Tag Archives: Savvy + Grace

Strolling Along

It’s the magic of the holiday season.

Moments before the 2nd annual Holiday Stroll yesterday, the weather cleared.

Hundreds of Westporters of all ages — including tons of kids — headed downtown.

A small part of the large crowd. (Photo/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)

They met Santa, dropped off letters to him, and gave gifts for the PAL toy drive. They had their faces painted, and got animal balloons.

11-year-old Owen Hill (blue jacket) provided animal balloons for dozens of even younger kids. (Photo/Dan Woog)

They were serenated by Staples High School’s Orphenians, and Greens Farms Academy’s Harbor Blues. They wandered all around downtown too, joining in carols led by professional singer Nick Calabrese (plus 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker).

Nick Calabrese leads carolers. No, the teenagers are not checking their notifications. They’re reading the lyrics to holiday songs. (Photo/Dan Woog)

They nibbled free food and drank hot chocolate at a dozen restaurants, and snagged giveaways and discounts at a few dozen shops.

Garlic knots at Joe’s Pizza! (Photo/Dan Woog)

It was a magical evening. Thanks to the Westport Downtown Association, which partnered with “06880” for the event.

And to the weather gods, who delivered big time when we needed it most.

Staples Orphenians, directed by Luke Rosenberg, offered wonderful music … (Photo/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)

… and the crowd grew larger with every song. (Photo/Dan Woog)

Both 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker and a young constituent were decked out in blinking lights. (Photo/Dan Woog)

Aarti Khosla offered hot chocolate at her Le Rouge chocolatier. (Photo/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)

Nomade handed out candied almonds in bamboo cones — and chocolate chip cookies. (Photo/Dan Woog)

The main tent was outside Cold Fusion. There were plenty of treats inside too. (Photo/Dan Woog)

More hot chocolate, at Manna Toast. (Photo/Dan Woog)

Savvy + Grace put out holiday treats. (Photo/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)

WEST owner Kitt Shapiro drew crowds with a $150 gift card raffle. (Photo/Dan Woog)

Some kids mailed letters to Santa in the Savvy + Grace mailbox … (Photo/Dan Woog)

… and some parents handed them directly to “Santa.” (Photo/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)

Santa greeted youngsters, who were excited … (Photo/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)

… and serious … (Photo/Dan Woog)

… and who photo-bombed him. (Photo/Dan Woog)

Santa was also popular with Greens Farms Academy’s Harbor Blues, after they sang. (Photo/Dan Woog)

Westport PAL collected gifts for kids in need. (Photo/Dan Woog)

Staples freshman Ava Carter and friend Nelly Kaminski painted dozens of young faces. (Photo/Jen Cirino)

The 2nd annual Holiday Stroll was sponsored by “06880” and the Westport Downtown Association. We’re already getting ready for next year’s! (Photo/Dan Woog)

(If you enjoyed last night’s Holiday Stroll, please support “06880.” Click here — and thank you!)

 

Roundup: Suicide Support Group, Sustainable Westport, Savvy + Grace …

A new (and free) support group — “Alternatives to Suicide: Navigating the Darkness Together” — launches October 4. The group meets Tuesdays (7 p.m., 90 Post Road West).

Sponsored by Positive Directions, it’s a safe, non-clinical and peer-led space where people 18 and older can talk openly and non-judgmentally. about suicide thoughts, attempts or experiences like self-harm.

Positive Directions says, “We do not assume suicidal thoughts are connected to mental illness, and you do not need to be experiencing a current crisis to attend. No referrals or connection to mental health services is needed.

People are welcome to show up to a meeting, or call 203-227-7644 or email akernan@positivedirections.org for more information.

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Today’s LobsterFest will draw 1,500 people to Compo Beach. There are lobsters, steaks, beer, wine — and plenty of waste.

The sponsoring Westport Rotary Club is on it. Lobster shells will be recycled (after de-banding); bottles are recyclable, and there’s plenty of composting.

An added element: Sustainable Westport will host informational stations throughout the event. Attendees can learn all about our town’s Zero Weaste and Net Zero initiatives, and how they can help.

Lobsterfest is always a good time. Today, it’s educational too.

Sustainable Westport’s waste stations, at last week’s Slice of Saugatuck.

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Last month, “06880” reported on the kerfuffle involving outdoor tables at Nômade (the new Main Street restaurant replacing Tavern on Main) and Savvy + Grace (the gifts-and-more store on the street level, underneath the eatery).

Shoppers have had a narrow path to the store – until yesterday.

In 13 years of publishing “06880,” I’ve posted dozens of photos of entitled drivers. This is the first one of an entitled bicyclist:

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Yesterday’s “Westport … Naturally” photo showed a beautiful caterpillar, about to become an even more beautiful butterfly.

Today’s illustrates nature in action: a monarch butterfly being devoured by a praying mantis.

It’s a gorgeous world out there. But it’s a jungle, too.

(Photo/Melissa Crouch Chang)

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And finally … It took 62 years. But on this day in 1983, Vanessa Williams became the first Black Miss America.

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(“06880” is Westport’s hyper-local blog. Please click here to support our work.)

Roundup: Outdoor Tables, Opioids, Oscar Edelman …

The Great Table Debate continues.

