Tag Archives: The Conservative Synagogue

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)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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)

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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.

(Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, Greens, independents, Whigs, Know-Nothings, and everyone else: Vote with your wallets. Please click here to support “06880.”)

 

 

 

Roundup: Capital Projects, Rosh Hashana, Elon Musk …

As Westport plans major capital projects — a renovation or new Long Lots Elementary School, reimagining of Longshore and others — the Board of Finance does not want to reinvent the wheel.

A special meeting on October 3 (7:30 p.m., Town Hall Room 201/201A) has only one agenda item: “Preparation workshop for the upcoming School and Town Building Program.'”

The board will listen to and question former Finance Board members, and officials who served Westport during the most recent major Westport building program (1998-2008, including Staples High and Bedford Middle Schools).

The public is invited. If there is time, they can ask questions.

Other workshops will be scheduled at later dates.

Westport has begun planning next steps for Long Lots Elementary School. (Drone photo/Brandon Malin)

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Storm clouds did not detract from yesterday evening’s Tashlich ceremony, at Compo Beach.

Members of The Conservative Synagogue gathered for the traditional rite. On the first day of Rosh Hashana, Jews symbolically casting away sins by tossing pieces of bread in the water.

Gathering together … (Photo/Fred Cantor)

… and casting sins away. (Photo/Diane Yormark)

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Also last night: Another rainbow appeared over Westport.

This one was seen on Weston Road.

(Photo/Stephanie Webster)

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We’re lucky indeed. We’re getting much-needed rain. And gorgeous rainbows that follow.

Saturday was special in Stamford — and in Staples Players’ history.

The award-winning high school troupe added another professional page to their overflowing scrapbook. They performed at a benefit concert for Orchestra Lumos (formerly the Stamford Symphony) at the Palace Theater.

Well, not just “performed.” Players shared the stage with actor/director Mari Friedman, who paid tribute to 3 great composers: Marvin Hamlisch, Stephen Sondheim and Michel Legrand.

Staples Players perform “I Hope I Get It” from “A Chorus Line” …

Friedman spent several hours rehearsing with the high schoolers. “She was fantastic with them, and they loved her,” says Players co-director David Roth.

… and dance to “I Hope I Get It” at the Orchestra Lumos benefit.

The invitation came from Halmisch’s widow Terre Blair. She saw a Players production of “A Chorus Line” — her husband’s work — and was “blown away.”

Maria Friedman thanks the audience, with Staples Players behind her.

Also starring on Saturday: vocalists Ross Lekites (“The Tina Turner Musical”), Lewis Cleale (“The Book of Mormon”) — and Players alumni Camille Foisie and Nick Rossi,

From left: Lewis Cleale, Ros Lekites, Maria Friedman, Camille Foisie, Nick Rossi. (All photos/Kerry Long)

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DJ Sixsmith cut his teeth — and honed his voice — at WWPT-FM. You can still hear the 2011 Staples High graduate giving the school station’s call letters at the top of every hour.

He’s now first senior manager for digital and social media at CNBC. Last week, he headed to California to interview Jay Leno — in the TV host’s iconic garage.

That makes sense. They were on YouTube Live, promoting Leno’s exclusive tour of SpaceX with Elon Musk — on the web series “Jay Leno’s Garage.”

Sixsmith gave fans the chance to ask Leno questions directly, and peek behind the curtain about the episode.

It went viral, when Musk himself commented on the video, on Twitter.

Sixsmith said on LinkedIn: “I love working for a company that is willing to let me run with new social and digital ideas like this one.”

Click below, for the full YouTube Live. (Hat tip: Mark Lassoff)

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This week’s Jazz at the Post features Serbian guitar master Rale Micic; bassist Steve LaSpina and drummer Steve Johns; of course the Jazz Rabbi, Greg Wall — and new start times for the 2 sets (7:30 and 8:45 p.m.; Thursday, September 29, VFW Joseph J Clinton Post 399, 465 Riverside Avenue). Dinner service begins at 7 p.m.

There is a $10 cover. Reservations are strongly suggested: JazzatthePost@gmail.com.

Rale Micic

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This is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. On Friday (September 30, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Westport Library), the Westport Prevention Coalition offers a free “Suicide Prevention Lunch and Learn.” It’s open to all residents, plus town employees, elected officials, commissioners and volunteers.

An RSVP is required. Click here to register.

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The Traveling School offers girls and non-binary students ages 15-18 a chance to see the world, build leadership skills, and grow personally. The semester-long program travels to Africa, South America and around the western US. 

It’s nearly 20 years old, and boasts 450 alums. Students receive academic credit from their home schools, and stay on track to graduate. Nearly 60 percent receive financial support.

They host an open house on October 12 (6:30 p.m., Rowayton). For more information, click here or email admissions@travelingschool.com.

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Longtime Wesetporter Salvatore Mastromatteo passed away peacefully earlier this month. He was 90 years old.

He worked many years for Arnold Bakery. Sal enjoyed time off by going to New York City, the movies, walking at the mall, and spending time with his family.  

Sal is survived by nieces Claudia Bradley fiancé William Thomas) of Tamarac, Florida and Tammy (Vinny) Guarente of Beacon Falls; great-niece Angela Guarente (Joe Darrah); great-nephew Joe (Megan) Guarente, and great-great nieces Michaela Darrah and Izabella Guarente.

He was predeceased by his sister Annamay Bradley, with whom he shared a home with after the death of their mother.

His family thanks June Richardson (conservator), and the staff at the Westport Rehabilitation Complex and Long Ridge Acute Care, for taking great care of Sal.

Private services were held at Assumption-Greens Farms Cemetery.

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Very appropriately, Jilda Manikas sent this “Westport … Naturally” photo of this insect on a screen door yesterday — Rosh Hashana, one of the Jewish High Holy Days.

It’s a praying mantis.

(Photo/Jilda Manikas)

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And finally … Jim Post died earlier this month in Iowa, of congestive heart failure. He was 82.

He and his then-wife Cathy Conn were Friend & Lover — one-hit wonders in 1968 with the song “Reach Out of the Darkness.”

Although — as this New York Times obituary explains —  his lyrics “reach out in the darkness” suggest a very different message.

(I think it’s so groovy that people want to contribute to “06880.” Please click here to support this hyper-local blog.)

Roundup: TTCS & Ukraine, RTM & Roe, Holocaust Talk …

The Conservative Synagogue continues to help Ukrainian refugees.

The congregations sponsored a planeload of 132 refugees. The flight left from Budapest on Tuesday, for Israel.

Rabbi Jeremy Wiederhorn reports that the families have been welcomed to Israel as new citizens.  Mazel tov!

From Ukraine to Israel — with help from The Conservative Synagogue of Westport.

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The Representative Town Meeting’s next session is June 7.

In addition to the usual requests for appropriations and ratifications of Planning & Zoning Commission decisions, there is this agenda item: to adopt a sense of the meeting resolution “that Westport supports the constitutional rights and principles established in Roe v. Wade, and opposes the elimination of those rights by any subsequent Supreme Court decision.”

The town’s non-partisan legislative body has passed similar “sense of the meeting” resolutions before — including, in 1969, a resolution asking President Johnson and Congress to “take immediate action to withdraw from the (Vietnam) war.”

Joanne Woodward spoke in support. After 3 hours of long, impassioned debate, the RTM voted 17-15 in favor of the resolution. The New York Times ran a long story about it.

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On Thursday, Holocaust survivor Judy Altmann gave an important presentation to all Bedford and Coleytown Middle School 8th graders.

The Westport school district has made the link publicly available (and posted it on their website). Click here for her talk. To learn more about Judy Altmann, click here.

Judy Altmann

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The Levitt Pavilion kicks off the holiday weekend with a pair of free “open house” concerts this weekend. No tickets are required for the 2 shows, today and tomorrow (Saturday and Sunday, May 28 and 29, 5 p.m. both days).

Tonight it’s Michael Coppola and Harvie S Jazz Duo. Tomorrow features The Esperanto Duo: Dave Giardina & Chris Payne (“old time and gypsy jazz”).

Click here for more information.

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Just in time for Memorial Day, a new flagpole has been installed outside the Westport Weston Family YMCA.

Long may she wave!

(Photo/Dan Woog)

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Also just in time for Memorial Day: The ice cream hut at The Porch is open for business.

A servicemember and his family kicked off the holiday weekend yesterday, with a treat.

(Photo/Fred Cantor)

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Jerry Kuyper snapped today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo in his unmown meadow (“aka yard,” he notes).

The snapping turtle’s shell was about 12 inches long. And, Jerry adds, “the scars on the back might be from a lawn mower.”

No wonder the turtle snaps.

(Photo/Jerry Kuyper)

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And finally … on this day in 1830, President Andrew Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act. It denied many Native Americans their land rights, and forcibly relocated them.

Thus began one of the most shameful parts of our nation’s history.

 

Roundup: Backpacks, Wings, Rotary …

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Many religious organizations take deserved summer breaks.

The Conservative Synagogue is launching a big Tikkun Olam (Repairing the World) project. Their goal is to supply over 100 backpacks, fully stocked with school supplies, to local children in for the start of the school year this coming fall.

The first phase — during July — involves fundraising. Then come packing the backpacks, and delivering. For more information, click here.

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Westporters of a certain age remember fondly their introduction to the Westport Country Playhouse.

Now young Westporters of a certain age — grades kindergarten through 3 — return to the storied theater. “Story Hour with Jenny” — a live, in-person series — presents an interactive reading of the picture book “Wings” on Sunday, July 11 (11 a.m.). It’s about a boy whose appearance makes him the target of bullies.

“Story Hour with Jenny” is a series of readings of social justice picture books written and illustrated by BIPOC artists. Themes center on the 4 pillars of the Playhouse’s education department: empathy, collaboration, activism and literacy.

To register, click here, call 203-227-4177, or email boxoffice@westportplayhouse.org.

Jenny Nelson, Westport Country Playhouse director of education and community engagement.

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Westport Rotary Club has a new president.

Lyla Steenburgen took over from Leslie Roberts at the annual Pass-the-Gavel Lobster Bake, at the Ned Dimes Marina.

“During the pandemic, a lot has been written about happiness and how to find fulfilment in life,” said Lyla, gift advancement officer at Bridgeport Hospital Foundation/Yale New Haven Health.

“Experts all say that it comes from connecting, belonging, being a part of something bigger than yourself, and engaging with and helping others – that’s Rotary. Rotary gives us the opportunity to render some service to the world in return for living in it. We are healthier and better citizens because of it.”

Leslie Roberts (left) hands the gavel to new Rotary Club president Lyla Steenbergen.

The Sunrise Rotary also changed presidents, at the same site. George Masumian will be replaced by Rick Jaffe. Mark Mathias sent along this drone video of the event:

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“06880” has posted plenty of “entitled parking” photos — many of them at Fresh Market.

This driver took up 6 spots (!) yesterday. But big props. If you’re going to park a vehicle that size, this is the way to do it.

(Photo/Seth Schachter)

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo shows droppings collected by Jay Dirnberger. They’re from a kousa dogwood tree.

(Photo/Molly Alger)

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And finally … today in 1846, Adolphe Sax patented the saxophone.

(Two questions on the Doors’ song: Why did Robbie Kreiger have an amazing black eye? And did Jim Morrison actually forget his cue, midway through?)

Unsung Heroes #176

The literal meaning of the Hebrew word mitzvah is “commandment.” But it has come to mean “doing a good deed, with empathy and kindness.”

This Sunday (January 31, 4 p.m.), the Federation for Jewish Philanthropy of Upper Fairfield County presents its annual Mitzvah Hero Awards. The 12 honorees were selected by their congregations.

Four are from Westport. Each has made positive differences in the lives of others.

Barbara Jay (Congregation for Humanistic Judaism) has been an active volunteer for 45 years. She creates and leads Shabbat services and programs; helps design CHJ’s website and newsletter, and serves on the board.

She is active in social initiatives too. Three years ago she founded the Saul Haffner Jewish Enrichment Fund in memory of her husband. It supports high-quality events with Jewish themes reflecting Saul’s interests in social issues.

One important event was a major symposium on climate change within the context of the Noah story. A panel of scientists and clergy convened at Sacred Heart University. It was broadcast throughout North America.

Dick Kalt (The Conservative Synagogue) oversees transportation for the High Holidays, ensuring a safe and efficient shuttle service. Inside the sanctuary he works with the audio company so that services are heard clearly and well.

Dick is always available for minyans and food drives. He provides thumb drives to students as they study for their bar and bat mitzvahs. He is a member of the cemetery committee — and personally visits it, making sure it is in good shape.

During the pandemic, Dick upgraded TCS’ livestreaming capabilities. Now, as the synagogue’s security chair, he constantly protects the building and congregants.

From left: Barbara Jay, Dick Kalt, Hildy Parks, Cindy Zuckerbrod.

Hildy Parks (Beit Chaverrim) is the synagogue’s treasurer. During COVID she has kept the lights on, and the staff paid. She keeps track of every detail — always with a smile.

When Rabbi Greg Wall was applying for his position, Hildy was his liaison. She arranged meals, coordinated schedules, and made him feel at home. She does everything, he says, with that same spirit.

Just before the High Holidays this fall, Hildy stepped into the role of administrator during an emergency. She made sure every aspect ran smoothly, during the most important and stressful time of the year.

Cindy Zuckerbrod (Temple Israel) works with Congregations Organized for a New Connecticut, and serves on their strategy team. She has also led Temple Israel’s anti-racism trainings, and their Two Books/Two Films program addressing racism in America.

Previously Cindy served on Temple Israel’s board of trustees, and taught teens i their high school program.

She also volunteers her time, expertise and care as a guardian ad litem, advocating for youth in Connecticut’s foster care system.

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Congratulations to this week’s Unsung Heroes!

Due to COVID, this Sunday’s Mitzvah Hero Awards ceremony is virtual. It is open to all. Click here to register.

Do you know an Unsung Hero? Email nominations to: dwoog@optonloine.net.

(Traffic) Lights At The End of The Tunnel

Happy Friday!

It’s happier for people living near the Post Road, from the Roseville Road (McDonald’s) light to the Southport line.

Their power is back on. Congrats, guys! Let’s hope the rest of us follow soon.

Eversource says that the “vast majority of customers” will have power restored by 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, August 11. Customers in isolated areas or those with issues close to individual homes may be without power for longer.

As of 9 p.m. last night (Thursday), Eversource had restored power to 434,919 customers across the state. It was still out for 480,125 customers.

That includes 10,169 Westport customers. That’s still 80.5% of the town without power.

In Weston, meanwhile, the emergency dispatch center — damaged by fire — has been restored to full capacity. Power is out in that town to 93% of customers.

Evesource says crews arrived yesterday from Massachusetts. We saw some here from Pennsylvania. Others are coming — hopefully soon — to Connecticut from New York, Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Missouri and Canada.

Drive safely, guys. But quickly!

Valley Forge Road in Weston is still closed. (Photo/Steve Mochel)


This will put a smile on your face — and keep you smiling all day.

Lisa Russ lives in Georgia. Her parents — both in their 90s — live on Rocky Ridge Road, off Valley Road. It’s impassible still, due to a downed tree.

Concerned about ambulance access in case of an emergency, Lisa called Westport’s Department of Human Services. Margaret Pinheiro and Kristen Witt sprang into action.

They worked with the Fire Department to evaluate the situation. They offered to find hotel space, if needed.

Then last night, director of Human Services Elaine Daignault surprised Lisa’s parents with dinner, fruit, water — and toilet paper.

“Their level of care and concern is amazing,” Lisa says. “I can’t thank them enough!”

Rocky Ridge Road is still cut off from the rest of Westport. (Photo/Linda Doyle)


Other Westporters are helping too. The Conservative Synagogue on Hillspoint Road, near the Post Road, now has power and WiFi. Rabbi Jeremy Wiederhorn says all are welcome!

And Jacques Voris has a generator, which anyone can use to charge devices. Call his cell (203-505-4957) for details.


Some folks have wondered why the Longshore golf course has been closed. Here’s one reason:

(Photo/Tracy Porosoff)


Pippa Bell Ader of Sustainable Westport proudly announced that thousands of food scraps have been recycled since the program began July 6.’

But it’s temporarily suspended. The transfer station employee who oversees the project is helping with other duties after the storm. And not enough volunteers are available to assist either.

The food scraps recycling effort will begin as soon as possible, Pippa promises.


Cynthia Mindell understands this is a First World problem. She empathizes with everyone sitting in a car in a parking lot trying to use WiFi. But, she cautions, please don’t idle! It’s against the law — and it can be harmful to people sitting nearby.


Speaking of free WiFi: Is the Westport Library parking lot, Riverwalk or Jesup too crowded?

Sharon Fiarman reports you can log on at the Imperial Avenue parking lot. That’s where the Farmers’ Market and Remarkable Theater drive-in movies are (in better times).

And speaking of our great (and new) Westport tradition of hanging out on Jesup Green, scarfing up the library’s internet access: With all the folks there, I’m surprised no one has taken it upon him or herself to pick up the many branches and limbs still scattered all over the green.

A big branch lies in the foreground of this peaceful, post-Isaias Jesup Green scene. (Photo/Ted Horowitz)


Need an absentee ballot to vote in Tuesday’s Democratic and Republican primary elections?

They’re available this Saturday (9 a.m. to noon) at the rear entrance to Town Hall (accessible, if Myrtle Avenue is still closed, via St. John Place).

That’s also where you can return completed ballots — in a secure drop box — any time before 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Pick up absentee ballots here on Saturday morning; drop them off here before Tuesday at 8 p.m. (Photo/Pippa Bell Ader)


A warning to art lovers: There will be no “06880” Saturday morning art gallery tomorrow. All the great works I planned to run are locked up on my desktop computer, inaccessible for (hopefully) not too much longer.

A blast from the past: “Mid-July Flowers” (Amy Schneider)

And finally … sure, markets are opening up in town. But this is still an appropriate tune:

Youth Groups’ Hoops

A bunch of Catholics and Jews walked onto a basketball court.

No, it’s not the start of a joke.

It’s what happened last night, at the Westport YMCA.

Full Court for Kindness — an “interfaith basketball tournament” — pitted Staples students (and a few middle schoolers) from Assumption Church, the Conservative Synagogue, St. Luke Church and Temple Israel in a round-robin format. Players came from their respective youth groups.

Play ball!

Play ball!

The event honored Chris Lanni, a Staples High School freshman (and St. Luke’s youth group member) who died last year. A moment of silence was held before the first whistle. All proceeds went to the Make-a-Wish Foundation.

The victorious team came from the Conservative Synagogue (with the help of a couple of Israeli Emissaries ringers).

Really though, everyone there was a winner.

(Hat tip: Andres Marmelo)