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‘First Light’ Set to Ring in New Year

Westport’s second annual First Light Festival, a family event launched last year to fill the void with the end of First Night, is set for Tuesday starting at 5 p.m., with around-town New Year’s Eve activities, the Westport Museum for History and Culture announced.

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Admission buttons are $10 online and $15 at the museum’s door, with no charge for children two years old and under, museum officials said.

Events include: games and showing episodes of the TV show “The Office” at Toquet hall from 5 to 6:30 p.m.; bingo at Christ & Holy Trinity’s Branson Hall from 5 to 7 p.m.; face painting at the museum and carriage rides offered there from 5 to 9 p.m.; plus a warming bonfire at Veterans Green from 5 to 9 p.m.

Other events include all evening popcorn and hot chocolate and short films at the museum, ballroom dancing with Fred Astaire Dance Studio at Branson Hall from 7 to 9 p.m. and all evening stargazing with the Westport Astronomy Club at Veterans Green.

Istanbul to Compo: First Beach Visit

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Merlin, rescued from a shelter in Istanbul, made his first beach visit Saturday at Compo Beach with owners Tom and Alison Sherman of Norwalk. They found the almost 2-year-old online through a U.S. rescue group and immediately fell in love. “He is sweet and loving, there is a lot he doesn’t know, but he’s learning,” said Alison. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) J.C. Martin for WestportNow.com

Saturday, Dec. 28, 2019


10 a.m. – 2 p.m. – Gilbertie’s (7 Sylvan Lane) – Westport Winter Farmers Market
11 a.m. – 4 p.m. – Westport Museum for History and Culture – “Becoming Westport”
12:30 p.m. – Westport Senior Center – Holiday Film Classic: “The Bells of St. Mary’s”
2 p.m. – Westport Library – Family New Year’s Craft

See more events: Celebrate Westport Calendar

2019: A Year of Not Backing Down

By James Lomuscio

If anything, Westport and its people showcased their time-honored reputation for grit and perseverance in 2019.

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Their tenacity oftentimes seemed against the wind on myriad issues from schools to environmental concerns to affordable housing to bids for elected office — to even fighting a cellphone ticket.

Whether it was the continual debate about the $32 million renovation of Coleytown Middle School (CMS) scheduled to open in August 2020, Summit Saugatuck’s seventh try for a housing complex, banning plastic straws and Styrofoam to finally getting the Westport Library to be what the townspeople wanted, not backing down seemed de rigueur.

What makes up Westport’s indefatigable doggedness?

Arthur L. Singer, Jr., Public TV Pioneer, 90

UPDATE Arthur L. Singer Jr., who became an unheralded father of public television in the late 1960s after commercial networks were famously accused of broadcasting a “vast wasteland” of programs, died Dec. 24 at his Westport home, The New York TImes reported. He was 90.

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Arthur Singer: promoted public TV. Fabian Bachrach photo

His death was confirmed by his son Charles, the newspaper said.

In a note to WestportNow, Charles Singer said his father was a Westport resident for 50 years —first, for two years in Greens Farms and then for about 48 years on Owenoke Park near Compo Beach. In Westport, he served on the board of the United Fund, the Committee for Administrative Restructuring of the School System, and chairman of task forces to ensure community participation in the 1975 revision of the Town Plan, Charles Singer said.

“In the formative years of government- and subscriber-funded public television and radio, Mr. Singer was said to have been instrumental in galvanizing federal officials, philanthropies and academics to seed the public airwaves with quality programming and to finance future development,” the TImes said.

See full obituary HERE.

Carl Stitzer, 92

Carl Stitzer of Westport, a former Board of Finance chair, died Dec. 27 at Norwalk Hospital. He was 92.

He was born in Bronx, New York, a son of the late Morris and Anna Stitzer. Carl worked for The New York Times Magazine Group for many years.

He proudly served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. He was an avid tennis player, and continued playing even after his 90th birthday. He was a member of the Y’s Men.

He is survived by his children Alan Stitzer (Jill), David Stitzer, and Jan Harvey (Werner), his grandchildren Logan, Jason, Dylan, Chaim Shmuel, Yaakov Tzvi, Moshe Naftali, and Chana Shira, and his great-grandchildren Esther Bracha, Ahuva Yaffa Malka, Moshe Daniel, and Mordechai Binyomin. He was predeceased by his wife Rita Stitzer this past September, his brother Howard and his great-granddaughter Chava.