Tag Archives: Wakeman Town Farm

“06880” Podcast: Liz Milwe

Westport began as a farming community. We’ve moved from onions to everything under the sun.

Along the way we added manufacturing, then arts, marketing and hedge funds.

But we always go back to our roots.

The other day, I sat at the Westport Library with Liz Milwe. A native Westporter and active volunteer who served on the RTM for over 10 years, she’s best known now for her work as co-chair of Wakeman Town Farm.

We talked about WTF’s growth over the past decade; its role in Westport; our town’s commitment to sustainability, and much more.

Click here, for a very informative half hour.

Screen shot of Liz Milwe, on “06880: The Podcast.”

(Like Wakeman Town Farm, “06880” relies on community support. Please click here to contribute to this blog; click here to help WTF.)

Roundup: Cell Tower, Walking Tours, Wafu …

Tarpon Towers II and AT&T are proceeding with plans for a 124-foot cell tower in the back yard of a private home, at 92 Greens Farms Road.

Neighbors, meanwhile, are proceeding with their fight against it.

A petition cites environmental and aesthetic concerns with the proposal. It’s already garnered over 200 signatures.

Verizon is an “intervenor” in the case. They’ll join AT&T in leasing space on the tower.

Stephen Goldstein says: “Verizon admits that only ~1.5% of its calls in the area get dropped (vs their “target performance” of less than 1% – pretty darned close…) – and they say the reason for this tower is ‘primarily’ to increase coverage on I-95.  That’s a tough pill for the neighborhood to swallow, for sure.”

The Connecticut Siting Council will hold a Zoom meeting about the application on August 9. It begins at 2 p.m. with an evidentiary session. Public comment follows at 6:30 p.m. Click here for the link.

To participate in the 6:30 p.m. public comment session, email siting.council@ct.gov with your name, email address and mailing address, by August 8. Public comments may also be submitted to the Council by email (see address above).

A cell tower has been proposed for the property on the left: 92 Greens Farms Road.

=======================================================

Baseball and ’70s/’80s music are the stars of this week’s Remarkable Theater offerings.

Today (Monday, August 1, 8 p.m.; gates open at 7 p.m.), the Imperial Avenue drive-in screens “The Sandlot.” Besides baseball, the film includes treehouse sleep-ins, a desirous lifeguard, snooty rivals, a travelling fair and a ball-eating dog..

“Mamma Mia!” needs no introduction, beyond one word: ABBA. It’s set for Wednesday (August 3, 8:15 p.m.; gates open at 7:15). Glittery costumes are optional.

Click here for tickets, and more information.

======================================================

Like many Westporters, Nancy Wilson is intrigued by the “Destination Westport Walking Tours” signs popping up all over town.

(Photo/Nancy Wilson)

Like most people, she drives — not walks — past them.

She’d love to know more. However, the QR code does not work on a photo like the one she took (above).

And there’s no other info on the signs, as to a sponsor, date, or anything else.

So although these signs are posted on major roads, they all lead to dead ends.

=======================================================

Wakeman Town Farm’s bee team harvested a big batch of home-grown local honey yesterday. Overseen by beekeeper Jaime Smith, WTF worker bees 🐝 spun 11 boxes, which they then turned into golden nectar.

The process begins with opening up the capped comb by scraping off the wax, then putting the frame into the extractor. Once the extractor is filled with frames, the spinning begins.

Erika Smith, hard at work. (Photo/Jerri Graham Photography)

Honey drips to the bottom of the tank. It is then poured into storage to be siphoned into glass jars.

It’s a sticky process. But the result is delicious — and it’s sold at WTF’s farm stand every Saturday (9 a.m. to 1 p.m.). Sweeeeet!

Honey-making at Wakeman Town Farm. (Photo/Jerri Graham Photography)

=======================================================

If you’re not aware: AWARE is a wonderful Fairfield County-wide organization.

The acronym stands for Assisting Women with Actions, Resources and Education. Each year, members partner with a local non-profit. They volunteer with that group, organize an educational event and host a fundraiser.

Among AWARE’s past partners: the Cancer Couch Foundation (health), International Institute of Connecticut (human trafficking), Mercy Learning Center (education), Female Soldiers: Forgotten Heroes (veterans) and Malta House (pregnant and new mothers).

The other day, AWARE volunteers gathered at Compo Beach. They celebrated the work they do, their commitment to helping other women — and the beautiful sunset they felt lucky to enjoy.

AWARE, at the beach.

=======================================================

As Old Mill Grocery celebrates its first week in operation, Westporters continue to give thanks for the revival of the neighborhood deli/market.

And by “Westporters,” we mean humans of all ages.

And man’s best friend.

(Photo/John McGrath)

======================================================

In June there was a shooting at Wafu — the Asian fusion restaurant just over the town line, in Southport.

Then the state suspended its liquor license.

That was just Wafu’s latest problem. In the months before, Fairfield police had been called there numerous times, for public urination, underage drinking, and a bouncer allegedly pepper spraying a crowd.

Now it’s permanently closed. Chris Grimm snapped this photo, noting that the sign with its name is removed.

(Photo/Chris Grimm)

The Westport location in Bedford Square — which calls itself a “Korean BBQ” restaurant — is still open.

There have been no reports there of shootings. Or public urination, underage drinking or a bouncer using pepper spray.

======================================================

“06880” readers are sharp.

When I posted a “Roundup” item about Jillian Elder’s Westport-themed t-shirts, hoodies and tumblers, a number of you quickly spotted a misspelling: “Patrick Wetlands,” not “Partrick.”

Clicking on the link provided, several also noticed that “Greens Farms” was rendered as “Green Farms.” There’s plenty of debate about an apostrophe — both Greens Farms and Green’s Farms are used — but there’s no doubt there’s an “s” at the end.

