Tag Archives: Wakeman Town Farm

Roundup: Vaccine, Scavenger Hunt, Art, More

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The COVID vaccine is now available in Connecticut for people 75 or older. They (or someone helping them) can sign up online (click here). After registration, they’ll get an email detailing next steps.

There may be an initial delay in scheduling, but access should grow quickly soon.

More than 100 healthcare providers statewide will offer the vaccine. More locations and a map of them will be available in coming weeks.

The scheduling link also contains a list of frequently asked questions about the vaccine.

People without internet access, or who need help, can call 877-918-2224 weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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Brendan Murphy’s works are drawing raves at his one-man show at the POP’TArt gallery downtown.

In return, the fast-rising contemporary artist asked curator Jennifer Haviland how he could support Westport. She chose an organization she loves: Wakeman Town Farm.

Murphy chose one of his 8-layer silver-based chrome heart sculptures, and offered it for auction. Measuring 24 x 24 x 8 inches, it’s valued at $18,000.

The heart is on display with Murphy’s show, “96% Stardust” at POP’Tart (1 Main Street).

Auction co-chair Nicole Gerber says, “Wakeman Town Farm has a rich history in Westport, and resides at the heart of our community. The Farm is committed to inspiring local residents through sustainable practices, education opportunities, and community service. In this crucial time in our history, The Farm is actively supporting local organizations focused on alleviating food insecurity in our area. We are honored to support a nonprofit that allows the people it serves to serve others as well.”

Bidding starts at $5,000, by email: BrendanHeartWakeman@gmail.com. For more information on the auction, click here. For more information about Brendan Murphy, click here.

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The Westport Parks and Recreation Department invites you to participate in a socially distanced “scavenger hunt”, hosted by the Goosechase App!

Who doesn’t love a scavenger hunt?

Westport’s Parks & Recreation Department is organizing one, for families or teams.

Registrants first download the GooseChase app on their phones, search for the “Westport Winter Goose Chase,” then click here to receive a game password.

Winners get a gift basket of items from Westport businesses. For more information, click here.

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One River — the art and design school — is sponsoring a downtown show. The opening next Sunday (January 24, 12:30 to 2:30 p.m.).

David Waldman and BTS Realty donated their storefronts: 33 Elm Street, Brooks Corner and Sconset Square. Two hundred works — from children to adults — will be on view through February 7.

Also included: One River’s high school portfolio development class, with traditional and digital works.

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It’s official: Most high school winter sports can begin tryouts and practices this Tuesday (January 19). Basketball, ice hockey, swimming, gymnastics and indoor track got the go-ahead yesterday from the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference.

Games may begin February 8, except for track which cannot compete until March. The number of games is limited; there will be no state tournaments, though a “post-season experience” can be held (similar to fall sports).

In addition, athletes will be required to wear masks during competitions. Coaches and players will also have to wear masks and be socially distanced on the sidelines. Officials are required to wear masks at all times.

There will be no wrestling or competitive cheer, however. The state Department of Public Health categorized those as “high-risk activities.”

Football — a fall sport — had hoped to play a shortened late winter/early spring season. However, the CIAC canceled that option yesterday.

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And finally … happy 87th birthday to the brilliant mezzo-soprano, Marilyn Horne!

A Kidney For Cathy Talmadge

2020 was bad for many Westporters.

It was even worse for Cathy Talmadge.

Five years ago, Cathy’s health started a mysterious decline. The avid swimmer, gardener, environmentalist, traveler, reader and cook could barely get out of bed, much less work in her gardens, walk her golden retriever Riley, or whip up dinner with husband Tom.

After many visits to medical specialists, Cathy was diagnosed with a rare form of sarcoidosis. The debilitating autoimmune disease ravaged her organs. Now in stage 4 kidney failure, she requires a live donor transplant as quickly as possible. 

Cathy Talmadge

Cathy — beloved by many for her work with Wakeman Town Farm, Earthplace. Sherwood Island State Park and the RTM — was put on donation lists around the country. Unfortunately, it could take years before a kidney became available.

