Tag Archives: Save the Sound

Roundup: Interim Fire Chief, Lobster Fest Tickets, Long Lots Meeting …

Westport has a new interim fire chief.

Mark Amatrudo takes over, effective Monday. Deputy Chief Nicholas Marsan, recently named town emergency management director, will continue in his dual role as deputy chief.

Amatrudo is a third generation chief fire officer. He has served as a career and volunteer assistant chief, deputy chief and acting chief for almost 25 years, including as Westport’s interim deputy chief from 2005-07. 

Amatrudo is an Emergency Medical Technician. He also holds the highest level of fire service certifications in various areas, including fire officer, fire service instructor and safety officer.

He served as a Connecticut Fire Academy Instructor for almost 30 years. He developed a course for the National Fire Academy Executive Fire Officer Program, and spent years instructing at the National Fire Academy campus in Emmitsburg, Maryland.

Among his awards are FEMA National Outstanding Citizen Corps Council Award, Connecticut Emergency Manager of the Year, Connecticut Fire Instructor of the Year, Connecticut Exchange Club Hero Award and Holmatro Rescue Award.

Amatrudo holds a BS degree from Stonehill College, and an Executive MBA from the University of New Haven. 

Mark Armatrudo


It’s mid-July. Time to get tickets for the fall LobsterFest!

In fact, it may soon be too late. The Westport Rotary Club’s mega-fundraiser sells out very quickly.

This year’s event is September 23 (3 to 7 p.m., Compo Beach). As usual always, Rotary offers 2 1.25-pound lobsters or a 14-ounce New York strip steak; corn, cole slaw, potato salad and bread.

Plus of course live music; kids’ games and activities; unlimited beer, wine and soft drinks, and a cash raw bar.

It’s one of Westport’s best parties. The timing is perfect, at the start of a new school year. The weather is wonderful. The food and entertainment are plentiful.

And the money raised helps Rotary support a wide array of great causes.

Click here for tickets, and more information.

A small part of the large LobsterFest.


The Long Lots School Building Committee holds a special meeting next Tuesday, (July 25, 6 p.m., Town Hall Room 309).

The session begins with public comment and/or questions about the project.

A work session follows with the design team, for updates and review. The public can attend the work session, but not participate.

If time permits, public input will be allowed at the end of the meeting.

Long Lots Elementary School is 70 years old.


This is the weekend for the always-anticipated, very giant Pequot Library Book Sale.

Over 100,000 items in 50-plus categories are on sale.

Hours are:

  • Today (Friday, July 21): 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Saturday, Sunday and Monday (July 22-24): 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Tuesday (July 25): 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Pequot Library


Paddle is coming to Westport.

That’s “Paddle for the Sound” — not (this time) paddleball.

For 9 days (July 29 to August 6), the 8th annual Save the Sound fundraiser draws people of all ages for a leisure paddle — or a kayak, stand up paddle board (SUP) and canoe competition.

Participants track their distances paddled, while raising funds to protect Long Island Sound and its rivers, restore local ecosystems, fight climate change, and save endangered lands.

They’ll take screenshots of the distance on each excursion, and send it to the Paddle for the Sound team to compile results. Prizes are awarded for total distance paddled, and most funds raised.

Click here for more information, and to sign up.

Enjoy a paddle. Save the Sound! (Photo/Lisa Price)


Fig Linens & Home is moving.

A fixture on Post Road East near Main Street since 2004, their lease is up at the end of August.

They’re not sure where they’ll go. But they are not closing.

A “Moving Sale” is underway. As the sign says: Everything must go.

(Photo/Patti Brill)


In the 5 years she has hosted matchmaking events for singles, Jill Dunn has connected thousands of people.

Her next event — and your next chance at relationship bliss — is July 30 (4:30 p.m., Gabriele’s Steakhouse).

For tickets, click here. For more information on Jill’s events, click here.

Jill Dunn


Most of the time, action at the Westport Astronomical Society’s observatory is in the sky.

On Wednesday, the action shifted to the ground. A family of 4 bobcats visited.

They seemed more interested in looking down than up.

Then again, this was their land long before we humans arrived.


Longtime Westporter Stewart Greenfield died peacefully at Bridgeport Hospital on Wednesday.

