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.
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.
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.
Quietly — but powerfully — Westport has become a beehive of sustainability.
Between composting, our Net Zero 2050 commitment, the Home Energy Challenge, our embrace of electric vehicles, and organizations like Sustainable Westport, Wakeman Town Farm and Earthplace, many residents, businesses and groups are trying to do what we can to save our planet.
It’s not always easy. many areas need improvement. But awareness of the urgent need to act — and concrete steps to do so — seem high.
One small but important step took place Thursday night. Social media/ networking whiz Kami Evans gathered a group at Wakeman Town Farm. All have a product or concept in the sustainable space. Each spoke briefly about what they do, including what’s going well, and what they need.
Connections were made. Conversations were sparked. Community was formed.
There were established businesses like Savannah Bee, whose products and educational programs raise awareness of bees’ crucial role in our ecosystem, and BD Provisions, which sells healthy food in bulk (and sustainable containers).
Savannah Bee manager Julie Cook talked about her company’s mission — and the importance of bees on our planet.
Westport entrepreneurs described their inventions, like Lustir‘s carbon fiber straws, and those they sold, like SKP hair and body care.
Service providers spoke too: Curbside Compost, which picks up your food scraps and drops off a clean pail, and Staples High School graduate Rachel Precious, whose Precious Oysters offers “tide to table” shucking services.
The Eco Dude shared his vision of a space that will include non-plastic retail products, an artisan cooperative, all-compostable coffee shop, and workshops. (He’s still in the funding phase.)
Organic Krush catered, providing delicious, healthy, and pesticide-, GMO- and hormone-free food.
It would have been compostable, of course. Except it was too good. Not a scrap was left at the end.
A year after Elvira’s reopened as Joey’s By the Shore — Featuring Elvira Mae’s Coffee Bar,” there’s more news from Old Mill/Compo’s favorite food spot.
The building is for sale. But Joey Romeo and Betsy Kravitz are not going anywhere. They’re keeping the business just as is — with great eats, an ordering window and a beachy vibe, 7 days a week from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. A long-term lease protects the business.
That’s the good great news. Now if only we had some good news about that long-halted home construction project on the site of the former Positano restaurant, a few yards diagonally across the street …
Betsy Kravitz and Joey Romeo, ready for another season.
Both myTeam Triumph-CT and Remarkable Theater support the special needs community.
It’s no wonder they’re partnering for mTT’s “Spring Into Action” season-opening event. On Saturday, May 1 (gates open at 6:30 p.m.; movie at 7:30), myTeam Triumph sponsors a showing of “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” — the Marvel adventure film — at the downtown drive-in.
It’s not just that the Remarkable Theater employs people with disabilities for screenings at the Imperial Avenue lot. Or that myTeam Triump pairs children, teens, adults and veterans with disabilities with volunteers, who join them in triathlons and road races.
The volunteers are called “angels.” The special needs participants are called … “captains.” So the May 1 film is very fitting.
All proceeds from the event will be shared by Remarkable Theater and myTeam Triumph-CT.
For more information and to buy tickets, click here. To learn more and volunteer with mTT (you don’t have to be an athlete!), click here. To donate, click here.
Starting tomorrow, there’s another COVID testing center in town.
Progressive Diagnostics opens at 8 a.m. in Saugatuck railroad station parking lot #8. That’s the one off Saugatuck Avenue, between I-95 and the Exit 17 entrance/ exit ramp. They promise same-day PCR and antibody test results.
Weekday hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
And finally … Jim Steinman died Monday in Danbury. He was 73, and had been in poor health.
His New York Times obituary explains that Steinman “wrote all the songs on Bat Out of Hell, Meat Loaf’s operatic, teenage-angst-filled 1977 debut album, which remains one of the most successful records of all time.”
Meat Loaf was one of Westport’s many famous musician residents. When he wasn’t recording operatic, teenage-angst-filled songs, he played softball at Compo Beach and Greens Farms Elementary School, and coached it too.
Just another normal neighbor. (Hat tip: Adam Stolpen)
Speaking of farms and food, here’s a way to keep ’em down on the farm: Pizza.
On Tuesdays starting May 4 (4 to 7 p.m.), “Tony Pizza Napolitano” will make 16-inch wood-fired cheese pizzas live at the Wakeman Town Farm oven.
Tony lives in Weston, and the pizzas he makes at The Grange are an 0688e legend. He uses “only top-quality local, organic ingredients — and love.” Click here for a rave review from Stephanie Webster’s CTBites.
Go to Facebook. Find “Tony Pizza Napolitano,” click “like” and follow the page. The weekly menu is posted every Monday morning. To order, send Tony a private message for a time slot. Once it’s confirmed, pick it up the next day at the Cross Highway farm..
It’s a perfect dinner — particularly if you’re already at Wakeman Field picking up the kids.
The Westport Library is seeking candidates for its Board of Trustees. Of particular interest: people with expertise in finance, fundraising and development for non-profits; knowledge and understanding of current trends in digital media and information technology, or a background in municipal government and/or not-for-profit law.
Trustees serve 4-yeare terms. Click here for more information.Interested candidates should email a resume and letter of interest to firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline is April 23.
Coke Anne Murchison Wilcox — member of a famed Texas family — majored in architecture at Princeton, then studied at Columbia’s Graduate School of Architecture. She worked for several architects, including Philip Johnson. In the early 1990s Wilcox purchased The Maidstone Arms in East Hampton. She and her husband, Jarvis Wilcox, have 3 adult children.
Charlotte Rogan spent 25 years as a writer before her first novel was published in 2012. The Lifeboat was included on The Huffington Post’s 2015 list of “21 books from the last 5 years that every woman should read,” and has been translated into 26 languages. Her second novel, Now and Again, continued to explore issues of morality and justice. Rogan attended Greens Farms Academy when it was an all-girl’s school, studied architecture at Princeton University, and worked for a large construction firm before turning to writing.
Speaking of the environment: The Parks and Recreation Department sponsors “Clean Up Westport Day” on Saturday, April 24.
Over 50 local organizations and groups will help. Individuals and families can show up at the Parks Advisory Committee’s sites — Riverside and Grace Salmon Parks — or any street or public space.
Formal groups should call Parks & Rec (203-341-5091) before April 16, to let them know the time and location of their cleanup efforts. After the event, the town will collect bagged garbage and debris from each site.
Free trash bags are available outside the Parks & Rec office (opposite the Longshore golf course pro shop) between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on April 16 b8:30am and 4:30pm. Bags are limited to 6 per organization, and must be requested by April 15.
“Westport’s Suffragists — Our Neighbors, Our Crusaders: The 19th Amendment Turns 100” was the Westport Library’s best exhibit that no one visited.
Well, hardly anyone. It opened last year just days before COVID shut the town down.
But the Connecticut League of History Organizations knows about it. And they’ve awarded the Library an Award of Merit for it.
The awards committee was impressed with “how the exhibit fit nicely into a larger series of public programs and showcased the lives of local women in their fight for suffrage.”
Fortunately, the exhibit is online (click here). It explores the careers and political triumphs of suffragists who made Westport home. It also honors over 50 Westport women — many forgotten — who left their parlors for the streets, to fight for voting rights.
The Remarkable Theater drive-in is back in action. Last year , the Imperial Avenue lot also served as the stage for the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce’s Supper & Soul Series. Next month, they return there.
Dark Desert Eagles — an Eagles tribute band — have been booked for Friday and Saturday nights, May 14 and 15. The Chamber urges attendees to get takeout from local restaurants and markets, and bring it to the concert.
Tickets for each show are $150 per car (5 person maximum). They go on sale this Monday, April 12 (10 a.m.). Click here to order.
Not everyone has a mattress to get rid of. But you should still head to Earthplace that day.
Particularly if you’d like free compost. Bring a bucket, and Sustainable Westport will fill it. It’s open to all Westport residents, as a thank-you for making the food scrap recycling program such a success.
Sustainable Westport is collecting nearly 10 tons of food scraps a month from the transfer station (a free service for residents), and from the 2 licensed food scrap haulers (a paid curbside service). Over 500 Westport families are composting in some form.
Intrigued, but don’t know how to begin? Volunteers will sell food scrap recycling starter kits (with a countertop pail, compostable gags and 6-gallon transportation container) during the May 8 Earthplace event. (They’re free for income-eligible folks).
If you’re not into mattress recycling or food scraps — come anyway. It’s a family-friendly outing, with guided trail tours and animal feeding.
PS: Bring natural corks, used magic markers, mascara wands and batteries for recycling.
For more information click here, or email email@example.com.
And finally … DMX — described by the New York Times as a “snarling yet soulful rapper … who had a string of No. 1 albums in the late 1990s and early 2000s but whose personal struggles eventually rivaled his lyrical prowess,” died yesterday in White Plains. He was 50.
It’s spring, which means you’ve been thinking about raising chickens.
Or maybe you already have a flock, but want to learn more about organic nutrition or chicken swings.
Cluck — I mean, click — on a link next Monday (April 12, 7 p.m.).
Bruce Benedict (Benedict’s Home and Garden) and Mackenzie Chauncey (Kent Nutrition Group) will tell you (virtually) everything you want to know about starting and raising your own backyard flock.
