Tag Archives: Steven Parton

Roundup: Dog Festival, Banned Books, Social Anxiety,

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Anne Lutz Fernandez is a former English teacher at Staples High and Bedford Middle Schools.

She’s also an author, and a contributing writer for NBC News’ “Think” website.

The other day, she started a “Think” essay this way:

“A few years ago, I was asked to phone a parent who wanted her high school senior to switch English classes. Her daughter had selected the class ‘Women in Fiction,’ but the mother wanted her to take my class instead to avoid books that would go against the family’s Christian beliefs.

“Her daughter would be welcome, I said, but warned that my course, ‘Literature of Suspense,’ might also prove problematic. The books include a lot of crime, some violent, I explained. That’s okay, she replied. Supernatural evil? Not a problem. Substance abuse? Fine. Death, demons, and drugs: all were judged inoffensive. This parent just didn’t want her daughter reading books in which characters have sex.

“Death, demons, and drugs: all were judged inoffensive. This parent just didn’t want her daughter reading books in which characters have sex.

“I’ve been pondering this exchange during Banned Books Week and as numerous states have passed legislation purportedly meant to protect America’s K-12 students from ‘discomfort’ when learning about history or contemporary issues.”

It’s a provocative, insightful essay. To read the rest, click here.

Anne Lutz Fernandez

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Forget the dog days of autumn. This Sunday (October 10, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.,  Winslow Park) marks the return of the Westport Dog Festival.

The popular event was knocked out 2 springs in a row by COVID. But you can’t keep a good dog down.

The Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce and TAILS bring attendees — human and canine — a day filled with fun competitions, kids’ activities, demonstrations, police K9 presentations, giveaways, vendors, food trucks and more.

Piglet — the blind and deaf chihuahua — will be there. So will Earth Animal, presenting prizes for best tail wagger, best dressed, best kisser, best trick, best lap dog over 50 pounds, and the dog that most looks like its owner.

Parking is available at the Westport Country Playhouse, and lots along Post Road East. Tickets are $10 per person; $25 for a family of 4. Proceeds benefit non-profit organizations.

To register for competitions, and more information, click here.

This guy loved the 2017 Dog Festival. (Photo/Dan Woog)

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With little fanfare, the Kings Highway North bridge by Canal Street has reopened to traffic.

In only slightly less time than it took to build the pyramids or create the NASA program that put a man on the moon, crews have completed work on a project that most Westporters never even realized was a bridge.

The new route to Wilton Road from Main Street should ease downtown traffic a bit. Fingers crossed …

A welcome sight, once again. (Photo courtesy of Google Street View)

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Eighteen months into the pandemic, Westport moms want to know as much about COVID as possible.

So tonight (Tuesday, October 5 (8 p.m.), Westport Moms is hosting an Instagram Live session with Dr. Scott Gottlieb.

The former FDA commissioner — and current local resident — will talk about vaccines, kids, and where we go from here.

Westport Moms is a multi-platform resource. Look for @WestportMoms for tonight’s IG Live event.

Dr. Scott Gottlieb

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Kids are talking about popularity and social anxiety.

And this week’s “Kids Are Talking” — the online, Westport-based, multi-platform show — tackles that fraught topic. 
This week’s show will be talking about popularity and Social Anxiety.

What does popularity mean to teenagers today? How does pressure to fit in affect self-esteem and confidence? Do the stresses of being popular come at a price, and how important is it?

Click here for the link.

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An update on the GoFundMe drive for Horace Lewis, the beloved Staples High and Coleytown Middle School custodian who suffered a devastating stroke on his anniversary in July.

The goal of $50,000 has been surpassed. Grateful Westporters have donated $54,990 so far. But more is needed, for costs not covered by insurance. He receives physical and occupational therapy, and has still not returned home. Substantial renovations will be needed to make the house accessible for him.

Click here to help Horace. (Hat tip: Andrea Cross)

Horace Lewis

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Three bits of art news:

The George Billis Gallery on Main Street hosts an opening reception this Friday (October 8, 4 to 7 p.m.) for its next exhibition. Artists include Nancy Bass, Paige Bradley, Steve Cosentino and Denise Petit.

On Saturday (October 9, 1 to 3:30 p.m.), One River School of Art + Design presents a solo exhibition of work by Chuck Webster. His mediums include painting, drawing, collage and printmaking. His works are on display through December 19.

And Westporter Steven Parton has been named a Signature Member by the  American Artists Professional League. That brings him one step closer to being recognized as a Living Master by the organization.

Steven Parton, with one of his works.

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Builders Beyond Borders — the international service organization for teenagers — hosts an open house tomorrow (Wednesday, October 6, 66 Fort Point Street, Norwalk, 5:30 to 7 p.m.). Students and their parents are invited to learn more about programs and possibilities.

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As of last Friday, dogs are allowed back at Compo Beach.

