Tag Archives: Unitarian Church of Westport

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.

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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.

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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)

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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)

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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

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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.

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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.

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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)

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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.

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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

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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)

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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 …

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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)

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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.

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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.


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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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)

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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 …

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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)

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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).

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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)

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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,

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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)

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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 …

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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)

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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)

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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

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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)

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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 …

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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.

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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.

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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)

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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 …

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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).

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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.

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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

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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)

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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.

Roundup: VFW, Nemo, LCDS …

 

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VFW Joseph J. Clinton Post 399 is one of Westport’s underappreciated, often-overlooked gems.

In addition to providing a home and community for veterans, the building at the Saugatuck Avenue/Riverside Avenue merge offers a restaurant and bar — and a state Veteran’s Service Office, assisting with disability support.

Thanks to 4th Row Films — Westporter Doug Tirola’s great documentary film company — you can learn all about the 100-year-od Westport VFW post, from members themselves. Click the link below; the password is “4throw” (without the quotation marks).

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Weather postponed 2 Remarkable Theater showings last week. So get ready this week for …

“Finding Nemo” (tonight, Monday, June 7) and “Rocky Horror Picture Show” (Saturday, June 12). Gates open at 7:30 p.m.; the “curtain” goes up at 8:30.

Click here for tickets and more information. Enjoy the show!

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A reader writes:

“We are a family of 4, with 3 dogs. When one was hit by a car, we wanted to find another. We ended up at Puppies of Westport (although we said we wouldn’t ever go to a ‘puppy mill’). Lauren Meren, the owner, was very kind. We had health issues with our dog, and she immediately reimbursed us for the hospital stay.

“y vet told me that Lauren recently died. Her children are trying to find homes for all of the dogs in the store. Please highlight this story, so the dogs end up in a loving home instead of a fate much different.”

There has been no answer to phone calls. If “06880” readers have any idea of the fate of the dogs — or how to help — click “Comments” below.

Puppies of Westport –

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For years, an unattractive concrete tower marred the playground and baseball field behind the Learning Community Day School (formerly Hillspoint Elementary).

Before …

Now — thanks to art teacher Lauren Beusse, her colleagues and (especially) the talented kids, it’s been  transformed beautifully.

Lauren was inspired by Tyree Guyton, a Detroit artist who creates large installations out of dilapidated properties and recycled materials.

Children worked on 6 individual panels, exploring colors and adding their own touches. LCDS says: “the flowers reaching for the sun, and birds and insects flying above, will always remind us of the way young children grow, bloom and take flight during their time here.”

… and after.

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo from Lou Weinberg. In addition to overseeing our fantastic Community Garden next to Long Lots Elementary School, he’s a brilliant nature photographer.

Lou says: “The cedar waxwings are tossing them back at the old serviceberry tree. Robins are getting their fill as well. Serviceberry trees are native, and have very high wildlife value.

(Photo/Lou Weinberg)

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Voices Café — the Unitarian Church’s music series — premieres its livestream season on June 19 (8 p.m.). Featured performers are Goodnight Moonshine with Molly Venter (of Red Molly), and Eben Pariser, who also performs with Roosevelt Dime.

For nearly a decade, Voices Café has supported social justice programs. Recognizing the historical significance of this year’s concert date — Juneteenth — proceeds from the performance will benefit the Mary and Eliza Freeman Center for History and Community in Bridgeport. Click here for tickets, and more information.

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And finally … in the hopes of finding homes for all the Puppies of Westport (see story above) …

 

https://vimeo.com/fourthrowfilms/review/559173229/e9a3ef9587

Roundup: Real Estate, Real Help, Flags …

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The local housing market still sizzles.

Brown Harris Stevens reports that 42 houses closed in February in Westport — the most for that month since at least 2014.

The average closing price was $1.8 million, up 50% from the same period last year.

Supply was down. On February 28 there were 138 houses on the market, 52% fewer than in February 2020.

Prices for the 68 houses pending — properties with signed contracts — ranged from $565,000 to $6.3 million. The average list price was $2.1 million.

Weston has seen a 76% increase in home sales for December through February, compared to a year earlier. The average closing price was $1.09 million, up 46%. (Hat tips: Roe Colletti and Chuck Greenlee)

This gorgeous home on Hidden Hill, off South Compo, is listed for $4.8 million. (Photo courtesy of Compass)

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For many people, COVID created 2 types of hunger: for food, and for the human spirit.

Westport’s Unitarian Church helps feed both needs.

For years, a community of food-insecure people has gathered on Sunday mornings under Bridgeport’s Route 25 overpass. They celebrate together: children’s birthdays, sobriety, housing, new jobs. When ministers or priests appear, prayer circles form.

As the pandemic’s quarantine and health regulations prevented many non-profit providers from serving food at the John Street site, Unitarian Church members worked with April Barron of Helping Hands Outreach in Bridgeport to coordinate bagged lunches.

Over the past 9 months, they’ve handed out over 12,000 lunches — filled with sandwiches, drinks, fruit, snacks, and messages of support.

With donations of food and money way down, April says the Unitarian Church — and similar help from St. George Greek Orthodox Church in Norwalk — were crucial. Just as important: the interaction with people.

The Unitarian Church’s Shawl Ministry — which for years has knit and crocheted shawls for congregants — also made and gave warm hats, scarves and cowls to the John Street community this winter.

To help distribute lunches, email david@uuwestport.org. To help make lunches (Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m.), click here.

Westport Unitarian Church volunteers, with bagged lunches.

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There’s always something to see at Sherwood Island.

The other day, Jack Menz did not like what he saw.

The American flag is in tatters. The Connecticut state flag is not much better.

(Photo/Jack Menz)

“It’s wrong to fly such a battered flag,” Jack says.

“Wrong for visitors to the park, and wrong for those honored at the park. We should have a new flag flying there.”

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The other day, the Cornell Daily Sun highlighted the student-run Cornell University Emergency Medical Service. Working through the pandemic, they provide free 24/7 emergency care to staff, students and visitors.

Director of operations Hannah Bukzin is a Cornell senior — and a Staples High School grad. She honed her skills working hundreds of hours with the Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Service.

CUEMS answers 600 calls a year — “allergic reactions, alcohol or drug overdoses, motor vehicle accidents and everything in between,” Hannah says.

Click here for the full story. (Hat tip: Dennis Poster)

Hannah Bukzin

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Klein’s is long gone from Main Street.

So is its successor, Banana Republic.

But the old department store — at least, its signage — reappeared the other day, during construction work on the property.

You can no longer buy books, records, cameras or typewriters on Main Street. But — for a while, anyway — Klein’s was back.

(Photo/Jack Whittle)

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And finally … today in 1876, Alexander Graham Bell was granted a patent for the telephone.