Tag Archives: Westport Book Shop

Roundup: Horace Lewis Funeral, Skating, Trash …

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Services will be held this Saturday (January 8) for Horace Lewis. The beloved head custodian at Staples High School — and before that at Coleytown Middle School — died last month of complications from COVID, following a stroke. He was 62 years old.

The family will receive visitors from 10 to 11 a.m. at Kingdom Life Christian Church, 597 Naugatuck Avenue in Milford. The funeral service follows, at 11 a.m. Interment will be at Union Cemetery in Stratford.

Horace Lewis

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Larry Aasen’s family has sent along his official obituary. Here are more details, on one of Westport’s most remarkable residents:

Larry Aasen died on Sunday, January 2, at Norwalk Hospital. He was 99 years old. The cause of death was complications of COVID-19.

Larry and his wife Martha married in 1954. They moved to Westport in 1963. Martha died in October 2020, at 90.

Larry was born in a log house on a farm near Gardner, ND, on December 5, 1922, during a heavy snowstorm. There was no electricity, running water or central heating. His grandparents were immigrants from Norway.

He attended North Dakota State University from 1941 to 1943, then entered the U.S. Army. Larry rose to sergeant in the 13th Airborne Division. After training in North Carolina, he was sent to France during World War II. His job was cryptographer, encoding and decoding secret messages. His division had 20-person gliders. Their mission was to drop behind enemy lines and destroy anything of value.

One year after his 1946 discharge, Larry received a journalism degree from the University of North Dakota. He added a master’s degree in public relations from Boston University in 1949.

Larry moved to New York, where he began his career as a journalist for McGraw-Hill trade publications. He spent 14 years with New York Life Insurance, rising to vice president of public relations, then 20 years with the Better Vision Institute on campaigns urging Americans to get their eyes checked.

He was active in Westport’s civic life. He served 17 years on the Representative Town Meeting (RTM). Other volunteer activities include the Democratic Town Committee, Y’s Men and Rotary Club. He was an active member of the Saugatuck Congregational Church. In 2018, he served as grand marshal of the town’s Memorial Day parade

He wrote 4 books about his beloved North Dakota, including “North Dakota 100 Years Ago,” “Images of North Dakota” and “North Dakota Postcards 1900-1930.” “North Dakotans Never Give Up” was written when he was 97 years old.

Larry is survived by his children, David and Susan; son-in-law David Rutkin, and extended family members in North Dakota and Minnesota.

Because of the pandemic, there will be no funeral at this time. A memorial service will be held in the spring. His family requests that no flowers or gifts be sent to the Aasen residence. Instead, memorial gifts may be sent to Saugatuck Congregational Church (click here, or send to 245 Post Road East, Westport, CT 06880).

Memorial Day 2018 grand marshal Larry Aasen and his wife Martha. (Photo/Ted Horowitz)

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This week’s weather is great for skating, at one of  Westport’s 2 rinks.

That’s right. In addition to the Westport PAL Rink at Longshore, there’s another not far from downtown.

However, this one is private.

Josh Fass passed his love of hockey to his kids. Carter — a junior at Staples High School — plays on the boys varsity team. Lexie is a freshman; she skates for the Staples/Stamford co-op girls team. (The oldest is studying molecular and cellular biology in California.)

Creating a rink on their front lawn was a passion project last year, and a saving grace during the long COVID winter. The virus is still here — but thankfully, the rink is back.

The Fass family rink. (Photo/Mark Mathias)

A Westporter writes:

My husband and I have been doing a daily walk around our neighborhood. We see things that — well, shouldn’t be there.

So the other day we took a couple of bags with us. In just 20 minutes around the corner and back, we filled them (see photo below). We picked up something almost every 10 yards.

So here’s my “food (garbage) for thought”: Why does this happen in one of the wealthiest and most highly educated places in the country — in front of million dollar homes? I’m sure we wouldn’t see this on their living room floors.

In days to come, we’ll bring bigger bags. And maybe a truck, for the barbecue grill someone threw away.

A small portion of all the garbage collected.

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On Monday, “06880” reported on the cache of unopened tin cans Wendy Crowther found in a decaying Baron’s South tree.

Several readers speculated they might have been left there by a homeless person.

Wendy returned, and examined the labels. The oldest “Best By” date was February 28, 2017. Others were dated as late as 2022. A plastic jar of unopened peanut butter that rolled downhill from the rest had a “Best By” date of 2023.

Such dates dates typically range from 1 to 3 years, Wendy says. It’s hard to know who stashed the cans, and when. But, she adds, “No matter who, it’s a reminder that someone’s next meal may depend on the secrecy and integrity of a tree cavity, even here in Westport.”

Canned goods, in and near a Baron’s South tree. (Photo/Wendy Crowther)

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The Westport Book Shop starts the new year off with a different kind of Artist of the Month. Literary and visual artist Diane Meyer Lowman — our town’s poet laureate — offers 9 original haiku. Superimposed on a photo taken by Diane in Westport or close by, they’ll be exhibited in the store through January 31.

Lowman is a poet, author and essayist (click here to read). Her memoir Nothing But Blue was published in 2018. Shortly thereafter, she received her M.A. in Shakespeare Studies from the University of Birmingham.

Diane Meyer Lowman with her haiku, at the Westport Book Shop.

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Sarah Bloom Raskin is the leading candidate for vice chair of supervision at the Federal Reserve.

According to Axios, “By settling on Raskin, a former deputy Treasury secretary, for the powerful bank regulator position, [President] Biden is giving progressive senators like Elizabeth Warren a policy and personnel win on a position about which they care deeply.”

Raskin — a law professor at Duke University — served as a Federal Reserve governor before joining the Treasury Department under President Obama. She is married to Congressman Jamie Raskin of Maryland.

Why is this “06880”-worthy? She is the daughter of longtime Westporter Arlene Bloom and her late husband, Herb. (Hat tips: Mary Condon and Sheila Weiss)

Sarah Bloom Raskin

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Gulls are a constant summer presence at Compo Beach.

Unlike other birds, they don’t fly south for the winter. They’re still here, enjoying — like human non-snowbirds — the solitude of the shore.

Amy Schneider snapped this “Westprot … Naturally” photo yesterday:

(Photo/Amy Schneider)

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And finally … in honor of Amy Schneider’s photo (above), we present below:

 

Roundup: Kentucky Aid, Urgent Care, Arnie’s Place …

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On the last Sunday before Christmas, Main Street is packed today with almost-last-minute shoppers.

While buying gifts for friends and loved ones, Steve Crowley hopes we’ll think about everyone in Kentucky whose holidays — and lives — were upended by last week’s tornadoes.

Steve — the owner of SCA Crowley Real Estate Services — has swung into action. He got a logo (courtesy of Miggs Burroughs) with the words “America Lends a Hand.” He ordered dozens of t-shirts, with the design.

Marty Rogers produced a sign. It’s in front of Vineyard Vines all day today, where Steve and his sons are selling the shirts, in return for donations to the Western Kentucky Relief Fund. 100% of all contributions go directly there.

In the midst of everything, stop in front of Vineyard Vines to help out. And, Steve says, if you can’t be there, send a tax-deductible check made out to “Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund,” c/o Public Protection Cabinet, 500 Metro Streeet, 218 NC, Frankfort, KY 40601.

Steve Crowley (right) and sons, selling t-shirts outside Vineyard Vines today.

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As the Omicron variant surges, and COVID cases soar, the Urgent Care center on Post Road East — which offers rapid testing i– has been swamped with patients.

As Bob Weingarten notes,  the line of cars there “has replaced the normal line at Starbucks” across the street.  .

(Photo/Bob Weingarten)

Hey: If there’s an accident at Urgent Care, at least you won’t go far for treatment.

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Marty Greenberg lives on the Saugatuck River, across from the Rowing club. Last night around 8:30, the “floating Christmas team” passed by, for the second time.

“What a sight! What a treat!” Marty says. “it’s a unique Westport thrill.”

Floating Christmas tree, across from the Saugatuck Rowing Club. (Photo/Marty Greenberg)

Readers: If you’ve got photos — or any other info on the floating Christmas tree, like when it will next ride the river — click “Comments” below.

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Sure, this is one of the busiest weeks of the year. But if you get a chance, stop in to the Westport Library’s Verso Studios holiday open house tomorrow (Monday, December 20, 7 p.m.).

The creative staff will show off their podcast, mixing and mastering equipment.  They’ll answer questions about audio and video creation, editing and post-production, including training courses.

Registration is requested, for planning purposes. Click here to RSVP, and learn more.

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Speaking of the library: Longtime and beloved Westport artist Roe Halper’s acrylic paintings will be on display there from January 5 to March 7.

There’s a reception January 13, and an artist’s talk February 10. Both begin at 7 p.m..

COVID got you worried? Contact Roe for a private viewing: http://www.roehalperart.com.

“Orange” (Roe Halper)

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Speaking of the Library: It can’t run without volunteers. Betty Lou Cummings was one of its staunchest.

She served many other organizations, including her fall festival baby, the Applel Festival. She was a Representative Town Meeting member, as well as a 2nd selectwoman.

Yesterday, Betty Lou and her husband Tom celebrated their 66th wedding anniversary. It was the same day I — and so many other Westporters — got their classic Christmas card, filled with photos of children, grandchildren, and random others.

Happy anniversary — and Merry Christmas — to one of our town’s favorite couples!

Betty Lou and Tom Cummings.

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Meanwhile, across Jesup Green from the Library, the Westport Book Shop continues to fill an important niche.

And the used book store does it with panache. Here’s their current sign:

(Photo/David Meth)

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Here’s a last-minute gift idea for anyone who remembers hours spent at Arnie’s Place arcade (or dreams about paying their taxes in pennies, as Arnie did).

Virginia Wong — the Westport native and entrepreneur who spent many happy hours at the controversial (to parents and town officials) and joyful (to kids) Post Road video arcade (now Ulta) — has reanimated the iconic graphic from Arnie Kaye’s long-running campaign to open, and stay open.

“I Support Arntie’s” t-shirts come in 4 colors. They’re perfect for any ’80s Westport kid.

Click here to order. But hurry! Tomorrow (Monday, December 20) is the cutoff for Christmas delivery.

“I Support Arnie’s” t-shirt, in pink.

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If you haven’t been to Compo Beach lately, you’ve missed serene winter “Westport … Naturally” scenes like this:

(Photo/Jonathan Prager)

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And finally … Edith Piaf was born on this day, in 1915. The French singer-songwriter. She died in 1963, just 47 years old. But she left quite a legacy behind.

Roundup: Holiday Stroll, Kids’ Vaccine, Larry Aasen …

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New merchants are signing up every day for “06880”s first-ever Holiday Stroll.

It’s next Saturday (December 11), 4 to 7 p.m., downtown.

Staples’ elite Orphenians will sing. Don Memo will provide hot apple cider, on their patio. There’s face painting for kids, and an ugly sweater contest for everyone.

Santa will hang out by Savvy + Grace. He’ll pose for photos with kids, who can also drop off self-addressed letters to him. They’ll be mailed back, with a personal note.

Among the special shopping offerings:

  • 20% off at Allison Daniel Designs (Sconset Square) and WEST.
  • Free topaz or pyrite crystal at Age of Reason.
  • Something special from Franny’s Farmacy.
  • Garlic knots at Joe’s Pizza.
  • Silk mask giveaway at Calico.
  • Spend $150-$250, get 10% off. Spend $250-$500, get 15% off. Spend $500 or more, get 20% off at Kerri Rosenthal.
  • Sorelle Gallery offers festive beverages to sip while browsing artwork, plus a giveaway. Sign up for their email list and select a free print, while supplies last.
  • A free gift to children who stop by The Toy Post between 4 and 6 p.m. Saturday (they close at 6).
  • Buy one, get 1/2 off of Whip Salon brand products
  • 20% off all holiday items at Westport Book Shop.
  • Adult holiday beverages and 10% off a full-price purchase to anyone mentioning the “06880” blog at Nic + Zoe.
  • Hot chocolate at Le Rouge ChocolatesRye Ridge Deli and Winfield Street Coffee.
  • Hot chocolate and holiday treats at The Fred Shop.
  • 1 free health and wellness coaching session from Dark Horse Health and Wellness (Playhouse Square; stop by or call 203-349-5597).

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Meanwhile, earlier next Saturday — from 10:30 a.m. to noon — Westport Book Shop sponsors its own first-ever Winter Family Fest. It’s on Jesup Green, right across from our favorite used book store.

Kids will enjoy snowflake-themed crafts, games and story reading (indoors!). There’s hot chocolate and goodies for all too, courtesy of The Porch @ Christie’s.

The Family Fest takes place on Jesup Green, across from Westport Book Shop.

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Yesterday’s second COVID vaccine clinic for 5-to-11-year-olds was another hit.

Kids and their parents poured into the Staples High School fieldhouse, for their second dose. Westport Weston Health District, school district and Westport Community Emergency Response Team personnel handled the crowd efficiently. Youngsters were excited to receive another jab. (Their parents were too.)

One protester stood near the entrance. Whitney Krueger (photo below) held signs reflecting her belief that not enough information has been provided about the vaccine.

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Today is Larry Aasen’s 99th birthday.

He heads any list of great Westporters — and not just because his last name is first.

A World War II veteran and Westport resident since the 1950s, he’s had a long, distinguished career serving our town, in politics and many other ways. In 2018, Larry was the Memorial Day grand marshal.

He’s also the author of 4 books about his beloved home state, North Dakota.

Larry’s wife, his beloved Martha, died in October 2020. She was 90. They had been married for 66 years.

I know all of Westport joins me in wishing Larry Aasen a wonderful 99th birthday!

Larry Aasen, with his books. (Photo and hat tip/Dave Matlow)

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The inaugural Chris Frantz Emerging Artists concert — produced by the Westport Library and Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce — was a hit.

Last night, 200 music lovers enjoyed Lulu Lewis and The Problem with Kids. The next concert will be announced soon.

The Problem with Kids, at the Westport Library’s Trefz Forum last night.

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For 2 months, Netflix has been filming “Mr. Harrigan’s Phone,” all around the area. The Stephen King thriller stars Donald Sutherland and Jaeden Martell.

The most recent site was Sherwood Island State Park, by the old stables. Intrigued beach-goers spotted tents, trailers and lights near the wood last week.

Preparing to shoot “Mr. Harrigan’s Phone.”

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“Extraterrestrial Life: Are We the Sharpest Cookies in the Jar?”

That’s the provocative title of the Westport Astronomical Society’s next virtual lecture. Harvard professor Avi Loeb speaks via Zoom (click here) and YouTube (click here) on December 21 (8 p.m.).

PS: No one know the answer. But I do know this: If we were the smartest beings in the universe, we wouldn’t have to ask.

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Chris Robison — noted musician, teacher, gay rights activist and a longtime Westporter — died this week. He was 73.

Born Harold Alton Meyer in Wellesley, Massachusetts, Chris made his mark in the New York City rock ‘n’ roll scene of the 1970s as a member of the New York Dolls, Elephant’s Memory, Steam and Stumblebunny. He was also a music teacher here for over 30 years.

Chris recorded with John Lennon, Keith Richards, Papa John Phillips and Gene Simmons.

With Elephant’s Memory he toured with Aerosmith, Rare Earth and Billy Preston, and played a Circle Line tourist boat gig — hosted by the Hell’s Angels — with Bo Diddley and Jerry Garcia.

The New York Dolls toured Japan with Jeff Beck and Felix Pappalardi. A crowd of 55,000 jammed Tokyo Baseball Stadium to hear them play. Click here for a longer “06880” story on Chris’ musical exploits.

