Tag Archives: Congressman Jim Himes

Fairfield County Reflections: The Frog In The Water

I don’t remember much from my high school biology class.

But I do remember the “frog in boiling water” story.

If you put a frog in boiling water, supposedly it jumps out. Yet if the temperature is tepid, then gradually increased, the frog boils to death.

Our country is that frog. And the water is boiling.

Yesterday, Congressman Jim Himes posted a series of tweets. “Catching my breath after the attack on the Capitol,” he began, “I’m reflecting on all that we have to do.”

He mentioned “Lectern and Viking Guy” — the insurrectionists who stole a lectern and were dressed in a fur hat and horns, respectively — as well as “a deranged President.”

Lectern and Viking guy.

But it was the next tweet that was astonishing.

Maybe it shouldn’t have been. I know there are people who are absolutely convinced the election was stolen. I know they believe Joe Biden is doddering, that the government is filled with pedophiles, and that a communist/socialist deep state is quietly taking over.

Still, I thought those people with those out-there views are “out there.” They live in Michigan and Mississippi and Montana. They don’t live here.

Well, they do.

Maybe this stuff is boiling all around me, and I don’t know it. Maybe I’m the frog in the water.

Congressman Jim Himes, at Bedford Middle School.

Congressman Himes said he’d received a copy of a letter from a New Canaan parent, whose child’s teacher had offered suggestions on how to talk to kids about the attack.

Those suggestions triggered the parent.

Well, reading the parent’s screed triggered me. The venom, misinformation, paranoia — and fear — that leaped off the screen made my nauseous. Furious. And scared.

“Every sentence is provably untrue and filled with hate and violence,” Himes noted.

Yet there they were, written by a fellow constituent, in an affluent suburb similar to mine, just 10 minutes away.

Here is what the parent said to the principal:

I write you very much as a dedicated, incredible principal whom my daughter is very fond of.

However, perhaps Dr. “Ignorance is Bliss” should discuss how millions of hard working, patriots were disenfranchised at the hands of an overt subversive, political takeover that featured sabotaging a presidential election by fraudulently placing a demented man, who couldn’t even fill an audience a fraction size of an elementary school gymnasium, along with his jezebel, to the highest office. As far as I’m concerned, those disgraceful, politicians, some of whom have been proven to have ties to the CCP, got off very lightly as they should’ve faced justice at the hands of those godsend, patriots.

I don’t recall any outrage or referring to BLM & Antifa criminals as “rioters” when they ransacked the country for months, looting, raping, and pillaging over the death of a thug who we later learned at one point in his life, pointed a loaded weapon at the abdomen of a pregnant woman.

When the coward, silver spoon fed, limousine liberal, Will Haskell, from Westport, CT, and his harem of self-loathing, guilt-ridden, affluent, white liberals want to force our schools to regionalize as part of their wealth redistribution, socialist agenda, which will subject you and others on this recipients list being stuck dealing with unruly, animals in the classroom, I’m sure the likes of the previously mentioned, coward will inform the masses, with a delusional, false sense of nostalgia, just how “well” “diversity’ is working out, as New Canaan residents are ransacked and our home values are destroyed.

Until Wednesday, the Confederate flag had never been paraded through the US Capitol.

As George W. Bush famously said after Donald Trump’s inauguration “carnage” address, “Well, that was some weird shit.”

What goes through that New Canaan parent’s mind is indeed weird. It’s also dark, demonic, and terrifying as hell.

And — like the coronavirus, which we’ve all pretty much stopped talking about, even though it’s more virulent than ever — it must be all around us. Even if we can’t see it.

If someone is thinking those thoughts in New Canaan, someone is probably thinking the same thoughts in Westport.

And probably more than one someone.

Until yesterday, I thought towns like ours were immune to those sorts of ideas.

Which makes me not unlike all the people, all around, who think they are somehow immune to the pandemic.

It also makes me very similar to the poor, un-sensing – and ultimately quite dead — frog in the boiling water.

(To read all of Congressman Himes’ tweets from yesterday, click here.)

Roundup: Celestial Convergence, Barnes & Noble, Downtown Employees, More

It was a bit too cloudy and foggy yesterday to really see the convergence of Saturn and Jupiter. It’s been nearly 400 years since the planets passed so close to each other, and nearly 800 years since their alignment — seeming to form one “Christmas star” — occurred at night.

But that didn’t stop a number of Westporters from heading to Compo Beach to look.

Jo Shields reports, “I heard someone say there was a lot of applause and cheering on South Beach. But then someone said it might have just been a plane.”

Here’s what she saw, on the jetty:

(Photo/Jo Shields)

It’s official!

Barnes & Noble signed its new lease yesterday, for the former Restoration Hardware site. “06880” reported that the deal was imminent last week. The opening is slated for February. David Adam Realty was the realtor.

Restoration Hardware moved out in June. Soon, Barnes & Noble will move in.(Photo/Chip Stephens)

Last summer, as the pandemic (first) raged, the Westport Downtown Merchants Association partnered with ASF, on a fundraiser to support local businesses. The community helped raise over $2,700.

Last month, the WDMA asked retailers to nominate employees who have gone “above and beyond.”

There were many stories about heroes who put in extra hours, offered creative ideas to keep businesses afloat, provided extraordinary customer service, or remained strong in uncertain times.

Now the WDMA has awarded 26 of those very deserving employees $100 Downtown Dollar eGift Cards. Congratulations and thanks go to:

Karyl Scott (Massage Envy)
Kimberly Lavigne (Sorelle Gallery)
Francisco Moreno (Winfield Street Deli)
Henry Potter (Athleta)
Ellyn Weitzman (Franny’s Farmacy)
Stephanie Soares (Don Memo)
Alba Antun (Don Memo)
Zach Hinman (Don Memo)
Owen Wiseman (Kawa Ni)
Kelly Clement (Kawa Ni)
Marco Almanza (Kawa Ni)
Lux Bond & Green Team
Paulino Garcia (The Whelk)
Lupita Cristostomo (The Whelk)
Matt Balga (The Whelk)
Julie Cook (Savannah Bee)
Will Newman (New England Hemp Farm)
John Vaast (Walrus Alley)
Patricia Andrade (Splash of Pink)
Isabelle Johansen (Cotelac)
Jinkuk Hong (Manna Toast)
Victor Mejia (Manna Toast)
Jessica Zito (Manna Toast)
Karen Martella (Catherine H)

The ink is barely dry on the new federal COVID relief package.

But this afternoon (Tuesday, December 22, 2:30 p.m.), Congressman Jim Himes and officials of the Small Business Administration join a live Zoom discussion to explain it. Click here for the link; the passcode is 509950.

Congressman Jim Himes

Jewish Senior Services is located in Bridgeport, but its Westport roots are strong and deep.

Ken Wirfel and Alan Phillips are the 2 most recent board chairs. Dozens of Westporters are board members and/or supporters, including the Nevas, Kassen and Magidas families.

Scores of Westport relatives are in long-term care there, have gone through short-term rehabilitation, or utilize JSS’ home care or community services.

Yesterday, the first doses of Pfizer’s COVID vaccine were administered there, to nearly 300 people. CEO Andrew Banoff called it “a day we will never forget.”

Although JSS’s mission is grounded in Jewish traditions, well over half of the residents and clients are not Jewish. They are “the largest faith-based not-for- profit senior care community in Connecticut.”

Amy Schneider captured the winter solstice sunset — the first one of the season — last night.

Here’s the “bright” side to winter: For the next 6 months, every day there’s a little more light.

(Photo/Amy Schneider)

The Saugatuck River Dancers keep dancing — and keep raising funds for suicide prevention.

Suzanne Harvey’s latest choreography is Meghan Trainor’s “Holidays.” She created it to share the joy of dance and the holidays with others. Tomorrow (December 23) is the 28th anniversary of her brother Michael‘s death. He was just 15 when he took his life.

Hilary Solder, Jill Alcott, Deb Montner, Michael Chait and Eva Rawiszer joined Suzanne in dance. The video is below. Click here for a link to donate to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

And finally … on this day in 1984, subway vigilante Bernhard Goetz shot 4 would-be muggers on a Manhattan subway. Five years later, he was part of a Billy Joel song.


COVID-19 Roundup: What’s Open And Closed: New Police Procedures; Access To Health Insurance; Earthplace Ideas; Help Your Household Help; Jim Himes Telephone Town Hall, And More

Looking for an up-to-date list of what’s open, closed or semi-operating downtown? Click here for the Westport Downtown Merchants Association list.

Click here for the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce’s list of restaurants that offer takeout and/or delivery services. In addition to ordering delivery directly, Seamless, Grubhub and UberEats also deliver without personal contact. They can leave the food at the door. Payment is automatically processed through a credit card in their systems. Most Westport restaurants are participating in one or more of these services.

Another resource: FindingWestport.com. Their “What’s Open” page includes stores, restaurants, gyms, services, real estate firms and salons around town.

To protect the public and police officers during the COVID-19 emergency, the Westport Police Department encourages telephone contact, rather than visits to headquarters.

Calls made to non-emergency and emergency lines will continue to be answered as always. The operator will ask questions about the nature and details of the call, to determine whether officers are required to respond.

Officers will continue to respond to crimes in progress, violent offenses and medical emergencies. If the call does not meet criteria for response but requires follow-up, the call taker will log the complaint. An officer or detective will remotely conduct a follow-up investigation.

Click here for information on online reporting.

The records division will no longer process requests at the window. All records related inquiries should be directed to 203- 341-6001. Requested records will be sent electronically

In addition, fingerprinting services are suspended indefinitely.  ‘

Effective today, the Saugatuck and Greens Farms railroad stations buildings are closed to the public. This has no impact on normal railroad operations.

The closures are meant to keep people from congregating in close contact. It is unknown how long they will last.

The building is closed. Trains are still operating.

Westporters without health insurance can pick up coverage starting tomorrow through April 2, through Access Health CT. Click here for information. (Hat tip: Mary Jennings)

Earthplace is continually updating its website with ideas and resources for crafts, home study,  and outdoor and online activities. Click here for details.


Concerned reader Lindsey Blaivas writes:

Many of us have people come to our homes on a weekly basis — cleaning crews (mine are like family), babysitters (also like family), piano teachers and more.

Each have their own families and rely on their income. Please consider supporting them — for example, through Skype lessons or outdoor alternatives for cleaning crews (grills, outdoor furniture, garage cleaning). Think creatively.

Or maybe just pay them as you normally would, because they (like us) need to survive and protect their families. My cleaning people have reported many clients are cancelling without pay.

Please consider the macro impact on micro thinking. It’s not just one person cancelling — it’s everyone.

Grateful reader Deborah Green called Verizon with a question about her iPhone.  She did not want to come in, because of her age.

Manager Dominic di Pasquale — whom she had never met — answered her question. Then, remarkably, he told Deborah to call if she needed him to shop for groceries or do any other errands!

She thanked him profusely. He replied simply, “We all have to be there for each other during these times.”

She made one more call: to Verizon’s HR department, to praise their magnificent employee.

The other day, Congressman Jim Himes held a fascinating, informative telephone town hall. He’s got another one set for tomorrow (Thursday, March 19, 3:30 p.m.)

The call-in number is 855-962-0953. The streaming link is Himes.House.Gov/Live.

For answers to his most frequently asked questions, click here(Hat tip: Nicole Klein)

Congressman Jim Himes

Le Rouge Aartisan Chocolates is — like many small businesses — struggling. But owner Aarti Khosla is still thinking of others.

Customers can buy her “Give a Little Love” chocolate hearts, to send to first responders, hospital workers and others on the front lines. She’ll match whatever you buy, to let them know how much we appreciate their work.

She started by campaign by donating 100 hearts to Norwalk Hospital and EMS. Click here to donate.

The Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce has extended its Soup Contest through April. They encourage everyone to try soups via restaurant takeout or delivery services.



Emma Borys Speaks Up — And Out — About Epilepsy

Last October, “06880” honored the work Emma Borys was doing with epilepsy. The Staples High School junior — diagnosed with the disease in 6th grade — is an outspoken advocate for research and education.

This spring, she was chosen as the Epilepsy Foundation of Connecticut‘s representative for a lobbying effort in Washington, DC.

Emma had been helped by trainers who spoke to her teachers about the myths and realities of epilepsy.

But many students don’t have that opportunity. The DC program brought teenagers to the Capitol, to urge their representatives to approve CDC funding for that educational program.

Emma joined one student from each state. They gathered in a large room, and shared personal stories. The goal was to help them become comfortable speaking the next day with legislators.

“I’d never really talked to another teenager about epilepsy,” Emma says. “It’s great to realize we have similar experiences and hardships.”

The next day, Emma met with her congressman, Jim Himes, as well as 2 other Connecticut representatives: Rosa DeLauro and John Larson. She also spoke with staffers from DeLauro and Joe Courtney’s offices.

Congressman Jim Himes and Emma Borys.

All were very receptive. The mother of a Himes staffer has epilepsy, Emma says, so he seemed particularly interested.

Emma felt empowered and energized by the lobbying day. But her advocacy is not over.

Last weekend, she participated in a fundraising march in Stamford. She was proud of her efforts — and wants “o6880” readers to know that donations can still be made through May 25. Just click here to help.

In Tough Times, Himes Has Hope

A large crowd greeted Jim Himes with a standing ovation at last night’s Bedford Middle School “town hall meeting.”

The congressman handled a host of questions — about healthcare, the environment, taxes, trade, immigration, infrastructure, Connecticut’s economy, Nancy Pelosi and more — with poise, humor and plenty of policy knowledge.

It was a friendly crowd. There was one skeptic – a man who challenged the House Intelligence Committee member about Russian collusion in the presidential election — but he was countered by a Westport Republican who thanked the Democratic representative for doing “a beyond admirable job.”

The man added, “There are Republicans who stand behind you 100%.”

Congressman Jim Himes, last night at Bedford Middle School.

But the most intense moment came almost at the end of the 90-minute event.

A Jewish Romanian woman with a special needs son fought tears as she said that America today reminds her of “a police state.”

Describing “an atmosphere of doom and gloom,” she called propaganda “very powerful and subtle.”

Why, she asked, “can’t anyone call this administration on dismantling our government as we know it?”

Himes replied, “I’ve been in politics long enough to know that fear and division are very powerful tools — and that we Americans are susceptible to it. We respond to it.”

But, he added, “We also respond to hope and aspiration.” He used President Kennedy’s “ask not…” quote as an example.

Himes noted that people who are swayed by fear are “decent people.” Those of us in Fairfield County may not recognize how “hollowed out” other Americans may feel, he said. In those situations, placing blame on others is easy.

“It is incumbent on people like me to offer aspiration, so we don’t succumb to fear,” Himes continued.

He disagreed though with the Romanian woman’s assertion about the “dismantling” of our fundamental government institutions.

Himes cited the judiciary branch’s strong, quick and aggressive stand against President Trump’s “garbage” immigration ban. He also praised the role being played by the media.

“Each and every one of us needs to stand up and say ‘No, you won’t,'” Himes said.

Fairfield County has been exceedingly lucky, politically. For over 30 years we’ve had superb representation in Congress.

Stewart McKinney, Chris Shays and now Jim Himes. Republican or Democrat — it doesn’t make a difference. Our congressmen look out for all of us in this district.

Last night at Bedford, an audience of Democrats and Republicans said “thank you.”

A young Westporter asked Congressman Jim Himes a question about healthcare.

A Photo Shoot For Gun Safety

In the days following the Orlando massacre, Connecticut politicians have once again been in the forefront of the fight to force Congress to address gun legislation.

Chris Murphy led a 15-hour filibuster on the Senate floor. Colleague Richard Blumenthal joined in. And Congressman Jim Himes earned national notice by walking out of the House of Representatives’ moment of silence, demanding real action rather than empty gestures.

Many Westporters were moved by our legislators’ stances.

Melissa Kane was moved to act.

The chair of the Democratic Town Committee sent out an email this weekend. In it, she called the three men’s actions “a wonderful lesson for my children.”

To show her appreciation, she invited anyone and everyone — especially kids — to gather for a group photo today at Compo Beach.

The shot below — taken by Pamela Einarsen — will be sent to Senators Murphy and Blumenthal, and Congressman Himes. I’m sure they’ll appreciate it.

Though they’d no doubt appreciate actual legislation more.

Click on or hover over to enlarge. (Photo/Pamela Einarsen)

Click on or hover over to enlarge. (Photo/Pamela Einarsen)

PS: After the shoot, some latecomers arrived. They posed with a few stragglers, for a 2nd image:

(Photo/Pamela Einarsen)

(Photo/Pamela Einarsen)

48 Hours After Arizona

It was a quirk of the calendar:  Congressman Jim Himes was scheduled to meet constituents today, in Westport’s Town Hall.

He kept his appointment — just 48 hours after the horrific shooting in Arizona that left 6 people dead, and one of his colleagues critically wounded.

Congressman Jim Himes

Himes acknowledged the tragedy — and the possibility that some in the overflow crowd were apprehensive.

But, he said, “We can’t function in an environment of fear.”  Then he attended to the business at hand:  answering questions, addressing concerns, serving the public.

That was exactly the right response.

After 9/11, we heard frequently:   “If we don’t do [this, that or the other thing], the terrorists win.”

It’s unclear so far whether Saturday’s gunman had a political agenda, was mentally ill, or both.  Whatever the answer, he created terror in our political system.

If congressmen retreat from one of their main jobs — meeting the public, hearing their thoughts, responding with their own insights — then not only will terror have won.

But our system of government — our American way of life — will have changed forever, too.