Jillian quickly apologized — and printed new shirts. She thanks all who pointed out the errors.

To order a correctly spelled item, click here.

====================================================

Speaking of eagle eyes:

“06880” reader Jill Haymes was watching yesterday’s Yankees-Royals game.

This “Veteran of the Game” came on:

(Photo/Jill Haymes)

Thanks, Seaman First Class Wall, for your service.

And thanks, Jill, for helping us honor him today.

======================================================

Wendy Levy spotted this bee on hydrangea at Little Barn. We’ve run some “Westport … Naturally” plant and insect photos before.

But never from a restaurant.

(Photo/Wendy Levy)

=====================================================

And finally, on this date in 1876, Colorado was admitted as the 38th US state.

 

Roundup: Hook’d (Of Course), Saugatuck River Bridge, Entertainment …

A bit of good news from Hook’d!

They’ve finally posted their hours of operation on their door. They say they open at 11 a.m. weekdays, 10 a.m. weekends. They’re open until 8 p.m. 7 nights a week.

See you there!

(Photo/Matt Murray)

=======================================================

Unfortunately, that’s not the only Hook’d-related news today.

A reader writes: “A quick Google search of (concessionaire) Upsilon Ventures and (owner) Itai Shoffman uncovers all sorts of stuff, like unpaid taxes.”

Attached was a link to Southern District of New York District Court judgment in “United States of America v. Itai Shoffman.” He was held liable for $201,659.73 in unpaid federal income taxes for 2007 and ’08, plus interest.

The judgment was dated February 12, 2021 — nearly one year after he and Upsilon were awarded the concession contract for Compo Beach and Longshore.

=======================================================

The Onion is known for repeating the same post-mass murder headline, month after tragic month: “‘No Way to Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens.”

Westport’s repeated headline is this: “Truck Stuck Under Saugatuck River Railroad Bridge.”

It happened again yesterday morning. A driver ignored the warning sign — “Clearance: 10 Feet, 11 Inches,” and plowed underneath.

As usual, the bridge won.

Yesterday at the Saugatuck Avenue railroad bridge. Similar scenes are repeated regularly. (Photo/David Stone)

Readers always offer suggestions, such as better warnings for truckers (particularly those coming off I-95 Exit 17 eastbound, and not paying attention).

The bridge itself can’t be raised. But what will happen to Northeast corridor train traffic if repeated accidents make it structurally unsound?

Meanwhile, every time a truck driver misses or ignores the warning sign, we all smack our heads in disbelief.

And take a detour.

=======================================================

The magnificent Steinway piano — formerly at New York’s Village Gate jazz club — has not been played since the day before COVID struck Westport.

But tomorrow (Thursday, July 7, VFW Post 399, 465 Riverside Avenue), Janice Friedman joins “Jazz Rabbi” Greg Wall. She’ll play it again, at “Jazz at the Post.”

There are 2 sets: 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. The cover is just $10; there’s also dinner from 6:30 on, with chef Derek Furino. Reservations are “strongly recommended” via email: JazzatthePost@gmail.com.

Before COVID, the Steinway piano was played at 323 restaurant.

=====================================================

If jazz is not your thing, what about art?

“Double Indemnity” — the Westport Library show of work by Miggs Burroughs and Ann Chernow, based on the noir classic — continues tomorrow and the following Thursday (July 7 and 14).

Both artist will be at the gallery, from 6 p.m. on. At 7, films will be shown on the Library’s big screen: “Detour” this week, “Nightmare Alley” next.

Popcorn and other goodies are available too.

=====================================================

Meanwhile, just added for Friday, at the Levitt Pavilion:

Hayley Jane & The Primates combine Americana, soul and rock & roll. They bring a powerful vocal range, vibrant dance choreography and explosive energy. The opening act is One Time Weekend.

Click here for free tickets.

Hayley Jane & the Primates.

=======================================================

Michael Wolfe has no idea who put a sign up on Marion Road this morning.

But, Michael says, “he’s clearly on a quest to spread the word/embarrass Denise on her birthday. Might as well help the cause!”

(Photo/Michael Wolfe)

So: Happy Birthday, Denise, from all your friends at “06880.”

But don’t worry … we won’t tell anyone else 🙂

======================================================

Every day, there’s family fun at Wakeman Town Farm.

But this Saturday (July 9, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.), it’s an official, capitalized Family Fun Day.

Kids of all ages can visit feed animals, plant sunflower seeds, and enjoy music from the School of Rock Fairfield. Food and drink for purchase includes ice cream, smoothies, iced coffee, lemonade and wood-fired pizza.

The schedule:

  • 11 to 2:45: Animal visits; reading room
  • 11 to 12:30: Buzzin’ Bees Craft
  • 11:30 to 12:45: Seed planting
  • 11:30 to 2:30: Pizza
  • 12 to 2: Ice cream
  • 12:30 to 2: Face painting
  • 1 to 2:45: Flight of the Butterflies Craft
  • 1 to 3: Music from the School of Rock House Band
  • 1:15 to 2:45: Farm Olympics.

Click here for advance tickets. Walk-ins are welcome too.

=======================================================

There’s a lot going on at Earthplace, too.

Canoe paddles along the Saugatuck River — in search of egrets, osprey, ducks, shorebirds and much more — are set for this Saturday (July 9, 10 a.m. to noon); Friday, August 12; Saturday, September 10, and Sunday, October 16. Click here for reservations and more information.

Family campfires, with (of course) roasting marshmallows — plus meet an animal ambassador, and enjoy s’mores and a guided activity. There is a different theme for each campfire. Each family has their own picnic table. Dates are July 15, September 16, October 21, November 26 and December 21. Click here for details.

Meanwhile, admission to the Earthplace Museum is free through September 5, for Connecticut residents age 18 and under, and one adult caregiver. Support comes from Connecticut Humanities, the Department of Economic and Community Development Office of the Arts, and ARPA.

====================================================

George Billis Gallery — now in a new location, 180 Post Road East — hosts an opening reception tomorrow (July 7, 5 to 8 p.m.).

“Ride the Wave” features 8 women artists, including Westporter Dale Najarian.

“Southampton Coastline” — oil on canvas (Dale Najarian)

=====================================================

Round Pond is one of Westport’s most historic (and overlooked) sites.

Located near the Longshore entrance road — and across the street from the house F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald rented in 1920 — it was where social reformer Lillian Wald lived for many years. Eleanor Roosevelt was a frequent guest.

These days, it’s better known as a winter skating spot.

A small sign now notes its name. It’s in keeping with the beauty of the place — and a great image for today’s “Westport … Naturally” feature.

(Photo/Tracy Porosoff)

======================================================

Never heard of Hayley Jane & the Primates — this Friday’s Levitt Pavilion band (story above)?

Neither have I.

They’ve been around a while, apparently. Here’s a 2015 clip, from Bridgeport’s Gathering of the Vibes festival:

(If you enjoy our daily Roundups, please consider donating to “06880.” We are completely reader-supported! Click here to help.)

Roundup: Remarkable Staples Video, WTF Food Rescue, WFM Young Shoots …

The Staples High School Class of 2022 is now part of history.

But tonight they live on — on the big screen.

The Remarkable Theatre screens a 60-minute film — created by the theater’s Staples interns — highlighting the graduating class.

There are interviews with nearly 2 dozen seniors, plus footage contributed by other students. It was produced over the past 2 weeks, so it is definitely timely.

Gates open at 8 p.m. tonight, for tailgating. The film begins at 8:45. Tickets are $20 per person or $50 per car, whichever is cheaper — with no limit on the number of passengers. Click here to purchase, and for more details.

Eamon Brannigan is one of the stars of the Class of 2022 Senior Night film.

======================================================

If you’re a good gardener, you grow your own food.

If you’re a very good (and lucky!) gardener, you’ve got way more than  you need.

But there’s only so much lettuce, peas and zucchini you can give to your friends.

So chew on this: Wakeman Town Farm has partnered with Westport Grow-a-Row and Food Rescue US-Fairfield County on a new produce donation drop off site.

Bring your abundance to WTF’s farm stand any Saturday, between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.; coolers are set up there. Your fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs will help people struggling with food insecurity, throughout Fairfield County.

Questions? Email Haley@foodrescue.us. Follow @grow.a.row_westport on Instagram for updates.

The drop-off spot is hard to miss.

======================================================

And speaking of gardens:

Westport Farmers’ Market‘s 6th annual Young Shoots Photography Contest. Snap!

There are 3 age categories: 5-9 years old, 10-14 and 15-18. Any photo taken at one of the Thursday Farmers’ Markets is eligible. Judging is by a panel of local artists, and the public.

The contest runs from a week from this tomorrow (June 23) through July 31. Winners — who earn a $100 cash, WFM swag and a gift card for a MoCA Westport class — will be celebrated at Gilbertie’s Herbs & Garden Center, with catering by Sugar & Olives.

Ann Burmeister — Farmers’ Market board member and Who Grows Your Food photographer — will help youngsters as they take shots at the Market tomorrow. A WFM team member will be on hand throughout the contest to answer questions.

Click here to submit photos, and for more information.

“Starstem” by Calista Finkelstein was a previous “Young Shoots” winner in the 8-10 category.

=====================================================

Yesterday’s obituary of longtime Westport volunteer Tom Hofstetter included incorrect information about a memorial service at Saugatuck Harbor Yacht Club. The family will hold a private burial only; there is no service.

ThomasHofstetter

=====================================================

On June 30, nearly everyone in Westport will watch the July 4th fireworks. (I know, I know …)

But if pyrotechnics aren’t your thing, you’ve got an artistic option.

The opening reception for MoCA’s new exhibition — “Women Pulling at the Threads of Social Discourse” — is set for that night (6 to 8 p.m.; free).

The show explores how “female artists, utilizing textiles as their medium, subvert the social expectation of crafting by lambasting this soft medium with political and social awareness.”

It focuses on flags, as a symbol of solidarity for women of the suffrage movement, and an emblem of protest. Flags in “Women Pulling at the Threads of Social Discourse” were assembled using mixed media and the fiber arts to ignite positive social change.

So — with those flags — there is a connection to Independence Day after all.

The exhibition runs through September 4. Click here for more information.

The MoCA exhibition logo is based on the original colors of the suffragist movement.

=======================================================

Another opening, another show:

Amy Simon Fine Art (123 Main Street), hosts an opening reception this Saturday (June 25, 3 to 5 p.m.) for the new “Visual Alchemy” show. Artists include Barry Katz, David Skillicorn and Louise P. Sloane.

Untitled #11– encaustic over plaster. (Barry Katz)

====================================================

It’s not true that Benjamin Franklin wanted a wild turkey — not an eagle — to be America’s national symbol.

The actual story: In a letter to his daughter, he criticized the original eagle design for the Great Seal, saying it looked like a turkey.

Well, after a long period away, wild turkeys have returned to Westport. The other day, Carol Cederbaum saw 3 of them roosting on her back deck. She got this shot a female, before they spotted her behind the window.

Is it a handsome “Westport … Naturally” subject, or not? You be the judge.

(Photo/Carol Cederbaum)

=======================================================

And finally … in the past week we’ve given shout-outs to Staples grads, and Brian Wilson. Here’s one more — together — as the Class of 2022 gets ready for their “Senior Night” at the Remarkable Theater (story above):

(“06880” relies entirely on reader support. If you like these Roundups, please donate here.)

Roundup: Fine Arts Festival, Wakeman Town Farm, Paul & Joanne …

Most art shows invite exhibitors. They give them a spot, a badge, and maybe — if the artists are lucky — a thank-you email.

Not Westport.

The Westport Downtown Association’s Fine Arts Festival makes every artist, sculptor and photographer feel welcome, throughout the process.

And last night — after the first day of the show, when exhibitors and organizers alike were tired and hungry — the WDA threw a nice party at Christ & Holy Trinity Church’s Branson Hall.

There was music, a couple of short speeches by 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker and association president Maxx Crowley, a great spread from Garelick & Herbs — and awards.

Congratulations to this year’s Fine Arts Festival honorees:  Jim Sprinkle, Taman Van Scoy, Andrew Soujani, Amee Hussey, Valerie Romano, Nicole Deponte, Patrick Seufert, Jerry Brem, Ralph Rankin, Dan Callister, and “Best in Show” artist Dean Dimarzo.

You can see them — and dozens of other artists — today (Sunday, May 29), now through 5 p.m.

You can find out where those winners (and everyone else) are by clicking here for booth numbers; then click “Artist Map” for their exact location. Click here for more information on the Fine Arts Festival.

1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker addresses the artists, at Branson Hall.

 

=======================================================

Wakeman Town Farm’s 2nd annual EcoFest is set for Saturday, June 11. It’s rain or shine, which makes sense considering the theme.

The day begins with the season opening of the WTF farm stand (9 a.m. to 1 p.m.). There’s produce grown  on the farm, fresh-cut flower bouquets, logowear, WTF honey, and hand-selected products from Connecticut vendors (artisan bakers, jams, goat soaps and lotions, maple syrup and more).

Goat yoga is 10 a.m. Humans do their thing, while goats graze and jump in their pen next door.

A curated collection of Fairfield County sustainable goods vendors and local artisans is open for shopping at 11 a.m. They sell:

  • Handwoven baskets and housewares
  • Handmade soaps, body butter and essential oils, skin and hair care products for teens
  • Candles, bags, clothing, and more.

While parents shop green, kids get their face painted, apply tinsel to their hair, or visit with farm animals like fuzzy alpacas and new baby goats. Animal care expert Judy Panzer will answer questions.

CTony Napolitano Pizza will sling his wood-fired pizza throughout the event. There’s live music too.

The sustainability theme continues June 13 (7 p.m.): “Home Hacks with the Eco Dude.”

Brad Kerner (aka the Eco Dude) will show how to reduce reliance on plastic, and reduce trash.

He’ll show an array of products that are good for people and the planet, from bathroom, laundry and kitchen to skin care, kids, pets and more. Click here for tickets.

The Farm Stand at Wakeman Town Farm.

======================================================

As Ethan Hawke’s “The Last Movie Stars” — a 6-part CNN/HBO Max series about longtime Westporters Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward rolls out — The Wrap provides a bit of the back story.

‘”The Last Movie Stars’ was made with the cooperation of the Newman family, and with on-camera interviews by 4 of the couple’s daughters.

“But one of the interesting wrinkles, Hawke said, is that when Newman was contemplating writing a memoir, he had hundreds of friends and colleagues interviewed – and when he decided not to go ahead with that book, he burned the tapes – after they had been transcribed.

“The family gave those transcripts to Hawke – who called the gift ‘an unbelievable blessing’ – and Hawke had actor friends read the lines: Sam Rockwell as ‘Cool Hand Luke’ director Stuart Rosenberg, Zoe Kazan as Newman’s first wife Jackie Witte, Laura Linney as Woodward and George Clooney as Newman.”

Another Westport connection: Our neighbor Emily Wachtel is the creator and lead producer of “The Last Movie Stars.” It not have been made — or gotten to Cannes — without her

Click here for the full story.(Hat tip: Bill Dedman)

Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman.

==============================================

The weather has been off and on, up and down, lately.

Okay, for weeks.

But nothing can dim the beauty of these Compo Beach roses — today’s “Westport … Naturally” treat.

(Photo/Tammy Barry)

=======================================================

And finally … on this day in 1953, Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay became the first people to reach the summit of Mount Everest.

News of the achievement reached London on the morning of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation.

Roundup: WTF Trifecta, Y’s Men, Clinical Trials …

Sustainability — and Wakeman Town Farm — are non-partisan, apolitical efforts.

But WTF was swarming with Democrats yesterday.

The Democratic Women of Westport organized a half-day program for adults and children. It was part of the Farm’s “Giving Trifecta Program.” The community service, education and donation effort is open to organizations, clubs and business of all sizes.

WTF staff work with each group to design an experience that educates volunteers on a specific sustainability-related topic, and provides participants with community service hours. Programs could include beekeeping, composting, the Pollinator Pathway and Gardens, animal husbandry or restoring the pond.  

In return, organizations make a donation from the Farm’s Wishlist. Funds replenish items necessary to keep the farm running.

Saturday morning saw Congressman Jim Himes, State Senator Will Haskell, State Representative Jonathan Steinberg and State Senate candidate Ceci Maher all got their hands dirty — and learned a lot.

“06880” looks forward to highlighting the efforts of other “Giving Trifecta” groups — of any political party, or none at all.

Taking a break at Wakeman Town Farm yesterday are (standing from left): WTF co-chair Bill Constantino, Ceci Maher, Will Haskell, Jim Himes, Dominique Johnson, Front:  Jessica Hill, Allyson Stollenwerck

======================================================

Speaking of sustainability:

In 1989, the Westport Garden Club created a garden at Earthplace. They’ve  maintained it ever since, renovating it in 2015 to feature more native plants to sustain bees, butterflies, birds and all pollinators. The garden was part of the Pollinator Pathway long before that concept became popular.

In early April the club learned that a large oil tank underneath the garden had to be replaced. Members scrambled to save as many plants as possible. Many found their way to the club’s annual plant sale.

The tank was removed on April 18. A new garden was planned, aligning with both the club and Earthplace’s missions to build passion and respect for the natural world and a more sustainable future for our community.

The garden is ready for visitors — just in time for today’s International Day for Biological Diversity.

Standing, from left: Earthplace’s Becky Newman, Westport Tree Board chair Monica Buesser, Nathalie Fonteyne, Seated: Andi Turner, Jane Eyes. All are Westport Garden Club members.

=======================================================

It was Selectwomens Day at the Y’s Men on Thursday. The group heard from 2 leaders — Westport’s Jen Tooker and Weston’s Samantha Nestor. Both spoke frankly about the challenges they face. Both were elected in November.

Tooker says she is focused on 5 issues: traffic, recreation (particularly Longshore), strengthening downtown, addressing stream management and flood mitigation, and creating a safe, comfortable and diverse community for all.

Nestor said that Weston is at an inflection point. It is a bedroom community with a minimal commercial grand list, with schools as the most common asset. They are “top notch,” but need capital investment. She hopes to resolve that contentious issue this year. Her major challenge is upgrading the town’s infrastructure.

To hear both women, and the Q-and-A that followed, click below.

=======================================================

Matthew Jordan is a Staples High School senior (and recent honoree with a Moffly Media “Light a Fire” award, for his work with Kids in Crisis).

Before he heads to Georgetown University, Matt’s senior internship this spring is with Medidata. The company develops and markets software for clinical trials.

His project involves enrolling patients who are interested in receiving information about enrolling in upcoming trials. His goal for the week is 800 registries.

Matt says, “I’ve learned how important it is to get an accurate representation of the population in clinical trials. We are trying to flip the ‘last resort’ stereotype of clinical trials to being more of a great first-choice option. Sometimes they can be lifesavers.”

To help Matt reach his goal of 800 registries — and learn about clinical trials that may help your health — click here.

=======================================================

Speaking of health: Massage therapy, yoga, acupuncture — those, and more, are available at the new Westport Medical and Wellness Center on Whitney Road Extension, behind the CVS parking lot.

Tomorrow and Tuesay (Monday 23 and 24, 9 to 11 a.m.), founder Dr. Nikki Gorman invites residents to tours of the versatile space.

======================================================

Very quietly, CLASP Homes serves adults with intellectual disabilities. Their group homes — 4 in Westport, 8 others and 9 apartments throughout Fairfield County, plus a day program in Bridgeport — provide community, stability, jobs and fulfilling lives to men and women from their 20s to 82.

I’ve featured their fundraiser —  the very popular eat-and-drink “Taste of Westport” (June 15, 6 p.m., Inn at Longshore) — before.

Today the spotlight shines on their new website. It was constructed thanks to a grant from another great local non-profit: Near & Far Aid. To see the end result of these 2 organizations working together, click here. (Pro tip: You can find out more about “Taste of Westport” there too.)

=======================================================

With the thermometer nearing 90 yesterday. Compo Beach was hopping. Some folks ventured into the water; others dusted off their beach chairs.

And on South Beach, every barbecue grill was in use.

Similar temperatures are expected today, with possible thunderstorms after 2 p.m. This week, we’ll be back in the 60s and 70s.

(Photo/June Rose Whittaker)

======================================================

You never know where a “Westport … Naturally” photo op will pop up.

Ellen Wentworth found these chicks right on top of her front door light.

(Photo/Ellen Wentworth)

======================================================

And finally … Rosmarie Trapp died last week in Vermont, at 93.

She was a member of the von Trapp singing family made famous by “The Sound of Music.”

You may not recognize her name. She is not in the play or movie, because “The Sound of Music” focused on the 7 children Georg von Trapp had with his first wife — not with Rosmarie’s mother, a governess who later married the baron.

But she did did travel and perform with the Trapp Family Singers for years, including at the lodge in Stowe. Click here for the full obituary.

Meanwhile:

Roundup: Post Road Improvements, “Straight White Men” & A Drag Show …

“06880” is not a big fan of political photo ops. They’re — well, political photo ops.

But we’re happy to announce one set for Monday. The reason for it is a great one.

State Senators Will Haskell and Stephanie Thomas, State Representative Jonathan Steinberg, 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker and Department of Transportation senior advisor Carlo Leone will gather at 10 a.m. at the “Westport Plaza” (known to normal people as the Home Goods/Panera Bread shopping center near the Southport line) to celebrate $11.7 million in funding for Post Road safety and traffic improvements.

The work will add left-turn lanes at Bulkley Avenue and Roseville Road, and the Fresh Market light.

Work will begin this fall, and is expected to take a year.

Left-hand turning lanes are planned for the Post Road near here.

=======================================================

The Westport Country Playhouse curtain rises May 24 on “Straight White Men.”

The cast of the comic satire — which ran on Broadway in 2018 — includes Richard Kline (Larry Dallas on “Three’s Company”). He’ll be directed by his Northwestern University classmate, WCP artistic director Mark Lamos.

Lamos calls it a “bold, exuberant, very funny comedy. Near the end it builds up to a surprising dramatic punch.”

The show takes place on Christmas Eve. Ed (played by Kline) has invited his 3 grown sons back home for pranks, Chinese takeout, and gossip. In between the male bonding rituals and conversations about money, work and love, they are forced to face their own identities.

Click here for tickets, and more information.

“Straight White Men” ensemble (from left): Devin Milord, Nick Westrate, Richard Kline, Bill Army. (Photo/Cynthia Astmann)

======================================================

Spots are going fast for Wakeman Town Farm’s summer camps. They include:

Little Farmers (4-6-year-olds): Children dabble in every farm experience from planting and harvesting fresh veggies to feeding the animals. Youngsters learn how to spot squash bugs, collect eggs from the coop, and where to look for monarch caterpillars.

Junior Farmer Camp (7-10 year-olds): Great for kids who want to get their hands dirty. They learn about sustainable farming by planning, planting and caring for a garden, feeding animals, and raising a successful garden using both modern and time-honored technologies.

Green Teen (6th-8th graders): The focus is on planting, watering and harvesting vegetables that will be donated to local food pantries. Representatives from receiving agencies visit the Farm, talking about food insecurity and how community volunteering changes lives. Students will also learn about rabbits, ducks, chicken, sheep, goats and alpacas. Environmental topics include composting, creating a pollinator garden, and the Zero Waste initiative.

Click here for more information, and to register.

Learning by doing, at Wakeman Town. (Photo/Inklings)

=======================================================

Riverside Avenue between Charles Street (Tutti’s) and Railroad Place (Steam Coffee) will be closed to traffic Monday and Wednesday, for paving.

New York-bound passengers can be dropped off by driving through the eastbound (Ferry Lane) parking lot, and continuing under the railroad bridge. Passengers can also be dropped off in the Charles Street lot, and walk up the stairs to the platform.

This stretch of Riverside Avenue will be closed Monday and Wednesday.

=======================================================

Deb Robicheau is the Westport Book Shop’s guest artist for May.

She’s showing sculptural mixed media boxes, created during the pandemic.  They incorporate comic book art from the 1930s through the ’80s. All works are available for purchase.

Robicheau — a visual artist, sculptor, painter, writer and screenwriter — has lived in Westport since 2010.

Deb Robicheau

=======================================================

Westport Pride and MoCA Westport invite everyone to “All 4 Drag and Drag For All.”

The drag show (June 4; 5:30 p.m. cocktail hour, 6:30 p.m. performance, followed by a Q-and-A with the performers, at MoCA) is “an epic family-friendly experience.”

The headliner is 15-year-old Desmond Napoles, a New York City model, public speaker, fashion designer and voguer. Click here for tickets, and more information.

Desmond Napoles’ stage name is “Desmond is Amazing.”

==================================================

The weather was great when Charlie Stebbins led Thursday’s Aspetuck Land Trust nature walk at Smith Richardson Preserve.

Wendy Levy was there. She snapped this shot of a blooming crabapple tree, for our “Westport … Naturally” feature.

(Photo/Wendy Levy)

======================================================

And finally … in honor of Wendy Levy’s photo above:

 

Roundup: Badass Bagels, Train Trees, Badass Book …

Popup Bagels made the New York Times. That means they’ll be harder to snag than ever.

But they’re not the only local bagel-maker that’s gone Big Time. Sugar & Olives is badass too.

Their Badass Bagels line — that’s the name — just signed a deal with Goldbelly. The website showcases the best eats in the country, and ships overnight. The page isn’t live yet, but it will soon show a variety of offerings.

They’ll also sell 3,000 bagels at the Smorgasburg every Sunday in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, starting in early June. It’s one of the best — and most selective — food markets in the country.

But you don’t have to schlep all the way out there. Plenty of happy clients — corporate and personal — right here rave about the 100% sourdough recipe. (Okay, technically Sugar & Olives is a few feet over the border, in Norwalk. So sue me.)

They also sell at the Westport Farmers’ Market and Double L Market. Outside of Westport, they’re at the Kitchen Table in Pound Ridge, a few other farmers’ Markets, the Granola Bar in Greenwich and the Old Yew in the West Village.

The bagel business has taken over much of Sugar & Olives. There’s no more in-person dining. But Jennifer Balin and her wonderful crew do offer seasonal prepared items, which can be picked up by customers along with their bagels. Click here for details.

Some Badass Bagels.

======================================================

Like many Westporter, Joey Kaempfer was appalled at the clear-cutting that took place recently at the Westport train station. It was a safety project, Eversource and Metro-North say.

“We need to raise money to replace them,” Kaempfer — a Staples High School Class of 1966 graduate, who is building a home nearby — says.

He’s ready to donate $5,000 for seed money. But, he says, “some serious group has to raise the balance — probably $95,000.” They have to get permission to plant the new trees too, of course.

Is it doable? Are any groups or individuals interested? Click “Comments” below.

Recent tree removal (and overhead wires) at the Westport train station. (Photo/Matthew Mandell)

======================================================

Plenty of great books (and vinyl, CDs, DVDs, etc.) are still available at the Westport Library Book Sale.

Plus one that is absolutely, positively a hell of a book.

(Photo/Frank Bruce)

Today (Sunday, May 1, noon to 5 p.m.), all items are half price. Tomorrow (Monday, May 2, 9 a.m. to noon), you can fill a bag for $5, or purchase individual items for half-price.

=======================================================

Wakeman Town Farm’s “Old-Time Pancake Breakfast” fundraiser is not until Saturday, June 18 (9 a.m. to noon). But folks are already signing up for a time slot.

The menu includes flapjacks and sausages with all the fixin’s, plus coffee and OJ. It’s outdoors, so the kids can wander over to say hi to the alpacas, sheep and goats.

The price is $13 for adult, $5 per child 2 and up. Money raised will help renovate the aging red barn, providing space for classes and programs. Click here to register.

Wakeman Town Farm barn. (Photo/Amy Schneider)

=====================================================

Want to know more about the little-known but amazing gem known as the Smith Richardson Wildlife Preserve?

Aspetuck Land Trust’s partner, Connecticut Audubon’s land steward Charlie Stebbins, will host a “Walk and Talk” this Thursday (May 5, 10 a.m.), at the site off Sasco Creek Road on the Southport border.

He’ll describe the remarkable transformation, from an overgrown weed nest to a paradise for nesting birds (and bees). All are welcome — and like the preserve, it’s free.

Charlie Stebbins

====================================================

This swan in a swirling pool is perfect for a spring Sunday — and for our “Westport … Naturally” feature.

(Photo/Becky Keeler)

=======================================================

And finally … today is the 1st of May — aka “May Day.” It’s a traditional holiday in many European cultures, with dancing, singing and cake.

“Mayday” — one word — is an international signal of distress. It has nothing to do with the month, though. It’s an Anglicized version of “m’aidez” — French for “help me!”

There’s another way to summon aid: “SOS!” It stands for “Save Our Souls.” It became popular when Morse code was new: 3 dots, 3 dashes, 3 dots.

Which, in a roundabout fashion, leads us to today’s song:

Roundup: Birds, Gifts, Music …

Here’s a bright idea: The Connecticut Ornithological Association has just launched a “Lights Out Connecticut” initiative.

Residents, businesses, schools and building managers can pledge to turn off non-essential exterior lighting each night from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m., during periods of peak bird migration. The goal is to help save migratory birds.

Connecticut joins Colorado, Georgia and Texas as the only places in the nation with statewide “Lights Out” programs.

The COA says that because most North American migratory birds travel at night, artificial light can disorient them, leading to fatal window collisions. There may be as many as 988,000,000 bird deaths in the US each year.

It’s a great idea. It’s especially welcome by residents of Cottage Lane. They’ve been aggravated by bright lights at the new 1480 Post Road East development nearby. The Planning & Zoning Commission has ordered a new lighting plan by May 9.

It can’t come soon enough for the neighbors. Or the birds. (Click here for the full Connecticut Ornithological Association story.)

=======================================================

Need gift ideas for Mothers Day, Teacher Appreciation Week (May 2-6) or Nurse Appreciation Week (May 6-12)?

How about a gift for yourself?

Beauty consultant Carmela Cusano can help. She’ll be at Salon Nash tomorrow (Sunday, April 24, 1 to 4 p.m., Nash’s Plaza, 179 Post Road West).

While you’re there, enjoy a free wash and blow dry, courtesy of owner Felicia Catale, the great and very generous owner.

How’s that for a great gift!

Felicia Catale

===================================================

It took a while during the pandemic for Hook’d to get its act together.

But the Compo Beach concession stand was open yesterday for business.

Anyone can enjoy a meal there before May 1. On that date, stickers are required for beach entrance.

(Photo/Karen Como)

======================================================

Westport has many adult education offerings in many areas.

Andrew Smith thinks there are not enough in music.

He’s the executive director of Suzuki Music Schools of Westport & Orange — well known as a center for early childhood, and middle and high school, programs.

The Suzuki Philosophy is that children need an immersive experience in music. Smith says that holds true for adults too. Suzuki is not just for kids.

The school offers basic classes like Music Reading for Beginners, and Listening to Classical Music. Smith hopes to add Singing for Pleasure, Film Music and Composing.

He’d also like to create a Suzuki Members Club for Adults, with social engagement, public concerts and use of the facility. It would be like rowing or golf clubs — but focused on music.

Click here for more information, and registration.

=======================================================

May is flower month at Wakeman Town Farm.

“Blooming With Paint’ (May 9, 6 to 8 p.m.) is a painting and drawing workshop, focusing on floral still life and challenging students to notice scale, proportion and placement.

Each participant receives a piece of handmade Nujabi paper, watercolor and oil pastels, paint brushes, Nujabi paper and drawing board. Click here for more information, and to register.

WTF also offers “sweet and whimsical spring flowers” for Mothers Day. Each bouquet comes in a mason jar tied with grosgrain ribbon. They’re $55, and designed by Sarah Shaw Floral Design exclusively for Wakeman Town Farm.

Orders will be taken through May 4. Pickup is at the Farm on Saturday, May 7 (10 a.m. to 1 p.m.) A portion of the proceeds supports WTF programs. Click here to order.

Wakeman Town Farm Mothers Day flowers. (Photo/Nancy Elizabeth Hill Photography)

=====================================================

The Camp Gallery’s new solo show is “The Rooms of Joseph Ginsberg.”

There’s an opening reception next Friday (April 29, 5 to 7 p.m.) at 190 Post Road East. The show runs through May 24.

======================================================

It’s 2 years late. But Staples High School’s Class of 1980 celebrates their 40th (okay, 42nd) reunion (and giant 60th birthday party for all) this year.

The main event is Saturday, August 13 at LaKota Oaks in Norwalk. The 65-acre site features a pool, basketball and volleyball courts, horseshoes and more. Dinner includes a DJ and dancing.

There are also meet-ups as Viva Zapata (Thursday, August 11) and the Black Duck (Friday, August 12).

As is traditional, they’ll raise money in honor of beloved classmate Susan Lloyd, to support The Susan Fund.

PS: Thanks to a generous donor, tickets are (almost) free!

Click here for more information. Questions? Email Amy Potts: amy@aapk.com.

=======================================================

This guy popped out the other day at Sherwood Mill Pond.

Then he looked John Kantor in the eye, stood still, and posed for a “Westport … Naturally” photo.

(Photo/John Kantor)

=======================================================

And finally … in honor of the photo directly above:

Roundup: Hazardous Waste, Earth Day, Queer Cook-Off …

=======================================================

Get ready to “waste” a whole day on April 23.

That’s Westport’s annual Household Hazardous Waste Day (Greens Farms railroad station, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.).

Sponsored by the Department of Public Works, it’s a free program for residents of Westport, Norwalk, New Canaan, Darien, Stamford and Greenwich.

Among the items accepted: gasoline, kerosene, spray paint, paint strippers, paint thinners, solvents, paints, stains, turpentine, varnishes, wood preservatives, degreasers, fertilizers, fungicides, herbicides, insecticides, pesticides, bleach, charcoal lighter, cleaning chemicals, drain cleaners, mercury thermometers, moth balls, pet flea shampoos, photo chemicals, rug shampoos, spot removers, art supplies and paints.

Before bringing household hazardous material to the collection site:

  • Make sure items are clearly labeled
  • Do not mix chemicalsIncompatible products may react, ignite, or explode, and mixed waste may become non-recyclable.
  • Keep products in original labeled container.
  • Place leaky containers in clear plastic bags.
  • Tighten lids of all containers and pack items in sturdy cardboard boxes lined with paper.
  • Put boxes in the trunk or in the back of the vehicle away from passengers.
  • Leave pets and children home.
  • Keep your windows open and drive directly to the collection site.

REMINDER: Westport residents can recycle antifreeze, motor oil, batteries of any type, light bulbs and electronics at the transfer station on the Sherwood Island Connector, weekdays from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Saturdays from 7 a.m. to noon.

Questions? Call 203-341-1793.

======================================================

Don’t believe everything you read here.

Of course Earth Day is not today (as I mistakenly said yesterday). Which means all the events sponsored by Friends of Sherwood Island will not take place tomorrow.

The correct date for the Sherwood Island activities is Saturday, April 23. They include:

Friends’ Garden Team Activities (9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., at the Friends’ table on East Beach across from the Nature Center).

🌱Bring a reusable water bottle; get a “Protect Our Wildlife” sticker (while supplies last).

🌱Tour the Dunes Restoration project site; plant a stem of American Beach Grass.

🌱Learn about native plant species planted for wildlife at the park; get a list for planting at home.

  • “Why Reducing Food Waste is Critical to a Sustainable Future” (9:30 to 11 a.m.).
  • “Walk Through Sherwood Island’s History (From 12,000 Years Ago)” (noon to 1:30 p.m.).
  • “Salt Marshes and Marsh Migration at Sherwood Island” (12:30 to 2 p.m.)
  • “Environmental Role of Trees at the Park”(2 to 3:30 p.m.)

=======================================================

Aspetuck Land Trust celebrates Earth Day too (naturally).

Next Friday (April 22, noon) there’s a virtual “Lunch & Learn” webinar called “2/3 For the Birds.” That’s because birds need 70% (approximately 2/3) native plants to maintain healthy population levels. Click here to register.

The next day (Saturday, April 23, 10 a.m. to noon, Trout Brook Valley Jump Hill Preserve), there’s a vernal pool hike with wetland scientist Edward Pawlak. Space is limited; click here.

On Sunday, April 24 (10:30 a.m. to noon, Trout Brook Valley orchard and blueberry patch), the Spring Hawk Walk returns. Raptor specialist Larry Fischer hopes to catch one or more hawks to present to the group, while discussing fascinating details about those extraordinary creatures. Space is limited; click here.

Birds need native plants to thrive.

====================================================

LGBTQ Pride Month is June.

Westport Pride gets a jump on the festivities May 19 (6 p.m.). Three teams of “chef-testants” (a local chef, plus members of the local LGBTQ community and allies) has 30 minutes to whip up an appetizer and entrée — using items in a mystery box — for 5 judges in a “Queer Cook-Off.” It all takes place in Aitoro Appliance’s Norwalk kitchens.

Celebrity chefs include Bill Taibe (owner/chef of Don Memo, Kawa Ni, The Whelk), Jes Bengtson (executive chef of Terrain Café and Amis Trattoria), and Arik Bensimon (executive chef of the Monogram Design Center).

Judges include Brian McGunagle (founder, Westport Pride), Tony Aitoro (CEO, Aitoro Appliance), Matt Storch (chef/owner of Match and Match Burger Lobster), Stephanie Webster (founder/editor-in chief, CTBites) and yours truly (Dan Woog, executive editor of “06880”).

Guests can observe the competition while enjoying hors d’oeuvres and beverages. It’s a fundraiser for Westport Pride — and a great way for the LGBTQ community and allies to get together, get ready for Pride (and eat well). Click here for tickets.

==================================================

Meanwhile, there’s always something cooking at Wakeman Town Farm.

Upcoming classes, workshops and more include:

  • “Modern Japanese Cooking with Chef Caroline Fey” (April 27, 7 to 8:30 p.m.). A 4-course menu celebrating modern flavors.
  • “Make Your Own Spa Essentials” (May 2, 7 p.m.). Do it without harmful additives. Take home your own creations!
  • “Blooming with Paints” (May 9, 6 to 8 p.m.). An art workshop brings to life a floral still life arrangement.
  • “Pizza-Making Class for Grades K-1” (May 12, 4:15 to 5:15 p.m.). Topped off with eating!
  • “Learn to Make Goatmilk Soaps” (May 21, 11 a.m. to noon or 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.). Enjoy!

Click here for more information, and to register.

Kids learn pizza-making, using Wakeman Town Farm’s own brick oven.

=====================================================

Staples High School soccer fans knew Alan Fiore as a passionate, high-scoring attacker.

Music fans will soon know him as an indie pop/rock artist.

The 2021 SHS graduate — now studying at Berklee College of Music — has just released his first song. “Take the Bait!” was inspired by artists like Dayglow, the 195, the Bleachers and COIN.

Alan produced, mixed and mastered it all himself. Click here for links to all streaming platforms. Click here for Alan’s website, and more music.

Alan Fiore

=====================================================

Whether you’re hunting eggs or afikoman this weekend, Jolantha has you covered.

This was Weston’s favorite pig* yesterday:

(Photo/Hans Wilhelm)

*Good for Easter ham; not kosher for Passover.

===================================================

Nearly every “Westport … Naturally” photo shows an outdoor Westport wonder. That’s (naturally) where most are.

Today, Molly Alger takes us inside the Senior Center for this beautiful, patriotic and Ukrainian-colorful arrangement:

(Photo/Molly Alger)

=======================================================

And finally … today is April 15. It’s also Good Friday. Tomorrow is Saturday. So taxes are not due until Monday (April 18).

Still, because this is the traditional IRS deadline, we present: