Tag Archives: Wakeman Town Farm

Roundup: Porch Party, Post Road Fawns, Bicycle For 2 …

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In less than 2 months of operation, The Porch @ Christie’s has become an iconic part of Westport.

Besides a great breakfast-lunch-and-dinner menu, excellent coffee and a popular ice cream stand, there are sweeeeet baked goods from Sweet P Bakery.

That’s the business that Porch owners Bill and Andrea Pecoriello started 2 years ago. They instruct and employ 6 bakers — all with disabilities — along with 3 professional chefs.

Yesterday, the Pecoriellos hosted a party (appropriately, on the Porch’s porch) for the Sweet P staff. Some had never seen the place where so many customers love the products they make.

Hetty Marion said “I love this! It’s such a nice atmosphere.” Autumn Perry looked forward to watching people try her creations.

In case you’re wondering what to order: Autumn’s favorite is chocolate chip cookies. Hetty favors Whoopie Pies.

Autumn Perry (left) and Hetty Marion, at yesterday’s party with Porch owners Bill and Andrea Pecoriello.

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Tomorrow (Sunday, July 25, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.) marks Wakeman Town Farm’s first Sustainable Goods Eco Market.

Local vendors and artisans will be selling handwoven baskets and housewares; honey; handmade soaps, body butter and essential oils; skin and hair products for teens; candles; bags; clothing; honey and more.

There’s breakfast from The Granola Bar truck, and ice cream cones from Saugatuck Sweets too.

While adults shop green, youngsters can work on fun projects with WTF director of education Chryse Terrill, or visit with the animals. Expert Judy Panzer will answer animal questions for curious young minds.

Everyone can enjoy music by saxophonist Bobby Master, classical guitarist Jesse Balcom, steel pan and marimba player, and string quartet Vision Academy.

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Westport Animal Control and the Westport Police Department want you to know: 2 fawns have hunkered down in the grassy Post Road median in front of Splash Car Wash.

The mother thinks this is a safe spot for her little ones. Animal Control Officer Peter Reid asks people to not approach them — and when driving by, slow down!

Fawns in the median.

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SA couple considering a moving to Westport from New York would love to take the train here, and explore our town by bike.

They asked “06880” about rentals near the station. I don’t think there’s any such thing (though it might not be a bad sideline for a nearby business).

So how about it, “06880” readers: If there are no bike rentals around, does someone have a pair to lend? Maybe meet them at the station, give some tips (or even ride with them)? Or drop bikes off there, with combination locks?

Sure, it’s a long shot. But it’s also one way to help show off our amazing town — and the great people who live here.

I don’t think this is the type of bike ride our guests are looking for.

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The Hamptons? Cape Cod? LA?

Nope. The too-familiar scene yesterday afternoon, on Bridge Street:

(Photo/Patricia McMahon)

And, reports Patricia McMahon, it took her 20 minutes on South Compo to get to this mess. And a total of 64 minutes to get from the beach to the light by Bridge Square.

Part of the reason may have been an accident south of I-95 exit 19, which shut all 3 lanes for an hour. But that was a few miles away.

Yikes.

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On Thursday, State Senators Will Haskell and Tony Hwang were recognized for their bipartisan effort to pass SB 954. The bill will improve college safety, and is seen as a template for federal legislation, sponsored by Congressman Jim Himes. The goal is to increase transparency around college accidents and deaths in all US colleges.

The initiative comes from College911.net, an all-volunteer organization founded in the memory of Corey Hausman. The 2018 Staples High School graduate died from what started as a preventable accident on his college campus just 15 days into his freshman year. Corey’s was the third student death since the start of that semester.

Senators Will Haskell and Tony Hwang hold certificates presented by College 911.net. Also pictured: members of the 911 Young Adult Advisory Board (Brendan Carney, Rushil Marallapu, Kate Smith and William Bean), members of Corey Hausman’s family (Joel, Nanette and Lucas), and Jeff Mitchell, an ardent supporter.

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Blood donations are still down, compared to pre-COVID times.

The Red Cross is holding a blood drive this Thursday (July 29, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.) at VFW Joseph J. Clinton Post 399 (465 Riverside Avenue).

The VFW is holding an open house the same day, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

VFW Joseph Clinton Post 399.

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A large crowd filled Bedford Hall last night, for the Westport Woman’s Club annual “Sip and Savor” fundraiser.

Proceeds from ticket and wine sales benefit the organization’s many philanthropic and scholarship initiatives.

“It’s so nice to go out again,” one attendee said.

“Especially where there’s wine,” her friend agreed.

One of the 4 tasting stations at the Westport Woman’s Club “Sip & Savor” event. Wines came from around the world.

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The grounds of the Westport Weston Family YMCA always look gorgeous, thanks to Tony Palmer Landscaping.

Yesterday they were especially attractive. The Westport Garden Club chose the Mahackeno site for its annual #FridayFlowers display. They were created by Janet Wolgast, with help from new Y CEO Anjali McCormick.

One more reason to smile before — and after — your workout.

(Photo/Ed Simek)

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Andrew O’Brien spotted this recently at Compo Beach:

(Photo/Andrew O’Brien)

“We have many different points of view here in Westport,” he says. “But I can’t figure out where this individual stands.”

