Tag Archives: Sustainable Westport

Roundup: Downtown Tunnel, Downtown Cleanup, Compo Shoe …

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In 2014, “Tunnel Vision” — Miggs Burroughs’ clever series of lenticular photos, showing Westporters connecting with each other (and each one changes, depending on your viewing angle) — turned a drab pedestrian walkway between Main Street and Parker Harding Plaza into a lively, creative tourist attraction.

“Tunnel Vision,” in the walkway between Main Street and Parker Harding Plaza

Although — 7 years later — plenty of people still don’t know it exists.

Recently, the images were refurbished and reinstalled. A small reception, including a ceremonial re-lighting, is planned soon.

Also in the works: great visibility.

Miggs and Mark Yurkiw are seeking approval to add awnings to the tunnel’s front and back entrances. They’ll be an easy way for shoppers to find the handy cut-through (and enjoy Miggs’ photos).

They’ll also be an easily identifiable shelter for people waiting for a friend or ride, in all kinds of weather.

PS: Check out the new name: “Tunnel of Love and Community (TLC).”

Rendering of the proposed tunnel awning on Main Street.

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Speaking of downtown: Westporters of all ages headed there yesterday, for the first annual Riverwalk clean-up.

Sustainable Westport, Staples High School’s Zero Waste Committee and the Coleytown Elementary School PTA’s Sustainability Committee met behind Starbucks, then fanned out to remove trash from the riverfront, on both sides of the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge.

They spent 3 hours, and filled 25 buckets.

The rest of Westport — and all kinds of wildlife — are grateful.

It takes a village to clean up a village.

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Are you missing a shoe?

This one was spotted yesterday at Compo Beach. The photo comes courtesy of 10-year-old Samantha Perrotta.

(Photo/Samantha Perrotta)

Then — a couple of hours later — I got this, from June Rose Whittaker:

(Photo/June Rose Whittaker)

There must be a story behind this. Though I’m not sure we want to know.

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Looking for a special — and beautiful — holiday gift?

Longtime photographer Tom Kretsch has some ideas.

How about “Touching Maine,” his beautiful book of essays and images of coastal Maine? A 4″ x 4″ acryclic photo block? Or a gift certificate for one of his photos? There are plenty, taken throughout Fairfield County and beyond. Click here to see.

Email tom@peacefulplacesphoto.com for more information.

(Photo/Tom Kretsch)

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo shows a beautiful gingko biloba tree. It’s in Ted Horowitz’s back yard on Wilton Road — but now everyone can enjoy it!

(Photo/copyright Ted Horowitz)

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And finally … today marks the 58th anniversary of President Kennedy’s assassination. I’m still not convinced we know the whole truth.

Roundup: Christmas Music, Veterans Day, Pints For Players …

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Yesterday was November 9. Christmas is December 25. That’s 45 days away.

Which means 45 days of Christmas carols. Because I heard my first one of the season yesterday, at Fresh Market.

Guys … it’s not even Veterans Day yet!

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Speaking of Veterans Day: It’s tomorrow.

Joseph J. Clinton Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 399 hosts Westport’s Veterans ceremony in their Riverside Avenue parking lot.

The Westport Community Band plays patriotic music at 10:30 a.m., honoring all those who have served in the US military.

The 11 a.m. program includes posting the colors, remarks from State Senator Tony Hwang and 1st Selectman Jim Marpe, an address by Staples High School senior Pierre Briand, and a firing salute by the Westport Police Department.

A special tribute honors World War II and Korean War veterans for their service. The public is invited to the outdoor event.

VFW on Riverside Avenue: site of tomorrow’s Veterans Day ceremony.

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A few spots remain for this Saturday’s free mattress and box spring recycling program (November 13 at Earthplace, 10 Woodside Lane, 8:30 to 11:30 a.m.). The project is sponsored by Sustainable Westport.

The project is run through the Mattress Recycling Council’s Connecticut Bye Bye Mattress program.

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Staples Players’ “Grease” is a hot ticket. And Cold Fusion is adding to the heat.

Owners (and Players superfans) Kelly and Eric Emmert have created a special “Pints for Players” promotion.

They renamed 3 flavors, to honor the show. Through closing night (November 20), customers can purchase pints of Pink Lady (strawberry stracciatella), Burger Boys (blood orange sorbet) and Ode to Olivia Newton-John (peanut butter Xanadu).

For more information on “Grease,” click here.

Rydell High cheerleaders enjoy some Cold Fusion gelato.

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Speaking of high school: MoCA Westport has put out a call for submissions from artists in grades 9-12. They’ll be part of an exhibition focusing on the theme of identity, to run concurrently with a show featuring works from the Westport Permanent Art Collections in January.

MoCA officials were impressed with the diversity and talent of last year’s submissions. This year, they hope to surpass those nearly 200 entries. Teachers from across Connecticut and New York played a huge role in bringing that exhibition to fruition. They’re engaged again this year.

The submission deadline is December 19. For details, click here.

A student work from last year’s “Hindsight is 2020” show.

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Jillian Elder — the creative force behind the “Finding Westport” information and merchandise site — checks in with more swag.

Her “Westport Love & Life” collection of t-shirts, mugs, blankets, tote bags and more includes our beloved Minute Man, in various forms of the words “Love” and “Life.” Click here to see the wide variety of products.

And Jillian hopes to post a list of Etsy shops based in Westport, for holiday readers. If you’ve got — or know of — one, email jillian@findingfairfieldcounty.com.

The Minute Man on a “Love & Life” hoodie.

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Time to network!

Local business professionals are invited to a “Virtual Visitors Day” on Thursday, November 18 (7:30 to 9 a.m. Zoom). The event is sponsored by Westport’s Business Networking International chapter.

BNI meetings are open to only one business per category.

They’re on the lookout for new members. People working in hospitality — event planners, florists, caterers, bakers, DJs and bands, liquor stores, limousine services and gift novelty shop owners — are particularly welcome

Other open categories include home inspectors, veterinary services, dentists, dermatologists, commercial sign companies, martial artists, trade schools, physical therapists, orthopedists, delicatessen owners and tutors.

Email curtis@health-directions.com or billhall747@gmail.com to sign up for the Virtual Vistors Day.

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The Westport Police Department and TEAM Westport are sponsoring a Thanksgiving food drive this Saturday (November 13, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.). All donations support Homes with Hope’s Gillespie Center and food pantry, and Westports Human Services Department.

Westport Police officers and volunteers will collect non-perishable food items and cash. Suggested items include canned meats, tuna, salmon, Spam, canned cranberries, boxed stuffing, canned yams, canned corn, canned gravy, pasta, and sauces, chili, hot and cold cereal, canned fruit, canned and dry soups, peanut butter, jelly, mac and cheese, rice, granola bars, pancake mix, syrup and mayonnaise.

Earlier this year, after another drive, Westport Police and Homes with Hope volunteers delivered food to the Gillespie Center, across from police headquarters.

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Lauri Weiser calls today’s “Westport … Naturally” image “The Last Rose of Summer.”

(Photo/Lauri Weiser)

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And finally … as noted above, yesterday was waaaaaay too early for Christmas music.

Two can plan that game. Take this, Fresh Market!

 

 

 

We’re Sustainable!

Westport is an environmentally conscious community for the right reasons: It’s the best thing for us. And the planet.

Still, it’s nice to get props for our efforts.

Sustainable CT has just named Westport one of 23 municipalities to achieve silver (the highest) level of certification.

Last year, we won a bronze.

1st Selectman Jim Marpe praised the “tireless and ongoing support from Sustainable Westport and Earthplace. With their focus on programs and forums on sustainability, such as the Zero Food Waste Challenge and home efficiency audits, these organizations are pivotal in the movement towards achieving our goal of Net Zero by 2050. “

He also lauded “the residents of Westport, who have taken on the challenges, great and small, to become involved in the growing movement to protect our environment for future generations. With increased local engagement and impact, it will be possible to make our planet healthier and more sustainable.”

In its application for Sustainable CT certification, Westport demonstrated significant achievements in actions in areas like inclusive community building, thriving local economies, clean and efficient energy use, vibrant arts and culture, clean transportation and diverse housing.

Roundup: Candidates’ Debate; Starbucks Baby, Bye Bye Mattress …

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The League of Women Voters’ candidate debate — postponed by Tuesday’s nor’easter — has been rescheduled for tonight (Thursday, October 28, 7 p.m.).

Board of Education candidates Christine Torres and Kevin Christie (Democrats), Robert Harrington and Dorie Hordon (Republicans), and Planning & Zoning hopefuls Danielle Dobin, Neil Cohn and Michael Cammeyer (Democrats), Jack Whittle (Republican) and Ron Corwin (Coalition for Westport) will participate.

Click here for the Zoom link. Click here for the LWV’s full Voter’s Guide.

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In June, “06880” posted a plea from Amanda DeRosa. The Westport m sought help for her favorite Starbucks worker, a woman in dire straits due to deliver a baby 3 months later.

Readers responded quickly, and generously. Amanda soon gave the woman $4,550 in gift cards, for stores like Buy Buy Baby, Target and Stop & Shop.

Last month — after 3 days in labor — the barista delivered a healthy, 8-pound baby boy. Yesterday, the new mom returned to work.

She was all smiles. And when you check out the photo below, you’ll see why.

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The Westport Country Playhouse has changed the date of its Family Fun Day from this Saturday to Sunday (October 31, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.), due to predicted bad weather.

The event includes kids’ activities like a scavenger hunt and spider web weaving, treats, food trucks, ghost stories, a food drive for Norwalk’s Open Door Shelter, beer tastings, and costume parade for youngsters and dogs. The box office will be open from 12 to 2 p.m. for 25% discounts on in-person tickets to the upcoming performances of “Doubt: A Parable,”and 2022 Flex Passes.

Children are encouraged to bring their own pumpkins for decorating. For more details, click here.

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Wondering what to do with your used mattresses and box springs?

Sustainable Westport is sponsoring a free recycling program. Just bring them to Earthplace (10 Woodside Lane) on Saturday, November 13,. between 8:30 and 11:30 a.m.

The project is run through the Mattress Recycling Council’s Connecticut Bye Bye Mattress program.

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Four school records fell last night, as Staples High Schools’ girls swim and dive splashed to victory over Trumbull at home on Senior Night.

