Tag Archives: Slice of Saugatuck

Roundup: Election Day, Thanksgiving, Kristallnacht …

Pigs can’t vote.

But people can.

And everyone should. It’s the central tenet of democracy. Millions of people have marched, sacrificed, even given their lives for this country to ensure that right.

Billions of people around the world wish they had what we have.

Jolantha — Weston’s favorite pig — reminds “06880” readers, wherever in America they are, that today is Election Day.

If you live in Westport, click here for a sample ballot. (Thanks, Jeff Looby!)

If you live in Connecticut, click here to find your polling place. Then go there!

NOTE: Voters at Coleytown Middle School polling place should take the first entrance on North Avenue (the one right after Coleytown Elementary School), rather than the one at the top of the slight hill.

(Photo/Hans Wilhelm)

Turnout was light this morning. This was the scene at the Westport Library polling station.

(Photo/Dan Woog)

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Speaking of the election: It’s a bit late. And most voters have probably made up their minds.

But yesterday, Sustainable Westport said: “This year, in lieu of environmental debates (issues with scheduling), we provided candidates with questions on environmental issues and sustainability. They submitted answers at the end of last week.”

For candidates for State House District 143, click here. Candidates for District 136 did not respond. For candidates for State Senate District 26, click here.

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Saugatuck Congregational Church will not host their traditional community Thanksgiving feast this year.

However, Westport’s Department of Human Services will once again join with the Westport Housing Authority and Homes with Hope to provide food gift cards and meals to those in need.

Those organizations are working with Coleytown Elementary School, Coleytown Middle School and Temple Israel to continue their traditions of offering homemade cards, gifts and pies.

Human Services director Elaine Daignault adds, “We are grateful to the Westport Woman’s Club. They provide grocery gift cards to distribute to food-insecure residents, and assist with the cost of specially catered meals from the Sherwood Diner for Westporters who receive home-delivered meals through the Senior Center.

For more information, contact Human Services by phone (203-341-1050) or email (humansrv@westportct.gov). “We are here to help!” Daignault says.

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With antisemitism on the rise in the nation, The Conservative Synagogue invites all Westporters to commemorate Kristallnacht — the Nazis’ “Night of Broken Glass” — this Saturday (November 12, 5:30 p.m., 30 Hillspoint Road).

The service includes Havdallah and hearing eyewitness testimony from Kristallnacht survivor Fred Behrend.

Click here to register.

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Saugatuck Rowing Club’s junior athletes won several medals at last month’s season-ending Head of the Schuylkill Regatta in Pennsylvania.

But they’re winners off the water too. The young rowers (and their parents) spent last weekend cleaning up the banks of the Saugatuck River, right by their home boathouse.

Thirty participants amassed over 300 pounds of trash. That’s 10 pounds of garbage per person.

Keep Norwalk Beautiful provided supplies. Jen and Adam Goldberg of Pop-Up Bagels donated nearly as many bagels as there were pounds of trash.

Saugatuck Rowing Club plans an encore this spring.

A small bit of the large amount of trash collected by Saugatuck Rowing Club volunteers.

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Speaking of Saugatuck: Slice of Saugatuck delivers. The September event raised $5,000 for Homes with Hope.

The 10th annual festival brought over 2,000 people to  experience, sample and taste their way through the neighborhood. To date, donations from the Slice to Homes with Hope, for use in their Gillespie Center Food Pantry, total over $40,000.

“The Festival is all about food — food for those who can afford it, and now food for those who can’t,” says Matthew Mandell, executive director of the Slice’s sponsor, the Westport Weston Chamber. “We are so pleased we have been able to make these donations each year to help ease food insecurity. It’s a win-win.”

From left: Bob O’Mahoney and Harry Brady Viva Zapata owners; Bill Rizzuto owner of Rizzuto’s; Helen McAlinden director of Homes with Hope; Matthew Mandell, Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce director; Robert Curwen, Chamber member.

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In 2010, former Red Sox pitcher John Trautwein lost his son Will to suicide. There was no sign or warning.

