Roundup: Common Ground, Affordable Housing, Lyman Aid …

Common Ground — the Westport Library’s project to bring civility back to civic discourse — launches this Tuesday (May 2, 7 p.m.).

The event includes a conversation with former Congressman Roy Blunt — a Missouri Republican known for his bipartisan work — and attorney Steve Parrish, whose consulting firm specializes in corporate social responsibility and public affairs.

The aim of the initiative is to host positive, productive conversations on how we work together as a civil society, encouraging respectful, constructive dialogue while tackling challenging, controversial issues.

The Library leads the effort, with community leaders representing a wide array of constituents and views. Click here for more information.

Senator Roy Blunt


A follow-up on the Representative Town Meeting’s recent “Community Conversation on Affordable Housing” promises to be as important and illuminating as the first.

“Our Town’s Affordable Housing Needs and Solutions: What Westporters Should Know and How They Can Help” will be held — virtually — on May 17 (7:30 p.m.).

RTM moderator Jeff Wieser will lead a panel of men and women who know the topic intimately: State Senator Ceci Maher, State Representative Jonathan Steinberg, Planning & Zoning Commission chair Danielle Dobin, RTM Planning & Zoning Committee chair Matthew Mandell, and Westport Housing Authority director Carol Martin.

As with the first session — which drew 200 people — there will be plenty of time for public questions.

Click here to join the Zoom meeting.

New construction at the Wilton Road/Kings Highway North intersection — opposed by Westport’s Planning & Zoning Commission, but allowed by a judge based on Connecticut’s 8-30g affordable housing regulation — is on many residents’ minds.


The final Westport-sponsored project in Lyman, Ukraine has been successfully completed.

Thanks to $252,000 raised — in just 3 weeks — over the holidays, Westport has helped our sister city in many ways. They include:

  • Repairing 6 apartment buildings, housing 132 people
  • Purchasing and delivering 2 patrol cars, and communications and other equipment, for the police department after their station was destroyed
  • Purchasing and delivering 2 trash trucks, to haul away debris and garbage that piled up during 5 months of Russian occupancy
  • Purchasing bulletproof vests and other protective gear for utility works, who restored electricity near the front lines
  • Delivering food kids to hundreds of family, including holiday meals for 1,000
  • Delivering Christmas presents for nearly 500 children
  • Supplying 2,940 families with seeds for their farms and gardens.

Non-monetary support included 200 cards and artwork, created by Bedford Middle School 7th graders.

There’s still time for other Westport students — and their families — to add to the packages, which will be delivered next month.

Letters, drawings and posters of encouragement can be dropped off on the front porch of 2nd Selectwoman Andrea Moore’s house: 2A Baker Avenue (between Compo Road South and Imperial Avenue). Blue and yellow balloons (Ukrainian colors) are on the mailbox.

The deadline is May 5. Questions: Email

More monetary help is needed. A new drive will begin soon. In the meantime, watch “06880” for news of a giant “thank-you” party for Westport. Save the date now: Sunday, July 9.

PS: To donate now, click here (and select “Westport” from the “Where it is needed most” dropdown menu.

Lyman apartments, under repair.


The other day Wynston Browne — the non-speaking autistic Staples High School student who has made spectacular progress since learning to communicate less than 2 years ago — wowed the crowd of 200 people at the Circle of Friends celebration.

The event — celebrating teenagers who model inclusion and service to the community, by providing social experiences for children and teens with special needs — featured Wynston and his communication partner Elisa Feinman.

He earned 2 standing ovations, as he described his journey. Once thought to be intellectually disabled, he now shares deep insights about himself and the world, with many people who are eager to listen.

Also honored: Westporter Stephen Schwartz. Jenn Falik served as MC; 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker, Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling, Circle of Friends founder and director Freida Hecht, and Caroline Caggiano and James Dobin Smith, co-presidents of Staples’ Circle of Friends Club, offered remarks.

Wynston Browne (center) with his brothers BK (Staples High Class of 2016 graduate) and Harrison, a Staples junior, at the Circle of Friends celebration.


Pierrepont – the small, non-traditional and very low-profile private school on Sylvan Road North at Post Road West — invites everyone to a big, non-traditional but very intriguing Arts Festival.

The event begins Thursday, May 4 (3 to 5:p.m.) with lectures on raga and contemporary opera, plus poetry. There’s a 5:30 p.m. reception, then at 7 p.m. music from Voices of Hartford and a raga ensemble.

Friday, May 5 includes a 4:30 Urban Bush Woman Workshop, 5 p.m. reception and 7:15 p.m. dance performance.

The 3-day festival concludes on Saturday, May 6 with 8:30 a.m. coffee, and 10 a.m. “Conversations in Art.”

Click here for many more details on each event.

Pierrepont School, on Sylvan Road North. The entrance faces Post Road West.


“The Gospel of Soul” comes to Christ & Holy Trinity Episcopal Church tomorrow.

The Empire Voices — regular performers at the Metropolitan Opera, on Broadway, and back-up for artists like Josh Groban, Michael Bublé, Pete Townshend and David Bowie — will take the Branson Hall “stage” at 5 p.m.

The church’s own Choristers will be make a guest appearance. A reception follows.

Organizers says, “This concert will fill your soul and have you on your feet.” Click here for tickets, and more information.


As outdoor dining returns to Church Lane, the Westport Downtown Association is finalizing its summer concert series. Musicians will provide over 35 evenings of entertainment, al fresco.

A GoFundMe collection will help offset the cost of the singers and bands. Click here to help.


The Levy Family of Westport will lead the 18th Annual STAR Walk & Roll fundraiser on Sunday, May 7 at Sherwood Island State Park.

The Levys have supported STAR — the 70-year-old not-for-profit that serves over 700 people with disabilities, from birth to their senior years, and their families –since their daughter Ariel began attending its day program.

Over the past several years, the Levy Family’s “Team Ariel” has raised over $100,000 for STAR.

The Walk begins at 10 a.m. May 7 with a 1k route suitable for any ability (walkers, strollers, wheelchairs and baby joggers are welcome). There’s a continental breakfast, and family activities including live music, arts and crafts, Bollywood dancing, a photo booth, face-painting and food trucks. Click here to register for the walk, or donate to Team Ariel or other teams. To learn more about STAR, click here.

Ariel Levy (center) with her parents.


When you live on Myrtle Avenue, sooner or later nearly everyone in town passes your house.

When you post a sign, it better be a good one.

This isn’t just good, though. It’s great!

(Photo/Ed Simek)


Former Wesptorter Marie “Tina” Jennings-Kamber died April 15 in Sarasota, Florida. She was 98.

Tina came to the US from Venice, Italy in 1948 as a war bride.  She established and ran a Ridgefield children’s clothing store, the Cortina Shop.

She married Sereno Jennings of Westport, where they eventually settled. She was a member of Greens Farms Church.

They spent winters in Islamorada, Florida. The couple built the first tennis club, “The Net,” in the Keys, then moving to the mainland in 1983.

After her husband’s passing she met United Nations Diplomat Hans W. Kamberg. Because of their European connection they became close friends. and married soon..

Tina is survived by her step-grandchildren, including former daughter-in-law Ruth Jennings of Westport.

In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the Resurrection House, 507 Kumquat Court, Sarasota, Fl. 34230.


When you live in Westport, you get used to cormorants.

Still, William Whitmal says — today’s “Westport … Naturally” photographer — he’d never seen so many as the other day, in the Saugatuck River.

(Photo/William Whitmal)


And finally … April Stevens, who won a Grammy Award in 1963 for “Deep Purple,” died last week in Arizona. She was 93.

I knew the song was a duet with Nino Tempo. But until I read her obituary yesterday, I had no idea he was her brother.

(From here to Lyman, “06880” is where Westport meets the world. Please click here to contribute, and help us do keep doing it. Thank you!)

11 responses to “Roundup: Common Ground, Affordable Housing, Lyman Aid …

  1. Nino dropped by a recording session at A&M I was working in in the 70’s. A great guy and fabulous Horn player. Loved April!

  2. While I appreciate that Sen. Blunt spoke out against the whitewashing of the insurrection on Jan 6, I would hesitate to hold him up as a pinnacle of public service. He was consistently named one of the most corrupt members of congress by non-partisan organizations, building relationships with a sea of lobbyists including Jack Abramoff and putting last minute tax breaks for the tobacco industry into legislation weeks after marrying a Phillip Morris lobbyist. While we should be able to listen to and work with people on all sides of the political landscape we should have no tolerance for the appearance of corruption amongst our elected leaders.

    • Stephanie Frankel

      Facts are facts. It is not rude or impolite to respond to the facts. I will ask questions that hold him accountable to his answer. Nothing rude or divisive about that.

  3. Eric William Buchroeder SHS ‘70

    Yep. Another advertisement for campaign finance reform.

  4. Dan, or anyone associated with Circle of Friends, is there any chance Wynston Browne’s presentation was recorded? I would love to hear/see it; just reading bits and pieces of his journey has been so inspiring.

  5. That’s terrific to hear that you will be posting Wynston’s presentation.!!!!

  6. Linda Pomerantz Novis

    Love the photo of all the cormorants in the Saugatuck River!
    Up north, here, in a nearby lake,Massachusetts,we recently spotted some of these same-(perhaps some ‘distant cousins’ of those in this

  7. Let’s not forget Steve Parrish’s work as VP of Philip Morris. Blunt and Parrish go together like a horse and carriage. The tobacco industry is constantly looking to reframe itself by enganging in such events, “hosting positive, productive conversations on how we work together as a civil society.” All the usual whitewashing PR for an industry that kills hundreds of thousands a year.

    • I’m shocked the WPL would lend itself to being a part of this pro-tobacco PR campaign. The industry engages in such events as a way of clearing its name so it can sell more nicotine, and hook more Westporters.

    • Eric William Buchroeder SHS ‘70

      Don’t forget the vaping industry pitch “well, it may still be nicotine, but if they have to be addicted it’s so much healthier than traditional tobacco smoking.” And yet so many Westporters have no problem with the vape shops that are trickling into town. Same with gambling. “Well, if they’re going to gamble, we might as well use the tax revenue to advance the cause of the less fortunate.”

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