Westport’s restaurant scene is thriving. Many have been packed all summer long — both outdoors and inside.
But a few fly under the radar. “06880” reader hopes we can give Studio Café a boost. It opened last summer in Sconset Square — specifically inside The Tailored Home, the interiors and furniture design store.
Anne writes: “My husband Bob and I have had 2 meals there. We are very pleased with the innovative and delicious menu and impeccable service.
“We had aocado toast, loaded with herbs on a thick piece of toasted country bread; uiche with bacon and fresh asparagus, light, well-seasoned and cooked perfectly; eggplant and zucchini lasagna mushrooms and chicken, served in an individual casserole, bubbling with cheesy goodness, with a hearty toast on the side; gambas al ajillo, perfectly cooked and seasoned shrimp in a tasty brandy garlic sauce with shards of tomato and chili pepper.; carrot cake, topped with fresh blueberries, a whip of cream cheese, and a large cake-like brownie.
“The seating is eclectic and classy -= both outside under umbrellas, and inside with a mix of comfortable chairs in mixed fabrics. Clearly the aesthetic is a function of being incorporated into the design store. Lots of fun colors, and a simple yet well-appointed table setting.”
Both COVID and the lengthy renovation of Sconset Square may have contributed to Studio Café’s low profile. Anne wants readers to know about this special restaurant, in a perhaps overlooked and out-of-the-way spot.
In May, a video of Max Bernegger went viral. The 2020 Staples High School graduate stood outside the Basilica of Old St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Lower Manhattan. He and several others taunted reproductive rights advocates; he wore a Fire Department of New York jacket.
The FDNY quickly noted that Bernegger — who used an alias during a subsequent media appearance, and on social media — was not a firefighter.
Throughout the summer, anti-abortion groups have gathered outside Old St. Pat’s, as well as clinics where pro-choice groups have escorted women to clinics.
Bernegger was at the New York church again earlier this month. The photo below circulated on social media.
Max Bernegger (left) and fellow anti-abortion protesters holding crucifixes outside Old St. Pat’s, earlier this month.
The longtime Westport photographer says that once, in Capasse’s law office, they discussed a replica of the painting, which hung on the wall.
Capasse told Matlow that he did not actually play the trumpet. He was a clarinetist. But Dohanos thought a clarinet was too hard or time-consuming to draw — so Capasse ended up with the brass instrument.
Now, can anyone answer this question: How did Capasse play in the marching band and on the football team, simultaneously?
Ed Capasse, in the 1948 Staples High School yearbook.
The other 3 finalists — selected through a worldwide audition — earned $2,500 each.
Directed by noted Westport native Alexander Platt, the competition is in its 50th year. It includes master classes, lectures, and performances. The jury chair was internationally famed — and Westport resident Frederic Chiu.
A celebration of the Heida, featuring alumni finalists, is set for November 19 at MoCA Westport. Click here for tickets, and more information.
Alexander Platt (far left) with 2022 Heida Hermanns finalists (from left): Nathan Cheung, Katharine Bensen, Aaron Kurz and winner Artem Kuznetsov.
Meanwhile, when the competition was over, a young pianist — perhaps a future Heida Hermanns Competition winner — tried out MoCA’s magnificent Steinway.
“Friday’s knife attack on author Salmon Rushdie brought some thoughts to mind.
“One is that, while violence has become an unfortunate norm in our country, it seems so incomprehensible and despicable that physical violence is inflicted on a writer. The ‘fatwa’ or death decree issued by the Ayatollah Khomeini was in 1989 — long before the perpetrator was born. That books and cartoons and art should inflame self-appointed religious zealots to violence is beyond disturbing.
“I recall hearing Rushdie speak at Staples High School in 2015. It was memorable for the intense security surrounding the event. One passed through a checkpoint like at an airport. Purses were inspected. Backpacks were not allowed at all into the building, presumably to stop a makeshift bomb. Some parents objected, but in the end, it was great exercise in free speech and example to students.
“The Westport speech was riveting. Rushdie was well-spoken and erudite, and had a surprisingly sharp and witty sense of humor. He is a product of upper echelon British schools, and his language reflected that.
“In retrospect, I am thankful that so much security was in place in Westport. Sadly, protection must be provided, not only for politicians but for artists and writers who speak bravely.
For more on Rushdie’s Westport appearance, click here.
Yes, it’s capitalized. Food Rescue US is an app that actually makes you want to look at your phone.
