Tag Archives: Staples High School boys soccer

Roundup: Candlelight Concert, Mexicue, Poet Laureates …

Don’t say we didn’t tell you.

Staples High School Candlelight Concert tickets go “on sale” to the public — don’t worry, they’re still free! — on December 1.Performances are Friday, December 16 (8 p.m.) and Saturday, December 17 (3 and 8 p.m.).

The link is easy: www.StaplesMusic.org.

Spectacular holiday music will be provided by the symphonic orchestra, symphonic band and choral ensembles. The 82-year-old event blends plenty of time-honored traditions, with some 21st-century twists.

If you’ve been to Candlelight, you know what I’m talking about. If you’ve never gone — set that alarm for tickets. You don’t need kids in high school to appreciate what these teenagers (and their teachers) do.

One more tradition: the artwork for this year’s concert comes once again from Staples senior Hugh Kennedy. It’s the third year in a row he’s designed the graphics.

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Last February, “06880” announced the imminent arrival of Mexicue.

The restaurant — mixing “street food sensibility” with fine dining — was renovating 38 Main Street, the former site of Bobby Q’s and Onion Alley.

The target for opening was May.

Mexicue missed the mark by 6 months. Opening day is today, at 4 p.m.

From all indications, the wait will be worth it. Westporters who have dined at Mexicue in New York City (Chelsea, NoMad, Midtown), Stamford and Washington say “¡muy bueno!”

Click here for details.

Mexicue

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Westport resident Aye Aye Thant is one of the our town’s biggest boosters of the United Nations.

It’s no wonder. Her father, U Thant, was the third secretary general of the organization. The Burmese leader served from 1961 to 971.

Aye Aye – a longtime Westporter — addressed the Rotary Club yesterday, at Green;s Farms Congregational Church. She reflected on  her father’s legacy of diversity and peace, and the role education played in that vision.

U Thant, who died in 1974, was a strong proponent of decolonization and tolerance. His daughter believes he was ahead of his time.

“As a Buddhist, he believed Buddhism was a great religion but he also understood that hundreds of millions disagreed with him,” she said. That realization led her father to espouse a philosophy of peaceful coexistence.

Aye Aye Thant, speaking at yesterday’s Westport Rotary Club meeting. A photo of her father, U Thant, is on the screen behind her. (Photo and hat tip/Dave Matlow)

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Two poet laureates on one stage!

Sixteen years after headlining the Malloy Lecture in the Arts, former US poet laureate Billy Collins returns to the Westport Library.

He’ll chat with Connecticut poet laureate Antoinette Brim-Bell about his new volume, “Musical Tables.” Those short poems focus on nature, animals, mortality, absurdity and love.

The event is December 9 (7 p.m.). Tickets are $26 (same price for 1 or 2 attendees), and include a signed copy of “Musical Tables.” Click here to purchase and for more information.

Westport’s own poet laureate — Jessica Noyes McEntee — says: “If you know Billy Collins’ work, then I don’t have to encourage you to see him live. If you haven’t explored his oeuvre, this night promises to be delightful. His work has a magical and effortless quality that many of us in the poetry community emulate, and enjoy.”

“Billy Collins is perhaps the most revered poet writing in America today,” says Library executive director Bill Harmer. “Most communities would count themselves fortunate to see him once in a lifetime. To have him back in Westport for a second time is a thrill beyond measure. And to be joined by Antoinette is a true gift.”

Billy Collins

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The Staples High School boys soccer program has always given back to the community. This year’s initiative: collecting donations for the Cardinal Shehan Center in Bridgeport, and its after-school, vacation and summer camps for low income youth.

All donations will be delivered by players to the Center, in time for their annual holiday party on December 17.

Donations can be made Friday through Sunday, December 2-4, at 1 Baldwin Place (off Bayberry Lane). There will be bins by the garage.

Suggested items include:

  • Soccer balls, dodgeballs, basketballs
  • Plastic hockey sticks
  • Air Hockey Table and supplies
  • Ping Pong table and supplies
  • Complete board games with intact boxes and all pieces
  • Children or family DVDs
  • Unopened arts & crafts supplies
  • Unopened toys for holiday gifts
  • Dolls
  • Headphones
  • Gift cards
  • Hats, scarves and gloves
  • Swim goggles

Can’t find anything to give? Click here to guy new using the Center’s Amazon Wishlist, and have it delivered directly to the Laskin family, 1 Baldwin Place, Westport, CT 06880.

Can’t drop off during the December 2-4 dates? Email nicolelaskin@icloud.com for alternate arrangements.

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Longtime Westporter Ruby Allen died Friday in her sleep. The wife of Winston Allen. she was 87 years old.

Born in Pittsburgh, and one of 8 siblings, she lived here for 48 years.

She graduated from Brooklyn College with a degree in finance, and from Baruch College with a master’s in public administration. She also attended Harvard University’ executive program at the John F. Kennedy School of Government..  

Ruby served as an assistant vice president of finance for the Health and Hospital Corporation of New York City for 30 years.

She loved traveling the world for pleasure, and as “first lady of the Westport Rotary Foundation,” attending 10 international conferences, She volunteered for humanitarian for months at a time with her husband, in Haiti and South Africa.

In addition to her husband, Ruby is survived by her stepchildren Vaughn and Julie Allen.

Viewing will be at St Paul’s on the Green (60 East Avenue, Norwalk) on Tuesday, November 22 at 10:00 a.m., followed by an 11 a.m. service and then a noon gravesite ceremony at Willowbrook Cemetery in Westport. Guests are then welcome at the Allen home (4 Burritts Landing North).

Ruby and Winston Allen (Photo/Dave Matlow)

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Equinox — just over the border in Southport — is a hot spot for Westporters to work out.

It was even hotter yesterday. A car fire broke out in late morning, and threatened to engulf an adjacent vehicle.

The cause of the blaze is unknown.

Equinox fire. ({Photp and hat tip/Ian O’Malley)

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Staples High School’s November Students of the Month are seniors William Lacend Duprey, Marley Brown. Alexander Mussomeli and Jason Capozucca; junior Kimberly Cheng; sophomore Jane Cunningham, and freshmen Sophie Grijns and Gunnar Eklund.

Students of the Month “help make Staples a welcoming place for their peers and teachers alike. They are the ‘glue’ of the school community: the type of kind, cheerful, hard-working, trustworthy students who keep Staples  together, making it the special place that it is.”

