If You Can Say Something Nice…

Reacting to the recent flame wars on “06880” — hostilities emerged over the age-old tradition of decorating the Minuteman statue and, almost laughably, whether or not the comments section has gotten too hostile — alert reader Ginny McGovern wrote:

People sure do have time on their hands, and quite a lot of anger. After such a stressful and tragic close to 2012, I envisioned more reflection and feeling fortunate for  Westport by Westporters.

It seems like you may not have eaten for days. Maybe you need a break.

being niceYour next column should be “Dan’s Day Off.” Everyone (anonymous or not) should write something appreciative/complimentary about one other Westporter or person who works in Westport.

That way a) you won’t have to shut down the comments and b) it will be so short that when you return from your day off you can read it for 3-5 minutes and hop in bed. The perfect day.

It ties in with the Westport Kindness Project too, now that I think of it.

Thanks, Ginny!

It’s a great idea. Readers, get to work! Click “Comments” to say something nice.

I’ll still monitor responses, of course. But something tells me this won’t reach the record of 293, set just last week on the very important topic of flowers in the Minuteman’s musket.

61 responses to “If You Can Say Something Nice…

  1. Sometimes you have to leave a place to truly appreciate it. Sure, there are jerks everywhere and things don’t always go as you think they should. I miss Westport 40 years (!) after leaving and have had enough visits over the years to keep my appreciation fresh. Compo Beach, downtown (the shiny and not-so-shiny parts, the singing bridge are just a few things that immediately bring a smile to my face. Be kind to each other Westporters.

  2. And sometimes you have to live in a place a long time to truly appreciate it. I’ve been in Westport since 1991, the longest time anywhere. At 65, I’m appreciating the wealth of opportunities here for seniors. I’m inspired by the participation of so many of our residents in all of the institutions that make up our town. And, as Edith Wharton reminds us, “The best way to help the places we live in is to be glad we live in them.”

  3. I love Westport. The people here are interesting and educated. My partner and I moved here almost one year ago. It’s been great. One of our favorite people is Lisa Parelli Gray. She is the president of the Chamber of Commerce in Westport and she has been very welcoming and helpful to our business. Here’s to a successful year for everyone in Westport!

  4. Always have lots of nice things to say about the Westport Public Library and the people that work there. This is not your grandmother’s library. Everyone is always welcome. There are programs for everyone from the babies to the unemployed to the seniors and more. Must give a shout out to my longtime friend and teacher, Bill Derry, Assistant Director of something at WPL, who brings fun, learning and excitement anywhere he goes. Thanks Bill for staying with us in Westport.

    • YES! To Bill and a shout out to Marta Campbell, and Nadia at the coffee shop who always has a smile…yummy Nadia’s Peppermint Chai Latte. Try it…and to all the other employees and volunteers that make WPL great.

  5. This is a great idea! I don’t usually post but today’s column is perfect. I love Westport- the people, my neighbors, the schools, Longshore, and the beach. I especially love the Westport YMCA and all the staff; and everything about Saugatuck Congregational Church! Happy New Year to all.

  6. I like the Bakers at Coffee An’………………………………………


  7. Jill Ross Beres

    I have lived in Westport since 1965 ( and had been visiting since 1957- and before) Now because of orders from my cardiologist, I have to leave the cold weather ( though the last two years, I was here for the Haloween storms, Sandy and the Nor’easter). And now because of $ problems, I must sell my much loved home ( and it will be torn down)
    I miss Westport and my many friends very much. No matter how beautiful a place I will move to, Westport is where I want to be. There is still enough of the small town left, that I can still walk into the “old” stores and be greeted by name.and most times meet as acquaintance at the super market. I love the Thursday Farmer;s Market and always meet friends there, and since last year Friday nights at Compo.. Assurance that i will always get good medical care at IMA, Very difficult to give up. Perhaps, I can rent someplace each summer for a few months, I do not want to miss The Silver Donkey luncheon. Very sad if I must leave, email and skype are fine, but…not enough..

  8. A special thank you to Westport CERT! Many of us have seen their response and how invaluable they have been to the community. Thank you for all that you do!

  9. Nice things to say? There are always nice things to say about any place and nearly anyone. Westport–my home town–is no exception. Christ and Holy Trinity opening its doors after the storm. Balloon Day at Kings Highway (if they still have it). Westport Pizzeria, of course. Fireworks at the beach. Walking along old Marion Road. The sound of the train to New York in the morning. Meatballs at Mario’s. Dressing up the MinuteMan. And your blog.

  10. pambarkentin

    Thank you, Dan, for your daily dose of positive input. You always have something uplifting to bring our attention to. I’m a new reader of your blog, but already feel that it is a great addition to my day.

