Tag Archives: Westport Sunrise Rotary

Roundup: Low Bridge, Levitt, Lightning Bug …

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One question should be asked at every truck rental place in the country: “What do you do when you see the Saugatuck Avenue railroad underpass in Westport? A) Find an alternate route. B) Plow straight ahead and destroy our truck.”

That might avoid some — but, human beings being who they are, probably not all — of the regular shearings we see on just south of I-95 Exit 17. Yesterday was typical.

So were the inevitable traffic tie-ups. (Hat tip: Dan Vener) 

(Photo/Josh Stein)

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Billy & the Showmen brought their powerful sound to the Levitt Pavilion last night. It was their 4th appearance there, to the delight of their many local fans.

This week’s Levitt lineup: Treehouse Comedy (Tuesday); LucyKalantori & the Jazz Cats (Wednesday); Barboletta: A Tribute to Santana (Thursday); Paul Beaubrum (Friday); Rita Harvey: A Tribute to Linda Ronstadt (Saturday).

Click here for times and (free) ticket details.

Billy & the Showmen (Photo/JC Martin)

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A band holes up in a rented house in upstate New York. They rehearse and record an album there. Fame ensues.

Sounds like The Band? It also applies to Lightning Bug. Well, the first 2 parts, anyway. Fame may be right around the corner.

Their 3rd album — “A Color of the Sky” — got good press in Newsweek recently. The story includes quotes from guitarist Kevin Copeland, a 2010 Staples High School graduate.

Describing the Catskills house, he says: “It was really cozy, and I feel like we were all much closer together than we would be in a studio and also it was snowing the whole time. [It] definitely seeped into the record.”

Copeland calls the group’s music “more like classical music or film scoring, that’s what it feels like. Sheryl Crow is a big inspiration. I laugh when I say it, but I’m serious. I think she effortlessly blends these sort of super-catchy melodies with country and rock in a way that I feel like no one ever does.”

Click here for the full story. (Hat tip: Iain Bruce)

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Sunny the Duck is back.

He (she? it?) bobs in the Saugatuck Congregational Church parking lot. The smaller version of the enormous yellow bird advertises Westport Sunrise Rotary’s 12th annual Duck Race

it’s different than the previous ones. To avoid big crowds, there’s no actual race. Winners will be selected in a random drawing on dry land August 6.

But the prizes are Duck Race-worthy: one $5,000 Visa gift card; one $2,000 Visa gift card, and 6 $500 Visa gift cards. Money raised helps fund the Sunrise Rotary’s many excellent charitable programs.

Tickets are $25 each. Click here to purchase.

(Photo/Mike Hibbard)

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Today’s forecast is for showers and thunderstorms before 2 p.m., then cloudy.

So njoy Wendy Levy’s “Westport … Naturally” photo, taken earlier this summer.

(Photo/Wendy Levy)

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The story about Kevin Copeland’s band’s Catskills house (above) got me thinking about The Band.

What a great few time those “Big Pink” months must have been.

Of course, in Westport it would have been torn down years ago.

Roundup: Main Street Patio, Duck Raffle, Remarkable, Invasive Plants …

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Today’s “Summer Outdoor Shopping Days” includes opening day for a new downtown merchant.

Local to Market — the new tenant at the old Remarkable Book Shop/Talbots — received approval yesterday to have 2 farms, Silverman’s and Shaggy Coos from Easton, sell their good on the patio. They’ll be there — along with other outdoor vendors downtown — until  6 p.m.

The Local to Market patio is open, across from Cold Fusion.

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Westport Sunrise Rotary’s 12th annual Duck Race is on. It’s also the 1st — and, they hope only — one that’s run virtually, as a raffle.

To avoid big crowds, there’s no race. Instead, winners will be selected in a random drawing on dry land August 6.

But the prizes are Duck Race-worthy: one $5,000 Visa gift card; one $2,000 Visa gift card, and 6 $500 Visa gift cards. Money raised helps fund the Sunrise Rotary’s many excellent charitable programs.

Tickets are $25 each. Click here to purchase.

Westport Sunrise Rotary members, with Sunny the Duck.

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“Grease is the word …”

“Grease” is also the feature film this Monday (July 19) at the Remarkable Theater drive-in on Imperial Avenue.

The gate opens at 8 p.m. The classic movie begins at 9. Click here for tickets.

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Laura Axthelm sends this photo …

… and writes:

Where in Westport would you see this spiky, invasive vine?

“It’s not hard to find. It may be in your area. Persicaria perfoliata — commonly know as MAM (Mile-A-Minute) vine — can grow more than 6 meters long over a season.

The University of Connecticut Horticultural Extension Service started using biological control agents. This can be effective, but they brought weevils to our neighborhood. It still spreads.

It has triangular leaves. Its stem, petioles (leaf stalks) and leaf veins are covered with small, backward-facing recurved prickles. A “ tear thumb” plant, it is easy to pull out, including the roots. Gloves are necessary, as it is very prickly.

Gardeners pull it when they see it. The weevils are hard at work, but deer eat MAM and disperse the seeds. Please spread the word about the simple fix for this non-native plant’s mile-a-minute spread: Anyone can pull it out.

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Speaking of eating plants: “Westport … Naturally” travels to Baron’s South today. Cathy Walsh spotted this buck and his 2 young offspring the other day. They were relaxing, after feasting on wineberries.

(Photo/Catherine Walsh)

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And finally … on this day in 1955, Walt Disney officially opened Disneyland, in Anaheim, California.

 

Roundup: Backpacks, Wings, Rotary …

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Many religious organizations take deserved summer breaks.

The Conservative Synagogue is launching a big Tikkun Olam (Repairing the World) project. Their goal is to supply over 100 backpacks, fully stocked with school supplies, to local children in for the start of the school year this coming fall.

The first phase — during July — involves fundraising. Then come packing the backpacks, and delivering. For more information, click here.

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Westporters of a certain age remember fondly their introduction to the Westport Country Playhouse.

Now young Westporters of a certain age — grades kindergarten through 3 — return to the storied theater. “Story Hour with Jenny” — a live, in-person series — presents an interactive reading of the picture book “Wings” on Sunday, July 11 (11 a.m.). It’s about a boy whose appearance makes him the target of bullies.

“Story Hour with Jenny” is a series of readings of social justice picture books written and illustrated by BIPOC artists. Themes center on the 4 pillars of the Playhouse’s education department: empathy, collaboration, activism and literacy.

To register, click here, call 203-227-4177, or email boxoffice@westportplayhouse.org.

Jenny Nelson, Westport Country Playhouse director of education and community engagement.

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Westport Rotary Club has a new president.

Lyla Steenburgen took over from Leslie Roberts at the annual Pass-the-Gavel Lobster Bake, at the Ned Dimes Marina.

“During the pandemic, a lot has been written about happiness and how to find fulfilment in life,” said Lyla, gift advancement officer at Bridgeport Hospital Foundation/Yale New Haven Health.

“Experts all say that it comes from connecting, belonging, being a part of something bigger than yourself, and engaging with and helping others – that’s Rotary. Rotary gives us the opportunity to render some service to the world in return for living in it. We are healthier and better citizens because of it.”

Leslie Roberts (left) hands the gavel to new Rotary Club president Lyla Steenbergen.

The Sunrise Rotary also changed presidents, at the same site. George Masumian will be replaced by Rick Jaffe. Mark Mathias sent along this drone video of the event:

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“06880” has posted plenty of “entitled parking” photos — many of them at Fresh Market.

This driver took up 6 spots (!) yesterday. But big props. If you’re going to park a vehicle that size, this is the way to do it.

(Photo/Seth Schachter)

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo shows droppings collected by Jay Dirnberger. They’re from a kousa dogwood tree.

(Photo/Molly Alger)

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And finally … today in 1846, Adolphe Sax patented the saxophone.

(Two questions on the Doors’ song: Why did Robbie Kreiger have an amazing black eye? And did Jim Morrison actually forget his cue, midway through?)

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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The vibe at Westport Paddle Club is chill.

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

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

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

Safety first at Westport Paddle Club.

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Speaking of safety … Sandra Lefkowitz writes:

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

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

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

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

The Lefkowitzes’ boat, after being towed to safety.

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

Yesterday, News12 reported on the issue.

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

Click here for the News12 story.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Well, a lot leafier, for one thing …

(Photo/Katherine Bruan)

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

Roundup: Custodial Thanks, Peter’s Market, Westport Book Shop, More

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As Westport students prepare to return to full-time learning, “06880” reader Erin Loranger writes:

“While there are countless unsung heroes in our schools, I would love to recognize the custodial crews.

“I can’t imagine how hard they have worked with tasks such as reconfiguring classrooms and cafeterias, loading in new desks, and constructing Plexiglas barriers so that students and staff can have a safe environment.

“Without their commitment to excellence in taking care of our buildings and cleaning, our young learners would not have the opportunity to have been in school at all this year, let alone being in the position now to transition to full-time, in-person learning.”

Will Herrera — one of Westport’s many unsung, invaluable custodians and maintenance staff.

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Yesterday’s news that Peter’s Weston Market will close on Sunday evoked many memories of the role the store played in the community.

Ashton Robinson wrote:

“I left Weston in 1967, and Peter’s Weston Market was there. If my memory is correct, I think that ‘Peter; was Peter Robinson. I went through Weston schools with his son Guy in my class.

“The photo below was taken at a political rally in 1956, when Adlai Stevenson ran against Eisenhower. My father was the first Democratic Town Committee chairman. He organized this rally in Weston, representing both Republicans and Democrats. My mother and a friend’s mother are the two women on the left side of the photo.”

The cars, the styles and the politicians have changed since 1956. But Peter’s Weston Market still looks much as it did, 65 years ago.

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The Westport Book Shop — downtown’s new nonprofit used book store — opens today at 3 p.m.

Honoring the year it begins, they’re rolling out a “2021 Welcome Program.” In keeping with COVID restrictions, guests are invited to browse for up to 20 minutes. To allow everyone to enjoy the store, they can purchase up to 21 items per visit.

See you there!

The new home of the Westport Book Shop, across from Jesup Green.

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Seth Schachter is an avid collector of Westport postcards and memorabilia.

He saw this 8×10 image on eBay. It came from a Westport estate. It depicts an old factory here — but there are no other details.

Seth hopes our “06880” readers can crowdsource its background. If you know the name of the factory, or where it was, click “Comments” below. Click on or hover over to enlarge.

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Westport Sunrise Rotary’s Super Bowl raffle is off to a great start. Not many tickets remain.

They’re $50 each. Numbers are randomly assigned. Winners will be determined by the scores at the end of each quarter. Winner of the final score snags a $1,000 Visa card. 1st, 2nd and 3rd quarter winners each get a $500 card.

The raffle funds important charities like Mercy Learning Center literacy training, the Susan Fund for students with cancer, Earthplace and Elderhouse.

Click here for tickets.

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Mary Satta Lane — better known as “MaryLane,” a beloved waitress at Mario’s for nearly 40 years — died Monday. She was 89 years old, though she described her age as “36 and holding.”

Her obituary calls her ‘a strong woman with a wicked sense of humor….She leaves behind a legacy of laughs, as well as a lot of people who love her.”

A memorial service — “the celebration she deserves” — will be held when the weather warms. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to United Methodist Homes, 58 Long Hill Avenue, Shelton, CT 06484.

For MaryLane’s full obituary, click here.

Mary Satta Lane

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Kevin Carroll and his wife headed to Compo Beach this morning, to watch the sunrise. Instead they were treated to a great view of the moonset.

PS: Tonight, Kevin notes, is the full wolf moon.

(Photo/Kevin Carroll)

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William “Liam” Bohonnon has received the Connecticut Bar Association’s Anthony V. DeMayo Pro Bono Award. The 2008 Staples High School graduate was honored for his pro bono work for the Connecticut Veterans Legal Center.

Liam Bohonnon

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And finally … the Eisenhower-Stevenson presidential election (see Peter’s Market story above) was not the only momentous event in 1956.

On this day — January 28 — that year, Elvis Presley made his national television debut. It was not on the now-legendary, hip-thrusting “Ed Sullivan Show,” but — also on CBS — “Stage Show.”

The program, produced in New York, was hosted on alternate weeks by big band leaders and brothers Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey. This appearance came the day after the release of “Heartbreak Hotel.”

Roundup: Super Bowl Raffle, End Of The World, More

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Each year, hundreds of Westporters enjoy Westport Rotary’s Duck Race and Wine Tasting events. Their support enables the organization to support worthy causes here and abroad.

Both events are COVID-canceled. Yet charities need help more than ever. Fortunately, the Rotarians have a plan.

Their new fundraiser is The Great Rotary Raffle: Super Bowl Edition.

Tickets are $50 each. On February 5 — 2 days before the game — each ticket will be assigned a randomly selected pair of numbers.

Winners will be determined by the scores at the end of each quarter. The 1st, 2nd and 3rd quarter winners each get a $500 Visa gift card. The winner of the final score snags a $1,000 card.

50% of all ticket sales go to those prizes. The other half goes directly to charities.

Click here to buy raffle tickets.

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At Staples, 2015 grad Rachel Treisman wrote for the school paper Inklings. In college, she became editor-in-chief of the Yale Daily News.

Now Rachel writes for NPR.

Yesterday, she wrote an important, comprehensive piece. Headlined “The Vaccine Rollout Will Take Time. Here’s What The U.S. Can Do Now To Save Lives,” it covers governmental, private and personal responses to the pandemic. Click here for the story.

Rachel Treisman

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There are 72 films at Sundance 2021. According to IndieWire, 15 are “Must-See,” and can be streamed at home.

Among them: “How it Ends.” Written, directed and produced by 2002 Staples High School graduate Daryl Wein and his “partner in work and love” Zoe Lister-Jones, it is “a star-packed comedic rumination on nothing less than the end of the world.”

“Timely, no?” IndieWire adds.

The film stars Olivia Wilde, Fred Armisen, Helen Hunt, Lamorne Morris and Cailee Spaeny.

Daryl Wein

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Don O’Day’s work as chair of the Coleytown Middle School Reopening Committee ended this month. The new school looks beautiful.

As one of his last acts, he hired a new security guard.

(Meme courtesy of Don O’Day)

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And finally … Jimmie Rodgers, the pop/country singer known for “Honeycomb” and other 1950s hits — died Monday in California. He was 87.

For Westport Rotary Clubs, Ukraine Is Moot

Whenever Ukraine is in the headlines, the news is bad. Border disputes, business shenanigans — even Chernobyl is there.

Rule of law has broken down in the Eastern European nation.

We’re going through a rough patch ourselves. But a few months ago, during the impeachment process, Westport’s 2 Rotary Clubs decided to do something in support of our country’s faith in law. It’s something, they said, that’s fundamental to our democracy, and separates us from many other nations oppressed by tyranny.

Because Ukraine is desperately trying to expunge corruption from both its political and legal systems, the clubs — Sunrise Rotary, and the noontime Rotary Club — decided to focus their efforts there.

Ken Bernhard — an attorney, constitutional law professor and former state representative — had also taught in Ukraine. He contacted Professor Demitriy Kamensky of the Berdyansk State Pedagogical University.

Berdyansk State Pedagogical University

Kamensky — who has an LLM in taxation, a Ph.D. in criminal law, and taught at Florida State College of Law — said the clubs’ timing was perfect. Berdyansk State had hoped to construct a moot court setting, to resemble one in their country’s actual legal system. It would provide a training environment for aspiring litigators.

Westport’s 2 Rotaries contributed $2,500 each. The courtroom was opened last week.

Kamesky says:

Thanks to our friends at Westport Sunrise Rotary and the Westport Rotary Club for their support of the rule of law in Ukraine, which is no longer a distant, foreign principle. Indeed it affirms that reality for our law students, faculty and legal professionals.

The moot courtroom has become a place to learn how the judicial systems operates within a free, democratic society. This is where legal theory meets legal practice, where new skills are learned and progressive legal tools are examined. We are very grateful to the clubs for their confidence in our legal community.

The moot classroom.

It seems like a small gesture. The impact on Ukraine’s legal system will not be felt for a while — and it can never be measured.

Rotary clubs raise money so that they can give it away. (And they keep doing it, despite a steep drop in fundraising during COVID).

Combine that with the fact that “Supporting education” is one of Rotary’s six areas of focus.

Rotary International’s motto is “Service Above Self.” “Supporting education” is one of their 6 areas of focus.

From Westport to Ukraine, today there is living — and legal — proof that it matters.

(For information on the Westport Rotary Club, click here. For Westport Sunrise Rotary, click here.)

Ken Bernhard (left) and Professor Kamensky, with the Connecticut state flag, in 2018.

Roundup: Farmers’ Market; Inspirational Swimmer; Compo Barber Shop; More


Another big step on the road to return:

Starting this Thursday (July 9), the Westport Farmers’ Market is open for regular shopping.

The decision — made “after careful consideration and due diligence through state and local officials” — means that every week from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Imperial Avenue lot will be will fill once again with “your beloved farmers, bakers, cheese mongers and more.”

A number of adaptations will ensure safety for customers and vendors. Masks must be worn at all times. There is single-direction traffic while shopping (one way in, one way out). There will be hand sanitizer stations, social distancing and “lots of fresh air.”

Just like old times, musicians will play.

Executive director Lori Cochran realizes that not everyone will come. So pre-order, touch-free, selected-time-slot pickups continue.

“We realize that healthy food is one of the best ways to heal your body and keep your immune system strong,” Lori says. “Our immune-compromised shoppers need safe access to our product. We are committed to bringing it to them while allowing others to participate in the day-of model.”

A select number of slots are available for Thursday pickups, from 9 to 10 a.m. For details, click here.


With the goal of opening dialogue and expanding awareness of the realities of racial challenges, the Westport Weston Family YMCA is sponsoring an intriguing conversation.

The guest is Trevor Freeland. A member of the first all-Black team to reach the top ranks of American youth swimming (chronicled in the 2007 movie “Pride”), he went on to a stellar career at the University of Virginia. As the first Black swimmer to compete in the ACC, he helped the Cavaliers win the 1st of 16 league titles.

One of the few Black executives to run a major Wall Street trading desk, he has committed his life to challenging and breaking down barriers. He attributes his success to the work ethic and life skills he learned in the pool.

The event is this Saturday (July 11, Camp Mahackeno outdoor amphitheater). There are 2 sessions: 9: 15 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. A limited number of spots are open to Y members who are not non-Water Rat swimmers, and their families; Y members can click here to register.

Trevor Freeland


Doug Fierro spotted this yesterday, in a dumpster behind Compo Shopping Center.

“Another victim of COVID,” he writes. “A sad day for Westport.”


This morning at the Gillespie Center, Sunrise Rotary donated $5,000 to Homes With Hope.

The funds will purchase farm-to-table meals for homeless shelter residents, from caterer Alison Milwe-Grace. The donation is particularly important now, because Gillespie’s regular volunteers are unable to help personally. (Sunrise Rotary members are some of those regulars: they serve meals on the first Saturday of every month.)


Savannah Bee has added items to its curbside delivery.

Along with their line of immune boosters (saw palmetto and local new England honey, bee pollen, royal jelly and healing anti-bacterial propolis spray), they now offer an elderberry elixir hand-crafted in Atlanta with their famed honey. It’s filled with adaptogenic jerbs and immune-boosting botanicals.

Click here, then call Julie (203-856-5149) or email julie@savannahbee.com.


Yesterday, a reader reported that Panera Bread’s “customer care” team told her the Westport location would reopen today.

#fakenews.

A reader who drove by there today reports, “they remain quite closed. The sign in their window still says ‘Location Temporarily Closed.” The location does not pop up on their website when you search 06880 either.”

If anyone knows what’s cooking, let us know!

The Panera Bread near the Southport line.


And finally … I have no idea who comes up with these things, but supposedly on this date in 1550, chocolate was “thought to have been introduced to Europe.” Today also marks a year and a day since the tribute concert to Westport’s favorite blues/rocker, Charlie Karp.

To celebrate, here’s a link to Charlie Karp’s 1973 album, named after his band at the time: White Chocolate.

[UPDATE] Remembering Joe Hawley

The coronavirus has claimed the life of a well-known local volunteer.

Joe Hawley lived in Norwalk. But he was very active in both Sunrise Rotary and the Y’s Men. He died on Wednesday, at 67.

An entrepreneur and sales and marketing executive, he worked with global beauty and fashion accessories firms like Healthtex, Liz Claiborne and Avon. He served as a mentor and coach to many in the industry.

Joe Hawley

In retirement, Joe devoted himself to serving his community, as a volunteer with Westport Sunrise Rotary and Y’s Men.

Roy Fuchs — who know Joe through both organizations — says, “Joe’s abilities, judgment and willingness to get involved, to help wherever he could, were respected.

“In Sunrise Rotary he held no office, but was a leader. He took over our already successful annual wine tasting fundraiser. He led, he organized, he managed — he joked, he cajoled. He made it successful beyond our wildest imagination.

“At our meetings Joe was quick to speak, but always with a purpose. Always with a message. He got most of us to think just a bit harder about what’s important, in our lives and in the spirit of Rotary, as we follow the motto of ‘Service Above Self.'”

“We will miss his joy, his laughter and his willingness to help others.”

Joe was an avid kayaker and bike rider, and a wonderful neighbor. In fact, he said being president of his Norwalk neighborhood association was his “best job ever.”

Joe loved to travel, and loved his family. He was happiest when they intersected. His 2 grandchildren were the lights of his life.

He is also survived by his wife Susan; daughters Ashley and Signe; son Trevor; 2 brothers, a sister and 21 nieces and nephews.

A celebration of his life will be organized by his family at a later time. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Westport Sunrise Rotary or Norwalk Hospital Community Care Team.

Rotary Clubs: What They Do, And How They Do It

Yesterday’s “06880” highlighted the role that Westport’s Rotary clubs play, helping bring democratic values to Ukraine.

The Westport Rotary and Sunrise Rotary are 2 of the more than 35,000 Rotaries worldwide. The couple of hundred members are part of a global organization of 1.6 million. Their projects are international — like Ukraine — but much of their work takes place right here at home.

Westport Rotary was founded 100 years ago, in 1919. Its Sunrise sister is newer — it’s just 31 years old. Sunrise accommodates people who want to give back, but prefer breakfast meetings to midday.

Meetings include sharing of good news, guest speakers, and project plans. Recently, a member mentioned a wheelchair-bound World War II veteran whose home and yard needed major work. A dozen Rotarians spent 2 Saturdays getting it done. Their breaks were enriched by amazing stories of his D-Day landing at Normandy.

Many meetings include presentations by executives of non-profits. They share their organizations’ missions, accomplishments and needs. Club members are often inspired to help.

For example, Homes with Hope — which provides services and housing options to families and individuals seeking their way out of homelessness — is the recipient of monthly meal servings by Sunrise Rotary members. They also sponsor a July 4th barbecue, and food drive the day before the Super Bowl.

Rotary speakers have included the executive director of the Syria Fund, which provides education and assistance to refugees; the CEO of Norwalk’s Carver Foundation, who talked about the “opportunity gap” in education, and the headmaster of the Southport School, which educates students with dyslexia, and tied together the twin issues of incarceration and undiagnosed learning disabilities.

Of course, all of the Rotary Clubs’ charitable efforts cost money. Westporters are familiar with fundraisers like the Great Duck Race and LobsterFest.

Up next: Sunrise Rotary’s Uncorked Wine Tasting Gala.

Good times at last year’s Uncorked wine tasting, at the Inn at Longshore.

The event — set for this Friday (November 22, 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., the Inn at Longshore) features 100 wines, craft beers and non-alcoholic drinks, all curated by Cory D’Addario of The Wine Company Westport (the new name for the old Liquor Locker). A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, she is an expert at the synergy between wine and food.

On tap too: excellent hors d’oeuvres, authentic French breads, desserts and amazing chocolates. Full case beverages can be purchased for discounts.

Westport’s Rotary Clubs often operate under the radar. On Friday, you can get a great “taste” of their wonderful work.

(For tickets to the Uncorked Wine Tasting Gala, click here.)

Fairfield’s Isabelle et Vincent will provide authentic French baked goods.