Tag Archives: Staples High School PTA

Roundup: Restaurant Pickups, Winter Olympics, The Walters …

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The Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce “Order Direct/Pick It Up” initiative has educated Westporters to use restaurants’ actual websites (or phones) to place pick-up orders. That’s because Uber Eats, DoorDash, Grubhub and similar platforms take huge chunks of the bill for themselves.

Now the word has spread throughout the state. Other Chambers of Commerce are educating their residents too.

Now the Westport Weston Chamber is going a step further.

Click here, then scroll down for “direct” clickable links and phone numbers of Chamber restaurants. Now there’s no excuse to hand over much of a restaurant’s profit to 3rd-party apps.

The list includes:

  • 190 Main
  • Allium
  • Amis
  • Bistro du Soleil
  • Black Duck
  • Boathouse at Saugatuck Rowing Club
  • Don Memo
  • Dunville’s
  • Gabriele’s
  • Granola Bar
  • Harvest
  • Kawa Ni
  • Little Barn
  • Manna Toast
  • Match Burger Lobster
  • Naan
  • Pane e Bene
  • Rive Bistro
  • Rizzuto’s
  • Romanacci Express
  • Sakura
  • Sherwood Diner
  • Spotted Horse
  • Tarantino
  • Tarry Lodge
  • Terrain Garden Café
  • Tutti’s
  • Via Sforza
  • Viva Zapata
  • Wafu
  • Walrus Alley
  • The Whelk

(Graphic courtesy of Miggs Burroughs)

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The Winter Olympics open in 9 days, in Beijing. Of course there’s a Westport connection.

Our neighbor Julia Marino is on the US snowboarding team (slopestyle/big air).

With no fans, friends or family — plus COVID rules, political pressure, burner phones (!) and zero real snow (!!), it will be nothing like her previous Olympics.

Westport journalist Dave Briggs interviewed our local Olympian for his Westport Lifestyle Instagram Life series. Click here for her candid, up-close-and-personal view of these very unusual Olympics Games.

Dave Briggs and Julie Marino.

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Last month, “06880” reported on The Walters. The band — fronted by 2010 Staples High School graduate Walter Kosner had broken up, but became social media-famous thanks to a sudden slew of TikTok videos.

I included a link to their biggest hit, “I Love You So.”

But tomorrow (Thursday, January 27, 11:35 p.m.), Westporters — and everyone else in the world — can watch The Walters live. They’ll be on Jimmy Kimmel Live, on ABC.

They probably won’t be on for 15 minutes. But they will be famous.

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Several Staples students have taken the first step toward national recognition.

Judges have chosen winners in the PTA’s annual Reflections contest. They advance to the state level; after that comes the national competition.

Congratulations to 1st place winners Charlie Jandora (Literature), Jason Capozucca (Music) and Shivali Kanthan (Visual Arts), runners-up Josh Gordon, Jadon Laitman and Camille Vynerib, and 3rd-place finisher Hugh Kennedy.

Reflections winners: Front row (from left): Charlie Jandora, Shivali Kanthan, Camille Vynerib Rear: Jason Capozucca, Jaden Laitman, Hugh Kennedy, Josh Gordon, principal Stafford Thomas.

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We’re midway through dog season at Compo Beach. They take to the sand and shore like they own it. Which — from October to March — they do.

Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo comes courtesy of Karen Como.

(Photo/Karen Como)

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And finally … on this date in 1934, the Apollo Theater reopened in Harlem. Begun as a white-only burlesque house in 1914, it fell into disrepair. It was transformed 2 decades later into a jazz venue, with primarily Black performers and patrons.

Duke Ellington was on the opening day bill in 1934. So was Benny Carter and his Harlem Club Orchestra. He probably played this hit, recorded 3 months earlier:

 

Friday Flashback #232

A recent “06880” story on the death of Hal Holbrook noted his 1959 Halloween appearance — as Mark Twain, of course — at Staples High.

I wrote: “The school had just opened its modern North Avenue campus. The PTA had an active arts program, bringing musicians, dancers and actors to the new auditorium stage. Hal Holbrook might have been the most famous name of all.”

Staples High School auditorium in its first year: 1959.

He sure had competition. As John Kelley notes, in those early days of the new high school, Ottilie Kaufman — who lived right next to the south entrance — organized and produced a one-of-a-kind, first-ever performing arts series at Staples that included (in addition to Holbrook) the Weavers, Marcel Marceau, Ferrante and Teicher, Odetta, Sir John Gielgud , Andrés Segovia and others.

Segovia — a world-renowned Spanish classical guitarist — died in 1987, at 94. But his legacy — and his visit here — lives on.

Soon after another legendary Latin musician — José Feliciano — turned 75 last year, our Weston neighbor received a gift: Segovia’s footstool.

Autographed. And from that March 1960 Staples concert.

A page from the 1960 Performing Arts series program.

The back story: Prior to his show, Segovia came to the Kaufmans’ home next door to the high school. He warmed up in the living room using that footstool. Many classical guitarists do that; it supports the instrument, as they play seated.

Growing up in Spanish Harlem in the 1950s, Feliciano was highly influenced by the skills and intrigue of Segovia’s delicate flamenco style.

The antique stool sat in the Kaufman family’s attics for decades — first on North Avenue, then at Ottilie and Zenn’s son Roger’s house. A guitarist, singer and founder of Old School Music’s concerts, promotions and events, he’s as famous locally as Feliciano and Segovia are internationally.

The stool seemed a fitting present for Feliciano, who always sits when he plays. Now the “Feliz Navidad” and “Light my Fire” Latin/jazz/blues/soul/rock musician is sitting pretty with Segovia’s stool in hand — er, under foot.

From left: local drummer Tyger MacNeal, Jose Feliciano and Roger Kaufman, with Andres Segovia’s footstool. The 75th birthday presentation was at Sakura.

PTA Thanks Cops

In a show of appreciation, the Staples High School PTA and Westport PTA Council treated the Westport Police Department to lunch today.

The card below says it all:

A Real Community Conversation

This Tuesday, the Staples PTA and Westport Library co-sponsor a “Conversation in the Community on Underage Drinking.”

The event (7:30 p.m., Bedford Middle School cafeteria) opens with John Dodig.  The Staples principal will describe the steps his high school has taken to reduce drinking before and during next weekend’s Homecoming football game.

The bulk of the meeting, though, involves an open discussion about kids and alcohol, in all areas of Westport life.  (Students are strongly encouraged to attend.)

Attendees will break into small groups to discuss areas of interest.  At the end of the evening, each group will summarize its conclusions for everyone.

If Tuesday is at all like previous forums, it should be an interesting evening.

It would be even more fascinating if someone steps up to the mic and asks questions like these:

  • The Homecoming game is scheduled for 10 a.m., in part to stop drinking beforehand.  How many students plan to drink afterward?  And how many parents know not only that their kids will drink then — but also exactly where?
  • How many parents had a cocktail or two after work — and before driving to Tuesday’s meeting — “just to unwind.”
  • How many students are willing to talk openly about their drinking habits — the “secret lives” few Westport adults are privy to?
  • How many parents actually want to hear about those secret lives from their own kids?

If we are to have a true “community conversation,” those are important questions to ask.

They’re even more important to answer.