Tag Archives: transfer station

A Need-To-Know Basis: The Basics

A reader writes:

My wife and I just bought a home in Westport. We will move there in September.

As a soon-to-be resident, reading “06880” has helped me get to know the town. For example, I already know that everyone on the railroad parking wait list will soon get a pass.

But what else should I know?

I’m looking for a quick crash course about the town. It could be anything from “avoid this road during these hours” to “this parking lot always has spaces” to “what do I need to know about Compo Beach.”

I realize you could write hundreds of tips. I figured it wouldn’t hurt to ask.

Great idea!

You’re right. I could give hundreds (if not squintillions). Here are a few quick ones, in random order:

You need a ticket for the 4th of July fireworks at Compo Beach. (Which in Westport are never actually on the 4th. This year, they’re June 30th.) Westport PAL puts them on, with help from Melissa & Doug (the innovative toy company). Tickets are available at Parks & Rec headquarters (in Longshore, near the 1st tee) and police headquarters (Jesup Road). The $40/vehicle ticket supports a huge variety of PAL programs — so even if you watch the fireworks elsewhere, or don’t park at the beach, consider donating to PAL.

If everyone cooperates, getting into the beach for the fireworks goes smoothly.

Speaking of which: Unfortunately, Westport’s Parks & Recreation Department website is the least user-friendly I’ve seen since dial-up modem days. From the non-intuitive way to sign up for hand passes (for tennis, golf, Longshore pool, etc.), beach emblems (we actually call them “stickers”) and boat launch permits — hint: click on “Memberships” — to the random, dizzying list of options in every category, on through all the clicks needed to jump from page to page and back again, it’s a cluster****.

The good news is: If you’re free when the office is open, head there yourself. (As noted above, it’s in Longshore, near the golf course 1st tee.) The employees are fantastic: knowledgeable, helpful, friendly and fun.

The bad news is: I can’t tell you when the office is open. It’s nowhere on the website — at least, nowhere I could find.

The Parks & Rec Department office, at Longshore. (Photo/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)

Speaking of the beach: The best sunsets for miles around are at Compo’s South Beach. That’s the area from the cannons to the kayak launch. There’s often a convivial crowd — perhaps because that’s the only area on a Westport beach where alcohol is permitted. (No glass, please!)

South Beach is also where, on a beautiful evening, every grill might be taken. Tables are first-come, first-served. Despite that notice on every table, some people “reserve” them by leaving blankets, chairs, even coolers all around, then leaving the beach for the next few hours.

You are perfectly within your rights to take that table. However, I am not responsible for whatever happens next. I’m just sayin’….

This does not reserve you a South Beach table.

A few other tips: The town dump is called the “transfer station.” On the Sherwood Island Connector, it’s  where you toss household garbage, furniture, carpeting, lamps, televisions, electronics, batteries and similar items. Much of it is recycled. Workers there are very helpful and friendly. On Saturday mornings especially, it’s a great place to meet other Westporters.

The best shortcut in town that does not involve annoying other residents is the Merritt Parkway between Exits 41 and 42. You get from the YMCA/Wilton area to Coleytown/Weston without circling through Wilton Road, North Kings Highway and Main Street. Even when the Merritt traffic creeps along, it’s usually quicker.

The Imperial Avenue parking lot is underrated – not only for events at the Levitt Pavilion, but even for downtown. The pedestrian bridge connecting it to the Levitt and Library is easy and gorgeous — and the lot is nearly always empty.

Deadman Brook bridge, between the Levitt Pavilion and Imperial Avenue (Photo/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)

You will see the Remarkable Bookcycle parked somewhere around town: the beach perhaps, or Bedford Square or the Westport Book Shop on Jesup Road. The concept is cool — take a book, give a book — but there’s a back story. It’s decorated with the “dancing man” logo of the Remarkable Book Shop, a beloved (and long-gone) Main Street institution. Fun fact: The Bookcycle is the brainchild of Jane Green. Yes, that Jane Green. The internationally known author is a fellow Westporter.

(Photo/Judith Shaw)

Those are just a few top-of-the-head ideas. I am sure every “06880” reader — at least, those who have been here more than 10 minutes — can add his or her own.

So, let’s do it. Click “Comments” below to pass along info that every newcomer needs to know. Along with this last one:

You don’t need to buy milk and eggs every time snow is predicted. But do pay attention to rain and wind advisories.

