Tag Archives: United Way of Coastal Fairfield County

Roundup: Cell Tower, CBD, CT Challenge …

Yesterday’s Roundup gave an incorrect date for the Connecticut Siting Council’s public hearing on the cell tower application for 92 Greens Farms Road.

The correct date is next Tuesday, August 9.

The Zoom meeting begins at 2 p.m. with an evidentiary session. Public comment follows at 6:30 p.m. Click here for the link.

To participate in the 6:30 p.m. public comment session, email siting.council@ct.gov with your name, email address and mailing address, by August 8. Public comments may also be submitted to the Council by email (see address above).

A cell tower been proposed for the property on the left: 92 Greens Farms Road. (Photo courtesy of Google Maps)

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New England Hemp Farm — the CBD and hemp shop in Brooks Corner — will close on August 31.

But its many customers will still be able to buy rubs, drops, gummies and more, online.

Business is great, says owner Matt Bannon. His landlord has been good. But rents are rising, and as online sales rise, that’s where customers can find them.

“We give great thanks to this community,” Matt says. “When we first came to Main Street, knowledge of the benefits of CBS were a big unknown. The open-mindedness of this town was refreshing.

“We’ll miss the people most. We made thousands of friends, who support us in person. We look forward to continuing to serve and support them online.”

New England Hemp Farm is the approved vendor for Northeast Pharmacy Service. They represent almost 300 independent pharmacies.

Meanwhile, Matt continues to look for a local store that will carry their products. Interested owners can email matt@newenglandhempfarm.com for information.

New England Hemp Farm started as a pop-up store, in Brooks Corner.

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Last weekend’s Roundup noted that Wafu – the Asian fusion restaurant in Southport — is closed. But based on a phone call I made to the Westport location, in Bedford Square, which called itself “Korean BBQ,” I added that it was still open.

Yesterday, “06880” reader Clark Thiemann was dining at Amis. He noticed this sign:

(Photo/Clark Thiemann)

To which we can only say: Wafu, WTF?

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Last night’s screening of “The Sandlot” at the Remarkable Theater drive-in was perfect family fun.

The Imperial Avenue parking lot was filled with families like this one.

Baseball, movies, a gorgeous night — what’s not to like?

Tomorrow’s feature: “Mamma Mia!” (Wednesday, August 3, 8:15 p.m.; gates open at 7:15). Click here for tickets.

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An “06880” reader warns recently learned of 5 unauthorized withdrawals from his wife’s debit card. The amount stolen was $520.

All took place at the ATM at 1460 Post Road East — while his wife was in possession of the card. She has never given her PIN to anyone.

Keep an eye on your statements. And on that ATM.

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United Way of Coastal Fairfield County has given funds to 17 organizations. The goal is to increase equity and opportunity in 3 areas: health, education and financial stability. Amounts range from $5,000 to $20,000.

Among them: Westport-based Positive Directions. Click here for a full list.

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The CT Challenge — a bike ride of varying lengths, in part through Westport, to raise funds for programs for cancer patients and survivors — always draws thousands of participants and spectators.

Every one has a story.

Last weekend, Dave Lowrie heard this:

“On a random bike ride, I came upon two men about to finish their second “Century Ride” (100 miles). When I sat with them after they finished, I learned that Alec Fraser, age 62, and Danny Faryniarz, 58, rode for Team Julian. It is named for Alec’s son, who succumbed to cancer at age 19.

“Julian was a student and water polo athlete at Santa Clara University. So last year Alec cycled across the country, from Connecticut to California in his honor.

“When he arrived in San Francisco, Alec was joined by 50 of Julian’s water polo teammates. They rode together the final 3 hours to Santa Clara, where the water polo pool was re-named for Julian.

“The foundation in his name (https://teamjf.org/ includes events throughout the year.

“On top of that, after Danny’s first 100-mile Challenge ride, he discovered he had type 1 diabetes. In spite of that he finished that and Saturday’s races. These guys are inspiration personified!”

Danny Faryniarz (left) and Alec Fraser. (Photo/Dave Lowrie)

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Carl McNair is an avid environmentalist. He — and his family — walk the talk, in all that they do.

But even Carl was impressed by a guy he saw the other day, at Compo Beach.

“He rides his e bike — and tows his human powered surf ski,” Carl marvels.

He gets a good workout, too.

(Photo/Carl lMcNair)

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Rikki Gordon and Allen Peck’s beautiful Aussie Chloe is a perfect model for an early August “Westport … Naturally” feature.

(Photo/Patricia McMahon)

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And finally … this is International Clown Week.

So unless you suffer from coulrophobia — smile!

(Here’s a serious subject: “06880” relies entirely on reader support. If you’d like to help, please click here.

Roundup: Norma Minkowitz, Lucy Johnson, Full Moon …

Westport artist Norma Minkowitz demolished 3 US records at the National Senior Games in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She won all 3 races handily.

The first was Thursday, in the 5K road race. Competing in the 85-89-year-old age group, her 33:27 time beat the previous best mark by more than 6 minutes.

Then, in the same age group in the 400 meter dash, Minkowitz blazed to a 1:50.47 mark. That was more than 20 seconds faster than the existing record.

Finally, in the 800 meter run (in the 85-104-year old division), she finished in a speedy 4:17.66 — over a minute better than the previous mark.

Congratulations, Norma! (Hat tip: Jeff Mitchell)

In 2016– age 79 — Norma Minkowitz led a pack of much younger runners.

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Here’s another winner:

Former Westport Library board member and longtime “Booked for the Evening” volunteer Lucy Johnson has earned a silver in the Independent Book Publishers Award.

Her book “This Was Toscanini:  The Maestro, My Father, and Me” won in the Performing Arts category (Music/Dance/Cinema/Theater).

The contest recognizes the thousands of independent, university and self-published books released each year.

Lucy Johnson

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Last night’s Super Flower Blood Moon drew lots of folks outside. Here’s one shot, by Tomoko Meth:

(Photo/Tomoko Meth)

And David Cross captured this view, over the library:

(Photo/David Cross)

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Business Networking International is a special kind of group. Only one member per category is allowed — maximizing the opportunity for connections, while minimizing competition.

BNI’s local chapter is open to new members in a few categories, including commercial broker, counseling service, security, HVAC, photographer, caterer, bakery, florist, event planner, home inspector, moving company, travel tours, auto repair, and dry cleaner/tailor/shoe repair.

Interested businesses are invited to a Visitor’s Day on June 2 from (7:30 to 9 a.m., United Methodist Church).

For more information and to register for the event, email Curtis@health-directions.com or billhall747@gmail.com.

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United Way of Coastal Fairfield County has a new interim president and CEO.: Westporter Margo Amgott

She brings 30 years of non-profit leadership experience, serving in a range of organizations including community and healthcare, education institutions and government agencies.

A specialist in transitional leadership, Amgott reopened the Jacob Burns Film Center with fundraising and renewed programming. She served as interim director for Studio in a School, an arts and social justice organization working in New York City schools, interim CEO at Hearing Health Foundation, and COO of the National Council for Jewish Women, and a program leader at Columbia University, Hunter College, NYU Langone Medical Center, and the New York City Department of Health.

She holds a master’s degree from NYU’s Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and a BA from Barnard College.

Margo Amgott

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Patti and Doug Brill moved from the north part of Westport to Saugatuck Shores recently.

“The fun part being in a new home. is seeing everything bloom. Lots of nice surprises!” Patti says.

Today she shares one of those surprises with “Westport … Naturally”:

(Photo/Patti Brill)

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And finally … in honor of 85-year-old Norma Minkowitz’s three national record-setting performances (see story above):

Victor Nordenson’s Lonely COVID Marathon

I can’t imagine running a marathon.

The long miles. The pounding heart. The aching legs.

I imagine the only thing keeping me going would be the crowds. They cheer you on whether you’re first, 500th or dead last.

So I really can’t imagine running a marathon alone.

But that’s exactly what Victor Nordenson will do, this Saturday.

At 6 a.m. the Westporter will set out from the corner of Long Lots Road and North Morningside. He’ll head up North Avenue, go left on Cross Highway, through downtown, back to Long Lots, south to Greens Farms, back again to Long Lots, up North Avenue again but this time into Fairfield, back one more time to Long Lots, up Roseville, then back one final time before finishing — 26.2 miles later — right where he began.

I’m exhausted typing all that. But Nordenson will run it all. All by himself. And all as a fundraiser for United Way Coastal of Fairfield County‘s COVID-19 relief efforts.

Victor Nordenson’s marathon map.

Nordenson — who moved to Westport last year — has run marathons already, in Houston and his hometown, Stockholm. Toronto would have been his 3rd, next weekend.

When that was canceled, Nordenson — who came to the US in 2006 to play hockey, first with the Alaska Avalanche and then Manhattanville College — decided that all his 5:30 a.m. training should not go to waste.

Distancing guidelines make running together impractical. So he’ll go solo.

“It is difficult to imagine all of the people who have, and will be, impacted by this pandemic. And all of the people who will wake up when this storm has settled with a forever changed life,” Nordenson says. “Some will pay the highest price.”

He will run “for all the people who have suddenly lost something or someone. I hope I can raise awareness and funds for United Way, to support all the great things they do.”

Victor Nordenson, in last year’s Stockholm Marathon.

He’s set up a GoFundMe page. His commitment — besides running 26.2 miles — is to donate $5 for every minute below a finish time of 4 hours (minimum $150).

He’s also collecting donations. His goal was $2,620 — get it? — which he reached a few days ago. But you can still help; just click here.

Nordenson says, “No one can do everything. But we can all do something. We are in this together, and together is better.”

Together is indeed better — even if it means running a marathon by yourself.

If you see Victor Nordenson running by on Saturday, cheer as loudly as you can — even (especially) if you are alone.

After all, this isn’t the Toronto Marathon. It’s the Westport Marathon.

You can’t beat that.

(Hat tip: Jon Lieber)

For Wyatt Davis, State Budget Cuts Literally Hit Home

Wyatt Davis got the most out of Staples High School.

He hosted a weekly radio show on WWPT-FM. He was an avid member of Best Buddies and the Photography Club, and the football team’s most ardent fan. Nearly every staff member and student knew him — and all loved him.

Not bad for a young man who — because of cerebral palsy — cannot speak, or use his extremities.

Wyatt Davis in 2011, at the WWPT-FM controls.

Wyatt is 21 years old. That’s the age limit for high school special education services. He graduated last June (while also attending community college).

In normal times, he’d move to a program like STAR. Like similar organizations around the state serving those with intellectual/developmental disabilities, its services would help Wyatt transition to the “real world.”

But these are not normal times.

In the absence of a state budget, Wyatt — and over 200 recent high school graduates like him — have been stranded in a hellish limbo.

“Wyatt uses a wheelchair for mobility, and needs 24/7 assistance to meet his basic health care needs,” says STAR executive director Katie Banzhaf.

But, she adds, “I don’t think of Wyatt that way. To me and all of us who know him, we see an amazing young man who loves photography (he takes great photos with adaptive devices), loves his iPad, has a great sense of humor, and will absolutely charm his way into your heart.”

Wyatt Davis and his friend Taylor Harrington, watching a Staples baseball game.

Through STAR — which he became involved with last year — he has attended photography and music classes, and engaged in many activities.

But state legislators have not yet passed a budget for the fiscal year that began July 1. Governor Malloy’s interim budget cut funding for places like STAR by up to 18%.

Now Wyatt mostly stays home.

His parents have paid privately for STAR services, 3 days a week. They have other pressing needs — including Wyatt’s other health expenses, and a daughter in law school — and cannot afford that for much longer.

A little snow doesn’t stop Wyatt Davis from enjoying the slopes.

The other option is for his father or mother to quit their job, to stay home with Wyatt. But that won’t help him grow, develop and make friends.

“We’re trying to raise awareness and funds from the community so Wyatt can return to STAR for at least 1 to 2 months,” Banzhaf says. “That will give us time to find additional resources, so he can stay as long as he needs us.”

United  Way of Coastal Fairfield County — and an anonymous donor’s contribution of $1,000 — have ensured that after major hip surgery last month, Wyatt can join STAR again next next week.

The organization hopes other neighbors and friends will help too. To donate — or for more information — call Peter Saverine, STAR director of philanthropy, at 203-846-9581, ext. 302, or email psaverine@starct.org.