Tag Archives: Democratic Women of Westport

Roundup: Kneads Opens, School Begins, More

If you thought Saugatuck “kneads” something to replace Garelick & Herbs: You’re in luck.

“Kneads” — a bakery, cafe and mill — opened Saturday, across from Saugatuck Sweets. Chef Daniel Moreno offers breakfast, soups, salads, sandwiches, pastries, coffee, tea — and of course breads (sourdough, baguette, fig cranberry walnut, brioche …).

He focuses on local products. There’s bacon and ham from Fleischer’s next door. Moreno has partnered too with chef Bill Taibe of The Whelk across the street, as well as the Westport Farmer’ market and Wakeman Town Farm.

If your mouth is watering though, you’ll have to wait. Kneads is closed Monday and Tuesday. It’s open Wednesday through Friday 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Click here for more info, from Stephanie Webster’s great CTbites.


Here’s something you haven’t seen in nearly 6 months.

But tomorrow — for the first time since mid-March — school buses will prowl the streets of Westport. It will almost feel good to get stuck behind one again.

The other day, this driver practiced turning from Thomas Road onto Imperial Avenue.

(Photo/Christie Stanger)


Trevor Freeland was a member of the first all-Black team to reach the top ranks of American youth swimming (chronicled in the 2007 movie “Pride”). As the first Black swimmer to compete in the ACC, he helped the University of Virginia win the 1st of 16 league titles.

One of the few Black executives to run a major Wall Street trading desk, he has committed his life to challenging and breaking down barriers. He attributes his success to the work ethic and life skills he learned in the pool.

This Saturday (September 12, 9:30 a.m., Camp Mahackeno outdoor amphitheater), he’ll talk about “Excellence is a Habit: How Do You Shatter Racial Barriers, Win Championships, and Build a Life of Success?”

A limited number of spots are open to Y members who are not non-Water Rat swimmers, and their families. To register, or for questions, email ejohnston@westporty.org,

Trevor Freeland


Tomorrow (Tuesday, September 8, 7:30 p.m.), the Democratic Women of Westport are sponsoring a virtual discussion with Connecticut Attorney General William Tong. He’ll discuss immigration issues.

To register and receive a link, email dww06880@gmail.com

State Attorney General William Tong.


Dick Festa — longtime owner of the Party Barn store, first on Main Street and then in Playhouse Square — died last week in Florida. He was 87.

Dick spent many years on the Westport YMCA’s board of directors. He was also an avid squash and badminton player there.

He is survived by 4 children, 4 grandchildren, a great-granddaughter and his sister.

There will be no calling hours, due to COVID-19. A memorial service will take place at a future date. For Dick’s full obituary, click here.


Alert “06880” reader Tommy Magro tells us that this year, Good Humor celebrates its 100th anniversary.

He spotted this classic scene yesterday, on Soundview Drive. He’s to 100 more years of Toasted Almonds (or whatever your favorite happens to be).

(Photo/Tommy Magro)


And finally … “06880,” Pete Seeger and Arlo Guthrie wish you a Happy Labor Day!

Molly Jong-Fast: Political Tweeter Talks Trump

Molly Jong-Fast knows she doesn’t know everything.

So she sticks to writing about what she knows.

Like women’s issues. The absurdity of the Trump administration. The fact that Republicans can’t quite figure out when life begins (conception? Or after children are ripped from their families at ICE detention facilities?).

And nepotism.

“I come from a famous family,” she says. “I know it well.”

Jonathan Fast, Erica Jong and Molly Jong-Fast.

Her mother and father were novelists. (You may have heard of them: Erica Jong and Jonathan Fast.)

Her paternal grandfather — Howard Fast — was a noted writer too. He became a political figure when he was jailed for refusing to name names in the McCarthy Era.

Jong-Fast’s in-laws are politically active too. Stewart and Connie Greenfield have spent decades working for — and running for office as — Democrats in Westport.

Erica Jong and Jonathan Fast lived in Manhattan and Weston. Molly went to pre-school and kindergarten here. She attended Singing Oaks Day Camp, and rode horses there. Her roots in this area are deep.

Which is why her appearance this Sunday (October 20, 2:30 p.m., Westport Library) is a bit of a homecoming.

The event is the Democratic Women of Westport’s Fall Forum. The title: “How We Can Use Social Media to Beat Trump.”

Molly Jong-Fast

Jong-Fast is no newcomer to the topic. She is a social media veteran. She has over 300,000 Twitter followers (and has tweeted 169,000 times). She’s active on Instagram and other sites, and is a regular contributor to the Daily Beast, Playboy and The Bulwark.

Her bona fides include Tucker Carlson calling her “not super smart.” But she has been skewered by Democrats too: Marianne Williamson once called Molly’s mother to complain.

Jong-Fast began her writing career as a novelist. Her satirical bent found an outlet after the 2016 election.

“Because I’m dyslexic, my brain has always been a bit off,” she says. “In English class, I’d always give the wrong answer to what a book was about.”

However, she notes, “that helps me make connections that are not always the usual ones. They’re not necessarily right or better. But they’re different.”

Her talk on Sunday will build on a theme she’s tweeted and written about often: the need for ordinary citizens to be “the public editor,” calling out disinformation wherever it appears.

But isn’t social media just an echo chamber? Whether we’re Democrats or Republicans, don’t we all listen only to the people we agree with politically?

Not necessarily, Jong-Fast says. “Every Democrat has a cousin who watches Fox News. You have to find that person, and engage with them.”