There’s not a lot that’s certain in Westport, but this much is: You will lose power.

Often.

Welcome to Westport!

Sophie B Hawkins Composts. You Can Too!

Shortly after moving to Westport in August 2020, a mom received an email from a class mother at Greens Farms Elementary, her kids’ new school.

“Who wants to be part of Sustainable GFS?” it read.

The woman had been looking for a group of environmentally-minded folks. She jumped right in, and has been an avid member since.

She is no ordinary Westporter (if there is such a thing). The woman is Sophie B. Hawkins — the Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter, and a longtime environmental activist.

Sophie B. Hawkins, and her kids.

Now, she’s helping Sustainable Westport get the word out about food scrap collection (aka “composting”). The other day, she told them:

I did not know how much recycling I could do. But Westport makes it easy to deal with trash (other than when I drove up and down the Sherwood Island Connector looking for “the Dump,” which hardly stands out).

Now I take our food scraps to the separate collection site at the Dump (aka “transfer station”). I have found a great deal of emotional reward from recycling and by managing our trash and food waste.

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

That’s my way of honoring the privilege of where I live by being more responsible. It’s been mentally healthy for me. And you don’t have to be a gardener to get a lot of reward for sending your food scraps off to be composted.

Paying attention to our household trash has led me to shop differently, cook more, purchase without plastic wrap wherever possible, and get creative about avoiding waste of any kind. My blue bin is much lighter.

And those plastic bags that bread and other food items come in: I now wash them out, drape them over an old pair of drumsticks standing in playdough, then reuse them.

The transfer station offers a food scrap drop-off site.

We have a “no plastic water bottles” policy in our house. I am a real gorilla on it — I mean none, even away from the house. We all got used to it.

Traveling is a challenge when it comes to managing waste, but my band and I have started buying food, carrying utensils and enjoying impromptu picnics on the road.

The pandemic has led us to some very environmentally sound and fun ways of traveling. On my touring rider I ask for no plastic in the dressing room and on stage — only filtered water and healthy containers.

I am  an ardent environmentalist and activist. It’s a prominent feature of my career. I give 100 percent of my royalties from some songs to Waterkeeper Alliance, and rescue animals from catastrophic events. I’m hands on in every way. It’s a primary feature of my career, life and social media.

I believe more Westporters would become committed to food waste reduction and recycling if they knew how easy it becomes. Just jump in without worrying about the details.  Once you start, you won’t want to stop.

A food scrap recycling starter kit.

As for actually collecting food scraps: I use a mixing bowl on my counter. I dump the food scraps in it, and cover with a nice plate. When that’s full I dump it into a small aluminum trash can outside my kitchen door.

I take it to the transfer station every 3 or 4 days, when it’s full.

I try to just model the behavior, and remind my kids to recycle and clear their plates. I don’t ask them to compost their leftovers, because in general I eat or scrape them.

The kids come with me to the transfer station. They help me clean the house. It’s a mellow approach.

My advice is to just use what you have in the house to collect your waste. Try it for one week. Notice how easy it is, and how good you feel doing it. Don’t buy new gear or become crazy.

I noticed how little garbage I have now. It’s uplifting to know I’m helping reduce toxic waste for our planet, for all of us.

Greens Farms Elementary School was in the forefront of food scrap recylcing.

Sustainable Westport invites everyone to join Sophie B. Hawkins in the Zero Food Waste Challenge (click here for details).

Sustainable Westport will be on Instagram Live this Monday (May 9, 6:30 p.m.) with WestportMoms. Follow @SustainableWestport to learn how to compost at home.

As for Sophie B. Hawkins: Right now, she’s touring. She’ll be local this spring and summer. For more information, click here.

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.

 

Roundup: Shopping Days, Heather Frimmer, Public Works …

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FEMA is testing its national alert warning system at 2:20 pm today (Wednesday). This is only a test. Do not be alarmed if all your devices start beeping this afternoon!

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When Main Street is closed to traffic for Saturday’s Shopping Day, Triple Threat Academy provides the entertainment.

Recent Staples High School graduate/University of Michigan-bound/”Country Comfort” star Jamie Mann will sing. He’ll be joined by castmate Shiloh Verrico, who trains virtually with Triple Threat founder (and Staples grad Cynthia Gibb).

Jamie Mann (Photo/Curtis & Cort)

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When trust is violated, can it ever be recovered?

That’s the premise of “Better to Trust.” Heather Frimmer‘s second novel centers around a neurosurgeon struggling with a pill addiction, who makes the decision to operate on his sister-in-law’s brain.

Secrets swirling around drug use and sexual identity must be dealt with, in order for the family to learn to trust each other again.

Frimmer — a radiologist specializing in breast and emergency room imaging — launches her new book at the Westport Library on September 21 (7 p.m.). The event is both in-person and livestreamed. Autographed copies can be picked up on site or shipped. There will be light refreshments and door prizes too.

Click here to register and order copies.

 

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Ernie Lorimer wants to give a shout-out to the transfer station crew.

He writes: “On my last few visits, I’ve noticed that it is really tidy and organized.  Very ship-shape.”

Done! Thanks to all Public Works director Peter Ratkiewich, and all his crew — seldom recognized — who make ours the best transfer station around!

Neat! (Photos/Ernie Lorimer)

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Tracy Porosoff calls today’s “Westport … Naturally” submission “Cloudy Afternoon in the Garden.”

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And finally … speaking of gardens, here’s a beauty from The Mamas & The Papas:

One Amazing Transfer Station Story. And Another That’s Hard To Believe.

Last month hundreds of Westporters gathered in the rain, at the entrance to the Westport Weston Family YMCA. They were cheered on a very ill 6-year-old boy, whose fervent wish was to swim with his family, have a pizza party, and pet a bearded dragon.

Phoebe Nunziato was there. Her sign said simply: “You’re Amazing.”

Phoebe Nunziato

The other day, Phoebe’s father John included that cardboard sign among the recycling items he brought to the transfer station. On a whim he handed it to Gilberto, who manages the recycling stations at the Sherwood Island Connector site.

John took his photo.

Gilberto, with the recycled sign.

Gilberto kept holding the sign, as cars drove in. Drivers smiled.

This week John returned to the transfer station, with more items. He saw the sign proudly leaning against Gilberto’s booth.

Gilberto told John he puts the sign in the booth each night, and takes it out again the next morning.

It’s a bit tattered now. But, Gilberto says, it creates happiness. And the message is powerful.

“In this time of great stress, the smallest effort can bring joy — even at the transfer station,” John says.

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But speaking of stress: That’s what David Meth feels when he stops by with his recyclables.

As he wrote earlier this month, he used to pick up discarded bicycles from the “metal” section. He’d take them to Cycle Dynamics, where owner Charlie Gander and his crew fixed and tuned them, then provided the like-new bikes to children through 3 Bridgeport charities.

Recently however, David has been prohibited from doing that.

Nearly 2 dozen readers responded to his story. They described transfer stations in other towns — including Darien and Redding — with designated spots for items that can be taken and fixed. The idea was met with great enthusiasm.

However, David says, there’s now a new sign:

“I understand the need for safety,” David says.

“But the suggestion in the last post was to set aside a small area for donations of items that can be reused. Why is that a problem?

“This is a small gesture of humanity for children and people who would repair and use the bicycles, as well as other things. Yet there seems no room at the transfer station for such generosity.

“And it’s not just one sign. There are two. We need a sign that says  ‘Donations.'”

Wouldn’t that be “Amazing”?

Dynamic Solution Proposed For Transfer Station

Alert — and conscientious — “06880” reader David Meth writes:

Anyone who uses the transfer station sees many items in good or workable condition tossed away because they are no longer wanted, used, or just out of date.

Wouldn’t it be nice to consider someone else who could use them?

This is especially true of bicycles. We are fortunate to have Cycle Dynamics. Owner Charlie Gander has a warm and open heart. He and his crew take discarded bikes, fix and tune them up, then provide them to children through 3 Bridgeport charities.

I used to take bikes, when they were in reach, from the transfer station “metal” section, slide them in the back of my car, and bring them to Cycle Dynamics.

Now, with cameras everywhere, it’s not possible. I understand the risks of someone getting hurt, but there is a solution. In a town whose population comes together to support people in need, can’t we create a section for donations, rather than trash these reusable items?

Bicycles provide such joy. And Cycle Dynamics provides a way for children to enjoy them.

Great idea, Dave. Westport: What’s the next step toward making this happen?

