Tag Archives: Westport Fire Department

Roundup: FOIA, Startup Westport, First Responders …

John McCarthy writes:

“In June, the town and Police Department contracted with a company called RequestFOIA to give a web-based Freedom of Information Act request portal, through which people could submit FOIA requests.

“It is now live and reachable by clicking on “Public Record Request” on the Police Department website. After clicking, you are sent here.

“It doesn’t look like anyone has used it yet. I have not seen any official notice of it going live.

“This could be a great tool for the town, especially if it was expanded to all other departments and commissions.”

To make a public record request through the Westport Police Department website, click on the box at the right of the home page.


Like any good startup, Startup Westport has made a big mark in a short time.

Since its formation last winter, the citizen-led organization — a public/private partnership to promote Westport as the most attractive place in Connecticut for start-up tech companies — has brought together a diverse group of residents.

They’ve heard speakers, networked, and energetically leveraged the astonishing amount of creativity lurking here in offices, homes and coffee shops.

On Tuesday night, over 100 members partied.

Startup Westport’s first annual holiday gathering, at the Westport Country Playhouse Sheffer Barn, was a fun, festive — and intellectually fertile — event.

Founders Jay Norris, Peter Propp and Cliff Sirlin spoke. So did Dan O’Keefe, Connecticut’s first chief innovation officer (who spoke at a previous meeting), and 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker.

But mostly, the evening was a chance to meet and chat with like-minded folks.

And eat, drink, and be tech-merry.

(To learn more about Startup Westport, click here.) 

Scenes from Startup Westport’s first holiday party.


When Planning & Zoning Commission chair Danielle Dobin was elected to the Board of Finance earlier this month, the Democratic Town Committee was charged with recommending a replacement.

14 “outstanding” candidates stepped up, the DTC says. Tonight, members will vote to accept the Nominations Committee’s recommendation of Amy Wistreich. The full P&Z will then vote on that recommendation, at their next meeting.

Wistreich was appointed to the Zoning Board of Appeals in 2019, then elected to a full term in 2021. She currently serves as secretary. She has a degree in environmental design, and spent her career working in all areas of construction, including architecture, engineering, design, planning, project management, contracts and insurance, in both the corporate and nonprofit sectors.

Amy Wistreich


Westport Police made 1 custodial arrest between November 15 and 29.

A man was arrested, following an investigation into a December 2020 larceny at HomeGoods. He then returned stolen merchandise, got store credit, used it to purchase other items, returned those, and got full credit baci.

Police also issued these citations:

  • Failure to comply with state traffic commission regulations: 13 citations
  • Failure to obey traffic control signals: 7
  • Traveling unreasonably fast: 4
  • Operating an unregistered motor vehicle: 4
  • Operating a motor vehicle under suspension: 3
  • Operating a motor vehicle without a license: 3
  • Speeding: 2
  • Driving while texting: 2
  • Distracted driving: 2
  • Passing a standing school bus: 1
  • Following too closely: 1
  • Failure to obey stop sign: 1
  • Failure to carry driver’s license: 1
  • Improper use of marker plates: 1
  • Learner’s permit violation: 1

The sign probably does not work. But be warned: You can be fined up t9 $500 the first time you pass a standing school bus.


Speaking of Westport Police:

At first glance, this looks like a major catastrophe. A cop car, ambulance and fire truck — all with flashing lights — right on the holiday-lit William F. Cribari Bridge.

No worries.

It’s a posed shot, showing Westport’s 3 vital first responders, at a site we all love.

Westport Police, the Westport Fire Department and Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Service wish everyone in town — residents, business, employees, visitors — a happy, healthy holiday.

In other words: One in which their lights are not needed. And instead, we all enjoy the lights on the bridge.


Yesterday’s story on Lucia Palmieri — the very generous Westporter who is inviting kids and parents to meet the Westport Fire Department’s Santa on December 8 — left out one very important detail: the time.

It’s “after 5 p.m.,” Lucia says.

For details on how to participate — including donations made to the Westport Uniformed Firefighters Charitable Foundation, and how to drop off the wrapped gift for your child ahead of time (that’s how “Santa” knows what to give) — click here.


David Bowie will have a big role at VersoFest 2024.

Sure, the English singer/songwriter/musician/actor died in 2016. But Tony Visconti — who was his producer and arranger, along with T. Rex and Thin Lizzy — will offer the keynote address at the Westport Library’s 3rd annual event.

The Saturday, April 6 discussion  of Visconti’s art and career is set for Saturday, April 6 (1 p.m.). The event is free, but requires registration. Click here for tickets.

The 4-day music festival and conference runs from Thursday, April 4 through Sunday, April 7. It includes panels, workshops and performances. Further details will be announced soon.

Tony Visconti and David Bowie.


If you’ve been wondering about “The Miyawaki Method: Microforests in the Age of Climate Change”: You’re in luck!

That’s the topic of Aspetuck Land Trust’s next “Lunch & Learn” webinar.

Set for Friday, December 8 (noon to 1:30 p.m.), it features micro-forest creator and environmental advocate Maya Dutta. She’ll discuss this unique method for reforestation, and how micro-forests can build communal and climate resilience.

Click here for more information, and to register.


Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo is a very cool image of this week’s Beaver Moon.

Nancy Lally captured it through the trees, in all its bright glory.

(Photo/Nancy Lally)


And finally … in honor of VersoFest 2024 — and the keynote address by David Bowie’s former producer and arranger (story above):

(VersoFest — set for next April — will be here before you know it. So will December 31. Give yourself a tax-deductible break before the New Year. Please click here, to support “06880.” Thank you!)

Roundup: Santa Run, Downtown Trees, Staples Football …

It’s a Christmas miracle!

Lucia Palmieri — who every year cooks, then gives away, a whole bunch of Thanksgiving dinners — is also bringing Santa Claus to her home.

And she’s inviting Westport kids and parents, too.

The Westport Uniformed Firefighters Charitable Foundation already sponsors “Santa” runs, complete with a fire truck. But spots are limited, and not every parent who wanted to could sign up.

So on Friday, December 8, Santa (and the fire truck) will come to Lucia’s house, at 4 Narrow Rocks Road.

The Big Guy will hand presents to children. But first (kids — stop reading here!) — their parents need to make a minimum $35 donation to the Firefighters Foundation. Click here to do that.

Parents also must drop off a wrapped gift for their child (kids — you should not be reading this!) at Lucia’s house before the event.

Lucia will also provide a fire and hot chocolate. She may even lead a few carols.

And — spoiler alert — she is not just a very generous woman. Lucia is also a professional opera singer, with gigs at Carnegie Hall and the US Open, and on ESPN, Bravo, ABC and NBC.

To RSVP, and for questions, email luciapalmieri@yahoo.com or call 917-578-8443. (Hat tip: Katherine Calise)


Westport Downtown Association president Maxx Crowley and his SCA team picked up 3 Christmas trees this week, from Izz0 & Son Country Gardens.

Each is 12 feet tall.

They’ll go up around downtown tomorrow — just in time for Saturday’s Holiday Stoll (5 to 7 p.m.; co-sponsored by the WDA and “06880”).

Click here for Stroll details. Meanwhile, check out these beauties:


Also, just in time for the holidays, a shop has popped up in Westport.

West | Out East — with locations in New York City, East Hampton and Miami — is now open at 1 Main Street. That’s near the intersection of Post Road East — the previous site of POP’Tart  gallery.

This is a bigger space than their previous location, 9 Riverside Avenue.

Modular products are “versatile in style and function, accentuated by customizable millwork.” The collection includes indoor and outdoor furniture, decorative and architectural lighting, closets, storage systems, kitchens, bath fixtures, rugs and accessories.

PS: West | Out East is part of the “06880”/Westport Downtown Association Holiday Stroll. They offer prosecco, presents and a raffle to win home décor accessories.

West | Out East pop-up, at 1 Main Street.


Congratulations to the Staples football team!

Led by quarterback Caleb Smith and the offensive line, they rallied from a 9-6 halftime deficit to nip Fairfield Prep 13-12, in last night’s state “LL” (extra large schools) quarterfinal game.

The Wreckers are seeded first; the Jesuits were 8th. Prep ended the Westporters’ season last year, with a 23-22 state playoff win.

The victory earns Staples a home semifinal contest against #5 Southington, at 12:30 p.m. this Sunday. Staples beat the upstaters 34-27 earlier this year.

Quarterback Caleb Smith. (Photo/John Nash for The Ruden Report)


Neighborhood Studios — the multi-discipline, multi-dimensional Bridgeport arts program supported by many Westporters —  and the Curtis Summer Camp Fund have partnered on a very cool benefit concert.

With very cool local musicians.

“Give Kids a Chance!” (December 5, Fairfield Theatre Company; reception at 6 p.m, concert at 7 p.m.) features great local talent. They’re backed by the Zambonis: the greatest (and only) hockey rock band on the planet.

Many musicians’ names are familiar to Westporters: Jim Francis, Jeffrey and Laurie Gross, Dave Hart, Stanton Lesser, Rob Morton, Leila Shields, Rick Smilow and 5th State Band. They’re joined by students and alumni of the Neighborhood Studios Contemporary & Jazz Ensemble.

Neighborhood Studios serves more than 1,000 Bridgeport youth, ages 3 to 19, with after-school programs and summer camps. It transforms lives through arts education, and empowers youngsters to make differences in their community.

The Curtis Summer Camp Fund changes lives by sending Bridgeport youths to sleepaway camp.

Click here for tickets, and more information.


Dr. Robert Altbaum is now retired. But he’s still helping Westporters live healthy lives.

On Tuesday, he brought 40 years of experience to the Y’s Women meeting. Altbaum discussed osteoporosis — its causes, dangers, and how to live with it.

It was an important topic. Osteoporosis predominantly affects women over 50.  30% of women over 65 have the disease; only 4% of men do.

Altbaum said that strong bones are the key to osteoporosis prevention. He recommends weight-bearing exercises like walking, running or the elliptical; vitamin D; reduced alcohol consumption, and no smoking.

He also discussed ways to reduce falls, including night lights, getting rid of throw rugs, clearing clutter, a chair or grab bars in the shower, and always using stair rails.

Dr. Robert Altbaum, at yesterday’s Y’s Women meeting.


Tomorrow’s Jazz at the Post features The Caribbean Jazz Connection (Thursday, November 30, 7:30 and 8:45 p.m., VFW Joseph J. Clinton Post 399; dinner at 7 p.m.; $15 music charge).

Led by drummer Jim Royle, who crosses jazz and Caribbean Latin styles, it features steel pan player Bryan Garbe, an internationally acclaimed percussionist who grew up in Fairfield.

The band also includes bassist John Mobilio and pianist David Childs.

Reservations are highly recommended: JazzatthePost@gmail.com.


“Lux Freer” — the award-winning short film shot and produced in Westport last year — screens this Sunday at the Dances With Films festival in New York.

Show time is 2 p.m., at Regal Union Square.

It was the first film directed by actress (and Staples High School graduate) Cynthia Gibb, known for her on-screen work in “Gypsy,” “Fame” and “Youngblood.”

“Lux Freer” won Best USA Film, and Gibb was named Best First-Time Director, at the New York  Cinematography Awards. It was also honored as Outstanding Narrative Short at the Ridgefield Independent Film Festival). Gibb’s film also earned Honorable Mention in the Best LGBTQ Short Film category at Los Angeles’ Indie Short Fest.

The lead, Echo Bodell, will attend the New York showing, along with Gibb, writer Jill Johnson Mann and other cast members, including Staples senior Cameron Mann (who played the killer in HBO’s “Mare of Easttown.”

Click here for tickets.


Thanksgiving is nearly a week in the rear view mirror. Most turkeys are gone — eaten (including leftovers), the carcasses disposed of.

Except for this one.

Judy Auber Jahnel spotted it in an usual spot: the Riverwalk, outside the Westport Library and smack in the middle of downtown.

There must be a back story.

If you know what it is, click “Comments” below.


In all his decades in Westport, John Kantor says, he never saw a bobcat around Grove Point.

Until this one visited his garden yesterday afternoon.

It doesn’t get more “Westport … Naturally” than this.

(Photo/John Kantor)


And finally … Jean Knight — whose only hit (“Mr. Big Stuff”) lives on more than 50 years after its release — died last week in Florida. She was 80.

It was nominated for a 1971 Grammy Award nomination for best female R&B vocal performance (Aretha Franklin won for “Bridge Over Troubled Water”), and best R&B song (Bill Withers won for “Ain’t No Sunshine”).

Click here for a full obituary.

(Hey, Mr. Big Stuff! Please consider a donation to “06880.” It’s tax-deductible, too. Just click here. Thank you, sir!)

Roundup: Josh Koskoff, Bedford Acting Group, Jolantha The Pig …

Beloved Westport artist/Staples High School graduate/”06880″ board member Miggs Burroughs sends along this holiday greeting.

And right back at ya, Miggs!


Josh Koskoff has earned tons of national attention. As lead attorney representing the Sandy Hook families, he won a momentous decision in a defamation lawsuit against conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.

On Tuesday, the Staples High School graduate, longtime Westport resident and senior partner at Koskoff, Koskoff & Bieder of Bridgeport was on a different stage: the Westport Rotary Club’s lunch meeting.

He noted that 20 years ago, mass shootings were not a major problem. He cited some factors that explain our gun violence epidemic, including laxer gun laws, excessive greed on the part of gun manufacturers, internet-enabled direct marketing of assault weapons to young people, and a “crisis of unhappiness” that makes them susceptible to angry, toxic and violent messaging.

Koskoff ended on a positive note. He believes that gun control forces are growing, becoming moreorganized and financed, and now stand a better chance of passing necessary legislation.

Josh Koskoff with an AR-15 assault rifle, at Tuesday’s Westport Rotary Club meeting. (Photo/Dave Matlow)


The Bedford Acting Group invites everyone to “Be Our Guest, Be Our Guest, Be Our Guest” at their production of “Beauty and the Beast: The Broadway Musical!”

With strong vocal and dance talents, an inventive set and fine costumes, the well-known tale about a spirited, book-loving French village girl, the hideous beast who imprisons her, and the quirky, hilarious characters in the famous classic come to life.

For younger fans, BAG offers a special opportunity to participate in a “Be Our Guest Experience.” It includes a meet-and-greet with Belle and other characters from the show, plus “Beauty and the Beast”-themed crafts and games. The event will take place Saturday, December 2 at 1:30 p.m., before the matinee (separate tickets are required).

Performances are Friday, December 1 (7 p.m.).; Saturday, December 2 (3 and 7 p.m.), and Sunday, December 3 (3 p.m.). Borh matinees are already sold out. Click here for tickets to the evening shows.

The cast and crew of Bedford Acting Group’s “Beauty and the Beast.”


Jolantha — Weston’s favorite pig — is glad that today’s holiday is all about turkeys.

But just wait till Christmas dinner …

(Photo/Hans Wilhelm)


As if shopping for Thanksgiving isn’t stressful enough, one Whole Foods customer returned to the parking lot to find their car ablaze.

The Westport Fire Department came quickly, and extinguished it. No one was hurt.

That will be quite a tale to tell around today’s table.

(Photo/Bob Weingarten)


It could not be more natural: Every day, the sun rises in the east.

But some days, it could not be more beautiful.

Which is why this photo is today’s “Westport … Naturally” image.

Enjoy blessings like this one. And don’t forget to be thankful for it.

Today. And every day.

(Photo/Patricia McMahon)


And finally … if you’re of a certain age, you know why this is the traditional Thanksgiving song.

If you’re not, and you don’t know — well, just listen.

Trust me: The 18 1/2 minutes are well worth it.



Roundup: Miggs Burroughs, Dick Nixon, Butternut Squash …

50 years ago tomorrow — November 12, 1973 — Time magazine published their first editorial ever. It called for the resignation of President Nixon.

The cover read “Nixon’s Jury: The People.” It showed 12 people, in various stages of contemplation about the Watergate scandal-engulfed chief executive.

That cover was drawn by Miggs Burroughs.

He was just 27 years old. Less than a decade earlier, he’d graduated from Staples High School.

“It was not my proudest moment artistically,” he recalled yesterday.

Because of an extremely tight deadline, he worked in the Time/Life office. Staffers ordered paint and supplies from the Arthur Brown Art Store nearby.

Then they stood over Miggs — with the doors barred — until he was done.

Because of its historical significance — it was the magazine’s first editorial, after all, the magazine is now in the Smithsonian Museum.

“Not the best looking jury ever convened,” Miggs added.


As temperatures drop, the Westport Fire Department has partnered with Bridgeport Rescue Mission for a “Share the Warmth” coat drive.

New or gently used (and clean) winter coats, hats, mittens, gloves, scarves and snowsuits can be dropped off at Fire headquarters (515 Post Road East), the Senior Center and Town Hall through December 15.

Several schools will have collection boxes at their entrances, too.

Westport firefighters will sort and transport the items to the Bridgeport Rescue Mission.


The Secretary of the State’s office has released official turnout results for Tuesday’s election.

In Westport, 45.6% of eligible voters cast ballots. That’s up from 43.1% in 2021 — the last town-wide election (although that also included state-wide races, like governor and the General Assembly).

Throughout Connecticut, turnout was 33.3% — exactly one-third of eligible voters.


Last month, Westporter Walter Fischel was evacuated from Ashkelon, Israel, where he had lived and worked for 9 months. Because there was so much uncertainty around when and if he would return to work, he decided to travel.

Last week he landed in South Africa to visit friends. On his way to meet them, he was carjacked and shot in the face.

Though he will make a full recovery, his passport, phone and credit cards were stolen.

He got a new passport and should be well enough to travel next week, but his accounts have been frozen since the robbery and he is unable to book a flight home.

All funds raised will go directly to Fischel, to assist with travel, medical expenses, and living expenses for him and his family.

Click here for the GoFundMe page.

Walter Fischel


Linda Doyle writes:

“Back in the spring I bought some pre-cut butternut squash from Trader Joe’s. At the bottom of the tray I found 1 seed, and put it in water.

“It sprouted, so I stuck it into a small pot with soil. It turned into a little plant.

“Thrilled to see the growth, I stuck it in the ground. Amazingly, that 1 seed became a huge vine over 25 feet long!

“My daughter Mikayla and I tended to it all summer. We just harvested 5 beautiful monster-sized butternut squashes. Never underestimate the power of one small seed!”

Mikayla and Linda Doyle, and their butternut squashes.


Aspetuck Land Trust’s next “fall lunch and learn” webinar could not be more timely.

Arborist Chris Teter discusses fall foliage (Friday, November 17, noon to 1:30 p.m.). He’ll explain the biology of leaves on trees and shrubs in autumn, highlight their significance in the ecosystem, then connect it to urban and suburban settings.

He’ll also provide information on how to use leaves to enhance both beauty and ecological value.

Click here to learn more, and register.

Just another fall day, at Staples High School. (Photo/Dayle Brownstein)


Speaking of foliage: Todd Suchotliff’s shot of the Longshore entrance road on Tuesday is today’s very worthy “Westport … Naturally” image:


And finally … in honor of Miggs Burrough’s Time magazine cover, 50 years ago tomorrow (story above):

(From Watergate to winter coats, butternut squash to fall foliage, “06880” is your place for hyper-local news. Please click here to support our work. Thank you!)  

Roundup: Westoberfest, Roy Wood Jr., Flooding …

Sure, it was a wet Saturday.

But a little rain can’t keep a good Westoberfest down.

The annual Westport Downtown Association event went on yesterday, with the usual beer, music, beer, kids activities, and beer.

We’ll drink to that!

(All photos/Susan Garment)


Also last night: The annual “Stand up for Homes with Hope” benefit.

A full crowd packed Fairfield University’s Quick Center to laugh uproariously with Roy Wood Jr., and raise much-needed funds for Westport’s supportive shelter and food pantry non-profit.

Laughter and homelessness don’t often go together. But the star of the night — and Helen McAlinden and the many board and staff members who make Homes with Hope a local treasure — made sure attendees understood that connections between all of us are the most important thing in life.

Roy Wood Jr. (Photo/Susan Woog Wagner)


Flooding is a major issue in Westport. As climate change worsens, it too will became even more prevalent.

The Flood & Erosion Control Board meets November 1. On the agenda:

  • Prioritize and assist the Department of Public Works in the approval and implementation of flood related projects involving watersheds in Westport.
  • Work with the Representative Town Meeting to revise regulations, allowing the board to review large projects if required, and educate the RTM about public input related to flooding.
  • Dedicate a minimum of 2 public discussion meetings per year to discuss updates on flood projects.
  • Develop and implement a campaign to help educate the public about flood and erosion issues in Westport.
  • Develop and implement a plan to educate the community on ways to help mitigate the impact of flooding and erosion on private and public properties.
  • Advocate for supporting the town mitigation efforts by sharing the board’s perspective with the Board of Finance, state legislative leaders, and Department of Energy & Environmental Protection officials.

The meeting will be held virtually. Click here for the Zoom link. The meeting ID is 892 4707 8896; the passcode is 900470.

Grove Point flooding, from a December storm. (Photo/John Kantor)


Saranda and Al Strazza are very involved with Veterans of Foreign Wars Joseph J. Clinton Post 399. Al — a retired combat Marine who served in the first Gulf War — is now vice commander of the local VFW. Saranda helped obtain a $100,000 gift, to pay for river dredging in the area.

This Friday (October 20, 6 p.m.), the VFW hosts a Chili Cook-off. The participation fee is $15. Funds raised will benefit Westport’s Police and Fire Departments, and Emergency Medical Services.

There are prizes, a 50/50 raffle — and of course chili.

While participating in the Citizen Police Academy, Saranda and Al were surprised to learn that the local K-9 unit is completely funded by donations.

They vowed to help raise funds for a new bite jacket, medical costs, food, equipment supplies and training toys.

A booth at the Chili Cook-off will sell plush toys for sale, and collect donations.

For more information, call 203-227-6796, or email vfw399ct@gmail.com.

Westport’s K-9 corps.


October is both Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Fire Safety Month.

So — of course! — on Friday the Westport Fire Department brought fire trucks and pink fire boots to Kings Highway Elementary school, for an all-school event.

Fire Marshal Terry Dunn spoke to students about fire safety. Meanwhile, his fellow firefighters collected donations from students for the American Cancer Society. Students filled the pink boots with more than $475.

After listening to the fire safety speech, students, teachers and administrators explored a vintage fire truck. ‘

They also placed pink ribbons in the back of the school, as a symbol of support for those impacted by breast cancer.

Kings Highway Elementary School administrators, in a vintage fire truck. From front to back: principal Tracey Carbone, assistant principals Catherine Carmona and Jame’el Lawrence.


Also on Friday, the Norwalk Housing Authority brought students to the Westport Community Gardens for after-school art enrichment.

Creativity “bloomed,” as NHS and WCG adults watched with pride.

Friday fun, in the Westport Community Gardens.


The Westport Woman’s Club’s annual Clothing Tag Sale runs this Friday and Saturday (October 20-21) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday (October 22) from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the WWC’s historic clubhouse (44 Imperial Avenue).

Gently used women’s, men’s and children’s clothing and accessories are featured, with a wide variety of suits, dresses, pants, blouses, gowns, coats, scarves, shoes, jewelry, handbags and hats.

Funds raised help support the town’s food closet, many charities throughout Fairfield County, and student scholarships.


Rolling Stone magazine just listed their 250 best guitarists of all time.

There at #7 — behind Jimi Hendrix, Chuck Berry, Jimmy Page, Eddie Van Halen, Jeff Beck and Sister Rosetta Tharpe, but ahead of artists like BB King and Duane Allman — is Westport’s own Nile Rodgers.

The story begins:

There’s “influential,” then there’s “massively influential,” then there’s Nile Rodgers. The story of pop music over the past 50 years is basically the story of Rodgers’ guitar.

The manic-staccato funk jangle he invented with Chic, in Seventies disco hits like “Le Freak” and “Good Times” — that’s been the heartbeat of global pop ever since.

His warp-speed guitar on the 1980 Diana Ross classic “I’m Coming Out” was still the toughest sound on the radio almost two decades later, when Biggie turned it into “Mo Money Mo Problems.” Now that’s staying power.

Click here for the full story.

PS: Weston’s own Keith Richards checks in at #15.

Should we start calling our 2 towns the Guitarists’ Capital of the World?

(Hat tip: Mark Mathias)

Nile Rodgers, at the Queen’s Jubilee. (Photo/Ellen Wentworth)


Jack Backiel is a frequent commenter on “06880.” He no longer lives here, but he has fond memories of the years his family owned Westport Lanes — the bowling alley located where BevMax is today.

Jack’s son John recently added a small display about the Lanes in his dining room. It includes newspaper clippings, stationery, and a photo of opening day (with professional bowlers, sent by Brunswick).

John lives in the Washington area, and is vice president of finance and accounting at the Heritage Foundation.


High on the cell tower behind Walgreens, Johanna Keyser Rossi counted 20 turkey vultures. And a few crows.

It takes an eagle eye to sport them. But they’re all part of “Westport … Naturally.”

(Photo/Johanna Keyser Rossi)


And finally … let’s hear it for our neighbor Nile Rodgers, the 7th greatest guitarist in the world! (See story above …)

(From floods and the Fire Department to Nile Rodgers and Keith Richards, we’ve got 06880 [and 06883] covered. Please click here to support local journalism. Thank you!)

Pics Of The Day #2356

Today’s weather sliced into the Slice of Saugatuck attendance.

But plenty of people of all ages still headed to the triangle formed by Riverside Avenue, Railroad Place and Saugatuck Avenue, for the 11th annual food tasting, retail experience and fundraiser for the Homes with Hope pantry.

The Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce event included bouncy houses, a face painter, balloon bender, firehouse tours, beer and wine gardens, and 7 bands.

Any way you slice it, it was a great Saugatuck day.

Pasta, meatballs — and dog treats — at Tutti’s …

… Tuck Gin on Railroad Place …

… kids’ fun by the train station …

… tickets sold by RTM moderator (and former Homes with Hope CEO) Jeff Wieser …

… one of 7 bands …

… Deputy Fire Chief Nick Marsan at the Saugatuck stationhouse, where the Fire Department raised awareness of breast cancer …

… and let little kids drive a fire truck …

… treats at Saugatuck Sweets …

… and cheeseburger meatball at Match Burger Lobster (All photos/Dan Woog)

Roundup: Elliott Landon, Board Of Ed, Ted Hoskins …

Dr. Elliott Landon — Westport’s superintendent of schools from 1999 through 2016, who oversaw continued growth in the district and the opening of the new Staples High School building — died last night.

He came to Westport after 10 years in Long Beach, New York. Prior to that, he served 9 years as Ridgefield’s superintendent.

Landon began his teaching career at James Madison High School in Brooklyn, following his graduation from Columbia University’s Teachers College.

“06880” will post a full obituary, and service details, when they are available.

Dr. Elliott Landon, in his Town Hall office.


There’s a local election looming. How much do you know about the boards you’ll be voting for?

Next Wednesday (September 6, 7 p.m., Westport Library), the Westport League of Women Voters hosts a forum called “Know Your Town: The Board of Education.” It follows 2 similar successful sessions, on the Representative Town Meeting and Board of Finance.

Three members of the Westport Board of Ed — chair Lee Goldstein, secretary Neil Phillips and member Dorie Hordon — will discuss how the BOE operates. Topics include governance of our school system, operating and capital budgets, deliberations on major policy decisions, and how the public can most effectively participate in the process.


This Sunday’s 10 a.m. service at Saugatuck Congregational Church will be special. Guest minister Rev. William Salmond will provide time for worshipers to share their personal memories of Rev. Ted Hoskins, the longtime minister who died last month in Maine.

Rev. Hoskins touched many Westporters, in the church and beyond. All are welcome to attend.

Rev. Ted Hoskins


Westport Deputy Fire Chief and Emergency Management Director Nick Marsan joined Westport Community Emergency Team members Wednesday night, for their annual picnic.

CERT is a little known — but very effective and truly important — volunteer effort. They provide support during crises allowing Police, Fire and Emergency Medical Services personnel to concentrate on their tasks.

Deputy Fire Chief Nick Marsan (far right) and CERT volunteers. (Photo courtesy of Westport Fire Department)


Tomorrow is opening day for Elvira’s.

That is, Elvira’s Pizza. The new restaurant on Norwalk’s Belden Avenue is owned by Harry Yiovanakos, son of the founders of the former Westport deli of the same name.

Norwalk’s Elvira’s Pizza. (Photo and hat tip/Andrew Colabella)


Here’s a first for our “Westport … Naturally” feature: a dead man’s hand mushroom.

It’s from Bobcat Trail, in the Partrick Wetlands off Wilton Road.

The wetlands are one of those hidden-in-plain-sight relatively unknown Westport jewels.

Photographer Matthew Mandell notes that there are new interpretive signs there, thanks to Earthplace. And, he says, it’s great for birdwatching.

(Photo/Matthew Mandell)


And finally … it’s September 1. Fall does not arrive for another 22 days. But this date always makes me think of …

(Celebrate September with a donation to “06880”! Please click here — and thank you.)

Roundup: School Security, Daryl Hall, DPIC …

On Wednesday, the Board of Finance authorized the addition of 3 officers, to patrol 6 Westport schools.

They will be responsible for security at 2 campuses: one each at Coleytown Middle and Elementary Schools;  Kings Highway and Saugatuck Elementary, and Long Lots/Greens Farms Elementary.

They will remain outside, unless called to an emergency inside.

The cost for a full year is $576,084. The request must now be approved by the Representative Town Meeting.

A second security item — a fob on all Staples High School staff members’ identification lanyard, which can summon help in a 500,000 square foot building and sprawling outdoor athletic facilities that does not have full cellphone service, or access to emergency phones everywhere — was withdrawn before the meeting.

One Westport police officer will be assigned to Coleytown Elementary School (foreground) Coleytown Middle (rear).


Before the start of last night’s Levitt Pavilion benefit concert with Daryl Hall and Todd Rundrgren, disgruntled patrons emailed “06880.”

“There is a tent blocking the view for a good portion of the patrons’ section,” one person wrote.

One view of the obstructed view …

“The sound board obstructs the view for most patrons,” someone else said.

… and another.

Carleigh Welsh — the Levitt’s director of development and marketing — responded to an “06880” email, as soon as the complaints were forwarded to her.

She wrote: “We have been moving people into non-obstructed seats. It would help greatly if they could email the box office right now if they are still in a legitimately blocked seat and we can relocate them. Some people we have approached have opted to stay put.

“Happy to share more about the rain tent covering the console in an email after show, but right now helping ushers fix any issues.”

Meanwhile — despite rain — the show went on. Todd Rundgren and Daryl Hall are pros.

And the audience raised funds to help the Levitt provide another 60 or so free concerts next year.

Daryl Hall

Todd Rundgren (Photos/Les Dinkin)


The Downtown Plan Implementation Committee says “thank you” to all who attended Tuesday’s charrette at the Westport Library.

The slideshow, and a presentation by Public Works director Pete Ratkiewich, are now available at the DPIC website (scroll down; right side).

Just below that is a chance to provide comments and feedback. The deadline is September 5.

The latest plan for Parker Harding Plaza, presented Tuesday by the Downtown Plan Implementation Committee.


True to its word, the Westport Country Playhouse is introducing new, one-day-only programming aimed at a broad audience.

Emmy- and Tony-winning actor/singer/storyteller Mandy Patinkin brings his “Being Alive” concert to Westport September 28 (8 p.m.).

It’s an evening of his favorite Broadway and classic American tunes, from Irving Berlin and Cole Porter to Stephen Sondheim and Harry Chapin.

Tickets are $175 and $150. Click here to purchase, and for more information. The event sponsors are Bud and Roz Siegel.

Mandy Patinkin


Westport’s Volunteer Emergency Medical Service responds to 2,500 9-1-1 calls each year.

As partial thanks, the Levitt Pavilion offers an annual “first responders tribute.”

This year’s event is September 8 (7:30 p.m.). As always, DNR — the great, fun and rockin’ (almost) all-physician band will play.

EMTs and volunteers will be on hand. An ambulance will be there too, for tours (and, if needed, any emergency).

Like most Levitt shows, it’s free. But tickets are required: click here.



A new school year starts Tuesday.

Which means everyone who graduated in June from Staples is now off to college, working, in the military, taking a gap year, or otherwise amusing themselves.

Which also means: Isn’t it time you took down your “Home of a 2023 Staples High School graduate” sign?

We get it. You were proud. Congratulations!

Now let’s move on …

Graduation is over! (Photo/Dan Woog)


MDSolarSciences — the Westport-based sunscreen company — spent a day last week on a “sun safety tour.”

They handed out products to grateful — and now-protected — police, firefighters, EMTs, and Longshore employees.

MDSolarSciences representatives, and Westport firefighters.


Braiden Sunshine — who recently open for Leann Rimes, and mesmerized the audience — stars at the next First Folk Sunday (September 3, VFW Joseph J. Clinton Post 399, 12:30 p.m.; $10).

In 2015 — just 15 years old — he reached the semifinals of “The Voice.”

Click here for tickets. For more information, email info@firstfolksunday.com, or call 203-222-1441.


Ellie Hamby and Dr. Sandy Hazelip — 81-year-old friends — got plenty of attention last year, when they circled the globe in 80 days. They traveled to 18 countries, and visited all 7 continents.

At the Yale Club on Wednesday, Howard Matson — a Westporter, and past international president of the Circumnavigators Club — honored the women with honorary memberships in the 121-year-old organization.

Howard Matson, with octogenarian circumnavigators.


It’s a “Westport … Naturally” scene many Westporters don’t see.

But Mary Sikorski was up early, and captured it:

(Photo/Mary Sikorski)


And finally … in honor of last night’s Levitt Pavilion benefit concert (story above):

(Another day, another Roundup of all things Westport. If you enjoy this daily feature, please consider supporting our work. Just click here — and thank you!)


Roundup: Tax-Free Week, Pastaficio, Greenwalds …

The Westport Downtown Association reminds shoppers that Connecticut’s Sales Tax-Free week began yesterday. It runs through this Saturday (August 26).

Retail purchases of most clothing and footwear priced under $100 are exempt from Connecticut sales and use tax. The exemption applies to each eligible item under $100.f

Many retailers add their own discounts.

For more details on Sales Tax-Free Week, including a list of items that are exempt or taxable, click here.

Footwear (and clothing) is exempt from sales taxes this week — for items under $100. (Photo/Alison Lee)


Westport firefighters responded to a structure fire on Compo Road South just before midnight yesterday.

All occupants were safely out of the house. Damage was limited to the exterior.

Mutual aid from Norwalk and Fairfield provided station coverage. Westport Police and Emergency Medical Service assisted.

The last unit cleared at 1:36 a.m. As fire companies were leaving, they were dispatched to I-95 northbound between Exits 17 and 18 for a motor vehicle crash involving a car and tractor-trailer, with injuries.

Less than 10 minutes after that call, additional companies responded to a second motor vehicle crash with injuries in the same vicinity. Westport EMS assisted at both incidents.

Compo Road South fire. (Photo/Westport Fire Department)


Pastificio has been closed for a couple of weeks.

A sign in its window on the Post Road store says: “We inform our kind customers that Il Pastificio will reopen on Sunday 20 [yesterday], temporarily as a pasta shop and not as a restaurant, until a date to be determined.”

We’re not sure if that means they’ll go back at some point to also serving as a restaurant — or if they’ll close at some point permanently.

“06880” will pass along details when we have them. (Hat tip: Amy Schneider)


Tommy Greenwald is a man of many talents. The 1979 Staples High School graduate is a noted advertising executive, playwright and young adult author.

He’s also known as the father of Charlie Greenwald — no slouch in the acting/comedy/writing departments either. (And himself a Staples grad, class of 2012.)

Father and son have now collaborated on a new book. They co-wrote “The Rescues: Finding Home,” a children’s book about rescue animals.

(“It’s appropriate for everyone who’s alive,” notes Tommy, in true marketing mode.)

They’ll be appearing at the Westport Library’s StoryFest in October. If you can’t wait that long, check them out at Brooklyn’s Books are Magic (September 9, noon to 1 p.m.), the Rye Book Festival (September 23, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) or the Chappaqua Book Festival (September 30, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.).

Or click here to pre-order. The publication date is September 5.

Charlie and Tommy Greenwald, and their book.


Frank Mastrone brought his very popular American Songbook show to the Levitt Pavilion last night.

Joining him were 2 other Broadway stars, both of whom performed — as he did — in “Phantom of the Opera.”

And both are Westporters: Staples High School graduate and classically trained opera singer Terry Eldh, and Dodie Pettit, aka one-half of Aztec Two-Step 2.0.

The evening was sponsored by Roger Leifer, as part of his “Sunday Series.” He threw a pre- and post-concert party for his tenants — a rare but welcome gesture by a commercial real estate landlord.

Frank Mastrone (center), with (from left) Dodie Pettit and Terry Eldh. (Photo/Dan Woog)


This has been the “summer of sewers” in Westport.

Work continues in various spots around town — or at least, equipment is ready.

This was the scene yesterday, off Whitney Street:

(Photo/Molly Alger)


A “rainbow” at the Westport Community Gardens frames today’s “Westport … Naturally” feature:

(Photo/Karen Mather)


And finally … in honor of Tommy and Charlie Greenwald’s new book (story above):

(Welcome to another week of “06880” stories and features — and another gentle request for readers’ support. Please click here. Thank you!)


Roundup: Long Lots Meeting, Elm Tree Down, Earthplace Bash …

The next meeting of the Long Lots School Building Committee is tomorrow (Thursday, August 10, 6 p.m., Town Hall Room 201).

The first 15 minutes are open for public comment and/or questions about the project.

A work session with the design team follows, for project status updates and review. The public may attend the work session, but not participate.

Long Lots Elementary School is 70 years old. It began as a junior high school.


Westport has one less elm tree.

The large one in front of Stop & Shop — among the last survivors in Westport — was taken down a few days ago.

The removal was part of the Post Road improvement project.

We all know the gorgeous specimen on Long Lots Road. Where else in town can we see a majestic elm? Click “Comments,” with your favorite. (Hat tip: Nate Gibbons)

(Photo/Nate Gibbons)


Sixteen members of the Connecticut Interstate Fire Crew left yesterday to fight wildfires in Montana. They flew from Bradley International Airport, on a multi-week deployment.

Among them: 2 former Westport Fire Department chiefs, Michael Kronick and Andrew Kingsbury.

Connecticut firefighters, at Bradley Airport.


Yesterday’s Westport Rotary meeting highlighted the Connecticut Institute for Refugees and Immigrants. President/CEO Susan Schnitzer and associate director Deo Byakisaka discussed their 105-year-old organization, which offers services, advocacy, and social, educational and life skills programming for refugees, immigrants, survivors of human trafficking and torture, and unaccompanied minors.

Deo described his own journey as a refugee, and his successful integration into the local community.

He left the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2003 because of war, persecution and violence. He and his family spent 11 years in a resettlement camp in Uganda before arriving in Bridgeport in 2014.

CIRI helped him establish a productive life for himself and his children. He now gives back, working in refugee services at CIRI.

Deo Byakisaka, at yesterday’s Westport Rotary Club meeting.


Fishermen are known for telling tall tales.

If these guys tell you they can walk on water: Don’t believe them.

(Photo/Jim Hood)

They were actually at the end of the Schlaet’s Point jetty, at Hillspoint Road and Soundview Drive, during high tide yesterday.

But it sure is a very cool photo.


The best weekend on the Earthplace calendar returns soon.

It kicks off Saturday, September 30  (7 to 10 p.m.), with the “Woodside Bash.” There’s an open bar, fire pit, music by Pimpinella, and a mechanical bull. Click here for tickets.

The next day is for families. The Fall Festival (Sunday, October 1, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.) includes a climbing wall, apple slingshot, donut on a string, pumpkin bowling, hayrides, a corn pool and more. Click here for tickets.


It’s been a while since the Westport Country Playhouse Script in Hand play reading series offered a good, old-fashioned romantic comedy.

But that’s next. “Maytag Virgin” takes the stage on August 21 (7 p.m.).

Script in Hand curator Mark Shanahan says, “I know our audience will fall in love with these wonderful characters as Jack and Lizzy meditate on life, love, and joys of folding laundry.”

For more information, including tickets, click here.


The Abraham Accords, Iran appeasement, food inflation, security concerns, immigration, New York real estate — that’s a lot to cover.

But Avi Kaner did, in a wide-ranging interview with WABC radio’s Suzanne Miller.

Westporters know Avi as a former Board of Finance chair, and 2nd Selectman.

He was on the air though as co-owner of New York’s Morton Williams supermarket chain.

Click here to listen.

Avi Kaner


An Eastern tiger swallowtail poses handsomely, for today’s “Westport … Naturally” feature:

(Photo/Daniel Maya)


And finally … Happy National Polka Day!

(Please click here to “prosím darujte“ — or, as polka fans everywhere know, “please donate” — to “06880.” Thank you!)