Tag Archives: Sustainable Westport

[OPINION] Long Lots Must Be A Sustainable School

The process for renovating Long Lots Elementary School, or replacing it, has begun.

This could be the first new school in Westport since Staples High (completed in 2005) and Bedford Middle (several years earlier). Coleytown Middle School reopened last year, after a long renovation project.

Sustainable Westport — an advisory group that helps town officials set environmental policy, and educates residents and businesses on  gree issues — has some ideas on the future of Long Lots.

Their website says:

Facing capacity and infrastructure issues, Long Lots Elementary School is currently being considered for renovation, rebuilding, or some combination of both. This fall, the Representative Town Meeting (RTM) appointed a building committee to determine if a new build or renovation is the best course of action, and develop plans and specifications for the new space.

Long Lots Elementary School will be renovated or rebuilt. (Drone photo/Brandon Malin)

Whether Long Lots Elementary is renovated or rebuilt, the building represents an important opportunity to support and advance the town’s resolution to become Net Zero by 2050. But why should Westport consider building a “sustainable school”?

Sustainable schools deliver major health, educational, financial, and environmental benefits to students, teachers and communities. Sustainable schools more efficient, leading to lower operating costs. They also provide learning spaces that significantly improve the wellness and productivity of those in and around the building.

Better ventilation and air quality: A hallmark of sustainable schools is improved ventilation and air quality. Better ventilation will decrease the spread of illness and diminish the effects of asthma, allergies, and other respiratory problems. Put simply, cleaner air will result in healthier spaces with fewer absences for students and educators. With proper ventilation, air quality improves, which results in higher student productivity. High amounts of COz slows cognitive functioning, lowering both memory and concentration levels.

Long Lots Elementary School’s entrance is surrounded by trees.

Increased access to daylight: Sustainable schools are designed in a way that provides access to natural sunlight in as many spaces as possible, reducing the need for artificial light. Allowing sunlight to permeate deep into interior spaces provides numerous health benefits, including improved emotional well-being and sleep. In addition to mental and physical benefits, studies have also shown that daylight increases students’ test scores: students in classrooms with windows perform 20% faster on math tests and 26% faster on reading tests than students in windowless classrooms. Not to mention, increased daylight also reduces the reliance on artificial lighting, which decreases overall energy costs.

Lower operating costs: America’s K-12 schools currently spend $12.5 billion per year on energy costs. In Westport, the district budgeted over $3.2 million dollars for electricity, natural gas, and heating oil this school year. Pursuing net zero construction not only reduces building emissions and improves climate resilience, it also saves districts money that can then be used to re-invest in additional infrastructure updates. Compared to traditional school buildings, sustainable schools cost less than 2% more to build but use 33% less energy and 32% less water. The nation’s first net zero school opened in 2010. In its first 8 years of operation, the school saved $11.5 million.

Educational Opportunity: Sustainable schools provide a unique opportunity for students and the larger community to develop a deep connection and understanding of environmentalism and sustainability. Exposure to and education about the benefits of net zero buildings will help change mindsets leading to increased awareness and public support. Research shows that one year of climate change education can have a meaningful impact on a lifetime of emissions.

Environmental Impact: With less reliance on fossil fuels (high-performance) or no reliance on fossil fuels (net zero), sustainable schools release less pollution and greenhouse gases while also using less energy and water. These schools are carefully designed to utilize renewable energy sources and passive systems like daylighting and natural ventilation to reduce overall energy load. As a result, sustainable schools leave a microscopic carbon footprint, while also contributing to the health and well-being of their communities.

With the rebuild or renovation of Long Lots Elementary School on the horizon, we hope to champion the development of Westport’s own net zero school for the health of our community and to advance the town’s resolution to become net zero by 2050.

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Roundup: Book Sale, Mattresses, Club 203 …

Yesterday’s weather was gorgeous.

But plenty of people headed inside: to the Westport Library’s ginormous Book Sale.

