Westport's HamletHub https://news.hamlethub.com/westport Thu, 16 Jul 2020 09:15:55 -0400 HamletHub.com CT's Beardsley Zoo Announces Photo Contest & Exhibit https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/places/46806-ct-s-beardsley-zoo-announces-photo-contest-exhibit46806-ct-s-beardsley-zoo-announces-photo-contest-exhibit https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/places/46806-ct-s-beardsley-zoo-announces-photo-contest-exhibit46806-ct-s-beardsley-zoo-announces-photo-contest-exhibit

Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo is proud to announce its second non-juried photography exhibition will be held online this year, an opportunity for the Zoo’s many dedicated amateur and professional photographers to submit their best work for public viewing. Photographers are invited to upload their submissions at  https://www.beardsleyzoo.org/photography-exhibition.html. Judging will take place the first week in August, with a Facebook Live Winners Presentation held afterward.

Exhibit Rules

  • Each photographer can submit three photos, with a $10 fee per photo. 
  • Photos must include animals from Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo. They may be older photos from a previous year as well as current photos.
  • Milford Photo will provide First, Second, and Third prizes in the form of gift certificates to the store. First prize is $200, second prize is $100, and third prize is $50.
  •  In addition to the judged photos, a People’s Choice will be selected. The general public can vote on their favorite by making a one-dollar donation for each vote.
  • Photos are due to be submitted by July 31, 2020. 
  • If you have questions, email Jessica Taylor at jtaylor@beardsleyzoo.org.
  • For the best quality for viewing the photos online, the recommended image size is 1088 x 816 pixels with a maximum file size of 1MB. 

 “Art is a natural way for people to express their love of animals and appreciation of nature,” said Zoo Director Gregg Dancho. “Our second Photography Goes Wild online exhibit helps to showcase the stunning diversity of species at the Zoo, and we hope, encourage people to focus on preserving wild habitats and animal conservation in new ways.”

In preparation for the Exhibit, a Zoom photography class will be offered by experienced animal photographer and Zoo Volunteer, Jack Bradley. Date and details to be provided online.

About Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo:

Let your curiosity run wild! Connecticut's only zoo, celebrating its 98th anniversary this year, features 300 animals representing primarily North and South American species. Guests won't want to miss our critically endangered Amur tigers and leopards, and Mexican and red wolves. Other highlights include the new Farmyard, Spider monkey habitat, the prairie dog exhibit, plus the Pampas Plains featuring maned wolves, Chacoan peccaries and Giant anteaters. Guests must buy tickets in advance at www.beardsleyzoo.org, and bring and wear a mask. Children under two do not need masks.  For more information, visit beardsleyzoo.org.

About Milford Photo

Since its founding in 1995, Milford Photo continues to be the go-to location for the photo enthusiast in Connecticut. From selling the top lines in cameras, lenses and accessories to providing reprint, enlargement, graphic imagery or photo instruction for photographers of all levels, the crew at Milford Photo works hard to provide the best in product and service to their clients. www.milfordphoto.com

kerry@ducey.org (Lisa Clair ) Places Tue, 14 Jul 2020 10:39:11 -0400
New Dog Policy at Aspetuck Land Trust's Nature Preserves https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/places/46805-new-dog-policy-at-aspetuck-land-trust-s-nature-preserves46805-new-dog-policy-at-aspetuck-land-trust-s-nature-preserves https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/places/46805-new-dog-policy-at-aspetuck-land-trust-s-nature-preserves46805-new-dog-policy-at-aspetuck-land-trust-s-nature-preserves

Good news for dog lovers. Aspetuck Land Trust’s Board of Directors announced that the public may now resume walking leashed dogs at Aspetuck Land Trust's nature preserves. 

COVID-19 has presented many challenges for us all but we're happy to bring dogs back to our preserves.


The public may now resume walking leashed dogs at Aspetuck Land Trust nature preserves except those specifically reserved as wildlife refuges (find trail maps here).

That said, The Board of Director’s considers allowing members and the public to enjoy our preserves accompanied by their dogs a benefit that we can make available so long as the conditions are safe, and our habitats are properly protected.  The procedures enumerated below  will help us to achieve that.

  • Dogs must be leashed (except for the off-leash blue/white trail soon to be re-blazed pink trail, see below)

  • Leashes must be 6 feet or less

  • Dogs must be reined in when approaching other people & dogs to prevent contact

  • Pet owners must remove their pet’s waste

This leash rule applies to the Trout Brook Valley Conservation Area (except for the blue/white, soon to be pink, off-leash trail) and all other Aspetuck Land Trust Preserves. This policy goes into effect immediately but in the event Covid-19 surges again, we will put restrictions back in place as needed.

To help us keep our open spaces available and open to the public while still supporting national and local efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19, we need your help.

When visiting our open spaces please observe the latest recommendations regarding social distancing and the wearing of masks when in close proximity to other people. If you choose to gather with friends or meet up as a group, please adhere to social distance guidelines.

  • Avoid visiting Trout Brook Valley on weekends as we don’t want to overburden our neighbors and local streets. It is illegal to park on Bradley and Freeborn Roads. If a preserve parking lot is full please proceed to another area to park and hike.

  • Please follow the latest recommendations regarding social distancing. Aspetuck Land Trust is following the guidance provided by the CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection regarding the use of trails and preserves. CLICK HERE for CT DEEP guidelines.

  • Trout Brook Valley is being heavily visited right now. With so many other preserves, we suggest you visit another. Go to Aspetuck Land Trust Preserves to explore a land trust property and print your own detailed hiking map, found in each preserve description area, before you set out. We only have one map on display at the trail-heads.

NOTE to OFF-LEASH DOG WALKERS: The Land Trust is allowing off-leash dogs on the blue/white, soon to be re-blazed pink trail, only in Trout Brook Valley accessible from the Wells Hill and Freeborn Road parking areas.  We have a volunteer group of “Ambassadors” - members of the dog walking community who will maintain a clean trail and encourage the safe usage of it. This policy goes into effect immediately but in the event Covid-19 surges again, we may need to put restrictions back in place as needed.

  • Please follow one-way directional signs

  • Follow latest recommendations regarding social distancing. Aspetuck Land Trust is  following the guidance provided by the CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection regarding the use of trails and preserves.  CLICK HERE for CT DEEP guidelines

  • Maximum 2 dogs per handler

  • Dogs must be under handler’s voice control at all times and remain near handler

  • Keep dogs on the trail

  • Pet waste & trash must be removed

Aspetuck Land Trust wants to thank the Ambassadors for their participation and help. Their efforts are critical to helping us make the off-leash trail work.

Finally, please remember, the land trust is first and foremost a land preservation and conservation organization. We ask for your cooperation as we work to protect the land, wildlife, and people. It is all we can do. It is what we must all do. We will have to remain flexible if the virus returns in force. In the meantime, please enjoy our open spaces and stay safe.

Get all the details about the new dog policy HERE.

Our mission: The preservation and conservation of open space, including farm and forest land, and the natural resources located thereon, primarily in the towns of Easton, Weston, Fairfield and Westport, for the benefit and education of the public.

Yes, I want to support Aspetuck Land Trust's land conservation mission.

kerry@ducey.org (Aspetuck Land Trust) Places Tue, 14 Jul 2020 10:25:09 -0400
Locals Love Westport, Make Personal Promise, First Selectman Provides COVID-19 Update https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/life/46804-locals-love-westport-make-personal-promise-first-selectman-provides-covid-19-update46804-locals-love-westport-make-personal-promise-first-selectman-provides-covid-19-update https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/life/46804-locals-love-westport-make-personal-promise-first-selectman-provides-covid-19-update46804-locals-love-westport-make-personal-promise-first-selectman-provides-covid-19-update

Westport First Selectman’s COVID-19 Update

Yesterday afternoon, July 13, Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe provided the following updates in regard to the Town's COVID response and recovery.

Town Facilities

As part of our continuing efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19 and in an abundance of caution, Town Hall and indoor Town facilities continue to be closed to walk-in services. All town services are being conducted on-site or remotely and telephones and emails are monitored. Appointments may be made on an as-needed basis. If you have a matter that requires resolution by town staff, please use the staff directory on the website (www.westportct.gov/directory) to call or email the office, and kindly allow adequate time for a response.  The possibility of conducting in-person public meetings in the future is being explored.  In the meantime, public meetings of the Boards and Finance and Selectman, the Representative Town Meeting, Conservation Commission, Planning & Zoning Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals can be viewed on the town’s website (westportct.gov/watch) and Westport TV on Channel 79 (Optimum) and Channel 6020 (Frontier).  Public meetings of the Board of Education can be viewed on Channel 78 (Optimum) and Channel 6021 (Frontier).

Masks and Social Distancing

It is imperative that masks are worn while inside or when unable to maintain social distancing in all public spaces.  Masks may be removed provided you are with those people who reside in your household and maintaining a six foot distance from others. Any other time, whether you are outside at Compo Beach, on a field, walking on town sidewalks and roadways, or entering an indoor location (including the restrooms at Compo Beach) you must wear a mask.  You are protecting yourself, your family and your neighbors when you abide by this rule.

Many residents continue to express concern about the lack of face coverings on individuals that they encounter in public spaces.  While it is impossible to know if a group includes only those people who reside in the same household, it is usually obvious when they do not. Gatherings of younger people without face coverings have been observed. I respectfully ask that parents speak to their children about the importance of wearing a mask.  We now know that children are not impervious to the virus, and steps must be taken to insure the safety and health of all. Each of us has a personal responsibility to wear masks and maintain social distancing.

I Love Westport Campaign

If you haven’t already seen the #Ilovewestport videos on social media, please go to the town’s website (Westportct.gov/ilovewestport) and view these one minute video vignettes.  The #Ilovewestport campaign asks Westporters to make a personal promise to our community to stop the spread of COVID-19.  We love our town, so let’s keep our neighbors and our employees healthy.  Please make a pledge and share your video at #Ilovewestport.

Statement from the Westport Weston Health District on Connecticut’s Travel Advisory

Given the concerning surge in COVID-19 cases reported in many states across the country, it’s more important than ever to take precautions and pay strict attention to the State’s recent travel advisory. The Westport Weston Health District urges residents to keep up their prevention efforts.

Governor Lamont issued a travel advisory that went into effect on June 25th.  Anyone traveling into Connecticut from a state that has a new daily positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents or a state with a 10% or higher positivity rate over a 7-day rolling average is directed to self-quarantine for a 14-day period from the time of last contact within the identified state. This also applies to Connecticut residents who return from those states. 

Employers and employees should know that those who test negative for COVID-19 are not subject to the travel advisory.  In order to avoid the advisory, any traveler from the restricted states should be tested no sooner than 72 hours prior to departing. 

For more information, a listing of restricted states and frequently asked questions, please visit the State’s site https://portal.ct.gov/Coronavirus/Covid-19-Knowledge-Base/Travel-In-or-Out-of-CT

Please continue to stay connected by signing up or following us at:

Online:  www.westportct.gov/COVID19

Get Updates:  Signup for emergency alerts

Get Updates:  Sign up for email subscriptions

Social Media:  #reopenwestportct

#iLoveWestport Video 2.0

kerry@ducey.org (HH) Life Tue, 14 Jul 2020 09:00:07 -0400
First Drought Trigger Hit in Southwest Fairfield County, Aquarion Urges Westport Residents to Conserve Water! https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/life/46803-first-drought-trigger-hit-in-southwest-fairfield-county-aquarion-urges-westport-residents-to-conserve-water46803-first-drought-trigger-hit-in-southwest-fairfield-county-aquarion-urges-westport-residents-to-conserve-water https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/life/46803-first-drought-trigger-hit-in-southwest-fairfield-county-aquarion-urges-westport-residents-to-conserve-water46803-first-drought-trigger-hit-in-southwest-fairfield-county-aquarion-urges-westport-residents-to-conserve-water

With high temperatures and a lack of significant rainfall in the forecast, Aquarion is asking customers to reduce non-essential water use. Our water systems have experienced near-record water demands throughout our service area, causing us to hit our first drought trigger in Southwest Fairfield County. Meanwhile, many other portions of Connecticut are currently experiencing conditions ranging from “abnormally dry” to “moderate drought” due to an extended dry spell, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

We are asking customers that live in the six towns currently under a mandatory, twice-weekly irrigation schedule (Darien, Greenwich, New Canaan, Newtown, Stamford and Westport) to reduce water usage by 20 percent, to lessen the potential for stricter restrictions this summer. Most customers can achieve this reduction simply by following the irrigation schedule. Aquarion also encourages customers that live outside of these six towns to voluntarily follow this schedule as an easy way to conserve water.

Due to these high water demands, customers may experience temporary low water pressure and/or possible water discoloration. These issues will resolve themselves as water usage returns to normal levels

kerry@ducey.org (Aquarion Water) Life Mon, 13 Jul 2020 14:27:45 -0400
Free Support Remains Available for Connecticut Taxpayers to File 2019 Taxes and Receive Economic Impact Payments https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/politics/46802-free-support-remains-available-for-connecticut-taxpayers-to-file-2019-taxes-and-receive-economic-impact-payments46802-free-support-remains-available-for-connecticut-taxpayers-to-file-2019-taxes-and-receive-economic-impact-payments https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/politics/46802-free-support-remains-available-for-connecticut-taxpayers-to-file-2019-taxes-and-receive-economic-impact-payments46802-free-support-remains-available-for-connecticut-taxpayers-to-file-2019-taxes-and-receive-economic-impact-payments

Governor Ned Lamont today is reminding Connecticut residents that the deadline to file 2019 income taxes – a requirement for most people to become eligible to receive federal economic impact payments resulting from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic – is July 15, 2020.

Households with a total income at or below $56,000 can continue to receive free tax preparation support through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. The service is administered by the Connecticut Association for Human Services, with financial support from the philanthropic organization 4-CT and the United Way of Connecticut.

Residents can access VITA services online at www.211ct.org/taxhelp or by calling 2-1-1.

“The federal government has made filing your taxes a key component of gaining access to refunds and credits that can be a critical support to families during this pandemic,” Governor Lamont said. “We’re doing everything we can to remind Connecticut families about the resources available to them through great programs like VITA, and we encourage those who need support to take advantage of this opportunity.”

“The VITA program provides hardworking individuals and families with free, reliable assistance in filing their state and federal tax returns,” Richard Porth, CEO of United Way of Connecticut, said. “In 2019, thousands of VITA volunteers prepared millions of tax returns nationwide resulting in more than $1.8 billion returning to local communities. These dollars are spent to cover child expenses, pay bills, as well as to save for the future. Connecticut United Ways, in partnership with our VITA coalition and other nonprofit partners, are committed to connecting eligible households with this vital service.”

“While the COVID-19 outbreak has brought unique challenges, Connecticut taxpayers have been conscientious – more than 86 percent have already filed their state income tax returns compared to this point last year,” Acting Revenue Services Commissioner John Biello said. “The Department of Revenue Services encourages taxpayers to reach out to the agency directly with their state tax questions. We also appreciate the work of partners like VITA, 2-1-1, and AARP, who bring access to tax preparation services to communities throughout the state, and look forward to continued collaboration.”

In addition to receiving a federal coronavirus economic impact payment, filing taxes is also an important step toward receiving valuable refunds and tax credits, such as the earned income tax credit and child tax credit.

According to data released in late June from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, approximately 12 million eligible people across the United States have not yet received economic impact payments, leaving unclaimed roughly $12 billion in funding authorized by Congress to mitigate hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Eligible taxpayers who filed tax returns for either 2019 or 2018 have already automatically received an economic impact payment of up to $1,200 for individuals or $2,400 for married couples, and up to $500 for each qualifying child.

Anyone who earns more than $56,000 can receive tax filing support through United Way’s partnership with H&R Block by visiting www.MyFreeTaxes.com.

kerry@ducey.org (Gov. Ned Lamont) Politics Mon, 13 Jul 2020 13:09:52 -0400
Why Small Businesses Matter in Westport (Reimagined): Step Inside Nutty Bunny https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/places/46768-why-small-businesses-matter-in-westport-reimagined-nutty-bunny46768-why-small-businesses-matter-in-westport-reimagined-nutty-bunny https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/places/46768-why-small-businesses-matter-in-westport-reimagined-nutty-bunny46768-why-small-businesses-matter-in-westport-reimagined-nutty-bunny

Why Small Businesses Matter Reimagined

Small businesses matter - now more than ever. They are answering the call with innovation and determination like never before.

We hope you join us in supporting them by sharing their story far and wide and shopping local! We are thankful to Fairfield County Bank for their continued support and making this series possible.

Step inside Nutty Bunny!

Four questions with Pamela Aflalo, founder of Nutty Bunny. 


What do you want the community to know? Are there ways for the community to help you and other local businesses to prosper?

Nutty Bunny is now open for retail! Our address is 21 Isaacs Street in Norwalk. We truly appreciate the community's support to keep our business flourishing.

Are you offering any new products or ways for customers to purchase your products or services that are popular during this crisis?

Customers can now purchase Nutty Bunny at our shop in Norwalk in addition to our many local partners listed on our website. Stop in and pick up a single-serve cup to enjoy outside in the art park. Not local? We now offer to ship to many destinations in the U.S.

Are there certain individuals or organizations that supported you and your business through this trying time?

We are so grateful for our customers and have an outpour of customers' support throughout this crisis. Many have verbalized the importance of shopping local now more than ever.

Please share the ways your business is adapting to keep your customers and employees safe in addition to the standard guidelines

We have always followed the strictest sanitary guidelines possible and now follow all CDC protocols to keep our employees and customers safe.

Nutty Bunny is located at 21 Isaacs Street in Norwalk. Visit Nutty Bunny online here.

Nutty Bunny nominates LAYLA'S FALAFEL!

HamletHub thanks Fairfield County Bank for making our Why Small Businesses Matter series possible!

daliborboldis@gmail.com (Dan) Places Mon, 13 Jul 2020 06:24:24 -0400
Westport Continuing Education Announces Lacrosse, Field Hockey & Tennis Programs! https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/places/46801-continuing-education-announces-lacrosse-field-hockey-tennis-programs-159430344346801-continuing-education-announces-lacrosse-field-hockey-tennis-programs-1594303443 https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/places/46801-continuing-education-announces-lacrosse-field-hockey-tennis-programs-159430344346801-continuing-education-announces-lacrosse-field-hockey-tennis-programs-1594303443

Westport / CT -- Westport Continuing Education announces the opening of sports programs with its partners Coach K Lacrosse, GameBreaker, and Fairfield County Tennis Camps. COVID guidelines have been established to safely allow these programs to run at the Staples High School Stadium and at Wakeman Fields. Registration is now open and the deadline to register is the Thursday before the camp starts. More information, dates, times, and online registration is available on the Westport Continuing Education website here.

GameBreaker begins lacrosse programs for kids ages 5 - 16 on Monday, July 20 through Thursday, July 23 from 8:30 am - 12:00 pm for boys at the newly refurbished turf at Staples High School stadium. GameBreaker lacrosse for boys is led by Josh Thornton, head lacrosse coach at Weston High School and previously head coach at Norwalk High School. Girls’ lacrosse is available Monday - Thursday, July 27 - 30 at Wakeman A Field. Amy Alvord leads the girls program. Amy coached the Fairfield Ludlowe High School team to the Division II State Championship, including coaching three All-state players. Amy teaches clinics at the Sono Field House and is the Coaching Director at Westport PAL youth lacrosse program. GameBreaker Lacrosse Camps were developed to provide young athletes with the opportunity to become better lacrosse players by providing instruction from the top lacrosse coaches in a positive and fun atmosphere.

Coach K Lacrosse is led by Staples High School head coach Will Koshansky. Boys entering grades K - 8 in the fall can work with Coach K’s team from Monday - Thursday, July 27 - 30 at the Staples Stadium Field and August 3 - 6 at Wakeman B Field. The program meets from 9:00 - 11:00 am. Registration is available on the Westport Continuing Education website here. Koshansky played professional lacrosse for seven years for the Rochester Rattlers and Chesapeake Bayhawks of the MLL. Will attended the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania where he was a four year starter, All-Ivy Player, and team captain. He spent the previous six years coaching at New Canaan HS. View the Coach K Lacrosse website for more information.  

Fairfield County Tennis Camps begin their programs from Monday through Thursday the weeks of July 20 - 23 and July 27 - 30 from 9:00 - 11:30 am at the Staples High School tennis courts. Programs are broken down by ages, including ages 6 - 8 (Beginner / Advanced Beginner), ages 9 - 12 (Beginner through Intermediate), and ages 13 - 16 (Beginner through Intermediate).  

 Revolution Field Hockey Camp for girls ages 5 - 16 will be held Monday through Thursday, August 3 - 7 at the Staples Stadium turf field from 8:30 am - 12:00 pm. Former Quinnipiac University Head Coach, Cheryl Canada runs a fun and creative training camp covering all the fundamental programs.

COVID guidelines have been developed by all of the partners and supervised by Westport Continuing Education, a division of the Westport Public Schools. Guidelines have been developed in conjunction with protocols established by the state of Connecticut, the CT Office of Early Childhood Development, and the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference. Participants will receive detailed information on the COVID guidelines before camps begin. All staff and participants must complete an Informed Consent form developed by the Office of Early Childhood Development. 

Registration for for Coach K Lacrosse and Fairfield County Tennis camps is on the Westport Continuing Education website. The deadline for these programs is the Thursday before camp begins. If room is still available, registrations are still accepted by Westport Continuing Education with a $25 late fee by emailing conted@westportps.org or calling 203-341-1209. 

The registration for GameBreaker Lacrosse and Revolution Field Hockey camps is conducted through their websites and is available up until the first day of the program. Please consult the individual website registration for each camp for required forms. 

More information, dates, times, and online registration is available on the Westport Continuing Education website here or email conted@westportps.org. 

About Westport Continuing Education - Westport Continuing Education (WCE) provides high quality educational and enrichment programs to the residents of Westport and the region, annually serving nearly 6,000 adults, teens, and children with 700 programs. Classes, workshops, and camps are offered throughout the year after school and in the evenings at locations in the public schools and online. WCE is a division of the Westport Public Schools, whose mission is to empower and inspire students to reach their full potential as lifelong learners and socially responsible contributors to our global community. See WCE's website and Facebook page for more information.

# # # 

cjewell@westportps.org (Christine Jewell) Places Fri, 10 Jul 2020 12:29:58 -0400
WFM & Artists Collective Announce Youth Photo Contest https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/places/46799-wfm-artists-collective-announce-youth-photo-contest46799-wfm-artists-collective-announce-youth-photo-contest https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/places/46799-wfm-artists-collective-announce-youth-photo-contest46799-wfm-artists-collective-announce-youth-photo-contest

Westport, CT – Every year at about this time, as the bounty of summer food and flora explode with color, the Westport Farmers’ Market launches one of its most popular programs – Young Shoots. Young Shoots is a friendly photography contest for budding creatives sponsored by the WFM in conjunction with the Artists Collective. In past years, Kids ages 8 to 18 have taken to the market, digital camera in hand, to capture the abundance of local food as they see it. This year the program has a new twist, Young Shoots is being brought into the home.  Kids are challenged to show the WFM back at their homes, the produce, flowers, prepared food and more that they buy and the food that is prepared for their families.     

“Young Shoots is an opportunity for kids to demonstrate their creativity through digital photography while at the same time appreciating the beauty of real food,” said Lori Cochran-Dougall, executive director of WFM. “Kids in three age groups (8- to 10-years-old; 11- to 14-years-old; and 15- to 18-years-old) are invited to submit photographs to be judged by a panel of local artists. This year we are excited to see the market in their homes through their artwork.  It will bring a fresh variety of images to this program.”

Jurors for the competition this year include Kerry Gale, local visual artist; Emily Laux, local visual artist; Bill Taibe, local chef and President of the Westport Farmers’ Market Board of Directors; and Eileen Sawyer, local photographer and member of the Westport Farmers’ Market Board of Directors.

The jurors select the best photos in each age group. First place winners in each category will receive a $100 cash prize and second place winners will each receive a $50 cash prize.  The public will also have a chance to vote online for their favorite submissions. All photos will be on display in a gallery-like setting at Sugar & Olives in Norwalk.

The application to enter the contest is available at youngshootsathome.artcall.org. 2020 submissions are due by August 10th, and selected winners will be notified by August 31st. A reception for all the photographers will follow.

“This is one of my favorite programs of the market,” said Cochran-Dougall. “These kids are our future. We love to see the appreciation they have for real food in such a creative way.”

About the Westport Farmers’ Market

The Westport Farmers Market is committed to providing fresh, local, healthy and seasonal food. We aspire to create a fun, safe, and healthy community environment for education and socialization. Our mission is to increase awareness, knowledge, and support for local producers focused on sustainable and healthy growing practices.

For more information, visit www.westportfarmersmarket.com, or email director@westportfarmersmarket.com. Find the WFM on FBInstagram, and Twitter, too.

About the Artists Collective

The Artists Collective of Westport is a vibrant group of 150 creative individuals who have joined forces to discuss, create, and develop dynamic experiences for the Fairfield County community. The Collective is open to all active artists in pursuit of expanding their careers and in developing a strong, diverse arts community. In the Barn at the Westport Country Playhouse, The Collective brings together various creative practices in unique monthly forums, in order to plan and stage public events, pop-up exhibitions, and stimulating experiences. We also tutor, volunteer, and curate various other art related activities and events.

kerry@ducey.org (WFM) Places Wed, 08 Jul 2020 15:23:43 -0400
Why Small Businesses Matter in Westport (Reimagined): Step Inside Salon Nash https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/places/46760-why-small-businesses-matter-in-westport-reimagined-salon-nash-salon46760-why-small-businesses-matter-in-westport-reimagined-salon-nash-salon https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/places/46760-why-small-businesses-matter-in-westport-reimagined-salon-nash-salon46760-why-small-businesses-matter-in-westport-reimagined-salon-nash-salon

Why Small Businesses Matter Reimagined

Small businesses matter - now more than ever. They are answering the call with innovation and determination like never before.

We hope you join us in supporting them by sharing their story far and wide and shopping local! We are thankful to Fairfield County Bank for their continued support and making this series possible.

Step inside Salon Nash and meet Felicia Catale, owner of Salon Nash.


What do you want the community to know? Are there ways for the community to help you and other local businesses to prosper?

I would like the community to know that during this time of crisis my business is following the guidelines to keep everyone safe and healthy. Be assured that we are taking measures to make everyone feel comfortable. I’m working in conjunction with the community to set protocols in case of an emergency. The health and safety of my staff and clients are my priority.

Are you offering any new products or ways for customers to purchase your products or services that are popular during this crisis?

We are currently offering clients private appointments either at home or at the salon. In addition, I'm offering frontline workers a day of appreciation for serving us during the crisis. Please call the Salon 203-349-5814 or email catalefelicia@icloud.com for details.

Salon Nash is located at 179 Post Road W. in Westport. 

Felicia Catale nominates Nash’s Nail!

HamletHub thanks Fairfield County Bank for making our Why Small Businesses Matter series possible!

daliborboldis@gmail.com (Dan) Places Wed, 08 Jul 2020 08:17:05 -0400
Westport Sunrise Rotary Teams Up With Local Caterer to Help Feed Gillespie Center Residents https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/neighbors/46797-sunrise-rotary-teams-up-with-local-caterer-to-help-feed-gillespie-center-residents46797-sunrise-rotary-teams-up-with-local-caterer-to-help-feed-gillespie-center-residents https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/neighbors/46797-sunrise-rotary-teams-up-with-local-caterer-to-help-feed-gillespie-center-residents46797-sunrise-rotary-teams-up-with-local-caterer-to-help-feed-gillespie-center-residents

Rotary International is a global organization committed to Service Above Self. Rotarians are community volunteers — raising money we contribute to non-profit organizations and offering direct hands-on support.

On Tuesday Westport Sunrise Rotary president George Masumian presented a check to Alison Milwe-Grace, owner of AMG Catering & Events, the initial portion of a $5,000 District Disaster Grant to pay her for providing 385 prepared, microwavable meals for the clients of Homes With Hope's Gillespie Center shelter in Westport.

$2,500 is being provided by the Rotary district to which Sunrise belongs — 59 clubs in communities along Long Island Sound, from Greenwich to Stonington — the remainder by the club, from funds raised through its Great Duck Race and its wine tasting celebration, Westport Uncorked.

Sunrise Rotary has long supported Homes With Hope. We serve dinner to Gillespie Center residents every month. We cook up a July 4th barbecue. We donate to HWH’s programs. We run a food drive that succeeds on the generosity of Westporters to replenish their food pantry. Yes, Westport has people who are food insecure, even in the best of times.

Today the need is greater, and Sunrise Rotarians are here to help.

COVID-19 forced the Gillespie Center to change the way it serves its clients. Those previously residing at the Center are now sheltered in a local hotel. And their meals are now prepared by third parties such as AMG Catering and delivered to them.

"When our Rotary District announced the availability of $2,500 COVID-19 Disaster Response Grants", said Rick Jaffe, Sunrise’s grant writer, "We thought immediately of Homes With Hope."

Working with Helen McAlinden, HWH’s president, we determined that the grant could best be applied to underwriting its new prepared meal program.

To learn how you too can aid Homes With Hope go to: https://www.hwhct.org.

To learn more about Sunrise Rotary, or to make a contribution ("We raise money so we can give it away") go to: http://westportsunriserotary.org.

royfuchs@snet.net (Roy Fuchs) Neighbors Wed, 08 Jul 2020 05:41:34 -0400
Creativity Connects Westport: Meet Tom Fiffer https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/neighbors/46789-creativity-connects-westport-meet-tom-fiffer46789-creativity-connects-westport-meet-tom-fiffer https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/neighbors/46789-creativity-connects-westport-meet-tom-fiffer46789-creativity-connects-westport-meet-tom-fiffer

Creativity Connects Westport

What fuels a vibrant, connected and creative community? What makes people feel good about living in Westport?

When locals share the creativity that they uncover in the nooks and crannies of their community it brings about connectivity and makes us all feel good. Believe it or not, you discover creativity every day as you walk, shop, work, and play in Westport? 

Meet Westport resident Tom Fiffer, writer, author, storyteller and founder of Christmas Lake Creative.

How does creativity connect you to Westport?

To outsiders, Westport, Connecticut, looks like any other wealthy coastal suburb, with its mix of gracious homes and modern mansions, upscale restaurants and pizza joints, top-ranked schools, and, of course, beautiful beaches. But the town has a long history as a home for creativity, before we had MoCA Westport, the Playhouse, and a library with a maker space—to name a few of the institutions that make me feel good about living here.

In the Roaring 20s, F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda spent a summer near Compo Beach, and some believe Westport was Fitzgerald’s inspiration for West Egg in The Great Gatsby. During the booming post-war 50s and 60s, Westport was home to authors such as Max Shulman (who immortalized the town in Rally Round the Flag, Boys) and Robert Ludlum, illustrators (Hardie Gramatky, creator of Little Toot), television writers (Rod Serling, The Twilight Zone), scores of “Mad Men” types, and of course, Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. There was even the Famous Artists School, founded in part by Norman Rockwell.

Creativity is in the air here, and I am constantly inspired both by the natural beauty of the town and the contributions of its famous residents. I no doubt visit the same places they did to light their creative fires or find the quiet all creatives need to clear our heads for the next endeavor: Compo Beach, with its painterly sky and glorious sunsets; the little wooden walkway over the Saugatuck off Parker Harding Drive; the green stretches of Winslow Park for contemplative walking; the winding streets of the Old Hill neighborhood for a trip through colonial history; or Sherwood Island State Park to commune with the geese and, on a clear day, catch a glimpse of Manhattan. When I go out in Westport with my mind opened to creative possibilities, I am never disappointed.

For the first ten years, I was really only here on weekends, as I commuted to New York for a job in business information. Frustrated with endless hours on the train, I began writing a blog, Tom Aplomb, during my morning ride. The daily discipline of penning (actually tapping out) posts helped me become an editor at an online magazine, The Good Men Project, and for a short time, I helmed Westport’s HamletHub. My day job ended in 2014, and as I began to move in more creative circles, I started teaching at the Westport Writers’ Workshop.

Eventually, I opened up my own workshop with my writing partner, Julia Bobkoff. We named it Christmas Lake Creative, after the street, Christmas Lake Lane, where our home and business are located. We offer group classes in creative writing, fiction, memoir, screenwriting, and a course for young writers (13-18). We also work one-on-one with numerous writers, helping our clients develop their memoirs, novels, and projects for television and film. During the pandemic, we’ve been offering a free Zoom creative writing class on Thursday nights to keep people’s creative juices flowing. Whether people know Westport’s history or not, they all seem drawn to this remarkable town’s creative energy, and we love living and working in such a storied setting.

Thomas G. Fiffer is a writer, editor, founder of Christmas Lake Creative, and author of two books—Why It Can’t Work: Detaching From Dysfunctional Relationships to Make Room for True Love, and What Is Love: A Guide for the Perplexed to Matters of the Heart.

Creativity Connects Westport made possible by LIFEWTR.

If you are interested in being featured in our series, please email localmatters@hamlethub.com

The views and opinions expressed above are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of HamletHub or LIFEWTR. 


kerry@ducey.org (HH) Neighbors Tue, 07 Jul 2020 06:51:00 -0400
Westport Based Performer Amy Oestreicher Featured Online Solo Performer at San Francisco’s Marsh Theater’s Monday Night Marshstream https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/events/46795-westport-based-performer-amy-oestreicher-featured-online-solo-performer-at-san-francisco-s-marsh-theater-s-monday-night-marshstream46795-westport-based-performer-amy-oestreicher-featured-online-solo-performer-at-san-francisco-s-marsh-theater-s-monday-night-marshstream https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/events/46795-westport-based-performer-amy-oestreicher-featured-online-solo-performer-at-san-francisco-s-marsh-theater-s-monday-night-marshstream46795-westport-based-performer-amy-oestreicher-featured-online-solo-performer-at-san-francisco-s-marsh-theater-s-monday-night-marshstream

Westport-based multidisciplinary performance artist Amy Oestreicher is thrilled to present her musical works across the country at the Marsh Theater of San Francisco in its popular broadcast series, Monday Night Marshstream. offers a variety of programming at 7:30pm nightly, its popular broadcast platform. 

After the great reception from June 1st’s Monday Night Marshstream, Amy has been asked back to the weekly event with a 30-minute solo performance and full Q & A with attendees.

The Marsh has postponed all in-person shows until further notice, but that hasn’t stopped Monday Night Marsh from its popular Monday Night MarshStream,  a live zoom series that features 4 short pieces by performers, both familiar and new, every Monday at 7:30pm. Each night will consist of consist of two hand-selected performers, one Marsh special guest performer, and one ‘pop-up’ performer.

The program launched in April and has received overwhelmingly enthusiastic response, with hundreds flocking to view and participate each night.

Watch Amy’s last virtual appearance  here and learn more about Monday Night Marshstream on the Marsh Website.

Amy’s solo feature will be a 30 minute performance combining NEW excerpts from two of the playwright’s award-winning original one-woman musicals, "Passageways: Songs of Connection, Abnormal & Sublime" and her first Broadway World-nominated "Best Theatre Debut" work, "Gutless & Grateful." Join her for a whirlwind of songs she has written, composed and performed nationwide, with a story of resilience, beating the odds, and finding joy.

Where can we find hope, creativity, and the fuel to move forward when the world feels at a standstill? Amy Oestreicher uses her original songs, stories, mixed media artwork and humor as an unexpected passageway through profound crisis and back home, Amy shares the creativity that unexpectedly stemmed from the “detours” of autobiographical trauma, and led her back into the light. Taking audiences on a journey of discovery in an extraordinary coming of age story, Amy answers the question “can find the beauty in the wonder of life, as well as the riddles that stump us?” with an emphatic “YES.” 

Join and learn more about the event here.

Amy’s performance will be performed live this Monday, July 13th at 10:30pm EST. Be sure to log in at 10:00pm EST to reserve your spot.

Amy Oestreicher is an Audie award-nominated playwright, performer, and multidisciplinary creator. A singer, librettist, and visual artist, she dedicates her work to celebrating untold stories, and the detours in life that can spark connection and transform communities. As a PTSD Specialist, Huffington Post columnist, international keynote speaker, RAINN representative, and disability advocate. She has given three TEDx Talks on transforming trauma through creativity, has shared her story on NBC, CBS, ABC, and contributed to over 70 publications as a media expert and PTSD Specialist. Her "LoveMyDetour"  programs part of the National Initiative for Arts and Health in the Military. Amy has toured her musical, Gutless & Grateful, to over 200 venues from 54 Below to Barrington Stage Company since its 2012 NYC debut, and premiered her multimedia musical, Passageways (original lyrics, music, book and mixed media artwork) at HERE Arts Center with the release of her memoir, My Beautiful Detour: An Unthinkable Journey from Gutless to Grateful. Learn more at www.amyoes.com.

General Show Information

ZOOM ROOM LINK: https://zoom.us/j/852882152
10:00pm EST Zoom Studio Audience opens
10:30EST Live MarshStream Program starts

Q&A with Audience after the performances
Please head over to our YouTube channel
for additional live viewing.

Learn more at https://themarsh.org/runs/mnmarshstream/

And join the Facebook event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/2773729609398217/

Monday Night MarshStream | 6-1 | Amy Oestreicher

kerry@ducey.org (Kerry Anne Ducey) Events Tue, 07 Jul 2020 05:00:13 -0400
Westport Farmers’ Market Returns to In-Person Shopping w/ Limitations https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/places/46796-westport-farmers-market-returns-to-in-person-shopping-w-limitations46796-westport-farmers-market-returns-to-in-person-shopping-w-limitations https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/places/46796-westport-farmers-market-returns-to-in-person-shopping-w-limitations46796-westport-farmers-market-returns-to-in-person-shopping-w-limitations

Westport, CT - After careful consideration and due diligence through state and local officials, the Westport Farmers’ Market will open this Thursday, July 9 for in-person shopping. During the hours of 10am – 2pm in the 50 Imperial Avenue location, you can find your beloved farmers, bakers, cheese mongers and more.

WFM will take the following actions to ensure safe shopping for all: require masks to be worn at all times, single direction traffic while shopping (one way in and one way out), hand sanitizer stations, social distancing and lots of fresh air.

During WFM’s in-person shopping, the air will fill with tunes from local musicians and WFM swag will be available for purchase.

For shoppers that feel safer in the previous "pre-order touch-free selected time slot pick-up" model, not to worry, WFM has kept this up and running. Each week, from 9-10am, a select number of slots will be available for this model. Details can be found at www.westportfarmersmarket.com

“We realize that healthy food is one of the best ways to heal your body and keep your immune system strong. Our immune-compromised shoppers need safe access to our product and we are committed to bringing it to them while allowing others to participate in the day-of model," said Lori Cochran, Executive Director. “Ultimately, we think with a little extra work, we can host both options – do it all, if you will.” 

About the Westport Farmers’ Market

The Westport Farmers’ Market is committed to providing fresh, local, healthy and seasonal food. It aspires to create a fun, safe, and healthy community environment for education and socialization. Its mission is to increase awareness, knowledge, and support for local producers focused on sustainable and healthy growing practices.

For more information about the Who Grows Your Food campaign, visit https://www.westportfarmersmarket.com, or email director@westportfarmersmarket.com. For information about the new online pilot farmers’ market and delivery system, visit https://www.westportfarmersmarket.com/order/.

The Westport Farmers’ Market receives philanthropic support from: Aitoro, Boxcar Cantina; Cohen and Wolf; CTBites; Doc’s Maple; Eileen Fisher; Farah’s Farm; Fleishers; Fresh Direct; Gault; Gilbertie’s Herbs & Garden Center; Jesup Hall; Neat Capital; Newman’s Own Foundation; Saugatuck Rowing Club; Sugar & Olives; Westport Sunrise Rotary; Terrain; Wave Hill Breads; and Wells Hill Farm.

Find WFM on FB, Instagram, and Twitter, too.

kerry@ducey.org (WFM) Places Tue, 07 Jul 2020 04:49:31 -0400
Chowdafest Announces Clambake to Go on July 26 https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/events/46794-chowdafest-announces-clambake-to-go-on-july-2646794-chowdafest-announces-clambake-to-go-on-july-26 https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/events/46794-chowdafest-announces-clambake-to-go-on-july-2646794-chowdafest-announces-clambake-to-go-on-july-26

The New England Chowdafest is proud to announce they will be holding another “Clambake to Go” effort on Sunday, July 26th.

“We are beyond surprised on how well our Taste of Summer effort went,” said Jim Keenan from Chowdafest. “The number of emails and texts surpassed even our wildest expectations and so many have asked for us to do it again. We really can't believe how happy everyone was about our “Clambake to Go” effort. It really gave them the taste of summer we've all been missing”.

Each clambake includes a meaty and banded 1.5 lb lobster, clams, mussels, sausage, potatoes and corn on the cob plus it comes all in one pot that the customer gets to keep. Cooking is easy and quick as you just add either water, beer or wine to each pot which takes between just 20 and 40 minutes to steam depending on how many clambakes you order.

“Clambakes To Go” can only be picked up in Westport CT at The Westport Hub on Sunday, July 26th during available pick-up times chosen by the customer, same as last time. Dinners are still just $42 each and only available online at www.ClambakeToGo.com up until the cut off date of Thursday, July 23rd. “Given the unbelievable response to our last effort and how much people enjoyed the clambakes, we might sell out so the best thing to do is order early. It's such an easy and delicious way to experience summer especially given the pandemic”

Customers are recommended to bring a cooler if they have one, to help keep their clambakes cool until they cook them later in the day. They are also reminded to bring their ticket so they can be quickly scanned and their order brought to their car.

While, supplies last, this effort includes two Summer Ales with each meal, compliments of both Sam Adams and The Blind Rhino Restaurant in Black Rock. This way you can either cook with them or toast someone with them. The folks at Polar Beverages are anxious to provide everyone with a new slim can of one of their summertime flavored seltzers as well. Adding another sweet benefit to ordering early is Cabot's Creamery will again, provide their delicious butter for your lobster, clams, mussels, potatoes and corn of the cob that comes in your clambake. Of course, you'll still receive your lobster bibs, wet naps and “Shuckneer” lobster tool.

For additional information about this “Taste of Summer 2” effort by Chowdafest please visit www.ClamBakeToGo.com or visit www.Chowdafest.org.

The Taste of Summer brought to you by Chowdafest and is sponsored by Cabot Creamery, CCO Habitats, Copp's Island Oysters, Polar Beverages, Sam Adams, The Blind Rhino and The Westport Hub.


kerry@ducey.org (Jim Keenan) Events Mon, 06 Jul 2020 10:32:42 -0400
SHU Intros Virtual Theater as Reno on Track for Fall Opening https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/places/46793-shu-intros-virtual-theater-as-reno-on-track-for-fall-opening46793-shu-intros-virtual-theater-as-reno-on-track-for-fall-opening https://news.hamlethub.com/westport/places/46793-shu-intros-virtual-theater-as-reno-on-track-for-fall-opening46793-shu-intros-virtual-theater-as-reno-on-track-for-fall-opening

FAIRFIELD, Conn.—Sacred Heart University has reaffirmed that the renovation of the landmark, century-old community theater is continuing apace to meet the original goal of opening this fall, despite current challenges of the coronavirus crisis. And, in the meantime, SHU is whetting theater-lovers’ appetites with a steady stream of free online content.

The theater’s restoration includes installation of a new marquee that will replicate the iconic style of the original, beloved fixture in the heart of downtown Fairfield.

“While the implications of the pandemic have challenged everyone, we’re even more committed to fulfill our promise to bring great film, performing arts and educational events back to the town square,” says Bill Harris, director of the new SHU Community Theater. “In fact, we’re advancing our community outreach and engagement efforts even before we officially open the doors, with the launch of a new SHU Community Virtual Theater online, with free, exclusive SHU programming all summer.” (https://shucommunitytheater.org/)

With a wide collection of independent films, educational content and special live events that will be part of the regular theater schedule, the new SHU Virtual Theater will serve as an ongoing digital streaming service to promote events and engage audiences everywhere.

“We have some great movies of all kinds that you can’t see anywhere else. Many come from independent filmmakers and studios, including those from the new Fairfield Film Festival and other cinema programs from SHU’s film masters and media communications departments. And, of course, we will offer classic and new films. There will be theater arts performances, live music, comedy, animation, children’s activities and community events. We even have a virtual magic act and fireworks for the Fourth of July,” says Harris. “We are excited to give everyone a sneak peek over the next few months, and we hope people will get even more involved as we’re completing construction and getting ready to unveil and light up the new marquee and open our doors again.”

Shuttered for nearly 10 years, the theater was purchased by Kleban Properties, a real estate development company headquartered in Fairfield, which is overseeing restoration of the historic venue on the Post Road. Sacred Heart has leased the theater and will operate it as an independent, nonprofit business. The original theater first opened in the 1920s, in the aftermath of the last great global pandemic, and many in the community hope the venue’s rebirth at this time will mark downtown Fairfield’s broad reopening.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled to partner with Sacred Heart to save and restore this incredible historic centerpiece to our town, especially at this time” says Al Kleban, chairman of Kleban Properties. “I, like many residents, can’t wait until we’re safely past these current health-care concerns, so we can all go out for a night on the town, do a little shopping, have bite to eat and take in a great movie or live show at the new SHU Community Theater.”

A full list of new events and programs available to stream online will be updated weekly, and visitors can sign up for more updates and membership information, which also can be found on the SHU Community Theater Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/SHUCommunityTheater/


About Sacred Heart University

As the second-largest independent Catholic university in New England, and one of the fastest-growing in the U.S., Sacred Heart University is a national leader in shaping higher education for the 21st century. SHU offers more than 80 undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and certificate programs on its Fairfield, Conn., campus. Sacred Heart also has satellites in Connecticut, Luxembourg and Ireland and offers online programs. More than 9,000 students attend the University’s nine colleges and schools: Arts & Sciences; Communication, Media & the Arts; Social Work; Computer Science & Engineering; Health Professions; the Isabelle Farrington College of Education; the Jack Welch College of Business & Technology; the Dr. Susan L. Davis & Richard J. Henley College of Nursing; and St. Vincent’s College. Sacred Heart stands out from other Catholic institutions as it was established and led by laity. The contemporary Catholic university is rooted in the rich Catholic intellectual tradition and the liberal arts, and at the same time cultivates students to be forward thinkers who enact change—in their own lives, professions and in their communities. The Princeton Review includes SHU in its Best 385 Colleges–2020 Edition, “Best in the Northeast” and Best 252 Business Schools–2019 Edition. Sacred Heart is home to the award-winning, NPR-affiliated radio station, WSHU, a Division I athletics program and an impressive performing arts program that includes choir, band, dance and theater. www.sacredheart.edu

kerry@ducey.org (Kim Swartz) Places Thu, 02 Jul 2020 13:43:26 -0400