Tag Archives: Westport10

Roundup: Budget, Westport10, Gravity …

Last night, Westport did easily something the US Congress struggles with.

It passed a budget.

The Representative Town Meeting approved the town side of spending for 2023-24: $81.3 million.

The Board of Education Budget — approximately $152 million — will be debated tonight (7:30 p.m., Town Hall). If approval does not come tonight, a second meeting could be held tomorrow, at the same time and place.

The town budget passed unanimously. It included the Transit District’s full budget of $291,231, which was approved 33-1 after having been lowered by the Board of Finance to eliminate Wheels2U service. Louis Mall voted nay, while Peter Gold — who also serves as the Transit Director director — abstained.

Gold said he and his colleagues received over 325 letters in support of restoration. He said, “Their emails made it clear just how much the Wheels2U service means to all segments of the Westport population, and to those who commute to work in Westport.”


The other day, News12 reported on Westport10 — the social and networking group of Black men and their families, whose mission is to make Westport a more diverse and welcoming town.

Yesterday, they aired a second segment. This one focuses on founder Jay Norris, and several other members. It’s a great look at another important slice of Westport life. Click here to see.

Westport10, on the News12 website.


Speaking of Jay Norris:

He’s helping organize tonight’s Common Ground session at the Westport Library (Tuesday, 7 p.m.).

The event includes a conversation with former Congressman Roy Blunt — a Missouri Republican known for his bipartisan work — and Steve Parrish, whose consulting firm specializes in corporate social responsibility and public affairs.

The aim of the initiative is to host positive, productive conversations on how we work together as a civil society, encouraging respectful, constructive dialogue while tackling challenging, controversial issues.

The Library leads the effort, with community leaders representing a wide array of constituents and views. Click here for more information.

Senator Roy Blunt


As Frederic Chiu and Jeanine Esposito prepare to sell their beloved Beechwood estate, they’re planning one last event.

They’re partnering with realtor Cyd Hamer to give prospective buyers a very cool look inside. A “Spring Soirée” this Sunday (May 7, 3 to 6 p.m.) includes 3 mini-concerts by Frederic, the internationally renowned pianist.

Each will be followed by a house tour of secret spaces and buildings, with Champagne and sweet bites.

Space is limited; all guests must click here to register.

Beechwood House, with its magnificent copper beech tree.


“Einstein’s Ears: The New Astronomy of Gravitational Waves” is the topic of the next Westport Astronomical Society webinar.

Scott Hughes, associate professor of physicals at the Massachusetts Institute of Technbology, talks about the quest for gravitational waves, and all kinds of related stuff.

It’s May 16 (8 p.m.). Click here for the Zoom link; click here to watch on YouTube.


Save the date: MoCA Westport’s annual arts celebration/fundraiser “The Surrealist Soirée: A Bash Beyond Reality” is set for September 30.

Tickets start at $325 per person. Click here for more information.


This bobcat sits serenely for his “Westport … Naturally” close-up.

(Photo/Sean Hogan)

But there was plenty of action nearby. Photographer Sean Hogan spotted this guy on Bay Street — right near the heart of downtown.

Or course, he has every right to be there. His crew was here long before ours.


And finally … in honor of the upcoming Westport Astronomical Society lecture:

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Roundup: Jimmy Kimmel, Westport10, Clocks Change …

Jimmy Kimmel’s opening monologue is often edgy.

The other night, in a segment on Kanye West’s social media remarks, he aired a (fake) ad for “Yentanyl” — an aid to help those who might be feeling a bit antisemitic.

And there — right in the middle — was a clip from “Fiddler on the Roof.”

But not just any production of the Broadway classic. This was from Staples Players’ 2015 show: the famous “Bottle Dance” sequence.

Directors David Roth and Kerry Long have no idea how Kimmel’s staff found the show. But it’s on YouTube.

Actually, it’s quite popular. It’s gotten over 113,000 likes — and admiring comments from as far away as Russia. Many admirers probably have no idea this is a high school group.

Click below for the Kimmel into. The “ad” begins around the 7:30 mark. Staples’ cast comes on just after 8:00.

Then click below for the original Staples Players’ “Bottle Dance.” Oy! (Hat tip: Caroline Rossi)


Speaking of Staples: The high school’s logowear is everywhere. Athletes, actors, musicians, Inklings writers — all proclaim their Wrecker allegiance.

There’s plenty of generic “Staples” apparel too, worn proudly by students and parents. It’s fun — and quite profitable for the retailers (some local, some not) who sell it.

At the Homecoming football game last month, a Staples PTA member spotted 2 varsity jackets — on long-ago graduates: Gina Hackett (Class of 1991) and John McGrath (’95).

Gina Hackett and John McGrath, at Homecoming.

That sparked a fundraising idea.

For a limited time — and just in time for the holidays — the Staples PtA is selling Staples Wreckerwear. Some is branded for alums; some just says “Staples.” It’s available to all alums everywhere. And anyone else who is proud of our outstanding high school.

Keeping it local: This is a partnership with Nice Threads, the Kings Highway North customizing company owned by 2000 graduate Tim Nash.

Click here to see all the sweatshirts, t-shirts, flannel pants, hats and beanies. The ordering deadline is November 11.

Some of the Staples PTA/Nice Threads logowear items.


Autostrada — the classic car/private club/event meeting space that’s one of Westport’s hidden gems — was the setting for yesterday’s Westport10 meeting.

The social and cultural group of Black Westport men was hosted by Autostrada founder Gioel Molinari. They enjoyed a private lunch and tour of the rare autos in the well-curated space.

Gioel’s oat milk lattes drew especially high praise.

So far Westport10 has met at La Plage, the Westport Library and now Autostrada. Next month …?

Westport10 at Autostrada. Standing (from left): Craig Melvin, Christian Bolu, Ted Parker, Jay Norris, Kevin Christie, Brian Corbett, Vincent Spencer, Eric Freeman. Front: Gioel Molinari.


Tonight — well, actually tomorrow morning — is our reward for last March.

Set your clocks back before bed. Bingo! You get an extra hour of sleep. It’s the “fall back” part of the “spring forward…” saying.

But here’s the thing: Why are we now on “Standard Time”?

It’s only from tomorrow through early March. That’s 4 months.

The other 8 months are “Daylight Savings Time.” Shouldn’t that be the standard? And maybe call these next 4 months “Nighttime Darkness Time”?

I’m just sayin’…


Back to Staples: The high school’s Zero Waste Committee’s first-ever sustainable holiday festival is in the cafeteria on November 12 (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.)

Green gift items include kids crafts, a thrift store and more. Admission is free. Click here and scroll down to see the nearly 30 vendors.

Speaking of green: Last winter, “06880” posted 2 stories about trees removed at the site of a new home on Hideaway Lane, off Hillspoint Road.

New trees have now been planted on the town’s right-of-way. They are slow growing, and will not reach as high as the utility wires above them (as the trees that were removed did).

SIR Development also planted approximately 32 trees on the property itself, replacing those that were cut down. The tree warden was consulted on all the plantings.

New trees on Hillspoint Road.


With great weather predicted, La Plage’s Patio Bar at Longshore will remain open this weekend.

We’re not sure what Thanksgiving holds. But the popular restaurant will be serving (indoors) a special holiday dinner, from noon to 7 p.m. that day (November 24).

There’s a traditional Amish turkey, with seasonal local ingredients. The 3-course prix fixe menu is $85 per person (young adults: $39).

For reservations and information, click here or call 203-684-6232.


Speaking of weather: It was foggy yesterday morning at Compo Beach.

And we don’t have the foggiest notion who put these boots there. Or why.

Just one more reason — if anyone needs it — that there’s always something to see by the shore.

(Photo/Alison Lee)


Longtime Westport resident and noted actress Page Hedden Wilson, died at her Haddam home on  September 13. She was 96.

Page was born in New York City in 1926 to Walter P. Hedden, director of Port Development for the Port Authority of New York, and Worth Tuttle Hedden, an award-winning novelist and champion of minority rights.

After attending Antioch College, Page met her husband, Ian H. Wilson while studying at the Theater School of Bradford Yorkshire, England. They were married in 1951 and lived for a short time in London, where Page gave birth to her first child on the day Queen Elizabeth ascended to the throne.

In 1954 the couple relocated to Westport, Connecticut, where they  raised their daughters Rebecca, Dori, Ellen, Holly and Alix. For more than 60 years the family lived in 5 different homes there.

Page and Ian acted in the Westport Community Theater during its early years at the group’s little theater on Kings Highway, Wilton Playshop and White Barn Theater.

Page was an artist and puppeteer, creating her own traveling puppet show Trunk of Tales Puppets in 1965 and performing at hundreds of schools, museums and nature centers in New York and Connecticut. She was also s founding member of the Connecticut Guild of Puppetry.

Page was a playwright, actress and producer of critically acclaimed plays about famous women, from Agatha Christie to Mary Cassatt and Eleanor Roosevelt. She researched her characters carefully, using authentic props and dresses.

Page is survived by her daughters Rebecca (John Armstrong) of Madison, Connecticut; Dori (George Ostasiewicz) of Norwalk; Holly (Jim Luce) of Denville, New Jersey and Dr. Alexandra Wilson (Terry Dawson) of Austin. and 12 grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren. Page was predeceased by her former husband, Ian Wilson, her daughter, Ellen Page Wilson and her companion of many years, Sayard Stone.

PageWilson, on stage as Agatha Christie.


Yesterday’s fog on Orchard Hill Road intrigued Rowene Weems.

The result: this moody but mesmerizing “Westport … Naturally” image:

(Photo/Rowene Weems)


And finally … inspired by the photo of the Compo Beach footwear (above):

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Roundup: Westport10, Yard Help, Remarkable Movies …

Westport Superintendent of Schools Thomas Scarice joined members of Westport10 — the civic and social organization of Black men and their families — for a tour of the Westport Library yesterday.

The group — founded by Library trustee Jay Norris — was very impressed with the innovative building, and inspired by Scarice’s vision for Westport schools.

At yesterday’s Westport Library event, front row (from left): Superintendent of Schools Thomas Scarice, Board of Education member Kevin Christie, Roy Anderson, Alie Diagne, Eric Freeman. Back row: Ryan Smith, Dale Mauldin, Abdul Ngnoumen, Jay Norris, Ted Parker.


Get your oak saplings!

From now through 12:30 p.m. today (Saturday), the Westport Tree Board is giving them away. It’s part of “Oaktober,” at the Westport Book Shop fall festival. The festival runs until noon.

Westport Tree Board member Ed Picard offers an oak sapling to Dylan Rosen. (Photo/Frank Rosen)


Outdoor chores are part of suburban life. As Westporters age, they sometimes need help.

Our Department of Human Services has a list of middle and high school students eager to help with outdoor chores. There suggested fee is $12 an hour.

Seniors looking for help — and students interested in helping –should email humansrv@westportct.gov, or call 203-341-1050.

Chances are you won’t need all this help. Just one kid can work wonders …


The Remarkable Theater has a jam-packed schedule of movies at its Imperial Avenue drive-in theater site.

Many are geared to Halloween. There’s also “The Candidate,” in honor of Election Day.

Here’s what’s ahead:

  • Thurs., Oct. 13: “Slap Shot” (doors open 5:30 p.m.; movie at 6:30)
  • Fri., Oct. 14: “Coco” (doors 5:30, movie 6:30)
  • Sat., Oct. 15: “Saturday Night Fever” (doors 5:30, movie 6:30)
  • Sat., Oct. 22: “Rocky Horror Picture Show” (doors 5, movie 6)
  • Tues., Oct. 25: “The Candidate” (doors 5, movie 6)
  • Wed., Oct. 26: “Beetlejuice” (doors 5, movie 6)
  • Sat., Oct. 29: “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” and “Curious George: A Holiday Boo Fest” (doors 5, movie 6)
  • Sun.,, Oct. 30: “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” (doors 8, movie 8:30)
  • Mon., Oct. 31: “Halloween” (Doors 6, movie 7).

Click here for tickets, and more information.


Speaking of Halloween: It’s fun for kids.

And stressful for parents.

The United Methodist Church of Westport and Weston wants to make it easy for everyone. On Saturday, October 29 (2 to 4 p.m.), they’ll host their annual (and very popular) “Trunk or Treat.”

The parking lot will be filled with 30 car trunks, decorated for Halloween. Kids (up to age 12) can pick up candy and other goodies.

It’s free for the community — but there’s a chance to give back too. The church is collecting canned goods for the Person to Person food pantry. A donation of 5 cans of food per child attending is requested.

All are welcome at the United Methodist Church, 49 Weston Road — throughout the year, and of course at “Trunk or Treat.” (Photo/Dan Woog)


The next big event after Halloween is Election Day.

Absentee ballots are available at the Town Clerk’s office in Town Hall Room 105 on weekdays (8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., except this Monday, Columbus Day.) Ballots are also available online; click here.


Who says art has to be expensive? (Well, galleries, but that’s beside the point.)

The Artists Collective of Westport is dedicated to making art — and making it affordable.

Their 4th annual Affordable Art Trunk Show takes place Sunday, October 16 (11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Westport Library lower parking lot).

There’s music and food. Of course, admission is free.

Susan Fehlinger sells art out of — literally — her trunk.


It’s been just over a year since beloved Westporter Jonathan Greenfield died of ALS. He had just turned 50.

Greenfield dedicated the last years of his life to building Breathe 4 ALS, with his wife Iris. The non-profit had 2 missions: raising money for genetic ALS research, and spreading awareness of the Wim Hof method of breathwork and cold therapy. It greatly improved Greenfield’s life, as he battled ALS.

The second annual Jonathan Greenfield Wim Hof Fundamentals Workshop is set for Sunday, October 16.

It’s limited to 30 participants, and is free for people living with ALS.

Jonathan was a photographer and filmmaker. He published a coffee table book, which is included as a gift with the ticket purchase ($225 donation).

People who cannot attend, but support the work with a $100 donation will receive the book as a thank you. Click here for tickets.


Dana Buckmir’s memoir, Everything Will Be Okay, is a cautionary tale of online dating and domestic violence. On October 12 (7 p.m.), the Connecticut native brings her story to The Westport Library for a conversation with Ann Rodwell-Lawton, associate director of the Domestic Violence Crisis Center.

The event, a collaboration between the Library, The Domestic Violence Crisis Center, and the Westport Domestic Violence Task Force, will be held in person, streamed live, and recorded.

“Domestic violence and abuse impacts thousands of people, especially women, each day, in every community,” says Kerri Gawreluk, programming associate at The Westport Library. “Dana’s ability to articulate her own personal story from a place of clarity, strength, and empowerment is truly inspiring, and we’re incredibly grateful to host her at the Library.”


Westport 12-year-old Vivek Kanthan is now on the Kart Racing World Circuit in Italy.

The 50+-nation competition is very difficult. Karts have different tire compounds and specifications. Tracks are very fast and highly technical.

In the Rok Cup Italia Competition, Vivek finished as vice champion. He has qualified to represent the US in the World Championship Rok Superfinal in Lonato later this month. Good luck, Vivek!

Vivek Kanthan, with his hardware.


Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo shows Andre the dachshund wishing everyone a Happy Halloween.

He’s now on another planet, says Bevi Bullwinkel. But he never forgot his favorite holiday, or his Westport home.


And finally … on this day in 1956, Don Larsen pitched the only perfect game in World Series history. (Just think: The MLB post-season is only beginning now, with wild card games.)

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Roundup: Kowalsky Farm, Westport 10, P&Z …

Most teardowns in Westport are quick wrecking ball affairs.

The demise of 117 Morningside Drive South — the famed Kowalsky property — seems to be going more slowly. It looks like some of the original construction — the beams, perhaps? — are being saved.

(Photo/David Squires)

It’s the end of an era. “Thousands of kids enjoyed our little local farm,” Greens Farms resident David Squires says.

“But alas, no more. If the walls could speak, I’m certain they’d have tails/tales to tell. Let’s hope the future of this plot retains some of its original beauty and charm.”


Westport10 is a thriving social community for people of color. Adults attend cultural events, and dine out together; they organize beach parties and other events for their kids.

Once a month, some of the men get together for lunch.

They had a great time yesterday at La Plage. Check out the photo:

Clockwise from far left: Harold Bailey Jr., Rod Simmelkjaer, Craig Melvin, Roy Adams, Kevin Christie, Vincent Spencer, Jay Norris. Harold Bailey III arrived just after the picture was taken. (Photo/Dan Woog)


Saugatuck Harbor Yacht Club is one of Westport’s best-kept secrets.

The 63-year-old club near Saugatuck Shores, with slips for 160 sailboats and powerboats, usually hums with maritime activity.

It’s also a very social place. Members are all ages, and from all different walks of life (“yacht” club is really a misnomer). They gather often in the clubhouse (a former horse stable and carriage house, dating to the 1890s).

They build all their own docks; clean up their own grounds every fall and spring, and invite the marine police to store their boats there.

Last night was something different: an art show highlighting members’ talents. Watercolors, photographs, woodcarvings, sculptures, jewelry, pottery, knitwear and more — all were on display.

It was a great event. Plus, a raffle raised funds for Westport’s Volunteer Emergency Medical Services, and Save the Sound.

PS: The food and drinks were great too!

Glen Heller created these wood carvings. Eva Rosenblatt helped organize last night’s Saugatuck Harbor Yacht Club event. (Photo/Dan Woog)


Saugatuck Harbor Yacht Club wasn’t the only organization paying tribute to EMTs last night.

DNR — the ghoulishly named, (almost) all-physician rock band — played their annual Levitt Pavilion concert tribute to Westport EMS, and first responders.

A large crowd danced all night.

And if anyone got too excited, and had a medical emergency — well, that was the place to have it.

Dr. Bob Albtaum, without his stethoscope. (Photo copyright by Ted Horowitz)

DNR rocks the Levitt. (Photo copyright by Ted Horowitz)


Meanwhile, a few yards away across the parking lot t the Westport Library, StoryFest 2022 got underway.

The largest literary festival in Connecticut attracts authors from across the U.S. The event kicked off with readings and a conversation between best-selling authors (and best friends) Isaac Fitzgerald and Saeed Jones.

The celebration of reading, writing, ideas and community began in 2018. It continues all day today. Click here for workshops, other sessions, and tonight’s final event. (Hat tip: Dave Matlow)

Isaac Fitzgerald (left) and Saeed Jones. (Photo/Dave Matlow)


Last night’s full moon brought out many Westporters’ cameras (and cell phones).

I received tons of photos. Among the best: this one from Steven Rothenberg.

(Photo/Steven Rothenberg)


Among the items on Monday’s Planning & Zoning Commission meeting: discussions of the proposed Hamlet at Saugatuck project, and the redevelopment of the Westport Inn.

The meeting will be held via Zoom, livestreamed on www.westportct.gov,  and shown on Optimum Channel 79 and Frontier Channel 6020. Public comments may be emailed to PandZ@westportct.gov by noon Monday. Click here for the full agenda.


There’s a full (and healthful) schedule of events next Saturday (September 17), at Downtown Fitness & Health Day.

The Westport Downtown Association event supports local health and exercise businesses, and promotes a healthy lifestyle for all Westporters.

Fleet Feet kicks off the day with a 5k and kids runs at (9 a.m.). Registration is required; click here.

WDA has partnered with many fitness studios, including TAP Strength, Club Sweat, Pure Barre, Row House, Pause + Purpose, Kaia Yoga Centers and Body Shock. They’ll give participants fun, rigorous outdoor exercise classes between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., all along Main Street. To register for a free class, contact the individual providers.

The Alzheimer’s Association and Circle of Care for Families of Children with Cancer will be there too.

You don’t have to participate in a class to enjoy the day. Strolling all around downtown is healthy too!

The 2020 Downtown Fitness Fair.


Whenever some dude — and you know it’s a guy — parks his car like this (behind CVS) …

(Photo/Matt Murray)

… he’s saying, “My car is special. Stay away!”

Hey: Everyone cares about their car.

And if everyone parked this way, there would be half the number of available spots anywhere.

You’re not special. And neither, really. is an Alfa Romeo.


Never been to Cuba? Wondering what that island just 90 miles off Florida is like?

On Tuesday (September 13, Saugatuck Congregational Church Hoskins Hall; $10 admission). World traveler/adventurer/photographer/local resident Darryl Hawk presents a collection of spectacular photos, from his 6 (!) recent trips there.

He’s tell great stories about them too.

The event is sponsored by the Appalachian Mountain Club, and marks their first in-person gathering since COVID struck.

There are appetizers, drinks and dinner at 6:15 p.m.; the presentation begins at 7:30. RSVP: easasso7@icloud.com.

Street scene, Cuba (Photo/Darryl Hawk)


Everyone is invited to a Japanese Fall Festival next Saturday (September 17, 1:30 to 4 p.m., Jesup Green).

The family-friendly event includes taiko drum performances, a martial arts demonstration, Seiza meditation sessions, traditional Bon dancing, a Japanese water yoyo game, children’s origami, demonstrations of the traditional Japanese Go and Sushi GO card games, and a Japanese language table.

Other features: displays of Japanese tenugui (colorful hand-dyed traditional Japanese), ceramics and kimonos.

Japanese snacks and drinks will be available too.

Click here for more information.

Taiko drums, at the Japanese Fall Festival.


The Y’s Men of Westport and Weston sponsor a very active tennis group. They play every Tuesday and Friday morning, throughout the summer at Longshore.

Former Y’s Men president Dewey Loselle does the organizing. Here’s a shot (pun intended) after the final session:

(Photo courtesy of Scott Broder)


I’m batting about .100 identifying Sherwood Mill Pond wildlife lately. So I’ll just say that this handsome bird was spotted just off shore the other day, posing handsomely for Matt Murray and “Westport … Naturally.”

(Photo/Matt Murray)


And finally … in honor of Darryl Hawk’s very cool Cuba presentation (story above):

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Jay Norris: Community Builder Puts Talents To Work

Jay Norris was called”The Tastemaker.”

Working with unknown musicians signed by Clive Davis to Arista Records, he’d head to an unfamiliar city. He’d find a venue; put influential journalists, artists and political figures together, and ride the buzz that followed. Norris developed marketing strategies for Notorious BIG, Whitney Houston, Celine Dion, Pink, Toni Braxton, Alicia Keys and many others.

He created “cultural currency,” he says. “It’s all about getting the right people in the room.”

Now the Westport resident looks forward to doing the same thing here. As a new Westport Library trustee, he brings great creativity, tremendous energy — and a vast network of remarkable friends and colleagues.

In a town filled with interesting people, Norris stands at the top of the list.

The Detroit native turned down a swimming scholarship to Stanford in favor of Howard. He majored in sociology, and was fascinated by both human behavior and pattern recognition.

Jay Norris

That served him well, in the music industry. He studied artists and audiences. He promoted music — a subjective task — but always quantified the results.

In 1997, Norris Norris founded Tastemakers Media. It forged strategic partnerships between the music industry and lifestyle brands.

He branched into real estate investment, management consulting, and a curated retail platform for Detroit makers and innovators. In 2018 Norris co-founded Guesst, a software platform that helps property owners find complementary brands for their retail locations. He’s now CEO of the firm.

Six years ago, Norris and his wife Crystal were living in Brooklyn. With 3-year-Jacob soon to enter school; they started thinking about options. Crystal knew Connecticut through relatives. The couple explored a variety of cities and towns.

On a beautiful summer day, they drove to Compo Beach. “I felt something I’d never felt anywhere,” Norris recalls. “The vibe from people was different from anywhere else.”

He saw only 2 other Black people. That was enough to convince him he could live here.

As they searched for homes, there was just one must-have: walking distance to the train station. They found a perfect spot, 5 minutes away.

Three months ago, a Westport YMCA swim parent introduced Norris to Westport Library director Bill Harmer. Like matches Norris had made in music, there was instant chemistry.

He and Harmer talked about the Library’s cutting-edge production studios, and its innovative programming. As they discussed Westport residents’ interests and talents in art, film and fashion, Norris grew excited.

He’d been to the Library only once before. But he was hooked — by the building, and by Harmer’s “north star thinking.”

“The Library is such an added value to Westport,” Norris says. “It’s a cultural innovative hub.

“Schools in Westport nourish our kids. The Library does that for the public. It brings people together, helps us find our common denominator, and points us forward.”

It functions too as a community event space. By “community,” he hopes residents of neighboring towns will come too, to see all that Westport offers.

Norris points to the Library’s inaugural Verso Fest, a music-and-media festival held in the spring. Bridgeport educator/activist Walter Luckett brought a group of teenagers to the inspirational keynote by actor/writer/producer/martial artist Michael Jai Wright.

But Norris is not limiting his ideas to youths. As Westport’s own Shonda Rhimes proved at last month’s “Booked for the Evening,” the Library can inspire people “from 5 to 100.”

Jay and Crystal Norris flank Shonda Rhimes, at “Booked for the Evening.”

Norris hopes to tap into his broad network  — men and women in film, fashion, sports and the media — to “bring subject matter experts into the room with influencers.”

He knows some of them, around the nation. He knows many others are here in town, waiting to be asked.

“We can do this!” he says excitedly. “Our lens is really broad. The best part is that Bill is really open to this. There’s no ceiling. He and the board want to hear all ideas.”

If you’re concerned that Norris has not yet mentioned a library’s traditional raison d’être — books  —  he says: Don’t worry.

During a Zoom interview with the current board, a woman said: “I like you. But I love books.”

Norris replied: “I hear you. I don’t want to change anything you love. I want to enhance it. We’ll send you targeted emails. We’ll customize things, so you can learn about what you want to read, when you want to read it. We’ll create programs that add to your experience, not detract from it.”

Norris’ community-building efforts don’t stop with the Library. In the summer of 2020 — right after George Floyd was killed — he and Crystal, a broker with William Pitt Sotheby’s, sat at Bartaco with another Black couple. They noted the lack of Black faces here.

Norris did what he does best: He brought people together. He created Westpor10 — a social community for people of color. Adults attend cultural events, and dine out together; they organize beach parties and other events for their kids.

Jay and Crystal Norris, with their children.

Norris also mentors an A Better Chance of Westport scholar, helping bridge the gap between the teenager’s home town, and his new community of Westport.

Jay Norris has a lot on his plate. But — echoing the title of a gold record by Celine Dion, an artist he once promoted — he’s a master at “taking chances.”

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