Tag Archives: Staples High School counseling department

Easing Toxic Achievement Culture: “Greet Your Children The Way Your Dog Greets You”

“No one ever says, ‘I love this toxic achievement culture,'” Jennifer Wallace notes wryly.

Yet it persists.

It pervades Westport. It’s a pernicious, seemingly inescapable part of our daily lives.

Which is why hundreds of parents headed — “on a school night” — to the Westport Library last week.

Earlier in the day, 50 school counselors, mental health professionals and others who work with youth were there too.

Both audiences heard Wallace — a journalist, and author of the best-seller “Never Enough: When Achievement Pressure Becomes Toxic — and What We Can Do About It” — describe exactly the lives they live every day.

More importantly, she offered insights and strategies to lower the toxic temperature.

Wallace walks the talk. The high-achieving mother of 3 teenagers who lives on New York’s Upper East Side, and a Harvard graduate (more on that later), she knows first-hand the daily pressures that young people face.

She knows how adults — wittingly and unwittingly — reinforce those pressures.

And she knows Westport. She sees communities like ours all over the country.

Wallace’s appearances were a joint effort of the Westport Public Schools and Westport Together. Superintendent of Schools Thomas Scarice and several Board of Education members joined the morning and evening audiences, where Staples High school counselor Deb Slocum moderated the discussions.

Among a litany of specific examples and key points, Wallace offered a few main thoughts: Share your values with your kids; build your life around it. Show them people they know who you believe live successful lives, and define that explicitly. Don’t neglect your own relationships and connections either; they matter.

And for kids, “mattering” — the belief that they matter to their friends, their family, their school and community — is the ultimate key to “success,” whichever ways one defines those terms.

A full house packed the Westport Library’s Trefz Forum to hear Jennifer Wallace (right).

Wallace’s audiences nodded knowingly at many points of her presentations. “At least once a day,” she said, “you should greet your children the way your dog greets you.”

That means “not asking ‘how did your math test go?’ or saying ‘get ready, we have to leave soon for your next activity,'” Wallace said.

“They already know that you care about those things. They need to know that you care about them — that they matter to you. They don’t need to feel ‘I’m only as good as my schedule.”

And, she added, “The difference between a 91 and a 99 is a life.”

Wallace said there is nothing wrong with setting high standards and goals. Many high achievers thrive in those environments. The danger comes from making love and acceptance conditional on those achievements only.

Veteran Staples school counselor Deb Slocum (left) moderated the discussion with Jennifer Wallace.

Success comes in ways far beyond acceptance to highly selective colleges, for example. She had harsh words for the US News & World Report rankings, for everything from their subjectivity and secrecy to the effect they have on students, parents, high schools and colleges.

Wallace offered evidence from her research that the rank, prestige, size or type (private or public) of a college has a “negligible effect” on success in life. (Those factors are more important for students of color, and first-generation college students, she noted.)

What does count is whether students feel valued on campus by professors and peers, and through activities.

“It’s not where you go to college, but how you go,” she said. “Invest in the child, not the logo.”

Of course, she went to Harvard. She had strong words for what it does well and poorly, and downplayed the importance of that school in her eventual success.

Wallace said her family does not talk about college at home. And her children have not attended Harvard reunions with her and her husband.

A major source of tension and worry, in many Westport families.

Wallace does not blame parents for the intensity with which they’re raising their kids. A litany of factors fuels parental fears that their children will not have the same opportunities they did.

But the reality, she said, is that students at high-achieving schools are 2 to 6 times more likely than others to suffer from anxiety and depression, and 2 to 3 times more likely to abuse drugs and/or alcohol.

A parent’s job, she continued, is to “build a life your kids won’t need drugs or alcohol to escape from.”

Parents want to offer their children “a life vest in a sea of uncertainty,” Wallace said. Too often though, that life vest “is leaded. It’s drowning too many kids.”

Wallace’s parting words resounded with her audiences. “Think about your child in 20 or 30 years. What is the story you want them to tell about their childhood? And what was your role in that story?”

The Westport Public Schools and Westport Together will continue the community conversation that Wallace began. Interested high school and middle school parents are invited to meet on Wednesday, November 29; elementary school parents on Wednesday, December 6. Both sessions are from 9 to 10 a.m., in the Staples High School library.

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Roundup: Suzanne Sherman Propp, Post-High School Plans, Teens Work …

Suzanne Sherman Propp came to her current gig — a very popular Greens Farms Elementary School music teacher — after a long career as a performer. (She learned her craft growing up in Westport, and as a Staples High School student.)

Suzanne Sheridan is a longtime resident, and well-known musician too. She recently started the “First Folk Sunday” series at VFW Joseph J. Clinton Post 399.

People sometimes confuse the 2 Suzannes.

A week from tomorrow — May 7, 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. — Suzanne Sherman Propp headlines Suzanne Sheridan’s First Folk Sunday.

She’ll be joined by Bob Cooper. Her husband, Peter Propp, will bring his mandolin for a few tunes.

There’s brunch, and a cash bar (including mimosas and make-your-own Bloody Marys). The cover is $10; click here for tickets.

Suzanne Sherman Propp and Peter Propp.


Staples High School’s counseling department does a great job helping seniors get into college.

But they’re just as focused on supporting students considering paths other than traditional 4-year degrees.

“Finding Your Path: Exploring Post-High School Options” (May 9, 6:30 p.m., Westport Library) features representatives from the military, community college, vocational school, and gap and postgraduate programs.

Local graduates who pursued those paths will be there too, to talk about their experiences and answer quesitons.

Students of all ages, and their families, are invited.

2011 Staples graduate Asia Bravo joined the military — and was accepted into its new Space Force program. She is shown here with B. Chance Saltzman, director of space operations.


Middle and high school students looking to make money through outdoor yard work this spring and summer can join Westport’s Department of Human Services “We Do Walkways” program.

It’s a great way to connect teenagers with senior citizens. The suggested minimum is $15 an hour; chores are limited to outside.

Students must complete an enrollment form and receive parental permission to participate. Contact Westport’s Department of Human Services at 203-341-1050 or email humansrv@westportct.gov with questions.

Seniors can join the “We Do Walkway” list by calling Human Services at 203-341-1050 or emailing humansrv@westportct.gov.

Teenagers: lend a hand!


Author, author!

This Thursday (May 4, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.), the Westport Senior Center hosts a “Meet the Authors” event.

More than a dozen local authors will discuss their books, in an informal questions. They’ll sell and sign them too. Light refreshments will be served.

Scheduled to appear: Winston Allen, Jill Amadio, Ronald Blumenfeld, Prill Boyle, Elaine Breakstone, Don Harrison, Scott Kuhner, Deborah Levinson, Diane Lowman, Allia Zobel Nolan, Penny Pearlman, Mark Perlman, Deborah Quinn, Lynn Ellen Russo, Patricia Sabena, Sue Stewart, Elizabeth Thomas Jean Marie Wiesen.

Prill Boyle is among the many excellent authors at the Senior Center. (Photo/Suzanne Sheridan)


Harbor Watch needs a new boat.

The Earthplace-based organization — which for decades has monitored and restored local waterways — must get a new vessel, for research and education programs. It is imperative to maintain their biological and chemical data.

Tickets are on sale for their “Cocktails & Clams” fundraiser (June 10, 5 to 7 p.m.). The Copps Island Oysters location in Norwalk offers an unlimited and very fresh raw bar, hors d’oeuvres, an open bar, live jazz, silent auction — and spectacular views of Long Island Sound.

Tickets are $200 each; click here. Sponsorships are available too; click here. To donate for the new boat, click here.


Reminder: The launch party for “Pick of the Pics” — the “06880” book highlighting over 100 of our blog’s best Pics of the Day — is tomorrow (sunday, April 30, 2 to 4 p.m., Savvy + Grace, 146 Main Street).

Books will be available for purchase at a special price of $20 (regular Amazon price: $24.95).

I’ll sign copies; so will Lyah Muktavaram, my “06880” intern who did 99% of the work on it.

Photographers featured in the book can pick up a free book at the launch party too.

Can’t make it? Click here to order!


Speaking of books:

After a great run in Saugatuck, Fairfield County Story Lab is moving.

On Monday, the popular workplace for writers leaves its 21 Charles Street top-floor space for 95 Mill Plain Road, in the Fairfield Arts District.

They have to give up their prime Saugatuck spot for an equally great site a few miles east. They’ll still be near plenty of restaurants, right near a train station and I-95.

Fairfield County Story Lab offers a free work day for writers and creatives (and a free week for former members). Call 203-374-8343 for more details.


Yesterday’s weather was forgettable.

But one couple will always remember it.

They got married — in the wind and intermittent rain — by the Compo Beach cannons.

Congratulations to the new bridge and groom — whoever you are!

(Photo/Gara Morse)


The Westport Weston Family YMCA’s 100th anniversary celebration continues, with a yoga fundraiser May 11 (10 to 11 a.m.).

100 participants in a “Breath, Body & Balance” class at the Mahackeno Outdoor Center will be led by Greg Barringer.

There’s a $100 registration fee/donation per person. Funds go to the Y’s Financial Assistance Program, serving under-resourced families and those in need.

Participants get a high-quality 100-year anniversary yoga mat, and a flower from Blossom +Stem. Click here to register.


Members of the Y’s Men of Westport and Weston, and spouses, toured Stamford’s 400,000-square foot world headquarters of NBC Sports this week.

It was an eye-opening, behind-the-scenes look at all that goes into a telecast that most of us take for granted.

Tour guide Terri Leopold shows off the NBC Sports facility. (Photo/Dave Matlow)


Sorelle Gallery’s new exhibition, “Connected Layers,” features abstract artists Julia Contacessi and Teodora Guererra.

It opens Friday (May 5, 19 Church Lane), with a reception set for Saturday (May 6, 3 to 6 p.m.). Click here for more information.

Julia Contacessi


Westporters know Ed Gerber for his preservation work around town.

He’s also a trustee of Historic New England. In that role, he’s sponsoring a “Connecticut Preservation at Work” speaker series.

The free event kicks off June 2 (2 p.m., Metro Art Studios, 345 Railroad Avenue, Bridgeport) with speeches by the co-owners and developers of historic Crown Corset Factory, Bridgeport’s director of business development and more. For more information, click here.

Ed Gerber


It will rain all day today. And tomorrow.

So here’s a “Westport … Naturally” photo — taken a couple of days ago — to remind us all that the weather here has been pretty good this spring.

And remember: April showers bring May flowers.

The calendar guarantees that April showers end tomorrow night.

(Photo/Claudia Sherwood Servidio)


And finally … April 29 is Eeyore’s birthday. He’s 40 today — and every day.

What a life!

(Our “06880” Roundup tells you what’s going on in Westport — today, and every day. Please click here to support our work. Thank you!)

Roundup: PopUp Pizza Bagels, Bank Scam Alert, Trash Pickup ….

The tagline for PopUp Bagels is “not famous, but known.”

They’ll be known a lot more soon.

The Westport-based company’s pizza bagels will now be sold at all Citi Field events in 2023.

So that’s Mets games — and NYCFC (MLS soccer) matches, and concerts.

Forget peanuts. To hell with Crackerjacks. Buy me some pizza bagels!

PopUp pizza bagels, and a Mets-ish hat.


Westport Police responded Thursday to a potential scam at M&T Bank.

A woman had told a teller that she received a call, saying he and her daughter were involved in a motor vehicle accident. The man said he had the woman’s daughter as hostage, and demanded she withdraw as much money as she could.

He warned her not to text or call anyone. In the background, a woman was rying.

The teller sensed something was wrong, and realized this was a scam. The bank called Westport Police, who advised the woman to contact her daughter at work — where she was fine.

This was the third potential scam in the past week, police say. They thank alert bank employees, and offer these reminders:

  • Do not send any money or gift cards to an unknown person.
  • Make contact with family who claim to be in danger prior to sending money.
  • Call the police if unable to contact family members.
  • Report any potential scam.


Andrew Colabella writes:

“Tomorrow’s trash pick-up (Sunday, March 26, 11 a.m.) is along Greens Farms Road.

“We will park at the Public Works Garage at the transfer station (they are closed) and make our way to Prospect Road. Depending on the size of group, we will continue on to Hillspoint Road. This location is back by popular demand from residents.

“Wear comfortable shoes or boots, and gloves — and bring a trash bag.”

Looking ahead, Andrew says:

“For 3 years our weekend group of residents, elected/appointed officials and town employees has volunteered to do weekend trash pick-ups in Westport. Our last pick was Elaine Road, which is probably the worst area of trash collecting from I-95.

“I have written and called the state. They are aware, and are picking up along the guardrail in the coming weeks.

“However, the trash that has spilt below is overwhelming. Three weekends ago a group of 12 tackled the steep hill. We completed about 1/8 of it. I have obtained further help to complete the job.

“I have just confirmed with SLOBs (Staples Service League Of Boys) group. They are on for an Earth Day trash pick on Elaine Road, where Westport’s Animal Control building is located.

“We will have 45 from that group. I am inviting employees from Town Hall, Westport Police, Westport Fire, Public Works, VFW, Parks & Recreation and other departments to join us on April 22nd, at 10 a.m.

“With 45 people plus others we can clean up the entire hill, and along South Compo where trash has made its way into the gutter line and sidewalk area.

“Wear boots and gloves, bring a garbage bag and pickers if you have them, and prepare to get dirty. Spread the word. All are welcome. Let’s clean up Westport!”

Westport Animal Control building, on Elaine Drive.


There are 2 weeks left to save 20% on tickets to the 17th annual Taste of Westport.

The event — a fantastic benefit for CLASP Homes (May 10, 6 p.m., the Inn at Longshore) — always sells out.

Particularly when folks can save big, before April 10.

More than 2 dozen establishments provide all-you-can-eat food and drinks.

Click here for tickets, and more information (including a list of participating restaurants, chocolatiers, and wine and spirits shops).

Can’t make it to the event? Click here, to be part of the Toast the Taste campaign.

To learn more about CLASP Homes, click the video below:


Staples High School Counseling Department honors Women’s History Month.

The next episode of their “Spark Your Future!” series features “Women in the Military.

The virtual event is set for this Tuesday (March 28, 6:30 p.m.). The panelists — all Staples graduates — include

Dominica Wardell (Staples Class of 2014) is an officer in the Marine Corps. She earned her Wings of Gold as a naval aviator, and now flies the MV-22 Osprey.

Asia Bravo (SHS ’11) served 7 years active duty in the Army. She has now been selected as a member of the United States Space Force.

Emily Troelstra (SHS ’13) served as a Navy officer aboard the USS Princeton. After medical separation from the military, she is pursuing a master’s degree in athletic training at George Mason University.

Amanda Troelstra (SHS ’18) is an active duty signal officer and satellite communications platoon leader in the Army.

The program is open to students in all grades, and their families. Scan the QR code below to register.

If you are not able to attend live, the webinar will be recorded and shared in a follow-up email.


Bedford Acting Group’s spring production — “Seussical Jr. ” — opened to great reviews last night.

Two more performances are set for today (Saturday, March 25): 3 and 7 p.m.

Directed by Ryan Smith, the story of friendship, loyalty and love comes through strongly with great choreography, an intriguing set, and of course excellent acting by future Staples Players.

Click here for tickets, and more information.

A scene from “Seussical Jr.” (Photo/Kerry Long)


Westporter Mike Greenberg — host of ESPN’s “Get Up” and “NBA Countdown” — is off the air for a bit.

He underwent a cardiac ablation Monday. The procedure corrects heart rhythm problems. is slowly on the mend after he underwent a heart procedure on Monday.

His wife Stacy posted on Twitter: “Recovery is slow, he has to do nothing and believe me…. he’s not great at that! We both really, really appreciate all the nice messages.”

“06880” joins Mike’s million-plus Twitter followers in wishing him a speedy recovery. (Hat tip: Jack Krayson)

Mike Greenberg


All around Westport, there are many signs of spring.

Lauri Weiser spotted this one in her yard, at Lansdowne Condominiums. It’s a “Westport … Naturally” natural.

(Photo/Lauri Weiser)


And finally … Fuzzy Haskins, “a foundational member of the vocal group that morphed into Parliament-Funkadelic, the genre-blurring collective led by George Clinton that shook up the pop music world in the 1970s,” died last week in Michigan. He was 81, and suffered from diabetes. (Click here for a full obituary.)


(As you bring on the funk, please consider a contribution to “06880.” Click here — and thank you!)

Roundup: Bulletproof Vests, 100 Faces, Credit Cards …

Westport’s winter fund drive for Lyman — our Ukrainian sister city — continues to pay dividends.

Part of the $252,000 raised paid for bulletproof vests and helmets for utility workers near the front lines. They worked in very dangerous areas  — and have restored electricity to 30,000 people.

Contributions are still welcome, via Ukraine Aid International (co-founded by Westporters Brian and Marshall Mayer). Click here; then select “Lyman” from the drop-down “Designation” menu.


The Westport Weston Family YMCA is celebrating its 100th anniversary in (almost) 100 ways.

One involves lifelong Westport resident/award-winning artist/Y member since childhood Miggs Burroughs.

Members — and everyone else — is invited to submit a self-portrait, for the “100 Faces of Our Y” art project. Any medium is fine; just use this template (or pick one up at the front desk).

Then submit it digitally here. email it to 100years@westporty.org, or drop it off at the desk.

The first 100 submissions will be featured in and around the Y.

Not an artist? There are many other ways to get involved:

  • Share Your Stories: Members and the community can submit Y stories, memories and photos, to be featured on the anniversary webpage.
  • Help Make an Impact: Become a corporate sponsor. Donate items, experiences or gift certificates for the live-and silent auctions at the October 6 Anniversary Gala.
  • Healthy Kids Day (April 29): A national initiative to help inspire healthy habits in kids and families. The free event includes fun activities, healthy snack demos, food trucks, sports lessons, games, art, and free t-shirts for the first 200 children.
  • 100 for 100 Yoga Event May 11): Instructor Greg Barringer leads a high-quality yoga experience at the Mahackeno Outdoor Center. Proceeds support the Y’s Financial Assistance Program.
  • 7th Annual Golf Tournament (May 22, Aspetuck Valley Country Club): Another fundraiser for the Financial Assistance
  • 100-Year Anniversary Gala (October 6, Mahackeno Outdoor Center): Donations, contributions and sponsorships fund financial assistance to under-resourced families, and those in need. Last year the Y awarded $746,000 to over 400 families in need: $446,000 in financial assistance, and $300,000 in education- related grants.


I had a great meal the other day at Casa Me. It’s a welcome addition to Westport’s dining scene. (They’ve done a fantastic job with the interior, too.)

But this is not a plug for the Sconset Square spot. (Well, not really.)

It’s about what I learned from my server: Restaurants lose a lot when diners ask to split the check.

Credit card companies charge a fee for every swipe. So if 2 — or, 3, 4 or more — people at one table all offer credit cards, the restaurant gets socked for each one.

The solution? Use one credit card, then square up with the person paying by giving him or her cash.

Or — better yet — pay for the entire meal using actual money.

Restaurants hate this.


Speaking of restaurants: “06880” noted yesterday the closure of Parker Mansion.

Also gone: Its sister business next door, Parker Pizza.

They replaced Julian’s in December 2019.

What a shame. And not just because I had the honor of hanging on their wall, along with several other notables… (Hat tip: Michael Catarevas)


It’s a St. Patrick’s Day tradition: The Y’s Men Hoot Owls serenade the Senior Center.

Sure, and yesterday was a great one for all.

Y’s Men Hoot Owls at the Senior Center. (Photo/Ted Horowitz)


It was a big week for the Staples High School Counseling Department.

Their “Spark Your Future” program — highlighting the cool, creative work done by graduates, including the ups, downs and detours their career paths took — was named the Connecticut School Counselor Association’s Outstanding Student/Family Program of the Year. It was masterminded by Sandra Zeigler, the department’s College and Career Center coordinator

In addition, the organization chose Fran Geraci as Administrative Assistant of the Year. Anyone who deals with Staples’ counseling department knows how much she does every day, for every staff member and student.

The department will be honored April 26, at the University of Hartford.


The last time we checked in with Anne Wells, the Westporter was hard at work for an organization she founded: Unite the World with Africa Foundation.

The original goal was to bring education (and a loving community) to orphans in Tanzania. It branched out to tackle women’s health issues, provide scholarships for higher education, create jobs for tribal women and artisans, offer micro-finance loans, and run a host of other initiatives for marginalized women and youth. (Click here for that 2018 story.)

In 2021 she started a food program. They offer fair market prices for crops, and hermetically sealed bags so farmers do not have use chemicals or fumigants to preserve what they grow.

They’re transporting maize, rice and beans all the way across the country, working with women at a food processing plant, and helping 77 students learn about sales, marketing and finance.

Now — in Unite’s first big event since COVID — Anne will talk about all that she’s done, and wants to do, at a “Cocktails & Conversation” fundraiser. It’s set (appropriately) at Wakeman Town Farm (March 31, 6 to 8 p.m.).

An African drummer will perform, and Tanzanian partners will give updates.

Tickets must be purchased in advance; click here. For further information on Unite the World with Africa Foundation, click here. For Anne’s blog post about her most recent trip to Tanzania, click here.

Anne’s foundation has many Westport connections. Among them: board members Nicole Gerber, Dr. Nikki Gorman and Tanya Murphy.

Anne Wells in Tanzania, at the graduation of several scholars supported by the Unite foundation.


Today’s rant comes from a woman who asks for anonymity. She growls:

I’m a dogless, taxpaying Westporter who enjoys the beauty of our shoreline. I go to the beach year-round, including the winter to take peace in the soft gray tones of the horizon.

One of my favorite things about Compo Beach in winter is parking my car next to the cannons, facing the water, and watching dogs — unbound by seasonal restrictions — play and pounce to their hearts’ unleashed content.

I appreciate how it becomes an unofficial dog park. Owners stand around cross making awkward, forced conversation while watching their dogs sniff each others’ butts. I love how doggies dive fearlessly into the icy waters in pursuit of a tennis ball.

Alas, for all its wintertime canine fun, Compo Beach is not a dog park.

It is a public beach.

I heard two guys yelling at each other, over dog poop. One of them yelled “It’s a dog park!” — seeming to validate his inability or indifference to pick up his dog’s droppings.

Of course, that’s not the way a dog park operates.

And Compo Beach is, in fact, not a dog park.

It is a public beach.

it’s a beach! Not a dog park! (Photo/Dan Johnson)


When Jim Nantz signs off after the NCAA men’s basketball championship on April 3, he will have called 354 tournament games — including 64 semifinals and 32 championships.

This will be the final Final 4 for the longtime (though now former) Westport resident.

He’ll still do the NFL, at least through 2033 — the final year of CBS’ contract with the league — and the Masters. Nantz hopes his final assignment will be that golf tournament’s 100th anniversary: April 13, 2036.

For a full Greenwich Time story on Nantz, click here(Hat tip: Bill Mitchell)

In 2015, Jim Nantz helped aspiring Staples High School broadcaster Eric Gallanty.


Representative Town Meeting member Harris Falk was at Sakura yesterday, hoping to save the 2 weeping cherry trees which may be cut down as part of the state Department of Transportation Post Road improvement project.

His hopeful shot of a crocus epitomizes “Westport … Naturally.”


And finally … Jerry Samuels died last week in Pennsylvania, from complications of dementia and Parkinson’s. He was 84. (Click here for a full obituary.)

His name is unfamiliar to nearly everyone. But in 1966 — as “Napoleon XIV” — he recorded a novelty song. “They’re Coming to Take Me Away, Ha-Haa!” zoomed to the top of the charts.

Just as quickly, it dropped off. Record stations stopped playing it, after a barrage of complaints that it mocked mental illness.

You be the judge:

(“They’re Coming to Take Me Away” may not be your cup of tea. But hopefully, “06880” is. Please click here to support our work. Thank you!)

Roundup: Marigny, Downtown, Jazz …

Westport’s longtime sister city of Marigny-le-Lozon, France, has officially joined us in support of our new sister city: Lyman, Ukraine.

In his annual January address to the town, Marigny mayor Fabrice Lemazurier said that — with the full support of their Town Council — they will direct aid to Lyman children impacted physically and emotionally by the war.

The project will involve Marigny students, and their parents.

Our connection with Marigny grew out of World War II. Two Westporters who served in the Normandy town encouraged residents here to send food, clothes, Christmas gifts and more.

Marigny never forgot Westport. Now, our 2 towns join together to aid a third.


Westport’s downtown revitalization project is one step closer to reality.

Yesterday morning, the Downtown Plan Implementation Committee approved the design concept. Next up: cost estimates, and advisory and funding body approvals.

Click here for more information about the plan.

This screenshot from the Downtown Plan Implementation Committee shows the Parker Harding lot, and its proximity to the Saugatuck River.


Want to raise your tech skills? Or just get some basic ones?

The Westport Library’s “Anyone Can Use…” classes offer free in-person instruction. The next 2:

  • February 1: Foundation Center Professional Database (registration required; click here)
  • February 15: Social Media for Marketing (registration required; click here).

Both classes are 11 a.m. to noon.

For more tech instruction, click here for the LinkedIn Learning database. It  offers over 16,000 professionally produced courses in 7 languages — everything from tip-of-the-spear technologies to basic computer literacy and photography.

Questions? Email ref@westportlibrary.org.

Technology is not just for kids!


Staples High School alumni do some very cool and creative work.

On January 31 (6:30 p.m., Zoom), they’ll share their journeys.

It’s part of the career exploration “Spark Your Future” series, sponsored by the Staples Counseling Department and Westport Library.

But anyone with an internet connection is invited to watch.

Panelists nclude:

  • Max Samuels (Staples Class of 2011): stage, screen and voice actor based in New York.
  • Jacqueline Devine (Staples ’13): co-owner of The Soze Agency, specializing in social impact campaigns.
  • Noah Johnson (SHS ’14): visual designer at Fjord, an innovation consultancy.
  • Trevor Williams (SHS ’18): animation supervisor at Steamroller Studios.

They’ll discuss their journeys, including the ups, downs and detours that brought them where they are today. Click here to register for the webinar.

In Staples Players, Max Samuels (with Eva Hendricks) appeared in “Brighton Beach.” (Photo by Kerry Long)


Speaking of Staples:

The Music Department’s always popular “Jazz and Java” concert is set for this Thursday (January 26, 7 p.m., cafeteria).

Five high school and Bedford Middle School groups are featured, including the award winning combos and Staples Jazz Ensemble.

It’s free — and light refreshments will be served.

Last year’s jazz concert, in the Staples cafeteria.


Club 203 — the area’s very cool social club for adults with disabilities — celebrates Valentine’s Day early.

A celebration dance is set for February 2 (7 to 8:30 p.m., Westport Country Playhouse).

The club’s own DJ Joe returns. Planet Pizza provides heart-shaped pies. And everyone is invited to “dress for the dance.”

For more information and to RSVP, click here.


The Westport transfer station has installed a new configuration, including scales on the right side for trucks.

To learn more about Westport’s unofficial community center — the place where everyone sees everyone else — click here.

Westport transfer station. (Photo/Seth Schachter)


Today is National Granola Bar Day. (I know: Who knew?)

To celebrate, The Granola Bar offers a free almond butter chocolate chunk bar with any purchase of $10 or more (while supplies last).

Stop by, or click here to order online for pickup or delivery.


TAP Strength sponsors a “deeply restorative and healing night of yoga and singing bowls” on February 1 (6 p.m., 180 Post Road East).

The evening combines stretching, sound and Reiki healing, and essential oil aroma therapy.

Call 203-292-9353,  or email nancy@tapstrength.com for more information.



If you’re an Alan Fiore fan — and who isn’t? — click here for the latest release from the Staples High School Class of 2021 grad. He’s now at the Berklee College of Music.

Alan Fiore


Westport resident Lois Ann Crawford died Wednesday at Norwalk Hospital. She was 90.

Born in Cross Creek Township, Ohio in 1932, she graduated from The Ohio State University. Lois taught school in Downey, California; Mather Air Force Base, Sacramento; Greensburg, Indiana and Englewood, Ohio.

She lived in California, Missouri, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Connecticut, following her husband’s career moves. She married Otis L. Crawford in Nevada, while he was in the US Air Force.

Lois was an active member of the United Methodist Church of Westport and Weston, where she was an offering steward for many years. She was an active tennis player, golfer and bridge player. Lois also ran the Komen golf charity event for the 9-hole women’s golf group at Longshore.

Survivors in addition to her husband include her daughters Jean Crawford and Laura Provencal, 4 grandchildren and 1 great-granddaughter. She was pre deceased by her son Gregory Crawford.

Services will be private. Click here to leave online condolences.

Lois Crawford


Dick Lowenstein spotted these 2 dozen-plus birds — “most likely carrion-eating black vultures,” he says — in a tree in his Greens Farms back yard. They make an intriguing “Westport … Naturally” photo.

Small birds are not bothered, though. They continued to feast at his bird feeder.

(Photo/Dick Lowenstein)


And finally … Westport offers thanks to Marigny. Our sister city in France has officially joined our efforts to help another sister city: Lyman, Ukraine.

So, in the spirit of siblings, we offer:

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