Bikes at the transfer station on Thursday — ready to be trashed, not allowed to be taken. (Photo/David Meth)

COVID-19 Roundup: ReBooked; Star Cakes And STAR; Marina And Dump Rules; More


One of the highlights of the Westport Library year is its Booked for the Evening fundraiser. One of the other highlights is the announcement of the star.

Past honorees include Tom Brokaw, E. L. Doctorow, Calvin Trillin, Wendy Wasserstein, Pete Hamill, Martin Scorsese, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Will Shortz, Patti Smith,  Jon Meacham, Nile Rodgers, Lynsey Addario, Alan Alda, Justin Paul, and Frederic Chu.

This year’s Booked for the Evening is a two-fer: Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, Pulitzer-prize winning authors of “She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story that Helped Ignite a Movement.”

Unfortunately, the spring event has been postponed. A new date has not been announced. Library officials reassure their many fans: It will be rebooked, for some evening!


Le Rouge Aartisan Chocolates announces its newest creation — and a new chance to make a difference.

For every ⭐️Star Cake⭐️ ordered this Mother’s Day season, owner and ace chocolatier Aarti Khosla will donate another cake to a “star mom” fighting the COVID-19 pandemic on the front lines. Click here to order, for curbside pickup or delivery.


New rules went into effect today at the transfer station.

Everyone must wear a mask. The number of vehicles entering the facility will be limited and monitored. During high traffic days (Saturdays, Mondays), cars must queue in a single line on the Sherwood Island Connector.

Transfer station personnel cannot assist residents with the removal or disposal of solid waste from vehicles. Do not bring bulky items that require assistance.

During the pandemic, all fees and collection of refuse tickets will be waived.

Social distancing is strictly enforced. Every other parking space is blocked off.

Just think: Every Saturday morning before COVID, this was the center of Westport social life.

(Photo/Michael Calise; hat tip Dick Lowenstein)


Compo Beach is closed to vehicular traffic. But anyone with a boat slip at the Ned Dimes Marina will be mailed a temporary allowing entrance to the marina Lot. Town officials emphasize: This is only to provide access to boats!


This Thursday (April 30, 9 a.m.) the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce sponsors a free networking event with 1st Selectman Jim Marpe. Click here to register, and find out how the town is coping with the coronavirus.


Yvonne O’Kane is a great friend to STAR Lighting the Way. During the pandemic, she’s led Zoom art and garden classes for participants with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

One was on flower arranging; she’ll follow up soon with a virtual tour of her gardens. Also ahead: preparing simple yet elegant hors d’oeuvres. Yesterday’s class was on rock decorating.

They all look beautiful. But I’m partial to the one that says “06880.”


Ilene Strizver writes: “I have moved locally and have furniture to donate. Goodwill does not take furniture at this time, and all consignment shops are closed. Do any readers know where to donate, possibly with pickup, during the virus? I’d hate to trash everything, and would rather not post on Facebook.”

Ideas? Click “Comments” below.

Not Ilene’s furniture.


Shoreline Pharmacy — the “old-fashioned” drugstore near the Southport line — closed yesterday. Owners Phil and Karen Hein opened near Shake Shack 3 years ago.


Staples High School junior Chloe Ashton won 2nd place in State Senator Will Haskell’s essay contest. He invited students to write essays describing what they’d focus on, if they were elected to public office. Chloe focused on changes to the Electoral College.

Haskell planned to visit schools and present citations to the winners. With schools closed indefinitely, he’s posting a video on social media, and writing each winner a personalized note.


And finally … thanks, Josh Groban. You raise me — and everyone else — up!

COVID-19 Roundup: Call 211 For Test Questions; Small Business Loans Available; Takeout Restaurants Listed; New Transfer Station Rules; Fitness, Merchant News And More

COVID-19 testing is now available at several locations around Connecticut, and can be accessed through its 2-1-1 hotline — with certain caveats (see below).

The Westport Weston Health District’s initial contact trace testing is completed. They have one final round to test for those who were part of the initial investigation. It is only open to those already contacted directly by the WWHD.

Residents who feel symptoma of COVID-19 should stay home, and call or email their primary care provider with questions. Residents can call the state 2-1-1 line if instructed by their primary care provider to arrange testing, or if they have questions about being tested. A series of questions will be asked by a 2-1-1 representative to determine if testing is appropriate.

WWHD director Mark Cooper says, “It is no longer about parties, schools, religious institutions, employment, etc. Residents should assume that COVID-19 is everywhere and that anyone could have it. It has been shown that some people can have the virus with no symptoms at all. The number of COVID-19 cases in Westport and the state are going up, and they will continue to increase.”

Locally, the WWHD has contacted all those it became aware of who had contact with a COVID-19 positive person involved in the initial outbreak, and who it had tested.

Those who tested positive for COVID-19 are being advised to practice strict voluntary isolation. They are instructed not to go out, but to stay home. If they require something and must go out, they should do so during times there are fewer people out. Masks and gloves should be worn so as not to spread the virus.

Yesterday’s announcement about closing restaurants, bars, and theaters is a step towards implementing social distancing. Day care facilities continue to remain open. Day care facilities provide essential services, and the WWHD is working closely with them to reinforce the message that it is incumbent upon them to keep their staff and children safe. They have been requested to use thermometers and practice hygienic measures. If a staff member or child becomes infected by COVID-19, the WWHD will close that facility.  It is in the facilities’ and the parents’ best interest to keep sick children at home.


Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce director Matthew Mandell just spoke with the director of the Connecticut Small Business Administration.

Mandell reports that loans of up to $2 million are now available. They can be used for most expenses: payroll, accounts payable, fixed costs. They do not cover business losses.

Interest is 3.25% (profit businesses) and 2.75% (non-profit businesses). Funds come directly from the US Treasury, not a bank.

All businesses with a physical presence in the state are available. Applicants must show a credit history and ability to pay back the loan.

Click here for an application, or call 800-659-2955, or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

The Connecticut Small Business Development Center can assist in filling out and filing applications. Click here for more information.


The Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce has also updated its list of restaurants offering curbside and takeout delivery. Click here to see.


To facilitate social distancing at the transfer station, residents may no longer bring bulky waste items that require assistance.

While the transfer station remains open, personnel will refrain from coming into contact with individuals, or refuse brought there by residents. Thus, they will not assist residents with the removal or disposal of solid waste from vehicles.

Residents bringing smaller waste items to the transfer station must deposit their solid waste directly into the hopper, and discharge recycling directly in to the single stream bins. Plastic bags are not allowed in single stream recycling.

These protocols are in effect at least through March 31. During this time, all fees and collection of refuse tickets will be waived.

Bud Valiante is always helpful. But he can no longer help residents dispose of large items at the transfer station. (Photo/Cindy Mindell)


JoyRide is one of the many fitness centers closed by the coronavirus.

To fill the void, they offer free Instagram live classes all week at 10 a.m. Follow @joyridestudio, and click on in the morning.

Thanks to Forte.Fit, people can also take live 30-minute classes, or stream from a library of on-demand JoyRide cycling classes filmed over the past 2 years.

For those without a bike, there a number of JoyX boot camp classes, plus pilates, barre and yoga from other brands.

JoyRide offers Westporters a deeply discounted Forte.Fit membership (less than $8 a month). Use the code JOYRIDE89.

In addition, JoyRide has partnered with dietician Ilanit Blumenfeld to offer a 4-week nutrition and online fitness challenge. It starts March 23. Click here for info and sign-ups.


Annette Norton of Savvy + Grace asks customers and friends to follow her store on Facebook or Instagram.

She’ll post new merchandise daily. Her website will be ready to take orders on Friday. And she offers curbside delivery as well as shipping.


The other day, “06880” posted a story on 3 Westport teenagers who offer to run errands for older folks, and anyone else homebound by the virus.

A woman who took them up on their offer writes:

“I contacted them last night and got a text back from one that he would do my shopping. What a lifesaver! He kept in constant touch with me by text, went to 3 different stores (!) and spent about 3 hours.

“He delivered it all outside my door. I left him a check in an envelope with a generous tip, and proceeded to stock my house (after wiping stuff down with alcohol). We appreciate hearing about him, and what he did, very much.”

(From left): Ty Chung, Jonathan Lorenz, Luke Lorenz. — 3 very helpful guys.


Former 2nd selectman Avi Kaner continues to be interviewed by national media about the effects of COVID-19 on retail outlets. As co-owner of New York’s Morton Williams supermarket chain, he spoke today on Fox News about “senior hours” for shoppers, and contingency plans. Click below to see: