracy Porosoff)

Roundup: Tarry Lodge, Fenway Park, Ukraine …

In late July, “06880” reported that Tarry Lodge looked closed.

The property was unkempt; there had been no life there for days.

But the website was accepting reservations. A phone recording announced “new hours.”

Readers commented. Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce director Matthew Mandell said he’d spoken to the new manager, who “looked forward to the Slice of Saugatuck and will be one of the sponsors of the event.”

Clark Thiemann added: “Tarry Lodge had a sign on the door they were closed for vacation this week and will be back at the beginning of August.”

It’s now mid-August. Either the restaurant’s vacation has been extended for quite a while — in the middle of outdoor dining season — or plans changed.

Or perhaps management was, you know, lying.

The website still uses Open Table for reservations — though today, none were “available.”

More telling is the paper that covers the windows.

Then again, maybe that’s just part of Tarry Lodge’s “vacation” plans.

Tarry Lodge, in July. (Photo/Patti Brill)


It wasn’t a mountain. But Julia Marino looked equally at ease Sunday night, on the Fenway Stadium mound.

The Olympic snowboard silver medalist — and Westport native — threw the first pitch, as the Boston Red Sox hosted the New York Yankees.

Julia’s mother Elaine watched proudly from just to the left of the visitors’ dugout — “serious Yankee fan territory,” she says.

Julia had a blast. So did the Sox: They won 3-0.

Julia Marino, on the Fenway mound.


Speaking of sports: Saugatuck Rowing Club won the women’s points trophy on Sunday at the USRowing Masters National Championship in Sarasota, Florida.

Points are awarded throughout the 4-day regatta for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place finishes. Multiple medals contributed to the win.

Back row (from left):) Coach/general manager Scott Armstrong, Barbara Phillips, Liz Brennan, Kate Weber, Vicki Lopez, Suzanne Dodge, Ellen Knapp, Carrie Mioli, Susan McInerney, Caroline Gill. 2nd row: Susan Quinn, Beth Bass, Linda Mandel, Liz Turner, Wendy Woolf, Bobbi Liepolt, Annamari Mikkola, Front row: Patrice Foudy, Joanna Moody, Silvia Durno, Izzy Sareen, Katie Derose, Kathleen Davis, Celeste McGeehan.


The last day for lifeguards at Burying Hill Beach is this Sunday (August 21).

Compo Beach will be staffed by lifeguards through September 5.

Beach stickers are required through September 30.

Burying Hill Beach lifeguards’ last day is Sunday. (Photo/Yvonne O’Kane)


There’s only one day each year when visitors to Sherwood Island State Park can stay past sunset.

It’s Shorefest — Friends of Sherwood Island’s annual fundraiser. This year’s event is set for September 9 (6 to 9 p.m., main pavilion).

Guests enjoy an evening of food, live jazz piano, silent auction — and of course, a spectacular sunset. Catered by Westfair Fish & Chips, dinner options include lobster, steak, salmon, or vegetarian. Burgers and hot dogs are available for kids. Appetizers, salad, beverages and dessert are included.

All proceeds support habitat restoration, education and advocacy. Click here for tickets and more information.


Longtime Coleytown Elementary School physical education teacher Pearl Marcus died peacefully at home in Westport last week. She was 99 years old.

Her family calls Pearl “a Gigi, Momma and Mom. What a wonderful and beautiful life she lived. She had a fantastic group of friends and a loving family. She was always there for all of us. She will always remain the anchor of our family.”

In addition to decades of teaching at CES, Pearl was involved in the Westport community. She enjoyed traveling, entertaining family and friends, theater and tennis.

She was predeceased by her husband of 64 years, Marc (Melvin) Marcus. She is survived by 2 daughters and their spouses, 5 grandchildren and two spouses, and 4 great-grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Quick Center for the Arts, 1073 North Benson Road, Fairfield, CT 06824, or Baltimore Squashwise, 2801 Sisson Street, Suite 100, Baltimore, MD 21211 (Pearl’s great-niece is executive director).


Nearly 200 people watched live and remotely last night, as 2 Westporters reported on their efforts to aid Ukraine.

Brian Mayer recently returned from his third extended visit to the war-torn nation, where he was joined by Ken Bernhard. Mayer co-founded UkraineAidInternational.org, a non-profit offering humanitarian relief and refugee rescue.

The pair discussed the importance of their work, and the challenges they face. They noted that tax-deductible contributions can be sent to Ukraine Aid International, 88 Partrick Road, Westport, CT 06880, or made via Venmo: @ukraineaidinternational. (Hat tip: Dave Matlow)

Brian Mayer (left) and Ken Bernhard, on the Westport Library stage. (Photo/Dave Matlow)

Meanwhile, some Westporters headed to Georgetown last night, for a special show featuring Jackopierce at Milestone restaurant. The show did not disappoint.