A service is set for Sunday (July 23, 12:30 p.m., Abraham Green & Son Funeral Home, 88 Beach Rd, Fairfield. Visitation begins at 11:30 a.m.

Interment is at Temple Israel Cemetery (225 Richards Avenue). The family will then host mourners at their Westport home.

The family will sit Shiva tonight through July 26 (6 to 8 p.m., 279 Sturges Highway and 49 East 86th Street, Apt 11B/C, New York).

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Nature Conservancy or St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland.


This frog looks huge.

It’s really just an inch long. But Molly Alger captured it perfectly — on the outside of her kitchen window — for today’s “Westport … Naturally” feature.

(Photo/Molly Alger)


And finally … Tony Bennett died this morning in New York. He was 96.

The New York Times called him “a singer whose melodic clarity, jazz-influenced phrasing, audience-embracing persona and warm, deceptively simple interpretations of musical standards helped spread the American songbook around the world and won him generations of fans.”

He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2016. He continued to perform and record, however. His last public performance was in August that year, with Lady Gaga at Radio City Music Hall. Click here for a full obituary.

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Roundup: PAL Theft, STG $$$, Save The Sound …

There are 2 ways to write this story.

1. The Memorial Day was a huge success for everyone. One of the many highlights was the Westport Police Athletic League float, featuring RTM member/PAL booster Andrew Colabella as a Revolutionary War “Minute Man.”

The float also included 4 large pots of geraniums, and an American flag.

Unfortunately, when the float was parked at Saugatuck Elementary School after the parade, someone took the flowers and flag. They must have thought no one else wanted them.

But the plants were borrowed from a local nursery. Unless they are returned, the PAL — a non-profit — must pay for them. (You can keep the flag!). Just email acolabella@westportct.gov, or emmarojas83@gmail.com. Or drop them off at the PAL clubhouse at PJ Romano Field. No questions asked.

Or this version:

2. There’s one in every crowd.

Thousands of people loved the Memorial Day parade. One of the highlights was the Westport PAL float, featuring RTM member/PAL booster Andrew Colabella as a Revolutionary War “Minute Man.”

But — and this is hard to believe, but welcome to 2023 — when the float was parked a few hours later at Saugatuck Elementary School, some asshat stole 4 beautiful pots of geraniums. Plus an American flag, which was zip-tied to the trailer.

It doesn’t get lower than that.

Stealing from a non-profit, which now must pay for the plants it borrowed from a local nursery.


However, there is one good part of this story.

“PAL” stands for Police Athletic League.

That’s right: Police Athletic League.

They’re coming to get you.

The PAL float, before the items went missing/were stolen.


Staples Tuition Grants does 2 things very well.

It raises money. Then it gives it away.

STG celebrated its 80th year last night at the high school auditorium. The organization awarded $405,000 in scholarships to 119 graduating seniors and students already in college.

That’s the highest amount ever.

The average grant is $3,400 — $650 more than STG’s 10-year average. It helps with 15% of net need. That’s not enough to fill the aggregate net need of $2.7 million.

But STG provides more than the federal government, which awards $312,000 in Pell grants.

The money goes to students with demonstrated financial need. Nearly 450 people donated to the general fund this year, or to named or endowed awards that honor Staples’ history — and support its future.

To learn more about Staples Tuition Grants, click here.


Staples Tuition Grants recipients last night, in the courtyard. (Photo/Pam Einarsen)


Connecticut has some great art museums.

On June 6 (2 p.m.), the Westport Library’s Verso University launches an exploration of some of our best.

Connecticut Art Trail president and longtime Westport resident Carey Weber begins the program with an overview of the organization’s mission and member museums.

Future programs will focus on the Housatonic Museum of Art (July 12) and Weir Farm, the only national park service site dedicated to American painting (August 2).

Connecticut art museums.


Speaking of the Library: Registration is underway for kids’ summer programs. They include:

Summer Reading Fun: Children of all ages (and their grown-ups) are invited to read anything, any time, anywhere. For every 100 minutes read, kids can decorate a sun for display in the library. 500 minutes earns a Shake Shack treat. And 1,000 minutes gets you a free book, to keep. Click here for details.

Summer Learning Clubs integrate math, literacy and STEAM activities into a thematic approach. Each class blends inquiry, design, research, writing and the arts. Click here for grade levels and dates.

Camp Explore returns for its 4th year of STEAM exploration. They include Microbit Makery (June 27-29; grades 6-8); African Mask Making (July 10-12; grades 5-6); Jewelry Making (Novel Necklaces) (July 25; grades 6-8); Matica Arts (August 8-10; grades 6-8). A Matica Circus performance (August 8; 10 a.m.) is open to all. Click here for details.

Iyaba Ibo Mandingo leads the African mask making class.


Save the Sound is sponsoring a beach cleanup at Sherwood Island State Park.

It’s this Saturday (June 3, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.; just east of the Nature Center). Staff members will be there, to talk about STS’ “CT Cleanup” effort.

Questions? Email apaltauf@savethesound.org.

Sherwood Island State Park.


Emmy-nominated composer/pianist Steve Sandberg headlines tomorrow’s Jazz at the Post (Thursday, June 1; shows at 7:30 and 8:45 p.m.; dinner from 7 p.m.; $15 cover).

His original music blends classical, world music and jazz. He’ll be joined by 7-time Grammy winner bassist Jay Anderson, fiery drummer Tim Horner, and saxophonist Greg “The Jazz Rabbi” Wall.

Shows have sold out early. Email JazzatthePost@gmail.com for reservations.


The Small Car Company is doing big things in Westport.

The informal group of vintage VW and Porsche owners — the brainchild of former Westporters Tom Truitt and Dave Abelow, and named for a Post Road West dealership (now Carvan) that in the late 1960s sold more Volkswagens than any other in the US — helped partner Total Training & Endurance with Northeast Community Cycles. The deal brings the 10-year-old bicycle charity to Westport.

Their mission is to provide safe, refurbished bicycles to underprivileged children and adults in Fairfield County — at no charge. Like Total Training & Endurance, Northeast Community Cycles is all about community outreach and self-empowerment through the cycling.

The Small Car Company, meanwhile, has introduced a bicycle program to reach out to youngsters in need of direction. The goal is to create passion and responsibility through ownership of personal transportation.

Meanwhile, the organization is planning a bike tour October 8. The charity ride (hosted by TT&E) will raise awareness of and money for bicycle ownership for those with less means.


You may think Ferdinand is a bull.

But George Bullwinkel’s Ferdinand is a dog. And he’s the very relaxed and comfortable subject of today’s “Westport … Naturally” feature.

(Photo/George Bullwinkel)


And finally … happy 77th birthday to Jimmy Cliff!

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Roundup: Fashionably Westport; Joggers Club; Future Frogmen …

Last night’s Fashionably Westport benefit drew hundreds of guests to the Westport Library — and raised thousands of dollars for Homes with Hope.

The Westport Downtown Association-sponsored event featured over 60 models, in apparel from 21 local stores. Their hair and makeup was done by 6 salons.

A ton of work by tons of folks made last night a success. Thanks to all who pitched in, for fun and — more importantly — helping people in need of shelter and food.

The Westport Library’s Trefz Forum became a runway for the night.

First Selectwoman Jen Tooker and social media influencer Zac Mathias pose, before their star turns as models.

Andrew Colabella, Viviana Vasiu and Diane Lowman look sharp.

Not models — but they could have been. (All photos/Dan Woog)


A motor vehicle/pedestrian accident at 11:30 last night sent a man to Norwalk Hospital with life-threatening injuries.

Westport Police report he was struck by a southbound vehicle near 575 Riverside Avenue, the area of The Whelk and Saugatuck Sweets.

The operator of the vehicle remained at the scene, and is fully cooperating, as an investigation continues.


As the calendar sprints (or slogs) toward spring, The Joggers Club offers this incentive: a free trial membership in March. For information, email TheJoggersClub@gmail.com.

The group — which emphasizes fun and friendship, for all levels — offers:

Fun Runs: Every Saturday 8 a.m. at Compo Beach; $50 for the season, and a free Brooks running shirt for all new members. Each run is followed by coffee and treats from McDonald’s and Village Bagels.

Track Nights: Every Thursday, 6:15 p.m., Norwalk High School (included in membership)

Running Camp (Sundays, April 23 to June 11, 2 to 3:15 p.m. at the Staples High School track; kindergarten through 8th grade; $75 for members, $125 for non-members; only 10 spots left).