Following up on Sunday’s “06880” post about the tables outside the new Nômade restaurant — including a photo of only 3, when it was Tavern on Main —  owner Ciara Webster sent this undated shot, of 6 tables:

She adds: “We use smaller tables in order to give a safe walkway and clear access, and to support our neighboring business.

“Our umbrellas are the exact same height. They may appear bigger because they are vented so they don’t cause injury on a windy day by turning inside out. We made sure that they do not block any signs.

“That being said, I love the suggestion to keep them closed until people sit. That was a super idea, and we plan on doing this going forward.”

It’s unclear when Tavern on Main first put tables on Main Street. Here’s a shot from 2014, without them:

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Opioids and counterfeit drugs are everywhere.

Including Westport. The more we know about them — and the potential for overdoses — the better equipped we are to help.

In conjunction with International Overdose Awareness Day, Positive Directions is sponsoring free life-saving naloxone-Narcan training for interested residents. It’s at the Westport Library (August 31, 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.).

Training will include how to recognize an overdose, and administer the drugs. Each participant will receive a free Narcan kit.

Space is limited. Click here to register. For more information on the Westport Prevention Coalition, cljck here.

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Schlaet’s Point — the waters between the Compo Beach Soundview/Hillspoint jetty, and Old Mill Beach — is known for many things: gorgeous views, fishing and disappearing islands, to name three.

Swimming and water sports — not so much.

But the Staples High School water polo team is set up a portable training court there. As they’ve done in past years, they use it for pre-season training.

(Photo/Karen Como)

We’re not sure how treacherous that part of the Sound is. We do know this, though: The Wreckers will rock this season!

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Speaking of sports:

Last month, Oscar Edelman was part of the US U-18 basketball team that finished first at the Maccabi Games in Israel. More than 600 players from across the country tried out for the American squad, which went undefeated at the “Jewish Olympics.”

It was quite a trip. Edelman had a bar mitzvah ceremony there (along with over 100 other athletes), while the opening ceremony was attended by President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Naftali Bennet.

Yesterday, the 6-7 Greens Farms Academy rising senior was honored by his hometown.

RTM District 1 representative Matthew Mandell arranged the ceremony. Local and state dignitaries presented certificates.

Oscar Edelman, with state and town officials, yesterday at Town Hall. He’s the tall basketball player.

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Still speaking of sports (of sorts):

Earlier this month, “06880” reported on Chris Kelly’s training regimen. In preparation for the upcoming Leadville Trail 100 — a 100-miler in the Colorado Rockies, climbing and dipping through nearly 16,000 feet of elevation — he ran up and down Compo Hill.

Fifty times.

The race was last Sunday. Chris’ goal was 25 hours.

He did it — with 8 minutes to spare.

Congratulations, Chris! You earned your prize: a large belt buckle.

PS: Because this is “06880: Where Westport meets the world,” there is of course another connection. Local resident Chris Barnett also finished the great, grueling event.

Chris Kelly (2nd from left) with his crew, after finishing the Leadville Trail 100. He doesn’t even look tired!

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An “06880” reader is worried that Westporters are not worried enough about the current drought. Fairfield County is currently in Stage 2 — not as severe as eastern Connecticut, but our cup is not exactly running over either.

I’ve posted a few “water conservation” stories, including last month’s mandatory twice-weekly irrigation schedule from Eversource.

In an attempt to keep the dry conditions front and center: If you’ve got any photos to serve as visual reminders of what’s going on, please email them to 06880blog@gmail.com.

Shriveled shrubs? Shallow streams? Send pics along!

Low tide at Deadman Brook in 2019. It’s even lower these days. (Photo/Johanna Rossi)

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It’s almost back to school time. (Cue the applause/groans/forehead slaps).

That means it’s look-for-good-kids’-programs time too. Wakeman Town farm offers hands-on activities for ages “0 to 14.” They include “learning about our furry friends, planting and eating fresh veggies, pollinators, compost, and other activities.” Click here for details.

Eager students in Wakeman Town Farm’s “Cooking Around the Globe” class.

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Speaking of back to school: Staples High School rising freshman Paige Foran is getting ready by running a pet supply/food drive. It’s tomorrow (Thursday, August 25, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., PetSmart, 525 Connecticut Avenue, Norwalk).

The drive benefits the Connecticut Humane Society.

Donors can leave these items: newspapers (without inserts), paper towels, large garbage and Ziploc bags, Bounce dryer sheets, new or like-new machine-washable towels and blankets, HE laundry detergent, new or like-new pet beds, sound machines, clay cat litters, cat toys (no catnip!), cat carriers, wand toys, new litter boxes, laser pointers, new cardboard cat scratchers and litter scoops, Kong toys, slow feeder bowls, Nylabones, soft training treats, dog toys, collars and leashes, Pupperoni, Beggin’ STrips, Carefresh bedding, Yesterday’s news litter, small animal and bird toys, Oxbow small animal food, Snuggle safe heat discs, miracle nipples, 4 Paws Easy Feeder, Royal Canin baby cat food, Breeder’s Edge kitten formula, kitten bottles, adult dog and cat food, soft dog treats, cat treats, bird and small animal food.

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Speaking of cats:

This hungry-looking bobcat was prowling around Evergreen Parkway yesterday afternoon.

It’s a first for that neighborhood, says Yvonne Claveloux.

(Photo/Yvonne Claveloux)

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Tomorrow night’s Jazz @ The Post (Thursday, August 25, sets at 7 and 8:30 p.m.) features the Ben Williams Jazz All-Stars. The band includes Brian Glassman, Mitch Schecter, Aaron Alexander and “Jazz Rabbi” Greg Wall.

Williams and Wall first met in 1978. They became close friends and even closer musical comrades, playing all styles and at all available venues. At the New England Conservatory of Music they started a roots jazz project that evolved into the Bourbon Street Bass Band, and jump-started their national touring career.

Later, as the Hi-Tops, Williams and Wall worked together in hard bop and avant garde.

Glassman, Schecter and Alexander have also played with Wall and Williams, over several decades.

There’s a $10 cover, and dinner from 6:30 on from chef Derek Furino. Reservations are strongly suggested: JazzatthePost@gmail.com.

Ben Williams

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Spam email I stopped reading after the first couple of lines:

“Hi Dan, I hope this finds you well! I’ve stumbled across a few of your past articles, and I think you’d be very interested in hearing about our upcoming eBike conversion kit launch.”

Um … no.

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” feature finds Frank and Winston — brothers from the same litter — enjoying low tide yesterday at Old Mill Beach.

(Photo/Nicola Sharian)

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And finally … combining two stories above — Jazz at the Post, and Westport’s drought — we bring you:

(“06880” is fully reader-funded. Please click here to help.)

Seeking Grace

Nômade is the newest entrant on the Westport dining scene.

The long-awaited successor to Tavern on Main has earned great praise — and many repeat customers — for its eclectic cuisine, fresh-looking interior, and imaginative use of the upstairs patio (including a big new bar).

But several residents are concerned about its tables, chairs and large umbrellas by the Main Street entrance. They block the view of Savvy + Grace — the gift-and-more store on the lower level — and make it difficult to enter.

Tables outside Savvy + Grace …

Molly Alger writes:

Annette Norton, the proprietor, is one of the most enthusiastic supporters of downtown Westport, and of ‘shop local, shop small.’ Her shop is a delight, filled with great merchandise, much of it Westport-, 06880- and Fairfield-themed.

She is a philanthropic initiator of fund-raising efforts in Westport, and a champion of trying to make downtown Westport the best it can be. It saddens me when downtown businesses do not support each other. Each one that thrives improves our downtown Westport experience.

… and an umbrella near the entrance on Friday. The landlord moved this umbrella stand from the Savvy + Grace entrance yesterday.  (Photos/Molly Alger)

I asked restaurant owner Ciara Webster for her side. She replied:

We are aware that whatever store is in that lower spot, is of course going to want their safe and visual access and and I believe we have been very sensitive to that.

Tavern on Main always had tables (exact same number as we now have). I believe they were laid out in an identical manner. It would be very wrong of us to do anything that might harm the business of the ground floor shop below us and of course to give our community space to walk unobstructed.

Nothing has changed. It’s been this way for 30-plus years. I’m not sure if Chez Pierre had an outdoor sidewalk seating area, but ever since it became ‘Tavern’ it has.

An undated photo, however, shows only 3 Tavern on Main tables, with 4 seats each, in front of Savvy and Grace. There are currently 7 tables, also with 4 seats each.

Tavern on Main tables. Umbrellas were down, until used.

Nômade’s owner notes that the seating is seasonal, and that outdoor seating is important for people still nervous about COVID. She adds: “We are very conscious to remember it is a privilege and to treat it as such.

“We really do believe that our small outside dining area, will we hope bring new customers to our retail stores. In fact if I had a retail store in the immediate vicinity I’d be thrilled for the exposure to people eating lunch and looking around. ”

This seems like a simple fix. Fewer tables; repositioning them away from the entrance, and keeping the umbrellas down until needed will allow everyone to enjoy a nice meal, followed by a great shopping experience.

Or vice versa.

(“06880” is a non-profit organization, supported entirely by readers. Please click here to help.) 

 

Roundup: Affordable Housing, Gilbertie’s, I-95 Noise …

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Last night’s meeting on a 5-year plan for affordable housing — co-sponsored by the Democratic, Republican, Save Westport Now and Coalition for Westport political parties — drew some interesting comments.

Among them: a proposal to install metered parking downtown. The proceeds — estimated to be $1 million or so annually — could be used to create a substantial affordable housing fund.

With Westport’s credit rating, the town could borrow $20 million.

1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker and Planning & Zoning Commission chair Danielle Dobin at last night’s Town Hall meeting on affordable housing. (Photo/Jimmy Izzo)

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A couple of months ago, “06880” gave a shout-out to Gilbertie’s Herbs & Garden Center. This year, Westport’s 2nd-oldest family business celebrates its 100th anniversary.*

At the time, they were beginning to plan a huge celebration. Now they’re ready to announce details.

The free bash is set for June 4, from noon to 5 p.m. at the garden center on Sylvan Lane South.

The very popular Mystic Bowie’s Talking Dreads will headline the bash. Reggae artists Kale Wale will warm up the crowd.

There’s a petting zoo for kids, and artisans and craft vendors for older folks.

Also on tap: a town-wide scavenger hunt too, with prizes. It will focus on the town’s most historic business, ending (of course) at Gilbertie’s.

Plus 3 food trucks, an ice cream truck and beer vendors.

Antonio Gilbertie — who arrived in Saugatuck in 1919 from Italy, and started out selling flowers from a Sylvan greenhouse — probably listened to opera, not reggae. But he’ll probably be looking down from above, with a proud smile.

*Who’s #1? Gault — by a long shot. The energy company was founded in 1863 — nearly 60 years before Gilberties!

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“06880” reader Jim McKay* wants to raise a ruckus.

His subject: noise.

Jim writes: “In 1958, I-95 sliced through Saugatuck, and other areas of Westport.

“A lot has changed since then. There’s more people, more traffic, more trucks. And more noise.

“The Connecticut Department of Transportation has a number of redesign plans for sections of 95. They include Greenwich, and Westport/Norwalk.

“A few days ago, under pressure from Greenwich town leaders and citizens, Governor Lamont asked CT DOT to revisit the Greenwich project and include possible noise mitigation plans.

“Now is the time for our Westport town leaders and citizens to demand equal revisions to the existing plans, to make sure it include noise mitigation.

“Noise has gotten worse. It will continue to do so. We have a unique opportunity to include noise mitigation before the project goes forward. It must be an incremental cost now — not a massive capital project 20 years in the future.”

*Not the sportscaster. He died in 2008.

Traffic — and noise — have increased since I-95 (then called the Connecticut Turnpike) neared completion in 1957,

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Staples Players’ production of “The Descendants” drew raves. Audiences old and (particularly) young delighted in a never-bef0re-seen production of Disney’s tale.

It’s a tradition for the high school troupe to raise awareness of important causes — and funds — at their shows. This year was especially important.

Costumed actors were on hand as audiences left the theater. It turned into a great photo opportunity for children, and their new high school heroes.

Their parents gave generously. Over 2 weekends, Players collected $8,400 for Save the Children’s Ukraine relief efforts.

Quinn Mulvey (Mal), and a new friend. (Photo/Kerry Long)

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On Saturday, a Westporter was out for a run. A few yards over the Fairfield line, where Old Road becomes Wakeman Lane, he spotted a car balanced on a stone wall, halfway into the woods.

That was bad enough. But the kicker is the bumper sticker.

It reads: “Please Be Patient. Student Driver.”

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There are matching grants. And then there are amazing matching grants.

Two anonymous donors have told Westport Country Playhouse they’ll match every dollar raised — up to $150,000 (!) — between now and June 30.

That’s great news, as the historic theater enters its 91st season. They’ve got an ambitious set of plays planned, and will leverage the funds for greatest artistic and educational impact.

Tax deductible contributions can be made online, by mail (Development Department, 25 Powers Court, Westport CT 06880), or by texting DONATE to 475-453-3553. To learn more about the perks of donating at various levels, click here. For more on this matching drive, click here.

A historic theater has a historic opportunity to raise funds. (Photo/Robert Benson)

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There are runners. And then there are amazing runners.

Monday’s New York Times included a story on Oz Pearlman. He’d just run 19 loops of Central Park — 116 miles — in a single day.

Because “06880”‘s tagline is “Where Westport meets the world,” there is (of course) a local connection.

The main photo showed Oz with a group of runners. Just to his right — wearing a blue-and-yellow hat, to match Oz’s Ukrainian-color outfit — was Alex Freedman.

Alex Freedman (blue and yellow cap) next to Oz Pearlman. (Photo/Hilary Swift for the New York Times)

Freedman — the 1996 Staples High School salutatorian — is now back in town, and running with the local Joggers Club. He is also a founding member of the Central Park Running Club. Both are led by another Westporter, Dave Menoni.

Freedman runs with a third group, the Henwood Hounds. That’s where he met Oz. Freedman joined in for “a small part” of Oz’s Central Park (and record-breaking) journey. (It was also a fundraiser for Save the Children’s Ukrainian relief. Oz busted well past his goal of $100,000.)

When he’s not outside, Freedman is the director of Advantage Testing of Westport,

Notice I resisted the impulse to say he “runs” the highly regarded educational counseling and private tutoring organization.

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Savvy + Grace’s new sign has brought color to that stretch of Main Street, and smiles to passersby.

Most probably don’t know that it’s the work of a noted artist.

Jana Ireijo is famous for her “vanishing murals.” Created with charcoal from wildfires, they are meant to disappear — just as the coral reefs, manta rays and other living things she portrays are, unfortunately, dying out.

Ireijo — a member of the Artists Collective of Westport — has created vanishing murals here. She drew a koala bear opposite Design Within Reach, and a sperm whale on a Winslow Park fallen tree trunk.

She’s worked far from Westport too — in Santa Fe and Maui, among other places.

The peonies on Jana’s Savvy + Grace sign is not meant to disappear. It’s just a colorful addition to a bright downtown spot.

PS: Savvy + Grace offers great custom and pre-made Easter baskets. Click here to see.

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Among his many civic efforts — all of them volunteer, pro bono — attorney Ken Bernhard is a state Department of Agriculture animal (victim’s) advocate. He appears in court proceedings involving animal cruelty cases.

At yesterday’s Westport Rotary Club meeting, he talked about his work. He connected animal abuse with spousal abuse and other crimes.

Bernhard noted:

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.

“When humans act with cruelty, we characterize them as ‘animals.’ Yet the only animal that displays cruelty is humanity.

“Animals are the real victims on this earth. They didn’t declare war, they don’t have weapons, and they don’t want to destroy humans or impose religion. Their only crime is they exist.”

Ken Bernhard, at yesterday’s Westport Rotary Club meeting.

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The Fresh Market ospreys get most of Westport’s love.

But they’re not the only ones in town.

Today’s “Westport … Naturally” feature is a two-fer. Here’s one of the Longshore ospreys:

(Photo/Patricia McMahon)

And a pair at Burying Hill:

(Photo/Alan Phillips)

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And finally … all his life, Julian Lennon refused to sing “Imagine.”

The only time he could consider singing his father’s signature song, he said, would be “the end of the world.”

The war in Ukraine is not that (yet). But it spurred John Lennon’s 59-year-old son to reconsider.

It is “an unimaginable tragedy,” he said. “As a human, and as an artist, I felt compelled to respond in the most significant way I could.”

He performed at a #StandUpForUkraine funddraiser in Prague on Saturday. The event raised $10 billion in pledges for Ukrainian refugees.

Imagine!

 

 

 

“06880” Stroll: Newest Holiday Tradition A Hit!

It’s the magic of the holiday season.

The predicted rain never fell. The temperature was perfect for strolling.

Which is what hundreds of Westporters, plus out-of-town relatives and friends and strangers did last night.

Sam Betit led the Staples Orphenians in a wide range of holiday music.

“06880”‘s first-ever Holiday Stroll featured packed sidewalks, folks wandering in and out of stores for gifts (and freebies), and tons of old-fashioned neighborly fun.

Amy Saperstein (center) and friends Allegra Zemel and Stephanie Tobin strolled Main Street. (Photo/Julian Zemel, age 8)

Staples High School’s Orphenians sang. Santa posed for photos. Staples senior Sophie Alcyone painted kids’ faces.

Samta poses with Zelda and Annabel Cohen.

And Tim Stevenson and Lisa Armstrong won a $50 gift certificate to Savvy + Grace, as Ugly Sweater Contest winners.

Ugly sweater contest winners Lisa Armstrong and Tim Stevenson.

If you were there: Years from now, you can say you were at the first year of this great tradition.

If you missed it: See you in ’22!

Santa poses with the youngest stroller … (Photo/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)

… and with Staples High School 1966 graduate Pam Pollack. (Photo/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)

Face painter Sophie Alcyone at work …

… and Lila Newman shoes off the finished (cheetah) product. (Photo/Lisa Newman)

One view of the Staples Orphenians …

… and another. (Photo/Danielle Dobin)

Cider at Le Rouge Aarti Chocolatiers was one of many merchant giveaways during the “06880” Holiday Stroll.

Santa poses with artist Rosie Jon and son Leo …

… and (2nd and 3rd from left) 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker, Planning & Zoning Commission chair Danielle Dobin, and friends.

Jeffrey Pogue was another contestant in the Ugly Sweater Contest.

And a huge shout-out to all the retailers and restaurants who participated in the “06880” Holiday Stroll:

  • Age of Reason
  • Allison Daniel Designs
  • Calico
  • Cotelac
  • Dark Horse Health & Wellness
  • Franny’s Farmacy
  • The Fred Shop
  • Joe’s Pizza
  • Kerri Rosenthal
  • Le Rouge by Aarti
  • Local to Market
  • Nic and Zoe
  • Organachs
  • Rye Ridge Delicatessen
  • Sorelle Gallery
  • The Toy Post
  • WEST
  • Westport Book Shop
  • Whip Salon
  • Winfield Street Coffee

Roundup: Nile Rodgers, David Hidalgo, Bob Dole …

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Like many musicians, Nile Rodgers has an impressive collection of guitars.

Like very few, he is selling them at auction.

Like even fewer, he’s auctioning them not for personal gain, but for charity.

This month, Christie’s is offering more than 160 pieces from his personal collection. Besides guitars, there are amps, synthesizers and mixing boards — plus clothing and classic cars.

Many are housed right here in Westport. The Grammy-winning composer, producer, arranger, guitarist and Chic co-founder has lived here for years.

Rodgers will donate app proceeds to the We Are Family Foundation. He and life partner Nancy Hunt set up the organization after 9/11. It “promotes cultural diversity while nurturing and mentoring the vision, talents and ideas of young people who are positively changing the world.”

And it’s named, of course, for the smash song he wrote for Sister Sledge.

Click here for the full story. Click here for the Nile Rodgers collection, from the Christie’s catalogue. (Hat tip: Adam Stolpen)

Nile Rodgers, at his Westport home. (Photo courtesy of Sky Arts)

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College a cappella came to Westport last night.

Dartmouth College’s Brovertones brought their bowties and harmonies to the Christ & Holy Trinity courtyard last night. There was a bonfire, s’mores, hot cider — and a heartfelt speech by Brovertone Sam Laskin. The Staples High School grad spoke about how great it was to grow up in a town that fosters the arts.

Dinner was next for the group, hosted by Randy Herbertson in his Church Lane studio. Most of the food was donated by Rye Ridge Deli.