November Students of the Month (from left): William Lacend Duprey ,Kimberly Cheng, Alexander Mussomeli, Gunnar Eklund, Jason Capozucca, Jane Cunningham, Missing: Marley Brown, Sophie Grijns.

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The next show at Amy Simon Fine Art is “Cali Girls.” Featured artists are Kristina Grace, Rene Romano and Maura Sega.

The show runs from November 19 through December 31. Click here for details.

“Quest” – wood panel, butterflies, bioresin, acrylics (Kristina Grace)

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Joe Carpenter offers today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo of his Annabelle hydrangea, and says: “This little girl finally decided she better bloom now before it is too late. Or is she 6 months ahead of everyone else?”

(Photo/Joe Carpenter)

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And finally … Dan McCafferty has died, at 76. He suffered from COPD.

You may not know his name. But you know his voice — from, for example, Nazareth’s “Love Hurts.” The New York Times explains:

His rendition — vocally scratchy but belted out behind reverberating guitar lines — became the definitive one. The world-weary lyrics emphasize hard lessons learned from heartbreak, but his passionate delivery made the song sound more like a statement of unvarnished desire.

The song came to seem characteristic of a post-hippie era, when male vitality was at the center of rock but the combativeness of heavy metal and punk had not yet become popular. In the movie “Dazed and Confused” (1993), “Love Hurts” plays at a 1970s junior high party in a neighborhood recreation center, where longhaired teens slow dance and furtively neck.

Click here for the full obituary.

(“06880” relies entirely on reader support. Please click here to contribute to your hyper-local blog.)

 

 

Roundup: [UPDATE] Book Display, Book Sale, Wine …

[UPDATE] Several readers have pointed to a Westport Journal story that includes a photo of the banned book display at the Staples High School library. The book covers are exhibited, and students could browse the contents.

I have removed a story posted earlier today, citing a reader who emailed me saying she had changed her mind about the display, after learning that the book jackets had been covered.

That appears to be erroneous information. I have deleted this story, and will also remove other comments pertaining to it.

I apologize for posting her story.

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The “garden” part of Westport Community Gardens is clear to anyone wandering by the 100 plots just south of Long Lots Elementary School. They’re beautiful, and bountiful.

But the “community” part is just as important. Led by Lou Weinberg — and with plenty of help from everyone else — there’s as much camaraderie and spirit as there are vegetables, flowers and birds.

Yesterday, the Gardens community celebrated with a fall harvest party. Dozens of families shared friendship, music, pizza, gelato — and of course, plenty of salads.

Community Gardens fall harvest party.

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No, you did not miss the Westport Library’s summer book sale.

The mega-event has been moved to fall. This year, it’s Friday, November 11 through Monday, November 14.

There are thousands of gently used books for children and adults in over 50 categories: non-fiction, fiction, romance, cookbooks, antiquarian, plus music CDs, and movie and TV series DVDs. Also, “a limited selection of artworks and ephemera.” 

Westport resident Joseph Califano — President Carter’s Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare — has donated dozens of books signed and inscribed to him, from his personal library.

There’s a new “Fiction for $1 Room”: an entire conference room filled with hardcover fiction, mystery, science fiction, fantasy, young adult fiction and paperback novels — all just $1 each.

Also: a large selection of holiday-themed books, CDs and DVDs. Crank up that Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer!

Click here for information on prices, hours (and early-bird access).

Westport Library book sale.

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Last night’s hunter’s moon was gorgeous.

“06880” readers sent plenty of photos. Here’s the view from Sherwood Mill Pond …

(Photo/Matt Murray)

… and Long Island Sound:

(Photo/Andrew Colabella)

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Westporters love wine.

Which is why the Sunrise Rotary Club’s next event is such a winner.

“Westport Uncorked” (November 18, 6:30 p.m., the Inn at Longshore) is “a wonderful evening of dozens of fine wines (and heavy hors d’oeuvres).

Every dollar raised goes directly to charities supported by Sunrise Rotary. Click here for tickets, and more information.

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Staples High School Class of 1978 graduate Dave Ruden served as chair emeritus of this year’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s. He lost his mother to the disease.

Ruden’s day job is publisher of The Ruden Report — the go-to multi-platform site for coverage of Fairfield County sports. So he put out the word to all 16 FCIAC schools — asking all sports, all seasons to help.

Over 60 responded, raising funds and walking yesterday at Calf Pasture Beach in Norwalk.

Among them: Staples baseball, cheer, boys ice hockey and girls tennis volleyball.

The Staples boys soccer program participated too — big time. Led by tri-captain Alex Laskin, they raised $9,428. That was the most of any FCIAC team — and 5th highest, among the 284 groups that raised funds.

Way to go, all you Wreckers!

Boys soccer varsity team, at the Alzheimer’s Walk. (Photo/Mark Sikorski)

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Speaking of sports: On Election Day night, you may be cheering or crying.

Earlier in the day, your kids will definitely cheer.

That is, if they’re part of the Staples High School cheer team’s clinic (November 8, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.). It’s open to children in grades kindergarten through 8 (

The $75 fee includes lunch and a t-shirt. It’s a fundraiser for the team. Click here to register, and for more information.

The Staples High School cheer team.

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“The Extraordinary Life of an Ordinary Man” — Paul Newman’s memoir — will be published October 18.

Next month (November 20, 3 p.m.), it’s the topic of a Westport Country Playhouse discussion.

Who better to talk about the beloved actor/philanthropist/race car driver — and longtime Westporter — than Melissa Newman? She wrote the book’s foreword — and is his daughter.

She’ll be joined by Anne Keefe, Playhouse associate artist, who served WCP co-artistic director with Newman’s wife, actor Joanne Woodward.

An audience Q-and-A will follow the talk.

Tickets are $45, and include a copy of the book. To purchase, and for more information, click here.

Melissa Newman

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In August, “06880” reported on Steve Bannon’s podcast about Westport. The segment alleged that our town is run by an “unelected Marxist Politburo.”

It included an interview with the editor of CD Media. The initials stand for “Creative Destruction,” which is “reopening newspapers up and down the Colonies.”