She was told too that dialysis might wreak havoc on her body. She could become very sick — possibly unable to have a transplant.

Family members were tested, but none were a match.

A group of friends is now getting the word out. With the clock ticking, they’ve devised a no-holds-barred campaign. Today, longtime friend and colleague Christy Colasurdo and a team of local volunteers launch A Kidney for Cathy. They want everyone to know her story.

And they want everyone reading this to share it far and wide. Somewhere in the world, they know, a life-saving donor is waiting.

The idea for the campaign was born after Christy’s friend Kira Krieger Senders secured a living kidney donor for her father through a creative multimedia campaign.

Christy was also moved by the ALS Pepper Challenge closer to home. It spread the word about Westport icon Patty’s Habestroh’s condition, raised more than $650,000 for research, and received national media attention. 

Nearly two-thirds of all live kidney donors come from marketing campaigns on Facebook and other social media platforms. That’s the focus of this campaign. 

Organizers say, “Anyone can help the campaign go viral by following our  Facebook and Instagram pages, liking posts, and visiting the A Kidney for Cathy website to learn more about becoming a kidney donor.

“Sharing the online posts will spread the message far and wide. The viral power of social media can literally save Cathy’s life.” 

A quick, confidential survey assesses whether an individual might be a good candidate to donate.

While helping Cathy, the campaign will also shine a spotlight on the 114,927 patients currently on a kidney or liver transplant waiting list in the US.

Christy says. “A big part of this will be about educating the public. I was blown away to learn that Cathy can receive a kidney transplant from someone who is not a direct match. Cathy just needs a kind and healthy person to donate a kidney on her behalf.

“If not a match, that kidney goes to another recipient, which then enables the National Kidney Registry to put Cathy in the recipient pool to identify her perfect match. One donation inspired by Cathy will save two lives.”

Christy also learned that kidney transplants are now done laparoscopically, through a small navel incision. Donors typically spend only 2 or 3 nights in the hospital, followed by a quick return to full health and athletic pursuits.

“Donors overwhelmingly report that the most lasting effect is the good feeling they get from power of their gift. Most say that they would donate again in a heartbeat,” Christy adds.

A plea from Cathy Talmadge’s daughter.

Christy and other team members — including website designer (and Staples High School sophomore) James Dobin-Smith, graphic artist Miggs Burroughs, social media consultant Terri Piekara and Wakeman Town Farm co-chair Liz Milwe –ask everyone reading this to pass it along via their social networks. A toolkit on the website includes graphics to post or share

Questions about donating a kidney? Want to get more involved? Email  Akidney4cathy@gmail.com

Roundup: Wakeman Tree, Snow Day, Feliz Navidog, More


The annual Wakeman Town Farm Christmas tree lighting celebration — a fun family affair filled with music, a bonfire and homemade treats — was one more victim of COVID.

But the tree is still lit!

Bill Constantino (a Wakeman relative), WTF steward John Montoni and Bert Porzio’s great tree company made sure of that.

“We see it as a beacon of light and hope,” Wakeman Town Farm says.

Westporters can enjoy it — from the safety of their cars — any evening.

Or you can just appreciate it here:


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Just a thought:

With substantial snow predicted for Wednesday night, does that mean there’s a possible school snow day on Thursday?

Or with everyone now used to distance learning, will officials simply say, “Everyone work from home!”?

If that’s the case, then the end of snow days — a wonderful winter tradition — could be an unintended (and really bad) long-lasting COVID consequence.

Winslow Park snow day, March 4, 2019. (Photo/Molly Alger)


Last month, “06880” featured “Feliz Navidog.” The picture book by Ari Halper and his Saugatuck Elementary School daughter tells the tale of how Santa’s pet dog saves Christmas. (I won’t give the ending away. But it’s a quick read.)

Sales skyrocketed. Among the purchasers: Lori Levine van Arsdale.

She’s not the only one enjoying the book. Watson van Arsdale seems to have found a kindred canine under the tree.

(Photo/Lori Levine van Arsdale)


Yesterday I posted 2 photos of last night’s spectacular sunset. This morning I added 2 more.

All were taken by (or on) the water.

