Tag Archives: Westport Farmer’s Market

Roundup: Fireworks, Farmers’ Market, Falsettoland …

Heading to the fireworks tomorrow?

“06880” wants your photos!

Picnics and barbecues; kids with sparklers; parties; red-white-and-blue outfits — share your patriotic spirit.

The only thing we don’t want is photos of the actual fireworks, bursting in air. Anyone can see those images anywhere

Send anything else via email: 06880blog@gmail.com. Deadline is 11 p.m. tomorrow.

Here’s looking at you, America!

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If local farmers grow it, you can buy it at the Westport Farmers’ Market.

And if you grow it — and have too much of it — the Market wants it.

Extra lettuce, tomatoes, zucchini, whatever — donate it, through the WFM and Grow-a-Row.

Grow-A-Row is a volunteer effort to grow and donate fresh local seasonal produce to food-insecure populations in Fairfield County. Based at the Westport Community Gardens, Grow-A-Row plants, tends, harvests and collects nutritious donations of fresh produce and herbs, then delivers it directly to agencies in need.

You don’t even need to grow it yourself, though. If you bought too much fresh produce, bring it too.

Deliveries are at the Farmers’ Market (Imperial Avenue parking lot), any Thursday between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Produce will be delivered by Food Rescue US – Fairfield County volunteers. The Bridgeport FEED Center, Fridgport, Career Resources CT, and Westport Housing Authority will receive the donations.

If your cup (and table) runneth over, donate produce to Grow-a-Row, at the Westport Farmers’ Market.

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Music Theater of Connecticut’s stirring production of “Falsettoland” — starring a Westport father-and-son acting duo — took top honors at Monday’s Connecticut Critics Circle Awards. The event, which celebrates work from the state’s professional theaters during the 2021–22 season, was held at Long Wharf Theatre.

Westport’s Dan Sklar won Outstanding Actor in a Musical. His son Ari was honored for Outstanding Debut.

Kevin Connors was named Top Director for “Falsettolands.” He also earned the Tom Killen Award, for lifetime service to the theater.

The Westport Country Playhouse was cited too. Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical went to Daniel J. Maldonado for “Next to Normal”; Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play was won by Sharina Martin, for “Doubt.”

Congratulations to all!

From left: Dan Sklar and Ari Sklar.

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Speaking of awards: “The Lisa Wexler Show,” hosted by Westport’s own, won 1st place for Best Radio Interview at the National Federation of Press Women’s awards ceremony on Saturday in Fargo, North Dakota.

The honor was for Wexler’s live interview with Congressman Jim Himes on January 7, 2021, just hours after he had spent the night at the Capitol following the January 6 riot. Click here to hear the show.

“The Lisa Wexler Show” is broadcast weekdays from 10 a.m. to noon on AM WICC, AM 600 and 107.3 FM.

Lisa Wexler

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The cell tower saga continues.

An application by Tarpon Towers to build a 124-foot structure on private property at 92 Greens Farms Road was filed with the state on May 26. The town of Westport received notice of this filing and is coordinating logistics with the applicant.

Town officials notified Tarpon of a desire to explore an alternative site along the railroad right of way, and is trying to get the state Department of Transportation to approve that site. Information is available on the Connecticut Siting Council’s website.

A public hearing is scheduled for August 9. A final decision is expected a month or two later. (Hat tip: Stephen Goldstein)

A cell tower been proposed for the property on the left: 92 Greens Farms Road. (Photo courtesy of Google Maps)

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If the fireworks are not for you, but you don’t want to stay home tomorrow (Thursday, June 30), consider Jazz at the Post.

Guitar master Paul Bollenback headlines this week’s 2 shows at VFW Joseph J. Clinton Post 399 (465 Riverside Avenue, 7 p.m. and 9 p.m.; $10 cover). He’s joined by Mark Lewandowski (bass), Jason Tiemann (drums) and the Jazz Rabbi himself, saxophonist Greg Wall.

In addition to cool jazz, there’s a hot new menu from chef Derek Furino (from 6:30 p.m. on). Reservations are strongly suggested: jazzatthepost@gmail.com.

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The Westport PBA Scholarship Fund helps college-bound children of our Police Department. Two scholarships are also awarded to Staples High School seniors who will pursue degrees in law enforcement.

Major funding comes from an annual golf tournament. This year’s is set for July 18, at Tashua Knolls in Trumbull.

It’s a scramble tournament, shotgun start. The day includes breakfast, the tourney itself (9 a.m.), and a cocktail reception with open bar (1 to 3 p.m.).

There’s a 50/50 raffle, other raffle prizes, and prizes for longest drive, closest to pin, closest to line, and the winning foursome.

The cost is $250 per golfer. Sponsorships are available at the $1,000, $3,000, $5,000 and $10,000 levels. Checks should be sent to the Westport PBA Scholarship Fund, 50 Jesup Road, Westport, CT 06880. Questions? Email jlauria@westportct.gov, or call 203-803-0215.

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They can’t believe it’s time. But Staples High School’s Class of 1972 holds its 50th reunion September 9-11. Events include a Saturday night dinner at the Gaelic-American Club in Fairfield. with music by the Reunion Band. There’s an informal gathering Friday night at the Black Duck, and a get-together Sunday at Compo Beach. For more information and reservations, click here.

1972 Staples High School yearbook

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Osprey alert!

Carolyn Doan writes:

“I just returned from Block Island for a few days. Even in that short time, these guys grew so much. The chicks are exercising their wings and getting ready to fledge (if they haven’t already.) I didn’t see them lift up from the nest today, but they are ready!”

(Photo/Carolyn Doan)

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Westport has one less nail salon.

Luxe Nail Spa — in the shopping plaza opposite Fresh Market — has closed, reportedly due to high rent. The owners are seeking a new location, perhaps in Stamford.

Luxe nail opened in 2015. It is now closed.

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Staples High School Class of 2019 graduate and former Saugatuck Rowing Club member Justin Schmidt is part of a team that beat the defending men’s lightweight quadruple sculls 2 weeks ago in Florida. They’ll represent the US at the U23 World Rowing Championships next month in Varese, Italy.

Schmidt now rows at the University of Delaware. He and his Conshohocken Rowing Center teammates have set up a GoFundMe page, to help offset costs of the trip. Click here to help.

Justin Schmidt (3rd from left), with teammates and coaches.

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Carol Fisher died in her Westport home on Sunday. She was 94, and had fought Parkinson’s disease for a decade.

