Tag Archives: Circle of Care

Roundup: Saugatuck, RTM, Health …

Over 100 people hoped to join Thursday’s Westport Representative Town Meeting’s Planning & Zoning Committee session on the text and map amendments that may lead to the redevelopment of Saugatuck.

The RTM Zoom link could handle only 100 guests. The meeting was canceled — and a new Zoom maximum set, of 500 attendees.

Meetings have been rescheduled for Tuesday and Thursday, January 10 and 12, at 6:30 p.m. Click here for the link.

The RTM’s Transit Committee will also meet on those dates and times, to discuss Saugatuck. Click here for the link.

In related news, members of the RTM Planning & Zoning Committee joined principals for the proposed Hamlet at Saugatuck project and other Westporters on a field trip to the site yesterday.

RTM members and others tour Saugatuck. They’re at the Morton’s parking lot, behnd Tarantino. (Photo/Andrew Colabella)


In other RTM news: the non-partisan legislative body seeks candidates to fill the District 6 vacancy created by the death of Cathy Talmadge.

Residents of RTM District 6 interested in filling the vacancy should send a resume by January 20 to Town Clerk Jeffrey Dunkerton: JDunkerton@westportct.gov.


No parent ever wants to hear: “Your child has cancer.”

Liz Vega and Tracy Cramer described their journeys yesterday, to members of Westport’s Sunrise Rotary Club.

Both women are from Circle of Care, a local non-profit helping families whose children battle cancer. Since 2003, the group has provided nearly $5 million in direct support.

The women offered sobering statistics — and inspiring stories — from their own lives, and those that Circle of Care has helped.

At yesterday’s Sunrise Rotary Club meeting (from left): Steven Chin (Rotary), Tracey Cramer and Liz Vega (Circle of Care), Bruce Paul (Rotary). (Photo/Mark Mathias)



Speaking of health: The Westport-based Shmaruk family non-profit PCT4PC recently presented a $50,000 check to the Norwalk Hospital Foundation. The donation supports pancreatic cancer early detection research conducted by Dr. Richard Frank, oncologist/hematologist and director of clinical cancer research at Norwalk Hospital.

The Shmaruk family formed PCT4PC in 2021 when Ben Shmaruk, now 23, set out to hike the 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail to raise money for pancreatic cancer research.

He honored his father Alan, who was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer in 2019. Ben’s sister Julianna, 21, managed social media accounts detailed the hike.  To learn more about PCT4PC,  please visit PCT4PC.com.

Alan Shmaruk died last, after living for nearly 3 years with the deadly disease.  He is remembered at Norwalk Hospital for his unrelenting and inspirational positive. An exam room will be named in his honor at the Norwalk Hospital Whittingham Cancer Center.

(From left): Ben, Julianna and Dawn Shmaruk, and Dr. Richard Frank.


The photographer of this handsome red-tailed hawk asked to remain anonymous.

But, he said of his “Westport … Naturally” photo: The magnificent bird let him get within 10 feet, without flinching.


And finally … on this day in 1894,  Thomas Edison made a kinetoscopic film of someone sneezing. Also today his employee, William Kennedy Dickson, received a patent for motion picture film.


(What’s more fun than the movies? Reading “06880”! Please click here to support this entertainment. Thank you.)

Staples Girls’ Marvelous Makeover

It was a wild, windy weekend.

But while you and I huddled around cups of cocoa, hoping the power did not go out, 22 Staples High School seniors were not thinking of themselves.

Taylor Burg and Madi Jarvis work their magic.

Taylor Burg and Madi Jarvis work their magic.

The Staples girls — members of Westport’s National Charity League — contributed their time and talents to transform another 12th grader’s bedroom into a personalized refuge.

Olivia Kalentek lives in Beacon Falls. She’s just like the Westporters — except she’s battling lymphoma.

After months of designing, planning, budgeting and fundraising, the NCL group (with help from a few moms) spent all weekend painting, creating and decorating.

Finally, they unveiled their work. They hope that in her new room, Olivia can gain strength, and find happiness.

The NCL seniors chose the room makeover as their Capstone project. They worked through the Art from the Heart program run by Circle of Care — a non-profit that provides emotional and financial support to  Connecticut families of children with cancer.

For 22 Staples seniors — and Olivia — this past weekend was very warm indeed.

The National Charity League gang -- and Olivia Kalentek (front row, 3rd from right) are all smiles.

The National Charity League gang — and Olivia Kalentek (front row, 3rd from right) are all smiles when the work was done.