Tag Archives: US Postal Service

Roundup: Voters’ Guide, Tech Talk, PBS NewsHour …

Westport’s League of Women Voters will once again provide a digital-only “Candidates’ Guide” to November’s election.

They have begun seeking responses about local issues. It is expected to be ready in mid-October.


Tech talk, investment opportunities, entrepreneurial ideas and networking were all important parts of last night’s second Startup Westport meeting, at the Westport Library.

Dan O’Keefe — Connecticut’s chief innovation officer — discussed his work, and the opportunities available in the state. He was a late replacement for Dan Bikel, the Westporter and a key member of the AI community at Meta, who was diagnosed with COVID this week.

Click here for more information about Startup Westport, whose mission is to make Westport an innovation hub.

From left: Police Chief Foti Koskinas, Cliff Sirlin, Jay Norris, Connecticut chief innovation officer Dan O’Keefe, 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker, Stefano Pacifico, Peter Propp. All except O’Keefe are Startup Westport team leaders.


Last night’s “PBS NewsHour” featured an in-depth look at the problems facing regional theaters around the US.

After beginning with Long Wharf — which has abandoned its home for several pop-up venues — the story pivoted “less than an hour south,” to the Westport Country Playhouse.

Incoming artistic director Mark Shanahan discussed the struggles facing regional theaters, while acting managing director Beth Huisking spoke about the future.

Shanahan added: “The theater is all about problems and problem-solving. It always is. What play are we going to do? Who’s going to be in it? Who’s going to light it? Who’s going to do the set? How are we going to tell people it’s out there? Who’s going to pay for it? What time of year are we doing it?

“How are we going to make any of this happen? Why are we ever surprised that there are problems? We just have a new set of problems, and sometimes a growing set of problems, and we have to figure out how to solve them.”

Click here to view the entire segment. (Hat tips: Dick Lowenstein and Dennis Jackson).

Screenshot of Beth Huisking and Mark Shanahan last night.


The Public Works Department’s fall paving program begins Monday (September 18). It runs through the end of October.

The following roads will be paved, though not in this order:

  • Hiawatha Lane
  • Ferry Lane West
  • Indian Hill Road
  • West End Avenue
  • Davenport Avenue
  • Beachside Avenue
  • Prospect Road
  • Lamplight Lane
  • Iris Lane
  • Blue Ribbon Drive
  • Hazelnut Road
  • Northfield Drive
  • Riverfield Drive (south)
  • Bayberry Lane (north of Easton Road)
  • Gray’s Farm Road

Questions? Call 203-341-1120.


Bob Weingarten writes: “Years ago the Post Office changed all the outdoor mailboxes in Westport to provide only a small slot, big enough for envelopes, replacing a box with a door mechanism.

“Yesterday I posted a letter in the mailbox between UPS and Westport Hardware, at 606 Post Road East. There was some resistance, so I pushed it in. I felt the bottom of the slot entry. It was sticky, like some sort of adhesive was on the bottom rim. Perhaps someone placed adhesive in the slot to catcher letters, so they could retrieve them later.

“I asked at the UPS store about that. They said they informed the Post Office about the issue last week, but nothing was done about it. I called the phone number on the box to report it, but a recording said the phone was not in service.

“I wante to warn people to check the slot on outdoor boxes before placing letters in it. If it is sticky, do not use it.”

Mailbox outside the UPS Store. (Photo/Bob Weingarten)


As Westport River Gallery on 1 Riverside Avenue celebrates its 20th anniversary in Westport, they feature a new collection by Dominique Dorie, from the Provence region of France. Click here for details.

“Fragrant French Lavender” (Dominique Dorie)


What better way to end the week than by this very cool “Westport … Naturally” photo of Connecticut’s official state insect, a praying mantis:

(Photo/Pippa Bell Ader)


And finally … on this day in 1969, before taking the stage with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young at California’s Big Sur Folk Festival, Stephen Stills got in a fistfight with a heckler railing them for their profligate lifestyle.