Trautwein and his family formed the “Will to Live Foundation.” The goal is to encourage teenagers and young adults to “talk about it,” and serve as “life teammates” for each other.

On November 17 (7:30 p.m., Town Hall), Trautwein will speak about this important topic. The event is sponsored by Westport Youth Services, the Police Athletic League, and the Teen Awareness Group.

Trautwein spoke to high school athletes in August, at the FCIAC leadership conference. His message was strong, and well received.

This program is aimed at parents, middle and high school students, coaches, and anyone who works with young people. Additional resources and counseling support will be available through Kids in Crisis and Positive Directions during and after the event.

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Why is a college transcript so crucial?

This Thursday (November 10, 7 p.m., online), Amy Chatterjee — senior college counselor from Collegewise, — discusses what a transcript actually is, how it can “show a love of learning through courses,” and why it’s the most important part of the college application.

Click here to register.

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Usually, it’s music teachers who watch their students perform on stage.

On November 20 (MoCA Westport, 4 p.m.), faculty members of the Westport School of Music will be on stage for a special concert. “Autumn Colors” will celebrate nature’s splendor, through piano, strings, flute, guitar and voice.

Highlights include “Autumn in New York,” “The Great Pumpkin Waltz” from “Charlie Brown,” and “Autumn” from “The Four Season of Buenos Aires.”

After the concert, guests can greet the musicians, and enjoy refreshments and drinks at the MoCA Bar.

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This week at Jazz at the Post: Spain’s “finest and most celebrated jazz pianist,”  Abé Rabade. Very popular throughout Europe, he’ll perform at VFW Joseph J. Clinton Post 399 this Thursday.

Rabade’s music blends classic Catalonian and Galician styles, along with the soulful and swinging “great jazz tradition.”

Joining in are Rale Micic (guitar), “Jazz Rabbi” Greg Wall (saxophone), David Richards (bass0 and Tim Horner (drums).

There are shows at 7:30 and 8:45 p.m., with dinner starting at 7. Tickets are just $15. Email Jazzatthepost@gmail.como for reservations.

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Longtime Westporter Joan Kahn died Saturday, in Norwalk Hospital. She would have been 98 next month.

Joan’s family described her as “feisty, independent, determined, brilliant and caring.:

A “founding mother” of modern Westport, she and her husband Ed moved to Westport in 1953 from New York City. They lived first on Charcoal Hill, then built a home on Coach Lane.

Joan’s family called her “a sounding board and encourager of husband Ed throughout his town leadership as he chaired the Representative Town Meeting, spearheaded efforts to save Cockenoe Island, positioned Westport as the first town meeting to vote against the war in Viet Nam, and was a part of the committee that bought Longshore.”

With a group of mothers, Joan started the Westport Cooperative Nursery School (now Westport Nursery School).

Joan was valedictorian of her high school class at Calhoun High School in
New York, graduated from Smith College, and earned her social work degree from Columbia University in 1952.

She was an early “career mother,” as a social worker at Norwalk Hospital, then Bridgeport Hospital, and finally in the Norwalk school system, from which she retired.

She was an avid follower of politics, curious world traveler, and consummate reader. She was also an active, loving, mother of 3 children. all of whom attended Westport schools: Karen, Shoshi
and Dan.

She also leaves 6 grandchildren — Ron, Edwina, Maya, Eli, Max  and Emma =- and 4 great-grandchildren.

Joan Kahn

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Wakeman Town Farm volunteer Thomas Schmidt stopped feeding breakfast to the animals just long enough to snap today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo:

(Photo/Thomas Schmidt)

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And finally … Alice Cooper wanted to be elected.

If you want your candidate to be elected too … head to the polls! They’re open until 8 p.m. tonight.

(Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, Greens, independents, Whigs, Know-Nothings, and everyone else: Vote with your wallets. Please click here to support “06880.”)

 

 

 

Roundup: Slice & Dog Fest, Khaliq Sanda, Gabi Conti …

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A few folks grumble about paying admission to the Slice of Saugatuck or Westport Dog Festival.

