Tag Archives: Wakeman Town Farm

Roundup: Dogs, La Plage, Playhouse …

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The other day, Jo Ann Miller saw a dog roaming the aisles of a Norwalk store.

(Photo/Jo Ann Miller)

Okay, it was Petco.

Still, as she thought about the dogs she’s seen in Westport — at CVS and Starbucks, among other places — she wondered: Is there a law here covering that?

The answer appears to be “no.” Town ordinances don’t seem to mention animals and stores.

So, “06880” readers: What do you think? Are we fine just the way we are? Should there be a regulation? If so, what should it say? Click “Comments” below.

And remember — as always — use full, real names. (Yours. Not Fido’s.)

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If you need more reasons to visit La Plage — and you really don’t — the popular Longshore restaurant is now open for lunch.

Starting today, it adds that to its Saturday and Sunday brunch, and 6-days-a-week dinners.

The lunch menu includes a raw bar, a la carte items, entrees that change daily, and a 2-course prix fixe for $24.

La Plage  plans to serve lunch and dinner 7 days a week in early spring, coinciding with the opening of the golf course.

 

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Westport Country Playhouse has named 5 new trustees. Two have close Westport connections.

 Westport resident Tracey Knight Narang is a Tony Award-winning producer, and a playwright. Her producer credits include “Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!”; “for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf” (coming to Broadway this spring); “Sing Street,” and Arthur Miller’s “The American Clock” at the Old Vic. Narang is the lead producer of “Period Piece,” currently in development. She is on the board of directors of New York City Center, a member of the Dramatists Guild of America and the League of Professional Theatre Women, and a steering committee member of Connecticut’s LPTW chapter.

Stafford W. Thomas, Jr. is principal of Staples High School in Westport. While principal of Hillcrest Middle School in Trumbull he was honored as Connecticut Middle School Principal of the Year. Thomas currently serves as an adjunct professor in the graduate school of education at Sacred Heart University. He earned a bachelor of arts in psychology from Georgetown University, a master of arts in teaching from Brown University, and a dual degree in law (Juris Doctor) and educational administration (M.Ed.) from Boston College.

Ania Czekaj-Farber of Westport chairs the Playhouse board of trustees.

Tracey Knight Narang and Stafford Thomas.

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Staples High School’s February Students of the Month are seniors Krishin Wadhwani and Elena Lim, junior Julia Herlyn, sophomores Sophia Papp and Dagny Dahl, and freshmen Isabel Brookbanks and Mieszko Solowinski.

Principal Stafford Thomas says they “help make Staples High School a welcoming place for their peers and teachers. They are the ‘glue’ of the school community: the type of kind, cheerful, hard-working, trustworthy students who keep the high school together, making it the special place that it is.”

From left: Krishin Wadhwani, Elena Lim, Sophia Papp, Julia Herlyn, Dagny Dahl, Isabel Brookbanks. Missing: Mieszko Solowinski

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“06880” readers often see the name Pippa Bell Ader. She’s one of Westport’s leading environmental advocates.

Readers all over the country are now meeting her husband. David Ader recently published his first book of short stores.

A retired bond strategist who mined his many interests and hobbies for inspiration, the stories reflect David’s sense of irony.

Amazon says of the 32 short pieces: “You will encounter people in situation which are not always what they seem. There’s a good bit of humor, some shocks, and always twists and turns that lead to ‘ah hah’ conclusions.

“You will meet a bullied parochial school student who gets his revenge. An elderly widower is about to leave his beloved home until his memories keep him there. A well-heeled lawyer decides to take an evening walk through Central Park and greets a man he fears is a mugger for an O’Henry-esque meeting. A couple planning to climb Kilimanjaro on an eco tour reveal political-correctness gone awry. Another couple go out on the wrong day for a sail. A loner in the backwoods of Maine.”

Click here for more information, and to order. (Hat tip: Mitchell Lester)

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Yesterday’s “06880” Roundup noted that registration for many Parks & Recreation programs begin March 2.

That’s the same link to sign up for Wakeman Town Farm camps and classes too.

To see programs on the WTF website, click here. Then follow the prompts.

Eager students in a Wakeman Town Farm cooking class.

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Starting to make summer plans?

Pencil in June 19. Musician/humanitarian/activist/filmmaker Michael Franti brings his high-energy live show, inspiring music, devotion to wellness and power of optimism to the Levitt Pavilion.

The #1 artist (“Sound of Sunshine,” “Say Hey [I Love You],” “I Got You”) will release his 12th album around the same time as his show.

Pre-sale (Levitt Pavilion members) began yesterday. General public tickets are available this Friday (February 18, 10 a.m.). Click here for more information, and to reserve a spot.

Michael Franti

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This week’s cold temperatures set the scene for today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo. Claudia Sherwood Servidio took off her gloves long enough to capture this stark image of Gray’s Creek, by the Longshore golf course.

(Photo/Claudia Sherwood Servidio)

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And finally … happy 84th birthday to contemporary classical composer John Corigliano. In a long, distinguished career he’s won 5 Grammys — plus one Pulitzer Prize, and an Oscar.

 

Roundup: Saugatuck Sweets, Valentine’s Sweets, Haiku …

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Last night’s Saugatuck Elementary School 5th grade orchestra and chorus concert was the first such in-person event in 2 years.

To celebrate afterward, kids and parents headed to Saugatuck Sweets. To their dismay, they learned their favorite shop closes at 8 p.m.

To their delight, owners and employees kept the place open late.

Grateful parent Felicia Sale says, “Thank you Saugatuck Sweets!”

Celebrating at Saugatuck Sweets.

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United Way of Coastal Fairfield County has awarded the town of Westport $2,000. The funds — and a supply of KN95 masks — support residents impacted by COVID, along with a supply of KN95 protective face masks.

This is the third round of United Way grants to help during the pandemic. It brings to 6,500 the number of masks donated to residents.  A previous award of gift cards helped ease the way for struggling residents.

United Way has also helped area agencies, including Homes with Hope, during COVID.

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Westport ❤s Local to Market. And the aptly named food-and-more store celebrates upcoming Valentine’s Day with a few specials this weekend.

This Saturday (February 12, 1 to 4 p.m.), Locavore Kitchens offers the debut of heart meringues, and tastings of shortbread cookies.

Dustin Lowman — one of Westport’s favorite singer/songwriter/guitarists — plays Saturday too, from 2 to 4 p.m.

And, of course, there’s a full array of Valentine’s goodies, from BE Chocolat and Knipschildt.

Dustin Lowman

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Speaking of the Lowman family:

Poet laureate

Presents great haiku workshop

At Wakeman Town Farm

It’s not great haiku. But that’s what’s happening February 28 (7 p.m.) at Wakeman Town Farm.

Westport’s own Diane Lowman (aka Dustin’s mother) will help you learn to write concisely and beautifully — well, at least more beautifully than my effort. The Farm will serve as inspiration. Click here for details and registration.

Haiku, by Westport poet laureate Diane Lowman

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Fans of Mark Twain and/or music will enjoy the Westport Library’s February 27 event.

Westport composer Barbara Backlar Reis will present songs and commentary from her original collaboration “My Millionaire.” The musical is based on Twain’s short story, “The Million Pound Bank Note.”

The show explores the themes of money and power and how people behave toward those who possess them. Click here for details, and registration.

Coming (sort of) to the Westport Library

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The family of Roberta Eggart writes that their “proud stage manager, assistant to Michael Sottile, writer, dancer, sister, mother of 3, widow, comedy texter, giver of gift cards to strangers and collector of stray humans, died peacefully on January 26 at the age of doesn’t matter. She will be missed by all who interacted with her.”

She lived in Westport for 3 decades, and knew nearly everyone. She is survived by her children Kat, Casey and Jesse Eggart, and grandson Kai.

Kat calls her mother “one of a kind, and a huge influence in so many people’s lives. She loved to dance, sing and write. She was  the best stage manager in the world, and the coolest mom in town!”

The family adds, “A celebration of life will be announced at a later date. Light a candle and wish her well. That’s how she rolled.”

Roberta Eggart

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Nancy Prevo Andersen — believed to be the last surviving member of Staples High School’s Class of 1941 — died recently in Texas. She was 98 years old.

A noted illustrator and artist who showed frequently in the Southwest and Mexico, she was married to Bill Andersen (Staples ’42). Nancy’s father-in-law, Einar Andersen — longtime president of Westport Bank & Trust — helped put together financing for the town’s purchase of Longshore in 1959.

Nancy and Bill had 4 children: Nonnie, Lee, Diane and BJ. Further details on survivors and services were unavailable. (Hat tips: Carl Addison Swanson, Tom Allen)

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Jerry Kuyper sends along today’s “Westport … Naturally” image, with this comment: “At our feeder, birds of a different feather flock together.”

(Photo/Jerry Kuyper)

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And finally … to get you in the mood for Dustin Lowman’s appearance this Saturday at Local to Market (above), check out this video:

Roundup: Super Bowl Raffle, Electric Cars, Convos & Kids …

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No, you won’t get busted for taking part in your office Super Bowl pool.

But Westport’s Sunrise Rotary Club is sponsoring a legal, fully documented one.

And the payout is great: $1,000 for being assigned the randomly generated winning score box; $500 for winning each of the first 3 quarters.

After the 50% payout, all proceeds support the group’s many charities. Tickets will be sold through the morning of the number drawing (2 days before the Super Bowl). The drawing is set for Friday, February 11 (10 a.m., Westport Library). Participants (18 and older) will be notified by email of their numbers.

If the first 100 squares are sold, the Rotary Club may add other grids.

Click here for more information. Click here to purchase a square.

*Trick question. There are no “ups” in football. Only downs.

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Want to buy an electric vehicle, but clueless about them?

Try “Electric Vehicles: Pros & Cons.”

On Monday (February 7, 7 p.m.), Wakeman Town Farm sponsors a talk by Brady Kresch and Analiese Mione, of the EV Club of CT.

They’ll describe different types of electric vehicles, how to charge the battery, and the climate effects of an EV.

You don’t even have to drive your old gas-powered car there. This is an online event. Click here to register.

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With temperatures in the 40s today, the ice is melting.

But on Tuesday, Jonathan Rosenoer spotted some ice rescue training at Compo Beach’s Ned Dimes Marina. He sent this photo:

(Photo/Jonathan Rosenoer)

I asked who conducted the training.

“Sorry,” he replied. “It was too cold to ask.”

Thanks to whoever is out there — keeping us safe, as we stay warm.

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“Cocktails and Conversation” return to MoCA on Thursdays — starting today.

The events run from 6 to 7 p.m. They include expert speakers, views of current exhibitions, and a chance to purchase custom cocktails. The events are free and open to the public, but advance registration is requested. Click here for links.

Tonight (Thursday, February 3): Co-curator Kathleen Motes Bennewitz. She’ll be joined by “ThingsILove203,” with their range of high-end fashion and home acessories.

February 17: “An In-Depth Discussion on Tom Wesselmann” with Huffa Frobes-Cross, Tom Wesselmann catalogue raisonné project manager at the Wildenstein Plattner Institute, New York and Paris.

February 24: “Ekphrastic Writing Workshop” with Diane Meyer Lowman, Westport poet laureate

March 3: “WestPAC Teaching Gallery Talk” with WestPAC Director of Education and Learning Gallery curator Ive Covaci, and Cecily Anderson, Westport Public Schools educator

March 10: “WestportREADS Book Discussion.”

Diane Meyer Lowman will be at MoCA on February 24.

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“Family Festivities Shows” return soon to the Westport Country Playhouse.

The famed theater presents 2 performances of “Rosie Revere, Engineer & Friends” on Sunday, March 13 (1 and 4 p.m.).

The 60-minute show — aimed at youngsters in grades K to 4 — features Rosie, Iggy Peck and Ada Twist, as they bring their passions and curiosity to stage in a musical spotlighting the STEM curriculum.

The Playhouse says: “Based on the books by Andrea Beaty, it might just inspire bright kids to pursue their dreams,” Click here for tickets, and more information.

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Last weekend’s storm is now just a memory. But Jamie Walsh captured this robin at rest, preserving its color and beauty for “Westport … Naturally” readers.

(Photo/Jamie Walsh)

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And finally … Hargus “Pig” Robbins died last week, at 84.

You may not have heard of him — I sure hadn’t — but he was a noted Nashville session pianist. He was also blind, having lost his sight at age 3 in a knife accident.

Beginning in 1959, Pig worked with George Jones, Patsy ClineLoretta LynnConway TwittyKenny Rogers and Tammy Wynette. He also played on Bob Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde, and with Neil Young, Shania Twain, John Hartford, Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings and Ween.

Click here for a full obituary. (Hat tip: Michael Taylor)

Cathy Talmadge Gets A Kidney!

2021 was quite a year for Cathy Talmadge.

On January 11, Christy Colsaurdo and a team of volunteers launched “A Kidney for Cathy.” The goal was to find a donor for the well-respected Westporter. She’d spent 5 years in declining health. The avid swimmer gardener, environmentalist, traveler, reader and cook could barely get out of bed, much less work in her gardens, walk her golden retriever or whip up dinner with her husband Tom.

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

She knew tons of people through her work with Wakeman Town Farm, Earthplace. Sherwood Island State Park and the RTM. But finding a kidney was difficult.

Family members were tested, but none were a match.

Cathy’s name was on donation lists around the country. Yet it can take years before a kidney becomes available.

So Cathy’s many friends went to work. Somewhere in the world, they knew, a life-saving donor was waiting. They also knew that two-thirds of all live kidney donors come from marketing campaigns on social media. They hoped a creative approach could help.

The year was an emotional roller coaster.  Many generous people — including several from Westport — stepped up to be screened, to assess their chances of becoming a viable kidney donor.

Nearly all were disqualified, for one reason or another.

But at 4 a.m. Wednesday — 1 year and 1 day from the start of “A Kidney for Cathy” — she got a call from Yale New Haven Transplant Center.

A deceased donor kidney had become available. Could she come right in for a transplant?

Five hours later — minutes before being wheeled into the operating room — she shared the great news with Christy and others. She asked them to pass along her appreciation for all the kind people who supported her — and of course to the donor and the donor’s family.

The transplant procedure lasted 3 hours. Cathy is doing well in recovery. Her doctors say she’ll return to Westport soon.

With her new kidney, Cathy can resume most of the activities she enjoyed most before falling gravely ill. She’ll swim, hike, travel — and contribute immeasurably to the life of our town..

Christy says, “Many pieces had to fall into place for this transplant to become a reality. Over 90,000 Americans are awaiting kidney donors, so this ending is nothing short of a miracle.

“Credit it to the incredibly selfless people in town who came forward to form Cathy’s ‘village.’ Everyone who sent a card, dropped off a meal, called to check in or underwent testing to become a donor, truly made a difference.”

Congratulations, Cathy! Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

To learn more about donating a kidney, click here. For information on registering as an organ donor through the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles, click here

Roundup: George And Pat Jensen, Kids’ Yoga, Cumby’s …

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Due to today’s snow, the Westport Library will open at 1 p.m. today.

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It’s 10 a.m. Are your kids bored with their snow day yet?

Here’s something they might enjoy: Carly Walker’s first yoga video aimed at youngsters. It comes from Child’s Pose Yoga, the Church Street South studio.

Namaste.

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Longtime Westporters Jørgen and Pat Jensen died peacefully, together, at their home on December 22. He was 92; she was 88.

Jorgen — known as “George” — served 9 terms on the Representative Town Meeting (RTM), and was a prominent member of the Y’s Men and their Hoot Owls singing group. He was also an avid bridge player.

Pat worked for many years for the Westport Public Schools. She also served  with the Westport Woman’s Club.

Both were active in retirement at the Senior Center, and were lifelong boaters. At the Senior Center George was in charge of the Garden Club. He grew tomatoes, and distributed them widely.

George was born in Copenhagen, and graduated from the university there with an MS in mechanical engineering.

Pat — a native of Bridgeport — graduated from Sacred Heart University.

Both were world travelers. They met while working at General Electric in Bridgeport. He worked there until retirement, in 1985.

Pat retired in 2000, after serving as director of purchasing at Staples High School. She was a master knitter and crocheter.

While on the RTM, George worked to purchase the Baron’s property, and on construction of the Senior Center and Saugatuck senior housing. Both he and Pat were active in the movement to save Cockenoe Island from becoming a nuclear power plant, in the 1960s.

George and Pat are survived by their children Elisa (John McKay), Eric (Michele Ryan) and Aline Maynard (Garth); 7 grandchildren and George’s brother Steen Folmer.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Westport Center for Senior Activities, 21 Imperial Avenue, Westport, CT 06880.

Pat and George Jensen (Photos courtesy of Westport Journal)

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Three of Westport’s most important institutions — The Library, Wakeman Town Farm and Westport Farmers Market — are partnering for a delicious presentation.

“Dinner Disrupted: How We Eat” (Tuesday, January 11, 7 pm., in-person at the Library and via Zoom) features a conversation with market researcher and author of How We Eat: The Brave New World of Food and Drink, Paco Underhill.

The book describes how cities are getting countrified with the rise of farmer’s markets and rooftop farms; how supermarkets use their parking lots to grow food and host community events, and how marijuana farmers have developed a playbook so mainstream merchants and farmers across the world can grow food in an uncertain future. Click here to register.

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Among other effects, COVID’s Omicron variant has created staffing shortages at businesses around town.

Among them: Cumberland Farms.

The always-reliable convenience store has posted this brief — but telling — notice on its door:

(Photo/Matt Murray)

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Every Martin Luther King Day, I run a story on the civil rights leader’s visit to Westport — and the wood carvings that local artist Roe Halper presented to him. They hung for years in his Atlanta home.

Halper is still a working artist. Her works are now colorful and abstract.

They are so colorful, in fact, that her current exhibit — at the Westport Library — is called simply “Orange.”

It is “a warm, radiant color with positive energy,” Halper says — “exactly the message I wanted to portray as I pushed bold strokes of power on the canvases  with my Chinese brushes. A person must have a positive attitude to survive in life, and be able to be productive.”

Check out “Orange” — and many other colors — at the Westport Library Gallery.

Roe Halper, at her exhibit.

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It’s school course selection time. What to take? When? Why?

College admissions counselor Amy Chatterjee offers a free webinar on Tuesday (7 p.m.): “Why Course Selection is Important to the College Application Process.” Click here to register.

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” creature is perfect. A “snowshoe Siamese” cat is quite happy to stay indoors!

(Photo/Jo Shields Sherman)

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And finally … on this day in 1904, the distress signal “CQD” was established internationally. Two years later, it was replaced by a different one: “SOS.”

Roundup: Dunkin’, Yardbirds, Wakeman …

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Dunkin’ or Starbucks? We’ve got 3 of each in town, spread from one end of Westport to the other.

Dunkin’ fans will have more room to enjoy their coffee and donuts in March. That’s when the “middle” shop moves from its current location (across from Fresh Market). The new site is just a few yards away, and across the street: the Compo Shopping Center property last occupied by Compo Barbers, and an adjacent (also vacant) storefront.

Jim Cain Jr. confirmed the move to “06880” yesterday. His company owns dozens of Dunkin’s in the area, including the one in Bridge Square. That one will remain open.

So will Westport’s 3rd Dunkin’, on Post Road East (next to Layla’s Falafel). It’s owned by a different franchisee. (Hat tip: Westport Journal)

PS: Scratching your head over the 3rd Starbuck’s location (besides downtown, and the drive-thru opposite Carvel)? There’s the one inside Stop & Shop. Pro tip: There’s never a line there.

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Among the many famous bands to play at Staples High School — the Doors, to drop one name — the Yardbirds may not ring a bell. But the band featured Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck. And they begat Led Zeppelin.

Clapton was not part of the Yardbirds when they came to Staples in 1966. But Page and Beck were.

A photo of the guitar giants tuning up backstage — in what was then, and still is, the high school choral room — appears in a new book, Led Zeppelin: The Biography:

What’s even more impressive is that the image was taken by a young New York photographer, who’d heard that the Yardbirds were about to play their first-ever US concert. She picked up her camera, and drove up to Westport for the show.

Her name: Linda Eastman. Today of course, she is known as Linda McCartney — Paul’s wife. (Hat tip: Ken Goldberg)

FUN FACT: Eric Clapton did eventually play at Staples too. He was there with his new group the next year: Cream.

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Speaking of donuts (as we were above): After enjoying your treat, you might want to work out.

Westport’s newest gym has the intriguing, if somewhat unappetizing, name of “Club Sweat.” It’s the second location — the first is in Greenwich — for what its owners call “the original group elliptical workout … (but) Club Sweat is more than just a workout. It’s a lifestyle. We sweat together, have fun and work towards our fitness goals together to beat- driven classes and of one-of-a-kind playlists. We’re led through a fun choreographed workout by amazing, talented instructors who motivate and challenge us to have fun while doing something good for ourselves.”

Club Sweat will open soon, in the Fresh Market plaza.

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Wakeman Town Farm welcome the new year with a pair of exciting new programs. University of Connecticut master gardener Alice Ely will teach both.

In the “Winter Sowing Workshop” (January 10, 7 to 8 p.m.), students will learn how to make a “mini-greenhouse” in a bottle. Leave it outside until spring; then reap a dozen or more native milkweed seedlings to start in your garden. Collect or save bottles now (clear 1- or 2-liter soda bottles or translucent half-gallon milk bottles are recommended.) Click here to register.

“Resolve to Compost” (January 24, 7 to 8 p.m.) will help you turn over a new leaf (ho ho) in 2022. Attendees will save water, reduce pollution and improve their gardens by making “black gold” at home. The class is for those new to composting, and those who want to up their skills. WTF will share some of its compost to get you started. Click here to register.

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Wildlife abounds here — nowhere more so than Sherwood Mill Pond. Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo shows one of our favorite spots.

(Photo/Molly Alger)

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And finally … The moment you read about the Yardbirds and Led Zeppelin, you know who’d be featured in today’s music video, right?

Roundup: Techno Claus, Tree Lights, Trailer Park …

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Santa Claus comes once a year.

Techno Claus too.

The “CBS Sunday Morning” staple — aka David Pogue (don’t tell the kids!) made an earlier-than-usual appearance in 2021. He told “06880” he wanted to make sure there were no supply chain issues with any suggestions.

As usual, much of the segment was filmed in David’s Westport home. Both Santa and Techno Claus know it well.

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David Meth likes the Wakeman Town Farm Christmas tree lights. A lot.

He does not like the lights on the Town Hall tree.

(Photos/David Meth)

David says: “The lack of warmth lighting up the Christmas tree at Town Hall is its usual, typical, surgical, antiseptic white—an embarrassment to the town. Yet it goes on year after year without change or care by the administration, who seem to lack an understanding of how color positively affects people.

“The town is very clear as it  expresses an attitude that announces: ‘Get it done to say it’s been done.’ The warmth exuded from the tree at Wakeman Farm is what we should expect—welcoming, full of life and color for all.”

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Rod Serling has not lived in Westport for 60 years. And he’s been dead for 45.

But visitors to Sherwood Island have recently experienced a “Twilight Zone” moment. There — in the middle of our beautiful, wooded beachside state park — sits a decrepit trailer park.

(Photo/Werner Lipeolt)

Has it sat there — unnoticed — for years? But wait — why is there a trailer park in a state park?

Because it’s a movie set, silly!

As “06880” has reported several times, Netflix is filming “Mr. Harrigan’s Phone” there. The Stephen King thriller stars Donald Sutherland and Jaeden Martell, and will be released next year. 

When, presumably, the Black Bear Trailer Park is just a long-ago memory.

PS: How about some kind of Oscar for that set designer?!

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Youn Su Chao has resigned from the Board of Education.

Her replacement must be a registered Democrat. Letters of application should be submitted by email (lgoldstein@westportps.org) or to Westport Board of Education, Town Hall Room 307, 110 Myrtle Avenue, Westport, CT 06880. The deadline is next Monday (December 13).

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The Greens Farms Garden Club does wonderful work. And not just in the 06838 zip code.

The other day, members beautified the Gillespie Center men’s shelter downtown. They weeded, trimmed, raked, pulled vines and planted daffodils all around the property across behind Barnes & Noble (and around the corner from Tiffany).

The area was so overgrown, it was hard to find the stone wall or bench in the area.  Now it looks great.

Early next spring, Garden Club members will trim back larger shrubs, and add more plantings.

Greens Farms Garden Club members take a brief break at the Gillespie Center.

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Tonight (Tuesday) at 7 p.m., the state Department of Transportation hosts a virtual public information meeting about the replacement of the Greens Farms Road Sasco Brook bridge.

The presentation will be recorded. Click here for instructions on how to access the meeting, and how to provide comments or ask questions.

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Joel Robert Hallas (W1ZR) died peacefully at home in Westport on Thanksgiving morning, with his family by his side, after a hard 3 -year fight against pancreatic cancer. He was 79.

Joel was an electrical engineer, sailboat owner and expert in telecommunications and amateur radio. He wrote 7 books about ham radio and antennas.

A 1960 graduate of Greenwich High School, he served in the Army from 1962-65. Stationed in Frankfurt, Germany, he earned the rank of E5 in the Signal Corps. He then graduated with a bachelor of science in electrical engineering from the University of Connecticut.

While working at Raytheon, Joel earned a master of science in electrical engineering from Northeastern University. He also worked for Norden Systems, GTE, IBM, Seagram’s and AT&T, on radar and telecommunications projects. He taught telecommunications at the Rochester Institute of Technology from 1993-1997.

In Westport he was known for sailing his sloop Windfall on Long Island Sound, with family, friends, co-workers, Y’s Men and his golden retrievers. He twice served as commodore of the Minuteman Yacht Club. He was appointed to the Parks & Recreation Commission, where he headed the committee that was instrumental in improving Compo Beach’s Ned Dimes Marina, including the concrete flotation docks that increased capacity and convenience.

At the end of his career Joel joined the staff of the National Association of Amateur Radio as technical editor of their journal QST. He wrote a popular monthly column and did a podcast called “The Doctor is In,” answering technical questions from hams.

Among the books Joel wrote are Basic Radio; Basic Antennas; The ARRL Guide to Antenna Tuners; Hamspeak; The Care and Feeding of Transmission Lines; Understanding Your Antenna Analyzer, and The Radio Amateur’s Workshop.

Joel is survived by his wife of 58 years, Nancy Gatrall Hallas; daughter Katie J. (Mike) Phillis, and son Dr. Stephen J. (Dr. Sabrina Noel) Hallas.

Burial will be private. A memorial service will be held this spring.

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Our “Westport … Naturally” feature includes many wild animals.

Today we feature man’s best friend. James Melino and Nellie work together in James’ home office. What a team!

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And finally … today in 1842, the New York Philharmonic presented its first concert ever. Happy 179th birthday!

Roundup: Tunnel Of Love, Compo Swim, Cribari Lights

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Just in time to kick off the holiday shopping season, a small ceremony honored the re-lighting and re-naming of the pedestrian tunnel between Main Street and Parker Harding Plaza.

New lights show off Miggs Burroughs’ stunning lenticular images. They portray Westporters connecting with each other. Each changes, depending on the angle you view them from.

The original name was “Tunnel Vision.” Suzanne Tanner came up with the new “Tunnel of Love & Community” — abbreviated as (of course) TLC. Then it was re-opened — as it always has been — to the public, 24/7/365.

1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker (center) and guests enjoy the newly re-lit Tunnel of Love & Community.

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While all the tunnel re-dedicators were bundled up in Friday’s chill, Ann Chernow’s grandchildren chilled at Compo Beach.

Well, actually, they went in the water.

She sends a photo of “2 of my crazy grandchildren. They usually swim  in the Pacific in San Francisco.” At 47 degrees, Long Island Sound was much chillier.

Yikes!

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Also this weekend: The Cribari Bridge is lit for the holidays.

Betsy Pollak sends along the first of what is sure to be many photos of one of Westport’s favorite and most colorful traditions.

(Photo/Betsy Pollak)

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Westport’s hidden music gem, Voices Cafe, offers in-person, high quality live music (or livestream), with café-style seating. Everyone brings their own snacks and beverages.

Coming this Saturday (December 4): Eclectic musical duo The Whispering Tree, and award-winning folk couple Ash and Eric (formerly, The Promise is Hope).

Click here for tickets and more information. Seats are assigned by ticket purchase date.

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Photos keep coming in of new Thanksgiving Day traditions. Here’s one more — of a group of dads and sons — with the by-now-familiar name: Turkey Bowl. (Hat tip: Bianca Jonas)

(Photo/Eric Ritter)

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You can’t be too busy next month, right?

If you need an activity, check out these 2 from Wakeman Town Farm.

“In “Making Spirits Brighter: A Holiday Mixology Class” (December 6, 7 p.m.), “Mixxed by Ed” Hernandez will teach you how to make 5 holiday-themed drinks, using natural ingredients picked straight from the farm. Premium liquor is provided by Remy Cointreau.

“A Holiday Centerpiece Workshop” (December 14, 7 p.m.), features WTF’s Chyrse Terill and Ellen Goldman. Materials are collected from the Farm. You can take home your creation — and feel free to bring an appetizer, bottle of wine or other drink.

Click here for details and registration.

“Mixxed by Ed” Hernandez

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Former Staples High School football star Joseph Vincent DeMattio died Wednesday, following a courageous battle with a long-time illness. He was 63, and is survived by a large extended family and hundreds of friends.

Joey played tackle on the Wreckers’ 1975 state champion team, and was a 1997 inductee into team’s Wall of Fame. He also played defense for the University of Maryland where he played  defense for the Maryland Terrapins. An excellent athlete, he returned to Westport and played softball for the legendary Sonny’s team.

His family says, “There was never a dull moment in Joey’s life. From running with the bulls in Pamplona to fighting pirates in the Bahamas, he was no stranger to adventure or travel.”

Although Joey held several positions in his career, his favorite was working for Keith Richards in Weston. He often said how down to earth and kind the family was to him.

He was also an accomplished inventor, and held 2 provisional patents.

Joey had a huge heart, especially for children and the elderly.

Joey loved Saugatuck, Jr’s Hot Dog Stand, Compo Beach, Aunt Jean’s eggplant parm, Walter K, the Maryland Terrapins, Ledo’s Pizza, inventing things, his little dog Tony, his beautiful home, eating any food (especially Italian), his Saugatuck Saints jacket, Calvin the monkey, yelling at umpires, playing football, traveling, the Three Stooges, the Rolling Stones, and pistachio ice cream.

His family notes, “Saugatuck will never be the same without you.”

A  funeral is set for Thursday (December 2, 10 a.m., Assumption Church). The family will receive friends in the Harding Funeral Home on Wednesday (December 1, 4 to 8 p..). Click here to leave online condolences.

In lieu of flowers, donation can be made to Safer Refuge of Central Texas, where 2 of Joey’s beloved puppies come from.

Joey DeMattio, in the 1977 Staples High School yearbook.

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Nicholas T. Saviano Jr. of Westport died quietly at home earlier this month.

After graduating from Staples High School in 1947, he earned a bachelor’s degree from Union College and a master’s from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was inducted into Sigma Xi Honor Society.

Nick was a lifelong Westport resident. He was an avid reader, and enjoyed photography, horseback riding, skiing, wine making, family genealogy, and aviation and navigation.

In his younger years he owned a small private plane with his older brother. He traveled throughout the country and abroad, including Italy and China with family and friends.

For most of his career he worked as an electrical engineer at Sperry Rand/Unisys in New York as the senior research section head, software development, shipboard and ground systems group. Nick also held a number of patents.

He volunteered for many years at the Westport Library and Sons of Italy. He was also an usher at the Assumption Church. He was devoted to his family and friends.

He was predeceased by his elder brother Ralph, his nephew David and his wife Joanne of New Hampshire, and several dear life-long friends. He is survived by his sister Florence of Stratford; brother Thomas of Westport; nieces Dyana and Felica of Monroe; niece Suzanne of New Hampshire; nephew Mark of Colorado; several great-nephews and nieces, great-great nephews and nieces, and 7 godchildren.

A funeral is set for Saturday (December 4, 10 a.m., Assumption Church). Interment will follow in Assumption-Greens Farms Cemetery. A reception immediately following the burial will be held at Christ and Holy Trinity Church. Gifts may be given in Nick’s memory to Union College,

Nick Saviano

 

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Today’s colorful “Westport … Naturally” image comes from the home and camera of Linda Stern:

(Photo/Linda Stern)

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And finally … Today in 1925, the Grand Ole Opry began broadcasting in Nashville, as the WSM Barn Dance. Uncle Jimmy Thompson was the first guest.

And if you’ve got a couple of hours to kill:

 

CORRECTION: Dueling Tree Lightings Are December 3

This morning’s Roundup noted that 2 tree lighting ceremonies are December 2. In fact, both the Wakeman Town Farm and Town Hall events are Friday, December 3.

The Town Hall lighting begins at 5 p.m. The Staples High School Orphenians will sing.

The WTF lighting starts at 4:30, and features music, cocoa, cookies and a bonfire.

See you at one — or both!

Wakeman Town Farm tree lighting, in 2019. Last year’s event was canceled, due to COVID.

Roundup: Dodge-a-Cop, Tree Lighting, Uber Discount …

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Police officers and Staples High School students battled last night. For 2 hours in the fieldhouse, they hurled objects at each other.

It’s all good.

The event was Dodge-a-Cop. The annual dodgeball tournament is a fundraiser for Toys for Tots — and a great way to get police and teenagers working together. Each student team included at least one officer.

Dodge-a-Cop was organized by the Westport Youth Commission and Staples’ Teen Awareness Group.

There were no arrests.

Westport Police Chief Foti Koskinas (2nd from right) and RTM member Andrew Colabella (far right) joined in the fun. (Photo courtesy of Westport Police Department)

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Dueling tree lighting ceremonies!

Both the town of Westport, and Wakeman Town Farm, will do the honors on Friday, December 3.

The Town Hall event begins at 5 p.m. The Staples High School Orphenians will sing.

The WTF lighting starts at 4:30, and features music, cocoa, cookies and a bonfire.

If there are any other tree lightings that day, please let us know.

The Town Hall tree, in 2018. (Photo/Dan Woog)

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Speaking of the holiday season: What a time for parties, celebrations and fun!

Not time for drinking and driving afterward, though.

Smart imbibers know that one way to avoid arrest — or worse — is to call Uber. Now — thanks to the Connecticut Department of Transportation Office of Highway Safety — you can get a $10 discount off that potentially life-saving ride.

And it’s available every day from now through January 14, between 5 p.m. and 4 a.m. The discount code is: SaveTheNightCT.

Put that code in your phone now. It may be harder to find when you need it the most.

This program comes thanks to a grant from the Governors Highway Safety Association, in partnership with Uber. Connecticut is one of only 5 states to receive the funds.

For more information, click here.

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Anaiza Morales moved to Westport only 2 months ago, from New Jersey. But it didn’t take her long to get involved in her Westfair neighborhood.

Impressed by how much fun everyone had on Halloween, last Sunday she organized a chili crawl/cook-off.

Anaiza met new neighbors, and their college-age kids and mothers in for the holiday weekend. They shared food and stories, while walking around the neighborhood (in perfect weather).

It was a blast. And people who did not have a chili recipe brought dessert.

The competition was close. Only .6 of a point separated the top cooks (as calculated by a young engineer). The winner: Wendy, with Brazilian feijoada.

Enjoying the chili (and warm weather) in the Westfair neighborhood.

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MoCA Westport’s current exhibition – “When Caged Birds Sing” — features 8 life-size sculptures by the late Westport artist Ann Weiner. They represent women’s rights activists who survived abuse because of their gender, yet still advocate for the rights of others at risk.

In conjunction with this important exhibit, MoCA hosts 3 human rights experts for a panel discussion at 6 p.m. on December 2:

  • Claudia King, from Connecticut’s Human Anti-trafficking Response Team
  • Cadence Pentheny, coordinator, community and corporate learning, LGBTQ+ Training Institute, Triangle Community Center
  • Jamie Rubin, Southwest regional manager, Connecticut Commission on Human Rights & Opportunities.

The event is free, but pre-registration is required (click here). Attendees who arrive early can grab a beverage at Bar MoCA. Guests can stay after the event to watch a documentary associated with the exhibition.

Part of MoCA’s “Caged Bird” exhibition.

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A memorial service for Julie Belaga — the former state representative, regional EPA administrator and Export-Import Bank director who died Friday — is set for December 19 (10 a.m., Westport Library). All of Julie’s friends and admirers are welcome.

Julie Belaga

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Two days ago, our Roundup featured 2 intriguing photos. Both showed a fancy women’s shoe, abandoned at Compo Beach. In one shot, it lay on the ground; in the other, it was perched on a railing.

That shoe sure gets around. Here’s a third image:

(Photo/Indrani Basu)

It sure gets around. If you see it on the cannons — or anywhere else — let us know.

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“Westport … Naturally” celebrates Turkey Day with, of course …

Dogwood Lane buck. (Photo/Eric Roth)

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And finally … 5o years ago today, hijacker DB Cooper parachuted from a Northwest Orient Airlines plane over the Pacific Northwest, with $200,000 in ransom money. He has never been found.

Click here for full details. Click below for DB Cooper’s song.