Once again the Wreckers broke 200 and 400 meter freestyle relay school records. Senior captains Jessica Qi and Ella Alpert, plus freshmen Annam and Ayaan Olasewere, set 2 new marks: 1:48.17 (200) and 4:02.10 (400).

In individual events, freshman Annam broke her own record in the 50 meter freestyle (25.69, shattering her previous mark, 26.15). She also broke Staples’ record in the 100 meter freestyle (57.30).

Freshman Dani Schwartz won the 400 meter freestyle (4:52.51). The Wreckers also swept the 200 meter freestyle, led by Jessica (personal best 2:08.99). Sophomore Libby Turner (1:09.92) took first in the 100 meter backstroke.

Divers Kate Whitaker, Emme Thaw and Ava DeDomenico took the top 3 spots in their event.

Staples finishes the regular season 6-3 record. Postseason championships begin soon.

Winning 400 meter free relay team (from left): Annam Olasewere, Ayaan Olasewere , Ella Alpert, Jessica Qi.

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Also moving into the postseason: The Staples field hockey team (11-1-0) can finish 2nd or 3rd in the FCIAC, depending on today’s game at undefeated New Canaan, and begin the league playoffs Friday or Saturday.

The girls soccer team finished the regular season 9-2-4. Seeded #4 in the FCIAC tournament, they host #5 New Canaan this afternoon (Thursday, 3 p.m., Wakeman Field at Bedford Middle School).

The boys soccer team closed out their best regular season (10-1-4) in 10 years last night, with a 3-0 win at Fairfield Ludlowe. Ranked #3 in the FCIAC tourney, they host #6 Fairfield Warde tomorrow (Friday, 3 p.m., Wakeman Field at Bedford Middle School.)

The Staples boys soccer team runs over to greet their fans, at the end of their final regular season game last night. (Photo/Barry Guiduli)

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Speaking of sports: Ryan Fitton was a 2-sport (football and baseball) star at Staples High School.

The 2017 graduate is now a 6-5, 245-pound tight end at Cornell University. Last weekend, he made a very improbable touchdown catch against Brown. It was so special, it made #2 on ESPN’s Top 10 Plays.

Fast forward to 2:15 on the link below. (Hat tip: Felicia Catale)

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Master gardener Alice Ely snapped this stunning “Westport … Naturally” photo of a bumblebee. She’s stocking up on milkweed before her long winter sleep, Alice says.

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And finally … on this date in 1893, Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 in B Minor, Pathétique premiered. Nine days later he died. His death, at just 53, has been attributed to both cholera from drinking unboiled water, and suicide.

Roundup: Candidates, Moon, Music …

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Worried about traffic? Want more bike lanes? How can we balance growth with greenery? Interested in Westport’s goal of Net Zero by 2050, energy, transportation, waste, water and conservation issues?

Sustainable Westport and Earthplace are sponsoring a pair of “environmental debates,” prior to next month’s election. Candidates for the Planning & Zoning Commission will meet this Monday (October 18, 6:30 p.m.). Those running for Board of Selectmen will meet on Thursday, October 21 (7 p.m.).

Both events are virtual. Click here for links, and more details. The debates will be recorded, and posted on the Sustainable Westport website for viewing later.

Click here for details on how to watch. Both debates will be recorded and posted to the Sustainable Westport website.

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Sunday is International Observe the Moon Night. The worldwide public event encourages observation and appreciation of (yes) the moon.

The Westport Astronomical Society invites everyone to the observatory on Bayberry Lane this Sunday (8 p.m. — only if skies are clear). It’s a chance to see the moon as you’ve never seen it before. All you have to do is look up.

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Chris Frantz knows music. The Talking Heads and Tom Tom Club artist — and Fairfield resident also knows the importance of introducing new musicians to new audiences.

He’s partnering with the Westport Library on a new series. The inaugural “Chris Frantz Presents Emerging Musicians” concert (December 4) features New York’s Lulu Lewis, and New Haven’s The Problem with Kids Today. Both specialize in punk rock.

This is another music collaboration and production by Verso Studios at the Westport Library and the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce. The series will feature up-and-coming regional, national and international talent, hand-picked by Frantz..

Click here for tickets, and more information.

Chris Frantz (Photo/Ebet Roberts)

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Congratulations to this year’s Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Services award winners. They were cited at this week’s annual dinner.

Vice President Larry Kleinman won the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award. He logged vastly more than the 4,000 volunteer hours required for the honor. Kleinman also received Crew Chief of the Year.

Jenna Baumblatt and Ryan Blake were named Youth Corps Members of the Year. EMT of the Year went to Yves Cantin, an ex-president who stays involved.
Volunteer of the Year is Andrew O’Brien.

Volunteer Service Award winners include James Bairaktaris, Jenna Baumblatt,. Ella Bayazit, Ryan Blake, Michael Burns, Yves Cantin, Andrew Dinitz, Carol Dixon, Danielle Faul, Leah Foodman, Daniel Guetta, Dorothy Harris, Deanna Hartog, Jonathan Huzil, Mary Inagami, Vignesh Kareddy. Larry Kleinman, Eliza Lang, Christopher Moore, Annika Morgan, Christopher Muschett, Andrew O’Brien, Lynette Pineda, April Rademacher, Stewart Reifler, Morgan Rizy, Joshua Rosen, Alice Sardarian, Kathleen Smith, Ian Speers, Swati Sriram, Nancy Surace, Audrone Tarnok and Ekaterina Taylor-Yeremeeva.