At least one youngster found exactly what he was looking for:

(Photo/Eve Potts)

The book sale continues today (Sunday, 1 to 5 p.m.; half-price day) and tomorrow (Monday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; fill a Book Sale bag for $8, or your own equivalent-size bag for $5).


Also yesterday: Sustainable Westport’s mattress recycling event at Earthplace.

Over 60 mattresses and box springs were diverted from the incinerator, with the help of Bye Bye Mattress. More than half were picked up at residents’ homes and brought to Earthplace by Boy Scout Troop 36, for a small donation..

Plenty of people slept well last night, knowing they’d done good things for our planet.

Saving the planet, one mattress at a time. (Photo and hat tip: Pippa Bell Ader)


And … amazingly … this was another scene from yesterday:

(Photo/Dinkin Fotografix)

Hey! It’s mid-November! Let’s put on some shorts and play volleyball at the beach!


Club 203‘s first 2 events were spectacular successes.

Now, the local social club for adults with disabilities announces the third.

A “Gaming and Pizza Night” — featuring games (pool, pinball and video), plus plenty of giveaways — ise st for November 19 (7:30 p.m., Toquet Hall).

Club 203 encourages independences. Parents and caregivers can drop off loved ones, then visit the nearby Westport Book Shop. The store on Jesup Road — a few steps from Toquet Hall — employs people with disabilities. They’re staying open late especially for the Gaming and Pizza Night.

To RSVP for the event, click here.



Former Westporter Virginia Pils died earlier this month. She was 96.

The Los Angeles native graduated from UCLA in 1948. She taught high school English in Michigan before earning an MFA in drama at Yale.

She moved to New York City where she almost worked for Alfred Hitchcock

She married George Pils in 1958, and had 4 children. He died in 2011.

They lived in 3 states and 6 towns before settling in Westport in 1974. She was a Brownie leader and assistant Girl Scout leader; served on PTAs and the League of Women Voters; was a member of the Ecumenical Society in Westport, and president of the local American Association of University Women chapter. She was active with First Church of Christ Scientist, and sold advertising for The Christian Science Monitor,

When Virginia’s children were older she returned to teaching drama at The Seabury Center. She also taught English at Fairfield Prep and the Daycroft School.

She loved seeing shows at The Yale Repertory Theater and on Broadway. She enjoyed traveling with her husband to Europe, Asia and Alaska.

Virginia is survived by her children: Dwain (Beth)  of  Cornelius, North Carolina; Diana Pils Marino (Kevin) of Stamford; Gary (Bonnie) ofo Norwalk, and Gregg of Fairfield, and grandchildren Jessica Pils Fields, Mat Pils Stanley, and Tyler and Ava..

The family will receive friends in the Harding Funeral Home nexxt Saturday (November 19, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.), with a service at the funeral home to follow at 1 p.m.. Click here to leave online condolences.

Virginia Pils


Leaves are not the only colors this fall.

This “Westport … Naturally” bloom was spotted (and photographed) by Alina Rodescu-Pitchon,

(Photo/Alina Rodescu-Pitchon)


And finally … in honor of the Earthplace event (see above):

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Roundup: Election Day, Thanksgiving, Kristallnacht …

Pigs can’t vote.

But people can.

And everyone should. It’s the central tenet of democracy. Millions of people have marched, sacrificed, even given their lives for this country to ensure that right.

Billions of people around the world wish they had what we have.

Jolantha — Weston’s favorite pig — reminds “06880” readers, wherever in America they are, that today is Election Day.

If you live in Westport, click here for a sample ballot. (Thanks, Jeff Looby!)

If you live in Connecticut, click here to find your polling place. Then go there!

NOTE: Voters at Coleytown Middle School polling place should take the first entrance on North Avenue (the one right after Coleytown Elementary School), rather than the one at the top of the slight hill.

(Photo/Hans Wilhelm)

Turnout was light this morning. This was the scene at the Westport Library polling station.

(Photo/Dan Woog)


Speaking of the election: It’s a bit late. And most voters have probably made up their minds.