Quit bitching. Held this fall after a COVID hiatus, they helped fund donations of more than $10,000 to non-profit organizations. The Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce sponsors both events, and announced the grants.

The traditional recipient of the Slice of Saugatuck is Homes with Hope’s Gillespie Food Pantry. This year’s donation of $4,500 brings the grand total since the Slice began to over $30,000. The giant neighborhood food tasting tagline is: “Food for those who can afford it, and food for those who can’t.”

Donations to local non-profits from the Dog Festival total $6,000 this year: $4,000 to co-producer TAILS; $1,000 to the Westport Police Department (split between the K9 unit and Animal Control via Westport Animal Shelter Advocates); $500 to Fidelco Guide Dogs; $250 to the Connecticut Humane Society, and $250 to Adopt-a-Dog.

The Dog Festival returns this spring to its usual date. Slice of Saugatuck will be held right after Labor Day.

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For years, Richelle Evarts has been a familiar, friendly face at Organic Market.

She’s been diagnosed with colon and liver cancer. Her husband William is reaching out for help.

He writes: “After exploring many options, she decided to take an integrated holistic medical path to recovery.

“Unfortunately, insurance doesn’t cover such a path. We found a facility in Mesa, Arizona, with an extensive 6 week-stay.

“I’m reaching out to all who know Richelle and what a beautiful, wonderful and giving person she is, I’m asking you to help us reach our goal for her to live many more healthy and active years. Any donation is greatly appreciated.”

Click here for Richelle’s GoFundMe page. (Hat tip: Sarah Gross)

Richelle Evarts

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Often, the state Department of Transportation works slowly.

This time, they got the job done quickly. And right.

Earlier this month, the Hillspoint Road bridge over I-95 was named for Khaliq Sanda. He’s the smart, energetic, dynamic and popular 2013 Staples High School graduate (and A Better Chance of Westport scholar) who was diagnosed with brain cancer while majoring in pre-med at Duke University. His death in March devastated Westport.

Today, signs went up on the span. They’ll serve as a constant reminder of all that we lost.

(Photo/Ben Joseloff)

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Speaking of bridges: Sunday was UN Day. As always, flags of member nations flew proudly on the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge.

(Photo/Tracy Porosoff)

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A few days ago, our “06880” Roundup previewed Todd Suchotliff’s upcoming New York Marathon — which he would run entirely in Westport. A recent arrival in town, he invited his friends (and strangers) to run a bit with him, or cheer along the route.

It happened Sunday. Todd reports:

“It was a great day, made all the better with help from the amazing community here in my new hometown, from start to finish.

“My neighbors came out to cheer me on. Three people from the Joggers Club ran with me — one for the first 20 miles (!), the others to run the last 6.2 home. Plus my family chased me all around Westport, holding up signs and cheering for me.

Thank you fall. And we raised close to $8,500 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, in my mom’s memory.”

Todd Suchotliff and friend.

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In June 2020, I started an “06880” story on Gabi Conti this way:

“The guy who got away. The guy who’s hotter than you. The guy you always go back to. The guy who’s much older. The guy who’s toxic. The guy you can’t remember.

“Gabi Conti knows them all. She’s dated them all.”

The hook was that Gabi — a 2005 Staples High School graduate — had just written a book. Called “20 Guys You Date in Your 20s,” it was a compilation of her greatest hits — and misses.

Gabi is now 34. As of earlier this month, she’s also married.

This past weekend, the New York Times featured her Greens Farms Church wedding. Click here for the whole story.

Spoiler alert: The 31st date was a charm.

Gabi Conti and Daren Johnson (Photo courtesy of Robert Norman Photography)

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The Town Clerk’s office (Town Hall, 110 Myrtle Avenue) will be open this Saturday (October 30, 9 a.m. to noon) to issue absentee ballots for the November 2 election.

Absentee ballots will continue to be available on Monday, November 1, until 4:30 p.m. All ballots must be returned to the Town Clerk’s office no later than 8 p.m. on Election Day.

Questions? Click here; email tclerk@westportct.gov, or call 203-341-1110.

