Tag Archives: Westport CT

See Ed See

Most Westporters watch the Memorial Day parade for a specific reason:  to see their tuba player.  Their Indian Guide.  Their Democratic Woman of Westport.

And the military flyover is way cool.

american-flag-2aOn Monday, though, be sure to pay attention to the grand marshal.  Ed See deserves at least a hearty, heart-felt wave.

At 94 years old, he’s been a lawyer long enough to have participated in some of Westport’s most important cases.  As a World War II vet, he epitomizes everything Memorial Day is supposed to be about — and it’s not cookouts and clambakes.

Two days after Pearl Harbor — already working for a Westport law firm — See tried to enlist in the Marines.  He was turned down because of poor eyesight, but his perseverence landed him a spot in the Army’s Counter Intelligence Corps.

In the Pacific, working out of General Douglas MacArthur’s office, he helped interrogate captured Japanese soldiers.

After 2 1/2 years, See finally came home. He saw his newborn son for the 1st time. Ready to return overseas — and facing possible death, in the much-feared invasion of Japan — he had  a final dinner in New York with Hereward Wake, the man who later became his law partner.

Word came:  The Japanese had surrendered.

In the 64 years since then, See has served Westport with distinction.  He worked on housing affairs, veterans issues and much, much more.

On Monday we’ll get a chance to honor Ed See, as a military veteran and a veteran Westporter.  He’ll be the grand marshal riding in a fire truck.  Take time out from watching your soccer player, your drummer, your Shriner.

Give it up for  Ed See.  For longer than most of us have been alive, he’s given of himself for us.

All About Image?

Knoyzz — a Post Road women’s clothing store — has been replaced by All About Image.  It’s — ta da! — a women’s clothing store.

The newest addition to our retail landscape features hardwood floors, stainless steel counters and racks, and funky lighting.  Its focus, says owner Nick De Baptista, is on “today’s hottest designs and great accessories.”  The target shopper is age 20 and up.

Nick has worked around here, but this is the first store he’s owned.  He likes the highly visible location, across from the post office near Main Street.

Yet it must be asked:  How is his store different from Knoyzz?  And in this economy…

“We’re priced well,” he says.  “Even with the times we’re in, people can treat themselves to something to wear on Saturday night.”

And what about the name?  Hasn’t one of the lessons of this recession been that it’s not all about image — that authenticity and value count too?

“Image is a big thing,” Nick counters. “Everyone wants to look their best.  That’s what it’s all about.”

Yesterday was the store’s 1st day.  “Everybody who walks through the door loves what they see,” Nick says proudly.

Time will tell if Westport is indeed All About Image.  Or if our newest women’s clothing store is just more Knoyzz.

Westport welcomes another women's clothing store!

Westport welcomes another women's clothing store!

The Fox And The Geese

A fox stalked Canada geese today, on the grass at Compo Beach.

Officials deemed the fox a threat to the community and killed it with 1 shot, WestportNow.com reported.

They got the wrong species.

Y’all Come Back Now

Bank of AmericaA new sign hangs on the Bank of America downtown branch door:  “Come back soon.”

It’s the kind of thing you’d see at a diner, or maybe a florist.

Granted, Bank of America has had some itty-bitty problems, with its serial acquisition of other troubled banks, billions of dollars in non-performing loans, and now-defenestrated CEO Kenneth Lewis.

I’m no Tim Geithner, but it seems the way back to profitability does not lie in printing faux-folksy signs.  I want my bank solid and secure, not all homey and aw-shucksy.  I  don’t need the teller cages of yore, but don’t pander to me.  I go to the bank when I have to. Stop pretending it’s a place I drop in on a whim, to chat up the tellers and snag a free lollipop.

If only there were another bank in Westport to try…

Navigating The Storm

The spring forecast is stormy.  There will be continued turbulence, with dark clouds hovering overhead.

That’s the economic forecast — not the meteorological one.  Yet as Westport battens down the financial hatches, town leaders are doing their part to avoid a Hurricane Katrina-style social disaster.

This Saturday, several organizations band together to present “Navigating the Economic Storm.”  From 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Westport Library’s McManus Room, panelists will discuss financial, family communication, and stress reduction and resiliency strategies.

Information on housing and banking issues; career resources (including training programs), and volunteer and recreation opportunities (for seniors, families and youths) will be available.

Barbara Butler

Barbara Butler

Barbara Butler, Westport’s human services director, says the forum is open to “all residents concerned about the economy, seniors and the newly impacted unemployed.”

Will Saturday’s event chase away the clouds?  No.

But will it bring a bit of sunshine into otherwise storm-tossed lives?  Let’s hope so.

(To register for the “Navigating the Economic Storm” event, call 203-291-4840.) 

(Sponsors include the Westport Library; Towns of Westport, Weston and Wilton; CT Works-Career Resources; St. Vincent’s Behavioral Health Services; Postive Directions; Westport Weston Health District; Westport Weston Clergy Association, and United Way of Coastal Fairfield County.)

Dreaming Of A Spa

When Derma Clinic foofed its final facial just before Christmas, loyal customers were bereft.

Meanwhile, those holding gift certificates to the popular day spa were out big bucks.

It’s been a few months, but if you’ve held on to your certificates, Lori Dodd is riding to your rescue.