CD Media’s chief investigative correspondent and senior editor Christine Dolan comes to Westport on November 1 (6:45 p.m., Westport Library). She’ll bring her “American Conversation” series, to discuss “How Public Policy is Putting Our Children at Risk.” The event is co-sponsored by Children’s Health Defense, the anti-vaccine group chaired by Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Among the topics her panel will address:

  • “Significant increase in child human trafficking”
  • “Exponential increase in youth deaths from fentanyl”
  • “Alarming increase in suicides of young people”
  • “Decrease in mastery of basic academic skills.”

Click here for tickets and more information. (Hat tip: Tom Prince)

Promotional photo for CD Media’s November 1 event.

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Soccer’s World Cup kicks off next month, in Qatar.

Games will be played primarily from what is early morning to mid-afternoon, Eastern Standard Time. An “06880” reader named Fernando asks:

“What are the bars and other places in the area that will be open for all the matches? Are there any places that did this in 2018 that can be counted on to do it again, or new venues that will do so?”

If you know the answer, click “Comments” below.

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The praying mantis is Connecticut’s state insect. (I know, I know …)

A pair of “06880” readers had the same idea this weekend: send a photo, for “Westport … Naturally”:

(Photo/Ken Yormark)

(Photo/Jill Grayson)

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And finally … contrary to what I learned in school, Christopher Columbus did not “discover” America. It was already here — and was home to a thriving population.

It took hundreds of years, but today we celebrate the indigenous people of North America — those millions  who were here first.

Roundup: Taber Onthank & Britt Baron, Prospect Gardens, Havdalah …

In July 2021, Taber Onthank proposed to Brittany Uomoleale.

“06880” covered the story because:

  • They were well-known former Staples Players actors, and dated in high school.
  • The proposal was done on the Staples stage, with current students and even lighting designer Brandon Malin taking part.
  • Brittany — now known professionally as Britt Baron — was on several seasons of “Glow,” among many other roles.

Click here to read all about that great proposal.

Taber proposes to Brittany. (Photo/Kerry Long)

And if you read People magazine, you can read all about the marriage itself.

It happened Sunday, at the Ebell Club in Long Beach, California. The 130 guests included some of Britt’s co-stars from “Glow” and “The Thing About Harry.”

People noted their high school connection, and included exclusive photos.

Taber Onthank and Britt Baron (Photo courtesy of People Magazine by Albany Katz)

One detail that People missed: The wedding was officiated by Taber and Britt’s longtime friend — and former fellow Staples Player — Adam Kaplan. He was ordained for the ceremony by the Universal Life Church.

(Click here to read the entire People Magazine story. Hat tip: Liz Rueven)

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John and Melissa Ceriale have spent 20 years buying property, planning and planting an oasis between Greens Farms Road and Hillspoint Road.

Prospect Gardens — nearly 9 acres of flowers, shrubs, lawns, walking paths, meadows, orchards, trees and more — are a delight for anyone driving on Prospect Road, or walking past.

Usually, the beauty can only be enjoyed from the street. But on Saturday, September 17 (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.).

The event is sponsored by the Garden Conservancy. Tickets are $10 each. Click here to purchase, and for more information.

Looking northeast, on the Ceriales’ property.

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This photo is not as pretty:

(Photo/Bob Mitchell)

It’s a bunch of utility wires on Coleytown Road.

Though they are bunched nicely, that’s still a lot of them.

And they’re hanging awfully low.

Recent “06880” posts and comments have mentioned the preponderance of wires — telephone, cable, etc. — and the fact that inoperative or outdated wires are seldom removed, just abandoned.

Every company that owns wires points fingers at everyone else. Meanwhile, this is what we’ve got.

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On the eve of the opening match of Staples High School boys soccer’s 64th season, here’s news about the 63rd:

For the 20th time in 22 years — and the 17th season in a row — the Wreckers were honored with a national award for academic excellence.

United Soccer Coaches presents the Team Academic Award. A squad must have a 3.25 grade point average for all varsity players. The award is given for the previous academic year. In 2020, Staples’ varsity players had an average GPA of 3.67 — the highest on record for the Wreckers.

Indications are good that the 2022 squad — whose first home match is Saturday (10 a.m.) — will continue the impressive streak.

The 2021 Staples High School boys soccer team. (Photo/Barry Guiduli)

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Speaking of sports:

For 8 years, Westport has supported Catch-a-Lift Fund. The national organization serving post-9/11 combat-wounded veterans through fitness programs and gym memberships has run fundraisers, workout sessions and more here.

The Police and Fire Departments, town officials, the VFW, and local gyms, restaurants, business owners and residents have rallied behind the cause.

Now our town’s support will be visible at every youth and high school football game. Every player, from PAL 4th graders through Staples seniors, will wear the CAL logo on their helmets.

This Friday, when the Staples Wreckers open their season at home (7 p.m.) against Conard-West Hartford, will be special: Catch-a-Lift veterans will be at Paul Lane Field, to cheer them on.

The Catch a Lift decal, on a football helmet.

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The final Havdalah celebration of summer is set for this Saturday (September 10, 6 p.m.) at Compo Beach.

Hosted by the Congregation for Humanistic Judaism, it’s open to all. People curious about CHJ’s philosophy and practice are welcome.

Klezmer and traditional music will be led by Adam Feder, founder of New York’s Shul Band.

Beach stickers are not needed; tell the gate attendant you are with CHJ. Attendees should bring dinner, beverages and chairs. Dessert and soft drinks will be provided.

Havdalah at the Beach. (Photo/Fred Cantor)

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Jason Pike moved to Westport only in January. But he’s quickly developed an eye for special scenes — like today’s “Westport … Naturally” feature, in the middle of downtown.

(Photo/Jason Pike)

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And finally … 25 years ago today, over a million people lined the streets of London for Princess Diana’s funeral. Another 2.5 billion watched around the world, on television.

Roundup: Metro-North, Ukraine Donations, Longshore Golf …

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Metro-North is expanding service and restoring some express trains — including adding 34 new trains on the New Haven line.

Weekday service will be restored to 89% of pre-pandemic levels, and new train service will reduce trip times for a number of commuters (the railroad says).

Click here for new Metro-North schedules.

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All week long, donations for Ukraine have poured in to Wakeman Town Farm.

Medical and emergency supplies, sleeping bags, boots, socks, sweaters, gloves, radios, hand warmers, binoculars — all were sent or dropped off by Westporters.

Similar collections took place all week long at Weston’s Lechat Town Farm, and Wilton’s Ambler Farm.

Tomorrow, they’ll be sent overseas.

As soon as they arrive, they’ll be put to great use.

Christy Colasurdo of Wakeman Town Farm, in front of some of the donated items. (Photo/Ted Horowitz).

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Speaking of Ukraine: Lynsey Addario was a guest last night on “Amanpour & Company.”

Christiane Amanpour had an in-depth conversation with the Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times photojournalist/1991 Staples High School graduate.

Click below to see. (Hat tip: Linda Montecalvo)

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Tee it up!

The expected opening for the Longshore golf course is this Friday (March 25) — weather permitting, of course. The halfway house concession opens April 1.

Click here for the course website. The pro shop phone number is 203-221-0900.  For day of play tee times, call 203-226-9785.

Westport residents can purchase or renew a handpass online at www.westportrecreation.com or in person weekdays (8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) at the Parks & Recreation office, across the parking lot from the pro shop.

The18th hole. (Drone photo/John Videler for videler.com)

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Jane Green — Westport’s favorite international best-selling author — has just released her first novel in 3 years. “Sister Stardust” is also her first biographical fiction.

Green re-imagines the life of troubled icon Talitha Getty, in this unique story from a forgotten chapter of the “Swinging ’60s.”
  
Though Talitha’s life seemed perfect, in her 20s — already a famous model and actress — she moved from London to a palace in Marrakesh with her husband, oil heir Paul Getty. She presided over an ex-pat scene filled with music, art, free love and a counterculture taking root across the world.

When Claire arrives in London from her small town, she never expects to cross paths with a woman as magnetic as Talitha Getty. Yearning for adventure and independence, she’s swept off to Marrakesh, where the two become kindred spirits. But beneath Talitha’s glamourous façade lurks a darkness few can understand. As their friendship blossoms and the two grow closer, the realities of Talitha’s precarious existence set off a chain of dangerous events that could alter Claire’s life forever.

The epilogue: Because Jane is as clever a person as she is a writer, she’s bringing out a range of caftans and jewelry inspired by the book.

Jane Green

 

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Speaking of trains (as we were above): Got something to say about Wheels2U and/or the Westport Transit District?

Director Peter Gold and others will be at the Westport train station this Wednesday (March 23, 6 to 10 a.m., near the elevator on the westbound side), to meet commuters. In case of rain, they’ll meet inside the station house.

Gold says, “We want commuters to let us know what’s right with Wheels2U, what’s not working, and what we can do better. We also want to talk to commuters who don’t take Wheels2U [the on-demand, group ride, platform shuttle service] to make them aware of it.”

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The list of goodies at Local to Westport — the nearby-sourced food-and-more market on Main Street — always changes.

Among the new items:

  • Whistle Stop Pies (Ridgefield): Owner Lolly makes delicious berry crumble, chocolate espresso and lemon cream pies.
  • J’s Vegan Elderberry Syrup (Bethel): Julie does this batch with maple syrup instead of the traditional honey.
  • Riad’s Mediterranean Dips (Bethlehem): Hummus, yogurt dip, tapenade, pesto and baba ghanouj.
  • Alma’s Mexican Foods Macha Salsa (Westport, CT): Chili pepper-based condiments.
  • *Cato Corners Cheese (Colchester): Raw milk cheeses
  • Good Doggy Treats (Brookfield): Tony’s treats are a hit with canine visitors.
  • Knipschlidt Chocolates Easter Eggs (Norwalk): Fritz’s Easter collection.
  • Wanke’s Yankee Hot Pepper Products (Norwalk): Dave’s jalapeno garlic hot sauce, plus spicy peanuts.
  • Shearwater Coffee (Trumbull):USDA-certified organic coffees, roasted right up the street.

The Local to Market patio.

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Last year, Westport Pride sponsored the town’s first downtown LGBTQ celebration. This year’s event is set for June 12.

But that’s not all. Leading up to it, there’s a Queer Cook-off (May 19, Aitoro’s).

Four teams — each including one chef — will have an hour to prepare an appetizer and dessert. It’s a fun fundraiser for the Pride group.

On June 1, they’ll kick off Pride Month with an LGBTQ-themed movie (appropriate for all families).

Also in the works: a drag show, and celebrations at Staples High School.

Showing the flag at last year’s Westport Pride celebration. (Photo/Kerry Long)

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Russell Oost-Lievense has been named only the 4th head coach in the 64-year history of the Staples High School boys soccer program.

A former Staples captain (2007) and player at Hartwick College, Oost-Lievense has been a member of the Wreckers staff for 6 years. He is a special education teacher at Darien High.

He succeeds Dan Woog — hey, that’s me! — who retired in January after 19 years. I’m happy to quote myself:

“Russell is a spectacular choice. He has the total respect of players, parents and other coaches. He breaks down a match — both by teams, and individually — better than anyone I know. He is a master at creating game plans, and the training sessions leading up to them. He is a true student of the game.

“Russell is passionate about soccer at all level. He understands Staples’ tradition, our legacy, and the importance of passing that along to current and future players.

“Our program is in good shape. I am confident Russell will kick it up many more notches, in the years ahead. It will be great to see.”

Russell Oost-Lievense, in front of the Staples High School boys soccer trophy case.

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The Artists Collective of Westport’s pop-up exhibit has announced a new date for its artists’ talk, at the Westport Country Playhouse barn. The new date is Saturday, March 26 (4 p.m.).

There’s an opening reception March 23 (6 p.m.). The exhibit is then open from March 24 through 26 (2 to 6 p.m.).

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“Westport … Naturally” is delighted to present as many signs of spring as we can. Here is Richard Epstein’s witch hazel:

(Photo/Richard Epstein)

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And finally … in honor of Metro-North’s expanded (and supposedly faster) service on the New Haven line (story above):

Roundup: Mask Mandate, Downtown Stores, Another Olympian …

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Masks in schools may not be required statewide after February 28.

Governor Lamont announced yesterday recommending lifting a mandate for students and staff.

The topic has been a hot one. Last week, a group posted “Unmask Our Children” signs around town. Others countered that masks are still needed, to prevent vulnerable populations.

School mask decisions will now be made by local authorities, such as boards of education. Westport Superintendent of Schools Thomas Scarice — who is empowered to make the decision, based on town COVID protocols — said at last night’s Board of Ed meeting that he’ll consult with medical experts and others, before making a recommendation.

A number of parents spoke at last night’s session, urging an end to Westport’s mask mandate.

Last December, participants in Staples High School’s Candlelight Concert wore masks. (Photo/Dan Woog)

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The Planning & Zoning Commission also met last night. Members adopted 2 downtown text amendments. One will eliminate a prohibition on retail operations above the first floor. The other allows will allow stores over 10,000 square feet (after applying for a special permit).

The P&Z continued to tweak zoning language for permitted uses at Baron’s South.

The Gap (left) has been grandfathered in for retail above the first floor. That will now be permitted elsewhere downtown.

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A bit of personal news: To celebrate my retirement as Staples High School boys soccer coach, I’ve helped endow a fund.

The Dan Woog Staples High School/LGBTQ Fund brings together my passion for high school soccer and LGBTQ advocacy, and my work with United Soccer Coaches — the 30,000-member professional organization I’ve served since 1983.

The fund will enable high school coaches who have shown commitment to the LGBTQ sports community to attend annual conventions, for education, networking and professional growth.

As founder of United Soccer Coaches’ LGBTQ & Allies member group, I’ve worked closely with Black, Latino, Native American, AAPI, disabled and faith-based groups. I’m honored to give back to this inclusive, progressive organization, which helps grow the sport of soccer for all coaches and players.

For the full press release, click here. To contribute to the fund, click here; then click “Select for a list of funds to support,” then “Options,” then scroll (way) down. (You may have to click “View More” at the bottom of the list …)

This poster greeted visitors to last month’s annual United Soccer Coaches convention in Kansas City.

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Speaking of Staples soccer : As Westporter’s celebrate the silver medal of our neighbor, Julia Marino, in slopestyle at the 2022 Olympic Games, we’ve got another nearby athlete to cheer for too.

Freestyle skier Mac Forehand grew up in Southport. His father — Ray Forehand — was on the Staples soccer team in 1976. Click here for details. Click here for a story about Ray and his wife, as they watch Mac compete half a world away.

Mac also competes in freeski slopestyle. (Hat tip: Rick Leonard)

Mac Forehand

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You know Earth Animal for its steadfast commitment to dogs and other creatures.

But since 1979, the local business has cared for people too.

Last year, the Post Road East store’s Mitten Project raised $40,000. Thanks to CT Foodshare, those funds will help local residents who struggle with food insecurity.

The Mitten Project began in 2007, with Earth Animal founder Susan Goldstein. She raised $300 that year.

Now, there’s plenty of help from area businesses, neighbors, friends, proceeds from the Earth Animal store, and matching contributions from Earth Animal Ventures in Southport.

Special thanks go to J. McLaughlin, Millie Rae;s, Farmer Sal, Outdoor Design & Living, Appleberry Farm, BP Provisions, Pine Creek Deli, KL & Sam, and Westport Hardware.

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Voices Café honors Black History Month with the noted duo Reggie Harris and Greg Greenway. Their signature performance — “Deeper Than The Skin” — comes to the Westport Unitarian Church’s long-running live music venue on Sunday, February 20 (7:30 p.m). It will also be livestreamed.

“Deeper Than The Skin” is a deeply personal presentation, in story and song. of race in America. Harris and Greenway face down racial injustice with creative resistance, friendship, music and joy.

Proceeds from Voices Café’s performances benefit local social justice causes. Future guests include Westporter Suzanne Sheridan (March 12) and Connecticut’s creative artists Caravan of Thieves (April 9).

Click here for more information about Voices’ spring season, and for tickets.

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The Westport Library’s strong support of the arts continues. A generous grant from the Drew Friedman Community Arts Center will support upcoming exhibits.

Next up: “Stepping Out on Faith: The Art and Journey of Charles Joyner.” The event — with the world-renowned (and Staples High School graduate) artist opens with a panel discussion and reception on March 10.

This exhibit, with a corresponding podcast series and musical performance, is also supported by a grant from CT Humanities.

“Village @ Ntonso” (Charles Joyner)

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Our “Westport … Naturally” feature has highlighted wild turkeys. But none have been as close-up — and wild-looking — as this shot by David Vita, from Lyons Plains Road:

(Photo/David Vita)

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And finally … want a little taste of Voices Café’s Black History Month presentation of “Deeper Than the Skin” (above)? Click below:

A Life In Soccer, Joyfully Lived

Many readers know that besides “06880,” I have a side gig: coach of the Staples High School boys soccer program.

I’ve been involved in the game since I was 11 (as a player in Westport’s pioneering youth league, then at Staples), and from age 22 on, as a coach. I was named the Wreckers’ head coach in 2003.

The game has given me so much. It attracts smart, creative people. It teaches important life lessons, on and off the field. It is at once beautiful, tough and fun.

But now is the right time for that Staples coaching job I’ve cherished and loved to end.

With a full heart, great joy, and tremendous appreciation for countless friendships and a lifetime of memories, I have chosen this time to retire as head coach of the Staples High School boys soccer program.

The 2021 Staples soccer team celebrates a win.

This is a perfect time to make way for the next generation of coaches. Our program is strong and vibrant. We’re coming off a very successful season, with one of the greatest groups of seniors I’ve ever worked with. Our superb staff has ensured that the pipeline continues.

I began coaching in 1975 – the same year I graduated from Brown University. I coached dozens of teams – including sub-varsity at Staples – and in 2003, was named head coach. I am only the 3rd permanent varsity coach in the program’s 64 years.

Working with thousands of athletes; traveling the globe with teams, spending 19 years in the magnificently intense world of varsity soccer, and playing a small part helping boys become young men — on and off the field — has been the privilege of my life.

Joy after a state tournament victory. (Photo/Barry Guiduli)

I’ve coached players who went on to play in MLS, and who won national college championships (as player and coach). I’ve coached players who have gone on to make their mark on the world in a wide variety of professions, and on their communities as volunteers. Soccer has impacted them, in many ways. They have impacted me, too – many of them profoundly. I would not be who I am without them.

Similarly, my life has been enriched by so many colleagues: coaches I’ve worked with, and competed against. Administrators, trainers, teachers, soccer volunteers – all have made me a better person.

Some of my best friends are my coaching foes. (Photo/JC Martin)

I am proud of the state championship we won at Staples, our 4 FCIAC titles, and the many teams that fell just a game or two short. I am equally proud of the 18 Academic All-American awards we have won for team GPA, and of the tens of thousands of dollars we’ve raised for scholarships, and causes like cancer research and underserved youth.

