Tennis courts

Overview: Tennis courts, Stephen Wilkes, Monarchs…

A reader writes:

I am furious with this community.

My daughter and I played tennis on Wednesday at Staples High School. I was disgusted to see all the garbage left on the grounds. The same trash can I saw 2 days before had grown in size.

In addition to empty water bottles and tennis cans, there were about 8 of these sharp and dangerous metal seals. My daughter and I cleaned up the mess.

I don’t understand why people can’t clean up after themselves. They think it’s okay to leave their trash behind. There is a green receptacle on the ground and a trash can just outside the fence.

Why is it so difficult? Go on. Let’s all enjoy this public space together!

Mess at Staples Tennis Courts.

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World-renowned (and Westport) photographer Stephen Wilkes is featured in a new Westport Library exhibit.

Encompassing all 3 galleries, the exhibition will explore how his visualization of the concept of time has evolved since the early days of his career, through his latest series “Day to Night” and “Tapestries”.

The exhibition opens on September 8.

The program will be preceded by a reception with the photographer at 6:15 p.m., followed by a Q&A in the Forum, with Stacy Bass.

The show runs until November 29.

“Flatiron 2010” (Photo/Stephen Wilkes)

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Longtime Weston resident Bill Rother – a well-known musician and travel agency executive – died Aug. 1 at his beloved Kettle Creek camp in the mountains of Pennsylvania, surrounded by his family. He was 89 years old.

A seasoned athlete, Bill was captain of his high school swim and crew teams. He continued to swim throughout his life, winning dozens of medals at the Senior Olympics. Bill swam his age in laps on his birthday – turning 89 this year.

He earned his bachelor’s degree in forestry from Penn State University in 1955 and remained a lifelong Nittany Lion supporter. Although he had never worked in the field, Bill enjoyed asking his grandchildren about the Latin names of trees in the woods.

He served as an Army Second Lieutenant in the Reserve Officer Training Corps at Penn State, then First Lieutenant and Platoon Leader with the Combat Engineers at Fort Bragg, North Carolina with the 82nd Airborne Division .

He had been a musician since his early days, working his way through college playing banjo with a Dixieland band, The Sadistic Six. This led to working as a professional musician with Fred Waring & the Pennsylvanians. He traveled the world with the band, performing on live television with stars like Perry Como, Jackie Gleason and Garry Moore, and appearing on “The Ed Sullivan Show” just before The Beatles.

Bill’s highlights were playing at the White House and meeting a President (Eisenhower), a Queen (Elizabeth) and a King (Elvis).

Bill’s next foray into Hollywood was an attempt to produce his own London TV show about a race car driver called “Knights of the Road”. Despite a year of hard work, even hiring a depressed actor who saw future success (Peter O’Toole), they ran out of money and Bill returned to Los Angeles penniless.

He saw an ad in the LA Times: “Tour Director to lead luxury groups in Hawaii.” He was quickly hired by the company Ask Mr. Foster. Within days, they bought Bill a tuxedo and sent him to work on the SS Lurline cruise ship, chatting with the likes of Lloyd Bridges as he traveled to Hawaii.

After several years in the travel industry, Bill came in contact with his close friend, Arthur Tauck, who hired him as a tour manager with his main travel agency, Tauck Tours. It’s a career he’s had for over 30 years.

His proudest accomplishment was setting up Tauck’s first Hawaii itinerary, fulfilling the dream of living in the islands. Bill couldn’t believe he had been paid to travel the world and live at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel.

Bill married the love of his life, Bonnie Marie Orton, in 1969 in Kauai. Their honeymoon included adventures in Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti and Bora Bora. Bill and Bonnie raised a daughter, Samantha Carrie Maile Lou Li’i Li’i Rother Nagy, whom Bill called “the light of my life.”

In Weston, Bill befriended José Feliciano. He became the singer’s tour manager and performed with him locally.

Bill was predeceased by his brother Bobby. He is survived by his wife Bonnie, his daughter Samantha, his son-in-law Christopher and his grandsons William James and Luke Robert Nagy.

A Celebration of Life Service will be held in September at Westport Unitarian Church, on a date to be determined.

Instead of flowers, his family says: be nice, laugh, play music, love big, drink good beer and live a good life.

Bill Rother


Longtime Westporter Jo Ann Miller has a question: Should kids and teens call adults by their first names?

She comes from a military family, where that was a no-no. But she’s seen and heard it around Westport.

Jo Ann wonders: does the trend show a lack of respect? Or is it just a new way of raising children?

She would love to hear readers’ thoughts. Click “Comments” below.

Back then, children didn’t call their parents — or their parents’ friends — by their first names.

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The Wakeman Town Farm Lecture Garden Series continues August 29 (6:30 p.m.). Master Gardener Alice Ely talks about growing Milkwood and breeding monarch butterflies.

Monarchs have recently suffered a huge loss of habitat. Alice will describe ways to attract egg-laying monarchs to gardens, raise hungry caterpillar eggs, and tips on growing a variety of milkweed species to help them thrive.

Click here for more information and tickets.

Monarch butterfly and milkweed.

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Season 2 of “Kids are Talking” was a great success.

Weston’s producer Michael Bud brought in new moderators for each episode. Among them: State Senator Will Haskell, who inspired a teenager to get involved in politics; a professor of “conspiracy rhetoric” who spoke about the JFK assassination and the lizard people; a Yale professor who discussed sleep patterns and moods; a boundary expert, and last night, teen leaders from a suicide prevention organization.

Click here for past episodes and more information.

Last night’s “Kids are Talking” episode.

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Westport Library has added film noir to Miggs Burroughs and Ann Chernow’s exhibit, ‘Double Indemnity’.

“Mildred Pierce” will be shown on the big screen at the Trefz Forum on August 25 (7 p.m.).

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Today’s “Westport…Naturally” features succulent tomatoes from Tom Cook’s community garden plot.

(Photo/Tom Cook)

Your premium may not look like this. But there are plenty of produce available today at the Westport Farmers Market. It runs until 2 p.m., in the Imperial Avenue parking lot.

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And finally… Judith Durham, whose beautiful voice helped make The Seekers Australia’s first successful pop group during the British invasion, died today in Melbourne. She was 79 years old and suffered from a lifelong lung disease.

“Georgy Girl” was the Seekers’ biggest hit. I didn’t like that one, but I liked a lot of their other songs – the well known ones and some less famous ones. Australians considered them a treasure, and they were right. Click here for a full obituary.

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