Tag Archives: Westport Domestic Violence Task Force

Roundup: Mental Health, Staples Graduation, Dream Spa,

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Since going public earlier this year about her lifelong battle with existential anguish and depression, Melissa Bernstein has shined an important light on mental health.

Her book Lifelines, and digital support community of the same name, has raised awareness even further.

Now, throughout May — which is Mental Health Awareness Month — LifeLines is hosting free activities and workshops. There’s a different one each day.

The goal is to help people “dive inward and discover their true selves,” LifeLines says. They range from “Breaking Up With Your Inner Circle” to “Tracing Your Triggers.” Click here for the full schedule.

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Plans have been announced for Staples High School’s graduation. It will be … outdoors.

“Pomp and Circumstance” will ring out at the football stadium, at 6 p.m. on Thursday, June 17 (rain date: June 18). All seniors will be together, and will be allotted 2 guests each. The ceremony will be livestreamed, for family and friends who cannot attend.

This is the first time the football stadium has been used for graduation in 27 years. The previous 26 events were held in the fieldhouse. Last year’s graduation was a “drive-by,” with each graduate having a special moment in front of the school.

Staples High School graduates gather outside the fieldhouse in 2018, before the ceremony. This year they’ll march instead to the right, onto the football field.

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This past year has been a tough one for everyone. Moms — as they so often do — have borne much of the brunt of the pandemic.

So Dream Spa & Salon wants this Mother’s Day to be extra special.

They’re giving away 3 prizes to “superhero” moms: a “wakeup call” ($375 value), “dream essentials” ($180), and “dream feet pedi” ($65).

To win a “dreamy” gift for your mom (or spouse), follow @dreamspasalon on Instagram. All the details are there.

Winners will be announced (of course) on Mother’s Day. Which — as you certainly better know — is Sunday, May 9.

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The Westport Domestic Violence Task Force just completed a very successful collection for baby items, for 2 area safe houses and local clients.

Westporters donated 4 strollers, 7 car seats, 3 booster seats, multiple car seat bases, 5 cases of formula, over a dozen cases of diapers, countless packages of wipes, baby washes, new baby clothing, 18 bottles, and over $500 in cash.

The Task Force thanks the entire community, and the men and women of the Westport Police Department, who helped collect and transport the donations.

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How strong were yesterday’s winds?

This was the scene this morning at Compo Beach. Let’s hope no one was inside at the time.

(Photo/Les Dinkin)

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Jazz returns to MoCA Westport in a big way.

Talent from the Jazz at Lincoln Center Emerging Artist Spotlight kicks off Friday, May 14 (7 p.m.), with pianist/composer Isaiah J. Thompson. The young artist leads his jazz quartet in what MoCA promises will be a “powerful, mind-blowing performance.”

On May 28, The Alexa Tarantino Quartet debuts music from their new album “Firefly.” Their performance last summer sold out.

A third Lincoln Center artist will perform later this summer, followed by the Samara Joy Ensemble on August 20.

Tickets are available in a variety of formats, including individual concert tickets, a 4-concert Jazz Package, or a Season Pass with all 13 Music at MoCA concerts. Click here to purchase, and for more information.

Isaiah Thompson

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As Westport opens up, the May issue of Westport Magazine examines “the good life.”

Stories include personal reflections on Christopher Plummer; Dave Briggs on Lou Gehrig Day; Center Stage producer Andrew Wilk; super-organizer Meredith Triscott; home design shops; creating the perfect patio, and the advantages of private aviation.

Westport Magazine is available at Barnes & Noble, Balducci’s, Whole Foods and CVS.

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And finally … it’s the 1st of May, so …

Roundup: Domestic Violence, Anti-Semitism …

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Victims of domestic violence have so much to deal with. Getting basic supplies for their young children should not be one of them.

Now through Sunday (April 25), Westport’s Domestic Violence Task Force is collecting supplies. Needed items include car seats in new or like-new condition (tags attached, to check expiration date), strollers, diapers, wipes, lotions and baby wash, and new bottles.

To arrange contactless pickup, email co-chair Jillian Cabana: wdvtf06880@gmail.com.

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Saturday is the big day: CLASP Homes’ “Un-Scavenger Hunt.” (“Un?” It runs all day, at your convenience. It’s not a race.

There are tons of clues, covering Westport trivia, history, art, pop culture and more. You answer by posting photos, videos, texts and GPS check-ins on the app. Bonus points are given for creativity, ingenuity and humor (costumes, props, songs, pets … you get the idea).

Prizes include sunset cruises; a private tour and wine-and-cheese reception at Dragone Classic Motorcars with George Dragone; Broadway tickets and more.

There are separate prizes for students in grade 12 and below (including cash). And a special prize for the organization that registers the most teams.

The Un-Scavenger Hunt raises funds for CLASP. For nearly 40 years they’ve  provided care, support and inspiration to adults with autism and developmental disabilities.

Click here for tickets. Click here for the Goosechase app, which will be used. You can practice on it too, until the event goes live.

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We may pretend it’s not happening. But people — even in Westport — make Holocaust “jokes,” and talk insensitively about Jewish traditions and lives. I’d guess teenager in Westport has heard something.

In response, ADL Connecticut is organizing a virtual “Fairfield County Teen Leadership Summit on Anti-Semitism.” It’s Tuesday, April 27 (7 to 8:15 p.m., Zoom).

A teen panel will share personal stories. Attendees will learn skills to stand up to anti-Semitism, be resilient and become empowered as school leaders. Click here to register. For more information, email swalden@adl.org.

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A couple of nature shots. First, a swan stepping into the Saugatuck River …

(Photo/Paul Delano)

… and a hungry gull at Sherwood Island State Park.

(Photo/Gene Borio)

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And finally …  today in 1775, the Revolutionary War began. The patriots beat back the British at the Battles of Lexington and Concord. The rest is history.

Roundup: Safe Homes, Mercury Gas, Gulls, More


Now through Sunday (August 30), the Westport Domestic Violence Task Force is collecting supplies for the 2 Domestic Violence Crisis Center safe houses that serve area residents.

Besides providing confidential shelters for victims of intimate partner violence and their children, the DVCC offers assistance with basic needs like food, clothing and personal items, along with counseling, legal services, transportation assistance, children’s advocacy, weekly play-based children’s programming focused on self-esteem, healthy communication, referrals to community resources and economic advocacy, including budget development and assistance with job searches and resumes.

Children living in the safe houses need several items for the new school year:

  • New backpacks
  • Notebooks
  • Pens and pencils
  • Graphing calculators
  • New or lightly used Chromebooks
  • Diapers (sizes 4-7).

To arrange ontactless pickup, email Task Force co-chair Jillian Cabana wdvtf06880@gmail.com.

If you or someone you know needs assistance, call 888-774-2900 or click here.


It’s been a few months. But the renovation project for the Mercury gas station at the Post Road/Bulkley Avenue North corner is done.

It still looks like a gas station. But it’s a lot nicer than the previous version. And the prices still seem lower than most others in town.

Mercury gas station (Photo/Seth Schachter)


Early Tuesday morning, Bart Stuck was walking on Soundview Avenue, toward Compo Beach. He saw dozens of gulls — maybe 100 — circling nearby.

When he got to the garbage can near the Soundview lot, he saw the problem. A gull had landed, then caught its webbed feet on the wooden slats. It hung beak down on the side.

Bart grabbed the 2 feet, pulled the gull up, and placed it on the sand. It shook itself off, then flew away. All the other gulls left too. 

Bart was amazed that several passersby had walked by, and done nothing. He was glad to help.

Let’s hope the next time he has a picnic, the gulls return the favor — and leave him and his food alone.

Not Bart’s gull.


And finally … as Hurricane Laura slams into the US, we’re thinking of everyone in it path.

Westporters Fight Domestic Violence

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Westport’s Domestic Violence Task Force wants to make everyone aware of the issue — and what can be done about it.

The group has collected gift certificates from more than a dozen local salons. (One owner donated because her mother was a victim of abuse.) Haircuts and colors help women in shelters start new lives. Some are preparing for job interviews. Others need to change their appearance to avoid abusers.

The salons will be thanked on Saturday, October 14, at the Westport Unitarian Church Voices Cafe. All proceeds from Pierce Pettis’ performance will be donated to the salon drive. (Click here for tickets.)

Meanwhile, this Sunday (October 1), pinwheels will be displayed on Jesup Green. There’s one for every domestic violence call the Police Department received this year.

The chilling reminder that domestic abuse happens in Westport — as it does everywhere — remains on display all month.

Next Tuesday (October 3), volunteers from our police and fire departments will join Domestic Violence Task Force members at the Westport and Greens Farms train stations. They’ll hand out informational palm cards to commuters.

And on Wednesday, October 25 (Unitarian Church, 7 p.m.), Lisa Aronson Fontes — a noted author, therapist, researcher and professor — will discuss coercive control in relationships.

Domestic Violence Awareness Month ends on October 31. Of course, the issue will not go away that day.

But in Westport, concerned citizens are doing all they can to help.