The Joggers Club also notes these upcoming races:

25k Boston Build-up.

United Airlines NYC Half: Run across Times Square and loop Central Park — with no cars.

Minute Man 10k: A Joggers Club favorite. The most beautiful course in New England; help support the great Westport Young Woman’s League.


Club 203 — Westport’s social group for adults with disabilities — celebrates St. Patrick’s Day at The Porch @ Christie’s (March 16, 6:30 to 8 p.m.).

It’s a perfect place. The Cross Highway spot has always offered training and employment to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities — and all pastries come from Sweet P Bakery, which does the same.

Click here for more information on this month’s party.


Future Frogmen is a non-profit organization that empowers high school and college students to be ocean ambassadors and future leaders. Through experiential learning, communication, action, leadership and exploration, they generate public awareness about the ocean and deepen the connection between people and nature.

Future Frogmen have a new home. Save the Sound will now handle its archive of original environmental content, including videos, a blog and the “Blue Earth” podcast.

Save the Sound — a 50-year-old environmental action organization — will expand its own content creation efforts, launching a podcast series with the Westport Library’s Verso Studios. A 6-episode season will explore environmental issues challenging the Long Island Sound watershed.

Future Frogmen was founded by Richard Hyman, a local educator, conservationist, businessman and former crew member for Jacques Cousteau.


Broadway star (and Staples High School Class of 1982 graduate) Michael Hayden has been cast as Fredrik Egerman in the Pasadena Playhouse’s 50th anniversary  production of “A Little Night Music.” 

The production is part of the theater’s 6-month celebration of Stephen Sondheim.

Michael Hayden


Vibraphonist and composer Chris Dingman and his trio rock Christ & Holy  Trinity Episcopal Church’s Branson Hall next Saturday (March 11, 5 p.m.). They merge jazz and global influences in exciting ways.

Click here for tickets; they’re also available at the door.

Chris Dingman


Dexter Abrams and his dad Jason were fascinated by this swan yesterday.

Walking in Parker Harding Plaza, they stopped to watch her build a nest. Dexter snapped this “Westport … Naturally” photo. Just 9 years old, he’s our youngest contributor ever.

Father and son plan to watch the swan as she lays eggs, and hatches them — from a safe, respectful distance of course.

(Photo/Dexter Abrams)


And finally … in honor of last night’s Fashionably Westport gala (story above):

(From Main Street to Carnaby Street, “06880” tells you all you need to know. Please click here to support our work. Thank you!)

Roundup: Beach Ratings, STG Jellybeans, Downtown Art …

Save the Sound has just released grades for more than 200 Connecticut, Long Island and New York state beaches.

Local and regional health departments collect fecal indicator bacteria samples during the swimming months. High counts of fecal indicator bacteria and related pathogens can make people sick, and can be associated with untreated sewage or polluted storm water entering the waters at or near a beach.

Rain often brings polluted storm water to Long Island Sound beaches. Precipitation in the area from May to August 2021 — the period covered by the ratings — were the highest recorded since 2003, when the project began.

And the results:

  • Burying Hill Beach: A+
  • Sherwood Island State Park: A
  • Compo Beach: B+
  • Old Mill: “Not found.”

Click here for the full report.


Next week, Staples Tuition Grants will hand out $400,000 in scholarships to graduating seniors and current college students.

That’s a lot of money. It’s the result of a lot of donations and fundraising.

One of those efforts is this weekend, during the Westport Fine Arts Festival. STG has a booth on Main Street, by J. Crew. For $10, you can guess the number of blue and white (naturally) jellybeans in the jar.

The jar will then appear at the Memorial Day parade, and will be at Summer Shopping Day in front of Manna Toast on June 18.

Winners get part of the prize, and gift certificates to local restaurants. The bulk of the money helps fund STG grants. The contest ends June 22.

How many jellybeans? Start counting!


As noted above, this weekend (Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.), downtown will hum with the 49th annual Westport Fine Arts Festival.

The weekend after that (Saturday, June 4, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.), the Sorelle Gallery on Church Lane hosts artists Julia Contacessi and Michele Poirier-Mozzone for their new “Light Affects” show, with an opening reception.

Click here to learn more.

Julia Contacessi and Michele Poirier-Mozzone. 