The idea is spectacularly simple. Food services — grocery stores, restaurants, caterers, companies — register. When they have extra food — at the end of the day, after an event, whatever — they post it online.
Individuals register too. They check the app when it’s convenient. If they see someplace nearby, they agree to pick it up.
Then they deliver it to social service agencies — soup kitchens, shelters, veterans facilities, etc. — that have also registered with Food Rescue US.
Magnus reminds “06880” readers: “There are lots of people less fortunate, and also lots of food waste. Yesterday, Lavinia and I brought generous donations from Whole Foods (thanks, Siobhan!) to an agency in Bridgeport. They’ll distribute it in the community.”
Most of the Paul Newman news this year has been about “The Last Movie Stars”: the HBO 6-part series on the longtime Westport actor and his wife, Joanne Woodward.
This one is about his cars.
When he got into auto racing, Newman was as successful as with acting (and, later, philanthropy). He and Carl Haas formed a team with drivers like Mario and Michael Andretti. They racked up 108 Indycar wins,
In October, those cars — and other Newman/Haas items — will be auctioned off in 78 lots, by RM Sotheby’s. Click here for details.
During the 1960s and ’70s though — when hitchhiking around town was a thing — countless Westporters knew Paul Newman as the driver who would always pick them up.
His car back then was a Volvo or VW. “Hop in, son!” he’d say.
And off we went.
(Hat tip: Chris Grimm)
Pual Newman (left) with his friend, the late Westporter Michael Brockman.
Homes with Hope’s 15th annual Stand Up event — a comedy fundraiser for the multi-service housing and food provider — is set for Fairfield University’s Quick Center. It’s the first time live since COVID struck.
The headliner is Pat McGann. He’s a veteran of Madison Square Garden, David Letterman and Stephen Colbert.
Longtime Westport dentist Dr. Victor Oliver died earlier this year. He was 83.
He graduated from Providence College, then studied dentistry at Fairleigh Dickinson University. He served as a dentist in the Air Force in Albany, Georgia for two years.
Following his service, Victor and his wife Pauline settled in Westport. He opened a home dental office in 1968, and practiced there for 50 years.
Victor was an avid tennis player. He and Polly loved vacationing in Florida, and weekend trips to Nantucket. His family says, “He will be remembered for his gentle dental care and his dedication to his patients. He was a kind and generous man who always made time to help anyone in need. He was known for being a quiet reserved man — unless you were sitting in his dental chair, where he was the most talkative, trying to make you at ease.”
Victor is survived by his wife of 59 years Pauline; daughters Kimberly (Jim) Vallieres of West Hartford, and Robin (Sean) Ross of Holly Springs, North Carolina, and grandchildren Sean Heintz, Emma Heintz, Olivia Heintz and her fiancé Jonathan Davis, Audrey Ross and Jack Ross.
Donations in Victor’s name came be made to the West Hartford Symphony Orchestra, PO Box 370036, West Hartford, CT 06137, where for many years he enjoyed watching his daughter Kim play violin.
Dr. Victor Oliver
Many “Westport … Naturally” photos show living things that fly, buzz, bite, crawl, bark, meow or do similar things.
Some show blooms and buds.
This one just sits there. It’s majestic — and often overlooked. But it’s an anchor of downtown, and as much a part of our natural world as any other creature or plant.
And finally … Bill Pitman died earlier this week, in California. He was 102.
You don’t know his name. But you know his music.
For decades, he was a session musician. As part of the Wrecking Crew — a “loosely organized corps of peerless Los Angeles freelancers who were in constant demand by record producers to back up headline performers … (an ensemble that )turned routine recording sessions and live performances into extraordinary musical moments” — he backed up the Beach Boys, Sonny and Cher, Monkees, Mamas and the Papas, Simon and Garfunkel, Ricky Nelson, Jan and Dean, Johnny Rivers, the Byrds, Nat King Cole, Tony Bennett, the Everly Brothers, Peggy Lee and “nearly every prominent performer of the era.”
Pitman’s work ranged from “Strangers in the Night” and “The Way We Were” to “Be My Baby,” “Good Vibrations” and “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head.”
He also worked on TV and film scores, cartoon soundtracks — you name it.
Click here for Bill Pitman’s very intriguing obituary.
Edward Capasse — a lifelong Westporter, former Board of Finance chair, and an active volunteer with the Westport Weston Family Y and Assumption Church — died last week, surrounded by his family. He was 91.
