Tag Archives: Y’s Women

Roundup: Hamlet, Holiday Giving, Casa Me, Middle School Art …

The Planning & Zoning Commission held its final public hearing last night on the proposed text and map amendment change for The Hamlet at Saugatuck.

Scaled-down versions of the original plan show less density and height.

The commission has 65 days to render a decision. It will likely be discussed next at their December 5 work session.

An original design for The Hamlet at Saugautck …

… and a revised version.

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Just in time for the holidays: Westport’s Department of Human Services’ Giving Program is back.

Donations from community members are a huge help to Westport families facing financial hardship. One hundred families with school-aged children benefit each year from the program. 

This year, rising costs for food, housing and fuel has added strains to many local budgets.

Gift cards and cash donations are matched with families, who then purchase food and simple holiday gifts for their children. Beneficiaries are anonymous. 

The program enables parents to personalize their presents, and participate fully in the holiday season.

Residents and organizations can donate cash, checks or gift cards to the “Family to Family Seasonal Holiday Giving Program” online (click here). Contributions can also be dropped off at Town Hall, or mailed to the Department of Human Services c/o Town Hall, 110 Myrtle Avenue, Westport, CT 06880.

Westport residents facing financial difficulties can contact Human Services at 203-341-1050 or humansrv@westportct.gov for confidential assistance.

Questions? Email adaugelli@westportct.gov or call 203-341-1183.

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CTBites’ weekly blog leads with a story about Casa Me.

The story on the new restaurant in the longtime Sconset Square corner begins:

Casa Me elevates the local restaurant scene with its exceptional Northern Italian vacation-inspired cuisine.

For months Westporters and passersby wondered what was to become of the slightly rundown restaurant in Sconset Square in the midst of a massive renovation and remodel that seemed to take forever. Rumors began to circulate… a Mexican restaurant was coming to town (another?). A Spanish restaurant was moving in. (That’s across the street.) There was also some speculation that a new concept by restauranteur Mario Fontana, owner of the Bodega restaurants both in Fairfield and Darien was going to open.

Fontana was indeed opening a new restaurant, Casa Me, but the cuisine would be distinctly vacation-inspired Italian cuisine. This time he would be joined by his wife, the lovely Pina Ferlisi, who would take on the role of Creative Director after leaving a long and successful career as a fashion director for such esteemed brands as Henri Bendel and Alexander McQueen.

Click here for the full story. For the Casa Me website, click here.

A Casa Me collage, courtesy of CTBites.

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Big art is coming to Westport’s middle schools.

The Westport Public Art Collections’ new program will display large format artwork. loaned by local and regional artists.

The goal is to expand WestPAC’s mission of bringing original works to schools, to help stimulate discussion and connections with art and other curricula.

The middle school program was piloted last year when Coleytown reopened, with Eric Chiang’s “Are We Born Connected” and “History Civilizations.” 

Two artists are loaning works for the 2022-23 school year. Jay Petrow offers a large-scale canvas “So Sorry” for Bedford Middle School, while Liz Leggett’s 3 abstractions are at Coleytown.  

Both Westport artists have completed their installations. Throughout the school year they’ll speak to art classes, be interviewed by student newspapers and TV, and continue sharing their stories, experiences, and practices with students and staff.

Jay Petrow with “So Sorry.”

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A reminder: Staples High School Candlelight Concert tickets go “on sale” to the public — don’t worry, they’re still free! — on December 1.Performances are Friday, December 16 (8 p.m.) and Saturday, December 17 (3 and 8 p.m.).

The event combines 80 years of tradition with a modern holiday spirit. The Symphonic Orchestra, Symphonic Band and Choral Ensembles perform Candlelight favorites like “Sing We Noel” and “Hallelujah Chorus.” Also movements from Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker Suite,” music from “Home Alone” by John Williams, and the first movement of Dan Forrest’s “Jubilate Deo.”

Set your reminders. Candlelight tickets get gobbled up fast!

Oh, yeah. Here’s the (easy to remember) link is: www.StaplesMusic.org.

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The Westport Museum for History & Culture is teaming up with Verso Studios at the Westport Library for a new podcast.

“Buried in Our Past” focuses on the histories all around us, It offers a new way to look at the past, and rethink the present.

The monthly podcast is recorded at Verso Studios. It’s available on the Library’s YouTube channel, and through Apple and Spotify.

The debut episode (available now) features the true story of the first Thanksgiving with guest Greg Porretta, a Julliard-trained actor and Westport Museum board member. Click below to see:

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Last month, 5-year-old Daisy Jonas contracted RSV, the respiratory virus that is especially dangerous in young children. She spent 3 nights — including her birthday — at Stamford Hospital.

Her parents were grateful for the new toys given to her during her stay. Now it’s time to give back.

Daisy’s older brother — 9-year-old Levi — wants to join her in collecting toys from Westporters, for Stamford Hospital. New, unwrapped toys can be dropped off by December 18. Email biancablairjonas@gmail.com for the address; click here for an Amazon wish list.

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Westport resident Dr Jim Gadzik, Westporter — a trauma surgeon at Norwalk Hospital — has a life outside of the operating room.

He can cross off one bucket list item. He’s just written a play.

“Magic: A Ballroom Musical” will be staged at Norwalk’s Wall Street Theater this Saturday (November 26, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.).

It’s an original, Christmas-themed, family-friendly show, featuring 30 songs and 7 ballroom dances.

Jim explains: “It is the story of Pam and Bob, 2 lonely people who find love in a ballroom studio on an enchanted Christmas weekend when they are offered free lessons as a holiday gift by an intriguing dance instructor. If you like Hallmark, Disney and happy endings, you’ll love ‘Magic.'”