I often say “there’s more to life than soccer, and there’s more to soccer than soccer.” I’m still not sure what that means, but I have gotten more out of this game than I ever could have imagined.

I’m leaving coaching, but not the game. I’ll continue my work with United Soccer Coaches at the national level – concentrating on high school and LGBTQ advocacy issues – and with the Connecticut Soccer Coaches Association. I’ll keep writing for Soccer America.

And of course, I’ll cheer for Staples soccer from The Hill at Loeffler Field. I’m told it’s the best spot in the state to watch a match.

PS: Of course, I’ll now have even more time to devote to “06880.” As we transition to a non-profit organization, we’ve got some exciting, community-wide ideas to bring to fruition. Stay tuned — and go Wreckers!

The beautiful game. (Photo/Brian Watkins)

Roundup: Sustainable Gifts, Used Sports Equipment, Cavalry Road Bridge …

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Love giving gifts? Hate giving gifts that are energy-inefficient, non-recyclable or otherwise wasteful?

Check out Sustainable Westport’s first-ever Gift Guide.

Heavy on products made or sourced locally, and/or sold by area merchants, it’s a much-needed resource.

And, Sustainable Westport adds: “Some of the best (and most meaningful) sustainable gifts are ones that you make yourself (art or pottery, knitting, baking, building) or include giving of your time (attending local theater performances or sporting events with family and friends or giving lessons in one of your particular skill sets).

Local blogger and sustainably-minded mother Julia Dzafic of Lemonstripes created the guide. Click here to see. Let’s hope she sustains it for years to come.

Screen shot of the Sustainable Gift Guide.

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Last year, the Hackett family collected a truck full of new and gently used sports and playground equipment, from generous donors. It was distributed to youngsters who needed it by Leveling the Playing Field, a non-profit organization.

Leveling the Playing Field. The non-profit seemed perfect.

They’re at it again.

Chloe — a Staples High School junior, and an athlete — and her family are at The Granola Bar today and tomorrow (Saturday and Sunday), from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.).

Cleats, field hockey sticks, lacrosse equipment, bats, hockey skates, footballs, softball gloves — it will all make a difference. Click here for a full list of acceptable and non-acceptable items.

Chloe Hackett (organizer) and Max Levitt (Founder of Leveling the Playjng Field) with last year’s donations.

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Speaking of sports: I am very proud of the on-field accomplishments of the Staples High School boys soccer team I coach.

I’m just as proud of what they achieve off it.

For the 19th time in 21 years — and the 16th season in a row — the Wrecker boys soccer team has achieved Academic All-American status. United Soccer Coaches honors go to squads with a team GPA of 3.25 or higher. The 2020 side was just announced. Their team GPA was a mind-boggling 3.57.

The award is given for the previous year’s team. All indications are that the 2021 squad will earn the boys soccer team’s 20th award.

The 2020 Staples boys soccer team: Academic All-Americans. (Photo/Drew Douglas)

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Bad news for residents of northwest Westport.

The long-running Cavalry Road bridge replacement will take even longer to finish.

The project “has suffered delays related to various aspects of the construction that are beyond the towns’ control,” Westport and Weston officials announce.

“The contractor experienced complications associated with installing the proposed bridge deep foundations. This required additional testing, to ensure the proposed bridge is adequately supported.

“In addition, the process of installing large prefabricated concrete girders has taken longer than expected. The bridge is located on a rural local road and installing the girders with the least amount of impacts to the residents and the regulated waterway is a high priority.”

The current 2-span bridge is being replaced with a single, longer structure. It will provide “more hydraulic conveyance, and reduce future maintenance needs.”

Westport and Weston officials apologized for the delay, and thanked residents for their patience.

Cavalry Road bridge (Photo courtesy of Weston Today)

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If there’s an upcoming holiday — and there definitely is right now — then Winslow Park Animal Hospital has it covered.

Check out their decorations, when you’re stuck at the Post Road light between Playhouse Square and North Compo. It will bring a smile to even the Grinchiest face.

The Winslow Park Animal Hospital display. (Photo/Molly Alger)

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Avid “06880” reader Jack Backiel enjoyed yesterday’s Friday Flashback: a photo of town directories, the long-ago source for data on all Westport residents and businesses.

And I do mean “all.”

Jack sent along this photo of one page, from the 1950s. Check out the third Taylor from the top. Yes, that’s the actress we know better as “Liz.”

Jack has written in the Comments section of his family’s long history in Westport. He sent along one directory page from the 1920s, and this from the ’50. There sure were a batch of Backiels here then.

Town directories can be found today in the Westport Library.

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A Photo Challenge from a couple of weeks ago brought a follow-up report from an “06880” reader.

The image showed a “North Pole Post” mailbox. It’s on Wright Street, though few readers knew it.

Nearby resident Anne Reilly provides the back story. She says the box “just showed up on the tree before Christmas last year … hmmm.

“The letters seem to go into the box and then disappear. Children believe they are magically sent directly to Santa  in the North Pole.”

She asked 2 children what happens to them. One said: “I think that they get scooped up by your elves, and your elves bring them to the north pole like Bam”

The other added, “The elves come get them every night and give them to the reindeer or the UPS man to take up to Santa.”

Sssshhhhhh….

The Wright Street Santa mailbox.(Photo/Gabriela Bockhaus)

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Today’s serene Sherwood Island “Westport … Naturally” shot comes courtesy of Maureen Salko:

(Photo/Marleen Salko)

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And finally … hey hey, they were the Monkees.

Michael Nesmith — the “quiet, cerebral, sardonic, contemplative” member of that ’60s TV-turned-true band — died yesterday of heart failure. He was 78.

Nesmith was sometimes called the only true musician in the group. He went on to a successful video career after the Monkees’ 2-year TV run ended. Click here for a full obituary. (Hat tip: Amy Schneider)

Roundup: Viet Vets, Swimming, Sports …

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It may have been lost in the run-up to Thanksgiving.

It shouldn’t be.

Earlier this week, John Brandt moderated a fascinating discussion with 4 Vietnam War veterans. Part of the Westport Library’s Oral History Project, it delved deep into the experiences of the quartet — all Westporters — and what it all means today.

Panelists included retired Army veterans Capt. Jay Dirnberger, Sgt. Preston Koster, Sgt. Bud Siegel, and retired Navy Lt. JG Tucker Mays. Click below to watch.

Missed it? No problem. Click below to watch.

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The broken record of Staples High School swim and dive team broken records continues.

The girls finished their season in style last weekend, with 4 state open record- breaking performances.

Freshman Annam Olasewere once again dominated the 50 and 100 yard freestyle events, with state open record times of 22.58 and 50.21. The 200 free relay team of Jessica Qi, Ella Alpert, Ayaan Olasewere and Annam Olasewere recorded a record 1:35.94. In addition, their record-breaking 3:27.46 in the 400 free relay qualifies them for All-American status.

Other outstanding swims came from Jessica Qi (4th in the 100 free, 8th in the 200 free). Divers Kate Whittaker and Mia Guster finished 13th and 17th respectively. Freshman Ayaan Olasewere was 12th in the 50 free and 13th in the 100 free, while senior captain Ella Alpert placed 10th in the 100 fly.

From left: Annam Olasewere, Jessica Qi, Ella Alpertm Ayaan Olasewere.

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Speaking of sports: A new tradition began on Thanksgiving Day.

A bunch of fathers — all relatively new to Westport — reserved PJ Romano Field behind Saugatuck Elementary School for the first-ever “Westport Dadz Turkey Bowl.”

Cones were set, football flags arranged, and teams picked. A good time was had by all. Even a few hamstring pulls could not keep these guys from smiling, and enjoying the rest of their holiday weekend.

(Photo/Josh Stern)

Meanwhile, a much older tradition — the Staples boys soccer Turkey Bowl — took place at Wakeman Field.

Over 60 current and past players worked up an appetite. There were alumni from as far as California and Texas, and as far back as Staples’ Class of 1975. Guys who just finished their college season showed their stuff. So did everyone else.

There were plenty of alumni spectators too. And the weather was perfect too.

The 2021 Staples soccer Turkey Bowl. (Photo/Barry Guiduli)

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Longtime Westporter Vermelle Miro died recently, at 88. Her funeral is set for today (Saturday, November 27, 11 a.m., St. Luke Church).

The Greenwich native had a variety of hobbies, interests and careers. She worked at Vogue magazine before opening the Westport Country Day Preschool in the 1970s.

“Mel” became a realtor in Westport in the 1980s, and enjoyed a successful career until she retired close to 40 years later.

She was a member of the Westport Young Woman’s League and Westport Rotary Club, along with many other civic groups.

Mel traveled around the world, learning about different cultures and viewing famous pieces of art. She was a talented artist as well.

Her family says, “Mel had a unique ability to connect with people on a deep level, providing a safe haven for her community of friends and acquaintances. She was a magnet to others, always willing to lend an ear to those who needed it. But er greatest joy came from her children and grandchildren.”

Mel is survived by her children, Donald (Kim Healy); son-in-law Chris Healy; grandchildren Ryan, Tyler and Brittany Healy, and grandson-in-law Steve Geiges. She was predeceased by her husband Donald Miro and her long-time partner, Patrick Mitchell.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association.

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On this holiday weekend — when all of us are stuffed — photographer Lou Weinberg says of this “Westport … Naturally” photo from Lansdowne Condominiums: “Hey, everybody’s gotta eat.”

(Photo/Lou Weinberg)

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And finally … Stephen Sondheim died yesterday, in Litchfield County. The legendary Broadway composer was 91.

The New York Times calls him an “intellectually rigorous artist who perpetually sought new creative paths … the theater’s most revered and influential composer-lyricist of the last half of the 20th century, if not its most popular.” Click here for Sondheim’s full obituary.

Roundup: Staples Soccer, Creigh Kelley, Trivia Night …

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The Staples girls soccer team is one game away from a state championship!

The Wreckers — undefeated in their last 14 matches, and reigning FCIAC champs — powered their way in the semifinals last night. Gaby Gonzalez’s 12th-minute header — and plenty of great defense — made all the difference, in a 1-0 win over Fairfield Warde. The victory avenged Staples’ regular season 3-0 loss to the Mustangs.

The Wreckers — ranked 9th — play their 3rd state final in the past 4 tournaments (COVID canceled last year’s event) on Saturday or Sunday, at Hartford’s Dillon Stadium. They face #10 Wilton — the team they beat 1-0 2 weeks ago for the league crown. The Warriors advanced with a penalty kick win over Fairfield Ludlowe, in an all-FCIAC state semifinal.

Congratulations to Coach Barry Beattie, his high-powered staff, and all the girls!

The girls are not Staples soccer’s only success story.

Tonight at 7 p.m. (Municipal Stadium, Waterbury), the boys play in the semifinals too. The #6 Wreckers meet #7 Farmington.

All tickets  must be purchased online. Click here for the link,

Can’t make it to Waterbury? Click here for the livestream,

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Speaking of sports: Last night, former Staples High School track star Creigh Kelley received the MarathonFoto/Road Race Management Lifetime Achievement Award at the Road Race Management race directors’ meeting in Florida.

The 1964 Staples grad — a teammate of current Wrecker coach and local icon Laddie Lawrence — was cited for his long career as a runner, running store owner, race director, agent, official and the voice of thousands of races across the country.

Kelley also founded the Kiptur Primary School Foundation in Kenya, which has built classrooms, a library, kitchen and more.  (Hat tip: Peter Gambaccini)

Creigh Kelley

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Speaking of Staples: Tonight (Wednesday, November 17, 7 p.m., Staples cafeteria), he National Honor Society hosts a Trivia Night fundraiser. Teams of 2 to 5 people (any age!) compete for prizes. Tickets are just $5 at the door (cash or Venmo).

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Westport Country Playhouse’s family fun events are — well, family-filled, and fun.

The “Winter Fun Fest” is Saturday, December 4, From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., the courtyard will be the site of a scavenger hunt, games, music, food, crafts, and photos with Santa.

The fundraiser was organized by the Playhouse Youth Council. Admission is just $5. Everyone bringing non-perishable food (for Homes with Hope) or new toys (for Toys with Tots) is eligible to win tickets for any Playhouse show next year.

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Yesterday’s Roundup included an incorrect date for the free coffee at Steam on Railroad Place. It’s available to anyone using the Westport Transit District’s Wheels2U app tomorrow and Friday (November 18 and 19), between 6 and 10 a.m.

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Gray’s Creek provided the setting for today’s “Westport … Naturally” image. The sunset was rich; the reeds, proud and strong.

(Photo/Tomoko Meth)

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And finally … on this day in 1858, the city of Denver was founded.

 

Roundup: COVID Vaccine, Cribari Lights, Staples Soccer …

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900 kids showed up yesterday at the Staples High School fieldhouse.

Most came willingly, even eagerly. A few had to be dragged in.

All were 5 to 11 years old — and now all are vaccinated against COVID. They enjoyed (appreciated? tolerated?) a clinic sponsored by Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.

Westport’s Emergency Medical Services personnel, and Community Emergency Response Team, were on hand to help. So were Westport Public School nurses, assistant superintendent of schools John Bayers, and State Senator Will Haskell.

The youngsters were given balloons. Most smiled. Their parents smiled too — with relief.

State Senator Will Haskell and Long Lots Elementary School nurse Max Zimmer, at yesterday’s clinic. (Photo/Dan Woog)

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Colorful lights on the Cribari Bridge are as much a part of Westport life as — well, traffic on the Cribari Bridge.

The annual lighting ceremony is set for Friday, November 26 — the day after Thanksgiving — at the Saugatuck Rowing Club (click here for details).

But before that happens, each of the thousands of lights must be individually checked, and repaired.

Volunteers from Al’s Angels and AJ Penna Construction performed that task in the cold pre-dawn yesterday. It took several painstaking hours.

But their great work will provide many days of joy, for very thankful Westporters.

Testing the lights this weekend. The next time the lights will be on is November 26. (Photo/Magnus Larsson)

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What an exciting time to be a Staples High School soccer fan! The boys and girls teams won 3 state tournament games each last week. Both have roared into the semifinals.

Yesterday, the 6th-seeded Wrecker boys team knocked off #3 Fairfield Prep, 1-0.  Reese Watkins power-headed Matthew Jordan’s corner kick in the second half. Outstanding defense by Bruno Guiduli, Jackson Hochhauser, Caleb Tobias, Hunter Smith, Jack Foster and keeper Jacob Greenberger secured the win. The boys face Farmington in the semis,

The girls also won off a corner kick, against Farmington on Thursday. Neva Mermagen nailed Maddie Sansone’s cross for the dramatic overtime game winner. The Wreckers meet Fairfield Warde in their semifinal match.

Both games will be played at neutral sites, later this week. Days, times and sites have not yet been announced.

Reese Watkins (left) celebrates his goal against Fairfield Prep with (from left) Dylan Hoke, Murilo Moreno, Tim Liakh and Hunter Smith. (Photo/Mark Sikorski)

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Hungry for another Westport Library’s Trefz Newsmakers Series conversation?

The series — featuring Emmy-winning CBS News justice and security correspondent (and 1988 Staples High School graduate) Jeff Pegues — continues next month, with acclaimed chef and restaurateur Marcus Samuelsson. It’s set for the Trefz Forum on December 2 (7 p.m.).

Samuelsson is the chef behind restaurants worldwide, including Red Rooster Harlem, Red Rooster Shoreditch and Marcus B&P. He was the youngest person to ever receive a 3-star review from The New York Times, and has won multiple James Beard Foundation Awards.

A noted philanthropist, Samuelsson co-produces the annual week-long festival Harlem EatUp!. He also co-chairs the Careers through Culinary Arts program.

The Trefz Newsmakers Series is free. To register for a seat, click here.

Marcus Samuelsson

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“The Band’s Visit” continues its national tour at the Bushnell in Hartford this week.

It’s a homecoming of sorts for Staples High School 2013 graduate Clay Singer. The former Players star plays Itzik — unemployed, raising an infant with a frustrated wife — with “aching honesty.”

The Tony Award-winning show runs November 16-21. Click here for more information, and tickets.

Clay Singer in “The Band’s Visit.”

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Westporter Jacquelin Mullin died peacefully after a brief illness last week, with her sons at her side.

She spent her childhood in Bronxville, New York. After graduating from Pace Business School Jacquie married her high school beau, Gerard Mullin, in 1946, They lived in Florida and Illinois and New Canaan. Their growing family moved to Westport in 1954.

Jacquie raised their 3 sons while Gerry worked in NYC.  She volunteered in Westport schools. Her active boys kept her busy transporting them to sports events, dealing with a menagerie of wild “pets,” and worrying about motorcycle mishaps.

Divorced in 1973, Jacquie remained in her Westport home and entered the workplace as an administrative assistant, working her way through a number of marketing positions until she retired from GTE.

She also volunteered with the Westport Historical Society, Westport Woman’s Club and Nature Center (now Earthplace), among others.

She was a devoted gardener. In later years she surrounded herself with flowering plants on her deck, where she spent many hours.

She traveled extensively with friends and family members. Proud of her Irish heritage, visiting “the auld sod” was an important journey. She was inseparable from her beloved cars, driving solo south each winter to visit friends and family.

She also enjoyed Compo Beach, watching the ever-changing seasons of children, dogs and beach walkers.

With her sons grown, her best times centered on sharing a meal or driving adventures with old friends from work, and new friends from all walks of life. Her family thanks everyone who enriched her life with their companionship and wit, and to the aides that made her later-life lunches possible.

Family was the center of Jacquie’s existence. She hosted holiday dinners until the younger generation took over, and kept track of everyone’s birthdays.  She was pre-deceased by her former husband (1997), her middle son Randall James Mullin (2017), and daughter-in-law Audrey (Albright) Mullin (2005).

She is survived by her brother, John Sheedy Jr. of New York City and Red Rock, New York; sisters Marie Ponce of Charlotte and Marguerite Adams of  Garrison, New York; sons Jeffrey (Joan Hall) of Bourne, Massachusetts and Scott of Ridgefield; daughter-in-law Jackie Mullin of Neptune Beach, Florida; grandchildren Amy and Brian Mullin; great-grandchild Ethan Mullin, plus nieces, nephews, and their children:

A private graveside service will be held at Assumption Cemetery. A celebration of life will be held in the spring.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the American Cancer Society; Wakeman Town Farm, or Earthplace. Her family adds: “Plant perennial flowers in your garden in her memory!”

Jacqui Mullin

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Deer are a popular “Westport … Naturally” subject.

But we haven’t seen too many bucks. Here’s a great shot, from Baron’s South:

(Photo/Tammy Barry)

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And finally … happy 121st birthday to America’s great composer/conductor, Aaron Copland!