Tag Archives: Sustainable Westport

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.

Roundup: Staples Players, Mattress Recycling, Pet Photos …

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The Staples High School auditorium has been dark for 14 months.

But later this month, Staples Players will be back on stage.

Tickets go on sale tomorrow (Saturday, May 8) for a unique show. “Words Words Words … And Music” is a feel-good, very funny journey through 5 short plays by award-winning (and witty) playwright David Ives, plus 2 mini-musicals and a smattering of songs and monologues.

The curtain goes up May 20 and 21 (7:30 p.m.), and 22 (2 p.m., 7:30 p.m.). Socially distant seating is available tomorrow (click here). NOTE: Cultural starvation and fewer seats may create a toilet paper-in-2020 situation.

A virtual livestream is set for June 6 (6 p.m.).

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Who wouldn’t like free compost?

Just bring a container (no larger than a kitchen trash can) to the mattress and box spring recycling event at Earthplace tomorrow (Saturday, May 8, 8:30 to 11:30 a.m.). Boy Scouts will fill it!

Sustainable Westport is thanking Westport for making the food scrap recycling program such a success. Started less than a year ago, residents now divert 10 tons of food scraps a month. (That’s in addition to me compost piles.)

That’s great. But the goal is to double participation in the Zero Food Waste Challenge in the next 6 months. For options, and guidance, click here. For more information on tomorrow’s event, email ZeroWaste@SustainableWestport.org or call 203-293-6320.

Free compost at Earthplace!

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Speaking of Earthplace: This year, their annual fundraiser has been turned into a special “Cocktails & Clams To Go” have-your-own-picnic event.

100 boxes of Copps Island oysters or clams (your choice) are on sale (along with a shucking knife, cocktail sauce and mixer, Harbor Watch car magnet, and raffle entry.

Each basket purchased allows Harbor Watch to continue its fight against pollution in local waterways. Click here for more information, and to purchase your shellfish.

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Ever since she opened Le Rouge Aartisan Chocolates, Aarti Khosla has helped people and organizations in need in Westport, Bridgeport and throughout Fairfield County.

Now she’s helping people in her native land.

As COVID causes havoc in India, Aarti is helping raise funds to mobilize oxygen concentrators and other equipment. “No amount is too small to make a difference,” Aarti says. She is working with Vibha, a non-profit whose tagline is “Save lives. Save India.” Click here for details, and to contribute.

She is also donating 20% of all sales from Mother’s Day and Teacher Appreciation Week to Vibha. So this is the perfect time for some fantastic chocolate — and to help an important cause.

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Tickets for individual Westport Country Playhouse virtual performances are now on sale.

This season’s online offerings include a comedy (“Tiny House,” June 29-July 18), a Script in Hand (“The Savannah Disputation,” June 14-20), a classic (“Man of La Mancha 2018,” August 23-September 5), and a gripping drama (“Doubt: A Parable,” November 2-21).

Virtual tickets start at just $20. Click here for more information, and to order. Questions? Call 203-227-4177, or email boxoffice@westportplayhouse.org.

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Staples junior Katie Davitt has found a way to combine her passions for art and advocacy. She draws pet portraits for families — and donates 100% of the proceeds to causes she cares deeply about, like racial justice (Equal Justice Initiative), animal welfare (Connecticut Humane Society) and combating climate change (Environmental Defense Fund).

So far, she has raised and given away over $1,500.

Katie says, “the pandemic has given me an opportunity to look inward and realize what is truly important to me: family, friends, pursuing my passions. At the same time it’s opened my eyes to injustices in the world. I feel like I am doing my small part in making a difference.”

Katie is busy with schoolwork. But anyone interested in pet portraits this summer should send a photo of the pet, its name and your background color preference to kateedavitt@gmail.com. She charges $65 for a printed portrait in a 9”x11” black frame with a white matte, $45 for a digital file.

One of Katie Davitt’s pet photos.

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Westport Transit director Peter Gold writes:

“Ten days ago, I urged the community to ask the RTM to support public transit in Westport by restoring funds cut from the Westport Transit District’s budget for the Wheels2U Westport shuttles.

“The response was overwhelming. Over 100 letters were sent to the RTM from individuals and organizations in favor of restoring the funding. The RTM heard your voice, and voted 32-to-1 to restore the budget and keep Westport’s Wheels2U shuttle running and growing!

“Wheels2U Westport was launched in October 2020 to support Westport residents and businesses. It provides a convenient and environmentally-friendly way for Westport residents and reverse commuters to travel between the train stations and their homes, employers and downtown. Wheels2U is now an integral part of Westport.

“We cannot thank you enough! A diverse group of residents, commuters and key Westport organizations came together to share your stories, explain the shuttle’s benefits, and lend your voice to restoring the budget.

“There are exciting things planned for Wheels2U Westport in the next year. We look forward to keeping everyone up to date about our growth and new initiatives.”

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Westport’s wonderful spring continues. Judith Katz spotted these tulips on Myrtle Avenue, across from Sconset Square. Just a few of the many colorful flowers that make our town so beautiful.

(Photo/Judith Katz)

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And finally … in Vienna today in 1824, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony was first performed. It’s considered the composer’s greatest work — and one of the finest musical achievements of all time. Groundbreaking in its use of voices, it is also one of the most performed symphonies in the world.

Of course, Beethoven never heard his masterpiece. When he began composing the 9th Symphony in 1822, he was already deaf.

Kami Evans Helps Sustain Westport

Quietly — but powerfully — Westport has become a beehive of sustainability.

Between composting, our Net Zero 2050 commitment, the Home Energy Challenge, our embrace of electric vehicles, and organizations like Sustainable Westport, Wakeman Town Farm and Earthplace, many residents, businesses and groups are trying to do what we can to save our planet.

It’s not always easy. many areas need improvement. But awareness of the urgent need to act — and concrete steps to do so — seem high.

One small but important step took place Thursday night. Social media/ networking whiz Kami Evans gathered a group at Wakeman Town Farm. All have a product or concept in the sustainable space. Each spoke briefly about what they do, including what’s going well, and what they need.

Connections were made. Conversations were sparked. Community was formed.

There were established businesses like Savannah Bee, whose products and educational programs raise awareness of bees’ crucial role in our ecosystem, and BD Provisions, which sells healthy food in bulk (and sustainable containers).

Savannah Bee manager Julie Cook talked about her company’s mission — and the importance of bees on our planet.

Westport entrepreneurs described their inventions, like Lustir‘s carbon fiber straws, and those they sold, like SKP hair and body care.

Service providers spoke too: Curbside Compost, which picks up your food scraps and drops off a clean pail, and Staples High School graduate Rachel Precious, whose Precious Oysters offers “tide to table” shucking services.

The Eco Dude shared his vision of a space that will include non-plastic retail products, an artisan cooperative, all-compostable coffee shop, and workshops. (He’s still in the funding phase.)

Organic Krush catered, providing delicious, healthy, and pesticide-, GMO- and hormone-free food.

It would have been compostable, of course. Except it was too good. Not a scrap was left at the end.

Roundup: Earth Day, Animals, Toilets …

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Earth Day crops up soon. And Sustainable Westport has partnered with Earthplace for a month of activities. Here are 2.

Today (Sunday, April 11, 1 to 1:45 p.m., Zoom, free) or next Sunday (April 18, 1 to 2:30 p.m., in person, $10 per person), join naturalist Veronica Swain for sessions on invasive plant identification and non-chemical removal. Click here to register for today; click here for next Sunday.

This Tuesday, (April 13, 12 noon, Zoom) the topic is toilets.

In “Pipe Dreams: The Urgent Global Quest to Transform the Toilet,” award-winning science journalist Chelsea Wald dives into the future of thrones with Peter Boyd, Sustainable Westport chair. They’ll profile scientists, engineers, philanthropists, entrepreneurs and activists focusing on making toilets accessible and healthier for humans and the planet. No s*it!

Click here to register. Click here to buy copies of the signed “Pipe Dreams” book.

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Weston celebrates Earth Day too.

A “Trash to Treasure Hunt” is set for Lachat Town Farm (April 25, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.). Local artist Andy Reiss will show how to create sculptures from items that would otherwise be thrown away.

For the first time, visitors can walk the farm’s new mile-long nature trail, and enjoy Lachat’s animals, woods and pond.

Experts will offer advice about recycling and seed planting. They’ll also launch a new environmental initiative in Weston: a bottle bank at the transfer station to recycle glass.

Every family that attends will get a free native tree sapling to plant at home.

Other Weston Earth Day events include Green Up Day (April 24, Norfield Church with Weston Kiwanis), and an online information session about recycling trends (April 29, transfer station).

Throughout April, Weston Library offers recycled children’s crafts both online and as packs to pick up. There’s also a book display in the children’s room about the environment and gardening.

For more information and how to register for all the events, click here. http://facebook.com/sustainableweston.

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Speaking of nature: Gil Ghitelman spotted this visitor near the Westport Library yesterday. He (or she) was waddling out of the Saugatuck River, and appreciated the steps.

(Photo/Gus Ghitelman)

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Staples’ spring sports teams are back in action, after missing the entire 2020 due to COVID.

Two squads made impressive debuts. Carter Kelsey (6 innings, 12 strikeouts) and Matt Spada (1 inning, 3 strikeouts) combined for a 6-0 no-hit win over Darien. It was the Wreckers’ first game since winning the 2019 state “LL” championships.

Boys lacrosse delivered a 7-3 victory over New Canaan, traditionally one of the top teams in the FCIAC league.

And looking back at winter sports: The boys ice hockey team reached finished 8th in the state Division 3 hockey rankings. Four players earned Connecticut High School Coaches Association All-State Division 3 honors: seniors Owen Sherman and Victor Sarrazin (1st team), and senior Zachary Schwartz and sophomore Aaron Kail earned (2nd team). Schwartz also received the state’s Hobey Baker Character Award, for outstanding performance on and off the ice.

Clockwise, from upper left: Owen Sherman, Victor Sarrazin, Aaron Kail, Zachary Schwartz.

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MoCA Westport has announced a Summer Open Calls. The juried exhibition  is open to all emerging, mid-career and established visual artists over 18.

It will be on view from June 25 to August 21, 2021. Submission deadline is May 21.

All mediums will be considered. There are no size limitations. Artists must submit digital samples of 5 to 10 works of art, a resumé and brief artist statement. Click here for applications. For more information email liz@mocawestport.org or call 203-222-7070.

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And finally … happy 89th birthday to Joel Grey!

Roundup: Outdoors, Suffragists, DMX …

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Spring is in the air. And there’s no better place to smell it — and enjoy the outdoors — than Wakeman Town Farm.

Westport’s sustainable jewel is back open. Visiting hours begin today (Saturday, April 10, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.), including the popular Meet the Farmer program.

Everyone 13 and older is welcome for a walk around the gardens and grounds. (All COVID rules are in effect.) For more information, click here.

Wakeman Town Farm is open once again.

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Speaking of the environment: The Parks and Recreation Department sponsors “Clean Up Westport Day” on Saturday, April 24.

Over 50 local organizations and groups will help. Individuals and families can show up at the Parks Advisory Committee’s sites — Riverside and Grace Salmon Parks — or any street or public space.

Formal groups should call Parks & Rec (203-341-5091) before April 16, to let them know the time and location of their cleanup efforts. After the event, the town will collect bagged garbage and debris from each site.

Free trash bags are available outside the Parks & Rec office (opposite the Longshore golf course pro shop) between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on April 16 b8:30am and 4:30pm. Bags are limited to 6 per organization, and must be requested by April 15.

Cleaning up Grace Salmon Park.

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“Westport’s Suffragists — Our Neighbors, Our Crusaders: The 19th Amendment Turns 100” was the Westport Library’s best exhibit that no one visited.

Well, hardly anyone. It opened last year just days before COVID shut the town down.

But the Connecticut League of History Organizations knows about it. And they’ve awarded the Library an Award of Merit for it.

The awards committee was impressed with “how the exhibit fit nicely into a larger series of public programs and showcased the lives of local women in their fight for suffrage.”

Fortunately, the exhibit is online (click here). It explores the careers and political triumphs of suffragists who made Westport home. It also honors over 50 Westport women — many forgotten — who left their parlors for the streets, to fight for voting rights.

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The Remarkable Theater drive-in is back in action. Last year , the Imperial Avenue lot also served as the stage for the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce’s Supper & Soul Series. Next month, they return there.

Dark Desert Eagles — an Eagles tribute band — have been booked for Friday and Saturday nights, May 14 and 15. The Chamber urges attendees to get takeout from local restaurants and markets, and bring it to the concert.

Tickets for each show are $150 per car (5 person maximum). They go on sale this Monday, April 12 (10 a.m.). Click here to order.

Dark Desert Eagles

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Yesterday’s Roundup highlighted the mattress recycling program at Earthplace on May 8 (8:30 to 11:30 a.m.).

Not everyone has a mattress to get rid of. But you should still head to Earthplace that day.

Particularly if you’d like free compost. Bring a bucket, and Sustainable Westport will fill it. It’s open to all Westport residents, as a thank-you for making the food scrap recycling program such a success.

Sustainable Westport is collecting nearly 10 tons of food scraps a month from the transfer station (a free service for residents), and from the 2 licensed food scrap haulers (a paid curbside service). Over 500 Westport families are composting in some form.

Intrigued, but don’t know how to begin? Volunteers will sell food scrap recycling starter kits (with a countertop pail, compostable gags and 6-gallon transportation container) during the May 8 Earthplace event. (They’re free for income-eligible folks).

If you’re not into mattress recycling or food scraps — come anyway. It’s a family-friendly outing, with guided trail tours and animal feeding.

PS: Bring natural corks, used magic markers, mascara wands and batteries for recycling.

For more information click here, or email admin@sustainablewestport.org.

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Mark your calendar for these Sherwood Island State Park events. They’re presented by the Friends of Sherwood Island. That’s what friends are for!

Early Bird Earth Day (Saturday, April 17, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.): Kites and model airplanes; disc golf; information tables and more.

How to Grow Raspberries & Blueberries (April 18, 2 to 4 p.m., Nature Center). Mini-lesson — and 6 plants will be given away.

One Tree Planted Grant (April 23 and 24): 125 native trees and shrubs will be planted these days. Help is needed! Email michelemsorensen@gmail.com

Growing Potatoes (May 9, 2 to 4 p.m., Nature Center). Bring a potato with eyes to plant.

Plant corn, beans and squash (May 30, 2 to 4 p.m., Nature Center). Take home free seeds!

Connecticut Trails Day (June 5, all day). Kayak and walking tours, hikes.

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Judith Katz has just 2 words for this magnolia tree in her backyard at Harvest Commons: “At last!”

(Photo/Judith Katz)

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Long-time Westporter Sarah Kennedy takes after her great-aunt: Henrietta Cholmeley-Jones, a noted artist and supervisor of Westport’s WPA art project.

During the COVID lockdown, Sarah painted this acrylic of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip.

“They are inspirations to me,” Sarah says. “Anyone who keeps smiling and doing their duty at their age, I admire.”

After the news of Prince Philip’s death yesterday, at 99, she shares her work with the “06880” community.

 

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And finally … DMX — described by the New York Times as a “snarling yet soulful rapper … who had a string of No. 1 albums in the late 1990s and early 2000s but whose personal struggles eventually rivaled his lyrical prowess,” died yesterday in White Plains. He was 50.

Give The Gift Of Food Scrap Recycling

Searching for a holiday gift for the family that has everything — including plenty of food?

How about Sustainable Westport’s food scrap starter kit?!

For just $25, you can give friends or neighbors a countertop container, roll of compostable bags, and a transportation container.

Hey: You can buy it for yourself too.

The food scrap recycling starter kit.

Earthplace is selling the kits Mondays through Fridays. Call 203-557-4400 for holiday hours.

During this busy season, Sustainable Westport volunteers even deliver the kits to local homes. Email ZeroWaste@SustainableWestport.org, or call 203-293-6320.

