Roundup: PAL Theft, STG $$$, Save The Sound …

There are 2 ways to write this story.

1. The Memorial Day was a huge success for everyone. One of the many highlights was the Westport Police Athletic League float, featuring RTM member/PAL booster Andrew Colabella as a Revolutionary War “Minute Man.”

The float also included 4 large pots of geraniums, and an American flag.

Unfortunately, when the float was parked at Saugatuck Elementary School after the parade, someone took the flowers and flag. They must have thought no one else wanted them.

But the plants were borrowed from a local nursery. Unless they are returned, the PAL — a non-profit — must pay for them. (You can keep the flag!). Just email, or Or drop them off at the PAL clubhouse at PJ Romano Field. No questions asked.

Or this version:

2. There’s one in every crowd.

Thousands of people loved the Memorial Day parade. One of the highlights was the Westport PAL float, featuring RTM member/PAL booster Andrew Colabella as a Revolutionary War “Minute Man.”

But — and this is hard to believe, but welcome to 2023 — when the float was parked a few hours later at Saugatuck Elementary School, some asshat stole 4 beautiful pots of geraniums. Plus an American flag, which was zip-tied to the trailer.

It doesn’t get lower than that.

Stealing from a non-profit, which now must pay for the plants it borrowed from a local nursery.


However, there is one good part of this story.

“PAL” stands for Police Athletic League.

That’s right: Police Athletic League.

They’re coming to get you.

The PAL float, before the items went missing/were stolen.


Staples Tuition Grants does 2 things very well.

It raises money. Then it gives it away.

STG celebrated its 80th year last night at the high school auditorium. The organization awarded $405,000 in scholarships to 119 graduating seniors and students already in college.

That’s the highest amount ever.

The average grant is $3,400 — $650 more than STG’s 10-year average. It helps with 15% of net need. That’s not enough to fill the aggregate net need of $2.7 million.

But STG provides more than the federal government, which awards $312,000 in Pell grants.

The money goes to students with demonstrated financial need. Nearly 450 people donated to the general fund this year, or to named or endowed awards that honor Staples’ history — and support its future.

To learn more about Staples Tuition Grants, click here.


Staples Tuition Grants recipients last night, in the courtyard. (Photo/Pam Einarsen)


Connecticut has some great art museums.

On June 6 (2 p.m.), the Westport Library’s Verso University launches an exploration of some of our best.

Connecticut Art Trail president and longtime Westport resident Carey Weber begins the program with an overview of the organization’s mission and member museums.

Future programs will focus on the Housatonic Museum of Art (July 12) and Weir Farm, the only national park service site dedicated to American painting (August 2).

Connecticut art museums.


Speaking of the Library: Registration is underway for kids’ summer programs. They include:

Summer Reading Fun: Children of all ages (and their grown-ups) are invited to read anything, any time, anywhere. For every 100 minutes read, kids can decorate a sun for display in the library. 500 minutes earns a Shake Shack treat. And 1,000 minutes gets you a free book, to keep. Click here for details.

Summer Learning Clubs integrate math, literacy and STEAM activities into a thematic approach. Each class blends inquiry, design, research, writing and the arts. Click here for grade levels and dates.

Camp Explore returns for its 4th year of STEAM exploration. They include Microbit Makery (June 27-29; grades 6-8); African Mask Making (July 10-12; grades 5-6); Jewelry Making (Novel Necklaces) (July 25; grades 6-8); Matica Arts (August 8-10; grades 6-8). A Matica Circus performance (August 8; 10 a.m.) is open to all. Click here for details.

Iyaba Ibo Mandingo leads the African mask making class.


Save the Sound is sponsoring a beach cleanup at Sherwood Island State Park.

It’s this Saturday (June 3, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.; just east of the Nature Center). Staff members will be there, to talk about STS’ “CT Cleanup” effort.

Questions? Email

Sherwood Island State Park.


Emmy-nominated composer/pianist Steve Sandberg headlines tomorrow’s Jazz at the Post (Thursday, June 1; shows at 7:30 and 8:45 p.m.; dinner from 7 p.m.; $15 cover).

His original music blends classical, world music and jazz. He’ll be joined by 7-time Grammy winner bassist Jay Anderson, fiery drummer Tim Horner, and saxophonist Greg “The Jazz Rabbi” Wall.

Shows have sold out early. Email for reservations.


The Small Car Company is doing big things in Westport.

The informal group of vintage VW and Porsche owners — the brainchild of former Westporters Tom Truitt and Dave Abelow, and named for a Post Road West dealership (now Carvan) that in the late 1960s sold more Volkswagens than any other in the US — helped partner Total Training & Endurance with Northeast Community Cycles. The deal brings the 10-year-old bicycle charity to Westport.

Their mission is to provide safe, refurbished bicycles to underprivileged children and adults in Fairfield County — at no charge. Like Total Training & Endurance, Northeast Community Cycles is all about community outreach and self-empowerment through the cycling.

The Small Car Company, meanwhile, has introduced a bicycle program to reach out to youngsters in need of direction. The goal is to create passion and responsibility through ownership of personal transportation.

Meanwhile, the organization is planning a bike tour October 8. The charity ride (hosted by TT&E) will raise awareness of and money for bicycle ownership for those with less means.


You may think Ferdinand is a bull.

But George Bullwinkel’s Ferdinand is a dog. And he’s the very relaxed and comfortable subject of today’s “Westport … Naturally” feature.

(Photo/George Bullwinkel)


And finally … happy 77th birthday to Jimmy Cliff!

(“06880” — your hyper-local blog — is also a non-profit. Contributions are tax-deductible. Please click here to support our work. Thank you!)

13 responses to “Roundup: PAL Theft, STG $$$, Save The Sound …

  1. George Eagan

    The PAL should take the 20k they collect annually from the fireworks provided by Melissa and Doug and pay for 4 flower plants. What a joke.

    • You’re kidding, right, George? Do you have any idea what the PAL does?

      Melissa and Doug don’t “give” money to the PAL “from” the fireworks. They underwrite the cost — fireworks company, barge, etc. — so that the PAL doesn’t have those expenses. The funds collected go straight to program that impact thousands of boys and girls each year.

      If you have an issue with the PAL or Melissa and Doug, I’m happy to hear it. If you’ve given similar contributions to the town, I’d like to hear that too.

    • Emily Cohen

      The plants were left abandoned in a parking lot, and now people are calling them “stolen?”

      They weren’t stolen… they were rescued and given a second life.

      • How were they “abandoned”? They were sitting on a truck that was going to be returned to its owner. If there was plywood, a refrigerator or a bicycle on that trailer, would you call it “abandoned”?

      • Andrew Colabella

        So then I guess the trailer, wooden box, and all the decorations are considered abandoned when they were all affixed to such trailer?? What is this if it’s not theft, forced giving? Izzo’s has donated every year for the day to be returned, now that’s money that has to be spent out of the pocket of PAL when those dollars are meant for kids scholarships and athletic programs.

        How out of touch you are…if you took them, return them.

      • Emily Cohen

        I’m simply saying that I can see why someone would reasonably think that the flowers were available for the taking.

        It’s like going to a wedding or shower or corporate event, and taking the flower arrangement home at the end of the event. It’s pretty common practice to take plants/flowers home after events.

        • It’s pretty common practice WHEN SOMEONE SAYS “feel free to take the flowers home.”

        • Andrew Colabella

          And cutting the zip tied flag, reasonable…it needed a home it was all by itself. Had no idea the parade honoring those who died for our country is to be treated like a wedding for the taking behind a closed and locked gate!!!


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  3. Dan, I so enjoy reading your column. I love the way you wrote the two points of you for memorial day.

    Wonderful seeing George Bullwinkle‘s name again. I have fond memories of the Bullwinkles.

    I’m enjoying Florida, but I sure do miss Westport.

  4. Dan the story about the missing flowers need to be put on Facebook
    very sad that people think they can help themselves without asking

  5. Jack Whittle

    I like the first version of the story – hopeful, trusting in the goodness of our townspeople (although cutting the zip ties to borrow the flag is tricky to explain) – and perhaps it allows for an easier pathway for returning these items. But still . . . c’mon people, we can do better, be better.

    And Andrew already posted this on FB

  6. Melissa Diamond

    Dan – As the very proud sister of Steve Sandberg, I want to thank you for posting the info about tomorrow’s Jazz
    Concert at the VFW! His group and the Jazz Rabbi are sure to be great!