Ed was born October 1, 1930 in Westport, son of Police Captain Edward T. Capasse and Theresa PrunoLo Capasse.
Ed graduated from Staples High School. That’s where he met his wife of 48 years, Esther Ann Mondella, a Westport teacher.
After graduating from Fairfield University in 1952 and Boston College Law School in 1955, he became a prominent lawyer. He worked for over 60 years in Westport, first with Tate, Capasse & Johnson, then Nevas, Nevas & Capasse.
In addition to his work with the Board of Finance, Y and Assumption, Ed was an avid boater, golfer, swimmer and tennis player. He was a member of Saugatuck Harbor Yacht Club and the Patterson Club.
Beyond his career as “consigliere” to Westport businessmen, he is
remembered by his family as a loving husband, father, grandfather and friend, who lived up to his Staples yearbook quote: “Upright as the cedar.”
“Deeply religious, he espoused strong family values, integrity, work ethic and charity, spiced with a wily sense of humor. He loved spending time with his grandchildren and gardening, while pursuing a late ‘singing career.'”
Ed spent his final years in Westport and Vero Beach, Florida with his late second wife, Linda Coburn Capasse, with whom he shared a decade of memories.
Ed is survived by his children Thomas (Jeanne) of Westport, Mary Beth (Jim) Carroll of Falls Church, Virginia, David of Bridgeport, and Meg (Dan) MacLeod
of South Portland, Maine; grandchildren, Jay (Becca), Erin and Addison Carroll and Natalie (Subhash) and Michael Capasse; great-grandchild Jarmin James
Carroll, and numerous nieces and nephews.
In addition to Esther and Linda, Ed was pre-deceased by his sister, Marie Whelan.
Calling hours will take place at Harding Funeral Home, Westport
on August 15 (4 to 7 p.m.). A Mass of Christian Burial is set for Assumption Church on August 16 (11 a.m.), followed by burial at Assumption Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to The Foundation for Fighting
Blindness. Afflicted with a hereditary eye disease, Ed overcame occupational and
professional disability with support from the Foundation. He was an
active participant in their mission. Click here, or send to PO Box 45740, Baltimore, MD 21297.
“In our Weston garden stands a majestic old Japanese pagoda tree (also called scholar tree).
In summertime when it is in full bloom, you can ‘hear’ the tree from far away. It is the happy humming sound of thousands of busy bees. They are not only in the tree but also on the ground, which is covered with blossoms. It’s not a good idea to walk under the tree at that time.
“But during the last years we noticed a sharp drop in the bee population.
“This summer the tree is again in full bloom –- but completely silent. Hardly any bees at all. Sadly, the prophecy made by Rachel Carson in her 1962 book ‘Silent Spring’ has come true — right here in our garden, where we never use insecticides or herbicides.
The usual swarms of bees are gone from Hans Wilhelm’s garden.
Sunday’s New York Times included a great review of Mary Rodgers’ new memoir, “SHY: The Alarmingly Outspoken Memoirs of Mary Rodgers.” Jesse Green continued working on it for years, after her death in 2014.
Mary Rodgers Guettel is Richard Rodgers’ daughter. They lived in Fairfield, just over the Westport line. She became an apprentice at the Westport Country Playhouse in 1950. She later earned fame writing the music for “Once Upon a Mattress.”
In 2009, the Playhouse honored Rodgers Guettel, at their annual gala. Among the celebrants: Stephen Sondheim, a fellow 1950 apprentice.
Also on hand that night: Weston’s Jim Naughton, and Westporter Kelli O’Hara.
Rodgers’ son, Adam Guettel, wrote “Light in the Piazza.” The musical starred O’Hara — whose father-in-law is Naughton.
The memoir includes references to Rodgers’ internship. She describes their intense work schedule (which she enjoyed), and that afterwards they wanted to go drinking.
However, she wrote, “In Westport, everything closed up tight as a drum at one in the morning.” So the interns frequently “ran our own bar at Frank Perry’s house at night, often accompanied by a low-stakes poker game.”
Yes, that Frank Perry. The future film director (“David and Lisa,” “The Swimmer,” “Diary of a Mad Housewife”) was another member of that amazing Class of 1950 Westport Country Playhouse apprentices. (Hat tip: Fred Cantor)
Richard Rodgers’ daughter (2nd row, 4th from left) posed with other Westport Country Playhouse apprentices in 1950, at the Jolly Fisherman restaurant. Other notables in the photo: Stephen Sondheim (crouching, top of photo) and Frank Perry (front row, left).
Westport’s 11U District All-Star baseball team defeated Glastonbury 14-8 on Wednesday night. That’s the second straight state championship for the team!
Congratulations to Dylan Burdeshaw, Miles Delorier, Henry Ellis, Justin Goldshore, Wyatt Johnson, Christopher Lambert, Chase Landgraf, Jack McGrath, Luke Moneyhon, Torrey Rossetter, Toby Slavin, Grant Theisinger. Nolan Walters, plus manager Justin Walters and coaches Marc Theisinger and Jon Ellis.
Now it’s on to the regional championship, started Monday in Beverly, Massachusetts. Good luck, guys!
Last night’s official opening of the Westport Country Playhouse’s new production, “Kim’s Convenience,” was a sellout — and a smash.
Many theater-goers knew it from the Netflix TV show. I’d never seen it, so I had no preconceptions. I was drawn in immediately by its ricocheting storylines of family, love, longing, and — especially relevant today — the immigrant experience, not matter where anyone comes from.
It’s well cast — and much of the production crew is Korean too. Poignant, hilarious and insightful “Kim’s Convenience” should draw large, appreciative audiences through its run, which ends next Sunday.
Click here for more information, and tickets. And if you’re around this afternoon (Sunday, July 10), playwright Ins Choi leads a free Symposium on the show. It’s open to the public; no performance ticket is necessary. Just arrive 80 minutes after the 3 p.m. curtain.
Taking bows after last night’s performance of “Kim’s Convenience (from left): Eric R. Williams, Cindy Im, David Shih, Chuja Seo, Hyunmin Rhee. (Photo/Dave Matlow)
The 2009 Staples High School graduate led for 56 out of 67 laps yesterday, at the NASCAR Truck Series.
He held off points leader Zane Smith to win his race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car course in Lexington.
It was his 3rd career win in the series, and first in 5 years.
“It’s hard to put into words,” Kligerman told ESPN. “I was pretty emotional on the cooldown lap because this whole team it’s like a team of second chances. Two years ago, I thought my driving days were done. This team gave me a call, wanting to get back racing and it’s just been a steady improvement.”
Also very cool: Dale Earnhardt Jr. tweeted him congratulations.
Click here for the full story. (Hat tip: Dave Briggs)
Anyone who spends time on Westport’s fields knows that athletes — and their parents — don’t always pick up after themselves.
But a multi-state lacrosse tournament, run by a private club, brought new levels of garbage across Staples High School and Wakeman yesterday.
Water bottles, fast food wrappers, chairs and all kinds of other trash were strewn in the bleachers, on the Staples hill, and across every turf and grass field. A parent called the amount of garbage “astonishing.”
The event continues today.
One small part of the garbage left on the fields, bleachers and hill, at Staples and Wakeman.
There’s a new — and important — stop sign at Compo Beach.
David Meth writes:
“Thank you to Carmen Roda, operations manager at Parks & Rec, Department, as well as the Westport Police Department, for installing the new sign just beyond the welcome booth. Drivers now stop for pedestrians and cyclists. It is reassuring that we can all enjoy the summer safely.”
Longtime Westporter, school employee and church volunteer Sandy Atwood died recently, surrounded by her family.
Born Nancy Newton Scrivenor in New Haven, but always called “Sandy” (her father wanted to name her Cassandra), she grew up in Branford. She was a frequent junior tennis champion at the Pine Orchard Club, and played organ in church.
She graduated from Prospect Hill School (now Hopkins) in 1957, then Colby Junior College. Sandy made her debut at the New Haven Assembly.
She met Stan Atwood in Boston, while he was attending Harvard Summer School. They were married in 1960. When he studied at Washington & Lee Law School, she worked at the university as a secretary.
After moving to Westport, where Stan practiced law, Sandy worked for 25 years as an administrative coordinator in Staples High School’s special education department.
Sandy was active in local, state and federal political campaigns; the Greater Bridgeport Junior Hockey Association (including building the Wonderland of Ice), Greens Farms Elementary School PTA, the Green’s Farms Congregational Church, Staples Tuition Grants, the Westport Weston Foundation Trust, Earthplace, the Westport Woman’s Club and PEO.
She and Stan provided housing for high school students in crisis. She also was a regular visitor to elderly and infirm Westport residents.
Sandy was an avid tennis, bridge and bunko player. She enjoyed card and board games, puzzles, reading, gardening, and socializing with the Wine Sisters.
She was predeceased by her husband Stan, brother Arthur, and family dog Henry Aaron. She is survived by her daughter Laura (Tom) Atwood Kottler, and sons Jonathan and Scott (Lisa)l grandchildren Sam, Charlie and Liza Kottler; Finn Atwood, Kirah Kingsland and Alex Robertson, and great-grandchild Bennett.
A celebration of Sandy’s life will be held on Saturday, July 16 (10 a.m., Green’s Farms Congregational Church).
The agenda for next Monday’s Planning & Zoning Commission meeting (July 11, 7 p.m., Zoom) includes important discussions, such as converting the current Westport Rehabilitation Complex on Post Road West into a more modern eldercare facility, and redeveloping the 117-room Westport Inn into a smaller hotel with a restaurant, bar, event space, fitness center, pool and site improvements.
The existing Westport Inn (left), and the proposed new structure.
Two other interesting items are up for discussion too.
Birchwood Country Club wants to construct 4 pickleball courts, near their existing tennis courts. They’d fill a need — at least, for members of the private club — but they’re close to a few homes.
The ball will be in P&Z’s court.
The other intriguing item involves trampolines: Should they be regulated by zoning? And if so, how?
Most trampolines are above ground. But what about permanent, in-ground trampolines? A resident has asked for an interpretation.
Click here for the full P&Z agenda, including a Zoom link.
Westport Sunrise Rotary’s Great Duck Race returns this Saturday (July 9). There’s a new location — Jesup Green — but the same family fun.
The day begins with a 10 a.m. Fun Fair in the Westport Library parking lot. Activities include a Nerdy Derby, face painting and bubble machines.
At 1 p.m. on Jesup Green, 3,000 plastic ducks will slide down a 160-foot sluice course. Each wears a number, matching a $20 raffle ticket. The first 10 ducks down the course win money for their ticket holders. First place is $5,000. Second place wins $1,000. The next 8 finishers get $500 each.
The event is a major Sunrise Rotary fundraiser. Proceeds support charitable endeavors in this area, the state and around the world.
Click here for tickets. Click below for a sneak quack peek.
The Great Duck Race is not the only water-related activity this weekend.
Sunday marks the 43rd annual Westport Weston Family YMCA’s Point-to-Point Compo Beach Swim. The mile-long event includes competitors from across New England and the tri-state region.
All proceeds go to the Y’s aquatics programs to improve aquatics safety in the community, including swim lessons for all ages.
There are 4 heats, based on ability. Advanced swimmers start at 8 a.m., followed by intermediate swimmers (8:05), beginners (8:10) and myTeamTriumph (8:15).
That last group is special. My Team Triumph is a national non-profit serving children, teens adults and veterans with disabilities who could otherwise not experience endurance events like open water swims, road races, or triathlons.
“Captains” (special needs athletes) are paired with able-bodied “angel” volunteers, who use specialized racing equipment such as rafts to pull their captains during the race. Special needs athletes who would like to participate must register in advance with My Team Triumph.
Eegistration can be done online at westporty.org/43rd and is $50. Walk-registrations costs $60, starting at 7 a.m. The top 3 men’s and women’s finishers win awards. Swimmers get Point-to-Point swim caps and t-shirts.
No small potatoes: 19 teenagers and 9 adults just returned from Saugatuck Congregational Church’s High School Youth Group mission trip to Maine,
They stayed in Old Orchard Beach, and worked on a Growing to Give farm in Brunswick. The organization raises organic vegetables using climate-friendly methods, and donates them to food banks and pantries.
The youth group also cleared trails for the Saco Land Trust.
Westport Lifestyle Magazine’s July issue is out. Among the highlights: a deep dive into the Westport Library’s Verso studios. Click here to learn more about the professional-quality production facilities right under our noses (and open to the public).
One of the Verso studios. (Photo/Brendan Toller for Westport Lifestyle Magazine)
Most readers agreed with the one quoted. They filled the Comments section with stories of their own, slamming the Compo Beach concessionaire for mediocre food, long wait times, and a lack of planning and care. (A couple of readers disagreed; they love Hook’d).
Much of that falls on the owners’ shoulders. Word on the street is that employees are frustrated and embarrassed — and sometimes bear the brunt of customers’ complaints.
The cooks and counter help are local teenagers. They have no control over whether enough burgers and hot dogs are ordered, the price, or the systems in place to make ordering simple and pick-up fast. They’re at the mercy of their bosses.
Give the kids a break. It’s not an easy situation to be in.
But — as many readers have noted — the owners deserve whatever they get.
Westport is still buzzing about the fantastic Independence Day fireworks on Thursday.
It couldn’t have happened without the generosity of Melissa & Doug, the locally based, internationally beloved toy company; the hard work of the Westport Police, Fire, EMS, Parks & Recreation and Public Works Departments — and the volunteer efforts of Westport PAL.
The biggest party of the year is a fundraiser for PAL. They could not run their many sports programs for boys and girls, or scholarships for Staples High School students, without that help.
So, whether you bought a ticket or freeloaded, consider a contribution to one of Westport’s most important organizations. Click here to see all they do; then click here to donate.
Kathie Bennewitz — our talented town art curator, who tirelessly finds, documents, preserves and exhibits the Westport Public Arts Collections — has taken on a new challenge: to preserve the legacy of iconic American artist Edward Hopper.
The other day, Westport artists Eric Chiang and Mark Yurkiw took up Bennewitz’s offer to visit. Yurkiw reports: “The walkable and vibrant destination, with the Hudson River as a backdrop, makes a fabulous day trip. See the museum, stroll down Hopper Way and around the village of Nyack, with plenty to eat and experience.”
And say hi to Kathie at the museum, before she heads home to us.
(From left): Eric Chiang, Kathie Motes Bennewitz and Mark Yurkiw, outside the Edward Hopper Museum.
“I was at Old Mill Beach with my husband and 3 young boys. We have come at low tide for years, to swim and find hermit crabs. Today, we saw this:
“At first we thought the owners would return to pick up the bags, but there were no dogs or owners around. The tide was coming in, and these bags would have been washed away into the sea. I took them to the trash. It was very disappointing, and obviously disgusting.”
Paul Cohen, formerly of Westport and Fairfield, beloved husband of Barbara R. (Bobbie) Herman, passed away peacefully yesterday in Redding, He was 98 years old.
The New York City native enlisted in the Army Air Corps on his 19th birthday in 1942, the earliest that was permitted at the time. He served in the Galapagos and Central America, commanding a radio operations group to protect the Panama Canal.
After the war he attended Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont. then the Sorbonne and La Cinémathèque Française in Paris, where he studied cinematography. He was employed by the March of Time in Paris.
After returning to the US Paul worked at Owen Murphy Productions, a producer of documentaries and commercial films. After several years, he acquired the company. He produced films for clients like IBM, the USIA, Western Electric, the 1960-61 World’s Fair and the States of New York and New Jersey. and won many awards. He traveled with 3 presidents: Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon.
He and his wife Helene moved to Westport in 1974, and became involved in town activities. Paul produced bulletins, posters and newsletters for the Westport Arts Center, Y’s Men, Y’s Women, Westport Woman’s Club and Unitarian Church. He won several awards in the Y’s Men annual photo contest.
Helene died in 1993. Paul married Bobbie in 1997. In addition to Helene, he was predeceased by a daughter Susan, a brother and 2 sisters.
Survivors include his son Peter, stepsons Randall Schein (Ann Reingold), Jonathan Schein (Cynthia Hewett), and step-grandaughters Samantha and Lily Jo Schein.
A memorial service will be held in the fall. Donations in his memory may be made to the Unitarian Church in Westport, or a charity of your choice.
Longtime Westporter Stanley Bryk died Wednesday, at Norwalk Hospital. He was 87.
The Bridgeport native lived in Westport for 55 years, before moving to Southport 2 years ago.
Bryk — a Marine Corps veteran — spent 41 years with Sikorsky Aircraft. He was a member of the Frank C. Godfrey American Legion Post, and the VFW. He was also a lifelong New York Giants fan, and an avid traveler.
Survivors include his wife, Laura Renzulli Bryk; daughters Linda (Brent) Norton of Goshen, New York, and Susan (Robert) Tierney of Glastonbury, and grandchildren Taylor, Kelly, Erika, Casey, Rebecca and Kevin. He was predeceased by his brother Frank and one sister Mary Murphy.
AMass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Saturday, July 9 (11 a.m., St. Luke Church). Internment with military honors will follow in Willowbrook Cemetery. There are no calling hours. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Saint Jude Children’s Hospital for Cancer.
Some of the most affordable housing in Westport is hidden in plain sight.
Two 2-bedroom units at The Saugatuck — formerly Saugatuck Elementary School on Bridge Street — will go on the market soon.
The Saugatuck is a senior complex (residents must be at least 62) that caps resale prices to ensure affordability for people with moderate incomes or below. The restriction last year was roughly $105,000 for a single person, and $115,000 for a couple. There are no asset restrictions.
The property manager maintains a list of interested buyers, for sellers or their agents. For information on how to get on the list, email email@example.com.
For the past few weeks, a range of readers have complained to “06880” about the Compo Beach concession stand.
Some emailers are angry. Some acknowledge that this is a First World problem. But there are enough of them that they can’t be ignored.
Hook’d took over as the concessionaire from Joey’s by the Shore in 2020. They did not open that COVID-plagued year. Last year’s opening was delayed too. Many Westporters gave the new operators the benefit of the doubt; replacing a 30-year beloved institution would not be easy.
But patience is wearing thin. Here’s a typical email:
“I was there on Tuesday with grandkids at 4 pm. NO ICE CREAM. The place looked empty of everything.
“One of the workers said there have been lots of complaints about running out of things. It has no atmosphere, and is the exact opposite of Joey’s. And the food is very mediocre. I had a terrible hot dog. Burgers are so so.
“Compo beach needs a great beach stand. Have you heard this from anyone else?”
Yes. Other issues include early and random closures, and no posted operating hours.
There’s this too:
“A little birdie told me when the manager sends his supply list, corporate cuts it to their liking. It’s so not Joey’s. Typical ‘corporate.’ They don’t care about us Westporters. Just their bottom line.”
One reader wonders why, even when no one else is in the place, Hook’d employees insist on taking a customer’s cell phone number, to text when it’s ready.
Readers: What’s your experience with Hook’d? What are they doing well, or poorly? Are there any easy fixes? Click “Comments” below.
Hook’d is open. But customers don’t always know when. (Photo/Karen Como)
The Congregation for Humanistic Judaism hosts “Havdalah on the Beach” next Saturday (July 9, 6 p.m., Compo Beach).
Everyone is invited for a short service, with folk and klezmer music. Guests can swap Jewish-themed books too.
The CHJ will provide homemade desserts and soft drinks. Bring dinner, adult drinks and a beach chair. There’s no need for a beach pass; tell the gate guard that you are attending the CHJ event, and follow the signs.
The next Westport Country Playhouse “Sunday Symposium” guest is Ins Choi. The writer of “Kim’s Convenience” — the play that inspired the popular Netflix series, and which is the next WCP production — will talk about the show, following the July 10 matinee.
The Sunday Symposium is free and open to the public. No performance ticket is necessary; just arrive 80 minutes after the 3 p.m. curtain.
Perviews for “Kim’s Convenience begin July 5, with opening night on July 9. For information on tickets and special offers, including discounts for students, senior citizens, educators, military, first responders, Indigenous peoples, professional playwrights and groups, click here.
“06880” subscription news: Issues continue to plague readers with Optonline.net addresses,
WordPress and Optonline don’t play well together. The great folks at the new Optimum store near Fresh Market are working on the issue, but have not yet solved it.
If you know someone with an Optonline.net address is not receiving “06880,” ask them to email firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll send a list of troubleshooting steps.
The easiest solution, of course, is to subscribe to “06880” using a different email address.
MaryLou Bell died peacefully Thursday at her Westport home, surrounded by family. She was 83.
Born to Patsy and Antonette Doddo, she was a life-long Westport resident. She graduated from Staples High School in 1956.
MaryLou was a well-respected local banker. She began with the Westport Bank & Trust Company while in high school. She sun-bathed on her lunch breaks with fellow employees on the roof of the downtown building (now Patagonia).
Loyal customers followed her to newest bank branches in her capacity as branch manager. Through the years she worked with Connecticut Bank & Trust, the Bank of Darien, the Bank of Westport and others. She ended her career in 2012 at Fairfield County Bank.
MaryLou enjoyed New York outings with colleagues, taking in Broadway shows and dinner. Her vacations in North Truro on Cape Cod were special to her. She volunteered at the Sons of Italy Festival Italiano and Westport PAL’s annual golf tournament, and was a member of Westport Sunrise Rotary.
She was active in local politics during the 1970s and ’80s, with the Republican Town Committee and Save Westport Now. Her family says, “She enjoyed spending time at the Westport Senior Center, and sharing laughs with her friends and family. She was fiercely independent, a straight-shooter, and was never afraid to express her thoughts to others. MaryLou lived life her way.”
MaryLou’s family thanks her exceptional caregivers Millie and Thomasine for providing friendship along with compassionate care.
MaryLou is survived by her daughter Kathy )Scott) Santarella of Westport; son Bob (Marybeth) Stephens of Suffolk, Virginia; grandchildren Jordan and Jamie Santarella, and Wesston, Tyler, Ashley and Will Stephens; sister and brother-in-law Annette & AJ Izzo of Westport; her brother-in-law Ray (Linda) Barry of Fairfield, and many cousins, nieces and nephews.
MaryLou was predeceased by her husband of 35 years, William Bell, in 2000, and her youngest sister Angela M. Doddo in 2001.
Friends may greet the family on Wednesday (July 6, 4 to 7 p.m., Harding Funeral Home). A mass of Christian Burial will celebrated at Assumption Church on Thursday (July 7, 10 a.m.). Entombment will follow at Willowbrook Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the American Heart Association, or the charity of your choice.
Longtime Westporter Tom Hofstetter — whose civic involvement in Westport included Sunrise Rotary, sports, the arts, his church and more — died peacefully last week in Aiken, South Carolina. He was 90.
The Baltimore native majored in history at Washington College, then attended the University of Maryland Law School. After training at the Army Intelligence School, he served as an undercover CIC agent in Japan and Korea, at the end of the Korean War.
Back in the US, he obtained credentials from a small Maryland newspaper, and traveled to Cuba to report on the revolution there. He endured a restaurant bombing, and had weapons pointed in his face.
Returning to Baltimore, Tom worked in sales with Dun & Bradstreet, then transitioned into the brokerage business with Merrill Lynch. He became Walston & Company’s Northeastern sales manager, while completing courses at the University of Pennsylvania’s Investment Banking Institute.
Tom proposed to his wife Sally the first day he met her, at a Sunday morning church service.
He worked closely with Maryland’s governor and Baltimore’s mayor on many civic initiatives. He held leadership positions on the Baltimore Jail Board, Airport Planning Commission, Jaycees and Tourism Commission, and Fort McHenry. In 1964 he ran as the Republican candidate for Maryland’s 7th US Congressional District.
After moving to Westport in 1969, Tom served as vice president at Walston’s New York headquarters, and was active at the New York Stock Exchange. He led their first national marketing conference, and was pivotal in the exchange’s expansion into insurance and annuity sales.
After Wall Street, he opened Westport’s first brokerage branch. He built an extensive brokerage presence in Fairfield County, as Salomon Smith Barney’s vice president of investments.
He also traveled throughout Europe, in Hungary and Slovenia prior to the fall of the Iron Curtain. He sailed extensively too, on his sailboat moored at Compo Beach.
In Westport Tom founded the Sunrise Rotary Club, and served as president of Little League. He was also chief of the Tanka Tiki Indians – YMCA Indian Guides; board member of the Westport-Weston Foundation; board member of the Westport Historical Society; deacon of Greens Farms Congregational Church; 2-term master of Masonic Lodge #65; president of the Norwalk Symphonic Orchestra, and chairman of the board of Ashlar of Newtown, a skilled nursing facility.
In retirement Tom spent time at his Vermont cabin of 30 years, exploring the back country. He and Sally also traveled through the Caribbean, Russia, the Cape of Good Hope and the Arctic. He became a scholar of Arctic history and a collector of Inuit art, traveling extensively by light aircraft and Russian icebreaker to the far reaches of the area.
Relocating to Aiken in 1998, Tom promoted the arts. He served as president of the Augusta Opera, co-founder and past chairman of the Aiken Symphony, founder of the Aiken Opera Society, and trustee of Friends of Hopelands and Rye Patch, Inc.
He also created Aiken Performing Arts, which introduced the Juilliard Jazz Orchestra to the area in 2005. He brought in world-class artists, while creating outreach opportunities through master classes and more.
Tom is survived by Sally, his wife of 62 year; son Thomas C. Hofstetter III, daughter Kimberly Dracon, 5 grandsons and sister Joyce May.
Funeral services are set for Saturday, June 25 in Aiken. Tom will be laid to rest on Thursday, June 30 in Westport, at a private family burial.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Aiken Symphony Orchestra, 262 East Gate Drive #440, Aiken, SC 29803.
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