Tag Archives: Westport Parks & Recreation Department

Roundup: Run For RTM, Boat Storage, Senior Golf, STAR Jobs,

================================================

Want to run the town?

Or at least, help pass budgets, review board and commission decisions, and weigh in on matters like plastic bags and the Vietnam War?

The non-partisan Representative Town Meeting (RTM) does (or has done) all that, and much more.

36 members are elected to 2-year terms, from 9 districts. All seats are open, in the next election.

Westport residents interested in running can pick up a petition at the Town Clerk’s office. You  need 25 signatures from residents in their district to be on the November 2 ballot. 

The Town Clerk’s office will supply a district map, and list of all voters. Petitions are due September 14.

Questions? Contact town clerk Jeffrey Dunkerton: 203-341-1105; jdunkerton@westportct.gov.

======================================================

No, you were not alone.

Air quality in Westport was poor last night. The culprit — as some suspected — was the wildfires ravaging the West. Particles have traveled thousands of miles, and are affecting our East Coast town.

Here’s a view from Compo Beach:

(Photo/Betsy Pollak)

=====================================================

Last night was also a mess downtown.

Water gushed into the street from construction work at the former Banana Republic on Main Street. The Fire Department responded promptly.

Main Street, yesterday. (Photo/Isabelle Taglia, Coleytown Middle School 8th grader)

======================================================

Starting November 1, Westport’s Parks & Recreation Department will offer winter boat storage at Longshore. Residents can store boats on their trailers in the gravel lot (Lot F) through April 15.

Space is available for 24 boats up to 24 feet (including trailer). Five more spaces are available, for boats with up to 32 feet. Rates are $720 plus tax for up to 24 feet, $960 for tax for the longer vessels..

Spots are first come, first served, for Westport residents only. For an application, email rgiunta@westportct.gov. (Hat tip: Fred Cantor)

A beautiful summer sight. But where will you store our boat this winter?

=======================================================

Congratulations to Marc Lasry. Besides being a hedge fund billionaire, the Greens Farms resident owns the Milwaukee Bucks. Last night, they won their 1st NBA championship in 50 years.

Marc Lasry (right), after the Bucks won the NBA championship. (Screen shot photo/Fred Cantor)

=======================================================

Speaking of sports: Leela Narang-Benaderet just made history. The 1988 Staples High School grad is the first Westporter to qualify for the US Senior Women’s Golf Open. She did it last week, with a 76 in the qualifier at Greenwich Country Club.

Over 400 golfers — most of them pros — competed internationally to earn a spot. Leela may have the easiest travel of all: The event will be hosted by Brooklawn Country Club in Fairfield. Mark your calendars: July 29 to August 1. (Hat tip: Patty Kondub)

Leela Narang-Benaderet

=======================================================

More competition news:

Vivek Kanthan is the US Rotax Max Challenge karting champion. The Westport 7th grader — who attends Pearson Online Academy, due to his travel schedule — won 7 of the 12 races in this year’s series. He will represent the US at the world championship in Bahrain later this year.

The final race was at New Jersey Motorsports Park last weekend. Sweltering heat, humidity and track temperatures of 103 degrees made the already exciting final round much more intense.

Karts reached speeds of 70 miles an hour. Vivek overcame a strong challenge to win, by just 0.08 seconds.

Vivek Kanthan, at the winner’s podium.

=======================================================

STAR Lighting the Way has received a $20,000 grant from Fairfield County’s Community Foundation. The money will help people  with intellectual and developmental disabilities find work, through STAR’s My First Jobs program.

STAR’s customized employment program for people with disabilities leads the state in job placements and hours worked. A team of job developers, employment managers and job coaches work with individuals, and networks with businesses, to create job opportunities, supervise training, and find locations to host classes in life, social, arts, and recreational skills.

=======================================================

Parking’s reserved. So — apparently — is this spot atop the sign, for today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo.

(Photo/Daniel Hoffman)

=====================================================

And finally … today marks the 160th anniversary of the first major Civil War battle. The First Battle of Bull Run, near Manassas, Virginia, ended in a Confederate victory.

In 1990, Ric Burns’ astonishing 9-part PBS miniseries brought the war — in all its glory and greed, courage and cowardice, epic sweep and tiny details — into American homes. I watch it every few years, to try and understand this momentous event in our nation’s history.

Perhaps the most memorable segment of the entire series was Sullivan Ballou’s letter to his wife. Written a week before the First Battle of Bull Run, it provides viewers an astonishing combination of love, eloquence and historical perspective.

Jay Ungar’s haunting “Ashokan Farewell” — a heart-rending violin duet with Molly Mason — makes this the most impactful three minutes you may ever see and hear.

Roundup: RTM’s Petition, Martin Crouse’s Bench, UConn’s President …

=====================================================

Town Clerk Jeffrey Dunkerton has certified a petition requesting that the Representative Town Meeting review the Planning & Zoning Commission’s settlement of a lawsuit, permitting Summit Saugatuck to build 157 units of housing on Hiawatha Lane.

The RTM has 30 days to render a decision.

=======================================================

The saga of Martin Crouse’s memorial bench — first gone from Compo Beach, then located by Westport Police — is over. And the ending could not be better.

Martin’s wife Laurie reports that bench is back at its cherished spot near Ned Dimes Marina, after repair work by the Parks & Recreation Department.

It was delivered there yesterday. A new anchoring system will keep it there.

Laurie asked “06880” to thank Debbie Detmer and Ed Frawley at Parks & Rec, Westport police, and the many Westporters who offered support.

Westport Parks & Recreation staff secure Martin Crouse’s memorial bench.

Laurie Crouse, back at her favorite spot.

======================================================

The Remarkable Theater announces its schedule for Memorial Day week:

Thursday, May 27 (8 p.m.): “Private Benjamin” (“I wanna wear my sandals. And I wanna go out to lunch. I wanna be normal again.”)

Friday, May 28 (8 p.m.): “Finding Nemo” (In association with Sped*Net Wilton)

Saturday, May 29 (8:30 p.m.): “Rocky Horror Picture Show” (Special Best Costume contest)

Sunday, May 30 (8 p.m.): “Saving Private Ryan” (Special $25 Memorial Day price)

And don’t forget: “Happy Gilmore” tomorrow (Saturday, May 22, 8:30 p.m.).

Click here for tickets and more information.

=======================================================

There’s a new interim president at the University of Connecticut.

And he’s a Westport resident.

Dr. Andrew Agwunobi and his wife Elizabeth (also a physician) moved here 2 years. He has served as CEO of UConn Health — a position he will continue in. He is the first person of color to be named president in the university’s history.

Click here for the full story.

Dr. Andrew Agwunobi

=======================================================

Westport firefighters joined their brothers and sisters from across the state yesterday. Over 130 Connecticut fire departments, many first responder agencies, and fire departments from as far as Detroit gathered to pay respects to Firefighter Ricardo “Rico” Torres. He died last week battling a blaze in New Haven.

He leaves behind his wife Erica Martinez, and sons, due to be born in August. Click here for a fundraiser to support his family and unborn sons.

Firefighters at the funeral for Ricardo Torres. (Photo/Andrew Colabella)

=======================================================

Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo is not just a couple of horseshoe crabs.

They’re a pair that was rescued by MaryLou Roels, after being stranded by low tide. They look as good as ever.

(Photo/MaryLou Roels)

======================================================

And finally … on this day in 1927, Charles Lindbergh landed in Paris. It was the world’s first solo non-stop flight across the Atlantic Ocean.

Special Westport connection: Lindbergh and his wife Anne Morrow lived for several years on Long Lots Road, near the Fairfield border.

 

Marpe: Westport Plans For Spring And Summer — But Stay Safe!

1st Selectman Jim Marpe issued another COVID update today. It includes information about vaccines — and word that the town is planning for a Memorial Day parade, and a Levitt Pavilion season. He says:

Beginning today, all Connecticut residents and workers aged 16 and older are eligible to schedule a COVID-19 vaccine appointment. For local vaccine scheduling instructions and locations, go to www.wwhd.org.

Health officials urge all who are able and eligible to register to get vaccinated. Those requiring special services and assistance with homebound vaccinations or transportation to vaccination appointments through Westport Transit should contact the town Department of Human Services (203-341-1050).

Fortunately, many of the most vulnerable in Westport are already vaccinated. They are enjoying the peace of mind and the realization that they are doing their part to help our community, neighbors, families and friends move into a spring and summer with less fear of infection from this horrible virus.

Although numerous people have been vaccinated, it is vital that COVID protocols remain in place until we are certain that transmission is decreasing.

