Tag Archives: Westport-Weston Chamber of Commerce

Roundup: Leaf Blowers, Halloween Stuff, Pumpkin Toss …

For several years, a proposed gas-powered leaf blower ordinance has been blowin’ in the Westport wind.

On Tuesday (November 1, 7:30 p.m., Town Hall), a proposal — already approved by the Ordinance Committee — heads to the full Representative Town Meeting. for a first reading.

The text of the amendment is not yet available online. It is available at the Town Clerk’s office during business hours.

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Four Halloween films — and a bonus Christmas movie — top the bill at the Remarkable Theater this weekend.

The Imperial Avenue drive-in will screen:

“The Nightmare Before Christmas” (tonight: Saturday, October 29; doors open at 6, movie at 7; free (donate whatever you wish)

Double feature: “Charlie Brown” and “Curious George” (Sunday, October 30; doors open at 5, movie at 6)

“Texas Chain Saw Massacre” (Sunday, October 30; doors open at 8, movie at 8:30)

“Halloween” (Halloween, Monday October 31; doors open at 6, movie at 7)

Click here for tickets, and more information.

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On Thursday (November 3, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.), the same site — the Imperial Avenue parking lot — turns into the Great Pumpkin Toss.

The free community composting event returns for its 4th year, at the Westport Farmers’ Market. Action Waste Solutions will collect pumpkins — aka “Halloween food waste” — while also having some fun.

Just “toss” your pumpkin (or gourds) in the bin, and go.

All pumpkins and gourds in their natural state are welcome. Squishy and rotted ones are fine, but decorated or painted pumpkins cannot be composted.

In addition to creating compost, pumpkins provide food for livestock. Stephanie Maynard from Ox Hollow Farm will fill her truck with good pumpkins that will serve as food for her cows .

Last year’s Great Pumpkin Toss diverted one ton of pumpkin waste from landfill. Can we break that record this year?

Come help!

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We’ve got winners!

Last Saturday, over 75 children painted 63 store windows throughout town this past Saturday, in the annual Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce Halloween Contest.

Winners received gift certificates for an ice cream cake at Gofer Ice Cream.

They are:

ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 

  • Scariest: Chloe Robbin (Cycle Dynamics; Long Lots grade 4)
  • Best Halloween: Scarlett Nathan (Stephen Kempson, Saugatuck grade 4)
  • Most creative: Calvin and Julian Carreras (ASF, Long Lots grades 1 and 3)

MIDDLE SCHOOL

  • Scariest: Hailey Kipperman (Sephen Kempson, The Southport School grade 8)
  • Best Halloween: Linda Morgan and Julie Ferraro (Cold Fusion, Bedford grade 6)
  • Most Creative: Milo Milgrom (Greens Farms Spirit Shop, Bedford grade 7)


Chloe Robbin with her “Scariest” Elementary School award, at Cycle Dynamics.

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Kaitlyn Steffa loves living on High Point Road. “There’s always something fun going on,” she says.

Like her neighbor at #26, For the past few weeks Sarah Maraun has entertained anyone driving, biking or walking by with creative skeleton displays in her front yard.

One day they’re out playing Twister; the next, they’re doctors performing surgery, or having a potato sack race.

As you can see, Sarah does not mess around. These are some hard-core decorations — and some very hard skeletons.

(Photo/Kaitlyn Steffa)

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More than 200 movie lovers thronged the Westport Library this week, for the opening night of “Short Cuts.”

Five international short films were screened, followed by a conversation.

The next installment of the “short film” festival (Thursday. November 17) features documentary films, with guest Oscar-nominated Kevin Wilson Jr. Click here fpr tickets. and more information.

“Short Cuts,” at the Westport Library.

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“06880” does not often post wedding announcements.

But this one has a twist.

Staples High School graduates Juliet Senia and Josh Jeavons are getting married November 18, at Town Hall. State Representative Jonathan Steinberg will perform the ceremony.

Bride and groom live in England. A celebration is planned there in June.

What makes this special is that Juliet was the first baby born to a Westport couple in the new millennium.

Billy and Linda welcomed their 7-pound, 5-ounce daughter into the world at 9:09 a.m. on January 3, 2000.

Julia’s parents are not the only ones thinking right now, “Time sure does fly!”

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Westport PAL’s first-ever gala on Thursday was a hit.

The Inn at Longshore was packed, as residents dined, drank, danced, and raised funds for the kids-first organization’s projects like renovating the clubhouse at PJ Romano Field. Click here to see all that PAL does.

Westport PAL gala-goers (from left):Anna Rycenga, Pam Romano, PAL president Craig Bergamo, Kristen Zygmant, Catrina Hegarty, Emma Rojas, Georgia Rojas. (Photo/Andrew Colabella)

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Longtime Westporter Nancy Gershon died last month, 10 days before her 87th birthday, of multiple medical causes.

The Brooklyn native was a stellar student, and an excellent pianist and flutist.

After graduated from James Madison High School and Barnard College, majoring in math, then earned a master’s degree in education from Teacher’s College.

Nancy married Richard Gershon in 1957. She worked as a calculator (a pre-computer-era job)  at the Harvard-Smithsonian Astronomical Observatory. After he graduate from Harvard Business School they moved to Queens NY, where she worked as a substitute high school math teacher.

The couple moved to Westport in 1963. Her 4 children, born in 6 years, kept her busy, but she took up cello. She played in the Norwalk Symphony and in informal Westport chamber groups. Nancy ‘s oldest child went on to a career as a professional musician.

Nancy and Richard divorced in 1980e. Once her nest was empty she continued with musical activities, including learning jazz piano and taking up saxophone. She also studied computer science at Norwalk Technical College. She collected large quantities of music books, which her musician son has been distributing to music students.

She is survived by her children Russ of Chelsea, Massachusetts, and Andrew, Jill and Laurie of Manhattan; 3 grandchildren; sister Maryanne Lehrer of Oceanside, New York and brother Dr. Robert Leon of Scottsdale, Arizoba. She was ably cared for in her home by Lorna Jones for the last 6 years of her life.

Nancy Gershon

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Today’s spectacular “Westport … Naturally” fall foliage photo is from Compo Road South, near Bradley Street. Thanks, Matt Murray, for the image — and kudos too to whoever takes care of this beauty!

(Photo/Matt Murray)

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And finally … rock ‘n’ roll pioneer Jerry Lee Lewis died yesterday in Mississippi. He was 87.

He was a legend. Just imagine what his career would have been like if he hadn’t married his 13-year-old cousin. He was 22 years old at the time — and still married to his second wife. (Click here for a full obituary.)

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Roundup: Politics, Trees, Music …

Candidates for State Senate and House seats squared off yesterday, at the Westport Library. The debate was sponsored by the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce. Chamber director Matthew Mandell moderated.

Among the main topics: reproductive rights and affordable housing.

Candidates at yesterday’s Westport Library event. (Photo/Dave Matlow)

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Bob Weingarten reports on the latest tree-cutting: He estimates more than a dozen have been felled at 31 Turkey Hill Road South, “and more” to come.

(Photo/Bob Weingarten)

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Fall is in full force. But the Westport Farmers’ Market plows on in its summer location — the Imperial Avenue parking lot —  every Thursday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

They’ll be there another month, through November 10.

In addition to vendors with seasonal vegetables and fruits, meat, milk, cheese, seafood, baked goods, prepared foods (plus knife, scissors and tool sharpening), the Farmers’ Market hosts different musicians each week.

Tomorrow (October 20), hear Picnic on the 4th of July. Guitars, banjo, harmonica, washboard and vocals offer “new grass” music – songs with a bluegrass twist. The band includes Westporters Louis Fuertes and Pat Blaufuss.

Picnic on the 4th of July band members (from left): Martin Daniels, Jeff Carroll, Pat Blaufuss, Louis Fuertes. (Photo /Lynda Carroll)

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Westport Country Playhouse has added a 5th play — the comedy of manners “The Cocktail Hour” by A. R. (Pete) Gurney, to its 2023 seaso

“Pete Gurney has been a Playhouse audience favorite for many decades,” says WCP artistic director Mark Lamos, who will direct the show.

“My long association and friendship with him, both at the Playhouse and Off-Broadway, makes me happy to be reunited with his work.”

For more information on the 2023 season, including tickets, click here.

Westport Country Playhouse (Photo/Lynn U. Miller)

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Several dozen Westporters received flu shots yesterday, at the Senior Center.

The event was sponsored by the Aspetuck Health District. The Fire Department’s Rescue 3 unit was on hand to help.

Getting ready for flu season. (Photo/Molly Alger)

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Sherwood Mill Pond presents ever-changing scenes — perfect for “Westport … Naturally.”

This morning, Matt Murray spotted egrets in the fog:

(Photo/Matt Murray)

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And finally … Peter Tosh was born today in 1944. From 1963 to 1976 he, Bob Marley and Bunny Wailer were the heart of the reggae band the Wailers. He then became a successful solo artist. He was killed in 1987 during a home invasion, at age 42.

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Roundup: New Ops Head, Recovery, Window Painting …

Meet Tom Kiely: Westport’s new operations director. He assumes the position immediately.

He graduated from Plymouth State University, with a BS in public management. He spent 21 years with the Connecticut State Police in a variety of roles and supervisory positions, including 11 years as a detective with major crimes. His work involved relationships with local, state and federal agencies.

His honors include Outstanding Service Awards from the State Police and United States’ Attorney’s Office; a District of Connecticut Department of Justice Award, and numerous Unit Citation Awards.

Kiely says, “My entire professional life has been in public service. I am very excited to begin a new career as operations director of this great community. I look forward to meeting new people, accepting new challenges, and collaborating with the team of town employees, business owners, and residents – confident that I bring a fresh perspective and life experience to this important role in town government.” 

1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker welcomes Kiely, and thanks town audit manager and senior accountant Lynn Scully, whose work as interim operations director was “exceptional. Her input, advice and guidance as she deftly managed the multiple jobs that we asked her to perform on behalf of the town were invaluable, and we owe her a debt of gratitude.”

Thomas Kiely

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Some big names will attend the 9th annual Recovery Celebration — called “The Road Together” — this Sunday (October 9, Westport Library, 3 p.m.).

Liberation Programs and local partners — including Mitchells — host the event. There’s live music, refreshments, remarks from Senator Richard Blumenthal and 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker, a panel moderated by NBC’s Craig Melvin, and a recovery story from Steven Stone.

Click here for more details.

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Calling all painters!

The annual Halloween Window Painting Contest takes place Saturday, October 22. Who wants to paint?!

Last year, over 100 children painted scary scenes on windows offered by local businesses. Participants can paint their own window, or team up with friends.

Judging follows. Winners get a gift certificate from Gofer Ice Cream.

Click here to sign up (or sign up your young Rembrandt) as a window painter.

Last year’s Best Halloween Theme winner: Hailey Kipperman (7th grade), at Bella Bridesmaids.

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Another call: This one is for all organizations, businesses, artists, crafters and sustainable groups:  Westport’s Holiday Green Festival is looking for exhibitors.

The event is Saturday, November 12 (10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Staples High School fieldhouse). Interested exhibitors should click here by October 31.

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“Black Excellence Night” — a free communal celebration of Black life and history — takes place next Wednesday (October 19, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., Westport Country Playhouse). The event leads into an 8 p.m. preview performance of “From the Mississippi Delta,” a gripping tale of a Black woman’s rise from poverty to prominence.

