Roundup: SLOBs, AWARE, ROMEOs …

Yesterday’s weather drove all but the hardiest yard workers indoors.

In anticipation of today’s sunshine — and, more importantly, to get ready for the 7th annual Dog Festival (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.), a crew of SLOBs (Staples Service League of Boys) headed to Winslow Park to help.

“This was Westport at its best,” praises Matthew Mandell, executive director of the Dog Fest sponsor, the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce.

“This was the most challenging prep for the event ever.”

Winslow Park will look great today, as thousands of dogs and their owners enjoy everything from obstacles courses and competitions to a K-9 demonstration and vendors.

And they’ll have a bunch of SLOBs to thank.

SLOBs set up for the Dog Festival. (Photo/Matthew Mandell)


Also working outside yesterday: a hardy bunch of Westport Sunrise Rotary volunteers.

As they had promised Westport’s Department of Human Services, they showed up — dressed for the occasion and with their usual boundless energy — to help clean up a local resident’s home. The event was part of the international organization’s annual Day of Service.

They removed high grass, tree limbs, weeds and more from the property of a resident who was unable to do so, or afford to pay for it.

A brief pause from hard work. (Photo courtesy of Rob Hauck and Bruce Fritz)


The foul weather also forced AWARE’s annual soiree indoors.

Over 100 folks crammed into a private home — rather than the back yard — to celebrate the organization, and its partner.

AWARE stands for Assisting Women through Action, Resources and Education. Each year, they work with a different organization, offering financial resources, hands-on and moral support, and friendship.

For the past year, they’ve joined with Her Time. The Bridgeport non-profit assists women affected by incarceration and domestic violence.

The food and drinks were delicious. The fundraising went well. And “AWARE-ness” about Her Time was raised high too.

AWARE members and Her Time representatives spent a “family” evening together. (Photo/Dan Woog)


Also indoors last night: Actress/singer/songwriter (and 2013 Staples High School graduate) Michelle Pauker returned to MoCA Westport. Her Joni Mitchell tribute was part of the “Music at MoCA” series.

Last summer, Michelle performed “Broadway Through The Ages” for a sold-out crowd in the Museum’s gallery.

Her composer/director, Jake Landau, was a Staples classmate. The Juilliard and Oxford graduate is a quickly rising composer and conductor.

Next in the Music at MoCA series: Vanisha Gould, a Jazz at Lincoln Center Emerging Artist (June 10, 7 p.m.). She and her quartet will perform originals and selections from the Great American Songbook. Click here for tickets and more information.

From left: Michelle Pauker, Rachel Hoy and Ravi Campbell, last night at MoCA Westport. (Photo/Lily Hultgren)


After decades of getting ready for the 7:30 a.m. bell, retired teachers have the luxury of sleeping in.

But former Staples High School educators find a variety of ways to stay active and engaged. They lead full, interestinglives.

Every so often they get together (though a bit later than 7:30) to compare notes, and talk about their lives then and now.

They call themselves ROMEOs: Retired Old Men Eating Out.

How many of these legendary teachers did you recognize?

Here they are (clockwise from lower left): Toby Watson, Al Jolley, Stan Rhodes, Werner Liepolt, Pete Van Hagen, Bruce McFadden, Jim Honeycutt, Ed Bludnicki, John Pepe, Jeff Lea, Jim Wheeler.


Remember James Comey?

Before he became FBI director (and was fired by President Trump), he was general counsel at Bridgewater Associates, the Westport-based world’s largest hedge fund. He lived here too, in Greens Farms.

Comey’s new gig is mystery writer. He next book — “Central Park West” — will be published May 30.

It takes place at a fiction version of “the world’s largest hedge fund.”

Hmmm … will any other bits of Westport make it into the book?

I’m not buying it to find out.

But if anyone else does, please let me know. (Hat tip: Allen Siegert)


Drew Angus has spent the last 3 months in Nashville. He’s writing songs, and playing with very talent musicians.

On June 8, the 2007 Staples High School graduate takes the stage at Fairfield Theatre Company, to share stories and songs from his time there.

Drew will be joined by Westonite Jeremy Goldsmith on guitar, Wilton’s Spencer Inch on drums, Nick Trautmann (Darien) on Bass, and non-Nutmegger Adam Bonomo (keyboard). A few special guests may join them.

Click here for tickets. Click here for more on Drew Angus.

Drew Angus


Yesterday’s “06880” noted that it was the 96th anniversary of the day Charles Lindbergh took off on the first-ever non-stop solo crossing of the Atlantic Ocean.

Naturally, there’s a (sort of) Westport connection. (Beyond the fact — which I forgot to note — that Lindbergh and his family lived for several years on Long Lots Road.)

Longtime resident and avid “06880” reader Matt Murray’s grandmother was a friend of the engine builder/designer Charlie Lawrence.

The day before the flight, he asked Matt’s grandmother, “Do you want to see this fellow take off from Roosevelt Field at 5 a.m. to fly solo across the Atlantic?”

She replied, “Charlie, you’re drunk,” and did not go.

But because she was fluent writing and speaking French, Charlie asked her to write Lindbergh’s letter of introduction for when he landed.

As a thank you, she later received a picture of Lindbergh and Lawrence — and their signatures — just before he flew away.


There’s always something to see on Soundview Drive.

Tammy Barry took the popular stroll the other day, and spotted these irises. They won’t be there long. Fortunately, she snapped this shot for “Westport .. Naturally.”

(Photo/Tammy Barry)


And finally … on this day in 1970 Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young recorded “Ohio.”  Neil Young wrote the song about the murder of 4 people at Kent State University, 2 1/2 weeks earlier.


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17 responses to “Roundup: SLOBs, AWARE, ROMEOs …

  1. Andrew Colabella

    Coach Paul Lane lives on!!! His garden of daffodils, tulips, irises, and allium, coming in waves are the sign of warm weather is here to stay.

  2. Joyce Barnhart

    Lindbergh took off from Roosevelt Field, several miles farther east on Long Island than Floyd Bennett Field. It’s been the site of a shopping mall since the 60’s (I think.)

  3. Lynn Turin Pokorny

    Thanks so much for including the photo of many of my former teachers. It’s great seeing them again and brings me joy that they are still enjoying each others company.

  4. You are correct! It was Roosevelt Field. Floyd Bennett was in my head as it was on the news this week. (Dan can you correct the blog?)

  5. Bruce McFadden

    The ROMEO breakfast tradition was started by Gerry Kuroghlian several years ago.

  6. So great to see those familiar faces still enjoying each others company!! The “ROMEO’S” look great. Thanks Dan!! Conjures up so many classroom memories from the late 60’s for me.
    All fantastic educators!!! We were very lucky to have them be our mentors!!

  7. Love seeing some of these great teachers. Brings back great memories.

    Maybe James Comey can write about all his lies and corruption he was involved in that just came out in the Durham report!!

    Probably biggest scadal and the media is staying quite. Wonder why.

    • The entire investigation produced exactly one conviction—on exactly one count. That’s the biggest scandal the world has seen? Also, where did Comey live in Greens Farms?

  8. Carl Addison Swanson, Wrecker, '66.

    Perhaps not the most shocking but certainly surprising for the AG of the USA to open a closed investigation eight (8) days before an election. And to boot, didn’t find anything. Comey lived two doors down from Weinstein on Beachside Avenue.

    • Eric William Buchroeder SHS ‘70

      I wonder how much dinero Comey made as a hired gun for Bridgewater. Weinstein, I remember when he was shoveling cash into the Clinton coffers from the numerous fundraisers held at the Beachside Ave compound and chronicled so lovingly in 06880. Rumor had it that the favorite song at the Clinton fundraisers was the Maurice Chevalier classic: “Thank Heavens!! For Little Girls!!!.”

    • Carl, at what point did he live on Beachside? When he moved from Westport, he had been living for some years on Westway.

  9. Eric William Buchroeder SHS ‘70

    My guess is the stone faced mailboxes were “make work” projects. How many people know in present day Wetspot know that the stone wall on Beachside Avenue was built by unemployed stone masons during the Depression. They had to work or they weren’t allowed in the soup kitchen. They didn’t give out debit cards back then if you wanted to eat you went to work, period. Chip Duffy was one of those masons and told me the story around ‘’59-‘62 when I was 7-10 and my single mom was working in the salt mines as a school secretary. Chip volunteered to be a mentor to me (they called them buddies back then) after school so I wouldn’t get lost and wander into a vape shop or something.

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