But nature’s beauty was on display all over town.

Chuck and Mimi Greenlee live way north (well, near Merritt Parkway Exit 41, anyway).

Here’s their view:

(Photo/Chuck Greenlee)


And finally … here’s a salute to Raymond Egan. He wrote songs for vaudeville and Broadway, from World War I through the Roaring ’20s and depressed ’30s.

Egan lived in Westport, and died here in 1952, age 61. He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1970.

Among his tunes: the 1921 foxtrot “Ain’t We Got Fun,” “Kaiser Bill,” “You’re as Welcome as the Flowers in May,” and the gruesomely titled, absolutely non-PC “Mammy’s Little Coal Black Rose.”

Fun Fact #1: Egan’s song “Hand in Hand Again” was remixed and covered by Midnight Syndicate on their album “The 13th Hour” in 2005.

Fun Fact #2: Egan’s son Ron, who grew up in Westport, is now a professor of East Asian languages and cultures at Stanford University.

(Hat tip: John Kelley)

Roundup: Ballots, Food Drive, Atlantic Sports Story, More


To clarify yesterday’s Roundup story on absentee ballots:

The registrars of voters have not “counted” ballots yet. They cannot do that until tomorrow. What they did on Saturday was open the ballots, to find any without signatures.

Five of those — out of approximately 8,000 returned — were discovered. Those voters will be contacted today, and are allowed to vote in person tomorrow.


As Thanksgiving nears, Wakeman Town Farm is collecting nutritious, non-perishable food, for delivery to 2 local pantries. Among the items most in
demand:

  • Pasta
  • Rice and quinoa
  • Oatmeal
  • Cereal
  • Mac and cheese
  • Canned fruits
  • Applesauce
  • Dried fruits (raisins, prunes, apricots, etc.)
  • Canned vegetables
  • Soups (canned or boxed)
  • Stews and chili (canned or boxed)
  • Peanut butter and jelly
  • Dried beans and ;entils
  • Canned tuna, salmon, chicken in water or broth
  • Jell-O
  • Protein and granola bars, unsalted nuts and seeds, whole grain crackers
  • Coffee and tea.

Items can be dropped off at the “Food Donation” bins at the gates to Wakeman Town Farm on Cross Highway, and at Franny’s Farmacy and Savannah Bee.


As COVID cases rise, what will local retailers do on Black Friday?

Jillian Elder wants to know. The founder of the Finding Westport platform — your go-to site for all local retailers, restaurants and services — is surveying businesses, and will post that information soon. It will go on Finding Fairfield County and Finding Connecticut too.

If you’re a retailer or restaurant owner, tell Jillian your hours, limitations on customers, etc. Email submissions@findingwestport.com.


Westport writer Ruth Shalit Barrett’s long article about crazy, college-focused  Fairfield County niche youth sports — fencing, crew, squash, lacrosse — created quite a buzz when The Atlantic published it last month.

It’s creating more buzz now. First, the magazine appended an extraordinary 800-word correction.

Last night, the Atlantic retracted the entire piece. Click here to read why.

The Atlantic illustrated Ruth Shalit Barrett’s story with this time-lapse photo by Pelle Cass.


Every day, the Y’s Men walk. Yesterday was typical: a group gathered at the train station, then headed out for 4 1/2 miles. Molly Alger joined them, as “the token woman.”

All walks are socially distanced — except for their brief gathering for this photo, part way through.


And finally … today is of course the Day of the Dead.

 

Roundup: Statehouse Debates, WitchCraft Cocktails, Police Probe, More


Jake Tapper called Tuesday’s presidential debate “a hot mess inside a dumpster fire inside a train wreck.” That’s being kind to dumpster fires and train wrecks.

But fear not! Normal political discourse will be on display next Tuesday (October 6, 12 p.m., Zoom). The Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce and Westport Library are sponsoring an actual “debate” with 4 candidates for 2 local state House of Representatives seats: Jonathan Steinberg vs. Chip Stephens, and Stephanie Thomas vs. Patricia Zucaro.

Click here to register (required). Questions may be taken from the audience.

Coming up on October 13: a debate with candidates for the State Senate.


Speaking of debates and dumpster fires: After Tuesday night’s “shit show” (Dana Bash), we all need a drink.

Wakeman Town Farm will help you make a special fall craft cocktail with mixologist Julia Halina Hadas, author of WitchCraft Cocktails. She’ll share recipes for adult beverages designed for healing, spells, offerings and fun.

It’s Friday, October 2, 5 to 6 p.m. And it’s virtual, so you can drink alone (or at least at home). To register, click here.


In the wake of threatening fliers found downtown Sunday morning, the Westport Police Department says:

We understand that this incident has caused a great deal of alarm and varying levels of concern for many living within our community. We have been working diligently to identify the responsible individual(s). The investigation has remained extremely active. The probe has featured close collaboration with federal law enforcement officials, based on some of the statements expressed in these postings.

Investigative efforts of the Westport Police Department Detective Bureau have yielded information on 2 responsible parties. The Department assures all that there is currently no viable threat to the community relative to this incident. This investigation remains open and active, and any additional developments will be detailed later.


And finally … we continue to lose music stars. The New York Times reports that Mac Davis — “the pop-country crossover star who wrote hits for Elvis Presley and had a No. 1 pop single of his own with Baby Don’t Get Hooked on Me'” — died Tuesday. He was 78.

Roundup: Cribari Bridge, Senior Center, Wildfires, WTF, More


Stay away from the William F. Cribari Bridge today. The Saugatuck River span is closed through 3 p.m., for inspection. Use alternate routes!

William F. Cribari Bridge — stay away today! (Photo/Sam Levenson)


Registration for Senior Center October-December classes is underway for Westport residents. Non-residents can register beginning Monday (September 21).

The Senior Center also announces upcoming events:

  • Parkinson’s Support (Sept. 23, Zoom, 10:15 a.m.)
  • New to Medicare (Sept. 24, 5:30 p.m.)
  • Summer Concert Series: Harpist Wendy Kerner (Sept. 25, Zoom, 1:30 p.m.)
  • Caregiver Support (Sept. 30, Oct. 7 and 21, 10 a.m.)
  • Bingo (Oct. 1, with delivered lunch (Pct. 1, Zoom, 1:15 p.m.)
  • Just for Women (Oct. 1, 3:30 p.m.)
  • Walk to End Alzheimer’s (Oct. 11).

For more information, click here, call 203-341-5099, email seniorcenter@westportct.gov/seniorcenter.


Smoke from the wildfires out west have reached Westport. This was the scene yesterday evening, at Compo Beach:

(Photo/Stephen Raffel)


COVID has canceled many traditional activities. But not Oktoberfest!

Wakeman Town Farm celebrates outdoors on Thursday, October 8 (5:30 p.m.).  Chef Alison Milwe Grace cooks up a great German meal (with a veggie option for non-meat eaters). Bring a sweater or jacket and your favorite German beer or adult beverage. Click here for details and tickets.


Teaching has always been stressful. During COVID, it’s exponentially tougher.

To help educators de-stress, Positive Directions has launched a Teacher Support Group. Trained counselors lead discussions Wednesdays from 7 to 8 p.m. via (of course) Zoom. The cost is $40 per session. Email amiceli@positivedirections.org, or call 203-227-7644 for reservations.


With kids back at school — meaning more than half the time, they’re learning at home — parents may need a private office.

Serendipity Labs — the on-demand workspace at 55 Post Road West — offers a complimentary private day office for all new inquiries. It’s available weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Serendipity memberships include high-speed WiFi, complimentary coffee, spacious common areas, guest reception and concierge services. For details click here, call 203-979-4084 or email mburns@serendipitylabs.com.

Serendipity Labs, 55 Post Road West


Classic movies continue this Saturday (September 19, 8 p.m.) at the Remarkable Theater. Earthplace co-sponsors “Raiders of the Lost Artk.” Click here for tickets and more information.


Speaking of movies: Ethan Hawke will direct a new movie about the lives and careers of Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. The project has the blessing of Woodward — now 90 — and the actors’ family.

The film is expected to focus on their 50-year marriage, including their decision to raise their children in Westport rather than Los Angeles. (Hat tip: Johanna Rossi)

Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman.


And finally … today would have been B.B. King’s 95th birthday. He died 5 years ago, but the thrill of his blues guitar will never be gone.

 

Unsung Hero #158

Alice Ely writes:

As gardens chair at Wakeman Town Farm, I’ve had the privilege of knowing Staples High School senior Teagan Smith since she first volunteered in 2017.

She has stepped up to help the planet in ways large and small for her entire high school career. As a freshman she began with the fall harvest, and kept coming. Year after year, she has been on hand and willing to do any job – which at the farm are mostly dirty ones.

Teagan Smith, scrambling to help.

It quickly became apparent that Teagan’s passion is sustainability. Eager to learn more, she has been a quick study of the farm’s sustainable practices, such as composting, winter sowing and non-chemical pest controls.

She has educated visitors about what does (and does not) go in recycling. She reached out to officials at the town Department of Public Works, and created her own flyer of creative recycling projects.

As an upperclassman with many interests and responsibilities, Teagan has continued to make time for the farm. This summer she worked as a Save the Sound intern taking water samples, but still managed a significant commitment to WTF.

She set up the farm stand every Saturday morning, showcasing veggies and flowers in beautiful displays that attracted record numbers of customers. She even shows up for 7 a.m. stints on weekdays!

Teagan Smith, at the WTF farm stand.

Her quiet competence and leadership make it easy for a new crop of volunteers to follow her example.

This year she the helm of Staples’ Club Green. We look forward to hearing what the club tackles next.

For the rest of this challenging year — and, we suspect, the rest of her life — the world will look a little greener because of Teagan Smith.

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

Teagan Smith, down at Wakeman Town Farm.

 

Roundup: WTF Dinner, Sherwood Island, Friday Flowers, More


Wakeman Town Farm’s Harvest Fest is a major fundraiser — and major fun.

This year’s event (Saturday, Sept 12, 5 to 9 p.m.), is still on. But it’s “reimagined,” to be COVID-compliant.

The dinner features a small number of tables of 4 to 8 friends, spaced out on the lawn, served by masked-and-gloved waiters. There is a 75 guest limit.

There’s an outdoor, multi-course feast by Marcia Selden Catering + Events, drinks courtesy of Tito’s Handmade Vodka (signature cocktails) and Iain and Linda Bruce (wines), and live acoustic music by Henry Jones. Town Fair Tire is the presenting sponsor. Click here for tickets.

Because of limited seating (tables sell out fast!), WTF chefs created a gourmet picnic box, to be enjoyed at the beach, a favorite scenic spot or home.

Each box includes a full meal for 2: Long Island lobster roll, jumbo shrimp with cocktail sauce, classic creamy coleslaw, handcut crisp potato chips with French onion dip, and truffled popcorn. Click here to order.

You can even help Wakeman Town Farm without eating. It costs more than $10,000 a year to feed their alpacas, sheep, goats, chickens, ducks and rabbits. Click here to donate.


We’re #4!

That’s the rank of Sherwood Island State Park on New England Travel Today’s list of 10 Prettiest Beaches in the 6 states. Many Westporters already know how great it is. Others have no clue.

Click here to read the writeup, and compare. (Hat tip: Jon Sinish)

Very pretty indeed! (Photo/Lauri Weiser)


Also beautiful: this week’s Westport Garden Club’s #FridayFlowers basket.

The group honored the hard work of school administrators and staff to reopen the district.

Shown below on the Town Hall steps are (from left) Michael Rizzo, assistant superintendent of pupil personnel services; John Bayers, director of human resources and general administration; Anthony Buono, assistant superintendent of teaching and learning.

(Photo/Kelle Ruden)


Melissa Newman has not yet decided “weather” or not she’ll be on Main Street at Elm at 12:30 p.m. today, distributing her Paul Newman “register and vote” poster. That depends on the skies.

But she’ll be there for sure on Saturday, September 12. In the meantime, here’s another look at what she’s handing out:


And finally … just look at the sky outside:

Roundup: School Concerns, Supper & Soul, Parks & Rec & WTF Programs, More


As the reopening of school nears, stress levels are high. And they’re not just confined to adults.

Positive Directions — Westport’s not-for-profit center for counseling and mental health issues — offers tips for supporting a child with concerns about going back to school. Click here to read.


The Dead are coming to Westport.

Well, at least Terrapin: A Grateful Dead Experience, is. They draw raves, with their state-of-the-art equipment and true Garcia/Weir channeling.

They’re the next band for “Support & Soul,” the Westport- Weston Chamber of Concert/Westport Library drive-in collaboration.

Previous Supper & Soul shows — with Mystic Bowie, the Tom Petty Project and Mullett — have sold out.

Tickets are $100 per car (5 people max). The go on sale this Friday (August 28, 10 a.m.; click here). The Chamber urges concert-goers to support local restaurants, by ordering takeout for the show.


Registration began this morning for Westport’s Parks & Recreation fall programs. They include tennis clinics, Sports Squirts, IST Baseball and virtual at-home programs. Among the new programs: Skyhawks Hoopster Tots, Overtime Athletics Big Swing Whiffleball and High Fives Running Club.

Click here to see all programs, and to register.

Registration for Wakeman Town Farm’s fall programs will also be done through the Parks & Recreation department; just click here. Offerings include the Mommy (and Daddy) + Me “Little Farmers,” new Music Together classes, and programs for teens. All are safe, socially distanced and outdoors .

Questions about any program, or how to register online? Email recreation@westportct.gov, or call 203-341-5152.

 


An alert reader writes:

“In June of 2018, my wife was checking some flowers in our garden. She heard some rustling behind a large bush, and out popped a white deer.

“This prompted a bit of research. Only 1% of deer in the Northeast are white. In various cultures the white deer has some positive mythological significance. It can be viewed as a message from another world or the hereafter. This was startling to us, but in a good way.

“Two weeks before our first sighting, our family had put to rest a loved one just up the hill in the Christ & Holy Trinity Cemetery. So who knows?

“We continue to see the deer (there may now be 2) sporadically. Neighbors say  she (or they) are often sighted throughout Old Hill.”


Musicians everywhere have missed connecting with live audiences.

But when members of the Jazz at Lincoln Center concerts and touring team attended the American String Quartet concert at MoCA Westport last month, they saw the potential in the museum’s outdoor stage, vast grounds, and the way  attendees maintained social distancing

So MoCA proudly announces a new concert event. The Jazz at Lincoln Center Emerging Artist Spotlight features the Alexa Tarantino Quartet on Friday, September 4 (7 p.m, MoCA Westport, 19 Newtown Turnpike).  

Tarantino is an award-winning, vibrant young jazz saxophonist, woodwind doubler and composer. Jazz Times’ Critics Poll named her a Top 5 Alto Saxophonist of 2019.

Concertgoers bring their own lawn chairs and food. There are food and drink trunks on the grounds, too. Click here for tickets, or call 203-222-7070.

Alex Tarantino


Saugatuck Rowing Club past commodore Carol Randel and her team — the Randelles — are leading a fundraiser to help people fighting cancer gain access to healthy food.

The “Row for Recovery” event addresses an unseen problem. Area residents must often decide between food and medical treatment. The pandemic has made the situation more dire.

Row for Recovery — set for Saturday, September 12 at the Rowing Club on Riverside Avenue — will help Norwalk Hospital’s Whittingham Cancer Center provide prepaid grocery store cards to people needing good nutrition during cancer treatment. $100 feeds a family of 4 for a month.

Click here to register, and for a course map.

Carol Randel


Amy Berkin writes: “I was downtown for a meeting, and wanted to enjoy a cup of coffee on a bench by the river. Look at this! It’s awful that people are not throwing away trash, and no garbage cans are out. Very sad for the town, and the wildlife in the river.

(Photo/Amy Berkin)

And finally … today is National Dog Day! Arf!

Pic Of The Day #1226

Wakeman Town Farm (Photo/Amy Schneider)