The sold-out crowd included members of Staples High School’s Class of 1987. That’s when Cary Pierce — half of the popular duo, and a Westport native — graduated.

Jackopierce is based in Dallas. A couple of fans from there were at the show too. They enjoyed seeing the singer/guitarists in an intimate setting.

Cary Pierce (right) and Jack O’Neill: Jackopierce, at Milestone. (Photo/Rick Benson)


Dan Johnson captured today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo, in the sky above Imperial Avenue:

(Photo/Daniel Johnson)


And finally … 53 years ago today, Woodstock was in its second epic day.

Among the memorable performances:


(From Woodstock to Jackopierce, and Ukraine to Fenway Park, “06880” delivers a daily Roundup. Please click here to help support this blog.)

[OPINION] Middle School And Rowing: The Race Defines Us

Summer is in full swing. School is already in the rear view mirror.

But before we lose it completely, let’s look back on the year. Weston Middle School 8th grader Owen Bernheim answered the call to submit a graduation speech.

His wasn’t selected. But his mom Jennifer thought the parallels between life at school, and with his Saugatuck Rowing Club teammates, was worth sharing.

I agree. Take it away, Owen!

Hello everyone!

It’s been a crazy few years filled with Zoom calls, new experiences, laughter, lessons learned, and COVID tests. Walking in to middle school on the first day, I thought “wow, this is going to be great.” New friends, new teachers, new school.

Owen Bernheim

I don’t like change, but I knew something was going to be different. Let’s just say this is not the type of different I was expecting.

Halfway through 6th grade, we were sent home. Just a quick break from school, nothing to worry about. Well, 2 weeks turned into a month, a month turned into 2 months, and from there, we all know what happened.

However, people took up new hobbies during the pandemic, all from home. Most of them continued back in person. Some opportunities were life-changing. The big one for me was rowing — the sport famous for early practices, grueling cardio work, and athletes with no social life.

Middle school isn’t too different from rowing. During the spring season we focus on a 2k. Spring is a sprint-race season. You go all out, as fast and hard as you can, for 6 to 9 minutes. A 2k is broken down into 3 chunks: the first 500 meters, the middle 1,000 meters, and the last 500 meters.

The first 500 is all about getting out on top, while still maintaining energy. That’s pretty comparable to sixth grade, right? Light work.

The middle 1,000 meters is all about staying where you can push, but still keeping a certain level of comfort so as to not burn yourself out, without settling too much. Seventh grade was like that, but I think we were all a little bit burnt out after seventh grade.

The last 500 meters is all about fighting for speed, and the win. It’s where your lungs and everything else starts to hurt. It consists of trying to keep your head above water (metaphorically, of course). It also consists of a sprint, which all sums up 8th grade.

Owen and his Saugatuck Rowing Club teammates, at the USRowing Youth National Championships in Sarasota, Florida. They finished 6th in the U16 8+ category.

What people don’t realize about rowing though is that it’s a team sport. You’re not doing a 2k alone; you never go through anything alone because there is always someone to guide you along the way. A friend, a coach, an older teammate. I think this is a lot like middle school.

And what people don’t realize about middle school, something that I think we all forget, is that you’re not alone. There will always be friends and teachers to support you, even when you’re struggling. Middle school is much like a team. I think it’s important to notice that and to embrace your team, because without friends, teachers, guidance counselors, principals, and many others, none of this would be possible.

Owen Bernheim at the USRowing Youth National Championships.

Everybody plays an important part in this journey. Without just one of these people, the puzzle wouldn’t be complete. There will be some struggles along the way, but that’s part of life, just like catching a crab while rowing.

A crab is when a person’s blade flips underwater, causing it to get stuck and occasionally throwing you out of the boat. Other times, your oar gets flung out of your hands. However, it isn’t about the crab itself, but how you recover. This is much like getting a bad grade on a test, or handling school during COVID. It’s also like making a split-second decision, which could determine a good grade, a bad grade, a win, or a loss.

When we make a wrong decision, it should never define us. What should define us is how we recover from those mistakes. How we change our future, try to do good, and help others. These are all things that we should be defined by. Everyone makes mistakes, but what is truly important is how we pull ourselves out of that crab that wants to suck us in. How we handle ourselves in the face of adversity is what we should take note of.

Now is the time to make mistakes, as long as you learn from them. But now is also the time to be smart and not let what you do negatively impact your future.

Sometimes people hesitate to try new things in fear of mistakes and failure. However, you would be surprised how many people have been greatly successful after trying something new.

I have a small podcast where I interview CEOs and entrepreneurs about their businesses. It’s called The Rising Entrepreneurs Podcast. One thing that every interviewee has told me is that they wish they had not gone into things so hesitantly. They wish they had taken more chances sooner, because without taking calculated risks, success would not have followed.

Trying new things right now in this phase of our lives is important, because you’re only a teenager once. You’re surrounded by a big team who is truly committed to you: teachers, family, friends, coaches, and your community.

