There might be someone in Westport who does more interesting things, meets more interesting people, has his hand in more projects, and reaches a wider audience, than David Pogue.
But I haven’t met him or her.
As a “CBS Sunday Morning” correspondent — “explainer,” he calls it — he covers any topic worth delving into, from cryptocurrency to how Ukrainians use technology in wartime.
He’s also been a PBS “Nova” star (that’s a pun he might make). He’s written about technology for the New York Times, Scientific American, Yahoo, and in more “Missing Manual” books than even he can count.
And that doesn’t count his decade as a Broadway conductor.
Hard to believe we covered all that — plus what brought him to Westport, and what keeps him here — in our 30-minute conversation at the Library. But that’s part of the Pogue magic. (He’s a magician too. No fooling.)
Click below for our podcast, courtesy of the Westport Library’s Verso Studios. It’s almost as good as “CBS Sunday Morning.”
The “CBS Sunday Morning” staple — aka David Pogue (don’t tell the kids!) made an earlier-than-usual appearance in 2021. He told “06880” he wanted to make sure there were no supply chain issues with any suggestions.
As usual, much of the segment was filmed in David’s Westport home. Both Santa and Techno Claus know it well.
David Meth likes the Wakeman Town Farm Christmas tree lights. A lot.
He does not like the lights on the Town Hall tree.
David says: “The lack of warmth lighting up the Christmas tree at Town Hall is its usual, typical, surgical, antiseptic white—an embarrassment to the town. Yet it goes on year after year without change or care by the administration, who seem to lack an understanding of how color positively affects people.
“The town is very clear as it expresses an attitude that announces: ‘Get it done to say it’s been done.’ The warmth exuded from the tree at Wakeman Farm is what we should expect—welcoming, full of life and color for all.”
Youn Su Chao has resigned from the Board of Education.
Her replacement must be a registered Democrat. Letters of application should be submitted by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or to Westport Board of Education, Town Hall Room 307, 110 Myrtle Avenue, Westport, CT 06880. The deadline is next Monday (December 13).
The Greens Farms Garden Club does wonderful work. And not just in the 06838 zip code.
The other day, members beautified the Gillespie Center men’s shelter downtown. They weeded, trimmed, raked, pulled vines and planted daffodils all around the property across behind Barnes & Noble (and around the corner from Tiffany).
The area was so overgrown, it was hard to find the stone wall or bench in the area. Now it looks great.
Early next spring, Garden Club members will trim back larger shrubs, and add more plantings.
Greens Farms Garden Club members take a brief break at the Gillespie Center.
Joel Robert Hallas (W1ZR) died peacefully at home in Westport on Thanksgiving morning, with his family by his side, after a hard 3 -year fight against pancreatic cancer. He was 79.
Joel was an electrical engineer, sailboat owner and expert in telecommunications and amateur radio. He wrote 7 books about ham radio and antennas.
A 1960 graduate of Greenwich High School, he served in the Army from 1962-65. Stationed in Frankfurt, Germany, he earned the rank of E5 in the Signal Corps. He then graduated with a bachelor of science in electrical engineering from the University of Connecticut.
While working at Raytheon, Joel earned a master of science in electrical engineering from Northeastern University. He also worked for Norden Systems, GTE, IBM, Seagram’s and AT&T, on radar and telecommunications projects. He taught telecommunications at the Rochester Institute of Technology from 1993-1997.
In Westport he was known for sailing his sloop Windfall on Long Island Sound, with family, friends, co-workers, Y’s Men and his golden retrievers. He twice served as commodore of the Minuteman Yacht Club. He was appointed to the Parks & Recreation Commission, where he headed the committee that was instrumental in improving Compo Beach’s Ned Dimes Marina, including the concrete flotation docks that increased capacity and convenience.
At the end of his career Joel joined the staff of the National Association of Amateur Radio as technical editor of their journal QST. He wrote a popular monthly column and did a podcast called “The Doctor is In,” answering technical questions from hams.
