Tag Archives: Wheels2U

Roundup: Transit $$, Farmers’ Market, The Universe …

Last night, the Representative Town Meeting voted 30-1 to restore $133,000 the Board of Finance had cut, to Wheels2U Westport’s 2022-23 budget.

Wheels2U Westport, is the Westport Transit District’s on-demand, group ride shuttle service. It takes riders from their door to the Saugatuck and Greens Farms train station platforms, and from the stations to their jobs and other places in Westport.

The restoration will keep Wheels2U operating through June 30, 2023.

Peter Gold, Westport Transit District director (and an RTM member), said he and his colleagues received over 200 letters from “all segments of Westport’s population” in support of restoring the funds.

For more information about Wheels2U, click here. For more information about the Westport Transit District’s services for the elderly and people with disabilities, click here,

A Wheels2U bus.

=======================================================

If you’re starved for good news, listen up: The Westport Farmers’ Market returns to the Imperial Avenue parking lot on Thursday, May 12.

Favorite farmers return, including Fort Hill, Riverbank, Ox Hollow, Calf + Clover Creamery, Beaver Brook, Herbal Deva, Muddy Feet Flower Farm, Two Guys from Woodbridge, Bee Love Project, Horseshoe, Deeply Rooted, Popp’s, Rose’s Berry, Seacoast Mushroom, Lost Ruby and Woodland. There are a few surprises too, says director Lori Cochran-Dougall.

Prepared food vendors include fresh faces alongside those you have come to rely on for your weekly shopping and entertaining needs, including Boxcar Cantina, NitNoi Provisions, Farmers and Cooks, Simply Local, Herbaceous Catering, Badass Bagels and Parlor Pizza, among others.

After 2 years, dining returns 🙂 . Music again fills the air , kids’ activities take center stage, and chef and other demonstrations are back as well

A 10 a.m. mindful opening will be led by Pause + Purpose. A toast follows at noon, with Cross Culture Kombucha.

The market runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Thursday, through November 10. For more information, including a full list of vendors and programs, click here.  find us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, too!

=======================================================

What a sweet way to celebrate AAPI Heritage Month!

1st Selectwoman Jennifer Tooker presented the town’s official proclamation on Sunday, before an excited group of Asian American and Pacific Islander Westport families — at Saugatuck Sweets.

2nd Selectwoman Andrea Moore, Board of Education chair Lee Goldstein and RTM member Sal Liccione joined in.

To celebrate the month, Saugatuck Sweets is lighting their Westport and Fairfield stores yellow.

Happy AAPI Heritage Month at Saugatuck Sweets!

=======================================================

Staples High School’s AWARE Club is not only aware of the world.

They’re doing something to help.

The acronym stands for Assisting Women through Actions, Resources & Education. It’s affiliated with local and national AWARE organizations.

The teenagers are supporting refugees their age from Ukraine and Afghanistan, who will arrive in Connecticut this summer. They’re collecting new beach towels and water bottles, so their peers can have a bit of enjoyment.

The towels and bottles can be dropped off from now through May 11. There’s a bin by the front door at 14 High Point Road (off Long Lots).

Teens who would like to join Staples’ AWARE Club — or volunteer at the “Tapas & Twilight” May 14 AWARE fundraiser, to benefit the Women’s Mentoring Network — should email info@awarect.org.

 

======================================================

The Martin Luther King Day presentation by noted author Heather McGhee — postponed from January — has been rescheduled. It’s now set for May 18 (7 p.m., Westport Library).

Her book “The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together,” spent 10 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and was longlisted for the National Book Award. Her 2020 TED talk “Racism Has a Cost for Everyone” reached 1 million views in just 2 months.

The MLK Day program also includes a recital by the Bridgeport Boys Choir, and a dance by the Regional Center for the Arts.

Click here to register for the free program in the Library’s Trefz Forum, or via livestream, and to purchase a copy of “The Sum of Us.”

The event is sponsored by the Westport Library, Westport Country Playhouse, TEAM Westport, Westport/Weston Interfaith Council, and Westport/Weston Interfaith Clergy.

Dr. Heather McGhee

=======================================================

Westport Sunrise Rotary’s Great Duck Race returns for its 13th running on July 9. The location is new: Jesup Green.

On Sunday, the Rotarians tried out their new design. The Westport Fire Department provided the water; AJ Penna donated the front loader, to dump the ducks. In case you missed it:

The test will help the event run smoothly. Meanwhile, tickets are already on sale from any Sunrise Rotarian or online. $10,000 in prizes will be awarded — and all proceeds go to charity.

=======================================================

The Housatonic Museum of Art is out of this world.

Actually, it’s just a few minutes away in Bridgeport. But they’re hosting :How Beautiful, The Universe …” — a free exhibition of 20 astrophotography prints — in association with the Westport Astronomical Society.

The Museum is on the 3rd floor of Beacon Hall. It’s open weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (until 7 p.m. on Thursday).

Next Monday (May 9, 7 p.m.) there’s a special viewing and talk on the art and science of astrophotography. Right after, there’s guided use of telescopes and moon viewing in the Housatonic Community College courtyard.

Families are welcome. To reserve a seat, click here.

=======================================================

Thursday is forecast to be beautiful. Which means it’s perfect for a drive-in movie.

The Remarkable Theater screens “The Hangover” with Bradley Cooper, at the Imperial Avenue lot. Tailgating begins a half-hour earlier than usual, at 6:30 p.m.; the film is at 8.

The next day (Friday, May 6) is Family Night: “Dumbo.” The length — 1 hour, 4 minutes — is perfect for young kids.

Saturday (May 7) is Mothers Day Eve. Celebrate with “Mermaids.” starring Cher and Winona Ryder — the cult mother-daughter classic.

Click here for tickets and more information.

=======================================================

June is LGBTQ Pride Month. June 3 is the day it will be celebrated in Westport schools.

Westport Pride — the townwide organization — is offering “Don’t Hide Your Pride” shirts for the month, and the day. The ones with the WPS logo are fundraisers for the  fundraise for the Westport Public Schools Pride Coalition, which includes Staples High, and Bedford and Coleytown Middle Schools.

Click here to order. The deadline is May 10. Shirts can be picked up at Nice Threads in Westport on June 1.

=======================================================

Nashville trio South for Winter headlines the Unitarian Church’s Voices Café this Saturday (May 7, 8 p.m., in-person and livestream).

South for Winter blends acoustic duets with folk and bluesy ballads, combining cello, guitar, mandolin and harmonies in what’s been called “a genre-bending ‘impeccable sound.'”

Voices Café and South for Winter share a commitment to social justice. A portion of the concert proceeds benefit community organizations under the Unitarian Church in Westport’s social justice programs, including anti-racism, identity and equity, immigration and refugee efforts, and projects serving under-resourced communities.

Groups of 4 or more can reserve table space. General admission is $25 per person; livestream tickets are also available. For more information and tickets, click here.

South for Winter

===================================================

Nature can be brutal. This crab learned that the hard way the other day at Compo Beach. Today’s “Westport … Naturally” food-chain photo comes courtesy of Nancy Lally, who saw similar scenes all along the shore.

(Photo/Nancy Lally)

======================================================

And finally … Naomi Judd — with Wynonna, the older half of the famed mother-daughter country music duo the Judds — died Saturday hear Nashville. She was 76.

Naomi’s other daughter, actress Ashley Judd, said, “We lost our beautiful mother to the disease of mental illness.”

The Judds had 14 Number 1 hits. They racked up 9 Country Music Association Awards. and 5 Grammys. Click here for a full obituary.

Roundup: Metro-North, Ukraine Donations, Longshore Golf …

=====================================================

Metro-North is expanding service and restoring some express trains — including adding 34 new trains on the New Haven line.

Weekday service will be restored to 89% of pre-pandemic levels, and new train service will reduce trip times for a number of commuters (the railroad says).

Click here for new Metro-North schedules.

======================================================

All week long, donations for Ukraine have poured in to Wakeman Town Farm.

Medical and emergency supplies, sleeping bags, boots, socks, sweaters, gloves, radios, hand warmers, binoculars — all were sent or dropped off by Westporters.

Similar collections took place all week long at Weston’s Lechat Town Farm, and Wilton’s Ambler Farm.

Tomorrow, they’ll be sent overseas.

As soon as they arrive, they’ll be put to great use.

Christy Colasurdo of Wakeman Town Farm, in front of some of the donated items. (Photo/Ted Horowitz).

======================================================

Speaking of Ukraine: Lynsey Addario was a guest last night on “Amanpour & Company.”

Christiane Amanpour had an in-depth conversation with the Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times photojournalist/1991 Staples High School graduate.

Click below to see. (Hat tip: Linda Montecalvo)

=======================================================

Tee it up!

The expected opening for the Longshore golf course is this Friday (March 25) — weather permitting, of course. The halfway house concession opens April 1.

Click here for the course website. The pro shop phone number is 203-221-0900.  For day of play tee times, call 203-226-9785.

Westport residents can purchase or renew a handpass online at www.westportrecreation.com or in person weekdays (8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) at the Parks & Recreation office, across the parking lot from the pro shop.

The18th hole. (Drone photo/John Videler for videler.com)

======================================================

Jane Green — Westport’s favorite international best-selling author — has just released her first novel in 3 years. “Sister Stardust” is also her first biographical fiction.

Green re-imagines the life of troubled icon Talitha Getty, in this unique story from a forgotten chapter of the “Swinging ’60s.”
  
Though Talitha’s life seemed perfect, in her 20s — already a famous model and actress — she moved from London to a palace in Marrakesh with her husband, oil heir Paul Getty. She presided over an ex-pat scene filled with music, art, free love and a counterculture taking root across the world.

When Claire arrives in London from her small town, she never expects to cross paths with a woman as magnetic as Talitha Getty. Yearning for adventure and independence, she’s swept off to Marrakesh, where the two become kindred spirits. But beneath Talitha’s glamourous façade lurks a darkness few can understand. As their friendship blossoms and the two grow closer, the realities of Talitha’s precarious existence set off a chain of dangerous events that could alter Claire’s life forever.

The epilogue: Because Jane is as clever a person as she is a writer, she’s bringing out a range of caftans and jewelry inspired by the book.

Jane Green

 

=======================================================

Speaking of trains (as we were above): Got something to say about Wheels2U and/or the Westport Transit District?

Director Peter Gold and others will be at the Westport train station this Wednesday (March 23, 6 to 10 a.m., near the elevator on the westbound side), to meet commuters. In case of rain, they’ll meet inside the station house.

Gold says, “We want commuters to let us know what’s right with Wheels2U, what’s not working, and what we can do better. We also want to talk to commuters who don’t take Wheels2U [the on-demand, group ride, platform shuttle service] to make them aware of it.”

===================================================

The list of goodies at Local to Westport — the nearby-sourced food-and-more market on Main Street — always changes.

Among the new items:

  • Whistle Stop Pies (Ridgefield): Owner Lolly makes delicious berry crumble, chocolate espresso and lemon cream pies.
  • J’s Vegan Elderberry Syrup (Bethel): Julie does this batch with maple syrup instead of the traditional honey.
  • Riad’s Mediterranean Dips (Bethlehem): Hummus, yogurt dip, tapenade, pesto and baba ghanouj.
  • Alma’s Mexican Foods Macha Salsa (Westport, CT): Chili pepper-based condiments.
  • *Cato Corners Cheese (Colchester): Raw milk cheeses
  • Good Doggy Treats (Brookfield): Tony’s treats are a hit with canine visitors.
  • Knipschlidt Chocolates Easter Eggs (Norwalk): Fritz’s Easter collection.
  • Wanke’s Yankee Hot Pepper Products (Norwalk): Dave’s jalapeno garlic hot sauce, plus spicy peanuts.
  • Shearwater Coffee (Trumbull):USDA-certified organic coffees, roasted right up the street.

The Local to Market patio.

====================================================

Last year, Westport Pride sponsored the town’s first downtown LGBTQ celebration. This year’s event is set for June 12.

But that’s not all. Leading up to it, there’s a Queer Cook-off (May 19, Aitoro’s).

Four teams — each including one chef — will have an hour to prepare an appetizer and dessert. It’s a fun fundraiser for the Pride group.

On June 1, they’ll kick off Pride Month with an LGBTQ-themed movie (appropriate for all families).

Also in the works: a drag show, and celebrations at Staples High School.

Showing the flag at last year’s Westport Pride celebration. (Photo/Kerry Long)

=======================================================

Russell Oost-Lievense has been named only the 4th head coach in the 64-year history of the Staples High School boys soccer program.

A former Staples captain (2007) and player at Hartwick College, Oost-Lievense has been a member of the Wreckers staff for 6 years. He is a special education teacher at Darien High.

He succeeds Dan Woog — hey, that’s me! — who retired in January after 19 years. I’m happy to quote myself:

“Russell is a spectacular choice. He has the total respect of players, parents and other coaches. He breaks down a match — both by teams, and individually — better than anyone I know. He is a master at creating game plans, and the training sessions leading up to them. He is a true student of the game.

“Russell is passionate about soccer at all level. He understands Staples’ tradition, our legacy, and the importance of passing that along to current and future players.

“Our program is in good shape. I am confident Russell will kick it up many more notches, in the years ahead. It will be great to see.”

Russell Oost-Lievense, in front of the Staples High School boys soccer trophy case.

=======================================================

The Artists Collective of Westport’s pop-up exhibit has announced a new date for its artists’ talk, at the Westport Country Playhouse barn. The new date is Saturday, March 26 (4 p.m.).

There’s an opening reception March 23 (6 p.m.). The exhibit is then open from March 24 through 26 (2 to 6 p.m.).

=======================================================

“Westport … Naturally” is delighted to present as many signs of spring as we can. Here is Richard Epstein’s witch hazel:

(Photo/Richard Epstein)

======================================================

And finally … in honor of Metro-North’s expanded (and supposedly faster) service on the New Haven line (story above):

Roundup: Outdoor Dining, Old Dominion, Billy Joel …

====================================================

Over the past 2 years, the restaurant industry has been rocked by COVID. Amid all the bad news, one bright spot was the rise — and popularity — of outdoor dining.

This Monday (March 14, 7 p.m. Zoom), the Planning & Zoning Commission meets to consider permanent outdoor eating regulations.

Under new state legislation, the P&Z can determine the size of an outdoor dining area, when it can operate, and what public safety protections are needed.

Planning and Zoning Department director Mary Young says, “The Planning & Zoning Commission looks forward to hearing from food establishment owners to help set reasonable standards, allowing the Restaurant Renaissance in Westport to continue and provide safe and secure dining options for patrons under the ‘New-Normal’ conditions.”’

Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce director Matthew Mandell predicts, “some restaurants are going to love this. Some are not going to like it at all. It depends on whether you have the land, an amenable landlord, a parking lot to use or a town road to be able to do it. The Chamber sees both sides to this.”

Monday’s public hearing will be livestreamed at www.westportct.gov, and on Optimum channel 79 and Frontier channel 6020.  Comments can be sent to the meeting to PandZ@westportct.gov. Click here for the full text amendment.

Out door dining on church Lane. (Photo/Dan Woog)

======================================================

Lynsey Addario’s photo last Sunday — of a family killed by a Russian mortar attack — horrified the world.

Yesterday, the New York Times photojournalist — a Pulitzer Prize winner, and 1991 Staples High School graduate — spoke compellingly about that image, and the events surrounding.

In an in-depth interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper — at 3:30 a.m. Ukraine time — Lynsey talked spoke of her surreal feelings as she realized the Russians were targeting civilians. With mortars whizzing just 30 feet away, she witnessed the killings.

Cooper asked her thoughts as she took her photos. She felt she had to document the event for the world. With a 10-year-old of her own, she had to maintain her professionalism — even as she noticed the family’s luggage lying next to them.

She also talked about her feelings afterward, and what it’s like to witness such scenes over and over again.

It was excellent journalism from Anderson Cooper — and one more reason to pray for Lynsey’s safety, and that of everyone in Ukraine.

(Photo/Dan Woog)

Lynsey’s photo was also featured on “60 Minutes” this past Sunday. Scott Pelley used it to frame that night’s Ukraine story. Click here for the link. (Hat tips: Susan Woog Wagner and Hedi Lieberman)

=====================================================

A bright young man from Westport
Who really cares about transport,
Said to get to the train,
Wheels2U is a gain!
It’s like your own private escort!

Okay, it’s not Keats. It’s not even Ogden Nash. But it’s a good way to introduce the Westport Transit District’s limerick contest.

The goal is to raise awareness of Wheels2U Westport, the on-demand, group ride, door-to-train platform shuttle service.

The top 7 entries win gift certificates to Westport restaurants of their choice, ranging from $100 to $25.

Want some info before writing your poem? WTD director Peter Gold calls Wheels2U “easy, inexpensive and convenient. It comes when you call it, picks you up at your door, and takes you right to the platform at the Westport and Greens Farms stations. No more walks from the parking lots in the cold and dark. And it’s a greener way to get to the train.”

Westport residents use the Wheels2U Westport app to request a pickup between 5:45 and 10 a.m., and 4 and 9:30 p.m., almost anywhere in town. Pickups should be requested 20 minutes before you would normally leave to drive to the station.  The fare is just $2, when paid with the Wheels2U app.

The contest is open to all Westport residents. Enter as often as you like. Email entries to pgold@westportct.gov no later than March 25. Put “Limerick Contest” in the subject line, and include your name, address, and email. Click here for the full rules.

=======================================================

For Old Dominion, winning awards is old hat.

The group — whose lead guitarist is 1997 Staples High School graduate (and former soccer star) Brad Tursi — was named Group of the Year at Monday’s ACM ceremony in Las Vegas.

It was the 5th consecutive year they’ve won country music’s top prize.

Their acceptance speech included a tribute to the citizens of Ukraine. (Hat tip: Tricia Freeman)

Old Dominion, at the CMA Awards. Staples grad Brad Tursi is on the far right.

=======================================================

Speaking of music: Every month, Billy Joel sells out Madison Square Garden. Now his music is coming to the Levitt Pavilion!

Yeah, read that sentence again. “His music” — not the Piano Man himself.

But this is no tribute band. It’s Mike Del Guidice & Big Shot. He tours all over the world with Billy Joel. His band performs astonishing renditions of those songs, plus others by Elton John, the Beatles and other beloved artists.

The concert is Friday, May 20 (7:30 p.m.). Levitt Pavilion member pre-sales start today (Wednesday, March 9, noon). Click here to become a member. Sales to the general public start Friday (March 11, 10 a.m.).

Mike Del Guidice and friends.

======================================================

On April 7, some of Westport’s best chefs will leave their kitchens. They’ll head to Aitoro’s, the great appliance store just over the Norwalk line. There — amid high-end appliances — they’ll offer great food for a good cause.

It’s a benefit for the Make-a-Wish Connecticut chapter. The nonprofit helps fulfill the dreams of critically ill children.

Among the celebrity chefs: Bill Taibe (The Whelk, Kawa Ni, Don Memo); Matt Storch (Match Burger Lobster, Match Restaurant), Jes Bengtson (Terrain Garden Café, Amis Trattoria), Robin Selden (Marcia Selden and Naked Fig Catering), Dan Kardo (Oar & Oak), and Christian Petroni (Food Network star).

Tickets include samplings, and complimentary beer and wine. Click here to purchase, and for more information.

=====================================================

Bill Webster sends today’s captivating “Westport … Naturally” photo, and adds:

“People often hear the tom turkey gobbling on spring mornings, but seldom do you get a chance to see a wild turkey strut. The turkey strut is an incredible courtship display that is intended to attract hens and display dominance.”

(Photo/Bill Webster)

======================================================

And finally … in honor of the great photo above:

Roundup: Candlelight, Strategic PR, Justin Paul …

=====================================================

Tickets went fast for this weekend’s Candlelight Concert.

But Westporters — and everyone else, around the world — can watch it online. A tape of the 81st annual event will be streamed on Thursday, December 23 (8 p.m.).

Like the concert itself, it’s free — a gift, from the Staples High School music department. The link will be available at StaplesMusic.org.

=======================================================

Steve Ginsburg spent 10 great years with the ADL: 4 in Chicago, the last 6 as director of its Connecticut chapter.

His most rewarding times were helping people in crisis — CEOs, school principals, teenagers being bullied or accused of bullying — work through their issues.

Now, the Westport resident is doing that full-time.

Ginsburg is a co-founder of August. It’s a national strategic communications firm, helping people and companies in difficult circumstances tell their story with clarity and integrity.

His area of expertise is “diversity and bias.” For example, he cites a university campus roiled by accusations of racism. He can guide the many stakeholers — students, professors, administrators, trustees — as they speak to the media.

“At ADL, I loved working with media,” Ginsburg says. “I saw the importance of them doing their job well — and what can happen when they don’t.

“Our society is very polarized. When news breaks, there’s often a rush to judgment. But things are not always what they first seem. Society benefits from accurate, fair reporting.”

Steve Ginsburg

=======================================================

Justin Paul has been very generous with his time. The Tony, Oscar and Grammy Award-winning co-songwriter of “Dear Evan Hansen,” “La La Land” and “The Greatest Showman” — and 2003 Staples High School graduate — has returned often to his alma mater (and Coleytown Middle School) to share insights and tricks of the trade with the next generation of talented Westporters.

For the rest of us — who aren’t still in school — there’s a new online course.

Paul and his writing partner, Benj Pasek, offer a month-long online class: “Songwriting for Musical Theater.” It’s immersive — 7 to 10 hours a week, for 4 weeks — that provides students with the foundation to write their own musical (including 2 original songs).

Click here for details. Who knows? Maybe after writing your musical, “You Will Be Found.”

At the end of an appearance in 2018 at Staples High, Justin Paul played piano as students sang the “Dear Evan Hansen” classic, “Waving Through a Window.” (Photo/Kerry Long)

======================================================

Everyone is in the gift-giving mood. Even the Westport Transit District.

As a holiday gift to residents, they offer free rides to users of the Wheels2U shuttle service. The service starts Monday (December 20), and is good through December 31.

Wheels2U Westport is the WTD’s on-demand, group ride, door-to -train platform shuttle service.

The free rides to and from the Westport and Greens Farms stations are not just for commuters. If you’re seeing a show, museum, the Rockefeller Center tree or friends: hop aboard the shuttle, and the train.

If you’re in the service area, use the Wheels2U Westport app to request a pickup between 5:45 and 9:45 a.m., and 4 and 8 p.m., 20 minutes before you’d normally leave.

For more information, click here.

=======================================================

Back in the (Clam Box) days, there was an exit from that parking lot in the back, onto Long Lots Road.

Years ago, it was sealed off. The only exit and entrance was via Post Road East.

There may be another exit in the future. In a different spot: the upper parking deck.

Planning & Zoning Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals permission has been granted to expand the upper deck by 18 spaces; reconstruct and extend the existing retaining wall; install a planter and landscaping — and add gated, emergency access to Long Lots. It would only be used by fire, police or EMS vehicles, as a secondary exit route.

The request for a zoning permit awaits P&Z Department approval.

A view of the 877 Post Road East upper parking deck, from Long Lots Road.

=======================================================

Jolantha — Weston’s favorite pig — is all decked out for the holidays

(Photo/Hans Wilhelm)

She’s got more news, too: Her brand new website just launched. Click here to see her many glamorous outfits, through the years.

=======================================================

Chris Wood spotted today’s “Westport … Naturally” bird — an Eastern towhee — at Sherwood Island State Park. It “sang like it was spring,” Chris says.

(Photo/Chris Wood)

======================================================

And finally … Steve Bronski, a co-founder member of the British synth-pop trio Bronski Beat, died Thursday, at 61. Click here for a full obituary. (Hat tip: Amy Schneider)

Roundup: Wheels, Donut Crazy, Challah …

=======================================================

Effective today, Wheels2U Westport — the Westport Transit District’s on-demand, group ride, door-to-train platform shuttle service — is expanding to serve even more of Westport.  The area from Coleytown Road to the Weston border is now included.

The new addition is bounded by North Avenue, Lyons Plains Road and Coleytown Road and includes all of Arlen Road, Fraser Road, Fraser Lane and Snowflake Lane. Wheels2U Westport now provides convenient service to over 90% of all Westport.

Residents living in the service area can use the Wheels2U Westport app to request a pickup  between 5:45 a.m. and 9:45 a.m., and 4 and 8 p.m., to be taken to or from the Saugatuck or Greens Farms train platform and their front door.

Pickups should be requested about 20 minutes before you would normally leave to drive to the station.  The fare is $2 when paid with the Wheels2U app.  A Metro North Uniticket rail/bus pass can also be used.

For more information, click here. For more information about the Westport Transit District’s services for the elderly and people with disabilities, click here.

New service area.

======================================================

Westport’s VFW Joseph J. Clinton Post 399 reserved a special table today. The setting honored the 13 US servicemembers killed last week in Afghanistan.

The “Missing Man Table” — also known as the “Fallen Comrade Table” — is steeped in symbolism. It is a humble way to remember the sacrifice of the men and women who gave their lives protecting our freedom.

=======================================================

Just in time for the new academic year, the Westport Public Schools have unveiled a new website.

The look is clean and fresh. There’s tons of information, in an easy-to-navigate, intuitive layout.

Click here to explore it on your own. Be sure to check out the drone video for each school. Just click on the name, and get a bird’s-eye view of every facility. (Hat tip: Seth Schachter)

Screenshot of the new website

=======================================================

Donut Crazy is back open. This is the most recent sign, on the train station door:

(Photo/Gary Nusbaum)

=======================================================

Last night’s almost-season-ending Levitt Pavilion performance — Dr. K’s Motown Review — had a filled-to-capacity audience dancing in the street.

Or at least, in their pods.

Three shows remain: Always-popular DNR, in a benefit for Westport EMS and first responders (September 10, 7:30 p.m.); Barboletta, a tribute to Santana (September 11, 7:30 p.m.), and Sheryl Crow, a ticketed benefit show (October 8, 8 p.m.).

Click here for tickets and details.

Last night’s Levitt Pavilion show. (Photo/Lauri Weiser)

======================================================

Dogs are not allowed on Compo Beach (until October 1).

So this one — at Winslow Park Animal Hospital on the Post Road — made his own.

(Photo/Molly Alger)

=======================================================

Every home should have a challah.

And not just on the East Coast.

The Westport-based delivery company has just acquired ChallahFresh, Silicon Valley’s tech-enabled business.

“My goal is to deliver a freshly baked challah, candles, a weekly dose of inspiration each week, plus black & white cookies, rugelach or hamentaschen to as many homes, nursing homes and college dorms as possible in the US, says CEO Scott Sharkey.

“Now we ae one step closer to accomplishing this.”

Sharkey donates a portion of each challah subscription to a charity of the customer’s choice. A dropdown menu offers a dozen or so options, including ADL, Doctors Without Borders, Feeding America, Red Cross, Save the Children, St. Jude’s Hospital, the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Fund, Hadassah and UJA Federation.

For more information, click here.

Challah, from Every Home Should Have a Challah.

======================================================

Wendy Crowther explains today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo:

“Two bumble bees harvest resources on a stand of thistle at Baron’s South last week. Thistles have a high wildlife value. They not only provide pollen and nectar to bees and butterflies, but later the flowers turn to seeds that will be eaten by goldfinches. Even the down from the seeds will be used by birds to line their nests.”

(Photo/Wendy Crowther)

=======================================================

And finally … in honor of today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo (above):

 

 

[OPINION] Save Wheels2U Funding

Peter Gold is director of the Westport Transit District, and has lived in Westport for 40 years. He is an RTM member from District 5, and former chair of the RTM Transit Committee — but he is not writing this “Opinion” piece in his RTM capacity.

Wheels2U, Westport’s on-demand shuttle service, launched last October. Riders can download the Wheels2U app. With just a few clicks, they’ll get a ride between almost anywhere in town and Westport’s two train stations.

The Wheels2U shuttles provide a cost-effective, environmentally friendly way for Westport commuters, reverse commuters and others to link their homes, their Westport employers, and downtown to the train stations.

But now Wheels2U is in danger of being shut down before the end of the year. The Board of Finance recently voted to cut the shuttle’s budget by more than half.

However, Westport’s Representative Town Meeting (RTM) meets May 3 to vote on restoring funding to keep the shuttle running for another year.

Many Westport residents already use Wheels2U as part of their commute. Now that commuting is picking up as the world reopens, demand for this excellent service is growing. And there are many opportunities to leverage Wheels2U’s flexibility to address other Westport transportation needs.

Retaining an accessible, efficient and convenient shuttle between almost anywhere in town and the train stations, and allowing it to grow to serve other town needs, makes good sense, and is more important than ever.

It takes a vote of 70% of the RTM members present and voting at a meeting to override the Board of Finance and restore the funding for Wheels2U. If you believe supporting Wheels2U and public transportation in Westport is important, please email the RTM to urge it to restore the funding on May 3.  Emails can be sent to the RTM at RTMMailingList@Westportct.gov.

Information about Wheels2U, including hours of operation, service area and how to download the Wheels2U app can be found at Wheels2UWestport.com.  Information on the benefits Wheels2U currently provides to users and the town as a whole, and what Wheels2U could become if it is allowed to continue and grow, can be found by clicking this link.

Nearly all of Westport is included in the Wheels2U service area.

Roundup: Vaccine, Joe Duffy, Wheels2U …

===============================================

Yesterday’s vaccine clinic in the Staples High School fieldhouse was a rousing success.

Over 500 educators from Westport, Weston and the Easton/Redding district received doses. The health professionals were on top of their game; our Community Emergence Response Team kept things running smoothly. Next Wednesday’s clinic should cover the first dose for the rest of the school staff who want it.

A small part of the big fieldhouse.

======================================================

Speaking of the vaccine:

I was all set for my first dose at Stamford Hospital next Tuesday. But a pinched nerve in my back last week laid me up — and on prednisone.

I was warned to delay the vaccine until I’d been off it for a week. So yesterday — dreading the task — I went online for a new appointment.

The system was as agonizing as my back. Eventually I gave up and left voicemail on the VAMS system (877-918-2224). I was promised a call back.

My expectations were low. But sure enough, a few hours later a wonderful woman named Sierra called.

She won on top of her game. She was warm, efficient, even (dare I say it?) fun! She signed me up for Stamford’s Lord & Taylor parking lot March 20, and a 2nd does 4 weeks later.

Big props to Sierra, and the system. It’s not easy — but it works.

For great local vaccine info, join Facebook’s Westport Coronavirus Info group. It’s clear, updated often, and filled with facts.

======================================================

Within weeks, Westport Book Shop has established itself as the go-to place for the best in pre-owned novels, biographies, etc., etc., plus CDs and vinyl.

And art.

This month, Norm Siegel is featured at the Drew Friedman Art Place in the back of the Jesup Road spot.

Norm specializes in trompe l’oeil and photorealistic paintings. His paintings of famous and rare book editions are so realistic, you may try to turn the painted pages. Click here for a great interview with him.

Westport Book Shop — and the gallery — are open during new expanded hours: Thursdays and Fridays from noon to 6 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 5.

Norm Siegel at the Drew Friedman Art Place.

==================================================

Today’s New York Times obituary of Joe Duffy notes that “his antiwar campaign for the United States Senate from Connecticut in 1970 galvanized a generation of campus liberals…. (He) later served as a cultural arbiter in the Carter and Clinton administrations and presided over two major universities.” He was 88.

It mentions one of his key supporters in his political campaigns — Westporter Paul Newman — and (though it does not note that she lived here too), his 1974 marriage to Anne Wexler. She ran his 1970 campaign, became an aide to President Carter, and then a prominent Washington political operative and lobbyist.

Click here for a look at Duffey’s fascinating life.

Joe Duffey and Paul Newman at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. (Photo courtesy of New York Times)

=======================================================

New posters and billboards at the Westport train station promote Wheels2U.

That’s our town’s on-demand, door-to-door, group ride service between homes and the station. Click here for information on fares, hours of operation and service areas.

======================================================

Positive Directions — Westport’s prevention and counseling center — is looking for a new executive director.

During COVID, the 49-year-old organization provided important mental health support to hundreds of residents. The prevention staff collaborated with town governments and other local partners, to help adolescents and families make healthy choices and decisions.

The search committee is looking for a leader with significant management experience and deep experience in the mental health. Resumes and cover letters are due by March 31 to: PositiveDirectionsEDSearch@gmail.com.

=======================================================

Don’t forget about Winfield Street Deli’s great “Giving Back” campaign. For every $20 check, the Post Road West coffee-and-more shop donates one meal to agencies that feed the needy.

Last year, they gave 6,000 meals. Their goal for 2021: 20,000. Stop by to help!

=======================================================

Dave Briggs’ fascinating InstagramLive discussions continue this afternoon (Thursday, March 4, 5:15).

His guest is Westport’s own Lindsay Czarniak. As “NFL on Fox sideline reporter Host of “The Athlete & The Artist,” she’s interviewed everyone from Brad Paisley and Danica Patrick to Alanis Morissette and (this week) Eddie Vedder. She’s also the wife of NBC’s Craig Melvin.

Search for @WestportMagazine on Instagram. Send questions any time by DM to @DaveBriggsTV.

=======================================================

“Seascapes” is the theme of George Billis Gallery’s new show. There’s a reception tomorrow (Friday, March 5) at the 166 Main Street space, from 4 to 6 p.m.

Check out these artists: Anthony Davis, Margery Gosnell-Qua, Glen Hacker, Georgia Nassikas, Richard Orient, Paul Schulenburg, Sheila Smallwood, Kenneth Templeton and Karen Woods.

“Penfield Swell” (Glenn Hacker, oil on canvas)

=======================================================

And finally … Bunny Wailer, the last surviving original member of the Wailers — died on Tuesday at a hospital in Jamaica. He was 73.

Bunny played percussion and harmonized. He may not have been as well known as his groupmates Bob Marley and Peter Tosh. But without Bunny, there would have been no Wailers.