Tag Archives: Westport Paddle Club

Roundup: Patsie Bonardi, Keith Haring, Broadway …

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It took a while for this news to make it here. But it was worth waiting for.

After a long and legendary teaching career in Westport, beloved elementary school icon Patsie Bonardi returned to her hometown of Bethlehem, New Hampshire.

For her 90th birthday in June, the town gathered along Main Street. They celebrated her with a surprise “reverse parade.” Residents gathered outside the theater, post office and library, holding signs and cheering as she rode by in her convertible — with a police and fire truck escort.

Elementary school students held handmade signs.

Bonardi was a longtime supporter of the Colonial Theater, and served as a library trustee and Home Health Care Board member. As part of her birthday celebration, residents raised $1,300 in her name for the theater.

(Click here for the full story, from the Littleton Courier. Hat tips: John and Carol Waxman)

Patsie Bonardi, during her parade. (Photo/Angel Larcom)

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The “Piece by Piece” artwork was unveiled Friday at the Westport Library. Sixty local artists each contributed a panel — not knowing how it would fit into the “big picture.” They had no idea what the finished piece was.

Turns out to be a work by Keith Haring.

The final work impressed the Westport Library crowd. (Photo/Miggs Burroughs)

Individual panels were on sale, with proceeds split between the Library and the artist of that particular panel.

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Adam Bremen was born with cerebral palsy. He’s used an electric wheelchair all his life.

In 2017, he decided to become more physically fit. Thanks to water aerobics and the Keto diet, he lost 45 pounds. His next step was to create a good-tasting Keto-based snack bar. He called it Keto Krisp.

This past weekend — after quarantining for 16 months — Adam traveled from California to Westport. He visited his sister Erin, who lives here.

Adam had never kayaked before. But the crew at Westport Paddle Club took care of him. He and his family had a fantastic time.

He’s thanking them by sending a package of Keto Krispy bars. And he’ll wear his WPC t-shirt proudly.

Adam Bremen and Westport Paddle Club owner Robbie Guimond (front), with Adam’s family and WPC staff members.

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Sure, the Levitt Pavilion offers 50 nights of free summer entertainment.

But here’s a different kind of free show, at a very different site.

Karen Elizaga lives on Soundview Drive, between Norwalk and Westport Avenues. This Friday (July 16, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.), she’s hosting a group of Broadway stars.

Devin Ilaw (“Miss Saigon,” “Les Miserables”), Sarah Beth Pfeifer (“Lightning Thief”), Staples High School graduate Mia Gentile (“Kinky Boots”) and others will sing in her front yard. Everyone is welcome to gather on the beach, and listen.

The goal is to raise awareness — and funds, if you’d like to lend support — of Broadway for Arts Education. The non-profit provides arts education to underserved youth in New York, Haiti and India.

It should be a great event. And even though there’s no ticket, feel “free” to donate to this important group.

Free concert on Soundview.

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From horseback riders to model plane flyers, there’s always something going on at Sherwood Island State Park.

But yesterday might have been a first: an in-the-water wedding.

Patricia Auber was attracted by the singing and tambourine playing. She wanted to keep a respectful distance, so there are no details about the bridge and groom. Still, she did capture this wonderful photo:

A minister leads the ceremony, in Long Island Sound. (Photo/Patricia Auber)

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Noted Westport photographer Tom Kretsch, and Shapleigh Smith of Stowe, Vermont have been friends for 65 years.

The Newtown natives parted ways after high school. But they reunited in Stowe, where Shap lives and Tom bought a timeshare. at the Trapp Family Lodge.

Last winter they spent time photographing the back roads of the Northeast Kingdom. Now they’re showing their work, back in their hometown of Newtown.

This Thursday (July 15, 5:30 to 7 p.m.) is the opening of “Down on Vermont Country Road: Old Friends and New Visions” at the Cyrenius Booth Library on Main Street.  The show runs through Labor Day.

One of Tom Kretsch’s Vermont photos.

Staples High School boys soccer tri-captain Bruno Guiduli knows the important of giving back.

During the past year he’s raised over $2,300 for TOPSoccer. The non-profit helps special needs youngsters play the sport Bruno loves.

This Saturday (July 17, 8 a.m. to noon), he invites everyone to Wakeman Field. He’ll set up a special goal he built with his father, Barry. All are welcome to test their skills, while learning about TOPSoccer. Donations will be gratefully accepted.