Among the books Joel wrote are Basic Radio;Basic Antennas; The ARRL Guide to Antenna Tuners; Hamspeak; The Care and Feeding of Transmission Lines; Understanding Your Antenna Analyzer, and The Radio Amateur’s Workshop.
Joel is survived by his wife of 58 years, Nancy Gatrall Hallas; daughter Katie J. (Mike) Phillis, and son Dr. Stephen J. (Dr. Sabrina Noel) Hallas.
Burial will be private. A memorial service will be held this spring.
Air-cooled cars stopped traffic along Myrtle Avenue yesterday. They vehicles were parked — and exhibited — on Veterans Green. Sponsored by the Small Car Company, the show raised money for Person-to-Person in Norwalk.
Westport-based Small Car Company — a club for air-cool aficionados — is loosely connected to the car dealership of the same name. It was located on Post Road West, diagonally across from Kings Highway Elementary School. Today we know it as Carvana.
It’s always important to give blood. Tomorrow (Tuesday, October 12, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., VFW, 465 Riverside Avenue) you can donate in honor of a Westporter.
The Charley with a Y Foundation is sponsoring the event. “Charley” was Marine LCPL Charles Rochlin. The 2003 Staples High School graduate spent 7 months in Iraq. He was on leave in Westport when he died in an automobile accident.
Click here for an appointment (use sponsor code VFWWestport), or call 1-800-733-2767.
Genevieve Bouchard — owner of Scout & Molly’s, the women’s clothing boutique in Playhouse Square — recently lost her mother, Chantal Haskew.
At her death, the frequent Westport visitor and talented artist was one of the longest living liver transplant patients in the US. She lived one-third of her life because in 1995 a stranger donated organs. Thanks to her liver, Chantal enjoyed the weddings of her 5 children, and the joys of her 8 grandchildren.
In honor of her mom — and all the organ donors out there — Scout & Molly’s is hosting a special shopping day. This Thursday (October 14, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.), a portion of all sales will be donated to Donate Life America.
Transplant recipients will be there, telling stories of their second chances at life.
A few tickets remain for this Friday’s (October 15, Fairfield Theater Company) “Evening of Motown” benefit for CLASP Homes.
Band Central — “music with a purpose” — will perform America’s favorite hits. Proceeds support CLASP’s work. The Westport non-profit supports adults with autism and other intellectual disabilities, through group homes and enrichment programs.
$40 tickets include a pre-party with lite bites. Art by CLASP residents will be on display. Click here to purchase.
Congratulations to the Westport Soccer Association’s U-11 blue team. They played 4 games in one day, and won the Bethel Columbus Day tournament.
Top row (left to right): head coach Bardhl Limani, James Tansley, Luke Shiel, John Walker, Peter Shakos, Lochlann Treanor, Nicolas Barreto, assistant coach Jeffery Holl, Bottom: Mason Holl, Atticus Lavergne, Andrew Floto, Matthew Alfaro, Zylan Wang.
“The rise in case levels in Westport for the past 1 weeks placed the town into the ‘substantial transmission’ (‘red’) category this week. Westport Weston Health District (WWHD) Director of Health Mark Cooper stated, ‘High risk individuals should take extra precautions, particularly those who are unvaccinated, by avoiding large gatherings. Getting fully vaccinated, wearing masks and social distancing continue to be strongly recommended for all.’
“The First Selectman’s Executive Orders #9 and #10 remain in effect. They require masks in indoor public places within Westport for all individuals, regardless of vaccination status. Indoor public spaces include retail establishments, restaurants, or other businesses, as well as galleries, museums, performance spaces, places of worship and government buildings. Businesses may still require proof of vaccination to enter, but a mask will also be required. Executive Order #10, which modifies Executive Order #9, refers specifically to gyms and workout studios, and provides certain exceptions to mask-wearing in those public places only.
“I am grateful that Westporters recognize the importance of wearing masks and getting vaccinated. It is for our physical and mental health and safety that we remain vigilant.
If you know Dan Aron, you know how proud he is to be an Indiana University grad.
If you don’t know Dan Aron, you know his house. It’s the one on Soundview Drive with the huge IU flag.
On October 14 — during Homecoming — he’ll be one of 3 recipients of Indiana’s Distinguished Alumni Service award. It’s the highest honor the school gives to a graduate.
Dan earned a BS from IU’s Kelley School of Business in 1983. He was an equity sales trader, partner and head trader for 30 years with Salomon Brothers, John Levin & Co. and others. Along the way he mentored Kelley students, and served on many school advisory boards.
Dan and his wife Maureen raised daughters Alexa, Ashley and Anna in Westport. The couple underwrote the Investment Center in Hodge Hall, and the Kelley Diversity Merit Bicentennial Scholarship.
“I will never forget where I came from. I will always be a Hoosier,” Dan says. (Hat tip: JD Denny)
Speaking of Dan Aron: Among his philanthropic activities, he’s a big supporter of the Levitt Pavilion.
He was there there — near the stage — at last night’s great Sheryl Crow concert. Here’s his photo:
Well, the Westport tech guru/media personality always does. But this is especially intriguing.
“Unsung Science” (@UnsungSci) debuts Friday. Each weekly episode offers the origin story of a cool science or tech achievement. They’re told by the characters themselves, from their first inspiration to the times they almost gave up.
Episodes include the NASA engineer whose team landed a delicate, unpiloted $3 billion rover on Mars without kicking up dust; the father of the cellphone; the committee that chooses which emoji to add to your phone each year; the computer scientist who blessed/cursed the world with CAPTCHA website login obstacles; the storm chaser who discovered that Tornado Alley is shifting east into more vulnerable states; the inventor of the Impossible Burger, and more.
Frederick Louis Hyman, former president and CEO of The Cousteau Group and co-founder and president of The Cousteau Society, died October 7. He was 89.
After graduating from Staples High School in 1949, and then the University of Connecticut, he served as first lieutenant, combat command, in the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division.
Hyman’s career started with Associated Artists Productions, a distributor to television of feature films and short subjects, best known for the Popeye, Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series. After acquisition by United Artists Associated, he became executive vice president. He then co-owned Scope Advertising, a New York agency.
He also founded Americom, a Westport manufacturer and marketer of unique custom phonograph records that combined print and sound for the publishing and education markets. He innovated a 4-inch flexible single record, the PocketDisc, with its own player.
His experience with educational television and publishing led Jacques-Yves Cousteau to him. Hyman joined Cousteau in 1971 as president and CEO of The Cousteau Group, the operator of all Cousteau related companies in the US and in France; television production; publications based on expeditions; the 20-volume Ocean World of Jacques Cousteau; research activities aboard Calypso, and the development of new technology.
A gift by Hyman and Cousteau was the basis for their 1973 creation of The Cousteau Society, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the protection and improvement of marine life and the environment. Hyman served as president and later a board member. However, he later lost confidence in the management and no longer supported TCS.
Hyman was a founding member of the Aspetuck Valley Country Club in Weston. He played in 3 British Seniors golf championships, plus many tournaments in Bermuda.
He is survived by Janett, his wife of 67 years; children Richard (Margaret), Mark, Dean and Jane, and grandchildren Emily, Brent, Sarah, Ben and Olivia.
June Rose Whittaker is aptly named. She sends along this “Westport … Naturally” submission from her home: “the last rose of summer.”
Sherwood Island — the 235-acre gem between Compo and Burying Hill Beaches — is the oldest state park in Connecticut. It celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2014 (as the many Westporters who discovered it during the pandemic now know).
But who knew that this is the 100th anniversary of lifeguards at the famed beach?
