Tag Archives: Starbucks

Roundup: Starbucks Smiles Update, The Bats, Bus Shelters …

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Last Wednesday, “06880” posted a plea from Amanda DeRosa. The Westport mom sought help for her favorite Starbucks worker, a woman in dire straits due to deliver a baby in September.

Less than 5 days later — yesterday morning — Amanda delivered $4,550 in gift cards to the woman. They’re for stores like Buy Buy Baby, Target and Stop & Shop — and they’re all courtesy of “06880” readers.

“I’ve never felt so much joy in my heart,” says Amanda, about the moment she handed the cards (and flowers) to the woman.

“She said she couldn’t believe it. She felt her mom” — who died before she was a teenager — “was looking out for her. We both hugged and cried.”

Thanks go to Amanda — and the more than 100 very generous “06880” readers, who helped make one life a little brighter today.

Amanda DeRose (right) and her Starbucks friend.

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Rex Fowler has played the Levitt Pavilion before. So has Dodie Pettit,

But they’ve never played the Levitt together before.

They’re on stage Thursday (June 24). Of course, Rex and Dodie are not some fill-up-an-empty-date wannabes.

They’re Aztec Two Step 2.0. They’ve toured internationally; their music is known far and wide.

But on Thursday, the husband-and-wife duo will be performing in their home town.

Joining them are other noted musicians, including Westporter Joe Meo and Westonite Chris Coogan. It’s free, but tickets are required. Click here to register, and for more information.

Aztec Two Step 2.0 (from left): Muddy Roues, Joe Meo, Dodie Pettit, Rex Fowler, Peter Hohmeister, Chris Coogan.

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Speaking of music: REO Speedwagon and Styx will open the Hartford HealthCare Amphitheater in Bridgeport on July 28.

It’s part of the “We Are Back Tour 2021.”

The name is fitting. In 1971,  the most popular track on Speedwagon’s debut album was “157 Riverside Avenue.” That’s where — in Westport — they stayed while recording at Leka’s studio. Which (speaking of “we are back”) was in Bridgeport.

“157 Riverside Avenue” remains one of the band’s concert favorites. No word on whether they’ll take a side trip next month to their old stomping grounds.

If so, they won’t recognize it. Ten years ago, it became just another teardown.

(Tickets for the Bridgeport show go on sale Friday, June 25, 10 a.m. at LiveNation.com.)

(Photo/Peter Tulupman)

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Staples High School’s graduation ceremony last week was special for 450-plus graduates.

It was extra special for 12.

Russell Sherman writes: “In 2009, a group of kindergarten boys started their Little League careers together on a team called The Bats.

“Over the years the boys stayed in touch, and so have the parents. Thursday night, following Staples graduation 12 years later, they gathered for a reunion to celebrate.

“They are fantastic kids. It has been a privilege watching them all grow up. Obviously it is an emotional time for all of us parents. But we can’t help but be proud of them, and excited for what’s to come.”

The Bats, all grown up …

Front row (from left): Danlel Rosenkranz, John Vincini, Owen Sherman, Tucker Lawrence. Middle row: Coach Steve Vincini, Quinn Jumper, Eduardo Andrade, Sam Kleiner, Mathew Ambrifi. Standing: Coaches Russell Sherman and Eduardo Andrade.
Missing: Lucas Dimyan, Steve Greenberg, Mike Greenberg. (Photo/Scilla Vincini)

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Next on the Planning & Zoning Commission agenda: bus shelters.

On Thursday (June 24, 6 p.m.) the board holds a public hearing. A proposed text amendment would define bus shelters, exempt them from coverage requirements, and permit them within the front landscape area setbacks.

An explanatory statement notes that in Westport, bus shelters are considered structures with no special exemptions. Installing them adjacent to the roadway and within the 30-foot front landscape area requires a variance from the Zoning Board of Appeals.

The proposal will explicitly define bus Shelters, specify which features are permitted there, specify which agencies are responsible for overseeing the locations, exempt bus shelters from coverage requirements. and allow them to be located within the 30-foot front landscape area setbacks adjacent to the roadway without a variance.

The P&Z meeting will be live streamed on www.westportct.gov, and on Optimum Government Access Channel 79 and Frontier Channel 6020.  Comments may be sent prior to the meeting at PandZ@westportct.gov, and during the meeting at PandZComments@westportct.gov. Interested parties may join virtually to offer live testimony during the meeting if the meeting link is requested by sending an email to maryyoung@westportct.gov by noontime on the day of the meeting.

Waiting for the bus — without a shelter. (Photos courtesy of Planning & Zoning Commission Bus Shelter Working Group

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo is Molly Alger’s darling dahlia:

(Photo/Molly Alger)

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And finally … happy 68th birthday, to the amazing Cyndi Lauper!

Smiles At Starbucks: Westport Steps Up For A Woman In Need

During the darkest days of the pandemic, Amanda DeRosa was heartened by regular trips to Starbucks.

With several health issues, the 37-year-old Westporter used the drive-thru. She got to know one of the regular order takers.

“She’s so lively and bubbly,” Amanda says. “She’s spunky and young. I’d think about her while I was waiting to pick up my order. She made me feel secure.”

At the drive-thru window, Amanda adds, “she wore a mask. But I could see the smile in her eyes.”

A Starbucks worker brings joy to customers.

Recently, Amanda noticed the woman was pregnant. But when Amanda congratulated her, she looked sad.

Amanda wanted to help. She asked for the woman’s phone number; a tear rolled down her cheek.

They began texting. Amanda learned her new friend lives in a Bridgeport studio apartment. She has a 3-year-old son, and a longtime partner. When she was 12, her mother died. She’s struggling.

She’s been at Starbucks more than 3 years, and hopes for a promotion.

“This is a dig-her-heels in woman. She works hard for her family,” Amanda says.

The Westporter wanted to offer more than encouragement. When her own son was born, she was registered with Buy Buy Baby. Suddenly, she had an idea: collect donations, and present the woman with a gift card.

“I want her to have the joy of walking into the store with her partner, and pick out the stroller, car seat, crib, bassinet, toys, books and formula they need,” Amanda says.

Babies need lots of “stuff.”

She put the word on social media last night. As of this morning, grateful Starbucks customers — and those who do not even know the woman — had contributed $440.

Amanda hopes for much more. She’s cleared her own personal Venmo account. All donations (Venmo: @AmandaDeRosa) will go directly to the woman. (To ease concerns, Amanda will send “06880” a screen shot of the balance, plus the gift card receipt.)

Amanda will present Westport’s gift to the woman on Monday. (She knows she’s getting something, but has no idea what.) A florist — who did not want to be named — will contribute a bouquet, to accompany the gift card.

“We’re all human beings,” Amanda says.

“We all do what we can, with what we have. This is a wonderful woman, someone in need. I’m proud of how this great community is helping her.”

Roundup: Capuli Restaurant, Suzuki Music, Starbucks, More

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Despite the pandemic headwinds, new restaurants continue to open in Westport.

Don Memo, Walrus Alley, Manna Toast, Hudson Malone, Outpost Pizza and Basso have all opened their doors, despite restrictions on dining.

Yesterday, Capuli joined them.

Like its predecessors in the Post Road East space opposite Bank of America — Westport Pizzeria, and before that Joe’s Pizza and S&M Pizza — it will serve pies.

But the cuisine is called California-Mediterranean fusion, featuring “a variety of fresh ingredients, low in saturated fats, whole grains, seasonal vegetables, lean meats and seafood.”

They plan on primarily takeout meals at the start. Call 203-557-9340, or email capuli.westport@gmail.com for more information.

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The pandemic has also affected Suzuki Music Schools. But their classical music education and performance schedule has simply moved from Colonial Green to cyberspace.

The popular children’s Pillow Concert” series returns January 24, and continues through spring. Family-friendly concerts give children a chance to be up close and personal with performers beyond the front row (and they’re encouraged to bring pillows to create seats at the artists’ feet).

Online master classes and interactive workshops will be conducted by widely acclaimed artists like violinists Rachel Barton Pine and Regina Carter. They’re open to audit for non-students for the first time (for a small suggested donation to the school).

The 4th annual Connecticut Guitar Festival returns March 5-7. It goes global virtually this year, featuring international artists. Attendees can tune check out Suzuki Schools’ social media pages every week leading up to the festival for discussions famed guitarists about how they’ve performed during the pandemic.

For more information on Suzuki Music Schools, click here.

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To celebrate Martin Luther King Day, the Westport Public Art Collections announced a series of small rotating exhibitions. They’re part of a larger initiative to support nondiscrimination in the arts.

The first — opening at Town Hall on February 1 — explores longtime Westporter Tracy Sugarman’s civil rights activities during the Freedom Summer of 1964 in Mississippi.

The artist-reporter wrote, “I was determined to bring back real images of real people and real places so everyone could see American apartheid for what it really was.”

Tracy Sugarman died in 2013, at 91. To learn more about him, click here.

“July and 100 Degrees in the Shade at the Sanctified Church for Freedom School Kids, Ruleville”

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Colin Livingston writes:

“Has anyone ever mentioned the overflow Post Road traffic at the Starbucks drive-thru?

“I can’t tell you how many time I’ve driven by and thought it’s an accident in the making. I snapped this the other day leaving the Bank of America ATM next door. I could barely see the approaching traffic.

“I’ve got nothing against Starbucks. I just don’t want to see anyone get hurt.”

Colin, the topic has been addressed before. This has been going on for months — ever since the pandemic began.

I am stupefied that anyone would sit in a car for so long at any drive-thru. It’s particularly mind-boggling because there is a perfectly good Starbucks a mile or so down the road, at Stop & Shop. The biggest line I’ve ever seen there is one person.

You could drive, park, get your coffee, drink it — and do all your grocery shopping — in the time you’d spend on that Post Road Line.

Of course, it would mean getting out of your car …

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And finally … Phil Spector — the influential record producer who went from creating the famous Wall of Sound to prison for the murder of a woman in his home — died Saturday, of complications from COVID. He was 81.

Roundup: Starbucks; State Regulations; Fine Arts Festival; Townee T-shirts; More


Westporters gathered at Starbucks’ downtown location this morning, to show support for a popular employee. He’s been the target of racial harassment and stalking by a customer,

After a firestorm on social media, Starbucks has finally banned the customer from its property.

(Photo/Amy Schneider)


The Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce reports:

While the state has paused its Phase 3 reopening, officials have made updates to  industry-specific rules.

The updates provide more specific guidance, and new recommendations for a broad range of sectors. Highlights include new rules for Indoor Recreation; expanded guidance for Outdoor and Indoor Events.

Changes impacting  Offices, Personal Services, Hair Salons & Barbershops,  Retail, Libraries, etc. include:

    • Non-essential businesses have the right to refuse service to anyone not wearing a mask.
    • In the event an employee tests positive for COVID-19, it is recommended the business implement a 24-hour passive decontamination and follow CDC guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting.

Changes impacting restaurants include:

      • Servers are no longer required to wear gloves.
      • Indoor performances are now allowed (with the exception of musical vocalists).

In addition, hotels are now permitted to provide non-essential services and amenities (valets, ice machines, etc.).


First, the downtown Fine Arts Festival was moved from always-hot July to much more pleasurable late May. Then the pandemic pushed it back to fall.

Now the Westport Downtown Merchants Association has reluctantly announced its cancellation. The next festival — with hundreds of artists, plus music, food, kids’ activities and more — is set for Memorial Day weekend of 2021 (May 29 – 30.

But you can still enjoy this year’s show. Click here for links to over 175 juried fine artists who would have attended, and will be welcomed back next year.

A scene from last year’s Fine Arts Festival.


Back in 2017, “06880” ran a story on Townee. The new company produced authentic, Westport-inspired t-shirts, sweatshirts, hats and more.

This summer they’ve added hand-created tie-dye clothing. “It’s the perfect way to show town spirit and positivity,” say Nick Prior and Theo Vergakis. They’re rising juniors at Staples High School — and they’ll deliver your goods personally.

They also offer tie-dye workshops at small home camps in town. Kids pick their styles, then learn how to tie-dye. The cost is just $20.

For more information, click here or email nickprior04@gmail.com

Theo Vergakis, Nick Prior and Townee tie-dyed tees.


Last night, Westport Public Schools officials presented 3 options for reopening to the Board of Education.

Today at 5 p.m., Westport Magazine’s Dave Briggs interviews Staples High School principal Stafford Thomas, on Instagram Live. The former CNN, NBC Sports and Fox News anchor will ask about that topic, and other important issues.

Search for @westportmagazine on Instagram to hear the interview. Questions can be submitted live (@westportmagazine), or beforehand (@davebriggstv).


The other day, “06880” gave a shout-out to 2020 Connecticut Entrepreneur Award winners Sarah Deren of Experience Camps, Remarkable STEAM and Mark Mathias.

There’s another local honoree (with an asterisk).

FinTron invest placed first in the Venture (Pre-Revenue) category. Their office is on Franklin Street. But they moved from Fairfield in the beginning of March, so that town gets credit for them in the list of winners.

No problem. From here on, FinTron is ours.


Partly cloudy skies are predicted for this weekend. Temperatures will be in the 80s — well below last weekend’s sizzling weather.

No matter what the weather, Westport’s Parks & Recreation staff is ready to welcome beachgoers. They manage the crowds with efficiency and energy.

And smiles — even if you can’t see them, behind their masks!


The Westport Library Book Sale is not accepting any more donations this week. The donation shed is full. Next chance: next Thursday.


And finally … what better way to celebrate the end of another week than with this great put-on-a-smile-on-your-face song? One more reason to love Scotland!

Racial Incidents: Starbucks Replies

The ongoing harassment of a Westport Starbucks employee — including use of the “n-word” and stalking, by an apparently unstable woman — has reached corporate headquarters in Seattle.

A company spokesperson contacted “06880” this afternoon. He said the woman is no longer allowed in Starbucks stores, in Westport and neighboring towns.

Starbucks has been trying to reach the employee, the spokesperson said.

Local leadership has made multiple attempts to speak with DayShawn, to update him on actions the company has taken to ensure the safety and protection of employees, and ensure he’s felt support from leaders throughout the investigative process.

The spokesperson added:

“None of our partners should feel harassed while in our stores. We take these matters seriously.

“Our stores are a place of community, where everyone is welcome, provided they contribute to a positive environment and an enjoyable experience. We are aware of the social media post, have thoroughly investigated the matter alongside local law enforcement, and have taken appropriate action to ensure the safety of our partners – which includes the formal restriction of the customer from our stores in the area.”

Westport’s downtown Starbucks.

Rally Set For Downtown Starbucks Employee

An 8 a.m. rally is planned for Friday morning (July 24) in support of a downtown Starbucks employee.

The barista, Dayshawn — one of the most popular at the Parker Harding Plaza location — has posted on social media that he is the target of continued harassment by one customer. She calls him the “N-word,”and stalked him in the parking lot.

Dayshawn, the Starbucks employee.

Other customers have witnessed what’s happened. Dayshawn said that Starbucks officials have not intervened effectively, not banning her while telling him and co-workers it is their job to serve customers.

Organizers add that the woman harassing Dayshawn is “unstable. The focus is not on her. It is on this: After Dayshawn and his coworkers wrote to corporate Starbucks about this woman, they shrugged him off.

“This is systemic racism, enabled by corporate America. There is no reason he should have been in a hostile working environment like this. They need to answer for it.

“No one inside the local Starbucks is responsible for what Dayshawn has experienced. They have been very supportive of Dayshawn throughout this. The focus is on what we stand for in this town and what we expect of our business models.

“Please wear yellow if you have it, and keep this supportive. Even a sign with a heart will send a message.”

 

Pics Of The Day #1076

Westport in the coronavirus crisis: scenes from yesterday and today.

Empty chairs at Longshore (Photo/Sandy Rothernberg)

Social distancing at the beach (Photo/Bob Weingarten)

Empty Compo Beach pavilion (Photo/Sarah Menninger)

One of the final days for dogs on the beach (Photo/Sophie Pollman)

With drive-thru service only, Starbucks’ line was long (Photo/Robert Hauck)

A plea for help (Photo/Jen Kobetitsch)

Westport’s Unitarian Church (Photo/David Vita)

COVID-19 Roundup: Virtual Dance Party Tonight; Face Mask Collection; Business News; How To Help; Staples Rocks; The Ospreys (!) And More

Joe Agostino, an enthusiastic participant in the STAR program for people with disabilities, is a budding DJ. Tonight (Saturday, March 21. 6:30 to 7 p.m.) he’s hosting a Facebook Live Virtual Dance Party, in celebration of World Down Syndrome Day. Go to Facebook; search for @djjoegetdown — then get down!


Need a delivery of food? Medications? Toilet paper (the holy grail)?

Cup of Sugar can help. Its mission is simple: make deliveries for those who need them.

It’s simple — just click here, then click “Request a Delivery.” I’m not sure who is behind this, but for many people it could be a literal life saver.


She la la in Playhouse Square is closed. But the popular store placed a box by the front door. They’re collecting N95 masks, face shields, wipes and sanitizers for health professionals and first responders. If you’ve got some to spare — give generously!


With shipments coming in to Compo Farm this week and next, “06880” reader Peter Huggins says, “It would be great if people order flowers for delivery both to help a local business survive, and make their homes a little happier in these troubling times.”


Stacey Henske is helping ease isolation, loneliness, fear and anxiety among seniors. Kids, teenagers, adults — anyone — can write poetry, letters, short stories, essays, cards, illustrations or anything else that can be slipped under a door.

They can be dropped in a bin by the front door at 10 Poplar Plains Road, off Wilton Road. If you can’t leave the house, email staceyhenske@gmail.com; she’ll arrange for pickup. PS: Please don’t lick any envelopes!


Logan Goodman is a Bedford Middle School 8th grader with a great business customizing sneakers. Some designs are her own; others are based on famous artists’ works.

With time on her hands, she’s eager for work. Check out her Instagram (@lacedbylogan), then DM her for details.


The UPS store at 606 Post Road East next to Dunkin Donuts is considered an “essential business.” It remains open, offering printing, scanning, faxing and notary. For anyone working from home, those services can be truly essential.


Starbucks may or may not be an “essential business.” But dozens of Westporters believe it is.

They’ve voted with their feet — well, their tires. This was the scene on the Post Road at 10:45 this morning.

Gotta have that quad long shot grande in a venti cup half calf double cupped no sleeve salted caramel mocha latte with 2 pumps of vanilla substitute 2 pumps of white chocolate mocha for mocha and substitute 2 pumps of hazelnut for  toffee nut half whole milk and half breve with no whipped cream extra hot extra foam extra caramel drizzle extra salt add a scoop of vanilla bean powder with light ice  — well stirred!

(Photo/John McKinney)


Not long ago, Westporter James Mapes created a 2-disk toolkit, all about helping users manage stress.

In these stressful times, he’s giving away the download to the first 20 healthcare workers who email him (jjm195@aol.com). Include your affiliation, please. For more info, click here.


Remember all those stories you’ve heard about the bands that played at Staples High School: the Doors, Cream, Sly & the Family Stone, Animals, Rascals and Yardbirds?

Remember the 2017 documentary produced by Staples grad Fred Cantor, and directed by another alum, Casey Denton? Remember how mad you were that you missed its showings in Westport?

Now — thanks to Cantor and Denton, and their desire to bring a bit of rock joy into socially isolated America — you can relive (or learn about) those amazing days.

They’ve made it available — free — on YouTube. Just click below.

And even if you’re quarantined in your room, start dancing.


Running out of things to do? Board games are great — and right around the corner.

Looking for educational toys for your schooling-in-place child? They’re right around the corner too.

Amazing Toys in Compo Shopping Center offers curbside service. So does Age of Reason on Post Road West — and they deliver (within reason). Just call ahead!


Hank May’s Tire & Auto Centers offer curbside drop-off and pick up. Call ahead to be checked in by phone. Cars can also be dropped off before or after hours. Leave keys and information in the night drop box; they’ll call back.


This has absolutely nothing to with the coronavirus, other than raising everyone’s spirits when we need it most.

Alert “06880” reader Lynn Wilson reports that the ospreys are back at Fresh Market!

The 2019 ospreys. (Photo/Carolyn McPhee)

Unsung Heroes #124

On Sunday, I left at 6:30 a.m. for a statewide soccer coaches’ meeting in Wethersfield.

First I snagged a coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts. Then I hit CVS, for the New York Times. (I read it online 6 days a week. For some reason, I still buy the dead-trees Sunday edition.)

It was early, so the woman behind the Dunkin’ register and the guy at CVS barely registered with me.

But as I drove north, I realized: They must have gotten up very early. They traveled here from wherever they lived (probably not Westport). They did all kinds of prep work. They served me efficiently and a smile, even though I scarcely made eye contact.

And they do that every single day.

Coffee with a smile!

I don’t know the name of the Dunkin’ woman, or the man at CVS. But I do know that they — and many others like them, at Starbuckses, gas stations, and plenty of other places around town — make our mornings much more tolerable.

So the next time you buy a coffee, bagel, newspaper, or anything else — especially if the sun is not yet up — thank the man or woman who hands it to you.

I know I will.

(To nominate an Unsung Hero, email dwoog@optonline.net)

Starbucks Stars With Education Buck$

Say what you will about Starbucks (and people say plenty).

You have to admit: The company that popularized the words “venti” and “barista,” and brought the world drinks like cotton candy frappuccino, is a great supporter of education.

Every benefits-eligible US partner (aka “employee”) — even those working part-time — is eligible for 100% tuition reimbursement for a first-time bachelor’s degree through one of Arizona State University’s 80 online programs.

Nora Anzalone — who works at the Starbucks in Parker Harding Plaza — chose English literature.

Juggling work and school was not easy, but Nora did it.

The other day, she earned her degree.

To celebrate, Nora’s downtown Starbucks threw a graduation party.

Nora Anzalone (right) with supervisor Tayna Hovanec.

No word on how her name was spelled on the cup.

(Hat tip: Charmian Hall)