Tag Archives: American Red Cross

Roundup: Flags, Trash, Blood …

Westport just celebrated our annual, wonderful. warm and welcoming jUNe Day.

So let’s start the week with a jUNe Day complaint.

A reader sends this photo —

— and writes:

“I noticed that the Russian flag is flying on the bridge — next to the American flag.

“Shouldn’t that flag come done while we are boycotting and protesting Russia’s invasion of sovereign Ukraine? Additionally, the Russian flag is right at the center of the bridge, next to the American flag — certainly a special spot. Can the town change the flags to reflect the current state of affairs?”


I’ve always been told the flags fly in alphabetical order. Right now, 193 countries are members of the UN. I did not count the flags this year. Besides, I’m no flags-of-the-world expert, so I can’t answer whether they are in alphabetical order or not.

(I would have contacted the Department of Public Works, which sets up and removes the flags each year, but they were closed for the weekend.)

My next thought: Maybe Russia still goes by its former name — the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. That would, amazingly, put it smack next to the United States.

I checked the UN website. Nope: It’s “Russian Federation.”

Then I wondered if the DPW simply uses the same list year after year. The wheels of municipal government grind slowly, but I can’t imagine they’d use a list from the last century without anyone noticing.

Finally, I wondered: What are those other flags next to Russia?

The one on its right seems to be Romania  — which, alphabetically, comes right before Russia.

The one on the left — interrupted by the US — appears to be Rwanda. Bingo!

Perhaps the American flag is placed smack in the middle of the bridge because, hey, this is our country — and Russia just happens, ironically, to be where it is by the luck of the alphabet.

At any rate, there’s no reason to remove the Russian flag, even if the country is an international pariah.

This was jUNe Day, after all.

хорошего дня!


But wait!

The photo above was taken yesterday, during the reproductive rights rally.

The day before, Joel Treisman took a video of the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge. It showed a different arrangement of flags flanking ours:

What’s going on?

Sounds like a case for Interpol!


A flag kerfuffle and looming constitutional crisis notwithstanding, this was a perfect weekend for a walk at the beach.

My path took me along Bradley Street. I spotted this subtle — but hopefully strong — reminder to dog owners: Their lawn is not a canine crapper.

(Photo/Dan Woog)

I also noticed an astonishing amount of trash left on the tables outside the Hook’d concession stand, under the brick pavilion roof, and on South Beach.

How difficult is it to take your trash 5 steps to the nearby receptacle?

Westporters love to say, “This is our beach.”

Let’s treat it that way!


The need for blood is constant.

Kick off the holiday weekend by doing something for others. VFW Post 399 hosts its 24th straight monthly Red Cross blood drive this Friday (July 1, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., 465 Riverside Avenue).

Click here for an appointment.


Cheese Fries & Froot Loops” — the true, moving and humorous one-man show written and performed by Weston native Chris Fuller about his attempt to make it to the PGA Tour while struggling with bipolar mental illness — debuted at Fairfield Theater Company last month.

It led to an invitation to perform at the United Solo Theater Festival in New York this fall.

First though, Fuller plans 2 shows here, to benefit the Artists Collective of Westport: July 23 and 24, 8 p.m. at the Westport Woman’s Club.

The suggestion donation is $15 a tickets, and includes complimentary wine and cheese.. Funds raised will help provide art supplies and activities to those in need. For reservations, email aspetuck@optonline.net or call 203-349-8786

Fuller — son of famed author John G. Fuller and playwright Elizabeth Fuller — will give away copies of his book “Goodnight, Golf!” after an on-stage putting contest during the show.


Dennis Poster died at home, surrounded by his family. on Friday. He was 82.

The Syracuse native, and Syracuse University graduate ran specialist books on the New York Mercantile Exchange and American Stock Exchange. He later managed D.B. Poster Associates, working from Connecticut to be closer to his family.

He was on the Executive Committee of Weill Cornell Medicine’s Dean Council, was emeritus chair of the JHE Foundation, and served on the boards of The Hole in the Wall Gang Fund, Save our Strays and The Compass Fund. He was also a trustee for The Aronson Family Foundation, which supports education, the arts, healthcare, and animal rescue charities.

Dennis loved golf, Pepe’s Pizza, DQ Blizzards, blackjack, backgammon, Shark Tank, watching CNBC, his cat Shadow, feeding the surrounding wildlife by his home, and most importantly, his family.

He had a near 50-year Father’s Day tradition of mini-golfing with his daughters, and then his grandchildren. He played semi-pro golf, and often joined pro-am golf tournaments with friends. He once shot a 66 at Winged Foot.

Dennis had a big heart, a warm soul and was fiercely loyal to his family and friends. We will miss his contagious chuckle, generosity, sage advice and especially his love.

Dennis is survived by his wife, Joan of 57 years; daughters Meredith and Cindy (David) of Westport; grandchildren Hannah, Lillie, Matthew, Max, Jack and Sam; brother Greg and sister Wendy.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp and Let’s Win Pancreatic Cancer.

Dennis Poster


It took 4 years of nursing — inside her house, and on her deck — but Wendy Levy finally got her passionflower to bloom.

What a colorful way to start our “Westport … Naturally” week!

(Photo/Wendy Levy)


And finally … today is National Orange Blossom Day. How will you celebrate?

(“06880” relies on reader donations. To support this blog, please click here.) 

Accidents Happen. Amanda Is There.

Life has been challenging for Amanda DeRosa.

She has a long QT syndrome, a congenital abnormality of the heart’s electrical system that can lead to sudden death.  Her 2nd-grade son has inherited the condition. Both take beta blockers.

But those — and other hardships — have not deterred Amanda. Since moving to Westport 5 years ago, she’s jumped into community life. She always looks to help. Last year, for example, she rallied Starbucks regulars to fund a gift card for a pregnant barista who needed help.

Amanda DeRosa (right) and her Starbucks friend.

She’s been active too in ensuring that AEDs (portable devices that deliver electrical shocks to cardiac arrest victims) are in as many places as possible — and that their batteries are replaced when needed.

It’s not only the elderly and people with long QT syndrome who may need help, she notes. Youngsters hit the wrong way by a ball can go into cardiac arrest too.

Amanda’s 64-year-old father is a volunteer firefighter in Chatham, New Jersey. “This stuff is in my blood,” she says. “I run to the fire, metaphorically.”

To be prepared, last July she took a Red Cross adult and pediatric first aid/CPR/AED course. She gave up 6 1/2 hours on a beautiful summer day, and it cost $117, but the certification was important to her.

Almost immediately, she put her training to use. An older woman fell on the sidewalk, near (of all places) the Post Road Starbucks where Amanda had aided the barista.

The woman bled profusely. Amanda put on her N95 mask, announced who she was, and got the bleeding under control. She kept the woman calm, until EMTs and firefighters arrived.

Not long after — at nearly the same location — Amanda saw a pickup truck hit a young man on a moped.

Again she raced into action. He was shook up, but not injured. She stayed with him, and made sure he was okay.

On Tuesday, Amanda again ran toward the metaphorical fire. Driving on the Post Road, she saw a serious 2-car accident at Turkey Hill. First responders had not yet arrived. A couple of people had stopped, but did not know what to do.

Amanda parked in the closest lot, grabbed her mask, and assessed the scene. A woman was out of her car, using her cellphone. A young man was still in the vehicle, dazed.

She introduced herself, and said she could help if needed. He nodded yes.

He said his wrist and chest hurt, and he felt dizzy. “I think I’m in shock,” he said.

Amanda calmed him down. She breathed slowly, and got him to follow. “He was terrified,” she says. She stayed with him until EMTs, firefighters and police arrived.

Those 3 incidents reinforced Amanda’s decision to take the Red Cross course.

“I know not everyone can handle blood,” she says. “But if you can, you really should do it.

“It takes time for first responders to arrive. If that young man needed CPR because of the airbag impact, I could have done that.”

A few days before that Turkey Hill accident, Amanda’s father had called. The firefighter said that a 52-year-old father of 4 had just died in Chatham, after his car was struck broadside.

“That was my hometown,” she says. “But Westport is now home. I just want to help, and I know there are millions of people like me.

“I’m just a mom. If that was my son in that car, I hope someone would be there for him.”

Amanda DeRosa has done plenty already. But she’s not stopping with the first aid/CPR/AED course.

This summer, she’ll start courses for a nursing degree at Norwalk Community College.

(To find a Red Cross first aid/CPR/AED course — or any other type — click here.)

Bridgeport Fire: You Can Still Help

Elaine Marino had a busy New Year’s Day.

After “06880” reported on her efforts to aid the 120 victims of a Bridgeport fire, she was flooded with offers to help. She scurried around Westport, picking up donations of clothes, food and toys, then headed a few miles away to deliver them.

City Council president Tom McCarthy helped her unload her jam-packed car. He said they’d been overwhelmed with clothing donations.

But there’s a lot the 50-plus families still need, including:

  • Food
  • Furniture
  • Bedding (twin, full or queen)
  • Towels
  • Utensils
  • Small appliances
  • Other items you’d need if you were starting your home over from scratch
  • Toys for the kids who lost all their  Christmas gifts
  • Cat and dog food and items
  • Gift cards to Stop & Shop, and Target.
The aftermath of the Bridgeport condominium fire. (Photo/Brian Pounds, AP)

The aftermath of the Bridgeport condominium fire. (Photo/Brian Pounds, AP)

Elaine returned home, then went off to Bed, Bath & Beyond, with 10 of those 20% off coupons.

If you’d like her to pick up items from your home tomorrow for delivery, email esmarino@msn.com.

There are other ways to help. For example, several GoFundMe pages have been set up for victims. Click here, then scroll down.

For donation drop-off information, call the Bridgeport Emergency Operations Center (203-579-3829), or the mayor’s office (Gina Malheiro or John Gomes, (203-727-4045).

Monetary donations can be send to: Red Cross, 158 Brooklawn Avenue, Bridgeport, CT 06604. The phone number is 800-319-9935.

Haiti Hits Home

For many Westporters, the news from Haiti is devastating, despondent — and distant.

For Wilgins Altera, it’s immediate, visceral, and all too real.

Wilgins Altera (Photo by Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com)

Born in Brooklyn to Haitian immigrants, at age 7 he moved with his family to Providence, Rhode Island.  He graduated from Southern Connecticut State University in 2007 with a degree in criminal justice, psychology and accounting.

Last February 2 — almost exactly a year ago — he was sworn in as an officer of the Westport Police Department.

Over 30 members of his extended family live in Port-au-Prince, or nearby.  All are accounted for — but 2 died in the earthquake’s rubble.

Many of his fellow officers did not know of Wilgins’ Haitian background.  As soon as they heard, they rushed to help.

“Everyone has been very concerned and supportive,” he said.  “They ask all the time how my family is doing.  They really care.”

A captain discussed the possibility of sending Wilgins to Haiti, to help.

The Police Benevolent Association raised funds for relief.  Many members donated generously.

Of course, help — through organizations like Save the Children and the Red Cross — is still needed.

“Every day there, people still need food and medicine,” Wilgins said.  “It’s great to see so many people involved.  And it’s not just Westport, but around the nation and the world.”