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With all our recent focus on animals, “Westport … Naturally” has neglected a no-brainer: fall foliage.

This wonderful shot is from Gray’s Creek.

(Photo/Patricia McMahon)

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And finally … Jay Black, the 2nd “Jay” of Jay and the Americans, died Friday in Queens, of cardiac arrest. He was 82, and suffered from pneumonia and dementia. (Click here for the full obituary.)

The first Jay (Traynor) had a great voice, on songs like “She Cried.” But Jay Black’s baritone made his predecessor sound like a wannabe. Consider these classics:

Roundup: Saugatuck Slice, Beachside Bridge, Dr. Scott Gottlieb …

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There’s a lot going on next Saturday.

But leave time for the Slice of Saugatuck. The 9th annual event runs September 25, from 2 to 5 p.m.

Over 50 restaurants and stores will participate. Over 2,000 people will stroll the streets, snack on samples, enjoy music and kids activities, and learn more about the joys of Westport’s original town center.

This year’s footprint expands to include Riverside Realty (with a band in the parking lot), and the VFW and Westport Paddle Club across the street.

The Maker Faire area will once again be in Luciano Park.

There’s live music at 7 locations: Outside Chance, Silver Steel, Otis & the Hurricanes, The Howling Barncats, Elana Zarabi, Accidental Breakdown and School of Rock. Plus roving theatrical performances, and taekwando demonstrations.

New this year: boat rides, courtesy of Carefree Boat.

Two beer gardens (with wine — hey, this is Westport) are located on Bridge Square and Railroad Place. Many of restaurants will also offer specialty drinks indoors. Many will also hold special Saugatuck Happy Hours, with more food and drink after 5 p.m.

The price is again $15 per adult (with a two-for-$25 option). Kids under 13 remains $5; age 5 and under are free. Cash only!

The sponsoring Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce has donated over $30,000 to the Gillespie Center’s food pantry, with proceeds from prior events.

For more information and a Slice of Saugatuck map, click here.

From Bridge Square to Railroad Place — and everywhere else — Slice of Saugatuck is packed. (Photo/Terry Cosgrave)

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With little fanfare, the Beachside Avenue bridge over I-95 has reopened. It took several months, but the new span should last for decades.

Speaking of decades: The Kings Highway project — which is such an itty-bitty thing, no one even knows it’s a bridge — continues its glacial pace.

Renovation began during the Coolidge administration. (Hat tip: Tom Lowrie)

The new Beachside Avenue bridge. (Photo/John Karrel)

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Dr. Scott Gottlieb’s new book will not be released until tomorrow. But — based on pre-orders — Uncontrolled Spread: Why COVID-19 Crushed Us and How We Can Defeat the Next Pandemic — is already a best-seller.

The book by the former FDA commissioner (and our Westport neighbor) describes how the coronavirus raced through our nation. Gottlieb had a front row seat: he was in regular contact with President Trump, key players in Congress, and the drug industry.

Meanwhile, new dangers lurk around every corner. Gottlieb addresses our preparations for the next virus. Are we ready?

Click here for more information, and to order his book.

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Save the Children is no longer headquartered in Westport. But it maintains strong ties here.

On September 30 (6:30 p.m., Westport Library), they’re sponsoring an evening with Christina Baker Kline. The best-selling author will join STC’s CEO Janti Soeripto and chief strategy officer Mark Shriver to discuss what the organization is doing for vulnerable children, here and abroad.

The evening includes wine and hors d’oeuvres. To purchase tickets, click here. Questions? Email mleffel@savethechildren.org.

 

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Our “Westport … Naturally” photos are usually serene. But I can’t recall a more peaceful, soothing image than this.

(Photo/Lawrence Weisman)

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And finally … Brook Benton was born 90 years ago today. He died in 1988 of pneumonia, just 56 years old.

Versatile in rock, R&B, pop and gospel, he had 49 singles on Billboard’s Hot 100. This is one of my all-time favorites, from any artist.

 

Rush Of Events Fills Chamber’s Fall

The pandemic played havoc with our lives.