Dream Spa, Westport CTShe’s owned Dream Spa for nearly 10 years.  Now she’s honoring valid Derma Clinic gift certificates — if the holder purchases the same value gift at Dream Spa.

It could be for yourself (“great for the regular spa-goer,” Lori says) or as a gift (don’t forget Mom — her day is Sunday!).

“All we’re trying to do is help our community, earn the trust and patronage of former Derma Clinic clients, and do the right thing,” she says.

So if you looked forward to a hot rock massage, warm ginger scrub or seaweed body wrap but thought you were SOL — worry no more.  A solution is at hand.

It’s a Dream come true.

(Dream Spa is located at 1220 Post Road East, Westport; tel.: 454-3454)
The "Dream Room"

The "Dream Room"

The First Of The Season

Westport CT McMansion

After a long winter of dormancy, McMansions are sprouting again around Westport.

The example above — prime new growth — was spotted on High Point Road.

No surer sign of spring — and a reawakening economy — can be found than the bursting forth of fresh large homes.

Quick:  tell Wall Street!

Riding Safely

Don’t drink and drive.

That “duh”-inducing advice has been drilled into teenagers’ heads ad nauseam.  From all indications, they listen.  Many do designate drivers.  They often refuse to get in the car with someone who’s been drinking.

But “many” and “often” are not “everyone” and “always.”  Teenagers are human beings.  We all screw up.

Westport CT Safe RidesTomorrow, Westport inaugurates a “Safe Rides” program.  Every Saturday, from 9:30 p.m. to 2 a.m., high school students can call 203-383-9492.  Dispatchers, navigators and  drivers — working out of donated space at Christ & Holy Trinity Church, with an adult supervisor — will give callers safe, confidential rides home.

Nearly 100 Staples students, and several adults, have been trained to run the program.  It is a testament to Alex Dulin, a junior who worked tirelessly since moving to Westport last fall to make it happen.

Safe Rides is not a new concept.  There are programs nationwide, as far away as Alex’s home town of Mercer Island, Washington and as close as Darien.

Westport had one of the first, in the 1980s.  It ended after deteriorating into a free taxi service.

Like any good idea, it has detractors.  Some people say “Safe Rides” implies acceptance of teenage drinking — even encourages it by providing free transportation to drinkers.

But as 44-year-old, abstinence-education-only grandmother Sarah Palin proves, hoping teenagers act a certain way does not always ensure they will.

(There is another scenario:  “Safe Rides” could be used by a teen babysitter uncomfortable with being driven home by a parent who had too many cocktails.  Yep, that happens too.)

Ultimately, every argument against “Safe Rides” fails because of this:  If it saves 1 life, it is worth it.

We’ll never know whose life was saved — whether it was a drunk driver, a passenger, or an innocent person in the other lane.

Nor will we know if the life saved was your child’s.  Or your own.

So write this number down:  203-383-9492.  Give it to every teenager you know.

And thank Alex Dulin and her crew of volunteers for looking out for all of us.

(For more information, contact: saferidesofwestport@gmail.com).

Building Castles In The Sand

Go pound sand.

That’s the advice of the Interfaith Housing Association.  On Saturday, May 16, the IHA hopes hundreds of Westporters will come to Compo and do just that.

Well, they’d really like you to turn that sand into castles, kings, cabbages — whatever you, your friends and colleagues can create.

A previous year's Buddha (Photo by Larry Untermeyer)

A previous year's Buddha (Photo by Larry Untermeyer)

The cliche “fun for all ages!” really rings true.

This is the 8th annual “Castles in the Sand” event, and everyone who has participated before knows it’s a blast.  There’s a great spirit of spontaneity and improvisation, plus a dash of competition.

The sculptures don’t last long — thanks to nature, they soon turn back into piles of sand — but the doing-good part does.
Your purchase of a big lot (10′ x 10′ — ideal for individuals, small families and small groups; $100) or a really big one (20′ x 20′ — great for extended families and larger gangs; $300) helps fund IHA’s tremendous, under-the-radar work providing shelter, food and social services to homeless people in our community.
Helping the homeless, it turns out, really can be a day at the beach.

(To register, click here or call 203-226-3426, ext. 10)


Sizing up the competition (Photo by Larry Untermeyer)

Sizing up the competition (Photo by Larry Untermeyer)

Why America Faces An Obesity Crisis

What a glorious spring week!  Each afternoon, the roads of Westport are filled with walkers, joggers, bikers…

…and parents waiting in their cars, for the bus to disgorge their kids from school.

I’m not talking 1 or 2 moms (or dads).  I mean battalions, all sitting inside their (idling) cars as if the sun would give them swine flu.

Westport school busThese are not parents waiting at the end of a busy mile-long street, either.  Some live on those new little 1-house “roads” (actually driveways named for themselves).  They drive all of 6 yards to retrieve their precious cargo.  A few, I am sure, walk further to their garage than if they stroll to meet the bus.

People, please:  Walk to the bus stop.  Then walk “all the way home” with your kid.  Point out some birds and flowers.  Chat.  Amble.

Or — call me crazy — hang around the house, and let your kid walk home alone.  Maybe with a friend?

Nah.  This is Westport.  Who knows what dangers lurk between the bus stop and #2 (Insert Your Name Here) Lane?