Click here for tickets, as well as the livestream link.

 

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Speaking of doctors: Bob Altbaum is guest speaker at the Y’s Women’s next meeting (Monday, November 28, 11:30 a.m., Green’s Farms Church). The public is invited.

Dr. Altbaum retired last year from Internal Medicine Associates of Westport, where he spent his entire career. He joined them in 1978.

An exceptional diagnostician, he is also a Renaissance man. He teaches, hikes, snowshoes, plays tennis and pickleball, and is a keyboardist in the doctor-filled rock group DNR.  They play at places like the Levitt Pavilion, and fundraisers for pancreatic and breast cancer, Norwalk Hospital and ALS.

Dr. Robert Altbaum

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Jazz does not take a holiday.

In honor of Thanksgiving, the weekly “Jazz at the Post” series moves this week to Wednesday.

Well-known pianist Chris Coogan joins bassist Don Falzone and drummer Jim Royle for 7:30 and 8:45 p.m. sets at VFW Post 399 (465 Riverside Avenue).

There’s a $15 cover, with dinner starting at 7 p.m. Reservations are highly recommended: JazzatthePost@gmail.com.

Chris Coogan

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Yesterday’s “06880” Roundup included photos of 2 joyful soccer teams: Staples High School girls, and Greens Farms Academy boys.

Both won championships on Sunday: the “LL” state and New England Prep School titles, respectively.

Here’s another happy guy: Paul Marchese. He lives in Westport, but coaches the Ridgefield High School girls swim team.

Under his guidance, the Tigers captured this year’s FCIAC, state LL and state open championships.

He looks deservedly excited. But aren’t winning swim teams supposed to toss their coach into the pool? (Hat tip: Anne Pfeiffer)

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“The Laramie Project” — the Unitarian Church of Westport’s weekend play — was a simple but powerful production examining the aftermath of the 1998 murder of gay University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard.

It was also timely, coming on the same weekend a man killed 5 patrons of a gay club in Colorado Springs, and wounded many others.

After the actors took their bows, the audience remained for an insightful talkback.

“Laramie Project” talkback, at the Unitarian Church. (Hat tip and photo/Jill Johnson Mann)

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There have been a ton of seagulls recently at Sherwood Mill Pond.

Matt Murray snapped today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo yesterday, as they enjoyed breakfast.

(photo/Matt Murray)

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And finally … following up on his photo (above), Matt Murray offers today’s musical selection:

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Roundup: Staples Sports, Craft Fair, Black Holes …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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I was a (very) occasional patron of Freshii.

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

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

(Photo/Dan Woog)

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

Black holes: fact or fiction?

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

Click here for the YouTube livestream.

Jeremy Schnittman

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Can there be a better way to work out?!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Julie Leff at the Westport Book Shop.

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

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

(Photo/Diane Johnson)

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

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Roundup: Bolsheviks, CTBites, Blue Sunday …

An “06880” reader was intrigued by an item in yesterday’s “Roundup.” It previewed a November 1 discussion at the Westport Library on “How Public Policy is Putting Our Children at Risk.” The session will be led by CD Media’s chief investigative correspondent and senior editor Christine Dolan.

Hoping to learn more about Dolan the reader found a piece she wrote last year.

Headlined “Idyllic Westport, CT Is Ground Zero for CRT Infiltration by America’s Bolsheviks,” it begins:

The yellow and red leaves are drifting down quietly as they have for millennia in Westport , CT as the historic New England town sleeps towards a tipping point, one it may never recover from if the coming elections go the wrong way and vote in a continuation of its current path.

The Minuteman statue guards at Compo Beach where a ragtag group of American rebels fought the global tyranny of the once monolithic British empire, but Westport residents seem to want to forget this honorable history and welcome with open arms global tyranny of a different name — the Maoist doctrine of Critical Race Theory, or CRT.

Essentially, the agenda of the CRT movement is to teach young children their country is evil, that they themselves are racists and bad if they are white.  The ideology is racist, it is divisive, and is on purpose.  The doctrine is just a gateway drug to a more pernicious evil, re-imagining Westport schools.  In the CRT future, gone will be AP classes, music excellence.  Gone will be the gateway to Ivy league schools, replaced with a dumbed-down redistribution of educational wealth and excellence.

Along with this educational decline, property values will plummet as zoning laws are also changed to forever alter the nature of the community.  Physical safety will disappear.  Crime will increase.

Click here to read the full story.

Westport’s Minute Man, on guard against Bolsheviks and/or Maoists. (Photo/John Videler for Videler Photography)

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If you like to dine out — and, this being Westport, that means everyone — then CTbites is essential reading. Published by our town’s Stephanie Webster, it’s a weekly guide to new restaurants, special culinary events, food trucks, catering and more.

I always learn something from the site. But — until yesterday — I’d never actually laughed while reading it.

“Connecticut Restaurant Confidential: Strange Stories, Odd Orders & Twisted Tales in the Industry” is a collection of jaw-dropping tales, from owners, chefs, bartenders and wait staff.

It’s an insider’s look at what gets told after hours — about diners (hopefully un)like you and me.

They come from all over the state. Including our own Winfield Deli. Click here to read.

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Texas blues/New Orleans funk band Otis & the Hurricanes headlines the next “Blue Sunday” at the Westport Library (October 23, 2:30 p.m., Trefz Forum).

