Tag Archives: Westport Pride

Westport Takes Pride In Rainbow Crosswalk

A large crowd and perfect fall weather combined to make yesterday’s dedication of Westport’s rainbow crosswalk extra-special.

The event — on National Coming Out Day — celebrated the new installation on Jesup Road at Taylor Place. The 4-year project was led by Westport Pride chair Brian McGunagle, with help from a variety of town officials including 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker and Public Works director Pete Ratkiewich.

Among the officials cutting the rainbow ribbon: Police Chief Foti Koskinas, 2nd Selectwoman Andrea Moore, Westport Pride Chair Brian McGunagle, 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker, and members of Westport Pride’s advisory board. 

The crosswalk — including all the colors of the pride flag — was paid for by private funds. Westport Pride raised $36,000 in just 3 days.

Installation was done by Public Works. They’ll maintain it, too.

Westport Pride chair Brian McGunagle proudly strides across the new crosswalk. 

Brief speeches were made by McGunagle, Tooker, State Representatives Dominique Johnson and Jonathan Steinberg, and Staples Pride chair Jona Bernstein. Rev. Dylan Mello of Christ & Holy Trinity Church offered a blessing.

The remarks echoed one theme: The crosswalk sends a strong, clear message to all, that Westport accepts, supports, embraces and cherishes everyone.

Businesses, organizations, families and individuals contributed to the rainbow crosswalk. 

A happy couple, their dog, and 2-week old daughter (nestled against dad’s chest) test out the crosswalk. 

RTM representative Harris Falk and Dr. Nikki Gorman. (All photos/Jerri Graham)


Roundup: Charlie Karp, Rainbow Crosswalk, Historic Home …

The New England Music Hall of Fame has a new member: Charlie Karp.

The Staples High School Class of 1971 member — who left school to play with Buddy Miles, then worked with Jimi Hendrix and Keith Richards, wrote songs for Joan Jett and Joe Perry, before returning home to earn a fanatic following with bands like Dirty Angels, White Chocolate, Slo Leak and the Namedroppers, while simultaneously earning Emmys as a producer of music for sports networks, documentaries and feature films, and becoming a guitar teaching mentor to generations of aspiring young stars — was inducted posthumously.

Karp died in 2019, a few weeks after being diagnosed with liver cancer.

The ceremony was led, fittingly, by Brian Keane. A Staples classmate (and friend since Coleytown Junior High) — and himself a Grammy-winning artist, songwriter and producer — he and Karp often collaborated on musical projects. (Hat tip: Fred Cantor)

Brian Kean (left) and Charlie Karp. (Photo/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)


Westport’s rainbow crosswalk was installed yesterday, by the Department of Public Works.

As the photo below shows, this one will last quite a while. It replaces the temporary one laid down in June on Jesup Road at Taylor Place, to celebrate Pride Month.

This crosswalk — funded by private donations — will be dedicated at 1 p.m. October 11: National Coming Out Day.

(Photo/Amy Schneider)


Nearly 80 members and guests of the Y’s Men of Westport and Weston enjoyed a tour of an architectural landmark on Sunday.

Fellow Y’s Man Win Allen opened his historic home on Burritt’s Landing North.

He’s notable too. Allen founded the first Black-owned broker dealer firm on Wall Street. His book “I Pried Open Wall Street in 1962” chronicles his journey.

He and his late wife Ruby bought their home in 1975. Built in 1957, it was designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s protégé Roy Binkley. His Wikipedia entry mentions the Allen House in Westport — listed on the National Register of Historic Places — as one of his masterpieces.

Allen told the Y’s men that Marilyn Monroe spent months in the house as a guest of director Lee Strasberg, when he conducted workshops for prominent actors there.

Win Allen’s landmark home ..,

… and Allen (center) with his guests. (Photos/Dave Matlow)


The Westport Farmers’ Market is a Thursday tradition for shoppers of all ages.

Including the youngest.

Each week, the WFM’s “Get Growing” program includes a craft or activity for kids and toddlers. It introduces them early to the importance of shopping locally and sustainably.

Program leader Mae Farrell loves interacting with kids and their families, while providing a fun place to visit.

As the program grows, so has its need for craft items. On October 12 and 19, WFM hosts a craft material drive. They’re looking for cheese cloth, paper, pom pons, markers, crayons, shells, toilet paper rolls, mini wooden ornament slabs, cookie cutters, felt, dried beans and lentils, ribbon, clay, washable paints, paper straws and white paper plates.

The Farmers’ Market runs every Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Imperial Avenue parking lot.

Little kids love the Farmers’ Market. (Photo/Margaret Kraus)


Christ & Holy Trinity Episcopal Church’s new “Music & Arts” year kicks off this Saturday (October 7), with an afternoon of all things Celtic.

Attendees will enjoy Irish dancing, learn to play a bodhran, and discover other Celtic activities for all ages. All activities are free, from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m.; everyone is invited.

At 4:30, a concert in Branson Hall features Ringrose and Freeman, accompanied by Loretta Murphy on accordion and Mary Gardner on bodhran. Food, drink and s’mores follow at the fire pit.

Tickets for the concert are $35 for adults; children are free. Click here to purchase.


Speaking of music: One of Jazz at the Post’s most popular performers — Westport’s own Melissa Newman — returns this Thursday (October 5; shows at 7:30 and 8:45 p.m.; dinner begins at 7; VFW Joseph J. Clinton Post 399; $15 cover; reservations: JazzatthePost@gmail.com).

The Westporter will be joined by guitarist Tony Lombardozzi, bassist Phil Bowler and drummer Bobby Leonard.


Another iconic Westporter — internationally best-selling author Jane Green — takes the Sacred Heart University Theatre stage this winter.

She’ll be Chris Sarandon’s guest on his podcast, “Cooking by Heart.” The “worlds of literature and gastronomy (will) converge in a symphony of flavors, anecdotes, and inspiration” as she and Sarandon talk about childhood memories, share recipes, and chat about their culinary creations.

Click here for tickets.

Jane Green (Photo/Ian Warburg)


Today’s “Westport … Naturally” feature shows mushrooms.

Many mushrooms.

Scott Smith writes: “I was in the yard this weekend after Friday’s deluge and took these photos. Fungi were on the logs that enclose my compost heap.

“What strikes me about the mushroom colonies is how similar in structure they are to mineral formations and coral reefs, though I bet Mother Nature already knew that. The ephemeral bulbs sprout up in the yard this time of year. Life blossoms even as the decay and decomposition of fall sets in.”

(Photo/Scott Smith)


And finally … if you never heard Charlie Karp (story above), click the videos below.

And if you are a Charlie Karp fan, here are a few memories to enjoy.

(Music, the Farmers’ Market, real estate, downtown — it’s all part of the daily “06880” mix. If you enjoy our daily “Roundup,” please support our work. Just click here to contribute. Thank you!)

Roundup: Compo Lanternflies, Compo Lockers, LGBTQ+ 101 …

Dave Briggs headed to Compo Beach yesterday. He expected to enjoy the first dogs-allowed day of the season.

It was ruined by creatures of a different kind. There were spotted lanternflies everywhere — “all over everybody” — Dave reports.

Leigh Gage adds: “I did my part in eradicating about 100 of this invasive species at Compo. There’s a tree of heaven out on the spit of land past the kayaks, and they’re all over it.

“Perhaps some others can come squash these bugs too. I felt a little funny/ murderous killing so many — but my understanding is it’s my environmental duty.”

Spotted lanternflies on the Compo Beach cannons … (Photo/Dave Briggs)

… and nearby. (Photo/Dana Kuyper)

Bruce McFadden adds:

“Although I know lantern flies are not new to Westport, my wife and I and many others were surprised to find them everywhere on Sunday.

“During our paddle they were all over the water surface and on sea grasses just out of the E.R Strait Marina into Gray’s Creek.

“They were on our picnic table at lunch, and all over our car and tires as we departed for Compo. All sidewalks at Compo were spotted by the less fortunate members of the species.

“The Lanternfly Stomp was clearly big at the beach today, and probably all over town!”

Spotted lanternfly on the water. (Photo/Bruce McFadden)


And another “ugh” report from Compo:

On September 26, a reader got this email from the Parks & Recreation Department:

A reminder…Our policy states that all bathhouse assignees are to clean out their lockers no later than September 30th.

You may use Sunday, October 1st to make sure that your bathhouse has been cleaned out and your lock has been removed. Any locks remaining as of Monday, October 2nd, will be cut off and the contents will be removed and discarded.

Thanking you in advance for your attention in this matter. Have a great day!

The bold items were there in the original message.

Yesterday — October 1 — he went to the beach to remove his lock.

It was already gone.

“They cut off locks and started removing everyone’s things today,” the reader says.

“Seems like a huge mistake. It’s going to cost people lots of money in ruined locks and trashed property.”

Another teed-off beachgoer posted on social media:

Our lock was cut as of 12 p.m. We found most of our stuff in a pile by the bathrooms, but there was a tractor carting piles of stuff away. There was a lot of nice stuff being removed. I believe our email said this would happen tomorrow, not today.

Compo lockers cleaned out, with contents ready for removal. (Photo/Jason Stiber)

Jason Stiber was more blunt. He told “06880”: “I have never understood logic of having no grace period. This year, even worse, they removed stuff one day early to their email.

“We’re talking thousands of dollars lost collectively, and such a waste of good, expensive beach furniture, sand toys, umbrellas, boogie boards and beach wagons.”


But there’s good news from Compo Beach. Jo Shields Sherman reports:

“I imagine you probably got quite a few doggy pictures from yesterday, the first day dogs were allowed back on the beach.

“But here’s a nighttime one. Buggy, my service dog, has battled lymphoma for a little over a year now. Most days she feels like a puppy, and acts like one too.

“She actually started swimming this summer. She loves the beach. Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?”

(Photo/Jo Shields Sherman)


October 11 is National Coming Out Day.

But the dedication of the rainbow crosswalk is not the only LGBTQ+ event on the calendar.

Westport Pride, the Westport Library and Triangle Community Center are offering a 2-part community education series. The aim is to address an abundance of misinformation about the queer community.

The October 11 event — “LGBTQ+ 101” — covers basic vocabulary concepts and history.

The November 9 session applies information from the first training to real-world examples. Participants will brainstorm ways to be inclusive and affirming, and how to address bias.

Both are from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Registration is required; click here.


“Bad Influencer” — the new immersive fiction podcast whos stars include Deuxmoi, Kristen Doute, Perez Hilton and Christy Carlson Romano debuts tomorrow (October 3).

The 9-episode romantic comedy is told through the eyes of a 20-something wannabe living in New York. She makes a wish and wakes up a famous
influencer, but finds that the glitzy, glamourous world is not always what it seems.

Bad Influencer” was written by Staples High School Class of 2005 graduate Gabi Conti. She’s the author of “Twenty Guys You Date in Your Twenties.”

It was co-created by fellow Westporter and international best-selling author Jane Green.

To listen on all major streaming platforms, click here.

Gabi Conti


How much can I afford to pay at Saugatuck Sweets?

The ice cream-and-more shop, with outlets in Westport and Fairfield, is offering free classes on a wide range of financial literacy topics.

It’s a partnership with Merrill Lynch Fairfield and Junior Achievement. Sessions are scheduled for high school and middle school students.

The next one is this Saturday (October 7, noon to 1:30 p.m., 28 Reef Road). Parents are welcome to accompany their kids.

For more information or to RSVP, email adiguido@yahoo.com.

Finance workshop at Saugatuck Sweets in Fairfield.


The bad weather has moved on. But here’s one last “Westport … Naturally” look at Meghan Norris’ back yard the other day.

With a guest.

(Photo/Meghan Norris)


And finally … in honor of the Compo Beach lockers …

(There’s always lots of Compo news in town — and plenty more. “06880” is your source for whatever is happening. But we need your support. Please click here to contribute. Thank you!)





Roundup: Lights Out, Rainbow Crosswalk, Book Shop Pumpkin Fest …

Sarah Gross reminds us that now through November 15 is “Lights Out Connecticut.”

A bill signed by Governor Lamont requires all state-owned buildings to dim or turn off non-essential outdoor lights.

All residents are asked to dim or turn off outdoor and indoor lights too.

The goal is to protect migratory birds, who are put at risk from light pollution. Click here for more information.

Nearly 30% of birds in the US and Canada have vanished since 1970. Click here to learn more.


Connecticut warbler (Photo/Ryan Sanderson for Macaulay Library)


The rainbow crosswalk at Jesup Road and Taylor Place — installed temporarily in June, for Pride Month — is showing signs of wear.

So on Monday, October 2 — the start of LGBTQ History Month — a new, permanent rainbow crosswalk will take its place.

And the official dedication is at 1 p.m. on October 11: National Coming Out Day.

The project — developed by Westport Pride, paid for by private donations, and supported by the Board of Selectwomen and Public Works director Pete Ratkiewich — promotes diversity, inclusion and acceptance in the community.

Nearly 40 individuals, families and businesses from all walks of life contributed funds.

The design and colors– created by Westport Pride founder Brian McGunagle — symbolize “the full spectrum of the LGBTQ+ community,” he says.

“It adds a vibrant touch to our town’s streetscape, but also serves as a powerful symbol of acceptance, unity, and love. We believe it will be a source of pride and inspiration for all Westport residents.”

Dr. Nikki Gorman — who helped sponsor the original temporary rainbow crosswalk, as well as the new permanent one — also took part in the first installation in June.


The Westport Book Shop is just a few yards from the crosswalk.

This Saturday (October 7, 10:30 a.m. to noon), they partner with Earthplace and the Westport Tree Board for their 3rd annual Family Fun + Halloween Pumpkin Painting Project.

It’s a morning of crafts, guest animals from Earthplace, and giveaways from the Tree Board.  Michael Zenetti will read from his book “The Sloth and His Friends.” Halloween costumes are optional, but encouraged.

RSVP to the Book Shop: 203-349-5141.


EcoFest — Westport’s sustainable holiday celebration — is set for November 11, at Staples High School.

The sponsors — the school’s Zero Waste Committee — invites all organizations, businesses, artists, crafters and sustainable groups to participate.

A wide variety of exhibitors are welcome. Click here to register. The deadline is October 31.


MyTeamTriumph — whose volunteers help youth, adults and veterans with disabilities to participate in triathlons and road races — is a great non-profit.

Their fundraiser will be a great one too.

“Stories of Triumph & Inclusion” (November 2,6:15 p.m., Westport Library), will feature Chris Nikic, the first person with Down Syndrome to complete an Ironman. He also won the Jimmy V ESPY Award for Perserverance.

The evening includes inspiration from other athletes with disabilities, raffles, drinks, and catering by Marcia Selden.

Click here for tickets and more information, including sponsorships.

My Team Triumph, at the Westport Triathlon.


MoCA Westport’s MoCA Westport’s annual benefit — held last night — was called The Surrealist Soiree.

It featured imaginative décor, avant-garde performers. a DJ, delicious food from Marcia Selden, Spencer Heyfron‘s surreal photo sessions, never-before-seen works by Purvis Young — and this:

(Photo/Dinkin Fotografix)


Rain and high tides combined to close Burying Hill Beach yesterday.

Ed Simek got this far — and no further — as he snapped today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo.

(Photo/Ed Simek)


And finally … in honor of migrating birds (story above), this seems appropriate in a couple of ways:

(It’s always the season to think about supporting local journalism — aka “06880.” Please click here to make a tax-deductible contribution. Thank you!)

Roundup: Garden Pop-Up, MoCA Show …

A large crowd popped over to the Westport Community Gardens yesterday, for a 20th anniversary pop-up event.

People of all ages wandered through the 100-plus individual plots. They marveled at the wide variety of plants; watched the bees and butterflies; admired the pergola and bocce court; chatted with the gardeners — and picked up plenty of vegetables, herbs and flowers too.

(Photos/Karen Mather)


Yesterday’s “06880” Roundup highlighted Westport Pride’s promotion of a permanent rainbow crosswalk downtown, at Jesup Road and Taylor Place.

Fundraising efforts had already brought in $18,000. But $14,500 more was needed, for materials, labor and installation.

By nightfall, the entire amount had been pledged.

The outpouring of support — from members of the LGBTQ+ community, and beyond — was very heartening, Pride members say.

The goal is to have the crosswalk completed by National Coming Out Day (October 11).

For more information, or to get involved, email westportctpride@gmail.com.

Dr. Nikki Gorman helped prepare the temporary crosswalk in June. A permanent one will be installed soon.


MoCA Westport celebrated its “Kaleidoscope: A Journey of Creativity, Self-Expression & Unity” exhibit yesterday, with a packed house.

The show highlighted artists who have been supported by the MoCA Gives Back healing arts program at the museum, as well as summer camp participants.

Club 203 — Westport’s social club for adults with disabilities — was well represented. MoCA has enjoyed a strong partnership in the club’s initial year, and looks forward to strengthening that relationship even more in the months ahead.

MoCA art teacher Agata Tria and Club 203 artist Elizabeth Sonne.


Staples High School 2017 graduate Richard Costello is one of many Westporters running in the New York Marathon November 5.

But the former lacrosse player is not just racing for himself. He’s also raising money for the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp.

The organization — founded by our late neighbor Paul Newman to provide free, fun opportunities for youngsters facing life-threatening illnesses — is near to Richard’s heart. He volunteered at the Ashford, Connecticut facility several times, and has been awed by the program’s impact on children and their families.

This is Richard’s second marathon. He competed in Philadelphia last fall.

Click here to donate to Richard’s fundraiser.

Richard Costello


Westport Community Gardens (story above) are not the only place to enjoy beautiful flowers.

Jonathan Prager grows crackerjack marigolds and purple wave petunias at his Owenoke home.

Today he shares them with “06880” readers as our “Westport … Naturally” featured image.

(Photo/Jonathan Prager)


And finally … today marks the 60th anniversary of the March on Washington.

It is remembered now for Martin Luther King’s riveting “I Have a Dream” speech.

But there was much more — including powerful musical performances.

Marian Anderson sang, 24 years after her first famous concert at the Lincoln Memorial (after the Daughters of the American Revolution prevented her from singing at Constitution Hall).

I could not find any videos of her, at the March on Washington.

But here are 3 other performances, from 60 years ago today:

(“06880” is your hyper-local blog — and a non-profit. Please click here to support our work, with a tax-deductible contribution. Thank you!)

Roundup: Rainbow Crosswalk, Hairdresser Tools, Binky Griptite …

The rainbow crosswalk installed near Jesup Green at the start of Pride Month was temporary.

As colorful as it was, it quickly showed the effects of downtown traffic.

Now, a permanent rainbow crosswalk is in the works.

The Board of Selectwomen gramted approval in June. Materials and installation will be funded completely by private donations. The town will handle maintenance.

Designed by Westport Pride chair Brian McGunagle, the crosswalk will consist of 21 panels. They include the transgender, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) and intersex communities.

It is made of a DecoMark, a durable thermoplastic material heat fused to the pavement. It has been used on all new Westport crosswalks, with a life expectancy of up to 10 years.

The temporary crosswalk was paid for by Dr. Nikki Gorman, Galia Gichon and members of Westport’s LGBTQ+ community.

The permanent crosswalk costs $32,500 for materials, labor and installation. Westport Pride hopes to install it by National Coming Out Day (October 11).

A fund drive has so far paid for 12 of the 21 panels. Just $14,500 remains to be raised.

Panel sponsors ($1,500) can have their name or business featured on a plaque near the crosswalk, and on the Westport Pride website.

All donations are welcome. Other donors will be recognized on the website too. Click here for more information, and to donate.

The temporary rainbow crosswalk, at its June installation.


Amy Berkin writes:

“My amazing hairdresser at Salon 293 East was at the Westport Post Office Friday, filling out forms. She left her bag on the window ledge behind her.

“Someone may have thought they grabbed her wallet, but in fact it was her case of tools.

“She had some cash and checks zipped inside from her morning clients. While she doesn’t expect to get the money back, her tools are her livelihood. She needs them desperately.

“It’s unlikely that anyone who took them reads your blog. But maybe someone saw someone take the money, and discard the case somewhere.

“If so, it can be left on the bench outside the salon with no questions asked, or anonymously dropped in the Westport Library mailbox.”

Hair salon tools.


The Binky Griptite Super Soul Revue roared onto the Levitt Pavilion stage last night.

A large crowd started dancing with the first number, and did not stop.

The legendary Binky brought his “A” team last night. He’s on the right in the photo below.

With him (from left): Fred Thomas, principal bassist with James Brown’s band for over 3 decades, and Carlton Jumel Smith, a singer/songwriter/producer/ actor who portrayed James Brown in the 1999 film “Liberty Heights.”

(Photo/Dinkin Fotografix)

Tonight (Sunday) it’s a different genre. The Americana-style North Country Band makes its Levitt debut, at 7 p.m.

Click here for the full calendar.


After Staples High School, 2010 graduate Nadia Waski earned a master’s degree in archaelogoy.

On October 12 (6 p.m.), Earthplace welcome her to its International Archaeology Day celebration. Her lecture is “In the Ground, On Your Mind: A Discussion on Cultural Resource Management.”

Nadia will be on familiar turf. Back in the day, she attended the Earthplace nursery school.

Click here for details, and registration (limited to 100 people).

Nadia Waski


Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo comes direct from Ken Yormark’s garden.

I imagine it has already been devoured, and enjoyed.

(Photo/Ken Yormark)


And finally, in honor of Ken Yormark’s “Westport … Naturally” image above:

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Retailers And Restaurants Say: “All Are Welcome Here”

Westport is proud of its business and restaurant environment.

We’re proud to be a welcoming community.

Now 3 organizations are putting that pride front and center — in the window of any establishment that wants to say: “We’re in!”

Westport Pride — the town’s LGBTQ+ organization — has partnered with the Westport Downtown Association and Westport-Weston Chamber of Commerce.

Their new “All Are Welcome Here” campaign encourages businesses, restaurants and offices to show support, solidarity and allyship with the LGBTQ+ community.

Participants can proudly display an “All Are Welcome Here” sticker in a visible location. That signals their commitment to providing a welcoming, safe experience for everyone.

“We believe every person deserves to be treated with dignity, respect and fairness,” says Brian McGunagle, founder of Westport Pride.

“By participating in the ‘All Are Welcome Here’ campaign, businesses and establishments in Westport can actively demonstrate their commitment to these values, and contribute to a more inclusive community.”

Interested businesses can click here, then completing the online form. Participants will receive a link to a short training video to educate employees on LGBTQ+ inclusivity and sensitivity.

Each business will receive an “All Are Welcome Here” sticker to display prominently.

There is a nominal fee of $10 to participate in the program. 

All businesses, regardless of size or type, are invited to join the campaign. (Full disclosure: I am a board member of Westport Pride.)

For more information on Westport Pride, click here. Questions? Email westportctpride@gmail.com.

Roundup: Fireworks Photos, Soundview Sculpture, Burying Hill …

There’s a lot going on today.

The beach will be jammed. Folks deck themselves out in red-white-and-blue. There are cookouts, picnics, and flags galore.

“06880” wants to show the world what a Westport Independence Day (5 days early) looks like. Please send photos — of your kids, your decorations, your dog — to 06880blog@gmail.com. Deadline is 10 p.m. tonight.

Be creative — and have fun!

NOTE: Please stay away from actual photos of fireworks. They pretty much all look the same.

Happy birthday, America!


Speaking of fireworks:

Tonight, Soundview Drive will be closed to traffic. Thousands of Westporters will stroll up and down the beach exit road. It’s party time!

And — just in time for Westport’s biggest bash — a new sculpture has been installed in a Soundview yard.

It’s drawn stares — and raves — from passersby. Today, many more will see it for the first time.

Among the comments overheard:

  •  “Wow! I never noticed the sculpture in that garden before!”
  • “Is she the goddess of the sea?
  • “Is she Medusa, but not have snakes?”
  • “She’s the captain’s wife, waiting for him to return.”
  • “No, she’s the captain’s wife, waiting for her to return.”
  • “Compo Beach mama will protect my grandson.”
  • “Is she an Indian goddess?”
  • “Why couldn’t they just get a natural tree?”
  • “I have tears in my eyes.”

(Photo/John McKinney)


Speaking still of the fireworks:

All is ready, in many ways. When you gotta go …

(Photos/Dinkin Fotografix)

Here’s hoping we haven’t, um, wiped out United Site Service’s entire inventory.


Compo Beach will look great tonight (except for the port-a-potties).

Burying Hill … not so much.

An “06880” reader sends this photo —

— and writes:

“This looks like a tort waiting to happen.

“The bottom rail is rusted and snapped off the cement step, with no support.

“Folks like the beach ‘rustic.’ I’m sure they don’t like unsafe/dangerous.”

And, the reader adds: “The showers need attention too. And other things.”


Westport’s rainbow crosswalk — installed at 5 a.m. June 1 on Jesup Road and Taylor Place, in honor of Pride month — is showing signs of wear.

But a new crosswalk will replace it soon. And — because honoring the LGBTQ+ community has no end date — it will be permanent.

Yesterday morning, the Board of Selectwomen unanimously approved the new downtown feature.

It will be funded entirely by donations. Material used for the new installation will be thermally fused to the asphalt, which Public Works director Pete Ratkiewich says ensures durability for up to 10 years.

The same material has been used previously on Main Street, as well as by Norwalk for their rainbow crosswalk.

The design will feature 2 white bars, with colored panels representing the full spectrum of the LGBTQ+ community in between.

Dr. Nikki Gorman, who sponsored the June crosswalk with Galia Gichon, hard at work installing it earlier this month.


Today marks the 92nd birthday of the Westport Country Playhouse.

On this day in 1931, the curtain rose on “The Streets of New York.” Dorothy Gish starred, and a new era in American theater was born.

Nearly a century later, the historic institution is in dire straits. Here’s the birthday greeting the Playhouse sent yesterday:

“Tomorrow the Playhouse celebrates 92 years of creating theater and entertainment for all ages right here in Westport!

“Now we need your help to ensure we’re here for another 92 years of vibrant arts programming for our community. Please join us in helping us raise an immediate and necessary $2,000,000 by July 31.

“We’re 10% there and every bit counts — click to give $92 in honor of our birthday or any amount to help save your Playhouse!”

Gloria Swanson arrives at the Westport Country Playhouse (1961).


Lowell Weicker died yesterday, at 92.

The Connecticut Mirror’s obituary begins:

Lowell P. Weicker Jr., who swaggered through three terms as Connecticut’s last Republican senator, challenging Richard Nixon over Watergate and the GOP’s rightward shift under Ronald Reagan, then willed the state’s income tax into existence in a second act as a third-party governor, died Wednesday.

He did not have much to do with Westport, beyond representing us in the US House of Representative for 1 term and the Senate for 3, and serving as governor for 1 term.

But he was a towering figure — both politically and physically — for much of his life.

And, as a moderate, socially progressive Northeast Republican, he was part of a party branch that is now virtually extinct.

Weicker was “a fierce defender of abortion rights, the separation of church and state, and funding for social services, oceanic exploration and AIDS research.” He also co-authored the Americans with Disabilities Act.

In Connecticut, his legacy — proposing and passing a state income tax — endures today.

Click here for the full CT Mirror obituary of this fascinating man.


Timing is everything.

LifeBridge — the Bridgeport non-profit that offers behavioral health services, youth development and asset-building resources for underserved families — scheduled its annual fundraising gala for tonight at the Inn at Longshore.

When they learned the fireworks were set for the same night, they adjusted the timing so guests could get to and from the event without getting stuck in traffic. The new start time is 4 p.m.

Of course, attendees can stay to watch the pyrotechnics after the program ends, at 7:30.

The gala includes the premiere of a documentary featuring Bridgeport middle school youth involved in LifeBridge’s Mural Club. They designed and painted a 100-foot mural on the side of their building on Fairfield Avenue. It’s based on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s concept of a “beloved community,” part of his 6 Principles of Nonviolence.

LifreBridge hopes to serve more youth, in response to soaring demand. To donate, text the word “Beloved” to 53555.

LifeBridge mural.


There was animal drama earlier this week.

Eagle-eyed Westport Library patrons spotted a baby deer trapped on a narrow stretch of rocky shoreline, on the west bank of the Saugatuck River.

(Photo/Keith Styrcula)

Keith Styrcula and Mike Loparo drove across the bridge, to see if they could help unite it with its mother.

Animal Control and the Westport Fire Department responded to calls from residents.

Firefighters had to leave for another call — but returned as soon as they could.

Joe Saponare of Animal Control was there the entire time. With persistence and ingenuity, he eventually got the baby up to land, across from Assumption Church.

Congratulations to Joe, and all who helped in any way.

Part of the rescue effort. (Photo courtesy of Joe Loparo)


Eugene Gans of Westport died Monday, at Norwalk Hospital. He was 93.

The New York City native loved his career and colleagues in R&D at Hoffman-LaRoche, Richardson-Vicks and Medicis.

Gene is survived by his wife of 70 years, Roslyn Gans; daughter Lois Gans Kemp (Lee), grandson Steven Kemp, and family and friends. He was predeceased by his son Steven Gans.

Funeral services will be held today (Thursday, June 29, 11 a.m., Abraham L. Green & Son Funeral Home, Fairfield, CT). Shiva will be observed at the Gans residence in Westport. For more information and to share an online message, click here.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Westport Senior Center, 21 Imperial Ave. Westport, CT 06880 or the Westport Library.


Clearly, today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo was not taken this morning.

 (Photo/Cathy Malkin)

If it had been, you’d see dozens of ghost chairs, tables and tents lining the sand.

And before you yap “Dogs are not allowed on the beach!” — look carefully.

Honey, Daisy, Yogi Bear and Bailey are not actually on the beach.

Happy fireworks!


And finally … on this day in 1956 President Eisenhower signed the Federal Aid Highway Act, officially creating the United States Interstate Highway System.

Sure, it’s now possible to drive the entire length and breadth of the country without stopping for a red light. But today, at least one part of it — I-95 in Connecticut — can be called …

(Today — before celebrating the red, white and blue — consider sending a little green “06880”‘s way. Please click here to support our work. Thank you!)




Roundup: Cribari Bridge, Mahackeno, Bedford Wind Ensemble …

The state Department of Transportation is working on the Cribari Bridge from 10 a.m. through noon today.

They plan intermittent openings and closings. Police officers will be stationed on both sides of the bridge — with one at Post Road West/Wilton Road/Riverside Avenue, and one on Post Road East/Imperial Avenue — to assist with traffic, as it is diverted to the Post Road.

Traffic congestion will be heavy. Drivers are urged to avoid the area if possible.

The Cribari Bridge will be closed intermittently through noon today. (Photo/Adam Goldberg)


The Westport Weston Family YMCA had a split decision this week.

The Planning & Zoning Commission agreed to their requests to increase the capacity of their Mahackeno camp from 360 youngsters to 400, and for 1 more hour of morning practice for the Water Rats swim team.

No whistles may be used at the pool, and someone must be available 24/7 in case of neighbors’ concerns.

But the board denied a request for extended hours for the splash pad and large slide.

The Mahackeno Outdoor Center pool.


Lou Kitchner has had some great bands, during his 16-year career as a beloved Westport music teacher.

But none ever received a 99 score (out of 100) at the Fantastic Festival — an adjudicated event — until this year’s Bedford Middle School Wind Ensemble.

They’re also his first concert band to win 1st place. They beat out 65 bands from 4 states for that honor.

Lou told parents: “A professional trumpet player with a degree in performance commented she has never heard a band at this age, this good. She said, ‘your band puts high school bands to shame. I cannot believe they are middle schoolers and can play like this.’ She went on to compliment their tone, style, mechanics and musicality.”

Congratulations, Lou and all the musicians. Staples High School looks forward to hearing you play! (Hat tip: Maggie Gomez)

The Bedford Middle School wind ensemble. Director Lou Kitchner is in the back row, center.


Speaking of middle school: This year’s 5th graders are headed there next year.

These Kings Highway Elementary School friends are ready for their next adventure. Go get ’em, guys!

From left: Dylan Rosen, Jacob Selzer, Gavin Nash.


The newest Staples Tuition Grants named award honors Dick and Paula Leonard.

For decades, they were fixtures in the Westport community. As a long-time English teacher at Staples High School, president of the Westport Education Association and a labor lawyer, Dick inspired educational excellence for generations of Westport students.

A successful real estate broker, Paula gave generously of her time in many ways. She helped lead construction of the Westport Senior Center and convert the original Saugatuck Elementary School into The Saugatuck, providing moderate income housing to aging town residents.

Paula Leonard died last month. A celebration of her life is set for June 25 (3 p.m., Senior Center).

The award commemorates the spirit of community and volunteerism that Paula and Dick embodied. Click here to donate; click here for the Staples Tuition Grants home page.

Paula and Dick Leonard.


Rindy Higgins was inspired by yesterday’s “06880” story on the Interfaith Refugee Resettlement Committee, and their work to help a Syrian family find a home in Stratford.

The longtime Westporter works with the extended family of 11. She helped get household supplies, offered job ideas, and provided tutoring and love. She’s especially excited at the great progress made by their 6-year-old.

She notes that the 16-, 14- and 11-year-olds need pro bono tutors in math, reading and English. Volunteers can email 06880blog@gmail.com; I’ll pass your information on to Rindy.

Volunteer tutors are needed for 3 Syrian younsters.


Club 203 wrapped up its fantastic first year yesterday, with karaoke at the Westport Library.

The social organization for adults with disabilities welcomed dozens of partiers. CRUMBL Cookies donated goodies, MoCA took care of the art, CTFSN presented on taking new friendships to the next level, and volunteers made everyone feel welcome.

Club 203 kicks up again in September. Click here for more information.

Club 203 karaoke at the Westport Library. (Photo/Stacie Curran)


As if traffic wasn’t bad enough yesterday — the Cribari Bridge was stuck in the “open” position for a while — this supposedly licensed driver ignored the “One Way/Do Not Enter” sign, plus 2 lines of cars facing him, to cause chaos on Main Street.

(Photo/Jamie Walsh)

We’re used to seeing occasional wrong-way automobile drivers. We seldom see wrong-way truckers.

Jamie Walsh describes what happened around 2:30 p.m.: A state trooper pulled the driver over. Cars had to back up onto the Post Road to let the truck pass.

The trooper followed him with lights on, presumably to a safer location to continue their conversation.

Perhaps the trooper could say: “Don’t you know? There’s a cut-through in Parker Harding Plaza!”


Speaking of downtown: Luke Molina is tonight’s (Friday) featured musician on Church Lane.

The Staples High School graduate plays old-school music — Johnny Cash, Led Zeppelin, Muddy Waters, Lead Belly, Hot Tuna — with new flair.

Music for diners and strollers comes courtesy of the Westport Downtown Association. Click here to help support the musicians.

Luke Molina


Everyone in Westport — and, thanks to “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” far beyond — knows the Black Duck.

And everyone in Athens knows it too.

Their Duck does not have sloping floors, and a view of the river. It’s not a former barge.

But, according to Beth Berkowitz — who visited the outdoor café and found it packed with locals (not a tourist in sight) — it too is very relaxing.

“It’s our tour guide’s favorite place for true Greek coffee,” she says.

“More like an espresso shot than like our coffee. And it’s served only black or with a pinch of sugar — no cream or milk. It was great!”

Russ and Beth Berkowitz at the Black Duck — Athens version.


Work on the Evergreen Avenue sewer system between Myrtle Avenue and Washington Avenue begins July 5, and runs through August 4. Through traffic will be detoured from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. weekdays. Evergreen Avenue will be open to the residents of the area.

Markings are made for the Evergreen Avenue sewer project. (Photo/Mark Mathias)


The 2nd annual Westport Pride drag show is set for tomorrow (Saturday, June 17, 5 to 8 p.m., MoCA Westport).

“Light Up the Night” is family friendly. The evening includes neon face painting, hair and makeup services, a photo booth, custom pizzas and cocktails.

The show itself begins at 6 p.m. MC Desmond reads from their book “Be Amazing: A History of Pride.” After 3 performers, there’s a Q-and-A about their journeys.

Click here for tickets, and more information.


Kevin Mashia died Wednesday, at his Norwalk home. He was 54, and began his career at Westport Tile & Design, using his creativity and eye for design well. He then moved on to Hastings Tile.

Kevin is survived by his parents, Richard and Martha; his sister Stephanie, niece Sydney, and many friends.

A Mass of Christian Burial is set for Tuesday, June 20 (10 a.m., Assumption Church). The family will receive friends in the Harding Funeral Home on Monday (June 19, 4 to 7 p.m.). Click here to leave online condolences. Contributions in Kevin’s name may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Kevin Mashia


“Westport … Naturally” has been swamped with dozens of deer photos.

This is the only one, though, that includes a “dear” little kid.

Yash Lorenzato got acquainted with 2 fawns, in his North Bulkley Avenue yard.

(Photo/Gianni Lorenzato)


And finally … here’s a salute to all the 5th and 8th graders in Westport. It’s time for you to be movin’ up … and:

(Before you move on, please consider a donation to “06880.” We’re a non-profit; it’s tax-deductible. Just click here — and thank you!)

Westport Shows Its Pride

Rainbows were everywhere yesterday.

On flags, pins, buttons. flyers, hats — wherever rainbows could be, they were there.

Westport Representative Town meeting member Harris Falk (left) and State Representative Jonathan Steinberg. 

Westport’s 3rd annual Pride celebration drew over 250 people to Jesup Green. 

Older folks, teenagers, toddlers; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, non-binary — and plenty of allies — gathered to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community.


(Photo/Jerri Graham Photography)

There were speeches and proclamation; music and balloons and nail-painting; information booths on everything from healthcare to starting a family.

Most of all, there was fun in the (wind and) sun. Congratulations to Westport Pride, for bringing Westport together. 

(Photo/Bethany Eppner)

Happy Pride!

St. Luke’s School student (and Westport resident) Charlie Lukens gave a powerful speech about his coming out process. The lacrosse player gave shout-outs to his very supportive family and friends … 

… as they listened intently and proudly.

Rev. Alison Patton of Saugatuck Congregational Church welcomed the crowd.

Nails were painted …

… 11-year-old Owen Hill turned balloons into hearts …

… Girl Scouts hoist the Pride flag … (Photo/Jerri Graham Photography)

… and students came out in force.

Dr. Nikki Gorman, co-sponsor of the rainbow crosswalk at nearby Jesup Road, and friend. (Photo/Jerri Graham Photography)

Pride onesie (Photo/Jerri Graham Photography)

Jonathan Alloy officiated at a wedding! (Contributed photo)

The day was filled with music. (Photo/Jerri Graham Photography)

(Photo/Jerri Graham Photography)


(Photo/Jerri Graham Photography)

Selectwomen Andrea Moore and Candice Savin offer greetings. (Photo/Jerri Graham Photography)

State Representative Dominique Johnson offered official greetings.

Jamie Matchotka spoke about being a trans man in Westport.

Love is love. (Photo/Jerri Graham Photography)

Westport Pride founder and MC Brian McGunagle shared the stage with his son. (All photos/Dan Woog unless otherwise noted.)