Tag Archives: Westport Magazine

Roundup: Senior Center, Benches, Best Of …

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Most Westport seniors are too young to remember Franklin Roosevelt’s campaign song.

But all can now sing “Happy Days Are Here Again.” Yesterday, the Senior Center reopened. It was shut for 15 months, during the pandemic.

Director Sue Pfister, Friends of the Senior Center president Jack Klinge, and selectmen Jim Marpe and Jen Tooker spoke.

Then — justlikethat — one of Westport’s most popular institutions was back in action.

(Photo/Molly Alger)

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On Wednesday (July 7, 7:30 p.m., Town Hall auditorium), the Board of Finance considers a request by Public Works for “standard street furniture in the Downtown Area.”

The $154,000 appropriation includes 18 benches; 32 trash and recycling receptacles; 16 bike racks; 7 fixed tables (6 chairs per table), and 2 café tables (4 chairs per table).

The outdoor furniture would be located along the river and in Parker Harding Plaza, and on Main Street, Elm Street, Church Lane, the Post Road (east to Bay Street), and in the Taylor parking lot.

The 5-year capital forecast includes the item, at a funding level of $275,000.

The type of benches requested (right), and their proposed placement downtown.

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Bruce Waldera is well-known to many Westporters, for his years of service at De Mattia Fuel, near the Sherwood Island Connector. He started around age 14, and continued until they closed a decade or so ago.

Bruce is a kind, caring, down-to-earth, compassionate, funny, fun, selfless and hardworking man. He loves Westport.

Now he’s battling brain cancer. A GoFundMe page has been set up so that he, his wife Amy — a longtime special education paraprofessional in Westport — and 3 daughters can spend quality time together — and manage some of their many medical bills. Click here to help.

Bruce Waldera

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For the second time in a month, a large yacht is anchored off Compo Beach.

Matt Murray wonders if it’s waiting for the July 4th fireworks. If so, it will be there a while. This year’s display — which would have happened tonight — was canceled by COVID.

(Photo/Matt Murray)

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The July/August issue of Westport Magazine includes its annual “Best Of the Gold Coast” lists. There are more than 175 categories, from Cocktails and Seafood to Jewelry and Workouts. Westport winners include Manna Toast, Match Burger Lobster, Soleil Toile and WEST.

It’s been a tough year for small local businesses. This issue celebrates them.

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Artistic swimming — formerly “synchronized swimming” has been an Olympic sport since 1984.

Alessandra Gavriloiu won’t be going to this month’s Tokyo Olympics. But Paris in 2024?

The Staples High School rising freshman was part of the New Canaan YMCA Aquianas team that finished 3rd in the nation Tuesday. She and Alaina Argiriou of Darien took 10th in the duet competition too. Both were in the 13-15 age group.

The Junior Olympic competition took place at the US Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.

Congratulations, Alessandra. On to Paris, oui?

Alessandra Gavriloiu (left) and Alaina Argiriou.

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The Westport Library has some intriguing events ahead. They include:

“Camp Explore: Homemade Microphone Magic” (Tuesday, July 6, 10 to 11;30 a.m): Students in grades 5 to 8 use repurposed materials from around the house, to build a working microphone for use anytime and anywhere. Click here to register.

“Burning Down the House: The New Republican Party” (Wednesday, July 7, 7 p.m., livestream): Princeton historian and CNN political analyst Julian Zelizer shares the history of the “new” Republican party with Bruce McGuirk, leader of Pages Through the Ages (the Library’s history discussion group). Click here to register.

“Verso Studios Production Pizza Party” (Monday, July 12, 6 to 8 p.m.). Find out about opportunities to learn, laugh and let rip your creative talents. Click here to register.

Part of the Westport Library’s Verso Studios.

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Westport Country Playhouse Radio Theater — a series, with WSHU-FM — presents a new humor and suspense play. “Special Delivery” (Saturday, July 10,  1:06 p.m.; rebroadcast Sunday, July 11, 4:06 p.m.). is also available on the Playhouse website (westportplayhouse.org) from July 12 through August 1.

“Special Delivery” is about Leesa Colescott, a courier of fine arts. She must deliver not only a strange piece of art, but also an angry 12-year-old boy named Asher, to the home of an uncle he’s never met – during a raging thunderstorm.

Their destination — an isolated farmhouse — is full of surprises, including other-worldly voices coming from the paintings on the walls. Running time is 35 minutes.

For more information, click here.

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“Westport … Naturally” roams to Saugatuck Shores today, for this serene shot:

(Photo/Patti Brill)

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And finally … today is the 183rd day of the year. Only 182 remain. We’re more than halfway to 2022.

Roundup: Mental Health, Staples Graduation, Dream Spa,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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How strong were yesterday’s winds?

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

(Photo/Les Dinkin)

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Jazz returns to MoCA Westport in a big way.