Well, Karen Scott did. The KMS Partners @ Compass realtor snapped this photo the other day. Congratulations,
PS: Entrance is free to all cars with Connecticut license plates.
No, Linda Ronstadt was not at the Levitt Pavilion last night.
But Rita Harvey’s tribute made it seem like the star was on the Westport stage. Harvey — a Broadway veteran — interspersed songs with anecdotes about Ronstadt’s long career.
Tonight, the Levitt features the American Patchwork Quartet. Upcoming: Treehouse Comedy (Tuesday), Hopalong Andrew (children’s series, Wednesday), Nicki Parrott Trio (Thursday), The Lone Bellow (special benefit show, Friday) and Isaiah Sharkey (Saturday).
Click here for times, tickets (free — except Friday!), and more information.
The “06880” tagline is “Where Westport Meets the World.”
Today, Westport went beyond. We met outer space.
Let David Pogue — our Westport neighbor/tech guru (New York Times, Yahoo, Missing Manual books)/Scientific American writer, PBS “NOVA” science and tech correspondent, and (most importantly for this story) “CBS Sunday Morning” reporter — tell the tale.
David Pogue , reporting.
Reporting for “CBS Sunday Morning” is the best gig in TV journalism, hands down. The stories are long enough (6 to 9 minutes) to really develop them. There’s enough budget to travel, and shoot multiple interviews for each story. And you can pitch your own segment ideas.
In my 19 years as a “Sunday” correspondent, I’ve been to some exciting places and met some fantastic people. But nothing was as thrilling as making the story that aired this morning.
The idea was to report on an important milestone for the International Space Station: 20 years of continuous occupation by astronauts and scientists. Would NASA help us tell the story?
Yes, they would. They offered to make a 35-minute guided video tour of the station, conducted by Colonel Mike Hopkins and Commander Victor “Ike” Glover. And they offered me an interview with Mike and Ike, in space. A video interview. From my living room in Westport.
When I was 6 years old, my parents shook me awake one night so I could run to the TV to watch the Apollo 11 moon landing. Shortly thereafter, President Nixon, in the White House, made a phone call to Neil Armstrong on the lunar surface. That technological, improbable feat left a powerful impression on my 6-year-old self. He made a phone call to the moon?!
And here I was, about to do the same thing — but over Skype! (Yes, NASA uses Skype. Not Zoom. I’m sure they have their reasons.)
There was a lot of prep. The audio would be 2-way, but not the video. I’d be able to see Mike and Ike on the station, but they would not see me. A couple of days in advance, my producer Alan Golds and I joined NASA for a practice call.
I was determined to make the most of my 20 minutes. I didn’t want to ask questions the astronauts had heard a thousand times. I didn’t want to waste time with queries whose answers anyone could find with a quick Google search. I asked my Twitter followers for suggestions (they came up with great ones). Not so much “Is it fun to float in zero gravity?”; more like “Is there any reason to wear shoes?” and “What do you miss most from Earth?”
I didn’t sleep much the night before the shoot. I really, really wanted to nail this interview. OK, sue me—I’m a space nerd.
Just another day in Westport: calling the International Space Station.
On the day of the shoot, CBS sent a camera crew to the house, to film my end of the conversation from 3 different angles. On the Space Station, they’d have only one fixed camera.
NASA requested that we place the Skype call a full hour before the conversation was to begin—and to place a cellphone call simultaneously, on speaker, as a backup. The interview would be limited to 20 minutes — not because that was all the time Mike and Ike could spare, but because the Space Station orbits the earth once every 90 minutes. Beyond 20 minutes, they’d be out of range of the satellite that beamed their signal back to earth.
NASA had also sent me a script as a Word document, indicating how to begin the call. Every audio or video call to Station begins with this exchange. (Yes, NASA refers to it as “Station,” not “the Station.”) Following the script ensures maximum efficiency and clarity:
Capcom: Station, this is Houston. Are you ready for the event?
Astronauts: Houston, this is Station. We are ready.
Capcom: “CBS Sunday Morning,” this is Mission Control Houston. Please call Station for a voice check.
Pogue: Station, this is David Pogue with CBS “Sunday Morning.” How do you hear me?
Station: (reports voice quality. If acceptable…) We are ready to speak with you.
Finally, at 1:25 ET, Capcom said the magic words — “Please call Station for a voice check” — and that was it. Mike and Ike appeared on my computer screen, and they began the interview.
The delay was about one second; it reminded me of making phone calls to Europe back in the day. But jokes still worked, and the conversation flowed nicely. In what seemed like a couple of minutes, it was time to wind it up.
I had just placed what must be the world’s first Westport-to-space video call. I still feel high as a kite.
Connecticut — already in the Top 5 states nationwide for its COVID vaccine program — took a huge step forward yesterday.
Governor Lamont announced the expansion of the vaccine to everyone over the age of 16. The planned date to begin scheduling those shots is April 5. That’s significantly ahead of the previous target date.
This Friday (March 19), scheduling opens to all residents age 45 to 54.
For information on making appointments and finding the closest available clinic. click here. You can also call Connecticut’s vaccine appointment assist line: 877-918-2224 7 days a week, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Other vaccine providers include:
Yale New Haven Health
Sign up online here, or call 833-275-9644
CVS Health (limited locations)
Sign up online here, or call 800-679-9691.
Walgreens (limited locations)
Sign up online here, or call 800-925-4733
Sign-up online here, or call 203-276-7300.
Sign-up online here, or call 860-827-7690.
Infants are not yet eligible for the COVID vaccine. Maybe soon though …
The best selling book on Amazon yesterday was LifeLines: An Inspirational Journey from Profound Darkness to Radiant Light.
And by “best selling,” I mean just that. Westporter Melissa Bernstein’s book about her battle with existential anguish and depression was #1.
Not just in the self-help category. Not in “books by women authors.” Not in any of the dozens of other categories that Amazon uses to try to create buzz.
Lifelines was Amazon’s best selling book, among the bajillions of titles the retail behemoth sells.
It may have gotten a boost from fellow Westporter David Pogue’s segment about it on “CBS Sunday Morning,” the day before.
But it also benefits from being a very important book, by a well-known and very honest writer, at a time when talking (and reading) about mental health is crucial.
Alec Lobrano graduated from Weston High School in 1973. Until he landed a job in the Paris office of Women’s Wear Daily, his experience with French cuisine was limited to browsing cookbooks at the Weston Library, where he worked as a teenager.
But he carved out a niche as a food critic in Paris. The lessons he learned from leading culinary figures helped him master fine dining, and also find his place as a gay man navigating the alluring city and his exciting career.
Lobrano has won several James Beard Awards. He writes on food and travel for The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Saveur, Food & Wine, Eater, Condé Nast Traveler and more.
His memoir — My Place at the Table: A Recipe for a Delicious Life in Paris — will be published June 1.
The book is filled with vivid descriptions of Parisian restaurants, his favorite and least favorite meals, and run-ins with figures from like Julia Child and Ruth Reichl. It’s also a coming-of-age story about the healing power of food. Click here for details.
A Westporter helps Westporters who help the world.
That was the theme of David Pogue’s telecast yesterday. He walked a few yards from his home, to Melissa and Doug Bernstein’s. There — with a “CBS Sunday Morning” camera crew — he interviewed the toy company co-founder about her lifelong battle with existential anguish and depression.
The Bernsteins’ new project — Lifelines — is an ecosystem for mental health support, resources and education. Pogue brought their work to a national television audience. Click below for that very important report.
Brian Lewis — chef/owner of the very popular Colonial Green restaurant (and OKO, on Wilton Road) is opening another Cottage in Greenwich.
The 49 Greenwich Avenue spot will seat over 60. As in Westport, it will celebrate seasonal ingredients, sourced from local purveyors and farmers. The Cottage Greenwich is slated to open later this year.
“We’ve always looked forward to the day that we can bring The Cottage to a new market after being so blessed with our devoted clientele and hardworking team in Westport,” says Lewis.
“As we experienced such continued support during COVID and after 6 successful years in Westport, the time was right to grow and find a sister location to complement the original Cottage.”
It’s been 3 days since Sunday’s beautiful — but big — snowfall. Have you shoveled yet?
It’s the law!
The Department of Public Works reminds all commercial property owners that they are responsible for all snow and ice removal from the sidewalk within the town and/or state rights-of-way — for the total frontage of your property, and the entire width of the sidewalk.
You can be fined up to $90 — a day — for non-compliance.
And, reader Kristin Schneeman notes, homeowners are also responsible for clearing sidewalks in front of their properties.
Many are still inaccessible. So stop reading, and start shoveling.
Or get your kid to do it.
From 2016. Although you wouldn’t have know if I hadn’t told you (Photos/Tracy Yost)
Each year, Staples Tuition Grants awards over 100 need-based scholarships — worth up to $6,000 each — to high school seniors, and graduates already in college. Students can apply even if they did not apply or receive a grant in previous years.
It’s one of the best opportunities for college funding anywhere. But the deadline is near: March 7. Click here for more information, and to apply.
I’m not a fan of the fake crowd noise that’s pumped into sports broadcasts, ever since the pandemic slashed — or eliminated — crowds.
But I’ve always wondered how they did it.
Yesterday, on his regular “CBS Sunday Morning” gig, David Pogue explained.
He took a trip from his Westport home — where some of the segment was filmed — and headed to Met Life Stadium for a chat with (among others) Harry Carson. I guess the actual Giants team was unavailable, although there is some doubt as to whether they have an actual team.
At any rate, it’s an intriguing piece. Click below to watch:
The Westport police officer — a former 3-sport athlete at Staples High School (football, wrestling, lacrosse) — has led the organization for 5 years. PAL serves thousands of youngsters through football, lacrosse, basketball, wrestling, rugby, track and cheerleading programs.
PAL also runs a robust scholarship program — and Westport’s annual Independence Day fireworks.
Batlin — who will remain on the Westport Police Department force — will be succeeded by PAL vice president and veteran police officer Craig Bergamo.
Officer Ned Batlin, at Westport PAL’s 2015 July 4th celebration.
They’re not called Friends of Sherwood Island for nothing.
On Friday, the group’s garden team kept Connecticut’s first state park looking good — and healthy. They pruned suckers from the base of several 200-year-old trees on the west beach. Many are from Westport.
It’s all part of their year-round effort to maintain and enhance wildlife habitat.
From left: From left to right: Barrie Holmes, Michele Sorensen, Chris Swan, Jackson and Johannes Cregan, Lavinia Larsson and Pamela Nobomuto.
A certain segment of Westporters loves decorating our Minute Man. They decorate him with Santa Claus hats, Easter bunny ears, and (last spring) a COVID mask. It’s all part of humanizing our town’s most recognizable symbol.
Another segment thinks that’s disrespectful. He’s a patriot, they say; don’t make light of what he symbolizes.
Whichever side of the memorial’s wrought-iron gate you’re on, you must agree: Yesterday’s decoration was certainly different.
The Fire Department responded to a potentially dangerous blaze yesterday, on Bayberry Lane.
First arriving units found a 2-story, 2-family home with fire on both floors, and the attic.
Second floor residents were alerted to the fire by a carbon monoxide detector. They notified residents of the first floor to evacuate. There were no injuries, but 3 residents were displaced by the fire.
Wilton and Fairfield Fire Departments assisted on scene, and with station coverage during the fire.
The Westport Fire Department reminds residents to have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors on all floors of their homes.
Aftermath of the Bayberry Lane fire. (Photo courtesy of Westport Fire Department)
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