Yesterday — right on cue — these pooches enjoyed their freedom. Tracy Porosoff was there to capture this iconic “Westport … Naturally” scene.

(Photo/Tracy Porosoff)

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And finally … Bob Moore, who played upright bass on hundreds of country music’s biggest hits, died last month in Nashville. He was 88.

The New York Times said: “Over 40 years Mr. Moore elevated the bass in country music from a subordinate timekeeper to an instrument capable of considerable tonal and emotional reach. By turns restrained and robust, his imaginative phrasing revealed a gift for seizing the dramatic moment within a recording or arrangement.” Click here for the full obituary.

Among his most noteworthy recordings:

0*6*Art*Art*0 — Week 7 Gallery

Wasn’t it just yesterday we were stunned to be self-isolating — and art seemed a safe, sensible way to keep our wits and express our emotions?

No. It was nearly 7 weeks ago.

Every Saturday since, “06880” has shared readers’ artwork. Professional, amateur, old, young — you’re sending us your paintings, collages, sketches, photos, sculptures, chalkwork, cartoons, whatever.

The only rule is it must be inspired by, reflective of, or otherwise related to the times we’re going through.

Keep the submissions coming (including students, of any grade!). Just email dwoog@optonline.net.

Here is this week’s gallery. It’s long on photos, with some very welcome springtime themes.  Enjoy!

“When We Still Had Hope,” soft pastel on sanded paper (Deborah Howland-Murray)

Funky hand-knit mask with tassels (Amy Schneider)

“Kissing,” Sherwood Island (Karen Weingarten)

“Day 1” (Rebecca Ross)

(Eileen Lavigne Flug)

“Wine and Tears” (Nina Bentley)

“Stuck in Your Hometown, Or Loving Your Hometown? Walking Downtown by the River” (Rob Feakins)

“Painting Flowers to Get Excited for Spring,” watercolor and ink pen (Eden Rossman, age 9)

“Robin’s Nest in My Back Yard” (Mary Sikorski)

“Stay Home” (Beth DeVoll)

Winslow Park Animal Hospital (Molly Alger)

“The Zeitgeist,” Sherwood Island (originally plane-less, but “stuff happened”); oil on canvas (Steven Parton)

COVID-19 Roundup: Longshore Golf Course; Paul Newman; Jon Gailmor; Food, Art, And More

1st Selectman Jim Marpe and Parks & Recreation director Jen Fava confirm that the Longshore golf course fairways, rough and cart paths are open to walkers. The greens are not open, and of course the course is closed to play.

Oh, yeah: It’s closed to dogs too.

(Photo/Patricia McMahon)


Can’t get to the Westport Country Playhouse? Missing Paul Newman?

In 2002, our town’s hero appeared on stage — as the stage manager — in Thornton Wilder’s classic “Our Town.”

It was one of the most memorable performances on that venerable stage. And now you can watch it all, through the magic of YouTube. Click below — and thank your lucky “stars.”


Speaking of stars, Jon Gailmor shined brightly — and sang beautifully — even before graduating from Staples High School in 1966.

Decades later, “Peaceable Kingdom” — his Polydor album with classmate Rob Carlson — remains one of my favorites ever. (You’ve got time on your hands. Click here and here for 2 of the greatest tracks.)

Gailmor then moved to Vermont. He runs music-writing workshops in schools, writes and performs all over, and has been named an official “state treasure.”

Ever the social commentator, he’s taken his guitar and pen to the coronavirus. “What We Have Found” (“This is 2020 from a distance”) is all too true, and very poignant.

There’s not a lot to enjoy about COVID-19. This, though, is one of them:


They’re located just a few yards over the border, in Southport. So Garelick & Herbs did not make the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce’s great list of markets open for takeout and delivery.

However, their many local customers will be glad to know that G&H offers curbside pick up and home delivery, via phone (203-254-3727) or online (click here).


Trader Joe’s is limiting the number of customers in the store at a time. Mornings are the most crowded, but the line moves quickly. This was the scene this morning, as shoppers lined up (properly socially distanced) beyond Jersey Mike’s.

(Photo/Tom Cook)

At 12:30 there was no line. When I left 15 minutes later, 2 people waited outside.


Reader Adam Murphy writes about this generous act: “When the owner of The Simple Greek in Norwalk (its really close to Westport!) found out that a recent catering order was for the Gillespie Center, he voluntarily doubled the amount of food. ‘I want to make sure everyone has enough,’ he said. In times that must have him worrying about his business surviving, he still has generosity for others. Great food and great people!”


Westporter Steve Parton reminds readers that — with galleries closed, and self-isolating the new normal — our neighbors who make their living from art and art lessons are having a tough time.

“We would all like to make a sale if possible,” he says. “Everything must go! No reasonable offer refused!”

Check out his website — and those of any other local artists you like. As you look at your walls (what else is there to look at?!), now is the perfect time to buy new works!

“Compo Beach,” by Steven Parton