Tag Archives: Y’s Men of Westport-Weston

Roundup: Hamlet At Saugatuck, Police Arrests, Leaf Pickups …

The Planning & Zoning Commission took no action last night on the retail and hotel project known as The Hamlet at Saugatuck.

Discussion, including comments from the public, ranged from building heights and setbacks to where the proposal fits in the town’s affordable housing plans.

Conversations on the text and map amendment requested for The Hamlet will continue on November 14.

Part of the Hamlet at Saugatuck proposal.


Wakeman Town Farm has many traditions.

The Thanksgiving Pie Sale is only 3 years old. But it’s already one of the most anticipated of all WTF events.

Plus, it’s for a good great cause. Thanks to a partnership with Earth Animal, the Farm and Westporters will raise funds for Connecticut Food Share, helping neighbors in need.

Oronoque Farms is baking up a storm. Choices include apple and blueberry pies (traditional and crumb), and the holiday classic pumpkin pie.

Click here for pie sizes, prices, and pickup dates and times. Orders end November 18.


The Westport Police have released arrest reports for the October 26-November 2 period.

Three people were detained in custody. Two were charged with identify theft. One was charged with conspiracy to commit larceny, forgery and the sale of a controlled substance.

The following citations were issued:

  • Traveling unreasonably fast (8)
  • Cell phone, 1st offense (6)
  • Violation of any traffic commission regulation (4)
  • Misuse of plates (4)
  • Operating an unregistered vehicle (4)
  • Failure to display plates (3)
  • Discussion, act or intent to commit a crime (2)
  • Larceny, 6th degree (2)
  • Speeding (1)
  • Improper passing/cutting off (1)
  • Operating a motor vehicle without a license (1)
  • Operating a motor vehicle under suspension (1)
  • Failure to have stop lamps/turn signals (1)
  • Stop sign violation (1)
  • Failure to obey control signal (1).


Speaking of cops:

The WPD and Stop & Shop are again sponsoring a Thanksgiving Food Drive. All donations support Homes with Hope’s Food Pantry at the Gillespie Center. and Westport Human Services’ Food Pantry.

Police officers and volunteers will accept non-perishable food items and cash donations at Stop & Shop this Saturday (9 a.m. to 4 p.m.).

Suggested items include: Applesauce, Brownie/Cake/Pie mix, Breakfast Bars, Boxed Macaroni & Cheese, Canned Sweet Potatoes, Canned Vegetables, Canned Fruit, Canned Gravy, Canned meat/tuna, Cereal, Cranberry Sauce, Dry Milk Envelopes, Hamburger or Tuna Helper, Hearty Soups, Instant Mashed Potatoes, Oatmeal, Pasta Sauce, Peanut butter & Jelly, Rice, and Stuffing. No glass jars!

Items needed for Saturday’s food drive (without the glass jars!).


It’s leaf collection time!

The Department of Public Works begins curbside leaf collection on Monday (November 7).

All leaves must be placed in biodegradable paper bags near the curb of a town street by December 5. Residents living on private streets must place their leaves behind the curb of an intersecting town roadway. Leaves placed in plastic bags will not be picked up.

There is no need to call for a pick-up. Crews will complete pick-ups as schedules allow. For further information, call 203-341-1120 or click here.

Meanwhile, extended fall hours begin at the Bayberry Brush Facility (180 Bayberry Lane, behind the Aspetuck Health District.

The yard waste site is now open Monday through Saturday, 7 a.m. 3 p.m. Extended Saturday hours are in effect through December 10.

Westport residents with valid proof of residency may dump up to 6 30-gallon bags or containers full of leaves without a fee. Plastic bags are not allowed.

Any van, pickup or tag-along trailer exceeding the 6-bag limit will be charged $40 per load. Any vehicle or trailer larger than a conventional pickup with a 4-foot by 8-foot bed will be charged $90 per ton.

Any vehicles with a 9-foot body or vehicles changed to significantly enlarge their factory design size will be charged $90 per ton, estimated at 2 ton without weigh slip ($180).

Dump tickets must be purchased at Town Hall, Monday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., or by Department of Public Works, 110 Myrtle Avenue, Westport, CT 06880.

(Photo/Scott Smith)


It’s been awhile since we’ve had major flooding here. (Knock wood.)

First Selectwoman Jen Tooker, and the Public Works, Planning & Zoning, and Conservation Departments have arranged a series of open meetings to discuss stream flooding and the town’s responses to it.

Officials and personnel experienced in flooding issues and flood plain management, as well as regulations and oversight authority, will attend.

Each meeting will cover specific streams in Westport. There will be a general overview, followed by a forum for anyone to raise specific issues. Residents are encouraged to attend the meeting specific to their neighborhood, but may attend any session they choose.

Information from these meetings will be analyzed, and sent to the Flood and Erosion Control Board to determine flooding priorities.

The meetings will take place in Town Hall on Thursday evenings at 7 p.m. The full schedule:

Date Topic Room
11-10-2022 Indian River Auditorium
11-17-2022 Silver Brook & Willow Brook 201
12-01-2022 Muddy Brook Auditorium
12-15-2022 Pussy Willow Brook Auditorium
01-12-2023 Sasco Creek & New Creek Auditorium
01-19-2023 Deadman Brook Auditorium
01-26-2023 Stony Brook & Poplar Plains Brook Auditorium

Myrtle Avenue flooding in 2018.


Yesterday morning, “06880” reported on a new stop sign on the corner of Greens Farms Road and Bulkley Avenue South. Drivers blew right past it.

Yesterday afternoon, it was gone.

That was fast!

Just like the drivers who ignored it.

Now you see it … now you don’t!


Popular Westport photographer Tom Kretsch is being featured at Picture This – Nylen Gallery, the custom frame shop. The theme is “Chasing the Light.”

There’s a reception November 10 (5:30 to 7:30 p.m.). It’s a chance to relax — just like the moods of his local scenes. For more information, click here.

“Chasing the Light” (Tom Kretsch)


Many members of the Y’s Men of Westport/Weston spent years working in New York City.

Their hours were long, the commute hard. They didn’t have a lot of time to see a lot of the city.

Now — with many of them retired — they’re enjoying New York walking tours.

Tuesday’s — the 6th in the series — included a jaunt over the Queensboro Bridge. Also called the 59th Street Bridge (by Simon & Garfunkel) and the Ed Koch Bridge (by no one), it connects Manhattan with Long Island City, via Roosevelt Island.

Check out the photo below. Looks like the Y’s men were feelin’ groovy.

Y’s Men members (from left) former 1st Selectman Jim Marpe, tour director Warren Jahn and Bob Mitchell near the peak of the Queensboro Bridge. (Photo and hat tip: Dave Matlow)


CAMP Gallery’s newest exhibit is a solo show by Westport artist Liz Leggett. It’s a new venue for the well-known MoCA curator.

Leggett’s vibrant abstract work formed a perfect background when she posed (below) with fellow Westporter Ifeseyi Gayle.


Westport attorneys Ken Bernhard and Ted Freedman have again joined forces for a “Soles4Souls” collection. They’re gathering donations of shoes from residents to help lift people out of poverty, and support those who are homeless in the US and around the world.

From now through Thanksgiving, there are collection boxes at Town Hall, police headquarters and the Senior Center. Donors can drop off new or gently used shoes (with no holes or mold). Please tie the laces together, or use rubber bands to keep matched pairs joined.

In the past, Soles4Souls has collected 3,000 pairs of shoes. Bernhard and Freedman hope for at least 500 pairs this year. For more information, click here.

(From left): Ken Bernhard, 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker, Senior Center director Sue Pfister, Ted Freedman and Westport Police Officer Ashley Delvecchio start the Soles4Souls drive.


Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo looks like a painting.

This fall has been the season that keeps on giving. We are lucky indeed to enjoy scenes like this.

(Photo/Nora McIlree)


And finally … in honor of the Y’s Men’s trip to the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge (story above):

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What’s Happening, Westport? Jen Tooker Talks About Log Piles And Long Lots

What’s up with the log pile at the corner of the Post Road and Roseville Road?

How about a major new project: renovation of Long Lots Elementary School?

1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker answers those questions, from Dick Kalt of the Y’s Men of Westport and Weston.

This Y’s Men podcast is released every 2 weeks. Click below to listen. If you have a question for the next episode, email: westport@ysmenwestportweston.org.


Roundup: Ned Lamont, Emergency Prep, Queen Elizabeth …

Last week, the Y’s Men of Westport and Weston hosted gubernatorial candidate Bob Stefanowski at the Westport Library.

Yesterday, it was Ned Lamont’s turn.

Former 1st Selectman Jim Marpe moderated the discussion. Asked about affordable housing, the Democratic incumbent said that local communities need to take the lead.

Traffic is a problem in the state, Lamont said — and entrance/exit ramps on highways are the source of the greatest congestion. He also noted that train bridges were not build for high-speed rail traffic, and cause slowdowns.

With unemployment very low in Connecticut, Lamont said there is a job for everyone who wants one. Though recession headwinds are ahead, he said, the state is in good shape.

The governor also noted that Connecticut has the largest unfunded pension debt in the country. However, he said, his administration has reduced interest debt, saving $400 million in interest payments.

Lamont also recalled that he met his wife Annie in Westport. (Reporting by Dave Matlow)

Governor Ned Lamont and former 1st Selectman Jim Marpe, at yesterday’s Y’s Men event at the Westport Library. (Photo/Dave Matlow)


Last night’s storm knocked out power to 239 customers in the Old Mill Beach area. This morning, Eversource’s map showed no outages remaining.


Dozens of rescue vehicles — helicopters, tanks, ambulances, you name it — converged on Sherwood Island State Park yesterday.

Fortunately, it was just a drill.

Local and regional authorities and incident management teams shared knowledge, and demonstrated technology for Connecticut politicians and other services. The event was organized by the state Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, for the 14-town area.

!st Selectwoman Jen Tooker and Deputy Fire Chief Nick Marsan represented Westport.

Among the activities:

This bomb squad robot has X-ray vision, and can shoot projectiles.


There was plenty of pomp yesterday, when Queen Elizabeth II was laid to rest.

There was also plenty of music.

Staples High School Class of 1966 graduate Paul Gambaccini is a longtime music journalist. Based in London, he also hosts of “Her Majesty’s Music” on the BBC.

Gambaccini was interviewed by NPR, about the songs that “inspired and defined” the late queen. Click here to listen. (Hat tip: Mary Ann Meyer)

Paul Gambaccini


Pumpkin spice lattes and muffins have been here since around Independence Day.

Now it’s time for “Fall Pumpkin Centerpieces.”

That’s the title of a session at Wakeman Town Farm (October 4, 6:30 p.m.). Chryse Terrill will instruct attendees on how to create a fall harvest centerpiece inside a pumpkin. Some materials will be harvested from WTF’s gardens.

Of course, everyone can take home their work of art. Click here to register.

A pumpkin centerpiece.


This Thursday’s Jazz at the Post (September 22, 7 and 8:30 p.m. shows, 6:30 p.m. dinner, 465 Riverside Avenue, $10 cover) is a feast for local music lovers.

“Jazz Rabbi” Greg Wall brings world-class Gospel pianist, choir director, bandleader — and local legend — Chris Coogan to VFW Joseph J. Clinton Post 399.

The musicians met almost 10 years ago. They share a deep spiritual attachment to American music that digs deep into its roots, and extends up from there.

Joining in are John Mobilio and Jim Royle, both longtime rhythm-mates of Coogans.

Reservations are strongly suggested: JazzatthePost@gmail.com.

Greg Wall and Chris Coogan


Saturday’s Westport Country Playhouse gala — the first in-person benefit in 3 years — lived up to its hype.

Broadway star Renée Elise Goldsberry (Angelica Schuyler in “Hamilton”) headlined the event, with a high-energy concert of Broadway pop and soul music, backed by a 7-piece band.

Attendees also enjoyed a pre-show cocktail party, live auction and after-party with a DJ and dancing.

Renee Elise Goldsberry and her band, at the Playhouse. (Photo/Coppola Photography)


The other day, Peter Marks complained about “visual pollution” in Westport.

Yesterday, he sent along this example, at the Compo Road South/Post Road traffic island:

(Photo/Peter Marks)

He’s particularly concerned about signs advertising upcoming events that stay up long after they’re over.

Of course, the political season has just begun. We’ll see more — not fewer — signs everywhere, in the weeks ahead.


Former Westporter Ellen Wisser died Friday in Norwalk. She was 92.

The Brooklyn native attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts with classmates and friends Grace Kelly and Vince Edwards. At Brooklyn College she met her future husband and lifetime love, Allen Wisser, who had already performed with the Broadway show “Showboat”‘s national tour.

After they married Ellen taught at James Madison High School in Brooklyn.

Ellen and Allen moved their young family to Westport in 1960. Ellen continued commuting to Brooklyn, then began teaching English, speech and drama at Harding High School in Bridgeport. She also produced and directed the annual school play, influencing the lives of many teachers and students, who continued to stay in touch for decades.

Ellen was active in the Bridgeport, Connecticut and National Educational Associations. She ran for the NEA presidency in 1976.  She was an advocate of the women’s liberation movement at the local and national levels.

Ellen changed careers in her 50’s, attending Bridgeport Law (now the Quinnipiac School of Law). She then practiced family and worker’s compensation law until age 88. Ellen recently survived 3 different types of cancer, forcing her retirement, and defeated unbeatable odds.

She was predeceased by her husband, grandson Tyler Wisser and brother Marvin Borenstein. She is survived by her children, Dr. Jamie R. Wisser (Natalie), Kerry M. Wisser (Debbie), R. Ilise Gold (Fritz Heilbron); grandchildren Davin Gold, Alanna Dayton, Evan Wisser, Caitlyn Wisser, Ryan Wisser; great grandchildren Jack, Sam and Beck Dayton, Claire and Penelope Wisser; sister-in-law Gladys Floch, many nieces, nephews and cousins.

Funeral services will be held today (Tuesday, September 20, 1 p.m., Abraham L. Green & Son Funeral Home, Fairfield), with interment following at Temple Israel Cemetery in Norwalk.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Connecticut Education Foundation – Children’s Fund.

Ellen Wisser


Roger Ratchford died earlier this month, at 88. He was a teacher, golf coach, and advocate for people with disabilities.

The Norwalk native was raised mostly by his mother, with the help of the large Hungarian side of his family. Though she died when he was 13, Roger went on to become valedictorian of his class at Fairfield Prep. To supplement a tuition scholarship to the College of the Holy Cross, he worked afternoon shifts at Worcester Quilting Company.

After graduating he returned to Prep to teach Latin, classical Greek, French and English, and coach the golf team for 40 years. He was inducted into the Prep Athletic Hall of Fame, was named National High School Golf Coach of the Year, and held a national record for wins.

Roger was also one of the first to bring American high school students to the French Alps for homestays with French families. He strongly felt that immersion was the best way to master a language.

Until the end of his life, heh could recite by memory passages from Homer’s “Odyssey” — in the original Greek. He was proud of his work helping the nuns at the Convent of St. Birgitta in the proper pronunciation of Latin chants.

But Roger felt his greatest legacy was improving opportunities for people with disabilities. Inspired by his son Mike, he and his wife Gail became actively involved in the growth of STAR, Inc.

He lobbied for the closure of Mansfield Training Center in 1993, and advocated for a shift to group homes and the full integration of people with disabilities into the community. Two-time president of STAR, he was named Volunteer of the Year by the ARC of CT in 1988.

He was a walking encyclopedia of Norwalk history, and was proud of the Ratchfords’ long legacy in this town, from the Ratchford Hotel & Saloon in the first part of the 20th century, to his Aunt Helen’s tenure as a teacher at Norwalk High.

Roger was predeceased by his wife. He is survived by 3 children and 1 grandchild. His family is indebted to Dorrean, Sharon Mack, and her staff for their loving care during hospice. 

A funeral mass will be held on Thursday (September 22, 2 pm, St. Mary’s Church, Norwalk. A Celebration of Life will be held at Fairfield Prep some time in October. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to STAR Lighting the Way.

Gail and Roger Ratchford


Michael Szeto describes today’s “Westport … Naturally”photo:

“We are infested with deer in Westport, since they lack natural predators and we are not allowed to hunt them. A herd of 5 or 6 deer constantly roams through my backyard.

“But yesterday was a first for me. I saw 2 bucks butting heads in my back yard, apparently fighting for territorial dominance. They don’t seem to realize that I own the land, not them.”

(Photo/Michael Szeto)


And finally … to honor the Queen (and Paul Gambaccini — story above), here is the quintessential British song:


Roundup: Hamlet & P&Z, Lamont & Stefanowski; A Better Chance ….

The Hamlet at Saugatuck — a retail/residential/hotel/marina plan that would reimagine the neighborhood between the train station and I-95 bridge — got its first Planning & Zoning Commission hearing last night.

Representatives from ROAN Ventures — the local developers — and their architectural, environmental, traffic and legal partners began their application for text and map amendments. Both are needed to begin remediation efforts of the contaminated land, followed by construction.

The hour-long presentation included a video, maps, and conceptual artists’ renderings. The actual design process has not yet begun.

Applicants addressed issues like traffic, with solutions that include underground parking, and working with the state to synchronize lights. They also noted that 50% of the land will be open space.

Commission members and residents had mixed reactions. There praised the thoughtfulness of the planning and the depth of the presentation, and questioned density and traffic.

No action was taken. The P&Z will continue its discussion on October 3.

A conceptual view of the Hamlet at Saugatuck project, from the river.


In less than 2 months, Connecticut will elect a governor.

If you don’t know anything about the candidates — or do, and want to ask a question — you don’t have to go far.

The Y’s Men of Westport and Weston has partnered with the Westport Library to host 2 forums. Both are in the Trefz Forum.

This Thursday (September 15, 10 a.m.), Republican challenger Bob Stefanowski speaks, and takes questions. Incumbent Democratic Governor Ned Lamont does the same next Monday (September 19, 1 p.m.). Both visits will also be livestreamed.

Click here to register for either or both session, in-person or via livestream. Attendees should arrive 15 minutes prior to the start.

(Graphic courtesy of Connecticut Education Association)


A Better Chance of Westport’s 21st year is off to a rousing start.

New resident directors, 7 multi-talented scholars, and a chance to really be part of (and give back to) the community after 2 COVID years has energized Glendarcy House, the program’s North Avenue home.

The scholars — in grades 9 through 12 — are engaged in a range of activities, at Staples High School and beyond. Because they are not allowed to drive, they need rides after school and in early evenings.

Community volunteers have always come through. To help transport — and get to know — these great young men, and for more information, email abcwestportrides@gmail.com.


On Sunday, Jeff Manchester took his kids to the 9/11 Memorial.

Not the one at Sherwood Island State Park, though. Jeff is drawn to the one at Oak Lawn Cemetery & Arboretum, off Bronson Road. It’s a 100-acre site where people have remembered loved ones for more than 150 years.

The memorial is a pair of 9-foot granite towers atop a pentagon-shaped granite base. A rock engraved with “Let’s Roll” honors the heroes of Flight 93.

Dedicated last September, it was designed by Dean Powers, a native Westporter and Oak Lawn’s longtime groundskeeper.

He never saw it completed. He died of cancer in 2020.

Click here for the back story on the monument, and Dean’s remarkable contributions to it.

Rock and trees at Oak Lawn Cemetery.


Do you want some money?

If you’re involved with a non-profit organization, read on.

The Westport Woman’s Club is accepting grant proposals for 2022-2023. Click here for more information, and the form.

Requests for projects that will make a difference in the community may be in the form of funds, or a one-time use of the Westport Woman’s Clubhouse for an event. Grants go each year to organizations in education, health and safety-related programs, and the arts.

Community groups should submit their proposals by October 31 to Westport Woman’s Club, Attention: Community Service Grants, 44 Imperial Avenue, Westport, CT 06880.

For more information, call 203-227-4240.

Organizations can apply for a one-time use of Bedford Hall at the Westport Woman’s Club.


Like many Staples High School reunions, the Class of 1971’s fell victim to COVID.

Organizers Bonnie Housner Erickson, Tucker Sweitzer and Joanne Romano-Csonka felt the 50th was too big to let pass. So — a year later — the reunion is on (September 30-October 2).

Bonnie and her crew want to make sure “all classmates feel like they matter,” even though some may not have felt that back then. The organizers sought to “remind them they were an integral part of a life-changing period in history.”

In keeping with the late ’60s/early ’70s zeitgeist, they wanted to create an environment of peace and harmony, with “no hierarchy, no difference in status.”

The theme is “Welcome Home” — and the website (hey, this is 2022, not 1971) may be the best for any reunion class, ever. Click here to see.

Bonnie spent hours designing it. Much of it is class-specific of course. But the 1971 flashbacks and photos will interest many people, whether or not they (or their parents) were even alive then.

The reunion itself will feature peace signs, and memories of hangouts like the Ice Cream Parlor and beach. Music is supplied by the Reunion Band — featuring ’71 alums Brian Keane, Michael Mugrage, Bill Sims, Rob and Julie Aldworth McClenathan, Dave Barton and Bonnie Erickson — who rocked the Levitt Pavilion in 2019, the Class of ’70 reunion several weeks ago, and the Class of ’72 reunion last weekend.

Screenshot, Staples High school Class of 1971 reunion website home page.


Today’s gorgeous “Westport … Naturally” comes from Saugatuck Shores, via Ken Yormark:

(Photo/Ken Yormark)


And finally … Ramsey Lewis — a towering jazz figure for over 50 years — died yesterday in Chicago. He was 87.

His trio hit the pop charts a few times in the 1960s. In 2007 the National Endowment for the Arts named him a Jazz Master, the nation’s highest honor for a jazz musician.

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What’s Happening, Westport? Jen Tooker Answers

Westporters are an inquisitive bunch. They’re not afraid to ask questions. One of their favorite targets is 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker.

The Y’s Men of Westport and Weston are a creative, problem-solving bunch. They may not have all the answers. But they know how to provide them.

The result: a collaboration between Town Hall and the 400-plus member group.

“What’s Happening, Westport?” is a podcast that will be released every 2 weeks, by the Y’s Men. It consists of a few questions on one topic from host Dick Kalt, and answers by Tooker. It’s quick, clear and informative.

The first episode covers the issue the 1st selectwomen probably hears about the most: traffic.

Click below to listen. And if you’ve got a question for an upcoming podcast, email westport@ysmenwestportweston.org.

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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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Roundup: Harry Styles, James Corden & Staples …

The other day, James Corden and Harry Styles set out on the streets of Brooklyn. They were searching apartments for a location to shoot a music video Styles’ new album. They had just 3 hours to do it.

Luckily, they found Hadley Ward, Isabel Perry and Caroline McKenchnie. All are 2015 Staples High School grads, living together. (Katie Settos — another roommate — was away.)

The British duo sure found the right people. The apartment was decorated with photos of both Styles and Corden, to their delight (and the young women’s slight embarrassment).

It’s a great video — even without the Westport connection. With it, this becomes an instant classic.


The great vibe from yesterday’s Memorial Day parade still lingers.

The winners of the float contest are feeling particularly good. Congratulations to:

  • Best Youth Organization Float: Suzuki Music School
  • Best Community Organization Float: Westport Old Fire Truck
  • Most Colorful Float: VFW Auxiliary #399
  • Special Pep Award: Junior Colonial Fife & Drum Corps.

And the winner for Best Overall Float is …

… I can’t believe there’s even any suspense …

… the Y’s Men of Westport/Weston.

Their float honored Mary Pickersgill, Francis Scott Key and the national anthem.

I’ll have to check the records, but I think the Y’s Men have won Best Overall Float every year since Francis Scott Key was hanging out at Fort McHenry.

The Y’s Men’s float. You can’t see it in the photo, but there was “smoke,” reminiscent of the 1814 battle that inspired Francis Scott Key to write our national anthem. (photo/Dan Woog)


Not to raise a big stink, but an “06880” reader sent this photo:

The reader sent a note, too: “I would like to acknowledge the anonymous donor/s who selflessly, when no one was looking, left the precious doggie gift, wrapped by the side of Valley Road.”

Another photo — not suitable for a public blog — was left “unwrapped” at the end of the reader’s driveway.

“But really,” the reader adds, “you shouldn’t have.”

The reader added this suggestion: a database of each dog’s DNA, included as part of the dog license. “The mere existence of such a database would immediately put an end to this behavior,” the reader says.


Carl Addison Swanson’s latest book, “Ipso Facto” — another in his Ian Fletcher legal thriller series — has just been published.

There’s another Westport angle, besides the author being a Staples High School graduate: It’s based on a notorious murder case here, from the 1960s.

The Amazon listing says: “When a hedge fund billionaire is murdered in a tony suburb of Connecticut, the handyman Black is the first to be arrested. Blue blood attorney Ian Fletcher to the rescue?”

Swanson has written over 50 books. In addition to the Fletcher novels, they include the Hush McCormick series, Tug Christian thrillers, Scooter mysteries and Justin Carmichael nostalgic memoirs. Click here for his website.

Click here to order “Ipso Facto” from Amazon.


Aspetuck Land Trust daisies provide a pop of color for today’s “Westport … Naturally” feature.

(Photo/Wendy Levy)


And finally … I first heard of Ronnie Hawkins when I saw “The Last Waltz.”

But the Arkansas-born rockabilly artist — who spent most of his life in Canada, and influenced generations of musicians with his outsized, energetic music and performing style, and was a friend of Bill Cliinton’s — led quite a life beyond The Band.

He died Sunday, at 87. Click here for a full obituary.

Roundup: WTF Trifecta, Y’s Men, Clinical Trials …

Sustainability — and Wakeman Town Farm — are non-partisan, apolitical efforts.

But WTF was swarming with Democrats yesterday.

The Democratic Women of Westport organized a half-day program for adults and children. It was part of the Farm’s “Giving Trifecta Program.” The community service, education and donation effort is open to organizations, clubs and business of all sizes.

WTF staff work with each group to design an experience that educates volunteers on a specific sustainability-related topic, and provides participants with community service hours. Programs could include beekeeping, composting, the Pollinator Pathway and Gardens, animal husbandry or restoring the pond.  

In return, organizations make a donation from the Farm’s Wishlist. Funds replenish items necessary to keep the farm running.

Saturday morning saw Congressman Jim Himes, State Senator Will Haskell, State Representative Jonathan Steinberg and State Senate candidate Ceci Maher all got their hands dirty — and learned a lot.

“06880” looks forward to highlighting the efforts of other “Giving Trifecta” groups — of any political party, or none at all.

Taking a break at Wakeman Town Farm yesterday are (standing from left): WTF co-chair Bill Constantino, Ceci Maher, Will Haskell, Jim Himes, Dominique Johnson, Front:  Jessica Hill, Allyson Stollenwerck


Speaking of sustainability:

In 1989, the Westport Garden Club created a garden at Earthplace. They’ve  maintained it ever since, renovating it in 2015 to feature more native plants to sustain bees, butterflies, birds and all pollinators. The garden was part of the Pollinator Pathway long before that concept became popular.

In early April the club learned that a large oil tank underneath the garden had to be replaced. Members scrambled to save as many plants as possible. Many found their way to the club’s annual plant sale.

The tank was removed on April 18. A new garden was planned, aligning with both the club and Earthplace’s missions to build passion and respect for the natural world and a more sustainable future for our community.

The garden is ready for visitors — just in time for today’s International Day for Biological Diversity.

Standing, from left: Earthplace’s Becky Newman, Westport Tree Board chair Monica Buesser, Nathalie Fonteyne, Seated: Andi Turner, Jane Eyes. All are Westport Garden Club members.


It was Selectwomens Day at the Y’s Men on Thursday. The group heard from 2 leaders — Westport’s Jen Tooker and Weston’s Samantha Nestor. Both spoke frankly about the challenges they face. Both were elected in November.

Tooker says she is focused on 5 issues: traffic, recreation (particularly Longshore), strengthening downtown, addressing stream management and flood mitigation, and creating a safe, comfortable and diverse community for all.

Nestor said that Weston is at an inflection point. It is a bedroom community with a minimal commercial grand list, with schools as the most common asset. They are “top notch,” but need capital investment. She hopes to resolve that contentious issue this year. Her major challenge is upgrading the town’s infrastructure.

To hear both women, and the Q-and-A that followed, click below.


Matthew Jordan is a Staples High School senior (and recent honoree with a Moffly Media “Light a Fire” award, for his work with Kids in Crisis).

Before he heads to Georgetown University, Matt’s senior internship this spring is with Medidata. The company develops and markets software for clinical trials.

His project involves enrolling patients who are interested in receiving information about enrolling in upcoming trials. His goal for the week is 800 registries.

Matt says, “I’ve learned how important it is to get an accurate representation of the population in clinical trials. We are trying to flip the ‘last resort’ stereotype of clinical trials to being more of a great first-choice option. Sometimes they can be lifesavers.”

To help Matt reach his goal of 800 registries — and learn about clinical trials that may help your health — click here.


Speaking of health: Massage therapy, yoga, acupuncture — those, and more, are available at the new Westport Medical and Wellness Center on Whitney Road Extension, behind the CVS parking lot.

Tomorrow and Tuesay (Monday 23 and 24, 9 to 11 a.m.), founder Dr. Nikki Gorman invites residents to tours of the versatile space.


Very quietly, CLASP Homes serves adults with intellectual disabilities. Their group homes — 4 in Westport, 8 others and 9 apartments throughout Fairfield County, plus a day program in Bridgeport — provide community, stability, jobs and fulfilling lives to men and women from their 20s to 82.

I’ve featured their fundraiser —  the very popular eat-and-drink “Taste of Westport” (June 15, 6 p.m., Inn at Longshore) — before.

Today the spotlight shines on their new website. It was constructed thanks to a grant from another great local non-profit: Near & Far Aid. To see the end result of these 2 organizations working together, click here. (Pro tip: You can find out more about “Taste of Westport” there too.)


With the thermometer nearing 90 yesterday. Compo Beach was hopping. Some folks ventured into the water; others dusted off their beach chairs.

And on South Beach, every barbecue grill was in use.

Similar temperatures are expected today, with possible thunderstorms after 2 p.m. This week, we’ll be back in the 60s and 70s.

(Photo/June Rose Whittaker)


You never know where a “Westport … Naturally” photo op will pop up.

Ellen Wentworth found these chicks right on top of her front door light.

(Photo/Ellen Wentworth)


And finally … Rosmarie Trapp died last week in Vermont, at 93.

She was a member of the von Trapp singing family made famous by “The Sound of Music.”

You may not recognize her name. She is not in the play or movie, because “The Sound of Music” focused on the 7 children Georg von Trapp had with his first wife — not with Rosmarie’s mother, a governess who later married the baron.

But she did did travel and perform with the Trapp Family Singers for years, including at the lodge in Stowe. Click here for the full obituary.


Y’s Men Say …

Y’s Men of Westport/Weston is one of the area’s most active groups.

The pandemic has curtailed many meetings, making their email blasts more important than ever. The most recent one included this first-person account of COVID-19. 

Let one man’s experience be a word to the Y’s.

You cannot overestimate the impact of COVID-19, one of our members told us last week.

His daughter recently came home, feeling fine. He did what every father does: gave her plenty of hugs.

The next morning she woke up feeling she had a light fever, like the flu. He took her for a test. She was positive, and so quarantined in her room for 2 weeks, though she only had symptoms for a day or two.

After a week his wife started feeling badly. He took her for a test. She was positive. He also tested both times and was negative.

Then a few days after his wife’s test he “felt like I got hit by a truck.” He also tested positive and put himself into quarantine for two weeks.

“Pay attention to how you feel.”

He took multiple tests and found that turnaround had increased due to the growing demand — sometimes as long as 5 to 7 days after exposure to have a test show positive. He had 6 negative tests before his positive.

His recommendations were, first: hydrate. Then hydrate some more. “Drink and pee.” Then some more. Flush the virus out of your system. He recommended taking Tylenol (acetaminophen) — not Advil.

Relax as best you can. The moderate case takes 2 to 3 weeks to pass. A more serious, obviously longer.

And pray for a vaccine.

He added: Wash your hands more often than you’ve been accustomed to, wear a mask, keep your social distance, avoid touching your eyes. Avoid indoor gatherings with people who are not members of your household. Wipe down deliveries,

Socializing, while socially distant.

The virus can grow even if you are careful.

He recommended buying a thermometer, a digital device if you don’t have one, and an oximeter, a small and inexpensive device that measures your blood oxygen saturation and heart rate.

Have you been hit by the coronavirus? Click “Comments” below to share your experience.

Y’s Men Pivot In Pandemic

It’s hard to imagine a more active, involved — and social — group than the Y’s Men.

So it’s hard to imagine any Westport organization impacted more by COVID than the 400-plus seniors who hike, bike, play bridge and backgammon, sing, enjoy classical music, work with computers, discuss investments, and hear interesting speakers on a local and global topics every week.

The Y’s Men will not let a global pandemic keep them down. Though their in-person meetings are limited, they’ve adjusted, adapted and pivoted.

These are indeed wise men.

Like many members, president Bob Mitchell calls the group “a very important part of my life.” A member since retiring from a career in banking and IT in 2014, he appreciates both the variety of activities and the camaraderie.

Since the coronavirus struck, he says, “we rewrite our playbook every day.”

Bob Mitchell, Y’s Men president

Thursday morning general meetings were always convivial. After Coffee An’s coffee and donuts, members enjoyed speakers. Senators, congressmen, CEOs, authors, entertainers — packed audiences heard them all.

In-person sessions were replaced by podcasts. Among the guests: 1st Selectman Jim Marpe, Board of Finance chair Brian Stern, “Live at Lincoln Center” producer Andrew Wilk, Dr. Robert Altbaum, CNN anchor Alisyn Camerota, golf pro Kammy Maxfeldt, realtor Alex Chingas and “06880” blogger yours truly.

The speakers series has now transitioned to Zoom. Every week through Christmas is booked, with guests and topics ranging from the history of the White Star Line to Westport’s downtown and Department of Human Services.

Mitchell notes one upside of virtual meetings: the chance to hear from people like Basil Hero. The author of that book about lessons learned by 12 men who went to the moon, he’s a former Westporter now living in San Francisco. That makes an in-person meeting tough — but a Zoom session easy.

A Y’s Men Zoom meeting.

The Y’s Men usually take the summer off. This year, groups like the Book Club continued to meet, virtually. The biking and walking groups got together for actual bike trips and walks — socially distanced, of course. Tennis players were active too; soon, they’ll move indoors.

The Bridge Club did not meet. But they’re starting now — virtually, of course.

“We are committed to keeping our members active, involved and social as much as possible — whether face to face or not,” Mitchell says.

Y’s Men (and wives) enjoy a socially distanced get-together at Compo Beach. (Photo/Molly Alger)

COVID did more than derail many Y’s Men’s plans. It also took the lives of 3 members.

One was a hiker. Group friends walked and met in his honor this summer, at Sherwood Island.

As the Y’s Men gear up for another year — one unlike any other, but filled like all the rest with events and activities — Mitchell invites any retired or semi-retired man who lived (or once lived) in Westport or Weston to join. Click here for more information, or email president@ysmenwestportweston.org.