Tag Archives: Westport Business Networking International

Roundup: Tarry Lodge, Lost Swan, Trees …

Finally, the long-rumored news is official: Tarry Lodge is permanently closed.

A sign on the door says what’s been obvious to anyone driving past the Charles Street restaurant for weeks:

(Photo/JD Dworkow)

The Italian spot opened in 2011, on the site of the former Abbondanza (and, long before that, Esposito’s gas station). At the time, I described owner Mario Batali as a “chef, cookbook author, TV personality and philanthropist.” These days, I have to add “serial sexual harasser.”

The website lists 2 Connecticut locations for Tarry Lodge: Westport and New Haven. A dropdown menu indicates both are “no longer available.” The reservations link still allows requests, followed by: “At this moment, there’s no online availability within 2.5 hours.”

And a phone call still leads to this message: “We’re currently closed, but our phones open daily at 11 a.m.”

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Westport Animal Control officer Peter Reid is often called upon for dog and cat crises.

But his portfolio includes many other local creatures: birds, raccoons, snakes …

… and yesterday morning, a swan.

Karen Mather reports: “I saw a swan walking in the middle of Morningside Drive South, and pulled my car over. The poor thing looked tired, and a bit out of place. 

“I called Animal Control. Peter arrived. He’s such a good, friendly, capable guy.

He said he would find an appropriate place for it — wide, open (territorial problems with swans) — perhaps Saugatuck. Hopefully this feathered friend had a better day!”

Animal Control Officer Peter Reid, and the swan. (Photos/Karen Mather)

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Speaking of nature: Aspetuck Land Trust asks, “Want to ‘think like a forest'”?

On Friday (August 26, noon to 1 p.m., Zoom), Anna Fialkoff leads a discussion on “planting native trees to support local food webs.'”

Native trees purify air, shade and cool in hot weather, store atmospheric carbon, minimize flooding and storm water runoff, and help sustain vital pollinators, birds and other wildlife.

Trees are part of forest-like systems, even planted near homes and businesses, in parks and public open spaces, along streets and highways, even parking lots. To learn more, click here.

Think like a tree.

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Two local authors have been added to Story Fest, next month’s Westport Library 6th annual literary-and-more event.

Tessa Smith McGovern and Patricia Dunn will hosting a conversation with  best-selling fantasy author Naomi Novik.

They’ll use the discussion to launch their new podcast: Go Ahead, Write Something!

McGovern is an award-winning English writer and teacher/coach. She’s written 2 best-sellers: the short story collection “London Road: Linked Stories” and Cocktails for Book Lovers.

Dunn is author of the young adult novel “Rebels by Accident.” Her next book, “Her Father’s Daughter,” is a psychological thriller. Her writing has appeared in Salon, The Village Voice, The Nation, LA Weekly and The Christian Science Monitor.

Click here for more information on StoryFest.

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Business Networking International meetings are usually limited to one person per profession.

But a Visitor’s Day on September 1 (7:30 to 9 a.m., United Methodist Church) is open to all.

It’s a chance to hear about classifications that can accept new members. Among them: LinkedIn expert, counseling services/psychotherapist, home security, HVAC, photographer, caterer or bakery, florist, event planner, home inspector, moving company, travel or tour operator, automotive repair, landscaper and electrician.

The Westport BNI group has nearly 50 members. In the calendar year starting October 2021, the group has passed over $3.2 million in closed business.

Pre-registration is required; email billhall747@gmail.com. For more information, click here.

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One Rivers is 10 years old.

Don’t freak out. They haven’t been in their location behind Shearwater Coffee, in the old Bertucci’s building, that long. But the unique art and digital design school is ready to celebrate with an Art Fest.

Set for Sunday, September 19 (11 a.m. to 3 p.m.), it includes a variety of workshops for children and teenagers. Some require advance registrations; other are drop-in.

There’s live music too; food from Goni’s Gourmet; local artists and vendors, and a raffle with a chance to win a free month of lessons.

Click here for full details.

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Giovanni (John) Mioli — a Westporter for 48 years — died peacefully on Thursday, surrounded by his family. He was 90 years old.

Giovanni was born in Santa Teresa di Riva, Italy (Sicily), the oldest of 5 children. He graduated from Istituto Tecnico Industriale, Messina, Italy and had a long career in electrical engineering.

Giovanni spent his 20s captaining sailboats in many regattas on the Caribbean Sea. This passion continued throughout his life. He loved spending time with family and friends on his sailboat on Long Island Sound.

Giovanni also loved communicating globally. As an amateur radio operator, he won competitions by contacting hundreds of amateur radio operators worldwide.

He was happiest traveling with his family to Italy, St. Maarten, Clearwater Florida, and anywhere there was a warm, beautiful beach. At home he enjoyed tending to his vegetable garden, and fig and lemon trees.

Giovanni is survived by his wife of 56 years, Concetta (Tina) of Westport;  daughters Rina (Thomas) Greco of Guilderland, New York, and Alicia (Joseph) Mioli of Hoboken, New Jersey; grandchildren Louis Greco and Victoria (Justin Valente) Greco; brothers Santo (Sabina) of Mamaroneck, New York, Joseph of Westport and Carmelo (Carrie) Mioli of Westport; his Rita Carolini of Harrison, New York, and many nieces, nephews, grand-nieces and grand-nephews.

A wake will be held on Monday (August 22, 4 to 8 p.m., Harding Funeral Home, , Westport). A funeral mass will be held Tuesday (August 23, 11 a.m., St. Luke Church). Entombment will follow in Willowbrook Cemetery, Westport.

In lieu of flowers, donations to the National Kidney Foundation would be greatly appreciated.  Online donations can be made at http://www.kidney.org.

Giovanni (John) Mioli

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Back to swans (see story above):

Today’s “Westport … Naturally” feature shows one that has not lost its way. Susan Lloyd spotted it, swimming serenely in Muddy Brook:

(Photo/Susan Lloyd)

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And finally … while Aspetuck Land Trust invites you to “think like a tree” (story above), Lerner and Loewe had that idea decades ago. Their musical “Paint Your Wagon” debuted on Broadway in 1951; a film version followed in 1969. Among the songs:

 

Roundup: Norma Minkowitz, Lucy Johnson, Full Moon …

Westport artist Norma Minkowitz demolished 3 US records at the National Senior Games in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She won all 3 races handily.

The first was Thursday, in the 5K road race. Competing in the 85-89-year-old age group, her 33:27 time beat the previous best mark by more than 6 minutes.

Then, in the same age group in the 400 meter dash, Minkowitz blazed to a 1:50.47 mark. That was more than 20 seconds faster than the existing record.

Finally, in the 800 meter run (in the 85-104-year old division), she finished in a speedy 4:17.66 — over a minute better than the previous mark.

Congratulations, Norma! (Hat tip: Jeff Mitchell)

In 2016– age 79 — Norma Minkowitz led a pack of much younger runners.

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Here’s another winner:

Former Westport Library board member and longtime “Booked for the Evening” volunteer Lucy Johnson has earned a silver in the Independent Book Publishers Award.

Her book “This Was Toscanini:  The Maestro, My Father, and Me” won in the Performing Arts category (Music/Dance/Cinema/Theater).

The contest recognizes the thousands of independent, university and self-published books released each year.

Lucy Johnson

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Last night’s Super Flower Blood Moon drew lots of folks outside. Here’s one shot, by Tomoko Meth:

(Photo/Tomoko Meth)

And David Cross captured this view, over the library:

(Photo/David Cross)

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Business Networking International is a special kind of group. Only one member per category is allowed — maximizing the opportunity for connections, while minimizing competition.

BNI’s local chapter is open to new members in a few categories, including commercial broker, counseling service, security, HVAC, photographer, caterer, bakery, florist, event planner, home inspector, moving company, travel tours, auto repair, and dry cleaner/tailor/shoe repair.

Interested businesses are invited to a Visitor’s Day on June 2 from (7:30 to 9 a.m., United Methodist Church).

For more information and to register for the event, email Curtis@health-directions.com or billhall747@gmail.com.

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United Way of Coastal Fairfield County has a new interim president and CEO.: Westporter Margo Amgott

She brings 30 years of non-profit leadership experience, serving in a range of organizations including community and healthcare, education institutions and government agencies.

A specialist in transitional leadership, Amgott reopened the Jacob Burns Film Center with fundraising and renewed programming. She served as interim director for Studio in a School, an arts and social justice organization working in New York City schools, interim CEO at Hearing Health Foundation, and COO of the National Council for Jewish Women, and a program leader at Columbia University, Hunter College, NYU Langone Medical Center, and the New York City Department of Health.

She holds a master’s degree from NYU’s Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and a BA from Barnard College.

Margo Amgott

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Patti and Doug Brill moved from the north part of Westport to Saugatuck Shores recently.

“The fun part being in a new home. is seeing everything bloom. Lots of nice surprises!” Patti says.

Today she shares one of those surprises with “Westport … Naturally”:

(Photo/Patti Brill)

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And finally … in honor of 85-year-old Norma Minkowitz’s three national record-setting performances (see story above):

Roundup: Joey’s By The Shore, Private Ryan, Grateful Dead …

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Joey’s by the Shore opened its new location — the former Elvira’s, across from Old Mill Beach, last spring.

The pandemic was in full swing. So for the past year, customers ordered through the app only. They waited outside for orders.

In one more sign that COVID is easing, Joey’s’ doors are now open. Neighbor Don Bergmann (below) was thrilled to finally go inside.

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1st Selectman Jim Marpe says:

“On behalf of the Town of Westport, I want to reiterate that acts of discrimination, racism and anti-Semitism will not be tolerated in our community. Over the past year, as a country, we witnessed the murder of George Floyd, terrifying attacks against the Asian and Pacific Islander communities, and countless other acts of hatred and discrimination. And in recent days, we have seen acts of anti-Semitism strikingly close to us in New York City.

Let there be no doubt, anti-Semitism has no place in our community. We respect our Jewish neighbors and visitors. Westport is an inclusive community that embraces diversity and has always celebrated all cultures and religious beliefs. We must continue to respect everyone regardless of their race, creed or ethnic origin. I encourage all in the community to reaffirm these values during this challenging period.

I stand with our friends and neighbors who feel threatened by these terrible activities. Make no mistake, Westport is focused on protecting all residents and visitors. We have stepped up security in and around our synagogues and temples and will do everything necessary to keep our community safe and free from discrimination and hate.

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Just in time for Memorial Day, the Remarkable Theater has added a very appropriate new movie to its schedule.

“Saving Private Ryan” screens on Sunday (May 30, 8 p.m.). There’s a special holiday price of $25 per car. But of course the classic World War II film is priceless.

Click here for tickets, and the rest of this week’s slate.

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Congratulations to the Staples High School girls track team. They won the FCIAC championship yesterday.

Individual winners for coach Jesse McCray’s team include Ava Harvey (long jump, 16′ 9.5″; triple jump, 34′ 3/4″) and Tatum Havemann (800 meters, 2:17.56, personal record), and Isabelle Blend (pole vault, 8′).

The 4×400 meter relay team of Francine Stevens, Olivia Bollo, Hannah Murphy and Samantha Dewitt blazed to a school record 4:01.52, winning gold.

The 4×100 meter relay squad (Molly Liles, Bollo, Murphy, Laura Spheeris) also set a school record, placing 2nd in 50.13.

The 4×800 meter team (Leigh Foran, Josie Dolan, Nicole Holmes, Lyah Muktavaram) took silver in 9:48.98. Also second: Francine Stevens (100, 12.41; 200, 25.05) and Dewitt (400, 59.68, personal record).

Francine Stevens won her 100 meter heat. (Photo/Barry Guiduli)

FCIAC champions! (Photo/Cari Moore)

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Beechwood Arts’ 2nd of 3 “Classical Smackdown Concerts is set for Thursday (May 27, 7 p.m.). Pianist Frederic Chiu will perform Bach vs. Glass — and an international audience will vote for their favorite.

Frederic’s first of 3 Classical Smackdown Concerts “Heart & Soul” was very exciting with interesting results from the first ever Global Smackdown Vote! The audience was truly global with people from Australia, China, Europe and all over the US!

Click here for details, and tickets.

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Westport Business Networking International (BNI) will sponsor a “Discover Your Well Being Expo” on June 16 (6 to 9 p.m., Salon Paul Michael, Westport).

The free event includes informational booths from a chiropractor, personal trainer, functional medicine specialist, organizer, clean crafted wine distributor, counseling service, plus beverages, hors d’oeuvres and interactive demonstrations.

BNI is a networking group of business professionals. They seek one new members in each of these categories: interior designer, home inspector, developer, heating and air conditioning contractor, chef, and attorneys who practice estate and elder law.

Email salonpaulmichael@gmail.com to register. Walk-ins are welcome too. For more information on BNI, click here.

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Terrapin is an aptly named Grateful Dead cover band. They’ve built a devoted area following.

And next month they’ll play a special, private, 100-person outdoor show, at Wakeman Town Farm. Fine food and themed beverages by Marcia Selden Catering are available for pre-purchase.

The June 26 event is a benefit for CLASP Homes, the great non-profit that helps people with disabilities. Click here for tickets.

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo comes from Grayson Braun. She writes:

“This little guy has been hanging around our yard — probably because we are one of the few houses in our immediate area without a dog. He has enjoyed our grass, and the occasional hosta leaf.”

(Photo/Grayson Braun)

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And finally … I can’t believe I missed Bob Dylan’s 80th birthday yesterday. (I also can’t believe he is 80.)

I could link to dozens of his songs that have impacted my life. I could make an entire list of those with I’m-still-discovering-more-there lyrics (“Memphis Blues Again,” “Queen Jane Approximately,” “Desolation Row”), those with political power (“The Times They Are A-Changin’,” “Hurricane”), and those whose studio musicians are vastly underrated (“Like a Rolling Stone,” “Jokerman,” “Changing of the Guards”).

But I’ll narrow today’s selection down to 4 that, to me, define Bob Dylan. What are yours?

 

Westport Needs Allyson Maida

Years ago — when her daughter was in middle school — Allyson Maida heard about a girl who spotted a classmate wearing a sweater the first girl owned.

Her mother had donated it to a charity, which then gave it to needy families.

When she learned that the needy girl lived in Westport, the mother told her daughter not to hang out with her. The girl told classmates too that they shouldn’t be friends with a poor girl.

That story was a defining moment in Maida’s life.

Allyson Maida

Another one came when Maida — a longtime Westport psychotherapist — heard of a mother here who faced an agonizing decision: If she invited a few of her daughter’s friends over for a small birthday celebration, the family would have to skimp on food all week.

“Stories like that rocked my world,” Maida says.

When she became president of the local chapter of Business Networking International, she asked the organization to help.

“There are homeless kids in Westport,” she told the members. “They deserve your best.”

“People were astounded,” she says, recalling the reaction. “The perception is that there’s little to no need. But there are parents here work really hard to make ends meet. They just can’t.”

Maida knew that federal, state and town programs help. She was familiar with foundations, grants, and organizations like Homes With Hope. All do great work.

But they can’t cover everything. Maida’s goal was to provide discretionary funds for things no one else did. Like a cake for a birthday party. A fidget toy. Lessons or tutors, the same as wealthy kids get.

“All we want is for every kid to feel part of the community. They should enjoy childhood,” Maida says. “And hopefully we can lessen their parents’ stress too.”

Tomorrow (Saturday, July 15, 2 p.m.), BNI hosts a “Chill Out, Grill Out and Give” event at Greens Farms Elementary School. Everyone brings their own balls, frisbees, food and drinks (grills are provided). The $10 per person entry fee will help fund Maida’s project, aiding children served through Homes With Hope.

Response from organizations like the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Clubs and Westport Woman’s Club has been excellent.

“This is about more than asking for money,” Maida says. “We want people to show up. We need to raise awareness.”

But Maida has asked for money too. She went door to door, seeking funds from local businesses.

The reaction stunned her.

The first place — Earth Animal — opened the cash register, and gave her $20.

So did UPS next door.

Party Harty and Colonial Druggists did the same, without batting an eye.

Then she tried Fresh Market. That’s a national store — not a mom-and-pop, or locally owned franchise.

The manager heard her pitch. He handed her a water. Then he gave her $20 too.

“That’s Westport,” Maida says gratefully.

So — unfortunately — is real need. Most of us never see it.

Allyson Maida does. And she’s doing what she can to help.

(Tickets are available on site for tomorrow’s event. Children under 12 are free. For more information, email allyson@allysonmaida.com. The organizing committee includes Ernie Addario of Phillip Bruce Salon; Bill Hall of Kaiser-Battistone/Wind River Environmental; David Katz of Acsia Partners; Brian Gmelin of Paychex; Mark Moeller of The Recipe of Success, and John Clapps of Brand24.)