Tag Archives: Westport Garden Club

Roundup: Fleet Feet Food Drive, Paul Lane Field, Nail Cutting …

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Today’s the day for Fleet Feet’s food drive.

Now through 6 p.m., the Sconset Square store is collecting non-perishable food items for Connecticut Foodshare.

You can give cash or online too (click here). There’s a free gift from Brooks for donations over $100 — and you’re entered into a raffle to win a Brooks running shoe.

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There was a lot of action at the Staples stadium last night.

The football team honored its seniors. Then the Wreckers beat Ridgefield 26-10, keeping their postseason tournament hopes alive.

They also dedicated “Paul Lane Field.” The legendary coach died in June, at 93.

On hand were many former players, and family members. Among them: Skip Lane. The star — who was coached by his father — sported his Super Bowl ring, earned as a member of what was then called the Washington Redskins.

Skip Lane, with his Super Bowl ring. (Photo/Baxter Urist)

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IHOP closed in 2011. Three years later, it reopened — as a nail salon.

Now it too is gone.

Judging from Matt Murray’s photo, it needs a trim.

(Photo/Matt Murray)

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One more “Oaktober” event (slightly delayed from November).

On Thursday, the Westport Garden Club planted a swamp white oak at Grace Salmon Park. Club members will mulch and water it for the first 2 important years after transplant.

It’s a fitting spot. Grace Salmon was an early member of the club.

A hat tip to Frank Geiger of Greenscape Design in Fairfield. He provided the tree at a reasonable price. His staff then carefully planted it close to the water.

Planting the tree, at Grace Salmon Park

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The Westport Astronomical Society’s 2022 calendar is available now.

Amateur astro-photographers — led by president Shannon Calvert — took the photos. There’s daily astronomical data too, courtesy of Phil Harrington.

The cost is $15 for members, $20 for non-members. Shipping is $5 for 1 or 2 calendars, $10 for 3 to 5. It can also be picked up at WAS events, To order, email alex@was-ct.org,

Westport Astronomical Society calendar

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Longtime Westporter and noted hair stylist Frank Migliarese died unexpectedly last week. He was 88 years old.

Following graduation from Staples High School, Frank served his nation in the Army.

Returning to his beloved Westport, he enrolled in the Sassoon Academy and began a career in cosmetology. With his haircutting skills and charming personality, he won the hearts of many.

He owned Salon Coiffeur in down Westport, where he made his mark in the world of beauty. He loved his customers, and worked well into his 80s.

When he was not at his salon, Frank enjoyed Compo Beach, a special place all his life.

Frank’s obituary calls him “family-oriented, warm, personable, well-dressed, understanding, with a great sense of humor.”

A funeral is set for 10 a.m. Wednesday, November 17 at Assumption Church. Interment will be private. The family will receive friends in the Harding Funeral Home on Tuesday, November 16, from 4 to 8 p.m. Click here to leave online condolences.

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Many Westporters support Adam J. Lewis Academy, the innovative Bridgeport elementary school that for nearly a decade has changed many lives.

On November 18, they’ll unveil a “Hope Quilt.” Artist Lizzy Rockwell led a community production with over 200 volunteers. The quilt will hang proudly in the school.

For more information on Adam J. Lewis Academy, click here.

The Adam J. Lewis Academy quilt.

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Congratulations to Staples’ November Students of the Month!

Alonzo Darby, Nina Driscoll, Max Levy, Christina Meehan, Maria-Despina Mutescu, Michael Porzio, Tyler Rockwell  and Chanel Wash “help make Staples a welcoming place for peers and teachers alike. They are the ‘glue’ of the Staples community: the type of kind, cheerful, hard-working, trustworthy students that keep the high school together, making it the special place that it is.”

Teachers nominate students who are friendly to staff and fellow students, and make positive contributions in class as well as the Staples community.

From left: Max Levy, Alonzo Darby, Nina Driscoll, Tyler Rockwell, Maria-Despina, Mutescu, Christina Meehan, Michael Porzio. Missing: Chanel Wash. 

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Town Hall attracts all kinds of visitors.

Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo shows one recent arrival. My guess for the destination? The Conservation Department.

(Photo/Danielle Dobin)

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How do you know that Thanksgiving is near?

Here are some turkey orders, at Stiles Market:

(Photo/Richard Jaffe)

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And finally ,,, today is World Kindness Day.

Who gives a f—?

 

Roundup: Candidates, Moon, Music …

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Worried about traffic? Want more bike lanes? How can we balance growth with greenery? Interested in Westport’s goal of Net Zero by 2050, energy, transportation, waste, water and conservation issues?

Sustainable Westport and Earthplace are sponsoring a pair of “environmental debates,” prior to next month’s election. Candidates for the Planning & Zoning Commission will meet this Monday (October 18, 6:30 p.m.). Those running for Board of Selectmen will meet on Thursday, October 21 (7 p.m.).

Both events are virtual. Click here for links, and more details. The debates will be recorded, and posted on the Sustainable Westport website for viewing later.

Click here for details on how to watch. Both debates will be recorded and posted to the Sustainable Westport website.

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Sunday is International Observe the Moon Night. The worldwide public event encourages observation and appreciation of (yes) the moon.

The Westport Astronomical Society invites everyone to the observatory on Bayberry Lane this Sunday (8 p.m. — only if skies are clear). It’s a chance to see the moon as you’ve never seen it before. All you have to do is look up.

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Chris Frantz knows music. The Talking Heads and Tom Tom Club artist — and Fairfield resident also knows the importance of introducing new musicians to new audiences.

He’s partnering with the Westport Library on a new series. The inaugural “Chris Frantz Presents Emerging Musicians” concert (December 4) features New York’s Lulu Lewis, and New Haven’s The Problem with Kids Today. Both specialize in punk rock.

This is another music collaboration and production by Verso Studios at the Westport Library and the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce. The series will feature up-and-coming regional, national and international talent, hand-picked by Frantz..

Click here for tickets, and more information.

Chris Frantz (Photo/Ebet Roberts)

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Congratulations to this year’s Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Services award winners. They were cited at this week’s annual dinner.

Vice President Larry Kleinman won the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award. He logged vastly more than the 4,000 volunteer hours required for the honor. Kleinman also received Crew Chief of the Year.

Jenna Baumblatt and Ryan Blake were named Youth Corps Members of the Year. EMT of the Year went to Yves Cantin, an ex-president who stays involved.
Volunteer of the Year is Andrew O’Brien.

Volunteer Service Award winners include James Bairaktaris, Jenna Baumblatt,. Ella Bayazit, Ryan Blake, Michael Burns, Yves Cantin, Andrew Dinitz, Carol Dixon, Danielle Faul, Leah Foodman, Daniel Guetta, Dorothy Harris, Deanna Hartog, Jonathan Huzil, Mary Inagami, Vignesh Kareddy. Larry Kleinman, Eliza Lang, Christopher Moore, Annika Morgan, Christopher Muschett, Andrew O’Brien, Lynette Pineda, April Rademacher, Stewart Reifler, Morgan Rizy, Joshua Rosen, Alice Sardarian, Kathleen Smith, Ian Speers, Swati Sriram, Nancy Surace, Audrone Tarnok and Ekaterina Taylor-Yeremeeva.

Honorees (clockwise, from upper left):Yves Cantin, Jenna Baumblatt, Larry Kleinman, Ryan Blake.

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The Westport Garden Club installed Ginger Donaher as its 52nd president yesterday. She’s new — but her family is very familiar.

Ginger’s mother, Nancy  Gault — yes, of those Gaults — served as president from 1991 to ’93. Ginger’s aunt, Judy Sterling, held the position from 1983 to ’85.

Ginger’s grandmother, Georgiana Gault, was not president. But she was an active Garden Club member from the 1950s until her death in 1994.

Kelly Pollard — Ginger’s’ cousin, and Judy’s daughter — is the club’s current hospitality chair. And — who knows? — perhaps a future president herself.

Westport Garden Club president Ginger Donaher (center) is flanked by (from left) Kelly Pollard and Judy Sterling. (Photo/Topsy Siderowf)

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Westporter and animal Reiki volunteer Cathy Malkin is featured in this month’s Connecticut Humane Society spotlight.

She describes herself as “an animal muse who is able to translate animals’ thoughts, feelings and viewpoints so they can be better understood.” For the full Q-and-A, click here.

Cathy Malkin

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Despite the recent deaths of 3 of the their most active, engaged members — and the COVID cancellation of the traditional Great Duck Race and Wine Tasting fundraisers — Westport’s Sunrise Rotary Club pushes forward with its mission to give talent, time and money to community and social causes.

Sunrise Rotary’s International Service Committee got approval last week for 2 new projects: sustainable agriculture to benefit Syrian refugees in Jordan, and battling malnutrition through improved food security in Guatemala. Members are also excited about participating in the upcoming Bridgeport schools’ Read Aloud Day.

For more information on Westport Sunrise Rotary, click here.

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Up Next Teens is a Staples High School organization that fights food insecurity in Fairfield County.

They’re sponsoring tomorrow’s Remarkable Theater showing of “Pirates of the Caribbean.” Ticket purchasers have the option of contributing $25 to their fundraiser. Click here for tickets. Enjoy the show — and help a great cause.

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It’s mid-October. Most leaves have not yet turned. Here’s today’s “Westport … Naturally” image, for example, from Weston Road near Lyons Plains.

(Photo/Tracy Porosoff)

A week from now, this will be an entirely different scene.

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And finally … on this day in 1878, the Edison Electric Light Company began operation. By 1890 it merged with several other Edison companies, and became the Edison General Electric Company. Today we know it as GE.

 

Roundup: Pre-Henri Edition

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Being proactive here: In the event of a power outage, “06880” may need a temporary home. If any reader has a generator and space where I can work, please email: dwoog@optonline.net. All options are gratefully accepted!

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As summer winds down, the Westport Garden Club found a perfect spot for its #FridayFlowers arrangement: the lifeguard shack at Compo Beach.

Those guys (and girls) definitely deserve the love!

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When the 2020 (’21) Paralympic Games begin Tuesday in Tokyo, Westporters should pay attention to swimmer Matthew Torres.

The 20-year-old Fairfield University sophomore — born without part of his right leg and missing all but one toe on his left foot, along with curvature of his hands — will compete in the 100 and 400 meter freestyle, and 100 meter backstroke.

He’s a proud alum of the Westport Weston Family YMCA Water Rats program — and winner of the 200 individual medley at the 2019 World Para Swimming World Series.

Go get ’em, Matthew. And congrats to the Water Rats, who helped get him there!

Matthew Torres

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The Westport Police Benevolent Association Car Cruise scheduled for today (Saturday), has been canceled due to weather concerns. The new date is October 2 (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.)

Westport PBA car rally

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All 3 sailors from Longshore Sailing School’s week-long regatta in honor of the late Doug Sheffer are Staples High School students. In the photo below, winner James Russell is flanked by second place finisher Annabelle Lott, and bronze medalist Alex St. Andre.

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Who knows what Henri will bring?

But even as the clouds rolled in, there were few worries last night at Compo Beach:

(Photo/Alina Pitchon)

(Photo/Andrew Colabella)

(Photo/Dorothy Robertshaw)

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In addition to the beach, Westporters flocked last night to Jazz at MoCA, featuring Samara Joy and the Pasquale Grasso trio ,,,

(Photo/JC Martin)

… and more music at the Levitt Pavilion, with Lizzie No. She was spellbinding, and her friend Amy Irving joined her for a “Cecilia” duet …

(Photo/JC Martin)

… and of course outdoor dining, on Church Lane and elsewhere in town.

(Photo/Dan Woog)

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“Tiny jumpers” is the way Molly Alger describes today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo:

(Photo/Molly Alger)

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And finally … in honor of Henri:

Roundup: Home Buyers, Save The Sound, Merritt Parkway …

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Is it true that every new Westport home buyer comes from Manhattan or Brooklyn?

No. It only seems that way.

According to Coldwell Banker realtor Judy Michaelis, 38% of Westport buyers in the 6 months between January 1 and June 30, 2021 came from … Westport.

Whether trading up, downsizing or moving closer to the beach or woods, nearly 4 in 10 new homeowners are actually still our neighbors.

The next biggest chunk — 17% — came from (yes) New York City.

That was followed by “other states” (15%), Stamford (10%), Norwalk and other Connecticut towns (8% each), New York state (3%) and Wilton (1%).

Wherever you’re from: Welcome to our town, 06880. And also to our “06880” blog.

Many New York City apartment dwellers come to Westport seeking more space.

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Save the Sound’s annual Connecticut Cleanup begins at the end of August, and runs through October.

It’s the largest volunteer effort of its kind in Connecticut. Last year, 1,495 volunteers took 7,498 pounds of trash out of 133 miles of coasts and streams.

This year, Save the Sound is adding a crowdsourcing effort to discover new cleanup sites. Westport is one of 15 communities already on the list for an event.

Click here to register, and for more information.

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Brian Keane is headed to the New England Music Hall of Fame.

The Emmy Award-winning film documentary composer — also a professional guitarist, film producer and Staples High School Class of 1971 graduate — joins a glittering case of 2021 inductees. They include the late Muddy Waters and his son, Mud Morganfield; blues greats James Cotton, James Montgomery and Duke Robillard, and John Cafferty & the Beaver Brown Band.

Connecticut Magazine features Keane this month. Click here for the full story. (Hat tip: Fred Cantor)

Brian Keane

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For the past couple of years, the state Department of Transportation has been removing trees, bushes and buffering hills from the northbound side of Merritt Parkway Exit 41, near the Westport Weston Family Y.

Now they’re putting stuff back. It won’t look the same as it did before.

But it won’t look the way it did recently, either.

(Photo/Bob Mitchell)

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Speaking of nature: The Westport Garden Club’s #FridayFlowers arrangements are always gorgeous. This week they had competition, though — they had to look good in a place that’s already beautiful.

They do.

Check out the photo below, from one of Westport’s hidden jewels: the Wadsworth Arboretum. The arrangement comes courtesy of Dottie Fincher and Susan Nettesheim.

(Photo/Susan Nettesheim)

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Local to Market — the new artisan food-and-crafts store in the old Remarkable Book Shop — hosts a farm stand on their patio from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today (Saturday, July 31).

They feature Silverman’s Farm and Shaggy Coos farm. There’s fresh veggies including corn and peaches, fresh milk, and 2 local artists: pottery by Anna Aron and woodturnings by Dick Stein. A portion of all sales goes to charity.

In addition, Local to Market is looking for a store manager and sales associate. It’s a great chance to be part of the resurgence of Main Street — and help all kinds of local folks get to market (duh).

Email info@localtomarket.com for details.

The Local to Market patio opened recently, across from Cold Fusion.

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Also downtown this afternoon: Jack Eigen will be selling his ice cream (featured recently on “06880”) in front of New England Hemp Farm, in Brooks Corner.

There’s a connection: Colin Bannon, the hemp store owner, is Jack’s Staples High School lacrosse coach.

Just one more way in which Westport coaches go the extra mile for their players.

Jack Eigen, making ice cream.

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After Thursday’s rain, a couple of deer appeared at Lori Lustig’s house. This one didn’t know whether to be scared of — or play with — their dog “Ollie.”

And vice versa.

Just one more example of “Westport … Naturally.”

(Photo/Lori Lustig)

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And finally … sure, Brian Keane earned fame (and Emmys) scoring music for documentary films.

But he’s also an accomplished jazz guitarist. He’s played with greats like Larry Coryell. Click below, to a enjoy a classic tune.

Roundup: Shopping, MoCA Bar, Chimneys …

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The Westport Downtown Association hosts its second (of 3) Summer Outdoor Shopping Days tomorrow (Saturday, July 17, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.).

This isn’t the traditional “sidewalk sale.” But word on the (Main) Street is that some stores will offer great deals anyway.

Main and Elm Streets will be closed. There will be a food truck, bar and live music all day long.

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Luisa Francoeur writes:

I am an avid supporter of Sustainable Westport and a participant in the Food Scrap Recycling Program. The organization needs our help today. Friday, July 16 is the last day to contribute to the Zero Food Waste Grant challenge.

The program’s goal is raising $7,500. Each dollar raised will be doubled. This will allow Sustainable Westport to do so much more for our community. Donors will be entered to win a giveaway from one of the sponsors.

Our Food Scrap Recycling is working to decrease residential food waste by at least 25%. Close to 1 out of 4 bags of groceries are eventually thrown away. Food waste is one of the heaviest, wettest and most expensive types of trash for the town to incinerate.

If food waste were a country, it would be the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases, behind China and the US.

Sustainable Westport has partnered with Earthplace and Wakeman Town Farm to transform Westport into a green community. The goal  is to become a Net Zero community by the year 2050, when the community has reduced its impacts across energy, water and waste so they are sustainably managed, using approaches that are economically viable, of social benefit, and environmentally responsible.”

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MoCA Westport is more than an art museum and educational center.

It’s now a full-service bar.

The Newtown Turnpike institution now serves custom cocktails, wine, beer and non-alcoholic beverages.

But what’s a bar without Happy Hour? Starting July 22, they’ll throw one every Thursday (5 to 7 p.m.). There’s a new signature cocktail each week — plus free admission to the exhibition.

The bar at MoCA Westport.

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Speaking of downtown and beverages … “cool beans” dates back to “Full House.”

But it’s both a great expression, and a great way of describing the offerings at one of Westport’s favorite coffee shops.

Plus, this is just a very cool shot.

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Fred Cantor is one of “06880”‘s most alert readers.

And one of the most curious.

He sends this photo …

… and writes:

“This is not the first time I have seen a chimney left standing in a Westport teardown.

“There must be an important reason for taking down everything but the chimney. Perhaps some of your readers know the answer.

“Is it because chimneys are more difficult to build these days (since it involves brickwork that would not otherwise be used in the construction of a new house)?

“Or does it represent some kind of loophole in local regs with respect to teardowns that enables builders to do something they wouldn’t otherwise be able to do if the chimney had been torn down?”

Perhaps there’s another explanation. If you have insights, click “Comments” below.

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As expected, I missed at least one Westport-connected Emmy nomination yesterday.

Staples High School 1974 graduate/former Player Sue Handman is up for her writing and narration on “Once Upon a City.” Good luck to all Westport nominees!

And while I noted that Staples High School Class of 1988 graduate Kerri Kenney-Silver is up for an award as Outstanding Actress in a Short Form Comedy or Drama Series for “Reno 911!”, she’s also nominated for an executive producer award for the same show. Kerri had 2 similar “Reno 911!” nominations in 2020.

Emmy Award

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John Porio grew up in the 1970s and ’80s with classic rock. He was pleased when his own kids — like himself, Staples High School students — got involved with the School of Rock.

Then he did too. He met some fellow musicians there, and did a couple of adult shows.

Now they’ve formed their own band. They’re having fun — and raising funds for Homes for the Brave. Since 2002, the Bridgeport organization has provided housing, vocational education and life skills training to over 1,200 veterans.

John’s band — Gold Dust — performed on Memorial Day weekend. On July 24 (4-9 p.m.), they’ve got a bigger gig. The venue is a group member’s property at 399 Center Street in Easton. There’s a barn, patio and big lawn — perfect for any rock show.

Gold Dust includes Westporters Jeffery and Laurie Gross, and Leila Jones Shields. They’ll perform after the School of Rock band. The public is invited.

Gold Dust

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This week’s Westport Garden Club #FridayFlowers arrangement has a special place in “06880”‘s heart: It was made for last night’s “blog party,” at Compo Beach.

And — if I do say so myself — the flowers that graced a picnic table last night was the most beautiful I’ve ever seen!

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A celebration of the life of David Tarqueno will be held this Saturday (July 17, 2 p.m., St. Luke Church). The Staples High School graduate — an avid fisherman and nature lover — died in December, from complications of COVID-19. He was 61.

David Tarqueno

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Paul Delano writes: “The bee balm flowers in my garden bloomed recently. They’re now are attracting hummingbirds.”

Indeed they are. But what’s as remarkable as this “Westport … Naturally” show of nature is that Paul could capture it so well. Hummingbirds are tough to photograph — they sure can fly!

(Photo/Paul Delano)

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And finally … the incomparable Darlene Love headlines tonight’s benefit show at the Levitt Pavilion. There’s a reason she’s on Rolling Stone’s list of 100 Greatest Singers. And in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame.

 

“06880” Party: The Pics

After one rainout, and then a COVID cancellation, the “06880” community was ready to party.

I did the hard thing (picked the most beautiful night of the summer) and the easy one (put out the word for people to come).

You guys did the rest.

Over 150 “06880” readers gathered at South Beach last night for our annual “blog party.”

The crowd was young …

Ann Sheffer with her grandson.

… and old(ish).

Dan Woog (left) and Miggs Burroughs. (Photo/Patrick Kennedy)

It included folks who grew up here in the 1940s, and a couple who moved here in April.

There were politicians, and normal human beings.

There were Westporters with beach stickers, and Westonites, Norwalkers and Fairfielders who got rides, walked from nearby friends’ houses, or paid the full boat at the gate to get in.

(Photo/Robin Tauck)

Everyone brought food, soda, beer and wine (no glass bottles, though!).

The Westport Garden Club even brought decorations. Their #FridayFlowers were a day early, but “06880” was honored to be this week’s recipient.

Yours truly, with a gorgeous Westport Garden Club arrangement. (Photo/Dennis Jackson)

People chatted with old friends, and made new ones. They ate and laughed. They luxuriated in a beautiful, pre-pandemic community gathering, at one of the most beautiful spots in town. They watched the sun go down. Some stayed until long after dark.

(Photo/Isabelle Alvarado)

Thanks to all who came to our party, and made it such a fantastic evening.

If you weren’t there: See you in 2022!

Roundup: Larry Bradley, Boathouse, Longshore …

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Westport’s land use community was stunned this week by the death of Larry Bradley. The town’s Planning and Zoning Department director from 2005 to 2016 succumbed to a heart attack on Wednesday. He was 54 years old.

Bradley resigned to become planning director of planning and community development for the Seminole tribe in Florida. Since 2019, he serve das director of Palm Bay Growth Management, also in Florida.

Before Westport, Bradley worked at municipal planning posts in Greenwich, White Plains and Rye.

According to Florida Todayhe was a New York Giants fan; he enjoyed travel and opera, and was a ember of the Loyal Order of Moose. He is survived by his wife Maria.

Former Westport Planning & Zoning Commission chair Chip Stephens told “06880”:

“Larry Bradley was beloved and respected in Westport, especially by all members of the P&Z and Zoning Board of Appeals.

“Larry was a master of land use regulation, and a gentle person with residents and elected officials. In a time when many sought to show their power or position Larry was always a steady voice, listening and seeking advice from those who had an opinion but not always the regulatory knowledge to back it up. He played well and patiently in the sandbox.

“There were always voices that said Larry was not forceful or aggressive enough on Westport land use, but those voices did not appreciate his working hard to engage all parties, while inserting his wealth of local, state and overall land use regulation and theory.

“Larry was a big influence on Westport as we know it today, establishing regulations protecting open space and natural resources, reining in sprawl, and maintaining a level playing field between development and preservation.

“Westport residents today: Whether or not you were lucky to have known Larry Bradley in his time here or have arrived since his departure. we all owe a smile and prayer in his passing with a big thanks for being here, and hope Larry’s new home allows him to smile back down on Westport.”

Larry Bradley

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Tomorrow (Sunday, July 11, 2 to 6 p.m.), the Boathouse at Saugatuck Rowing Club hosts its first-ever tea dance.

Modeled on one at its semi-namesake — the Boatslip in Provincetown — it’s open to the public. Music is by DJ Mo. The LGBTQ community is especially invited. Proceeds from the $10 admission will be donated to the Trevor Project, an LGBTQ youth organization.

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Neither rain nor sleet nor gloom of night keep the Westport Garden Club from delivering its #FridayFlowers. This week — despite torrential rain — an arrangement including a variety of hydrangeas welcomes Westporters at the main entrance to Longshore Club Park.

(Photo/Pat Nave)

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“Westport … Naturally” offers this lesson on dragonflies: They were among the first winged insects to evolve, 300 million years ago. Modern dragonflies have wing spans of only 2 to 5 inches — but fossil dragonflies have been found with spans of up to 2 feet.

(Photo/Lou Weinberg)

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And finally …  On this day in 1925 in Dayton, Tennessee, the “Monkey Trial” began. John T. Scopes, a high school science teacher, was accused of teaching evolution in violation of the Butler Act.

Scopes was found guilty and fined $100 (equivalent to $1,500 in 2020), but the verdict was overturned on a technicality. Nearly a century later, Americans continue to argue about the importance of science in our daily lives.

 

Roundup: Henry Wynne, Pops Concert, Teacher Of The Year …

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Ever since he was a Staples High School track star, Henry Wynne has been called an “Olympic hopeful.”

Now that the Olympics are near — they’re supposed to begin next month in Tokyo — how hopeful is the Class of 2013 grad?

Very. And that’s despite a litany of issues that dogged him as a University of Virginia star, and beyond. Since 2016 Wynne has suffered a knee injury, pneumonia, and surgery on his small intestine.

But Brooks Running signed him to a pro contract. And now — with the Olympic trials underway now through June 27 in Eugene, Oregon — Wynne is giving it his best shot.

Yesterday, Runner’s World magazine profiles one of Westport’s top athletes ever. Click here for the full story.

Henry Wynne (Photo/Will Hoffman for Runner’s World)

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Did you miss the Staples High School Pops Concert earlier this month? (No, you didn’t overlook it. Tickets were limited, due to COVID.)

Here’s a highlight reel, courtesy of Jim Honeycutt. Strike up the band!

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Speaking of education: Sure, the Westport Public Schools select a Teacher of the Year. But there’s something special about earning that honor from a different source: the Staples High School football team.

This spring, the Wreckers — used to be cheered for — turned the tables. They gave shout-outs to their favorite educators in a homemade video. At the end, they announced the winner.

Who is this year’s football team Staples Teacher of the Year? Click below to see:

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Another Staples tidbit: The Westport Garden Club has earned raves for their #FridayFlowers arrangements. Each week, there’s a different one somewhere in town.

This week’s was unveiled a day earlier. On Thursday evening, Class of 2021 graduates and their families saw this as they drove into Staples from North Avenue:

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Two more sings that Westport is getting “back to business.”

The Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce held its first in-person gathering in 20 months yesterday, at Gilbertie’s Herbs & Garden Center. Over 60 people gathered in the garden, in beautiful weather. They shook hands, ate food catered by Calise’s Deli, and — as they did for years before the pandemic — exchanged business cards.

Sal Gilbertie spoke about the 100 years since his grandfather began as a flower grower, then turned to herbs. Today Gilbertie’s is a major micro green seller, in addition to their nursery’s plants and trees.

Sal Gilbertie addresses the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce.

But the Chamber wasn’t the only major Westport organization holding its first live-and-in-person meeting yesterday.

Sunrise Rotary also gathered together, for the first time in over a year. Attendance was solid. Handshakes and hugs were heartfelt.

And for those unable or not yet ready to attend, the event was livestreamed.

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Enrollment is open for MoCA Westport’s summer courses, for toddlers through adults. Among the choices:

  • Summer Sunset Painting Series (High school and adult)
  • The World of Digital Art Animation (High school and adult)
  • The Art of Cinematography (High xchool and adult)
  • Intro To Digital Photography (High school and adult)
  • Skateboard Design (Middle school through adult)
  • Summer Saturday Art Workshops for Kids (PreK to grade 3)
  • Learn How To Code (Middle school through Adult)
  • Robotics (Middle school through adult)
  • Expressive Art for Toddler

For more details and to register, click here.

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Westport Country Playhouse has 4 new trustees. Three are from Westport: Jessica Caldwell, Will Haskell and Margie Jacobson.

Haskell — a state senator whose district includes Westport — has a long theatrical history. As a member of Staples High School’s Class of 2014, he was elected of Players, the drama troupe.  One of his first memories of live theater was seeing “Curious George” as a child, at the Playhouse’s old barn.

Caldwell graduated from Columbia University’s MFA film program. She produced independent feature films, while her feature film productions have premiered at Berlinale, SXSW and Tribeca. Her short film work has premiered at Sundance, Telluride, and Tribeca. Caldwell was also the writers’ room assistant and showrunners’ assistant on “Billions.” She is also a Moth storytelling contest GrandSlampion.

Jacobson is a nonprofit leader and attorney with legal experience spanning a variety of diverse settings. She is currently of counsel to a boutique law firm advocating for students’ rights from birth through post-secondary education, and co-founder of Woman’s Compass Forum. Jacobson previously served on the Playhouse board, from 2010 to 2016. She also serves on the boards of the ADL and the Remarkable Theater.

The WCP board of trustees is chaired by Westporter Ania Czekaj-Farber.

The Westport Library has 2 new trustees too.

Anna Alemani is CFO of Pierrepont School. Previously she had a 15-year career in finance. She holds an MBA from Columbia Business School and a BA in Business Administration from Bocconi University in Milan, where she focused her studies on management of museums and cultural institutions.

Dave Briggs spent his career in television, as a sports and news reporter/anchor. He has moved from South Dakota and Oklahoma to Boston, where he covered Red Sox World Series championships, Patriots Super Bowl titles and a Celtics NBA crown. He also hosted “Fox & Friends Weekend,” and (for NBC) NHL, NASCAR, NFL and Olympic tennis, before anchoring “Early Start” on CNN. He currently interviews important Connecticut residents for Moffly Media content.

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We see a lot of old things at the transfer station.

Yesterday morning, it was a Model A Ford. Fortunately, it was running fine. The driver was there just to drop off some newer trash.

(Photo/Frank Rosen)

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The VFW is not just for men!

The other day, Y’s Women’s Trivia group met for their monthly luncheon. The VFW’s great chef, Joe Gallo, fed them well.

Other Y’s Women groups include Tuesday morning Compo Beach walkers, and one that meets in the evening to watch spectacular sunsets.

To learn more about the Y’s Women, email dynamicr@icloud.com.

Joe Gallo hosts the Y’s Women.

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July 4 is the publication date for not one but two Carl Addison Swanson books. The Westporter’s latest works are written “Venezuela Vengeance” and “Brotherly Hate.”

He’s CEO of Bermuda’s CAS Publications, which publishes 14 other writers, and  is a contributing editor at HBO. Click here for details.

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Seen this morning at Compo Beach: either the remnant of a Friday celebration for Staples High School’s graduation, or “saving a spot” for today:

(Photo/Michael Calise)

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Lauri Weiser calls this “Westport … Naturally” photo “Lurking in the Grasses”:

(Photo/Lauri Weiser)

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And finally … Juneteenth has been celebrated — in one form or another — for 155 years.

Today, for the first time, we honor it as a national holiday.

Amen.

This week, immediately after the bill was signed in the House of Representatives and sent to President Biden, the Congressional Black Caucus sang “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”

It’s been called the “Black National Anthem.” But it’s a fitting anthem today for every American, of every color and background.

 

 

 

 

Roundup: Flowers, Hiawatha, Yarn …

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Sure, the Town Hall steps and columns could use some refurbishing.

But they look better today, thanks to yesterday’s Westport Garden Club #FridayFlowers decorations. It doesn’t take much to help, that’s for sure.

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Speaking of politics: On Tuesday night, the Representative Town Meeting affirmed the Planning & Zoning Commission’s decision to allow 157 units of housing to be built on Hiawatha Lane.

The decision to settle with the developer — Summit Saugatuck — and put an end to 3 lawsuits seems to be final.

However, Carolanne Curry — a resident of the area, and founder of Save Old Saugatuck — vows to keep fighting.

“SOS will continue  efforts,” she says. “Neighbors will continue to meet and share ideas and concerns. We will continue to do our collective research and telephoning. Motivated more than ever to save this community and keep our homes, we will find other paths to victory.”

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Westport Yarns has plenty of colorful stock. In honor of rainbow month, they host their first Craft with Pride Day next Saturday (June 19).

The shop opposite Fresh Market will have kits for a Pride neckerchief, and a silent auction for a ceramic piece by Jon Puzzuoli.

Auction proceeds — and 10% of the day’s sales — will go to Westport Pride, the town’s LGBTQ organization.

 

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SoulCycle has reopened its indoor Westport studio, at 50% capacity. They’ve redesigned their space, emphasizing safety, comfort — and of course, the importance of cycling for physical and mental health.

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Congratulations to Luke Brodsky and Bradley Sheppard. The Staples High School tennis players completed an undefeated season by winning the state invitational doubles tournament yesterday.

Luke Brodsky and Bradley Sheppard. (Photo courtesy of The Ruden Report)

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The other day, “Westport … Naturally” — well, okay, I — misidentified a Canada goose as a mallard. Hey, it was a long day.

Here is an actual mallard. It’s everything it’s quacked up to be.

(Photo/JC Martin)

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And finally … in honor of the “Westport … Naturally” photo above, here’s proof that as bad a shape America may be in today, we’ve seen far worse before:

 

Roundup: RTM & Hiawatha, Sherwood Island, VFW …

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Start time for the Representative Town Meeting’s special June 8 (Tuesday) meeting to reconsider the Planning & Zoning’s adoption of a new zoning district that would enable a 157-unit development on Hiawatha Lane has been pushed ahead to 7 p.m.

However, the RTM will not address the petition until 7:30 p.m.

The meeting will be livestreamed on www.westportct.gov, and shown on Optimum channel 79 and Frontier channel 6020. To attend by video, send an email to RTMcomments@westportct.gov; include your name and address, to receive participation details.

Emails may be sent before the meeting to RTMmailinglist@westportct.gov; this goes to all RTM members.

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It’s called “CT Trails Day.” But Friends of Sherwood Island are actually sponsoring two days — today and tomorrow — of activities at Connecticut’s first state park.

Today, there’s a Wonder of Flight Interactive Air Show (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.), featuring radio-controlled model planes, helicopters, gliders and drones, followed by a Butterfly Walk with Michele Sorenson (2 p.m.; meet at the Nature Center).

Tomorrow (Sunday), Louis Petig leads a Nature Walk at 1 p.m. along the Sound. It begins at the Nature Center, and includes birding locations, the Connecticut 9/11 memorial, model aircraft airport, trailheads, wetlands and a pine forest.

Questions? contact Cece Saunders: cece@historicalperspective.org; 203-984-1488.

Sherwood Island — a state park in the heart of Westport’s shore. (Photo/Lauri Weiser)

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At last: There’s smooth sailing — well, driving — to the beach.

Just in time for this weekend’s 90-degree weather, Hillspoint Road has been repaved. Residents and beach-goers have been frustrated for weeks, after Aquarion’s work left the street rough and rutted.

Striping should begin next week, weather permitting.

RTM member Andrew Colabella credits teamwork with 1st Selectman Jim Marpe, Public Works director Peter Ratkiewich, RTM colleague Chris Tait, Joey’s by the Shore owner Hal Kravitz and resident Robin Tauck for helping move the project along.

(Photo/Chris Tait)

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Speaking of Tauck: The upscale guided tour and cruise company — based now in Wilton, but for many years a Westport operation, where many family members still live — will resume tour and river cruise operations in Europe, Africa and central America, beginning this month.

Some North America tours have already begun. Click here for details.

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To celebrate National Garden Week, the Westport Garden Club decorated the 4 “bumpouts” on Main Street. The plantings also celebrate the club’s #FridayFlowers campaign.

(Photo/Topsy Siderowf)

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Two new merchants have joined the Pride parade.

Throughout June, Sweet P’s Bakery/The Porch @ Christie’s will donate 20% of the proceeds from Pride cookies, trays and packages to Westport Pride, our LGBTQ community organization.

Pam’s James is contributing 10% of the sales of Pride Trio jams.

Click here for a full list of vendors participating in this summer’s “Merchants of Pride” program.

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A limited audience saw Staples High’s first live musical performance of the school year last night.

Thunderstorms moved the first of 2 Pops Concerts was moved from the Levitt Pavilion to the auditorium. After a year of COVID, that hardly mattered.

A variety of choruses, orchestras and the freshman band entertained the socially distanced — but very grateful — crowd. Despite the masks, it was a sure sign that the district’s superb staff had shepherded through a very difficult year.

And that music makes us all truly alive.

The 2nd night of the Pops Concert — with other groups — is scheduled for tonight. All tickets have already been distributed.

Luke Rosenberg directs the Anima Cantorum.

Staples High School music instructors (from left): Luke Rosenberg, Candida Inanaco, Phil Giampietro, Carrie Mascaro, Jeri Muehleise. Innaco retires this year, after 36 years of teaching. (Photos/Dan Woog)

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The Artists’ Collective celebrates Westport’s return to actual, live activities with 2 big events.

A pop-up art show opens in the Westport Country Playhouse barn June 12. It runs from 2 to 6 p.m. every day, through June 19. An artist’s talk on closing day begins at 4 p.m.

Participating artists include local favorites Lucienne Buckner, Miggs Burroughs, Elizabeth DeVoll, Charles Douthat, Susan Fehlinger, Noah Fox, Jen Greely, Toby Michaels, Nancy Moore, Mary Ann Neilson, Melissa Newman, Diane Pollack, Ellen Schiffman and Jahmane West.

The Collective’s very popular trunk show returns in the Westport Library’s lower parking lot: July 11 (11 a.m. to 4 p.m.).

What is the Artists’ Collective of Westport? Click below to learn more.

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The return to indoor events came too late for the Westport Country Playhouse to stage its full summer productions.

But the venerable theater welcomes a series of special events, to support next year’s full reopening.

“Cabaret in the Robards” is 3 evenings of shows featuring Broadway talent, with music, song and comedy.

The first one — June 26 — is “An Evening with Brad Simmons and Tonya Pinkins.” She’s a Tony-winning Broadway veteran; he’s a famed music director and concert artist. They’ll combine for show favorites, contemporary covers, classics and more.

Click here for tickets and more information.

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo features horseshoe crabs. They’re back. I am told that prime time — figuring in the tide, moon, mating season and more — is June 24.

(Photo/Gene Borio)

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And finally … today, Westport celebrates Pride Day, with a 10 a.m. to noon festival at Jesup Green. Hit it, Diana!