Roundup: Chimney Removal, Banned Books Meeting Moved, New Cops …

Over a week past its March 23 deadline — but finally — the illegal chimney has been removed from the long-dormant new home construction at 233 Hillspoint Road.

Work at the house — formerly the site of Positano restaurant — was halted in 2019. More than 3 years of legal wrangling ensued.

The cupola was also ordered removed, by the Blight Prevention Board.

It’s still standing.

The chimney is gone, from the left side of 233 Hillspoint Road. (Photo/Matt Murray)


The site for Monday’s schools superintendent’s ad hoc committee discussion of a resident’s complaint about material displayed in the Staples High School library has been changed. The new site is the Town Hall auditorium. The date (April 3) and time (3:30 p.m.) remain the same.

This is a follow-up to last week’s session, part of a 9-step process after Tara McLaughin sought the removal of 3 LGBTQ-themed books from the Staples collection.

Public comment will not be allowed Monday. It may be permitted at a later meeting.

Tara McLaughlin is seeking the removal of 3 books from the Staples High School library.


Over 400 people packed the Westport Library’s Trefz Forum last night, for a VersoFest feature concert.

The Smithereens — and special guest Marshall Crenshaw — rocked the room. With 3 Top 10 hits — including “A Girl Like You” — the group remains a huge draw.

The Smithereens.(Photo/Dinkin Fotografix)

VersoFest continues today and tomorrow, with a lineup of workshops, a vinyl swap, a 1:4-scale version of the Grateful Dead’s “Wall of Sound,” and much more.

Highlights today (Saturday) include a keynote address by Steve Lillywhite. The legendary producer of othe Rolling Stones, Peter Gabriel, U2, the Dave Matthews Band and Phish chats with Chris Frantz, co-founder of both Talking Heads and Tom Tom Club at 1 p.m.

Tonight (7 p.m.), Psychedelic Furs front man Richard Butler delivers the Malloy Lecture in the Arts.

Click here for today and tomorrow’s full VersoFest schedule.

Marshall Crenshaw warms up backstage. (Photo/Matthew Mandell)


Three new officers joined the Westport Police Department yesterday.

Ashley Calvao (age 26) comes from Monroe. A graduate of Shelton High School, she completed coursework at Housatonic Community College. She has family ties to both Westport and law enforcement.

In her previous position at Bridgeport’s Emergency Communications Center, she worked as a 911 emergency dispatcher for both police and fire.

Sean Fitzpatrick (30) lives in Stratford with his wife Taylor. He is a graduate of Housatonic Community College and American Military University. Sean holds the rank of E5 sergeant for the Coast Guard.

Tyler Mingo (30) is a lifelong resident of Norwalk, where he lives with his wife Taylor and children. He completed course work at Norwalk Community College.  Tyler is a volunteer firefighter in Darien, and spent the last 7 years with Westport’s Highway Department.

1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker and Police Chief Foti Koskinas flank (from left) Officers Mingo, Calvao and Fitzpatrick.


No fooling: As of today (April 1), dogs are banned from Westport beaches.

Yesterday, Bentley enjoyed his final romp at Burying Hill Beach. The Weimaraner met many new friends there, and ran on the new jetty.

He looks forward to October 1, when he’ll be allowed back.

(Photo/Kat Palmer)


Meanwhile, grooming work continues at local beaches.

A lot of sand is being moved. It will all be de-rocked and smoothed soon, in time for opening next month.

June Rose Whittaker, with a temporary mountain of sand at Compo Beach.


Also seen at Compo:

Congratulations to Perseid — winner of the race to be the first boat of the season, at Ned Dimes Marina:

(Photo/Andrew Colabella)


Johanna Keyser Rossi zoomed in on the Fresh Market osprey this week.

When she got home, she noticed her photo included a scarf that the raptor had brought to her nest.

Hey: It gets cold up there at night!

The osprey’s gray scarf is on the right. (Photo/Johanna Keyser Rossi)


Want to see a Westport Country Playhouse show for free?

The theater needs ushers to scan tickets, distribute programs, answer questions and direct patrons to seats.

Volunteer ushers must be over 18, unless accompanied by a guardian who works with them. They must be patient, courteous, friendly, helpful — and able to read small print in low light.

For more information, email Kelly Richards Mikolasy, house manager:, or call 203-571-1296.

The seats are empty. But soon, ushers will be needed to direct patrons to seats.


Three years ago, Westporter Carly Ridloff combined 2 interests. She created the Exchange Project — a “sustainable shopping event” where people can reduce their carbon footprint by exchanging clothing.

She launched it from her home. The most recent one took place here Thursday.

The movement has grown to several other areas, including New York and Florida. The first kids’ edition launches in Boca Raton this month.

Click here for more information. Follow on Instagram: @the.exchanageproject.

Exchange Project founder Carly Ridloff (right) and event co-chair Kate Freeman.


Last week’s “06880” story about Harry Houdini and a movie of his 1917 escape from a crate in the water off Longshore made its way to Vermont.

Charles Greene III saw it, and writes:

“I’ve written a book about a female magician/illusionist from 1910 who became a princess. Her son, Frank Tchitcherine, became involved in espionage for the British and Americans. He retired to Westport.

“I’ve spoken to a person who met him. He was quite the character.

“Frank and his mother (a princess) have a connection to the Westport Library.  Several years ago, the library had documents from her time in Russia (1914 – 1918). They wound up being sold by a Westport resident through a map gallery in New York.

“Frank died in Westport in 1978.”

“06880” readers: If you remember Frank Tchitcherine (or his mother’s document), click “Comments” and add details.


Longtime Bedford and Staples teacher Donald DiGennaro died peacefully last Sunday, at the Watermark. He was age 86.

The Bridgeport native — a longtime resident of Trumbull — taught science in Westport for virtually his entire career.

He was an avid gardener and cook, with a love for Italy and Italian food, and greatly devoted to his family.

Don was predeceased by his wife of 58 years, Theresa; son Leonard, and brothers Philip and Anthony.

He is survived by his children Philip (Dana Maiocco), Donna Pavitt (David); grandchildren Philip DiGennaro (Sarah), Michael DiGennaro (Kristyn), James DiGennaro, Joseph DiGennaro and Emly Pavitt; great-grandson Donovan DiGennaro, and many nieces and nephews.

Funeral services were held privately. To leave an online condolence, click here.

Don DiGennaro


We usually see deer alone, or in groups of 2 or 3.

But 9 live in or near Bob Weingarten’s Greens Farms back yard.

Here’s fewer than half of them, relaxing for today’s “Westport … Naturally” feature.

Hey, at least they’re not destroying his garden.

(Photo/Bob Weingarten)


And finally … happy April 1!


37 responses to “Roundup: Chimney Removal, Banned Books Meeting Moved, New Cops …

  1. Removing that chimney is a definite improvement. That was an awful lot of ugly, bare concrete.

    • Yeah, but the house is still the second ugliest in town…the architect ,and the owner with no concept of design, have really built an eyesore in what as once one of the town’s most scenic spots. hat a shame.

  2. maybe tara McLaughlin lives in the wrong town !

  3. Bruce McFadden

    Sounds like Florida. Hard for me to believe that
    that kind of thinking has reached Westport!

  4. Rachel Lerner

    So if you don’t want your children exposed to cartoon images such as one kid jamming a strap-on dildo down the throat of another one, you don’t deserve to live here? Is “I do not want my son or daughter to be exposed to child pornography in the school library” the kind of thinking that we can’t have in a town as “cosmopolitan” as good old Westport?

    • Eric William Buchroeder SHS ‘70

      You obviously do not understand Westporters. None of them want their kids to be exposed to images of strap on dildos being shoved down kids’ throats. But they will fight to the death to make sure other people’s kids are exposed to images of strap on dildos being shoved down kids’ throats. Strap on dildos don’t molest kids. People with strap on dildos molest kids. You can take my strap on dildo when you can pry it from somebody else’s kid’s cold dead hands.

    • Stephanie Frankel

      There is WAY more to this than just one book! This is a movement to remove many things from public schools! They start with good old Nazi book bannning then move on to DEI, SEL, history classes, LGBTQ causes then defunding and replacing public with private or vouchers. This is just the beginning.
      The people challenging these books by the way voted for a man who had an affair with a porn star while his wife was pregnant, bullies people, lies, cheats, plans insurrections ect.. hardly a reason to be pearl clutchers.
      LGBTQ books are targeted in this challenge by Parents 06880 which is Westport’s anonymous version of Moms for Liberty.

      • Rachel Lerner

        They completely politicize our schools over the past five years then accuse parents who’ve had enough of being part of a movement. They spew theories of racial exploitation and want to re-order society using racial categories and then call other people Nazis.

    • Russell Gontar

      What’s pornographic is making up lies about “child pornography” in the school library while simultaneously obsessively yammering on about your fantasies with “strap ons” and children jamming dildos down each other’s throats.

  5. Tom Duquette, SHS '75

    Sorry to hear about Mr. DiGennaro passing away, I had him at Staples and he was a nice guy and a great teacher.

    Also, regarding new WPD Officer Fitzpatrick, his rank in the USCG as an E-5 would be Petty Officer 2d Class (PO2) and not “Sergeant”.

  6. Eric William Buchroeder SHS ‘70

    I grew up in Westport and my wife and I have raised two sons one who is special needs and the other a career high school teacher. My wife and I left CT and moved to Ohio (affordability) so that one parent in our family could devote full time attention to supporting the public school teachers in the education of our kids. I don’t believe in delegation when it comes to child-rearing, probably a result of having been raised a latchkey kid in Westport. I certainly respect educators and gladly empower them to make decisions that lie within the scope of their responsibilities and don’t abridge my responsibilities as a parent. However, I also insist on educators remaining accountable to the taxpaying parents from whom comes the tax revenue that pays their salaries. I am not saying that parents should be censors but I do feel that they have a right to be heard and respected.

  7. Eric William Buchroeder SHS ‘70

    When I was a Westport kid (very precocious, as all Westport kids are) I read a review in Time Magazine about the rather eyebrow raising book of the time Human Sexual Response by Masters and Johnson. It was not available in the Westport Library so I hotfooted it over to Pequot Library in Southport and had a very enjoyable and enlightening Saturday afternoon. Unfortunately, it was many years before I was able to put it to use in a socially acceptable way.

  8. RIP Mr. DiGennaro. Thank you for understanding how to inspire junior high & high school kids, and for being a role-model at a time when we all needed one. He gave his students the benefit of the doubt, treating us with respect; capable of learning complex science like Chemistry of Nutrition. I was lucky to have many wonderful Westport teachers. Mr. DiGennaro knew how to challenge his students beyond their own expectations, without sucking all the fun out of it. I was flabbergasted when I ran into him 3 decades later and he knew me by name. He was one of Westport’s very best teachers.

    • Eric William Buchroeder SHS ‘70

      I remember him similarly at BJHS. Your expression of respect/affection is wonderful.

      • Chip Stephens SHS 73

        Mr DiGennaro was a great teacher from our time in the 70s who was not only a excellent teacher but was a strong authority at a time when there were bullies and the weaker, with few rules to protect the weak and reign the bullies. Mr D ruled with unique strength and actions, that protected kids that today have so much protection and visibility that figures like Mr D are not so needed as they were yesterday,
        Those that were there in BJHS at the time get it

  9. Jack (Stable Genius) Backiel

    When I made jokes about the “ Stable Genius” getting spanked by Stormy, there was a comment that my posting was “stupid.” That’s why I’m not commenting now, however, I’d love to find out how many times she spanked tRump, so I can play the number in the Maryland Pick 3 lottery!

  10. Have these would be book banning folks read the Bible? It’s full of sex, homo and straight, innuendo about sex and references that easily create phantasies about sex…would they remove it. Also, there’s books about two faced hate mongers they ought to read.

    • Stephanie Frankel

      We need to just come out with a book about Trump’s affair with a porn star while his wife was pregnant and he paid off a lawyer to wipe it clear. We should call it , “ This Book Should be Banned”. Let’s see if it would be challenged!

  11. Hey Stephanie, That book could be a best seller in Mississippi, however, the illiteracy rate there is very high!

    • Eric William Buchroeder

      The book that’s being contemplated is only going to have pictures. Literacy wasn’t required to produce it using CHATGPT and they didn’t want to throw any roadblocks in front of their target audience. Creative staff will photoshop the spicy illustrations from the Hunter Biden story and the book will hit the stands in time for the arraignment on Tuesday. Advance copies to the DA, judge and jury. Slam dunk Franz Kafka.

      • Stephanie Frankel

        Ah! Hunter is president and was president! I will throw some deflections into it! Maybe Stormy will yell, “ oh Hunter, Hunter, Hunter”. Oops.
        Thanks for helping the narrative Eric! I love when people yell Hunter when talking about Trump!

      • Stephanie Frankel

        Maybe we can add that Hunter saw his mom and sister die in a car crash.
        What trauma did Trump go through besides all the ones he put himself into for being just a bad human?

  12. Lindsey Burke

    Stephanie, what about our Democratic Prez receiving, how do I phrase this so it’s Westport/Staples/Stephanie acceptable, a ‘favor’ in the Oval Office? Lying to his wife, daughter, our nation, and then BUBBA joining Mr Eppstein for more, ‘enjoyment’.

    Is BUBBA, a ‘bad human’, a ‘bad husband”, a ‘bad father’?

    I also feel the blue dress should be in the Smithsonian.

    • Stephanie Frankel

      He was inpeached for that, but the affair and sex part is not against the law. The law part that Trump broke matters. What also matters are the pearl clutchers who back a man who brags a about grabbing a womenby the pussy, lying, cheating, promoting violence , and having an affair with a porn star while his wife was pregnant!
      I never claimed to be a pearl clutcher. The “ religious” people supporting Trump and book bans are!

      • Eric Buchroeder

        Let’s just say that his proclivities are OK because you share the same politics. But that does not confer the moral high ground.

        • Stephanie Frankel

          Um, no. I did not vote for Bill Clinton. Ask my parents in Cincinnati. You should meet thrm. They hate the Clintons.

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