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

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

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

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

Isaiah Thompson

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

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

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

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

Roundup: Beach Stickers, Rizzuto’s Igloos, Blue Light …

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This is usually the time of year when we sign up for beach stickers, handpasses and the like.

In this year of COVID, the Parks & Recreation Department says:

Spring and summer are just around the corner. Our team is hard at work getting things ready to open up our facilities and provide programs!

We plan to provide offerings that we were unfortunately unable to offer last year due to COVID-19. Please anticipate modifications while we follow best practices and state guidelines as we strive to create safe environments for all facility users and program participants.

Keep watching for more information later this month on programs, beach emblems and more! Stay safe!

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Despite the loss of signature fundraisers like the Yankee Doodle Fair, the Westport Woman’s Club held strong to its 114-year tradition of helping local organizations in need.

Last year, the WWC concentrated its donations on groups that offer COVID-related help. They include

  • Bridgeport Rescue Mission
  • Center for Family Justice
  • Circle of Care
  • CLASP Homes, Inc.
  • Department of Human Services
  • Domestic Violence Crisis Center
  • ElderHouse
  • Family & Children’s Agency, Inc.
  • Filling in the Blanks
  • Food Rescue Us
  • Homes with Hope
  • Malta House, Inc.
  • Person-to-Person
  • Rowan Center
  • Town of Westport: Department of Human Services Visiting Nurses & Hospice of Fairfield County Westport Volunteer EMS

Fingers are crossed for a Yankee Doodle Fair this year. But whether there is a full, scaled-down version — or none at all — the Westport Woman’s Club will find a way to make Fairfield County a better place for all.

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Spring is (almost) here. But to ensure that diners feel comfortable outdoors, Rizzuto’s is adding personal igloos.

Much warmer than the Inuit variety, they’ve got personal electric heat and lights.

They should be available this weekend. Let’s hope they’re the least snowy igloos we’ve ever seen.

Rizzuto’s igloos (Photo/Tracy Porosoff)

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Earthplace is the place for all things environmental. And March is the time for Earthplace to spring into new programming.

A few offerings:

  • Teen Volunteer Club
  • Talking $hit in Westport (recognizing scat! — Tuesday, March 16, 7 p.m.)
  • “Restoring Soil to Fight Climate Change” (Zoom seminar — Thursday, March 18, 7 p.m.)
  • Family Campfire (Saturday, March 20, 4 p.m.)
  • Environmental Book Club (“The Genius of Birds” — Wednesday, March 31, 7 p.m.)
  • Nature Trivia (Thursday, April 22, 5 p.m.)
  • Science in a Box program (for 2 participants)
  • Summer camp registration

Click here for details.

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The “blue light” mystery has been solved.

On Tuesday, “06880” ran a photo of a mysterious sight photographed by Nancy Vener, from Saugatuck Shores. Other readers sent similar photos:

(Photo/Nancy Vener)

Ever-vigilant Wendy Crowther found this statement from NASA’ Keith Koehler:

A 3-stage suborbital sounding rocket was launched in the afternoon on March 3, for the Department of Defense from NASA’s launch range at the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

The launch was to study ionization in space just beyond the reaches of Earth’s atmosphere.

After flying to an altitude of several hundred miles and about 500 miles offshore, the rocket’s payload released a small quantity of vapor into the near-vacuum of space. There is no danger to public health or the Earth’s environment from the vapor release.

In other words: It’s just vapor. Or so they say …

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MoCA Westport’s spring Exhibition, “Smash,” premiers April 2. It’s devoted  exclusively to the videos of contemporary artist Marilyn Minter.

Both grandiose and intimate, in settings throughout the museum’s galleries, Minter’s videos will be exhibited together for the first time in a public institution. Seeped in lush imagery and moving between figuration and abstraction, his works encapsulate feminism, pleasure, voyeurism and notions of beauty, desire and chance.

Her custom-designed AMC Pacer –featuring an interior, surround viewing of her work “Green Pink Caviar,” will also be exhibited for the first time.

Click here for more information.

“Smash,” by Marilyn Minter

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It’s not too early to think about Easter — well, the catering part, anyway.

Mystic Market across from the train station is early out of the box. Their appetizers and platters (artichoke jalapeño dip in a bread bowl, charcutier board…), salads, soups (carrot giner, potato leek), brunch quiche, breads, sides, dinners (roasted pomegranate lamb, potato-encrusted Chilean sea bass, roast beef tenderloin, salmon filet, beef lasagna…) and desserts) must be ordered by April 1.

I’ll take one of everything, please …

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The March/April issue of Westport Magazine is out now. It’s a look at “fresh starts for spring, like salons, skincare, what’s happening, and the local real estate market,

Also featured: outdoor spaces, from batting cages and home farms to a 16-foot firepit, across from a swimming pool’s transparent outer wall.

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

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And finally … on this day in 1963, Patsy Cline was killed in a plane crash in Tennessee. One of the first country music artists to cross over into pop, she was 30 years old.