Roundup: Lisa Newman, Jaden Waldman, Teens And COVID …

Representative Town Meeting District 8 will be looking for a new member soon.

Lisa Newman resigned yesterday. In a letter to colleagues, she wrote:

“This was not an easy decision, as I love serving the town with you, but it’s the right move at this time.

“As many of you know, I went back to school last year to pursue my law degree. I’ve loved being on this new path so far, but it has taken a lot of time and attention. Over the last few months, I’ve realized I need to preserve as much of my time as I can for my children – something that would be impossible to do once we enter budget season. And it’s not fair to my district or the RTM for me to hold a seat that I cannot fully commit to (plus those who know me know I can’t do anything half way!).

“So as much as I’m going to miss those late, late nights in the auditorium with all of you (haha – but will I?? 🙃), I realize the right thing to do — for my family and the seat -0 is to resign. I’m hopeful that doing this now will create enough time to get someone seated in District 8 ahead of budget season/committee meetings.

“Of course, this is not goodbye – I still expect lots of updates from the trenches and, make no mistake, I’ll be watching the meetings and texting many of you in real time with my nonsense. I also plan to stop by the Feb. 7 meeting before it begins to say a proper goodbye in person.

“And you never know – when life calms down and my kids get a bit older, I might just be back. There just aren’t enough attorneys on the RTM.😎”

Lisa Newman

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Yesterday was Holocaust Remembrance Day.

The night before, Jaden Waldman helped honor it. The Bedford Middle School 7th grader sang in an emotional Carnegie Hall concert

The “We Are Here” event drew dignitaries from all over the world. The all-star lineup of presenters and performers included Joel Grey, Harvey Fierstein, Chita Rivera and Shoshana Bean.

Jaden Waldman, on stage. (Photo/Tom McDonald)

“Songs from Songbooks” — written by Jews in ghettos and camps, and discovered after liberation — were sung in honor of survivors and in memory of those that perished. 

Jaden most recently originated the lead role of Noah Gellman in Broadway’s “Caroline, or Change.” He starred as Ben for 2 years in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, and performed in the “Ragtime on Ellis Island” concert.

Jaden has voiced lead characters in “Star Wars: Visions,” “Pinkalicious & Peterrific” and “Mirai.” His TV credits include “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and “The Plot Against America.” Jaden is in the feature film “Give or Take,” and the upcoming short film “Curls.”

Click here for the program, and details.

Jaden Waldman at Carnegie Hall.

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Positive Directions’ next “Lunch and Learn” covers “Helping Teens Navigate Loss After COVID.”

The March 2 event (noon to 1:30 p.m., Westport Weston Family YMCA) will be led by Malaika Boyer-Seme, a licensed professional counselor associate with Positive Directions. For more information, click here.

Malaika Boyer-Seme

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Thursday’s “Cocktails and Conversation” at MoCA featured talk about “the intertwined nature of style, and how we use creativity to define a look that is our own.”

Panelists included WEST owner Kitt Shapiro, photographer Jane Beiles, content creator and Designport founder Jen Berniker, and “social artrepreneur” Diana Mashia.

At next week’s “Cocktails and Conversation,” Alexandra M. Thomas leads a curator talk about the current exhibition, “Paul Camacho: El Ritmo y La Unidad.” Click here to register.

Enjoying the MoCA exhibit: Vernice Holmes and Sue Donato. (Photo/Leslie LaSala)

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Staples High School’s January Student of the Month are seniors Frankie Lockenour and Claire Sandhaus, juniors Moses Beary and Curtis Sullivan, sophomores Luca Caniato and Shane Sandrew, and freshmen Matthew Anto and Annabelle Katz.

The program recognizes students who help make Staples High School a welcoming place for peers and teachers. “They are the ‘glue’ of the Staples community: the type of kind, cheerful, hard-working, trustworthy students that keep the high school together, making it the special place that it is.”

All candidates are nominated by teachers.

Staples High School’s January Students of the Month (from left): Claire Sandhaus, Luca Caniato, Frankie Lockenour, Shane Sandrew, Annabelle Katz, Moses Beary, Curtis Sullivan, Matthew Anto

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There’s always something special at the Westport Farmers’ Market.

Next month, it’s extra special.

On the first 2 Thursdays — February 2 and 9 (Gilbertie’s Herbs & Garden Center, 7 Sylvan Lane, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.) — you can drop off gently used winter coats, mittens, hats and gloves, plus medical supplies. All are desperately needed in Ukraine.