Not to mention the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce’s calendar of events.

A host of town activities — from Slice of Saugatuck and the Dog Festival to the Halloween Window Painting Contest — were postponed at least once.

Now they’re coming back. And the schedule is jam-packed.

On tap:

  • Slice of Saugatuck (Saturday, September 25): A walkable, eatable (tons of restaurant samples!), family-friendly and fun afternoon, in Westport’s funkiest neighborhood.
  • Westport Dog Festival (Sunday, October 10): Obstacle courses, K-9 demonstrations, vendors and more at Winslow Park. Make sure Fido brings you there!
  • First Selectman Candidates Forum – Tuesday, October 12: Get informed about the future of Westport, live at the Library.
  • Restaurant Week (October 19-31): So many great places to eat, we need more than an actual “week.”
  • Halloween Window Painting Contest (Saturday, October 23): Kids decorate downtown — and compete for prizes.

The Slice of Saugatuck will be back soon. (Photo/Terry Cosgrave)

While those events were put on hold the past 18 months, the Chamber helped the community cope in other ways.

“COVID hit our businesses hard, especially restaurants,” says director Matthew Mandell.

“The Chamber created a Take Out initiative, with a video and our BYOB (Bring Your Own Blanket) campaign to promote outdoor dining. We also ran an hour-long livestream variety show in the middle of the lockdown, to support ur retail stores. We had to think totally out of the box, and I believe we did.

“People needed things to do that were safe, but still felt normal. We organized the first drive-in concert in the state, beating established music venues to the punch. We sold out all 10 of our concerts.

“When the time is right, we hope go back inside the Library for our Supper & Soul series.”

The beat goes on. And the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce seems to have hardly missed a beat.

 

Roundup: Bear, Beach Sticker, Back …

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The past few days have brought numerous reports of a bear wandering in northern Westport. It is behaving normally — and non-aggressively.

The Westport Police Department says:

“Black bears are becoming increasingly common in Connecticut. To safely co-exist, residents are reminded to take precautions to prevent negative encounters.

“Bears have an incredible sense of smell. To prevent luring them towards your property, secure your garbage in sturdy covered containers in a garage or outbuilding. Residents who compost should do so responsibly. Do not throw meat scraps or greasy, oily, or sweet materials in your compost pile. These will attract bears and other animals.

“Clean barbecues and grills after each use, refrain from leaving pet food outdoors, and remove bird feeders from your property for the summer. Keep your eye on pets and small children playing outside.

“While it can be frightening to see a bear on or around your property, it is important to know that they are very timid animals. They try to avoid human contact.

“If sighted, use caution, and do not approach the bear. The mere presence of a bear does not necessitate its removal. If left alone and given an avenue for escape, the bear will usually wander back into more secluded areas. Sightings can be reported to Westport Animal Control at 203-341-5076, or reported to the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (click here).”

The bear on Old Hill. (Photo/Stella Wong)

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After a year’s hiatus, beach sticker sales to non-residents is back.

Westport’s Parks & Recreation Department began sales yesterday. The cost is $775 (plus tax). Click here, then follow the “Membership” links.

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Back too are Staples Players. Their laugh-out-loud funny, wide-ranging, clever and very welcome spring production — “Words Words Words … and Music” drew raves when the high school troupe returned to stage last month.

Now it’s available — this weekend only — as a video stream. Starting at noon on Saturday (June 5) through midnight Monday (June 7), you can watch the show as many times as you like. It’s a great offer for out-of-towners, and anyone who missed the show (or wants to see it again). Click here for tickets.

Sophie Rossman, Benny Zack and Samanath Webster in “Words Words Words.” They are monkey, writing “Hamlet.” Or trying to … (Photo/Kerry Long)

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How “back” is Westport?

The Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce announces the return of 2 favorite events. Both were knocked out last year by COVID.

Slice of Saugatuck returns Saturday, September 11. It’s an afternoon of food, entertainment, food, games, food, fun and food. It takes place in the pizza-shaped “slice” of Saugatuck that is home to so many restaurants, and is so easily walkable.

The Dog Festival returns Sunday, October 10. Winslow Park — always a haven for canines and their masters — really goes to the dogs. It’s filled with vendors, K-9 demonstrations, obstacle courses, contests and much more.

To learn more about both events, click here.

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Also back after a year away: The Y’s Men’s Tuesday evening gathering at Compo Beach. Non-men are, as usual, always welcome.

(Photo/Molly Alger)

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And back too is the Longshore pool. Michael Catarevas reports: “After rainouts Saturday and Sunday, and no one showing up on Memorial Day, I was delighted to be first in the water this season — especially after it was closed all last year. I had three pools to myself Tuesday afternoon, though I only used the big one. The water was very cold, but great!”

Michael Catarevas: first in the Longshore pool. (Photo/Patrick Haggerty)

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Yet another post-pandemic sign: Starting Monday (June 7), the Board of Education will return to in-person meetings. Everyone must wear a mask, and maintain 3 feet of social distancing. Meetings will still be livestreamed on the town website and Cablevision Channel 78.

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Today (Wednesday, June 2) is the 1st-ever Lou Gehrig Day across Major League Baseball.

Chuck Haberstroh co-chairs the group that lobbied for the day. It will be featuresd on all media platforms.

A large group of Westporters will be at Yankee Stadium, honoring Chuck’s mom Patty Haberstroh, an inspiration to her family and the entire town.

Click here for an interview with Chuck and Sweeny Murti, WFAN’s longtime Yankees beat reporter. Chuck starts around the 15-minute mark.

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Speaking of baseball: 50 years to the day after Staples High School beat Norwalk 4-2 in a state tournament game, Class of ’71 teammates Nils Nilsen and Steve McCoy returned to the Wrecker diamond.

They were in the stands to watch the ’21 team open its own state tournament. Unfortunately Staples fell, 9-4 to New Canaan.

Half a century ago, Nilsen halted a Bear rally with 1-hit relief pitching. McCoy had 2 hits, including a game-winning double.

Nilsen went on to pitch at Harvard University. McCoy became a soccer captain, and the 3rd-leading career goal scorer at Duke.

Nils Nilsen and Steve McCoy, at the Staples baseball field. (Photo/Fred Cantor)

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MoCA Westport’s “Yappy Hour” — yes, for dogs — has been postponed. It was set for tomorrow (June 3); the new date is Thursday, June 10.

The event includes custom drinks (for owners), and a chance for pets to meet others, sit for a free portrait, and romp outdoors. It’s free — but all dogs must be leashed. (MoCA encourages donations of unopened food or treats to support local rescue organizations. For more information, click here.

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A crew of volunteers — including Danielle Dobin, Michael Cammeyer, Emma Rojas, Sarah Manning, Luc Lafonta and Shawn Kapitan turned out yesterday to change the lights on the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen bridge.

Danielle Dobin and Michael Cammeyer, on the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge.

They now shine in the colors of the rainbow, to celebrate Pride Month. Enjoy them throughout June!

(Photo/Brian McGunigle)

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One of the 3 American oystercatcher chicks at Compo Beach has died, Carolyn Doan reports.

She adds: “My son James is a huge fan of the piping plovers, so we visit the area regularly. The Audubon Society has talked with the town because of drones being flown overhead. Oystercatchers attack them frantically to distract them from the nest, thinking they are predators.”

So, Westporters: Give all these birds space. They were there long before us!

American oystercatcher and chick (Carolyn Doan)

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” takes us to the Lansdowne garden of Lauri Weiser. What a spring we’ve had!

(Photo/Laurii Weiser)

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Before we close the book on the 2021 Memorial Day parade, here’s one final shot. It’s a unique drone perspective from Joel Triesman, as marchers turn onto the Post Road and cross the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge:

(Drone photo/Joel Triesman)

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And finally … the lyrics and art are cringe-worthy. But in honor of the bear that is doing who knows what in our woods:

Roundup: Fitness, Virtual Slice, Trash, More


When is downtown Westport not an outdoor shopping mall?