Bruno Guiduli, with the TOPSoccer goal he invites everyone to shoot at.

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This weekend’s Fresh Market osprey update, from Carolyn Doan:

“I can’t believe how big they’ve gotten. I was there for breakfast. Dad brought a fish, right on time. He called from a tree to wake everyone up, and went over to the nest once all 3 were ready to eat. Two of the siblings are very affectionate with one another, which was wonderful to watch.

“They were stretching their wings a lot, so fledging is imminent.”

(Photo/Carolyn Doan)

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Speaking of young birds: Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo shows a pair of gorgeous baby robins. Cutest image ever?

(Photo/Jacqueline Byrne)

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Kendall Gardiner spotted this on Facebook:

A man in France takes care of the grave of an American soldier, killed on D-Day in Normandy, age 29. He’d like to contact any relatives he can find.

The soldier’s name was Sgt. Glenn Everett “Tex” Moats. He lived in Fairfield. If any “06880” readers remember the family, click here to respond. (Hat tip: Kendall Gardiner)

Sgt. Glenn Everett “Tex” Moats

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Nadine Cherna is proud of all her piano students. But she’s particularly proud of Eric Gordonos. The 13-year-old plays everything she asks, everything he can find — and then composes his own pieces. Here is an excerpt:

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And finally … speaking of talented young pianists, today would have been Van Cliburn’s 87th birthday. He rocketed too fame in 1958, when — just 23 years old — he won the 1st International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, at the height of the Cold War.

Cliburn died in 2013, at 78.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pic Of The Day #1539

Scenes from last night’s Westport Paddle Club July 4th Sunset Tour

(Photos/Charly Flanigan)

Roundup: Yankee Doodle Fair, All-Americans, River Cleanup …

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Big news from the Westport Woman’s Club: They held their first monthly luncheon in over a year.

Bigger news: The Yankee Doodle Fair is back!

The century-old event — Westport’s traditional last week of school/beginning of summer carnival — was canceled last year and this, due to COVID.

But the WWC has arranged for all the rides, games and cotton candy vendors to come this fall. The 2021 Yankee Doodle Fair is set for September 23 to 26.

As usual, all profits go toward grants and scholarships. It’s a great fundraiser, by an amazing group.

This fall’s Yankee Doodle Fair will be a great way to ring in the new school year. To raise money for those in need. And of course, to try to win one of those very elusive stuffed animals.

The Yankee Doodle Fair takes over the Imperial Avenue parking lot. (Photo/Lee Scharfstein)

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Westport Paddle Club’s first-ever Saugatuck River cleanup yesterday was trashy.

The Riverside Avenue rental and lesson facility supplied dozens of people with kayaks. They headed upstream, collecting trash along the way.

A thunderstorm sent them back to shore before everyone was done. Still, they filled barrels with “stuff.” Some of it was brush; much of it was man-made (and man-tossed).

Jr’s Deli fed the crowd. Rain cut short the reggae band. But the most important work was done.

And next year, it will have to be done all over again.

A small sampling of the large amount of trash collected from the Saugatuck River.

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Most high school sports teams are lucky to have one All-American, every decade or so.

Before this year, Staples boys lacrosse had 5 since 2010.

This spring, they added 3 more.

Congratulations to the Wreckers’ newest All-American athletes: recent graduate JP Kosakowski, and rising seniors Henry Dodge and Charlie Howard!

 

(From left) Henry Dodge, Charlie Howard, JP Kosakowski (Photos/Shelley Burger)

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Summer is here! Well, it arrives at 11:32 p.m. tonight, anyway.

To celebrate, the Minute Man donned a beach-type necklace.

(Photo/Matt Murray)

PS: I’m sure that, as usual, a commenter will write in about this “desecration” of our town’s monument.

Ever since 1910, our Minute Man has been decorated. He’s worn Santa caps and Easter bunny years. He’s had flags draped over his shoulders, and flowers stuck in his musket.

Without going all First Amendment here, he fought for the right to be free. I think he would be pleased.

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Tomorrow is worldwide “Make Music Day.” There are more than 1,000 events, in over 120 countries.

Unfortunately, there is no specific Westport celebration. But residents Louis Fuertes and Pat Blaufuss — members of the 4-person band Picnic on the 4th of July — will perform at Old Post Tavern in Fairfield (7 to 8 p.m.).

The CUkes — a ukulele group that originated at the Westport Weston Family YMCA — entertain in the Nordstrom Courtyard of The SoNo Collection mall (Norwalk, 6 p.m.).

And Talking Heads members Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth — who live just over the line in Fairfield — are part of an international “This Moment in Time” musical event. Click here for details.

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” feature finds a pair of egrets enjoying Compo Beach.

(Photo/Stephen Raffel)

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And finally … in honor of international “Make Music Day”:

Roundup: Senior Center, Morningside South, Joey’s Delivery …

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It’s the news seniors have been waiting for.

Starting July 1, the Senior Center will reopen. It’s limited, sure — but it will be wonderful for the thousands of Westporters who rely on our great center.

The phased reopening will include in-house, outdoor, hybrid, televised and Zoom classes all summer long.

Director Sue Pfister and her staff have meticulously established safety protocols. They includes enhanced air-handlers, sanitizers, and other CDC-guided precautions.

There’s also a canopy over part of the back patio, to extend outdoor space.

The congregate luncheon program will remain closed until September. In addition, summer plans will not include drop-in visits or congregating during the initial reopening phase. Water fountains will not be available, so participants are encouraged to bring a water bottle from home.

Senior Center participants must pre-register with the new registration system MyActiveCenter (https://myactivecenter.com/) to sign up for activities, classes, and programs.  For instructions and a list of upcoming courses, please visit www.westportct.gov/seniorcenter or call 203-341-5099.

Back in action soon!

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For months, Westporters have wondered about the fate of the Kowalsky property. The large tract of land on Morningside Drive South and Clapboard Hill Road is some of the last privately owned open space in town.

Part of it is now on the market. The real estate listing says:

Perc tests and a Conceptual Plan are now available outlining a proposed 8 Bedroom home, Infinity Edge Swimming Pool and Septic. Build your dream home on this prestigious 2.0 Acre property in a well established Greens Farms neighborhood.

This property is truly majestic with part ownership of a man made pond, and several character outbuildings. This sought after location is less than a mile to Metro North/Greens Farms train station and Burying Hill Beach. Two homes on Morningside Drive South (# 90 and # 88) have SOLD within the year, both currently in stages of being torn down for over a million dollars an acre. There is value here on this special piece of land.

This is a Land listing. The home on the property is ‘As Is’. As with any Land listing, buyers to perform their own due diligence.

117 Morningside Drive South.

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Plenty of people like Hook’d on the Sound, the new Compo Beach concessionaire.

Plenty do not like the fact that it closes at 6 p.m.

The previous snack bar tenant — Joey’s by the Shore — stayed open till dark. Two years ago, he relocated to the former Elvira’s, around the corner across from Old Mill Beach.

Now Joey’s has introduced a delivery service to Compo. It’s available Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Monday through Thursday 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

You can order online. Enter “2 Soundview Drive” as the delivery address. Your food will be delivered — in a thermal bag, with no extra charge — at the pickup/ dropoff location next to the Compo volleyball courts.

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The undefeated, nationally ranked Staples High School rugby team kicked off its national tournament quest in Kansas City yesterday with a 26-22 win against St. Thomas Aquinas. The Wreckers are ranked #5; Aquinas was #4. The temperature at the start was 100.

Little Barn The Little Barn in Westport is the local site for viewing. The next match is tonight (6 p.m.), against #1 Herriman from Utah.

Watching yesterday’s game at Little Barn. (Photo/Terry Brannigan)

Previewing the tournament, a rugby publication described Staples as “the best-kept secret of the tournament. (They have) compiled one heck of a season up in Connecticut. Winners over big dogs Xavier, Greenwich, and Fairfield, these boys are battle-tested and battle-accomplished. Jot them down as your dark horse now.”

For more information on the national rugby tournament, click here.

Staples rugby in action, earlier this year.

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Wakeman Town Farm kicks off its farm stand season tomorrow (Saturday, June 19, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.).

Every Saturday, the Cross Highway stand features farm-grown veggies, baked goods, honeys, Shearwater coffee, Wave Hill breads, Kneads pastries, Pam’s Jams, Guardians farm goat soap & lotion, plus logowear.

Tomorrow’s fresh produce offerings include collard greens, lettuce, kale, peas, radishes, garlic scapes, Chinese green onions, strawberries (limited quantities!), and herbs.

This year, WTF expands its offerings with a rotating list of local guest vendors. This week they welcome Lorenza Arnal, creator of Alma de Mexico’s homemade salsas, and Sk*p, a sustainably packaged hair & body care line with local roots.

PS: Visitors can also say hi to the WTF animals.

Teagan Smith, at the WTF farm stand.

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Tomorrow is also the day for Westport Paddle Club’s great Saugatuck River cleanup. Everyone is welcome to jump in a kayak, then pick up debris.

It starts around 5 p.m. — an hour or so before high tide — so you can paddle up with the tide, then drift back with it too.

Everyone will be back before 8. It will still be light — and time to party. Jr’s Deli & Grille provides the grub. (Click here for details.)

To get in the mood, check out last night’s report on News12. Even if you can’t make it tomorrow, you’ll learn a lot about the river. And the drone views are outstanding!

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Looking for action, entertainment and laughs?

The Remarkable Theater’s upcoming shows include:

  • “Black Panther” (Monday, June 21)
  • “The Birdcage” (Wednesday, June 23)
  • “The Breakfast Club” (Monday, June 28)

All shows begin at 8:45 p.m. Gates open at the Imperial Avenue parking lot at 7:45, for tailgating. Click here for tickets.

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Westport’s own Dale Najarian is one of 5 features artists at George Billis Gallery‘s new pop-up exhibit, “Summer Escape.”

It opens today (Friday, June 18), with an open reception from 4 to 7 p.m. The exhibit runs through July 25.

“Summer Escape” includes oceans, beaches, pool scenes, waterscapes, and paintings inspired by travel in the US and Europe.

George Billis Gallery is at 166 Main Street. It’s open every day except Monday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and by appointment.

“Compo Beach,” oil on canvas (Dale Najarian)

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Staples High School’s Class of 1976 is planning their 45th reunion. And — in the spirit of ’76 — they’re doing more than their share.

The July 30-31 weekend includes parties at the Black Duck and Compo Beach. They’ve added a “Great Gatsby” town tour.

And — because several classmates volunteer with CLASP Homes, the supportive housing organization for people with developmental disabilities (and Tracy Flood works there), the reunion-goers will do yard projects at the site. (They might not even know that CLASP was founded in 1976!)

Class of ’76 members seeking more information can email staples76reunion@gmail.com.

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“Westport … Naturally” finds us today at Burying Hill Beach:

(Photo/Wendy Levy)

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And finally … in honor of Staples High School’s 450-plus graduates yesterday, here is Edward Elgar’s “Pomp and Circumstance.”

The whole thing. But if you want just the traditional processional march, it starts at 1:57.

 

Roundup: Remarkable Films, Stop The Bleed, Marine Police …

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Doug Tirola — one of the founders of the Remarkable Theater — is a native Westporter, and father of a Staples High School student. He know we’ve got some remarkable members of the senior class — and that they had a remarkable year.

Tomorrow Doug — whose day job is filmmaking — wants to hear about their experiences. He’s making a short feature starring Staples seniors. It will play before (naturally) the drive-in screening of “The Breakfast Club” later this month.

High school seniors are invited to a quick interview tomorrow (Wednesday, June 16, 3 p.m.) at Staples’ front entrance.

NOTE: Seniors who are not yet 18 should email kate@4throwfilms.com for a release form, to be signed by a parent prior to film.

“The Breakfast Club”: Quite possibly the best high school movie ever made.

 

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The vibe at Westport Paddle Club is chill.

But the young staff — overseeing kayaks, paddleboards and the increasingly crowded Saugatuck River — has major responsibilities.

Yesterday, owners Taryn and Robbie Guimond brought Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Services staff onto the Riverside Avenue site. EMTs ran everyone through every imaginable safety scenario and protocol.

The entire Westport Paddle Club staff is now certified in CPR, first aid and “stop the blood.” They’re ready for anything — and for you.

Safety first at Westport Paddle Club.

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Speaking of safety … Sandra Lefkowitz writes:

“With so much negativity about police in our country, we feel lucky we have a Police Department that responds quickly and professionally  to our needs, on many levels.

“On Sunday around 2:30 p.m., my husband Larry and I, 2 Westport friends and our puppy were stranded on our small boat in the Sound. It just stopped, and refused to start again no matter what we were tried.

“To our much appreciated rescue came 2 police officers: a man and a woman. With efficiency, respect and utmost professionalism, we were towed to our marina on Saugatuck shores.

“We are privileged to live in a town with such an incredible Police Department. Thank you!”

The Lefkowitzes’ boat, after being towed to safety.

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For weeks, Pequot Trail neighbors have been upset about the clear-cutting done in preparation for a teardown and new home.

Yesterday, News12 reported on the issue.

As noted in the report, owners can do whatever they want with their property. But, Tree Board chair Monica Buesser notes, trees play many roles beyond beauty — including noise abatement and reduced flood risk.

Click here for the News12 story.

Aerial view of clear cutting on Pequot Trail. (Screenshot courtesy of News 12

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Marketplace at Franny’s of Westport celebrates its first year as a local pop-up partner this Saturday (June 19, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.).

The Bedford Square shop will be filled with live music, free samples and giveaways. Tracey Medeiros will sign copies of “The Art of Cooking with Cannabis,” and Franny Tacy — founder of Franny’s Farmacy — will be on hand too, to say, um, “hi.”

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The world is opening up. But plenty of neighbors are still in dire straits.

To help fill Person 2 Person’s Norwalk food pantry, Westport Sunrise Rotary members will collect food donations in the rear of Saugatuck Congregational Church (Saturday, June 26, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.).

They urge folks to include these items on upcoming shopping trips: hearty soups, snack and granola bars, pasta and sauce, 1-pound rice boxes, peanut butter and jelly, mac and cheese, canned tuna and chicken, canned fruits and vegetables, dried and canned beans, pancake mix, cold cereal, oatmeal and shelf-stable milk.

Among the most needed household and personal items: laundry detergent, shampoo and conditioner, dryer sheets, toothbrushes and toothpaste, disinfectant wipes, hand and body soap, kitchen sponges, deodorant, liquid dish detergent, diapers and wipes (especially sizes 5 and 6), tissues and Kleenex.

From left: Greg Dobbs (Person2Person food pantry site manger) with Westport Sunrise Rotarians Rob Hauck and president George Masumian.

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What would “Westport … Naturally” be without a very cool deer photo?

Well, a lot leafier, for one thing …

(Photo/Katherine Bruan)

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And finally … today is the birthday of Waylon Jennings. Born in 1937, he died in 2002. Along the way, he gave us classics like:

Paddle For Trash. Then Party On!

Free paddle boats. Free food. Free reggae.

And the river wins.

That’s the plan for next Saturday evening (June 19). Westport Paddle Club — the great kayak rental/lesson/tour place on Riverside Avenue — invites everyone to grab a kayak or paddleboard. The friendly young staff will help you launch (and provide bags and gloves, if needed).

Scour the Saugatuck River for trash and debris. It starts around 5 p.m. — an hour or so before high tide — so you can paddle up with the tide, then drift back with it too. Bring it back (or hand it off to a support skiff) to the Paddle Club-provided dumpster.

Everyone will be back before 8. It will still be light — and time to party. Jr’s Deli & Grille provides the grub.

Westport Paddle Club’s Taryn and Robbie Guimond organized the event. But they’re not doing it alone.

Longshore Sailing School has hopped on board. They’ll donate kayaks and a support boat to clean the south side of the river (below the bridge), and the harbor area. They’ll head to the Paddle Club when they’re done too.

PS: Neighbors can collect garbage along the shoreline too, then dispose of it in the club’s dumpster. Or just leave it on the curb; the club will haul it the rest of the way. But be sure to stay for the fun!

Launch from the dock. Scour the river. Then have fun!

 

KJ’s Fitness For Kids

When Downunder closed recently, Karen Jewell was out of a job.

The former manager/kayak instructor soon began giving kayak and paddleboard lessons, rentals and tours out of nearby Bridgebrook Marina.

But the season ends soon. Karen needed another gig.

Karen Jewell

With her 30-year background in physical education — including certification as a speed and agility coach, core instructor and fitness trainer, plus her experience playing and coaching a variety of sports — and her passion for working with young kids, KJ’s Fitness for Kids Magazine seemed a natural “fit.”

The free online site is now live.

Aimed at 4- to 10-year-olds — “an overlooked group,” Karen says — it’s filled with content for athletes and non-athletes alike. Her goal is to provide information about movement and activities in a fun, engaging way.

KJ’s Magazine covers nutrition, education (what biceps and quads actually do), fun facts (how jump ropes began), and a daily fitness challenge (youngsters earn points, leading to prizes like t-shirts).

There’s a page for parents, teachers and coaches too.

Karen created the site entirely herself. She’s getting the word out through social media, networking and flyers.

Right now it’s local in scope. But she has visions of expanding far beyond this area.

Maybe even Down Under.