Tag Archives: Winslow Park

Every Dog Has Its Day

Hundreds of dogs celebrate their day today.

Seen at the 2nd annual Dog Festival at Winslow Park:

Kids and their pets…

… dogs of all types …

… dog photography …

… a canine obstacle course …

… and plenty of Winslow Park regulars, like Roger Wolfe.

The Dog Festival — sponsored by the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce — runs through 4 p.m. today. Click here for details.

Ray Rauth: A Good Walk Spoiled

Last June, Ray Rauth walked across Connecticut. Literally — from the New York border to Rhode Island.

Even more impressive was the 120-mile route he took: US 1.

But the Weston resident — a member of the Connecticut Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board — was not planning to see every Jiffy Lube, Stop & Shop or Dunkin’ Donuts along the way.

His goal was to build awareness of road safety for pedestrians and cyclists. What better place to do that than the Post Road — the state’s deadliest.

Ray Rauth is a very brave man.

Now — after massaging his feet and evading death — Rauth has written a report. In 19 pages, he summarizes our woeful neglect of safety.

Of course, he also gives shout-outs to Connecticut’s beauty and health.

It’s a fascinating document. He covers lots of territory — literal and figurative — starting with Byram (zip code 06830) and ending in Pawcatuck (06379).

But since this blog is “06880,” I’ll limit this story to the dozen or so times Rauth cites Westport in his report.

The first mention comes in a section on pocket parks. “You don’t need a swing set or a swimming pool,” Rauth writes. “Just a calm nicely-kept shaded area with benches, maybe a picnic table and a relaxed atmosphere.”

Fairfield’s town green is one such spot. Another is “Barron’s [sic] North.”

Ray Rauth likes Winslow Park (which he calls “Barron’s North”).

Rauth likes beautiful downtowns. He is impressed with — among others — Darien, Fairfield, Clinton, Branford, Guilford and Mystic. However, he writes, Westport’s “sprawl of strip malls” makes “an almost deliberate effort to be ugly.”

In a section on safety, Rauth suggests that

town officials and employees should actually walk the streets and the sidewalks that they build and maintain. Bring along a few advocates for comment, advice and support. Pedestrian and bike access to areas such as the train station in Westport benefit from the knowledge of how awful they really are for the pedestrian.

Rauth calls the sidewalks from Post Road West from Whole Foods to the “lovely” Saugatuck River “meaningless. They did not exist, or changed sides of the road willy nilly, or were poorly kept.” In fact, he says Westport’s sidewalks are the worst in Fairfield County.

Actually, he notes in the next paragraph, “Westport has the worst Route 1 sidewalks in the state.” (He adds, hopefully, “I know that they are working on the problem.”)

Rauth then describes the Compo Shopping Center/Trader Joe’s intersection as arguably the town’s worst — and it has been for the nearly 30 years he’s lived in the area. However, he decides that “the really, really bad intersection” in Westport is at the train station. He does not, however, say exactly which one it is.

Ray Rauth used a photo like this in the Connecticut Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board’s 2016 annual report. It illustrates a crosswalk at the Riverside Avenue/Railroad Place intersection that leads to a parking lot, not a sidewalk.

We can argue about which is the worst intersection in town, or how bad our sidewalks really are. But we really don’t have a statewide comparison unless we’ve walked a mile in Ray Rauth’s shoes.

Make that 120 miles.

(Click here to read Ray Rauth’s entire report.)

Friends Of Trees

There are 3 subjects I know will always generate huge “06880” reader reactions:

Parking. Dogs. And trees.

The first 2 are predictable parts of Westport life. The 3rd may be less intuitive.

But as regularly as power goes out when the wind blows, any time I post a tree story we get comments from readers who mourn the loss of every tree. And from others who say hey, easy come, easy go.

Yet — until the other day — I had no idea that both tree huggers and Paul Bunyans could find common purpose.

That’s when alert — and arboreal-minded — reader Johanna Rossi told me about the Friends of Parks & Recreation’s Arbor Program.

Full disclosure: I didn’t even know the Friends group existed, either. They’re a  public-private partnership that finances worthwhile projects and services, beyond those paid for by tax dollars.

The website of the Friends of Parks & Recreation website includes a photo of the Longshore entrance -- before the removal of several trees lining the entrance way. New trees have taken their place.

The website of the Friends of Parks & Recreation website includes a photo of the Longshore entrance — before the removal of several trees lining the entrance way. New trees have taken their place.

One of those programs can be found on the Friends’ website  under the heading “Trees, Trees, Trees.” Launched last year, it’s a way to honor “the lives and achievements of friends and families.”

Working with Parks and Rec, tree warden Bruce Lindsay identifies locations where he’d like to plant trees. He notes the specimens and species that thrive there.

Donors can choose their location and tree. The price is based on the cost of planting, as well as a fund to support maintenance — fertilizing, watering, pruning, etc. — for 5 years.

Planting takes place in the spring and fall. Photos and biographical info can be displayed alongside the tree.

It’s a “living legacy” for people to celebrate those who, most probably, are no longer living.

There’s even a GPS locator to help identify locations and tree types. Right now, there are 2 sites: Winslow Park and Compo Beach.

Tree warden Bruce Lindsay has a plan to remove dead trees at Winslow Park -- and replace them.

Tree warden Bruce Lindsay has a plan to remove dead trees at Winslow Park — and replace them.

So the next time I post a story about tree removal, don’t click “Comments.”

Instead, donate a tree.

Friday Flashback #24

“06880” readers like our Friday Flashbacks. This one they’ll love.

Actually, it’s a two-fer. Back in the day, Westport was home to not 1, but 2, sanitariums. (Sanitaria? Whatever. If you’ve forgotten your medical history, a sanitarium was a hospital for the treatment of chronic diseases, often tuberculosis or mental disorders.)

The best known and most visible was originally the former mansion of Henry Richard and Mary Fitch Winslow. Built in 1853 and named Compo House, the palatial home was surrounded by guest houses, servants’ and gardeners’ quarters, and gorgeous gardens. Former president Millard Fillmore was a visitor, and extravagant fireworks were shot off there every July 4th.

By 1907, it had become the Westport Sanitarium. Here’s how it looked then:

westport-sanitarium-1907-now-winslow-park

The building was torn down in the 1970s. It had long earlier fallen into disuse, becoming an attractive nuisance to teenagers, drug users and other random folks.

No wonder. It was just a few steps away from downtown, on land bordered by the Post Road and North Compo.

Today, it’s the site of a dog park. Its name is Winslow, in honor of the original owners. The sanitarium is the reason for all those asphalt paths, in places you’d never expect them.

Our 2nd sanitarium — named for its owner, Dr. McFarland — was on Long Lots Road. In later years it became a full-fledged psychiatric hospital, called Hall-Brooke. A building visible from Long Lots was renamed McFarland Hall.

This is what Dr. McFarland’s Sanitarium looked like in the early 1900s:

dr-mcfarlands-sanitarium-hall-brooke

The photo above is of the main building. The other building was visible for many years from Long Lots.

If you’ve got memories of either sanitarium, click “Comments” below.

(Photos courtesy of Seth Schachter)

Dumping On Winslow Park

No, the headline does not refer to owners who refuse to clean up their pet’s poop at Westport’s wonderful dog park.

It’s a reference to some bizarre sightings recently:

winslow-park-collage

Yes, someone has been hauling furniture to Winslow Park, and dumping it there.

This raises a few questions:

  • Why would someone bring old furniture to a dog run?
  • How did they get it there?
  • When did they do it, without anyone seeing them?
  • What did they expect would happen to it?

If you know the answers, click “Comments” below.

Meanwhile, if you want some old furniture, it seems to be yours for the taking.

(Hat tip: Michelle Lieberson)

Winslow Park Hit By Smash-And-Grabs

Last month, Westport was jolted by a series of home break-ins in Greens Farms.

Now, it’s cars being hit at Winslow Park.

An “06880” reader reports that at least 5 windows have been smashed — and personal belongings stolen — while people walk their dogs nearby.

She loves Winslow Park because of the community she’s found there. An eclectic group of dog owners welcomed her in (and invited her to their “Yappie Hour”).

This summer, she became aware of the “smash-and-grab” break-ins. They occurred in the Westport Country Playhouse lot.

A month ago, a woman who parks in the small North Compo lot was hit.

It happens in broad daylight, with people coming and going with their dogs.

Winslow Park. Smash-and-grab thieves have made dog walkers bit fearful.

Smash-and-grab thieves have made Winslow Park dog walkers a bit fearful.

The “06880” reader suggests surveillance cameras. She also thinks that cutting down bushes would help make cars more visible to passersby. Of course, it’s common sense to not leave anything of value on your car seat or floor, visible to anyone.

Notices have been posted on the “Winslow Park Small Dogs & Friends” Facebook page. The reader says that publicity is essential. More people need to know this is happening — and the thief or thieves must know that people know.

“Winslow Park should be a happy place for everyone,” she says. “Not a place of fear.”

Oh My 06880 — Photo Challenge #83

Most photo challenges are snippets of photos. They’re cropped closely. This is a photo challenge, after all — not a slam dunk or easy softball pitch.

Last week’s was an actual photo (thanks, Patricia McMahon!). I ran it because it was beautiful. But I also thought it was challenging enough to test most readers.

Nope. A record 17 of you knew — almost immediately — that the clouds hovered over trees, grass and a stone fence that can be found at the curve on North Compo Road, near Evergreen Avenue. It’s the entrance to Winslow Park. (Which, as many readers noted, was once the site of the Westport Sanitarium.)

Congratulations to Adam Stolpen, Michael Moore, Peggy O’Halloran, Diane Bosch, Rich Stein, Dorian Barth, Shirlee Gordon, Robin Welling, Molly Alger, Dan Herman, Sally Korsh, Jennifer Piseck, Vanessa Bradford, Elayne Landau, Mary (Cookman) Schmerker, Lynne Betts Baker and Carissa Baker. (Click here to see the fantastic image; scroll down for comments.)

Oh My 06880 -- July 31, 2016

(Photo/Seth Schachter)

Now we’re back to normal for the this week’s photo challenge. If you know where it is, click “Comments” below. And, as always, feel free to add any back story.


Click here for “06880+” — the easy way to publicize upcoming events, sell items, find or advertise your service, ask questions, etc. It’s the “06880” community bulletin board!

[UPDATE: MYSTERY SOLVED!] APB For AED

I goofed!

This just in from Mark and MaryGrace Gudis:

Please do not worry; the “missing” AED has not been used or stolen. It has yet to be installed, as we are awaiting activation of the security features.

This particular AED is one of the 100 that the Gudis Family and Norwalk Hospital donated to the towns of Westport, Weston, Wilton, New Canaan and Norwalk as part of their recent AED and CPR awareness initiative implemented after the incident last October. Iff you look closely, the picture has the Norwalk Hospital-WCHN logo on the case and a number to call if there is an issue. A vast majority of the others around Westport have been installed, including 3 at Compo Beach. So do not fear: The AED will be installed within the next few days, and will be available to save lives. (It is also bilingual.)

The AEDs purchased from the fundraising efforts of the Greenlee Foundation are in the schools and on the Board of Education fields.

The others donated by our 5-Town  initiative are in locations around town, where the selectman’s office, Westport EMS and Parks and Recreation felt would provide excellent benefits.

We are looking to expand this initiative around the state, given the response we have had by all of the towns and our local politicians. In addition, we continue to work with the Board of Ed in each of the 5 towns to implement mandatory CPR certification and training to high school students as part of the PE and health curriculum, at no charge to the school budget.

All of this is very exciting for us. We appreciate being able to give back, and hopefully save lives.

——————-

When a Staples High School senior suffered cardiac arrest on the soccer field last fall — and was saved by the quick use of a portable defibrillator — alarms were raised.

And they were not just the beeping of the device — also known as an AED.

The Adam Greenlee Foundation — named for a Bedford Middle School student who was also saved by an AED — swung into action. They raised over $85,000, purchased 75 AEDs, and gave them to schools and organizations around town.

You now see them nearly everywhere, from Wakeman Field to Compo Beach.

Many others — donated by the Gudis Family Foundation and Norwalk Hospital (see above in red) — are placed around town, from Wakeman Field to Compo Beach.

Another place was is Winslow Park.

Earlier today, alert “06880” reader/Staples soccer player/dog walker Daniel Brill noticed that the dog park AED is missing from its case.

AED at Winslow Park

One of 2 things happened.

The AED might have had to be used. While unfortunate, that’s what it’s there for. However, we probably would have heard about it.

Or someone stole it.

If that’s the case, just put it back — no questions asked.

And if you really want one of your own, just ask. I’m sure the Greenlee Foundation — and many others in town — would be happy to help.

Life In The Westport Bubble

This weekend, my biggest worry is the cloudy forecast. It’s summertime. I love the beach. Will my cookout be canceled? If not, will I still be able to enjoy a lovely Compo sunset?

I do not worry about being shot at a barbecue grill.

Compo Beach: long a place of joy, peace and safety.

Compo Beach: long a place of joy, peace and safety.

I have an excellent relationship with the Westport police. I grew up with some officers. The chief is a great guy, and a good friend. I know our cops’ jobs are complex and sometimes dangerous. Of course, I do get the usual twinge of anxiety when I see a patrol car in the rear view mirror.

I do not worry about being shot by a policeman.

I own my own home, and a car. I have savings for retirement, and health insurance. I am on the low end of the Westport income scale, but that is the high end for virtually every other community in the country. I am not in the 1%, but — in a town filled with haves and have-mores — I have everything I could possibly need or want.

I do not worry about where my next meal comes from, whether the roof over my head will disappear, or if I am one doctor’s visit away from ruin.

Most Westporters feel safe and secure in our homes. (Photo/Wendy Crowther)

Most Westporters feel safe and secure in our homes. (Photo/Wendy Crowther)

I am a minority — a gay man — but I have never been treated differently because of it. On the contrary, I am surrounded by straight men and women who affirm their support for same-sex marriage, for my right to hold any job I want, for my dignity and worth as a human being.

I do not worry about being murdered in a nightclub. And I certainly do not have to worry about issues like which bathroom I use.

Walking around town, and especially at the beach, I enjoy hearing so many different languages being spoken. I drive across the Post Road bridge on jUNe Day just to see so many different flags flying proudly. I am proud to be an American, and proud to be a global citizen of the world.

I do not worry that some people do not want me here. I do not worry that because of the way I look or dress or talk, some people will make assumptions about me. And although I worry about the consequences of a wall being built on our border, that worry is for all of us. I do not worry that I will be on the other side.

On jUNe Day, the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge brims with flags from around the world. (Photo/Jeff Simon)

On jUNe Day, the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge brims with flags from around the world. (Photo/Jeff Simon)

In the comfort of my home, I watch the news on my flat-screen TV. If the images get too depressing, I can change the channel. I can order up a movie on demand, go for a walk in beautiful Winslow Park next door, or do anything else I please. If the political rhetoric gets too heated, the voices too shrill or the idiocy and hypocrisy too dismal, I can read a book on one of my many devices. Or even a real one.

But — because I am an American, and a global citizen of the world — I do not change the channel. I do not watch a movie, go for a walk or read a book. Instead — fascinated, horrified, frightened, angry, sad — I stay tuned to the latest episode of the reality show that is “America.” Every day, the plot line gets crazier and crazier.

And — in the bubble that is Westport — I worry. I worry for me. I worry for you. And I worry for all the people outside our bubble.

Because, after all, they really are all of us too.

Be Careful Out There!

A concerned “06880” reader writes:

Have you heard about the car burglaries? They’re happening in Westport.

I was one of the people robbed.

Yesterday — midday!

I was with my dog at Winslow Park. My car was parked in the Westport Country Playhouse lot. The window was smashed. My bag was stolen.

Not the Winslow Park smash-and-grab. But similar.

Not the Winslow Park smash-and-grab. But similar.

Two other cars were broken into also. Their bags were stolen as well. One was in the North Compo Road lot.

People need to know not to leave anything of value in your car. It’s a good idea in general. But what a shame that we have to be so vigilant in our wonderful town.

I used to always leave my bag in my car. I hid it under the driver’s seat. Yesterday they must have seen a little bit of it.

As I talk with people about this, we agree that we feel relaxed about what we leave in our cars. We think our town is safe.

Please tell “06880” readers to be careful!

But I have a hunch this will not be the last we hear of this.