Tag Archives: Staples High School field hockey

Roundup: Parks & Rec Survey, Death With Dignity, Staples Girls Sports …

The Parks & Rec Department has held open houses on its Longshore Capital Improvement Plan. Residents weighed in — pro and con.

Now there’s another way to provide feedback. They’ve posted a survey on the project website, along with all the concepts already presented. It’s open through November 9.

Click here to take the survey. Be sure you have some time — it’s comprehensive.

The full project website is available at Stantec Longshore Club Park.

What changes would you like to see at Longshore?


A new, revised leaf blower ordinance got its first reading at last night’s Representative Town Meeting.

Because there are a number of changes from the original proposal — including the elimination of fines — there was no vote. After new committee hearings, the ordinance may be voted on in January.

Click here to read the full proposal.


Actor/director/Weston resident Jim Naughton writes:

“State Senator Will Haskell has told me that when he visited senior centers in several of the towns in his 26th District, he found that ‘Medical Aid in Dying’ was the bill they most wanted passed.

“This did not surprise to me. When my wife Pamela, having battled pancreatic cancer for 4 years, got to the end of her journey, she said to me, ‘Jimmy, I don’t want to wake up anymore.’ If Connecticut had made it available to her then, she would have used it.

“Also known as ‘Death With Dignity,’ the law has been adopted in 10 states and the District of Columbia. It came within one vote of making it out of the Connecticut Legislature’s Judiciary Committee last spring. A Gallup poll determined that 75% of Connecticut residents want it.

“I urge our neighbors to know where the candidates stand on the issue before voting next week.  It will be revisited in the next session.”

Pam Naughton


Earth Animal cares about pets — and the humans who love them.

For the 15th straight year, they’re participating in the Mitten Project, for Connecticut Food Share. Last year, they raised over $40,000. This year — with increased need for help — the goal is $45,000.

Froom now through December 31, people can buy “mittens” at the store (and others in the area). Each “purchase” is a $5 donation.

In addition, cashmere mittens, Advent calendars and wreaths will be sold December 3 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.) at Earth Animal. The store will match every dollar donated.

Special “Sip and Shop” events will also benefit CFS at:

  • J. Mclaughlin (342 Pequot Avenue, Southport,, November 17, 1-5 p.m.)
  • The Post (1799 Post Road East, November 17, 3 to 6 p.m.)
  • Millie Rae’s (1011 Post Road East, December 8, 4 to 6 p.m.)
  • Scout & Molly (283 Post Road East, November 16, 2 to 6 p.m.)
  • Outdoor Design and Living (1301 Bronson Road, Fairfield, November 17, 4 to 7 p.m.)
  • Mo’s Wine and Spirits (957 Post Road, Fairfield, December 8, 7 to 9 p.m.)
  • Milestone Restaurant (2 Main Street, Redding, CT, December 8, noon to 5 p.m.).

In addition, a homemade pie sale (apple, apple crumb, cherry, cherry crumb, pumpkin) at Wakeman Town Farm will send all proceeds to Connecticut Food Share. Click here to order between November 14 and 18. Pickup is November 22, from 3 to 7 p.m. at WTF.

And … Earth Animal is selling wreaths December 3 (11 a.m. to 2 p.m.), also for the CFS cause.

Want to make a donation without a purchase? Click here.


Sami DeWitt scored on a pair of corner kicks, and Annabel Edwards knocked in a third goal, as Staples High School’s girls soccer team downed Greenwich 3-1 last night, in the FCIAC tournament semifinals. A late Cardinal goal ruined Cami Kolek’s shutout bid.

The Wreckers — defending state and FCIAC champs — look to add another league title in tomorrow’s championship match against longtime rival St. Joseph (Thursday, November 3, 7 p.m., Wilton High School’s Kristine Lilly Field).

The Wreckers  are ranked 3rd in the tourney. The Cadets are first. St. Joseph won the teams’ regular season match 2-1, less than 2 weeks ago.

Staples High School girls soccer Senior Day.


Congratulations too to the Staples field hockey team!

They also play for an FCIAC championship tomorrow (Thursday, 7 p.m.,  Brien McMahon High School).

The #3-seeded Wreckers topped #2 Wilton 3-1 last night. Their opponents tomorrow are top-rated Darien. Staples will seek to avenge a 3-0 loss to the Blue Wave earlier this year.

The Staples field hockey team, after last night’s FCIAC semifinal win. (Photo courtesy of Inklings/India Ahl)


Stacie Curran writes:

“Without much fanfare, a new stop sign appeared at the intersection of Greens Farms Road and Bulkley Avenue South.

“It seems that no one is observing it. Waze and other apps direct traffic this way when I-95 get congested- The morning (race car) commuters are in their zone, and blissfully unaware of this change.

“Without some police presence (or the addition of a stop  sign 🛑 to map-apps), this interaction is actually more dangerous now.”

Greens Farms Road, looking west. South Bulkley Avenue is to the right; Stop and Shop (not pictured) is off it. (Photo/Stacie Curran)


Yesterday was the day after Halloween — November 1.

Time to put up the Christmas lights!

This was the scene on Hillspoint Road. One homeowner — well, the landscaping crew — was already hard at work.

You’ll have an extra hour to see them twinkle soon. Daylight Savings ends on Sunday.

(Photo/Matt Murray)


Michael Chait has a large and well-deserved following for his original photographs, which he blends with aspects of paint technique. He is particularly fond of photographing Westport and New York City.

His work has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, Museum of Natural History and the permanent collection of the Brooklyn Museum.

Now — just in time for the holidays — he’s got a new website. Click here to explore.

Michael Chait’s flag over the Saugatuck River.


Folk and other music lovers know Voices Café — tucked inside Westport’s Unitarian Church — is a hidden gem.

Now kids can enjoy it too.

A special Voices youngsters’ event brings Dan and Claudia Zanes back to Westport this Saturday (November 5, 4 p.m.). They entertained a large Levitt Pavilion Chidren’s Series crowd a couple of years ago.

Voices Café is a sensory-friendly, open environment. There’s space up front for movement and fun.. Tickets are $25 per adult, $15 per child ages 2 to 17; children under 2 are free. A 15% discount is available for families of 4 or more. Click here for tickets and more information.

Claudia and Dan Zames.


There are many things to love about the Saugatuck Rowing Club. High on the list this time of year: the view from the river.

Rachel Halperin stopped long enough from her workout to snap today’s “Westport … Naturally” shot.

(Photo/Rachel Halperin)


And finally … Happy 2nd Day of the Dead!

======================================================= (On this Day of the Dead, help keep “06880” alive. Please click here to support your hyper-local blog.)

Staples Athlete Finds Fulfillment Off The Field

Fall sports begin this week at Staples High School. Confident seniors, anxious freshmen — and every athlete in between — will get ready for challenging, intense, fun, uncertain and (hopefully) winning seasons.

Zoe Simonte has played field hockey since elementary school. She’s been on Westport PAL and Staples teams. She loves the sport.

Zoe Simonte, in action for Staples.

But this year, she won’t wear the Wrecker blue and white. A rising senior, she’s decided not to play.

Instead, she’ll teach field hockey to others. She’ll work with the PAL youth program — and with Hearts4Hockey, a program she started for teens and young adults with special needs and neurodevelopmental disabilities.

Last year, right before school started, Zoe was injured. Thirty stitches kept her off the field for much of the year. On the sidelines, helping others — and receiving encouragement in return from teammates and coaches — she realized something very important.

“I got more out of that than actually playing,” Zoe says. “I got into JV games at the end of the season, but it wasn’t the same.”

Around this time last year, Zoe had started what became Hearts4Hockey. Friends who had children with special needs encouraged her to help out on Friday nights, in a Stamford sports program.