  11. Silver’s of Westport has been my “go to” place for gifts and luggage for 40 years. Whether its a trinket for the kids or something really nice for a spouse, Steve and Susan Silver have it and their staff is the best. Plus great gift wrapping, engraving, and they will ship it, too.
    They are Westport’s BEST !

  12. I’ll echo the comments of Anonymous up top. I also left Westport >40 years ago, with only a couple short visits back. But even though I lived there only four years, I consider Westport to be my hometown. I’ll add a special mention of gratitude for the Staples faculty, who gave me a great running start into the rest of my life, and also my classmates and team mates.

  13. The Wednesday and Friday yoga classes at the Senior Center: fabulous instructor Denise, beautiful room looking out at the woods, interesting group of classmates, individuals all!

  14. Just one Westporter? That’s very tough–impossible, in fact. So I’ll pick a former Westporter, my mom. (I would include my dad but he passed away almost 30 years ago, so he’s not here to read this.) I want to thank my mom for having chosen (with my dad) Westport when my family decided to move from Queens in 1963 and for having helped provide the greatest gift any parent can give a child: a happy childhood.

  15. I never realized how incredibly great my education had been at the Westport schools until I lived in other places. Not only the basics (which were great — history, English, etc.) but the arts (!) It was a wonderful place to grow and learn. Thank you to all the GREAT teachers who are my heroes to this day!!! (Staples Class of 1967)

  16. Michele Wrubel

    The Conservative Synagogue is our second home, a caring and supportive Jewish community. It is one of the reasons that drew us to Westport and one of the reasons we continue to feel so connected.

  17. Melissa Chang

    The staff at the Parks & Rec department were so patient, efficient, & nice with our last-minute sign up for basketball! Thanks!

  18. Babette d'Yveine

    The Westport Woman’s Club which raises funds to give to local worthy individuals and organizations. Last year, over $150,000 was distributed, including scholarships to Staples seniors and an older woman returning to school. The WWC also maintains a Food Closet to which members (and others) contribute.

  19. Wonderful and caring neighbors that have become part of my family; the WFD and WPD who have always been helpful and friendly; and for Bernie Nevas for having faith in me. If not for him, I wouldn’t have moved here from Greenwich 22 years ago!

  20. Dennis Jackson

    Dan’s columns point out things I never fully appreciated growing up in Westport. Like what exceptional schools Long Lots and Staples are. Like what a jewel the Candlelight Concert is. How many interesting folks live there. That it’s not a reflection on me when people act “entitled.” Dan is perpetually out there with a camera and way with words, culling what’s the good, the bad, and the interesting, capturing the photoworthy, keeping locals, fans, and ex-pats united.

  21. Britt E Anderson

    I echo Dennis’ comments above, and add Westport Pizzeria – still the best! I too have not lived in Westport for many years, but as my mother always tells me, my formative years (K – 12) were in Westport and I will always consider it to be my hometown. In recent years I have attended high school reunions (which lasted two years) and meeting up with everyone made me appreciate what great people I grew up around and I consider myself very fortunate to have lived there. I used to shirk away from telling people I grew up in Westport b/c of all the grief I got, but no longer. I am proud to say I am a Westporter.

  22. Peter Gambaccini

    Just a few years ago, I learned that when my parents made their move out of the Bronx in the mid-1950s, we came very close to being Long Islanders. Life would have been trashier and I would be talking funny today and I might never have grown to cherish New England. Glad they made the move instead to Westport, which was a town of less than 10,000 at the time. Our subdivision (Elizabeth Drive, our first home in town) was still in the process of being carved out of the woods.

    A new generation of the family (my younger brother’s children) is now falling in love with Westport, and a young cousin of mine actually played for Dan’s Staples soccer team just a few years ago. The work Dan does on this blog is extraordinary. This, rather than any “established” media outlets, is where I stay in touch with Westport and its creative and productive denizens. I salute my fellow High Point Road alumnus.

  23. So many great people who make Westport what it is. Carmen and Sunny at the police department. Jack Riley at Greens Farms Liquors. Annette in Dr. Silverman’s office. The Great American Stamp Store–who knew you could last for 21 years selling stamps and advice? Amy at the Blu Parrott. And who doesn’t love Tony and Fran Giunta?

  24. Actually, David…you and your partner are extremely nice and thoughtful people As your neighbors down the street…we were pleasantly surprised to find a chocolate bar and a complimentary float for two. We cannot wait to try it so thank you and here’s to a successful year for you both and I Float. And who can forget Dan… Thanks for providing all of Westport with a great stories and personal highlights of achievements and controversies!

  25. There is so much to love about Westport. Our private road’s sense of community. The ex-pats of every type who add color and cosmopolitanism to our little town. Green’s Farms Church, which has got to be one of the most caring and “alive” faith communities anywhere, our anchor in Westport. And Dan, your blog is wonderful.

  26. Love to you and to all of Westport!

  27. Bart Shuldman

    It does not suprise me to see the anger. Just look to Washington and it is easy to understand why we see so much more arguing. Add to that the lack of leadership to reach compromise and the division of 98 and 2, the confrontational rhetoric will continue.

    Looks like hope and change has turned into divide and anger.

  28. Some time ago I was talking to someone who was thinking of moving to Westport- it wasn’t until I recounted out loud all the reasons that make Westport great that I stood back and said to myself “wow this is a great town!” I grew up here and we tend to take familiarity for granted- I am in the process of raising two children (12 and 15) here and am so happy to be a part of this community!! The school system, the beach, good friends, a wonderful community at Christ and Holy Trinity, Longshore, Friday night lights, the Playhouse, and knowing local merchants and clerks. We spend a significant amount of time with people from neighboring towns and I am proud to call Westport home.

  29. Bart Shuldman

    And from the good–our education of our children is great. Add to that our beaches along with the BBQ’s and we have a wonderful community.

  30. Kudos and thanks to Barbara, Susan, Terry, Susan, Patty and the many other hard workers in the Human Services department who go way beyond their 40 hr work week with care and kindness to help residents in need and Sue at the Westport Senior Center..especially, but not only during Sandy.

  31. Dan, Thanks for maintaining your wonderful 06880 blog — you do an amazing job with it. It’s not only fun and informative, but helps bring current and former Westporters connected. Thanks!

  32. Judi Simonetti

    So much to be thankful for! Of course, first is Dan Woog for giving us a place to express our thoughts and for keeping us informed. I, too, go to 06880 for my news. I also have a deep appreciation for Bay Street Pediatrics. A wonderful small practice, caring pediatricians and they still answer their phone … no voicemail! Big thanks to the person who privately funded the flags on the bridge, when the town said they couldn’t afford it (is someone still sponsoring that or is it now being paid for by the town – hmpf), it is wonderful we have such caring and generous patriots in our town! The view of the Saugatuck River from downtown just takes my breath away! The return of Arts, is wonderful, any chance we can get Ships AND Big Top back too ;). We have beautiful beaches, an amazing school system, safe places to walk at night, Westport Arts Center, restaurants, shops, a multi-million dollar dog park, and quite frankly everything else a town could ever want! I love the tradition of the Memorial Day parade. I marched as a Brownie/Girl Scout and for the Bedford Band (when Bedford was on Riverside Avenue). I have been here since 1971, when I was born. I now bring my daughter for a slice at Westport Pizzeria and sit on the same stools I did when my mom brought me down there for a slice when I was a little peanut! The Leavitt Pavilion offers free family entertainment all summer long! I haven’t been in years, but will this summer. Westport Country Playhouse has amazing shows! I even married someone I met at Burr Farms in kindergarten! We graduated Staples together. This town is wonderful and has provided a wonderful life for me. Thank you, Westport, for decades of entertainment!

    • Yes, Fairway Market (a portfolio company of Sterling Investment Partners located on Riverside Avenue) is still sponsoring the flags and will continue to do so indefinitely.

    • Whatever happened to Ships? I know its gone but we loved that place. Dinner after a movie at the theater down the street. Always a crowd. Potato skins. Some sandwich called the Mom (or something like that) – pastrami, egg, other stuff if I recall correctly (but it was a long time ago).

  33. Meredith Cohen

    I love Peter Czuczka, MD at Willows Pediatrics. Finding a pediatrician that can make you smile when your child is sick really means a lot.

  34. Mike McGovern

    My favorite Westporter? My beautiful and talented bride, who dedicates so much of her time and energy as Co-President of PTA Council in addition to taking care of our far-flung family, but still found the time to reach out to Dan with this great idea.

  35. What’s happened to Westport! I lived there when everyone knew everyone or at least knew of them. We all walked with a smile on our faces knowing how fortunate we were living there. The shop owners, Debbie Den, Isabel Eland, Silvers, Kleins, Greenbergs,the old Ed Mitchels, Packroads. I could go on & on. The Italian Festival when it was on the streets of Saugatuck with all the families cooking their finest. People helped one another. However, I was there last Aug. for my 60th class & last reunion from Staples. We had one faithfully every 5 yrs. I drove all over town, stopped in all the new stores & chatted with help in each one found everyone to be very friendly & were really interested in my telling all about the way the town used to be. I was a real chatter box on how wonderful Westport is/was. Please folks appreciate what you have there. I love Dan’s blog because he writes wonderful stories & pics from the past & keeps me up on the present. Thank you Dan for still keeping my heart in Westport

  36. Bonnie Scott Connolly

    I loved growing up in Westport. I loved learning and playing golf at Longshore and going to Compo Beach, both of which I could ride my bike to. I loved playing sports at Staples, especially field hockey with TOGM. I loved the Y and downtown stores like Country Gal and Kleins. Thanks, Westport and thanks, Dan, for this great column.

  37. Always a great time listening to Westporter Dan Corde’s band “Dirty Rice”

  38. Kerstin Warner

    Dan – thanks to this great column idea, all day long I’ve been listing people in my mind who have made a difference in my Westport life. I’m filled with gratitude to remember so many encouraging people. One person stands out – Angie Wormser hired me back in 1999, and taught me the ropes of the Westport school system. She was principal at the newly-opened Greens Farms School. She brought us together and brought it to life, shepherding us through the many frustrations – the building renovations that continued throughout that first year, the students who had been re-districted and were homesick for their old friends and schools, the classes that were splintered apart from us at Long Lots until their spaces were ready. She paired me with retired teacher Pat Beasley, who had a magic touch, awakening the inner scientist in students. In that same first year, Angie suggested I’d enjoy working with Karen Ernst daSilva, which flourished into a remarkable partnership between the 4th grade teachers (Erin Shepard, Christine Theiss, Mary Ellen Barry and myself) and a school Karen worked with in Chinatown. I still have my scrapbook of the letters, photos, sketches, and reflections my students and I made from our school visits back and forth. Through Angie, I also met Suzanne Propp and Ursula Malizia, both dynamic teachers who are dear friends. Angie has a way of drawing people to her who are straight shooters, passionate, outspoken and loyal – qualities that Angie has in abundance. I worked for Angie when she moved on to Bedford Middle School, where she led us through triumphs as well as harrowing times – she handled 9-11 with incredible sensitivity to students and staff, making sure every single child had an adult to go home to at dismissal. One student with special needs, that day, only felt safe sitting under Angie’s desk, and she made him feel welcome and understood. I have never forgotten that, nor her speech to the whole school when we returned, as she reminded us of our resilience and compassion as Americans. Even now, I find myself turning to Angie, in her retirement, to share stories, conundrums, laughs and perspective. So thank you, Angie, for the best introduction to Westport that I could possibly ask for, and thank you, Dan, for inspiring many positive memories.

    • John McCarthy

      Yes, Westport teachers I had (Miss Ernst, Mrs, Farmer, Dr. Weigle, Coach Hall) and the teachers my kids have/had at SES, Bedford and Staples.

  39. Thanking the CVS pharmscist for searching all pharmacies in town to find my sons medication. What service!

  40. Ginny’s absolutely correct! We have too much time on our hands and don’t realize how truly blessed we are … until there’s tragedy. And for a positive note … Dan, you are THE BEST!! Without you, Westport wouldn’t be. Former Westporter.

  41. Adrian Bowles

    I’d like to thank the Westport EMS team and our police department for their outstanding service. This week they responded to a medical emergency and demonstrated competence and compassion, which led to a positive outcome for our family. It’s reassuring to know that we have such a well trained and friendly team ready to help 24×7.

    I’d also like to thank our firefighters, who went through our neighborhood checking on all of us after Sandy, and who alerted the building inspector about our damage. Again, the level of professionalism and compassion shown during that tough time was reassuring.

    Finally, I’d like to thank our neighbors who came together to clear our block on Cross Highway with us after Sandy with chainsaws, handsaws, rakes and brooms. Going without power for a week was tough, but getting the road cleared in 24 hours was great.

  42. I love the RTM and it’s overwhelming support for stricter gun control! http://www.westportnow.com/index.php?/v2_5/comments/41784/

  43. Sank T. Monious

    Life is so good in Westport, especially the toilet paper in the library’s rest room on Jesup Green 9you know, the basement entrance. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve enjoyed it and I wanted to say thanks.

  44. Sank T. Monious

    Let’s talk about Mrs. Margolis sneaking the BB gun into the RTM meeting. I bet that would liven up the day around here.

  45. Hi, this website is not coming up as being “valid.”

  46. My parents have been in the same house in Westport since 1958. Dad’s in a nursing home recovering from a broken hip and mom is trying to cope. Myself and my siblings all live hours away from Westport. My parents’ very old dog finally collapsed on this past Sunday, when it had snowed overnight. The dog needed vet care and she was too heavy for mom to get in the car. Additionally, the person my mom thought she had engaged to plow the long driveway didn’t show up. Mom called Westport’s Animal Control Officer. He got the town to plow the driveway and then arrived with 3 men to pick up the dog and transport it to the vet’s office. While in the end the dog could not be saved, I wish to express my most grateful thanks to these town employees who went out of their way to help!

  47. We love Fred and Lisa at Commuter Coffee. Every weekday morning a cheery hello, ala “Norm!” From Cheers. They are there through ice and snow in the winter, and the sticky days of summer. This extends to our Sat mornings at Sherwood Diner where Lisa is working the cashier station. Our kids love to see her and give her a big hug hello… And she sometimes sneaks them a little treat to send them on their way.

    It is people like Fred and Lisa that make this town great. We wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.