Tag Archives: Unitarian Church of Westport

Roundup: Coleytown Walkers, Appalachian Mountain Club, “Laramie Project” …

Ryan Faber writes:

“I’m one of the parents who continues to walk their kids to school (Coleytown Elementary) every day on the sidewalk along the Easton Road ‘speedway,’ instead of adding to idling cars waiting for drop-off. Over the years, more and more families have decided not to walk. due to these issues.

“Our hope is to continue to do this. But it has become increasingly more dangerous.

“Easton Road is a poorly marked 25 mph zone, with cars during morning rush hour usually doubling that. To make matters worse, distracted drivers (often texting) have created a number of recent close calls for families (including us), and crossing guards who brave this dangerous stretch of sidewalk.

“Local parents and CES/CMS want more protection. But it’s a state road, and requests have gone unanswered for years.

“Things are getting worse. See this photo from the intersection of Easton Road and North Avenue, taken Friday morning:

(Photo/Ryan Faber)

That’s not all. Ryan sent along another photo, from August. It shows the aftermath of a car hitting a tree. Fortunately, he says, there were no pedestrians nearby.

(Photo/Ryan Faber)

Be careful out there!


The Connecticut chapter of the Appalachian Mountain Club comes down from the trail, and welcomes William Burnett, for dinner and a travel presentation with photos, video clips and sound.

The longtime friend of AMC offers “Nine Short Stories” on November 8 (6:15 p.m., Saugatuck Congregational Church Hoskins Hall).

The evening includes appetizers, beverages and dinner. It’s $10 for members, $15 for non-members. For more information, email easasso7@icloud.com.


In 1998, the brutal murder of Matthew Shepard — a gay University of Wyoming student — stunned the nation.

Two years later “The Laramie Project” — a play exploring both the crime and the town’s soul-searching reaction to it — shone a light on issues like morality, religion and humanity itself.

Next month, the UU Players — part of the Unitarian Church in Westport — present the groundbreaking show.

Dates are Friday and Saturday, November 18 and 19 (7 p.m.) and Sunday, November 20 (2 p.m.). Tickets are $25, available at the door. For more information, call 203-227-7205.

Cast of “The Laramie Project” (from left): David Smith, Bob Perry, Dayle Brownstein, Julyen Norman, Arnela Ten Meer, Tom Croarkin, Linda Hudson, Candace Clinger, Meg Jones, Sarah Bell.


Hook’d had some customer service issues this year.

Now they’ve reached out to a new customer base.

“Fur Friends Welcomed,” the sign says. “Pup cups” are $1.50 each.

Let’s hope they don’t bitch too.

(Photo/Dinkin Fotografix)


Meanwhile, it’s been nearly 2 months since lifeguards left their Compo Beach posts.

But that didn’t stop 3 intrepid Long Island Sound swimmers yesterday.

Hey — the sun was shining. So why not?

(Photo/Sunil Hirani)


No, this is not Martha Stewart’s house. But she’d be envious.

It’s on Birch Hill Road in Weston. It’s almost too nice to trick or treat there.


(Photo/Richard Ellis)


Just in time for Halloween, Andrew Colabella spotted this timely license plate:

(Photo/Andrew Colabella)

It’s not just the tag. Check out the decoration on the rear window.

And — in case you can’t read it — the orange logo is for the Zombie Outbreak Response Team.

This driver clearly has Halloween covered.


The fall’s foliage has been spectacular. Among the beauties joining our “Westport … Naturally” gallery: This one at Staples High School. It’s courtesy of 10th grader Max Saperstein.

(Photo/Max Saperstein)


And finally … in honor of the Appalachian Mountain Club’s upcoming event (story above):

(“06880″‘s Roundup keeps you up on all — well, most — upcoming events. Please click here to contribute.)


Roundup: Foliage Hikes, “Guys & Dolls,” Lunar Eclipse …

With fall foliage at its peak, Aspetuck Land Trust recommends several great hikes. Two are in Westport.

Caryl & Edna Haskins Preserve is tucked away off Compo Road South. Gentle flat trails circle both ponds. They’re great spots to observe wildlife, and beautiful foliage colors reflecting off the water. A wooded trail near the brook is moderately steep. Click here for the back story on Haskins Preserve.

The red trail through the Newman Poses Preserve (off Bayberry Lane) winds through a wetland on a boardwalk to a meadow marked by large bayberry bushes. Through the meadow towards the lowlands lies the Aspetuck River. A favorite spot for quiet contemplation is the stone bench on the riverbank where neighbor Paul Newman enjoyed floating. The trail loops back by the meadow, into the uplands and back to its starting point.

Trout Brook Valley Conservation Area in Weston is ALT’s biggest preserve: 1,009 acres, with 20 miles of trails. For the best views, start at the orchard. Hike to the highest point; then look south all the way to the Sound and Long Island.

Click here for full details on Aspetuck Land Trust’s preserves.

Haskins Preserve (Photo/Wendy Cusick)


Tickets went on sale yesterday for Staples’ Players fall production of “Guys and Dolls.”

They’re selling fast — even without mobile advertisements like this:

(Photo/Julianne Mulvey)

The show runs November 11, 12, 13, 18 and 19. Click here for tickets, and more information.


Cris Jacobs and his band returned to Westport last night for a long-awaited return of the “Supper & Soul” series.

The event — sponsored by the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce — included a concert at the Westport Library. It was sandwiched in between a 3-course dinner at participating restaurants, and post-concert drinks.

A large crowd enjoyed the music, the food and beverages — and the return to normal entertainment, following the long COVID siege.

“Supper & Soul” at the Westport Library. (Photo/Dinkin Fotografix)


Jonathan Alloy writes: “Did you know there are charging stations for electronic devices at the Westport train station platforms? I just noticed today.

“It is BYOC (bring your own cable). I count 3 on the southbound platform and none northbound.”

One of the charging stations for electronic devices. It opens up flat for your device.


The Westport Country Playhouse production of “From the Mississippi Delta” explores the African American experience in the South, during the Great Migration and civil rights movement.

An insert in the program describes Westport’s role in the movement. An accompanying exhibit on the Great Migration of Blacks out of the South is on view at the Playhouse’s Lucille Lortel White Barn, weekdays from noon to 6 p.m. and on performance dates until intermission.

But the Playhouse also acknowledges current issues. Another insert urges theater-goers to support the Mississippi Rising Coalitions, which addresses the water crisis in Jackson. Click here for more information on that project.

Clck here for more information on “From the Mississippi Delta.” The show runs through October 30.

The cast of “Mississippi Delta” acknowledges applause, From left: Tameishia Peterson,  Claudia Logan, Erin Margaret Pettigrew. (Photo/Dave Matlow)


Diwali — the Festival of Lights — is one of the most important events in Hinduism.

The Unitarian Church of Westport hosted a Diwali celebration last night. It was light, bright — and very, very festive.

Diwali last night at the Unitarian Church. (Photo/Sarathi Roy)


Election Day: It’s not just for voting.

If the weather is clear Tuesday, November 8, the Westport Astronomical Society will have telescopes available for the public to view the lunar eclipse. The observatory is at 182 Bayberry Lane, behind the Aspetuck Health District.

It’s from 4 to 6 a.m. — before the polls open. They’ll post on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Meetup if bad weather scraps their plan.

This is the first Election Day total lunar eclipse in US history. The next one won’t happen again until November 8, 2394. Chances are good you won’t be around for that one.

Unlike a solar eclipse, a lunar eclipse is perfectly safe to view == and lasts hours. The moon glides into earth’s shadow, and can be viewed over a large part of the planet.

It will turn a notable reddish color for 84 minutes, as the light from the sun passes through the earth’s atmosphere to reach the moon’s surface. This “blood moon” is the final total lunar eclipse visible from North America until 2025.

This partial lunar eclipse was photographed by Westport Astronomical Society member Carl Lancaster this past May.


“Who” saw this beautiful barred owl in his back yard?

Tom Carey. And he captured it — on his camera, anyway — for today’s “Westport … Naturally” feature.

(Photo/Tom Carey)


And finally … on this day in 1998, a court supported the superintendent at Fort Zumwalt High School in St. Louis, and his decision that the marching band could not play “White Rabbit” in their act, because of its drug references.

(After your Aspetuck Land Trust preserve hike, thank “06880” for the suggestion. Contributions of any amount are welcome! Please click here to help.)

Roundup: Buffalo, EMS, Flower Moon …

First Selectman Jen Tooker says:

“The scene in Buffalo this past weekend was horrifying, and I send my deepest condolences to all those affected.

“Along with help from TEAM Westport, our law enforcement colleagues, our houses of worship and our extensive non-profit organizations, we continue to strive to ensure that this community is a place where residents, business owners and visitors feel safe, supported, and have a sense of belonging.

“This important work is ongoing, and there is still progress to be made. As first selectwoman, I want to personally re-state my commitment to these efforts in Westport. Thank you for your support on this journey.”

Nine of the 10 victims of the mass execution in Buffalo.


This is Emergency Medical Services Week.

It’s long overdue.

Westport EMS deputy director Marc Hartog knows this has been an exceptionally tough couple of years.

“The EMTs and paramedics of Westport EMS continue to rise to the challenge every day, and play a crucial role in maintaining the health of our community.” he says.

“Relieving pain and suffering, caring for sick and injured patients, saving lives is just part of the experience of responding to the public’s calls for help. EMS providers, whether paid or volunteer, take on many crucial roles every day: healthcare professional; emergency manager; social worker; crisis counselor; consoler; caregiver.”.

1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker adds “EMS Week is a chance for our town to recognize the service and sacrifice exhibited by our EMS personnel over the past year, and to express our gratitude for all they continue to do, day in and day out, for our community.”

1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker with an EMS Week proclamation. (From left): Police Chief Foti Koskinas, EMS crew chiefs Larry Kleinman and Rick Baumblatt, EMS deputy director Marc Hartog, EMS crew chief Eric Hebert, Deputy Police Chief/EMS director Sam Arciola.


Sunday’s Super Flower Blood Moon/lunar eclipse was very cool.

It was also not easy to photograph.

Many Westporters tried. You sent your shots to “06880.” Thank you!

We did not have a Best Images contest. But if we did, the winner would be Nancy Lally.

Check them out below. You’ll be over the moon.

(Photos/Nancy Lally)


Nearly everyone who owns a convertible loves to show it off.

Here’s your chance to impress the entire town.

Organizers of the Memorial Day parade need a few open-tops for the May 30 event. They’re used to transport dignitaries, like veterans (including the grand marshal).

If you’ve got a convertible to lend, contact Deborah Detmer at the Parks & Recreation office: 203-341-5091; ddetmer@westportct.gov.

It doesn’t get more classic than this. (Photo/Ted Horowitz)


After 2 online-only years, 2022’s “Booked for the Evening” with TV producer/ screenwriter/ author/CEO Shona Rhimes will be the most financially successful in the event’s 20 year history.

And anyone, anywhere can add to the fundraising.

Tickets for the virtual livestream (June 1, 8 p.m.). are still available. Click here to purchase, and for more information.

Shonda Rhimes


By day, it’s the Farmers’ Market. At night, it’s the Remarkable Theater.

On May 27, the Imperial Avenue parking lot — home to both — hosts a special film showing.

“Biggest Little Farm” — the award-winning 2018 documentary about the 8-year quest of a couple to trade city living for 200 acres of barren farmland (and a dream) — is set for May 27. Sustainable Westport co-sponsors the event.

Tickets to this family-friendly event are $25 per vehicle. Tailgating (with food from the Market the day before?) starts at 6 p.m. The screening is at 8. Bees Knees — a popular WFM vendor — will selling their signature frozen pops.

For more information and tickets, click here.


The next Artists Collective of Westport pop-up show is May 26-29 (2 to 6 p.m. each day; the Westport Country Playhouse barn). There’s an opening reception May 25 (6 to 8 p.m.), and artists’ talks on Sunday, May 29 (4 p.m.).

Participating artists include some very familiar names: Peg Benison, Louise Cadoux, Jeanine Esposito, Jane Fleischner, Rebecca Fuchs, Holly Hawthorne, Katya Lebrija, Lynn Untermeyer Miller, Steve Parton, Nancy Reinker, Debbie Smith, Cindy Wagner and Lee Walther.

To learn more about this great Collective, click below.


The other day, Connecticut Public Radio aired an interesting story headlined “How Medical Aid in Dying May Change the Way We Live.”

one of the guests is Lynda Bluestein. A longtime member and former board chair of Westport’s Unitarian Church, she was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Now she’s working hard to get “medical Aid in dying” legislation passed in the state.

Westport’s State Senator Will Haskell and State Representative Jonathan Steinberg were very public supporters of a recent bill attempting — for the 16th time — to get Connecticut legislation passed. Once again, the bill did not make it out of the Judiciary Committee.

Click here for more details, and to listen.

Lynda Shannon Bluestein (Photo courtesy of The CT Mirror)


Saturday’s fundraiser for AWARE — the great, generous non-profit (Assisting Women with Actions, Resources and Education) — was postponed a day by rain.

Attendees had a wonderful time. And if you’re not “aware” of how much they do for women and children in the area, click here.

Enjoying the AWARE event (from left): Erica Davis, Amy Saperstein, Allegra Gatti Zemel, Michele Glassman, 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker, Mafe Cala, Stephanie Tobin.


Andy Gundell has been nominated for a regional Emmy Award, in Original Composition and Arrangement. It is for music from a Black Lives Matter program that streamed online in February 2021 from the Unitarian Church in Westport. Gundell is a 13-time Emmy winner already.

The program — “Revealing History–How We Got Here, Why It Matters” — was produced by the church’s Women’s Group. It is a powerful multi-media tribute to the BLM movement, and the history of racial injustice in America. Click here for a link.

Andy Gundell


Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo shows birds of a feather flocking together, at Compo Beach near the kayak launch.

It won’t be long before they’re joined — at least, not far from the rocks — by crowds of humans, flocking together too.

(Photo/JD Dworkow)


And finally … if you’re on the fence about lending your convertible for the Memorial Day parade (see story above), this might inspire you:




Unitarian Youth Group Awed By Alaska

Last August, as this area slowly emerged from COVID, Nate Pawelek had an idea.

The Westport United Church youth leader saw how deeply isolation, loneliness and hopelessness had affected teenagers. He wanted to ignite and inspire the church’s high school group.

How about a trip to Alaska?

Church leaders were skeptical, but supportive. Rev John Morehouse warned against going just to sightsee. He wanted a learning component too.

Because climate change is a significant Unitarian Universalist concern — a key principle is respecting the interdependent web of all existence — Pawelek decided to focus on the environment.

Working closely with intern minister Kim Warman and many parents, he designed an extensive environmental curriculum.

In September, a dozen teens began investigating their own church campus, guided by an arborist from the congregation.

Youth group members learned about the environment — beginning at their own church.

They learned how human behavior impacts the earth in unseen ways. The group discovered an oak tree with a motion-detection camera bound to its trunk by a steel cord. As the tree grew it became embedded, constricting water and nutrients from roots to leaves. The group cut the cord, saving the tree.

At Sunday morning meetings, guest speakers shared their  work. Pippa Bell Ader described food waste. Noting that food-insecure people do not have the luxury of throwing away perfectly good food, she urged composting and donating unused food.

Misha Golfman, founder of the New Hampshire wilderness expedition school Kroka, told the teens to avoid quinoa. A staple for Ecuadoreans and other South Americans, much of it is now diverted to the US.

Golfman and Kroka created a New Hampshire program in February. It was “mini-basic training” to prepare for Alaska. The group learned to live outside in the cold, build fires without matches, cook in the snow and dehydrate food, without running water and electricity. Several group members participated in a polar plunge in a frozen pond on the final day.

In February the youth group began studying environmental justice. They noticed a pattern of higher impact from climate change on low-income communities, people of color, and indigenous groups. Topics included the Flint water crisis, and the Eklutna Dam in Anchorage (it decimated the salmon population eliminating a crucial food source for the Dena’ina community).

At the same time, the teens raised money for their trip. They did odd jobs, collected and redeemed thousands of bottles and cans, raked lawns, sold holiday wreaths, sponsored a raffle to win a cord of wood, and performed a benefit concert.

Soon, they had $17,000.

Gathering in Westport, before heading west.

The 11 youth group members and 5 chaperones headed west during the schools’ spring break. Instantly, they were awed by the rugged landscape.

Alaska “reminds us that nature has the power to restore us in times of despair and despondency,” Pawelek says. “This is what I envisioned. It was a gift of hope for the youth.”

Living in Alaska for a week — largely off the grid — “increased their awareness of the innumerable ways human activity, even in our own homes, affects the health and sustainability of the Earth,” he adds.

The group traveled with a suitcase full of dehydrated food, and 16 camping bowls, mugs and spoons to eat with.

Each teenager brought just 2 changes of clothes and no amenities — except for phones (useful primarily as cameras, due to limited cell service).

They generated little trash, refilled their water bottles every chance they had, and — after spending 3 hours making tasty pancakes with rehydrated blueberries — relished the meal.

The Unitarian youth group branches out.

In Alaska the group worked with the organic gardening group Yarducopia, and canvassed neighborhoods to invite people to join. They met with representatives from Trout Unlimited and the Alaska Conservation Fund, who took them to the Eklutna River (and dam).

In Seward, a park ranger showed them the evidence of flooding and beach erosion from melting ice caps and glaciers. In Homer they surveyed tide pools and studied plankton under microscopes, to learn the effect of warming oceans.

They also attended a Unitarian Easter service; helped build a retaining wall to prevent erosion, and had dinner with leaders of the Qutekcak native tribe.

Beautiful weather enabled clear views of the stunning Chugach Mountains and the Alaska Range, including 20,000-foot tall Denali.

Stunning views in Alaska.

They played — sledding down a 100-foot embankment like penguins — and though there was still a lot of work to do setting up camp, the impulsive playtime honored their souls.

Pawelek knows the argument that an environmental journey like this is unwise, due to carbon emissions. “We believe the benefits of our awareness offsets the emissions,” he says.

Back in Connecticut, they’re showing off their photos. They’re telling family and friends about the sights they saw, the lessons they learned — and thinking hard about what the future holds.

(Youth group member Zach Pawelek created the video below.)

Roundup: Lynsey Addario, Dracula, Tornadoes …


Yesterday’s “06880” highlighted Tyler Hicks’ haunting photos from Ukraine.

But he’s not the only New York Times photographer shooting images in that threatened nation.

He’s not even the only one who is a Staples High School graduate.

Hick’s colleague Lynsey Addario — who graduated 3 years after Hicks, in 1991, and is both a Pulitzer Prize and MacArthur Fellow winner — has contributed her own important work.

This one shows — and humanizes — embattled Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky.

Ukraine president Volodomyr Zelensky (Photo/Lynsey Addario for the New York Times)


Wednesday’s “Fall in Love with Westport” event was a great success.

A number of new neighbors joined “old timers” at Greens Farms Church. They shared tips and stories about life in this town. Just as importantly, they connected around kids, previous residences and similar needs.

It was a diverse crowd, with an international flavor. They plan to get together again soon.

If you missed the event and want to know more, email office@greensfarmschurch. All are welcome — church membership is not required!

“Fall in Love with Westport” at Greens Farms Church.


On Halloween I was honored to hear the world premiere of “Dracula: The Covenant.” That’s the musical project Westporter Dodie Pettit worked on for years with her husband, the late Broadway star Kevin Gray. (It was in the works long before a similar show with the same name flopped.)

With help from husband Rex Fowler — with whom she performs, as Aztec Two-Step 2.0 — Dodie completed the project.

Now it’s on Spotify and other digital media. CDs will arrive soon. To download and listen now to this enthralling work, click here.


In the wake of December’s devastating Kentucky tornadoes, Westporter Steve Crowley and his sons organized a fundraiser downtown.

Governor Andy Beshear recently thanked Crowley for both the money donated, and the specially designed t-shirts created for and sent to affected families.

Beshear also cited the “love and support” of donors, noting “we can come together in troubling times and give a lift to our friends and neighbors. In Kentucky we say ‘we will get through this, we’ll get through this together.’ Thank you for caring and contributing in our time of need.”

Steve Crowley (right) and sons sold t-shirts downtown.


Edward Thompson is the beloved minister of music at Westport’s Unitarian Church.

He does far more than pick songs and direct the choir. He’s a working composer. On Saturday, February 26 (8 p.m., Unitarian Church of Westport), New York’s Choral Chameleon offers the world premiere of his 12-movement choral piece “Step into the Night.” A jazz quartet will join the voices.

Thompson wrote the work in response to situations like the pandemic, filled with isolation and fear. It includes elements of both the classical tradition and jazz.

Tickets are $25 each, available online and at the door.

Edward Thompson


There is always something new at Finding Westport.

Jillian Elder has just added t-shirts (short and long sleeve), tanks, hoodies, tumblers, totes and mugs with 2 designs: the Minute Man in an “Interstate” crest (click here to see and order) and “I Really Miss Westport” (click here).

New “Finding Westport” designs.


Alison Milwe Grace wears two toques. She’s a highly regarded culinary teacher at Staples High School. And her AMG Catering offers not just food for every event, but cooking classes.

Now she’s a television star. News12 Connecticut is featuring her, offering 5 favorite recipes, like honey-glazed chicken thighs and mussels with garlic toast. Click here to see (and then cook!).

Screenshot of Alison Milwe Grace.


There’s a moose on the Sherwood Island Connector.

At least, it looked like that to Katja Gabrielson. When she posted this image — which I’m stealing as the “Westport … Naturally” image today — on Facebook, many users chimed in that they thought exactly the same thing.

Longtime “06880” readers George, Bev and Jeff Bullwinkel were not available for comment.

(Photo/Katja Gabrielson)


And finally … because this is (as you know) National Condom Week:



Pic Of The Day #1764

Winter reflections, inside the Unitarian Church (Photo/David Vita)

Roundup: Aid In Dying, Learn A Trade, Carl Swanson’s Books …


Lynda Shannon Bluestein is a longtime member — and former board chair — of the Unitarian Church in Westport.

She just published a very moving piece in The CT Mirror, on medical aid in dying.

The 2-time cancer survivor writes: “I simply want the right to have a say in the timing and manner of my death when I reach the point where my disease or the pain and suffering it causes robs me of the quality of life that is essential to me.”

Click here for the full, enlightening story. (Hat tip: Steve Axthelm)

Lynda Shannon Bluestein (Photo courtesy of The CT Mirror)


As Build Back Better infrastructure funds begin flowing, skilled workers in a variety of trades will be needed. The Connecticut Department of Transportation alone is looking for 100 people, especially those with commercial drivers licenses. They can’t find them.

High school juniors and seniors — and recent graduates — interested in on-the-job training and real-life work experiences in a variety of trades have until February 18 to register for a special program, which can propel them into successful, well-paying careers.

The Staples High Guidance Department has partnered with Trumbull High School to offer the free Connecticut Pre-Apprenticeship High School Training program.

Students gain experience, and learn how to apply as an apprentice, in unions for carpenters, electricians, iron workers, road and highway laborers and operating engineers.

Certification can be earned in OSHA 10-Hour, flagger, and CPR/First Aid/AED.

Program graduates are eligible for notification of employment opportunities, resume reviews and interview preparation.

For more information, click here and here. Questions? Contact Staples guidance counselor Vicki Capozzi (vcapozzi@westportps.org) or Trish Howells (phowells@westportps.org).


Carl Addison Swanson has written over 50 books, including the Hush McCormick series, Tug Christian thrillers, Scooter mysteries, Ian Fletcher legal series and Justin Carmichael nostalgic memoirs.

You can find them all at his website. Or you can find many — for free — at the Westport Bookcycle, outside Local to Market on the Main Street/Parker Harding corner.

But be kind. Be like Carl. When you pick up a book, try to give one in return.

(Photo/Carl Addison Swanson)


The Westport Country Playhouse has new policies for all visitors.

Starting March 1, everyone 18 and older must show proof of 2 doses of the COVID vaccine, or one of Johnson & Johnson — plus the booster.

And as of now, everyone 5 to 17 years old must show proof of 2 doses of the vaccine. Everyone under 5 must be accompanied by a fully vaccinated adult, and provide a negative PCR test taken no more than 72 hours before the performance.

Masks must be worn at all times, with N95 and KN95 masks strongly encouraged. The Playhouse may ask audience members to double mask, with a surgical mask provided by the theater.

The Playhouse says, “We are aware that mask requirements are being lifted in some communities. But please note that Actors’ Equity requires that actors perform only at theaters where audiences are required to wear masks.

“Thank you for working with us to keep our community safe, especially for those who are most vulnerable. We will continue to follow the science and anticipate our guidelines will change as conditions change. We recommend that you check our website for the current policy before every visit to the Playhouse.”

Mask up before entering the famed venue,


ᐧFor a while, Marie Gross has noticed a pair of bald eagles sitting in the same tree overlooking the Saugatuck River, across from Saugatuck Elementary School.

A couple of days ago, she snapped this “Westport … Naturally” image.

(Photo/Marie Gross)


And finally … on this day in 1809, Abraham Lincoln was born. Today is also Georgia Day, a commemoration of the colony’s founding in 1733.

Put the two together, and you get …

Roundup: Mumbai Times, Unitarian Church, Blue Moon …


The new year will be only 2 days old when Mumbai Times closes.

The popular Indian restaurant has lost its lease. Next Sunday (January 2) is their last day at that location, next to Mitchells.

The owners hope to open as soon as possible, in a location nearby. Until then, they invite diners to visit Mumbai Times in Cos Cob, or Dhabewala Indian Shack in Stamford.

“We extend our heartfelt gratitude for your love and support over the years,” they say. “It’s been a pleasure to serve you.” (Hat tip: Neil Markman)


A couple of days late, but absolutely worth waiting for: A photo montage of the Unitarian Church congregation and choir, at Christmas Eve services.

It’s as beautiful online on December 27 as it was live, on the 24th!

(Photo/David Vita)


Von Lee was a stay-at-home mom, with 3 children. But her husband’s illness spurred her to think about finding paying work.

It was a daunting challenge, but she rose to it. She found Blue Moon, a nationwide estate sale franchise company.

She now owns Blue Moon Estate Sales Gold Coast, covering this area. She’s found a talent for helping families at a stressful time: older clients who are downsizing, and family members who must dispose of their parents’ homes. As she works, she asks clients to tell her about various items. Knowing the back story helps ease the process, she finds.

Lee sells everything from “one spoon to the whole cupboard.” Families amass plenty of items. She hates to see any of it go to dumpsters or landfill.

She’s thorough. She recently found an envelope in a drawer. Inside was a ring. Her client was thrilled. She’d given it up for lost, long ago.

Von Lee


This pair made it through Thanksgiving and Christmas unscathed. They’re hanging out on Weston Road, posing for “Westport … Naturally,” and ready for New Year’s.

(Photo/Maida Webster)


And finally … on this day in 1983 Walter Scott — the front man of Bob Kuban and the In-Men — was shot in the back and left floating in a cistern. His body was not found until 4 years later. His wife’s lover was eventually found guilty of murder, and Scott’s wife was sentenced to 5 years in prison for hindering the prosecution.

Ironically, Scott had been the lead singer on the band’s biggest hit:



Roundup: Candlelight Concert, Carol Sing, Chess …


My bad.

I was so excited to announce yesterday that Staples High School’s Candlelight Concert will be streamed, that I gave the wrong date.

It’s not Christmas Day. The correct date for the streaming is Thursday, December 23, (8 p.m.). To access the stream that day of the concert (recorded earlier), just go to www.StaplesMusic.org.

Then sit back and enjoy.


Speaking of holiday music:

The Unitarian Church of Westport’s Community Carol Sing is set for this Sunday (December 19, 4 to 5 p.m.).

It’s COVID safe: outdoors in the large parking lot (10 Lyons Plains Road).

A French horn will accompany songs (words provided), with everything from classic carols and fun favorites to Hanukkah songs. Hey — it’s the Unitarians!

Everyone is invited.

PS: There’s hot chocolate too.

There’s no need to dress up to join the Unitarian Church carol sing. But you can.

=======================================================There’s no better new activity for young kids than chess. It teaches a variety of skills, in a social environment.

And what better way for youngsters to learn than from others just a few years older?

Westport Continuing Education introduces a new after-school program for 1st through 5th grades. “Chess Buddies” pairs students from the Staples Chess Club with aspiring grandmasters (or anyone else who wants to learn).

The program begins next month, in all 5 elementary schools.

Stapleites will be paired with adult teachers, who assist. The cost is $169, for 8 sessions. Click here to register. For more information, email conted@westportps.org, or call 203-341-1209.

Staples Chess Club members Oscar Scher, Oliver Saitz and Jordan Chiu-Skow.


Here’s just one of 6 turkey vultures that stopped this week at Elmwood Road.

Photographer Franco Fellah — who snapped this amazing “Westport .. Naturally” shot — says, “They are magnificent, a bit spooky, but certainly majestic.” He estimates their wingspan at about 7 feet.

(Photo/Franco Fellah)


And finally … this week marks the 100th anniversary of the Bloody Mary.

Who knew?

Well, USA Today did. They say the never-out-of-style drink was invented at Harry’s Bar in Paris a century ago.

Fix yourself a cocktail, and read the full story here.

FUN WESTPORT FACTWestport’s own Kelli O’Hara starred in the 2008 Broadway revival of “South Pacific.” (She was Nellie Forbush, however — not Bloody Mary.)

Roundup: Coming Out Day, Family Fun Day …


Tomorrow is National Coming Out Day.

If you’re LGBTQ (the “Q” stands for either queer or questioning) — or you know someone who is — you can celebrate by watching “When Did You Know?”

That was last week’s webinar, sponsored by Westport Pride. Panelists — including former Staples High School principal John Dodig, former Staples High School tennis captain Luke Foreman, Staples Players alum Samantha Webstier, Weston High media influencer Zac Mathias, Staples teacher Kayla Iannetta, Westport moms Julie DeLoyd and Bethany Eppner, and Westport dad Brian McGunagle discuss their growing-up experiences, and life today.

It’s wide-ranging, informative and very, very human. Click here for the link. The passcode is “Westport06880!” (without the quotation marks).


You don’t have to be a Unitarian — or even religious — to enjoy next Saturday’s Fall Family Fun event. All (even singles) are welcome at (October 16, 2 to 5 p.m., Unitarian Church, 10 Lyons Plains Road).

Entirely outdoors, it includes a “Best of the ’70s” singalong with the lead singer of DizzyFish, a musical mural, cake carousel, rock painting and bobbing for apples. For COVID safety, bring your own food.

The Westport Unitarian Church welcomes everyone.


Lifelong Westporter Samuel DeMeo has died. He was 94.

A US Army World War II veteran, he was a member of Joseph J. Clinton VFW Post 399. He was an avid hunter, fisherman and gardener, and loved spending time at Compo Beach in Westport. He also played the accordion in a band.

He is survived by daughters Suzy DeMeo, Karen Sternberg and Lynn Smith, 6 grandchildren, 3 great-grandchildren and 2 great-great-grandchildren. He was pre deceased by his sisters Ellen Barker, Lynn DeMeo and Palma DeMeo. Services were private.

Samuel DeMeo


Claudia Sherwood Servidio has been a Westporter for only a few days. But she’s already contributed a striking “Pic of the Day.”

Now she’s nailed a “Westport … Naturally” feature too. Claudia has a wonderful newcomer’s eye for local beauty — and Saugatuck River scenes that never get old.

(Photo/Claudia Sherwood Servidio)


And finally … today is the 104th anniversary of the birth of Thelonious Monk. The jazz pianist/composer died in 1982, age 64. But he lives on, in recordings like these.