On Sunday, Tom Kretsch and his wife Sandi headed to Compo’s South Beach, by the trees near the kayak launch.
A large group of Staples High School students and parents were setting up for an end-of-summer/start-of-school bash.
Not far away Tom saw a woman with a baby on her back, and 2 other kids tagging along. She stopped at every trash can, gathering cans for redemption.
She halted for a bit, to watch the picnic. Someone came over, with pizza for her and her children.
A few minutes later the woman continued walking, and picking through the trash.
“It was quite a contrast, seeing someone scrounging for cans on our beach, and other people enjoying life on the beach,” Tom says.
“I wondered how she got there, with 3 kids and those heavy bags. What a world of haves and have-nots.
I’ve never seen anything like that on Compo Beach. On we journey, counting our blessings.”
A reminder: Tonight (Tuesday, August 22) is the open house “charrette”: a public review and feedback meeting covering additional plans for the Downtown Plan Implementation Committee’s “Master Plan for Downtown Parking and Pedestrian Areas: Reconnecting the Riverfront.”
Particular focus will be on the Parker Harding Plaza design.
The session begins at 7 p.m. (Westport Library) All residents and downtown stakeholders are invited to attend.
Information on the project is available on the DPIC website. Feedback is welcome in its comments section.
DPIC also conducts regular public meetings, typically the 2nd Thursday of each month at 8:30 a.m.
Parker Harding Plaza cut-through road (left), and Saugatuck River. (Drone photo/John Videler for Videler Photography)
Westport Community Gardens continues its 20th anniversary celebration with another pop-up garden stand.
Everyone is invited to explore the Gardens — and adjacent Long Lots Preserve — and pick up very fresh produce, herbs and flowers this Sunday (August 27, 10 a.m. to noon).
Straight from the Community Gardens. (Photo/Karen Mather)
The Rhimes girls held a very successful lemonade-and-ice-cream fundraiser for Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Services this weekend.
They raised over $4,000 for the great organization (which, many people don’t realize, runs almost entirely on donations).
The feeling of helping a good cause was enough. But the youngsters were rewarded yesterday. President Mike Burns led a personal tour of the facility — and personally thanked the girls.
WVEMS president Mike Burns and EMS member Sammi Henske flank the Rhimes family. (Photo courtesy of Shonda Rhimes)
James Naughton and Carole Schweid entertained a full house last night.
The “Play With Your Food” creator led the actor/director in a discussion on his life on stage and screen — and as a passionate advocate for Connecticut’s Medical Aid in Dying legislation.
Naughton talked about investing in theater (he’s been quite lucky), his work with Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward and many others, and the joys and frustrations of a life in the arts.
The evening included a screening of the short film “Not the Same Clarence.” The film, featuring Jim and his son Greg Naughton, depicts the realities of caring for a parent with dementia, and its impact on their lives.
The Y’s Men of Westport and Weston sponsored the event.
James Naughton and Carole Schweid. (Photo/Dan Woog)
Speaking of acting: Jodi Stevens and Scott Bryce are expanding SBEstudio — their Weston performing arts school — to Saugatuck Congregational Church.
Jodi (a Broadway veteran and voice, singing and acting coach for over 20 years) and Scott (her Emmy-winning producer/director/actor husband, and a former Staplesl Player) offer new programming too, including a spring 6-week film and TV intensive course.
A grand opening is set for this Sunday (August 27, 2 p.m.).
Musical theater group classes and private lessons are available from ages 4-5 (Broadway Beginnings) all the way to 15-18 (Young Professionals). A new Broadway Babies class, for ages 2-3, is in the works.
The Bryce family has a long history with the Saugatuck Church. Scott’s mother Dorothy was deacon emeritus, a founding member of the Interfaith Council of Westport, Weston, Wilton, and a founder of the Theatre Artists Workshop.
Jodi’s scholarship program for talented students without means will continue, under a new name: The SBEstudio Dorothy Bryce Scholarship Fund.
For more information on the Saugatuck Church and Weston programs, click here, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 203-247-6569.
Scott Bryce and Jodi Stevens (Photo courtesy of Celebrity Parents)
Agent Orange has killed more than 300,000 US military veterans since our country left Vietnam in 1975.
The toll continues to rise.
In his new book “Agent Orange: A Short Sickening Saga of War,” Staples High School graduate/longtime Westport/prolific author Carl Addison Swanson explores the subject.
Amazon calls it “the tragic story of a Vietnam Veteran who, after 50 years of good health, is stricken with a heart disease connected directly to his exposure to the chemical AGENT ORANGE during the war.”
It is available on Kindle. Click here to order, and for more information.
The last date of lifeguards at Burying Hill Beach is this Thursday (August 24).
Compo Beach lifeguards continue through September 4.
Beach stickers are required through September 30.
Burying Hill Beach lifeguards’ last day is Thursday. (Photo/Yvonne O’Kane)
Traffic alert: The Department of Public Works’ annual roadway crack seal program begins this Thursday (August 24).
The work will continue for 2 weeks, on 15 miles of roadway. Be alert for 1-way traffic throughout the project.
Crack sealing ahead!
This week on “What’s Next in Weston,” 1st Selectwoman Sam Nestor introduces Carol Baldwin, president of the Friends of Lachat Town Farm.
It’s the first of a 2-part series, covering the programs offered at “The Coachella of Fairfield County.”
The podcast is produced by the Y’s Men of Westport and Weston.
MoCA’s fall exhibition — “Purvis Young: This is the Life I See” — features 36 large scale works by the American “outsider artist.”
This is the first time that the works, from the collection of Lynne and Jack Dodick, have been on public view.
The exhibition open September 15, and runs through December 29. A reception is set for September 14 (6 p.m.; free for members, $10 for non-members. Click here to register.) Advance registration is required.
Purvis Young (1943 – 2010) was a self-taught artist who dealt with the plight of the underprivileged and the consequences of racism and daily violence through a highly distinctive visual style. He lived his entire life in the Miami neighborhood of Overtown, once an entertainment destination as well as a Black neighborhood in the segregated South. Click here for more details.
“Shackled in Blues” (Purvis Young)
Barry Kresch has spent several months observing nature, up close and personal.
He writes: “A pair of cardinals built a nest in a small tree outside my kitchen window. It was fairly low, so I was able to get some shots into it without disrupting the proceedings.
“I got much of the life cycle: first egg, mom sitting, chicks hatched, dinner is served, junior ready to take wing.
“After they left, I removed the nest. My wife told me they decay and get parasites, so the birds don’t reuse them.
“The same or another nesting pair then repeated the cycle. This time the nest was higher in the tree, not conducive to photos.”
This “life cycle” photo is perfect for our “Westport … Naturally” feature:
And finally … on this day in 2011 Nick Ashford — half of the husband-and-wife songwriting/production team Ashford & Simpson, and a former Westport resident — died of throat cancer. He was 70 years old.
(Reach out and touch … “06880” with your supporting hand. Please click here to make a contribution. Thank you!)