Tag Archives: Westport Young Woman’s League

Roundup: RTM, Wet Weather, CraftWestport …

John McCarthy wrote to Representative Town Meeting moderator Jeff Weiser, deputy moderator Lauren Karpf and Town Clerk Jeffrey Dunkerton:

“I was surprised to see that the below resolution was not placed on the RTM Agenda for its October 3 meeting:

‘RESOLVED,  that the full Westport RTM at its October 3, 2023 meeting affirms that the  meaning of the term ‘Shall’ in ‘Sec. A162-6. – Agenda’ of the ‘Representative Town Meeting Rules of Procedures’ as found in Exhibit A of the ‘Code of Ordinances of Westport Connecticut’ is  to be ‘construed as being mandatory’, per the definition of the word ‘Shall’  in ‘Sec. 1-2. – Definitions and rules of construction’ and that ‘Sec. A162-6. – Agenda’ compels and requires  the Moderator, or  in the event of the Moderator’s inability to act, the Deputy Moderator or, in the event of the inability of both, the Town Clerk to place on the RTM meeting agenda such matters as petitioned by at least 20 Westport Electors not less than 14 days prior to a Representative Town Meeting.”

A petition with over 20 electors was certified by the town clerk on September 5, McCarthy says.

He adds, “I trust that this was merely an oversight and that a corrected version of the agenda with the requested resolution will be issued shortly.”


Early yesterday morning, Philip Keane headed to Compo Beach. A storm was brewing, and he wanted to see it.

He got the waves he expected.

But he also found 2 swimmers. Rick Gaenzle and Chris Kraus told Philip they swim every morning, at 5:30.

A little rain and wind was not about to keep them away.

Rick Gaenzle and Chris Kraus. (Photos/Philip Keane)


CraftWestport returns to the Staples High School fieldhouse November 4-5. Over 175 vendors kick off the holiday shopping season, with thousands of products in mediums like ceramics, textiles, woodworking, jewelry, glass art and more.

Plus food items like bourbon-barrel aged maple syrup, hand-painted chocolates, teas, honey, cheese spreads, curds, baked goods, and skincare products, soaps, candles, etc.

Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. All-weekend admission is $11; seniors $10, children 12-18 $5, children under 12 are free. Click here for more details. CraftWestport is presented by the Westport Young Woman’s League.


“Chapter Two: Spanning From Retail to E-Tail” — a benefit supporting expansion of Westport Book Sale’s employment and job training program for adults with disabilities, to its eBay online sales business — is set for October 25 (6:30 p.m., Westport Library).

The event will include live music, light bites, a paddle raise, and a live and silent auction of a sample of what the Book Sale sells on eBay.

Click here to see auction items. They include a first edition of Saint-Exupery’s The Little Prince; 2 copies of The New Yorker in Westport donated by authors Eve Potts and Andrew Bentley; books signed by Laura Linney; a poster autographed by Sylvester Stallone; art donated by Nina Bentley, Miggs Burroughs, Kirsten Rao, Norm Siegel, and Rowene Weems, and more.

Participants in the online sales business will learn computer, data entry and office skills, broadening their work experience and marketability.

Click here for tickets, and more information.


Eager beavers will be excited about this year’s Aspetuck Land Trust Haskins Lecture.

Leila Philip — author of the bestseller “Beaverland” — speaks at the Westport Library on October 26 (7 p.m.).

She’ll discuss the animal’s large role in American history, and even larger role in our ecological future. Books will be available for purchase, and signing.

Aspetuck Land Trust will also host 2 beaver hikes (October 12 and 22) at Trout Brook Valley Preserve in Weston. Click here for details of that, and other events.


What kid doesn’t love “The Lightning Thief”?

On December 2, the Westport Country Playhouse presents a production of the young adult novel. The musical follows Percy jackson as he discovers he’s a demigod.

It’s recommended for grades 3-6. Click here for tickets ($25) and more information.


Rowene Weems saw this as she got off I-95 at Exit 17 on Friday:

(Photo/Rowene Weems)

“Is it the Golden Arches over Westport?” she wondered.

“M for ‘Magnificent work and inconvenience’? M for ‘Maybe they’ll be done before 2025?’ You could go on, right? 🤣”


This guy clung yesterday to Johanna Keyser Rossi’s screen door.

It looks like he’s posing for our “Westport … Naturally” feature. More likely, Johanna says, he was seeking shelter under the overhang, from the rain.

(Photo/Johanna Keyser Rossi)


And finally … in honor of the kerfuffle over the word “shall” (story above):

(Kerfuffles, controversies — they’re all part of the local journalism you find on “06880.” Please click here to support your hyperlocal blog. Thank you!)

Roundup: S&S Dugout, Warming Stations, Miami Dolphins …

It’s a few yards over the Westport line in Southport. Most folks don’t give it a second glance.

But the S&S Dugout — a scruffy diner on the right side of the Post Road — has been a favorite go-to, for no-nonsense food, for many regulars since 1950.

No more. No more roast beef, hot sausage, home fries, omelets, burgers, dogs, shakes, or bacon egg and cheeses. It wasn’t healthy, but it was good.

The door to the old place is now closed. A “For Lease” sign hangs in the window. Let the memories begin.

Here’s mine: One day when I was a student at Staples High School, and “Ed’s Dugout” was (my friends and I thought) a secret hangout, we walked in and saw Haystacks Calhoun.

The wrestler was 6-4. He weighed over 600 pounds.

And — to our awe — he took up 2 stools. Plus all the space in between.

RIP, the Dugout. You were one of a kind.

S&S Dugout in Southport.


Baby, it’s (gonna be) cold outside.

Below-zero wind chills are forecast through tomorrow morning. (It warms up quickly after that.)

Westport will open these warming centers today:

  • Senior Center (until 4:30 p.m. today)
  • Library (until 6 p.m.).
  • Westport Museum for History & Culture (Until 5 p.m.).
  • Westport Weston Family YMCA (until 6 p.m.). 
  • MoCA (until 4 p.m.).

Westport residents facing hardships due to the cold weather should contact Human Services (203-341-1050, until 4:30 p.m.).

PS: It’s a good idea to keep your faucets dripping tonight, to prevent frozen pipes. See below for tips:


When the temperature rises on Sunday, residents are invited to the next trash pick-upu.

It’s 11 a.m. (February 5), at the Imperial Avenue parking lot. Volunteers should bring gloves, garbage bags and boots — and dress warmly.

Questions? Email acolabellartm4@gmail.com.

A recent trash pick-up on Greens Farms Road. This Sunday, the site is the Imperial Avenue parking lot.


The Miami Dolphins are not playing in this year’s Super Bowl.

But in 1972, they did something the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles can never match (at least this season): go undefeated all year.

This Thursday (February 9, 7 p.m., Westport Library) longtime ESPN reporter/”E:60″ host/1988 Staples High School graduate/current Westporter hosts a screening of his new film, “The Perfect Machine.”

The documentary includes interviews with 16 members of that history-making team, including Paul Warfield, Larry Csonka, Larry Little, Bob Griese and Joe Namath.

Afterward, the 11-time Emmy Award winner will answer questions.

Jeremy Schaap


Also ahead at the Library:

  • The “State of the Town” meeting, with 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker and Board of Education chair Lee Goldstein this Sunday (February 5, 2 p.m.; Trefz Forum and livestream).
  • “Energy Rates”: State Senator Ceci Maher, and State Representatives Jonathan Steinberg and Anne Hughes, host a meeting about rising energy prices (Monday, February 6, 7 p.m., Trefz Forum).

1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker and Board of Education chair Lee Goldstein, at last year’s “State of the Town” meeting.


For 14 years, Earth Animal — the great Post Road store for our 4-legged friends — has supported those of us in need, with only 2.

Their holiday “Mitten Project” raises funds to address food insecurity. For $5, customers buy “mittens,” which they sign to be hung in the shop windows. Holiday items and donation boxes add to the haul.

And Earth Animal matches every penny donated.

Last year’s fundraising was impressive: $38,000.

This year’s was spectacular. Yesterday, Earth Animal owners and employees presented a check for $53,000 to CT Foodshare.

That funds an astonishing 106,000 meals. Thank you, Earth Animal — and all who helped! (Hat tip: Betsy Pollak)

Earth Animal and CT Foodshare officials, at yesterday’s ceremony.


Ten Staples High School student-athletes have signed letters of intent to play NCAA Division I sports.

The list includes:

  • Tyler Clark (lacrosse; United States Military Academy)
  • Mia Guster (swimming and diving; Lafayette College)
  • Parker Lenoce (swimming and diving; Princeton University)
  • Emma Nahon (field hockey; University of Pennsylvania)
  • Leo Sequenzia (lacrosse; Providence College)
  • Francine Stevens (track and field; Cornell University)
  • Riley Twiss (swimming and diving; Bucknell University)
  • Kate Whitaker (swimming and diving; Lehigh University)
  • Hiro Wyatt (baseball; University of Southern California)
  • Chris Zajac (baseball; Indiana University).

A special signing ceremony was held Wednesday, at Staples. Click here to see.


Bingo is back!

The Westport Young Woman’s League’s “Galentine’s Day” fundraiser returns, for the first time since pre-COVID 2019.

The event is set for February 9 (7 p.m., Christ & Holy Trinity Church). The evening includes prizes and treats. Click here for tickets, and more information.

Proceeds benefit WYWL grants programs. After the previous Galentine’s Day Bing, the organization distributed $80,000 to 18 area charities. Click here for the list.


The Greens Farms Garden Club is a new beneficiary of Stop & Shop’s Community Bag Program.

Throughout February, whenever a $2.50 reusable Community Bag is purchased at the Westport supermarket, $1 will be donated to the club.

Funds will go to projects like the Atrium at Earthplace, Growing For Good vegetable gardens at  Wakeman Town Farm, and Prospect Gardens.


Longtime Westporter, former RTM member and civic volunteer Peter Nathan died on Saturday. He was 89.

After graduating from the University of Connecticut, Peter served as a captain in the Marine Corps.

He spent his business career of nearly 60 years in the exhibition, conference and event industry. He and his company, Clapp & Poliak, are credited with organizing the first US events in the former Soviet Union and China.

After his company was acquired by Reed Exhibitions, he became the senior staff member at the Javits Convention Center. In 1996 he formed his own firm, PWN Exhibicon, and produced the only 2 exhibitions sanctioned by the American government in Cuba.

Peter helped transform a primarily domestic exhibition industry into a global one. He served on every major board and commission, and received numerous awards. He was a frequent guest speaker at conferences. Videos of him are on display at the Washington Convention Center and McCormick Place Convention Center in Chicago.

He was elected 4 times as a member of the Westport Representative Town Meeting. He also served as an officer and club chairman of the Y’s Men of Westport and Weston; a governor-appointed member of the Connecticut Judicial Review Council, and an advisory member of the Mid-Fairfield County Child Guidance Center and Domestic Violence Crisis Center.

He is survived by his wife of 68 years, Lois (Sandy) Nathan; children Tamara, Corynne, Mark and Leslie, and their spouses Gary, Dina and Bryan; 9 grandchildren and their spouses, and 1 great grandchild.

A date for a celebration of life will be forthcoming. Contributions can be made to the Westport Library, Senior Center or Westport Country Playhouse.

Peter Nathan


The other day, Deanna Forman sat in her car at Staples High School, waiting for her daughter to finish Players rehearsal. The “face” on this tree caught her eye — and made her think of our “Westport … Naturally” feature.

(Photo/Deanna Forman)


And finally … in honor of tonight’s weather:


(On the coldest day of the year, please warm the “06880” coffers with a contribution. Just click here — and thank you!).


Roundup: Staples Sports, Craft Fair, Black Holes …

Two Staples High School sports teams fell in their quests for FCIAC (league) championships last night.

Both were seeded #3. Both lost to the #1 seeds.

The field hockey team dropped a 3-0 decision to Darien, at Brien McMahon High School. The Blue Wave earned their 5th consecutive title.

The girls soccer squad lost 3-1 to St. Joseph. Evelyn Chudowsky scored the Wreckers’ goal, assisted by her sister Natalie.

Both teams — along with boys soccer — start state tournament play next week. The football team, meanwhile, is still in contention for a state playoff berth.


Meanwhile, the Staples fieldhouse shifts from sports to crafts this weekend.

CraftWestport — a favorite Westport Young Woman’s League fundraiser for over 45 years — returns Saturday and Sunday (November 5-6). Like so many other events, it’s been a COVID-induced hiatus for 2 years.

Over 175 contemporary crafters and makers from across the country will exhibit at what has become Connecticut’s largest indoor crafts festival.

Ticket sales sales fund the WYWL’s community grants to are charities like Bridgeport Rescue Mission, Homes with Hope, Westport Emergency Medical Services and many others.

CraftWestport includes original fashions, accessories, jewelry, home décor, furniture, photography, and artwork like ceramic, glass, metal, wood and mixed media.  Food items including honey, maples syrup, cheese and more are also for sale.

Show hours are Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Ticket s are $11 adults, $10 seniors, $5 ages 12-18; children under 12 are free; click here to buy.


I was a (very) occasional patron of Freshii.

The oddly named fast-casual bowl-and-a-bit-more restaurant next to the downtown Starbucks opened 9 years ago.

Now it’s closed. I’m not sure how long ago it left, but it looks like a while.

(Photo/Dan Woog)


I’m guessing I wasn’t the only one who didn’t go there much.

Black holes: fact or fiction?

Defy the gravitational pull of Netflix. On November 15 (8 p.m.), open your laptop to the Westport Astronomical Society’s free online science lecture series. Dr. Jeremy Schnittman — a NASA research astrophysicist — highlights the most interesting and exciting aspects of black holes, explores recent discoveries, and notes some science fiction hits and misses.

Click here for the YouTube livestream.

Jeremy Schnittman


Chris Frantz — of Talking Heads and Tom Tom Club fame — returns to the Westport Library.

On November 19 (7:30 p.m.), he brings his Emerging Musicians series back to the Trefz Forum. He’ll spotlight 2 Fairfield County acts: Residual Groove (a funk-fusion, improv-heavy dance band) and contemporary singer-songwriter Brian Dolzani.

The Emerging Musicians series features up-and-coming regional, national, and international music, hand-picked by Frantz. The goal is to bring new music to new ears, and incubate rising talent. The concert is a collaboration and production of Verso Studios at The Library, and the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce.

Tickets are $10; there’s also a cash bar. Click here for more information.


Mike Evans is a Westport Weston Family YMCA basketball coach. The Weston native is also the founder of Full Court Peace, a non-profit that repairs basketball courts in underserved communities, then uses the sport to bring people together.

Now he’s written a book about his time in Belfast, where he brought rival Protestant and Catholic teenagers together to play as one team

In “The Belfast Blazers,” Evans dives into the Irish city’s dark history. He describes meeting members of the Irish Republican Army (and the Dalai Lama). Click here for more information.


TAP Strength is well known for its comprehensive, personalized approach to wellness.

On November 16 (6 to 8 p.m., 180 Post Road East), the fitness studio turns into an art studio. Miggs Burroughs, Bonnie Edelman and Alex Silver will show their work. 2 Roads Brewery will provide libations.

Can there be a better way to work out?!


For more than 100 years, Save the Children has been saving children.

On November 14 (11:30 a.m., Green’s Farms Congregational Church), Ann Marie and miles and Kim Kilroy — high-ranking members of the non-profit’s leadership ship —  will tell the Y’s Women how Save the Children does it. The public is invited.

For decades, Save the Children was headquartered on Wilton Road. The main office is now in Fairfield.


Lauren Tarshis — a Staples High School graduate, longtime Westporter and author of the wildly popular “I Survived” children’s book series — will read from her latest book and answer  children’s questions at the Westport Library.

The event is this Saturday (November 5, 3:30 p.m.).

We’ve got a question: Will Lauren survive all those kids?!


Meanwhile, across Jesup Green from the library, there’s Julie Leff: Westport Book Shop’s Artist of the Month.

A member of the Artists’ Collective of Westport, WestonArts and Art/Place, she exhibits 4 vibrant photorealistic oil paintings, with a floral motif.

All work is available for purchase. On sale too: note cards with 12 images of Leff’s paintings.


Julie Leff at the Westport Book Shop.


Everybody — including Wilbur, Rady and Diane Johnson’s Jack Russell — enjoys our fall foliage.

Now everyone who follows our “Westport … Naturally” feature can admire it too.

(Photo/Diane Johnson)


And finally … on this day in 1783, Mozart’s Symphony No. 36 was performed for the first time in Linz, Austria. It is also known as (surprise!) the Linz Symphony.


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Roundup: Harvest Fest, Deer Plants, CraftWestport …

The Wakeman Town Farm Harvest Fest fundraiser is September 10.

The online auction — a key part of the event — opens September 6.

But you can preview all the items now.

They include destination travel, private dinners at WTF, kids’ cooking parties, sunset cruises, and great sporting events.

All proceeds — and those from the live auction at Harvest Fest — help fund youth programs, adult classes, scholarships, the farm stand, family events and more.

Click here for a preview.

Those alpacas didn’t pay for themselves. (Photo/Cathy Malkin)


Oh, deer!

Aspetuck Land Trust’s next “Lunch & Learn” webinar should appeal to just about every homeowner in Fairfield County.

Called “Designing With Native Plants in Deer County,” it’s set for next Wednesday (September 7, noon to 1 p.m.).

Landscape designer Brid Craddock will discuss deer-proof plants, and the techniques that will actually keep Bambi at bay. Click here to register.

(Gorgeous. Now get off my lawn! Photo/Karen Weingarten)


CraftWestport — the monster pre-holiday show with over 175 vendors selling handmade fashions, accessories, jewelry, home décor and furniture, plus photography, ceramics, glass, metal, wood, mixed media and other artworks — returns to the Staples High School fieldhouse November 5 and 6.

Also on sale: gourmet specialties like bourbon-barrel aged maple syrup, hand-painted chocolates, teas and honey, cheese spreads and curds, baked goods,  skincare products, soaps and candles.

It’s the first time in 3 years for the popular Westport Young Woman’s League show, following 2 COVID cancellations.

Net proceeds from Connecticut’s largest indoor fine crafts festival go to charitable agencies in lower Fairfield County.

Click here for more details.  

One of 175+ booths at CraftWestport.


The deadline for comments on the proposed cell tower at 92 Greens Farms Road is September 7.

The email address is sitingcouncil@ct.gov; the snail mail address is Connecticut Siting Council, 10 Franklin Square, New Britain, CT 06051.

A cell tower been proposed for the property on the left: 92 Greens Farms Road. (Photo courtesy of Google Maps)


There’s a back story to today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo. Lauri Weiser writes:

“I was at Compo yesterday, under the South Beach trees that provide a little bit of shade. The crow that’s been here all summer was there.

“Anyone who spent  time under these trees knows that this crow lives here and never shuts up. There were many threats on its life today🤣😳”

(Photo/Lauri Weiser)


And finally … in honor of the Compo Beach crow (story above) … “it’s the same story the crow told me …”

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Roundup: Tree Giveaway, Minute Man Race, Stars On Tour …

To celebrate Arbor Day tomorrow (Friday, April 29), the Tree Board will give away native saplings (3 to 4 p.m., the front driveway of Town Hall).

The first-come, first-served event is courtesy of the Bartlett Tree Company.

In 2014, a tree was planted in front of Town Hall. Saplings will be given away there tomorrow.


One of Westport’s biggest and most popular COVID-canceled events returns this Saturday (April 30). The 43rd Young Woman’s League Minute Man Race is back at Compo Beach — right around the corner from the Minute Man himself.

100% of the net profits are distributed to local non-profits — the same groups that have kept area residents healthy, active and sane during the 2 years the 10K run, 5K run and 5K walk were scrubbed. (Last year’s event was virtual.)

There’s a Kids Fun Run too, with a 100-yard dash, and mile and half-mile runs. The Kids Zone features kid-friendly activities.

Click here to register, and for more information.

The start of a Minute Man race is always exciting.


The newest additions to the Levitt Pavilion’s “Stars on Tour” series are Hiss Golden Messenger and Aoife O’Donovan. They perform on August 12.

Grammy award-winning songwriter/musician O’Donovan has released 3 solo albums, is co-founder of the bands I’m With Her and Crooked Still, was the featured vocalist on “The Goat Rodeo Sessions” with Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer and Chris Thile, and spent a decade contributing to the radio variety shows “Live From Here” and “A Prairie Home Companion.”

Hiss Golden Messenger is a North Carolina-based folk music group led by M.C. Taylor. His music sounds familiar, yet is impossible to categorize. Elements from the American songbook — steady, churning acoustic guitar and mandolin, gospel emotion, steel guitar tracings, bobbing and weaving organ and electric piano —provide the bedrock for Taylor’s existential ruminations about parenthood, joy, hope, and loneliness..

Members can buy tickets now. General sales begin at noon tomorrow (April 29). Click here to purchase.

Aiofe O’Donovan and M.C. Taylor.


The environment is a global issue. Climate change does not observe national borders.

For the past year, Alan Schanzer has served as a board member and marketing chair for global organization Society of the Protection of Nature in Israel.

It’s apolitical, working with all countries interested in using innovation to solve climate and environmental issues.

Part of SPNI’s mission is protecting the 500 million fascinating birds that migrate from Europe to Asia and Africa and back, twice a year. Their midpoint landing area is Israel. Without open landing space to drink, rest and refuel, the intercontinental bird population would collapse.

On May 16 (6 to 8 p.m., Westport Library), Alan and his wife Julie Zelman host visitors from Israel, who will talk about SPNI. Anyone concerned about climate change, the environment, birding — or Israel — is welcome. Click here to register.


CampWCP — a 4-week theater camp for 6th through 8th graders — returns to Westport Country Playhouse this summer.

it’s an intensive theater experience for kids who love theater, are curious about it, or want their voices to be heard. No theater experience is necessary.

Guided by a professional playwright, youngsters will create stories together and perform their original work at the Playhouse.

Campers will also learn acting techniques, and participate in workshops with Playhouse staff and guests. Past workshops have covered movement and language, character building, and theatrical poster design.

Scholarships are available. To register, click here. For more information, email education@westportplayhouse.org,

CampWCP, last summer.


The Human Services Department will accept applications for theConnecticut Renters’ Rebate Program starting Monday (May 2).

The program provides income-based reimbursement for people 65 and older, and/or those with disabilities who are collecting Social Security or Social Security Disability income.

The rebate is based on a graduated income scale, combined with the amount of rent and utility payments (excluding telephone) made in 2021. The maximum income to qualify is $38,100 (single person) and $46,400 (married couple).

Applicants must meet a 1-year state residency requirement. People renting an apartment, room, mobile home or living in cooperative housing may be eligible for the program.

Westport residents should call Human Services Department (203-341-1067) or email Kwitt@westportct.gov.


Jerry Kuyper calls today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo “Hope Springs …”

You be the judge.

(Photo/Jerry Kuyper)


And finally … in honor of Aiofe O’Donovan and MC Taylor (Hiss Golden Messenger)’s Levitt Pavilion appearances this summer (above), here ya go:

Roundup: Homemade Pies, Swim Records, Will Haskell …


The Westport Young Woman’s League’s newest holiday fundraiser may be its sweetest one yet.

They’re selling Lyman Orchards homemade pies and cookies. Each purchase supports the WYWL grants program that funds local non-profit organizations.

Orders may be placed through Tuesday (November 23) with WYWL for a variety of pies and cookie dough, frozen fresh for delivery. They can be kept fresh in the freezer until ready to bake and serve.

Orders can be picked up at the Westport VFW (465 Riverside Avenue) on Friday and Saturday, December 17-18. 

WYWL members also offer holiday gift wrapping, for a recommended donation of $5 per gift. Items can be dropped off at the VFW on those same  days (December 17-18).

Click here to place pie and cookie orders.


It sounds like a broken record: The Staples High School girls swim tam broke 4 records again.

Wednesday night’s eye-popping performances came at the class LL (extra large schools) state finals at Southern Connecticut State University. Freshman Annam Olasewere rewrote the state and LL record books in 2 freestyle races. The freshman wowed the crowd with a time of 22.67 in the 50 free, breaking the 2016 record of 23.02. She also took the 100 free in record time, with a blistering 50.14.

Staples, which placed 4th overall, also saw 2 relay teams finish first in record times. The 200 freestyle foursome of Jessica Qi, Ella Alpert, Ayaan Olasewere and Annam Oleseree broke the 25-year-old state record, with a time of 1:35.75. Qi, Alpert, Ayaan and Annam Olasewere came back to win the 400 freestyle relay in yet another state record time: 3:28.54.

Up next: the state open meet tomorrow (Sunday) in West Hartford.

Congratulations to coaches Mike Anderson, Elaine Rankowitz and Kuku Fleming. — and of course to the girls! Can you imagine what they’ll accomplish as seniors?!

Staples’ record-setting 400 meter free relay team (from left): Ella Alpert, Annam Olasewere, Ayaan Olasewere, Jessica Qi.


Speaking of swimming: Earlier this month, the Westport Weston Family YMCA’s Water Rats swim team ran a food drive. They collected 880 pounds of food — nearly half a ton — for the Bridgeport Rescue Mission. Those donations will provide 735 Thanksgiving meals.

Team members also collected $205 in cash, good for 82 more meals.

The entire Water Rats team participated, from pre-competitive swimmers to seniors.


Yesterday, driving around his old Drumlin Road neighborhood, Fred Cantor saw former neighbor Gordon Hall.

The longtime — and long-respected — Staples social studies teacher turns 94 today. Happy birthday, Mr. Hall!

Gordon Hall (Photo/Fred Cantor)


Will Haskell is in his 2nd term as Westport’s state senator. When he was elected in 2018, he was the youngest legislator in the country.

He’s still not far removed from his Georgetown University days. He’s a proud alum — and his school is proud of him.

The other day, the school newspaper The Hoya interviewed Haskell. Click here to read his thoughts on government, politics, his college experience and more. (Hat tip: Sal Liccione)

State Senator Will Haskell


The early bird gets the Westport Country Playhouse summer camp worm.

“Early bird pricing” is available now through December 5 for CampWCP, a social justice theater program for 20 middle school students (June 27 through July 23).

The camp “empowers young artists to activate their creative voice on issues that matter to them and turn it into something theatrical — so that they can ignite social change for their community and beyond.”

Campers explore the art of playwriting, and create and perform an original play. devise their own play. They learn acting techniques, and participate in workshops with Playhouse staff. For details and registration, click here.

CampWCP is open for registration.


Today’s “Westport … Naturally” image shows the Saugatuck River at sunset. This natural resource never gets old.

(Photo/Claudia Sherwood Servidio)


And finally … music photographer Mick Rock died recently. He was 72.

Among his subjects: David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Lou Reed, Queen, Syd Barrett, the Ramones, the Sex Pistols, Motley Crue, T. Rex, Blondie and Thin Lizzy. He shot the covers of albums like “Queen II,” Reed’s “Transformer” and “Coney Island Baby,” Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” and the Stooges’ Raw Power.

He also directed Bowie’s music videos for “I’m Only Dancing,” “Jean Genie,” “Space Oddity” and “Life on Mars.”

Click here for a full obituary. (Hat tip: Amy Schneider)


All campers are

Roundup: Westoberfest, Poll Workers, Porch …


Saturday’s “Westoberfest” has something for everyone.

The Westport Downtown Association event — set for all around Elm Street — includes road races (kids at noon, 10K at 12:30 p.m.); food, vendors, apples and pumpkin giveaways, pumpkin decorating, street magician and live music  (1 to 5 p.m.), beer tasting (2 to 5 p.m.), and an air-cooled classic vintage car expo (3:30 p.m.).

Advance tickets are $40 each, $75 for 2, special 10-pack for $350. Click here for tickets. They’re $50 each, if purchased at the event.


Also on Saturday (and free): presentation of 5 murals at the Main Street entrance to Bedford Square.

Commissioned by the Westport Arts Advisory Committee, each represents a different aspect of life in Westport’s history. They start with indigenous people, and move across the wall to the future: Westport, circa 2070.

Artists include Westporter Eric Chiang, who exhibits locally and in his native Taiwan, and is a founding member of the Artist Collective of Westport; Westporter Jana Ireijo, founder of “Mural Ethos,” which creates vanishing murals to illustrate climate change; Staples and Pratt Institute graduate Rebecca Ross; Hernan Garcia from Norwalk, born in Colombia and trained in both architecture and fine arts; Bridgeport painter and Antigua native, poet, writer, actor and playwright Iyaba Ibo Mandingo.

“Westport: Circa 2070” (Rebecca Ross)


Westporters go to the polls on November 2. But the polls need poll workers.

It’s a paying gig ($265 full day, $130 half day)– and important for democracy.

Jobs include checker, ballot monitor, tabulator/security monitor and floater. No experience needed. There’s a training session Saturday, October 23 (10 a.m. to 1 p.m.)

Also needed: setup (Monday, November 1, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.) and cleanup (Tuesday, November 2, 8 to 11 p.m.). Both pay $18 an hour.

Interested? Contact Maria Signore at the registrars of voters office: 203-341-1117; msignore@westportct.gov.

A familiar scene, year after year in Westport.


As the weather cools, The Porch @ Christie’s rolls out its “The Porch Warms Our Hearts “ promotion.

It includes 2 soups a day (with quarts added soon), plus steel-cut oatmeal with 2 toppings, and hot chocolate.

There are heaters on the porch, with roll-down sides as needed. It’s even cozier indoors, with a fireplace.

Order ahead for quicker service. All items are available for delivery too. The Porch is open 7 days a week.


What’s up — or down — with this flag?

It’s been flying like this for a few days, at the apartments near the Whelk and Saugatuck Sweets.

A mistake? A true distress signal? If so, for what?

Inquiring Westporters want to know.


You’ve heard of a trunk show?

The Westport Artists Collective takes that term literally.

This Sunday (October 17, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.), they’ll sell affordable art from — actually — the trunks of their cars.

The site is the Taylor parking lot — near the lower level of the Westport Library. It’s a great place for affordable art (and seeing what some of our favorite local artists drive).

Susan Fehlinger, and her trunk art.


Winslow Park Animal Hospital seldom misses a holiday. Here’s what the Post Road clinic’s front yard looks like now:

(Photo/Molly Alger)


Sure, the Westport Young Woman’s League does wonderful, charitable work.

But members have a great social time too.

On Saturday, past president Lauren Bromberg hosted a “Rock ‘n’ Paint” party at her home. Guests shot paint from water guns to create art — while rocking out to ’90s tunes.

The WYWL plans a number of other casual gatherings this year, including fire pits, wine tastings, hikes, dog play date meet-ups at Compo, coffee chats, evening dinners and more. For more information, click here or follow on Instagram: @wywlwestport.

“Shooting” artwork at the Westport Young Woman’s League social,


“Westport … Naturally” covers all creatures great and small. Ellen Wentworth sent this image, with the note: “He was on my car in the garage!”

(Photo/Ellen Wentworth)


And finally … today in 1997, John Denver died while piloting a light plane. He was just 53 years old.

Unsung Heroes #181

Peggy Leyden Holda writes from South Easton, Massachusetts:

My mother (Rita Leyden) and I read with great interest your recent Roundup. You reported that the Westport Young Women’s League has distributed more than $4 million in grants since 1956.

Just a few days prior, I had unearthed a gem while going through the boxes (and boxes and boxes) of memorabilia recently relocated from Westport to Massachusetts, after Mom sold her Bradley Street home of 40 years.

Rita Leyden

Mom typed a draft of her President’s Report on onion skin (which remarkably withstood the test of time) for publication in the League’s 1976-1977 Annual Report. It chronicles the contributions of an extraordinary group of leaders who measurably enriched the lives of their neighbors. Their names read like a Who’s Who of Westport’s great families.

Mom and her WYWL friends were role models for the 14-year-old I was at the time. Through them I learned that women can do just about anything they set their minds to … and have fun while doing it.

As then, so now: The Westport Young Women’s League is proof positive that “in the big things of life we are as one.”

Peggy is right. Her mother’s report lists phenomenal accomplishments of a group of women. There’s Geri Lawrence, Katie Chase, Ellie Hoyt, Ginny Koscomb, Pat Shea, Cathy Ryan and many more.

Some are still around Westport. Mimi Greenlee — who “printed over 47,000 pieces on our Gestetner mimeo machine” — nonetheless always kept smiling. She still does, now as one of the movers behind the new Westport Book Shop.

One page of Rita Leyden’s president’s report mentions Mimi Greenlee — and many other women.

Sue Kane and Joyce Barnhart are still involved too, after a lifetime of volunteerism. Marianne Harrison is retired in North Carolina, where she leads a very active life.

All of which reminds us of the work that the Westport Young Woman’s League — and many similar organizations do — is both important, ongoing, and builds on the shoulders of many who came before.

Today we honor all those civic volunteers who give their time. And we also recognize that they would not be here, doing what they do, without the Unsung Heroes of yesterday.

(Do you know an Unsung Hero? Email dwoog@optonline.net)

Roundup: Minute Man Race, More


For 42 years, the Minute Man Race has meant many things. It’s one of the area’s top events. It’s a sure sign that spring is here. And it’s a great fundraiser for the Westport Young Woman’s League.

This year, it’s something else: virtual.

Participants can run any time between April 25 and May 2. And you can do it from anywhere. There’s no excuse not to support the WYWL — and the charities they help, throughout the area.

Last year, the WYWL gave $90,000 to local organizations. They’ve distributed over $4.3 million in grants since 1956. Click here for the full list of recipients. .

In addition to the usual 10K run and 5 K run/walk, there’s a new Minute Man Challenge. The fastest combined time for the 5K and 10K runs earns a prize. That’s in addition to the prizes for the top 3 finishers in each event.

Each registrant gets a Minute Man Race t-shirt, and a “digital runner’s packet” with swag from the race sponsors.

Click here for complete details, and registration information. NOTE: The WYWL offers discounts to essential works, students and others.

Questions? Email Minuteman@wywl.com.

The start of a Minute Man Race. This year’s virtual event may have more participants — but it will be less crowded.


Today’s countdown-to-spring photo, from Webb Road …

(Photo/MaryLou Roels)


But winter is hanging on. Spotted on Maplewood Avenue:

(Photo/Fiona Hodgson)


And finally … Nina Simone was born on this day, in 1931 1933. The multi-talented singer, songwriter, musician, arranger (and civil rights activist)’s music spanned a broad range of styles, including classical, jazz, blues, folk, R&B, gospel and pop. She died in 2003, at 70.

Roundup: Dan Sklar’s Sh*tshow, Young Woman’s League Wine, More


Dan Sklar is a beloved rabbi, cantor and musician.

Now he’s an author too.

All those identities come together in “Sh*tShow: A Memoir & Mixtape: The Tales of a Reluctant Rabbi.” It’s an insightful, deeply human expression of past and present.

This past year has been challenging for everyone. Sklar was particularly affected. “Reluctant Rabbi” explores how inherited family trauma — and trauma experienced first hand — shape the people we become.

A Spotify playlist of 29 songs that provoke and inspire accompanies the book (you’ll see when and where to play the tracks). Artists include Jimi Hendrix, Paul Simon, Lyle Lovett, Theodore Bikel, the Indigo Girls, the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, Rascal Flatts — and Sklar himself.

Click here for the paperback. Click here for the Kindle edition. Click here for the Spotify playlist.


It’s called “Galentine’s: Wine Night and Bingo Fundraiser.” It’s sponsored by the Westport Young Woman’s League.

But you don’t have to be a woman to participate in this virtual event. All are welcome!

“Galentine’s” (February 4, 7:30 p.m., Zoom) raises funds for local charities. Last year, the WYWL handed out $90,000 to organizations that end hunger, and promote education and health.

The League has partnered with the female-owned vineyard Aquila’s Nest. The $65 ticket price includes 2 bottles of wine, bingo spot and fun surprises. Click here to purchase a ticket, and for more information.


And finally … happy 53rd birthday to rapper/producer/actor/author/ entrepreneur/Kennedy Center honors winner LL Cool J.

Which, I just found out today, stands for Ladies Love Cool James.