“Black Excellence Night” is a spinoff of “Black Out,” inspired in 2019 by playwright Jeremy O. Harris, author of Broadway’s “Slave Play.” The goal is to create an environment for a Black-identifying audience to experience theater.

Guests will enjoy drinks from 822 Mixology, a Black-owned, New Haven-based business, and food tables. Live jazz is courtesy of the William Fluker Quartet.

“The Great Migration” — an exhibit curated by the Westport Museum for History & Culture — will be displayed, in conjunction with the “From the Mississippi Delta” storyline. The exhibit chronicles the relocation of more than 6 million Black Americans from the rural South to cities in the North, Midwest, and West from 1916 to 1970, sparked by economic conditions and segregationist laws.

Event space is limited. Click here for more information, and to RSVP. Click here for information on “From the Mississippi Delta, and to purchase tickets.

Goldie E. Patrick, “From the Missiissippi Delta” director.

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“When did you know you were LGBT or Q?”

That’s the question a panel of “experts” — lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, trans people and those calling themselves queer — will answer on October 11 (6 p.m., Westport Library Trefz Forum and Zoom).

The date is significant: It’s National Coming Out Day.

Panelists will talk about, and offer advice from, their own experiences. Audience members can ask questions too.

On the panel:

  • Brian McGunagle – President, Westport Pride
  • Kayla Iannetta – Chair, Westport Public Schools Pride Coalition
  • Anthony Crisi – Executive director, Circle Care Center
  • Sarah Ferro – Westport Pride member, activist, musician, mom
  • Staples Pride Coalition Members

The moderator is yours truly.

Interested, but not in person? Click here for the Zoom link.

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Peace came to the Westport Rotary Club yesterday.

John Miksad of Wilton — founder of Fairfield-based World Beyond War, a global peace advocacy group — spoke during the lunchtime meeting at Greens Farms Church.

He identified 3 existential threats to human existence: pandemics, climate change, and nuclear war. 

“We’re missing the big picture and no one nation can solve these on its own,” he said. “We need relentless diplomacy.” (Hat tip: Dave Matlow)

John Miksad (Photo/Dave Matlow)

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Arline Gertzoff’s family has released her official obituary:

Arline Patricia Gertzoff, 76, passed away peacefully at St. Vincent’s Hospital on September 28 from esophageal cancer. She is remembered as a true daughter of Westport, a dedicated, tireless volunteer for many organizations that contribute to the vibrancy of the town.

Arline was born in Norwalk. Her family moved to Westport, establishing a local dry cleaning business, where she often worked after school. Arline was active in Staples Players and SSTS, the backstage crews. She was head of costumes for several productions, and SSTS President as a senior.

Arline was a proud graduate of Staples and Westport schools, earning undergraduate and graduate degrees from Boston University in history and education. She taught in New Canaan, and at the International School in Antwerp, Belgium for 25 years, where she was involved with the Model UN.

Arline enjoyed people, the arts, travel, good food and wine, and Belgian chocolate. Students and friends from around the world stayed in touch with her. She returned to Westport in 1979 to help care for her mother, and dove into her community activism.

She loved Westport, and took great pride in its history and contributions. She was filled with local lore and stories, emphatically setting the record straight on Westport history with people newer to town.

For 20 years Arline was a tireless poll worker with the Westport League of Women Voters. Active with Westport’s Democratic Town Committee, she co-chaired the Community Outreach Committee. Arline served on the Board of the Democratic Women of Westport, and in 2016 received the DTC Dora Stuttman Campaign Leadership Award.

She was a familiar face and trusted cashier at the Library Book Sales, and a longtime member of the United Nations Association of Southwestern Connecticut, often bringing interesting speakers and dialogue to the community.

One of Arline’s favorite activities was jUNe Day, which for more than 55 years has welcomed UN delegates and staff to Westport for a day of food, fun and friendship. Serving on the board of directors as membership chair, she was also treasurer of UNASWCT, and on the advisory body for the national UN Association.

Long-time friend Melody James says, “Arline earned a seat at the leadership table of our town the old-fashioned way: through volunteerism, pitching in, and showing up. She was a doer. You could count on her. True in high school; true in 2022.”

When Arline died, she was serving a 3rd term as a District 3 member on Westport’s non-partisan Representative Town Meeting.

Another classmate remarks, “Arline was a connector. She had the ability to connect with different types of people, across age, sex, class, race, religious and nationality lines. She was the thread that joined together a very wide community.”

Back in Westport, Arline became lead coordinator for her Staples Class of ’64, orchestrating several class reunions. At the 50th she appeared with arms full of roses to cast on Long Island Sound for fallen classmates.

She was the confidante, treasurer and detail master who tracked marriages, divorces, deaths, births and career changes. Arline supported her friends and local artists, showing up often to performances and exhibits.

Arline was a leading voice to establish the Laddie Lawrence Track at Staples High School, challenging the argument that a great teacher and coach could only be honored after they died.

Her friend Jennifer Johnson calls her “a lifetime Westporter, and a citizen of the world.  She was a champion of democracy and international understanding.”

DTC chair Mark Friedman adds, “Through her work, she strengthened the fabric of our civil society and touched the lives of people in Westport and around the world, creating a family of friends and admirers, imbuing her friendships with insight, wit and love.”

Arline was predeceased by her brother Stewart. She is survived by cousins Steven Gertzoff of Florida, Ken Bean of Colorado and their families. A memorial service is planned for November 12th (Westport Town Hall, 2:30 p.m.).

Arline Gertzoff, at the Grand Canyon.

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There’s still plenty of greenery here — as seen in today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo, taken at Hillspoint Road.

But it’s October 5. We’ll see lots more color soon.

(Photo/Patricia McMahon)

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And finally … Loretta Lynn — who overcame harsh poverty to become a beloved country star — died peacefully in her sleep yesterday, in Tennessee. She was 90.

Click here for a full obituary.

 

Roundup: Father Chip, Mark Blake, Downtown …

The recent news that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis sent 50 Venezuelan migrants to Martha’s Vineyard had a Westport connection — and not just because Westporters know the island well.

St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Edgartown helped lead the Vineyard response. The church provided shelter for 2 nights, and many meals.

That’s not unusual. St. Andrew’s already runs a winter shelter at the parish house, with cots, a large kitchen, showers and laundry.

The church’s minister is Rev. Vincent Seadale — though everyone on Martha’s Vineyard calls him Father Chip.

He was Chip at Staples High School too, where he was part of the Class of 1978. He was called to St. Andrew’s in 2009, after serving at the Church of the Redeemer in Jacksonville, Florida.

After Staples, Father Chip graduated from Colgate University and the University of Connecticut School of Law. He spent 16 years as an attorney, before graduating from Yale University Divinity  School in 2004.

Father Chip Seadale

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Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Services says:

“We, and every person who Crew Chief Mark Blake inspired, are heartbroken.

“After 61 years blessing our earth with his kindness, and over 30 years of compassionate, dedicate, and excellent service to our community, Mark passed away yesterday morning.

“An incredibly dedicated public servant and a widely respected EMT who always put the needs of others above his own, Mark leaves behind a legacy of not only thousands of lives saved on the ambulance, but countless more (for decades to come) as he educated and helped raise the future generations of EMS personnel through educational classes, state and regional programs, and as a mentor to many of our community’s emergency medical technicians.

“Always looking for a bright spot in the day, the background of this photo — a brilliant Compo Beach sunrise — was taken by Mark during one of the many sunrises he witnessed while serving the community on duty.”

Visitation is set for Monday (September 26, 4 to 8 p.m., Harding Funeral Home). A funeral Mass will be held Tuesday (September 27, 2 p.m., St. Matthew Church, Norwalk, followed by a graveside service at 3:30 p.m. at Willowbrook Cemetery.

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As plans for “Reconnecting the Riverfront” — the project to redesign parking and pedestrian areas downtown — move forward (a bit more quickly than Parker Harding traffic), the public is invited to participate.

A public survey is now open, Click here to begin.

A “visioning charrette and open house” is set for September 29 (7 to 9 p.m., Westport Library). Residents and stakeholders are encouraged to attend.

The Downtown Plan Implementation Committee is coordinating the project. with Langan Engineering and Environmental Services. The DPIC includes town department heads and residents. They hold public meetings on the 2nd Thursday of each month, at 8:30 a.m. Click here for details.

Screenshot from the Downtown Plan Implementation Committee.

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Compo’s South Beach at sunset was the setting yesterday evening, for a renewal of vows.

After 25 years of marriage, Dr. Lynn Wilson held his bride Nancy’s bouquet, as she read their words to each other. Justice of the Peace Rhona Lieberson was the officiant.

(Photo/Stacie Curran)

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Staples High Class of 2015 graduate Rachel Treisman has covered human interest stories around the royal funeral for NPR. She gained journalism experience while working for Inklings, the school newspaper — and then served as editor-in-chief of the Yale Daily News.

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Registration for Westport Parks & Recreation Department winter programs begins online at 9 a.m. on October 3.

Click here to view the offerings. Click here to begin registration.

If you are unable to log into your online account, email recreation@westportct.gov or call 203-341-5152.

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On February 29, 2020, the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce and Westport Library sponsored another successful Supper & Soul dinner/concert.

A few days later, COVID clobbered the town.

The event was set to resume this past May. But the band got the virus, and had to cancel. The Chamber refunded all tickets.

Now, it’s full speed ahead.

The next Supper & Soul — the first in over 2 1/2 years — is set for Saturday, October 22. Cris Jacobs — who rocked the 2018 Blues Views & BBQ — brings his high energy to the Library Forum, following dinner at a variety of downtown restaurants.

One ticket entitles attendees to a 3-course meal at any of 11 eateries, plus the show, then a stop at any of the restaurants for happy hour-priced post-concert drinks.

Participating restaurants are 190 Main, Amis, Arezzo, Basso, Capuli, Da Tapas, Don Memo, Manna Toast, Spotted Horse, Goji (Wafu) and Walrus Alley. Dinner is 6 p.m.; the concert is at 8.

Tickets are $90 each for the dinner and concert. Concert-only tickets are $40. For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.

Cris Jacobs and his band.

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Westport Country Playhouse is launching a new mobile unit. It will travel to audiences, grades 6 to 10, for live theatrical performances.

Designed to be adaptable for any kind of space, including cafeterias, libraries and classrooms, the Playhouse Mobile Unit brings to schools a 45-minute, fully staged production with professional actors, sets, costumes and special effects.

The performance is followed by a Q&A with the actors. A study guide and curriculum are provided, with classroom activities and games.

Funding comes from the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Town of Westport’s American Rescue Plan Act funding for the arts.

 The inaugural play — “Scaredy Kat Presents” — captures the joys and struggles of adolescence, while attempting to destigmatize anxiety and panic disorder. Bookings are underway, for performances beginning in January.

The Playhouse offers financial aid and payment plans, along with group sales and discounts for multiple performances in one day.

For more information, email education@westportplayhouse.org or call Kendall Driffin, education and community engagement associate: 203-571-1133.

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Christ & Holy Trinity Episcopal Church is gearing up for a full season of musical events.

On Sunday October 9 (5 p.m.), noted English vocal ensemble VOCES8 stops by on their international tour. The program includes Renaissance, jazz and the American song book.

Tickets include a post-performance reception. Click here to purchase, and for more information.

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An opening reception for the new show at the George Billis Gallery is set for tomorrow (Thursday, September 22, 4 to 6:30 p.m., 180 Post Road East).

Featured artists include Glen Hacker, Chad Holliday, Karen O’Neil and Stephanie Reiter.

“Fervent Zeal” (Chad Holliday)

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Today’s interesting “Westport … Naturally” photo — of a woodpecker, at the Westport Community Gardens — comes courtesy of Peter Swift:

(Photo/Peter Swift)

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And finally … if you haven’t heard of Cris Jacobs — the star of next month’s Supper & Soul dinner/concert — click below.

Actually, click on if you have heard of Cris Jacobs, too!

(There is a lot going on in Westport — and “06880” covers it all. Please click here to support your hyper-local blog.)

Remembering Lois Schine

Lois Schine — one of the last members of a remarkable group of women who moved to Westport in the postwar years, and helped make our community what it is today — died at home July 7, surrounded by her family. She was 95 years old.

Lois was born in 1927 in Brooklyn, to Daniel and Florence Grimm Gildersleeve.  The Gildersleeve family came to Massachusetts from England in 1635, and eventually settled in Connecticut.

Lois was a pioneer. She graduated second in her class from Pratt Institute in 1947, with a degree in mechanical engineering. She was the only woman in that program.

She was elected to the Tau Beta Pi honorary engineering society with special designation as an “Honorary Member,” because it was a male-only fraternity. (In the 1960’s Lois was retroactively named a full member.)  At Pratt she was a founding member of the Society of Women Engineers. It has since grown into a large international organization.

After college Lois worked for General Electric, in advanced engineering and research. GE was one of the few companies to hire female engineers in the 1940s and ’50s.  She also taught engineering courses at Bridgeport University.

Lois met Leonard Schine, an attorney, when he hired her as a consulting engineer. In 1951, they married and had 5 children.

They made their home in Westport, where Lois remained for the next 70 years.  While raising children, Lois earned a master’s degree in administrative engineering from New York University.

When her children were of school age, Lois returned to work as an engineering consultant. She then shifted careers, and became director of volunteer services at Bridgeport Hospital, overseeing 700 volunteers. She was president of both the Connecticut Association of Directors of Volunteer Services, and the New England Association of Volunteer Directors.

In 1988 she was named executive director of the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce, a post she held for 16 years.

In addition to her professional career, Lois contributed much to Westport and the surrounding area. Among her many civic activities, she was a Sacred Heart University trustee for 37 years, a Near & Far Aid Association board member, and a member of the Westport Rotary Club and the Westport Weston Family YMCA.

She served on the Westport RTM for 20 years. She was particularly proud of her work helping create Winslow Park, and having the Planning & Zoning Commission designate it as Westport’s first “Open Space Zone.”

An intrepid traveler, Lois visited far corners of the world.  She was an avid skier, and reluctantly gave up the sport at 85 years old.  She also played tennis and pursued ice dancing.

Her parenting philosophy was “survival of the fittest.” She took her children whitewater rafting, helicopter skiing, sailing and on safaris, exposing them to a wide range of people, places and experiences.

(All photos of Lois Schine, courtesy of the Schine family)

Lois is survived by her children Leslie Schine (Nils Nilsen), Daniel Schine (Patty Sullivan), Lindsay Schine (Michael Klingher), Lauren Schine and Edward Schine (Brigitta); grandchildren Caleb, Christian and Thomas Schine; Cody Nilsen; Ben, Nathan and Natalie Klingher; Tyler and Kyle Schine and Shannon May, and her beloved dog Kirby.  Lois was predeceased by her husband Leonard, grandson Jonathan Schine and sister Joyce Feigenbaum.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Leonard and Lois Schine Scholarship Fund at Sacred Heart University or the Aspetuck Land Trust.

A memorial service will be held in the fall.

Roundup: TikTok Teen Arrests, Water Main Break, Wall That Heals …

Last Saturday night, the Westport Police Department received several calls from locations around town. All concerned a group of youths in a vehicle, shooting projectiles at pedestrians. One victim was struck in the eye.

Callers provide a detailed description of the vehicle. Officers found and stopped it near Greens Farms Road and Compo Road South.

All 3 occupants were juveniles. Police found toy air guns that fired gel-like projectiles at high speed.

The teens were participating in TikTok’s viral “Orbeez Challenge.”

The 3 juveniles were charged with multiple counts of assault 3rd degree, reckless endangerment 2nd Degree, and breach of peace 2nd degree. They were released to their parents.

Victims from that evening are encouraged to report the incidents to the Westport Police Department.

Gun and pellets used in the Orbeez Challenge.

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A photo contest for the cover of the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce 2022-23 Visitors/Membership Guide is now open.

In 2015 and ’17, the Chamber received over 1,000 pictures from dozens of photographers, amateur and professional. Westport residents Mark Litvinoff and William Scalzi won, with their shots of the Levitt Pavilion and a serene dock setting respectively.

Scores of runner-up photos were used inside the 68-page booklet and map guide. Every winner received credit in the publication.

Any resident or businessperson from Westport or Weston may submit what they believe is the “quintessential” photo that represents our community. Use Dropbox, Google or an email attachment to send one or more photos to matthew@westportwestonchamber.com; use the subject line “Photo Contest.”

The deadline is June 19.  Be sure to have a full resolution of the photo for printing, but email a lower resolution for greatest efficiency.

Questions? Use the email above, or call 203-227-9234.

The 2017 guide.

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An “06880” reader reports that on Sunday, a number of homes in his Long Lots neighborhood lost water.

He called Aquarion, and was told there was a water break somewhere on Long Lots Road. That’s a first for him, in over 30 years here.

The break — apparently near Fairfield County Hunt Club — was fixed a few hours later. However, brown water persisted at least through yesterday.

What’s particularly distressing to him is that Aquarion never called him — either about the break, its cause or its resolution. There was a notice briefly on the water company’s website, he says, but it was soon gone.

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As Rev. Alison Patton heads to her sabbatical, visiting minister Rev. Dr. Jim Antal hits the ground — and Saugatuck Congregational Church — running.

The climate activist delivers a public lecture on June 9 (7:30 p.m.): “Let’s Makek our Coastal Community a Climate Leader!” The event is co-sponsored by Wakeman Town Farm and Sustainable Westport.

The lecture is followed by a community conversation about the topic.

In addition to his public talk, Rev. Antal will share a 3-sermon series, “Responding Faithfully to the Climate Crisis,” at Saugatuck Church on the first 3 Sundays in June.

Drawing from his activism and his book “Climate Church, Climate World: How People of Faith Must Work for Change,” Antal will challenge attendees to see their place in the work of climate justice.

The 10 a.m. topics are:

  • June 5: “Welcoming the Fullest Truth”
  • June 12: “Attenting to the Source”
  • June 19″ Living Into a New Story.”

The public is welcome to attend those services too.

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Terrence Dunn was sworn in as Westport’s new fire marshal yesterday. He replaces Nate Gibbons, who has retired.

1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker calls Dunn “a genuine and humble leader who has the skills and experience necessary to ensure that the Fire Department continues to provide exceptional service to the community.”

He was hired as a Westport firefighter in 2003, and promoted to fire inspector in 2009. He graduated from the University of New Haven with a major in arson investigation and a minor in criminal justice.

Along with state certification as a fire marshal, Dunn is licensed as an assistant building official. He is first vice president of the Connecticut Fire Marshal’s Association, a member of the Fairfield/New Haven County Fire Marshal’s Association, the International Association of Arson Investigators, and District 8 Building Official’s Association.

A formal pinning ceremony on June 21 (5 p.m., Christ & Holy Trinity Church) will celebrate the department’s promotions and medals.

Fire marshal Terry Dunn

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“The Wall That Heals” is a replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington. Since its dedication in 1996, it has been displayed at nearly 700 communities across the country.

From tomorrow (June 2) through June 5, it will occupy a place of honor at Veteran’s Memorial Park in Norwalk.

Yesterday, the Westport Police and Fire Departments helped escort it from its staging area at Sherwood Island State Park to the park. Click here for details of the exhibit.

The staging area at Sherwood Island. (Photo and hat tip/Chris Swan)

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Anthony LoFrisco is a Westport motorcycle rider. He’s organized a series of rides.

But they’re not just rev-up-the-engines-and-make-loud-noises jaunts. Starting last Sunday, and continuing each month through August, they deliver donated items to food pantries throughout Fairfield County.

The first was to the Gillespie Center in Westport, from Grace Community Church in New Canaan. Parishioners provided cereal, peanut butter, jelly, pasta sauce, canned goods and other items.

The weather was beautiful. The riders — on 4 BMWs and 1 Harley — met at the Westport train station, headed to the church, then returned here for the drop-off.

The next deliveries will be in Stamford, Bridgeport, and then the Gillespie Center again. Anthony invites everyone to drop off non-perishable food items at 11:15 a.m. on June 26, July 31 and August 28 — and/or join the motorcycle riders.

For more information, email anthony@lofrisco.com.

Motorcycle gang at the Gillespie Center.

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This weekend, celebrate Connecticut Trails Day (actually, 2 days). The event draws thousands of people of all backgrounds, ages, abilities and interests, across the state. 

Friends of Sherwood Island State Park will host 4 hikes:

Saturday, June 4: Butterfly Walk (10 a.m.): Explore the gardens and natural areas around the park’s Nature Center, searching for caterpillars, skippers, moths and butterflies. Bring binoculars and a camera or smartphone. You’ll learn how to report your findings on iNaturalist, so scientists everywhere can see how these insects are doing.

Saturday, June 4: Kayak Paddle (1 p.m.): See Sherwood Island from the water. Explore the park’s shoreline. Bring your own kayak, canoe or other paddle craft, and a pump/bailer. A life vest and whistle/horn are required by state boating regulations.

Sunday, June 5: Archaeology Walk (1 p.m.): See interesting terrain, and examine traces of past inhabitants, from 1000 B.C. to the 1940s. Learn about recent excavations, including Native American, early settlers, and onion farmers.

Sunday, June 5: Nature Walk (2 p.m.): Go beach to beach  along Long Island Sound. Discover habitats, inhabitants, birding locations, viewing platforms, a purple martin enclave, and other special features of this waterfront park. Other points of interest include Connecticut’s 9/11 Memorial, model aircraft airport, trail heads, wetlands, and a pine forest.

Click here for more details. For questions, and to register (recommended, but not required), email cece@historicalperspectives.org, or call 203-984-1488.

Sherwood Island State Park is a natural wonderland. (Elena Nasereddin)

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1999 Staples High School graduate Kyle Martino has been the National High School Soccer Player of the Year, MLS Rookie of the Year, a US men’s national team athlete, and a highly regarded analyst on NBC Sports.

Now he’s the founder of the Over Under Initiative. The non-profit increases access to sports in urban neighborhoods, by converting basketball courts and other blacktops to multi-sport spaces. Martino designed the innovative and elegantly simple conversion process himself.

On June 13 (5:30 p.m., Autostrada, 499 Post Road East), Martino joins Westporters Dan Donovan, Mark Kirby and friends for a fundraiser. Tickets are $250 each. To attend and for more information, email rsvp@overunderinitiative.com.

Youngsters play at Cesar Batalla School’s new multi-sport court. The soccer goal can be pulled out of the ground, then sunk back into the ground, with ease. (Photo/Dan Woog)

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Lou Weinberg sends along this gorgeous “Westport … Naturally” image of a Lansdowne song sparrow — and adds a link to its equally beautiful song:

(Photo/Lou Weinberg)

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And finally … Happy Connecticut Trails Day!

Dog Day Afternoon

The official name is Winslow Park.

But everyone in Westport — and plenty of folks far beyond — call it “the dog park.”

The 32 acres of rolling meadows, woods and paths are a pooch’s paradise all year long. Today, many brought their owners to the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce’s annual Dog Festival.

From obstacle courses and K-9 demonstrations to vendors selling everything from natural treats to portraits, it was canine heaven.

“06880” photographers fetched us these scenes:

(Photo/Lyah Muktavaram)

(Photo/Lyah Muktavaram)

(Photo/Lyah Muktavaram)

(Photo/Lyah Muktavaram)

One drone view … (Drone photo/Mark Mathias)

… and another, higher and wider one. (Drone photo/Charlie Scott)

Roundup: Best Music Community, Dog Fest, Cajal Academy …

How good a community for music is Westport?

One of the best.

That’s not “06880” talking. It’s the NAMM Foundation. They just named us one of their “Best Communities for Music Education.”

For the 10th year in a row.

Th honor comes for our public schools’ efforts to provide music access and education to all students. The application process included detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instructional time, facilities, music program support, and community programs.

Westport’s Music Department has benefited from partnerships with organizations like the Westport Library, Levitt Pavilion, PTA Cultural Arts, WestPAC and Westport Arts Advisory Committee.

Staples High School’s Candlelight Concert — involving hundreds of singers, and orchestra and band members — is one culmination of music programs at every school, and every level. (Photo/Danielle Dobin)

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The Asian American Pacific Island community — and allies — celebrate AAPI Heritage Month today (Tuesday, May 10), with a cash bar at MoCA Westport (19 Newtown Turnpike, 5 to 7 p.m.).

Mecha-Uma will be there with a food truck too. All are welcome!

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The Dog Festival returns to Winslow Park this Sunday (May 15, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) for its 6th run.

The event includes fun competitions (best tail wagger, best dressed, best kisser, best trick, best lap dog over 50 pounds, dog that most looks like its owner), demonstrations, Police K-9 presentations, an obstacle course, kids activities, information booths, food trucks and more.

Also on tap: over 60 pet-related vendors, caricaturists and giveaways.

Parking is available at the Westport Country Playhouse, and other nearby lots. The festival entrance fee is $10 per person, $30 for a family of 4. Proceeds benefit nonprofit organizations.

Dog owners can register for the competitions online or at the festival. To register for the competitions and for more information, click here.

The Dog Fest is sponsored by the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce, in association with TAILS.

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Yesterday’s “06880” lead story noted that Cajal Academy — a new school based on the latest neuroscientific research, for gifted students with special education needs — was going before the Planning & Zoning Commission last night.

In a unanimous vote, the board approved the application for 25 Sylvan Road South.

Stony Brook runs next to the 25 Sylvan Road South building.

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Sunday’s pro-choice rally was sponsored by DefenDemocracy.

This Saturday (May 14, 11 am to 1 p.m.), Planned Parenthood plans an event. It too is set for the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen downtown bridge.

Click here for details.

A sign held during Sunday’s pro-choice rally. (Photo/Dan Woog)

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Among the winners of the Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County’s Daniel E. Offutt III Arts & Culture Empowerment Awards: William Felton, former chair of the Westport Arts Center who led a long effort to find, secure and improve its new home as MoCA Westport, on Newtown Turnpike.

Honored posthumously: Alexandra Korry. The Westporter was a trailblazing lawyer, educator and civil rights advocate, and the guiding spirit behind converting a 1935 Norwalk church into a space to enhance educational opportunities for underserved students, promote underrepresented local artists, and provide a welcoming space to enjoy art and music. The Norwalk Art Space opened last June, just a few months after she died.

An awards breakfast is set for the Shore & Country Club in Norwalk on June 15, (7:30 a.m.). Click here for tickets. 

Norwalk students flock to the Art Space.

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Do “Cocktails & Clams” go together?

Sure! That’s the name of Earthplace and Harbor Watch’s fundraiser, set for Copps Island Oysters in Norwalk on June 11 (5 to 7 p.m.). There’s an unlimited raw bar, hors d’oeuvres from Harbor Harvest, and wine and beer from Black Bear — plus a silent auction, live music, and very cool views.

Click here for tickets.

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Mother Nature surprises us in many ways. This little flower blooms unexpectedly, but beautifully. Spring has sprung, here in “Westport … Naturally.”

(Photo/JD Dworkow)

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And finally … Spinal Tap was a fake band. But Ric Parnell was a real drummer.

He was perfect for the perfectly played satirical 1984 film, “This is Spinal Tap.” He had the looks, the chops, and he was in on the joke.

Including the fact that, somehow, Spinal Tap’s drummers kept dying in bizarre ways. He himself (as Mick Shrimpton) spontaneously combusted on stage. When the fake band went out on tour in the 1990s — life imitating art — Parnell was introduced as Mick’s twin brother Rick.

Ric Parnell died this month in Missouli, Montana, of organ failure. He was 70.

But Spinal Tap lives on. Play the video below loud — all the way to 11! (Click here for a full obituary.)

“Back From COVID” Supper & Soul Canceled — Due To COVID

Tonight’s “Supper & Soul” dinner and concert has been postponed, due to a COVID outbreak in the Cris Jacobs band.

Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce director Matthew Mandell call it “quite the bummer. We were all set to go. This was supposed to be the back-from-COVID show. It just proves this virus has not gone anywhere.”

The last live Supper & Soul show was held in February 2020. The Chamber offered streaming shows and drive-in concerts during the pandemic.

The Chamber is looking at options to ensure all ticketholders either see the rescheduled show or receive a refund. Detailsl will be announced soon.

Ticketholders who will want to eat at their chosen venue should call and secure a table. This is independent of the Chamber; meals would be at diners’ expense. All restaurants have already been informed of this situation and would still like to be your host.

Roundup: Salad Winners, Staples Fencers, SpongeBob …

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Over 1,000 salad-eaters cast votes in the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce’s month-long Great Westport Salad Contest.

And the winners are …

  • Best Caesar Salad: Romanacci
  • Best Chef Salad: Joe’s Pizza
  • Best Cobb Salad: La Plage
  • Best Deli Salad: A&S Fine Foods
  • Best Greens Salad: The Porch
  • Best Make Your Own Salad: Parker Mansion
  • Best Mediterranean Salad: Manna Toast  
  • Best Unique Salad: Capuli.
  •  Honorable Mention (coming within 5 votes of the winner): Calise’s

Winners received plaques to hang. Each winner will also offer a free  salad to eight lucky voters who won the lottery in the category they voted for.

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Ruth Steinkraus Cohen was a remarkable woman.

A Juilliard-trained pianist and teacher; a singer, editor, radio host and activist; secretary to Eleanor Roosevelt at the World Federation of the United Nations Association; founder of the International Hospitality Committee of Fairfield County, and Westport’s jUNe Day celebration; publisher of the worldwide “United Nations Calendar for Peace”; music chair of the Friends of Music for almost 40 years; co-founder and/or noard member of the New York Chamber Soloists, Performers of Connecticut, the Opera Company of Boston, Opera New England, Young Audiences of Connecticut, and Westport’s Art Advisory Committee — it’s no wonder our town’s downtown bridge is named for her.

The Steinkraus name is in the news again — at least, the real estate news.

A trust owned by the Steinkraus family (including Ruth’s late brother Bill, a 1968 Olympic equestrian gold medalist) has listed their amazing “Grand Great Island” property — off the Darien coast — for sale.

Located on a 60-acre island, it includes a stable, riding rings and grand house (called a “villa”), plus a whiskey and wine cellar with contents dating back to Prohibition.

Called “the largest private island ever to be offered for sale on the East Coast,” it can be yours for just $100 million. Click here for details. (Hat tip: Wendy Crowther)

Great Island, now up for sale by the Steinkraus estate.

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Congratulations to the Staples High School fencing team — the state champion fencing team, that is.

What? You didn’t know Staples had a fencing team?!

That’s okay. This is their first year. Eight fencers, coached by Jim Roberts, competed against 9 schools in the state tournament last month, at North Haven High. The Wreckers edged Fairfield 5-4 for the title.

Congratulations to junior Gleb Syomichev, sophomores Max Piterbarg and PJ Loranger. Fencing club co-founder Anna Pan, a senior, helped out.

(From left): Gleb Syomichev, PJ Loranger, Anna Pan and Max Piterbarg,

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There’s lots of recycling in “The SpongeBob Musical.” When the curtain rises this weekend on Coleytown Company’s spring show, the middle schoolers will have incorporated it into their sets.

Working with art teacher Linda Kangro, students took Jordan Janota’s designs and built them all out of garbage and recycling donated by the community.

Kangro let the youngsters into the recycling and trash, and told them to use their imaginations. The result will be something to see. No word, though, on whether they’ll recycle the set to use in the next show.

(“The SpongeBob Musical” will be produced Friday, April 8 (7 p.m.); Saturday, April 9 (7 p.m.) and Sunday, April 10 (1 p.m.). Click here for tickets.

Eli Abrams (as Perch Perkins) with recycled “coral” on the proscenium.

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Play ball!

This year marks the 40th season for the Boss Boys’ Sunday morning softball game. They play at the field behind Town Hall, with stretching and batting practice from 9 to 9:30, and a game afterward.

They’re looking for new players. The cost is $30 for the season; it covers bats, balls, scoring books and “maybe a holiday barbecue.”

Interested? Email bryan.alix@gmail for details.

When this photo was taken in 1992, the Boss Boys’ softball game had already been going for 10 years. It’s lasted 30 more since.

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Former Westporter Jack Grogins — known for his quick wit and passion for tennis, jazz music and rare books — died last week. He was 91.

The Norwalk native and University of Connecticut graduate (undergraduate and law school) enlisted in the Navy in 1956. He went on to practice in the field of insurance defense at the Hartford Insurance Company in 1958.

Jack started his own law practice in 1961. He also served for many years as a part-time prosecutor for the Bridgeport Circuit Court.

As a young man, Jack taught tennis and competed in tournaments around Connecticut. He continued into his 60s, ranking among the top tennis players in the Connecticut Senior Olympics.

He realized his life-long dream with his appointment as a Superior Court judge in 1994. He remained in that position until 2001, when he became a judge trial Referee. Jack remained a highly respected jurist until his retirement in 2018.

Jack was predeceased by his wife Marilyn. He is survived by his daughter, Judge Auden Grogins (Ian), sister-in-law Arlene Glotzer, niece Helen Glotzer, and cousin Molly Passero and her 4 children.

Funeral services will be held tomorrow (Tuesday, April 5, 10 a.m., Abraham L. Green & Son Funeral Home, Fairfield). The family will receive visitors prior to the service, at 9 a.m. Shiva will be observed tomorrow from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the family residence.

Jack Grogins

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We can never get enough osprey photos. Today’s “Westport … Naturally” image was taken yesterday. Carolyn Doan writes: “The Fresh Market osprey is bringing nesting material, while she sits in the sun. It’s all part of the mating phase.”

(Photo/Carolyn Doan)

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And finally … on this date in 1964, the Beatles occupied the first 5 — five! — spots on Billboard’s Hot 100. They’re below, from #1 to #5.

But that’s not all. They Fab 4 had another 7 songs on the charts that week: “I Saw Her Standing There” (#31), “From Me to You” (#41), “Do You Want to Know a Secret” (#46), “All My Loving” (#58), “You Can’t Do That” (#65), “Roll Over Beethoven” #(68) and “Thank You Girl” (#79).

Yeah, Beatlemania was a thing.

PS: I don’t care how old — or young — you are. These songs put a smile on everyone’s face.