Today — after they all slept at the Laskins’ — it was off on the next stop of their holiday tour.

The Brovertones, at Christ & Holy Trinity Church. (Photo/David Goldstein)

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Like many downtown stores, Savvy + Grace has a gorgeous Christmas tree.

But this one is more than decorative.

Owner Annette Norton is working with the Ralphola Taylor Charity, a YMCA community center that serves low-income Bridgeport children. They earn points for good behavior during after-school activities — then redeem those points at the center’s Holiday Store by buying presents for their families.

In return for purchasing a gift for the Ralphola Taylor Charity, Annette will personalize a white dove ornament with the donor’s name, and hang it on the tree.

Gifts can be bought 3 ways:

  • At Savvy + Grace (next to the former Tavern on Main restaurant)
  • Online (at checkout, just choose free delivery to the charity)
  • Purchase something from any other local store, then drop it off at Savvy + Grace. What a great way to support all Westport merchants, and kids in Bridgeport.

Donations are accepted now through December 12. Let’s fill that tree — and the Ralphola Taylor Charity Holiday Shop shelves!

Annette Norton at Savvy + Grace last year. This season, the tree is inside her store.

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In 2020, I reported on David Hidalgo’s battle against leukemia.

The carpenter/handyman/home improvement contractor extraordinaire is beloved by Westporters. They adore his workmanship, care, willingness to tackle any project; his problem-solving, humility, politeness, and ear-to-ear smile.

He had no disability insurance. But many friends — and strangers — stepped up to help. On his 32nd birthday, David was pronounced cancer-free.

Devastatingly, it’s now returned.

He starts treatment tomorrow, and hopes for a bone marrow transplant.

Without health insurance, he, his wife and 2 young children need lots of help.

He has 2 young children and a lovely wife. They have no health insurance and will need a lot of help.

A GoFundMe drive can defray medical costs. A meal train can help too.

David’s many friends and very pleased clients hope that Westport can give generously to this special man, and his family. (Hat tip: Jennifer Zorek-Pressman)

David Hidalgo and family.

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Bob Dole — the World War II hero, Senate majority leader, presidential and vice presidential candidate, veterans’ advocate, and skillful politician in all the positive senses of the word — died yesterday, at 98.

His long and varied life no doubt brought him at least a few times to Westport, for fundraising and other events. I met him once, at the Apple Festival at Staples High School.

That’s been gone for a while, but it was an old-fashioned, community celebration every October. It must have been a presidential election year, though I can’t remember which one.

I was surprised that a man of his stature would be shaking hands at a small event like that. But I was impressed that he met voters with grace, a smile, and a couple of jokes.

I shook his hand — his left one, because his right hand was severely injured during his service with the 10th Mountain Division. I was not going to vote for whoever he was stumping for, but neither would I pass up the honor of meeting him.

It remains a fond memory. If only we had iPhones back then.

Senator Bob Dole

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Former Westporter — and longtime Planning & Zoning Commission member –Ed Van Gelder died last week, at Meadow Ridge in Redding. He was 98 years old.

In 2009, he and his wife Inge celebrated their 60th anniversary. Their son Jeff wrote a beautiful piece for “06880,” about what Westport meant to them both. Click here to read.

An obituary has not yet been published. Condolences may be sent to Jeff Van Gelder, c/o1326 Meadow Ridge, Redding, CT 06896. (Hat tip: Rose Jordan)

Inge and Ed Van Gelder

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“06880” readers are not the only people who love Werner Liepolt’s artwork.

The regular contributor to our Saturday online art gallery has just had his en plein air painting of Sherwood Island State Park juried into the Mart Twain Library‘s 49th annual art show. Submissions came from across the country.

The fundraiser for the Redding institution — which was founded by the legendary writer — runs through December 12.

The Mark Twain Library is a fitting spot for Liepolt’s work. He spent over 30 years in Westport as an English teacher.

Werner Liepolt’s Sherwood Island artwork was featured in the “06880” art gallery last March. It’s now in the juried Mark Twain Library show.

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Speaking of Sherwood Island: Mill Pond residents were surprised to wake up this morning to lights and action.

It was presumably Netflix, filming “Mr. Harrigan’s Phone.” The Stephen King thriller stars Donald Sutherland and Jaeden Martell, and will be released next year.

A temporary “trailer park” has been erected at the state park. To answer questions from readers: No, it’s not permanent.

Sherwood Island State Park, as seen from the Mill Pond early this morning. (Photo/James White)

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The deer keeping coming. Jill Grayson took today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo at her Berkeley Road home, off Easton Road.

(Photo/Jill Grayson)

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And finally … in honor of Nile Rodgers’ charitable gifts (above) — well, you knew this was coming:

Roundup: Leaf Blowers, Lamont, Trunk Or Treat …

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Yesterday’s “06880” post about leaf blowers created a lot of noise.

On November 8 (7 p.m.), Wakeman Town Farm hosts an information session to clear the air about the impact of gas blowers on our bodies and environment. There will be information too about a gas leaf blower ordinance being presented to the Representative Town Meeting.

The panel includes RTM member Kristin Schneeman, lead co-sponsor of the ordinance; Valerie Seiling Jacobs, advisor with the non-profit Quiet Communities, and Alice Ely, advocate for Westport’s Pollinator Pathway.

The event is moderated by Liz Milwe, WTF co-chair and proponent of Westport’s successful plastic bag ban. Tickets are $10. Click here to register.

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Governor Lamont believes that Connecticut residents should shop local.

So when it came time to pick out a gift for his wife’s birthday, he headed to one of his favorite spots: Savvy + Grace.

The Main Street store was not open decades ago, when Lamont was a young man living on Saugatuck Shores. But he discovered the gift shop-and-more on a trip to Westport, and has loved it ever since.

Governor Lamont, on Main Street.

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Pirates, princesses, superheroes — and all other costumed characters ages 12 and under (and their parents) are invited to tomorrow’s Trunk or Treat event, at the United Methodist church (Sunday, October 31, 1 to 3 p.m.).

It’s fun — and benefits local food pantries. The requested admission is a non-perishable food or cash donation.

Ideas for non-perishable food donations: hearty Soups, peanut butter and jelly, pasta and sauce, snacks like granola bars, canned items (chicken, tuna, beans, fruits, vegetables), cold cereal and oatmeal, shelf-stable milk, pancake and cakek mixes, rice, and mac and cheese.

For more information, click here.

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Jolantha — Weston’s favorite holiday sculptor — welcomes Pumpkin Day. (“Some find Halloween too spooky,” explains Jolantha’s creator, Hans Wilhelm.

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The air is getting colder. But folks continue to flock to Westport. So — as this “Westport … Naturally” photo shows — do our fine feathered friends.

Of course, they were there first.

(Photo/Bruce Borner)

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And finally … tomorrow is Halloween. Kids will dress up as anything. Maybe a walrus?

Meanwhile — once upon a time — the day before Halloween was “Mischief Night.” Hard to believe now, but Kids would toss toilet paper over trees, smash mailboxes, and throw eggs.

So, in honor of walruses and eggmen:

 

 

Roundup: Free Money, Pumpkins, College Transcripts …

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Does your organization want free money?

Tomorrow (October 30, 2021) is the deadline for Fairfield County non-profits to apply for a grant from the Westport Woman’s Club. They go to deserving groups working in education, health and safety, and the arts.

Applications are being accepted too for a one-time use of their clubhouse, for an event.

Typed proposals should be sent — postmarked by tomorrow — to: Westport Woman’s Club, Attn.: Community Service Grant, 44 Imperial Avenue, Westport, CT 06880.

For more information, call 203-227-4240 or click here.

The Westport Woman’s Club on Imperial Avenue is giving out grants — and offering the use of its clubhouse for an event.

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The 2nd remarkable season of the Remarkable Theater’s drive-in comes to an end with an exciting Halloween weekend.

Tonight (Friday, October 29, 6:30 p.m.), it’s Beetlejuice.

Tomorrow (Saturday, October 30, 6 p.m. — “come in costume; truck or treat!”), there’s a double feature: “Its the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” and “Curious George: A Halloween Boo Fest.”

Click here for tickets, and more information.

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Speaking of pumpkins: Liam Borner and Julia Matusiewicz turned this one into something — well, great:

Can you top that> Send a photo to dwoog@optonline.net.

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Craig Schmarr, the Westport Public Schools’ supervisor of building operations,  died yesterday morning at Bridgeport Hospital. He served the district for over 27 years, in a variety of capacities. A full obituary will appear later.

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The tent outside Savvy + Grace was packed last night. Owner Annette Norton hosted a special “shopping and cocktails” benefit for The Cancer Couch breast cancer foundation.

WICC;s “Melissa in the Morning” was among the dozens of guests. The event was held in memory of Laura Nelson, the beloved Westporter who died last month.

Annette Norton, at last night’s Savvy + Grace benefit for The Cancer Couch.

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COVID has dramatically altered the college landscape — and the application process.

Private counselor Amy Chatterjee believes that a transcript is the most important part of a student’s application. On November 8 (7 p.m., Zoom), the Westporter offers a 1-hour workshop for parents.

She’ll discus “what it actually is, how students can show a love of learning through their courses,” and more. Click here for more information, and to register for the free event.

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Autumn means more than changing leaves. Tree Board chair Monica Buesser’s “Westport … Naturally” photo shows the sometimes overlooked beauty of this familiar scene:

(Photo/Monica Buesser)

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And finally … Robin McNamara died last week, at 74. He played Claude in the Broadway production of “Hair,” and had this very ’70s-ish pop hit. (Hat tip: Amy Schneider)

Roundup: De Tapas, Pink Floyd, Pumpkins …

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One of the earliest casualties of COVID was Chez 180.

The patisserie at 180 Post Road East had been open just a couple of weeks in March 2019. It earned rave reviews, but could not weather the sudden, total town shutdown.

Now — 19 months later — a new tenant is moving in. According to a sign on the door, it’s De Tapas: a “Spanish gastropub.” Details to follow soon.

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Adventure, music, sports and motorcycles — all star in the upcoming Remarkable Theater schedule.

Films at the Imperial Avenue drive-in include:

  • “Pirates of the Caribbean” (Saturday, October 16)
  • “The Last Waltz” (Monday, October 18)
  • “Slap Shot” (with Westport’s own Paul Newman: Tuesday, October 19)
  • “Easy Rider” (Wednesday, October 20)
  • “Pink Floyd: The Wall” (Saturday, October 23).

All shows begin at 6:30 p.m. Click here for tickets and more information.

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As the leaves turn, Earthplace welcomes families for fun events. They include:

Pumpkin carving and painting (Saturday, October 23, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. — click here to register)

Halloween stories and family campfire (Sunday, October 31, 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. — click here to register)

Bicycle repairs (while you wait: Friday, November 5, 12 to 3 p.m.).

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You should never drive while distracted.

Especially from tomorrow through October 31.

That when the Westport Police Department joins the state Department of Transportation’s “distracted driving enforcement campaign.”

They note that sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for 5 seconds. At 55 mph — the average speed on the Post Road, sometimes, ahem — that’s like driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed.

And did you know that driving while texting is 6 times more dangerous than intoxicated driving?

If you don’t care about that, consider this: Tickets for distracted driving are $200 for the first offense, $375 for the second, and $625 for all subsequent violations. 

Considering the consequences, that’s low.

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Bob Cooper reports vandalism at the Riverwalk downtown. He noticed a bench that was missing, except for one leg. The other leg, as well as its engraved seat, were in the water.

Fortunately, he says, the bench look reparable. It’s made from 3 piece, and each appears intact.

He also spotted engraved bricks that had been thrown into the brush:

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Yesterday’s Roundup note about the upcoming webinar on the impact of family violence on children (October 18, 7 p.m.) was missing a linkClick here to register.

The event is sponsored by the Westport Domestic Violence Task Force, Westport Human Services Department and Westport Library

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What’s better than shopping and cocktails?

How about shopping, cocktails and supporting breast cancer research?

Savvy + Grace’s fundraiser offers all that. The date is Thursday, October 28; the time is 5 to 7 p.m. (146 Main Street). Funds raised for the Cancer Couch Foundation will be matched 100%.

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Congratulations, Avi Kaner!

The former 2nd selectman and Board of Finance chair has been named to the Algemeiner’s list of “Top 100 People Positively Influencing Jewish Life 2021.”

His writeup calls the co-owner of the Morton Williams supermarket chain a “social media activist on behalf of Israel. When ice cream manufacturers Ben & Jerry’s announced in July that its products would no longer be sold to Jewish communities in the West Bank, Kaner went on the counteroffensive, securing agreement from the Morton Williams Board to reduce the Ben & Jerry’s products it sells in its 16 stores in New York and New Jersey by 70 percent.”

Avi Kaner

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Congratulations too to Lucy Dockter.

A Staples High School Inklings editor, and editor of the literary journal Soundings, was quoted at length in a Guardian story about the school surveillance tool Gaggle. The reporter found her through an Inklings editorial she wrote last year. Click here for the eye-opening Guardian article.

Talk about surveillance!

Lucy Dockter

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The outdoor fall fun celebration (with ’70s singalong) at the Unitarian Church in Westport, scheduled for this Saturday, has been moved to Sunday (October 17, 12 to 3 p.m.) due to predicted rain.

The event includes a musical mural, cake carousel, rock painting and bobbing for apples. For COVID safety, bring your own food.

Westport’s Unitarian Church

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The VFW is collecting new hats, scarves, mittens, gloves and socks, for men women and children.

There will be a drop-off box in the lobby (or patio, if closed) at their building (465 Riverside Avenue), from October 23 through November 20. They ask for only those items listed above.

VFW Joseph Clinton Post 399.

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Westporter Jim O’Donoghue died Sunday. He was 83 years old.

The Dublin native captained the rugby team at University College Cork. He earned a bachelor’ degree in electrical engineering there, and also met his wife Margaret.

Working for Quigley steel refractories, Jim travelled extensively, and brought his 3 daughters mementos from all over the world. The company was bought by Pfizer, and the family moved to Westport in 1984.

Jim ran regularly, golfed and rowed. He loved fishing, especially on Waterville Lake. He was a historian, a great conversationalist and a gripping storyteller. Dinner was punctuated with discussions on politics, as well as anecdotes about travel.

Jim wrote several books, including children’s stories, and read avidly. He was a fan of Russian classics and spy novels.

Jim is survived by Margaret, his wife of 58 years; daughters Elina (Dan), Sharon (Jack) and Lisa (Ilair); brother Neil; sister Anne, and grandchildren Ryan, Ciara, Maija and Sophie.

A viewing and farewell is set for Harding Funeral Home in Westport this Sunday (October 17, 3 to 6 pm). Mass will be held at St Luke Church also in Westport on October 18 (11 a.m.) The service will be live streamed (click here).

Jim O’Donoghue

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Fall is all about colorful leaves. But today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo takes us to Bonnie Brook Road, and a different kind of scene.

(Photo/Liz Blasko)

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And finally … Paddy Moloney died Monday in Dublin, at 83.

The New York Times called him “the playful but disciplined frontman and bagpiper of the Chieftains, a band that was at the forefront of the worldwide revival of traditional Irish music played with traditional instruments.”

They won 6 Grammys, and collaborated with everyone from Van Morrison, Mick Jagger and Paul McCartney to Luciano Pavarotti. Click here for the full obituary.