Tag Archives: Staples High School baseball team

Roundup: Beach Rules, Gun Violence, Dog Poop …

The cost of a Westport beach sticker for out-of-towners — $775 — has been the subject of heated debate, everywhere from the pages of “06880” to the halls of the State Capitol.

This past wee, radio listeners around the state heard about it.

“Ethan & Lou” discussed it on their i95 show. in typical 2-radio-host-trying-to-engage-listeners style.

The station put a variation of the riff on their website too. In the context of complaints about Connecticut’s “rocky (not sandy)” beaches, they mentioned both the expense of Compo, and the many rules posted on the town website. (Hey, guys: The rules are posted at the beach, too.)

The website complains: “No Alcohol!? Can’t bring my dog? Can’t listen to music? No hooch, no pooch and no Scooch? Sounds un-American.”

Of course, alcohol is permitted on South Beach (unlike most state beaches). The “music” ban refers to “amplified music, including bands and DJs” (though they seem to be okay, upon request to Parks & Rec). As for “Scooch” — well, at least it rhymes.

Click here for the full story — including a link to the “Ethan & Lou” segment.

There are definitely lots of rules at Compo Beach.

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The Remarkable Theater continues to be a remarkable resource for Westport.

This Tuesday (June 7, 8 p.m.), they’ll screen a special show for the soon-to-graduate Staples High Class of 2022.

The 71-minute video includes never-before-seen footage of their 4 yeas at school.

Tickets are only $5. Click here to reserve a spot; then pile your friends into a car and head to the Imperial Avenue parking lot!

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Yesterday was National Gun Violence Awareness Day.

The timing — coming after a slew of mass shootings — was propitious. But in a cascade of bad news, the day itself might have been missed by many.

One Westporter, however, marked the occasion on the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge:

(Photo/Dina Upton)

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“06880” has posted photos previously of 1 or 2 plastic poop bags left in otherwise pristine parks, or on people’s lawns and driveways.

But this image — sent by David Brant, executive director of Aspetuck Land Trust which oversees (among many other properties) Haskins Preserve — seems almost perverse. The sign about dog waste — and that there is no “Poop Fairy” — are literally inches away.

Is it a “Candid Camera” stunt? Part of an elaborate psychology experiment?

Or are Westporters just dumping on us?

Whatever the reason: It’s not funny.

Whoever you are: Shame on you.

And just remember: Whatever goes around, comes around.

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The Staples High School baseball team plays in the state “LL” (extra large schools) quarterfinals today (Trumbull High School, 2 p.m.).

But win or lose, they’re already champions.

On Thursday — the day after their 2nd-round upset of higher-ranked Amity-Woodbridge — the Wreckers collected thousands of dollars of cleats, bats and other equipment.

They donated it to Bluefish Travel Baseball, a program in Bridgeport.

The 2022 Staples High School varsity baseball team. (Photo/John Videler for Videler Photography)

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A recent pre-Memorial Day story about a Westport connection to an American soldier saved by a German guard during World War II was fascinating.

But Tom Feeley — who recounted the tale — had misremembered the name of the soldier, whom he met and befriended at VFW Joseph J. Clinton Post 399.

Tom called him “Mike Brody.” His name was actually Samuel Meyer Brody.

And — because this is “06880,” where “Westport meets the world” — there is another local tie. Sam Brody was longtime resident and RTM member Dick Lowenstein’s 3rd cousin.

Here is a photo of Sam (left) and Dick at the Senior Center. Sam died the next year, at 96. Click here for a full obituary.

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Lifelong Westporter and former firefighter Stanley Prackup died on Wednesday. He was 87.

One of 8 children, he graduated from Staples High School in 1953. He played baseball there, and was a sharpshooter in its Rifle Club.

Stanley enlisted in the Navy after high school, and served on the USS Valcour and Intrepid.  He was awarded the Navy Good Conduct Medal.

After the navy he attended the University of Connecticut.

He was a postal carrier for several years before joining the Westport Fire Department. He served as a firefighter for 20 years, until 1988. He also owned his own landscaping business.

Stanley and his wife Joan built a home here, and lived in it for over 40 years. Devoted to his religion, he was happiest in his garden, and spending time with family and friends.

He was predeceased by his brothers, Frank, Michael and George, and sisters Rose, Barbara and Alice.

Stanley is survived by his wife of 58 years, Joan Prackup; daughters Brenda Prackup, Linda Prackup-Desautels and Sandra Prackup; grandson Luke Desautels; sister Virginia Fiordelisi, and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.

A memorial mass will be held Monday (June 6, 10 a.m., St Luke Church), followed by interment at Assumption Cemetery on Greens Farms Road. Click here for a livestream of the service.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Alzheimer’s Association or the Cancer Research Institute.

Stanley Prackup

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Ordinarily this bad parking job at the Taylor Lot near the Westport Library would not be “06880”-worthy.

But the car has been there since at least early last week.

With the window open, people have left angry messages for the owner.

If it’s yours, please claim it. If there’s a problem, please contact the police!

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David Fiore sends today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo, noting: “As seen from our kitchen window at breakfast. A chippy enjoying the view, having his own breakfast on our weeping cherry tree berries.”

(Photo/David Fiore)

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And finally … speaking of chipmunks:

Ryder Chasin Bought An Unplanned, Legally Banned, Off-Brand Rapid Test. And Won $1,000.

When Jimmy Fallon’s team picks 2 “Tonight Show” audience members to write a song in less than an hour, the result is usually impressive.

Last night, it was Ryder Chasin turn. The result was brilliant.

The 2014 Staples High School graduate — sporting a Staples baseball cap, no less — was given his title: “I Bought an Off-Brand Rapid Test.”

You or I might be intimidated. Ryder was confident.

For one thing, he’s a writer at Sesame Workshop. For another, he majored in journalism, and minored in film, media studies and creative non-fiction at Northwestern University.

For a third, he’s used to performing (as a member of the Players drama troupe) and pressure (as a baseball player). He’s also multi-talented: In high school he worked on radio and TV production, and was a Top Hat tutor and National Honor Society student.

Oh, yeah: He’s done improv, too.

Ryder looked completely confident as he joked with Fallon. He sauntered over to the electric organ — not a piano, as he corrected the host — smiled, and belted out a very clever tune.

His hour’s work earned him $1,000. Plus a “Tonight Show” notebook to write more songs in.

And the applause of a grateful audience, which has had far too little to laugh about where COVID is concerned.

Click below for the entire clip:

(Hat tips: Dan Donovan, John McCarthy and Beth Cody)

Roundup: Earth Day, Animals, Toilets …

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Earth Day crops up soon. And Sustainable Westport has partnered with Earthplace for a month of activities. Here are 2.

Today (Sunday, April 11, 1 to 1:45 p.m., Zoom, free) or next Sunday (April 18, 1 to 2:30 p.m., in person, $10 per person), join naturalist Veronica Swain for sessions on invasive plant identification and non-chemical removal. Click here to register for today; click here for next Sunday.

This Tuesday, (April 13, 12 noon, Zoom) the topic is toilets.

In “Pipe Dreams: The Urgent Global Quest to Transform the Toilet,” award-winning science journalist Chelsea Wald dives into the future of thrones with Peter Boyd, Sustainable Westport chair. They’ll profile scientists, engineers, philanthropists, entrepreneurs and activists focusing on making toilets accessible and healthier for humans and the planet. No s*it!

Click here to register. Click here to buy copies of the signed “Pipe Dreams” book.

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Weston celebrates Earth Day too.

A “Trash to Treasure Hunt” is set for Lachat Town Farm (April 25, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.). Local artist Andy Reiss will show how to create sculptures from items that would otherwise be thrown away.

For the first time, visitors can walk the farm’s new mile-long nature trail, and enjoy Lachat’s animals, woods and pond.

Experts will offer advice about recycling and seed planting. They’ll also launch a new environmental initiative in Weston: a bottle bank at the transfer station to recycle glass.

Every family that attends will get a free native tree sapling to plant at home.

Other Weston Earth Day events include Green Up Day (April 24, Norfield Church with Weston Kiwanis), and an online information session about recycling trends (April 29, transfer station).

Throughout April, Weston Library offers recycled children’s crafts both online and as packs to pick up. There’s also a book display in the children’s room about the environment and gardening.

For more information and how to register for all the events, click here. http://facebook.com/sustainableweston.

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Speaking of nature: Gil Ghitelman spotted this visitor near the Westport Library yesterday. He (or she) was waddling out of the Saugatuck River, and appreciated the steps.

(Photo/Gus Ghitelman)

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Staples’ spring sports teams are back in action, after missing the entire 2020 due to COVID.

Two squads made impressive debuts. Carter Kelsey (6 innings, 12 strikeouts) and Matt Spada (1 inning, 3 strikeouts) combined for a 6-0 no-hit win over Darien. It was the Wreckers’ first game since winning the 2019 state “LL” championships.

Boys lacrosse delivered a 7-3 victory over New Canaan, traditionally one of the top teams in the FCIAC league.

And looking back at winter sports: The boys ice hockey team reached finished 8th in the state Division 3 hockey rankings. Four players earned Connecticut High School Coaches Association All-State Division 3 honors: seniors Owen Sherman and Victor Sarrazin (1st team), and senior Zachary Schwartz and sophomore Aaron Kail earned (2nd team). Schwartz also received the state’s Hobey Baker Character Award, for outstanding performance on and off the ice.

Clockwise, from upper left: Owen Sherman, Victor Sarrazin, Aaron Kail, Zachary Schwartz.

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MoCA Westport has announced a Summer Open Calls. The juried exhibition  is open to all emerging, mid-career and established visual artists over 18.

It will be on view from June 25 to August 21, 2021. Submission deadline is May 21.

All mediums will be considered. There are no size limitations. Artists must submit digital samples of 5 to 10 works of art, a resumé and brief artist statement. Click here for applications. For more information email liz@mocawestport.org or call 203-222-7070.

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And finally … happy 89th birthday to Joel Grey!

Remembering Marty Mellin

Longtime Westport resident Martin Mellin died on December 22, 9 days before his 68th birthday. He contracted COVID-19 while recovering from knee surgery in the hospital.

His son Ethan wrote this tribute:

Dad, I love you so much. Whether it was school, sports, music — anything — you were my #1 fan. You gave me everything I could ever need in life and more, just because you cared and to show me you loved me.

Marty Mellin and his young son Ethan.

By high school, when my friends thought of you the first image that came to mind was your lawn chair on the sideline of one of my sports games. It was a running joke, but I see now that you took pride in your reputation, because it signified how present you were for every moment in my life.

Marty Mellin and Ethan, at Staples High School baseball team’s Senior Day in 2014.

As a kid, you were in that lawn chair for every baseball, football and basketball game since I could walk. You would beg to read my school essays — no matter how boring — just because you were proud.

As an adult, you always called me just to ask about my day, work, the stock market, Yankees, Giants, Kelsi, Lyla — it didn’t matter what we talked about.

“Just tell me what’s going on,” you would say. All you wanted in life was to see Jedd, Julia, and me be happy and be loved, because at the end of the day our family brought you more joy than anything else in the world.

I think that is the hardest part about losing you. There are so many beautiful things in our lives left to look forward to that I know would have made you so freaking happy. Julia’s high school graduation; the start of Jedd’s law career; retiring and growing old with Mom now that us kids are all grown up, Kelsi’s and my wedding. becoming a grandfather…

Marty Mellin with his family.

It’s hard to imagine a life where you aren’t around for these things, and it’s going to feel pretty empty for a while. But I know that we will all carry you deep in our hearts for the rest of our lives. So while it crushes my soul that we won’t have any more moments together in person, I have to remember that you will still be watching and loving on us every single day. I love you, Dad.

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To “06880” readers:

Just as we thought he was better and days from coming home after knee surgery, things rapidly took a turn for the worse.

On December 16 my dad was placed on a ventilator. That night was the last time I got to hear his voice.

Six days later he passed, suffering no physical pain.

In the US, 3,238 other lives were cut short by this pandemic the same day as my dad. Like him, each of those numbers is a person — someone with a story, a family, friends, a future they will no longer see.

Marty Mellin with Jedd and Ethan.

It breaks my heart. We are so close to the end of this awful year, but we can’t become complacent and give up on the things that we know will save lives — that will prevent even just one more story like this one.

Wear a mask. Social distance. Be with family if you can do so safely, but don’t let the pain of missing your loved ones today potentially lead to a lifetime without them.

I would sacrifice anything in the world to have one more day with my dad.

What would you sacrifice to be with yours?

Marty Mellin is survived by his wife Nisa, sons Jedd (Staples High School Class of 2012) and Ethan (Staples ’14), and daughter Julia (Staples ’21).

(Hat tip: Jeff Mitchell)

Marty Mellin and friend.

 

Roundup: Farmers’ Market For Kids, Westport Woman’s Club, Staples Baseball, More


The pandemic has prevented live gatherings for the “Get Growing” kids’ program at Westport Farmers’ Market.

No problem! WFM has launched “Get Growing to Go!,” a craft kit of activities youngsters can do at home. The brainchild of Mae Farrell, it includes a free package parents and caregivers pick up at the Cross Highway farm.

Each week Mae announces the craft for the following week on Instagram and Facebook, and children and parents through the week’s activity — on their own schedule.

“’Get Growing’ is dear to my heart,” says WFM executive director Lori Cochran-Dougal.

“Mae has taken it to a whole new level, both in person and now virtually with the craft kits. Families are a big part of our market. We won’t let the pandemic prevent us from helping the next generation appreciate nature, farmers, and importance of a local food community.”

Parents can pre-order craft kits for pick up at WFM between Sunday and Tuesday by email: getgrowing@westportfarmersmarket.com. The first pickup is Thursday, August 13, and each Thursday thereafter from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. WARNING: Only 30 craft kits are available each week.

For an introduction and sample, click here (Facebook) or here (Instagram).


Among the recipients of the Westport Woman’s Club’s 2020 community grants: Filling in the Blanks.

The Fairfield and Westchester Counties non-profit says: “Because of you, we delivered 11,014 meal bags in the month of May. That is 44,056 individual meals for children who otherwise would not have had enough to eat. We added students in New Canaan and Norwalk last month, and will add more in Greenwich this month. Thank you from all of us at Filling in the Blanks for making it possible for us to provide this basic nutrition when it is needed most.”


The 2020 Staples High School baseball team did not get a chance to defend their state championship this spring. COVID took care of that.

But the Wrecker baseball family gathered yesterday for a ceremony today honoring the 2019 state and FCIAC champions — and the team’s unanimous #1 ranking in Connecticut.

The turnout was great. The memories were wonderful. Now the plaques will serve as an inspiration for the 2021 squad — and all that follow.


And finally … hard to believe I haven’t used this “Monday” song before. But I haven’t.

Staples Baseball Ends “Season” In Style

The 2020 Staples High School baseball team could not defend its ’19 state and FCIAC championships — because there was no ’20 season. COVID-19 knocked out all spring sports in the state.

But the Wrecker coaches and Diamond Club boosters found a way to honor the athletes who would have played.

Yesterday, they held a traditional “Senior Day” in a very non-traditional way.

Family members lined the field — masked and socially distanced, of course.

A guest speaker — Staples alum Dave Ruden, publisher of the all-FCIAC, all-the-time sports site The Ruden Report — praised the players and the program.

Dave Ruden addresses the crowd.

Coach Jack McFarland presented the school’s 2 highest awards — Block “S” trophies — to well-deserving recipients.

Most Valuable Player honors went to all the seniors.

And the Coaches’ Award was presented to longtime manager/superfan/ inspiration Dylan Curran. He gave a gracious speech, thanking each coach and every player for always including him and making him feel a part of the team.

He promised he would always come back to cheer Staples on, from his next destination: Sacred Heart University.

Dylan Curran (Photos/Chris Greer)

The day ended with the unveiling of a plaque. It noted that the Wreckers were ranked #31 in a national pre-season poll. We’ll never know where they would have ended up, if they had actually played games.

It wasn’t the Senior Day any of the Wreckers — or their friends and families — dreamed of.

But considering the coronavirus circumstances, it was a grand slam.

Chad: Challenger Baseball’s Shining Knight

Chad Knight has a sparkling resume.

Last week the Staples High School senior captained his baseball team to their 2nd state championship in 3 years. In 2013 Chad starred on the Westport squad that reached the finals of the Little League World Series.

He’s been drafted by the New York Yankees — but he’s heading first to Duke University. He’s also an excellent piano player.

Yet one of his many other recent honors — Gatorade Connecticut Player of the Year — led to an especially fine moment.

As part of Gatorade’s Play It Forward Fund, Chad was given $1,000 to pass on to any national or local youth sports organization of his choice.

He chose Westport Little League’s Challenger Division. That’s the very successful program for boys and girls with disabilities.

Chad Knight (rear, center, white shirt) and Challenger commissioner Beth Cody (front, blue shirt) join Challenger players, buddies, and Staples baseball players today.

Chad’s generosity came from the heart. Throughout the years he has served as a “buddy” to the players. He always found time to help out. He loved the youngsters, and they adored him.

In appreciation of Chad’s gift, commissioner Beth Cody announced that Gatorade is the official drink of the Westport Winners challenger team. Today at Meyer Field, she presented Chad with a bottle with his name, number and the Westport Winners name.

Starting this fall, every Challenger player will get one too.

It was a quick, fun ceremony, before Westport took on Norwalk in their final game of the season.

Then Chad headed off to his next celebration: his own graduation party.

In 2014, Chad Knight (right) was a Challenger buddy with Dylan Curran. Dylan is now manager of the state champion Staples baseball team, and still plays with the Westport Winners.

We Are The Champions. And The Champions, Champions, Champions, Champions, Champions, Champions.

I don’t normally post “lineup” photos: people in a row, smiling at the camera.

And I hate running pictures where the heads are so small you can hardly see who’s who.

But it’s not every day a school has 7 state championship teams in one year.

So — in honor of today’s Town Hall reception for Staples High School’s field hockey, boys cross country, boys squash, boys tennis, girls tennis, boys volleyball, and baseball teams: Here you go!

(Photo/Chris Greer)

Sorry — I did not get left-to-right IDs for everyone.

Strike Up Another State Title For Staples!

The state baseball title is back in Westport.

For the 2nd time in 3 years, Staples won the class LL (extra large schools) title. The Wreckers shut out Southington today 3-0, in Middletown.

Staples pitcher Chad Knight — already drafted by the New York Yankees — was his usual commanding self. He struck out 10 Blue Devils, and gave up just 3 hits, in a commanding, complete game performance.

Pitcher Chad Knight celebrates the final out … (Photo copyright by Chris Greer)

Knight and 3 teammates — Harry Azadian, Drew Rogers and Charlie Roof — are no strangers to success. In 2013 they were part of the Westport team that reached the finals of the Little League World Series in Williamsport.

Two years ago — as sophomores — they starred on the Wreckers’ state champion team.

… and is quickly joined by his teammates. (Photo copyright by Chris Greer)

Today was the last time the longtime friends played together. How wonderful for them — and their teammates, head coach Jack McFarland and his staff, and the town of Westport — that they went out on top.

And — as they’ve done for the past 6 years — they did it again today with class, poise, and plenty of smiles.

The state champion Staples baseball team. The scoreboard behind them tells the story. (Photo copyright by Chris Greer)

Hail To The (State) Champions!

It’s tough to win a state championship.

It’s even tougher to repeat.

After going 26-0, and winning both the FCIAC and state class L (large schools) boys volleyball championship last spring, everyone was gunning to take down Staples.

Their route to back-to-back titles was complicated when head coach Dan Cho — who lived and worked far upstate — resigned.

Of course — this being high school sports — the Wreckers also had to replace graduating seniors. There were 9.

But new coach John Sedlock — and the new squad was up to the task.

Last night at Shelton High School, the Wreckers faced longtime rival Darien. The Blue Wave had beaten them twice this year — including the FCIAC finals.

This time, the Westporters got revenge. It took them 5 long, nail-biting sets. But — once again — Staples is state champs.

Staples’ state champion boys volleyball team … (Photo/Gayle Gabor and Tom Carstens)

That’s not all.

Coach Paco Fabian’s girls tennis team completed a perfect 24-0 season with a 5-2 win over Wilton, to earn the class L state title. Alyssa DiMaio went on to become the first Staples girls player to win the state open singles  crown.

The Wreckers are a very young squad, so the future looks bright indeed.

… and the state champion girls tennis team …

That’s not all.

Coach Kris Hrisovulos’ boys tennis team won the state championship too — for a remarkable 4th consecutive year. Robbie Daus and Tighe Brunetti then captured the state open doubles title.

… and boys tennis, also state champs.

That’s not all.

Senior Chet Ellis set a boys outdoor track state open meet record with a phenomenal high jump: 7 feet, 1/2 inch. Obviously, that’s a Wrecker record too.

That’s not all.

There’s a chance for one more state championship this spring at Staples. Tomorrow (Saturday, June 8, 12 p.m., Palmer Field, Middletown), the Wreckers plays Southington for the LL (extra large schools) baseball crown.

Chad Knight, meanwhile, was just picked — by the New York Yankees — in the 31st round of the Major League Baseball First Year Player Draft. You won’t see him in pinstripes any time soon, though: The Connecticut Gatorade Player of the Year will continue his baseball career this fall at Duke University.

Congratulations, guys and girls! There’s only one thing left to say: