Tag Archives: Westport-Weston Chamber of Commerce

Roundup: Traffic Task Force, Compo Beach Playground, Halloween Weekend …

Two dozen residents heard an update last night from the Traffic & Pedestrian Safety Task Force, at Town Hall.

Representatives from the Police, Fire and Public Works Departments, and town operations director Tom Kiely, offered updates on the coordinated effort to identify and address trouble spots.

They provided statistics — 491 special enforcement details over the past 6 months, and 2,526 traffic stops — along with tangible actions, like a new 4-way stop sign at Hillandale and West Parish Roads, and sidewalks on Main Street, Compo Road North and Cross Highway.

Traffic & Pedestrian Safety Task Force members (from left): Deputy Fire Chief Nick Marsan, Police Staff Corporal Al D’Amura, Deputy Police Chief Ryan Paulsson, town operations director Tom Kiely, town engineer Keith Wilberg, Public Works director Pete Ratkiewich. 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker also attended. (Photo/Dan Woog)

Then many residents offered trouble spots of their own.

Several mentioned Kings Highway North (east of the speed humps). Others  spoke about Bayberry Lane, Imperial Avenue, Thomas Avenue, and Harbor Road on Saugatuck Shores.

A resident wants a traffic agent at Treadwell Avenue starting at 3 p.m., to handle Saugatuck Rowing Club traffic.

One person asked police to teach children about pedestrian safety. Another wondered how Westporters can help push the state Department of Transportation to move beyond its glacial pace. (One example: The town has been requesting left-turn arrows at the Compo Road South/Greens Farms Road/Bridge Street light for 3 years.)

One resident suggested painting “Don’t block the box” rectangles at intersections like Post Road West/Riverside Avenue/Wilton Road, then installing cameras and fining miscreants.

Another wondered why she never sees police ticketing drivers who run red lights on the Post Road near Trader Joe’s and Compo Road.

One Westporter urged Public Works to request more staff.

Last night’s meeting followed 9 other Task Force sessions — one for each Representative Town Meeting district — last year, and a town-wide summary meeting.

“We’ll be back again in 6 months,” promised Deputy Police Chief Ryan Paulsson.

The map on the left shows the location of “enforcement details” between April and October of this year. The one on the right shows the location of traffic stops. (Photos/Dan Woog)


As planning progresses for the Compo Beach Playground makeover, organizers want Westporters’ input.

From all ages.

The Westport Rotary Club and Westport Young Woman’s League are partnering on the rebuild. They’re the same great groups that developed the original playground in 1986, and renovated it a couple of decades later.

The Compo Beach Playground Rebuild Committee designed a survey to capture ideas. It doesn’t take long. But residents’ input will help create a fun, safe and much-loved playground.

But act soon! The survey closes Monday (October 30). Click here for the link.

Compo Beach playground: ready for a rebuild. (Drone photo/David Szymanski)


VFW Joseph J. Clinton Post 399 kicks off Halloween weekend tonight (Friday, October 27, 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.; $5 cover ) with a Happy Hour special.

Beer and wine is $6, with chances at free drinks every hour. The food is (as always) great, and there are prizes for best costumes.

Matt Zako — founder of The City’s Backyard podcast — is host.


Halloween weekend continues tomorrow (Saturday, October 28, 8 p.m., Westport Library), with a Halloween Concert and Costume Ball.

Costumes are encouraged. Prizes will awarded for best outfits, in several categories. Specialty cocktails, beer and wine complement music by Bella’s Bartok, a funk/pop/folk band.

It is, says the sponsoring Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce, an event “to die for.”

Tickets are $20. Click here to purchase, and for more information.

Bella’s Bartok


Speaking of Halloween: Wednesday’s kids’ parade downtown — sponsored by Westport’s Parks & Recreation Department, Westport PAL and the Westport Downtown Association — included these trick-or-treaters, at Town Hall.

Quite a scary bunch, no?


Andrew Wilk’s “Library Medical Series” continues Monday (October 30, 7 p.m., Westport Library), with the second of a 3-part series on the brain.

“Headaches and Migraine: Better Understanding the Diagnosis and New Therapies Available” features Dr. Dario Zagar and Dr. Robert Altbaum. A Q-and-A follows their presentation.

The series is free. Click here to register.

From left: Dr. Robert Altbau, Dr. Dario Zagar, Andrew Wilk.


The Saugatuck Rowing Club Junior Program had its best-ever overall showing at the Head of The Charles regatta  in Boston this month.

Current and former rowers, now competing for their colleges, contributed to the success.

In a very close finish, the men’s 8+ boat, including Westporters George Bentley, Ben Whelan, Campbell Cohen and Jack Kiely, plus Gavin Marshall of Weston, placed second, behind a late entry from the U.K. That makes them the current fastest men’s youth 8 boat in the US.

The men’s youth 8+ boat.

The women’s U17 4+ boat, with Rylie Cordell and Kate Weitz of Westport, and Anne  Studnicky of Weston, captured gold. That continues SRC’s’ national streak in the category.

The women’s U-17 4+ boat (from left): Grace Baker Kate Weitz, Madeline Casano, Anne Studnicky, Rylie Cordella, coach Cody Silvester.

In other Saugatuck Rowing Club women’s junior news, the public is invited to a special event on November 7 (11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Lululemon).

Rowers from novice and varsity teams will talk about their experiences, and demonstrate their rowing machine workouts. Coaches be available to talk about the benefits of the program. The event includes giveaways from Lululemon and Saugatuck Rowing Club, and treats from GG & Joe’s.

All are invited (schools are not in session, for Election Day).


Yesterday’s Roundup included a photo of a porta-potty, nestled in one of the Old Mill garages near Sherwood Mill Pond, and the pedestrian path to Compo Cove.

There’s a back story. (There always is.)

A homeowner on the Cove is having work done. Either the bathrooms don’t work, or they don’t want workers using them. So they set up the portable toilet.

Of course, those potties need to be serviced. Vehicles are not allowed on the Cove.

That’s why it’s there, in the garage.

And here is what that cleaning looked like yesterday:

(Photo/Matt Murray)


Yesterday’s near-80 degree temperature surprised (and delighted) many Westporters.

It also confused at least one lilac. Yulee Aronson captured the scene, for our “Westport … Naturally” feature.

(Photo/Yulee Aronson)

Plus, a bonus “Westport … Naturally”: This one is from last night’s flaming sunset.

(Photo/Seth Goltzer)


And finally … on this day in 1682, the city of Philadelphia was founded by William Penn, a Quaker who advocated for religious freedom.

(If today’s Roundup helped you plan a fun weekend, throw a bone to “06880.” You can click here to make a contribution. We thank you!)

Roundup: Long Lots Meeting, Restaurant Week, I-95 Closures …

The Long Lots School Building Committee meets tomorrow (Thursday, October 5, 6 p.m.). In anticipation of a large crowd — and the expectation of a vote on which recommendation to submit to 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker — the session will be held in the Town Hall auditorium.

The agenda includes:

  • Update from committee
  • Public comment and/or questions regarding the feasibility study project (15 minutes)
  • Committee discussion regarding report and recommendation.

Previous meetings of the Long Lots School Building Committee have been held in a small room. Tomorrow’s is set for the Town Hall auditorium. (Photo/Karen Mather)


With all that’s going on in town– the Slice of Saugatuck, Earthplace and YMCA fundraisers, the Long Lots/Community Gardens kerfuffle, lanternflies — you’re forgiven for not realizing that Restaurant Week started on Sunday.

But foodies: Fear not. This is Westport. We do things differently.

Our Restaurant Week is actually 2. It runs all the way through October 15.

The annual Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce event is part of its ongoing “Eat Local” campaign, to promote area restaurants.

This year Restaurant Week(s) features 21 places, offering prix fixe meals in a variety of cuisines, and for all price points. They cover all of Westport, from Saugatuck to just over the Southport line.

Each restaurant sets its ow prix fixe price. Some offer just lunch, others dinner only; many provide both.

Here are the participating restaurants, with “Lunch” and/or “Dinner” noted. Click each restaurant to see each menu.

Boathouse (L,D)
Capuli  (L,D)
De Tapas (L,D)
Don Memo (L,D)
Gabriele’s (L,D)
Gray Goose (pending)
Harvest (D)
Kawa Ni (L)
La Plage (L,D)
Lomito (L,D)
Match Burger Lobster (L,D)
Mexicue (D)
Rive Bistro (D)
Rizzutos (D)
Romanacci (L,D)
Spotted Horse Tavern (L,D)
Tarantino (D)
The Whelk (L)
Tutti’s Restaurant (L,D)
Via Sforza (L,D)
Zucca (L,D)

Restaurant Week is again sponsored by Castlekeep Advisors, WEBE 108 and WICC 600.

Tutti’s owners Pasquale and Maria Funicello — and their family — are proud partners in Restaurant Week.


In addition to the occasional, “15-minute only” closures of I-95 between Exits 17 and 18 through October 27, the state Department of Transportation has just announced lengthier, more involved work.

From 8 p.m. on Friday, October 20 through 6 a.m. Monday, October 23, I-95 northbound will be closed, and “traffic will be detoured on the southbound bride, severely restricting traffic flow.”  Traffic will be detoured onto Saugatuck and Riverside Avenue, the Post Road and Sherwood Island connector.

From Friday, November 3 (8 p.m.) until Monday, November 6 (6 a.m.), I-95 southbound will be closed, and “traffic will be detoured on the I-95 NB bridge thus severely restricting traffic flow.” The Saugatuck Avenue detour will also be in place.

Make plans now to avoid the area.