Honorees (clockwise, from upper left):Yves Cantin, Jenna Baumblatt, Larry Kleinman, Ryan Blake.

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The Westport Garden Club installed Ginger Donaher as its 52nd president yesterday. She’s new — but her family is very familiar.

Ginger’s mother, Nancy  Gault — yes, of those Gaults — served as president from 1991 to ’93. Ginger’s aunt, Judy Sterling, held the position from 1983 to ’85.

Ginger’s grandmother, Georgiana Gault, was not president. But she was an active Garden Club member from the 1950s until her death in 1994.

Kelly Pollard — Ginger’s’ cousin, and Judy’s daughter — is the club’s current hospitality chair. And — who knows? — perhaps a future president herself.

Westport Garden Club president Ginger Donaher (center) is flanked by (from left) Kelly Pollard and Judy Sterling. (Photo/Topsy Siderowf)

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Westporter and animal Reiki volunteer Cathy Malkin is featured in this month’s Connecticut Humane Society spotlight.

She describes herself as “an animal muse who is able to translate animals’ thoughts, feelings and viewpoints so they can be better understood.” For the full Q-and-A, click here.

Cathy Malkin

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Despite the recent deaths of 3 of the their most active, engaged members — and the COVID cancellation of the traditional Great Duck Race and Wine Tasting fundraisers — Westport’s Sunrise Rotary Club pushes forward with its mission to give talent, time and money to community and social causes.

Sunrise Rotary’s International Service Committee got approval last week for 2 new projects: sustainable agriculture to benefit Syrian refugees in Jordan, and battling malnutrition through improved food security in Guatemala. Members are also excited about participating in the upcoming Bridgeport schools’ Read Aloud Day.

For more information on Westport Sunrise Rotary, click here.

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Up Next Teens is a Staples High School organization that fights food insecurity in Fairfield County.

They’re sponsoring tomorrow’s Remarkable Theater showing of “Pirates of the Caribbean.” Ticket purchasers have the option of contributing $25 to their fundraiser. Click here for tickets. Enjoy the show — and help a great cause.

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It’s mid-October. Most leaves have not yet turned. Here’s today’s “Westport … Naturally” image, for example, from Weston Road near Lyons Plains.

(Photo/Tracy Porosoff)

A week from now, this will be an entirely different scene.

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And finally … on this day in 1878, the Edison Electric Light Company began operation. By 1890 it merged with several other Edison companies, and became the Edison General Electric Company. Today we know it as GE.

 

Roundup: Saugatuck El, Sustainable Westport, Screenings …

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Over the past week, 15 COVID cases have been identified at Saugatuck Elementary School.

Superintendent of schools Thomas Scarice says, “Although there appears to be very limited transmission within the school as new cases span multiple grades and classrooms, by definition, a sudden rise in the number of cases at this rate constitutes an outbreak.”

Officials asked the state Department of Public Health to review the cases, and the school district’s mitigating measures. Scarice said, “This discussion affirmed that community transmission (i.e. after school activities, large community social events, etc.) has likely contributed to the recent rise in cases at SES. As a result, it appears that in-school mitigating measures have been effective. “

The DPH recommended a round of surveillance testing for all students and staff at SES. Testing is set for tomorrow (Friday, October 1). 

Saugatuck Elementary School

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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Once again, the Westport Police Department will do its part to help.

The color of the town seal will change from black and gold to pink.

In addition, many officers will wear pink patches, and pink ribbon pins. It’s all part of a campaign to raise awareness of the deadly disease.

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Sustainable Westport has taken a giant step forward, with the appointment of 2 new co-directors.

Gately Ross has dedicated her career to the health and conservation of wild and domestic animals, and the health of the environment. She combines a deep understanding of ecology and human impact on populations and ecosystems with clinical practice, team leadership and training experience in veterinary emergency and critical care medicine.  

She has an undergraduate degree in biology from the College of Charleston, a masters of science from San Francisco State University, and a doctorate in veterinary medicine from Tufts University. A Westport resident since 2007, Gately lives in Greens Farms with her husband, 3 boys and rescue dog.

Johanna Martell has over 15 years experience as a legal and business advisor, with a focus on commercial real estate, corporate, tax and estate planning. She holds an undergraduate degree in political economy from Princeton University and a law degree from Georgetown University Law Center. A Westport resident since 2013, she also lives in Greens Farms with her husband and 3 sons.

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The Remarkable Theater continues its remarkable fall run. A few tickets remain for some intriguing upcoming screenings at the Imperial Avenue drive-in:

  • “Soul” (tonight, Thursday, September 30)
  • “Footloose” (tomorrow, Friday, October 1)
  • “Coco” (Saturday,  October 2)
  • “The Stepford Wives” (filmed partly in Westport! — Tuesday, October 5)
  • “Clueless” (Thursday, October 7)
  • “Togo” (Saturday, October 9).

Click here for tickets, show times and more information.

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There’s a new program on the youth basketball scene.

The Westport Weston Family YMCA is introducing a basketball program for grades K-4. The program will introduce fundamentals in a fun way. Light competition begins for the 3rd graders.

The program is run by Mike Evans. The Weston High School all-state selection played at Hamilton College, then in Belfast and as a volunteer assistant coach at Harvard. He’s been a shooting instructor for NBA professionals too

High school students will help out.

Kindergartners through 2nd graders will have clinics on Saturdays, in November and December.

Third and fourth graders will have Saturday clinics, plus one weekday practice. They’ll play intrasquad games, and perhaps face an outside opponent too.

Click here for more information, and to register.

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Lewis Grossman is a Staples High School graduate, and professor of law and history at American University. He specializes in food, drug and health law. His new book — Choose Your Medicine: Freedom of Therapeutic Choice in America — examines that topic from the Revolutionary War to the Trump presidency.

He’ll be at the Westport Library on October 12 (7 p.m.) to discuss his findings. The event is both in-person and livestreamed. To register for a seat or watch from home — and purchase a signed copy of the book — click here.

Lewis Grossman

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MaryLou Roels describes her photo — today’s “Westport … Naturally” feature — as “the little things in life.”

(Photo/MaryLou Roels)

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And finally … in honor of tomorrow’s film at the Remarkable Theater:

 

 

Roundup: Bear, SUP, Marco (Polo!) …

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Westport’s most famous bear is dead.

Westport Local Press reports that “Bear 211” — the black bear tagged with that number by the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, and reported at various sites in northern Westport and environs over the past 2 months — was struck by a car and killed yesterday, on Route 136 in Easton. The driver left the scene.

Click here for the full story.

This was the scene off Weston Road recently. The bear has now been struck and killed. (Photo/Denny Galindo)

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I’ve seen plenty of things in Westport.

But never — ever — have I seen anyone swimming off Schlaet’s Point, the area just north of the Soundview Avenue jetty.

Clamming and fishing, yes. Wading out at low tide, sure. Couples making out on the rocks, check. But people swimming? Not a chance.

Okay, so playing water polo is not actually swimming. But that’s what’s gone on recently. An area water polo club has put up a portable court in the public, lifeguard-less inlet. Young players have been practicing there, preparing for a tournament in Dallas.

Which, presumably, will be indoors. The Gulf of Mexico is 600 miles from there.

(Photo/Kathleen Fazio)

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Speaking of Compo: Yesterday’s beach story was about vandalism of benches. Today’s is about a paddleboard theft.

This year, for the first time, Mitch Raboy has stored a standup paddleboard near the kayak launch area.

On Sunday, his wife took it out on the water. She then secured it to the rack with a heavy-duty cable lock.

Now it’s gone. Only the security metal loop and chain remain.

The Raboys called the police. An officer said this kind of theft is not common.

There are no security cameras in the area, Mitch says. He’d like “06880” readers to be aware of what happened — and hopes the town will install cameras there.

My wife went out in the board on Sunday and secured it to the rack with a heavy duty cable lock afterward. On Sunday we went to check on it and found it had been stolen. The security metal loop and chain remained.

A cable (lower left) is all that’s left of the Raboys’ standup paddleboard.

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We (you) did it!

Sustainable Westport surpassed its goal of $7,500 in challenge grant donations.

That earns them over $15,000. They’ll use the funds to inform, educate and engage residents about food scrap recycling, decreasing food waste. and diverting edible food from the incinerator to food insecure residents.

Congratulations, Westporters. And thanks to Sustainable Westport, for all you do.

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If you’re a Star Wars fan — and who isn’t? — mark next Monday (August 2).

“Star Wars IV: A New Hope” descends on the Remarkable Theater.

Showtime is 8:30 p.m. Gates open at 7:30 for tailgating. Click here for tickets and details.

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There’s a great back story behind today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo.

Dorothy Fitton writes: “We spotted this bald eagle overlooking a gathering of Boston College students in our yard last week. It may be a sign that our BC Eagles will have a great senior year!”

(Photo/Dorothy Fitton)

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And finally … in honor of today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo above:

Roundup: Shopping, MoCA Bar, Chimneys …

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The Westport Downtown Association hosts its second (of 3) Summer Outdoor Shopping Days tomorrow (Saturday, July 17, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.).

This isn’t the traditional “sidewalk sale.” But word on the (Main) Street is that some stores will offer great deals anyway.

Main and Elm Streets will be closed. There will be a food truck, bar and live music all day long.

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Luisa Francoeur writes:

I am an avid supporter of Sustainable Westport and a participant in the Food Scrap Recycling Program. The organization needs our help today. Friday, July 16 is the last day to contribute to the Zero Food Waste Grant challenge.

The program’s goal is raising $7,500. Each dollar raised will be doubled. This will allow Sustainable Westport to do so much more for our community. Donors will be entered to win a giveaway from one of the sponsors.

Our Food Scrap Recycling is working to decrease residential food waste by at least 25%. Close to 1 out of 4 bags of groceries are eventually thrown away. Food waste is one of the heaviest, wettest and most expensive types of trash for the town to incinerate.

If food waste were a country, it would be the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases, behind China and the US.

Sustainable Westport has partnered with Earthplace and Wakeman Town Farm to transform Westport into a green community. The goal  is to become a Net Zero community by the year 2050, when the community has reduced its impacts across energy, water and waste so they are sustainably managed, using approaches that are economically viable, of social benefit, and environmentally responsible.”

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MoCA Westport is more than an art museum and educational center.

It’s now a full-service bar.

The Newtown Turnpike institution now serves custom cocktails, wine, beer and non-alcoholic beverages.

But what’s a bar without Happy Hour? Starting July 22, they’ll throw one every Thursday (5 to 7 p.m.). There’s a new signature cocktail each week — plus free admission to the exhibition.

The bar at MoCA Westport.

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Speaking of downtown and beverages … “cool beans” dates back to “Full House.”

But it’s both a great expression, and a great way of describing the offerings at one of Westport’s favorite coffee shops.

Plus, this is just a very cool shot.

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Fred Cantor is one of “06880”‘s most alert readers.

And one of the most curious.

He sends this photo …

… and writes:

“This is not the first time I have seen a chimney left standing in a Westport teardown.

“There must be an important reason for taking down everything but the chimney. Perhaps some of your readers know the answer.

“Is it because chimneys are more difficult to build these days (since it involves brickwork that would not otherwise be used in the construction of a new house)?

“Or does it represent some kind of loophole in local regs with respect to teardowns that enables builders to do something they wouldn’t otherwise be able to do if the chimney had been torn down?”

Perhaps there’s another explanation. If you have insights, click “Comments” below.

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As expected, I missed at least one Westport-connected Emmy nomination yesterday.

Staples High School 1974 graduate/former Player Sue Handman is up for her writing and narration on “Once Upon a City.” Good luck to all Westport nominees!

And while I noted that Staples High School Class of 1988 graduate Kerri Kenney-Silver is up for an award as Outstanding Actress in a Short Form Comedy or Drama Series for “Reno 911!”, she’s also nominated for an executive producer award for the same show. Kerri had 2 similar “Reno 911!” nominations in 2020.

Emmy Award

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John Porio grew up in the 1970s and ’80s with classic rock. He was pleased when his own kids — like himself, Staples High School students — got involved with the School of Rock.

Then he did too. He met some fellow musicians there, and did a couple of adult shows.

Now they’ve formed their own band. They’re having fun — and raising funds for Homes for the Brave. Since 2002, the Bridgeport organization has provided housing, vocational education and life skills training to over 1,200 veterans.

John’s band — Gold Dust — performed on Memorial Day weekend. On July 24 (4-9 p.m.), they’ve got a bigger gig. The venue is a group member’s property at 399 Center Street in Easton. There’s a barn, patio and big lawn — perfect for any rock show.

Gold Dust includes Westporters Jeffery and Laurie Gross, and Leila Jones Shields. They’ll perform after the School of Rock band. The public is invited.

Gold Dust

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This week’s Westport Garden Club #FridayFlowers arrangement has a special place in “06880”‘s heart: It was made for last night’s “blog party,” at Compo Beach.

And — if I do say so myself — the flowers that graced a picnic table last night was the most beautiful I’ve ever seen!

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A celebration of the life of David Tarqueno will be held this Saturday (July 17, 2 p.m., St. Luke Church). The Staples High School graduate — an avid fisherman and nature lover — died in December, from complications of COVID-19. He was 61.

David Tarqueno

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Paul Delano writes: “The bee balm flowers in my garden bloomed recently. They’re now are attracting hummingbirds.”

Indeed they are. But what’s as remarkable as this “Westport … Naturally” show of nature is that Paul could capture it so well. Hummingbirds are tough to photograph — they sure can fly!

(Photo/Paul Delano)

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And finally … the incomparable Darlene Love headlines tonight’s benefit show at the Levitt Pavilion. There’s a reason she’s on Rolling Stone’s list of 100 Greatest Singers. And in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame.

 

Roundup: Elsa, Jerky, Solar …

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Today’s storm did not do the damage that was feared.

Approximately 756 customers were without power at the peak of the storm. Most were restored quickly. Isolated individual outages remain.

Meanwhile, Valerie Ann Leff sent this photo of her furnace room, in her home on a hill off Hillspoint Road.

She says: “The water hasn’t reached the finished wood floor, but when we walk across it it sounds like we’re walking on a dock. Every cleanup company around has long waiting lists, so we’re just bailing with a bucket and a big pitcher.”

(Photo/Valerie Ann Leff)

Meanwhile, this was the scene at Compo Beach:

(Photo/June Rose Whittaker)

One more photo from today’s storm. This was on Bradley Lane:

(Photo/Diane Lowman)

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In 2018, Field Trip moved its headquarters from Brooklyn to Westport.

Their office — across the Post Road from Design Within Reach — was where they created and marketed an array of healthy, protein-rich jerky snacks. From beef, chicken, turkey and pork to jalapeño, cracked pepper and everything bagel, it all happened in Westport.

Next store to the office, they operated a low-key retail outlet. It wasn’t an afterthought exactly, but it wasn’t front-and-center either.

Now though, there are some good reasons to take a field trip to Field Trip.

The jerky outlet has been transformed into a “general store/pantry.” It’s filled with specialty items, curated from the owners’ relationships and knowledge of exciting new products.

In addition to Field Trip items, they’re selling:

  • Bourbon aged barrel maple syrup
  • Jalapeño bacon salsa
  • Habanero sea salt
  • Texas olive oil
  • Bacon brittle
  • Ugly dried fruit
  • Caramels, licorice and ChiChi chocolates
  • Doux south pickles and mustards
  • 1934 Bloody Mary mix
  • Coro salami
  • Bjorn corn
  • Bobby Sue’s nuts
  • Aina Kopi steak seasonings  and mango habanero hot sauce(this is the only US location)
  • FOGO charcoal (only place in Westport.

