Tag Archives: 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker

Let There Be Lights!

There are many ways to mark the holiday season in Westport.

The lighting of the tree in front of Town Hall is a great one.

1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker did the honors a few minutes ago. She was joined by her father and daughter, the Staples Orphenians, a gaggle of kids, and plenty of Westporters who are glad that — after a COVID-induced year off — this hometown tradition is back.

The Orphenians sang holiday tunes …

… former 1st Selectman Jim Marpe wheeled his grandson Charlie …

… his successor Jen Tooker led the countdown …

… and the 2021 holiday tree was lit. (Photos/Dan Woog)

Roundup: Tunnel Of Love, Compo Swim, Cribari Lights

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Just in time to kick off the holiday shopping season, a small ceremony honored the re-lighting and re-naming of the pedestrian tunnel between Main Street and Parker Harding Plaza.

New lights show off Miggs Burroughs’ stunning lenticular images. They portray Westporters connecting with each other. Each changes, depending on the angle you view them from.

The original name was “Tunnel Vision.” Suzanne Tanner came up with the new “Tunnel of Love & Community” — abbreviated as (of course) TLC. Then it was re-opened — as it always has been — to the public, 24/7/365.

1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker (center) and guests enjoy the newly re-lit Tunnel of Love & Community.

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While all the tunnel re-dedicators were bundled up in Friday’s chill, Ann Chernow’s grandchildren chilled at Compo Beach.

Well, actually, they went in the water.

She sends a photo of “2 of my crazy grandchildren. They usually swim  in the Pacific in San Francisco.” At 47 degrees, Long Island Sound was much chillier.

Yikes!

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Also this weekend: The Cribari Bridge is lit for the holidays.

Betsy Pollak sends along the first of what is sure to be many photos of one of Westport’s favorite and most colorful traditions.

(Photo/Betsy Pollak)

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Westport’s hidden music gem, Voices Cafe, offers in-person, high quality live music (or livestream), with café-style seating. Everyone brings their own snacks and beverages.

Coming this Saturday (December 4): Eclectic musical duo The Whispering Tree, and award-winning folk couple Ash and Eric (formerly, The Promise is Hope).

Click here for tickets and more information. Seats are assigned by ticket purchase date.

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Photos keep coming in of new Thanksgiving Day traditions. Here’s one more — of a group of dads and sons — with the by-now-familiar name: Turkey Bowl. (Hat tip: Bianca Jonas)

(Photo/Eric Ritter)

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You can’t be too busy next month, right?

If you need an activity, check out these 2 from Wakeman Town Farm.

“In “Making Spirits Brighter: A Holiday Mixology Class” (December 6, 7 p.m.), “Mixxed by Ed” Hernandez will teach you how to make 5 holiday-themed drinks, using natural ingredients picked straight from the farm. Premium liquor is provided by Remy Cointreau.

“A Holiday Centerpiece Workshop” (December 14, 7 p.m.), features WTF’s Chyrse Terill and Ellen Goldman. Materials are collected from the Farm. You can take home your creation — and feel free to bring an appetizer, bottle of wine or other drink.

Click here for details and registration.

“Mixxed by Ed” Hernandez

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Former Staples High School football star Joseph Vincent DeMattio died Wednesday, following a courageous battle with a long-time illness. He was 63, and is survived by a large extended family and hundreds of friends.

Joey played tackle on the Wreckers’ 1975 state champion team, and was a 1997 inductee into team’s Wall of Fame. He also played defense for the University of Maryland where he played  defense for the Maryland Terrapins. An excellent athlete, he returned to Westport and played softball for the legendary Sonny’s team.

His family says, “There was never a dull moment in Joey’s life. From running with the bulls in Pamplona to fighting pirates in the Bahamas, he was no stranger to adventure or travel.”

Although Joey held several positions in his career, his favorite was working for Keith Richards in Weston. He often said how down to earth and kind the family was to him.

He was also an accomplished inventor, and held 2 provisional patents.

Joey had a huge heart, especially for children and the elderly.

Joey loved Saugatuck, Jr’s Hot Dog Stand, Compo Beach, Aunt Jean’s eggplant parm, Walter K, the Maryland Terrapins, Ledo’s Pizza, inventing things, his little dog Tony, his beautiful home, eating any food (especially Italian), his Saugatuck Saints jacket, Calvin the monkey, yelling at umpires, playing football, traveling, the Three Stooges, the Rolling Stones, and pistachio ice cream.

His family notes, “Saugatuck will never be the same without you.”

A  funeral is set for Thursday (December 2, 10 a.m., Assumption Church). The family will receive friends in the Harding Funeral Home on Wednesday (December 1, 4 to 8 p..). Click here to leave online condolences.

In lieu of flowers, donation can be made to Safer Refuge of Central Texas, where 2 of Joey’s beloved puppies come from.

Joey DeMattio, in the 1977 Staples High School yearbook.

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Nicholas T. Saviano Jr. of Westport died quietly at home earlier this month.

After graduating from Staples High School in 1947, he earned a bachelor’s degree from Union College and a master’s from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was inducted into Sigma Xi Honor Society.

Nick was a lifelong Westport resident. He was an avid reader, and enjoyed photography, horseback riding, skiing, wine making, family genealogy, and aviation and navigation.

In his younger years he owned a small private plane with his older brother. He traveled throughout the country and abroad, including Italy and China with family and friends.

For most of his career he worked as an electrical engineer at Sperry Rand/Unisys in New York as the senior research section head, software development, shipboard and ground systems group. Nick also held a number of patents.

He volunteered for many years at the Westport Library and Sons of Italy. He was also an usher at the Assumption Church. He was devoted to his family and friends.

He was predeceased by his elder brother Ralph, his nephew David and his wife Joanne of New Hampshire, and several dear life-long friends. He is survived by his sister Florence of Stratford; brother Thomas of Westport; nieces Dyana and Felica of Monroe; niece Suzanne of New Hampshire; nephew Mark of Colorado; several great-nephews and nieces, great-great nephews and nieces, and 7 godchildren.

A funeral is set for Saturday (December 4, 10 a.m., Assumption Church). Interment will follow in Assumption-Greens Farms Cemetery. A reception immediately following the burial will be held at Christ and Holy Trinity Church. Gifts may be given in Nick’s memory to Union College,

Nick Saviano

 

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Today’s colorful “Westport … Naturally” image comes from the home and camera of Linda Stern:

(Photo/Linda Stern)

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And finally … Today in 1925, the Grand Ole Opry began broadcasting in Nashville, as the WSM Barn Dance. Uncle Jimmy Thompson was the first guest.

And if you’ve got a couple of hours to kill:

 

Roundup: Black Friday, Fire Department Tree, Cribari Bridge Lighting …

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First Selectwoman Jen Tooker delivers her first Thanksgiving message to Westport:

“I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you and your families a Happy Thanksgiving, as well as a Happy Hanukkah for those celebrating.

“Westport has much to be thankful for. As we emerge from a global pandemic, we are grateful for our first responders, our town employees and staff, our teachers, colleagues and friends, and the numerous volunteers who gave unselfishly of their time, talents and resources. Most importantly, we are grateful for each other, and how we came together as a community to lift up, to help and to inspire during challenging times. Westporters are truly resilient!

“We are also keenly aware that there are those among us who need additional care and concern, especially during holidays. Theodore Roosevelt said, ‘Let us remember that, as much has been given, much will be expected…and that true homage comes from the heart as well as from the lips and shows itself in deeds.’”

“And so, at this Thanksgiving and for the days to come, I ask that we both reflect and act; to give of ourselves in word and deed; to express our appreciation for all that we do have, and to make simple acts of kindness the norm, not the trend.

“On a personal note, my sincerest hope is that you enjoy your Thanksgiving and upcoming Holidays with friends and families, and that you have the opportunity to be thankful for the simple blessings we all share. Thank you.”

Jen Tooker is thankful to celebrate Thanksgiving with her husband Mo and her father, Bob “Pops” Salmon.

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Just in time for Black Friday, “Finding Westport”‘s Jillian Elder has found local stores offering sales, customer appreciation days and more this weekend.

Click here for her list. If you prefer to shop from home, keep it local! Scroll down on her website for a list of Westport-based Etsy shops.

JL Rocks is one of many local businesses you can find on “Finding Westport.”

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Yesterday morning, the Westport Fire Department helped the Westport Downtown Association put up a Christmas tree at Parker Harding Plaza, across from Starbucks.

Check out the fire extinguisher “present” — and the firefighter’s hat on top!

(Photo/Amy Schneider)

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Al’s Angels’ annual Cribari Bridge lighting ceremony is tomorrow night (Friday, November 26, 4 to 6:30 p.m., Saugatuck Rowing Club).

There’s Santa, cocoa (kids’ and spiked), hot dogs and popcorn. It’s a ticketed event ($20 adults, $10 children — plus an unwrapped toy), with all toys and funds going to (of course) Al’s Angels.

For over 20 years they’ve brought joy to children with life-threatening illnesses (and their families). And for 20 years they’ve kept the Cribari Bridge lit.

Click here for tickets. You can pay at the door too,

Tomorrow’s Cribari Bridge lighting rings in the holiday season. (Photo/January Stewart)

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There’s one more parking space today on Myrtle Avenue.

“Hank the Tank” — the Mercedes sedan that, since summer, sat in front of Town Hall since summer — was trucked away yesterday. He’s been donated to the Fire Department, for use as a training vehicle.

Hank has quite a back story. If you missed it earlier this month on “06880,” click here.

College girls — friends of the owner — say goodbye, moments before Hank the Tank is trucked away. (Photo/Frank Rosen)

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Speaking of cars: Traffic has been terrible lately. It’s the holidays. And a paving project on Riverside Avenue by the Cribari Bridge has funneled traffic onto already jammed streets.

This was the scene Thursday night:

(Photo/Jon Dworkow)

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Today, Westporters give thanks for many things. These “Westport … Naturally” featured creatures give thanks that they’re hanging out on Colony Road, not on someone’s carving board.

(Photo/Tammy Barry)

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And finally … I’m old enough to remember that, for my first couple of years at Burr Farms Elementary School right here in Westport, we opened the day by reciting the Lord’s Prayer (!).

In music class, we also sang “We Gather Together” every Thanksgiving — even after the Supreme Court ruled (8 to 1) that prayer and Bible reading were unconstitutional in public schools.

The things you learn when you’re young stay with you forever. I’ve always associated that hymn with Thanksgiving — and I still know all the words.

In fact, it’s one of only two Thanksgiving songs I know. Last year, I featured Arlo Guthrie. This year … well, let us give thanks, and pray.