Four Staples High School seniors have been named finalists in the 2018 National Merit Scholarship Program. As Merit Scholar finalists, Nicole Arellano, Jessica Xu, Marshall Heiser and Leya Luo all have a chance to earn one of 7,500 National Merit Scholarship awards, together worth more than $35 million.

Final scholarship winners, chosen from a group of more than 16,000 finalists, may be notified by NMSC as early as March. Merit Scholar designees are selected on the basis of their skills, accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies, without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin, or religious preference.

To become a finalist, these students met the following criteria: have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by the school principal, and earn SAT scores that confirm the student’s earlier qualifying test performance. They also had to submit a detailed scholarship application, which included an essay by the student essay and information about their participation and leadership in school and community activities.

A Greens Farms Academy student was also named a finalist.

Painter, volleyball player, rock-climber, adaptive ski-instructor, and first Greens Farms Academy girl to graduate with a concentration in STEAM, senior Kendall Roche has many achievements to her name.

The Darien resident is still deciding where she wants to go to college but plans to major in biology.

While it was Michael O’Hara, of Norwalk, who took home the Best In Show award at the Rowayton Arts Center’s spring juried art show, seven Westport residents were also recognized.

Over 80 pieces were chosen from almost 250 submissions.

Kimberly Henrikson, the interim executive director of the Center for Contemporary Printmaking in Norwalk, judged the exhibition and Andrea Letters, of Rowayton, and Kathleen Weinstock, of Darien, were the chairmen for the exhibition.

Westport’s Beatrice del Perugia took first place with her watercolor “NYC Crosswalk.” Joann Davidson placed second with “Orange,” while Susan Spivack’s “Lightness of Beings” and Wendy DeMaiorebus Pieper’s “Two Views” both earned honorable mention in the watercolors category.

Robert Baxter’s “Interior with Figures” earned him first place in the oils category.

In the drawings, pastels, prints category, Dan Long took second place for “Rugs on a Wood Floor” and Julia Byrne took third for “Portrait 1.”

Artists from the spring juried show will talk about their work and inspiration March 14. The event, from 6:30 to 8 p.m., is free and open to the public.

Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and the exhibition will be on view until March 31.

Westport’s Jed Ferdinand, a senior managing partner and founder of Ferdinand IP, has been named adjunct professor at Fordham Law School, teaching an “Advanced Entrepreneurship and IP” course. With over 20 years practicing law, Ferdinand took on this role to give students practical knowledge that will aid in the advancement of their future careers.

The course covers intellectual property issues that arise as start-up companies grow and commercialize products. It is meant to give students practical exposure to the transactions and documents themselves through four exercises in which students act in real world roles to review, markup and/or draft actual agreements. Topics covered include acquisition of intellectual property, licensing and assignment transactions, valuation of intellectual property, antitrust, security interests and bankruptcy and exit issues arising in M&A transactions and IPO’s.

An accomplished trial attorney, Ferdinand has litigated cases involving intellectual property and general commercial matters in federal trial and appellate courts throughout the United States and before international arbitration panels.

During his career, Ferdinand has worked with celebrities, famous brands and some of the largest companies in the world, including Pepsi, John Deere, MGA Entertainment, Oprah Winfrey, Jessica Simpson, Sylvester Stallone and Vince Camuto.

Ferdinand IP recently relocated to 1221 Post Road East, Suite 302.Seeking donations

On Saturday, the Westport Winter Farmers Market will close up shop for the season with a special request: market attendees are asked to bring food and other items to help residents of the Bridgeport Rescue Mission.

Residents are in most need of healthy soups, peanut butter, jam, tuna, prepared foods, spaghetti sauce, other canned items, and men’s briefs.

Closing out another successful winter market by giving back to the Westport and surrounding community is integral to the mission of the Westport Farmers’ Market. In addition to providing fresh, local, healthful, and seasonal food to the community, WFM promotes education about local food, local farms, sustainable growing practices, and responsibility to people in need.

The WFM end-of-season market and celebration will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Gilbertie’s Herbs and Garden Center, 7 Sylvan Lane.

For more information, visit westportfarmersmarket.com or email director@westportfarmersmarket.com.

The Westport Woman’s Club is now accepting proposals for its annual $5,000 Ruegg Grant. Local nonprofit organizations are invited to submit their proposals for projects that will make a meaningful difference in our community.

This grant, established in 1995 by an endowment left to the club by former member Lea Ruegg, is given each year to a deserving organization in the arts, educational endeavors, and health and safety-related fields. Past beneficiaries include the Westport Astronomical Society, Project Return, Earthplace and Wakeman Town Farm.

Community groups with impactful and meaningful projects for this year should submit their project proposals and relevant financial information by March 15 to the Westport Woman’s Club Ruegg Grant Committee, 44 Imperial Ave., Westport.

The Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce is holding a new event for the town and its residents: the Great Westport Pizza Contest.

The contest, to take place throughout the month of March, will have 14 pizza-making restaurants compete in seven different categories to be crowned Best Pizza Maker in Westport. Judging will be done by town residents by voting online for each category. Furthermore, by voting, each participant is entered into a drawing to win a free pizza from one of the seven winning restaurants.

The 14 restaurants competing across the town are: Angelina’s, Cuatro Hermanos, Joe’s, Jordan’s III, Julian’s Brick Oven, Julian’s Kitchen, Planet Pizza, Rizzuto’s, Romanacci Express, Tarry Lodge, Tuscano’s, Tutti’s, Via Sforza and Westport Pizza.

The seven categories are: Best Slice, Best Personal Pizza, Best Meat Pizza, Best Gluten Free Pizza, Best Veggie Pizza, Best Plain Pizza and Best Delivered Pizza. East restaurant is entered in four.

Residents will have until March 31 to visit all the venues, enjoy the offerings, then go to the Chamber’s Pizza Contest web page to vote. As the community participates throughout the month, the Chamber is encouraging participants to use the hashtag #greatwestportpizza in posts.

Sponsoring the event is Westport law firm Berchem Moses PC.

The winning restaurants will receive a plaque to commemorate their achievement.

For more information and to access the voting pages, go towestportwestonchamber.com/pizza.

Dance shoes in closets around Fairfield County are being brought out for polishing as leaders of the local business community begin the demanding process necessary to compete in ElderHouse Adult Day Center’s annual Dancing with the Stars.

The fifth annual gala benefit is being held March 24 from 6 to 11 p.m., at Rolling Hills Country Club in Wilton.

The gala event showcases seven Fairfield County business representatives, each paired with an award-winning dance professional from Norwalk’s Fred Astaire Dance Studio, who donate their time to practice routines, hone them to perfection, and compete in this exciting and impressive dance competition.

The notable lineup of 2018 dancers representing Fairfield County includes:

Carolyn Donohue-Ulman, assistant to president and director of Trademark Anti-Counterfeit, Dooney & Bourke in Norwalk;

Hank Fatigate, general manager of the Little Pub in Wilton

Eric Ferraris, chief operating officer at Toohner-Ferraris Insurance Group in Wilton;

Nathan Gottlieb, co-owner of All Seasons Marine Works, located in Rowayton and Westport;

Karen Kelly, senior vice-president at First County Bank in Stamford;

Andrea Kostanecki, a realtor at William Pitt Sotheby’s in Rowayton;

Kristin McClutchy, owner of Pure Barre Darien;

Dancing with the Stars Gala Benefit is ElderHouse’s largest annual fundraising event and helps the Norwalk nonprofit to sustain its award-winning program of adult care, socialization, and recreational activities to a senior population living with aging diseases. Funds will be raised through ticket sales, pledges, onsite voting, live auction, and a paddle raise.

For more information on how to donate, make a pledge to a favorite dancer, or for event tickets, contact ElderHouse at 203-847-1998 or visit elderhouse.org/events.

The Westport Department of Human Services reminds seniors the department offers a list of middle and high school students willing to work small outdoor jobs such as raking leaves or shoveling walkways.

There is a suggested fee of $10 per hour.

Seniors needing assistance may contact the department at 203-341-1050.

Students interested in helping a senior and earning extra money can contact the department or email humansrv@westportct.gov. Students already registered for the program are requested to contact the department if they wish to remain on the list. Written permission from a parent or guardian is necessary.

PaintCare, a no-fee paint recycling program, is available to Westport residents at the Westport Transfer Station.

Residents may take advantage of this program by bringing latex paint, oil-based paint, primer, stain, sealer, varnish and shellac (no spray paint) to the Westport Transfer station, 300 Sherwood Island Connector, Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and Saturday from 7 a.m. to noon.

There is no charge for recycling paint at the Transfer Station site for Westport residents, nor are any local tax dollars expended. The program is funded by a PaintCare Fee of 75 cents per gallon, which is added to the purchase price of paint sold in Connecticut. This fee is used to fund all aspects of the PaintCare stewardship program. Collected fees pay for paint collection, transportation, recycling, public outreach and program administration.

The addition of this program to the town’s recycling efforts is expected to reduce annual hazardous waste processing by $3,000 to $4,000 annually.

The paint dropped off at the transfer station is packed into large, plastic-lined boxes and transported to PaintCare’s facility. If possible, the paint is recycled into new paint. If not, it may be turned into fuel or used to make another product.

PaintCare Inc. is a nonprofit organization established by paint manufacturers to plan and operate paint-recycling programs in states that have passed paint stewardship laws. Connecticut is one of only seven states in the country to pass the legislation.

Do you drive on the Merritt Parkway late at night or early in the morning between Fairfield and Westport? Then be prepared for some delays because of a $56.7 million project that won’t be finished until August 2019.

The project will focus on a five-mile stretch of the parkway between the Congress Street bridge in Fairfield to the Newtown Turnpike overpass in Westport.

The project will include new pavement in both the northbound lanes and work on 11 structures related to the historic bridges, built nearly 80 years ago.

There’s also upgrades planned for guiderails, drainage and restoration of the historic bridges. With all this work, lane closures are needed.

Northbound lane closures are planned from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. from Saturday to Wednesday and from 9 p.m. to 8 a.m. on Thursday and Friday.