Tag Archives: Westport Rotary Club

Roundup: WestportREADS, Orphenians Sing, Playhouse Plays …

For over 20 years, the Westport Library has offered one book for the entire community to read — and celebrate — together.

This year’s WestportREADS selection is “Firekeeper’s Daughter.” Angeline Boulley’s young adult novel features 18-year-old Daunis Fontaine, a Native teen who must navigate family tragedy, new relationships, and an FBI investigation to root out the corruption in her community.

The author will deliver a keynote address on February 16, in the Trefz Forum. Events leading up to her appearance include:

  • PageTurners Book Club discussion (January 17, 11 a.m., Westport Library)
  • WestportREADS skating afternoon (January 21, 1 to 5 p.m., Westport PAL Longshore rink)
  • Healing Legacy Trauma (February 1, 7 p.m., Westport Library).
  • WestportREADS book discussion (February 2, 7 p.m., Westport Library).

More events will be announced soon.

Boulley is a member of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians in Michigan. She served as her tribe’s education director, and assistant executive director and on the board of regents at Bay Mills Community College before becoming director for the Office of Indian Education at the U.S. Department of Education.

At the age of 54, she recently published her first novel.

Angeline Boulley (Photo/Marcella Hadden)

“Firekeeper’s Daughter” is a #1 New York Times bestseller, and a Reese Witherspoon Hello Sunshine Book Club YA Pick. It is being adapted by Netflix for TV with former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama’s production company, Higher Ground.

Copies of the book are available for borrowing now at the Library. It is also available as an e-book and audiobook. For more information on WestportREADS, click here.

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

A longstanding Westport Rotary Club tradition returned yesterday. The Staples High School Orphenians performed a holiday show.

The half-hour  a cappella concert was held in the acoustically resonant sanctuary of Green’s Farms Congregational Church. From “Dance of the Sugarplum Fairies” to “Silent Night,” it was a wonderful way to celebrate the holidays.

Conductor Luke Rosenberg leads the Orphenians at the Westport Rotary Club holiday show, in Green’s Farms Church. (Photo and hat tip/Dave Matlow)

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

Mark Yurkiw writes:

“Yesterday was the last day to donate equipment for a shipment to Ukraine. The response was fantastic. Three more generators showed up, and a dozen sleeping bags, and more.

“But yesterday I got a message that the shipping departure date is postponed until next Wednesday.

“There were many people who wanted to donate but couldn’t do it in time. They now have one more week.”

Donations can be brought to 190 Cross Highway and left by the barn. For questions or pickup arrangements, call Mark: 646-873-0050.

Donations for Ukraine — in the country’s familiar blue and yellow colors.

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

“06880” is “where Westport meets the world.”

Lake Gallery is where talented local photographers show stunning large-scale images, taken from around the world.

Westporters Ron Lake and Nancy Breakstone host an opening reception this Friday (December 16, 6 to 8 p.m., 33 Elm Street) of their work.

This is Ron’s second gallery, after opening Focus in 2020 in Woodstock, Vermont. Nancy has curated shows at Earthplace, the Carriage Barn in New Canaan and Rene Soto Gallery in Norwalk.

(Photo/Nancy Breakstone)

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

When COVID shut the Westport Country Playhouse, they reached audiences with a new/old idea: Playhouse Radio Theater.

The curtain has risen again. But the innovative series continues.

Next up: a holiday audio play. “A Merry Little Christmas Carol” — with original music and clever sound effects — airs on WSHU on Christmas Eve (December 24, 6:06 p.m. following the news). It will be rebroadcast Christmas Day (December 25, 1:06 p.m.).

Click here for the livestream. Click here for frequencies and locations. Click here for the link via the Playhouse website (available through January 1).

“A Merry Little Christmas Carol” is written and directed by Mark Shanahan, adapted from his play of the same name, and based on “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens. Shanahan is curator of Playhouse Radio Theater, in addition to curating the Playhouse Script in Hand play reading series.

WCP artistic director Mark Lamos narrates, with noted Playhouse actors like Paxton Whitehead (Scrooge). Running time is 2 hours.

Bah, humbug!

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

Longtime Westport Public Schools director of personnel Nancy Bonvini died peacefully last week. She was 88, and lived in Fairfield.

Following her retirement in 1999, she volunteered at Black Rock School, and was a tutor at Mercy Learning Center.

She enjoyed listening to good music, was an avid reader, and enjoyed time by Long Island Sound and surrounded by nature.

A service will be held tomorrow (Thursday, December 15, 11 a.m. Spear-Miller Funeral Home, 39 South Benson Road, Fairfield). Interment will follow in St. Michael’s Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, friends may consider a donation in Nancy’s memory to Mercy Learning Center, 637 Park Ave., Bridgeport, CT 06604.

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

An almost-winter day showcases Westport’s stark beauty, in today’s “Westport … Naturally” feature. This beach is on Saugatuck Shores.

(Photo/Dinkin Fotografix)

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

And finally … on this day in 1782, the Montgolfier brothers first flew an unmanned hot air balloon in France. It floated nearly 1.6 miles.

(“06880” is seldom filled with hot air. Please click here to support your hyper-local blog. Thank you!)

 

 

 

Roundup: Dance Party, Menorah, Yuki Kitchen …

I’m an idiot.

I posted yesterday’s Roundup story about the Hackett family’s used sports equipment drive — it benefits Leveling the Playing Field, a non-profit that helps youngsters in need — without including where to drop the cleats, balls and more off.

They’ll be at the Granola Bar this Saturday and Sunday (December 10 and 11), from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Click here for a list of items you can donate. You know you’ve got some of it lying unused all around your house!

From left: Max Levitt (Founder of Leveling The Playing Field), Alex Hackett, Daisy Hackett, Chloe Hackett

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

Before COVID, Julie Whamond hosted a dance party every year. It was her gift to friends — a way to let off steam during the stressful holiday season.

This year, it’s back.

And it’s better than ever. Julie is using the festivities to raise donations for Westport’s Warm-Up Fund.

The Fund — an initiative of Westport’s Department of Human Services — helps income-qualified residents with their home heating expenses.

The date is next Wednesday (December 14, 7 to 10 p.m.). Julie secured Christ & Holy Trinity Church’s Branson Hall. She hired a DJ.

Now she just needs even more folks to attend. Whether you know Julie or not: You’re invited!

Venmo a $30 (or more) donation: @Julie-Whamond. Wear festive attire. Bring a drink or snack to share. Then party down for the Warm-Up Fund.

Questions? Email Whamondjoy@gmail.com.

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

The Westport Police have released arrest reports for the December 1-7 period.

Two people were detained in custody. One was charged with operating a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol, failure to obey traffic control signal, and failure to drive in the proper lane.

The other custodial arrest was for conspiracy to commit burglary; oeperating a motor vehicle without a license; failure to renew registration; misuse of plates, and insurance coverage fails to meet minimum requirements.

The following citations were issued:

  • Traveling unreasonably fast: 18
  • Stop sign violation: 4
  • Violation of any traffic commission regulation: 3
  • Operating a motor vehicle without a license: 2
  • Operating an unregistered motor vehicle: 2
  • Failure to display plates: 2
  • Misuse of license plates: 1
  • Insurance coverage fails to meet minimum requirements: 2
  • Following too closely: 1
  • Failure to renew registration: 1

Not a suggestion. A command.

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

Longtime ESPN reporter, E60 host Jeremy Schaap — a 1988 Staples High School graduate, and current Westport resident — never shies away from important issues.

He is the lead reporter and narrator of a new film, “The  Survivor.” The documentary examines the 1972 Munich Massacre. That September, terrorists murdered 11 Israeli athletics at the Summer Olympics.

Schapp will screen the film at the Westport Library on Monday (December 12, 7 p.m.). Immediately afterward, the 11-time Emmy Award-winning investigative journalist will host a talkback

Schaap traveled to Israel and Germany to tell the story through the eyes of 86-year-old Israeli race walker Shaul Ladany. He survived the massacre — as he had World War II and the Holocaust, when he was a child.

“In his long life, Shaul Ladany has seen up close the worst of humanity,” says Schaap. “Not only has he survived, he has pressed forward, constantly, to lead a life of achievement. The lessons of his life are valuable to us all. I was honored to be part of the team that told the story of what he endured and what he witnessed. Ladany’s story is not so well-known here in the United States — but it should be.”

The Munich Massacre was the first terrorist attack broadcast live on television around the world. “The Survivor” breaks down the tragedy through archival video and news reports, along with new interviews and reporting.

Jeremy Schaap

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

Open Rice — the Chinese food takeout place between Sherwood Diner and Earth Animal — closed in June.

It’s been replaced by Yuki Kitchen. The Japanese food takeout place features sushi, bento boxes, noodles and more. Click here for the menu.

Yuki Kitchen (Photo/Dan Woog)

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

What will you do with over 500 pairs of shoes?

If you’re Soles4Souls — the non-profit that collects new and gently used shoes — you’ll distribute them to people in need.

And you’ll do it with Westporters’ help.

This holiday season, Ken Bernhard and Ted Freedman led a drive that collected all those 500-plus shoes here. Collection boxes were placed at Town Hall, police headquarters and the Senior Center.

Ken and Ted thank all who contributed. It’s one small step — now, in proper shoes — to help break the cycle of poverty.

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

An outdoor menorah will be lit on December 20 — and everyone is invited.

The event — on the 3rd night of Hanukkah — is set for Weston Center, at 6:15 p.m.

Doing the honors are Rabbi Levi & Chanie Stone, co-directors of the Chabad Schneerson Center. There’s live music too.

Hanukkah gelt and cookies, doughnuts and dreidels will be distributed to all.

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

The Westport Rotary Club presented its annual Community Service and Public Protection Awards on Tuesday.

Recipients included artist and homeless advocate Nina Bentley; former Westport 1st Selectman Jim Marpe; RTM veteran Velma Heller; the Westport chapter of the National Charity League (represented by member Lisa Price), and Builders Beyond Borders executive director Amy Schroeder-Riggio.

Firefighter Rob Lenois and police officer Kevin Smith also earned awards for individual acts of heroism.

Nina Bentley receives her Westport Rotary Club award from Karl Mergenthaler and Leslie Roberts. (Photo/Jeff Wieser)

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

These women don’t need shoes. Flip-flops are fine.

All year long.

(Photo/Tammy Barry)

They swim every Friday and Sunday — yes, even now.

The water temperature these days is 50 degrees. The air temperature is lower.

It will get a lot lower soon. But they promise to be in the water, when the rest of us are sitting lazily by a fire.

To each her own.

And congrats!

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

A concerned reader emailed this photo yesterday:

It shows oil on the Saugatuck River, just below the Cribari Bridge.

“I don’t know where it’s coming from,” he says. “But it’s been there all day.”

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

George Billis Gallery is moving again.

After opening on Main Street in late 2020 — in the midst of COVID, the 3rd outpost after New York and Los Angeles — the exhibit space moved to Post Road East.

Next stop: Fairfield. The 1700 Post Road location opens January 1.

“I love Westport. But the rent it too high for permanent space,” owner George Billis says.

He looks forward to welcoming customers to his new gallery. And hopes they’ll stop by before he relocates, for the moving sale going on now.

The first site of George Billis gallery, on Main Street.

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

The moon sets every morning. That gets less love from “06880” photographers than when it rises, and hangs high in the sky.

And a lot less love than sunrises and sunsets.

So today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo shines a light on the moonset. It was taken this morning by Matt Murray, and shows Sherwood Mill Pond, looking west toward Hillspoint Road.

(Photo/Matt Murray)

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

And finally … Joyce Bryant died recently, in Los Angeles. She was 95, and suffered from Alzheimer’s.

I’d never heard of her. But according to her New York Times obituary, she was :a sultry singer of the 1940s and ’50s who broke racial barriers in nightclubs and raised the hackles of radio censors before setting aside her show business career in favor of missionary work, then reinventing herself as a classical and opera singer,”

Click here for her fascinating life story. Click below to hear a bit of her work:

(Obscure nightclub singers, police reports, menorah lightings, new Japanese restaurants — “06880” brings you all the Roundup news, every day. If you enjoy our work, please click here to contribute. Thank you!)

250 Turkeys

Today, Westporters sit down to holiday meals. We’ll give thanks for all we have.

A few miles away, dozens of others will enjoy a holiday meal too. They can thank a lucky decision, a few phone calls, and some very generous men and women.

A couple of weeks ago, Gillian Anderson drove her husband to Bridgeport Hospital for a pre-op test.

As she waited, she had an idea: call nearby Summerfield Methodist Church to say hi.

The United Methodist Church of Westport and Weston often partners with Summerfield, with donations of clothing and food. Gerry Nelson — the administrative assistant to Pastor Herron Gaston — told Gillian that their annual Thanksgiving meal offering to the community was in jeopardy. They were 80 turkeys short of their 200 target.

Gillian contacted members of both her church and club: Westport Rotary. Quickly, they made plans to provide the birds.

Just as quickly, promises of turkey donations — and Venmo cash — to buy more poured in, from United Methodist church members and Rotarians.

Gillian Anderson and turkeys, at United Methodist Church.

Gillian headed to Stop & Shop. In the checkout line with a dozen turkeys, she chatted with the man ahead, and his young daughter. Inspired, he paid for 3 turkeys.

A Rotary friend was in line behind Gillian. She bought 4. The spontaneous generosity allowed Gillian to buy more.

By Sunday 50 turkeys had been donated or bought, and put in the fridge.

The next morning, the number grew. Gillian, fellow Rotarians and congregants soon delivered 72 turkeys — plus 80 servings of stuffing mix and rice — to Summerfield Methodist Church.

Gerry Nelson, with some of Summerfield’s turkey dinners …

Meanwhile, indefatigable organizer Gerry Nelson was working her own magic. Thanks to her diligence, and that of Gillian and her crew, Summerfield far surpassed their goal.

Today, 250 Bridgeport families will enjoy a hearty holiday meal. Thanks to all who helped!

… and Summerfield church members, helping out.

Roundup: Clarendon Fine Art, Blues, Jazz …

Clarendon Fine Art has over 80 galleries across the UK.

But none in the US.

Until next month.

Clarendon’s very first American gallery opens at 22 Main Street. That’s the new construction on the right side, just north of Post Road East.

The world’s largest gallery group wants to make art “accessible to all.” They boast an eclectic portfolio of artists, across a broad range of genres. 

The new 3,200-square foot building will showcase an international portfolio of originals, collector’s editions, and sculpture from famous names, alongside emerging talents.

Works from artists like Picasso, Miro, Warhol and Hockney; cutting edge pop, street, and contemporary art; more traditional work including landscape, wildlife, still life, figurative and abstract art, is all on sale at Clarendon.

CEO Helen Swaby calls Westport “a thriving cultural and creative center (which), like Clarendon, has a strong commitment to the preservation of community, traditions and quality of life.”

A British Clarendon gallery.

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

Yesterday was special not only because America voted.

There was also a lunar eclipse.

Maggie Dobbins was up early, to capture both it and the sunrise.

(Photos/Maggie Dobbins)

But wait … there’s more!

Twelve hours later, a full beaver moon rose over Compo. Seth Goltzer was there.

(Photo/Seth Goltzer)

And Rick Benson was at Sherwood Mill Pond …

(Photo/Rick Benson)

… while not far away was Seth Goltzer:

(Photo/Seth Goltzer)

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

Mark Naftalin’s 3rd “Blue Sunday” rocks the Westport Library on November 20.

The keyboardist/producer/radio host/Rock & Roll Hall of Famer has curated a great set of blues musicians, for the latest in the monthly series.

The November Blue Sunday features “Beehive Queen” and “Saturday Night Live” chanteuse Christine Ohlman, blues and soul man Willie J. Laws, plus Naftalin’s already legendary Blue Sunday Band, with Crispin Cioe, Paul Gabriel and JD Seem.

The first 2 Blue Sundays drew packed houses to the Library’s Trefz Forum. The November 20 concert begins at 2:30 p.m.

You won’t be wailing over the admission price. Unbelievably, it’s free.

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

On Friday, the Westport Police Department’s 3rd annual Officer Awards ceremony recognized outstanding from 2021.

Among the honorees were 2 civilians: “06880” Unsung Hero Tucker Peters, for saving a friend from drowning after their boat tipped over last summer, and Jose Rodriguez, who helped a woman climb to safety after falling onto the train tracks.

Also recognized: Assistant Fire Chief Matthew Cohen and firefighter Michael Durette who assisted officers in locating a dangerous felon.

Westport Police Department officers were of course recognized for their success in a variety of incidents involving armed suspects, barricaded subjects, the mentally ill, and time consuming, in-depth investigations.

Detectives Ashley Delvecchio and Marc Heinmiller were co-recipients of the 2021 Officer of the Year Award, for their consistent and innate ability to solve investigative cases.

In all, 40 officers received awards. Many were multiple recipients.

Police Chief Foti Koskinas, with Marc Heinmiller and Ashley Delvecchio, co-Officers of the Year.

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

The Westport Library’s Book Sale is (almost) here.

The upcoming event (Friday through Monday) features thousands of gently used books in more than 50 categories, including children’s, classics, fiction, mysteries, sci-fi/fantasy, art, photography, math, science, psychology, religion, biography, business, cooking, gardening, performing arts, travel, foreign language — to name just a few.

Items of special interest: leather-bound vintage book sets; extensive collections of history books and cookbooks; a new “Fiction for $1” room; from the personal library of Joseph Califano, former US Secretary of HEW, books signed to him by their authors, including one by Dr. Seuss. and a card from the Broadway show “In the Heights” signed by Lin-Manuel Miranda and other cast members.

Also on sale: a broad array of DVDs and CDs, and a limited selection of collectibles and artwork.

The book sale benefits both the Library and Westport Book Shop, the used bookstore on Jesup Green that provides employment for people with disabilities.

Volunteers are still needed. To help, email volunteers@westportbooksales.org.

Admission to the book sale is free (except early access Friday morning. Click here for more information, including times and daily specials.

The Westport Library Book Sale.(Photo/Dan Woog)

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

It’s become a tradition: Because the Westport Rotary Club meets each Tuesday at noon, the 1st selectperson now address addresses the group every Election Day.

Westport First Selectwoman Jen Tooker did the honors yesterday, at Green’s Farms Congregational Church. She talked about traffic congestion, Longshore and downtown.

She also expressed concern about the state of public discourse in the US, and how it impacts who chooses to serve in positions like hers.

1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker at yesterday’s Rotary Club. (Photo and hat tip/Dave Matlow)

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

Westport Country Playhouse is going mobile.

The 91-year-old institution now brings live theater to schools, parks, community centers and other gathering spots.

They supply the fully staged play. Your group supplies the audience.

The first production –“Scaredy Kat Presents” — is designed for grades 5 through 9. But it entertains audiences of all ages, while fostering an understanding of social/emotional wellness.

The tour begins in January, with dates available for booking. School, religious institution, library and community space administrators can click here for more details, and booking information.

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

Congratulations to Witt Lindau and Delaney McGee.

The Staples High School musicians participated in the National Association for Music Education conference, as part of the All-National Honor Ensembles. They were selected by video audition, from the top music students in the country.

Delaney played trumpet in the All-National Orchestra, while Witt Lindau was a drummer with the All National Modern Band) (aka known as a “rock band”).

Congratulations too (of course!) to Staples band director Phil Giampietro.

Witt Lindau and Delaney McGee.

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

The recent HBO special on Paul Newman, and publication of his memoir, has brought Paul Newman back in the spotlight.

Nearly everyone in Westport has a story about our down-to-earth neighbor. Gil Ghitelman shares his:

“Kenyon College — Newman’s alma mater — is mentioned frequently in his new book.

“My son Nick (Kenyon ’94) gave me a hoodie I occasionally wear on spirited walks to town. Recently several Westporters asked if I knew Paul.

Gil Ghitelman, in his Kenyon hoodie.

“I never met him. But my wife had an encounter that is worth telling.

“They both were in the checkout line at Organic Market in Playhouse Square. Paul was buying, of all things, a couple of Newman’s Own peanut butter cups.

“Dispensing with the unwritten protocol to ignore local celebrities — let alone initiate a conversation — she said, ‘Excuse me. Are those any good?’

“Newman smiled and replied, ‘They better be.  I’m paying full retail for them.’”

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

When Marisa Zer arrived home the other night, she could not get in her Greens Farms area driveway.

Two bucks fighting for supremacy blocked her way.

She did not get involved. Instead, she took a photo for “06880,” Day or night, anything can happen in our “Westport … Naturally” world.

(Photo/Melissa Zer)

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

And finally … the day after Americans voted, all the results are not yet in. Some may take days to tabulate.

While the count goes on, let’s all heed Jackson Browne’s words:

We may lose, and we may win …
Take it easy.

Roundup: Saugatuck Provisions, Real Housewives, Drugs …

Coming soon to Saugatuck: Original Craft Butchery co-owner Paul Nessel will reopen — with a new business — in the former Fleishers Craft Butchery space on Riverside Avenue, across from Saugatuck Sweets.

The target date for “Saugatuck Provisions” is a few weeks. (Hat tip: JD Dworkow)

Paul Nessel (Photo courtesy of Modern Farmer magazine)

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

Somehow I missed last week’s Bravocon video of Christian Siriano judging the looks of “Real Housewives” cast members.

But Stephanie Ostroff caught it.

She sent a link to “06880.” Click below to watch — particularly at the 4:30 mark, when he talks about Westport, his new store here, and the possibility of a “Real Housewives of Westport.”

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

Yesterday was a big day for Rick Benson

The longtime Westporter and always-eager civic volunteer celebrated his 75th birthday. It was also the 77th anniversary of the signing of the United Nations Charter — an organization supported from the start by Rotary International, of which Benson is a proud, active and long-serving member.

Throughout his 33 years in Rotary, he has taken on many roles. He and his wife Totney have also given generously.

So generously, that they are one of only 3 couples from Connecticut to achieve membership in Rotary’s Arch Klumph Society. They’re in the Trustee’s Circle, for gifts of $250,000 to $499,999.

Oh, yeah: yesterday was also the 34th anniversary of a promise Rotary made to the children of the world: to eradicate wild polio. In that time, the disease has gone from 350,000 cases globally to only 29 cases this year, in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Happy birthday, Rick. And thanks, Rick and Totney, for all you do, in Westport and around the planet. (Hat tip: Mark Mathias)

Rick and Totney Benson, with Rotary officials in Kampala, Uganda.

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

For more than 2 decades, the US Drug Enforcement Administration has run a  “Drug Take Back Day” program. Over 16 million pounds of prescription medicines have been removed from circulation.

This Saturday (October 29, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.), Westport Police Department again partners in this effort. Medications can be dropped off at the Senior Center, on Imperial Avenue. The event is free, and anonymous; no questions are asked.

Liquids or needles cannot be accepted; only pills or patches. Vape pens are accepted if the batteries are removed.

A year-round collection bin is available in the lobby of police headquarters on Jesup Road. For more information, click here.

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

This week’s “Jazz at the Post” features guitarist Bob DeVos. He’s joined by Dan Kostelnik on bass, drummer Steve Johns, and of course Greg Wall, Westport’s own “Jazz Rabbi” saxophonist.

There are 2 sets on Thursday (October 27, VFW Post 399, 465 Riverside Avenue): 7:30 and 8:40 p.m. Dinner is available from 7 p.m. on. For reservations, email jazzatthepost@gmail.com.

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

This past weekend’s Staples High School boys basketball fundraiser was a great success. Kids of all ages participated, helping raise funds for a players’ lounge, video equipment and pre-season camp.

The second part of the fundraiser — a virtual silent auction — runs through this coming Friday (October 28). Items include Knicks, Broadway and Stephen Colbert tickets; autographed basketballs; a lesson with a varsity player, and more. Click here for details, and bids.

Taking a break during the Staples basketball fundraiser: Nicholas Fey, Jackson Shapiro and Ryder Shapiro,

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

Speaking of hoops: 2015 Staples graduate Bailey Claffey sang the national anthem before last night’s Knicks game, at Madison Square Garden.

She earned the honor by sending in a demo tape. (Hat tip: Julie Whamond)

Bailey Claffin, at Madison Square Garden.

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

Former Westporter John Preston died earlier this month, at 75.

The Michigan native met his future wife Janet at the University of Michigan. They married in 1970. 

He attended the Department of Defense Language Institute, and earned an MBA from Harvard Business School in 1975.

He and his family lived in Westport for nearly 2 decades. They raised 3 children and had many friends here.

John spent 21 years at The Seagram Company, rising to senior vice president and treasurer. In 2004 he and Janet moved to Miami where he spent 14 years at Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits as vice president of finance and administration. She died in 2016.

He moved in 2020 to Portland, Oregon to be closer to his son and daughter, and their families. He moved to Wilmette, Illinois, shortly before his death.

John was an avid golfer, voracious reader and lifelong lover of speaking Spanish..

John is survived by his three children Regan, Lilly and Wells; their spouses Jordan, Nik, and Chrissy; granddaughters, Maylin, Marlowe, Daphne, Oona and June; and siblings Susan Root, Thomas Preston and Sarah Linthicum. 

A memorial will be held December 3 in Wilmette, Illinois. Click here for details. 

John Preston

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

A little kid, a large tree and fall foliage highlight today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo.

It’s from Blind Brook Road. But colors like this can be seen — for a few more days, anyway — all over town.

(Photo/Ellie Magnuson)

And finally … this may be offensive to some people. So if you don’t like the word “a–hole,” stop reading.

If you think there are a lot of a–holes on I-95 though*, click on August Campbell’s video below. It’s 7 years old, but I’d never heard of it (or him).

At any rate: Enjoy!

*There are.

(Don’t be an a–hole. Contribute to “06880.” Please click here!)

Roundup: Alex Jones, Henry Kissinger, Kennedy’s Barber …

In the wake of yesterday’s jury determination that Infowars fabulist/Sandy Hook denier Alex Jones must pay nearly $1 billion to families of victims of that school massacre, “06880” reader Kristan Hamlin lauds the work of Westport attorney Josh Koskoff and his law firm, Koskoff Koskoff & Bieder.

She writes: “Congratulations to the lead counsel in the case, Christopher Mattei, a fine human being and an excellent lawyer — the best of our profession — and to the entire Koskoff law firm.

“As Robbie Parker (a parent of a slaughtered 6-year-old) so eloquently said, you gave back to these re-victimized victims their voices. I am so proud of all of them, and to the Connecticut jury and the Connecticut judge in this case.”

Josh Koskoff

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

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

To make a real difference, Westport’s Department of Human Services and Domestic Violence Task Force are collecting used cell phones and iPads, to benefit the Domestic Violence Crisis Center of Norwalk and Stamford. Clients can use them to ensure their safety, and avoid tracking by their abuser.

The DVCC provides free, confidential services to victims of domestic violence and their children in Westport and surrounding towns.

Donation bins are located at Westport Town Hall and the Senior Center, and available weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Questions? Call 203-341-1050 or email humansrv@westportct.gov. For  information about the Domestic Violence Crisis Center, click here.

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

The list of Westport barbers has been shaved by one.

Kennedy’s All-American Barber emailed members yesterday: “Effective immediately, all memberships have been frozen. Due to company wide and market changes we are ceasing operations as it was and starting something new and special.

“We helped rejuvenate a dying industry of men’s grooming 13 years ago. Hundreds of shops opened as a direct result of our brining [sic] high end men’s grooming shops back to its former glory. We lead an industry wide movement to bring back high end men’s grooming.

“We are entering a new economic and business climate and healing from the two years of drastic sales decline due to covid. Men that go to the office instantly became a thing of the past. That was our typical client. So we are adapting once more. We are going mobile. Brining [sic] the barbershop to you. In a high end mobile showpiece packed with all the equipment and luxury you are used to, and many of the same staff you have grown to love.” (Hat tip: MaryLou Roels)

Kennedy’s in Playhouse Square.

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

Staples High School Class of 2015 graduate Rachel Doran was just 21 years old when she died. But her memory lives on strongly. And her relatives and friends use it to help other families facing critical illnesses, by providing lodging, food and transportation aid.

Rach’s Hope — the non-profit founded in her name — holds its 2nd annual Family Fun Walk this Sunday at Compo Beach (3 p.m.).

Need extra incentive? Rachel’s grandfather Michael Isenberg has pledged to walk 1,000 miles yearly for Rach’s Hope. All you need to do is walk 1 mile!

Participants will receive special prizes, hear live music, and enjoy gourmet pizza and drinks from Pizza Pie Wagon and Greens Farms Spirit Shop.

To purchase tickets, donate or learn more about Rach’s Hope, click here. You can follow Rach’s Hope on Facebook and Instagram: @rachs.hope.

Rachel Doran

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

Margot Liotta debuts tomorrow!

The Staples High School Class of 2019 graduate — now a student at Berklee College of Music — has been working on her EP for over a year. She started it in Westport, during the pandemic.

The producer is Staples classmate Zach Rogers. Her manager — fellow SHS ’19 alum Kevin Ludy — helped make the album cover. It includes a familiar Compo Beach cannon scene:

Click here for the pre-save link. Click here for Margot’s TikTok; click here for her Instagram.

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

Most Westport Rotary Club speakers talk about current issues.

Tuesday’s guest – Westport resident Robert Augustyn —  went back in time. The owner of Robert Augustyn Rare Maps & Prints discussed historical maps, including one from 1478 that represents a recovery of knowledge from the Roman Empire.

He also highlighted a 1507 map by Johannes Ruysch that was the one of the first to portray America; an 1878 bird’s-eye view of Westport, and a local business directory poster from 1854 that features the Metropolitan Oyster House restaurant and a “mechanical” dentist who made house calls. 

Robert Augustyn describes a Westport map at Tuesday’s Rotary Club meeting. (Photo and hat tip/Dave Matlow)

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

This Sunday’s “Andrew Wilk Presents…” features a special performance by American String Quartet violinist Peter Winograd, and celebrated pianist Rohan De Silva. Wilk himself — the noted executive producer of “Live at Lincoln Center” — will lead a Q-and-A with the artists.

The event is October 16 (2 p.m., Westport Library).

From left: Rohan De Silva, Andrew Wilk, Peter Winograd.

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

If you’re a psychic you know this already, but: “celebrity psychic medium” Karyn Reece will be in Westport for a “VIP event” November 12 (7:30 p.m., Amy Simon Fine Arts).

The event features (as you also already know) light bites, wine, and “audience-style readings and messages with Karyn.”

Karyn Reece

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

Henry Kissinger is still alive.

At 99 years old, he’s just published a new book: Leadership: Six Studies in World Strategy

On Friday, October 21 (1 p.m.), Staples High School 1972 graduate/lawyer/writer Talmage Boston interviews the former Secretary of State for his “Cross Examining History” podcast. Click here for he Zoom link.

Henry Kissinger

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

Purple is the color of epilepsy awareness.

On October 30, the Epilepsy Foundation of Connecticut hosts their annual Purple Pumpkin 5K at Sherwood Island State Park (8:45 p.m.).

While parents and teenagers run, youngsters can paint a pumpkin purple. All attendees are invited to wear something purple too.

Light refreshments are available after the race. The $35 registration fee includes a t-shirt. To register, click here.

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

The Fresh Market ospreys get most of Westport’s love. The Sherwood Mill Pond and Burying Hill ones get the rest.

But what about the Nash’s Pond osprey? Tricia Freeman offers this raptor, for today’s “Westport … Naturally” feature:

(Photo/Tricia Freeman)

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

And finally … Anita Kerr died Monday in Switzerland. She was 94.

The session singer and arranger had a long career in both country and pop music. Click here for a full obituary.

Among her accomplishments: singing backup on Roy Orbison’s memorable song:

(The Roundup is a daily “06880” feature. Please click here to support your hyper-local blog.)

 

Pic Of The Day #1980

One more look at Saturday’s Rotary club LobsterFest: inside the cracking tent (Photo/Dave Matlow)

LobsterFest!

It took years for the Memorial Day parade and 4th of July fireworks to become Westport institutions.

It’s taken LobsterFest just about 10.

The Westport Rotary Club’s mega-fundraiser has become one of the hottest tickets (on an always-perfect mid-September Saturday).

There’s something (lobsters, oysters, steak, burgers, beer, wine, soda, music, kids’ stuff) for everyone. What began as an event for Rotarians and their friends has become a party for folks of all ages. This year’s LobsterFest drew more families, with more young kids, than ever.

The goal was to raise $200,000 — for the Rotary Club to distribute to many worthy causes, in Fairfield County and around the globe.

If the lines of cars and crowds are any indication, they made it.

And if the smiles and full stomachs are any indication of what the event means to Westport — well, mark your calendars now for Lobsterfest 2023!

The money shot.

Quick service, with big smiles.

You can’t have lobster without clams.

1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker helped pour some cold ones …

… as did this bipartisan crew of Planning & Zoning chair Danielle Dobin, and 2nd Selectwoman Andrea Moore.

There were plenty of non-alcoholic drinks. (“Liquid Death” is of course sparkling water.)

LobsterFest drew older Westporters …

… and several generations …

… and members of Norwalk Rotary too.

The band played on …

… and Mr. Bumbles played to the kids’ crowd.

Volunteers from Sustainable Westport made sure that nearly every bit of trash was recycled properly.

Hook’d provided the ice cream. Their sign, though, was a bit of wishful thinking.

This sign covered all the bases …

… while this one was great for the Westport Rotary Club, not so great for anyone without a ticket. (All photos/Dan Woog)

(Like LobsterFest, “06880” serves the entire community. Please click here to support your hyper-local blog.)

Roundup: LobsterFest, Woodside Bash, Ride + Walk …

Tickets for Westport Rotary Club’s LobsterFest (this Saturday, September 17, Compo Beach, 3 to 7 p.m.). are all sold out.

But individual donations are still welcome to help fund the Rotarians’ many great projects.

And volunteers are still needed, to help throw Westport’s greatest crustacean-focused event.

Click here to donate; then click “Please Donate or Sponsor.”

Use the same link to volunteer; then click on “Sign up As a Volunteer. Volunteers will be offered a hamburger and unlimited drinks at no charge.

LobsterFest volunteers

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

There’s still time to sign up for Sunday’s William Raveis Ride + Walk (September 18, Calf Pasture Park, Norwalk, 8 a.m.).

The event includes 2 bike rides (12 and 24 miles), a 5K walk (or run), and a 100-yard dash for kids.

Sign up as part of the “Way to Go Westport” (as a Westport office participant), or form your own team. Click here to register, and for more details.

All proceeds go directly to the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

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

Tickets are going fast for Earthplace’s party under the stars.

Woodside Bash is set for Saturday, October 1 (7 to 10 p.m.). The night includes enjoy a harvest dinner, an open bar, signature cocktails, live music  (Pimpinella returns for the 4th year in a row), and (of course) a mechanical bull.

Click here for tickets and more information.

The next day (Sunday, October 2, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.), Earthplace hosts a family-friendly Fall Festival. Among the attractions: apple slingshot, donut on a string, climbing wall, animal encounters, food trucks and more. Tickets can be bought that day, or in advance here.

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

Eating disorder specialist Erica Adler joins with registered dieticians Alyssa Lavy and Amy Schwarz have created a special group for teenagers who struggle with self-esteem as it relates to body image. It meets weekly, starting September 22 at 4:30 p.m.

For more information, email hellonorthstarwellness@gmail.com, or call 203-246-7615.

Erica Adler

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

There were smiles all around at yesterday’s ribbon-cutting for Bridgewater Chocolates. The new business — Westport’s 3rd chocolate shop — is located in Parker Harding Plaza, near GG & Joe’s.

And why wouldn’t everyone be smiling? As soon as the ribbon was cut, there were samples for all.

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

Not far from Bridgewater Chocolates, magic of another kind took place.

A crew from Terrain got down and dirty, making sure the planters outside Mrs. London’s Bakery look autumnally great.

(Photo/Dan Woog)

Those planters are parts of Westport we take for granted. But they don’t just happen.

They take real work — the kind that’s seldom seen. Unless you’re in the right place, at the right time.

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

Happy Panda Mandarin School opened 12 years ago, in the basement of a Weston home. It grew quickly, and relocated to Wilton.

Now it’s moved again: to 2nd floor space in Westport’s Nash’s Plaza (179 Post Road West).

Classes include Chinese HSK (1-6 levels), Chinese Made Easy (1-4 levels), Writing and Homework Help.

For more information click here, email info@hpmandarinschool.org, or call 203-291-9228. (Hat tip: Felicia Catale)

Happy student at Happy Panda.

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

The Black Feathers make a rare local appearance October 1 (8 p.m.). They’ll be a Voices Café, at the Unitarian Church.

Both the UK duo and the church share a strong commitment to social justice. A portion of the proceeds of the concert benefit community organizations including anti-racism, identity and equity, and immigration and refugee efforts, plus local programs that serve under-resourced communities.

Click here for in-person or livestream tickets.

The Black Feathers

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

Seen on this port-a-potty on Caccamo Lane:

The handmade sign says: “NO dog poop bags in portable toilet or dumpsters.”

The bottom line adds: “Are you kidding?”

The potty is on a private work site, in a residential neighborhood. It shouldn’t be too much to ask area residents to 1) clean up after your dog, and then 2) dispose of your dog poop at your own home.

No s—.

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

Leaves are not the only things that awe us with their fall (well, almost) colors.

Danielle Dobin spotted this beautiful “Westport … Naturally” sight yesterday, on Compo Beach Road:

(Photo/Danielle Dobin)

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

And finally … famed saxophonist and bandleader Cannonball Adderley was born on this day in 1928. He died in 1975, just 46, after a stroke.

(“06880” is your hyper-local blog. Please click here to support our work.)

LobsterFest: Huge Town Party Needs Cooks, Crackers And More

It may be the biggest party in town.*

Tickets are going fast LobsterFest — the September 17 lobster/steak/ drinks/music/kids’ activities blowout at Compo Beach.

In fact, by the time this is posted it may already be sold out.

But you can still go. Just sign up to volunteer!

It takes many hands to put on the massive fundraiser. (Which raises massive funds. This year’s goal is $200,000, to help dozens of charitable projects in Fairfield County and around the world.)

Besides all those hard-working Rotarians, folks of all ages are needed to greet the 1,500 guests, crack lobsters, prep other food, cook, pour beer and wine, carry trays for seniors, sell raffle tickets, etc. etc., etc. haul trash

And of course, help set up and clean up.

LobsterFest volunteers

It’s a true community-wide event. And besides giving much-needed aid, volunteers can enjoy it too. They get a burger or hot dog, a drink ticket, a cool t-shirt — and share in the camaraderie of a fun, truly feel-good day.

The Rotary Club has thought of everything, to make LobsterFest sizzle. The mid-September date ensures that the lobsters have finished shedding their old shells, so they’re especially big.

Texas Roadhouse returns to cook the steaks, to perfection. There are several great beer vendors, and non-alcoholic drinks.

The Rotary Club takes sustainability seriously. Lobster shells are recycled (after de-banding); bottles are recyclable, and there’s plenty of composting.

There are more tents than ever, and — for those worried about COVID — a drive-thru option, to pick up your surf-and-turf.

The band HRMB will play its popular classic rock. Youngsters will love Daisy Mae and Mr. Bumbles — noted entertainers on the kids’ circuit.

Chowing down at last year’s LobsterFest.

But, Rotary officials emphasize: It can’t happen without volunteer help.

Many hands make light work.

And 3,000 lobsters broil.

(LobsterFest is Saturday, September 17, from 3 to 7 p.m. Click here to volunteer. Click here for tickets, if available. There are still spots for sponsors, too. Email ganderson24@optonline.net for more information.)

*Besides the June 30th fireworks.

(Like LobsterFest, “06880” relies on community support. Please click here to help.)