Katie Spector has just published her first picture book: “Katie Spector the Art Collector.” It’s about a creative little girl who can’t part with her art. Katie’s story celebrates community, art, and staying true to yourself.
She’s celebrating too, with an outdoor event at Wakeman Town Farm on September 25 (1 to 3 p.m). There will be book readings, art projects and live music. RSVPs required; click here.
Today’s storm did not do the damage that was feared.
Approximately 756 customers were without power at the peak of the storm. Most were restored quickly. Isolated individual outages remain.
Meanwhile, Valerie Ann Leff sent this photo of her furnace room, in her home on a hill off Hillspoint Road.
She says: “The water hasn’t reached the finished wood floor, but when we walk across it it sounds like we’re walking on a dock. Every cleanup company around has long waiting lists, so we’re just bailing with a bucket and a big pitcher.”
(Photo/Valerie Ann Leff)
Meanwhile, this was the scene at Compo Beach:
(Photo/June Rose Whittaker)
One more photo from today’s storm. This was on Bradley Lane:
Their office — across the Post Road from Design Within Reach — was where they created and marketed an array of healthy, protein-rich jerky snacks. From beef, chicken, turkey and pork to jalapeño, cracked pepper and everything bagel, it all happened in Westport.
Next store to the office, they operated a low-key retail outlet. It wasn’t an afterthought exactly, but it wasn’t front-and-center either.
Now though, there are some good reasons to take a field trip to Field Trip.
The jerky outlet has been transformed into a “general store/pantry.” It’s filled with specialty items, curated from the owners’ relationships and knowledge of exciting new products.
In addition to Field Trip items, they’re selling:
Bourbon aged barrel maple syrup
Jalapeño bacon salsa
Habanero sea salt
Texas olive oil
Ugly dried fruit
Caramels, licorice and ChiChi chocolates
Doux south pickles and mustards
1934 Bloody Mary mix
Bobby Sue’s nuts
Aina Kopi steak seasonings and mango habanero hot sauce(this is the only US location)
FOGO charcoal (only place in Westport.
And that’s just for starters.
If you still have a jones for jerky: Starting next week, Field Trip is selling their newest flavor: Gochujang Korean-style BBQ beef jerky. It’s being introduced here first, before a national rollout.
But wait! There’s more! Field Trip offers a 20% discount code to anyone mentioning a Dan Woog/”06880″ callout during the month of July.
Pippa Bell Ader uses solar power to heat and cool her home, heat her hot water pumps, and power her electric car.
Now the environmental advocate and Sustainable Westport member wants you to learn how.
This Tuesday (July 13, 3 to 6 p.m.), she invites everyone to her 62 Woodside Avenue home. She’ll show how you can make easy improvements yourself.
“In Connecticut, we have older homes — mine was built in 1929 — that use a lot of energy, especially for cooling and heating,” she says.
“The state has great incentives and financing for people who want to switch from fossil fuels to heat pumps. Pair heat pumps with solar to power and heat your entire home with clean energy. Driving an electric car powered by solar reduces our carbon footprint as well. I’m right on the cusp of being completely net zero.“
Learn all that — and more — on Tuesday. Plus there’s pizza. Made in a solar-powered oven, I’m sure.
Like many organizations, Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Services had to suspend some operations during COVID. Among the casualties: the EMR/ EMT classes that were an important pipeline for new members.
And for careers. At least 14 volunteers went on to medical school; others became nurses, paramedics and physician assistants.
Classes will begin again in the fall. The cost — $1250 per EMT student, $750 per EMR student — includes classes, books, stethoscope and BP cuff. Most classes are held on Tuesdays and Thursday evenings, with some Saturday days. The course begins September 21, and runs through January.
WVEM will reimburse for the cost of the class after members become part of the organization. Click here for more information.
Arlene Benson — mother of longtime Westport civic volunteer Rick Benson — died peacefully in East Norwalk on July 1. She was 98.
A member of Wheaton College’s Class of 1944, the Buffalo native moved to Fort Riley, Kansas, then Southern California shortly after her 1943 wedding, then back to Buffalo when her husband deployed to World War II in North Africa and Europe.
She shared Ontario cottages for many summers with her sister, their boys, and her mother, enjoying the beach, swimming, sailing and golf. She and her husband purchased condominium homes in Florida. She moved to Connecticut in late 2017 at age 94 to be closer to her son and grandson.
A member of the Garrett Club, Cherry Hill Country Club, Buffalo Canoe Club, and the Country Club of Buffalo, Arlene loved to host parties, travel to Europe, take cruises, play golf and bridge, and be with her family.
She will be remembered as a loving, generous, caring person, always with a smile, always with something nice to say, and always concerned about others more than herself.
Her passing is the end of an era. Her maternal grandfathers emigrated from Germany in 1905, started Mollenberg-Betz Machine Co, Inc. in 1910. Her husband joined the firm in 1946, rose to EVP and retired in 1986. The commercial air conditioning, refrigeration and service company is still family owned and managed in Buffalo, but she is the last of her generation.
Arlene is survived by her son Richard and his wife, Totney of Westport, CT, and her grandson Richard Betz Benson II (RB) of New York City. She was predeceased by her first husband James M. Benson, her older son James M. Benson, Jr., her sister Janice Betz Dedecker, and her second husband Robert Eckis.
A celebration of life reception will be held on Thursday July 15 (4:30 to 6:30 p.m., Greens Farms Congregational Church).
A memorial service will be held on September 8 un Buffalo, with private interment preceding in the church memorial garden. Donations may be made in her memory to: Westminster Presbyterian Church 724 Delaware Ave., Buffalo, NY 14209 or the Westport Rotary Club Foundation, PO Box 741, Westport, CT 06881.
“Westport … Naturally” features a fantastic female monarch butterfly.
It paused on several of the flowers in Wendy Crowther’s garden. She was glad to see it, as monarchs are in drastic decline. “The more we can do to avoid herbicide use and provide a welcome habitat, the more we can help,” Wendy says.
Professionally, Bob Levy was a stockbroker. Civically, he’s spent much of his 31 years in Westport involved with STAR Lighting the Way, the non-profit serving individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
But he’s always admired EMTs. “They’re volunteers. Day and night, they’re out helping people,” Levy says.
During COVID, they still did it. Emergency medical technicians are “very special super-heroes.”
Levy asked his friend Adria Belport — a member of Weston’s EMS — what units most needed. Equipment, she said.
Belport’s husband, Michael Loeb, had helped Levy’s philanthropic efforts in the past. This time, the duo added kindred local spirits, including Don Ehrenberg, Bill Felton, Dr. John Schneider and Milt Wolfson. “I’m so proud to be associated with these guys,” Levy says.
They had lunch, discussed their own good fortunes in life — investment banking, psychotherapy, real estate development, medicine, corporate governance and business — and pledged to help.
If you’ve never needed Westport Volunteer EMS — whether at home, out and about, or in an ambulance — consider yourself lucky.
Your time will come.
And whether you have or have not, if you’ve never considered where the funding for this volunteer service — including its 3 ambulances, and every bit of equipment — comes from: The time has come.
Read on. Then pony up.
Established over 40 years ago, Westport EMS is a neighbor-to-neighbor organization. Over 100 members give almost 20,000 hours of their time each year, staffing ambulances. They come from all walks of life. (Because they love Westport so much, some are from out of town too).
Some — but not all — of the 2021 Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Service crew.
Nearly every call includes a paramedic — very rare, especially for a community this size. Response time beats the national average (and have you seen the traffic in town lately?).
So how much money comes from the town budget?
EMS is not funded by taxes. The yearly budget — around $1.3 million — is almost entire self-funded. That pays for 7 full-time staff members, 1 full-time Norwalk Hospital paramedic, and other costs like buildings and insurance.
Westport Volunteer EMS — the volunteer arm of the official town agency, run by the Police Department — raises all money needed to buy equipment supplies. That’s everything from Band-Aids (true!) to ambulances (which are substantially more expensive than bandages).
WEstport Volunteer Emergency Medical Service pays for all equipment in an ambulance …
A fully outfitted ambulance costs over $300,000. WVEMS has 3. They should be bought new every 8 to 10 years. For a variety of reasons, all must be replaced soon.
… and the ambulances themselves. Pictured: Mike Burns, WVEMS president.
The stretcher and loading system for each ambulance is over $50,00o. They are replaced when the ambulances are.
A fly car (paramedic response vehicle) costs $50,000. Westport has 3; they are replaced every 10 years as well.
Also in the budget: fly cars.
A Lifepak 15 heart monitoring device costs $50,000. We have 4. A Lucas CPR device costs $15,000. Westport has 3.
Oh, yeah: WVEMS supplies all their own PPE. You might not have thought about that before March 2020. Now you know that vital equipment adds up quickly too.
Raising money — even as a 501(c)(3), even in a town like Westport — is challenging. Most people assume their taxes cover EMS. They don’t.
More than half of all donations are $50 or less; 83% are no more than $100. WVEMS has, admittedly, not done a good job telling their story to Westporters — including the wealthiest families, who already support so many other good causes.
WVEMS hopes to establish a professionally managed endowment, providing self-funding for vehicle and supply needs. Neighboring towns have already done that.
“Every dollar counts,” says Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Service president Michael Burns. (Click here to donate; click here for more information, including how to volunteer.)
Burns also encourages Westporters to spread the WVEMS word, to others who might help.
It’s one of our town’s most important services. As noted earlier: If you haven’t needed them yet — one day you will.
Your contribution today will ensure a speedy response — and a new ambulance, if needed — tomorrow.
Non-COVID health emergencies don’t take a break during a pandemic. Unfortunately, Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Services had to.
Not responding quickly, professionally and compassionately, of course. Their service never wavered. But they did have to pause their public education.
Now, with threats lessening, WVEMS is cleared to resume reduced-capacity classes at their Police headquarters facility. CPR/First Aid and Stop the Bleed courses begin this month. EMT certification is set for the fall.
All classes have limited capacity. For more information, click here.
In Death, The Gift of Life — the powerful anthology of 10 Westporters who embraced death on their own terms — has won two 1st place awards in the Connecticut Press Club’s annual communications contest.
The honors were for editing (Dan Levinson and Alison McBain) and design (McBain and Miggs Burroughs). The book now moves on to national competition.
A community-wide book launch will be held at the Westport Library this fall.
Abilis is hiring. The non-profit, which serves more than 800 people with special needs and their families — holds a job fair on Saturday, May 1 (9 a.m. to 5 .m., 50 Glenville Street, Greenwich).
Full- and part-time positions include management and assistant management roles, day program and residential roles. Click here to see open positions. Prospective employees should bring resumes. For more information, call 203-531-1880.
May 1 is also the date of Abilis’ 70th anniversary gala (6:30 p.m., virtual). There’s family entertainment, with comedians, actors, musicians and dancers.
To learn more, register for the show link, see “Giving Garden” needs, check out the online auction or by art by Abilis clients, click here.
An “06880” reader sits for a 4-hour infusion once a month at Norwalk Hospital. It is often cool in the room, so patients are given a hospital blanket.
The other day, she received a real blanket, made by a group at Staples High school called Lovee’s Charity. They’re usually given to pediatric patients, but sometimes they’re handed out in the infusion room.
“It was so nice, soft and comforting,” the reader says. She emailed faculty advisor Natalie Odierna, letting her know how much joy the blanket brought.
Now thousands of other “06880” readers know about the joy Lovee’s Charity brings too.
A Lovee’s Charity blanket.
Major League Soccer has kicked off its 26th season. And for the 5th straight year, Elliot Gerard was commissioned to create the opening day graphic.
The Westport resident Gerard is a founder and creative director with Heartlent Group, a social strategy and creative content agency.
This year’s concept is “Where’s Waldo?” Gerard worked with eMLS to hide Easter eggs in the artwork (below). The campaign is interactive, giving fans the chance to make their own versions on Instagram stories. A customizable background is available. Click for Twitter and Instagram links.
Michael Burns — president of Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Service — could nominate many folks as Unsung Heroes.
But he’s chosen one: paramedic Kevin Doherty. Michael writes:
Beyond Kevin’s regular duties, he puts in a great deal of effort teaching people at EMS the basics and advanced skills of a paramedic.
But in addition to Kevin’s day-to-day duties on the ambulance, he has been the infection control officer for Westport’s 3 emergency services for nearly 10 years.
During the pandemic, Kevin’s ICO responsibility has expanded to include all town employees. He is effectively on call 24/7.
He has taken on an especially critical role as co-safety officer for the town’s Emergency Operations Center Command Group. Kevin is responsible for not only tracking and advising any sick employees in town, but also working with the selectmen’s office and town department heads, setting policies ensuring the safety of all employees.
He is also responsible for 1-on-1 instruction with each new or returning EMS member in COVID-specific safety (for example, fit-testing N95s, and the safe donning and doffing of all PPE) and equipment decontamination procedures.
Kevin selects and procures (with the town’s Logistics, Purchasing, and Finance Departmenets) all COVID-related PPE and supplies.
During all this, he has continued to function as lead advisor for the Youth Corps
He goes above and beyond the call of duty in so many ways. Kevin is on top of it all. That’s why he is so respected and loved by everyone he works with at EMS.
He does a hell of a job. And he is just a nice guy!
(To nominate an Unsung Hero, email email@example.com)
Emergency medical technicians and paramedics serving on Westport’s ambulances have begun vaccinations, as part of the national roll-out to front line medical personnel.
Officials call the vaccines “a sign of hope for local Emergency Medical Service volunteers and staff, after 10 months of treating the community’s COVID-19 patients.”
Yesterday, several Westport EMS members, along with other first responders from the Police and Fire Departments, received the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at the Westport-Weston Health District.
Volunteer EMT Lynette Pineda, Volunteer EMT/Westport Volunteer EMS president Mike Burns, and Paramedic/Westport EMS deputy director Marc Hartog were the first to receive the vaccine at the Westport Weston Health District.
First responders have been authorized by the CDC to go to any certified vaccine clinic in the state. This allows personnel living outside of Westport to find a clinic closer to their home.
However, the ability to administer vaccinations here will make it easier and more efficient for EMS providers to receive their shots.
“We encourage everyone to get vaccinated as soon as it is available to you. In the meantime we’ll continue to wear masks, wash our hands frequently and practice social distancing, and ask all of you to do the same.” said EMS deputy director Marc Hartog.
Only 1 member of the nearly 75-person Westport Emergency Medical Service has been diagnosed with COVID-19 throughout the pandemic. Officials cite strict infection control and PPE protocols for keeping EMS members — and the many patients they treat — safe.
Most of the service’s volunteers and staff members say they’ll get the vaccine as soon as they can.
In normal times, Westport Volunteer EMS does not toot their own horn sound their own siren.
They’re not the type of organization to run flashy fundraisers, or host gala events. They’re simply there 24/7/365: responding to medical emergencies, staffing big events, offering EMT, CPR, Stop the Bleed and first aid classes — you know, serving the community.
Standing by, at a Levitt Pavilion concert.
Astonishingly, WVEMS also buys all the town vehicles — 3 ambulances and 2 support “fly cars” — as well as all equipment and supplies. That’s everything from stretchers for lifting patients automatically into the backs of ambulances and child immobilization devices, to band-aids and gauze pads.
If they help you, they’re happy to accept your contribution. But they’re not in your face about it.
Another day, another call for Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Serivce.
During the pandemic, they’ve been both more and less visible than ever. As an emergency medical service, they’ve gone above and beyond (while, of course, putting themselves on the front lines of exposure).
But with classes canceled — along with high visibility events like the Memorial Day parade, 4th of July fireworks, Minute Man road race, Maker Faire, Great Duck Race, touch-a-truck events, Levitt Pavilion concerts and Staples High School graduation — they are less in the public eye than usual.
Bottom line: Westport needs to help WVEMS’ bottom line. Click here to help. So they can continue to help all of us.
PS: Congratulations to this year’s WVEMS President’s Volunteer Service Award winners. A number of honorees stepped up this year to serve, when others could not because of the coronavirus.
Gold winners: Jamie Bairaktaris, Jenna Baumblatt,Ella Bayazit, Mike Burns, Yves Cantin, Deanna Hartog, Jonathan Huzil, Vig Kareddy, Larry Kleinman, Eliza Long, Annika Morgan, Christopher Muschett, Hillary O’Neill, Isabella Sperry, Emma Straight.
Silver winners: Emma Alcyone, Stephen Bayliss, Edward Chin, Myra Goldberg, Daniel Guetta, Andrea Harman, Mary Inagami, Yashasvi Jhangiani, Kavy Krishnamurthy, Jack Mocarski, Shruthi Palaniappan, Jeffrey Pressman, Morgan Rizy, Kathleen Smith, Nancy Surace, Androne Tarnok, Ekaterina Taylor-Yermeeva.
Bronze Winners; Steven Cappiello, Gregory Coghlan, Andrew Dinitz, Carol Dixon, Danielle Faul, Leah Foodman, Gianna Greco, Claudia Joely Guetta, Dorothy Harris, John Healy, Keara Lyons, Christopher Moore, Lynette Pineda, April Rademacher, Ashley Ramirez, Stewart Reifler, Joshua Rosen, Nancy Sengstacken, Swati Sriram.
Volunteers pose with their oldest Stop the Bleed student: She’s 102, and ready to help.
As shuttered Westport businesses open up, they’ll soon welcome a newcomer.
Garelick & Herbs’ Saugatuck location — which closed in late February, just a couple of weeks before the coronavirus swept through — will become Kneads.
A sign calls it a “bakery, cafe and mill.” It’s “coming soon.”
Happy EMS Week!
In honor of our great crew — especially during the pandemic — 1st Selectman Jim Marpe says: “EMS practitioners are professionals of the highest caliber; keeping up with the latest training to ensure that they know the most effective life-saving emergency treatments that will benefit us all. As dedicated first responders, Westport’s Volunteer EMS provides immediate care during a health crisis; whether there is an accident or an illness, these trained professionals work around the clock to make sure care is available quickly for all our residents and those in need.
“We in Westport join those across the nation in honoring the valuable and vital contributions that EMS practitioners provide each and every day. With gratitude and appreciation, we express our deepest thanks for all our EMS professionals do for our community.”
You’ve got relationship questions? Jennifer Strom, Samantha Lavy have answers.
Or at least, they can help you frame your thoughts better.
The local marriage and family therapists — both mothers of teenagers — see many families navigating a new world filled with uncertainty, loss and changes in routine. Teenagers in particular have lost social outlets, sports and other activities. They’re filled with questions about school and college, but lack structure and schedules.
“As we stare at screens and find ourselves with lack of connection, parenting during lockdown has become more complicated,” the therapists say. “In addition, as couples, emotions intensify.”
They’ve compiled common concerns and challenges that families face during COVID. In a pair of free webinars, they’ll outline strategies and tools they use to help manage in times of stress. During each live session, they’ll take viewers’ questions.
The topics are “Teen Stress: COVID and Beyond” (Thursday, May 28, 6 to 6:30 p.m.; click here to register) and “Couples Coping: COVID and Beyond” (Thursday, June 4, 6 to 6:30 p.m.; click here to register).
And finally … as Westport (and the rest of Connecticut) start opening up …
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