But yesterday, Sustainable Westport said: “This year, in lieu of environmental debates (issues with scheduling), we provided candidates with questions on environmental issues and sustainability. They submitted answers at the end of last week.”

For candidates for State House District 143, click here. Candidates for District 136 did not respond. For candidates for State Senate District 26, click here.


Saugatuck Congregational Church will not host their traditional community Thanksgiving feast this year.

However, Westport’s Department of Human Services will once again join with the Westport Housing Authority and Homes with Hope to provide food gift cards and meals to those in need.

Those organizations are working with Coleytown Elementary School, Coleytown Middle School and Temple Israel to continue their traditions of offering homemade cards, gifts and pies.

Human Services director Elaine Daignault adds, “We are grateful to the Westport Woman’s Club. They provide grocery gift cards to distribute to food-insecure residents, and assist with the cost of specially catered meals from the Sherwood Diner for Westporters who receive home-delivered meals through the Senior Center.

For more information, contact Human Services by phone (203-341-1050) or email (humansrv@westportct.gov). “We are here to help!” Daignault says.


With antisemitism on the rise in the nation, The Conservative Synagogue invites all Westporters to commemorate Kristallnacht — the Nazis’ “Night of Broken Glass” — this Saturday (November 12, 5:30 p.m., 30 Hillspoint Road).

The service includes Havdallah and hearing eyewitness testimony from Kristallnacht survivor Fred Behrend.

Click here to register.


Saugatuck Rowing Club’s junior athletes won several medals at last month’s season-ending Head of the Schuylkill Regatta in Pennsylvania.

But they’re winners off the water too. The young rowers (and their parents) spent last weekend cleaning up the banks of the Saugatuck River, right by their home boathouse.

Thirty participants amassed over 300 pounds of trash. That’s 10 pounds of garbage per person.

Keep Norwalk Beautiful provided supplies. Jen and Adam Goldberg of Pop-Up Bagels donated nearly as many bagels as there were pounds of trash.

Saugatuck Rowing Club plans an encore this spring.

A small bit of the large amount of trash collected by Saugatuck Rowing Club volunteers.


Speaking of Saugatuck: Slice of Saugatuck delivers. The September event raised $5,000 for Homes with Hope.

The 10th annual festival brought over 2,000 people to  experience, sample and taste their way through the neighborhood. To date, donations from the Slice to Homes with Hope, for use in their Gillespie Center Food Pantry, total over $40,000.

“The Festival is all about food — food for those who can afford it, and now food for those who can’t,” says Matthew Mandell, executive director of the Slice’s sponsor, the Westport Weston Chamber. “We are so pleased we have been able to make these donations each year to help ease food insecurity. It’s a win-win.”

From left: Bob O’Mahoney and Harry Brady Viva Zapata owners; Bill Rizzuto owner of Rizzuto’s; Helen McAlinden director of Homes with Hope; Matthew Mandell, Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce director; Robert Curwen, Chamber member.


In 2010, former Red Sox pitcher John Trautwein lost his son Will to suicide. There was no sign or warning.

Trautwein and his family formed the “Will to Live Foundation.” The goal is to encourage teenagers and young adults to “talk about it,” and serve as “life teammates” for each other.

On November 17 (7:30 p.m., Town Hall), Trautwein will speak about this important topic. The event is sponsored by Westport Youth Services, the Police Athletic League, and the Teen Awareness Group.

Trautwein spoke to high school athletes in August, at the FCIAC leadership conference. His message was strong, and well received.

This program is aimed at parents, middle and high school students, coaches, and anyone who works with young people. Additional resources and counseling support will be available through Kids in Crisis and Positive Directions during and after the event.


Why is a college transcript so crucial?

This Thursday (November 10, 7 p.m., online), Amy Chatterjee — senior college counselor from Collegewise, — discusses what a transcript actually is, how it can “show a love of learning through courses,” and why it’s the most important part of the college application.

Click here to register.


Usually, it’s music teachers who watch their students perform on stage.

On November 20 (MoCA Westport, 4 p.m.), faculty members of the Westport School of Music will be on stage for a special concert. “Autumn Colors” will celebrate nature’s splendor, through piano, strings, flute, guitar and voice.

Highlights include “Autumn in New York,” “The Great Pumpkin Waltz” from “Charlie Brown,” and “Autumn” from “The Four Season of Buenos Aires.”

After the concert, guests can greet the musicians, and enjoy refreshments and drinks at the MoCA Bar.


This week at Jazz at the Post: Spain’s “finest and most celebrated jazz pianist,”  Abé Rabade. Very popular throughout Europe, he’ll perform at VFW Joseph J. Clinton Post 399 this Thursday.

Rabade’s music blends classic Catalonian and Galician styles, along with the soulful and swinging “great jazz tradition.”

Joining in are Rale Micic (guitar), “Jazz Rabbi” Greg Wall (saxophone), David Richards (bass0 and Tim Horner (drums).

There are shows at 7:30 and 8:45 p.m., with dinner starting at 7. Tickets are just $15. Email Jazzatthepost@gmail.como for reservations.


Longtime Westporter Joan Kahn died Saturday, in Norwalk Hospital. She would have been 98 next month.

Joan’s family described her as “feisty, independent, determined, brilliant and caring.:

A “founding mother” of modern Westport, she and her husband Ed moved to Westport in 1953 from New York City. They lived first on Charcoal Hill, then built a home on Coach Lane.

Joan’s family called her “a sounding board and encourager of husband Ed throughout his town leadership as he chaired the Representative Town Meeting, spearheaded efforts to save Cockenoe Island, positioned Westport as the first town meeting to vote against the war in Viet Nam, and was a part of the committee that bought Longshore.”

With a group of mothers, Joan started the Westport Cooperative Nursery School (now Westport Nursery School).

Joan was valedictorian of her high school class at Calhoun High School in
New York, graduated from Smith College, and earned her social work degree from Columbia University in 1952.

She was an early “career mother,” as a social worker at Norwalk Hospital, then Bridgeport Hospital, and finally in the Norwalk school system, from which she retired.

She was an avid follower of politics, curious world traveler, and consummate reader. She was also an active, loving, mother of 3 children. all of whom attended Westport schools: Karen, Shoshi
and Dan.

She also leaves 6 grandchildren — Ron, Edwina, Maya, Eli, Max  and Emma =- and 4 great-grandchildren.

Joan Kahn


Wakeman Town Farm volunteer Thomas Schmidt stopped feeding breakfast to the animals just long enough to snap today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo:

(Photo/Thomas Schmidt)


And finally … Alice Cooper wanted to be elected.

If you want your candidate to be elected too … head to the polls! They’re open until 8 p.m. tonight.

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Roundup: Suicide Support Group, Sustainable Westport, Savvy + Grace …

A new (and free) support group — “Alternatives to Suicide: Navigating the Darkness Together” — launches October 4. The group meets Tuesdays (7 p.m., 90 Post Road West).

Sponsored by Positive Directions, it’s a safe, non-clinical and peer-led space where people 18 and older can talk openly and non-judgmentally. about suicide thoughts, attempts or experiences like self-harm.

Positive Directions says, “We do not assume suicidal thoughts are connected to mental illness, and you do not need to be experiencing a current crisis to attend. No referrals or connection to mental health services is needed.

People are welcome to show up to a meeting, or call 203-227-7644 or email akernan@positivedirections.org for more information.


Today’s LobsterFest will draw 1,500 people to Compo Beach. There are lobsters, steaks, beer, wine — and plenty of waste.

The sponsoring Westport Rotary Club is on it. Lobster shells will be recycled (after de-banding); bottles are recyclable, and there’s plenty of composting.

An added element: Sustainable Westport will host informational stations throughout the event. Attendees can learn all about our town’s Zero Weaste and Net Zero initiatives, and how they can help.

Lobsterfest is always a good time. Today, it’s educational too.

Sustainable Westport’s waste stations, at last week’s Slice of Saugatuck.