Currently there is a surge in COVID-19 cases in Connecticut, and Westport remains in the red category with 28.5 positive cases per 100,000 population. We are seeing the effects of more social gatherings, travel, and a relaxation of COVID protocols.

Travel increases the chance of getting and transmitting COVID-19. The Center for Disease Control recommends that you refrain from non-essential travel and  follow the travel guidelines,

The CDC also recommends continuing to follow its COVID guidelines and protocols, specifically mask wearing, social distancing and good hygiene, even as restrictions are loosened and the vaccine is further administered.

“Masked COVID Portrait” — drawn by Dereje Tarrant, age 14.

Much of the uptick in cases is occurring in younger residents, and those in their 20’s and 30’s. There have been reports of large teen and youth groups gathering at Compo Beach without masks. Parents, please remind your children to wear masks when they cannot socially distance, even at the beach and other outdoor locations.

The Governor’s Executive Orders declaring a state-of-emergency have been extended to May 20. That means that COVID protocols and restrictions remain in place unless noted otherwise.

The town continues to work towards reopening more amenities and activities with the optimism that Westport will return to the yellow or gray status on the State’s color-coded COVID map, and that more people will be fully vaccinated.  These include:

  • The Center for Senior Activities and Toquet Hall are planning for the possibility of outdoor and limited indoor programming in late spring or early summer.
  • The Parks & Recreation Department and Selectman’s Office continue to plan for a Memorial Day parade.
  • The Parks and Recreation Department is preparing to open its facilities, and plan to offer programs that were not available last year due to COVID-19.
  • Longshore golf course is open for play, as are several tennis locations, Compo Beach pickleball courts, the skate park facility, platform tennis, Compo basketball courts, and playgrounds.

Compo Skate Park is back open. (Photo/ldinkinphotography)

  • The Board of Selectmen approved the Downtown Merchants Association’s Fitness and Health Expo for May 1,, and the Fine Arts Festival for May 29-30.
  • The Board of Selectmen approved the closure of Church Lane starting April 15, to allow for expanded outdoor dining.
  • The Board of Selectmen approved the use of the Imperial Avenue lot for the Remarkable Theater’s drive-in movie theater. and for the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce and Westport Library’s Supper and Soul events.
  • The Levitt Pavilion is planning its season, to be held in compliance with any necessary COVID considerations related to outdoor venues.

Westport is approaching the end of the Passover week, as well as this Easter weekend. Both are important symbols of renewal and new beginnings that we associate with the arrival of spring. I wish all who observe these important holidays the joy that is associated with those celebrations.

And to all Westport residents, I ask for a renewed commitment to working through the COVID pandemic together in a safe and responsible manner. In doing so, we can all enjoy the pleasures of our community that come with the spring and summer months.

As Easter approaches, the days get longer and brighter. But continued vigilance is needed. (Photo/Craig Patton)

Roundup: COVID Vaccine, Beach Stickers, The Remains, Invasive Plants …

======================================================

In case you missed it: Connecticut has moved up the date for all eligible residents 16 and over to get COVID vaccines. It’s now April 1 — no fooling!

An increased supply of vaccines will enable 200,000 doses to be distributed next week. That includes the single-dose Johnson & Johnson shot.

You can call 877-918-2224, 7 days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. to schedule an appointment. Click here to schedule online.

====================================================

Beach stickers will be available this Monday (March 29). Click on the Parks & Recreation Department website, then “Memberships.”

At least a couple of beachgoers were ready yesterday for summer to begin:

(Photo/Karen Como)

=======================================================

Westport hits the jackpot with this month’s Connecticut Magazine.

Local writer Michael Catarevas contributed an in-depth, insightful, and very intriguing look back at the Remains.

They’re the band — fronted by 1963 Staples High School graduate Barry Tashian, with ’64 alum Bill Briggs on keyboard — that packed clubs around New England, played “Ed Sullivan” and “Hullabaloo,” had a major recording deal — and in 1966, toured with the Beatles.

They were all set to be rock’s next big thing — until they weren’t.

I’ve written often about the Remains. Jon Landau nailed it, back in the day: “They were how you tell a stranger about rock ‘n’ roll.” Now Catarevas’ story — which includes details about their still cult-like status and recent tours — puts it all together, for a statewide audience.

Bonus cuts: There are sidebars about Briggs’ tour with the Kingsmen (“Louie Louie”),

Click here for the main story. Click here for one sidebar on ’71 Staples grad Fred Cantor’s off-Broadway play and film documentary on the Remains — and another on Prudence Farrow, the inspiration for the Beatles’ “Dear Prudence.”

The Remains

=======================================================

A reader writes:

“In light of the town support of our Asian community, I want to share what I saw in New Luxx Nail & Spa (near the old Calico) earlier this week.

“A gentleman in uniform came in. I’m not sure if he was a police officer or firefighter. I heard him speaking to the owner and workers, who are Asian.

“He warmly told them that we (I assuming he meant Westport law enforcement) are very proud of and value our Asian business community. He said ‘we are here to support you,’ &Sp and that anything they need, or any issues they might have, they should not hesitate to contact them.

“I am proud of our community and law enforcement, that they made this outreach to these wonderful people of whom I have grown very fond. It is these unseen acts that help make Westport the place that it is.”

=======================================================

Invasive plants have invaded Westport. They crowd out natives and are harmful to our natural resources, disrupting biodiversity and ecological processes.

Earthplace has partnered with Sustainable Westport and the Town of Westport to host 2 events.

The first is an in-person walk this Sunday (March 28th, 1 to 2:30 p.m., $10). Click here to register.

The second event is a free webinar on Sunday, April 11 (1- to 1:45 p.m). Click here to register.

=======================================================

The Assumption Church Youth Group holds a food drive this Sunday (Palm Sunday, March 28, 7:30 a.m. to noon). Non-perishables are needed. All donations go to their sister parish in need — St. Charles in Bridgeport — and to children in the care of Missionaries of Charity in Bridgeport.

Donors should pull into the back parking lot. Someone will unload your trunk.

Meanwhile, tomorrow (Saturday, March 27, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.), Weston’s St. Francis Church holds a drive-through food drive in their parking lot on 35 Norfield Road. As with Assumption, volunteers will unload non-perishables from your trunk. All donations will be delivered to the Weston Food Pantry, and Norwalk’s Open Door Shelter.

Assumption Church, from Imperial Avenue (Photo/Patrick Goldschmidt)

=====================================================

And finally … ladies and gentlemen: The Remains!

 

BREAKING NEWS: Beach Benches Found!

For 2 days, Westporters grieved with Laurie Crouse over the loss of a Compo Beach bench dedicated to her husband.

Today, we can all celebrate!

This morning Westport Police — working with the Parks & Recreation Department — recovered Martin Crouse’s bench. It was in the channel, near Ned Dimes Marina.

Martin Crouse’s bench was found in this channel.

A closeup of the bench.

Recovered!

They found a second bench too. Spotted yesterday from afar by Tina Green, as she looked for birds, it had traveled all the way to Cockenoe Island.

A second bench recovered from Cockenoe Island

The plaque from the bench near Cockenoe Island had come loose. But it was found very close to the bench.

Both benches have been brought ashore. They’ll be cleaned, and put back in their honored spots.

The benches were probably thrown into the water as a thoughtless prank. Fortunately they floated for a while; they did not sink to the bottom.

Even more fortunately, our Police and Parks & Rec departments were there to help. Thank you, Chief Foti Koskinas, Deputy Chief Sam Arciola; your men and women, and the Parks & Rec crew.

If that doesn’t make you smile today, nothing will.

A closeup of Martin Crouse’s bench, this morning. (Photos/Courtesy of Westport Police Department)

Missing Beach Bench: The Sequel

On Friday I posted Laurie Crouse’s heart-wrenching story. The Compo Beach bench she’d bought to memorialize her late husband was missing.

But I had faith. I was sure it would turn up soon.

So did “06880” readers.

There are many benches, on every part of the beach. “They get moved around a lot,” wrote one commenter who had lost — and then found — her family’s bench.

Westporters promised to look carefully. Some said they’d make a special trip. A few folks theorized that a storm or exceptionally high tide had submerged the one with Martin’s plaque.

Martin Crouse’s bench

I did not realize that Laurie had sat on the bench earlier this month. There has been no bad weather since.

Now it turns out that hers is not the only memorial bench that’s gone missing.

Laurie writes that her good friend Vicki Mintz lost her husband Robert last year. She bought a bench, and had it placed next to Martin’s several months ago.

It too has vanished.

So are all the others that had provided such solace on the little peninsula between South Beach and the Ned Dimes Marina.

Laurie took a photo March 3. It shows Robert’s bench (left), moved from its original spot. Martin’s bench is further back. on the right. A third bench is in the shot too, behind the people.

Laurie Crouse’s March 3 photo.

All 3 benches are now gone.

The same scene, yesterday..

Vicki’s daughter investigated yesterday. She noted tire tracks on the sand

“It looks like a vehicle pulled up there,” Laurie says.

Tire tracks in the sand.

If this was an actual, premeditated theft: That’s awful. The benches are public property, sure. More importantly, they were purchased to honor people who loved Compo, and who themselves were loved.

Thieves stole more than benches. They tore out our neighbors’ hearts and souls.

Everyone does things they regret. If you’ve got the benches — or you know where they are — please do the right thing. Email dwoog@optonline.net, or text 203-984-9635. I’ll let Parks & Rec know where and how to pick up the benches.

Anonymity is assured. Getting the benches back is more important than making sure justice is done.

In the meantime, it’s come to this: Perhaps we need security cameras at the beach. Or at least at the entrance and exit roads.

It’s pretty clear those benches did not move themselves.

Beach Bench Goes Missing

Compo is a big beach.

You can do anything there — or nothing at all. A favorite pastime is sitting on one of the dozens of handsome, heavy wooden benches. They’re everywhere, from Schlaet’s Point to the cannons and Ned Dimes Marina.

The benches blend unobtrusively into the landscape. But each one bears a small plaque. Each memorializes a man or woman, whose family and friends honor them in this special way.

It’s hard to imagine anything could go wrong with these timeless benches. But alert — and anguished — reader Laurie Crouse writes:

In 2011, after my husband Martin passed away, I purchased a bench from Parks & Rec. It was placed in a spot that was special to him and me, on South Beach facing the sunset.

This bench has provided great comfort through the years. It’s a sacred spot for me, because we did not do a traditional cemetery burial.

On the bench is an engraved plate: “I’ll meet you at the sunset.” That’s what we always said when we would head to the beach at the end of the day. His name — Martin Crouse — is at the top of the plaque. The years he lived are below it.

Right after I got the bench in September 2011, Hurricane Sandy struck. When I visited the bench after the storm, it was gone.

I was devastated.

In the center of the beach near the skateboard park, Parks & Rec created a staging zone for many recovered items, including benches that had been scattered.

Martin’s bench never showed up.

A couple of weeks later, someone on the far end of Owenoke called me and said the bench ended up in their yard. A visitor had recognized his name. and told her how to reach me.

Martin Crouse

I was thrilled. Parks & Rec got the bench from her. and returned it to our devoted spot. It’s been there for nearly 10 years.

Today I went to sit at the beach. Once again, the bench was gone.

These benches are heavy! You can’t drag them very far. You need multiple people to move them.

I walked the beach. I looked at every name plate on every bench. I don’t see it anywhere.

I called Parks & Rec. They searched. But they cannot find it.

The now-vacant spot for Martin Crouse’s bench.

I hope you can share this with “06880” readers. It would be nice to have multiple eyes out, in case I missed it somehow.

More importantly, the public needs to understand more about these memorial benches.

Each bench you see was purchased in dedication for a loved one. I’ve noticed over the years that more and more people move them, turn them around and leave them wherever they see fit, without understanding that the chosen spots are important to the people who purchased them.

We have donated them to the town so the public can enjoy them. But there is a story behind each one.

If there was a greater awareness, perhaps people would be more respectful. Thank you!

Martin and Laurie Crouse.

Roundup: Parks & Rec Signups, Playhouse, Help Wanted …

===================================================

Registration for Westport Parks & Recreation spring and summer programs begins online on March 22 (9 a.m.). Click here for all offerings, including sports, Camp Compo and RECing Crew. Click here to register.

The Parks & Rec office remains closed to the public. Staff is available via email (recreation@westportct.gov), phone (203-341-5152 weekdays, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) and mail (260 Compo Road South, Westport, CT 06880).

For registration, check your online account tnow. Log in, then click “Manage Family Members” on the bottom right. To view more details, click the name of a specific family member. Make any changes, then hit “save.” For address changes, email recreation@westportct.gov.

If you cannot log into your online account, do not create another profile. Email recreation@westportct.gov, or call 203-341-5152.

=====================================================

Speaking of recreation:

These residents were spotted yesterday on Longshore’s first fairway.

They had not asked to play through. Nor were they wearing proper attire. Sad!

(Photo/John Richers)

=======================================================

Alisyn Camerota is starring in a new role.

The Westport resident — a journalist, author, and anchor of CNN’s morning show “New Day” — has been elected as a Westport Country Playhouse trustee.

Camerota led a community conversation 3 years ago on “Female Power Unleashed:  Politics and Positive Change.” She was featured in a documentary celebrating the theater’s 90-season history last fall, and has been a Playhouse subscriber and supporter for several years.

She’ll serve with artist, economist, producer, fellow Westporter — and new board chair — Anna Czekaj-Farber. Former chair Barbara Streicker of Westport remains on the board.

Playhouse managing director Michael Barker lauds Streicker for her leadership during the pandemic

The 2021 season is scheduled to begin in April — online and in-person. Safety guidelines will be announced soon.

Alisyn Camerota

=======================================================

4-year-old Elodie Kubik was born with Epidermolysis Bullosa. She is missing a critical protein that binds the layers of the skin together, making it extremely fragile and causing severe pain and wounds. There are no treatments for this life-threatening disease.

Elodie’s mom’s friends organized a Plunge for Elodie n 2018. It grew into an international movement, raising $700,000 to fund critical research aimed at curing EB and other rare diseases.

This year’s virtual Plunge (March 28) honors the life of Sophia Ramsey, who died just after her 1st birthday. She was the daughter of Westport Public Schools employee Tricia Lash’s friend and coworker. Click here for details.

=======================================================

Finding Westport — the great local listing location, with both a website and social media posts — is starting a “Help Wanted” section. If you’re a business looking for help, contact Jillian@findingfairfieldcounty.com.

And if you’re looking for work, click here.

=======================================================

Very quietly —  but for 70 years — Abilis has helped people with special needs throughout Fairfield County. The non-profit currently serves over 800 people — and their families.

Last year, COVID forced them to hold their biggest fundraiser online. They raised over $400,000. This year’s goal: top that.

It’s virtual again. Comedian Brett Walkow (“The Tonight Show,” Seinfeld’s “Comedian,” Comedy Central, much more…) hosts the May 1 (6:30 p.m.) show. It’s 90 minutes packed with entertainment, laughs, and a live auction.

The event is free (though of course there are many opportunities to donate). To register, click here (button is on upper right — hard to find!). For sponsorship information, call 203-531-1880 ext. 161, or email flatow@abilis.us.

=====================================================

And finally … John Philip Sousa died on this day in 1932. He was 78.

[OPINION] Don’t Bury Burying Hill!

Retired Westport attorney Michael Nayor and his wife Rhoda Nayor, a retired audiologist, have lived in Greens Farms for over 40 years. With their 3 children — all products of the Westport schools — the Nayors have long enjoyed Burying Hill Beach.

But as spring nears, he’s concerned about it. Nayor writes: 

Around this time for the last several years I begin to think about Burying Hill Beach, and what a shame it is that it has become somewhat of an afterthought when preparing for the summer months.

Years ago Burying Hill was a very popular destination. Children and moms came  throughout the day. Weekends saw loads of families enjoying it.

Burying Hill Beach (Photo/Yvonne O’Kane)

Today, with the exception of one hearty club-like group of swimmers, it is used infrequently.

Burying Hill has become very uninviting. The rocky (big rocks, not pebbles) shoreline makes entry into the water precarious at a minimum, and dangerous for the most part.

In addition the jetty along the southwestern border of the beach has been in serious disrepair for years.

There are restrooms and garbage is picked up, but little else is done. Fewer and fewer people each year use the beach, giving rise to the self-fulfilling prophecy that because fewer people use the facility, fewer resources need to be dedicated to it.

Rocks on Burying Hill (Photo/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)

Starting over 4 years ago, an attempt was made to recruit the town administration to do something about the extremely dangerous condition of the jetty – either rebuild it or remove it altogether, with the assistance of the state.

While certain permits have been obtained, the project seems to have stalled at the bidding/funding stage. This may be understandable, under current circumstances.

But the bottom line is that while Compo may be the crown jewel of Westport, there are other jewels as well. Ignoring them does a disservice to the community.

The town has many fine resources. All should be maintained as well. To avoid doing so pulls down the town’s reputation and image.

Burying Hill jetty. (Photo/Michael Nayor)

A successful effort to rehabilitate Burying Hill enhances the benefits available to all residents, and reflects the town’s pride in all of its resources.

Hopefully when things get back to normal, efforts to rehabilitate Burying Hill will begin again.

I asked Westport Parks & Recreation director Jennifer Fava for a comment. She says:

In regard to the jetty, the town has been going through the permitting process with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and the Army Corps of Engineers.

We received the permit to do the work, which is included in the 5-year capital plan.

We have tried to get permission from those agencies in the past to add sand to the beach, but have been denied. We plan to try again, in hopes we will be able to do so.

In terms of regular resources, we supply lifeguards and gate staff as we do at other locations. The beach gets groomed weekly (same as Old Mill), and like the other beaches we have a contract with a company to redistribute the sand prior to each season.

This year we will add screening of rocks out of the sand as part of this process, in hopes it will make an improvement.

Burying Hill Beach (Drone photos/Brandon Malin)

Roundup: Vaccine, Scavenger Hunt, Art, More

======================================

The COVID vaccine is now available in Connecticut for people 75 or older. They (or someone helping them) can sign up online (click here). After registration, they’ll get an email detailing next steps.

There may be an initial delay in scheduling, but access should grow quickly soon.

More than 100 healthcare providers statewide will offer the vaccine. More locations and a map of them will be available in coming weeks.

The scheduling link also contains a list of frequently asked questions about the vaccine.

People without internet access, or who need help, can call 877-918-2224 weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

=============================================

Brendan Murphy’s works are drawing raves at his one-man show at the POP’TArt gallery downtown.

In return, the fast-rising contemporary artist asked curator Jennifer Haviland how he could support Westport. She chose an organization she loves: Wakeman Town Farm.

Murphy chose one of his 8-layer silver-based chrome heart sculptures, and offered it for auction. Measuring 24 x 24 x 8 inches, it’s valued at $18,000.

The heart is on display with Murphy’s show, “96% Stardust” at POP’Tart (1 Main Street).

Auction co-chair Nicole Gerber says, “Wakeman Town Farm has a rich history in Westport, and resides at the heart of our community. The Farm is committed to inspiring local residents through sustainable practices, education opportunities, and community service. In this crucial time in our history, The Farm is actively supporting local organizations focused on alleviating food insecurity in our area. We are honored to support a nonprofit that allows the people it serves to serve others as well.”

Bidding starts at $5,000, by email: BrendanHeartWakeman@gmail.com. For more information on the auction, click here. For more information about Brendan Murphy, click here.

=======================================

The Westport Parks and Recreation Department invites you to participate in a socially distanced “scavenger hunt”, hosted by the Goosechase App!

Who doesn’t love a scavenger hunt?

Westport’s Parks & Recreation Department is organizing one, for families or teams.

Registrants first download the GooseChase app on their phones, search for the “Westport Winter Goose Chase,” then click here to receive a game password.

Winners get a gift basket of items from Westport businesses. For more information, click here.

============================================

One River — the art and design school — is sponsoring a downtown show. The opening next Sunday (January 24, 12:30 to 2:30 p.m.).

David Waldman and BTS Realty donated their storefronts: 33 Elm Street, Brooks Corner and Sconset Square. Two hundred works — from children to adults — will be on view through February 7.

Also included: One River’s high school portfolio development class, with traditional and digital works.

===========================================

It’s official: Most high school winter sports can begin tryouts and practices this Tuesday (January 19). Basketball, ice hockey, swimming, gymnastics and indoor track got the go-ahead yesterday from the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference.

Games may begin February 8, except for track which cannot compete until March. The number of games is limited; there will be no state tournaments, though a “post-season experience” can be held (similar to fall sports).

In addition, athletes will be required to wear masks during competitions. Coaches and players will also have to wear masks and be socially distanced on the sidelines. Officials are required to wear masks at all times.

There will be no wrestling or competitive cheer, however. The state Department of Public Health categorized those as “high-risk activities.”

Football — a fall sport — had hoped to play a shortened late winter/early spring season. However, the CIAC canceled that option yesterday.

=========================================

And finally … happy 87th birthday to the brilliant mezzo-soprano, Marilyn Horne!