The New York City native graduated from  Queens  College at age 19. She worked at Little Golden Books and for a movie magazine before taking a job as acquisitions editor at Pyramid Books. There she developed and edited a book by Peter Max, plus health-focused cookbooks and short biographies of movie stars. Pyramid Books became, as a result of her efforts, the US publisher of  bestselling author Barbara Cartland.  Carol  also worked as an editor at Harcourt Brace.

Her life changed in 1978, when she married longtime Westport resident Milton Fisher, an attorney, investment banker, author,  and teacher of the popular Applied Creativity adult education class.

Together they founded Wildcat Publishing Company. Carol brought her editorial skills and experience to the publication of books including the  Holocaust memoir Dry Tears, by Nechama Tec,  a resistance classic, and The Fall of Japan by Westporter William Craig.

Carol Fisher was a devoted participant in and organizer of stimulating programs at the Westport Senior Center, Westport-Weston Arts Council, and Westport Library. The Senior Center recognized her efforts to enliven and improves the lives of seniors with a Service to Seniors Award in 2013.

As executive director  of the Renée B. Fisher Foundation, she was instrumental in creating and sustaining  initiatives including Milton Fisher Scholarship for Innovation and Creativity,  the annual Renée B. Fisher Piano Competition, and the Books for Teachers program  that has built thousands of classroom libraries in under-resourced schools across the country. The Pequot Library in Southport, where the program began, remains its flagship program.

Carol Fisher was an enthusiastic member of several book clubs and a movie discussion club, and was also an avid bridge player. She was a member of the Westport Rotary Club, and a longtime member of Temple Israel.

She loved hosting multi-generational gatherings on Thanksgiving and Passover every year, as well as month-long family reunions during summers. The last gathering she hosted coincided with her 94th birthday this year.

She was predeceased by her husband Milton and brother Leonard Plaine. Carol Fisher is survived by her stepdaughter Shelley (James Fishkin) Fisher Fishkin,  grandchildren Joseph and Robert Fishkin, and great-grandchildren Anna Ardith Fishkin Franklin and Simon Asher Fishkin Franklin, all of California. 

A private virtual memorial service is planned for late summer. Friends interested in attending should email sfishkin@stanford.edu. Contributions in Carol’s memory may be sent to the Anti-Defamation League.

Carol Fisher

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Eileen Lavigne Flug spotted these “Westport … Naturally” birds early the other morning, along Soundview Drive.

Wonder if they got the worms …

(Photo/Eileen Lavigne Flug)

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And finally … in honor of “Falsettoland”‘s honors from the Connecticut Critics Circle (story above), enjoy this bit of that memorable musical:

 

 

 

 

Roundup: Remarkable Staples Video, WTF Food Rescue, WFM Young Shoots …

The Staples High School Class of 2022 is now part of history.

But tonight they live on — on the big screen.

The Remarkable Theatre screens a 60-minute film — created by the theater’s Staples interns — highlighting the graduating class.

There are interviews with nearly 2 dozen seniors, plus footage contributed by other students. It was produced over the past 2 weeks, so it is definitely timely.

Gates open at 8 p.m. tonight, for tailgating. The film begins at 8:45. Tickets are $20 per person or $50 per car, whichever is cheaper — with no limit on the number of passengers. Click here to purchase, and for more details.

Eamon Brannigan is one of the stars of the Class of 2022 Senior Night film.

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If you’re a good gardener, you grow your own food.

If you’re a very good (and lucky!) gardener, you’ve got way more than  you need.

But there’s only so much lettuce, peas and zucchini you can give to your friends.

So chew on this: Wakeman Town Farm has partnered with Westport Grow-a-Row and Food Rescue US-Fairfield County on a new produce donation drop off site.

Bring your abundance to WTF’s farm stand any Saturday, between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.; coolers are set up there. Your fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs will help people struggling with food insecurity, throughout Fairfield County.

Questions? Email Haley@foodrescue.us. Follow @grow.a.row_westport on Instagram for updates.

The drop-off spot is hard to miss.

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And speaking of gardens:

Westport Farmers’ Market‘s 6th annual Young Shoots Photography Contest. Snap!

There are 3 age categories: 5-9 years old, 10-14 and 15-18. Any photo taken at one of the Thursday Farmers’ Markets is eligible. Judging is by a panel of local artists, and the public.

The contest runs from a week from this tomorrow (June 23) through July 31. Winners — who earn a $100 cash, WFM swag and a gift card for a MoCA Westport class — will be celebrated at Gilbertie’s Herbs & Garden Center, with catering by Sugar & Olives.

Ann Burmeister — Farmers’ Market board member and Who Grows Your Food photographer — will help youngsters as they take shots at the Market tomorrow. A WFM team member will be on hand throughout the contest to answer questions.

Click here to submit photos, and for more information.

“Starstem” by Calista Finkelstein was a previous “Young Shoots” winner in the 8-10 category.

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Yesterday’s obituary of longtime Westport volunteer Tom Hofstetter included incorrect information about a memorial service at Saugatuck Harbor Yacht Club. The family will hold a private burial only; there is no service.

ThomasHofstetter

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On June 30, nearly everyone in Westport will watch the July 4th fireworks. (I know, I know …)

But if pyrotechnics aren’t your thing, you’ve got an artistic option.

The opening reception for MoCA’s new exhibition — “Women Pulling at the Threads of Social Discourse” — is set for that night (6 to 8 p.m.; free).

The show explores how “female artists, utilizing textiles as their medium, subvert the social expectation of crafting by lambasting this soft medium with political and social awareness.”

It focuses on flags, as a symbol of solidarity for women of the suffrage movement, and an emblem of protest. Flags in “Women Pulling at the Threads of Social Discourse” were assembled using mixed media and the fiber arts to ignite positive social change.

So — with those flags — there is a connection to Independence Day after all.

The exhibition runs through September 4. Click here for more information.

The MoCA exhibition logo is based on the original colors of the suffragist movement.

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Another opening, another show:

Amy Simon Fine Art (123 Main Street), hosts an opening reception this Saturday (June 25, 3 to 5 p.m.) for the new “Visual Alchemy” show. Artists include Barry Katz, David Skillicorn and Louise P. Sloane.

Untitled #11– encaustic over plaster. (Barry Katz)

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It’s not true that Benjamin Franklin wanted a wild turkey — not an eagle — to be America’s national symbol.

The actual story: In a letter to his daughter, he criticized the original eagle design for the Great Seal, saying it looked like a turkey.