Last month, “06880” reported on the kerfuffle involving outdoor tables at Nômade (the new Main Street restaurant replacing Tavern on Main) and Savvy + Grace (the gifts-and-more store on the street level, underneath the eatery).

Shoppers have had a narrow path to the store – until yesterday.

In 13 years of publishing “06880,” I’ve posted dozens of photos of entitled drivers. This is the first one of an entitled bicyclist:


Yesterday’s “Westport … Naturally” photo showed a beautiful caterpillar, about to become an even more beautiful butterfly.

Today’s illustrates nature in action: a monarch butterfly being devoured by a praying mantis.

It’s a gorgeous world out there. But it’s a jungle, too.

(Photo/Melissa Crouch Chang)


And finally … It took 62 years. But on this day in 1983, Vanessa Williams became the first Black Miss America.


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Waste Not!

We don’t often reprint information from a newsletter.

But Sustainable Westport‘s recent email contained so much valuable information, it needs as broad an audience as possible.

So do not waste any time. Here’s everything you need to know about Westport waste.

What happens when trash leaves your house?

Private haulers across Westport (there are 8 options) collect trash and deliver it to the transfer station. Some collect trash and recycling on alternate days; others collect both on the same day into trucks with separate compartments for each.

Alternately, Westport residents can bring their own trash to the transfer station for dumping, free of charge, during operating hours.

At the transfer station, the truck’s contents are dumped into a pit by the haulers (or manually thrown into the pit by residents). The pit contains a hydraulic ram that compacts the trash into a closed trailer.

Westport’s transfer station does not look like a dump.

When the trailer is full, it is pulled away from the compactor and a new empty trailer is put in its place. Trailers are then driven to WIN-Wheelabrator, our regional waste-to-energy plant in Bridgeport, where the contents are tipped and weighed before incineration.

All of the haulers servicing Westport pay an annual licensing fee to the town, based on the number of trucks in their fleet and their respective cubic yard capacity. All other waste management costs are included in the Town of Westport budget, which is funded by taxpayers.

Those costs include 3 primary components: management of the Westport transfer station; hauling trash to Wheelebrator, and tip fees for disposal (incineration services) at Wheelebrator.

Westport is part of a 12 town consortium, the Greater Bridgeport Regional Solid Waste Committee, that negotiates collectively with Wheelabrator to provide competitive pricing.

In 2021, Westport fees to Wheelebrator for transportation and tipping were $16-$17 per ton and $65.75 per ton respectively. That is far less costly, both in fuel and CO2 emissions, than trucking the trash out of state to landfills, and it avoids dumping Connecticut trash on other communities.

Single stream recycling

However, these costs still translated to approximately $1.5 million to the town and taxpayers. (That does not even account for recycling, other contract services or management of the transfer station.) 2022’s current waste expenditures are 13% higher than last year.

Connecticut’s waste-to-energy infrastructure is increasingly under strain. When the costs to manage waste rise, as a taxpayer you can expect to carry the burden.

The Environmental Protection Agency strongly encourages the “Pay as you Throw” method. Households are charged based on the amount of trash they generate (by either volume or weight), rather than a fixed fee or property tax.

PAYT shifts responsibility onto individual households. treating trash like electricity, water or other utilities where there is a variable rate depending on the extent of service utilized.

In Connecticut, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection promotes a PAYT program called SMART (“Save Money and Reduce Trash”). Residents are charged based on unit pricing of waste collected weekly (per gallon, based on the bag sizes sold and distributed by the town). Other than that, the system of collection remains the same.

According to DEEP, communities that implement SMART have reduced waste by 40 – 55%. This translates to an average savings of 200-300 pounds per person per year, plus significant municipal savings in transportation and tipping (incineration).

Residents can help by reducing, reusing, recycling and diverting food waste.

Be thoughtful in your purchasing. Favor reusable over disposable (even if it requires a bit more money or personal energy). Repair broken items instead of tossing them away.

Fortunately, Westport has programs in place to support efforts to reduce overall waste:

  • Separate glass from other recycling; deposit at the transfer station
  • Redeem cans and bottles at participating facilities
  • Join the Zero Food Waste Challenge
  • Click here to learn about other items that can be individually recycled.

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Glass Recycling: Do’s And Don’ts

Scarlett Siegel is a rising senior at Staples High School. This summer, she is interning in the 1st Selectwoman’s Office.

Her environmental and socially conscious efforts began when she joined Staples’ Coastal Cleanup Crew. She helped found OneWestport, a service club where she is vice president of social justice and activism.

Scarlett has lived in Westport since preschool. She hopes to keep our town as beautiful as it is now, for the generations to come. She writes:

Like many others, I have spent my summer days strolling down Main Street, visiting Compo with friends, and riding my bike along Beachside Avenue.

Yet I often find myself sidestepping broken and jagged glass on my walks.

I decided to do some research into glass recycling, and learned about Westport’s Glass Recycling Program, at the transfer station on the Sherwood Island Connector.

Glass recycling container at the transfer station. (Photo courtesy of Westportcct.gov)

People bring their beverage bottles and food jars; they’ll be discarded and recycled safely.

Of course, there are some do’s and don’ts. According to Sustainable Westport:

  • Do make sure all items are empty, rinsed, and clean.
  • Do make sure bottle caps are on the bottles — or take them off and place them in the trash. 
  • Don’t shred, box, bag, or bundle items. That includes using plastic bags to collect and dump your recyclable materials.
  • Don’t put paper food take-out containers in your recycling. They can’t be recycled because they are too soiled; and may be plastic-lined or compostable.

Glass can be extremely dangerous to humans and wildlife when not discarded properly.

Coastal Cleanup Crew co-founder Ryland Noorily, says, “the glass recycling program will separate glass from the other vulnerable materials — recyclable plastics and papers — and maximize our recycling potential”.

Let’s join together to keep this town a beautiful and thriving ecosystem, and
make sure we have plenty of beautiful Westport summers in the years ahead. 

Trash collected by Staples’ Coastal Cleanup Crew (Photo/Ty Levine)

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Roundup: Mattress Recycling, Document Shredding, Experience Camping …

Did you know that more than 75% of a mattress can be recycled — even that old one in your basement?

So how to get rid of it? Sustainable Westport and Earthplace host their semi-annual mattress recycling drop-off event this Saturday (May 14). Bring your dry, unsoiled mattress and/or box spring to Earthplace from 8:30 to 11: a.m.

It will be recycled into all sorts of stuff, from carpet pads and insulation to air filters and steel products.

Can’t get your mattress to Earthplace? Boy Scout Troop 36 will take it for you. Spots are limited; click here to sign up. A donation of $20 is suggested.

And … if you miss this event and can’t wait for the fall collection, Park City Green in Bridgeport accepts mattresses and box springs year round, Call 203-212-3860.

Boy Scout Troop 36 picks up recyclable mattresses.


And … once you’ve recycled your mattress, bring your secure documenets to the William Raveis parking lot (47 Riverside Avenue, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.).

You can watch them being shredded. And you don’t even have to remove any staples.

The suggested donation is $10 for a box or shopping bag, $20 for a large garbage bag. 100% of all funds go to the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.


The Day of Champions is set for this Sunday (May 15, 9 to 11:30 a.m., PJ Romano Field between Saugatuck and Kings Highway Elementary Schools).

The family-friendly fun and fierce competition may remind you of summer camp. That’s because it’s a fundraiser for Experience Camps — the place where children who have lost parents or siblings can smile again, with peers who understand and caring counselors.

Click here for more information — and to create, join or donate to a team.

Fun at Experience Camps’ 2019 Day of Champions.


Tickets are going quickly for the Queer Cook-off. The Westport Pride fundraiser — pitting 3 teams, each with a noted chef, and celebrity teams — is set for Thursday, May 19 (6 p.m., Aitoro Appliance, Norwalk).

As they’re cooking in a “Chopped”-style competition, there’s plenty of food and drink for the “audience.” Food and beverage sponsors include Organic Krush, Copps Island Oysters, Dave & Charlie’s Hometown Deli, Garden Catering, Longford’s Ice Cream, The Kitchen and Tribus.

Ingredients for the chefs — Bill Taibe of Don Memo, Kawa Ni and The Whelk; Jes Bengtson of Terrain Café and Amis Tattoria, and Arik Bensimon of Monogram Design Center — come from Sport Hill Farm, Ayn’s Chili Oil and Pam’s Jams. Raffle prizes are donated by Nordstrom, Clay Story CT, Munson’s Chocolates, artist M.C. Hewlett, Monogram and various chefs.

As if that’s not enough to whet your appetite: I’m one of the judges.

Click here for tickets and more information.



“Westport .. Naturally” has featured a few shots of the Parker Harding Plaza swan.

Most have been wide-angle shots. Here she is, primping for her close-up.

(Photo/Claudia Sherwood Servidio)


And finally … Susan Jacks, the Poppy Family singer best (and probably only) known for her 1969 hit “Which Way You Goin’ Billy?,” died last month in British Columbia. She was 73, and on the waiting list for a second kidney transplant. Click here for a full obituary.

Roundup: Sustainable Westport, Mothers Day Pig …

Earlier today, “06880” featured musician/Westporter Sophie B. Hawkins’ experience with food scrap recycling. (Spoiler alert: She’s passionate about it.)

That’s one Sustainable Westport initiative. There are many more. And you can check them out at the organization’s newly redesigned website.

It highlights news, events and action items. There are resources for reducing carbon footprints for residents as well as businesses, in areas like energy, transportation, landscaping and purchasing, plus information on social equity and sustainability.

There are links too to the Zero Food Waste Challenge, Restaurant Certification program, and Green Building Awards.

Click here for the website, then dive in.


WordPress’ new formatting means that for some “06880” readers, photos are elongated. For others, the print is smaller than before.

I didn’t make the change, and I can’t fix it. But here’s a pro tip: Click on the headline of any “06880.” It should magically appear in the correct format.

I’m sorry you need to take that extra step. But I hope it helps.

Elongated photos, this morning (courtesy of Jack Backiel)


Jolantha — Weston’s favorite pig — wishes a happy Mothers Day to all the moms out there.

She just hopes you don’t have ham for dinner.

(Photo/Hans Wilhelm)


The weather has been a bit un-May-like. But on a rare nice day recently, June Rose Whittaker captured this “Westport … Naturally” image at the Longshore golf course 7th hole.

(Photo/June Rose Whittaker)


And finally … one more Mothers Day wish, this one from “06880”!


Roundup: River Dredging, Beach Cleanup, Ukraine …

The other day, 1st Selectwoman Jennifer Tooker, Congressman Jim Himes and Senator Richard Blumenthal took a boat tour of the Saugatuck River. They surveyed conditions, and announced $2.81 million in federal funding for proposed dredging.

Police Chief Foti Koskinas and Public Works director Peter Ratkiewich were on board too.

Tooker calls the river “one of Westport’s greatest assets. Westport is fortunate that this long-needed project is on the near horizon. For years, the sediment coming down the river has caused shoaling of the federal channel, and has diminished the multi-use capacity of the river.

“With funding now earmarked for this important dredging program, the outlook for downtown, the Saugatuck neighborhoods and the river shoreline is positive and vibrant for our businesses and our residents.“

Ratkiewich adds, “the dredging project will increase recreational opportunities on the river, allow for maritime connectivity between downtown and Saugatuck, and most importantly will enhance the ability of our emergency services to respond to emergencies that happen on or near the river.”

From left: Police Chief Foti Koskinas, Public Works director Pete Ratkiewich, 1st Selectman Jen Tooker and Congressman Jim Himes on the Saugatuck River. (Photo courtesy of Rep. Himes’ office)


Sustainable Westport, the Zero Waste Committees of all Westport schools and ZenWTR join together to sponsor a community Compo Beach cleanup this Saturday (April 30, noon to 2 p.m.).

Everyone is invited to help. Meet at the pavilion by the volleyball court and playground.

Questions? Email zwcstapleshs@westportps.org.

Beach garbage, from a previous cleanup. (Photo/Lou Weinberg)


As reported last week, Lynsey Addario is back in Ukraine.

The 1991 Staples High School graduate  — and Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist, and MacArthur “genius grant” fellow — captured grim scenes of Orthodox Easter services yesterday along the frontline in the Zaporizhzhia region.

“Hopes for a cease-fire over the holiday weekend were quickly dashed,” the Times reported, “as Russian artillery fire and missiles continued to strike Ukrainian infrastructure, government buildings and residential homes.”

(Photo/Lynsey Addario for The New York Times)

Her fellow Times journalist and Pulitzer Prize winner — and Staples ’88 grad — Tyler Hicks has been in the embattled nation all along.

Today his photos illustrated a story about 12 people who have chosen to stay in the basement of a shattered school building. Click here for the piece.

The view from a bombed-out apartment in Saltivka, one of Kharkiv’s most brutalized neighborhoods. (Photo/Tyler Hicks for the New York Times)


“The Art of Nature” — Earthplace’s first benefit art show and sale — opens this Thursday (April 28, 5 to 9 p.m.).

Each artist has up to a dozen pieces. All are inspired by the natural world.

Westporters in the show include Jennifer Williams, Kris Toohey and Nancy Breakstone.

The opening reception includes wine, light bites donated by Rizutto’s, and a $15 donation to Earthplace. 35% of each piece sold is tax-deductible.

The show continues with free admission Friday (9 a.m. to 9 p.m.) and Saturday (9 a.m. to 7 p.m.).

Kris Toohey’s “Sunkissed Marsh” is one of dozens of works at Earthplace’s art show.


It takes all kinds.

And all kinds were out in force the other day, posing for today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo.

(Photo/Tammy Barry)


And finally … on this day in 1792, Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle composed “La Marseillaise.” It became the French national anthem.

Quelle coincidence! France is in the world headlines this morning, thanks to a very important election yesterday.

Recycling: What “Can” I Do?

Our next Question Box is not yet full.

But alert — and environmentally conscious — reader Frank Sisson’s email is important enough to warrant a special spot.

And an answer.

The other day, he wrote: “What are the rules about what should properly go into our blue bin recycle containers?

“My wife tends to put anything metallic or plastic in (while I think that only plastics with the special recycle triangle symbol on the bottom are allowed), and sometimes she doesn’t rinse food remnants out as well as I think we should. (I often retrieve things out of the bin and wash them clean before putting them back in.)

“And is all paper okay, or just newspaper, paper bags and magazines (even magazines, with all the color photos and staples, might be questionable).

“Is there a clear list of rules you might have access to?  I am sure many other Westporters could use this guidance.

“Also: What about batteries — As, AAs AAAs, 9-volt, the little button batteries, etc. Should they go into the regular trash, the blue recycle bin, or be dropped off at some special place for disposal (maybe the fire station?).

“I let mine accumulate in a cardboard box at home, but don’t really know where they should be go. Someone told me recently that storing them at home could be dangerous, and a fire hazard.”

I contacted Sustainable Westport — our town’s advisory team. They directed me to a website and app: RecycleCT. Click on or download it; then type in the name of any item (lithium battery, pizza box, whatever), and it will tell you how and where it can be recycled.

In addition, Sustainable Westport has an Instagram handle: @sustainablewestport. It includes a fun series of video tours that show what can be recycled at the Transfer Station on the Sherwood Island Connector (pro tip: batteries included!).

The transfer station is open weekdays from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and Saturdays from 7 a.m. to noon. If you haven’t been there, check it out. It’s one of the most popular (and friendly) spots in town

Sustainable Westport also welcomes questions directly — just email admin@sustainablewestport.org. They’ll answer quickly — and address them in future videos.