There was no field hockey, so Zoe introduced it. Using soft sticks and hockey balls, she taught passing and shooting skills in an easy-going way. Games were always fun.

Zoe Simonte offers instruction — and encouragement.

She adapted the program to each individual’s physical or cognitive and developmental challenges — while always emphasizing peer interaction.

There were sometimes 30 participants. Zoe got help from friends, relatives, players’ parents, and the sports facility’s owner. Even her dog got involved.

The program melded 2 of Zoe’s passions: movement, and helping others.

“My goal is to create an environment where each person feels empowered to try new things without fear of being judged,” she explains.

“That’s what Ian (Tapsall, the Staples head coach) and other coaches taught me. I want to share that, and help others feel they are enough as they are.”

As Zoe thought about how time-consuming club and Staples field hockey are (the Wreckers are a perennial state title contender, with all that involves), she realized that as much as she loves the sport, it was more for its connections to others than for actual competition.

As a freshman, she’d been welcomed and embraced by older players. She enjoyed good, personal relationships with Tapsall and others. Now, Zoe decided, she can give something back to younger people, and those with special needs.

Her parents, friends and coaches all supported her decision to not play this fall, and work instead with PAL and Hearts4Hockey.

Zoe Simonte and a happy Hearts4Hockey crew.

At a time when many seniors are focused on the college admissions process — without having any clear idea what they want to study — Zoe says her decision has helped her gauge what she might ultimately pursue.

“My mom said, ‘You really are a people person!'” Zoe laughed. “I hope I can do something in the future with that.”

Making friends, through field hockey.

Roundup: Girls Soccer, Pumpkins, ALS …


Congratulations to the Staples High School girls soccer team!

The #4 Wreckers battled #1 St. Joseph to a 0-0 draw in the FCIAC semifinals last night — then prevailed on penalty kicks, to advance to the league championship. It’s tomorrow night (Wednesday, 7 p.m.) Thursday (November 4, 7 p.m.)  at Fairfield Warde High School.

Coco Crombie, Gaby Gonzalez and Gabriela de Brito each made their tension-filled, game-ending shots. McKenzie Didio saved 3 shots in goal, to propel the Westporters to the title match.

Coach Barry Beattie’s team hopes to make it 2 championships in a row. They beat St. Joseph in 2019. There was no match last year, due to COVID.

Good luck too to the Staples field hockey team. Seeded #3, they face #2 Darien tonight at 7:30., at Brien McMahon High School.

The Staples High School girls soccer team, at last month’s the Push Against Cancer …


Halloween’s over. You’re rationing your kid’s candy, and cleaning the cobwebs (literally) from your yard. But what to do about that rotting pumpkin?

Bring it to the Westport Farmers’ Market on November 11 (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.). Their 3rd annual Great Pumpkin Toss is a free, fun composting event.

Action Waste Solutions will accept all pumpkins (and gourds!) in their natural state at the market. Squishy, rotted pumpkins are welcome. If they’re decorated or painted, they unfortunately can’t be composted.

In addition to creating compost, pumpkins provide food for livestock. Ox Hollow Farm will fill their truck with pumpkins for their cows.

PS: You can also sign up for Action Waste Solution’s residential recycling collection service, and get your first month of service free.

Last year’s event diverted one ton of pumpkins from landfill. Let’s beat that this year!


One of Westport’s most important holiday events — the annual Giving Program — is underway.

Aimed at friends and neighbors facing financial hardship, it’s funded entirely by community donations. Each year, over 100 Westport families with school-aged children benefit.

COVID — with unemployment, underemployment, food insecurity and stress — has increased the need.

During the pandemic, Westport’s Department of Human Services has pivoted from accepting toys and clothes. The emphasis now is on gift cards, checks and cash. Safety is one factor; so is the chance for parents to personalize their children’s gifts, while participating in the holiday season.

Individuals and organizations can click here to help; choose “Family to Family,” then “Holiday Giving Program.” Checks can be mailed to Westport Department of Human Services c/o Town Hall, 110 Myrtle Avenue, Westport, CT 06880.  Donations may also be dropped off at Town Hall by appointment.

Westport residents facing financial difficulties can call Human Services at 203-341-1050 or email humansrv@westportct.gov for confidential assistance.

Click here for more information. Questions about the program? Email adaugelli@westportct.gov or call 203-341-1183. 


As he battled ALS, Jonathan Greenfield was thinking of others. The well-known Westporter created Breathe4ALS, The goal was to improve the lives of people living with ALS by educating them about the Wim Hof breathing technique, and its ability to provide more energy, less stress and a heightened immune response — and to fundraise for ALS research.

Jonathan died in June, but his work continues. This Sunday (November 7,  11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.) the non-profit he founded with his wife Iris holds its first Jonathan Greenfield Memorial Wim Hof fundamentals workshops. It’s called “Breathe Westport. Breathe!” Jonathan created Breathe 4 ALS with a dual mission:  to improve the lives of people living with ALS and to raise money for ALS research.

The event will be held at the Greenfields’ home, and livestreamed. Tickets are $200 and $45, respective. All proceeds benefit Breathe4ALS. Click here to register, and for more information. Click here for a video on the Wim Hof technique.

Not long after his diagnoses, Jonathan Greenfield hiked in Spain with Wim Hof (left).


Political season means political signs. You see them everywhere: traffic islands. Front lawns. Today, of course, at polling places.

They tout candidates for local offices. Except this one, spotted earlier today on South Compo.

The Tiger King is not on the ballot. Besides, the 2020 presidential election is over. Joe Biden won.*

(Photo/Matt Murray)



The Mercedes station wagon parked since summer front of Town Hall still remains there.

It’s not the only perhaps abandoned vehicle.

Chris Grimm says a Holiday Rambler travel trailer has sat in the Sherwood Island Connector I-95 commuter lot for at least a couple of weeks. 

The door is wide open. He describes it as “ever so slightly furnished crack den chic. The only decoration is a Junie B. Jones bumper sticker on the inside of the front window. Looks like a metaphor for lost youth if there ever was one!”

Holiday Rambler in the I-95 lot. (Photo/Chris Grimm)


MoCA Westport’s auction is online, and open. More than 50 items — including original art, unique experiences, and products from small Westport businesses — are available for bid.

Click here to participate. The auction closes November 15.


Thoreau never gets old

To prove it, Westporter Andrew Blauner has compiled essays from 27 leading writers. Their original pieces explore how the 19th century philosopher/poet/ environmentalist/abolitionist influenced them.

Next Monday (November 8, 7 p.m.), he (Blauner, not Thoreau, Zoom) will talk about his new book, what he’s learned, and why we still need Thoreau in our lives. Click here to register, and purchase the book.

Henry David Thoreau


The Westport Astronomical Society’s lecture series is one of our town’s unheralded gems. (The WAS calls itself, after all, “The Best Space in Connecticut.”)

Next up: the Hubble Telescope, and “A Brief Moment in Time.” It’s November 16 (8 p.m.). Click here to view.


There are plenty of places to admire fall foliage. One of my favorites is at the entrance to Staples High School, just off North Avenue.

Dayle Brownstein loves it too. Here’s her photo — a perfect “Westport … Naturally” image, on this Election Day when there’s no school.

(Photo/Dayle Brownstein)


And finally … today is Election Day. Leonard Cohen nails it. Sure, he was Canadian, but you get the idea.



Roundup: Old Dominion, Pumpkins, Sports, More

The third time’s the charm.

Of course, so were the first two.

For the third year in a row, Old Dominion was named Vocal Group of the Year, at the Academy of Country Music awards ceremony in Nashville. Lead guitarist for the Nashville-based band is 1997 Staples High School graduate Brad Tursi.

Perhaps the ACM can take a page from international soccer. After a team wins its 3rd World Cup, the trophy is retired.

Why the analogy? In 1996, Tursi led his Staples team to the state final.

His current career is plenty rewarding too. Congratulations, Old Dominion.

Now go out and make it 4 in a row! (Hat tip: Jeff Lea)

Brad Tursi



Still got pumpkins?

The Westport Farmers’ Market will collect them today, as they open the winter season at Gilbertie’s Herb Garden (7 Sylvan Road South, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.).

Last week at the 2nd annual Pumpkin Composting Collection with Action Waste Solutions, the WFM collected more than 2,000 pounds of pumpkins.

That’s 2,000 pounds of food not added to the waste stream. Some pumpkins went to vendors and Bridgeport Rescue Mission to be cooked and eaten; some went to farm animals.

Whatever could not feed people or animals will be composted.

Last week’s pumpkin haul.

For weeks, it was uncertain whether there would be a high school fall sports season in Connecticut.

There was — though shortened, and without any FCIAC (league) or state tournaments.

The FCIAC was divided into 3 groups. Staples competed in the Central Division, against only 5 opponents: Norwalk, Brien McMahon, Wilton, Danbury and Ridgefield. Teams played home-and-away, back-to-back contests. Those same 6 schools then played a season-ending mini-tournament.

On Tuesday the girls’ volleyball team captured the divisional crown with a 3-0 win over Ridgefield.

The field hockey team fell to Ridgefield 2-1, in the Central final. In the regular season, the Wreckers won twice against the Tigers.

The girls soccer team was set to play for a Central Division trophy of its own this afternoon. They were to face archrival — you guessed it — Ridgefield. Earlier this year, the squads tied twice. The move to all remote learning for Staples through tomorrow has postponed the title match.

Action from Tuesday’s Central Division field hockey final.

(Photos/J.C. Martin)

And finally … happy 75th birthday to Neil Young!


Roundup: Compo Beach, Craft Fair, More

Warm weather has brought summer-like (sort of) crowds to Compo Beach.

In an abundance of caution during COVID-19, the parking lots will close today when they reach 50% capacity, as was done this summer. The lots will reopen as space becomes available.

Town officials remind beach-goers to wear masks on the boardwalk, when using the restrooms or sidewalks, or any other time when maintaining a 6-foot distance is not possible.

Not quite yesterday — but close.

The Westport Young Woman’s League Craft Fair is one of the area’s best fundraisers of the year.

It’s also one of the most crowded.

Which means it won’t be happening this fall. At least, not the usual way.

But the crafty WYWL has figured out a way for anyone to shop at home — and support over 200 artists and all the good works the organization does.

Click here for CraftWestport. The Young Woman’s League also seeks donations. Last year, admission fees to the craft show helped them distribute $90,000 to 25 area charities. Click here to help.

If you missed the opportunity you to drop off your old pumpkins at the Westport Farmers’ Market, here’s another option.

Bring them to the transfer station. Leave them beside the bright green food scraps toter. They will be made into compost. (Hat tip: Pippa Bell Ader)

The Staples field hockey team kept their perfect season intact with another shut-out yesterday. They beat Brien McMahon 8- 0 in the FCIAC Central Division semifinal.

COVID prevents the Wreckers from earning their 5th state championship in a row. But on Tuesday (November 10), they host Ridgefield for the divisional crown. Go get ’em!

The Wreckers celebrate one of 8 goals yesterday. (Photo/J.C. Martin)

And finally … Minnie Riperton was born today in 1947. She died 31 years later, of breast cancer.

Roundup: Pride And Prejudice, Night Music, Field Hockey, More

Who doesn’t want to escape 2020? The early 1800s sound great!

This Sunday (November 8, 6 p.m.), Staples Players’ radio play series continues with “Pride and Prejudice.” Jane Austen’s tale of romance and matchmaking gone awry is great family entertainment. Just like the old days! (Though there were no radio plays in the 1800s, of course.)