The free event is curated by Mark Naftalin. The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame keyboardist will be there of course, with his Blue Sunday Band of all-stars: Westport/internationally known saxophonist Crispin Cioe, guitarists JD Seem and Paul Gabriel, and special guest Chance Browne.

Lat month’s Blue Sunday — the first in the series — drew a large crowd, and plenty of raves.

And this one could make that seem like just a warmup.

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From jazz to blues:

This week week’s “Jazz at the Post” features pianist Michael Cochrane, drummer to the stars Steve Johns, and fiery young bassist Jason Clotter in concert with the Jazz Rabbi, Greg Wall.

There are 2 shows — 7:30 and 8:45 p.m. — on Thursday (October 6) at VFW Post 399 (465 Riverside Avenue). There’s a $10 cover. Food service starts at 6:30.

Reservations are strongly suggested. Email JazzatThePost@gmail.com.

Michael Cochrane

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This is an active weekend in Westport. Among the highlights: Westport Moms’ 2nd annual Fall Family Festival. It’s Saturday, October 15 (10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Greens Farms Academy; $20 per family).

The event includes food, crafts, games and fun (bouncy houses, ninja course, music, art projects, DJ, pumpkin and cookie decorating, face painting, hair extensions, glitter tattoos, magic, STEM activities and more).

Many businesses will show off their products and services — all with activities for kids.

Organizers Megan Rutstein and Melissa Post ask attendees to bring gently worn jackets, for donations to a local non-profit.

A scene from last year’s Fall Family Festival.

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Sunday’s Westport Weston Family YMCA Fall Festival drew a large crowd.

There was music, gymnastics exhibitions, bounces houses and s’mores. The weather was perfect for an outdoor event.

Best of all: You didn’t have to be a kid to have a great time.

Westport Board of Assessment Appeals member Ifeseyi Gaylel (left) and Westport Weston Family YMCA CEO Anjali McCormick take a break during the Y’s Family Festival.

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The Norwalk Symphony Orchestra takes center stage at the Y’s Women’s October 24 meeting (Green’s Farms Church, 10:45 a.m.). Jonathan Yates and Sandra Miklave will talk about the group’s long history, and share visions for the future.

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo is striking.

Even more impressive: this Montauk daisy — on the Bonnie Brook/Silver Brook Road corner — was taken by 13-year-old Emae Forman. What an eye!

(Photo/Emae Forman)

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And finally … if you’ve never heard Otis & the Hurricanes (see story above)  — well, click below, and you will:

Roundup: Deer, Alaska, Trump …

A deer in distress has been wandering around the Long Lots Lane/Keene Road area.

Tangled in what looks like a badminton net, its gaunt appearance suggests it cannot see to forage for food.

Residents who spot the deer should call Westport Animal Control (203-341-5076) pr Wildlife in Crisis (203-544-9913). They are aware of the situation, and are ready to help.

Ruth Ayles, who sent this photo — which she saw on Facebook — reminds residents to properly dispose of balloons (or skip them all together).

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You’ve probably seen the ads for ABC and Hulu’s new drama “Alaska Daily,” which debuts tonight.

They’re hard to miss.

But all the marketing for the Hilary Swank show neglect to mention Gabe Sherman’s contributions.

The Westport native is a key writer on “Alaska Daily.” He’s collaborating with Tom McCarthy, who executive produced a show based on Sherman’s book about Fox News, “The Loudest Voice.” For a rave preview of the series, click here.

In addition to this TV project, Sherman is a regular writer for Vanity  Fair.

Gabe Sherman

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Elections loom in a month. Westport’s League of Women Voters is ready.

They want you to be, too.

They want everyone to know about Vote411.org, It’s a national information center. Type in your address, and get all the voting information you need.

On November 2 (7 p.m., Westport Library Trefz Forum and Zoom), the LWV sponsors a candidates’ debate. Included are Senate District 26 hopefuls Toni Boucher and Ceci Maher, House District 136 (Alma Sarelli, Jonathan Steinberg), and House District 143 (Nicole Hampton, Dominique Johnson).

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Speaking of politics: Check out the latest “Cross Examining History” podcast (link below).

Host Talmage Boston — a 1972 Staples High School graduate — interviews Peter Baker and Susan Glasser about their new book about “The Divider,” about Donald Trump.

The entire series, in fact, is worth hearing. Boston examines American history and leading books, through in-depth and entertaining interviews.

That’s only one of Boston’s many talents. He’s a commercial trial and appellate litigator in Dallas, a Texas Monthly “Super Lawyer” with a sideline as a writer, on topics as diverse as baseball history and Teddy Roosevelt.

 

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There’s something new at Old Mill Grocery: tables.

Three handsome, sturdy tables now welcome customers to sit inside. The Hillspoint Road spot continues to attract a steady stream of guests.

As OMG transitions to fall, regular dinner specials are an added attraction.

Old Mill Grocery tables. (Photo/Dan Woog)

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Westport’s Representative Town Meeting is seeking candidates to fill the vacancy created by the passing of Arline Gertzoff. The vacancy must be filled by a registered voter residing in RTM District 3.  No party affiliation is required, as Westport’s RTM is non-partisan.  The term expires November 28, 2023.

Residents of RTM District 3 interested in being considered to fill the vacancy should send a resume by October 14 to JDunkerton@westportct.gov.

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Wait! The Remarkable Theater drive-in movie season is not yet over!

They’ve just added another film. It’s tomorrow night — and it’s the 1941 Disney kids’ classic “Dumbo.”

The Imperial Avenue parking lot opens at 5:45 p.m. for tailgating. The show begins at 6:45. Click here for tickets.

