WestportReads, the community reading project organized by the Westport Public Library, has selected “I Was Amelia Earhart,” a novel by Jane Mendelsohn as its theme book for 2012.
A series of programs by the library centered on the famed aviator, whose disappearance over the Pacific in 1937 as she attempted to complete around-the-world journey, including a Jan. 11 lecture by Mendelsohn. Her book imagines how Earhart’s life — and the continuing fascination with her disappearance — might have been explained by the aviator herself.
Here’s how the library describes the book: “In this lyrical novel, Amelia Earhart returns to life to tell about her childhood, her marriage, her public life, and her eventual fate. She and her navigator find themselves marooned on a tiny island and lost to the world. Neither of them knew Morse code, so they had left their telegraph code key transmitter behind. Earhart had also lost the trailing antenna for her direction finder.
“Investigator Ric Gillespie’s claim to have found evidence that Earhart and her navigator Noonan had landed on an island called Nikumaroro 350 miles south of their intended destination inspired Jane Mendelsohn to write the book.”
In addition to Mendelsohn’s January lecture, the library plans a series of events — films, discussions, appearances by other writers and even an XBox flight simulation for teens — all related to Earhart, aviation and flight during January. Find the complete list HERE.
On the first day of December, Christmas gets an official welcome in downtown Westport.
After last year’s dustup over whether the town had an “official” tree and whereabouts it could be found, First Selectman Gordon Joseloff apparently intends to cast away any doubts by declaring that Town Hall this year will host a Christmas tree, which will be illuminated in a ceremony at 4:30 p.m. Thursday.
“We invite all residents to join us on the front lawn of Town Hall to help light the tree and start the holiday season,” Joseloff said in a statement.
After the tree-lighting ceremony, the Westport Historical Society will offer celebrants hot cocoa on its porch, 25 Avery Place, overlooking Veterans Green.
And there’s more.
Between 5 and 7:30 p.m., the Westport Downtown Merchants Association invites people to the Christ and Holy Trinity Church’s Great Hall for a celebration with music by Chris Coogan and the Staples High School Orphenians.
Also part of the promised fun: an ice sculpture demonstration, food from Oscar’s Deli and Bobby Q’s restaurant, “special holiday cheer” from Blue Lemon restaurant, treats for kids, a fire pit from Gault Energy and a visit from Santa.
Flames ravage Saugatuck Congregational Church in Westport Sunday night. Photo: Cathy Zuraw, Westport News
In the wake of the devastating fire that struck the Saugatuck Congregational Church on Sunday night, many people are asking how to help that congregation, which has set the standard for a socially aware and involved congregation in town.
The United Church of Christ of Connecticut has set up a way to make donations online for the Westport church’s repairs and recovery.
The link is HERE and the Saugatuck CC Fire Fund is the fourth in the list.
It’s Westport’s very own lottery. And Town Clerk Patricia Strauss is in charge.
This so-called lottery is not about cash riches but electoral accuracy, as Strauss and her staff today (Monday, Nov. 21) will randomly three offices from Voting Districts 8 and 9 from the Nov. 8 election ballot for a mandatory optical-scan voting machine audit of the balloting that day. The lottery rolls at 10 a.m. in Room 105 of Town Hall.
An audit of the voting tallies in those two districts will then take place at 10 a.m. next Monday, Nov, 28, in Room 201 of Town Hall.
Leaving no leaf unturned — as well as unraked — the town’s Department of Public Works reminds local property owners that fall leaf collections continue through Dec. 4.
Any leaves placed at curbside in biodegradable paper bags until then will be collected by DPW crews. Leaves placed in plastic bags will not be picked up because they cannot be composted.
People living on private roads must place bagged leaves at an intersecting town street.
A DPW crew will pick up throughout the entire town several times during the collection period. A final pass will be initiated Dec. 5, and any properly bagged leaves put out before that date will be collected, according to an announcement from the DPW.
People whose vehicles display a valid WP sticker may drop off leaves at the town’s yard waste site at 180 Bayberry Lane. Leaves brought there in plastic bags must be emptied prior to disposal. The yard waste site is open Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and from 7 a.m. to noon Saturday. However, through Dec. 3, the facility’s Saturday hours are extended until 3 p.m.
Those with the valid stickers can drop off up to six 30-gallon bags or containers full of leaves without a fee. A van, pickup or tag-along trailer exceeding the six-bag limit will be charged $30 per load. Any vehicle or trailer larger than a conventional pickup with a 4-by-8-foot bed will be charged $80 per ton. Vehicles with a 9-foot body or vehicles changed to significantly enlarge their factory design size will be charged $80 per ton estimated at 2-ton without weigh slip ($160)
Dump tickets to cover the cost of the disposal fee must be purchased at Town Hall, Monday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. or by mail by writing to Westport Department of Public Works, 110 Myrtle Ave., Westport, CT 06880.
’Tis the season, and the annual holiday giving program sponsored by Westport’s Department of Human Services is under way.
“Over the years, the generosity of volunteer donors has made the holidays brighter for hundreds of children, families and seniors in our town,” Barbara Butler said in a release announcing the start of the yearly program. “Foreclosures, layoffs and reduced work hours have hit our community just as they have so many others, so the need for voluntary contributions to help our own neighbors continues to be significant.”
Following income guidelines established for eligibility in the Westport Warm-Up Fund, the Human Services Department serves as a facilitator for the program. The confidentiality of both donors and recipients is protected.
“Donations at any level will be greatly appreciated and could range from helping to fill the gift choices of a small child to sponsorship of an entire family,” Butler said in the statement. “Some of the most appreciated donations are gift cards for food, gas and discount department stores. In addition tax-deductible contributions are gratefully accepted as they allow fulfillment of last-minute requests.”
People who feel they will need support from the program during the holiday season should also contact the Department of Human Services at 203-341-1069 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Individuals and organizations who wish to donate should also contact the department at 203-341-1069 or email@example.com.
Veterans Day ceremonies in Westport will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, Nov. 11, in the Town Hall auditorium.
The Westport Community Band, the Westport Police Department Honor Guard, members of the Joseph J. Clinton Post 399 Veterans of Foreign Wars, representatives of the Ladies Auxiliary Post 399, and members of the August Mathias Post 63 American Legion will participate in the ceremonies, according to Westport Veterans Council President William Vornkahl.
Staples High School senior Taylor McNair is the event’s main speaker.
Town Hall offices will be closed in observance of Veterans Day. The Board of Education offices, however, will be open.
This is a test.
REPEAT … This is only a test.
Today (Wednesday, Nov. 9), all television and radio stations across the nation will be part of FEMA’s first inclusive test of the Emergency Alert System for media outlets, including cable and satellite broadcasters.
The test will take place at 2 p.m. and should last 30 seconds.
It is designed to test the presidential alert system, whereby the president could address the nation via all electronic media in the event of a real national emergency or disaster. It is the first time FEMA has activated the presidential alert code, which should override all other programming.