Pic Of The Day #1621

Last night’s moon over Town Hall (Photo/Tomoko Meth)

Scarice Addresses Allegations Of Antisemitism, Racism

Social media exploded last night, with allegations of antisemitic and racist behavior by Cheshire High School students at last night’s football game against Staples.

Images of an Israeli flag, and charges of racist chants, were shared widely. Host Cheshire defeated the visiting Wreckers in a non-league game, 42-14.

This morning, Westport Superintendent of Schools Thomas Scarice promised to investigate fully, and take action if necessary. At the same time, he urged caution and no rush to judgment, until all the facts are clear.

Scarice said:

“Late last night I was made aware of a number of social media posts alleging antisemitic and racist actions and comments directed towards Staples players and students during the Staples/Cheshire High School football game in Cheshire. I want to assure the community that any allegations such as these are taken with the utmost seriousness.

“I’d like to share some of the steps we’ve already taken. I received a message from the Cheshire Superintendent at 11:40pm last night, and he assured me that the district and Cheshire law enforcement are investigating this matter. We will continue to communicate until we have reached a resolution.

“I have spoken to Stafford Thomas, Staples principal, and Marty Lisevick, Staples athletic director, and they will speak with each and every Staples student or adult who has factual information about this matter.  “First Selectman Jim Marpe and I spoke this morning, and it is confirmed that our police chief, Foti Koskinas, will be in contact  with the Cheshire police chief.

“Perhaps most helpful in addressing this matter is the instant support that I received from the Director of the Connecticut Regional Office of the Anti-Defamation League, Steve Ginsburg. Steve has already spoken with me and Chief Koskinas, and to representatives from Cheshire, including their superintendent and police chief. We are all committed to cooperating, investigating, and addressing this matter.

“This incident was brought to light by some damning images and posts on social media. Given the volatility of social media, I caution all members of the community to take a measured approach in addressing matters such as these. It is necessary for the school administrations, and police departments when necessary, to gather facts before taking punitive action. If we confirm acts of anti-Semitism or race-based hate, we will assertively act. If there are misunderstandings, we will work together to learn from these events.

“Our  school administration will continue its investigation and follow up at the end of the day on Monday. If you were present at the game and have  information of any acts of antisemitism or race-based hate, please contact the Staples administration.”

Roundup: ArtSmart, Smart Students, Horace Lewis …

=======================================================

ArtSmart — a great community program — is back after COVID. It’s “reimagined,” and better than ever.

A joint program between the Westport PTA Council and Westport Library, the project bring arts education and creative arts programming in elementary schools.

The Library provides excellent resources to parents volunteers, to research a variety of artists and styles of expression. Parent volunteers go into classrooms to introduce works of individual artists or styles (street art, murals, cartooning, sculpture, etc.). Students then create their own art.

In the spring, each class exhibits their work. Every elementary school is transformed into an art museum for the night.

This year, 2 vaccinated parent volunteers will be in a class. Outdoor projects are strongly encouraged. Museum Night may have timed admission slots, or be virtual.

Interested elementary school parents can attend a kickoff event on the Library’s river steps this Tuesday (September 28, 10 a.m.). No experience as an artist or teacher is necessary.

A workshop for new volunteers will follow on October 13 (10 a.m.). For more information, email co-chair Danielle Dobin: danielle@apifeni.com.

=======================================================

Help for Horace Lewis — the popular Staples and Coleytown Middle School head custodian who suffered a devastating stroke this summer — continues to pour in.

Tomorrow afternoon (Sunday, September 26, noon to 4 p.m.),OneWestport will hold a bake sale in front of Savvy + Grace on Main Street.

All contributions are welcome. To help without buying delicious baked goods, click here.

Horace Lewis, in a typical pose.

=======================================================

Speaking of Staples: Congratulations to our high school’s 7 National Merit Semifinalists.

Emma Alcyone, Natalie Bandura, Zachary Bishop, Michael Brody, Chloe Nevas, Maxwell Tanksley and Julian Weng are part of the fewer than 1 percent of more than 1.5 million students who took the 2020 PSAT/NMSQT qualifying exam. They’re competing for 7,500 National Merit Scholarships, worth more than $30 million.

From left: Chloe Nevas, Emma Alcyone, Natalie Bandura, Maxwell Tanksley,
Zachary Bishop, Michael Brody, Julian Weng.

======================================================

The Yankee Doodle Fair — in its new September slot — continues to draw big crowds.

It continues at the Westport Woman’s Club and adjacent parking lot on Imperial Avenue today (Saturday) from 1 to 10 p.m. The annual event ends tomorrow (Sunday), 1 to 5 p.m.

Action at last night’s fair. (Photo/Joel Treisman)

=====================================================

Who wants to be a victim?

Weston and Easton EMS host an “Active Threat Class” October 16-17. Volunteers at least 18 years old are needed to play “victims,” helping police, fire and EMS members — including those from Westport — train. Click here for details.

=======================================================

Richard LoCascio died on Tuesday. His wife, Cynthia Ann Lozyniak, LoCascio was by his side. He was 80 years old.

The Bronx native earned a master’s degree in History from Fordham University, and a master’s in special education from New Rochelle Teachers College. He taught for 35 years in the Bronx, and also served as a substitute teacher in Fairfield.

Richard loved to paint and draw, write poetry and play the saxophone, flute and keyboard. He was a 2nd degree black belt in judo. He also loved nature, and carefully tended to his garden. He and Cynthia traveled the world and had many adventures together, especially on their annual trip to the Maine coast.

In addition to Cynthia, Richard is survived by his daughters Michelle LoCascio of the Bronx and Andrea LoCascio of Greenwich; sister Helen LoCascio of Stuart, Florida; nieces Nicole and Laura Augenti; nephews Casey, Jack and Peter Lozyniak, and many cousins.

A service will be held Tuesday (September 28, 11 a.m.) at St. Luke Church, with a Mass of Christian burial. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a donation to any cancer organization of your choice. Click here to leave online condolences.

Richard LoCascio

=======================================================

An early fall day brought Matthew Slossberg to the water. He captured today’s serene “Westport … Naturally” scene:

(Matthew Slossberg)

=======================================================

And finally … today is National One-Hit Wonder Day.

Where would the world be without groups and solo artists who roared onto the music scene with huge smashes, then faded just as quickly into obscurity?

Here are 3 of my “favorites” from the 1960s. All — improbably — reached #1. Click “Comments” below to nominate your own, from whatever years you choose.

 

0*6*Art*Art*0 — Week 78 Gallery

A couple of first-time submissions — and plenty of color — highlight this week’s art gallery. Some of the themes are very timely.

A reminder: Whatever your age and level of experience — professional or amateur, young or old — this feature is open to everyone.

All genres and styles are encouraged too. Watercolors, oils, charcoal, pen-and-ink, acrylics, lithographs, macramé, jewelry, sculpture, decoupage (and now needlepoint) — whatever you’ve got, email it to dwoog@optonline.net. Share your work with the world!

Untitled oil (Casey Floyd — Staples High School Class of 2016)

“Broadway” (With European passport holders allowed back in the US this November, Brian Whelan offers a salute to London’s “Broadway.”)

“Hurricanes Come and Go 2021” — acrylic (Beth Berkowitz)

“No Lifeguard on Duty” (Lawrence Weisman)

“13” (Virginia Baxter honors US servicemembers killed in Kabul, with these glass cast hearts.

“Just Breathe” (Ellin Spadone)

“A Fall Beauty” (Photographer Larry Untermeyer says this rose of Sharon blossom closeup is “one of hundreds that stands out on a mature bush throughout the fall.”  

 

Greens Farms Garden Club Grows For Good

“Garden Club” sounds so genteel. Members sit discussing flowers, creating beautiful arrangements, drinking tea and munching little sandwiches.

Dude! It’s 2021. Today’s garden club is not your great-grandmother’s.

Take the Greens Farms Garden Club. It’s been around since 1930 (read its history here). Now — 9 years before its 100th anniversary — members have taken their community service mission to a new level.

They’ve joined the fight against food insecurity.

Last February — amid the pandemic, and so much other misery — conservation chair Mary Lou McGuire had an idea. The Greens Farms Garden Club could grown and donate the bounty of their efforts to people in need.

Members quickly embraced the “Growing for Good” idea. Chairs Maybette Waldron, Gael Ficken and Jacque O’Brien worked with McGuire to develop a cost-efficient plan.

They found garden space at Wakeman Town Farm, and St. Timothy’s Church in Fairfield. Head farmers were selected. More than 20 members offered to help, all summer long.

Members researched best practices for growing vegetables organically. Schedules were formed, journals kept. It was decided to plant a small number of crops, to bring larger quantities of fresh produce to the 2 recipients selected: Mercy Learning Center and St. John’s Family Center. Both are in Bridgeport.

There were questions along the way: Why didn’t the cabbage grow successfully? Why did the cherry tomatoes turn out better than the larger ones? When to replant for a late summer/fall crop?

Gilbertie’s Herbs & Garden Center, and Ganim’s Garden Center in Fairfield, provided help and assistance.

Greens Farms Garden Club members at work in April.

After farming all summer, the harvesters went to work. Recipients are thrilled with their gifts.

“This has been a wonderful initiative, which we’ll continue,” says O’Brien.

“There are many benefits to each member, and to the Greens Farms Garden Club. Working together created great team spirit, and a wonderful sense of accomplishment.

“Learning about growing vegetables expanded our horticultural knowledge, and provided us with greater incentive to grow vegetables at home. There is nothing like the taste of an absolutely fresh vegetable.”

Jane MacDonald and Judy Reynolds package produce in bags donated by Stop & Shop, for delivery to Mercy Learning and St. John’s Family Centers.

Pic Of The Day #1620

Normally calm Compo Beach looked like a real ocean yesterday (Photo/Carol Lake)

Friday Flashback #263

No bygone business has been mentioned more in “06880” than the Remarkable Book Shop.

The Main Street/Parker Harding corner store was a beloved, comfortable, meeting place. Whenever I need a reference point for a locally owned, customer-centric shop: Bingo!

But the Remarkable comes up in other ways too. There’s the Remarkable Bookcycle, a three-wheeled, mobile homage complete with the same pink color and logo.

There’s the Remarkable Theater, our downtown drive-in theater that takes its name directly — and fittingly — from that long-ago other entertainment option.

More recently, Cold Fusion Gelato — located opposite the former shop — hung the wooden “Remarkable Guy” inside, looking out on his old haunt.

And now Local to Market has opened on the book shop’s old site, offering food and crafts in a down-home way reminiscent of its predecessor.

But in all my references to the Remarkable Book Shop, I never knew that it was also part of a very popular children’s book.

The other day, alert “06880” reader Kerry Long spotted a Remarkable reference on Instagram. A user posted 2 images from Richard Scarry’s 1968 Random House classic, What Do People Do All Day?

There in the lower right corner — below drawings of a poet, artist and writer — was the Remarkable Book Shop.

A close-up shows that Scarry included the name of the proprietor: E. Kramer.

That would be Esther Kramer — the actual owner of the Westport store. (Regular “06880” readers know that the “Remarkable” name comes from “Kramer” spelled backward.)

So — decades later — the Remarkable Book Shop still lives. And not just on “06880,” but Instagram too.

Remarkable!

 

Roundup: Yankee Doodle Fair, Affordable Housing, Animal Blessings …

===================================================

The Yankee Doodle Fair is back!

After missing 2020 because of COVID, the annual Westport Woman’s Club carnival has shifted from its traditional June date to September.

What hasn’t changed are the site — the Imperial Avenue parking lot next and adjacent WWC — and the attractions: rides, games, raffles, food, sand art and more.

Or the cause: raising funds for philanthropy.

The Yankee Doodle Fair runs today (Friday, 6 to 10 p.m.), tomorrow (Saturday, 1 to 10 p.m.) and Sunday (1 to 5 p.m.).

Click below for a special video, created last year by Doug Tirola’s 4th Row Films, highlighting the 2019 event.

=======================================================

Affordable housing — what it means, where to put it, how it fits in to the suburban and statewide landscape — is a controversial topic.

Next Tuesday (September 28, 6:30 p.m., Zoom), State Senator Will Haskell and State Representative Stephanie Thomas host a bipartisan panel: “Affordable Housing in Our Community.”

Panelists include Westport Planning & Zoning Commission chair Danielle Dobin, and her Wilton counterpart Rick Tomasetti. The moderator is Heather Borden Herve, editor of “Good Morning Wilton.” Click here to register.

Among Westport’s affordable housing options: Sasco Creek Village.

======================================================

Wednesday’s Roundup included details of the upcoming Blessing of the Animals, at Saugatuck Congregational Church.

Looks like Westport’s animals will be twice blessed.

On the same date (Sunday, October 3, 9:30 a.m.), Christ & Holy Trinity Episcopal Church will offer its own courtyard Blessing of the Animals. It’s part of the annual Feast of St. Francis.

All animals — and humans — are welcome.

Blessing of the Animals, at Christ & Holy Trinity Church.

=======================================================

It’s almost October. Almost time to say goodbye to your garden, for the year.

How do you do it? On October 18 (7 p.m.), Wakeman Town Farms hosts “Putting Your Garden to Bed: The Pollinator Friendly Way.

Nathalie Fonteyne joins WTF master gardeners and coaches Alice Ely and Ryan Brunelle to share tips on what to cut down and what to leave, how to recycle and compost the last greens as the garden prepares for its long winter nap, and what vegetables you still have time to plant to ensure a healthy, beautiful garden next spring.

Click here to register.

Back to the garden.

===================================================

Fairfield County has a lively music scene.

But there’s no band livelier than Band Central. The “house band” for CLASP Homes — the Westport-based nonprofit serving adults with autism and other developmental disabilities — headlines the organization’s first in-person, indoor event in nearly 2 years.

On October 15 (6:30 p.m., Fairfield Theater Company), they’ll play songs from Motown, and soul greats like Aretha Franklin, the Commodores, Earth Wind & Fire and more. Special guests will join in.

$40 tickets to the benefit include a pre-party, and an art show with work by CLASP residents. Click here to purchase, and for more information.

Two members of Band Central in action.

==================================================

Speaking of music: Scott Barr loves venues like FTC, the Levitt Pavilion and Capitol Theater, plus bars and other spaces to see local (and national) acts. He particularly enjoys seeing bands in small, intimate spaces, then watching as they achieve great success.

Every so often you stumble upon an entertainment event or a scene that must be witnessed and it usually happens where you least expect it.

He’s done it with the Spin Doctors, Blues Traveler, Joan Osborne and Phish. More recent examples include The Record Company playing at Roton Middle School, and the Revivalists and Black Pumas playing at StageOne.

Now, Scott says, a music scene is happening in Westport “right under our noses.”

Every Tuesday night at 8, a band called Residual Groove (aka KRIS or JEDD ) plays at Dunville’s. This week, members of Goose played with them.

“They have special guests all the time, and their playlist is for all ages,” Scott reports. “If anyone is looking for a fresh new scene and great music, check it out.”

He gives a special shoutout to Dunville’s owner Steve Carpentieri, for making it all happen.

Residual Groove (with special guest Peter Anspach from Goose, center) at Dunville’s.

=======================================================

Jayne Mauborgne was moved by yesterday’s Roundup story about the rescue of 11 turtle hatchlings. A wildlife conservationist came from Madison to help.

She wants readers to know about Wildlife in Crisis.

“We are lucky to have this wildlife rehabilitator right in Weston,” Jayne says. They are great, dedicated people. Over the years I have brought them birds, squirrels, opossum, and all manner of forest creatures.”

Call 203-544-9913 (ask for Darrah or Peter), or email wildlifeincrisis@snet.net.

=====================================================

Lifelong Westporter John Stahursky died Tuesday at Fairfield County House in Stamford. He was 86 years old.

John graduated from Staples High School in 1953, and retired as a mechanic from Slez Garage in Westport. He loved gardening and farming, and volunteered for many years maintaining the lawns and flower gardens at St. Anthony of Padua Church in Fairfield. John grew from seed, then donated, countless plants to the parish for sale at their annual picnic.

He was honored with the St. Augustine Medal, from the Diocese of Bridgeport.

John enjoyed restoring Model A Fords, which were driven in Westport’s Memorial Day parades.

His family remembers him as “a hard working man, always ready with a smile and happy to help others in need.”

Survivors include his siblings Bernard Stahursky of Westport, Wanda Ornousky of Norwalk and Bertha Matis of Westport, and many nieces, nephews, great-nieces and nephews.

John was predeceased by sisters Jean Kral, Helen Rutski and Sophie E. Stahursky, and brothers, Joe, Frank and Steve Stahursky.

A funeral will be held Monday (September 27, 9:15 a.m. from the Dougiello Fairfield Funeral Home, and 10 a.m. in St. Anthony of Padua Church with a Mass of Christian Burial. Interment will be in Assumption Cemetery in Westport. Friends may call Sunday (noon to 3 p.m).

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in John’s memory to St. Anthony Parish, 149 South Pine Creek Road, Fairfield, CT 06824 or Fairfield County House, 1 Den Road, Stamford, CT 06902.

================================================

Today’s “Westport … Naturally” scene is familiar, yet fresh:

(Photo/Wendy Levy)

=======================================================

And finally … singer Sarah Dash died Monday. She was 76.

According to the New York Times, she “brought her church-rooted soprano and high harmonies to Labelle, which began as a 1960s girl group before reinventing itself as a socially aware, Afro-futuristic rock and funk powerhouse, costumed in glittery sci-fi outfits and singing about revolution as well as earthy romance.”

Click here for her full obituary.

Remembering Garson Heller

Garson “Gar” Heller — a longtime town elected official and volunteer who with his wife, RTM moderator Velma Heller served Westport in many ways, for many years — died yesterday.

A 40-year survivor of multiple bypass surgery, he experienced serious health issues shortly before his death. He was 85 years old.

His family calls him “generous and kind, sometimes to a fault, with a dry wit and a keen mind.”

Born in Manhattan to Elsie (Lakoff) and Garson F. Heller on December 11, 1935,  Garson was the eldest of 4 children. The family moved to Scarsdale when he was 2. He excelled in the classroom and on the athletic field. He also enjoyed many adventures with his boyhood friends and siblings, including riding his bicycle into New York City for a surprise visit to his grandmother when he was 11.

He graduated from Yale in 1957 with a degree in chemical engineering. He competed in intramural sports, then later corporate and local softball leagues. He played tennis into his 70s,until health issues forced him to put down his racquet.

Garson Heller

Gar started his long and varied career at Mobil Oil. With a talent for math, logic and complex problem solving, in 1969 he moved to a technology consulting firm, Data Dimensions, where he designed content automation and workflow systems for United Press International and other large organizations.

In 1982 he joined Securities Industry Automation Corporation, which supported the back-end trading and processing activities for the New York and American Stock Exchanges. He played a key role in the design and procurement of systems architecture for SIAC’s facilities at MetroTech in Brooklyn, and was the senior director for computer acquisitions until his retirement in 2002.

He loved all professional sports, but especially the Yankees and Steelers. He was also a competitive bridge player, strategizing tricks on Metro-North and playing with the same group of commuters for more than 20 years.

After retirement he continued to play in various bridge leagues and, since the early days of the pandemic, online. He was a Bronze Life Master bridge player, based on numerous competitions.

Garson read each section of the New York Times and many other publications, and completed the Sudoku and KenKen puzzles each day in record time. As passionate as he was about monitoring current affairs in the US and around the world, he loved Westport, the town that he and Velma moved to in 1964, with 2 little boys.

He was first elected to the Representative Town Meeting in 1969, and served for 14 years. In 1983 he was appointed to the Board of Assessment Appeals, and later elected to a seat on that board which he held for 38 years.

He also volunteered as a poll worker for local and state elections, often staying until the last vote was counted. He was honored by the Republican Town Committee in 2011 for his many years of outstanding service to the community, which continued until his death.

Above all else, Gar was a man of the highest morals who approached everything he did with integrity, candor and humor. As the longest serving member of the Board of Assessment Appeals he strove to treat each appellant fairly, and to serve both the town and other taxpayers equitably.

He was predeceased by his brother Andrew. He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Velma Heller; sons Grant (Joanne) of Westport and Bradenton, Florida, David (Wendy) of Simsbury; daughter Julie of Brooklyn Heights; grandchildren Bonnie Steinman (Zachary), Katie, Grant Jr., Lisa, Nicole and William Heller, and great-grandchildren Jacob and Mia.  He is also survived by brother Richard and sister-in-law Rosemary; sister Ronnie; sister-in-law Rita, and numerous cousins, nieces, nephews, grand-nieces and grand-nephews.

The family will observe a private memorial.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Garson’s memory to the American Heart Association, in gratitude for the advances in cardiac care and interventional technologies that enriched Garson’s quality of life and extended his years of impact on all who knew and loved him.

Morning Movies Make Their Mark

Certain businesses are meant for certain times of day.

There’s a reason — besides its name — that a nightclub doesn’t open at 10 a.m.

But that doesn’t mean a movie theater can’t.

The premise of the Morning Movie Club is simple: Plenty of people — particularly moms — can’t see films in the afternoon or evening. Plenty of theaters sit empty for large chunks of the day.

Kerry Anderson has a solution. People buy memberships ($110 for 8 months). She rents an entire theater. Once a month from October through May, promptly at 10 a.m., club members have their choice of any film being shown on that theater’s screens.

Michelle Howe and Kerry Anderson, co-founders of the Morning Movie Club.

Locally, the club uses the Bowtie in Norwalk — just over the border on Route 1.

It’s a great venue. There are 6 screens; seats are very comfortable, and there’s a full concession stand. (Also a bar — though bars, like nightclubs, are not really a 10 a.m. business.)

There are no previews; you’re in and out. As the credits roll you head back to carpooling, the office or your other daily responsibilities.

Two years ago, “06880” profiled the Morning Movie Club. Membership boomed. Each month, movie-goers gathered for a first-run film. Friendships formed. After the final credits, small groups sometimes headed off for a quick lunch.

Six months later — just after the March films — COVID struck. Schools, businesses — and movie theaters — closed.

Film studios held their releases, too. The Morning Movie Club hit the pause button.

Finally, theaters reopened. Anderson waited until recently, however, to solicit members for 2021-22. She wanted to be sure there were enough quality films to see.

There are. On Wednesday, the Morning Movie Club met for the first time since 2020. That date, and another on October 20, are makeups, for movies missed in spring 2020. The “regular” season starts October 6.

The first meeting in a year and a half felt like the premiere of a blockbuster. Energy was high. People were thrilled to see moviegoing friends — and be back, live, watching a big screen.

They chatted. They enjoyed 5 of the 6 movies. (“Paw Patrol,” unsurprisingly, had no takers.) They went out to lunch, then back to carpooling, the office or wherever.

For innovative ideas, execution and all-around entertainment value, the Morning Movie Club gets 5 stars.

(For more information on the Morning Movie Club, click here.)\

Back at the Bowtie!