Irises are in season. And this beauty in a roadside Owenoke garden is perfect for a “Westport … Naturally” close-up.

(Photo/Jonathan Prager)


Despite the heaviest summer rain since Save the Sound started its beach rating system, Westport’s waters got pretty good grades (see story above).


Roundup: Home Buyers, Save The Sound, Merritt Parkway …


Is it true that every new Westport home buyer comes from Manhattan or Brooklyn?

No. It only seems that way.

According to Coldwell Banker realtor Judy Michaelis, 38% of Westport buyers in the 6 months between January 1 and June 30, 2021 came from … Westport.

Whether trading up, downsizing or moving closer to the beach or woods, nearly 4 in 10 new homeowners are actually still our neighbors.

The next biggest chunk — 17% — came from (yes) New York City.

That was followed by “other states” (15%), Stamford (10%), Norwalk and other Connecticut towns (8% each), New York state (3%) and Wilton (1%).

Wherever you’re from: Welcome to our town, 06880. And also to our “06880” blog.

Many New York City apartment dwellers come to Westport seeking more space.


Save the Sound’s annual Connecticut Cleanup begins at the end of August, and runs through October.

It’s the largest volunteer effort of its kind in Connecticut. Last year, 1,495 volunteers took 7,498 pounds of trash out of 133 miles of coasts and streams.

This year, Save the Sound is adding a crowdsourcing effort to discover new cleanup sites. Westport is one of 15 communities already on the list for an event.

Click here to register, and for more information.


Brian Keane is headed to the New England Music Hall of Fame.

The Emmy Award-winning film documentary composer — also a professional guitarist, film producer and Staples High School Class of 1971 graduate — joins a glittering case of 2021 inductees. They include the late Muddy Waters and his son, Mud Morganfield; blues greats James Cotton, James Montgomery and Duke Robillard, and John Cafferty & the Beaver Brown Band.

Connecticut Magazine features Keane this month. Click here for the full story. (Hat tip: Fred Cantor)

Brian Keane


For the past couple of years, the state Department of Transportation has been removing trees, bushes and buffering hills from the northbound side of Merritt Parkway Exit 41, near the Westport Weston Family Y.

Now they’re putting stuff back. It won’t look the same as it did before.

But it won’t look the way it did recently, either.

(Photo/Bob Mitchell)


Speaking of nature: The Westport Garden Club’s #FridayFlowers arrangements are always gorgeous. This week they had competition, though — they had to look good in a place that’s already beautiful.

They do.

Check out the photo below, from one of Westport’s hidden jewels: the Wadsworth Arboretum. The arrangement comes courtesy of Dottie Fincher and Susan Nettesheim.

(Photo/Susan Nettesheim)


Local to Market — the new artisan food-and-crafts store in the old Remarkable Book Shop — hosts a farm stand on their patio from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today (Saturday, July 31).

They feature Silverman’s Farm and Shaggy Coos farm. There’s fresh veggies including corn and peaches, fresh milk, and 2 local artists: pottery by Anna Aron and woodturnings by Dick Stein. A portion of all sales goes to charity.

In addition, Local to Market is looking for a store manager and sales associate. It’s a great chance to be part of the resurgence of Main Street — and help all kinds of local folks get to market (duh).

Email info@localtomarket.com for details.

The Local to Market patio opened recently, across from Cold Fusion.


Also downtown this afternoon: Jack Eigen will be selling his ice cream (featured recently on “06880”) in front of New England Hemp Farm, in Brooks Corner.

There’s a connection: Colin Bannon, the hemp store owner, is Jack’s Staples High School lacrosse coach.

Just one more way in which Westport coaches go the extra mile for their players.

Jack Eigen, making ice cream.


After Thursday’s rain, a couple of deer appeared at Lori Lustig’s house. This one didn’t know whether to be scared of — or play with — their dog “Ollie.”

And vice versa.

Just one more example of “Westport … Naturally.”

(Photo/Lori Lustig)


And finally … sure, Brian Keane earned fame (and Emmys) scoring music for documentary films.

But he’s also an accomplished jazz guitarist. He’s played with greats like Larry Coryell. Click below, to a enjoy a classic tune.

Burying Hill Is Sound

The 2021 Long Island Sound Beach Report was released this morning.  According to Save the Sound, 79% of the more than 200 Long Island Sound beaches earned “A” or “B” grades for water quality last year.

