Tag Archives: VFW Joseph Clinton Post 399

Jazz Rabbi Plays The VFW

A good “06880” story tells readers about an underreported place in Westport. Or it describes a little-known event.  Maybe it celebrates someone (a person) or something (the arts).

This one does all of that.

I’ve written about Greg Wall before. A saxophonist who doubles as the spiritual leader of Westport’s Beit Chaverim — or the other way around — he is one of the most interesting and multi-talented Westporters, in a town filled with plenty of both.

For several years, he and a group of great musicians played at local venues, like the Spotted Horse, Saugatuck Rowing Club and 323 restaurant. They formed the Jazz Society of Fairfield County, and raised money to buy the famous Steinway piano from the historic Village Gate Jazz Club in New York.

The Jazz Rabbi, Greg Wall

On March 12, 2020, Rabbi Wall played at his then-regular spot, Pearl at Longshore. That day, the pandemic roared into Westport.

Eight months later the restaurant closed, a victim of COVID.

One day not long ago, the rabbi was driving down Riverside Avenue, near his Lincoln Street home (conveniently, within walking distance of his synagogue). He passed his wife, out for a run, near the VFW.

Something clicked. He asked her to stop there, to see if it was suitable for live music.

Westport’s VFW Joseph Clinton Post 399 is a great place. For over 100 years it’s served veterans, and their families. After remodeling, it’s a nice venue for class reunions, birthday parties or anniversary celebrations. There’s a dock in back too, with low-cost moorings.

Still, most Westporters know of it — if they think of it at all — as the building at the tricky corner intersection with Riverside, Saugatuck and Treadwell Avenues, with the cannon in front. (Fun fact: It was cast in 1799, then placed at Compo Beach in 1901 to commemorate our 1777 battle against the British. The cannons at the beach now are replicas.)

VFW on Riverside Avenue — and the cannon.

The door was locked. But a man got out of his car in the parking lot, and asked if he could help. He was quartermaster Phil Delgado — and he sure could.

Soon, he and the rabbi were chatting. Soon after that, the rabbi was blowing his horn at the VFW. “Thursday Night Jazz” was back — and renamed “Jazz at the Post.”

He’s had 2 shows there, both very successful. In fact, Rabbi Wall says, the VFW is unlike any place he’s ever played, besides a university. As a non-profit, all they want is for everyone to have a good time. Delgado fully supports the arts (and may add local art to the new jazz venue’s walls.)

The back room — with a gorgeous view of the Saugatuck River — is a superb spot to hang out, and listen to live music.

Jazz at the VFW — and by the river.

Plus, the rabbi says, the acoustics are fantastic.

Rabbi Wall’s next gig is tonight (Thursday, May 5), with guitarist Bob Devos, bassist Phil Bowler and drummer Steve Johns. There are 2 sets: 7 and 8:30 p.m. He’ll return May 26 with trombonist Steve Davis, and June 9 (featuring Roberta Piket on Hammond B3).

There’s a $10 cover. For reservations, email jazzatthepost@gmail.com, or call 203-227-6796. Dinner starts at 6:30 p.m.

“Westport is not a late community. Things close early,” he notes. “Commuters get home after 6. They eat, and they don’t go out afterward.”

So though the VFW kitchen is closed, a Beit Chaverim congregant, Leon Pasternak, found chef Derek Furino to bring in food to serve. The VFW likes him so much, they’re collaborating on other ventures.

Saxophonist Greg Wall and his combo, earlier this spring at the VFW.

Westport’s VFW may not be the only one in the country that hosts regular music shows.

It may not even be the only one to feature jazz.

But it must be the only VFW anywhere with its own Jazz Rabbi.

ENCORE: Here’s another idea: Bring back the Steinway piano. It’s in storage now. But it could soon grace the VFW. Play it again, Rabbi!

Roundup: Ann Weiner, Blood Drive, Cookbooks, …

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Ann Sharon Weiner died peacefully earlier this month, at 81. She lost a long, courageous battle with pancreatic cancer at her Westport home, with her family by her side. She was a noted artist and, with her late husband Sidney, sponsors of A Better Chance of Westport’s Glendarcy House on North Avenue.

Ann and Sidney’s 50-year marriage was considered the “paragon of devotion” by family and friends.

A New York City native, Ann earned undergraduate and graduate studies in fine arts at Queens College. She pursued careers as a high school art teacher, and the designer/art director for Sportswear by Pronto and Ann W. She received several fashion industry awards before devoting herself full time to a career as an exhibiting artist.

Ann’s most recent exhibit, “When Caged Birds Sing,” reflects her passion as a women’s advocate. It opened in 2017 at Brown University and is now a permanent exhibit at MoCA Westport.

Ann received the Silvermine Living Art Award for her impact on the art community.

Ann was also a philanthropist. In addition to sponsoring A Better Chance’s Glendarcy House with her husband, she worked tirelessly with Amnesty International,

Ann was predeceased by her husband Sidney and their 2 adult children, Darcy and Glenn. She is survived by her children Gregory and Devin Weiner of Norwalk; her long-time loving friend Paul Burger, niece Stacy Waldman Bass and nephew David Waldman, both of Westport ; nephews Jay and Todd Myers, and countless friends whose lives she touched.

A service is set for Thursday (November 18, 11 a.m.,  MoCA). In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to in memory of Sid and Ann Weiner to the Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research (lustgarten.org) or the National Pancreatic Cancer Foundation.

Ann Weiner, with one element of “When Caged Birds Sing.”

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American Red Cross is experiencing a blood emergency. To help, Joseph J. Clinton Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 399 hosts a blood drive. It’s set for Wednesday (November 17, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., 465 Riverside Avenue).

For an appointment, click here (use sponsor code VFWWestport), or call 800-733-2767.

Donors who give blood by November 23 will receive a $10 Amazon gift card via email.

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Sparked by last week’s “06880” story on Allium — the new dining experience on Railroad Place — Lori Levine van Arsdale stopped by.

She loved it. She also spotted this at the entrance:

“I love that the chef has Post-It Notes sticking out of the cookbooks,” Lori says.

“Such a refreshing change from the normal cookbooks, which are usually only displayed for sale. It made me feel like I was in someone’s home.”

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John Kantor spotted — and took — today’s “Westport … Naturally” image at Sherwood Mill Pond.

The bald eagle was camera shy, and flew off. John — and many others — hope he returns.

(Photo/John Kantor)

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And finally … on this day in 1864, General William Tecumseh Sherman began his famous March to the Sea.

Between today — when he captured Atlanta — and December 21, when he took over the port of Savannah — he and his Union troops destroyed military targets, industry, infrastructure, and civilian property, and disrupted the Confederacy’s ransportation networks. It was a major turning point in the war.

Roundup: Christmas Music, Veterans Day, Pints For Players …

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Yesterday was November 9. Christmas is December 25. That’s 45 days away.

Which means 45 days of Christmas carols. Because I heard my first one of the season yesterday, at Fresh Market.

Guys … it’s not even Veterans Day yet!

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Speaking of Veterans Day: It’s tomorrow.

Joseph J. Clinton Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 399 hosts Westport’s Veterans ceremony in their Riverside Avenue parking lot.

The Westport Community Band plays patriotic music at 10:30 a.m., honoring all those who have served in the US military.

The 11 a.m. program includes posting the colors, remarks from State Senator Tony Hwang and 1st Selectman Jim Marpe, an address by Staples High School senior Pierre Briand, and a firing salute by the Westport Police Department.

A special tribute honors World War II and Korean War veterans for their service. The public is invited to the outdoor event.

VFW on Riverside Avenue: site of tomorrow’s Veterans Day ceremony.

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A few spots remain for this Saturday’s free mattress and box spring recycling program (November 13 at Earthplace, 10 Woodside Lane, 8:30 to 11:30 a.m.). The project is sponsored by Sustainable Westport.

The project is run through the Mattress Recycling Council’s Connecticut Bye Bye Mattress program.

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Staples Players’ “Grease” is a hot ticket. And Cold Fusion is adding to the heat.

Owners (and Players superfans) Kelly and Eric Emmert have created a special “Pints for Players” promotion.

They renamed 3 flavors, to honor the show. Through closing night (November 20), customers can purchase pints of Pink Lady (strawberry stracciatella), Burger Boys (blood orange sorbet) and Ode to Olivia Newton-John (peanut butter Xanadu).

For more information on “Grease,” click here.

Rydell High cheerleaders enjoy some Cold Fusion gelato.

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Speaking of high school: MoCA Westport has put out a call for submissions from artists in grades 9-12. They’ll be part of an exhibition focusing on the theme of identity, to run concurrently with a show featuring works from the Westport Permanent Art Collections in January.

MoCA officials were impressed with the diversity and talent of last year’s submissions. This year, they hope to surpass those nearly 200 entries. Teachers from across Connecticut and New York played a huge role in bringing that exhibition to fruition. They’re engaged again this year.

The submission deadline is December 19. For details, click here.

A student work from last year’s “Hindsight is 2020” show.

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Jillian Elder — the creative force behind the “Finding Westport” information and merchandise site — checks in with more swag.

Her “Westport Love & Life” collection of t-shirts, mugs, blankets, tote bags and more includes our beloved Minute Man, in various forms of the words “Love” and “Life.” Click here to see the wide variety of products.

And Jillian hopes to post a list of Etsy shops based in Westport, for holiday readers. If you’ve got — or know of — one, email jillian@findingfairfieldcounty.com.

The Minute Man on a “Love & Life” hoodie.

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Time to network!

Local business professionals are invited to a “Virtual Visitors Day” on Thursday, November 18 (7:30 to 9 a.m. Zoom). The event is sponsored by Westport’s Business Networking International chapter.

BNI meetings are open to only one business per category.

They’re on the lookout for new members. People working in hospitality — event planners, florists, caterers, bakers, DJs and bands, liquor stores, limousine services and gift novelty shop owners — are particularly welcome

Other open categories include home inspectors, veterinary services, dentists, dermatologists, commercial sign companies, martial artists, trade schools, physical therapists, orthopedists, delicatessen owners and tutors.

Email curtis@health-directions.com or billhall747@gmail.com to sign up for the Virtual Vistors Day.

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The Westport Police Department and TEAM Westport are sponsoring a Thanksgiving food drive this Saturday (November 13, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.). All donations support Homes with Hope’s Gillespie Center and food pantry, and Westports Human Services Department.

Westport Police officers and volunteers will collect non-perishable food items and cash. Suggested items include canned meats, tuna, salmon, Spam, canned cranberries, boxed stuffing, canned yams, canned corn, canned gravy, pasta, and sauces, chili, hot and cold cereal, canned fruit, canned and dry soups, peanut butter, jelly, mac and cheese, rice, granola bars, pancake mix, syrup and mayonnaise.

Earlier this year, after another drive, Westport Police and Homes with Hope volunteers delivered food to the Gillespie Center, across from police headquarters.

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Lauri Weiser calls today’s “Westport … Naturally” image “The Last Rose of Summer.”

(Photo/Lauri Weiser)

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And finally … as noted above, yesterday was waaaaaay too early for Christmas music.

Two can plan that game. Take this, Fresh Market!

 

 

 

Roundup: Change Clocks, Diwali, Veterans Day …

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Tonight — well, actually tomorrow morning — is our reward for last March.

Set your clocks back before bed. Bingo! You get an extra hour of sleep. It’s the “fall back” part of the “spring forward…” saying.

But here’s the thing: Why are we now on “Standard Time”?

It’s only from tomorrow through early March. That’s 4 months.

The other 8 months are “Daylight Savings Time.” Shouldn’t that be the standard? And maybe call these next 4 months “Nighttime Darkness Time”?

I’m just sayin’…

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Over 100 people — Hindus and others — headed to MoCA yesterday. They celebrated Diwali, the festival honoring the triumph of good over evil, light over darkness and wisdom over ignorance. It is an auspicious day, for new beginnings.

And an auspicious start for — we hope — one of Westport’s newest traditions.

For more information, including upcoming events, email aapiwestport@gmail.com. You can follow AAPI Westport — our local Asian American and Pacific Islander organization — on Instagram (@aapiwestport),

One of the many children’s activities at yesterday’s Diwali celebration. (Photo/Sarin Cheung)

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One of our nation’s most meaningful — and too often overlooked — holidays is Veterans Day.

Westport’s observance is always impactful. And seen by too few people.

This year it’s set for Thursday, November 11, outdoors in the  parking lot of VFW Joseph Clinton Post 399 (465 Riverside Avenue).

The program begins at 10:30 a.m., with patriotic music by the Westport Community Band.  The services begin at the traditional armistice hour: 11 a.m.

The program includes remarks by 1st Selectman Jim Marpe; placing of a memorial wreath by members of VFW Post 399, and “Taps.”

The public is invited. And “06880” encourages the best attendance ever.

Former Bedford Middle School teacher Kerstin Rao always planned extensive Veterans Day celebrations.

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Like many pediatricians, Village Pediatrics has begun vaccinating 5-to-11-year-olds.

One of the first to receive the COVID shot yesterday was Dr. Robin Abramowicz’s son, Gabriel Sergi. He’s shown (happily) below with Drs. Jennifer Gruen and Nikki Gorman.

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As NBC Sports’ contract ends, broadcasters around the world are battling for rights to the Premier League: world soccer’s biggest yearly showcase. The deal may reach $3 billion over 9 years.

That’s a far cry from what Westporters Joe Pierce and Norm Bierman paid a couple of decades ago. As partners in rights to the first season in the USA, they paid $45,000 — and that included all languages.

Matches were shown on Prime Network, and on closed circuit to bars.

So — in a sense — perhaps there would be no US bidding war for the English league, were it not for a couple of Westport fans who only wanted to watch their favorite teams, back in the day.

Joe Pierce

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The Camp Gallery has an opening reception today (Saturday, November 6, 4 to 8 p.m., 190 Main Street), for its new exhibit: “An Autumnal Ode to Seasons Past.”

The featured artist if Franck de las Mercedes. A portion of sales proceeds will benefit Fashion Fights Cancer. Chris Coogan and Linda Couturas play jazz, from 5 to 7 p.m.

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Regina Pape died last month in Paoli, Pennsylvania, surrounded by her family. She was 79.

The Philadelphia native graduated from Manor College. She worked as a medical secretary at Pennsylvania Hospital. Reggie lived in Westport from 1976 to 2006.

While raising her children here, Reggie volunteered with their schools and other activities. She also worked as a freelance typist and editor. She had a close-knit circle of friends here, and loved to entertain and spend time at the beach. Reggie was an avid reader and traveler.

Reggie is survived by her husband of 57 years, Morgan Pape Sr.; sons Morgan Jr. (Christine) and Timothy; daughter Regina Carron (Thomas); 5 grandchildren; sisters Judith Riley and Mary Clare Hogan, and brothers Charles Jr. and Daniel. She was predeceased by siblings John T. Sweeney and Jean Cummins.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a memorial contribution in Reggie’s memory to The Paoli Hospital Foundation or the charity of your choice.

Reggie Pape

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo is as autumn-y as it gets.

You’ve gotta love fall leaves. Now go rake them!

(Photo/Linda Stern)

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And finally … on this day in 1860, Abraham Lincoln was elected our 16th President. He got only 40% of the popular vote though, defeating John Breckinridge, John Bell and Stephen A. Douglas in a 4-way race.

 

Roundup: Wheels, Donut Crazy, Challah …

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Effective today, Wheels2U Westport — the Westport Transit District’s on-demand, group ride, door-to-train platform shuttle service — is expanding to serve even more of Westport.  The area from Coleytown Road to the Weston border is now included.

The new addition is bounded by North Avenue, Lyons Plains Road and Coleytown Road and includes all of Arlen Road, Fraser Road, Fraser Lane and Snowflake Lane. Wheels2U Westport now provides convenient service to over 90% of all Westport.

Residents living in the service area can use the Wheels2U Westport app to request a pickup  between 5:45 a.m. and 9:45 a.m., and 4 and 8 p.m., to be taken to or from the Saugatuck or Greens Farms train platform and their front door.

Pickups should be requested about 20 minutes before you would normally leave to drive to the station.  The fare is $2 when paid with the Wheels2U app.  A Metro North Uniticket rail/bus pass can also be used.

For more information, click here. For more information about the Westport Transit District’s services for the elderly and people with disabilities, click here.

New service area.

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Westport’s VFW Joseph J. Clinton Post 399 reserved a special table today. The setting honored the 13 US servicemembers killed last week in Afghanistan.

The “Missing Man Table” — also known as the “Fallen Comrade Table” — is steeped in symbolism. It is a humble way to remember the sacrifice of the men and women who gave their lives protecting our freedom.

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Just in time for the new academic year, the Westport Public Schools have unveiled a new website.

The look is clean and fresh. There’s tons of information, in an easy-to-navigate, intuitive layout.

Click here to explore it on your own. Be sure to check out the drone video for each school. Just click on the name, and get a bird’s-eye view of every facility. (Hat tip: Seth Schachter)

Screenshot of the new website

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Donut Crazy is back open. This is the most recent sign, on the train station door:

(Photo/Gary Nusbaum)

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Last night’s almost-season-ending Levitt Pavilion performance — Dr. K’s Motown Review — had a filled-to-capacity audience dancing in the street.

Or at least, in their pods.

Three shows remain: Always-popular DNR, in a benefit for Westport EMS and first responders (September 10, 7:30 p.m.); Barboletta, a tribute to Santana (September 11, 7:30 p.m.), and Sheryl Crow, a ticketed benefit show (October 8, 8 p.m.).

Click here for tickets and details.

Last night’s Levitt Pavilion show. (Photo/Lauri Weiser)

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Dogs are not allowed on Compo Beach (until October 1).

So this one — at Winslow Park Animal Hospital on the Post Road — made his own.

(Photo/Molly Alger)

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Every home should have a challah.

And not just on the East Coast.

The Westport-based delivery company has just acquired ChallahFresh, Silicon Valley’s tech-enabled business.

“My goal is to deliver a freshly baked challah, candles, a weekly dose of inspiration each week, plus black & white cookies, rugelach or hamentaschen to as many homes, nursing homes and college dorms as possible in the US, says CEO Scott Sharkey.

“Now we ae one step closer to accomplishing this.”

Sharkey donates a portion of each challah subscription to a charity of the customer’s choice. A dropdown menu offers a dozen or so options, including ADL, Doctors Without Borders, Feeding America, Red Cross, Save the Children, St. Jude’s Hospital, the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Fund, Hadassah and UJA Federation.

For more information, click here.

Challah, from Every Home Should Have a Challah.

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Wendy Crowther explains today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo:

“Two bumble bees harvest resources on a stand of thistle at Baron’s South last week. Thistles have a high wildlife value. They not only provide pollen and nectar to bees and butterflies, but later the flowers turn to seeds that will be eaten by goldfinches. Even the down from the seeds will be used by birds to line their nests.”

(Photo/Wendy Crowther)

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And finally … in honor of today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo (above):

 

 

Question Box: Answers #2

Last week’s Question Box was a smash.

Readers wanted answers to everything from Grace Salmon Park and “Bob” to our eternally renovated bridges and old/new firehouse. 

I did what I could to respond. Readers pitched in. (Click here if you missed it.)

Then you sent more. Here’s the next set of questions. I know some of the answers. When I don’t — someone else will. Click “Comments” below to help.

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I’m sure you’ve covered this in the past. But I’m curious about the history of the boat “Gloria” that I pass every day as I ride through Longshore. And what might the future hold for this venerable vessel? (John Richers)

Short answer: Yes, I’ve written about Gloria many times. Click here for some of those stories and photos.

Longer story: Alan Sterling built the wooden oyster boat himself. He named it after an old girlfriend, and took it oystering on 150 acres of beds, between Compo Beach and Cockenoe Island. It was a tough job, but Alan — a Staples grad — loved it from the day he began, in 1964.

Alan moored Gloria in Gray’s Creek, between Compo Beach Road and the Longshore exit. Some winters, he lived on the boat. It was cold — but it was home.

On July 4, 2014, Alan died of a heart attack.

After that, Gloria drifted. Michael Calise took care of it. Earlier this year, it washed up on shore. Its future is uncertain. It’s an old boat that’s seen a lot, and given many Westporters years of joy.

Just as it did for Alan Sterling.

Gloria, in 2017. (Photo/John Kantor)

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I am new to Westport, from Brooklyn. I know there is talk about revitalizing downtown, and bringing in businesses to fill some of the vacancies. I’m curious if there has ever been a survey of what people would like to see downtown? I am interested in business ownership, and really being part of the community. I wonder what type of businesses folks think would be needed and supported. (Travis Rew-Porter)

Travis, this is awesome. I don’t know of any consumer/user survey. It’s a great idea.

And readers: If you’d like to work with Travis on a business or revitalization project, click “Comments” below!

What kind of businesses do Westporters want? Great question! (Drone photo/Brandon Malin)

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Does Public Works have any input into local traffic lights? The timing at Morningside Drive/Post Road has changed to prioritize the Post Road more dramatically. The green light for Morningside lasts just 3 seconds. It is impossible to cross on foot. Help! (Amy Bedi)

Unfortunately, nearly every light in town is on a state road. Those balls are in the Department of Transportation’s court.

Click here for a link to report issues to the DOT. But don’t hold your breath.

Town officials — including the 1st selectman and Department of Public Works — are in contact with the state about traffic lights. They can sometimes push things along. But they don’t hold their breath either.

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Can Westporters use the track at Staples to run, jog or walk? If so, is it time restricted? Do you need a pass? (Carmen Castedo)

The Laddie Lawrence Track at Paul Lane Field (the first time I’ve written that!) is open to all — except during the school day, or when it’s used after school by the track team, or if there is another sports event going on.

No pass is needed. But keep Fido home!

The Laddie Lawrence Track, at Paul Lane Field. (File photo; the track is now blue.)

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Is Clinton Avenue named after the namesake of Joseph J. Clinton VFW Post 399 on Riverside Avenue? (Linda Velez)

Not only have I never been asked that — I never even thought about it.

Private Joseph J. Clinton was a Westport soldier. He was killed in France just 4 days before the armistice.

That explains the VFW name. But the road off Main Street, opposite North Compo: I have no idea. Except to say that it is not named for either Bill or Hillary.

VFW Joseph Clinton Post 399.

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What happened to the time capsule that was buried at Greens Farms Elementary School for the bicentennial? I heard that at one time 3 people had plans and permission to dig it up. There is a new road in front of the school. You have a lot of fans who were involved in the project. (A passive-aggressive reader: This was sent by mail, with no name or return address.)

I addressed this in 2012. The answer was the same then: No one knows. (Click here to see.) 

But one reader responded with a back story:

I remember the time capsule at Greens Farms El in 1976. It was buried in the front lawn. All the classes/grades were asked to participate in drawings (I think that I was in maybe 3rd grade & our class drew pictures of ourselves and described our lives. We all mused how fun it would be for people 100 years later to see how we lived).

A crane dug a deep hole, and there was quite a bit of ceremony around the time capsule being buried. I’ve told people about it over the years, only to wonder if anyone else remembered it, as well:)

If anyone can dig deeper (ho ho), click “Comments” below.

Has anyone seen my time capsule? (Photo/Seth Schachter)

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Some 80 years ago I lived on 573 Imperial Avenue, at the corner of Wakeman Place. The numbers have been reset, but the house is still there. My brothers and I used to swim in the river. I remember diving off “White Rock,” which was close to the shore. Is it still there, or am I dreaming? (Karl Taylor)

You’re probably not dreaming, but I have not heard of it. Wakeman Place residents: What’s the deal?

Wakeman Place at Imperial Avenue. Karl, was this your house?

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Why did the state Department of Transportation remove and replace the trees, bushes and buffering hills from the northbound side of the Merritt Parkway, near the Westport Weston Family YMCA? It cost a lot of money. Was the outcome worth the expense? (Jacque O’Brien)

I asked State Representative Jonathan Steinberg, who serves on the House Transportation Committee. He says that location was a major staging area for projects up and down the Merritt.

Now that equipment and material has been moved in and out, it’s time to replace what was lost.

New trees on the Merritt Parkway, near the Y. (Photo/Bob Mitchell)

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What first inspired you to start “06880,” and did you ever think it would keep you this busy? (Jack Krayson)

Wow! I didn’t expect an “06880” question on “06880.”

I started the blog in March of 2009. I was a columnist for the Westport News (I still am!), but realized the future of print journalism was, um, iffy. I wanted to continue to write about town people, issues, events and history. Someone suggested I start a blog.

“No way!” I said. (That’s also what I said about cell phones, when they came in. And computers, before that.)

But he showed me WordPress, a great blogging platform. I learned the basics in a weekend. Here we are, 13,000+ posts (and 136,000+ comments later).

I never dreamed it would keep me this busy. If I knew then what I know now …

… I’d do it all again, in a heartbeat.

(Photo/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)

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Why is Westport pronounced “Wessport”? The “t” is silent! (Kevin McCaul)

My guess: It takes too long to say the first “t.”

And Wessporters are always in a hurry.

 

 

Roundup: Parking, Jobs, Bagpipes …

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We’ve all seen delivery trucks finding creative places to park. We know — it’s not easy finding a spot. (Though hardly impossible. Sometimes you’ll end up further away than you’d like.)

But yesterday’s restaurant deliverer, um, takes the cake.

Miggs Burroughs — who after a lifetime in Westport is still surprised at some of the things he witnesses — watched as a parking officer diligently tried to find where the driver was delivering.

Eventually he gave up, and wrote a ticket.

Which means this guy was parked there, making things difficult in 2 directions, for quite some time.

So no, to refute a common excuse trotted out by some “06880” commenters, the driver probably did not have a sudden “bathroom emergency.”

(Photo/Miggs Burroughs)

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Last night, the Westport Library presented the North American premiere of “Men of Hope.” The fascinating, way-beyond-soccer documentary follows the Afghanistan national team, as it attempts to qualify for the Asian Cup. Challenges include not just opposing teams, but war, political squabbling and corruption.

When the lights came up, there was a special guest: former Afghan national team captain Djelaludin Sharityar. Now living in New York, he spoke candidly about the problems facing his soccer federation and native land — and lovingly about Afghanistan’s beauty and people.

The Library event was a collaboration with Kicking + Screening. Since 2009, the gloriously named organization has screened hundreds of soccer-related films, raised thousands of dollars for soccer charities, and organized panels, parties, soccer poetry readings and soccer art shows.

Kicking + Screening has (of course) strong Westport roots. Co-founder Rachel Markus — a former “ruthless striker,” and 20-year film industry veteran — lives here.

The film was fascinating. It’s available for livestreaming now through August 1. Click here for details.

Former Afghan national soccer team captain Djelaludin Sharityar made a surprise appearance at the Westport Library last night. (Photo/Dan Woog)

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Speaking of the Library: If you love it — and who doesn’t? — why not work there?

The downtown institution hosts a job fair next Tuesday (August 3, 5 to 7 p.m.). Positions are available in circulation, IT, building support and the café. Bring your resume. For more information, click here.

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VFW Joseph J. Clinton Post 399 held an open house and Red Cross blood drive yesterday.

Staples High School students Joseph and Michael Pontoriero, with Art Began, played bagpipes to celebrate. Veterans and guests enjoyed the event, which celebrated the state Veteran Service Office, VFW Post 399 Auxiliary, and Catch A Lift.

Of course, the VFW is open to everyone, all the time, to enjoy the facility, food and Saugatuck River views. Click here for more.

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George Billis Gallery hosts a reception today (Friday, July 30, 4 to 7 p.m., 166 Main Street) for its new exhibit. It’s an invitational group show, with over 45 artists.

Among them: “Cruising the Hudson,” an oil on canvas (below) by James Wolford.

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Sure, “Westport … Naturally” gets lots of images of flowers and shrubs. And birds, swans, ducks and rabbits.

But this is Westport. So, naturally, “06880” readers’ favorite photo ops are …

(Photo/Karen Weingarten)

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And finally … in honor of the musical entertainment at yesterday’s VFW open house:

 

Roundup: Kids, Trees, Birds …

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The Levitt Pavilion’s Children’s Series continues tomorrow — and every Wednesday, through August 25.

Tomorrow (Wednesday, July 7, 7 p.m.), Grammy winner Dan Zanes (The Del Fuegos) and Haitian-American jazz vocalist/music therapist Claudia Zanes perform a mix of old and new songs from near and far. Audience members are invited to dance along.

In the wings:

  • The Hall Family (July 14)
  • Divinity Roxx (July 21)
  • Lucy Kalantari and the Jazz Cats (July 28)
  • Hopalong Andrew (August 4)
  • Elena Moon Park & Friends (August 11)
  • The Pop Ups (August 18)
  • Sonia De Los Santos (August 25).

Admission is free, but tickets are required. Click here to register, and for more information.

Dan and Claudia Zanes

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The Earthplace amphitheater is a beautiful spot, nestled in the woods. It’s the perfect place to learn about trees.

So mark July 21 (6:30 p.m.) for a free program there. Earthplace and the Westport Tree Board are sponsoring an outdoor showing of “Call of the Forest: Wisdom of Trees.”

In the video, noted scientist and author Diana Beresford-Kroeger will discuss the profound human connection to ancient and sacred northern forests, and the essential role they play in sustaining the health of our planet.

Admission is free.

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Finding Westport always finds great causes to support.

This “Independence” month, they invite you to show off your patriotism by shopping their collection of unisex tees, camping mugs, sweatshirts, beach towels, stickers, pins and weekly specials.

All say “God Bless Westport … The Land That I Love.” 10% of all sales go to VFW Joseph Clinton Post 399, right here in town. Click here to see, and order.

Camping mug

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Ah, to be young and agile. Seen somersaulting on Soundview Avenue were Branden Acselrod and Adam Cooper.

(Photo/Marc Sheinbaum)

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Today’s “Naturally … Westport” series features Tina Green. She’s been photographing birds in and around town — and she sure knows what’s up.

Here’s her report on our bald eagles:

“The juvenile bald eagles are the Sherwood Island State Park siblings from what I believe is the first documented nest in Westport. An adult pair of bald eagles began working on a nest last fall in the park, and were successful in fledging 2 young. It’s extremely likely the eagles will continue nesting at this location. They will add sticks to the nest each year, and will continue to be seen year round in that area.”

Here are 2 double-crested cormorants. They nest on Goose Island, just west of Cockenoe.

Finally, here’s a marsh wren. Tina says they nest in the cattails and phragmites that surround most of Gorham Island.

(Photos/Tina Green)

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And finally … Van McCoy died of a heart attack on this day in 1979. He was just 39 years old.

He has 700 song copyrights to his credit, and produced songs for artists like Gladys Knight & the Pips, the Stylistics, Aretha Franklin, Brenda & the Tabulations, David Ruffin, Peaches & Herb  and Lesley Gore. But he will be forever known for his Grammy-winning, million-selling, summer-of-1975-defining smash:

Roundup: Sunday Beach Service, Henry Wynne, Cannons …

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Summer Sunday beach services return tomorrow (June 27).

All season long, parishioners and clergy from 4 Congregational churches (Saugatuck, Greens Farms Congregational, Norfield and Wilton), plus United Methodist Church, gather on Sundays at 8:30 a.m., at Compo Beach near the cannons.

It’s BYOC (bring your own chair). You don’t need a beach sticker — just tell the gate attendant you’re attending the service. Dress code is casual; flip-flops and nice shorts are fine. (Hat tip: Karen Como)

Sunday morning service at Compo Beach. (Photo courtesy of Saugatuck Congregational Church)

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Henry Wynne stumbled in the Olympic Trials 1500 meter race. But the 2013 Staples High School and 2017 University of Virginia graduate — now sponsored by Brooks Running — qualified for the finals nonetheless.

The big race is tomorrow (Sunday, June 27, 7:40 p.m. EDT). NBC Sports airs it live. Westporters will be tuning it, to watch Henry reach his Tokyo dreams.

Henry Wynne (Photo/Will Hoffman for Runner’s World)

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Every 2 years, Art Committee members conduct a town- and school-wide inventory of every object in the Westport Public Art Collections.

This year is the most comprehensive yet. They’re not only updating locations, but also measuring every object in the database and cared for by the town.

Including the Compo Beach cannons!

(From left) Eve Potts and her sister Marion Morra take the measure of the Compo cannons. (Photo/Kathie Motes Bennewitz)

Can guess the width, length and depth of the entire monument? Click “Comments: below.

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Aspetuck Land Trust is about to get more land.

On July 1, the non-profit organization — currently focused on Westport, Weston, Easton and Fairfield — merges with the Monroe Land Trust and Tree Conservancy.

That adds another 20 acres to ALT. They will own or manage more than 2,000 acres of conserved land, with a total membership of over 1,700 people.

Land trusts preserve land through purchase, conservation easements or donations of property. Preserved properties are important habitats for plants and wildlife. They protect water quality, agricultural land, and scenic and historic places. For more information, click here.

Aspetuck River, at the Newman-Poses Preserve (Photo/Seth Schachter)

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The Planning & Zoning Commission has some interesting proposals to consider.

On Wednesday (June 30, 12 noon), the Regulation Review Subcommittee will discuss possible changes related to improved recreational opportunities and amenities, to complement the Senior Center.

They’ll also talk about expanded outdoor dining regulation impacts, in consideration of creating more permanent rules. Click here for more information.

On July 8 (6 p.m.), they’ll review a text amendment and application to redevelop 1460 Post Road East — the current site of Julian’s Pizza, BevMax and more — to accommodate a new medical office tenant. The existing medical marijuana dispensary would remain. Click here for more information.

1460 Post Road East. Rio Bravo restaurant closed last summer.

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Tomorrow (Sunday, June 27) is National Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness Day. To raise awareness, Westport’s Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 399 is supporting a 10-mile march.

It begins at 8:30 a.m. at Darien VFW Post 6933, and ends at the Westport VFW Post on Riverside Avenue. Click here to donate.

VFW Joseph J. Clinton Post 399.

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This week’s #FridayFlowers project has special resonance for the Westport Garden Club.

Their latest work, at the Nevada Hitchcock Park on the corner of Cross Highway and Weston Road, includes perennials from members’ gardens. The flowers promote pollination — and the park commemorates Nevada Hitchcock, a founding member of the club.

#FridayFlowers at Nevada Hitchcock Park.

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“The Breakfast Club” is the quintessential high school film. More than 35 years after its release, it still nails the experience.

Of course, some things have changed since 1985. You can learn how on Monday. The classic movie is Monday’s (June 28, 8:45 p.m.) Remarkable Theater feature. It will be preceded by a short video starring 12 graduates from Staples High School’s Class of 2021. Click here for tickets, and more information.

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On Thursday, MoCA Westport hosted a reception for its summer exhibitions: “Love Wins” (a mural created in conjunction with Westport Pride), “Unfit for Print” (including Staples High School graduate Noah Fox), and “Élan Vital” (with the works of 11 artists selected by Staples alum Max Teicher and Emily White). Works of the Congressional Art Competition are also on view.

The exhibitions run through August 21. Click here for details.

Noah Fox, with his work. (Photo/Maddy Martin)

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There are 3 days left in Pride Month. And 3 days left to buy Pride products, like hoodies and coffee cups, from Finding Westport.

10% of all proceeds are donated to Westport Pride. Click here to see what’s available, and order.

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Happy 1st anniversary to Don Memo!

Owner Bill Taibe took a risk — opening a new restaurant in the midst of a pandemic — but it’s paid off. His fun, creative take on Mexican fare packs in crowds every night next to Barnes & Noble. (Or, as much older Westporters remember it, in “the old Town Hall”).

There’s plenty of room for outdoor dining. Plenty of music. And plenty of great food!

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Lauri Weiser calls today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo “Lurking in the Grasses.” How much wildlife can you spot?

(Photo/Lauri Weiser)

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And finally … happy 78th birthday to the great British jazz/rock/R&B musician Georgie Fame. He’s still performing, with the likes of Van Morrison, Bill Wyman and Alan Price.

He’s probably best known for his “Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde.” But my favorite is this 1964 classic, “Yeh Yeh”:

PS: Yeh, yeh, it’s hard to hear the lyrics. Here you go:

Every evening, when all my day’s work is through
I call my baby, and ask her what shall we do
I mention movies, but she don’t seem to dig that
And then she asks me, why don’t I come to her flat
And have some supper and let the evening pass by
By playing records besides a groovy hi-fi
I say yeh yeh, and that’s what I say
I say yeh yeh

My baby loves me, she gets a feeling so fine
And when she love me, she makes me know that she’s mine
And when she kisses, I feel the fire get hot
She never misses, she gives it all that she’s got
And when she asks me if everything is okay
I got my answer, the only thing I can say
I say yeh yeh, that’s what I say
I say yeh yeh

We’ll play a melody and
Turn the lights down low so that none can see
We gotta do that, we gotta do that
We gotta do that, we gotta do that
And there’ll be no one else alive
In all the world ‘cept you and me
Yeh, yeh, yeh, yeh, yeh
Yeh yeh, yeh yeh

Pretty baby, I never knew such a thrill
Just thought I’d tell you, because I’m trembling still
But pretty baby, I want you all for my own
I think I’m ready to leave those others alone
Don’t need to ask me if everything is OK
I got my answer, the only thing I can say
I say yeh yeh, that’s what I say
I say yeh yeh, that’s what I say
I say yeh yeh

We’ll play a melody and
Turn the lights down low so that none can see
We gotta do that, we gotta do that
We gotta do that, we gotta do that
And there’ll be no one else alive
In all the world ‘cept you and me
Yeh, yeh, yeh, yeh, yeh yeh, yeh yeh

Oh pretty baby, I never knew such a thrill
Just thought I’d tell you, because I’m trembling still
But pretty baby, I want you all for my own
I think I’m ready to leave those others alone
Don’t need to ask me if everything is okay
I got my answer, the only thing I can say
I say yeh yeh, that’s what I say
I say yeh yeh, that’s what I say
I say yeh yeh, that’s what I say
I say yeh yeh
That’s what I say, I say yeh yeh
That’s what I say, I say yeh yeh
That’s what I say, yeah

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