And that’s just for starters.

If you still have a jones for jerky: Starting next week, Field Trip is selling their newest flavor: Gochujang Korean-style BBQ beef jerky. It’s being introduced here first, before a national rollout.

But wait! There’s more! Field Trip offers a 20% discount code to anyone mentioning a Dan Woog/”06880″ callout during the month of July.

Best. Field trip. Ever.

Look what’s in store at the Field Trip store.

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Pippa Bell Ader uses solar power to heat and cool her home, heat her hot water pumps, and power her electric car.

Now the environmental advocate and Sustainable Westport member wants you to learn how.

This Tuesday (July 13, 3 to 6 p.m.), she invites everyone to her 62 Woodside Avenue home. She’ll show how you can make easy improvements yourself.

“In Connecticut, we have older homes — mine was built in 1929 — that use a lot of energy, especially for cooling and heating,” she says.

“The state has great incentives and financing for people who want to switch from fossil fuels to heat pumps. Pair heat pumps with solar to power and heat your entire home with clean energy. Driving an electric car powered by solar reduces our carbon footprint as well. I’m right on the cusp of being completely net zero.“

Learn all that — and more — on Tuesday. Plus there’s pizza. Made in a solar-powered oven, I’m sure.

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Like many organizations, Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Services had to suspend some operations during COVID. Among the casualties: the EMR/ EMT classes that were an important pipeline for new members.

And for careers. At least 14 volunteers went on to medical school; others became nurses, paramedics and physician assistants.

Classes will begin again in the fall. The cost — $1250 per EMT student, $750 per EMR student — includes classes, books, stethoscope and BP cuff. Most classes are held on Tuesdays and Thursday evenings, with some Saturday days. The course begins September 21, and runs through January.

WVEM will reimburse for the cost of the class after members become part of the organization. Click here for more information.

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Arlene Benson — mother of longtime Westport civic volunteer Rick Benson — died peacefully in East Norwalk on July 1. She was 98.

A member of Wheaton College’s Class of 1944, the Buffalo native moved to Fort Riley, Kansas, then Southern California shortly after her 1943 wedding, then back to Buffalo when her husband deployed to World War II in North Africa and Europe.

She shared Ontario cottages for many summers with her sister, their boys, and her mother, enjoying the beach, swimming, sailing and golf. She and her husband purchased condominium homes in Florida. She moved to Connecticut in late 2017 at age 94 to be closer to her son and grandson.

A member of the Garrett Club, Cherry Hill Country Club, Buffalo Canoe Club, and the Country Club of Buffalo, Arlene loved to host parties, travel to Europe, take cruises, play golf and bridge, and be with her family.

She will be remembered as a loving, generous, caring person, always with a smile, always with something nice to say, and always concerned about others more than herself.

Her passing is the end of an era.  Her maternal grandfathers emigrated from Germany in 1905, started Mollenberg-Betz Machine Co, Inc. in 1910. Her husband joined the firm in 1946, rose to EVP and retired in 1986.  The commercial air conditioning, refrigeration and service company is still family owned and managed in Buffalo, but she is the last of her generation.

Arlene is survived by her son Richard and his wife, Totney of Westport, CT, and her grandson Richard Betz Benson II (RB) of New York City. She was predeceased by her first husband James M. Benson, her older son James M. Benson, Jr., her sister Janice Betz Dedecker, and her second husband Robert Eckis.

A celebration of life reception will be held on Thursday July 15 (4:30 to 6:30 p.m., Greens Farms Congregational Church).

A memorial service will be held on September 8 un Buffalo, with private interment preceding in the church memorial garden. Donations may be made in her memory to: Westminster Presbyterian Church 724 Delaware Ave., Buffalo, NY 14209 or the Westport Rotary Club Foundation, PO Box 741, Westport, CT 06881.

Arlene Benson

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“Westport … Naturally” features a fantastic female monarch butterfly.

It paused on several of the flowers in Wendy Crowther’s garden. She was glad to see it, as monarchs are in drastic decline. “The more we can do to avoid herbicide use and provide a welcome habitat, the more we can help,” Wendy says.

(Photo/Wendy Crowther)

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And finally … in honor of this monarch butterfly, and its declining population:

Roundup: Farmers’ Market Totes, Library Videos, Live Music …

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Westport Farmers’ Market shoppers are environmentally conscious. Most bring their own bags.

But why tote a ratty old Stop & Shop bag when you can carry your produce, honey, dog treats and more in style?

The Market just unveiled their 2021 Friend of the Market bag. It costs $40. But many vendors offer discounts to shoppers who show the current season’s bag.

Proceeds support community programs run by WFM, including:

We Care: support for marketgoers who are battling illnesses.

Farmer To School To Community: a partnership between Staples High School, the Gillespie Center and local farmers. Students learn about local ingredients, while helping neighbors in need.

Farmer To Kids To Community teaches Bridgeport elementary school students how to use local and seasonal ingredients in delicious, healthy meals.

Get Growing: weekly events and contests designed for younger visitors.

Young Shoots: in collaboration with the Artists Collective, a youth photography contest.

Recipe Program: helps customers create easy, healthy, delicious meals using fresh local products.

Bridgeport Rescue Mission: a weekly partnership rewards residents in BRM’s rehabilitation program for good behavior with an outing to WFM, where they collect food from farmers and vendors.

Farmer-In-Need: a fund to help vendors who fall on hard times.

Chef At The Market showcases top chefs who support local farms.

Farms To Veterans To Community helps veterans affiliated learn to prepare farm-fresh food, thanks to WFM’s vast chef network.

Click here for more information on FOM bags, and WFM programming. The market runs every Thursday at the Imperial Avenue parking lot.

Westport Farmers’ Market 2021 bag.

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Speaking of sustainability: Over 500 families are participating in Westport’s food scrap recycling program. Almost 10 tons are being diverted from the incinerator each month.

But Sustainable Westport hopes to do more — much more. Their goal is to double our town’s food scrap recycling participation in the next 6 months.

They’re spurred by a matching grant of $7,500 from Sustainable CT. Funds raised will educate and inspire residents about the project. Click here to donate.

The Paparo family was the first to use the transfer station drop-off food scrap recycling site, when it opened in July.

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The Westport Library’s website is filled with interesting and entertaining videos and podcasts.

Finding them, however, was not always easy.

The page — formerly the Library’s YouTube channel — has been redesigned. Searching is much more user-friendly and intuitive.

Click here now, for hundreds of programs, music recordings and podcasts.

In the future, just click “Resources” on the Library website menu bar.

Screenshot of the Westport Library’s video and podcast gallery page.

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“The Rocky Horror Picture Show” is usually associated with Halloween.

But there’s never a bad time for it. So — just in time for Memorial Day weekend — the Remarkable Theater has scheduled a showing of the cult classic.

It’s Saturday, May 29. The gate opens at 7:30 p.m. The show begins at 8:30. Click here for tickets.

Let’s do the time warp again!

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Speaking of movies: Staples graduate Justin Paul will be in the limelight again on September 24.

That’s the release date for the movie version of “Dear Evan Hansen.” Tony-winning star Ben Platt leads the cast. The score — by Paul and his musical partner Benj Pasek — won a Tony too.

The Broadway version — suspended due to COVID — returns on December 11.

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WABC-TV Eyewitness News featured 2 locations in last night’s report on the restaurant industry, as the pandemic eases: the Upper West Side, and Westport.

Local interviewees included Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce director Matthew Mandell, Manna Toast’s Jason Wiener, and diner Sharon Maddern. Click here for the segment.

Matthew Mandell is interviewed by WABC Eyewitness News on Church Lane.

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Tomorrow (Thursday, May 20) is Asian Gold Ribbon Day. Gold ribbons — symbolizing opposition to anti-Asian violence — will be available for pickup tomorrow at the Westport Farmers’ Market (Imperial Avenue parking lot), and today and tomorrow at Arogya (131 Post Road East).

 

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Live music continues for outdoor dining on Church Lane this Friday.

From 6 to 9 p.m., a band called Picnic on the 4th of July provides entertainment.

Members include Westporters Louis Fuertes and Pat Blaufuss. The string band specializes in traditional American roots and bluegrass music, with plenty of rock, folk, jazz and blues tossed in.

Westporters may know them from the Westport Downtown Association’s Holiday Stroll. This event too is sponsored by the WDA.

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Speaking of entertainment: Westport Country Playhouse Radio Theater — a free broadcast series — presents its first audio play, “The Return,” on Saturday, May 29, (noon; rebroadcast on Sunday, May 30, 4 p.m.). It’s on all WSHU stations, and www.wshu.org.

“The Return” is a haunting tale, based on a Thai folk legend. It takes place after World War II, when a young soldier returns to his village to reunite with his wife and new baby. He is finally home — yet he feels completely alone.

Run time is 35 minutes. A brief discussion with the director follows. Click here for more details.

After broadcast on WSHU, the show will be accessible on the Playhouse website from May 31 through June 20.

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A recent “06880” photo of the lake that forms on the Compo Beach entrance road every time it rains — or drizzles — drew plenty of comments. But the photo I ran to illustrate it was just meh.

JC Martin has a much better one. He shot it a couple of years ago. But it’s a great way to illustrate the story — and to welcome another summer of sopping-wet fun.

(Photo/JC Martin)

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These signs appear every so often in Parker Harding Plaza.

(Photo/Dan Woog)

A reader wants to know: What is “Open Parking”? It’s always been free. Does it mean “no time limits”? If so, why not say it?

Whatever the answer: Enjoy!

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Speaking of signs: This one on a fence near North Avenue is a little hard to figure out at first — it’s “Stop Noise Pollution / Ban Leaf Blowers” rather than “Stop Noise Pollution Ban” — but it reflects the sentiment of a segment of Westporters.

(Photo/Carl Addison Swanson)

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And finally … today is the birthday of 2 of the music world’s rockingest rockers.

Pete Townshend — the Who’s co-founder, guitarist and songwriter — turns 76. Joey Ramone was born 70 years ago; he died a month before his 50th birthday, of lymphoma.

These songs — among both bands’ many others — epitomized their eras.

And here they are … together.