And there — listed in the Top 10 public beaches in Connecticut, based on water quality — is Westport’s own Burying Hill.

It and Stamford’s Quigley Beach were the only Fairfield County spots on the list.

Water quality at Burying Hill Beach is excellent. (Photo/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)

Key findings of Save the Sound’s 2021 Long Island Sound Beach Report include:

  • That still leaves 16% of Sound beaches with moderate to poor grades. meaning more work must be done to improve water quality and avoid beach closures.
  • Rain is the primary driver for water pollution at area beaches. Water quality failure rates doubled when it rained, even 48 hours later.
  • Rain causes water quality failure for several reasons, including stormwater runoff or sewer line overflow when communities depend on combined stormwater/sewer lines, or have aging sewer lines with undetected leaks.
  • Climate change will mean more rain for the region. It is crucial to invest in stormwater and sewage infrastructure to avoid more beach closures.

Click here for Save the Sound’s interactive maps, listing beach water quality. The full Beach Report can be downloaded from there too.

Remembering Elise Maclay

Elise Maclay — a poet, writer, foodie, elegant dresser and accomplished traveler — died peacefully January 5, in her Westport home by Long Island Sound. She was 95.

She spent her final days looking over the water, surrounded by family and with a photo of her beloved husband David at her side.

Elise attended the College of William & Mary on a full scholarship. She majored in English, graduated Phi Beta Kappa, and served as class poet until her death.

Elise had a successful early career in the heady Mad men days of advertising. She commuted to New York from Connecticut with 2 small children at home, gracefully navigating the mandatory 3-martini lunches in an otherwise male world.

She wrote copy for the prestigious BMW account — and once posed as the model for an ad she created, when the talent did not show up.

Elise Maclay

Elise’s poetry appeared in publications like Nature magazine. Her “Walk Softly” is often quoted by nature lovers.

She wrote 2 books of prose poems, and collaborated on 5 other books with artist Bev Doolittle.

Elise’s poetry, and interest in Native American, wildlife and nature themes, complements Doolittle’s “camouflage” art.

Elise sourced fine food locally, long before chefs used cilantro and kale. A carnivore, she enjoyed great food robustly. Her culinary taste and writing gifts led to another career. For over 25 years she was Connecticut Magazine’s food critic. She captured tastes, ambiance and the personalities and dreams of chefs.

The number of exquisite meals delivered to her home in recent months is a testament to the loyalty and gratitude of many chefs, young and old, whom she discovered and celebrated.

But her true passion was travel — preferably adventures to far and exotic locales — with her husband. She hiked Machu Picchu, explored the Himalayas and climbed Mt. Kenya in a blizzard.

She, her niece LeeLee and dear friend Fi explored the Caribbean islands, Italy and Portugal as recently as last February.

Closer to home, she was a beloved presence at her family’s summer home on Cape Cod. She walked the beaches, swam, read by the fire, and regaled generations of family and friends with adventures and cherished memories.

Her spirit is carried on by her son Gary Gibbs, his wife Kaija and their 4 children; stepson Bill Maclay, his wife Alex, and their 2 sons; stepson David Maclay Jr., his wife Juliet and their 2 sons; cousn Joyce Haun, and an extended network of neighbors, chefs and friends from all walks of life.

She was predeceased by her husband David, son Brian Gibbs and stepdaughter Sherry Maclay.

Elise would want all to know David’s final words, quoting Tennessee Williams: “Make voyages. Attempt them. There’s nothing else.”

Memorials will be held post-COVID in Westport and Chatham, Massachusetts.

Donations in Elise’s name may be made to the CT Hospitality Employee Relief Fund or Save the Sound.

(Hat tip: Judith Hart)

Roundup: Sweet Photos, Trash, Pumpkins, More

Westporters love Tom Kretsch’s photos. They love Saugatuck Sweets. And they love Al’s Angels.

So plan to stop by the ice cream shop patio on the river tomorrow (Saturday, October 10, 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.). Kretsch will display his evocative images — many of his home town.

A percentage of all sales benefits Al’s Angels, the nonprofit started by Saugatuck Sweets owner Al DiGuido to help families with children battling cancer, and families with food needs.

(Photo/Tom Kretsch)

Last weekend, 35 mothers and daughters from Westport’s National Charity League spent a cleaning Compo Beach. The effort supported NCL’s philanthropy partner, Save the Sound.

Volunteers removed over 45 pounds of garbage from the beach. They found PPE, plastic bags, straws and food wrappers, along with 235 cigarette butts, 160 bottle caps and 33 balloons. Data collected will help Save the Sound stop debris at its source. 

A small bit of all the trash.

What’s new at the Senior Center?

Its first-ever pumpkin decorating contest. It’s October 30 (11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.).

Submissions will be judged on originality and scariness. Members can vote for their favorite pumpkins while picking up a drive-through lunch (chicken pot pie, salad, roll, cookie and Halloween treats) from staff members (in costumes).

Seniors can enjoy their meal while socially distancing in the parking lot. Prizes include a Halloween goodie bucket, and a gift card for a Senior Center luncheon.

Lunch is $8. The cost to enter the contest: free (and priceless).

ADL Connecticut’s 10th annual Walk Against Hate will look from the first 9. Though participants can’t join together physically, they’ll still send a powerful message.

Individuals, families, friends, colleagues and teammates are invited to get creative. They can walk wherever they want, from October 12-18. Registration is free, though fundraising is encouraged to help ADL fight anti-Semitism, racism and all forms of hate.

Fundraisers who give or get more than $50 get an ADL bandanna. The first 1,000 people to raise over $150 receive t-shirts.

ADL Connecticut has a strong Westport presence. Director Steve Ginsburg lives here; so does Walk Against Hate chair Claudia Cohen.

Jill Nadel chairs the outreach committee). Terry Bernard, Shelly Herst, Margie Jacobson, Ken Backman, Sara Weiner (co-chair of the education committee), Bret Weiner, Chuck Harris, Liz Kaner, Lynne Goldstein and John Kaufman are all on ADL’s state board. Many other Westporters serve in other capacities.

To register for or donate to the Walk Against Hate, click here.

Instead of a traditional luncheon, the American Cancer Society’s annual “Women Leading the Way to Wellness” event (Wednesday, November 18), is on Facebook Live.

There’s an option to buy a $125 “Wellness Box” to enhance the viewing experience. The boxes are valued at over $175, and include products from The Granola Bar, Performance Physical Therapy and West.

Click here for more information.

And finally … this is the birthday of John Lennon. He would have been — are you ready? — 80 years old today.


Roundup: Showers, Library, Cash, Kayaks, More

Staples High School is open today (Monday, August 10) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., for Westport residents to use hot showers. Everyone must bring their own towels and toiletries. The Community Emergency Response Team will assist with scheduling and social distancing.

Yesterday, CERT volunteers delivered food to seniors in need.

The Westport Library is open from noon to 6 p.m. today too, so residents can charge their devices. Everyone must wear a mask, maintain social distance, and limit their stay to an hour.

Need a place to work?

Office Evolution — the work space in the office building opposite fire headquarters — offers a low rate for this week: a $50 day pass for a private office; $25 for socially distanced co-working, with no additional or hidden fees, and free Starbucks coffee! (Strict safety protocols are of course in place.)

Interested? Email Westport.CT@officeevolution.com or call 203-635-8770 and leave a message. They respond quickly. For more information on Office Evolution, click here.

A reader writes:

“Hocon is a big problem. This is the second storm where they  let us run out of propane when we have a partial generator. My husband started calling them Thursday to say that we had 55% in the tank and would run out by Sunday. He called Sunday 5 times explaining that we’re not getting power till Tuesday midnight or Wednesday. They promised to come today, without an estimated time, but never came.

“I have a heart condition, atrial fibrillation that gets very exasperated by heat.  We have a couple of fans going. When the generator dies, which will happen within the hour, we will have nothing to deal with this heat, and tomorrow’s heat.

“It’s so frustrating to have invested in a generator and not be able to get propane when we need it. This is so upsetting.”

Like many Westporters, John Karrel has been struck by the sudden necessity for actual dollars, quarters and dimes. He writes:

“A week ago, all bets were that cash was on its way out in our world. Yesterday I picked up dinner at March Burger Lobster. I’m now sitting outside Donut Crazy with my iced coffee. Both establishments: cash only!

“The volatility of a pandemic. The shorter-term volatility of a severe power outage. For sure, not our last power outage. Maybe cash does remain a viable Plan B.”

It sure does. Provided your ATM has power.

(Photo/John Karrel)

A reader writes: “Could you provide an update on Optimum, the local cable/internet monopoly? How widespread is their outage? When will they get back online? They are not answering calls or calling back.

“By the way, when I called to cancel part of my service due to an exorbitant monthly fee (before the storm hit), they told me they closed their cancellation department.”

I don’t have any info from Optimum (or Altice, the parent company). I don’t have any sources there either. If any readers knows the answers — or has a special number to call — please click “Comments” below.

You may not have had power. But Mystic Bowie and Talking Dreads had plenty of it yesterday.

The popular band rocked Westport, in the 2nd of back-to-back sold-out “Supper & Soul” shows at the Imperial Avenue parking lot.

Everyone — the powered-up and the power-less — had a fantastic time. Kudos to Mystic and the Dreads. And of course to the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce. Which should probably change its name to “Chamber of Concerts.”

A small part of the large crowd last night.

For the past few days, Westport was up the proverbial creek, without the proverbial paddle.

But grab those paddles. August 14-31 are the dates for the 5th annual Paddle for the Sound. This year it’s virtual, so even the most land-locked lubbers can join.

For 17 days, Save the Sound will help participants raise awareness and funds to find and fix pollution sources, while leading habitat restoration projects throughout the Long Island Sound region.

Prizes will be awarded to 1st place finishers in the Paddle/Kayak, Sail, and Run/Walk divisions for total distance traveled or time spent doing their sport over the span of the event. Prizes also go to the top fundraisers.

Participants will start their virtual races from self-selected launch points, tracking their miles and time with each excursion. Those interested in supporting without racing can “raise their paddle” in an online virtual auction featuring private boat excursions, local artisan products, and a signed New York Giants jersey. For more information and to register, click here.

Local photographer Michael Chait, whose photographs are part of the permanent collection in the Brooklyn Museum, has an outdoor photo show and sale closer to home.

It’s next Sunday (August 9, 12 to 5 p.m., in the outdoor courtyard at 11 Riverside Avenue). It’s an eclectic, “kooky” exhibit of photos through several decade, including classic cars and cityscapes. All are framed and ready to hang.

A classic car photo, by Michael Chait

Back in action, and with power: (among many other businesses): Granola Bar, Ignazio’s, and Joey’s by the Shore Featuring Elvira Mae’s Coffee Bar. We are getting back to normal!

PS: For the past few days, Kawa Ni has operated a food truck.


And finally … utility crews have arrived in Westport from all over. I haven’t seen a Wichita lineman — but I had a great chat Saturday with 2 from Neosho, Missouri, just a few miles from the Kansas border. They drove non-stop to get here, and are driving back and forth from their hotel — which is in Chicopee, Massachusetts (north of Springfield). Westport owes a huge thanks to all the linemen (and linewomen), working hard for us from all around North America.

How Sound Is Our Sound?

Remember the days of persistent algal blooms in Long Island Sound? When hypodermic needles washed up on shore? When only truly brave souls went in for a swim — and then headed straight for the shower?

Those days are thankfully gone. It’s taken a concerted effort — by government and private agencies, working together and on their own — to clean up the Sound.

But how healthy is it today?

Save the Sound knows. The New Haven-based organization’s new online tool provides 10 years of water quality data, easily understandable by the public.

Compo Beach beckons on a hot day. But is the water as healthy as it looks?

Compo Beach beckons on a hot day. But is the water as healthy as it looks?

One section focuses on the health of coastal beaches, including bacterial pollution that leads to beach closures and water quality degradation.

Rainfall data shows which locations suffer from bacterial contamination as a result of wet weather overflows and runoff, and which suffer in dry weather too.

The Findings & Solutions section offers strategies for reducing water pollution.

Every beach in Connecticut and New York is rated, from A to F. SPOILER ALERT: Compo gets a B-.

It’s not the sexiest site on the interwebs.

Nor is this one of the most irresistible stories I’ve ever posted on “06880.”

But if you care at all about Long Island Sound — and who in Westport doesn’t? — then clicking this link might be the most important things you do all day.

(Hat tip: Wally Meyer)