She worries about the state of our nation. “How do you get the white nationalism genie back in the bottle?” she wonders. “And misogyny, discrimination, the judiciary — it’s a disaster.”

However, she says, “the Democrats won the House in the mid-terms. Polling shows more and more people interested in impeachment. And the younger generation is awesome.”

Tweet that!

(Sunday’s event with Molly Jong-Fast is free, but space is limited. Click here to reserve a seat.)

Raising Children In Trump’s America

President Trump’s crackdown on immigrants had an unexpected effect in Westport.

A few schoolchildren were worried. What, they asked their parents, would happen to their Spanish teachers? Would they be deported?

Other parents heard similar stories, about fears for foreign classmates.

Some parents had their own worries. How, they wondered, should they raise their kids in this “new” America?

They might get answers — or at least, meet similarly fretful folks — this Tuesday night (April 25, 7:30 p.m., Christ & Holy Trinity Church).

The Democratic Women of Westport are hosting a panel. The title — “Raising Children in Trump’s America” — is both timely and provocative.

President Trump, with some American kids.

The DWW says the discussion will “address the needs emerging in our community as a result of the new political landscape.” Panelists will discuss how to talk to children about the political climate in a way that is “authentic, and not fear-based.” The goal is to “use kindness as an act of resistance.”

The panel includes political activists, as well as Marji Lipshez-Shapiro (senior associate director of the Anti-Defamation League of Connecticut) and Claire Dinshaw, editor-in-chief of Staples High School Inklings newspaper.

It will be moderated by Rob Simmelkjaer, a Westport Democratic Committee member and on-air contributor at NBC Sports.

Among the topics they’ll address:

  • How drastic policy shifts are being felt in Fairfield County
  • How immigrant and refugee families are faring locally
  • The social impact of Trump’s rhetoric on our schools and community.

There are sure to be questions from the audience — and comments here, from “06880” readers.

Please be civil.

Democratic Women Ponder Polling Process

Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, you, me — and anyone else in the world who reads polls — all were surprised by last week’s election.

That includes James Delorey. The Westport resident is senior vice president of research at the Global Strategy Group. They use tons of sophisticated tools to advise Fortune 500 companies, non-profits — and political campaigns. In other words: He analyzes data and trends for a living.

James Delorey

James Delorey

Like everyone else in the business, he’s moved past shock. Now he’s trying to figure out how so much polling could have been so wrong for so long.

Tomorrow night (Thursday, November 17, 7:30 p.m., 323 Restaurant) he shares his insights in a local forum.

“Why Data Failed Us: A Closer Look at Polling” is sponsored by the Democratic Women of Westport. Clearly, that’s a group groping for answers.

Delorey will answer questions like:

  • Why did so much 2016 polling data miss the mark?
  • Is it possible to accurately poll the electorate in the current era?
  • Did media coverage of the polls impact the election outcome?
  • What was the impact of late-breaking news?
  • What issues drove the election outcome?
  • Could Clinton have done anything differently to ensure victory?

Delorey — who worked at the state level during this election cycle, and helped elect a Democratic governor in West Virginia, while the state went 69% for Trump — was not one of those presidential pollsters who so misread the presidential tea leaves.

But he knows he, his colleagues — and his industry — are in hot water right now.

Happy 100th, Margaret Barnett!

Today is Margaret Barnett’s birthday. She’s 100 years young.

Margaret and her husband Roy — a pathologist — arrived in Westport in 1954. They wanted a bigger house than the one in Norwalk, for their growing family.

The couple raised 3 children — John, Edith and Teddy — here. Margaret was very active in the Norwalk Symphony, Earthplace and the Democratic Women of Westport.

She played tennis — quite well — through her 70s.

Happy birthday, to a woman who has given this town so much, for so many years!

Margaret Barnett, at her 95th birthday.

Margaret Barnett, at her 95th birthday.

Remembering Jo Woog

I’ve honored plenty of Westporters since “06880” began in 2009. I have an especially soft spot in my heart for those who — in their own unique way — made Westport what it was, and is.

My mother was one of those.

Jo Woog (Photo/Susan Woog Wagner)

Jo Woog (Photo/Susan Woog Wagner)

Jo Woog — who died yesterday, at 89 — was a Westporter for 60 years. In those 6 decades, she did so much. She was a PTA mom, a volunteer for countless causes, and a strong supporter of arts programs — particularly music. She played piano whenever she could, and taught it for a decade. She also played a mean game of tennis — and stopped only a few years ago.

She was a member of the Y (aerobics!), Y’s Women, the Democratic Women of Westport, and several book clubs. She went to Long Wharf, the Quick Center and Westport Country Playhouse — and kept going, until a month or two ago.

In her later years, she enjoyed the Senior Center. She took Zumba classes, played ping pong, saw movies, attended lectures and more.

There are many women like her in Westport. During the baby boom, they supported their babies. As we grew up, so did they. As empty nesters, they supported their town. As widows, they formed their own, tight-knit community.

My mother grew up in New Rochelle, and loved it. (She attended her last high school reunion 2 years ago.) But Westport was her town.

And of all the lively, fun and important things she did, I’m eternally grateful that she made it mine too.

(A service is set for Thursday, April 21, 11 a.m. at Abraham L. Green Funeral Home in Fairfield. Contributions in Jo Woog’s memory can be made to the Westport Center for Senior Activities, 21 Imperial Ave., Westport, CT 06880, or an organization of one’s choice.)