His family says, “His relentless passion for artistic expression and civil rights will be treasured for years to come.”

Chris is survived by sons Dexter Scott of Brooklyn and Tiger Robison of Laramie, Wyoming; sisters Laurel Meyer of Wellesley, Wendy Woodfield and Marilee Meyer of Cambridge, Massachusetts; brother Bruce Meyer of Camden, Maine, and 3 grandchildren.

A memorial service is set for this Tuesday (December 7) at MoCA Westport, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Chris Robison

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If every business was as well landscaped as Tiger Bowl — well, they’d all be featured on our “Westport … Naturally” page!

(Photo/Ellen Wentworth)

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And finally … Chris Robison led quite a life (see his obituary above). We honor him here with these videos.

He was not in “Steam” when they recorded their signature (and only) hit (in Bridgeport). The band did not even exist; “Steam” was just studio musicians.

But the label wanted a tour. Chris joined the group that played 28 states, in a  grueling 3-week tour of 1-night stands, TV shows and festivals. They shared the bill with Bob Seger and MC5, among others. “Steam” played all original material; the only obligation was to start and end each set with …

His next gig — with Elephant’s Memory — included this 1974 song:

Then it was on to the New York Dolls. They were a key influence on later punk, new wave and glam metal groups like the Ramones, Blondie and Talking Heads.

Later Chris formed his own band, Stumblebunny, which toured the UK and Germany with the Hollies.

He recorded solo, too.

Thanks for the music and the memories, Chris!

Roundup: Wreaths, Annie, “Light A Fire” …

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Every year, the Westport Garden Club creates wreaths for 18 town properties.

Members gather natural elements from their own gardens to create unique designs that they display on town buildings and non-profit organizations, from the ABC House and Gillespie Center to Earthplace.

One recipients — the Westport Museum for History & Culture — houses club archives dating back to 1924. It’s also the site of an Outdoor Winter Market tomorrow (Saturday, December 4, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.), where 25 original wreaths will be on sale to the public. Proceeds will help continue their projects around town.

Westport Garden Club members, with their gorgeous wreaths.

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The sun is not out very long these days. But it comes out this weekend for Bedford Middle School’s production of “Annie.”

The show opens tonight (Friday, December 3, 7:30 p.m.), then continues tomorrow (Saturday, December 4, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.) and Sunday (December 5, 2 p.m.).

The school’s first stage production since COVID will draw raves. For tickets, click here.

Plenty of action in “Annie.” (Photo/January Stewart)

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Moffly Media’s annual “Light a Fire” celebration of local heroes is always inspiring. The event honors Fairfield County residents who go above and beyond, to make a difference in the lives of others.

Last night’s honorees included Matt Jordan. The Staples High School senior works tirelessly on behalf of Kids in Crisis, helping other teens whose lives are less fortunate than his own.

The livestreamed ceremony was hosted by Weston actor and animal rights activist Jim Naughton. Click below to see. (Matt’s presentation begins at 29:22.)

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On stage last night at the Westport Library: noted restaurateur Marcus Samuelsson.

He was interviewed by CBS News justice and security correspondent (and 1988 Staples High School graduate) Jeff Pegues. It was part of the library’s compelling Trefz Newsmakers conversation.

The only thing missing: some of the chef’s creations.

Jeff Pegues (left) and Marcus Samuelsson. (Photo/Matt Murray)

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In this season of joy and good cheer, MoCA Westport took time last night to acknowledge serious issues: human right violations.

The panel discussion was part of programming for the museum’s “When Caged Birds Sing” exhibition.

(Photo/Leslie LaSala)

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Among next week’s highlights at the Westport Library:

Cartoonist Roz Chast and artist Karla Knight chat — and answer audience questions — in conjunction with Knight’s first solo museum exhibition (Tusday, December 7, 7 p.m.). Click here for both in-person and livestream tickets.

A reception for Leonard Everett Fisher’s exhibit, “A Life of Art,” is set for Thursday (December 9, 7 p.m.). He’ll speak about his work. The public is invited.

Leonard Everett Fisher

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Across Jesup Green from the library: Photographer Fruma Markowitz is this month’s featured artist at the Westport Book Shop.

She shows part of “Sara’s Trousseau,” an installation of 9 Cyanotype prints and collages of teacups she inherited from her mother, and crocheted and embroidered linens found at flea markets and tag sales.

Markowitz is a member of the Artists Collective of Westport. Her work is on display at the back of the used book shop, on Jesup Road.

Fruma Markowitz, and her photos.

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This shoe sure gets around. It’s been spotted — and photographed — at the Compo beach boardwalk, playground and concession stand. Now it’s made its way to the most iconic spot of all.

What’s next? Stay tuned!

(Photo/Jean Stevens)

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” shot is a very serene one, of a favorite sight: Sherwood Mill Pond.

(Photo/Matt Murray)

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And finally … to honor Matt Jordan and his “Light a Fire” award (above):

 

Roundup: FCIACs, Doubt, Land …

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Yesterday’s Roundup gave an incorrect date for the Staples High School girls soccer team’s FCIAC championship match.

The correct date is tomorrow — Thursday, November 4 (7 p.m., Fairfield Warde High School). The #4 Wreckers face #6 Wilton. Both teams advanced on Monday, via penalty kick semifinal wins.