When it turns into a Fitness & Wellness Expo.

That was the scene yesterday. Pure Barre, JoyRide, Row House and Athleta sponsored outdoor classes on Main Street. Vendors like Restore Cryo, Fleet Feet and New England Hemp Farm helped educate consumers. Church Lane merchants added wellness specials.

Everyone wore masks. And if they didn’t have one, the Westport Downtown Merchants Association — sponsors of the intriguing event — gave them one.

Work it!

Among the participants: 2nd Selectwoman Jen Tooker and Police Chief Foti Koskinas, in the photo below:


Yesterday would have been the 9th annual Slice of Saugatuck. It got squashed by the coronavirus — but the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce did the next best thing.

They produced a video, showing the shops, restaurants and people who make up that vibrant community. Whether you’re a newcomer, old-timer or long-gone Westporter, check below for a 6-minute stroll through Saugatuck.

One more Chamber note: They’ve added a 2nd “Supper & Soul” socially distanced tailgate show featuring Terrapin: A Grateful Dead Experience (Friday, October 2; 7 p.m.). Tickets go on sale Monday at 10 a.m.; click here.


Westporter Helen Lowman is president and CEO of Keep America Beautiful. Next Sunday — September 20 — her organization hosts its 2nd annual TrashDash. The goal is for people to create cleaner streets, parks, and waterfronts by “plogging” (picking up litter while jogging).

It will be held officially at Mill River Park in Stamford (the city where Keep America Beautiful is headquartered) — but anyone can join in their own community, wherever it is. Just grab a bag and gloves and pick up litte. You don’t even have to jog!

Click here for more information.


The Westport River Dancers performed at the Rowing Club yesterday. It was a cancer fundraiser for Norwalk Hospital’s Row for Recovery.

Check out these dancing queens (and one king): Debra Montner, Hilary Solder, Eva Grant-Rawiszer, Suzanne Harvey, Jill Alcott Ferreday and Michael Chait. All are Westporters — and they met their $10,000 goal!


And finally … Toots Hibbert, who introduced reggae to the world — died Friday in Jamaica. He was believed to be 77, and was reported to have suffered from COVID-like symptoms. He and his group — Toots and the Maytals — had international hits like this:

Saugatuck Slice Will Be Extra Nice

Saugatuck may not have any room to expand.

But the Slice of Saugatuck does.

From Bridge Square to Railroad Place — and everywhere else — Slice of Saugatuck is packed. (Photo/Terry Cosgrave)

The 8th annual event — a popular food-tasting, shop-exploring, kids-romping, music-enjoying festival — pushes north and west this year.

This Saturday (September 7, 2 to 5 p.m.), the Slice includes newly opened  Mystic Market — the sandwich/salad/prepared foods/coffee mart on Charles Street — and the Goddard School, the daycare and childcare center on Saugatuck Avenue near Dunville’s (they’ll have a bouncy house).

They join more than 50 other businesses. All provide samples, and show off their merchandise or services (like Tae Kwan Do and dance). New this year too: boat rides, courtesy of Carefree Boat Club.

Firefighters at the Saugatuck station promote fire safety (and offer a seat in their very cool truck).

It’s a true community stroll. Kids love activities like an obstacle course, giant slide, balloon bender and Maker Faire area.

Adults appreciate 2 beer gardens (with wine as well), on Bridge Square and Railroad Place. Many restaurants offer specialty drinks (and hold happy hours after the Slice officially ends).

Saugatuck has always been about food. The Slice of Saugatuck festival is too.

People of all ages can hear bands like the 5 O’Clocks and School of Rock at 6 locations.

Music — not train horns and garbled announcements — fill the station air.

Tickets are $15 per adult (2 for $25). Children under 13 are $5; kids 5 and under go free. Admission (cash only) is available on site, starting at 1:50 p.m. Saturday.

Last year, the sponsoring Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce donated $4,000 of the proceeds to the Gillespie Center’s food pantry. The total over 7 years is $28,500.

Any way you slice it, that’s a great gift.

Soggy Slice

Weather services said there was a 0% chance of rain yesterday.