Bruce will walk you through the best coops, breeds and feeders to keep your birds happy and healthy. Mackenzie will guide you through feeding, from baby chicks to laying hens, and all their nutritional needs along the way. You’ll also see how see how WTF is raising their own chicks.
Click here to register. NOTE: Like raising chickens, this is a family affair — suitable for all ages.
In June, 19 Staples High School students will graduate with High Honors. That’s the top 4% of the graduating class.
Principal Stafford Thomas says, “the most astonishing aspect of this accomplishment is that these students were involved in a number of extracurricular activities and various aspects of school life, which took a great deal of time, focus and concentration outside of the classroom as well. We were lucky to have had them for 4 years. We will no doubt be hearing about their next great achievements in the years to come.”
High Honors students are listed below, under the photos.
From left: Assistant principal Patrick Micinilio, Gary Lu, Principal Stafford Thomas, Carolyn Everett, Emma Dantas, Claire Redmer, Claire Lee, Sophia Lauterbach, Hanna Even, Simon Rubin
From left to right: Samantha Webster, Nasir Wynruit, Andrea Bautista, Henry Portman, Charlotte Zhang, Rishabh Mandayam, Teagan Smith, Alexander Toglia, Elana Atlas, Konur Nordberg.
Speaking of nature: Here’s an osprey update from the indefatigable Carolyn Doan.
“Our lovely osprey couple has been making their nest near Fresh Mart a little more comfortable. They’ve resorted to using what looks like a knit hat or glove. The female has taken matters into her own talons, and is getting sticks herself.”
During the pandemic, families have spent more time than ever. For some, it’s a wonderful way to reconnect. For others, it’s caused tension.
Dr. Bob Selverstone — a much-admired Westport psychologist in private practice for over 40 years, former Staples High School educator and counselor, and noted TV and radio guest — recently taped a session for the Westport Library.
It’s called “Making Marriage Even Better.” He should know: Bob and his high school sweetheart, Harriett, have been married for nearly 60 years!
Wakeman Town Farm’s new partnership with Homefront Farmers is already bearing fruit.
The Redding-based organic group building a special teaching garden onsite at the Cross Highway farm.
On April 6 (7 p.m.), Homefront Farmers’ experts will lead a Zoom session about vegetable garden design, how to extend your growing season with succession planning, organic pest management, and the joys of growing organic food. Click here to register.
There’s more! Starting April 3, Homefront Farmers will donate all proceeds from gift card sales purchased through @payitfwrd.co directly to WTF.
Meanwhile, this Monday, there’s a (non-Homefront Farmers-sponsored) Pollinator Pathway talk.
University of Connecticut advanced master gardener Alice Ely will teach Zoom participants how to plant for a continuous season of bloom, with abundant blossoms for pollinators (and people!) to enjoy. Click here to register.
Wakeman Town Farm’s garden. Yours can look like this too!
After 9 light-hearted young readers’ books — the “Charlie Joe Jackson” and “Crimebiters” series — Tommy Greenwald turned serious.
“Game Changer” was a no-holds-barred look at youth football culture. There was not a laugh to be had. But it sure made people think.
Critics loved it. And the American Literacy Association named it one of 2019’s Top 10 books for reluctant readers.
Next up for the Westport writer (who, like his wife and 3 sons, is a Staples High School graduate): “Rivals.” A companion book to “Game Changer,” this one focuses on basketball.
The book explores the journeys of two 8th graders, Carter and Austin, as they navigate the pressures and pleasures of starring on their middle school teams, while an intrepid school sports reporter uncovers scandals that threaten to derail their season.
It’s told through a series of flashbacks, newspaper reports, social media posts and interviews — of course, in Tommy’s unique style. Click here to order, and for more information.
Last summer, MoCA Westport was one of the few organizations to sponsor events.
Their outdoor concerts — with strict social distancing and other COVID precautions — were a huge (and welcome) success.
This year, MoCA plans a new series. The 13 performances — jazz, pop and classical — take place on Fridays, from April through October.
Three jazz concerts will again feature performers from the Jazz at Lincoln Center Emerging Artist Spotlight series. They include the Alexa Tarantino Quartet, a highlight of MoCA Westport’s 2020 series.
Here’s the full 2021 Music at MoCA Concert Series schedule :
April 30: Matt Nakoa (Pop)
May 14: Isaiah J. Thompson: Jazz at Lincoln Center Emerging Artist Spotlight (Jazz)
May 28: The Alexa Tarantino Quartet: Jazz at Lincoln Center Emerging Artist Spotlight (Jazz)
June 11: Jocelyn and Chris (Pop)
June 25: Alessio Bax and Lucille Chung, piano duo (Classical)
July 9: Oshima Brothers (Pop)
July 16: Horszowski Trio and Masumi Per Rostad; viola (Classical)
August 6: Catalyst String Quartet (Classical)
August 20: Samara Joy Ensemble: Jazz at Lincoln Center Emerging Artist Spotlight (Jazz)
September 3: The Simon Mulligan Trio (Jazz)
September 10: Escher String Quartet (Classical)
October : Marielle Kraft (Pop)
October 15: The Figgs (Pop)
Tickets are now on sale to MoCA members. They’ll be available to the general public on March 22. To learn more or to purchase tickets, please visit mocawestport.org or call 203/222-7070.
And finally … Sally Grossman — the woman in red lounging in the background of the cover of Bob Dylan’s 1965 “Bringing It All Back Home” album — died last week in Woodstock, New York. She was 81.
Dylanologists have spent decades deciphering the artifacts in that photo. Among them — smack in the middle, and of special interest to “06880” readers — is “The Folk Blues of Eric von Schmidt.”
Von Schmidt is one of the most interesting Westporters I’ve ever known. The son of famed artist Harold von Schmidt, Eric was both a revered folk singer and a very accomplished artist.
His Evergreen Avenue studio was a magical place. He died in 2007. Tragically, cancer of the larynx had taken his voice. Click here for a fond remembrance.
Back to Dylan. On his first album in 1962, the singer introduced “Baby Let Me Follow You Down” this way:
“I first heard it from Rick von Schmidt. He lives in Cambridge. Rick’s a blues guitar player. I met him one day in the green pastures of Harvard University.”
In May 1964, Dylan visited von Schmidt at his then-home in Sarasota, Florida. Dylan recorded several songs there, including an early version of “Mr. Tambourine Man.” They were released in 2014 as part of Dylan’s “50th Anniversary Collection 1964.”
And in 1969, Dylan gave one more hat tip — literally — to Eric von Schmidt. Check out the cover of his “Nashville Skyline” album:
Everyone says it, but last night — right in front of Joe’s Pizza — we had proof:
Westport’s gone nuts.
Six Staples High School students have earned Scholastic Connecticut Regional Arts Awards recognitions. The 98-year-old nationwide program includes a juried exhibition.
Congratulations to Silver Key winners Poppy Livingstone (painting) and Akira Maidique (digital art). Honorable Mention recipients include Kate Davitt and Nate Kolek (drawing and illustration), Matthew Genser (photography) and Alexandra Lam (painting).
1st Selectman Jim Marpe has issued a correction about the state Department of Transportation’s plans for the William F. Cribari Bridge. He says that deputy commissioner Mark Rolfe has not yet reached a final decision on the 5 alternatives under consideration. In addition, the draft Environmental Assessment will not be released mid-March. It is at least a few months away.
Rolfe says, “The DOT seeks to continue the dialogue with stakeholders regarding this project. One potential solution is for the DOT to restore the existing bridge to a state of good repair and then transfer ownership of the bridge and a segment of Route 136 to the Town of Westport.”
Marpe noted that any DOT recommendation — when it occurs — will be subject to further review and approval.
William F. Cribari Bridge (Drone photo/John Videler for Videler Photography)
Charlie Capalbo — the 22-year-old Fairfield hockey player and grandson of Westport writer Ina Chadwick — has been diagnosed with leukemia.
The local Two Oh Three team is helping him, in his 3rd cancer battle.
The Westport-based firm has designed a line of products to raise both funds and awareness. Charlie has collaborated on the design process — a welcome distraction has he undergoes treatment.
The collection — #CapalboStrong — features products that help the community show Charlie that they’re all in this fight with him. Funds from products sold are assist Capalbo’s medical and travel expenses, while at Boston Children’s Hospital.
The collection was launched Sunday, to his network of friends. Hundreds of orders poured in. The Two Oh Three has now launched the custom designs on their full website.
Charlie says, “Seeing people ordering gear with my Capalbo Strong logo makes me feel connected to the outside world– like I know my army of friends and family are with me, even though I can’t see them now due to COVID-19. I’m so excited for this!”
“Our daily FaceTime calls with Charlie have been rewarding beyond words,” says Two Oh Three co-founder and Staples High School graduate Roscoe Brown.
“Constantly updating him on the number products we’ve sold helps remind him just how many people he has fighting along side him.”
Click here for the Two Oh Three #CapalboStrong Collection.
The Staples boys basketball team opened its home season yesterday with a victory over Westhill.
The only way to watch the win was on the livestream. Spectators are prohibited from gyms this winter, in all high school sports.
But the stands were “filled” — with fatheads. That’s the name for cardboard figures of fans. It’s a way to make the gym a little less lonely. It’s also a great fundraiser for the Staples Boys Basketball Association.
How many folks do you recognize in the photo below? Besides (of course) me — directly underneath the “E.”
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