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“Doubt: A Parable” is a compelling, though-provoking play. (I saw it on Broadway, and was mesmerized.) It opened at the Westport Country Playhouse  last night, marking a return to in-person performances at the historic theater.

The Playhouse has planned 4 post-show discussions. They’ll feature community guests who deal closely with issues addressed in the play: a drama about a nun’s’ suspicion of a priest’s behavior.

They’ll include Beth McCabe, co-leader for Connecticut chapter of SNAP (Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests), on Thursday, November 11; SNAP member Mark Fuller on Friday, November 12; Lucy Gellman, editor of The Arts Paper on Tuesday, November 16, and Thomas Burke, associate minister of children, youth and families at Norfield Congregational Church, on Friday, November 19.

The discussions are free, and open to the public; tickets to “Doubt” are not required.

For more information on the discussions, click here. For tickets, click here.

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Leonor Dao Turut takes center stage as guest art exhibitor for November, at the Westport Book Shop.

The Westporter shows 6 works, all started in the early days of the pandemic when she wanted to capture her emotions and moods.

A painter, sculptor and illustrator, Turut draws inspiration from her native Venezuela. Her pieces are filled with strong colors, imaginative motifs, symbolism and deep details.

The exhibit is on view during business hours at the used book shop on Jesup Green.

Leonor Turut with her work, at the Westport Book Shop.

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Aspetuck Land Trust just got bigger.

On Monday, the open space conservation non-profit closed on Weston’s 85-acre Fromson Strassler property. The deal took 5 years to complete.

It helps ALT assemble and protect a large forest block on the Weston/Wilton border. The property will be open to the public, for passive recreation.

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The November/December issue of Westport Magazine is out now.

The holidays take center stage. Mar Jennings’ front door — always well decorated — is on the cover. Inside, he shares home décor tips.

The issue also includes decorating ideas from Sam Allen, a gift guide and the Light a Fire feature celebrating local volunteers and philanthropists.

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Lifelong Westporter Thomas Hindle died peacefully on Sunday, with his family at his side. He was 77 years old, and had battled Parkinson’s for several years.

Tom and his younger sister Barbara enjoyed a gentle, magical time growing up here. Summers were spent at Compo Beach, swimming and exploring for starfish. Winters meant swimming at the YMCA, and skating and hot cocoa parties at the Patterson Club.

At Staples High School Tom was a charter member and president of the Orphenians, the select choral group.

He graduated from the University of Connecticut with a business degree. His work at the college radio station fed his passion for music, editing and broadcasting.

Tom’s long, successful career in video broadcasting technology began at CBS Labs, where the process of overlaying text in broadcasting, Vidifont, was being developed. As a product manager he contributed to evolving technologies; one led to the recognition of a Technical Emmy Award.

Later, as a senior account manager, Tom owned large accounts such as NBC. They used his company’s equipment to bring the Olympics around the world.

Water, boating and swimming were Tom’s passions. A longtime member of the Westport Y masters’ swim team, he swam regularly and made many friends with whom he traveled the country to compete.

Tom’s passion for music never waned. He appreciated live performances including the Handel and Haydn Society. He also enjoyed home improvement projects, and transformed his house over the years.

He shared his home with friends, especially entertaining for the Super Bowl. Tom’s travels took him around the world, visiting family, sightseeing, and for business.

Survivors include his sister Barbara; nephews Matthew Cohen and Darrel Kolb, and niece Star Kolb.

A funeral service will be held tomorrow (Thursday, November 4, 10 a.m., followed by a reception at Christ & Holy Trinity Church. Interment will be in Nichols Farm Burial Ground in Trumbull.

Condolences may be left online here. Contributions in his memory may be made to The Handel and Haydn Society or the Westport Weston Family YMCA.

Tom Hindle

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With leaves falling all around us, it’s hard to pick a special one out.

But Scott Smith found a few walnut leaves, like this one. He calls them “rare and striking.” We call it today’s “Westport … Naturally” image.

(Photo/Scott Smith)

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And finally … congratulations to our new 1st selectwoman, Jennifer Tooker.

I went searching for a song with Jennifer in the title. “Jennifer Juniper,” “Jennifer Ever,” Jenny/867-5309,” … nothing seemed to fit.

On a whim, I typed “Tooker” into YouTube.

This video came up. It has nothing remotely to do with Westport, or our new chief executive.

But it sure is stunning, both musically and visually.

 

Roundup: Candidates, Chores, Irene Backalenick …

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A sure sign of fall: Our yards and traffic islands sprout dozens of signs for political candidates.

If you’d like to base your chose on more than placards, pencil in next Tuesday (October 12, noon, Westport Library and streaming). The Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce and Library team up for a debate between the candidates vying for 1st selectman and 2nd selectmen: Jen Tooker and Andrea Moore (Republicans), Jonathan Steinberg and Candi Savin (Democrats), and TJ Elgin and Louis D’Onofrio (independents). Chamber director Matthew Mandell will moderate.

Click here for in-person tickets, and more information. It’s available on Cablevision Channel 79, and will also be archived.

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Another sign of autumn: As leaves fall and Westporters prepare for winter, many senior citizens need help.

The Department of Human Services hopes that seniors (in high school) — and juniors, sophomores and freshmen, plus middle schoolers — can help.

The DHS is compiling a list of students willing to help with outdoor chores. The suggested rate is $12 an hour.

Students interested in helping seniors (and earning money) should call 203-341-1050, or email humansrv@westportct.gov. Seniors needing assistance should also call 203-341-1050.

Need help bagging leaves? Human Services have kids for hire.

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Irene Backalenick turned 100 in August.

The former New York Times theater critic celebrated by publishing 143 of her reviews of Broadway and Off-Broadway productions.

The collection spans the last 11 years of her career (2004 to 2015). Her final Broadway review was “Hamilton.”

Click here to order “In the Theater World.”

Irene Backalenick

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Caryl Beatus is one of “06880”‘s most avid readers — and frequent, insightful contributors.

She’s also a longtime golfer. Yesterday the Longshore Women’s Golf Association honored the founding (and 61-year) member, at the annual event named for her.

Caryl hit the ceremonial first shot. Fore!

Caryl Beatus was — as the golf cart says — Longshore’s “Queen for a Day.” (Photo/Mark Farrell)

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Bill Taibe is CRAzy.

Or at least, the owner of The Whelk, Don Memo and Kawa Ni is the 2021 Restaurateur of the Year, according to the Connecticut Restaurant Association. The organization — “CRA” — will present it’s “CRAzy Award” on December 6.

Taibe was chosen by a panel of more than 2 dozen food writers, critics, social media influencers and bloggers.

Meanwhile, the public can vote for other honors. Among the nominees: Taibe’s own Don Memo (Newcomer of the Year), and OKO (Restaurant of the Year, Fairfield and Litchfield Counties). Click here to see all nominations, and cast a ballot.

Bill Taibe

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For the second time this year, a Staples High School swim and dive team record fell.

The meet with Westhill came down to the final event. The 400 meter freestyle relay would determine the outcome. The Wreckers won in 4:10.46, earning the very tight 93-92 win.

The record-setting swim came from freshman Annam Olasewere. Her 26.15 time in the 50 meter free beat her previous record of 26.48, set just last week. She also won the 100 meter free.

The Wreckers are now 3-2. They’re in action next on Friday, vs. Greenwich (4 p.m., Staples).

Annam Olasewere (far left) earlier this month, with her 400 meter freestyle relay team (from left): Ayaan Olasewere , Ella Alpert, Jessica Qi,

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Susan Fehlinger is the Westport Book Shop’s guest artist this month. She’s an oil painter. The exhibit includes 12 coastal paintings. It’s open during business hours, at the popular used bookstore on Jesup Green.

Susan Fehlinger, at the Westport Book Shop.

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Halloween comes a day early to the Westport Country Playhouse.

The historic theater presents “Spectres and Spirits” — an original, 30-minute radio play – on October 30 (12 p.m., WSHU-FM).

It’s the work of frequent Playhouse collaborator (and macabre-minded) Richard R. Henry. John Gromada contributes clever sound design. To learn more and listen, click here.

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The other day, “Westport … Naturally” featured a monarch butterfly being eaten by a praying mantis.

Here’s one that lived:

(Photo/Tammy Barry)

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And finally … Long before Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Jimmy Cliff, Millie Small put Jamaica on the musical map. She was born today in 1947. She died May 5, 2020, at 72.

Roundup: Carvel, Lifeguards, Challah …

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Last Friday’s Question Box sparked a debate about when Carvel opened.

The definitive answer: August 1954.

And the man who provided that answer — RTM member Harris Falk — also offered proof. Here’s a newspaper advertisement from that month:

Check out the ice cream cone on top of the store. As Dave Lowrie noted in the Comments section, both it and the red and white bucket over KFC (now Sun Reflexology, next to Layla’s Falafel) came down in the 1970s. The Architectural Review Board was trying to make the Post Road look “less commercial.”

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As one of their many services, the Compo lifeguards post a new, thought-provoking quote every day. Little gestures like that mean a lot.

But this sign last week was particularly intriguing:

(Photo/Dinkin Fotografix)

Were they being slyly clever, misspelling both “their” and (look closely) “swimming” in a quote about fault-finding?

Or were they just simple mistakes, made more prominent by the context of the quote?

We may never know. Today is their last day on duty.

Anyway: Who cares? If you see a lifeguard, thank him or her for another safe, fun summer.

And for a daily diet of inspiring, important quotes.

No matter how they’re spelled.

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Every Home Should Have a Challah — the Westport-based national delivery service — is busy taking Yom Kippur orders. The deadline is midnight Wednesday (September 8). Click here for details.

Rosh Hashanah challah is already sold out.

Challah, from Every Home Should Have a Challah.

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Westport Book Shop is expanding its hours. Starting tomorrow (Tuesday, September 7), they’ll open earlier — 10 a.m. — Tuesdays through Saturdays.

They’ll open at noon on Sundays, and are closed Mondays.

Westport Book Shop, on Jesup Road.

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William Nicholas (Nick) Delgass died peacefully at his West Lafayette, Indiana home last month, attended by his family, after a 9-year battle with cancer. The 1960 Staples High School graduate was 78.

His interest in the world and the way it works led him to science. He graduated from the University of Michigan, then earned a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Stanford University.

He was more than a scientist. Throughout his life, Nick was well rounded. When he spotted Elizabeth (Betty) Holstein at a mandolin concert in 1966, he convinced her to go out with him after they bonded over a love of English literature. They married a year later, and would have celebrated their 54th anniversary at the end of August.

He and Betty had their first child, Michael, while Nick was completing his post-doctoral fellowship at the University of California. He accepted his first faculty position at Yale University, and the growing family moved to Branford, where their second son, Leif, was born. Nick was on the faculty at Yale University for 5 years before accepting a position at Purdue.

he became chair of the chemical engineering department there, and taught until retirement. Nick was globally recognized for his work in integrating new tools and methods into reaction systems. His colleague Fabio Ribeiro said that few researchers impacted the field so broadly. He was a joint author of over 200 scientific papers, 2 books, advisor to many graduate students, and consultant to many companies.

His love for Betty was fierce. Nick often biked from the lab to have lunch with his family, and was a constant presence at his sons’ events. When his grandchildren were born, he made cross-country trips to visit.

Nick served as editor-in-chief of the Journal of Catalysis, the flagship journal of the field. he earned various awards, and was elected a Fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE).

Teaching was one of his great loves, as evidenced by his many honors, including the Shreve Teaching Award 7 times, and inclusion in the Purdue University Book of Great Teachers.

In addition to his wife Betty, Nick is survived by his sons Leif and Michael (Jessica Spector), and grandchildren Isaac, Aidan, Ariella, and Serafina.

No formal service is planned, but there will be a memorial reception on October 16 at the Whittaker Inn in West Lafayette. Click here to leave condolences.

Nick Delgass

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Since we began our “Westport … Naturally” feature a couple of months ago, we’ve posted plenty of animal photos. Lots of flowers, too.

This may be our first cucumber shot. It’s a nice “window” into another aspect of Westport’s many natural wonders.

(Photo/Tracy Porosoff)

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And finally … Happy Labor Day!

It’s easy these days to forget the origins of the holiday. We may not remember (or never learned) the importance of unions in our nation’s history. They brought about safety, minimum wages, overtime pay and more.

Winning those rights was not easy. The power of unions has waned over the years — look at the recent Amazon battle in Alabama — even as income inequality has grown. Organizers there no doubt wish they still had a Pete Seeger to champion their cause.

Roundup: Kayak Thefts, Hurricane Ida, School Calendar …

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Kayak threats from Compo Beach — first reported on “06880” in July — continue.

Mousumi Ghosh is the latest victim. Her red Eddyline Equinox is gone from the storage area. She writes:

“We are devastated. It was one of the few recreations that we were able to enjoy as a family during the last year, not to mention the cost to replace it.

“I was away for a month for a family emergency. It could have happened any time during August.

“From speaking with others, I am discovering that this is not an isolated event. Many believe that crime is on the rise at the beach. Neither the police nor Parks & Rec are hopeful that the kayak can be recovered, or that there is much they can do to help.”

If anyone sees it (the rack emblem is #39), please call Westport Police. Meanwhile, another victim contacted “06880,” suggested security cameras. They’re installed elsewhere at the beach already. Perhaps it’s time to extend their range.

Kayak racks at Compo Beach. They look lovely — but they’re not secure. (Photo/Lauri Weiser)

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Among Wednesday night’s Hurricane Ida flood victims: The Toy Post.

The store at 180 Post Road East (near Imperial Avenue) has no flood insurance. They’re offering 50% off anything wet. (Hat tip: Jonathan Alloy)

Part of The Toy Post’s flood.

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Sure, you can have a January-to-December calendar. But in Westport — where the rhythm of life is attuned to the school year — you really need the Public Schools’ September-to-September version.

Plus, it’s decorated with artwork by local students, from kindergarten through 12th grade. Some very impressive stuff there!

And: It’s a fundraiser, for the Westport Public Art Collections. Paintings, photos and more hang in every school and municipal building in town.

Click here, then scroll down to order. The cost is $20 (pick up) or $23 (mail). It’s available too at ASF, Colonial Druggists, and the Westport Library.

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For many years, the small shop on Maple Avenue South was Mario & Mike’s barber. Then it became Bill’s. After that, Salon Juljen.

Now it’s vacant. A sign says they’ve moved to Southport. No word on whether a new hair place — or some other business — will move in to the mixed commercial-residential building. (Hat tip: Chris Grimm)

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It’s been 2 years since CLASP Homes’ last in-person, inside event.

But the Westport organization — which serves people and families with autism and developmental disabilities — is returning to live fundraising in a big, fun way.

Band Central brings the best of Motown and soul to a benefit concert (October 15, 6:30 p.m. Fairfield Theatre, Company).

Click here for tickets, and more information. To volunteer, email rhammond@clasphomes.org.

In other CLASP news: Throughout September, the Westport Book Shop will exhibit the works of 4 participants in its art program. The used book store is on Jesup Road, across the green from the library.

CLASP art, at the Westport Book Shop.

 

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Another organization serving people with disabilities — STAR Lighting the Way — has good news too.

A grant from the Drew Friedman Arts Center will help them provide art classes to people with intellectual and developmental differences. The 6-week sessions cover a range of mediums — including photography, watercolor, acrylics, collage, dance, improvisation, acting and more — and engage local artists.

Some have already begun, at One River Art School in Westport.

Artists — including Drew Friedman Arts Center director Miggs Burroughs (far right) and STAR officials.

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Carl Addison Swanson’s 49th book has just been published. And it’s already been optioned by HBO.

A husband whose wife dies after a botched birth delivery stalks the guilty doctors and nurses — slowly and methodically.

Click here to order, and for more information.

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” feature shows a praying mantis. Peggy Lehn spotted 2 of the cool-but-creepy-looking creatures on her garage.

(Photo/Peggy Lehn)

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And finally … today is the 80th anniversary of the birth of Tompall Glaser.

Though less well known than his fellow country “outlaw” singers Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter, he had quite a career before dying in 2013.

Among my favorites: this decidedly tongue in cheek tune from 1976.

Roundup: 3rd Moderna, Modern Thermometer, Polestar EVs …

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The Westport Weston Health District will host a “3rd dose” Moderna vaccine clinic — for moderately and severely immunocompromised people — on September 10 (1 to 4 p.m., Senior Center).

Appointments can be scheduled here. Bring your vaccination card to the appointment.

The CDC’s additional dose recommendation includes people who have:

Been receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood

Received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system

Received a stem cell transplant within the past 2 years, or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system

Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency

Advanced or untreated HIV infection

Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that suppress an immune response.

To learn more, speak with your healthcare provider. Click here for the CDC website.

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Polestar2 — an all-electronic vehicle — is giving test free test drives to the public. From now through Sunday (11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.), they’re doing it at Bedford Square.

If you’ve never driven a fully electric vehicle, this is a great. chance. Everyone is welcome — so long as you have a driver’s license!

Polestars, at Bedford Square.

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On Wednesday, Bob Weingarten went to Town Hall, for house research.

Usually he signs in at the front desk, and heads to the Town Clerk’s office. This time, he was asked for a temperature check — and to do it himself.

There’s a device, just inside the main door. Stand in front, and get a readout.

I haven’t been in Town Hall in months. I don’t know if this is new and noteworthy, or not news. It could be cool — or a story like George H.W. Bush’s surprise at how a supermarket scanner works.

You be the judge. I’m just passing along Bob’s photo.

(Photo/Bob Weingarten)

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2003 Staples High School graduate Jesse Levin owns the Readiness Collective — an emergency training club and outfitter in Norwalk. Earlier, he opened a pop-up shop in Bedford Square.

After the chilling news from Afghanistan, Jesse turned the Collective into am ad hoc volunteer emergency operations center, to facilitate emergency evacuation efforts.

We have turned our training club, The Readiness Collective into an ad hoc volunteer emergency coordination operations center to facilitate efforts under way for emergency evacuations in Afghanistan.

Professional logistics and disaster response experts on site help guide volunteers on how to contribute. They’re tied in with working groups on the ground, and assisting from abroad.

Recent efforts include the expatriation of 20 targeted Afghan nationals and their families to Uganda, critical medical advice provided to parents of a young girl injured by a tear gas canister and unable to reach medical help, and the development of overland evacuation plans for wide distribution.

Jesse’s Collective needs help and support. “Just bring a computer and a willingness to dig in,” he says.

Offices are in the SoNo Collection (just off I-95 Exit 15 in Norwalk, Level II0. Questions? Email ready@readinesscollective.com, or call 203-275-7297.

Jesse Levin, providing aid in Puerto Rico.

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Sure, Westport Book Shop is the go-to for “pre-owned” (okay, used) books and more — including music.

But they also run an online store. It’s got a selection of new, sealed CDs, in categories from pop and oldies to classical and jazz.

Click here to browse the online selections.

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Three attorneys at Westport-based FLB Law have been named to the Best Lawyers in America list.

The FLB honorees are managing partner Stephen P. Fogerty, and attorneys Alan S. Rubenstein and Leslie E. Grodd.

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Seen the giant sunflower at Viva Zapata?

The restaurant’s Sam O’Mahony explains today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo, growing out of the 2nd-floor window boxes:

“We didn’t plant sunflowers this year! We’re assuming a bird dropped it up there last summer from our garden in the side yard.”

(Photo/Sam O’Mahony)

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And finally … in honor of Town Hall’s new temperature scanner:

 

Unsung Heroes #204

Longtime Westport Library book sales volunteer Mimi Greenlee writes:

Our community is so happy now that the Westport Library is accepting book donations in the gray trailer in the upper parking lot (during library hours).

The first weeks were overwhelming. I want to give a round of applause for our volunteer team of 50 sorters and category managers.

By singling out one person, I hope “06880” readers see how much devotion and dedication is present in every one of our year-round volunteers.

Dan Delehanty was Westport’s town engineer from 1978 to 2008. In 2001 he became a volunteer for our Book Sales. He transported books and supplies from storage to our sales, sorted donated books, and was always available for any other jobs needed for Friends of the Library and the Library staff.

Dan Delehanty shows off his work. Note the time on the clock: 6 a.m. (Photo/Fred Caporizzo)

He loved putting on music and sorting books, usually in the very early morning or late at night. I was always amazed at what he had accomplished, and with such efficiency.

Dan moved to Maine in 2020 to be with family, yet this spring he came back to visit. Longtime friend and co-worker Fred Caporizzo suggested Dan come help in the Book Center for “nostalgia” reasons. That’s exactly what he did.

The 2 men were there at 6 a.m., sorting books for our Book Shop and the next book sale.  How about a round of applause for them — and everyone else on our team!

(Do you know an Unsung Hero? Email dwoog@optonline.net)