Bairaktaris gets state citation for community contributions

Jaime Bairaktaris, a Staples High School senior, has been presented a Certificate of Recognition from the Secretary of the State and the Connecticut Citizenship Fund. The citation recognizes high school students who “have gone above and beyond to make a difference in their community,” according to the announcement.

Staples High School was asked to nominate one student, and Bairaktaris was selected because of his “kindness, his hard work and his consistent dedication to service in Westport,” according to school officials’ announcement.

He volunteers as an emergency medical technician for Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Services and serves on its board of directors. He also works at Earthplace, where he is an assistant teacher, supervises counselors in training and manages the front desk. He contributes photographs to WestportNow, and was nominated to serve on Westport’s Youth Commission. He has also volunteered in the past as a Police Explorer with the Fairfield Police Department.

Bairaktaris previously received the Presidential Volunteer Service Award for 2014 and 2015, the Good Citizen Award from the Daughters of the Revolution, and the Westport Sunrise Rotary Club’s Service Above Self Student of the Month award.

Bedford Middle, Staples newspapers win honors

Student journalists at two Westport schools recently won top honors from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association.

Bedford Middle School's student newspaper, Ursus, was awarded a Gold Crown Award, the highest honor presented annually in Columbia’s student journalism contest. It is nation’s largest and longest-running scholastic press contest, with newspapers and yearbooks entered from nearly 2,000 schools.

Recognition for Bedford’s paper represents one of only two Gold Crowns awarded nationally for middle school newspapers.

The Staples’ newspaper, Inklings, was presented a Silver Crown in the high school division, which the paper has been awarded each year since 2010.

"Westport has a long, wonderful tradition of valuing journalism and the press. I'm glad the kids have added their work and this award to that tradition," Stephen Rexford, the teacher-adviser to Ursus, said in the announcement of the honors.

‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ at Bedford Middle School

“Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” will be performed this weekend by students at Bedford Middle School, 88 North Ave.

The fantastical children’s story will be performed by the Bedford troupe at 7 p.m. today, 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday.

Buy tickets online at or at the door. Call 203-341-1567.


St. Baldrick’s event at Westport Weston Family Y

The annual St. Baldrick’s fundraising event for pediatric cancer research, sponsored by Team Brent, will take place Sunday.

The head-shaving fundraiser is set from noon to 2 p.m. at Westport Weston Family YMCA, 14 Allen Raymond Lane.

This marks the 12th year that a St. Baldrick’s head-shaving event has been sponsored by Team Brent, established by Southport residents Dana and Mike McCreesh after their 3-year-old son Brent was diagnosed with stage-four neuroblastoma. Today, Brent is 13 years old and has beaten the 20 percent odds of five-year survival generally given people with his diagnosis, according to event organizers.

The national St. Baldrick’s Foundation since its founding in 2000 has funded more than $178 million in research grants, according to publicity for the event.

To register or learn more about the event, visit and search for the Westport event under the “Our Community/Events” listing. Also, contact Dana McCreesh (

Singer to perform Saturday at senior center

Richard "Cookie" Thomas will perform Saturday at 12:30 p.m. in the Westport Center for Senior Activities, 21 Imperial Ave.

Cost is $8 per person; register in advance.

Thomas, who began his career in Philadelphia in 1960 when he opened for B.B. King at the age of 14, performs standards made famous by the likes of Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra.

A lunch of balsamic glazed chicken, brown rice, spinach and lemon pudding will also be served.

Call 203-341-5099 or visit

Fire gear purchased with half-marathon donation

Proceeds from the annual Fairfield Half Marathon, part of which is routed through Westport, have been donated to the Fire Department to help purchase new equipment.

Funds helped the department to buy 1.75-inch hose and nozzles for all fire apparatus, local fire officials said. The new equipment is larger than the 1.5-inch hose and nozzles previously in service.

The new equipment, whose implementation is being overseen by fire Lt. Jeff Gootman, is designed to improve water flow from attack lines and enhance firefighting ability. Firefighters have been training in the use of the new equipment.

Officials noted that with larger homes built in town over the last decade or so, increased water flow is needed to help extinguish fires in such structures, which is facilitated by the new hoses and nozzles.

Honors for Westport Historical Society

The Westport Historical Society has been awarded three bronze-level certificates from the American Association for State and Local History for participation in the STEPS program.

The program is a self-study, two-year training program that encourages awareness and achievement of national standards for history organizations. The Westport Historical Society received awards in the areas of Management, Audience and Mission, and Vision and Governance.

"This program is a wonderful opportunity for WHS to grow and expand, with access to resources and a team of professionals. Monthly meetings allow for on-going conversations with other history organizations experiencing the same challenges we face." Susan Gold, the historical society’s executive director, said in a statement announcing the awards.

For more information, visit