Well, after a long period away, wild turkeys have returned to Westport. The other day, Carol Cederbaum saw 3 of them roosting on her back deck. She got this shot a female, before they spotted her behind the window.

Is it a handsome “Westport … Naturally” subject, or not? You be the judge.

(Photo/Carol Cederbaum)

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And finally … in the past week we’ve given shout-outs to Staples grads, and Brian Wilson. Here’s one more — together — as the Class of 2022 gets ready for their “Senior Night” at the Remarkable Theater (story above):

(“06880” relies entirely on reader support. If you like these Roundups, please donate here.)

Roundup: Buffalo, EMS, Flower Moon …

First Selectman Jen Tooker says:

“The scene in Buffalo this past weekend was horrifying, and I send my deepest condolences to all those affected.

“Along with help from TEAM Westport, our law enforcement colleagues, our houses of worship and our extensive non-profit organizations, we continue to strive to ensure that this community is a place where residents, business owners and visitors feel safe, supported, and have a sense of belonging.

“This important work is ongoing, and there is still progress to be made. As first selectwoman, I want to personally re-state my commitment to these efforts in Westport. Thank you for your support on this journey.”

Nine of the 10 victims of the mass execution in Buffalo.

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This is Emergency Medical Services Week.

It’s long overdue.

Westport EMS deputy director Marc Hartog knows this has been an exceptionally tough couple of years.

“The EMTs and paramedics of Westport EMS continue to rise to the challenge every day, and play a crucial role in maintaining the health of our community.” he says.

“Relieving pain and suffering, caring for sick and injured patients, saving lives is just part of the experience of responding to the public’s calls for help. EMS providers, whether paid or volunteer, take on many crucial roles every day: healthcare professional; emergency manager; social worker; crisis counselor; consoler; caregiver.”.

1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker adds “EMS Week is a chance for our town to recognize the service and sacrifice exhibited by our EMS personnel over the past year, and to express our gratitude for all they continue to do, day in and day out, for our community.”

1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker with an EMS Week proclamation. (From left): Police Chief Foti Koskinas, EMS crew chiefs Larry Kleinman and Rick Baumblatt, EMS deputy director Marc Hartog, EMS crew chief Eric Hebert, Deputy Police Chief/EMS director Sam Arciola.

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Sunday’s Super Flower Blood Moon/lunar eclipse was very cool.

It was also not easy to photograph.

Many Westporters tried. You sent your shots to “06880.” Thank you!

We did not have a Best Images contest. But if we did, the winner would be Nancy Lally.

Check them out below. You’ll be over the moon.

(Photos/Nancy Lally)

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Nearly everyone who owns a convertible loves to show it off.

Here’s your chance to impress the entire town.

Organizers of the Memorial Day parade need a few open-tops for the May 30 event. They’re used to transport dignitaries, like veterans (including the grand marshal).

If you’ve got a convertible to lend, contact Deborah Detmer at the Parks & Recreation office: 203-341-5091; ddetmer@westportct.gov.

It doesn’t get more classic than this. (Photo/Ted Horowitz)

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After 2 online-only years, 2022’s “Booked for the Evening” with TV producer/ screenwriter/ author/CEO Shona Rhimes will be the most financially successful in the event’s 20 year history.

And anyone, anywhere can add to the fundraising.

Tickets for the virtual livestream (June 1, 8 p.m.). are still available. Click here to purchase, and for more information.

Shonda Rhimes

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By day, it’s the Farmers’ Market. At night, it’s the Remarkable Theater.

On May 27, the Imperial Avenue parking lot — home to both — hosts a special film showing.

“Biggest Little Farm” — the award-winning 2018 documentary about the 8-year quest of a couple to trade city living for 200 acres of barren farmland (and a dream) — is set for May 27. Sustainable Westport co-sponsors the event.

Tickets to this family-friendly event are $25 per vehicle. Tailgating (with food from the Market the day before?) starts at 6 p.m. The screening is at 8. Bees Knees — a popular WFM vendor — will selling their signature frozen pops.

For more information and tickets, click here.

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The next Artists Collective of Westport pop-up show is May 26-29 (2 to 6 p.m. each day; the Westport Country Playhouse barn). There’s an opening reception May 25 (6 to 8 p.m.), and artists’ talks on Sunday, May 29 (4 p.m.).

Participating artists include some very familiar names: Peg Benison, Louise Cadoux, Jeanine Esposito, Jane Fleischner, Rebecca Fuchs, Holly Hawthorne, Katya Lebrija, Lynn Untermeyer Miller, Steve Parton, Nancy Reinker, Debbie Smith, Cindy Wagner and Lee Walther.

To learn more about this great Collective, click below.

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The other day, Connecticut Public Radio aired an interesting story headlined “How Medical Aid in Dying May Change the Way We Live.”

one of the guests is Lynda Bluestein. A longtime member and former board chair of Westport’s Unitarian Church, she was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Now she’s working hard to get “medical Aid in dying” legislation passed in the state.

Westport’s State Senator Will Haskell and State Representative Jonathan Steinberg were very public supporters of a recent bill attempting — for the 16th time — to get Connecticut legislation passed. Once again, the bill did not make it out of the Judiciary Committee.

Click here for more details, and to listen.

Lynda Shannon Bluestein (Photo courtesy of The CT Mirror)

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Saturday’s fundraiser for AWARE — the great, generous non-profit (Assisting Women with Actions, Resources and Education) — was postponed a day by rain.

Attendees had a wonderful time. And if you’re not “aware” of how much they do for women and children in the area, click here.

Enjoying the AWARE event (from left): Erica Davis, Amy Saperstein, Allegra Gatti Zemel, Michele Glassman, 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker, Mafe Cala, Stephanie Tobin.

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Andy Gundell has been nominated for a regional Emmy Award, in Original Composition and Arrangement. It is for music from a Black Lives Matter program that streamed online in February 2021 from the Unitarian Church in Westport. Gundell is a 13-time Emmy winner already.

The program — “Revealing History–How We Got Here, Why It Matters” — was produced by the church’s Women’s Group. It is a powerful multi-media tribute to the BLM movement, and the history of racial injustice in America. Click here for a link.

Andy Gundell

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo shows birds of a feather flocking together, at Compo Beach near the kayak launch.

It won’t be long before they’re joined — at least, not far from the rocks — by crowds of humans, flocking together too.