Sophie Rossman plays Elizabeth Bennet. She calls this “unlike anything we’ve done in the last 4 years.” Sophie admires Elizabeth’s “drive to make decisions and defy gender stereotypes to achieve her aspirations.”

Emily Desser adds that “audiences will love all of the characters in each of these shows. Each of them is entertaining in their own way, and cast members find such interesting ways to bring them to life.”

Gruel Brittania joins the fun. The Fairfield restaurant offers Pemberley’s Prime Rib Supper with Yorkshire pudding, cauliflower and broccoli cheese, roasted parsnips and carrots, pan gravy and horseradish sauce, and sticky toffee pudding with custard. To order, click here.

To enjoy the free livestream, click on www.wwptfm.org.

Seniors Sophie Rossman and David Corro rehearse “Pride and Prejudice.” (Photo/Kerry Long)

Temple Israel cantor Dan Sklar, local favorites The Sweet Remains, Staples High School senior Camille Foisie and Camp A Cappella highlight an evening of great music on Saturday, November 14 (7:30 p.m.).

It’s all for a great cause: the Norwalk/Nagarote Sister City Project. Email norwalksistercityproject@gmail.com.

Camille Foisie

The Staples field hockey team celebrated Senior Day in a big way in their last regular season game, scoring against Norwalk within the first minute. The rampage continued, all the way to 6-1.

The undefeated (8-0) Wreckers advance to the Central Division semifinal, Saturday at home.

(Photo/JC Martin)

And finally … as Election Week continues …

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

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

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

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

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

(Photo/Chris Greer)

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

They Are The Champions!

It’s very tough to win a high school state championship.

It’s even tougher to repeat.

But the Staples field hockey team did just that this afternoon. Coach Ian Tapsall’s girls decisively shut out Cheshire 2-0, to capture their 2nd consecutive class “L” (largest schools) crown. It’s the 3rd in the program’s history, following a co-championship in 2016.

State champs — again! The Staples High School field hockey team.

A couple of hours later, coach Barry Beattie’s girls soccer team fell 1-0 to Ridgefield, in the title match. It was the 2nd straight year that the 2 FCIAC schools met in the “LL” (largest schools) final — and the 2nd straight win for the Tigers.

Congratulations to both teams, for great runs.

And, of course, kudos to coach Laddie Lawrence’s boys cross country squad. Earlier this year they captured the “LL” title — their 3rd in a row. In 2015 and ’16, they were also state open champions.

Field Hockey, Soccer State Finals Moved To Sunday

The Staples field hockey and girls soccer teams have one more day to prepare for their state championship games.

Snow pushed the 2 finals back to Sunday.

The field hockey title contest versus Cheshire is now set for November 18, 12:30 p.m. at Wethersfield High School.

The girls soccer match is also Sunday, 3 p.m. at West Haven High School.

One thing hasn’t changed: Westport’s excitement and support as these 2 great teams go for the gold.

The Staples girls soccer team celebrates after beating Glastonbury in the state tournament semifinals.

The Staples High School field hockey team.

Hail To The Victors! Staples Field Hockey Wins State Championship

Last year, Staples and Darien tied in the state L (large schools) state title game. They were declared co-champs. That was quite an accomplishment.

But this year, there’s no sharing at all. The Wreckers edged the same team — the Blue Wave — 1-0 in the championship match, at Wethersfield High School.

Congratulations to coach Ian Tapsall, and his girls!

The 2017 state champion Staples field hockey team. (Photo courtesy of Sal Augeri)

They were not the only Staples team playing for a state crown today.

The girls soccer team — fresh off their FCIAC championship — fell 2-1 to Ridgefield, in the LL (largest schools) clash at West Haven High.

It’s very difficult to beat the same good team 3 times in one season. The Wreckers of coaches Barry Beattie, Mackenzie Pretty and Dave Sharpe had knocked off the Tigers twice before, in regular season and FCIAC tournament play.