So, let’s make these next 4 years of our lives count, because after high school, we’re all going to go different ways, to meet different people, and experience new things. As I end this speech tonight, I don’t just want it to mean the end of middle school. I want it to mean the beginning of a new part of our lives. Four years that will be unforgettable — but hopefully in a different way than the last few. Thank you.

(“06880” relies on reader contributions. Please click here to support this blog.)

Roundup: Staples Basketball, Starbucks Accident, Strange Sign …

The new boys basketball coach at Staples High School is a familiar face.

Assistant coach Dave Goldshore replaces head coach Colin Devine. The 15-year veteran stepped down, to pursue administrative opportunities.

Goldshore — a former basketball star and quarterback at Horace Greeley High in Chappaqua, New York — got the coaching bug as University of Michigan student manager during the “Fab Five” era.

He cites the influence of his own high school coaches, for helping shape his values. “It’s an honor to give back,” says Goldshore, who began assisting Devine in 2017.

“I have big shoes to fill,” he notes. His goal is to “continue building a program that prides itself on class, competitive spirit and community.”

Goldshore has been Staples’ defensive coordinator. Offensively, his philosophy is to “empower kids to pay to their strengths.” He also calls himself “a big culture guy,” in areas like spirit and accountability.

A Westport resident since 2004, nd president of a technology staffing firm, Goldshore calls it “an honor and privilege to represent Staples basketball in my town.”

Dave Goldshore


The line of cars waiting on the Post Road to turn into the Starbucks drive-thru has been described as “an accident waiting to happen.”

There was one yesterday. It involved only a single vehicle:

I’m not quite sure how this happened. Yet if I had to go out on a limb (or a boulder), I’d bet my house on: texting.


Speaking of bad parking:

Sure, the “06880” bar for “entitled parking” photos is usually high: 3 spaces or more.

But I’m posting this. with “only” 2 spots today because it is so breathtakingly selfish.

“06880” readers can’t make their usual excuses, like “maybe it was a medical emergency” or “what if the brakes failed?”

Parking is tight in Brooks Corner. Merchants there deserve all the help they can get.

And no, police can’t ticket this Very Important Driver. It’s a private lot.


For a while, a homemade anti-Biden sign greeted visitors coming off Merritt Parkway Exit 42, at the entrance to a driveway on Main Street, between St. George Place and Wassell Lane.

Now there’s a newer, more aggressive one:

(Photo/Tracy Porosoff)

It’s clear the homeowner doesn’t like our president.

I wonder who he voted for, though. Once the January 6 hearings are over, I’ll try to figure out who that “guy that put America first” could possibly be.


Seen at last night’s Yankee Doodle Fair: the Westport 9U district travel baseball team.

(Photo/Stephanie Mastocciolo)

The fair continues tonight (Friday, 6 to 10 p.m.), tomorrow (Saturday, 1 to 10 p.m.), and Sunday (1 to 5 p.m.), at the Westport Woman’s Club grounds by the Imperial Avenue parking lot.


A new store is coming to 46-48 Post Road East, next to Tiffany.

Blue & Cream is a “fashion-forward boutique brand operating in the Hamptons and NYC.” No word on when it will open.

The new home of Blue & Cream (left).


There’s a new way to get to Sherwood Island this summer.

Wheels2UWestport’s Park Connect service provides free weekend rides to and from anywhere in its service area to Connecticut’s first state park.

Riders can use the same Wheels2U app they use for rides to and from Westport’s 2 train stations.  Click here for more information.


Saugatuck Rowing Club had a successful week at the USRowing National Youth Championships in Sarasota, Florida.

The U17 4+ squad (Madeline Casano) Anne Cuesta, Ella Hecker, Hannah Makmale, Maddiel Speller) defender the club’s national title.

The U17 8+ (Rosie Lundberg, Victoria Bazarko, Claudia Chadwick, Alexandra Cowan, Maia Freeman, Leighton Davis, Mia Kirkorsky, Phoebe Bryan and Charlotte Seymour) took bronze, while the girls’ first and second varsity 8s placed 7th and 8th, respectively.

The boys’ first varsity 8 finished 6th. The U16 8+ was 6th, the 2V 8+ took 7th, and U17 4+ 7th, and the U17 4x 17th.

Saugatuck Rowing Club’s national champion U17 4+ team (from left): Maddie Speller, Anna Cuesta, Hannah Makmale, Ella Hecker, Madeline Casano.


It’s a gray morning. But Jonathan Prager’s “Westport … Naturally” Owenoke Park rose photo will brighten this — or any — day.

(Jonathan Prager)


And finally … in honor of the Westport Woman’s Club’s signature fundraiser, running tonight through Sunday (story above), here are 2 very different tunes:

(Please support “06880” — we’re completely reader-funded. Click here to help!)