Yet rain began at 2 p.m. — right at the start of Slice of Saugatuck. It fell steadily throughout the 7th annual event.

The wet weather dampened the crowd (and lowered their number). But everyone who showed up had a great time.

Good food (and plenty of it), excellent entertainment, and bouncy houses can’t stop this Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce show!

Dancing to a steel band at the Whelk/Saugatuck Sweets plaza.

Taekwando demonstration on Railroad Place.

A bit wet, but plenty of food from Roly Poly, Cuatro Hermanos, Dunville’s and more.

Slice Is Nice This Saturday

Seven years ago, the 1st “Slice of Saugatuck” street festival drew 27 participants, and a few hundred people.

For this Saturday’s event (September 8, 2 to 5 p.m.), 56 establishments have signed on. A crowd of more than 2,000 is expected to stroll the streets, nibble food, listen to live music at 7 venues, and enjoy kid and family activities like an obstacle course, bouncy houses and Maker Faire area.

The list of attractions includes over 30 restaurants. They’ll put tables outside, open their doors, then let the fun begin.

From Bridge Square to Railroad Place — and everywhere else — Slice of Saugatuck is packed. (Photo/Terry Cosgrave)

Slice of Saugatuck also boasts 2 beer gardens with wine, plus specialty drinks at many venues. After the festival, a Saugatuck Happy Hour keeps the celebration going at most restaurants and bars.

Musicians include the Mill River Band, Silver Steel, the 5 O’Clocks and School of Rock. there are dance and taekwando demonstrations too.

More than 20 stores and businesses participate as well. Newcomers this year include Mystic Market, Coldwell Banker and Effi’s Salon.

The “Slice” name comes from the street fair’s shape. Ranging from Riverside Avenue on one side and Saugatuck Avenue on the other, narrowing to Railroad Place, it resembles a pizza slice.

Of course, for many years Saugatuck was a heavily Italian neighborhood. There are still plenty of premier pasta-and-pizza places there — along with restaurants specializing in seafood, steaks, Mexican and Thai cuisine and more.

But you know that already. Saugatuck is a favorite destination for Westporters, and everyone else in Fairfield County.

It’s a little slice of heaven, right here in town.

(Tickets for the Slice of Saugatuck — $15 per adult; 2 for $25; children under 13, $5 — go on sale on-site at 1:45 p.m. the day of the event; cash only. Proceeds help fund the Gillespie Center’s food pantry. The Slice is sponsored by the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce. For more information, including a map and list of participants, click here.)

Slicing Up Saugatuck

The 6th annual Slice of Saugatuck was the best yet.

Perfect late-summer weather; a record number of 50-plus restaurants and businesses, and a large, relaxed crowd enjoyed an afternoon of strolling, eating, music, eating, shopping, eating, kids’ activities, and eating.

Thanks go to the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce, plus the Slice’s many sponsors.

And congrats to the Gillespie Food Pantry: recipient of some of today’s funds.

Here’s what the Slice looked like, starting and ending at Bridge Square:

Owner Bill Taibe (right) and his Kawa Ni staff served Japanese delicacies (and drinks).

Firefighters at the Saugatuck station promoted fire safety (and offered a seat in their very cool truck).

The Whelk offered some delicacies …

… while a few feet away on the riverfront plaza, the Silver Steel Band played.

Matt Storch dished out fries. The Staples High School graduate’s new Match Burger Lobster restaurant opens in 2 weeks.

Socks — a face painter — came from Norwalk.

The Funicello family’s Tutti’s is always a Slice of Saugatuck favorite.

Mersene — owner of the very popular Indulge by Mersene — welcomed Railroad Place Slice-goers with her typically funky goods.

Every kid loves a bounce house.

A tae kwan do place lured passersby with this inflatable guy.

The Slice included Saugatuck Avenue too. Here’s the mouth-watering scene at Dunville’s.

All roads led to the Slice of Saugatuck. If you’re reading this before 5 p.m. — there’s still time. After 5, several restaurants extend the fun with specially priced menus.