Roundup: Israel Support, I-95 Detours, Aid In Dying Legislation …

Last Sunday — just 24 hours after Hamas’ brutal attack on Israel — 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker released a strong statement.

She said then:

The attack on Israel and its citizens is horrifying. There is no justification for senseless acts of violence.

I as the 1st Selectwoman of Wesetport, along with our residents, stand with the people of Israel as they defend their country in the face of unspeakable terrorist acts.

Many Westporters have family and friends in Israel. Our community is profoundly affected by this tragedy. I extend my deepest condolences for the lives lost.

We are with you, Israel.

She reiterated her words yesterday. In a joint statement, Tooker and TEAM Westport chair Harold Bailey said:

TEAM Westport joins the Town of Westport and our First Selectwoman in offering its deepest solidarity and sorrow to the people of Israel for the unspeakable and unfathomable acts of inhumanity they have suffered at the hands of Hamas. As such, we also decry any attempts to justify or celebrate those atrocities. While there is much to be done to ensure stability over the long-term, in whatever is done, we urge the unrelenting focus on the humanity of all potential victims involved.

On the home front, we fully support the increased protection of the Jewish community within Westport and the greater U.S.  against the rising  scourge of antisemitism. Overall, we encourage all segments of our community to join as one in this support with the full understanding that when one of us is harmed, we are all harmed.

Many town officials — including 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker, in the front row directly in front of Senator Richard Blumenthal  — were at Monday’s solidarity gathering at Temple Israel. (Photo/Allison Wachstein)


Plan ahead!

The I-95 northbound entrance ramp at Exit 17 will be closed beginning Monday, October 16 through Friday, October 31. The closure is part of the ongoing bridge rehabilitation project. Traffic will be detoured to Riverside Avenue, then to the Post Road, Sherwood Island Connector, and onto Exit 18.

In addition, parts of I-95 itself will be closed — as will the northbound Exit 17  entrance and exit ramps, and the southbound exit ramp — along with nearby Saugatuck Avenue, from 8 p.m. Friday, October 20, through 6 a.m. Monday, October 23.

The closures are necessary for the new I-95 northbound bridge to be placed using Accelerated Bridge Construction techniques. While I-95 northbound is closed, 2 lanes of I-95 northbound traffic will be crossed over on the I-95 southbound bridge. Traffic flow in both directions will be severely impacted all weekend.

For additional information on the project, including detours, click here.

The I-95 Exit 17 entrance and exit ramps were closed intermittently last week. Blasting helped prepare the site for the “bridge slide” coming soon.


For several years, James Naughton has been a passionate, articulate advocate for proposed medical aid in dying state legislation.

On Monday (October 16, 7 p.m., Westport Library) the Tony-winning actor and Weston resident — whose wife died after a long battle with pancreatic cancer — leads an important discussion.

“Medical Aid in Dying: Connecticut Wants It; Why Isn’t It the Law?” includes State Representative Jonathan Steinberg (former co-chair of the Public Health Committee); State Senator Ceci Maher; filmmaker Maribeth Abrams, who is producing a documentary about advocate Kim Hoffman, who died in 2022, and Tim Appleton, campaign director of Compassion & Choices.

Click here for more information, and to register.

James Naughton


“Houdini” (Jackson) and well over 100 other Club 203 guests packed the Senior Center Thursday, for the social club for adults disabilities monthly get-together.

Houdini (aka Jackson) at the Club 203 Halloween party.

This one was (of course) Halloween-themed. Attendees enjoyed Spooky Bingo, a barbecue, baked goods, candy (of course) and more.

Senior Center staff helped facilitate the event. Sweet P Bakery, Fresh Market, Stop & Shop and CVS provided donations, while MOCA led “frightening” art projects. Club 203 co-founders Stacie Curran and Sharuna Mahesh also thanked the many volunteers who helped.

Good times at the Senior Center, for Club 203 members and friends.


Speaking of Halloween:

This is the coven, at the corner of Hillandale and West Parish Roads:

(Photo/Tammy Barry)


In what has become an annual tradition, RTM members celebrated Restaurant Week with a lunch last yesterday. This year’s site: Zucca, which has replaced Tarry Lodge in Saugatuck.

On hand were 24 of the 36 representatives, plus 2 former moderators (assistant town attorney Eileen Lavigne Flug and Velma Heller), plus Town Clerk Jeffrey Dunkerton and Tatiana Plachi of the town clerk’s office.

Pro tip: Restaurant Week is actually two weeks. The Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce event ends tomorrow (Sunday). For a list of restaurants and their special deals, click here.

RTM members and friends celebrate Restaurant Week at Zucca.


Amidst a gaggle of signs — for political candidates, upcoming galas, sports registration, driveway paving companies and everything else — there is a new, official looking one, in the rear of Compo Acres Shopping Center, by Compo Road South:

That’s a sign we can all agree belongs there. 988 is the new, important, easy-to-remember 24-hour hotline for people in crisis, including those considering suicide.


Fred Cantor and his wife Debbie Silberstein recently visited their former neighbors, Gordon and Dot Hall.

They’ve lived in the same house near Hillspoint Road since 1955.

Dot recently celebrated her 92nd birthday. Gordon will soon be 96.

This fall marks the 70th anniversary of the beginning of their Westport teaching careers.

Fred wonders if there are any other married teaching couples around from the 1950s?

To which I’ll add: Are there any other teachers — period — from that decade still in Westport?

Dot and Gordon Hall (Photo/Fred Cantor)


Westport was not the only artists’ colony in these parts.

Weston had a robust arts history too. On November 15 and 16 (6:30 p.m.), the Weston History & Cultural Center offers a look into their lives — along with cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and insights from curator Laurie Weiss.

It’s called “Weston Illustrated: Penned, Painted and Sculpted.” Among the featured artists, who lived and/or worked in Weston during the first half of the 20th century: Wood Cowan, Charles and James Daugherty, Stevan Dohanos, John Held Jr., Ada “Johnny” Held, William Meade Prince, Laura Gardin Fraser and Stuart Benson

The event is limited to 12 people per night. Tickets $30 for members, $40 for non-members) include a signature cocktail and light appetizers. Click here to purchase, and for more information.


Aspetuck Land Trust’s next “Lunch & Learn” webinar is Friday (October 20, noon to 1:15 p.m.).

The topic is “Cultivating Backyard Habitat for Pollinators in Every Season.” It will be led by Desiree Narango, conservation scientist at the Vermont Center for Ecostudies.

Click here to register, and for more information.


Diva Showstoppers — featuring a Glinda and Elphaba from the Broadway company of “Wicked” — flies into Westport for two shows on one day this winter: January 20.

“Good Witch/Bad Witch” has entertained audiences across the US, with its vocals and banter.

It’s recommended for ages 7 and up — including parents. All tickets are $40. Click here to purchase, and for more information.


Former Staples High School assistant coach Ty Matthew Guarente died Wednesday, surrounded by his family. He was 28.

His obituary says: “the son of the late Lisa Marie Guarente and Gary Guarente faced life’s challenges with remarkable bravery, inspiring all who knew him. Despite the obstacles he encountered, his spirit remained unbreakable. He touched the lives of many with his kindness, resilience, infectious smile and sense of humor.”

Ty was a 2012 graduate of Brien McMahon High School, where he was a varsity letterman in football, wrestling and lacrosse. He earned a bachelor of science in sports management from West Virginia University. He was treasurer and head of recruiting for Theta Chi fraternity.

After graduating Ty returned home to Norwalk and began a career in coaching, impacting the lives of student-athletes at several local high schools across many different sports, including football, wrestling and lacrosse.

“Despite being involved in a car accident in 2019 that deprived him of the ability to walk, Ty endured, continuing his coaching career and remaining a fixture in the local sports community. His family and many friends from both near and far made sure that Ty was never without love and support, and he cherished every call, text, and visit.”

In addition to his father, Ty is survived by his brother Michael (Luz), sisters Jessica Guarente and Jessica Wilchfort (William), brother John Andresen (Jennifer), 8 nieces and nephews, and grandmother Ginger Sollazzo Raymond.

A celebration of Ty’s life will be held tomorrow (Sunday, October 15, 3 to 7 p.m., Collins Funeral Home, Norwalk). A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Monday (October 16, 10 a.m., St. Matthew Church, Norwalk).

Ty Guarente


Today is not much of a beach day.

But yesterday was. Lauri Weiser spotted this scene — just right for “Westport … Naturally.”

(Photo/Lauri Weiser)


And finally … Rudolph Isley, one of the Isley Brothers as well as a co-writer of many of their hits during their decades-long (and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame) career, died Wednesday in his sleep, at his Chicago home. He was 84.

The Isley Brothers pre-dated the Beatles (who had a hit with their cover of the group’s “Twist and Shout”), and lasted long after the Fab 4 disbanded. Click here for a full obituary.

Here are just 3 of their classics:

(It’s your thing … do what you want to do! But please consider a contribution to “06880.” Just click here. Thank you!)

23 responses to “Roundup: Israel Support, I-95 Detours, Aid In Dying Legislation …

  1. Would be wonderful to see Israeli flags lining the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge this week and to see at least one remain up until the last kidnapped Israeli is safely returned home.

  2. I asked Tooker to install the Israeli flag on the bridge. I asked Tooker to fly one outside town hall. Tooker did not acknowledge my request. Tooker made no reply. I think it would be prudent tonada Tooker why she refused to display the Israeli flag on town property. Why wasn’t a town unity march for Israel organized. ? Where was our 06880 leadership. ??

    • The BLM flag still hangs proudly in Town Hall. They are anti-Israel, pro-palestine, anti-semites.

    • Dick….why don’t you publish copiee of your requests here? I’m sure we’d all like to see your tact.


      • let me suggest we meet at town hall sejrct wonan office. I’m not sure if phone calls are under free of information act. But I will meet anyone at town hall select woman Tooker office and we can attempt to verify my allegation. let’s make an appointment and request a response from her office. I have made a few calls this year. On the calls all I get is a recording.

      • according to Google telephone calls are covered under the freedom of information act. I suggest you check on my truttgfullness and relief it to this blog. Please make a freedom of information request. You can snap use email to do this. You can also enter Tooker select woman office and investigate the recording I left. If you are sincere about the issue I raise I urge you to follow up and respond on this blog. Bring a friend. Knock yourself out.

        • I have an easier solution Dick. Print out your call log to 203 341.111 from your telecomm provider, redact any numbers you don’t want us to see, send a photo of the calls to Dan for all of us to view. I’ll make it even easier for you Dick, just provide the last two weeks.

          Thanks Dick.

          • Maybe while “Dick” is at it he could print out the names/numbers of a few honest Westport chiropractors. This is really getting to be a pain. Or even better, anyone know where I can get my grout cleaned cheap?

  3. an entire week to issue a statement that she stands with israel? i was beginning to think with all the ukraine support she was just interested in looking good and was too scared to take a side. not a good look ignoring richard fogel either. what more important things has she been up to in the past week?

    • Bob, as noted in the story, the statement was first issued last week.

      • Why wasn’t an Israeli unity march organized inn06880 ? What has. prevented Tooker from displaying the Israeli flag at town hall and on the bridge ? Does 06880 deserve an answer from our local government leader on this issue?

      • Dan. I left a recorded phone message at 2033411111. that’s the phone number for the select woman office. No one returned my call. I’m sure Tooker is aware of my comments and others on your blog. When
        will Tooker give 06880. a reply ? Are my comments civil ? Are my comments germane to the topic ? Am I following your rules ?

        • So Dick, let us get this straight. ALL of your correspondence to FS Tooker have been phone calls and voicemail? You have zero documentation of emails to FS Tooker? If you do publish them here.

          Thanks Dick, look forward to your reply.

          • I would be willing to make a sworn statement and take a lie detector test on my phone call. thank you for asking. I do like what you are implying

        • yes. I have called her office. Forensic documentation is a recorded phone call. In addition my comments on this blog on this issue have been on going. I like Trump do not use email

    • Bob – an initial statement was issued earlier last week. I do hope there’s more, especially would love to see Israeli flags on the bridge and a formal statement that is not just a message as part of a bi-weekly video, BUT when someone is trying to be an ally, why be so quick to criticize the effort? Jen’s statement did not equivocate. I’m grateful she made that statement on behalf of the town even if it would have been welcome a few days early. She was also at Temple Israel for the solidarity event.

      • in such a tragic terrorist attack that affects 06880 and the world 1 statement is inadequate. The town of Greenwich held a unity rally yesterday. The town of Greenwich displays an Israeli flag on town hall. Why hadn’t Tooker placed an Israeli Flag on the bridge ? On UN day all the flags are displayed. What prevented Tooker to deny the simple task and thought of displaying the Israeli flag? I would suggest that all concerned about the welfare of a Israel and local anti semitism why Tooker refused to have the Israeli flag displayed on town property. I urge my fellow 068880 friendss to stand up and speak out. Silence is an unacceptable part to this tragedy. In fact it’s what the terrorists want.

        • This is a terrible time, please stop making it worse by criticizing people who are making unequivocal, if imperfect, statements of support. It would be much appreciated by many, many Westporters for the Town of Westport to co-organize a rally with the UJA the way that Greenwich did already. That should happen. It could have already happened. However, it’s simply unfair to say that Jen has refused to display the Israeli flag. Maybe it’s in the works right now. Maybe it’ll happen this week. I also don’t think it’s fair to characterize her as being silent when the town has issued two statements. Could the second one have been issued earlier and not in conjunction with a bi-weekly video message? Absolutely. But, it was a strong statement and it was made publicly.

        • Andrew Colabella

          You are making this personal, vilifying the first Selectwoman which is completely and totally inappropriate. The response, now two statements, have been made. Others are in the works.

          Enough already. Every post on 06880 is attacking her and Republican this and GOP that. It’s divisive, unnecessary, and with the unnecessary attacks globally going on, there’s no need to do so here at home.

          Stay tuned for further events that are about to take place promoting peace and solidarity, regardless of party affiliation, religion, etc.

        • Bill Strittmatter

          Hey Richard. At least you have to admit whatever Tooker said was better than what came out of the left wing of the Democratic Party, the social justice warriors across college campuses and, of course, that idiot Donald Trump.

  4. My 4th grade teacher, Marie Hanulick is still with us. At age 91 she still lives in Westport. I had her at the brand new Burr Farms School (we spent the first three months in double session at Greens Farms until Burr Farms was ready for occupation). She previously taught at Bedford Elementary. At the time, she was Marie Schubert. Our classroom was right next to the cafetorium at the new building which was used for music instruction in non-meal periods. John Hanulick would give instruction for students playing wind instruments, and the two apparently crossed paths. At the end of our school year in 1958 they were married. I went on to have John Hanulick as my music teacher at Long Los Junior High.

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