And much of the rest of town.

For more information, click here.

The I-95 “slide” bridge was half-completed last month. As work continues, detours and delays will mount.


First it was stuffed bears in the Winslow Park trees.

Now it’s artwork.

Mark Mathias spotted this yesterday.

As always, we’d love to know the back story. Click “Comments” if you’ve got a clue.


From the size of the container at the transfer station, it looks like Westporters are serious about recycling.

And from the type of glass inside, it looks like this is definitely a Westport collection.

Or maybe all that wine came from just one party?

(Photos/Frank Rosen)


Sure, it’s October.

But the Levitt Pavilion — known for its 60 or so nights of summer entertainment — is still going strong.

On stage this month:

“Max Weinberg’s Jukebox” (tomorrow: Thursday, October 5, 7:30 p.m.): The longtime drummer for Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band brings his own group – and 300 songs that the audience can pick from. Click here for tickets ($35, $75 and $125), and more information.

Caleb Caudle (Friday, October 6, 7:30 p.m.): A full band show featuring Americana and folk from the his “Forsythia” album. Click here for free tickets, and more information.

Say She She (October 19, 7:30 p.m.): The female-led 7-piece outfit from London and Brooklyn brings its disco-pop sound to the shores of the Saugatuck River. Click here for free tickets, and more information.

Max Weinberg


Sure, yesterday’s weather was more like the 4th of July than Halloween.

But this group of women were busy carving pumpkins. At Compo Beach, sure, but can trick-or-treating be far behind?

(Photo/Cohl Katz)

Cohl Katz — the great hair stylist who was out for a walk in between clients — was so intrigued, she did not ask whether this was an organized group working on a project, or just a random assortment of friends.

Either way: Boo!


When the Westport Library sponsors a staged reading of “Gentle Hacksaw” — the new drama combining religion, identity and violence (October 21, 8 p.m.; part of Story Fest) — there will be a strong local tie.

Matthew Van Gessel plays one of the lead roles. In Staples Players, the 2011 graduate played some of the most challenging roles seen on a high school stage. (The dentist in “Little Shop of Horrors” was typical.)

Described as “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” meets “God of Carnage,” the psychological thriller follows 2 high-profile gay men in a verbal cat-and-mouse game of utter cruelty when an unpleasant bargain goes awry.

As social graces are discarded and basic human decency is abandoned, both men discover shocking truths about themselves and one another.

A 7 p.m. reception with StoryFest authors precedes the show. A talkback with the playwright and cast, moderated by author Clay Mcleod Chapman, follows it. Click here for tickets.

Matthew Van Gessel


During World War II, Westporters took turns scanning the skies and waters, looking for Nazi planes and boats.

In the 1950s and ’60s, one Nike site with missiles on North Avenue — and another launch site on Bayberry Lane — were part of the US defense system. The goal was to protect Bridgeport — an important manufacturing city — from a Russian attack

The Norwalk Historical Society on East Avenue has an exhibit on Norden, the Norwalk manufacturer of radar systems and bombsights. The company — located a few yards from the Westport border, and visible from I-95 just before Exit 17 — was later home to Tauck Tours. (Hat tip: Lynn Flint)

A typical Nike site — much like the North Avenue one. Missiles were buried underground.


Half of the prison population ends up back in jail following release.

In Bridgeport, Homebridge Ventures provides a re-entry program to help break the cycle of recidivism.

Yesterday, the Westport Rotary Club heard from David Stubbs. The co-founder and executive director of the non-profit escribed their programs addressing mental health issues, substance abuse and educational deficiencies, including teaching computer and job skills.

David Stubbs addresses the Westport Rotary Club.


Art was not the only thing Mark Mathias noticed yesterday on his ramble through Winslow Park (story above).

He also snapped this photo, for our “Westport … Naturally” feature.

(Photo/Mark Mathias)

It’s a dog’s world. We just share it with them.


And finally … in honor of both Restaurant Week, and the glass recycling container at the transfer station (stories above):

(For the price of a bottle of wine, you can support “06880.” Any vintage is welcome! Please click here — and “merci.”)

Roundup: Yard Signs, Emmy Squared, Adult Halloween …

As Election Day looms, lawns and traffic islands will be filled with political signs. And the Westport Police Department will field complaints about the removal of them.

The WPD says: “Residents and visitors are advised against taking it upon themselves to remove signs that do not belong to them, from either public or private property.

“The enforcement of the town’s rules is the responsibility of the town of Westport, not that of private citizens. The removal of signs from public or private property by someone not authorized to do so by the town, or by the owner of the sign, may constitute theft.  Entering onto private property to remove signs may also constitute trespassing. Both of these acts can ultimately result in an arrest.

“Town property includes traffic islands and road rights of way. It is not advisable to place signs on State of Connecticut property (including rights of way and islands along Routes 1, 136, 57, 33, and the Sherwood Island Connector, or on the exit or entrance ramps of I-95 or the Merritt Parkway) as the state may remove them.

“In addition, signs may not be placed on school property without permission of the superintendent’s office, nor may they be put inside Compo Beach or Longshore, Town Hall, or on trees or utility poles. Signs my not interfere with traffic visibility.

“Signs on private property cannot extend beyond the property line or into the town right-of-way. They should be removed within 2 days after the election.”

Political signs, 2012.


Emmy Squared’s arrival was eagerly anticipated by Westporters who know — and love — its New York locations.

The new restaurant in the old Bedford Square Amis space has not disappointed.

Its square Detroit-style pizza, mammoth burgers and decadent brownie dessert draw big crowds and great raves.

Emmy Squared prides itself on friendliness and customer service. Here’s how they walk the talk: I was there last night. When it came time to bring out the meal, there were apologies instead.

My friend’s pizza had not come out right. The server did not want us to have a less-than-perfect experience. They were making a new one.

The attention to quality — and honesty — was refreshing.

And the wait was worth it. Emmy Squared is a winner.

Pizzas from Emmy Squared.


Halloween: It’s not just for kids anymore.

The Westport Weston Chamber of Horrors –er. Commerce — has conjured up a new event to die for. A Halloween Concert and Costume Ball, featuring Bella’s Bartok, is set for Saturday, October 28 (8 p.m., Westport Library).

The event is an adult alternative to the Children’s Halloween Window Painting Contest, held earlier the same day (also run by the Chamber).

Costumes are encouraged. Prizes will awarded for best outfits, in several categories.

Specialty cocktails, beer and wine will allow patrons to pick their own poison.

Bella’s Bartok is an inspired choice for entertainment. Their raucous theatrical performances edge toward the macabre. Their high energy mix of funk, pop and folk will have even the deadest attendees dancing.

Tickets are $35. Click here to purchase, and for more information.

Bella’s Bartok.


Taking a reflective walk yesterday at Compo Beach, recalling the September 11 of 22 years ago, Andrea Metchick saw this sight:

(Photo/Andrea Metchick)

It was a team-building activity, for Coleytown Middle School 7th graders. Their mission: build a raft that floats.

“It was so cool, on this somber day,” Andrea says.


Many towns have “new neighbors” groups.

In Westport, it’s “Neighbors & Newcomers.” All are welcome. It’s a way for recent arrivals to meet folks who have been here a while — and vice versa.

It must work. Neighbors & Newcomers has been around for 60 years.

They celebrate that anniversary this Friday (September 15, 6:30 p.m., Compo Beach).

Food and water will be available. RSVP: presidentnnwestport@gmail.com.

Ignore the tagline — it’s now over 60 years.


Declining audiences is not just a Westport Country Playhouse woe.

It’s a national issue.

Several days ago, the New York Times examined the trend. Yesterday, they published letters in response.

Among them: Carole Schweid’s.

The organizer of the “Play With Your Food” series — which never went out of style — wrote:

As I like to say: “If Joe Papp can do ‘Shakespeare in the Park,’ we can do Chekhov in the parking lot.” Performances like these are one of the ways my nonprofit arts organization brought our audiences back at the end of the pandemic.

As producers of Connecticut’s popular lunchtime play-reading series, “Play With Your Food,” we’ve learned a lot about survival from our five-star Westport Library, which has evolved from an excellent library into a vibrant center for the community. Like it or not, books are not enough, and I fear that it is much the same for theater.

We have been developing programs: talkbacks, theater lovers’ book groups, reading lists, a book group where we read plays out loud together, and, my current stock in trade, staged readings, to name a few low-cost, engaging, community-building activities.

We try to remind our audiences of the joy and the unique fun that can be had being part of our community. I think of it as an investment in our future.

Carole Schweid/Westport, Conn.
The writer was in the original Broadway cast of “A Chorus Line” and is the author of “Staged Reading Magic.”

Carole Schweid


Speaking of the Playhouse: If you missed “Justin Paul & Friends” Saturday night there, what a shame.

The evening was both joyful (high energy, huge talent, memorable music) and important (it was a fundraiser).

Justin — the 2002 Staples High School graduate/Grammy-, Emmy- and Tony-winning songwriter (“Dear Evan Hansen,” “La La Land,” “The Greatest Showman) — brought his “A” game. He not only rocked the piano and vocals, and not only enlisted a ton of great friends (Kelli O’Hara, James and Greg Naughton, Jacob Heimer, Staples Players …), but he described — again and again — the lasting influence that both Westport and Staples had on his development as a musician and a person.

If you were not there, this photo will have to suffice. If you were, you’ll appreciate once again Justin’s connection with the sold-out audience

Justin Paul (Photo/Jerri Graham)


Speaking of pianists: Ragtime rang out yesterday, at Green’s Farms Congregational Church.

The Y’s Women hosted Orin Grossman, professor emeritus of visual and performing arts at Fairfield University. His “From Ragtime to Stride: American Music Comes of Age” spanned many ages, from Scott Joplin to novelty piano and George Gershwin.

Grossman noted that when jazz was first introduced in the 1920s, it was looked upon as disparagingly as when Elvis burst on the scene 3 decades later.

Dr. Orin Grossman, at Green’s Farms Church. (Photo/Molly Alger)


Speaking still of pianists: Ethan Iverson makes his first-ever Jazz at the Post appearance Thursday (Sept. 14, 7:30 and 8:45 p.m.; VFW Joseph J. Clinton Post 399; cover charge $15).

Iverson — also a composer and writer — was a founding member of The Bad Plus.

Greg “The Jazz Rabbi” Wall met Iverson in 1998 at a Brooklyn recording session. They recorded together … and the rest is jazz history.

Iverson and saxophonist Wall will be joined by bassist Yuriy Galkin and drummer Vinnie Sperrazza.

Dinner service begins at 7 p.m. Reservations are highly recommended: JazzatthePost@gmail.com


Westport plastic surgeon Flora Levin and her daughter Miri — a 10th grader at Hopkins School — recently returned from Guatemala. For the second year in a row, they volunteered with the International Esperanza Project to provide medical and surgical services, as well as building stoves and installing water filters 2 hours outside of Guatemala City.

Supplies are limited, in the poverty-stricken area. Levin brought sutures, lighting and anesthetic from her Connecticut office.

On the last day she did 8 lachrymal surgeries, but had only enough post-operative medication for 5. She went to a pharmacy and bought eye drops for $7 — an unaffordable cost for her patients.

Though Miri missed the first week of school, her mother says, “it was definitely worth the experience, and I am glad Hopkins appreciates that. The kids are amazing, always willing to help, first ones to get there, last ones to leave with the group. This is no summer camp, but there is an amazing sense of purpose and teamwork for a common cause.”

Click here for more information on the International Esperanza Project, including ways to help.

Dr. Flora Levin (left) and a Mexican colleague operate, in Guatemala. Miri Levin (rear) assists.


Jerry Kuyper’s orchids got a bit of fresh air the other day.

He captured the shot, for a colorful “Westport … Naturally” feature.

(Photo/Jerry Kuyper)


And finally … in honor of “ragtime professor” Dr. Orin Grossman, and his Y’s Women appearance (story above):

(If you enjoy our daily Roundup, please round up some loose cash, and toss it our way. “06880” relies on support from readers like you. Please click here — and thank you)

Slice Of Saugatuck Postponed To September 30

The Slice of Saugatuck — originally scheduled for tomorrow (Saturday) — will be postponed to September 30 (2 to 5 p.m.).

The Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce says: “After consulting with the Westport Fire and Police Departments and looking at multiple weather forecasts, the risk and threat of thunderstorms during the event was too clear to run the festival tomorrow.

“The large footprint of the event coupled with many exposed vendors, bands and residents at the festival, means considering safety beyond just hoping people don’t get wet. A rain date was always built into the planning. All the bands, vendors and the bouncy house supplier have confirmed they will attend on the 30th.”

“We ran 10 Slices in a row without any modification. I guess we were due, especially with how the weather has changed recently,” says Matthew Mandell, founder of the event. “Saugatuck will be here in 3 weeks for everyone to come out and enjoy.”

With Rosh Hashanah next week and the Lobster Fest the week after, the 30th was set for the alternate date when the event was planned.

For information about the Slice of Saugatuck, click here.

Roundup: Chamber’s 1st Citizens, Civil War, Staples Graduation …

A capacity crowd (including namesakes Rev. John and Judyth Branson) filled Christ & Holy Trinity Church’s Branson Hall last night, for the annual 1st Citizen Award dinner.

The 7th annual event — sponsored by the Westport-Weston Chamber of Commerce, but the first held since the pandemic — honored Westport Library director Bill Harmer, CastleKeepAdvisors founder and CEO Charlie Haberstroh, and 4 student entrepreneurs: Marley Brown, Akhila Kooma, Addison Moore and Jamie Semaya.

Charlie Haberstroh (center) and his family.

The theme of the evening — echoed by Chamber director Matthew Mandell and keynote speaker US Senator Richard Blumenthal — was “giving back to the community.”

Westport Library director Bill Harmer speaks. Westport-Weston Chamber of Commerce director Matthew Mandell is at left.

All 6 honorees have done that in major ways. And all expressed thanks that the communities of Westport and Weston have inspired, and enabled them, to do so.

Keynote speaker Senator Richard Blumental. (All photos/Dan Woog)


Also last night: the opening of a new exhibit at the Westport Museum for History & Culture.

“Reluctant Liberators: Westport in the Civil War” was curated by students. Staples High School junior Talia Moskowitz took the lead, as part of an independent study project.

She got help from the museum’s high school interns: Amelia Gura, Devan Patel and Oscar Scher (Staples), Stephanie Field (Weston) and Tess Innes (Wilton).

The exhibit includes information on early Westporters like the Toquet, Coley and Ketchum families, and an exploration of racial issues during that time.

It runs through November 11.

Talia Moskowitz, at the Westport Museum for History & Culture exhibit.


Speaking of Staples: Can’t make it to graduation ceremonies for the Class of 2023? Live far away? Or you couldn’t snag a ticket?

No problem.

Next Tuesday’s ceremony (6 p.m., football field) will be livestreamed. Click here for the link.

It’s also be available on Optimum Channel 78. Enjoy!


As the end of school nears, here’s an important reminder: Not every family here can afford the camps and enrichment programs many take for granted.

Westport’s Department of Human Services can help.

Last summer, 58 income-qualified youth, from 32 families, participated in the department’s campership program.

This year, the number may be higher.

Human Services director Elaine Daignault encourages residents who can, to contribute. Online donations can be made to the “DHS Campership Fund” (click here), or mailed to 110 Myrtle Avenue, Westport, CT 06880.

For more information — including how to qualify for a campership — email youth and family specialist Annette D’Augelli: 203-341-1050; adaugelli@westportct.gov.

Summer Camp has been part of growing up for decades. In 1953, Westport artist Stevan Dohanos used Camp Mahackeno for this Saturday Evening Post cover.


Tomorrow marks the start of Wakeman Town Farm’s farm stand.

Open every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., it features fresh produce, fresh-cut flower bouquets, WTF logowear and honey, and products from local vendors like artisan baked goods, extra virgin olive oils, gourmet balsamic vinegars, Chaga mushroom elixirs, homemade salsas and more.

The gardens are open. It’s also a chance to see the animals, and chat with farmers.

PS: This week: limited amounts of country and roasted garlic sourdough, multigrain pan loafs, focaccina minis, olive-Focaccia and bomboloni Nutella.

Wakeman Town Farm farm stand.


When it comes to powerful adjectives and action verbs, no one beats the New York Post. 

Yesterday’s story on the the future of Phil Donohue and Marlo Thomas’ former Beachside Avenue home begins:

A Connecticut “Gold Coast” mansion sold by talk show pioneer Phil Donahue for $25 million is to be be bulldozed by its current owners who say it is falling apart and overrun by vermin.

The once-palatial Tudor on Westport’s most exclusive avenue has become a home for rats and raccoons with a caving-in roof, its new owner Peggy Reiner claims.

She is involved in a bid to tear down the 8,500 square foot manse after building a 20,000 square foot beach-view home with a commanding prospect of Long Island Sound in front of it.

The long story describes the history of the current property, and others nearby.

It also calls “06880” a “popular gossipy and newsy blog.”

Nice. But we’ll stick with “where Westport meets the world.”

Click here for the full Post story. (The “06880” mention comes near the end.)

The New York Post story includes this Google Earth photo of Phil Donahue and Marlo Thomas’ “vermin”-filled old house (rear), and the 20,000-plus square foot home that replaced it.


The recent haze from Canada’s wildfires prompts this message, from Westport’s Office of Emergency Management:

Daycare providers, summer camps and older residents should subscribe to the Air Quality Index . It is fast, easy and provides important daily information. The link includes ground-level ozone, its health effects, what to do on a high ozone day, and how to reduce ground level ozone in your backyard.

Learn how to cope with days like this. Subscribe to the AQI. (Photo/Charlie Scott)


Speaking of air quality: Neighbors & Newcomers has postponed today’s year-end party (scheduled for Compo Beach), due to the outdoor conditions.

A new date will be announced soon.


Speaking of health: Both the federal and state governments have declared an official end to the COVID public health emergency.

What does that mean for testing, vaccines, insurance coverage and more? Click here for a full report from CT Mirror.


When Judy Auber Jahnel saw a tiny insect she could not identify, she emailed a photo to the University of Connecticut Cooperative Extension.

They told her it was a spotted lanternfly nymph — quite different looking from the mature one she’s familiar with. they look quite different.

She sent this link to “06880,” in the hopes that readers will learn about them — and the damage that spotted lanternfly nymphs and adults can cause.

Spotted lanternfly nymph. (Photo/Judy Auber Jahnel)


There must be a back story to this.

Stupid parking tricks, at the Westport train station. (Photo/Jeremy Deutsch)

And we’d sure like to hear it. Click “Comments” below.


Everyone shops at the Westport Farmers’ Market.

Including the town’s 1st selectwoman and police chief.

Jen Tooker and Foti Koskinas were part of yesterday’s crowd.

The market runs every Thursday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Imperial Avenue parking lot.


Yesterday’s Roundup posed a question: What’s up with the Photoshopped figure on top of the Westport Country Playhouse photo I posted on “06880” a couple of days ago.

It took about 12 minutes to find the answer.

Miggs Burroughs — Westport’s graphic artist/photographer extraordinaire, who has worked with nearly every organization in town — Photoshopped Ann Sheffer on the roof of the building, several years ago.

It was a gift from the Playhouse to her, for her many years of service and support.

In fact, Ann — one of our town’s most philanthropic residents — spent one summer, back in the day, as an usher there.

Decades later, she made it onto the roof.

And now the mystery is solved.


Also yesterday, our Roundup gave an incorrect date for this weekend’s “Last Lollapaloosa” at Blau House & Gardens.

The correct day for the Bayberry Ridge event is Sunday, June 11.

The day includes tours of the magnificent property, yoga, children’s book readings, a reception and more.

Click here to register (deadline: June 5), and for information on payment and shuttle transportation from Coleytown Elementary School.

A view of the Blau gardens.


David Vita spotted this handsome hawk yesterday. It poses proudly, for its “Westport … Naturally” close-up.

(Photo/David Vita)

David adds: “This made me think about all the animals that had to breathe this foul air the past days.”


And finally … George Winston, the new age pianist (he called it “rural folk piano”) died Sunday in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. He was 74, and had been ill with cancer.

Click here for a full obituary.

(“06880” will cover Staples’ graduation — as we do with every big town activity, and many small ones. Please help us keep doing it. Click here to contribute — and thank you!)

Dog Day Afternoon (And Morning)

Yesterday’s 7th annual Dog Festival brought the usual thousands of canines — and owners, families and vendors — to Winslow Park.

Pooches prowled, preened, ran through an obstacle course, competed for prizes, enjoyed treats, and sniffed each other avidly.

Thanks to the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce, dozens of volunteers, all the sponsors — and of course, every dog. It would not have been your day without you.

(All photos/Dan Woog)

Haberstroh, Harmer: “First Citizen” Honorees

Two men who have made their mark on Westport will be honored as First Citizens.

Charlie Haberstroh — a longtime civic volunteer, and founder and CEO of CastleKeep Investment Advisors — and Westport Library executive director Bill Harmer are honorees of the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce.

The first First Citizen Award dinner since the pandemic is set for June 8 (Branson Hall, Christ & Holy Trinity Church). The keynote speaker is Senator Richard Blumenthal.

The event honors one non-profit leader, and one businessperson. They “represent what is best in our town for their work ethic, generosity and how they approach business,” says Chamber director Matthew Mandell.

From left: Charlie Haberstroh and Bill Harmer.

“It is a distinct honor to be recognized by a community that has given my family so much since we moved here in 1990,” says Haberstroh.

“Whether it’s long nights on the baseball fields, picturesque sunsets at Compo Beach or digging out of the sand hazards at the Longshore golf course, I cherish the many memories and experiences in Westport,” says Haberstroh.

“Since I founded my investment advisory firm in 2000, I’ve also had the privilege of giving back to the community through public service. I was inspired to do so by my wife and by Bill Meyer who also inspired many who continue to serve Westport.”

Harmer calls himself “deeply humbled and moved by this recognition by my friends at the Chamber of Commerce, for frankly doing work that I absolutely love and am extremely passionate about.

“Thanks also to my staff and our Board of Trustees who consistently support our vision and allow me to be a part of this magnificent place we call Westport and the Westport Library.”

Also receiving awards: 4 “Young Entrepreneurs.” Marley Brown, Akhila Kooma, Addison Moore and Jamie Semaya are seniors from Weston and Staples High Schools. All created new and intriguing business ventures.

Tickets are $125 each. Tables of 10 are also available. Click here for details.

(“06880” relies on reader support. Please click here to contribute — and thank you!)

Roundup: Supper & Soul, Winslow AED, Grace Salmon Art …

The pedestrian struck by a motorist on Saturday night has died.

Matthew Balga of Norwalk succumbed at Norwalk Hospital, He was 54.

The Riverside Avenue crash, near the William F. Cribari Bridge, remains under investigation by Westport police, assisted by the Fairfield Accident Team.


Johnny Cash is coming to Westport.

Well, not exactly. The Man in Black has been dead nearly 20 years.

But Johnny Folsom 4 — a great tribute band — headlines the next “Supper & Soul” concert. It’s Saturday, May 13, at the Westport Library.

The Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce-sponsored event is tons of fun.  For $85 a ticket, you get a 3-course dinner at one of 11 downtown restaurants, plus the show.

After the concert, show your ticket at any of the restaurants, and get happy hour pricing on drinks.

Participating restaurants include 190 Main, Arezzo, Basso, Capuli, Casa me, De Tapas, Don Memo, Nômade, Spotted Horse, Goji and Walrus Alley.

Click here for tickets, and more information. (Concert-only tickets are available too — they’re $35.

Johnny Cash was famous for playing in prisons. This may be his — well, his tribute band’s — first library gig.


Alert “06880” reader — and nearby Winslow Park neighbor — Dick Truitt writes:

“Just inside the Westport Country Playhouse parking lot entrance to the Winslow Park dog run is a box containing a defibrillator, placed there to help save people who suffer emergency heart issues.

“The box has gathered filth over the years. But the bin on top has been a sort of lifesaver itself to folks who might find they have lost small and sometimes critical items in the vast park.  It’s the informal “lost and found” headquarters.

“The other day it contained a pair of glasses, a right-hand glove, a tube of lip balm, a military-style dog tag, 3 key tags and, most importantly, 4 residential-style keys — all apparently from someone’s front door.

“A dog walker reported that there is a regular turnover of items in the bin. She noted, however, that no one has yet showed up with a brush and bottle of soap.”

Lost and found at Winslow Park. (Photo/Dick Truitt)


Meanwhile, over at Grace Salmon Park off Imperial Avenue, paintings have mysteriously been hung on trees and placed on benches.

It’s a mystery. Or course, this being Westport, it’s an artistic one.

Here’s the latest scene:

(Photo/Paul Delano)


Nick Diamond was a varsity soccer player at Staples High School. After graduating in 2004, he moved to Seattle.

Nick’s 3-year-old son Noah was recently diagnosed with Sanfilippo Syndrome. Known also as “childhood Alzheimer’s,” it is a rare and terminal disease.

With continued research and advocacy, a cure is possible. Nick and his wife Kristen organized Plunge for a Cure, o raise awareness and funds to support the fight against this disease.

Philip Halpert — Nick’s best friend from Staples — took the plunge yesterday at Compo Beach. His wife Carrie joined in.

Philip Halpert takes the plunge.

To learn more about the plunge — and contribute — click here. (David Halpert)


We seldom think about it, but nearly everything we rely on in our homes — clocks, speakers, kitchen equipment, even toys — contains silicon chips.

David Pogue thinks about it. And because CBS pays him to think about — and explain — things like this, chips were the focus of his story yesterday on “Sunday Morning.”

What makes his piece “06880”-worthy — besides the fact that he is our Westport neighbor — is that when he needed props (to smash with a hammer), he headed to our local Goodwill.

He found all the chip-stuffed stuff he needed. And spent a grand total of $9 on it.


“Westport … Naturally” has highlighted many types of living things. Today’s Compo Beach feature, though, is a first:

(Photo/Monica Buesser)


And finally … speaking of starfish on the beach:

(It’s always the season to support “06880.” Please click here to contribute — and thank you!)

Great Pizza Contest Heats Up In March

There will be at least 3 new winners in the 2023 Great Westport Pizza Contest.

That’s not my pie-in-the-sky prediction. It’s a fact: Westport Pizzeria and Jordan’s are no longer here to defend their titles (Best Slice and Best Plain for the former; Best Delivered for the latter) from the first event, in 2018.

But Joe’s Pizza (Best Meat; Best Gluten-Free), Tutti’s (Best Veggie) and Rizzuto’s (Best Personal) are.

They — along with Cuatro Hermanos, Gallo Pizza, Golden Pizza, Julian’s Kitchen, La Plage, Old Mill Grocery & Deli, Outpost Pizza, Parker Pizza, Pizza Lyfe, Romanacci, Spotted Horse and Via Sforza — are firing up their ovens.

The 2nd Great Westport Pizza Contest begins Wednesday (March 1).

In fact, all of March is Westport Pizza Month. 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker makes the announcement — and kicks off the contest, at noon Wednesday at Romanacci on Railroad Place.

There are 8 categories: the 7 from the contest 5 years ago, plus the new Best Flatbread.

The judges are experts: all of us. Voting will be done online (be sure to visit the venues!). Each participant is entered in a drawing, to win a free pizza from one of the 8 winning restaurants.  

Winning restaurants receive plaques. For more information and to access the voting pages, click here.

The event is organized by the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce, with sponsorship from the law firm Berchem Moses.

Previous Chamber contests have included burgers, soups, sandwiches and salads. This is the first time an event has been reprised.

(Here’s something where everyone wins: Please click here to support “06880.”  Thank you!)

“06880” Podcast: Matthew Mandell

The Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce is unlike any other Chamber, anywhere.

Instead of lobbying for business interests, it organizes on-the-ground events to actually help businesses succeed. The Slice of Saugatuck, Dog Festival, Supper & Soul concerts, Pizza and Hamburger Contests — they’re all Westport Chamber efforts.

And they’re all spearheaded by executive director Matthew Mandell. The other day, I chatted with him at the Westport Library for an “06880” podcast.

His route to the job was intriguing. His work for the Chamber (and the Representative Town Meeting, where he represents District 1) is fascinating. And his insights into this town — its retailers and restaurants, its politics, and what makes it tick — are delivered clearly and strongly.

Click below to view.