(Photo/JD Dworkow)

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And finally … if you’re on the fence about lending your convertible for the Memorial Day parade (see story above), this might inspire you:

 

 

 

Roundup: Transit $$, Farmers’ Market, The Universe …

Last night, the Representative Town Meeting voted 30-1 to restore $133,000 the Board of Finance had cut, to Wheels2U Westport’s 2022-23 budget.

Wheels2U Westport, is the Westport Transit District’s on-demand, group ride shuttle service. It takes riders from their door to the Saugatuck and Greens Farms train station platforms, and from the stations to their jobs and other places in Westport.

The restoration will keep Wheels2U operating through June 30, 2023.

Peter Gold, Westport Transit District director (and an RTM member), said he and his colleagues received over 200 letters from “all segments of Westport’s population” in support of restoring the funds.

For more information about Wheels2U, click here. For more information about the Westport Transit District’s services for the elderly and people with disabilities, click here,

A Wheels2U bus.

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If you’re starved for good news, listen up: The Westport Farmers’ Market returns to the Imperial Avenue parking lot on Thursday, May 12.

Favorite farmers return, including Fort Hill, Riverbank, Ox Hollow, Calf + Clover Creamery, Beaver Brook, Herbal Deva, Muddy Feet Flower Farm, Two Guys from Woodbridge, Bee Love Project, Horseshoe, Deeply Rooted, Popp’s, Rose’s Berry, Seacoast Mushroom, Lost Ruby and Woodland. There are a few surprises too, says director Lori Cochran-Dougall.

Prepared food vendors include fresh faces alongside those you have come to rely on for your weekly shopping and entertaining needs, including Boxcar Cantina, NitNoi Provisions, Farmers and Cooks, Simply Local, Herbaceous Catering, Badass Bagels and Parlor Pizza, among others.

After 2 years, dining returns 🙂 . Music again fills the air , kids’ activities take center stage, and chef and other demonstrations are back as well

A 10 a.m. mindful opening will be led by Pause + Purpose. A toast follows at noon, with Cross Culture Kombucha.

The market runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Thursday, through November 10. For more information, including a full list of vendors and programs, click here.  find us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, too!

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What a sweet way to celebrate AAPI Heritage Month!

1st Selectwoman Jennifer Tooker presented the town’s official proclamation on Sunday, before an excited group of Asian American and Pacific Islander Westport families — at Saugatuck Sweets.

2nd Selectwoman Andrea Moore, Board of Education chair Lee Goldstein and RTM member Sal Liccione joined in.

To celebrate the month, Saugatuck Sweets is lighting their Westport and Fairfield stores yellow.

Happy AAPI Heritage Month at Saugatuck Sweets!

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Staples High School’s AWARE Club is not only aware of the world.

They’re doing something to help.

The acronym stands for Assisting Women through Actions, Resources & Education. It’s affiliated with local and national AWARE organizations.

The teenagers are supporting refugees their age from Ukraine and Afghanistan, who will arrive in Connecticut this summer. They’re collecting new beach towels and water bottles, so their peers can have a bit of enjoyment.

The towels and bottles can be dropped off from now through May 11. There’s a bin by the front door at 14 High Point Road (off Long Lots).

Teens who would like to join Staples’ AWARE Club — or volunteer at the “Tapas & Twilight” May 14 AWARE fundraiser, to benefit the Women’s Mentoring Network — should email info@awarect.org.

 

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The Martin Luther King Day presentation by noted author Heather McGhee — postponed from January — has been rescheduled. It’s now set for May 18 (7 p.m., Westport Library).

Her book “The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together,” spent 10 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and was longlisted for the National Book Award. Her 2020 TED talk “Racism Has a Cost for Everyone” reached 1 million views in just 2 months.

The MLK Day program also includes a recital by the Bridgeport Boys Choir, and a dance by the Regional Center for the Arts.

Click here to register for the free program in the Library’s Trefz Forum, or via livestream, and to purchase a copy of “The Sum of Us.”

The event is sponsored by the Westport Library, Westport Country Playhouse, TEAM Westport, Westport/Weston Interfaith Council, and Westport/Weston Interfaith Clergy.

Dr. Heather McGhee

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Westport Sunrise Rotary’s Great Duck Race returns for its 13th running on July 9. The location is new: Jesup Green.

On Sunday, the Rotarians tried out their new design. The Westport Fire Department provided the water; AJ Penna donated the front loader, to dump the ducks. In case you missed it:

The test will help the event run smoothly. Meanwhile, tickets are already on sale from any Sunrise Rotarian or online. $10,000 in prizes will be awarded — and all proceeds go to charity.

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The Housatonic Museum of Art is out of this world.

Actually, it’s just a few minutes away in Bridgeport. But they’re hosting :How Beautiful, The Universe …” — a free exhibition of 20 astrophotography prints — in association with the Westport Astronomical Society.

The Museum is on the 3rd floor of Beacon Hall. It’s open weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (until 7 p.m. on Thursday).

Next Monday (May 9, 7 p.m.) there’s a special viewing and talk on the art and science of astrophotography. Right after, there’s guided use of telescopes and moon viewing in the Housatonic Community College courtyard.

Families are welcome. To reserve a seat, click here.

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Thursday is forecast to be beautiful. Which means it’s perfect for a drive-in movie.

The Remarkable Theater screens “The Hangover” with Bradley Cooper, at the Imperial Avenue lot. Tailgating begins a half-hour earlier than usual, at 6:30 p.m.; the film is at 8.

The next day (Friday, May 6) is Family Night: “Dumbo.” The length — 1 hour, 4 minutes — is perfect for young kids.

Saturday (May 7) is Mothers Day Eve. Celebrate with “Mermaids.” starring Cher and Winona Ryder — the cult mother-daughter classic.

Click here for tickets and more information.

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June is LGBTQ Pride Month. June 3 is the day it will be celebrated in Westport schools.

Westport Pride — the townwide organization — is offering “Don’t Hide Your Pride” shirts for the month, and the day. The ones with the WPS logo are fundraisers for the  fundraise for the Westport Public Schools Pride Coalition, which includes Staples High, and Bedford and Coleytown Middle Schools.

Click here to order. The deadline is May 10. Shirts can be picked up at Nice Threads in Westport on June 1.

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Nashville trio South for Winter headlines the Unitarian Church’s Voices Café this Saturday (May 7, 8 p.m., in-person and livestream).

South for Winter blends acoustic duets with folk and bluesy ballads, combining cello, guitar, mandolin and harmonies in what’s been called “a genre-bending ‘impeccable sound.'”

Voices Café and South for Winter share a commitment to social justice. A portion of the concert proceeds benefit community organizations under the Unitarian Church in Westport’s social justice programs, including anti-racism, identity and equity, immigration and refugee efforts, and projects serving under-resourced communities.

Groups of 4 or more can reserve table space. General admission is $25 per person; livestream tickets are also available. For more information and tickets, click here.

South for Winter

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Nature can be brutal. This crab learned that the hard way the other day at Compo Beach. Today’s “Westport … Naturally” food-chain photo comes courtesy of Nancy Lally, who saw similar scenes all along the shore.

(Photo/Nancy Lally)

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And finally … Naomi Judd — with Wynonna, the older half of the famed mother-daughter country music duo the Judds — died Saturday hear Nashville. She was 76.

Naomi’s other daughter, actress Ashley Judd, said, “We lost our beautiful mother to the disease of mental illness.”

The Judds had 14 Number 1 hits. They racked up 9 Country Music Association Awards. and 5 Grammys. Click here for a full obituary.

Roundup: Real Estate, Food, Trees …

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The 1st quarter of 2022 is in the books. That means it’s time for some real estate stats.

Westport had 86 house closings, a 25% decrease from a year ago but
still the 2nd-most number of closings for this period since 2006.

The average house closing price of $2.2 million was the highest for the quarter in the past 2 decades. The average closed price per square foot rose to $509, up 23% from a year ago.

Reflecting high demand and low inventory, houses in the quarter sold on average for 102% of the list price — the 4th  straight quarter that average has been over 100%

Eight-five Westport houses were pending (properties with signed contracts) on March 31. That’s down slightly from the end of March 2021, but still high by historical measure.  (Hat tip: Rose Marie Colletti, Brown Harris Stevens)

This Bluewater Hill home is on the market for $12 million.

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Two years ago, Westport Farmers’ Market started its #Who Grows Your Food” campaign. The goal was to expand people’s knowledge of what farmers look like, to gain more support foro local agriculture.

Anne Burmeister and Ashley Skatoff offered to help. They lent their photographer lenses and creativity, capturing the essence of the farmers while creating an intimate story that eaters could follow along with.

Last fall, the Farmers’ Market partnered with MoCA Westport. Dozens of Burmeister and Skatoff’s stunning photographs became part of an art exhibit called “Between the Ground and the Sky.”

Now, those 52 photos from over 15 farms are available for purchase.

Each 18″ x 27″ original print (23″ x 32″ with border) is $500. All are signed and dated by the artist. The print includes information about the farm and photo, plus text created by the artist for the display at MoCA. The certificate is signed by the farmer.

All proceeds support WFM programming. Purchased photos may be picked up at the first 3 markets of the season: May 12, 19 and May 26.

For more information and to purchase, click here.

“Chicken Tractors” by Anne Burmeister is one of 52 Farmers’ Market photos available for sale.

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Arbor Day is near — and the Westport Tree Board is ready. Among the events throughout the month:

Saturday, April 23 (10:30 a.m. to noon, Jesup Green, free): The Tree Board and Westport Book Shop celebrate Earth Day with a fun event to promote reading for all ages, with attention also on the value of trees. Interactive family-friendly activities involving reading and early learning; educational materials and a native tree sapling giveaway, courtesy of Bartlett Tree Company.

Friday April 29 (Arbor Day, 3 to 4 p.m., Town Hall, free):  The Tree Board hosts their annual native sapling giveaway, plus brochures and advice from professional associations on tree-related topics, from site selection to proper maintenance.  Native saplings for giveaway are donated by Bartlett Tree.

Saturday, April 30 (3 to 4 p.m., Earthplace): The Tree Board hosts a live discussion and free information session with a tree professional on the basics of tree planting and maintenance, including selection, mulching, pruning, pest management and more. Native tree saplings, courtesy of Bartlett, will be available while they last.

As part of Arbor Day, Earthplace also hosts a “Toast To The Trees” family event 4 to 6 p.m.), with kids’ activities and s’mores, handmade pizza, beverages for adults and kids, plus a “tree walk” tour.  Click here to purchase tickets.

Beginning mid-April, the Tree Board and Westport Library will create a “StoryWalk” at the Lillian Wadsworth Arboretum (2 Woodside Lane).  The featured book is “Be a Tree!” For more information, click here.

A Norway maple at the Wadsworth Arboretum.

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Superintendent of schools Thomas Scarice offered a video update yesterday. He covered 4 areas:

The 5-year capital forecast to bring all schools — especially Long Lots and Coleytown Elementary — up to the district’s standards.

The uptick in the COVID Omicron sub-variant.

The Westport Public Schools’ ongoing equity study.

Ukrainian refugees. Scarice notes that Westport has already welcomed some to town, and any student settling here will be accommodated — as will all refugees from anywhere who come to Westport. He asks anyone with any information on refugees in Westport to call his office: 203-341-1025.

Click here to view the video update.

A screenshot of Superintendent of Schools Thomas Scarice, giving a video update from his office.

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Speaking of Westport Public Schools: Horace Lewis was the beloved head custodian at Staples High School, and served the district for 3 decades. He suffered a stroke shortly after retiring last summer, and died in December.

Classrooms, hallways, teaching kitchens, storage areas, auditorium, gym, fieldhouse, cafeteria, library, TV studio, boilers and HVAC systems — Horace kept them all sparkling and working. Despite a stressful job, staff and students knew Horace as the walkie-talkie carrying, most cheerful custodian.

Over the years, countless students (and parents) enlisted Horace’s help after leaving coats, backpacks, sporting equipment and phones at school. Even after his official retirement, Horace stayed on to help the schools cope with COVID cleaning requirements.

To honor Horace’s legacy of hard work, service to others and positive outlook, Staples Tuition Grants has created a scholarship in his name. The first need-based award will be offered this year. Click here to donate to this special fund.

Horace Lewis

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Among the most impressive parts of Westport Country Playhouse’s production of “Next to Normal”: the set.

Like everything that appears on the Playhouse stage, it was constructed by the in-house production staff — with help from  Jake Krasniewicz, assistant box office manager.

But that’s not his only side gig.

The Stratford native plays bass, ukulele, guitar, banjo and synthesizer. At Berklee College of Music he studied film scoring.

After graduating, Jake spent time in Boston’s music scene. When he returned to Connecticut, he formed Drop Party. The band plays an amalgam of genres, and call their style “a way to access emotions without sounding like radio music.”

Drop Party is part of this weekend’s Westport Library VersoFest. On Sunday (April 10, 7 p.m.), they open for Selwyn Birchwood.

What does all this have to do with building the set?  After college, Jake helped out at his father’s welding shop. The Playhouse technical director recruited the assistant box office manager to help with the extensive welding needed for the “Next to Normal” set.

He particularly enjoys funk. But it seems “heavy metal” is also one of Jake’s outlets. (Hat Tip: Bruce Miller)

Jake Krasniewicz takes a break from ticket sales and music,, to help create the “Next to Normal” set.

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There’s always something going on Westport — and much of it flies under the radar. And I do mean “radar.”

Last Saturday, over 100 automotive enthusiasts and industry leaders filled
the Autostrada facility — formerly the Steinway piano showroom — to kick off the Piston Foundation’s 2022 season.

Attendees came from across the US and Europe. They heard the non-profit
foundation lay out its mission to “bring more young people into the collector car industry so the craftspeople who built this American touchstone can transfer their skills to a new generation.”

The site included a “collection of exotic automobiles.” A silent auction raised funds for students and apprentices to pursue careers in automotive craft, restoration specialties and service.

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Staples High School seniors Sophie Alcyone and Alexandra Maskoff were honored this week, at the 27th annual High School Arts Awards ceremony.

Selected by the Staples staff, Sophie was recognized for visual art, Maskoff for music. The event was sponsored by the Connecticut Association of Schools.

From left: Sophie Alcyone and Alexandra Maskoff.

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With spring arriving fitfully, Jonathan Alloy offers 2 “Westport … Naturally” photo.

He writes: “My wife Sarah hung a pretty seasonal wreath on our front door, which real birds used to build a real nest — now complete with real eggs! Robins perhaps?”

Here’s the wreath:

And the eggs:

(Photos/Jonathan Alloy)

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And finally … the Westport Library’s VersoFest (see story above) and Talking Heads’ Chris Frantz present an intriguing concert tonight (7 p.m.). Headliners are Enid Ze and Daniprobably. Click below for a sneak listen; click here for ticket information, and more.

 

 

Roundup: Kings Highway El, Farmers’ Market, Ryan Price …

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In October 2020, Kings Highway Elementary celebrated National Walk to School Day. Hundreds of youngsters walked that day.

Because there were no “School Zone” signs on Post Road West, parents made sure the event went smoothly.

A year and a half later, signs are up. There are flashing signs too.

The KHS PTA thanks 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker, State Senator Will Haskell, RTM member Christine Meiers Schatz, Public Works director Pete Ratkiewich, PTA past president Kim Ceman and the school’s parents for making the signs a reality.

“As the only elementary school in town on a state road with a playground bordering it, these new safety measures give parents a huge feeling of relief,” the KHS PTA says.

Kings Highway PTA co-presidents Jeni Bianco and Lindsay Shurman flank principal Tracey Carbone, at the new Post Road West sign and flashing light.

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The Westport Farmers’ Market is very direct. They bring fresh produce directly from the farm to you. They directly impact our environment and lifestyles, in positive ways.

And the name of their fundraiser is very direct too. Not to mention quite clever.

“Fork It Over” is set for April 24 (noon to 3 p.m., The Whelk). Highlights include auctions of the very popular #WhoGrowsYourFood photo exhibit by Anne Burmeister and Ashley Skatoff, and other great items.

Can’t attend? The same images will be for sale, starting April 1. They’re at the same link for tickets (also April 1).

Money raised at “Fork It Over” directly supports vendors, reduces operating expenses, helps expand educational programming, and funds philanthropic efforts.

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Ryan Price — a 1995 Staples High School graduate now living in Fairfield — is an avid and experienced mountain bike rider. Earlier this month, at the end of a business trip in Austin, Texas, he fractured his neck in a cycling accident. He was airlifted to a trauma center, in underwent 10 hours of surgery. He has no feeling from the chest down.

He is now at the Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation in New Jersey. A long road of physical and occupational therapy lies ahead. Fortunately, Ryan did not suffer a head injury. He is focused on the hard work ahead.

While he and his wife Janice have a hard time asking for and accepting help, his many friends and colleagues have offered donations for medical costs not covered by insurance, modifications to their home, transportation, childcare, and the many other challenges they will encounter. Click here for Ryan’s GoFundMe page.

The family is researching cutting-edge treatments including STEM cells. Funds will also help provide access to new technology and treatment options.

Ryan is an enterprise sales executive at Khoros, and loves working with clients to solve problems. Outside of work Ryan enjoys music (at Providence College, he played in a band). He loves trips to Maine with his family and friends, and has a passion for coaching his two boys who enjoy sports of all kinds.

Ryan and Janice have been overwhelmed by the support so many have shown. Janice will provide updates about Ryan’s progress soon, via CaringBridge.

Ryan and Janice Price, and their boys.

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Westporter Barbara Ross-Innamorati owns Evocateur, the East Norwalk artisan jewelry company. Every piece is designed and made by hand.

They created a collection of Sunflower jewelry — in honor of Ukraine’s national flower — and are donating 100% of the profits to Save the Children Ukraine.

The response has been excellent, from retailers and customers. The jewelry can be purchased online, or locally at Lux Bond & Green.

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Jane Wright Wolf — a member of the prestigious Salamagundi Art Club of New York — has donated a number of stunning pieces, for a special sale. 100% of all proceeds benefit the Weston Senior Center.

Wolf’s work is available for purchase at the Weston Senior Center (9 School Road), 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays throughout April. A special opening is set for this Saturday (April 2, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.)

Jane Wright Wolf, and 2 of her works.

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The caption for today’s gorgeous “Westport … Naturally” image is succinct and strong.

Photographer David Vita says simply: “It’s that time of year at the Unitarian Church in Westport.”

(Photo/David Vita)

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And finally … in honor of Barbara Ross-Inamorati’s sunflower fundraiser for Ukraine:

 

Photo Challenge #376

I guess shoppers at the Westport Farmers’ Market are too excited — or busy — hauling their purchases to the car to notice what’s around them.

Last week’s Photo Challenge showed a fierce-looking sculpture that seemed part of an outdoor bench, table or urn. It’s on the walkway near the side of Gilbertie’s Herbs & Garden Center — site of the indoor Farmers’ Market. (Click here to see.)

Incorrect guesses ranged from the Mediterranean-style home on Hillspoint Road, to the Westport Library, to 2 cemeteries.

Correct guesses were … none. It’s one of those “hidden in plain sight” bits of Westport, I guess, which now everyone will notice the next time they’re at Gilbertie’s.

So we’ll go with a much easier challenge this week. If you know where in Westport you’d see this, click “Comments” below.

(Photo/Ed Simek)

Roundup: D-I Athletes, Shoveled Sidewalk, Happy 95th …

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A record-tying 13 Staples High School student-athletes signed letters of intent yesterday, to play sports at NCAA Division I schools.

Principal Stafford Thomas, athletic director Marty Lisevick praised the 12th graders. Each was introduced by his or her coach; each also thanked the many people who helped them on their journeys.

Congratulations to soccer player Gaby  Gonzalez (Cornell University); field hockey player Jess Leon (Bucknell University); baseball player JW Fitzgerald (Sacred Heart University); lacrosse players Aiden Best (Lafayette College), Gabe Chinitz (Bryant University),  McKenzie Didio and Mia Didio (both University of Delaware), Henry Dodge (University of Vermont), Charlie Howard (Boston Univesity); softball player Gabby Lantier (University of Rhode Island), tennis players Tighe Brunetti (Villanova University) and Amelia Galin (Colgate University), and track athlete Tatum Havemann (Elon University).

Staples athletic director Marty Lisevick addresses one group of D-I signees ….

… as the other group looks waits their turn.

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Yesterday’s “06880” Roundup included a photo from Amy Shapiro, showing an Easton Road sidewalk near Coleytown Elementary School that was still filled with snow, 72 hours after the storm.

Shortly thereafter, she sent a follow-up shot. Lookin’ good!

(Photo/Amy Shapiro)

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The Senior Center reopened for guests on Monday, after a month-long COVID hiatus.

Carl Frey was there yesterday, celebrating his 95th birthday. Welcome back, all!

Carl Frey blowing out birthday candles with (from right) his wife Iris, and Senior Center director Sue Pfister.

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Baby, it’s cold it’s outside.

But the Westport Farmers’ Market‘s “Operation Warm Hug” helps vulnerable children and adults who need clothes to get through winter. This month, they hold a coat and accessories drive, to benefit Community Coat Corners of Bridgeport.

New and gently worn winter coats, scarves, hats, mittens and gloves will be accepted on Thursdays, February 10 and 17 (Gilbertie’s Herbs & Garden Center, 7 Sylvan Lane, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.).

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As noted above: Yeah, it’s cold. But it’s not too early to begin thinking about summer.

Registration is already open for Camp MoCA. Weekly sessions run at the Museum of Contemporary Art Newtown Avenue campus from June 6 to August 22.

Each week includes art activities, hands-on agricultural and gardening lessons, outdoor fun and special events. Campers also engage with MoCA’s art exhibitions. The camp is led by certified art instructors.

The schedule includes a full day camp (ages 3 1/2 to 8, from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.); half day camp (same ages, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.), and an afternoon intensive art camp for ages 9 to 12 (1 to 3 p.m.). Click here for more information, or call 203-222-7070.

Fun at Camp MoCA.

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The Westport Book Shop’ February guest artist is Niki Ketchman.

All month at the used book store on Jesup Road, she’s exhibiting pieces from her “Resination” series. That’s a play on words like “resonations,” “resolutions,” “renovations” and “realizations” In addition, each piece is created with resin.

Niki Ketchman and her work, at the Westport Book Shop.

The next Westport Country Playhouse Script in Hand play reading is the thriller “Murder by Misadventure,” by Edward Taylor. It’s set for a live audience on February 21 (7 p.m.) The performance will be available too for on-demand streaming at home, from February 24 to February 27.

Script in Hand play readings offer intimate storytelling, as professional actors bring the words to life without sets or costumes.

Tickets for the live event are $20. Patrons must be masked and show proof of vaccination. Tickets for on-demand streaming are $20 individual, $40 pair and $80 household. Each purchase entitles the buyer to an individual link. Click here for tickets, call(203-227-4177, or email boxoffice@westportplayhouse.org.

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The Westport Astronomical Society explores Venus — from the comfort of everyone’s home.

The next free online lecture is “The DAVINCI Mission to Mars.” NASA Goddard Space Flight Center’s Dr. Giada Nichole Arney does the honors on February 15 (8 p.m.).

Click here for the Zoom link; click here for the YouTube link.

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“Westport … Naturally” has featured plenty of swans. This may be the first appearance, though, of buffleheads. Matt Murray captured them — by camera, anyway — at Sherwood Mill Pond.

(Photo/Matt Murray)

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And finally: It’s the Chinese New Year — the Year of the Tiger!

Roundup: George And Pat Jensen, Kids’ Yoga, Cumby’s …

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Due to today’s snow, the Westport Library will open at 1 p.m. today.

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It’s 10 a.m. Are your kids bored with their snow day yet?

Here’s something they might enjoy: Carly Walker’s first yoga video aimed at youngsters. It comes from Child’s Pose Yoga, the Church Street South studio.

Namaste.

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Longtime Westporters Jørgen and Pat Jensen died peacefully, together, at their home on December 22. He was 92; she was 88.

Jorgen — known as “George” — served 9 terms on the Representative Town Meeting (RTM), and was a prominent member of the Y’s Men and their Hoot Owls singing group. He was also an avid bridge player.

Pat worked for many years for the Westport Public Schools. She also served  with the Westport Woman’s Club.

Both were active in retirement at the Senior Center, and were lifelong boaters. At the Senior Center George was in charge of the Garden Club. He grew tomatoes, and distributed them widely.

George was born in Copenhagen, and graduated from the university there with an MS in mechanical engineering.

Pat — a native of Bridgeport — graduated from Sacred Heart University.

Both were world travelers. They met while working at General Electric in Bridgeport. He worked there until retirement, in 1985.

Pat retired in 2000, after serving as director of purchasing at Staples High School. She was a master knitter and crocheter.

While on the RTM, George worked to purchase the Baron’s property, and on construction of the Senior Center and Saugatuck senior housing. Both he and Pat were active in the movement to save Cockenoe Island from becoming a nuclear power plant, in the 1960s.

George and Pat are survived by their children Elisa (John McKay), Eric (Michele Ryan) and Aline Maynard (Garth); 7 grandchildren and George’s brother Steen Folmer.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Westport Center for Senior Activities, 21 Imperial Avenue, Westport, CT 06880.

Pat and George Jensen (Photos courtesy of Westport Journal)

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Three of Westport’s most important institutions — The Library, Wakeman Town Farm and Westport Farmers Market — are partnering for a delicious presentation.

“Dinner Disrupted: How We Eat” (Tuesday, January 11, 7 pm., in-person at the Library and via Zoom) features a conversation with market researcher and author of How We Eat: The Brave New World of Food and Drink, Paco Underhill.

The book describes how cities are getting countrified with the rise of farmer’s markets and rooftop farms; how supermarkets use their parking lots to grow food and host community events, and how marijuana farmers have developed a playbook so mainstream merchants and farmers across the world can grow food in an uncertain future. Click here to register.

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Among other effects, COVID’s Omicron variant has created staffing shortages at businesses around town.

Among them: Cumberland Farms.

The always-reliable convenience store has posted this brief — but telling — notice on its door:

(Photo/Matt Murray)

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Every Martin Luther King Day, I run a story on the civil rights leader’s visit to Westport — and the wood carvings that local artist Roe Halper presented to him. They hung for years in his Atlanta home.

Halper is still a working artist. Her works are now colorful and abstract.

They are so colorful, in fact, that her current exhibit — at the Westport Library — is called simply “Orange.”

It is “a warm, radiant color with positive energy,” Halper says — “exactly the message I wanted to portray as I pushed bold strokes of power on the canvases  with my Chinese brushes. A person must have a positive attitude to survive in life, and be able to be productive.”

Check out “Orange” — and many other colors — at the Westport Library Gallery.

Roe Halper, at her exhibit.

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It’s school course selection time. What to take? When? Why?

College admissions counselor Amy Chatterjee offers a free webinar on Tuesday (7 p.m.): “Why Course Selection is Important to the College Application Process.” Click here to register.

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” creature is perfect. A “snowshoe Siamese” cat is quite happy to stay indoors!

(Photo/Jo Shields Sherman)

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And finally … on this day in 1904, the distress signal “CQD” was established internationally. Two years later, it was replaced by a different one: “SOS.”

Roundup: Mask Up, No School, Betty White …

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As Westport begins a new year — battling a now-old pandemic — the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce has a few strong thoughts.

In an email sent to “members and more,” they say:

“We are at a health and workforce crossroads.

“Westport reported 150 new cases since last weekend, and that does not account for all the at-home tests. The state is at 15% positivity. Businesses all across the area and country are closing. with employees falling ill.

“The First Selectwoman mandated that masks must be worn in all town-owned buildings. The business community must fill in the rest.

“Protect your employees. Protect yourselves. Keep our economy moving. MASK UP!”

“Please have your front, public-facing employees wear a mask. Protect them from Omicron and COVID overall.

“Masking could be a policy in your store, office or restaurant to protect everyone working there and who comes in.

“If employees get sick it threatens their health, your customers, your business and the entire economy of our town. Masking makes sense and is easily done. We did it before. We can do it now.

“And get your booster shot. The science is clear: A booster reduces the effect of Omicron.

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Meanwhile, Superintendent of Schools Thomas Scarice sent this email yesterday to all Westport Public Schools families:

“As you are all aware, the recent surge of infections has gripped our region. We are experiencing infection rates unlike any time since the start of the pandemic.  We do know that our students are best served being in school and, along with continuing to maintain the health and safety of our students and staff, keeping our students in school and engaged in all of their programs remains our priority.

“As the conditions rapidly unfold, guidance from our partners at the state Department of Education and Department of Public Health remains delayed.  There are legitimate questions about our ability to staff our schools next week based on recent infection rates, travel cancellations for those out of state, among other complications. With limited guidance from the state level, we will work at our local level to develop approaches in the event conditions warrant further interventions and modifications.

“For this reason, a decision has been made to extend the winter break by one day for all students. Monday, January 3 will not be a school day for students.

“All faculty and staff will report on Monday. This will enable the district to work collaboratively to develop a range of responses to the changing conditions over the coming weeks. The fluid situation requires thoughtful consideration and this additional day on Monday provides a measure of time to continue planning and assessing actual staffing levels to ensure that we can provide a healthy and optimal educational experience for our students.

“Among the many considerations, the district team has been working this entire week to make provisions for:

  • a range of potential Executive Orders or state emergency declarations,

  • additional ways to support a significant increase in the number of students in isolation due to infection

  • optimizing mitigating measures in schools, such as  lunch waves

  • State adoption of new CDC guidance which potentially shortens isolation and quarantine periods, and redefines “fully vaccinated” (all of which could impact staffing levels and student attendance)

  • the high school mid-term exams

“There are obviously other considerations beyond this list, however, this is illustrative of the many challenges we face in successfully returning our students and staff to school next week.

“You can expect further information over the weekend. In the meantime, stay healthy.”

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The Senior Center is closed until at least mid-January.

But that did not stop one intrepid group of regulars from working out.

Undeterred by COVID, mist or the end-of-year hubbub, they gathered yesterday in the Compo Beach parking lot near Ned Dimes Marina.

They smiled. They exercised. They could not imagine another way to end the year.

(Photo/Dina Upton)

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The burn pile, landfill or Boy Scouts are not the only ways to get rid of your quickly dying Christmas tree.

You can also bring it to the Westport Farmers’ Market this Thursday (January 6, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Gilbertie’s Herbs & Garden Center, 7 Sylvan Lane). There is a suggested fee of $10.

They’ve partnered with Action Waste Solutions. for a recycling program. Each year, they turn hundreds of trees into compost.

Be sure to remove ornaments and garlands. And if you sign up for Action Waste’s home or office composting program, they’ll waive the $25 set-up fee.

The Christmas tree at Wakeman Town Farm will not be recycled. But yours can be.

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Fans of all ages are mourning the death yesterday of Betty White. The beloved entertainer was less than 3 weeks shy of her 100th birthday.

Larry Silver — the Westport photographer whose work has been shown internationally — had special reason to remember the star. In the 1990s, he did a commercial shoot with her for Humana of California.

Larry recalls: “It was obvious Betty was paid quite well for this shoot. She arrived with her own hair and make-up person, an assistant to help the hair and makeup people, and her own wardrobe, which was perfect.

“She was adamant that I photograph her from what she said was her best side. She was very cooperative, but became a little agitated when a much younger photographer than me — the director — would tell her what to do.

“A lot of our conversation was about her pets, and her love for animals.”

Some of the images — including this one — have never been published before:

Betty White (Photo/Larry Silver)

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Before we greet whatever 2022 brings, let’s chill with a serene “Westport … Naturally” scene.

It’s Compo Beach, naturally …

(Photo/Susan Leone)

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And finally … this year, “Holiday Inn” is 80 years old. But Bing Crosby and Irving Berlin were right: