Category Archives: Politics

Roundup: Kids’ Grief, Senate Parliamentarian, More

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Kids are resilient.

We say that a lot. Partly, it’s true. Partly, we want to believe it.

But COVID has caused grief for many youngsters. They’ve lost relatives. They fear others may suffer and die. They’ve lost so much of their own normal lives. And there’s so much uncertainty, day after day after day.

Experience Camps knows a lot about grief. The national, no-cost program for grieving children who have experienced the death of a parent, sibling or primary caregiver runs great summer camps for children and teens.

When the coronavirus derailed last year’s programs, they focused instead on raising awareness of the many facets of childhood grief.

A key part of that effort is a Zoom panel discussion next Tuesday (March 2, 2 p..m.). Experts from a variety of perspectives will discuss “How the Pandemic of Grief is Impacting Kids.”

Experience Camps founder Sara Deren says the audience is “anyone and everyone. Everyone is grieving now. This is not just for professionals. If you have or know kids, it’s important to understand COVID’s impact on them.”

Click here to register, and for more information.

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There’s always a Westport connection to national news.

When the US Senate parliamentarian ruled against yesterday that raising the minimum wage to $15 violated budgetary rules limiting what can be included in the legislation, at least 2 “06880” readers wondered: Who exactly is this parliamentarian.

Google (and Wikipedia) provided the answer: She is Elizabeth MacDonough. And although she grew up near Washington, DC, she graduated from Greens Farms Academy in 1984.

The New York Times reports that MacDonough — the first woman in the post — has “retained both the position and bipartisan respect under the leadership of both parties since she was named in 2012.”

Not much else is known about her local ties. If you’ve got more — or her remember her from GFA — click “Comments” below. (Hat tip: Clark Thiemann)

Elizabeth MacDonough:  (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

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One of the town’s most important — and least publicized — honors is the James S. Bacharach Service to the Community Award.

Presented annually for the last 32 years by the Westport Youth Commission to one or more high school seniors who live in or attend school in town, it recognizes significant service to Westport. Bacharach founded and served as president of the Youth Adult Council. He was also deeply involved in the organization that is now Homes with Hope.

Any Westporter — adult or student — can nominate a high school senior. Nominees should have a strong record of community service within Westport. Click here for a nomination form.

Submissions must be accompanied by 2 references. A maximum of 2 letters of support can be uploaded to the application or emailed separately to kgodburn@westportct.gov. The deadline is March 26.

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Last night’s nearly full moon was big.

But not as big as it was as seen through the Westport Astronomical Society’s telescope, at Rolnick Observatory.

Franco Fellah sends along this shot, and points out the prominence of the Tycho impact crater on the right.

(Photo/Franco Fellah)

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And finally … there are some red-letter birthdays today. Johnny Cash was born February 25, 1932. He died in 2003.

Fats Domino was born on this date in 1928. He died in 2017.

And of course Victor Hugo, born today in 1802. He died in 1885.

Fanne Foxe Dies. Yes, There’s A Westport Connection.

Back in the days when sex scandals could actually ruin a political career, Fanne Foxe was at the center of a doozy.

At 2 a.m. in October 1974, police pulled over a Lincoln Continental that was speeding, without headlights, near the Jefferson Memorial.

The Washington Post recalls:

A female passenger in an evening gown ran from the car, climbed the stone parapet along the Tidal Basin and — acting on what she later described as a frantic impulse — leaped headfirst into the frigid, inky water. Her splashdown would ripple into one of the capital’s most infamous sex scandals.

The woman, 38-year-old Annabel Battistella, was a plumage-shaking striptease dancer with the stage name Fanne Foxe. She was billed as “the Argentine Firecracker,” and patrons of the local burlesque circuit were captivated by her elaborate costumes — complete with five-foot-tall headdresses and tropical-colored ostrich and pheasant feathers — as well as the artfulness with which she removed them.

Fanne Foxe

On that particular night, after a boozy party at the Silver Slipper club, where she had performed, she got into a loud quarrel with her married lover….

With her plunge into the Tidal Basin, Ms. Battistella (later Annabel Montgomery), who died Feb. 10 at 84, secured her place in the annals of political scandal. Standing near the car — drunk and bleeding — was her paramour, 65-year-old Wilbur Mills, the gravelly voiced chairman of the tax-writing U.S. House Ways and Means Committee and a man esteemed as a pillar of Bible Belt rectitude and respectability.

Mills said that Foxe — a divorced mother of 3 who lived in the same luxury apartment complex as he in Arlington, Virginia — was a “family friend and a social companion of his wife, Clarine.”

Mills was re-elected to his 19th term a month later. But after an alcohol-fueled appearance with the Argentine Firecracker in Boston, he was removed as Ways and Means chairman, and treated for alcoholism.

“With his career in tatters and citing exhaustion, he left office in 1977 and became an advocate for recovering alcoholics until his death in 1992.”

Arkansas Democratic Congressman Wilbur Mills and Fanne Foxe.

As for Foxe — renamed the “Tidal Basin Bombshell” — she soon earned more than 5 times the $400 a week she made at the Silver Slipper. She acted in low-budget films, and an off-Broadway show called “Women Behind Bars.”

She gave up stripping after a December 1974 arrest in Florida, for public indecency. She was cleared of the charge.

So what’s the Westport connection?

The Post story says:

The next year, she was living with her children in Westport, Conn., in an eight-bedroom, seven-bath manse called Tally-Ho that needed constant upkeep. The only stripping she was doing, she told a reporter, involved. paint.

After marrying contractor/businessman Daniel Montgomery in 1980, Foxe moved to Florida. She earned a BA in communications from the University of Tampa in 1995, and two master’s degrees — in marine science and business administration — from the University of South Florida.

Foxe — then known as Annabel Montgomery — died in Clearwater, Florida this month. She was 84.

(Click here for the full Washington Post obituary. Hat tip: Marc Selverstone)

Roundup: Chiller Island, State Street, Senator Blumenthal, More

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Wendy Crowther helped create the Sherwood Mill Pond Preserve, at the site of the old Allen’s Clam House. She thought she knew everything about that amazing area.

But the other day on Google Maps, she saw a reference to “Chiller Island.”

That’s the tiny spit of land — not an island at all — near the tidal gates leading out to Compo Cove. There were once 3 small homes there. One was destroyed by a 1950s storm. The other 2 were demolished a few years ago, after being damaged beyond repair in another storm.

The area is now a pocket park. Should we call it Chiller Island Park?

If so, we’d need some history. If you know where the name came from — and when and why it fell out of use — click “Comments” below.

Christmas tree at the pocket park on “Chiller Island.” (Photo/Amy Schneider)

Of course, that’s not the only throwback name Google Maps uses in Westport. Some sections of the Post Road are still called “State Street.”

That was changed in the 1970s. Right around the time Sergey Brin and Larry Page — the founders of Google — were born.

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The Westport Library is slowly reopening. Hours are still limited, and restrictions apply.

The Library’s digital services, meanwhile, are available to cardholders 24/7/365.

Popular books, magazines, audiobooks, music and movies — it’s all there.

You don’t have to be a technical wizard to access it. Staff members can help, with everything from setting up accounts to choosing and selecting materials.

Click here for details. And don’t overlook the little blue “Help” button on the bottom right.

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Do you have a question for Senator Blumenthal? Go to Instagram, and DM @DaveBriggsTV.

Westporter Dave Briggs — former CNN, NBC Sports and Fox News anchor — interviews him on IG Live at 4:30 p.m. today (Tuesday).

You can catch the conversation @GreenwichMag.

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Snow has canceled several Red Cross blood drives. The pandemic has made collections even slower.

There are several drives upcoming. Appointments can be made on the Red Cross blood donor smartphone app, at RedCrossBlood.org or by calling 800-733-2767.

Click here for a full list of sites. Among the local drives:

FAIRFIELD

  • Feb. 23 (today): 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., Scandinavian Club, 1351 South Pine Creek Road
  • March 3: 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., Scandinavian Club, 1351 South Pine Creek Road
  • March 8: 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Black Rock Church, 3685 Black Rock Turnpike
  • March 8: 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., Black Rock Church, 3685 Black Rock Turnpike

NORWALK

  • Feb. 23: 8 a.m. to 5:45 p.m., St. Philip’s Church, 25 France St.
  • March 3: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., St. Philip’s Church, 25 France St.
  • March 12: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., United Church of Rowayton, 210 Rowayton Ave.

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And finally … Peter Fonda was born today, in 1940. He died in 2019.

Lamont Vaccine Plan Adds Age Groups, Educators — But Removes Pre-Existing Conditions

Governor Lamont announced today that he is expanding eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine, based almost entirely on age.

Here are the age groups, and the date on which they can schedule an appointment:

  • Ages 55 to 64: March 1
  • Ages 45 to 54: March 22
  • Ages 35 to 44: April 12
  • Ages 16 to 34: May 3.

In addition, preK to grade 12 teachers and staff, and professional childcare providers, can receive the vaccine in March, at clinics set up especially for them.

Lamont said that this was the least complex and confusing scenario for vaccination, and one that would not exacerbate inequities in distribution. He said he is working with the state Department of Public Health to ensure that vaccines will go to people in the highest-risk communities.

Healthcare providers and medical first responders were included in the first group of recipients, followed by those 75 and over, and then 65 and over.

Not included in the rollout: people who underlying medical conditions, and those considered “essential workers” in other states, like transportation, grocery and agricultural workers.

Lamont’s decision drew a quick response from one “06880” reader. He says:

As a 33-year-old living with type 1 diabetes, I feel left out to dry after multiple reassurances from the governor about vaccination efforts for people with pre- existing conditions.

My timeline is in May, with the largest and youngest bracket. People need to ask why people with pre-existing conditions (who are at the most risk) are being delayed for arbitrary age brackets. Did the governor and his team just assume that most of these conditions will be “mostly” covered in the elderly age brackets?

People living with these conditions have put their lives on hold. Some of us were just told our lives don’t matter because of age.

For more information on Connecticut’s COVID vaccination plan — including how to schedule an appointment — click here.

 

Trump Trial: The Westport Connection

I know you’ve been waiting for an “06880” link to President Trump’s 2nd impeachment trial.

Here it is: defense attorney Michael van der Veen grew up on Lamplight Lane, off Hillspoint Road near Old Mill Beach.

Michael van der Veen, in the 1978 Long Lots Junior High School yearbook, “Lion’s Clause.”

After Long Lots Junior High, he — like his siblings — headed to Choate Rosemary Hall. He graduated from the private school in 1981, then went on to Ohio Wesleyan University, Quinnipiac School of Law and Temple University School of Law.

He’s a founding partner of van der Veen, O’Neill, Hartshorn and Levin in Philadelphia.

Which you or I might pronounce, well, “Philadelphia.” When van der Veen called it “Philly-delphia” earlier today, senators from both parties laughed.

The Philadelphia lawyer had no idea why. But he sure had some words for them.

(Hat tip: Kathleen Fazio)

Roundup: Light Up Westport, Shoveling, “We The People,” More

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First Selectman Jim Marpe and 2nd Selectman Jen Tooker helped “Light up Westport” yesterday at Town Hall (photo below).

They were not alone.

Dozens of others bought luminaries to send a message of hope and resilience — and raise money for Filling in the Blanks, the non-profit that provides weekend meals to needy area residents.

The event was sponsored by WestportMoms and Purpose 2 Purchase.

(Photo courtesy of Town of Westport)

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At the end of yesterday’s Roundup item reminding commercial property owners that they are responsible for all snow and ice removal from their sidewalks, I noted that residential homeowners must do the same.

That’s true in Westport, Wisconsin — but not Westport, Connecticut. Homeowners only are off the hook.

Still, it wouldn’t hurt.

And don’t forget to shovel your hydrants!

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Boat purchases have risen during the pandemic. There’s a wait list of more than 1,000 people — and they’re waiting up to 11 years for a slip at a town marina.

And those slip fees will rise in 2022.

Yesterday, the Board of Selectmen approved increases for boats in 4 categories. For examples, owners of boats 22 to 26 feet will pay $1,580, up from $1,505; boat owners of slips 35 to 40 feet will pay $3,099, up from $2,695.

There is no increase for slips less than 21 feet.

Ned Dimes Marina, at Compo Beach (Drone photo/Brandon Malin)

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Congratulations to Staples High School’s “We the People” team.

For the 2nd year in a row, teacher/advisor/coach Suzanne Kammerman and her crew took 1st place in the state competition.

For the 2nd year in a row, they knocked out longtime powerhouse Trumbull High.

For the 2nd year in a row, their championship earns them a place in the national contest, this April.

And for the 2nd year in a row, they don’t get a traditional trip to Washington for nationals. Once again, this year’s event will be virtual.

Last year, the team placed 5th in the US. This time around, they’re gunning this year for the top spot.

State champs!

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From today through Saturday (February 13), Winged Monkey will donate 15% of all proceeds to CLASP Homes, the great non-profit that supports adults with developmental disabilities.

Can’t make it in, but want to help? Text Valentines to 44-321 to make a donation.

Basso restaurant is also participating. Show a Winged Monkey receipt; they’ll give you a free glass of prosecco.

And more on Winged Monkey: The popular Post Road East shop celebrates its 25th anniversary on March 1. That’s appropriate: March is Women’s History Month.

Winged Monkey has a great history in town. It’s always been woman-owned. Jenny Vogel has now taken over from her mother, who founded the business and ran it all this time.  

Here’s to the next 25 years, for one of the coolest — and best named — stores anywhere!

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“When Caged Birds Sing” — a human rights teaching exhibition created by Westport artist Ann Weiner — has been acquired by MoCA Westport for its permanent collection. It is thte museum’s first such acquisition.

Weiner’s work features 8 life-size sculptures. They represent women’s rights activists who suffered and survived abuse because of their gender, and continue to advocate for the rights of others at risk.

The exhibition will be on view at MoCA Westport every 3 to 5 years. In between it will be loaned to other museums.

Click here to learn more about “When Caged Birds Sing.”

Ann Weiner, with one element of “When Caged Birds Sing.”

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Roberta Seret is a United Nations NGO director and NYU film professor. Now the Westporter adds another title: author.

Her book “Gift of Diamonds” will be published February 23. She’s turned government secrets and stories from Romania into fiction, for a journey of self-discovery.

The history of Bucharest Jews forms the center of the story, which begins in 1960s Transylvania. “Gift of Diamons” reveals hidden secrets of how fascism led to communism — which formed the seeds of modern-day terrorism. Click here for more information.

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And finally … on this day in 1534, Henry VIII was recognized as supreme head of the Church of England. You know what’s coming …

“We The People”: Staples Students Prepare

It’s been nearly a year since Staples High School’s “We the People” team won the Northeast US championship, and finished 5th nationally, in the annual Center for Civic Education competition.

The event was virtual — not in Washington, DC, as in years past. But the joy and feeling of success was real.

This year’s team is ready to top that.

State competition — the first step on the road to the finals — begins Tuesday.

As usual, the “Citizen and the Constitution” contest is divided into 6 sections. Each group of students — all members of Suzanne Kammerman’s Advanced Placement Politics & Government class — tackles a different one.

This is not exactly “name the president and your 2 US senators.”

Here for example are 3 questions from Unit 4, asking how the values and principles embodied in the Constitution have shaped American institutions:

Should states be willing “‘to purchase’ what [James] Wilson called ‘federal liberty’ with ‘the necessary concession of their political sovereignty’”? Why or why not?

“On a single day in 1964, the [Supreme] Court in effect declared that almost all state governments were constitutionally defective! … Thus, a bloodless revolution occurred without a shot fired.” Do you agree or disagree with Akhil Reed Amar’s statement regarding the Supreme Court’s opinion in Reynolds v. Sims? Why or why not?

“The doctrine of the separation of powers was adopted by the Convention of 1787 not to promote efficiency, but to preclude the exercise of arbitrary power.” How well has the Constitution’s design accomplished what Justice Brandeis described? Explain your position.

Click here — if you dare — for the other 5, and the equally probing subsets of questions.

To prepare, teacher/coach Suzanne Kammerman enlisted the help of some heavy hitters. Attorneys Andy Laskin and Jamie Dockray, former student Sam Laskin and CEO Manoj Wadhwani are honing the competitors’ presentation and oral delivery skills.

Volunteers help Staples students prepare for the 2021 “We the People” competition.

For one of the units — addressing a major freedom of speech case involving students and the internet, just accepted by the Supreme Court — Andy Laskin contacted an attorney involved. In a compelling session, he told the Staples teenagers how he is preparing to argue before the high court.

He’s ready for Justices Roberts, Sotomayor and the rest.

Now, 2 dozen Staples students are just as ready for their own “supreme” competition.

Roundup: The Porch At Christie’s, Kids’ Food, Vaccinations, More

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Renovations are coming along well at The Porch at Christie’s — the new  breakfast/lunch/dinner-to-go (plus brunch, coffee, smoothies, baked goods and ice cream) spot that will build) upon a Cross Highway tradition dating back to 1926.

Owners Andrea and Bill Pecoriello — “proud Westporters since 1994” — already own Sweet P Bakery in Norwalk, providing job training and employment for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Sweet P will supply most of the baked treats for The Porch. Graduates of its programs will bake there, with 2 amazing pastry chefs. Additional Sweet P staff will work in front-of-house operations.

As the sign below notes, The Porch will open this spring — offering “local food, community and purpose.” Follow online, or on Facebook and Instagram (theporchatchristies; @sweetpbakeryct). For more information, email info@theporchatchristies.com.

(Photo/Wendy Cusick)

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Carrie Kerner and her husband moved to Westport in September.

She owns a PR firm (CG Social Inc.) and is a social media influencer (@CarrieGeorgette). Her husband Brian is an anesthesiologist at Yale Hospital.

They are foodies, and conscious of what they feed their 1-year-old daughter Chloe — mostly homemade, organic, healthy meals.

Yesterday morning, “CBS This Morning” featured the family in a story on a government report that baby foods are tainted with dangerous levels of arsenic, lead, cadmium and mercury.

It’s not something she’s thought about before. Now she will. Click here for the full, frightening story.

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There’s a new COVID vaccination site, not far away.

Harry Evans reports it opened this week at 110 High Ridge Road in Stamford (the Lord & Taylor parking lot). He called Wednesday to schedule an appointment, and I got one for the next day.

He was in and out yesterday in 20 minutes — including the 15-minute waiting time after the shot itself.

“Everything was easy and very efficiently run, and extremely easy to reach from Exit 35 on the Merritt,” he reports.

“When the word gets out it may be mobbed. But right now it is the only drive-through facility in Fairfield County.” Harry called Connecticut’s COVID assistance hotline: 877-918-2224.

Though Connecticut is one of the leading states in the nation in terms of percentages of vaccines administered, it is still available only to people over 75, healthcare personnel, medical first responders, and residents of long-term care facilities. The next phase will include people 65 to 74.

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In 2005, Deborah Dohme got a parking ticket in New Canaan.

Six years ago she moved from Westport to Tucson.

Yesterday she got a letter, demanding $30. It was the first notice she’d gotten as a scofflaw.

“Is New Canaan that desperate for money, that they hired a debt collector for $30 after 16 years?!” she wonders.

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Overheard at the library, by Michael Catarevas: “Excuse me, but there is no sitting allowed in the library.”

“That sums up the pandemic perfectly,” he says.

The Westport Library Forum, way back a year ago.

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Today’s New York Times includes a story on Samuel Fisher — aka Brad Holiday — the 2007 Weston High School graduate/misogynistic dating coach arrested last month for his involvement in the January 6 insurrection at the US Captiol.

Investigators found a shotgun, machetes and more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition in his Chevy Tahoe

Despite plenty of information about Fisher/Holiday’s social media posts celebrating his role on the storming of the building — along with other videos “denigrating women (and guides on) how to defeat Communists, expose what he claimed were government pedophilia cabals, and properly wield a Glock.”

However, the Times story does not mention Weston. It says simply that he “grew up in New Jersey.” Click here for the full story.

Samuel Fisher in Washington on January 6.

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And finally … happy 77th birthday to the multi-talented Al Kooper.

He wrote hits like Gary Lewis & the Playboys’ “This Diamond Ring” …

… played organ on Bob Dylan’s groundbreaking “Like a Rolling Stone” …

… was the Blues Project’s keyboardist …

… and discovered, produced and performed with Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Renowned Westport Art Collection Finds New Home

Quietly, creatively, and very efficiently, Bob and Anne Levine built one of the world’s most extensive collections of American folk art.

Through flea markets, antique shows, auctions and eBay, they amassed over 600 wood carvings — of everyone from Pocahontas and Knute Rockne to Charles Lindbergh and Hillary Clinton.

Remarkably, it was stored not in a museum, but in their Westport home. Every room — and 2 former garages — overflowed with American historical figures, events and icons.

A visitor to the Levines’ home is greeted by an array of Uncle Sams.

It was was their own personal museum.

Now — fittingly — they’ve donated their collection to an actual museum.

And not just any one. It’s Atlanta’s High Museum of Art, known for its collection of works by self-taught artists.

Anne and Bob married in 1987. She’s a 1964 Staples graduate; he’s a Brooklyn native who’s lived here since 1969.

A month after their wedding, they went to a Westport Arts Center exhibit on folk art. They knew  nothing about the subject. But Bob — who in addition to being a neurologist, Yale professor, author, former owner of Anacapri restaurant and marathon runner, was a woodcarver in his youth — and his wife were intrigued.

They bought a couple of inexpensive pieces. Then they added a few more items. Soon — without even realizing it – they had a world-class collection.

Bob Levine with a wood carving of General Custer.

Now, Bob says, “We’re old.” (He’s 81 — and as active as ever.) “If one of us dies, the other would have a major task getting rid of this.”

Hartford’s Wadsworth Atheneum would be a natural choice. But even though Bob and Anne were giving their collection away, the oldest continually operating public art museum in the US could not afford the insurance and transportation.  A friend of a friend introduced them to The High.

The museum will keep 114 pieces. They’ll sell the rest — and use the proceeds to build up the rest of the collection.

The couple is keeping 15 or so pieces (including 3 whirligigs) for their children to inherit. Regretfully, one of those works is not the fantastically detailed diorama of Franklin Roosevelt’s cabinet, bought at a Christie’s auction. Each member is individually carved. An electric chandelier shines overhead.

It takes up one entire room in the Levines’ house.

President Roosevelt — and each cabinet member including Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins, the first-ever female — is carved in exquisite detail.

“Auctioneers and other people we bought from have never seen anything like this collection,” Bob says. “It’s all wood. And it’s all dedicated to American history.”

As the couple scoured the country for items — learning plenty along the way — Bob says, “we got a lot of bargains. And we paid excessively for others.”

It was a wonderful experience, made better by sharing it together. Now, they’re sharing it with the High Museum — and the world.

Anne Levine stands with a life-size carving of Uncle Sam.

But that’s not all the Levines’ news. After cutting down on his medical practice, Bob began writing. He just published his 6th book.

The Uninformed Voter” examines how that cohort is responsible for the decline of American democracy. Bob also offers suggestions for improvement (for instance, ranked-choice voting and the revamping of primaries).

It’s earned great reviews, including Kirkus, Booklife and Sybil Steinberg, the former Publishers Weekly book review editor whose reading list is followed avidly by Westport Library patrons.

Bob is hardly slowing down. He’s finishing his next book — “An Epidemic of Privilege” — and then begins work on another (on “the joy and heartbreak of collecting”).

Robert Levine

Previous books include “Aging With Attitude: Growing Older With Dignity and Vitality” and “Aging Wisely: Strategies for Baby Boomers and Seniors.”

So how is Bob Levine aging?

During COVID, he stopped working with Americares. He no longer runs marathons (he’s done 9). His “jump shot is not what it used to be.”

But besides writing and overseeing the donation of his and his wife’s collection, he still sculpts wood. He’s always lookin for new projects.

“You can’t sit around waiting to die,” he says. “That kind of life is not much fun.”

The Levines will keep some of their whirligigs — movable wind toys.

Proposed Bill Would Alter Beach Access And Fees

It’s a bit early to be thinking about summer.

And this bill has just been proposed. It must wend its way through the State Legislature, beginning with the Planning and Development Committee. There’s still a long way to go.

Yet it has the impact to completely change Connecticut’s beaches — including Westport’s.

“An Act Concerning Access to Public Beaches” — Proposed Bill #6351 from Representative Roland Lemar of the 96th district (New Haven and East Haven) — reads:

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:  That the general statutes be amended to prohibit any municipality or other local unit of government from

(1) enacting ordinances, regulations or other rules that limit access to any public beach based on town  residency of any potential visitor to such public beach, including when a municipal or local official determines that capacity concerns warrant limiting such access,

(2) establishing a fee or access structure that disparately impacts any such potential visitors based on town residency, and

(3) charging more for the issuance of any parking or access pass for any such public beach than the state charges for access to 10 its public parks.

Statement of Purpose: To prohibit municipalities and other local units of government from limiting the access of certain individuals to public beaches.

In other words: If passed, Westport would lose $1 million or so a year in revenue — yet still be responsible for staffing (lifeguards, etc.), maintaining, and cleaning the beach.

Not to mention what would happen if parking capacity limits were removed.

A proposed bill in the State Legislature would — among other things — prohibit charging out-of-towners more than residents for beach access. it would also prohibit local officials from determining limits based on capacity concerns.