The festival was raising funds for Joan Baez’ Institute for ghe Study of Nonviolence.

NOTE: The official video for this song was created by Westporter Jeff Scher.

(Be a good role model for your children. Teach them to help support “06880.” Please click here to contribute. Thank you!)

Roundup: Linxweiler Stone Wall, Citizens’ Police Academy, Stolen Mail …

Drivers weaving carefully (and not so carefully) through the Post Road East construction zone just west of McDonald’s have mourned the loss of a dozen or so old trees by the Linxweiler house.

They wonder too what will become of the many large rocks that made up a now-dismantled stone wall, near the trees.

Former stone wall in front of the Linxweiler house.

For once, the news is good.

A Planning & Zoning Commission site plan shows that the original stone wall will be replaced with a new one, continuing around the radius into Crescent Road.

The original was drywall. Hopefully, the next will be the same traditional type.

Congratulations are due town officials, who secured the replacement of the wall. (Hat tip: Michael Calise)

Site plans for Linxweiler house stone wall.


One of the coolest opportunities anywhere is the Westport Police Department’s 8-week Citizens’ Police Academy.

Participants gain a first-hand understanding of what our officers do, how they do it, and how the WPD fits into our community.

At the same time, residents and officers get to know each other much better.

25 community members participate in classes on law enforcement, and get hands-on experience with equipment. They also join a “ride-along” with an officer — and receive CPR/AED certification.

The program runs from 7 to 9:30 p.m. on Thursdays from October 5 through November 30 (except before Veterans Day and on Thanksgiving), and Wednesday, December 6.

The academy is open to Westport residents age 21 and older. Applications can also be picked up at police headquarters, and are due by September 18.

Westport’s Citizens Police Academy offers an inside look into every aspect of the department.


Seen on social media yesterday:

“If you’re like me and all of your mail was stolen from your mailbox on Cross Highway, North Compo or Weston Rd (Friday) night, apparently some of it is floating around near the Willowbrook cemetery.

“With crime the way it’s been around here lately, I guess we should feel lucky our cars weren’t stolen or smashed. It’s just our personal information compromised.”

What a shame — and a hassle. (And for those whose checks are stolen and “whitewashed,” even worse.)

But among the responses was this, which is news to me: “Sign up for ‘USPS Informed Delivery’ free service. You get a daily email, with pictures of every piece of correspondence arriving in your mailbox.”

Not a good idea. It’s an invitation to thieves that there is mail — often a check — inside.


Yesterday’s Saugatuck Congregational Church service honoring the late Rev. Ted Hoskins was a chance for old friends to remember the longtime senior and youth minister.

It was a chance too for people who never knew him to learn more about one of the founders of Westport’s homeless shelter and food pantry. Today the Gillespie Center for men — and Hoskins Center for women, named for him — and other supportive housing and food projects are run by Homes with Hope.

Rev. Hoskins — who died last month — spent the last couple of decades of his life in Maine. But — as the turnout at his remembrance proved — his mark on Westport is profound, and indelible.

Homes with Hope representatives at Saugatuck Church yesterday (from left): Pete Powell, first president; Rev. Willie Salmond, who initiated the service for Rev. Hoskins; John Walsh, board chair; Helen McAlinden, president; Jeff Wieser, past president.


If you’re wondering what Dattco is doing, now that they’ve lost the Westport school bus contract …

Yesterday, at Compo Beach. (Photo/Dan Woog)


Last winter, dozens of bagels sat for more than 2 weeks, on High Gate Road of Maple Avenue South.

No one knew where they came from. No one claimed them. No one cleaned them up. (Click here, then scroll down for a Roundup story.)

That was weird.

What’s even weirder is: They’re back.

Chris Grimm — who reported on the first outbreak — sent along this photo:

(Photo/Chris Grimm)

It looks very similar to several months ago.

Except this time, there is a large, unopened bag of bagels too, on the grass.

Very, very weird.


Dermatologists Dr. Nina Antonov and Dr. Marc Beuttler of Modern Dermatology will provide free full body skin cancer screenings, and/or spot checks, at the Aspetuck Health District (180 Bayberry Lane) on September 26.

Appointments are available between 9 a.m. and noon, and 1-4 p.m. Call 203-227-9571, ext. 235, and ask for Judy. Limited to residents of Westport, Weston and Easton only.


Speaking of health: Overdose awareness and Narcan training will be held September 26 (7 to 8 p.m., Town Hall Room C201).

It’s sponsored by members of the Westport Prevention Coalition and Westport RTM.

To register and for more information, call 203-227-7644.


It’s never too early to think about beer.

Wakeman Town Farm’s annual family Beer Garden event is Sunday October 15 (noon to 4 p.m.).

The afternoon features live music by Hitch and the Giddy-Up + Rob Morton, lawn games, bubbles, face painting, photos with mini ponies, and pumpkin crafts for the littles — and a surprise craft by LaurelRock.

Also for adults: Eco Evolution, and a massage therapist for the adults.

Lunch options include pizza by Tony Pizza Napolitano, Food Truck Refinery and Oronoque Farms.

Local beer is sponsored by Greens Farms Spirits, with ice cream from Saugatuck Sweets and Landtech. Ccider donuts and refreshments are courtesy of KMS Team at Compass.

Tickets are $10 for adults; kids are free. Click here to purchase, and for more information. Food and beverage purchases are a la carte. Proceeds benefit Wakeman Town Farm educational programs.


Two butterflies flitted around the Westport Library yesterday.

As great a photographer as Rowene Weems is, she could not get them together in the same shot.

But even one is wonderful enough for today’s “Westport … Naturally” feature.

(Photo/Rowene Weems)


And finally … Happy Labor Day!

(“06880” does not even take Labor Day off. If you’d like to leave a tip, please click here.) 


Unsung Heroes #271

When the post office moved from its big, handsome and very functional Post Road building — now Design Within Reach — in 2012, many Westporters predicted that the new space would be cramped, and service would suffer.

They were right about the first part.

And wrong about the second.

There’s not much space to move inside. Don’t get me started about the parking.

But our US Postal Service employees are as great as ever.

Patiently, they answer the same questions over and over.

Helpfully, they offer the least expensive solutions.

Magically, they find whatever supplies they need, to make your (okay, my) poor packing skills work safely and securely.

It can’t be easy working in the Westport post office today. There are constant lines. There’s little room to maneuver. Customers are not always — how can I say this politely? — polite.

But the men and women behind the counter never complain.

They do their job every day, through snow, rain, heat, and everything else. I’ve never seen them without a helpful smile, or kind word.

“06880” has given shout-outs to our mail carriers before. This week, our Unsung Heroes are all the people toiling at the Westport Post Office. Thank you all!

To nominate an Unsung Hero, email 06880blog@gmail.com.

(You can support “06880” by mail — or online. Please click here to help.)

Roundup: Where’s My Bus?, 4000 Miles, Red Flags …

At the dawn of another school year, superintendent of schools Thomas Scarice sent an update to residents.

Among the items: a new app for parents, called “WheresTheBus.” It’s a tool for parents to know when their child’s bus will arrive, with up-to-the-minute ETAs. It’s available on any Apple or Android device, and will go live sometime in September, after routes are firmly established.

As for COVID, Scarice says the risk “continues to change for the better,with protection from vaccines and growing immunity from prior infections. We will continue to follow guidance from the State Department of Public Health and the CDC on minimizing the effects of respiratory disease in school. Our focus this year will be on promoting vaccinations, monitoring symptoms and utilizing at-home self-testing.

“We continue to encourage all students, families and staff to stay up to date on vaccinations. COVID at-home self=test kits will be available to all families and staff, and their use is encouraged.”

When will my kid’s bus come? Check out WheresTheBus!


Mia Dillon first appeared at the Westport Country Playhouse in 1979. That’s more than a decade before Clay Singer was born. She’s had several Broadway credits, including “Our Town” with Paul Newman, and a Tony nomination for “Crimes of the Heart.”

But Singer — a 2013 Staples High School graduate, and former Staples player — has his own sterling resumé. Before finishing a recent national tour of “The Band’s Visit,” he appeared on his hometown Playhouse stage in “Romeo and Juliet” and “Man of La Mancha.”

Singer and Dillon share the stage in “4000 Miles,” the current Westport Playhouse production. It’s perfect casting.

Singer plays 21-year-old Leo, who finishes a cross-country bike trip by staying at the Greenwich Village apartment of his feisty 91-year-old grandmother Vera. Together they explore issues like age, family, love, sex and politics. They don’t always agree — but that’s what gives the show its punch, and its surprises.

It’s another Westport Country Playhouse hit, in a summer of them. The fact that the star is a local boy is an extra special treat.

Clay Singer and Mia Dillon in “4000 Miles.” (Photo/Carol Rosegg)


An “06880” reader writes: “I recently raised the red flag on my mailbox to alert my carrier that envelopes inside needed to be mailed.

“Within a matter of hours (before she showed up), a “red flag thief” stole the envelopes. They contained checks, and while the amounts were fairly small, the thief used them to steal nearly $10,000 from my checking account. Fortunately, my bank covered the loss.

“Apparently this is a widespread problem nationwide, and not a new one. The thieves often use chemicals to change information on the checks. They can also use the checks as a starting point for identity fraud (such as creation of fake ID).

“One wonders if a local criminal gang drives cars (or rides bikes) through the streets of Westport looking for raised red flags.

“In the future, needless to say, I won’t use my mailbox to mail checks. Sadly, that kind of old world charm and trust needs to be relegated to history :(”

The reader added this PS, a few hours later:

“I just told my mail carrier what happened. She was glad I told her, because on Tuesday she discovered no mail in 12 boxes on her route, despite the red flags raised. She also mentioned a case involving a Westport resident whose stolen check from the mailbox was used for a $30,000 fraud.

“Finally, she said that blue boxes aren’t always safe either. Thieves can slide a sticky mousetrap-type sheet inside (on a piece of wire), to pull out mail that way.  Good grief.”

No longer a good idea.


Internationally known (and local resident) photographer Stephen Wilkes is gearing up for his “Visualizing Time” exhibition at the Westport Library — and opening reception September 8, followed by a conversation with Stacy Bass.

But the National Geographic contributor took time out this week to appear on “Good Morning America.” Wilkes talked about how his photographs document climate change. Click below for the intriguing clip:

In other Library news: Verso Studios is steaming up with the Westport Farmers’ Market. They’ll bring original Connecticut talent to the Thursday music performances at the Imperial Avenue parking lot.

With Verso Studios curating, singer/songwriter/troubadour Frank Critelli and Friends will be playing next Thursday (September 1). The Sawtelles follow on October 13.


It’s no joke: Tickets are going fast for “Stand Up for Homes With Hope.”

The popular fundraiser — a night of comedy at Fairfield University’s Quick Center — returns live after 2 un-funny COVID years. (The virtual events were, of course, quite fun.)

This year’s lead comic is Pat McGann. A rising star who began stand-up comedy at the age of 31 (after realizing he was not very good at selling packaging), his appeal stems from his quick wit and relatable takes on family life and marriage.

The event is Saturday, October 15. Tickets are $200 and $150 (including a reception with cocktails, light supper and music) and $75 (wine before the curtain). Click here for tickets. For sponsorship information, click here.

Pat McGann


Longtime Westporter Pete Noonan — one of the founders of the town’s girls soccer program — died peacefully Tuesday, at his Las Vegas home. He was 90 years old.

The Massachusetts native was a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard Business School.

His professional life as an engineer and management consultant led him, among many diverse engagements, to the Apollo space project, and Taiwan to consult on modernizing the island’s national rail system. He also worked on the merger of the American and National Football Leagues, to create today’s NFL.

He was a proponent of the Theory of Constraints, and was instrumental in its adoption by many corporations. In later years he took the entrepreneurial plunge with a pistachio farm in Argentina, leveraging the expertise he acquired from his many agricultural consulting assignments.

He loved classical music, opera and Shakespeare, and collected Shona sculpture and modern Chinese ink painting. His trained tenor voice was heard in opera and choral performances, turned heads in church, and turned lights on in houses as he organized annual family and neighborhood Christmas caroling.

He was an avid and competitive sailor, and loved soccer. He became passionately involved in soccer as his children grew with the game. He coached and refereed in the Westport Soccer Association — and served as its inaugural president, giving countless hours to not only his children but thousands of others. He was especially instrumental in the early development of competitive soccer for girls and women.

He was a lifelong Boston sports fan, but particularly loved the Red Sox (and enjoyed bantering with his 2 Yankee-loving sons).

He was committed to education and exceptionally proud of the academic, athletic, and professional accomplishments of his 5 children. He was well read and versed in a variety of subjects, including economics, politics the arts and sports.

He was predeceased by his brother James E. Noonan and beloved daughter Clare Noonan Bolich. He is survived by his wife Eva Meder, brother Rev. Mark L. Noonan, former spouse Margaret Ryan Noonan, children Mary Alma, Michael, Mark and Diane Eichler, and granddaughters Olivia, Tess, Caleigh and Meghan.

Pete Noonan


Jeanne Harris — a former Representative Town Meeting member, and the wife of former RTM member Holton Harris, and also the mother of former RTM member Walter Harris — died in 2021. A celebration of her life will be held tomorrow (Saturday August 27, 2 to 5 p.m.) at the Westport Woman’s Club.

Jeanne Harris


This is both a “Westport … Naturally” photo, and a response to a recent “06880” request to send images showing drought conditions in Westport.

Photographer Tricia Freeman captions it “one hopeful hydrangea emerges from a drought-stricken shrub.”

(Photo/Tricia Freeman)


And finally … Jerry Allison, the drummer with Buddy Holly & the Crickets, died this week near Nashville. He was 82. Click here for a full obituary — and the very interesting back story to “That’ll Be the Day.”

(“06880” is a reader-supported blog. Please click here to contribute.)

“Neither Snow Nor Rain …”

… nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” (Photo/Lawrence Zlatkin)

Roundup: Remarkable Theater, Balducci’s, Post Office, More

The Remarkable Theater was this summer’s surprise entertainment hit. The group — whose focus is bringing a movie house back to Westport — pivoted during the pandemic, procuring an outdoor screen and showing several drive-in films a week at the Imperial Avenue parking lot.

The site is just south of the Westport Woman’s Club — which every year for nearly a century has run the beloved Yankee Doodle Fair. The event spills into the parking lot, and is a major fundraiser that allows the WWC to provide aid to many local nonprofits.

The Remarkable Theater’s premiere event — “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” — was a fundraiser for the Woman’s Club. The other day, Remarkable president Marina Derman (bottom row, right) presented a check to WWC past president Christina McVaney. Watching from the steps above are Remarkable vice president/creative director Doug Tirola and club president Karen Kleine.

Balducci’s filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last night. No word yet on the fate of the Westport location.

A rally Saturday in support of the US Postal Service drew a small crowd to the Norwalk Post Office. Several Westporters attended, including Hallie Picorello (lower right).

(Photo/Carmine Picorello)

And finally … I’ve been waiting for a while to include this. As summer starts to fade, now is as good a time as any.


A few times in the week following Isaias, I got no mail at all.

I chalked it up to the storm. Either no one was sending anything, or it got delayed somewhere along the way.

But after reading stories like this one about problems with the US Postal Service, I’m wondering if my empty mailbox is part of a larger issue.

Nearly everyone in Westport loves their mail carrier. These men and women are devoted, efficient and friendly. They know their routes, they know us, they deliver the mail with smiles and speed.

(Photo/Penn Videler)

Similarly, we love the Westport post office. We may not like its crowded parking lot or cramped confines, but we know we will get excellent service. The clerks answer our questions — from basic to complicated, and often idiotic — with patience and clarity.

Whatever is happening to the US Postal Service has nothing to do with them.

But it’s important to crowdsource this one. So: Has your mail delivery been slower than usual lately? Are there fewer collection boxes around town? (The one near CVS disappeared years ago.) Have you noticed anything else in the past few weeks?

Click “Comments” below. And the next time you see your postal carrier: Thank him or her for their service.

Unsung Heroes #128

This week’s Unsung Heroes choice is a no-brainer.

I was thinking of it. But alert “06880” reader Adam Stolpen put it best in these words:

I ran into a UPS delivery driver yesterday afternoon. He was making a local delivery.

He’d started his route in the morning. It was 3 p.m. — and he still had 90 more stops to go.

He said during the holidays he generally makes more than 300 stops a day. That’s about twice what he does  the rest of the year.

And we thought everything was all done once we clicked on Amazon Prime…

Of course, it’s not just UPS. This week’s Unsung Heroes also work for FedEx, the post office, and any other business in the business of shipping.

So the next time you’re tempted to toot at the UPS guy for double parking, or the FedEx driver for blocking the sidewalk, remember: That could be your gift in the back of the truck.

PS: Big props to to all those folks at the UPS store who box your packages; the people at local shops who mail your presents for you, and anyone else who does all that delivery work you never seen. 

(To nominate an Unsung Hero, email dwoog@optonline.net)

If You’re Wondering Why The US Postal Service Loses $2 Billion A Year …

… just check out this mailer:

I have no idea how many Westporters will dash on down to Playhouse Square on those 2 magical Sundays next month.

But I’ll bet you a sackful of Santa’s toys that it won’t come near covering the cost of this glossy, colorful postcard.

Which (I think) was sent to every single mailbox in town this week.

Introducing A New “06880” Feature: Unsung Heroes

Westport is filled with amazing people. They head our government and non-profit organizations. They’re business owners, arts advocates, athletes — the town’s movers and shakers.

We know them, because they’re so active and visible. They’re the folks who frequently — and deservedly — get their names and mugs on “06880.”

But Westport is also filled with amazing people who never get shout-outs.

Store clerks, bank tellers, baristas. Cleaning ladies, volunteers, neighbors. Their list is probably a lot longer than the one of all the great men and women everyone always thanks.

Now — every Wednesday — our unsung heroes will have their praises sung.

Any “06880” reader can nominate anyone. It can be someone who has spent a lifetime doing good, quiet deeds — or someone who did one great solid you noticed.

Unsung heroes can be any age. They can do anything. The only qualification is: They must live, work, or otherwise have some connection to Westport.

Email dwoog@optonline.net, with a photo and description of your unsung hero. He or she can know about your nomination in advance — or it can be a complete surprise. They’ll be posted every Wednesday, at noon.

Here’s our 1st Unsung Hero:

Alert — and grateful — “06880” reader Chris Swan (above) says:

Trudy Lynch has been our USPS carrier for many years. But since I retired 4 years ago, I’ve gotten to know her very well.

Though morale at the Post Office seems to have gotten very low, Trudy always smiles and tries to raise her coworkers’ spirits.

She often stops her truck and walks up to drop off mail, as opposed to stuffing it in the box on the street. She is not your typical government employee.

Just today, she delivered (another) Amazon box. Her smile was so contagious, she gave us a real lift.

My wife Carol wondered how many people actually know their carrier’s name?

So we took her picture to send your way in recognition of this terrific employee, serving our community tirelessly day in and out.

Congratulations, Trudy. You are the first of many unsung heroes — making you truly #1!