Of course, you don’t need the starter kit to use the transfer station drop-off site. Just bring your food scraps in a lidded container, and drop them in the bright green toter.

The food scraps recycling program is a smash. Since it began in July, Westporters have brought over 2 tons a month to the transfer station. November set a record with more than 4 tons, thanks to pumpkin recycling.

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

The scraps are brought to an industrial composting facility. Unlike most home sites, animal-based products like bones, meat, cheese and fish (including shellfish shells) are accepted at the transfer station drop-off.

Two Westport-licensed haulers (Action Waste Solutions and Curbside Compost) accept all food scraps. Several tons a month are being picked up from homes. The cost is about $32 a month; the first month is free if you mention Sustainable Westport.

Food scrap recycling is important economically, as well as environmentally. Food scraps make up 20% of residential waste by weight. They’re heavy, wet and don’t burn well at the waste-to-energy incinerator where most of Westport’s solid waste goes. The cost of solid waste removal comes from our taxes.

Sustainable Westport’s goal is to divert from disposal 25% or more of residential food waste. That’s 38 tons of food scraps per month.

Even with “tons” of parties, there’s such to be plenty of scraps this holiday season. Happy composting!

(NOTE: Sustainable Westport’s food scrap starter kit is free for income-eligible residents. To learn more about composting options, meal planning and preservation, or how to help distribute food to food-insecure residents, click here. Hat tip: Pippa Bell Ader.)

Roundup: Environment And Social Justice, Pop-Up Art, Pop-Up Menorah, More


At first glance, environmentalism and social justice might seem to be different issues.

But they intersect powerfully. One example: petrochemical facilities — with all their toxic byproducts — are often located in predominantly minority, economically disadvantaged communities.

Wanjiku Gatheru wrote a provocative piece for Glamour: “Want to be an Environmentalist? Start With Antiracism.”

The 21-year old is the first Black person in history to receive the Rhodes, Truman and Udall scholarships. A recent graduate of the University of Connecticut, she’s now studying in Oxford, England.

That’s where she’ll join the Westport Library on Wednesday, December 16 (7 p.m.), for a virtual event. She’ll discuss the intersection of those 2 movements. The event is co-sponsored by TEAM Westport, Sustainable Westport and Earthplace. Click here to register.

Wanjiku Gatheru (Photo/Sean Glynn, UConn)


The Greens Farms Elementary School PTA has organized a fundraiser.

They not only want everyone to help — they want to help other PTAs and organizations too.

When you buy a gift card from a participating local retailer or locally owned online brand — click here! — the store donates a portion of proceeds to the GFS PTA.

But GFS wants to spread the wealth. If your PTA wants to be considered — as part of a dropdown menu at checkout — email contact@payitforward.co.

Participants include ASF Sports & Outdoors, BD Provisions, Club Pilates, Dojo Westport, Posh Nail Salon, Shelala, Skin by Kataryna, Olive & Linen, Organic Krush, Posh Nail Salon, Romanacci Pizza Bar, Splatz by OneFun, Stew Leonard’s, Westport Masks and 3Dux.

New brands are being added all the time. If your business would like to join, email contact@payitfwrd.co.


Westport artist Michael Chait will sponsor another of his popular pop-up photo shows on the Saugatuck River this Sunday (December 13, 12:30 to 3 p.m., 11 Riverside Avenue).

It’s all outdoors. Smooth jazz/R&B music starts at 1:30 p.m., with the Dave Kardas Band. Pop by for the pop-up!

Michael Chait’s flag over the Saugatuck River.


Anthropologie’s Christmas decorations bring a bit of light to downtown Westport.

Now they’re joined by a menorah.

Happy holidays to all!

(Photo/Arlene Yolles)


As of yesterday, Westport had 786 cases of COVID-19 since March (722 confirmed, 64 probable). That’s up 87 total cases since last Thursday.

There have been 25 deaths, up 1 from last week. Click here for full statistics.


And finally … happy 89th birthday to Rita Moreno. In 1961 she won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress as Anita, in the film version of “West Side Story.”

Nobody knows in America
Puerto Rico’s in America!