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Everyone talks about historic preservation in Westport.

But — as homes and buildings as old as 200 years, and as new as 20, fall to the wrecking ball — what are our greatest protection needs?

The Westport Historic District Commission recently received a Historic Preservation Enhancement Grant from the State Historic Preservation Office.

Funds will be used to hire a consultant to prepare a town “Preservation Plan.” It will identify and prioritize the greatest areas of need for historic preservation.

The plan will also will help establish and prioritize more Local Historic Districts and Local Historic Designations.

Properties within a Local Historic District have a higher degree of protection. The HDC must approve an application for alteration to a historic structure, as well as any new construction within a district.

Gorham Avenue is one of Westport’s Historic Districts.

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Push Against Cancer is a family affair.

Jessica and Keith Larit’s daughters Emma, Leah and Katie wanted to do something special for the kids of the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp. Their idea: a “Kids Helping Kids” bake sale.

On October 16 (Staples High School, 9 a.m.), everyone attending the 13th annual Push Against Cancer can do push-ups for pledges — and then reward themselves with tasty treats.

Katie says, “I enjoy helping because all kids deserve to have fun at camp.”

Emma adds, “I hope we can raise enough money to send hundreds of kids and their families to camp to have fun.”

Click here for more information on the Push Against Cancer.

Andrew Berman (red shirt), CEO and founder of Push Against Cancer, with
Emma, Leah and Katie Larit, and their parents Keith and Jessica. The sign refers to this year’s event, which will surpass $1 million raised in 13 years.

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“The Afro-Semitic Experience” is the intriguing title of the next Y’s Women meeting.

In 1998 Dr. David Chevan, professor of music at Southern Connecticut State University and Hartford native Warren Byrd co-founded a 6-piece group of Jewish American and African American musicians. The Afro-Semitic Experience has performed, recorded and taught together ever since.

On October 10 (Greens Farms Church. 10:45 a.m.), they’ll share stories and songs, and discuss their conviction that people of different faiths, races and beliefs can come together with music to celebrate and build community.

Click here for more information.

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“From the Pen to the Knife” is MoCA Westport’s new exhibit. A free opening reception is set for October 15 (5 to 7 p.m.).

The collection is by artist 90-year-old Marian Christy. She creates innovative watercolors using only palette knives and puddles of paint — no drawing or brushes. Click here for information.

One of Marian Christy’s nearly 300 works, exhibited soon at MoCA Westport.

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Westport Community Gardens director — and superb nature photographer — Lou Weinberg sends this superb “Westport … Naturally” image:

(Photo/Lou Weinberg)

Lou notes: “The magical honeybee is not just a great pollinator. It is also an acrobat, sitting out the rain vertically on glass!”

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And finally … on this date in 1927, “The Jazz Singer” — the first full-length “talkie” (sound) movie premiered. The site was Warner Bros.’ flagship New York City theater.

Wikipedia notes: “In keeping with the film’s theme of a conflict within a Jewish family, the film premiered after sunset on the eve of the Yom Kippur holiday.”

Among the many notable performances in the movie: Al Jolson’s performance of “Mammy.” Though he wore blackface, as other entertainers in the era did, he was known as a strong advocate for racial justice, particularly on Broadway.

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Roundup: Missing Woman, Signs Of Compassion, Floodplain Management …

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An extensive search river and land search was conducted yesterday by the Westport Department and Fire Dive team, after a 22-year-old woman disappeared from a canoe near the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge.

After 5 hours, the woman was seen on a surveillance tape at a local business. The search was suspended.

Early this morning she was located in Norwalk, and reunited with her family. Chief Foti Koskinas thanked all who aided in the search.

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In 2017, Miggs Burroughs’ “Signs of Compassion” project inspired visitors to the Westport Library.

Based on Emily Dickinson’s poem of the same name — and spurred partly by the darkening political climate — the noted Westport artist asked 30 Westporters to participate.

Old and young; Black, white and Asian — all learned one word or phrase in American Sign Language. Through Miggs’ unique lenticular photography, each sign shows the beauty of that form of communication. It’s also a “visual chorus of our community, expressing the need for compassion in the world.”

Nearly 5 years later — thanks to the generosity of Westporter Melissa Ceriale — the 30 portraits have been permanently acquired by Burke Rehabilitation Hospital in White Plains. They were installed on Wednesday.

COVID has delayed a formal unveiling. But the hospital has a robust social media presence, and they’re showing off their new acquisition to the world.

As Miggs notes, his piece lives on, “in a place dedicated to compassion and healing.”

Miggs Burroughs’ “Signs of Compassion,” at Burke Rehabilitation Hospital. And yes, that’s me in the top row, 2nd from left.

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Want to know what goes on behind the scenes at “06880”?

I don’t give tours (because there’s nothing to see). But you can watch my talk to the Y’s Women.

I spoke on Monday, via Zoom. I talked about how the blog began, how it grew, why I got rid of anonymous comment, and much more.

They women asked very wise (ho ho) questions.

Click here to see. Then click on some of the other, equally (or more!) fascinating speakers the Y’s Women have hosted over the past couple of years.

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Looking for some great reading this holiday weekend?

Click here for the “Westport Progress Report on Floodplain Management.”

As you probably know, the report is prepared annually to enable residents to receive a 10% reduction in flood insurance. That insurance is offered by FEMA, to communities participating in the Community Rating System.

Municipalities are ranked from 1 to 10. A ranking of 1 offers the highest reduction in flood insurance rates. Actions taken by the Planning & Zoning Commission over the years have brought Westport’s ranking from 10 to 8. More efforts are planned.

Insurance is important to homeowners in flood-prone areas like Compo Cove.

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Speaking of water: Yesterday was moving day at Joey’s by the Shore.

Equipment was moved out of the longtime deli/market, now closed for several months.

The property has been on the market. No deals have been finalized, and there is no word on what is next for the historic property across from Old Mill Beach.

(Photo/Matt Murray)

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Nicholas Marsan has been promoted to deputy chief of the Westport Fire Department, while Theodore Crawford has risen to lieutenant. They — and new Fire Chief Michael Kronick — were sworn in yesterday at Town Hall.

The promotions fill vacancies created by the retirement of Chief Robert Yost on January 1.

Marsan became a Westport firefighter in 2007. He then served as fire inspector and lieutenant.

He is a veteran of the US Army and the CT Army National Guard. In 2010 he was deployed overseas. He received the Army Commendation Medal for Valor during operations in Afghanistan, and is a 2-time recipient of Westport Rotary Public Protection & Safety Awards, and 2 unit citations.

Marsan was also president of the Westport Uniformed Firefighters Association, Local 1081. He earned a master’s degree in history from Western Connecticut State University. He is now completing a master’s in public administration and emergency management at Sacred Heart University.

Crawford joined the department in 2011. He is an EMT, and president of the Westport Uniformed Firefighters Charitable Foundation.

He is also a rescue diver on the Westport Police/Fire dive team, and a hazardous materials technician on the Fairfield County Hazmat Team. He received a Westport Rotary Public Protection & Safety Award, the Firefighter Dominic Zeoli Award, and 2 Unit Citations.

Crawford is a graduate of Clarkson University, majoring in civil engineering.

From left: Theodore Crawford, Nicholas Marsan, 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker, Fire Chief Michael Kronick.

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Audiences across the country look forward to tonight’s “Stars on Stage From Westport Country Playhouse” (Friday, January 14, 9 p.m. Channel 13; check listings for other PBS stations).

Shoshana Bean is the star of this episode. It was taped in September, before 2 local audiences.

But that’s not the only Shoshana news this week. The “Wicked” and “Witness” actress has just been signed to the cast of the new musical comedy “Mr. Saturday Night,” with Billy Crystal. The shows opens at the Nederlander Theatre on April 27.

Click below for a teaser of tonight’s broadcast.

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For some reason, Westporters are captivated by turkey vultures. Today’s “Westport … Naturally” image comes from Morningside Drive North.

“There must be 3 dozen, in the trees and on the ground,” says Jilda Manikas.

(Photo/Jilda Manikas)

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And finally … in honor of the “Westport Progress Report on Floodplain Management” (see above):

Roundup: EMS, NASA, Tashlich …

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Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Service‘s first certification course since the pandemic began starts September 21. A decline in membership during COVID makes the call for volunteers more important than ever.

The course is open to any 14 and over. High school students earn EMR certification before age 16; then they become EMT-certified. Prior experience is not needed.

Full tuition reimbursement is available to those who successfully complete the course, and go on to volunteer with WVEMS.

For more information, email training@westportems.org.

After state certification, new EMTS can volunteer on Westport’s ambulances.

A few of Westport’s Volunteer Emergency Medical Service heroes.

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When things go wrong in space, who you gonna call?

Dr. Bob Dempsey, for one. The NASA flight director has had plenty of experience, working with Mission Control to solve problems with the International Space Station.

On September 21 (8 p.m.), he’ll join the Westport Astronomical Society for a free virtual lecture on “When Things Go Wrong in Space.

Click here for the Zoom link; click here for the YouTube livestream.

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Tashlich is a ceremony performed on the afternoon of the first day of Rosh Hashanah. Jews symbolically cast off the sins of the previous year by tossing pebbles or bread crumbs into flowing water.

A group of Y’s Women gathered yesterday at Compo Beach. They threw bad thoughts and actions into Long Island Sound, preparing for the start of a good new season.

(Photo/Barb Stephen)

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Fortunately, the dystopian Los Angeles of 2019 predicted in the 1982 film “Blade Runner” did not come to pass (mostly).

It’s still a great movie. And you can see it again, tomorrow night at 7:30 at the Remarkable Theater. Click here for tickets to the drive-in theater on Imperial Avenue.

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Katie Spector has just published her first picture book: “Katie Spector the Art Collector.” It’s about a creative little girl who can’t part with her art. Katie’s story celebrates community, art, and staying true to yourself.

She’s celebrating too, with an outdoor event at Wakeman Town Farm on September 25 (1 to 3 p.m). There will be book readings, art projects and live music. RSVPs required; click here.

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“Westport … Naturally” doesn’t get any more delicious than this:

(Photo/Wendy Levy)

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And finally … on this date in 1900, the US suffered its deadliest natural disaster.

A hurricane roared ashore at Galveston, Texas. The death toll was estimated at 8,000; 7,000 buildings were destroyed, and 10,000 left homeless, out of total population of fewer than 38,000.

It marked the end of the “Golden Era of Galveston” too, as investors turned their sights on the more sheltered city of Houston.

Roundup: Henry Wynne, Pops Concert, Teacher Of The Year …

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Ever since he was a Staples High School track star, Henry Wynne has been called an “Olympic hopeful.”

Now that the Olympics are near — they’re supposed to begin next month in Tokyo — how hopeful is the Class of 2013 grad?

Very. And that’s despite a litany of issues that dogged him as a University of Virginia star, and beyond. Since 2016 Wynne has suffered a knee injury, pneumonia, and surgery on his small intestine.

But Brooks Running signed him to a pro contract. And now — with the Olympic trials underway now through June 27 in Eugene, Oregon — Wynne is giving it his best shot.

Yesterday, Runner’s World magazine profiles one of Westport’s top athletes ever. Click here for the full story.

Henry Wynne (Photo/Will Hoffman for Runner’s World)

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Did you miss the Staples High School Pops Concert earlier this month? (No, you didn’t overlook it. Tickets were limited, due to COVID.)

Here’s a highlight reel, courtesy of Jim Honeycutt. Strike up the band!

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Speaking of education: Sure, the Westport Public Schools select a Teacher of the Year. But there’s something special about earning that honor from a different source: the Staples High School football team.

This spring, the Wreckers — used to be cheered for — turned the tables. They gave shout-outs to their favorite educators in a homemade video. At the end, they announced the winner.

Who is this year’s football team Staples Teacher of the Year? Click below to see:

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Another Staples tidbit: The Westport Garden Club has earned raves for their #FridayFlowers arrangements. Each week, there’s a different one somewhere in town.

This week’s was unveiled a day earlier. On Thursday evening, Class of 2021 graduates and their families saw this as they drove into Staples from North Avenue:

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Two more sings that Westport is getting “back to business.”

The Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce held its first in-person gathering in 20 months yesterday, at Gilbertie’s Herbs & Garden Center. Over 60 people gathered in the garden, in beautiful weather. They shook hands, ate food catered by Calise’s Deli, and — as they did for years before the pandemic — exchanged business cards.

Sal Gilbertie spoke about the 100 years since his grandfather began as a flower grower, then turned to herbs. Today Gilbertie’s is a major micro green seller, in addition to their nursery’s plants and trees.

Sal Gilbertie addresses the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce.

But the Chamber wasn’t the only major Westport organization holding its first live-and-in-person meeting yesterday.

Sunrise Rotary also gathered together, for the first time in over a year. Attendance was solid. Handshakes and hugs were heartfelt.

And for those unable or not yet ready to attend, the event was livestreamed.

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Enrollment is open for MoCA Westport’s summer courses, for toddlers through adults. Among the choices:

  • Summer Sunset Painting Series (High school and adult)
  • The World of Digital Art Animation (High school and adult)
  • The Art of Cinematography (High xchool and adult)
  • Intro To Digital Photography (High school and adult)
  • Skateboard Design (Middle school through adult)
  • Summer Saturday Art Workshops for Kids (PreK to grade 3)
  • Learn How To Code (Middle school through Adult)
  • Robotics (Middle school through adult)
  • Expressive Art for Toddler

For more details and to register, click here.

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Westport Country Playhouse has 4 new trustees. Three are from Westport: Jessica Caldwell, Will Haskell and Margie Jacobson.

Haskell — a state senator whose district includes Westport — has a long theatrical history. As a member of Staples High School’s Class of 2014, he was elected of Players, the drama troupe.  One of his first memories of live theater was seeing “Curious George” as a child, at the Playhouse’s old barn.

Caldwell graduated from Columbia University’s MFA film program. She produced independent feature films, while her feature film productions have premiered at Berlinale, SXSW and Tribeca. Her short film work has premiered at Sundance, Telluride, and Tribeca. Caldwell was also the writers’ room assistant and showrunners’ assistant on “Billions.” She is also a Moth storytelling contest GrandSlampion.

Jacobson is a nonprofit leader and attorney with legal experience spanning a variety of diverse settings. She is currently of counsel to a boutique law firm advocating for students’ rights from birth through post-secondary education, and co-founder of Woman’s Compass Forum. Jacobson previously served on the Playhouse board, from 2010 to 2016. She also serves on the boards of the ADL and the Remarkable Theater.

The WCP board of trustees is chaired by Westporter Ania Czekaj-Farber.

The Westport Library has 2 new trustees too.

Anna Alemani is CFO of Pierrepont School. Previously she had a 15-year career in finance. She holds an MBA from Columbia Business School and a BA in Business Administration from Bocconi University in Milan, where she focused her studies on management of museums and cultural institutions.

Dave Briggs spent his career in television, as a sports and news reporter/anchor. He has moved from South Dakota and Oklahoma to Boston, where he covered Red Sox World Series championships, Patriots Super Bowl titles and a Celtics NBA crown. He also hosted “Fox & Friends Weekend,” and (for NBC) NHL, NASCAR, NFL and Olympic tennis, before anchoring “Early Start” on CNN. He currently interviews important Connecticut residents for Moffly Media content.

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We see a lot of old things at the transfer station.

Yesterday morning, it was a Model A Ford. Fortunately, it was running fine. The driver was there just to drop off some newer trash.

(Photo/Frank Rosen)

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The VFW is not just for men!

The other day, Y’s Women’s Trivia group met for their monthly luncheon. The VFW’s great chef, Joe Gallo, fed them well.

Other Y’s Women groups include Tuesday morning Compo Beach walkers, and one that meets in the evening to watch spectacular sunsets.

To learn more about the Y’s Women, email dynamicr@icloud.com.

Joe Gallo hosts the Y’s Women.

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July 4 is the publication date for not one but two Carl Addison Swanson books. The Westporter’s latest works are written “Venezuela Vengeance” and “Brotherly Hate.”

He’s CEO of Bermuda’s CAS Publications, which publishes 14 other writers, and  is a contributing editor at HBO. Click here for details.

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Seen this morning at Compo Beach: either the remnant of a Friday celebration for Staples High School’s graduation, or “saving a spot” for today:

(Photo/Michael Calise)

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Lauri Weiser calls this “Westport … Naturally” photo “Lurking in the Grasses”:

(Photo/Lauri Weiser)

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And finally … Juneteenth has been celebrated — in one form or another — for 155 years.

Today, for the first time, we honor it as a national holiday.

Amen.

This week, immediately after the bill was signed in the House of Representatives and sent to President Biden, the Congressional Black Caucus sang “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”

It’s been called the “Black National Anthem.” But it’s a fitting anthem today for every American, of every color and background.

 

 

 

 

Roundup: Autism Awareness, Burying Hill Rocks …

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To honor Autism Awareness Month, Westport Police officers bought special commemorative badges. They’ll wear them on their uniforms throughout April.

The blue badge prominently features the puzzle piece logo — the symbol of autism awareness. A portion of the badge’s purchase price will be donated to Autism Speaks.

Westport Police officers show off their autism badges.

In addition, Fleet Auto Supply donated autism logos for the doors of all police cars.

During Autism Awareness Month, the Police Department reminds Westporters about the town’s Disability Registry. A combined effort of the Westport Disability Commission, Human Services and the Police, the confidential registry provides essential information to assist police and other emergency workers to address the needs of residents of all abilities. Click here for signup information.

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Westport’s rockiest beach is getting some love.

Two machines were hard at work yesterday and today, at Burying Hill Beach.

One ran rocks through a sifter.

Another smoothed the sand.

(Photos/Art Schoeller)

It’s not as difficult as freeing a 220,000-ton ship from the Suez Canal.

But it’s close.

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Concerned how much longer the bull market will run? Worried what’s next?

Y’s Women’s Investment Group has a few slots for new members. The club has analyzed the market for more than 20 years — and achieved better results than some famous prognosticators. For more information, email dynamicr@icloud.com.

Y’s Women membership is $45 a year. To learn more, click here. For the latest newsletter, click here.

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Betty Stolpen Weiner writes: “I recently moved back to the area (Weston), and wanted to share a nice Westport experience.

“I needed a large and very heavy table moved to my basement. I saw on Facebook that the Staples High School wrestling team moves furniture in exchange for a donation for the team.

“Sal Augeri sent his son Nick over with some friends to help. I was so impressed with how polite, responsible and helpful the boys were! It was a nice reminder of why I chose to move back to the area.”

If you’ve got moving (or other physical labor) needs, email salaugeri@me.com or terrybrannigan5@gmail.com.

Among the wrestlers’ jobs: moving a chicken coop. (This was before the pandemic, which is why they’re not wearing masks.)

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Samantha Lavy and Jennifer Strom — aka the JSRC Group of therapists — has opened a Westport office, at 26 Imperial Avenue. They’ll continue their Stamford practice too.

“We support couples, families, teens, and individuals as we all move through these challenging times and beyond,” they say. “We also continue our work advising families navigating the particular complexities and family dynamics which often occur in the context of family business and wealth.”

For more information call 203-212-8383, or email hello@jsrcgroup.com

Samantha Lavy (left) and Jennifer Strom.

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A worried “06880” reader writes:

“I was on my way to the transfer station, when a lady behind me took a picture of my minivan. I thought, oh boy, I bet with the wind, a trash bag fell out of the can on my cargo hitch.

“I got the station. Sure enough, one bag was missing.

“I drove the same route back, and found it. I picked it up and drove home.

“I am writing just in case a picture of my super-cool white minivan with an awesome cargo hitch gets carrying a couple of trash cans gets to you.

“I thought the lady who took a picture of my minivan would post it on social media and send it to you. I thought I would have to sell the super-cool minivan to avoid being identified and embarrass my children forever.

“I swear I pick up after my dog and park my car using one spot. Nevertheless, the fact that someone had a picture of my car was a very strong incentive to trace down the fly-away-trash bag.”

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And finally … tons o’ musical birthdays today, with a variety of genres. We salute:

Jay Traynor, the original “Jay” of Jay & the Americans (replaced later by Jay Black); born in 1943, died in 2014, age 71.

Eric Clapton: 76 years old today.

MC Hammer: 59 years old.

Tracy Chapman: 57 years old.

Celine Dion: 53 years old.

Norah Jones: 42 years old.

Roundup: Healthcare, Music Festival, Y’s Women, More

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The healthcare open enrollment period has been extended through March 15. If you do not have an employer-sponsored health insurance plan, you can get coverage through Access Health CT for you and your family. 

Connecticut residents can click on AccessHealthCT.com or call 855-805-4235 to review their coverage options and sign up for a plan. 

Click here to learn about enrollment assistance. Make sure you have the information you’ll need for yourself and anyone in your household if you’re ready to enroll in a plan. 

Hundreds of thousands of Connecticut residents have lost employer-sponsored health insurance during the pandemic. Access Health CT provides a safety net for displaced workers and their families. Click here for more information if you lost your health insurance because you or a family member lost their job. (Hat tip: Congressman Jim Himes)

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The Westport Library’s Lockdown Music Festival will be a low-key, fun and funky fundraiser for Neighborhood Studios of Bridgeport.

But the stakes just got higher. Longtime Westporter — and devoted Library patron — Dan Levinson will match all contributions up to $10,000.

The March 13 (7 p.m.). event is a virtual concert. Curated by Fairfield resident Chris Frantz of the Talking Heads and Tom Tom Club, it celebrates optimism, resilience and the power of music.

The Library’s concert partners are the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce and WPKN-FM. Neighborhood Studios — the recipient of funds — provides arts, music, theater and dance education and opportunities for underserved  Bridgeport students. It will be livestreamed form the Library’s state-of-the-art Verso Studios.

Click here to register for the concert (and purchase a special concert poster).

Chris Frantz and his wife, Talking Heads bassist Tina Weymouth

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The Y’s Women are not just for women!

The great community group makes their virtual speaker series available to everyone. The most recent: Bill Harris, of the “new and oh so improved” Sacred Heart University Community Theater. Click here to view them all.

And (women only): Click here to learn about satellite groups (book and movie clubs), and how to join Y’s Women (for just $45 a year).

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Spring is tentatively creeping into town.

The sun rises earlier. The air is a little warmer. The joggers — and birds — are out.

Here are 2 shots from Compo Beach. Enjoy!

(Photo/Curtis Sullivan)

(Photo/Pam Kesselman)

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And finally … Lawrence Ferlingetti died Monday, in his beloved San Francisco. He was 101.

On a visit to San Francisco 20 or so years ago, I wandered into City Lights Bookstore. He’d always been my favorite poet. But for years, I’d assumed he was dead.

Yet there he was, standing by the counter, talking about books with someone who may or may not have known the old bearded guy was one of the most famous poets in the world.

I just listened. It was one of the most memorable days of my life.

Roundup: Farmers’ Market, 40 Under 40, Much Much More

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Westporters know our Farmers’ Market is the best.

Now it’s official.

American Farmland Trust has recognized WFM as #1 in Connecticut. It’s also #10 in the Northeast — and #26 in the nation.

It’s been a tough year for an organization that prides itself of close interactions between farmers and shoppers. But, notes executive director Lori Cochran-Dougall, “For the first time in our history, we operated 12 months in a row to tackle to challenges presented by the pandemic. We set up a strict, COVID-safe, pre-ordering system that served as a model for others.

“It wasn’t easy, but we felt a duty to our farmers, knew that farmers’ markets would be more critical than ever, and we met the challenge.”

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Connecticut Magazine’s has just named their annual “40 Under 40” (40 people under 40 years old, doing great things). Three — a full 7.5% of the list — are Westporters.

Congratulations to State Senator Will Haskell (age 24; Staples High School Class of 2014), fashion designer Christian Siriano (35), and sports financier Jordan Kessler (30, Staples ’09).

Click here for writeups on our 3 (and of course the 37 others). (Hat tip: Michael Catarevas)

State Senator Will Haskell

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The other day, Westport comic/Star 99.9 host Courtney Davis joined 4 top New York City comedians, in a virtual fundraiser. The group raised nearly $2,500 for empowerHER, the non-profit that supports and connects girls and young women who have lost their mothers.

Courtney Davis

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The Westport Country Playhouse is still closed. Until it reopens, all we’ve had are memories of our favorite shows.

Starting tomorrow though, there’s more.

The theater launches “From Concept to Curtain,” a virtual documentary series of 30-minute films. They offer free, behind-the-scenes looks at the creative process of putting together a Playhouse production.

The first episode is “In the Heights: Beyond el Barrio” (Thursday, February 4, 12 noon, at the Playhouse’s website and YouTube channel.

Host Marcos Santana — director and choreographer of the Playhouse’s 2019 production of “In the Heights” — performed on Broadway in the Tony Award-winning show.

The set, costume and lighting designers, and the music director, discuss their inspirations, challenges, what they would have done differently, and favorite moments from the show.

More videos will be announced soon.

“In the Heights,” at the Westport Country Playhouse.

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High school students interested in learning more about the art portfolio submission process for college are invited to a workshop this Sunday (February 7, 12 to 3 p.m.) at MoCA Westport.

The session includes lectures, slide presentations, Q-and-A and individual portfolio reviews (up to 5 samples). The cost is $75. Click here to register. For more information, email liz@mocawestport.org.

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The Y’s Women and 597 Westport Avenue Apartments (just over the Norwalk line) have teamed up to contribute food to Mercy Learning Center.

Jane Ferreira — president and CEO of the Center, the wonderful literacy and life skills training center for women in Bridgeport — returns the favor, as Y’s Women’s virtual guest speaker this Monday (February 8, 11:30 a.m.). She’ll talk about MLC’s educational and support services — and how they change the lives of not only their clients and families, but also volunteers and supporters.

Anyone can log on to www.YsWomen.org to view past speakers. And any woman in Fairfield County can join for just $45 a year. Email president Barb Stephen (dynamicr@icloud.com) to learn more.

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The Unitarian Church has 2 important — and timely — programs this weekend.

On Saturday (February 6, 10 a.m.), they’re sponsoring a virtual program on how to recognize domestic violence in today’s pandemic world,  and what to do about it. The program is open to the public, via Zoom meeting ID 875 7140 7113 (passcode 739121). Questions? Contact events@uuwestport.org or click here.

Meanwhile, the women of the church are launching a series of programs about the history of Black lives in America, and its effects on our country today. “Revealing History: How We Got Here, Why It Matters” begins Sunday (February 7, 10:40 a.m.) with a multi-media event called “Racial Injustice: From Slavery to Mass Incarceration.”

The program includes a speaker from the Equal Justice Initiative, founded by Bryan Stevenson; a musical work with voiceover from Desmond Tutu, and other notable artists and artwork. Click here for the Zoom link (the program begins after the regular Sunday service).

Questions? Email events@uuwestport.org.

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And finally … today in 1959, “the music died.” That’s Don McLean’s “American Pie” reference to the Iowa plane crash that took the lives of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J. P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson.