Tag Archives: The Exchange project

Roundup: Chimney Removal, Banned Books Meeting Moved, New Cops …

Over a week past its March 23 deadline — but finally — the illegal chimney has been removed from the long-dormant new home construction at 233 Hillspoint Road.

Work at the house — formerly the site of Positano restaurant — was halted in 2019. More than 3 years of legal wrangling ensued.

The cupola was also ordered removed, by the Blight Prevention Board.

It’s still standing.

The chimney is gone, from the left side of 233 Hillspoint Road. (Photo/Matt Murray)


The site for Monday’s schools superintendent’s ad hoc committee discussion of a resident’s complaint about material displayed in the Staples High School library has been changed. The new site is the Town Hall auditorium. The date (April 3) and time (3:30 p.m.) remain the same.

This is a follow-up to last week’s session, part of a 9-step process after Tara McLaughin sought the removal of 3 LGBTQ-themed books from the Staples collection.

Public comment will not be allowed Monday. It may be permitted at a later meeting.

Tara McLaughlin is seeking the removal of 3 books from the Staples High School library.


Over 400 people packed the Westport Library’s Trefz Forum last night, for a VersoFest feature concert.

The Smithereens — and special guest Marshall Crenshaw — rocked the room. With 3 Top 10 hits — including “A Girl Like You” — the group remains a huge draw.

The Smithereens.(Photo/Dinkin Fotografix)

VersoFest continues today and tomorrow, with a lineup of workshops, a vinyl swap, a 1:4-scale version of the Grateful Dead’s “Wall of Sound,” and much more.

Highlights today (Saturday) include a keynote address by Steve Lillywhite. The legendary producer of othe Rolling Stones, Peter Gabriel, U2, the Dave Matthews Band and Phish chats with Chris Frantz, co-founder of both Talking Heads and Tom Tom Club at 1 p.m.

Tonight (7 p.m.), Psychedelic Furs front man Richard Butler delivers the Malloy Lecture in the Arts.

Click here for today and tomorrow’s full VersoFest schedule.

Marshall Crenshaw warms up backstage. (Photo/Matthew Mandell)


Three new officers joined the Westport Police Department yesterday.

Ashley Calvao (age 26) comes from Monroe. A graduate of Shelton High School, she completed coursework at Housatonic Community College. She has family ties to both Westport and law enforcement.

In her previous position at Bridgeport’s Emergency Communications Center, she worked as a 911 emergency dispatcher for both police and fire.

Sean Fitzpatrick (30) lives in Stratford with his wife Taylor. He is a graduate of Housatonic Community College and American Military University. Sean holds the rank of E5 sergeant for the Coast Guard.

Tyler Mingo (30) is a lifelong resident of Norwalk, where he lives with his wife Taylor and children. He completed course work at Norwalk Community College.  Tyler is a volunteer firefighter in Darien, and spent the last 7 years with Westport’s Highway Department.

1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker and Police Chief Foti Koskinas flank (from left) Officers Mingo, Calvao and Fitzpatrick.


No fooling: As of today (April 1), dogs are banned from Westport beaches.

Yesterday, Bentley enjoyed his final romp at Burying Hill Beach. The Weimaraner met many new friends there, and ran on the new jetty.

He looks forward to October 1, when he’ll be allowed back.

(Photo/Kat Palmer)


Meanwhile, grooming work continues at local beaches.

A lot of sand is being moved. It will all be de-rocked and smoothed soon, in time for opening next month.

June Rose Whittaker, with a temporary mountain of sand at Compo Beach.


Also seen at Compo:

Congratulations to Perseid — winner of the race to be the first boat of the season, at Ned Dimes Marina:

(Photo/Andrew Colabella)


Johanna Keyser Rossi zoomed in on the Fresh Market osprey this week.

When she got home, she noticed her photo included a scarf that the raptor had brought to her nest.

Hey: It gets cold up there at night!

The osprey’s gray scarf is on the right. (Photo/Johanna Keyser Rossi)


Want to see a Westport Country Playhouse show for free?

The theater needs ushers to scan tickets, distribute programs, answer questions and direct patrons to seats.

Volunteer ushers must be over 18, unless accompanied by a guardian who works with them. They must be patient, courteous, friendly, helpful — and able to read small print in low light.

For more information, email Kelly Richards Mikolasy, house manager: krichards@westportplayhouse.org, or call 203-571-1296.

The seats are empty. But soon, ushers will be needed to direct patrons to seats.


Three years ago, Westporter Carly Ridloff combined 2 interests. She created the Exchange Project — a “sustainable shopping event” where people can reduce their carbon footprint by exchanging clothing.

She launched it from her home. The most recent one took place here Thursday.

The movement has grown to several other areas, including New York and Florida. The first kids’ edition launches in Boca Raton this month.

Click here for more information. Follow on Instagram: @the.exchanageproject.

Exchange Project founder Carly Ridloff (right) and event co-chair Kate Freeman.


Last week’s “06880” story about Harry Houdini and a movie of his 1917 escape from a crate in the water off Longshore made its way to Vermont.

Charles Greene III saw it, and writes:

“I’ve written a book about a female magician/illusionist from 1910 who became a princess. Her son, Frank Tchitcherine, became involved in espionage for the British and Americans. He retired to Westport.

“I’ve spoken to a person who met him. He was quite the character.

“Frank and his mother (a princess) have a connection to the Westport Library.  Several years ago, the library had documents from her time in Russia (1914 – 1918). They wound up being sold by a Westport resident through a map gallery in New York.

“Frank died in Westport in 1978.”

“06880” readers: If you remember Frank Tchitcherine (or his mother’s document), click “Comments” and add details.


Longtime Bedford and Staples teacher Donald DiGennaro died peacefully last Sunday, at the Watermark. He was age 86.

The Bridgeport native — a longtime resident of Trumbull — taught science in Westport for virtually his entire career.

He was an avid gardener and cook, with a love for Italy and Italian food, and greatly devoted to his family.

Don was predeceased by his wife of 58 years, Theresa; son Leonard, and brothers Philip and Anthony.

He is survived by his children Philip (Dana Maiocco), Donna Pavitt (David); grandchildren Philip DiGennaro (Sarah), Michael DiGennaro (Kristyn), James DiGennaro, Joseph DiGennaro and Emly Pavitt; great-grandson Donovan DiGennaro, and many nieces and nephews.

Funeral services were held privately. To leave an online condolence, click here.

Don DiGennaro


We usually see deer alone, or in groups of 2 or 3.

But 9 live in or near Bob Weingarten’s Greens Farms back yard.

Here’s fewer than half of them, relaxing for today’s “Westport … Naturally” feature.

Hey, at least they’re not destroying his garden.

(Photo/Bob Weingarten)


And finally … happy April 1!