I don’t know either. But it’s clear where he sits: In the driver’s seat, without a real good look through his rear view mirror.

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Longtime Westport resident Vivian Doak of Spring, Texas, died peacefully at home, surrounded by her immediate family, last Saturday. She was 91 years.

The oldest of 5 children, Vivian graduated from high school in Ridgefield Park, New Jersey. After secretarial school in New York, she held various positions. In 1952 she married Malcolm Robert Doak, an Air Force pilot. Following stints in Memphis, Japan, Long Island and Poughkeepsie, the couple settled in Westport in 1964, where they raised their family. In 2009 Vivian and her husband retired to Lake Conroe, Texas, and finally settled in Spring, Texas, at The Village at Gleannloch Farms.

While in Westport Vivian was a mother, housewife, business professional and real estate agent. She served many roles, from Cub Scout and Girl Scout leader to PTA organizer; from church deacon to leading the local Women’s Council of Realtors.

Vivian enjoyed traveling the world with her corporate pilot husband, as well as cultural jaunts with her children. The Doak home was a welcoming place for neighborhood kids, and a great environment for their children’s friends to hang out, be fed delicious meals, and be appreciated. Many still recall her warm smile and generous laugh.

Vivian possessed an ambitious, artistic talent that influenced everything she did. She was an excellent cook and skilled seamstress, skills she passed on to her children, grandchildren and beyond.

She enjoyed dancing, and studied tap and other forms. A painter from early on, she later enjoyed the hands-on hard work of building, refinishing and reupholstering furniture. She brought a creative eye to numerous heirloom quilts made for family members.

Vivian reveled in leading her grandchildren in holiday crafts, and created hand-painted curios for her children and their families. She also mastered a host of magic tricks, and juggled to entertain her grandchildren.

In retirement Doak mastered the art of theorem painting, studying at the Fletcher Farm School for the Arts in Vermont. While a member of the Wilton Presbyterian Church, Vivian designed and oversaw the construction of their on-site Memorial Garden.

Vivian will be remembered for her kindness, patience, loving manner, infectious laugh and bright smile, and as the matriarch of a strong, loving vital family.

Vivian is survived by her husband Malcolm and their 5 children: Kathi Doak of New York City; Lisa Lyne (James) of Spring, Texas; Ivy Doak (Timothy Montler) of Denton, Texas; Robin Neyrey of Spring TX, and Malcolm (Carole Ann) of Kirby, Vermont; 7 grandchildren; 3 great-grandchildren; numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins, and sister Marjorie Schoneboom of Long Island.

A memorial service was held at The Village at Gleannloch Farms. The family is appreciative of everyone there.

Vivian Doak

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Great blue herons are skittish — and very hard to photograph. Yet John Kantor captured this “Westport … Naturally” scene beautifully, at Sherwood Mill Pond.

(Photo/John Kantor)

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And finally … our “06880” plea for bicycle help (above) led of course to this song. I bet the couple wants to explore Westport on individual bikes. But just in case they don’t …

 

Roundup: Waste; Kendig & Colbert; Golf, Tennis & Basketball …

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Don’t just talk the environmental talk. Walk it.

And learn how this Monday (July 26, 7 p.m., Wakeman Town Farm). A panel discussion on “Attainable Sustainable: Simple Steps to Reducing Wasteful Everyday Habits” will give you the tools you need to create meaningful change.

The even is moderated by State Senator Will Haskell. Participants include Peter Boyd (Yale School of the Environment), Haley Schulman (Food Rescue US), Brad Kerner (“public health expert turned low-waster”), and Andrew Colabella (Westport RTM and Environment Committee member).

Click here for tickets.

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Westpor’s Emmy-nominated list keeps growing.

“The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” senior producer — and 2000 Staples High School graduate — Paige Kendig was part of the show’s nomination for “Outstanding Variety Talk Series,” while its live election special is up for an Emmy as “Outstanding Variety Special.”

Paige joins several other local nominees. Soon there will be a category for “American Town With Most Emmys.”

“Late Show with Stephen Colbert” senior producer Paige Kendig and the show’s star, as they interviewed President-Elect Joe Biden in December.

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The Westport Police Department is good neighbors with their across-Jesup-Road friends, the Gillespie Center.

On July 31 (10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Stop & Shop), the department will hold a food drive for the Center, and its umbrella organization Homes with Hope.

Items needed include canned meats, tuna, salmon, Spam, pasta and sauces, chili, hot and cold cereal, canned fruit, canned and dry soups, peanut butter, jelly, mac & cheese, granola bars, pancake mix, syrup and mayonnaise

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Congratulations to Manna Toast.

The popular Church Lane restaurant — which opened last year in the middle of the pandemic — hosted an outdoor dinner the other day, to celebrate its 1st birthday.

One of the guests is a very loyal customer: 118 visits!

Manna Toast’s anniversary dinner.

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Connecticut’s Summer at the Museum program is great. Anyone 18 and under, plus an accompanying adult, visit participating museums free of charge through September 6.

Among those museums: MoCA Westport.

The summer exhibition, Élan Vital, features 11 artists working in a range of mediums, including painting, drawing, prints, sculpture, ceramics and site-specific installation work There are 2 other exhibits too: “Unfit for Print” and “Love Wins,” plus high school works in the Congressional Art Competition. Click here for details.

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Foursomes are still available for the Westport Weston Family YMCA’s fundraising golf tournament on August 2 (Aspetuck Valley Country Club, Weston).

There’s lunch at 11 a.m.; a shotgun start at noon, and a cocktail reception, dinner and awards at 4:30.

The event includes hole-in-one and putting contests, a $20 pro shop credit, gifts, prizes, and beverages.

Click here to register. Questions? Call 203-226-8981 ext. 104, or email bmarazzi@westporty.org.

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Speaking of sports: Congratulations to Tighe Brunetti of Staples High School. The rising senior — a member of the state champion Wreckers’ team — has been named USA Today’s state Boys  Tennis Player of the Year.

Tighe Brunetti

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Speaking still of sports: Yesterday’s “Roundup” gave a shoutout to Marc Lasry. The Westport hedge fund billionaire is co-owner of the Milwaukee Bucks, new National Basketball Association champions.

The team may play 1,000 from here. But — as Google’s aerial view shows — his Greens Farms property includes a full-size basketball court.

With the slogan all of Wisconsin (and now the NBA) knows well: “Fear the Deer”!

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo proves there is life in even the most unlikely places.

(Photo/Diane Yormark)

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And finally … happy 48th birthday to Rufus Wainwright!

Wakeman Town Farm Honors Peter Wormser

Peter Wormser’s death on Tuesday stunned and saddened many Westporters. The architect, gardener, cook and avid outdoorsman was involved in many facets of Westport life. But Wakeman Town Farm had a special place in his heart.

And the town’s sustainability center loved Peter back. This tribute is from Christy Colasurdo, co-chair emeritus and events director.

Wakeman Town Farm lost its biggest champion Tuesday night. More than a decade ago Peter Wormser was among the first in town to step up to renovate the aging farmhouse at 134 Cross Highway, and make it habitable for its early caretakers, Mike and Carrie Aitkenhead. Today it is a thriving institution, thanks in large part to the efforts of Peter and his wife, Liz Milwe, to create a truly special gathering space for the entire community.

Peter Wormser and his wife, Liz Milwe, at Wakeman Town Farm.

Peter had an enormous impact on the Wakeman Town Farm team. We don’t remember him as the world-renowned architect who designed the New York Vietnam Veterans Memorial, or the flagship Restoration Hardware store in downtown Manhattan.

Instead we recall Peter clad in faded jeans and his trademark blue T-shirt (matching his cerulean eyes), scooping ice cream, dishing up chili and flipping burgers at Family Fun Day, or bartending at our annual Harvest Fest dinners.

Peter Wormser (right), Pete Romano, and plenty of pumpkins.

Peter truly loved the Farm, and what it meant to Westport residents. He quietly made his mark by attending countless meetings, doing detailed architectural renderings (without compensation), and eventually moving from his NYC office to one in Saugatuck, so he could GC construction of the Farm’s multipurpose facility (again, gratis).

When the building was ready for its unveiling, Peter’s son Tim died unexpectedly. The WTF committee unanimously voted to name the venue Tim’s Kitchen, honoring Peter and Liz, the Farm’s co-chair, for their contributions over the years.

Since the early days, Peter made a slew of improvements to the Farm grounds, including designing our unique Pizza Piazza, stone patios and walkways. He was in the process of working up drawings for the barn’s revitalization.

Peter Wormser (center, blue shirt) and friends celebrate Wakeman Town Farm’s pizza oven.

More than this, Peter and Liz were frequent attendees at Farm events, cooking classes and chef’s dinners. Peter rolled up his sleeves and assisted in the kitchen, working alongside Artisan’s Frederic Kieffer, Possa’s Chef Massimo and Peter Romano of Saugatuck Sweets.

It took us all by surprise when Peter, an avid cook, gardener and swimmer, was grounded by a mysterious illness 2 years ago. He underwent an array of treatments and grueling medical procedures. Eventually, he was diagnosed with leukemia.

Peter died July 13, the same day as his beloved son Tim, only 5 years later.

Wakeman Town Farm co-chair Bill Constantino fondly remembers Peter for his sensitivity to the Farm’s historic roots. He says, “Peter always had the best interest of keeping the integrity of my grandparents’ homestead and farm in mind, while being able to create an amazing space for the residents of Westport. He will truly be missed.”

Our hearts go out to the Wormser family, including sons Jon and James, and longtime partner Liz Milwe. We share heartfelt gratitude to one of the most giving, talented and unpretentious humans we have had the pleasure to know.

Peter Wormser, at his beloved Wakeman Town Farm.

Remembering Peter Wormser

Peter Wormser — a longtime Westporter and award-winning architect who valued the intersection of innovative design, community consciousness, and environmental sustainability — died last night, after battling leukemia. He was 69 years old.

Peter was 32 when he and colleague William Fellows won a nationwide design competition to design the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on Manhattan’s Water Street. The memorial boasts a plain wall of glass brick, etched with excerpts of letters written from Vietnam — mostly from men and women in combat to friends and family at home — as well as political speeches and news dispatches.

One view of the New York Vietnam Memorial …

The writing on the wall inspired a book and a documentary film, both called Dear America: Letters Home from Vietnam. Announcing the winning award, Mayor Ed Koch praised its design: ”What I like is its simplicity, and the fact that what will appear on the wall will be the comments of those who suffered. These comments will be a constant reminder of how much we owe the dead and how much we owe the living.”

Since its completion in 1985, Peter maintained a diverse architectural practice. His projects included multi-family housing developments in Manhattan and the Bronx, custom homes in Connecticut, ranches in California, and most recently the design of a new sustainable “green” town in Colorado.

Additionally he designed offices for the Ms. Foundation, Nathan Cummings Foundation, MTV and Miramax, among others, as well as the Restoration Hardware flagship store in Manhattan, Furniture Row stores in the Southwest, and restaurants on both coasts.

… and a close-up.

A project close to his heart speaks to his love of community in Westport, where he lived for 2 decades with his wife of 40 years, Liz Milwe. Tim’s Kitchen at Wakeman Town Farm is a community gathering spot, named after their son who died in 2016.

Peter grew up in Stamford. He graduated from Pomfret School, and earned a BS in environmental science at Pitzer College, where he met his wife. After she graduated they moved to New York, and raised 3 children.

Later,  Peter received an MA in architecture from Columbia University. He lived in NoHo for decades, where he designed the Children’s Museum of the Arts on Lafayette Street.

Peter was also a painter. At night he jogged around Washington Square Park, often returning to their loft with a fellow runner he had invited over for pasta primavera.

Peter Wormser

Peter cared deeply for the people around him. On summer weekends especially, he enjoyed spending long, delicious evenings with family and friends — young, old, and in between.

Peter was an excellent cook, who relished the role of chef and host. He shared his love of food with his 3 sons, and took pride in the side-by-side chopping, slicing and dicing, while taking time to reveal his osso buco or mango salsa secrets with them.

A lover of the garden, Peter tended to his many tomato plants with unusually precise attention.

He adored the water and snow, was an avid skier on both land and sea, and taught his boys to drive a boat, wakeboard in the sun, and carve the slopes with the best of them. Swimming at dusk in the Long Island Sound with his dog Jackson was also among his greatest pleasures in life.

In addition to his wife, Liz Milwe, Peter is survived by sons James and Jon Wormser; his brother, Tom Wormser; sister-in-laws Cindy Goodman Wormser, Marjorie Leiberman and Judy Milwe; nieces Cindy Milwe, Alison Milwe Grace, Julie Howes and Megan Wormser, and nephew Matt Wormser.

A memorial service is set for Sunday, July 25 (4 p.m., Cedar Point Yacht Club).

In lieu of flowers, the family asks for donations to be made to Westport Friends of Park and Rec/Tim’s Kitchen, c/o Wakeman Town Farm, 134 Cross Highway, Westport CT 06880.

Pic Of The Day #1542

Greetings from Wakeman Town Farm (Photo/Patricia McMahon)

Roundup: Fireworks, Juneteenth, Gold’s …

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There are no 4th of July fireworks in Westport this year.

But there were pyrotechnics off Compo last night.

A private party — and anyone else down there around 10 — enjoyed a brief display. As in colonial (okay, pre-pandemic) days, they were launched from a barge offshore.

The event was legit. Police inspected the operation earlier in the evening.

But it sure surprised plenty of folks around town, who heard it.

And their dogs.

Fireworks off Compo Beach last night.

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The Westport Museum of History & Culture honors Juneteenth — the commemoration of the end of slavery in the US — with a special walking program on Westport’s African American history.

The June 19 event (2 to 3:30 p.m.). features guides, who will share stories of the area’s Black community from colonial times through today. It’s based on the museum’s exhibit “Remembered: The History of African Americans in Westport.”

Space is limited to 10 people per tour. Reservations ($10 each) are required, Click here to purchase.

Meanwhile, this Tuesday (June 15, 6 p.m.), the museum will showcase objects related to Black history. It’s part of their Tuesday Treasures program, showcasing objects from the collection not normally on public view.

To watch live and ask questions, visit their Facebook page or YouTube channel.

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For over 60 years, Gold’s Delicatessen has been Westport’s go-to place for pastrami, bagels and lox and more.

And though it did a healthy takeout business over the past 15 months, there’s no surer sign that Westport is back from COVID than this: Gold’s indoor tables are once again open.

So go. Have breakfast or lunch. Sit and schmooze. Just like in 2019.

Or 1959.

Gold’s is back! (Photo/Toby Burns)

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It’s one thing to have a national champion rowing team.

It’s astonishing to have two — and both in the same age group.

That’s what Saugatuck Rowing Club did yesterday. Both girls U-17 teams — 4+ and 8+ won the US Rowing Youth Nationals in Sarasota, Florida.

Congratulations to 8+ rowers Mia Kirkorsky (coxswain), and rowers Claudia Chadwick, Elisabeth Chadwick, Hannah Clemens, Maia Freeman, Isabella Furman, Jane Leahy, Janna Moore and Lauren Schramm. All except Isabell and Lauren are from Westport.

In the 4+ boat: Westporters Victoria Bazarko and Rosie Lundberg, plus Ella Casano, Kelly Kennedy and Alexandra Cowan.

Coaches are Gordon Getsinger, Anna Yamamoto and Mike O’’Hara.

Look for them all back soon, on the river. You’ll know who they are by the gold glinting off the sun.

Saugatuck Rowing Club’s U17 8+ boat: national champs!

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What’s better than a dinner of Pizza Pete’s homemade pies at Wakeman Town Farm with the family?

The same event — but without the kids. (C’mon — admit it!)

An adults-only event — yes, there’s wine — is set for Thursday, June 24 (7 p.m.). The outdoor event includes individual pizzas from Skinny Pines’ Jeff Borofsky, a bottle from The Grapevine, and live music. Click here for details, and tickets.

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Comedy returns to the Remarkable Theater screen this Tuesday (June 15, 8:30 p.m.). “Bridesmaids” tops the bill. Click here for tickets and more information.

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Jocelyn & Chris — their siblings, so I guess they don’t need last names — entertained an appreciative MoCA Westport crowd Friday night.

The outdoor concert was part of their summer-long concert series. Next: a classical piano concert by Alessio Bax and Lucille Chung (Friday, June 25). They’re married, BTW. Click here for tickets and more information.

Jocelyn & Chris entertain at MoCA Westport. (Photo/Maddy Martin)

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“Westport … Naturally” gets lots of gorgeous shots. This is not one of them.

Sherwood Island (Photo/Molly Alger)

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And finally … missing sit-down meals at Gold’s is not anything like what Charles Dickens’ orphans went through. Still, it’s not celebrate the return of the popular deli’s glorious food.

Roundup: Staples Tennis, Wakeman Town Farm, Stop & Shop …

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Congratulations to the Staples High School boys and girls tennis teams! Both are state champions!

The boys of coach Kris Hrisovulos defeated Westhill 7-0 yesterday, clinching their 5th straight — yes, 5th (!) — state “LL” (extra large schools) championship. They finished the season 22-1, shutting out all 4 state tournament opponents. Their only loss was to Darien, in the FCIAC final.

Singles winners yesterday were Tighe Brunetti, Robbie Daus, Brandon Felcher and Lucas Haymes. Doubles victors were Bradley Sheppard/Luke Brodsky, Alex Miller/Jack Motyl, and Matthew Chiang/Josh Suggs.

The 2021 state champion boys tennis team.

The girls of coach Paco Fabian beat Amity 4-3, for their 3rd straight title. Jenna Kornbluth’s 6-4, 6-1 victory at #4 singles clinched the match, after everyone else had finished.

Other victors for Staples: Karenna Birns (singles) and Elle Tesoriero/Audrey Kercher, and Carine Geijerstam/Maya Farber (doubles).

The 2021 state champion girls tennis team (Photo courtesy of The Ruden Report)=======================================================

Work continued on Railroad Place this morning.

During repaving, all the restaurant structures were removed. That’s done, and now all 3 restaurants — Harvest, Tarantino’s and Romanacci will be open this weekend.

In related news, Romanacci has taken over the former Commuter Coffee location It’s now a full restaurant, with bar.

Outdoors or in, Railroad Place is the place to be. And with reduced train travel, there’s plenty of parking nearby!

(Photo/Matthew Mandell)

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Your kid may not be a career farmer. But Wakeman Town Farm’s 2-week summer service program for 6th through 9th graders is a great outdoor, hands-on opportunity to learn about the land. And become more self-reliant and independent in the process.

Participants plant, water and harvest vegetables to be donated to local food pantries. Representatives from those agencies visit WTF, and discuss food insecurity in the area.

Teens and chefs also cook a nutritious meal for the Gillespie Center, using  the Farm’s organic produce. They also run their own farm stand.

Students get to know the rabbits, ducks, chicken, sheep, goats and alpacas. They learn about animal care, feeding and halter training.

The program also explores environmental topics like composting, pollinator gardens and the Zero Waste initiative.

There are 4 sessions, each 2 weeks long. For more information, click here. To register, click here.

Who can resist a summer program like this?

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Mark Mathias spotted this at Stop & Shop yesterday:

(Photo/Mark Mathias)

Actually, the photo shows something that is not there.

Look closely. The supermarket has removed all those one-way directional arrows, which no one has followed for at least the past 10 months (if they ever did).

Stop & Shop is not the only place getting back to the pre-pandemic normal. Trader Joe’s shoppers no longer have to queue up, and be directed to a cashier; we’re now free to find our own, just as we did before March 2020.

And the Westport Weston Family YMCA has removed the absurd red tape on the stairs, demarcating the up and down sides. The staircase is way too narrow to have any effect.

What have you seen? Click “Comments” below.

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Tomorrow’s “Songs for a Summer Evening: Music that Made Movies Magical” YouTube video benefits the Norwalk Sister City Project, a non-profit doing incredible community development work in a poor Nicaragua barrio.

But there’s a heavy Westport presence n the video. Broadway icon Kelli O’Hara, Staples Players stars Jamie Mann and Bridget Looby, and Emily Rabon Hall and her dad Bill Hall all join together to share the magic of music from the movies. Tom Kretsch is president of NSCP, and has worked with Bill Hall to create the video.

Click here for the link to the 7:30 video (and to donate), or click the link below:

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The Westport Library’s Summer Reading Challenge is underway.

The 5th annual program — designed for adults — includes 25 categories of books. After reading one, submit it on a special web page. Then track your progress on the leaderboard.

Chalk up those categories. NOTE: Each book can be used for only one category. Click here for details.

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Rae Suba’s family owns the Post Road storefront near Tiffany. She runs the Child’s Play occupational therapy center on the 2nd floor. Currently, the ground floor is vacant.

But now — just in time for tomorrow’s Pride rally, and at one of the most visible spots in town — she’s decorated it with rainbows.

She says, “It is my humble honor as a forever LGBTQIA+ ally to create this window display, in an effort to rise to the Westport Pride words: ‘Elevate. Educate. Empower.’

“These children, teens and adults deserve visibility, respect, hope, inspiration and kindness. Happy Pride Month Everyone! 🌈🌈LOVE WINS🌈🌈Compassion and empathy will save humanity. Namaste. 🙏🏼

“My clinic will always be a safe space for children, teens and young adults who are LGBTQIA+. Thank you to my family for letting me use the building display window.”

46 Main Street

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Around the corner on Jesup Green from Tiffany and Rae Suba’s rainbow storefront, Westport Book Shop has become one of Westport’s hottest destinations — and not just for used books.

Every month, a different artist is featured at the Drew Friedman Community Arts wall in the back. For June, the artist is Holly Hawthorn.

Her porcelain sculptures reflect her love of the ocean and beaches, and incorporate seashells gathered over many years of walks on beaches from Maine to Greece.

Holly is a sculptor, printmaker ceramic artist and former teacher. She studied art in the US, Italy and Greece.

The exhibit is open during the Book Shop’s business hours:  Tuesdays through Fridays 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturdays 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sundays noon to 5 p.m.

Holly Hawthorn, with her Westport Book Shop art.

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Speaking of art: George Billis Gallery hosts an opening reception on Friday, June 18 (146 Main Street, 4 to 7 p.m.).

New artists include Westport-based Jarvis Wilcox. The gallery says: “His lush still life paintings are poetic with much emotional connections stimulating the viewer. Wilcox brings delight and insight as he discovers seeing and then making his works of art.”

Also in the exhibit: watercolorists Derek Buckner Paul Pitsker, still life artist Julian Cardinal and ceramicist Alice Federico.

“Cherries with Silver Cup” (Jarvis WIlcox)

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Bill Taibe is branching out.

The owner of 3 very popular Westport restaurants — Don Memo, Kawa Ni and The Whelk — is opening a cafe in the new Norwalk Art Space (455 West Avenue). The breakfast and lunch menu includes flour water salt and Idylwild breads, Riverbank Farm kimchee, and barbecue smoked turkey.

Bill Taibe and staff at the Norwalk Art Space.

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Suzuki Music Schools is back to in-person learning. To celebrate, they’re hosting a free concert in the Colonial Green parking lot (246 Post Road East).

The program next Tuesday (June 8) includes great music — and food vendors.

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And finally … the Suzuki concert (above) sounds great. Hopefully, the young musicians will sound almost as good as this.

Roundup: Masks, Gatsby Day, Ospreys …

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Yesterday’s announcement by the Centers for Disease Control that fully vaccinated people can stop wearing masks in most situations — including indoors — will be effective next Wednesday (May 19) in Connecticut, Governor Lamont said yesterday.

That’s the date other restrictions will be lifted too.

Connecticut residents can’t abandon their masks just yet. Wait until May 19! (Photo collage/Miggs Burroughs)

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Happy Gatsby Day!

A few years ago, 1st Selectman Jim Marpe declared May 14 “Gatsby Day” in Westport.

That’s the date — 101 years ago today — that F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald signed their lease for the house at what is now 244 South Compo Road.

Marpe said that Gatsby Day should be celebrated in perpetuity. COVID has prevented celebrations last year — the centennial! — and this. But historian Deej Webb (who literally wrote the book on “Gatsby in Connecticut”) wants to make sure that Westport remembers the day.

It’s interesting to note that the Roaring ’20s — the decade associated so closely with the legendary author and his wife — were a direct result of the influenza pandemic of 1918-19.

Will a similar decade follow COVID? And if so, will the direct result of the Roaring ’20s — the Great Depression — ensue too?

FUN FITZGERALD FACT: Deej Webb says that the iconic shot of F. Scott and Zelda in front of their Westport house was not, as is often assumed, photoshopped. It’s legit:

We know the Westport Country Playhouse is a town jewel.

So does the National Endowment for the Arts. They just awarded the Playhouse a $10,000 Arts Projects grant. It supports “Ain’t Misbehavin,” the musical planned for 2022.

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Nico Eisenberger writes: “I just witnessed an unbelievable spectacle. Three bald eagles went up against 3 ospreys in a full-on battle for the skies … all right above the new osprey nest on the way to Burying Hill.

“They screeched, swerved, swooped, dove, teamed, ganged, isolated, regrouped and went at it again and again. My measly iPhone photo [below] doesn’t do it justice. It was jaw-dropping.

“I caught a hint of this growing local rivalry a few times over the past few days, but nothing like the epic battle now.

“I am sure there will be more. Fingers crossed for all involved, especially our new nesting pair. So far, it seems they have been able to defend themselves nicely.”

Nico copied Patrick Comins, executive director of the Connecticut Audubon Society. He replied:

“This is something we will see more and more of, especially with the overlapping hunting territories of the nesting eagle pair and many ospreys. Bald eagles regularly harass osprey, steal their prey, and occasionally kill or injure ospreys in the process.

“But both species treat each other with some degree of respect, because each can cause damage to the other.”

(Photo/Nico Eisenberger)

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Now there are 3.

Easton has joined the Westport Weston Health District.

Which means it needs a new name. Suggestions (beyond “Westport Weston Easton Health District,” I guess) are welcome. Email publichealth@wwhd.org.

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The only thing better than al fresco dining may be doing it with the best local bounty. Oh, yeah … with chef Alison Milwe Grace in charge.

The popular caterer works her magic at Wakeman Town Farm on June 12 (6 to 9 p.m.). The menu for the WTF fundraiser (for educational programs) includes chilled spring pea and basil soup, spring vegetables, spring lamb chops with mint chimichurri or herb-dusted salmon over asparagus, with lemon-thyme berry trifles. BYOB adult beverages.

Guests can stroll the grounds and gardens, visit the animals, and enjoy acoustic music.

Click here for tickets, and more information.

Alison Milwe Grace, at Wakeman Town Farm.

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And finally … there was no Billboard Hot 100 on May 14, 1920 (the day, noted above, that F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald signed their Westport lease). It started August 4, 1958.

However, there are records kept of the top records of 1920. The most popular song that year was Al Jolson’s “Swanee.” “How I love ya, how I love ya …”

The rest of the top songs include a few folks I’ve heard of (Paul Whiteman, Eddie Cantor, Jascha Heifetz, Sergei Rachmaninoff). But 2 titles caught my eye, for different reasons.

There was this topical tune, “Prohibition Blues” …

… and this one: “My Little Bimbo Down on the Bamboo Isle.” It would never fly today, 101 years later:

Roundup: Theaters, TVs, Films …

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Westporters know that this is a great community for music.

Now it’s official. The Westport Public Schools are officially a “Best Community for Music Education.” The designation comes from the NAMM Foundation — part of the National Association of Music Merchants.

If that sounds familiar, it’s because this is our 9th “Best Community” honor in a row.

The award is for school districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement in efforts to provide music access and education to all students. School officials answered detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, support for the music program, and community music-making programs.

The schools benefit from partners like the Westport Library, Levitt Pavilion, PTAs, Westport Permanent Art Collections and Westport Arts Advisory Committee.

No word on whether there’s an official ceremony for the award. If so, there will be no shortage of entertainment.

Staples and middle school musicians work hard to put on good shows. (Photo/Inklings)

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Speaking of the arts: White Barn — Lucille Lortel’s famed experimental theater that straddled the Westport-Norwalk line — and the actress/director’s nearby home were demolished a while ago.

Now a number of trees have been cleared too, in preparation for the construction of 15 homes.

Some remaining wetlands won’t be touched, nor will 5 acres around the pond that are now part of the Norwalk Land Trust.

But this is the scene, not far from what was once the White Barn Theater:

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And speaking of the theater (again): The Westport Country Playhouse is still going strong. However, due to COVID, its 4 productions are online this year.

But the stage won’t be completely dark. Three cabaret performances will take place live. The special shows — music and comedy, with limited seating — are benefits for the storied theater.

On June 26, Brad Simmons and Tony Pinkins present Broadway favorites, contemporary covers, classics and more.

Larry Owens’ “Sondheimia” (July 17) explores time, love and ambition through Stephen Sondheim’s music and lyrics.

Tony Award winner Ali Stroker shares songs from her repertoire on July 24.

Tickets go on sale to the general public this Friday (May 14, noon). Click here for information and purchases.

Meanwhile, the Playhouse is partnering with the Connecticut Comedy Festival to present Michael Ian Black. The show is this Saturday (May 15, 7 p.m.) — and while it’s live, it’s outdoors. Attendees should bright chairs, to set up in the parking lot. Food will be available for purchase in the garden.

Black is remembered for the cult classic film “Wet Hot American Summer” and the Netflix series of the same name, as well as his work in the comedy troupe The State. Click here for tickets and more information.

The Westport Country Playhouse offers limited seating for this year’s cabarets.(Photo/Robert Benson)

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The Westport Garden Club’s annual sale — a beloved event since 1928, though canceled last year by COVID — returns this Friday (May 14, 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.).

More than 1,000 perennials, including native varieties, will be for sale on Jesup Green. Club members will be on hand to answer questions. Can you dig it?

Getting ready for the sale.

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Speaking of which: The Westport Garden Club’s plant sale is not the only place to ask questions.

This Monday (May 17, 7 p.m., Zoom), Wakeman Town Farm’s Pollinator Pathway talk offers a an opportunity to ask master gardeners: What to plant where? What’s eating my plants? How can I keep them happy?

University of Connecticut advanced master gardener Alice Ely and veggie whisperer/WTF farmer Ryan Brunelle will “field” questions. Click here to register.

Master gardener Ryan Brunelle.

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Digital Eye Strain and Computer Vision Syndrome are real issues. One of Mark Motyl’s young relatives suffers from looking too long and closely at his phone.

The pandemic exacerbated the problem, with remote learning and working, followed by more hours watching TV. Light-emitting pixels damage many eyes.

Motyl offers a solution. He’s the creator of Vivid-Tek — an immersive theater whose components hide in a credenza or bench.

Light from Vivid-Tek’s screens is reflected — not direct. Without sacrificing resolution, it is gentle, tolerable, and more “cinematic.”

Motyl’s screens can be used during the day for remote learning, Zoom calls, exercise classes, gaming and more. When not in use, they disappear into custom furniture.

Vivid-Tek’s showroom is at 1252 Post Road East (the former Splatterbox, near Fortuna’s). For more information click here, call 203-(203) 246-2011, or email info@vivid-tek.com.

Vivid-Tek’s screen and controls can be hidden in a bench.

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Last month, “06880” reported that 2 Bank of America branches — the one next to the Starbucks drive-through, and another further east on the Southport line — had been permanently closed.

But, BOA said, customers could use the main Westport branch — next to Design Within Reach.

Yesterday, I had a non-ATM banking need. I headed downtown.

Nope! Still closed!

That’ll teach me to read “06880.”

That about sums it up.

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Work on the Aquarion water tank opposite Staples High School is moving along. Earlier today, a huge concrete pour was captured by alert “06880” reader — who was probably stuck momentarily in traffic — Seth Schachter.

(Photo/Seth Schachter)

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Speaking of Staples: The boys rugby team is having a great season.

They’ve qualified for one of 16 spots at the national tournament in Kansas City June 17-19 — and are raising $50,000 to cover travel expenses. Click here for more information, and to help.

The 2021 Staples High School boys rugby team.

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Staples High School Class of 2011 graduate (and swim team captain/musician) Margot Bruce is finishing up an MFA in cinema at San Francisco State University. Her thesis project is a film called “Harbor.” But she needs to raise $15,000 to make it.

Margot has launched an Indigogo campaign (click here). Click below for a short video, in which she explains the film’s intriguing themes.

Click below to see Margot’s first-year film. Filmed entirely underwater, it is a metaphor for grieving the loss of a loved one.

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The canal separating Canal Road from Saugatuck Island floods regularly.

But not always.

Other times — like yesterday — it looks like this:

(Photo/Dinkin Fotografik)

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo comes from Eve Potts. Even the roadway near her Regents Park condo are beautiful this spring.

(Photo/Eve Potts)

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And finally … on this day in 1989, Ron Wilson died of a brain aneurysm, at 44. You may not know his name — but you sure know his drumming:

Roundup: Marshalls, SLOBs …

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Barnes & Noble’s departure for downtown has left a large vacancy in the shopping center between Little Barn and Greens Farms Elementary School.

Next week, it won’t be the only one. Marshalls Shoe Shop is closing Saturday (May 8).

Everything is on sale now for 40% off — but almost nothing is left.

The Norwalk store will remain open.

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As “06880” reported earlier, yesterday was SLOBs’ Day of Service.

Dozens of members of Staples High School’s Service League of Boys fanned out across town. They planted, weeded, hauled rocks, and did all kinds of other work to help non-profits and the needy.

One site was the Lillian Wadsworth Arboretum. SLOBs joined members of Westport’s Tree Board to make the Stony Brook Road preserve even more welcoming than it already was.

They filled and removed 20 trash bags with the noxious invasive, garlic mustard. They mulched and marked trails for families to enjoy the new Story Walk, a signed pathway with an illustrated story that’s a collaboration between the Tree Board and Westport Library.

It was a beautiful day. And Staples’ SLOBs made it far lovelier. (Hat tip: Alice Ely)

SLOBs at the Lillian Wadsworth Arboretum.

And if you haven’t seen the Story Walk, here it is. Like the Arboretum itself, it’s one of Westport’s many hidden gems.

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Have you been thinking about getting solar panels installed on your house? Should you lease or rent? Will you actually save money?

Those questions — and many more — will be answered next Monday (May 10, 7 p.m., Zoom) at a Wakeman Town Farm-sponsored virtual panel.

“The Pros and Cons of Solar” will be moderated by Bill Constantino. He’s co-chair of WTF, and has worked in the renewable and energy efficiency industry for over 10 years.

Panelists include John Rountree, whose Westport-based Rountree Architects specializes in Net Zero homes; Matthew Macunas, a policy specialist for the Connecticut Green Bank; Emily Basham, senior manager of partnership development at the Connecticut Green Bank, and Susan Young, community marketing manager at PosiGen Solar and Energy Efficiency.

Click here to register.

Solar panels

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And finally … Bing Crosby was born on this day, in 1903. He was multi-talented, leading in record sales, radio ratings and movie grosses from 1930 to 1954. He made over 70 films, and recorded more than 1,600 songs. He died in 1977, age 74.

He hit #1 on the charts 43 times — more than the Beatles (24) and Elvis Presley (18) combined. Here are 5 of them.