Cash contributions to help with shipping costs are always needed.

Questions? Want to help? Email Mark Yurkiw: mark.think3d@gmail.com.

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Carl Addison Swanson’s latest book, “Blind Bigot,” is now available at Amazon

“The inner bigotry and hate of a suburban commercial banker comes to light after he suffers from a horrific medical procedure,” the bookseller says. Booklist describes it as “a nasty look at ourselves. A page-turner.”

Swanson — a longtime Westport resident, and member of Staples High School’s Class of 1966 — is an award winning author of 54 novels. They include the Hush McCormick series, Tug Christian thrillers, Scooter mysteries, Ian Fletcher legal series, Justin Carmichael nostalgic memoirs, 5 books of short stories, and 5 stand-alone books.  

He has co-authored 10 books with editor Jo Ann Miller. Five of his works have been optioned to the film industry, including the latest Hush McCormick trilogy to DreamWorks. 

Swanson earned a Presidential Unit Citation for his service in Vietnam. He is CEO of Bermuda’s CAS Publications, and  is a contributing editor at Hearst Communications.  

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Former Westport resident Abraham Nad died peacefully yesterday at United Hebrew Geriatric Center in New Rochelle, New York. He was 92.

Born in Houston, he graduated from Rice University, where he was Phi Beta Kappa. He also earned a master’s degree from Columbia University.

Abraham served in the National Guard and Navy from 1952 to 1954. He worked as an accountant and publisher, eventually opening Directors’ Publications.

Abraham loved to travel, and was an avid fan of classical music and the arts. He was a longtime member of Temple Israel, serving on its Board of Trustees, and a supporter of the Westport Arts Center.

Abraham is survived by his daughters Karen Bernstein (Peter) and Laurie Desjardins; grandchildren Rebecca Anne Bernstein (Justan Dakes) and Benjamin Jacob Bernstein (Jocelyn Ezratty), and great-grandson Lucas Joshua Dakes.  He was predeceased by his wife Elsa Nad in 2015.

Funeral services will take place tomorrow (Sunday, January 29, 10 a.m., Temple Israel Cemetery in Norwalk). Memorial contributions may be made to the Nad/Schiff Special Children’s Fund at Temple Israel. Click here to leave a condolence message.

The Nad family extends deep love and gratitude to United Hebrew Geriatric Center for their love, care and grace over the past 4 years.

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” feature shows yesterday’s sunrise. Katherine Jacob captured all its glory, at Schlaet’s Point on Hillspoint Road.

(Photo/Katherine Jacob)

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And finally … Philadelphia is mourning the death of Jerry Blavat.

The former TV dancer became “the most influential disc jockey in the Delaware Valley thanks to his third-rail energy, fantastical wordplay and finely honed instincts for the particular rhythms of his native city. He died last week at 82, from an autoimmune neuromuscular disease.

“The Geator with the Heater” had an outsize influence on the music scene of his day, thanks to his radio, television and concert efforts. Flags flew at half-staff throughout the region, in his honor.

While still in high school, he was a road manager for Danny & the Juniors:

He is credited by many in the radio industry with inventing the concept of “oldies.”

And among the many groups he is credited with helping break out nationally: the Isley Brothers.

 Click here for a full obituary.

(On this mid-winter weekend day, please consider a contribution to “06880” — your hyper-local blog. Click here — and thank you!)

3 responses to “Roundup: Lisa Newman, Jaden Waldman, Teens And COVID …

  1. From Lisa Newman
    it has taken a lot of time and attention. Over the last few months, I’ve realized I need to preserve as much of my time as I can for my children

    Congratulations, Lisa! I understand completely! I left an active community life and started law school when my children were in the 3d, 5th, and 8th grades. I was always – always – at home studying and available, because I was in class while they were in school. My children were part of the process, going to class with me on days off from school and having social time with professors and my much younger classmates during the summer, and they easily passed the fun final exam that I gave them. Those three years brought my husband in to the kitchen and he cooked dinner and brought my meal to me, the meat already cut. I graduated three years later, 5th, 7th, 10th grades, in time to give my full attention to the college application process.
    Best wishes to you and your family!

    • Jeanne,
      Thank you for your thoughtful comment! And how funny is this: I started law school with children in 2nd, 4th, and 10th grades. What a wild coincidence and it makes your encouragement and well wishes even more meaningful.
      Warmly, Lisa

  2. My godfather, the late great John Glenn, read everything Carl wrote and deemed him the “most prolific writer ever” and Hush was a “gem and probably a Marine?”

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