Tag Archives: Westport Book Shop

Roundup: Sandwiches, Easter Service, Voter Protection …

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And now — after more than 1,000 votes, for 21 competitors in 9 categories — the winners of the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce’s Great Sandwich Contest have been announced. The are:

  • Best Chicken Sandwich: Stiles Market
  • Best Steak Sandwich: JR’s Deli & Grille
  • Best Vegetarian Sandwich: Manna Toast
  • Best Combo Sandwich: Stiles Market
  • Best Club Sandwich: Joe’s Pizza
  • Best Wrap: Layla’s Falafel
  • Best Breakfast Sandwich: JR’s Deli & Grille
  • Best Pressed Sandwich: Mystic Market
  • Best Fish/Seafood Sandwich: Rizzuto’s

Honorable mention (coming within 5 votes of the winners): A&S Fine Foods, Calise’s Market and Fortuna’s

Winners receive plaques. Each winner will also offer a free winning sandwich to 9 lucky voters, who won the lottery in the category they voted in. For photos of the winners, click here.

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Saugatuck Church’s 1st-ever Easter drive-in worship service was — well, if not a miracle, then still pretty cool.

The back parking lot was filled with 45 cars (that’s around 13o people). The FM radio broadcast worked flawlessly, thanks to Mark Mathias. The service was punctuated with plenty of cheerful horn honks.

Dozens more watched the livestream on Facebook and YouTube. But that photo isn’t as interesting as the one below:

(Drone photo/Alexey Syomichev)

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You’ve probably heard there are zoning bills working their way through the General Assembly. You’ve heard that they may affect Westport.

But how?

Tomorrow (Tuesday, April 6, 6:30 p.m. Zoom), Westport Planning & Zoning Commission chair Danielle Dobin hosts an in-depth discussion, The focus is on what they mean for our town.

She will be joined by Westport’s 4 legislators: State Senators Will Haskell and Tony Hwang, and Representatives Jonathan Steinberg and Stephanie Thomas.

I’ll be the moderator. Click here to register.

One bill being considered would affect housing plans for the area around any town’s primary train station.

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Westport Book Shop Artist of the Month is Katherine Ross. Her watercolors will be on display throughout April at the Drew Friedman Art Place, in Westport’s popular used book store on Jesup Road.

Ross is a well-known artist and art teacher. She conceived the children’s mosaic wall at the Longshore pool, with work from over 1,000 middle schoolers. She has served on the Arts Advisory Committee and Westport Cultural Arts Committee, and co-chaired the Westport public schools’ Art Smarts program.  

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

Katherine Ross, with her springtime watercolors.

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Tonight (Monday, April 5, 7:30 p.m., Zoom), the Democratic Women of Westport and Staples Young Democrats host a virtual session called “The Anti-Racist Policy Agenda: Connecticut Voter Protection.”

State Representative Stephanie Thomas — who represents part of Westport, and serves as vice chair of the General Assembly’s Government Administration and Elections Committee — will discuss the 2020 election in the state, possible expansion of access for voting, and building support for voter protection laws.

To get the link for the talk, or more information, email dww06880@gmail.com.

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And finally … speaking of “protection”: On this day in 1922, the American Birth Control League — predecessor of Planned Parenthood — was incorporated.

Roundup: Express Train, I-95, Passover …

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Today is National Vietnam War Veterans Day.

Let’s pause and remember all who served — including Westport’s own Jay Dirnberger.

Jay Dirnberger

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After New Orleans Pelicans star Zion Williamson’s great game Saturday night, Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle had an unusual way of comparing Williamson to an express train:

“It’s not just an Amtrak, it’s the Acela. it doesn’t stop in Westport, it just goes straight to New York City.” (Hat tip: Fred Cantor)

This express train does not stop in Westport.

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Westport Book Shop is a smash.

That’s not just my opinion. The Jesup Road used book store — which also sells vinyl, CDs, DVDs and audio books — is so successful, it’s expanding its hours.

They’re now open Tuesdays through Fridays, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sundays, noon to 5 p.m. They’re closed Mondays.

They’re open 24/7 online, too: www.westportbooksales.org.

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How is the I-95/Beachside Avenue bridge replacement project going?

Brandon Malin’s drone offers this unique view:

(Drone photo/Brandon Malin)

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COVID knocked out every in-person Seder last year.

This Passover, some Westport families gathered in small groups. Others celebrated virtually.

Below, David Ader joins the Yormark Seder. Pippa Bell Ader notes: “In the interest of saving paper, this year we read from the Haggadah via the second computer, on the right.”

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Easter is Sunday. Which means there are only a few days left to get your Easter basket.

Savvy + Grace has great ones. You can head to the popular Main Street store and pick what you want.

Or email savvyandgracewestport@gmail.com. Include your name, phone number, and the age, likes and interests of the recipient. Annette Norton and her staff will put baskets together, and call for your review.

Not sure? Check out some pre-made baskets online (click here).

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International Mother Earth Day is coming soon. To celebrate, the United Nations Association’s Southwest Connecticut Chapter is running a Student Creativity Contest.

They’re looking for ways to promote the UN’s sustainable development goals, legal protections for nature, and efforts to preserve biodiversity.

Submissions in any form are welcome: posters, flyers, stickers, postcards, videos, tweets, web pages, poems, songs, social media posts, whatever.

Cash prizes are awarded: $300 for 1st place, $150 for 2nd, $75 for 3rd, $25 for 4th through 10th place.

The deadline is April 16. Email a JPG, PDF, PowerPoint, MP3, MP4 or hyperlink to unaswct@gmail.com. For more information, click here.

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Speaking of Earth Day: Last fall , Melissa Ceriale and her Prospect Road neighbors participated in Debra Kandrak’s daffodil planting project.

The results are gorgeous. And they’ll pop up every spring too!

Daffodils on Prospect Road. (Photo/Melissa Ceriale)

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And finally … on this day in 1871, Queen Victoria opened London’s Royal Albert Hall.

Roundup: Vaccine, Joe Duffy, Wheels2U …

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Yesterday’s vaccine clinic in the Staples High School fieldhouse was a rousing success.

Over 500 educators from Westport, Weston and the Easton/Redding district received doses. The health professionals were on top of their game; our Community Emergence Response Team kept things running smoothly. Next Wednesday’s clinic should cover the first dose for the rest of the school staff who want it.

A small part of the big fieldhouse.

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Speaking of the vaccine:

I was all set for my first dose at Stamford Hospital next Tuesday. But a pinched nerve in my back last week laid me up — and on prednisone.

I was warned to delay the vaccine until I’d been off it for a week. So yesterday — dreading the task — I went online for a new appointment.

The system was as agonizing as my back. Eventually I gave up and left voicemail on the VAMS system (877-918-2224). I was promised a call back.

My expectations were low. But sure enough, a few hours later a wonderful woman named Sierra called.

She won on top of her game. She was warm, efficient, even (dare I say it?) fun! She signed me up for Stamford’s Lord & Taylor parking lot March 20, and a 2nd does 4 weeks later.

Big props to Sierra, and the system. It’s not easy — but it works.

For great local vaccine info, join Facebook’s Westport Coronavirus Info group. It’s clear, updated often, and filled with facts.

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Within weeks, Westport Book Shop has established itself as the go-to place for the best in pre-owned novels, biographies, etc., etc., plus CDs and vinyl.

And art.

This month, Norm Siegel is featured at the Drew Friedman Art Place in the back of the Jesup Road spot.

Norm specializes in trompe l’oeil and photorealistic paintings. His paintings of famous and rare book editions are so realistic, you may try to turn the painted pages. Click here for a great interview with him.

Westport Book Shop — and the gallery — are open during new expanded hours: Thursdays and Fridays from noon to 6 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 5.

Norm Siegel at the Drew Friedman Art Place.

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Today’s New York Times obituary of Joe Duffy notes that “his antiwar campaign for the United States Senate from Connecticut in 1970 galvanized a generation of campus liberals…. (He) later served as a cultural arbiter in the Carter and Clinton administrations and presided over two major universities.” He was 88.

It mentions one of his key supporters in his political campaigns — Westporter Paul Newman — and (though it does not note that she lived here too), his 1974 marriage to Anne Wexler. She ran his 1970 campaign, became an aide to President Carter, and then a prominent Washington political operative and lobbyist.

Click here for a look at Duffey’s fascinating life.

Joe Duffey and Paul Newman at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. (Photo courtesy of New York Times)

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New posters and billboards at the Westport train station promote Wheels2U.

That’s our town’s on-demand, door-to-door, group ride service between homes and the station. Click here for information on fares, hours of operation and service areas.

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Positive Directions — Westport’s prevention and counseling center — is looking for a new executive director.

During COVID, the 49-year-old organization provided important mental health support to hundreds of residents. The prevention staff collaborated with town governments and other local partners, to help adolescents and families make healthy choices and decisions.

The search committee is looking for a leader with significant management experience and deep experience in the mental health. Resumes and cover letters are due by March 31 to: PositiveDirectionsEDSearch@gmail.com.

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Don’t forget about Winfield Street Deli’s great “Giving Back” campaign. For every $20 check, the Post Road West coffee-and-more shop donates one meal to agencies that feed the needy.

Last year, they gave 6,000 meals. Their goal for 2021: 20,000. Stop by to help!

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Dave Briggs’ fascinating InstagramLive discussions continue this afternoon (Thursday, March 4, 5:15).

His guest is Westport’s own Lindsay Czarniak. As “NFL on Fox sideline reporter Host of “The Athlete & The Artist,” she’s interviewed everyone from Brad Paisley and Danica Patrick to Alanis Morissette and (this week) Eddie Vedder. She’s also the wife of NBC’s Craig Melvin.

Search for @WestportMagazine on Instagram. Send questions any time by DM to @DaveBriggsTV.

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“Seascapes” is the theme of George Billis Gallery’s new show. There’s a reception tomorrow (Friday, March 5) at the 166 Main Street space, from 4 to 6 p.m.

Check out these artists: Anthony Davis, Margery Gosnell-Qua, Glen Hacker, Georgia Nassikas, Richard Orient, Paul Schulenburg, Sheila Smallwood, Kenneth Templeton and Karen Woods.

“Penfield Swell” (Glenn Hacker, oil on canvas)

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And finally … Bunny Wailer, the last surviving original member of the Wailers — died on Tuesday at a hospital in Jamaica. He was 73.

Bunny played percussion and harmonized. He may not have been as well known as his groupmates Bob Marley and Peter Tosh. But without Bunny, there would have been no Wailers.

Roundup: Art, Dogs, More

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Valentine’s Day is over. But a “Share the Love” art is exhibit is on display for the next 2 weeks, at The Residence at Westport. The display highlights 18 professional and emerging local artists.

This Friday (February 19), The Residence hosts “Cocktails and Curating.” It’s an interactive, on-site reception where artists will share their stories, inspirations and highlights live, and to guests via Zoom. Senior Center members are particularly welcome.

The project was developed by Lisa Stretton, founder of RealArtRealArtists, an online directory through which users search for original art for sale by professional artists.

“Morning Walk,” displayed at The Residence at Westport. Artist Lisa Stretton was inspired by Compo Beach.

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The Westport Book Shop wasted no time becoming part of the arts community.

The used book store on Jesup Green opened earlier this month. Already, their first art exhibit — in what they call the Drew Friedman Art Place — is on display.  The show features photographic prints of artworks by renowned local assemblage artist Nina Bentley.

The exhibit is open during business hours: Thursdays and Fridays 3 to 6 p.m.; Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m.

Miggs Burroughs is curating the Westport Book Shop exhibits. They’ll change monthly.

Nina Bentley, with photos of her art at the Westport Book Shop.

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Westport native Cathy Malkin moved back here in November, after 31 years in the Bay Area. Her sister Stefani Malkin Cohen now lives in New Rochelle.

Cathy is an animal communicator and animal Reiki practitioner. Stefani is a therapist, working with children and families.

Stefani developed a niche helping kids who are afraid of dogs (it works with adults too). That’s a real fear — and unlike spiders or snakes, it’s hard to avoid dogs.

“Overcoming Your Child’s Fear of Dogs” covers understanding dog behavior; how dogs communicate, and staying safe around dogs.

“We teach kids to look both ways before they cross the street, to not touch hot things and to stop, drop and roll in a fire,” Stefani says. “But parents rarely teach them how to interact safely and respectfully with dogs.”

Click here for more information, and to order Stefani’s book.

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The Westport Book Shop is serious about adhering to COVID limits on customers. Here’s the new guard:

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We missed a couple of great Valentine’s Day photos yesterday. So here’s to love — 24/7/365!

Saugatuck River (Photo/Lori Dodd)

Old Mill Beach (Photo/Les Dinkin)

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And finally … Happy Presidents Day!

Who knew that “Hail to the Chief” has words?

For all you history nerds (like me), here is the first time “Hail to the Chief” was played for every president from John F. Kennedy to Joe Biden …

… and the last, for every president funeral from Kennedy to George H.W. Bush:

Roundup: Custodial Thanks, Peter’s Market, Westport Book Shop, More

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As Westport students prepare to return to full-time learning, “06880” reader Erin Loranger writes:

“While there are countless unsung heroes in our schools, I would love to recognize the custodial crews.

“I can’t imagine how hard they have worked with tasks such as reconfiguring classrooms and cafeterias, loading in new desks, and constructing Plexiglas barriers so that students and staff can have a safe environment.

“Without their commitment to excellence in taking care of our buildings and cleaning, our young learners would not have the opportunity to have been in school at all this year, let alone being in the position now to transition to full-time, in-person learning.”

Will Herrera — one of Westport’s many unsung, invaluable custodians and maintenance staff.

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Yesterday’s news that Peter’s Weston Market will close on Sunday evoked many memories of the role the store played in the community.

Ashton Robinson wrote:

“I left Weston in 1967, and Peter’s Weston Market was there. If my memory is correct, I think that ‘Peter; was Peter Robinson. I went through Weston schools with his son Guy in my class.

“The photo below was taken at a political rally in 1956, when Adlai Stevenson ran against Eisenhower. My father was the first Democratic Town Committee chairman. He organized this rally in Weston, representing both Republicans and Democrats. My mother and a friend’s mother are the two women on the left side of the photo.”

The cars, the styles and the politicians have changed since 1956. But Peter’s Weston Market still looks much as it did, 65 years ago.

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The Westport Book Shop — downtown’s new nonprofit used book store — opens today at 3 p.m.

Honoring the year it begins, they’re rolling out a “2021 Welcome Program.” In keeping with COVID restrictions, guests are invited to browse for up to 20 minutes. To allow everyone to enjoy the store, they can purchase up to 21 items per visit.

See you there!

The new home of the Westport Book Shop, across from Jesup Green.

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Seth Schachter is an avid collector of Westport postcards and memorabilia.

He saw this 8×10 image on eBay. It came from a Westport estate. It depicts an old factory here — but there are no other details.

Seth hopes our “06880” readers can crowdsource its background. If you know the name of the factory, or where it was, click “Comments” below. Click on or hover over to enlarge.

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Westport Sunrise Rotary’s Super Bowl raffle is off to a great start. Not many tickets remain.

They’re $50 each. Numbers are randomly assigned. Winners will be determined by the scores at the end of each quarter. Winner of the final score snags a $1,000 Visa card. 1st, 2nd and 3rd quarter winners each get a $500 card.

The raffle funds important charities like Mercy Learning Center literacy training, the Susan Fund for students with cancer, Earthplace and Elderhouse.

Click here for tickets.

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Mary Satta Lane — better known as “MaryLane,” a beloved waitress at Mario’s for nearly 40 years — died Monday. She was 89 years old, though she described her age as “36 and holding.”

Her obituary calls her ‘a strong woman with a wicked sense of humor….She leaves behind a legacy of laughs, as well as a lot of people who love her.”

A memorial service — “the celebration she deserves” — will be held when the weather warms. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to United Methodist Homes, 58 Long Hill Avenue, Shelton, CT 06484.

For MaryLane’s full obituary, click here.

Mary Satta Lane

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Kevin Carroll and his wife headed to Compo Beach this morning, to watch the sunrise. Instead they were treated to a great view of the moonset.

PS: Tonight, Kevin notes, is the full wolf moon.

(Photo/Kevin Carroll)

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William “Liam” Bohonnon has received the Connecticut Bar Association’s Anthony V. DeMayo Pro Bono Award. The 2008 Staples High School graduate was honored for his pro bono work for the Connecticut Veterans Legal Center.

Liam Bohonnon

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And finally … the Eisenhower-Stevenson presidential election (see Peter’s Market story above) was not the only momentous event in 1956.

On this day — January 28 — that year, Elvis Presley made his national television debut. It was not on the now-legendary, hip-thrusting “Ed Sullivan Show,” but — also on CBS — “Stage Show.”

The program, produced in New York, was hosted on alternate weeks by big band leaders and brothers Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey. This appearance came the day after the release of “Heartbreak Hotel.”

Move Over, Barnes & Noble. Another Bookstore Is Opening Downtown.

It’s been years since downtown Westport had a bookstore.

Next month, Barnes & Noble opens in the former Restoration Hardware.

This Thursday, a second bookstore opens right around the corner.

It’s smaller. It will sell only used books. But its story is huge.

The Westport Book Shop is a partnership between the Westport Library and Westport Book Sales, the non-profit with 2 important missions: They raise funds for the library by running its book sales, and they hire adults with disabilities.

For nearly 3 decades, the Summer Book Sale has been a beloved ritual on Jesup Green. So it’s fitting that the Westport Book Shop will be located between Green & Tonic and the new Basso restaurant (formerly Matsu Sushi).

In other words: It’s directly across Jesup Green from the library.

The new home of the Westport Book Shop.

The new venture — believed to be Westport’s first-ever used bookstore — came together quickly. The idea began in the spring, but the right space — a former art gallery — was not available until last month. Final town approval came on Friday.

The 5,000 or so books, in over 40 categories, come from donations to the annual book sales. There’s also a large selection of vinyl records, audio books, CDs and DVDs.

(In addition to the ginormous summer one, there are other book sales throughout the year. However, they’re on hold during COVID.)

The view from inside the Westport Book Shop, across Jesup Green to the library.

Books cover all major categories: fiction, non-fiction, biography, children’s, you name it.

“We’ll be talking to customers and ask what they especially want,” says Mimi Greenlee. The longtime volunteer will continue to work with Westport Book Sales on this project, with fellow members Jocelyn Barandiaran, Linda Hopper, Dick Lowenstein, Sharuna Mahesh and Deb Poulley​. Jennifer Bangser is the Library’s liaison.

The Book Shop also features the Drew Friedman Art Place. Miggs Burroughs will curate rotating exhibits of area artists.

Hours are Thursdays and Fridays, 3 to 6 p.m.; weekends, noon to 5 p.m. COVID restrictions apply.

Mimi Greenlee inspects a book n the children’s section.

Founding donors include The Drew Friedman Community Arts Center, Eileen Lavigne Flug, Dan Levinson, Jeffrey Mayer and Nancy Diamond, Jocelyn and Walter Barandiaran, Linda Monteiro-Hopper and Scott Hopper, Robin and Brad Berggren, Rebecca L. Ciota, The Kail Family, The Michael M. Wiseman and Helen A. Garten Charitable Foundation, Abilis Community Foundation, The Betty R. and Ralph Sheffer Foundation, Craig Rebecca Schiavone, Westport Sunrise Rotary, Rita Allen Foundation, and Berchem Moses PC. Local law firm Verrill donated most of the bookcases.

For more information, email info@westportbooksales.org.