Tag Archives: Green’s Farms Congregational Church

Remembering Tom Hofstetter

Longtime Westporter Tom Hofstetter — whose civic involvement in Westport included Sunrise Rotary, sports, the arts, his church and more —  died peacefully last week in Aiken, South Carolina. He was 90.

The Baltimore native majored in history at Washington College, then attended the University of Maryland Law School. After training at the Army Intelligence School, he served as an undercover CIC agent in Japan and Korea, at the end of the Korean War.

Back in the US, he obtained credentials from a small Maryland newspaper, and traveled to Cuba to report on the revolution there. He endured a restaurant bombing, and had weapons pointed in his face.

Returning to Baltimore, Tom worked in sales with Dun & Bradstreet, then transitioned into the brokerage business with Merrill Lynch. He became Walston & Company’s Northeastern sales manager, while completing courses at the University of Pennsylvania’s Investment Banking Institute.

Tom proposed to his wife Sally the first day he met her, at a Sunday morning church service.

He worked closely with Maryland’s governor and Baltimore’s mayor on many civic initiatives. He held leadership positions on the Baltimore Jail Board, Airport Planning Commission, Jaycees and Tourism Commission, and Fort McHenry. In 1964 he ran as the Republican candidate for Maryland’s 7th US Congressional District.

After moving to Westport in 1969, Tom served as vice president at Walston’s New York headquarters, and was active at the New York Stock Exchange. He led their first national marketing conference, and was pivotal in the exchange’s expansion into insurance and annuity sales.

ThomasHofstetter

After Wall Street, he opened Westport’s first brokerage branch. He built an extensive brokerage presence in Fairfield County, as Salomon Smith Barney’s vice president of investments.

He also traveled throughout Europe, in Hungary and Slovenia prior to the fall of the Iron Curtain. He sailed extensively too, on his sailboat moored at Compo Beach.

In Westport Tom founded the Sunrise Rotary Club, and served as president of Little League. He was also chief of the Tanka Tiki Indians – YMCA Indian Guides; board member of the Westport-Weston Foundation; board member of the Westport Historical Society; deacon of Greens Farms Congregational Church; 2-term master of Masonic Lodge #65; president of the Norwalk Symphonic Orchestra, and chairman of the board of Ashlar of Newtown, a skilled nursing facility.

In retirement Tom spent time at his Vermont cabin of 30 years, exploring the back country. He and Sally also traveled through the Caribbean, Russia, the Cape of Good Hope and the Arctic. He became a scholar of Arctic history and a collector of Inuit art, traveling extensively by light aircraft and Russian icebreaker to the far reaches of the area.

Relocating to Aiken in 1998, Tom promoted the arts. He served as president of the Augusta Opera, co-founder and past chairman of the Aiken Symphony, founder of the Aiken Opera Society, and trustee of Friends of Hopelands and Rye Patch, Inc.

He also created Aiken Performing Arts, which introduced the Juilliard Jazz Orchestra to the area in 2005. He brought in world-class artists, while creating outreach opportunities through master classes and more.

Tom is survived by Sally, his wife of 62 year; son Thomas C. Hofstetter III, daughter Kimberly Dracon, 5 grandsons and sister Joyce May.

Funeral services are set for Saturday, June 25 in Aiken. Tom will be laid to rest on Thursday, June 30 in Westport, at a private family burial.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Aiken Symphony Orchestra, 262 East Gate Drive #440, Aiken, SC 29803.

Roundup: Yankee Doodle’s Logo, Compo Men’s Hoops, Felicia’s Salon …

The Yankee Doodle Fair is back.

The event — a decades-long herald of the end of school — was missing from the June calendar for 2 years, due to COVID.

It returned last September. Now it’s back in its familiar slot: This Thursday and Friday (6 to 10 p.m.), Saturday (1 to 10 p.m.) and Sunday (1 to 5 p.m.), at the Westport Woman’s Club on Imperial Avenue.

Also familiar: the Yankee Doodle Fair logo.

What most Westporters don’t know is that the carousel horse was designed more than 30 years ago by Angela Mata. Her mother chaired the event, for the sponsoring Westport Woman’s Club.

Growing up here, she was an avid fairgoer. She graduated from Staples High School, returned here, brought her own children — and is now a well-respected art teacher, at her alma mater.

Like the carousel on Angela’s logo, whatever goes around, comes around.

=======================================================

Also back, after a pandemic break: Westport Parks & Recreation’s men’s summer basketball league, at Compo Beach.

The popular weeknight event runs for 8 weeks (June 20 to August 16). Teams can have a maximum of 15 players.

Games are Mondays and Tuesdays, at 7 and 8 p.m. The fee is $900 per team. To register or for more details, email mrobbins@westportct.gov.

Compo Beach basketball court. (Photo/Fred Cantor)

=======================================================

Speaking of (much younger) sports:

The Twins won the Westport Baseball “A” League (3rd grade) championship last weekend. Congrats, guys!

The “A” League champion Twins.

=======================================================

in 2019, Felicia Catale — a long-time hair stylist in Westport (Tony’s, Karen & Frank’s, Austin Rolfe) — opened her own salon in Nash’s Plaza on Post Road West.

That first year was busy. She worked long hours, on hair and also the business end.

Then came COVID. She scrambled to serve customers, and keep her salon alive.

Finally, the pandemic is easing. She’s back welcoming customers.

Finally too, she had a chance for an official “grand opening.”

A small ceremony — with the big, official ribbon-cutting scissors — was held yesterday. She welcomed her guests — and then, in another long-delayed event, she threw a party for last fall’s Staples High School boys soccer team.

“06880” would say “welcome to Westport,” Felicia. But you’ve been here all along.

Cutting the ribbon at Salon Nash (from left): business consultant Ganesh Gupta, owner Felicia Catale, 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker, Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce director Matthew Mandell, Staples High School soccer tri-captain Bruno Guiduli.

=====================================================

Yesterday’s “06880” Roundup included a photo of “Rev. Hezekiah Ripley.” The long-ago, long-serving Green’s Farms Church pastor showed up (looking very much like a 21st-century Westporter wearing a costume) at Sunday’s rededication service. The 1789 church on Hillandale Road has undergone an extensive renovation.

Rev. Ripley was not the only dignitary taking part in the festivities. Senator Richard Blumenthal was there too, watching former 1st Selectman Jim Marpe cut the ceremonial ribbon. A Green’s Farms parishioner, he was standing in for 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker, who was out of town.

From left: Capital campaign co-chair Tony Menchaca, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, former 1st Selectman Jim Marpe, capital campaign co-chair Diane Parrish, Senior Minister Jeff Rider. (Photo/Regina Madwed, Capitol Photo).

=======================================================

Also this past weekend: Norwalk’s Copps Island Oysters was the place to be. A sold-out event raised important funds for Harbor Watch, the clean water research program of Earthplace.

Scientists provide data and field expertise to safeguard Connecticut waterways, educate residents about watershed issues, and train volunteers and student interns through hands-on research.

Plus, the oysters were delicious!

The Earthplace team, hanging out at the Harbor Watch fundraiser (from left): LaWanza Holder, Brenna Felt, Marisa Olavarria, Mary Donato, Nikki Spiller, Sophie Pollmann, Jess Mantzaris, Kasey Tietz, executive director Tony McDowell,

=======================================================

Temple Israel’s first “Shabbat on the Beach” of the season is also the synagogue’s “Pride Shabbat.”

Temple officials say: “Together, we will send our clear message of love and acceptance for ‘kol yoshvei tevel’ — all who dwell on earth. BYO beach chairs and rainbows!”

A Westport beach pass is not necessary. Tell the gate attendant you’re part of the  Temple Israel service.

=======================================================

Speaking of Pride Month: The lineup is set for this Friday’s Pride Cabaret at the Westport Library.

Comedian/activist Mina Hartong hosts Marvin Pittman, Sarah Ferro, Julie Loyd, Danielle Poyser and Staples High School senior Ellery Bodell.

Doors open on June 17 at 6:15 p.m. for cocktails, and mingling with local LGBTQ+ organization. The show begins at 7 p.m.

The cabaret is free. To register, click here. For more information, click here.

Cabaret emcee Mina Hartong.

======================================================

Sure, bunnies are supposed to hop (and reproduce).

But this one stood still long enough for Jamie Walsh to snap a great “Westport … Naturally” close-up.

(Photo/Jamie Walsh)

=======================================================

And finally … today is Flag Day. Long may she wave, proudly and brave!

(“06880” relies on reader support. To donate, please click here.)

Roundup: Staples Lacrosse, Levitt Kids, Rev. Hezekiah Ripley …

In a seismic performance that rocked the state, the Staples boys lacrosse team stunned perennial powerhouse Darien 12-3 yesterday. It was the Wreckers’ first-ever state L (large schools) championship.

The game, played before a large crowd at Sacred Heart University, was even more one-sided than that. Staples led 9-1 at halftime, and never looked back.

Though the Westporters were seeded #2, and the Blue Wave #1, the only people not surprised by the overpowering win were the winners themselves.

Coach Will Koshansky and his staff prepared their squad well. The game plan — hold on to the ball on each possession, frustrating Darien’s offense and defense — worked to perfection.

Staples was led by Mason Schaefer (first goal, 1:23 into the game), Gavin Rothenberg (4 goals), Charlie Howard (3 goals, adding to his career-record total), Derek Sale (2 goals, 1 assist), Ryan Thompson (3 assists), and faceoff specialist Henry Dodge, who took away one of the Wavers’ most potent weapons.

Darien came back from a 9-7 deficit to win the regular season game, 15-10. There was no comeback yesterday — only an ever-lengthening Wrecker lead, and soon the state crown.

Congratulations to Coach Koshansky, his staff, and the entire Staples boys lacrosse program!

The state champion Staples High School boys lacrosse team.

=======================================================

The Levitt Pavilion’s popular Children’s Series returns next week. It begins June 22, and runs every Wednesday at 7 p.m. through August 24. All 10 shows are free, with a ticket. Member online access began yesterday; public access begins today (Monday) at noon. Click here to reserve a ticket.

The Children’s Series kicks off with Josh Lovelace, whose new release is a modern pop-infused take on his trademark family-style Americana music.

Other performers include:

  • June 29: Falu (2022 Grammy Award-winner, Best Children’s Album)
  • July 6: Joanie Leeds (2021 Grammy winner, Best Children’s Music Album)
  • July 13: The Hall Family (beloved annual tradition)
  • July 20: Brady Rymer & the Little Band That Could (3 Grammy nominations)
  • July 27: Smity + Yarn (reggae funk, folk, country and roots)
  • August 3: Lucy Kalantari & the Jazz Cats (2 Grammy nominations)
  • August 10: Elena Moon Park & Friends (folk and children’s songs from Asia)
  • August 17: Divinity Roxx (Grammy nominated)
  • August 24: Tim Kubart & the Space Cadets (2016 Grammy winner, Best Children’s album).

=======================================================

Speaking of the Levitt: Fleetwood Mac tribute band Tusk entertained a large crowd there last night. The summer has begun!

(Photo/Lauri Weiser)

=======================================================

Yesterday’s rededication of the newly restored Green’s Farms Church included the usual: speeches, a ribbon-cutting, refreshments.

It also included the unusual: a visit from Rev. Hezekiah Ripley, one of the most noted pastors in the 311-year-old church’s history. He served from 1762 to 1821; Martha Washington honored him with a gift of pewter.

Rev. Hezekiah Ripley in the Green’s Farms Church cemetery,, yesterday. (Photo/Tom Lowrie)

Green’s Farms Church began in 1711 as the parish’s religious, educational and social center, at what is now the corner of the I-95 Exit 18 parking lot, near the Sherwood Island Connector and Greens Farms Road.

It moved to its current Hillandale Road location in 1789. The current building dates to 1853. Click here for more details of this remarkable institution.

=======================================================

Robert Braczyk sends a photo …

… and writes:

“We discovered this pattern in our Cross Highway back yard a week ago. It is 3 28-inch singed squares of grass in a roughly equilateral triangle, approximately 13 feet on each side.

“We have owned our house since 1968, and know there is nothing under the ground in that area.

“We consulted our lawn service, pool service and an arborist, who had been over the area 2 months earlier. We’ve asked our adjoining neighbors to look at it.

“People have suggested it could be grubs, a hot barbecue grill on the grass, spilled weed killer, a prank, and a couple of others ideas. None of those explanations are possible. We were at home throughout the time that it developed. I wonder if anyone else in Westport has seen anything like this.”

So, “06880” readers: What’s up (or down)? If you have an idea, click “Comments” below.

======================================================

“Westport … Naturally” kicks off the week with a beautiful photo.

(Photo … Elisabeth Lewey)

Beautiful, that is, unless she’s in your garden, or leaping in front of your car.

=======================================================

And finally … in honor of the Staples boys lacrosse team’s huge state championship win yesterday: Sure, it’s a trite musical selection. But this song says it all.

Roundup: GF Church COVID Tribute; Real Estate; Sports News …

==================================================

A year after Connecticut was locked down, COVID has killed over 7,700 state residents. Nearly 2,100 have been in Fairfield County — 28 in Westport alone.

This Saturday, members and friends of Green’s Farms Church will mark the somber anniversary by placing 2,00 luminarias on Veterans Green.

Bagpipes and a brief service of dedication begins at 7 p.m. Thepublic is invited to walk among the lights (or view them from cars), reflect, and light their own LED luminarias in tribute to a life lost or affected by the pandemic, or as a symbol of hope for the future. The display will remain in place for 24 hours.

A Green’s Farms Church luminaria.

=======================================================

Sunday’s New York Times Real Estate section explored trends in the tristate suburbs.

Much of the Connecticut focus was on Westport. The paper said:

Gains were perhaps expected south of the Merritt Parkway, whose popularity derives in part from regular train service. Indeed, in the past two months, Westport saw 33 sales of single-family homes priced from $1 million to $2.5 million, compared with 19 sales last winter, according to William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty.

There were quotes from a man who missed out on a home here, despite offering a 10% premium (“There seems to be so much irrational behavior”), and retirees from White Plains who very much wanted to move to town,

After two failed purchases, they swooped in last month with an all-cash offer for a four-bedroom house, listed for $1.749 million. And it seemed to do the trick; a contract was in the works.

But a rushed title search missed problems, and on Feb. 24, (they) walked away. (The seller upped the price to $1.849 million a day later.)

The piece is illustrated with 2 photos too. Note the New York license plate! (Click here for the full story. Hat tip: Peter Gold)

(Photo courtesy of New York Times/Jane Beiles)

======================================================

1992 Staples High School graduate Susan Izzo co-founded The Sports Management Mastermind. The company helps professional athletes maximize their potential — while never losing sight of who they are as people.

At 7 p.m. today (Tuesday, March 9) and Thursday (March 11), she and another sports agent host a 90-minute virtual sports management masterclass for aspiring pro, college and Olympic athletes, and their families.

I am hosting/teaching tomorrow and on Thursday.  I am joining forces with another female sports agent and we are hosting a free 90-minute virtual sports management masterclass for aspiring professional, collegiate and Olympic athletes and their families.

Topics include building a successful career as a competitive athlete; creating and amplifying your brand; learning what sponsors, agents and coaches look for, and how to build those relationships; NCAA and Olympics regulations, and more.

The sessions are free, but spots are limited. Click here to register.

Susan Izzo

======================================================

Speaking of sports: Westport READS continues during March with a fascinating conversation about baseball.

Andrea Williams — author of “Baseball’s Leading Lady” — chats with Westport Museum for History & Culture executive director Ramin Ganeshram about a little-known woman at the center of the Negro Leagues: Effa Manley, co-owner and business manager of the Newark Eagles.

The event is set for Monday, March 22 (7 p.m.).

Williams worked in marketing and development for the Negro Baseball Museum in Kansas City. She’s now a fulltime writer.

Click here to register for the free discussion.

=================================================

Westporters keep clamoring for COVID tests.

This was the scene a couple of afternoons ago, at the Urgent Care clinic on Post Road East. It’s one of the area’s most popular sites.

(Photo/Bob Weingarten)

And finally … today in 1997, The Notorious B.I.G. was murdered in Los Angeles after attending the Soul Train Music Awards. The case remains unsolved.

COVID Roundup: New Grocery Store; Church Outreach; Earth Animal Art; Face Masks; More


And the newest grocery store in Westport is … Via Sforza.

The popular Post Road West Italian restaurant now sells a wide variety of produce, meat, dairy products, pasta, rice, sauces, spices, herbs, beverages, snacks, and pantry and household items. They’re open 7 days a week, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Of course, they still offer their great takeout and delivery lunch and dinner menus too. Click here for more information, or call 203-454-4444.


Last year, Green’s Farms Church kicked off an ambitious “Church of the Future” campaign. Now is not the greatest time to be in the middle of a fundraiser. But they’ve been around for 309 years. They plan to be here for centuries more.

They’re renovating the facility, parts of which are 170 years old. That includes work on the meetinghouse, refurbishing the pipe organ, and making meeting areas more open and flexible. Local groups like AA will benefit as well.

But in this time of great need everywhere, Green’s Farms Church is thinking beyond its walls. Some of the funds raised are earmarked for local non-profits. The congregation has helped them in the past; now they’re ratcheting up that support even more.

GFC is donating $25,000 each to 4 groups: Homes With Hope, Mercy Learning Center, Pivot Ministries and the Bridgeport Rescue Mission. 

Church leaders hope these challenge grants stimulate additional donations to each of these groups by others. And they hope as their own fundraising campaign continues, they’ll be able to help these and other groups even more in the future.


In the last 35 days, Westport Masks have made over 1,100 masks — and given them all away. Recent recipients include Westport’s Public Works, Parks & Recreation and highway departments; Westport Post Office; elderly residents through Westport’s Department of Human Services; Open Door Shelter in Norwalk; Food Rescue US; Thomas Merton Family Center in Bridgeport; Stamford Hospice, Norwalk Hospital and more.

While continuing to donate to front line and vulnerable groups, they’ll also create masks for friends, family, children and the general public in return for small financial donations. Westport Masks uses 100% of the funds to buy supplies. They suggest $10 — but they never let anyone go without a mask if they need one.

All masks are 2 layers of 100% cotton. They’re washable, with a filter pocket for added protection. They even have neck ties, so they can be worn all the time.

If you are confident with your sewing machine — or cannot sew but can cut fabric, or have spare fabric or good quality bed linen to donate, or want to one of your own — email WestportMasks@yahoo.com.

“We’ll keep going until no one else needs a mask,” promises co-founder Virginia Jaffe.


Yesterday marked the return of the Westport Farmers’ Market to the Imperial Avenue parking lot. Gratified shopper Emily Mikesell reports:

“Besides being as safe as possible, it was an unexpectedly sweet, positive experience. It ran like the most cheerful Swiss watch you’ve ever seen! It was wonderful to see so many familiar vendors, even behind masks. And though I felt sad not being able to over-buy from wandering and browsing, I’ll put myself in that mood over the weekend when I order for next week.

“Until then I will enjoy delicious raw milk and yogurt, farm fresh eggs and just-baked bread.

“Yes, the experience is different. But it still supports the vendors we love. It’s a real day brightener!”

To order online and for more information, click here.


Pets (and pet owners) love Earth Animal. Now artists do too.

Through May 31, they’re collecting artwork from all ages. Sketches, watercolor, chalk — whatever works is fine. So are group entries. The only rule: nothing bigger than 24″ x 36″.

Put your name on the back; drop it off at the store, or mail it to 925 Post Road East, Westport, CT 06880. Drawings will be hung in the store — and whoever created their favorite will win a $500 gift card.

Questions? Call 203-222-7173.


A couple of months ago, the message on this sweatshirt spotted on Beachside Avenue would have drawn puzzled looks. These days, it makes perfect sense.

(Photo/Ed Simek)


And finally … what better way for the King’s Singers to share Billy Joel’s beautiful tune than by asking 732 people around the globe to join them in a “Stay at Home” choir? Kudos to all (and everyone behind the scenes too). What a lovely way to end the week.

COVID-19 Roundup: Resurrection; RaRa; Frannie Faith; Garden Club; More


The pandemic has forced a lot of religious services into cyberspace. But there’s still plenty of activity at Green’s Farms Church.

The 157-year-old meetinghouse of the 309-year-old church is being renovated. The few people driving past on Hillandale Road will see a naked building (siding has been removed for off-site lead paint remediation).

Inside, workers have dismantled the 1964 Aeolian Skinner pipe organ. It’s been sent to New Jersey for restoration. Church officials hope to have it back by fall, reinstalled in a renovated meetinghouse.

“The first Sunday we all get gather and sing with the resurrected organ will be a big day in our history, for more than one reason!” says operations director Claire England.

Whether you’re a member or not — or even a non-believer — I have faith you’ll enjoy this video:


Westport artist Lisa Stretton recently launched a new business. Real Art Real Artists (aka RaRa) is a very cool online directory that helps local artists connect with consumers, and offers art-lovers an easy way to find artists in their area.

Art is searchable by location, theme, style and price. Buyers contact the artist directly, by email, phone or the artist’s personal website.

RaRa takes no commission. Artists pay a low monthly fee to be listed. However, to help them during the pandemic — when they need it most — Stretton is offering free listings to artists. Just click here, and use the code RaRa2020.

RaRa also includes videos, and information about art shows and events.


The Westport Garden Club’s Plant Sale has been held — rain or shine — every year since 1928. The only reason it’s been canceled was World War II.

And now, COVID-19.

With regret, the 96-year-old club has scrubbed the May 8 event. They’d hoped to reschedule, but a new date cannot be found.

The June 11 open meeting has been canceled to. The next one is September 10.

However, public gardens the club maintains are open for enjoyment. Grace K. Salmon Park on Imperial Avenue, and the Nevada Hitchcock Garden (corner of Cross Highway and Weston Road) feature new daffodil plantings.

The Westport Pollinator Pathway Project, launched last year with Earthplace and Wakeman Town Farm, continues. Educational programs will be added as circumstances improve. Click here to find resources for native plants.

For more information about the Westport Garden Club, click here ,and follow on Facebook.


Every other week, Frannie Southworth leads a free music and meditation class on Zoom.

It started as a class called Shabbat Shalva (Sabbath of Peace) through her synagogue, Temple Shalom in Norwalk.

Now –during COVID — it has some Jewish content, but is not particularly religiously oriented. People of all faiths join in.

Southworth’s husband Jeff plays guitar. Together they perform soothing songs and chants. She then guides a relaxation body scan and meditation, and teaches breathing techniques to keep the nervous system calm.

The next class is this Saturday (May 2, 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.) Email Franniefaith@me.com. For more information, click here.

Frannie and Jeff Southworth


And finally … at times like these, we need Times Like These.

Confirmation Class Meets Homelessness, Virtually

COVID-19 has moved more than school classes and church services online.

Confirmation classes — a cross between the two — are now conducted virtually too.

Traditionally, Greens Farms Congregational’s confirmation class has taken a couple of faith adventure/field trips to local ministry partners or community service organizations, to see how they make a difference. They’ve got a long history of supporting Homes with Hope, Bridgeport Rescue Mission, Pivot House in Bridgeport and Norwalk’s Open Door Shelter.

This year, the class planned a trip to the Gillespie Center. They’d bring canned foods, take a tour of the downtown homeless shelter, and meet the clients.

But with everyone isolating at home now, Rev. Dave Stambaugh had to get creative.

He and Helen McAlinden — the president and CEO of Homes with Hope, Gillespie’s umbrella organization — devised a virtual tour.

Helen McAlinden leads a Zoom tour of the Gillespie Center.

With the confirmands and their parents on a Zoom conference, Helen literally walked everyone through the center.

She showed the men’s and women’s living quarters, dining room and food pantry. Helen explained the causes of homelessness, and what happens to clients after they leave the shelter.

The teenagers asked questions: How long does someone stay there? Are any of the clients actually from Westport? How does COVID-19 affect homeless people?

“It was wonderful,” Helen says. “Everyone was very interested. And we had been worried about how to get a young lad in a wheelchair upstairs. This way, he was included with everything we did.”

She was particularly glad to hear one question: “How can we help?” She gave the confirmation class a list of items the pantry needs.

And — in Greens Farms’ spirit of sharing — she adds it here:

The Food Pantry at the Gillespie Center is open! They distribute non-perishables to those in need in the community weekdays (except Wednesdays) from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Their inventory of non-perishables, cleaning supplies and paper goods is running low. Contact-less drop-off of donations is available Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Gillespie Center, behind Restoration Hardware. Click here for a list of needed items.

Anyone needing a prepackaged lunch or dinner can come to the Gillespie center. Meals will be brought outside.

Lunch is from 12 to 1 p.m.; dinner is 5 to 6 p.m., both 7 days a week. All food comes from local restaurants.

We do lunch at 12 noon to 1 pm daily and Dinner 5pm to 6 pm daily. (Both 7 days per week)  All food comes from the local restaurants.

(For a glimpse of the Zoom conference tour, click here. To donate to Homes with Hope, click here.)

The Gillespie Center is empty during COVID-19. Residents have been moved from downtown Westport to a hotel.

COVID-19 Roundup: Neighbors Rally; Face Mask Collections; Informative Videos, And More

Someone’s doing great things in the Gorham Avenue/Evergreen neighborhood.

They’re distributing notes in residents’ mailboxes, along with colored paper. The notes ask residents to put the appropriate color in a street-facing window. Green indicates “all ok.” Red means “need supplies.” Yellow is for “elderly/living alone or isolated/mobility issues.”

The note promises that neighbors will monitor the signs, and act as needed. It also offers a phone number to call or text if supplies are needed. Residents can also call that number if they want to help others.

What a great idea — and easy to replicate, in any neighborhood! (Hat tip: Mark Mathias)


Westporter Stephanie Webster’s CTBites is always a great way to keep up with restaurants and bars all around the state. This week’s edition offers comprehensive coverage of places that are open for pickup and delivery throughout Connecticut. There’s also a story about chefs doing good things, and ways everyone else can help them and others.

Click here for details. There are tons of them!


Greens Farms Congregational Church worship, meetings and religious school are now held online.

But yesterday congregants gathered together — 6 feet apart, of course — at a drive-thru food drive for Inspirica in Stamford (where homeless families struggle without the usual supply of donated food and volunteers to help), and Pivot Ministries (a men’s recovery mission in Bridgeport). It’s social distance — and social support — at its best.


The Yale New Haven Health System needs disposable head covers and caps; disposable gowns, gloves and face masks; N95 respirator face masks; powered air purifying respirators; face shields and goggles; coveralls and scrubs; shoe covers; disinfection wipes and liquids, and general purpose hand cleaners.

All should be in original, unopened packages. Email donationsppe@ynhh.org. Include contact information so staff can respond.


Meanwhile, Elizabeth Newman — a physician assistant at New York Presbyterian / Weill Cornell — is collecting face masks because of the critical shortages at all hospitals in the are, including hers.

She  has already picked up hundreds in the area, and can pick up tens to hundreds more from doorsteps in the evenings. Email elizabeth.h.newman@gmail.com. Anyone with access to larger quantities shoud contact masks@nyp.org to ship them directly.

Elizabeth notes, “I don’t want to take supplies from local hospitals if they need them. If anyone has any to spare they can also try to donate to the local hospital or EMS station. If they don’t need them I’m happy to bring them into the city.

“Also if owners of spas, tattoo parlors, salons, etc. that are shutting down can spare theirs, I know Governor Cuomo is willing to purchase masks at a premium,which could help offset their business losses.”


Garelick & Herbs offers 20% off for any orders of in-kind donating to elderly, low-immune deficiency or in need neighbors. Contact them to help coordinate this; also contact if you are interested in helping in other ways: social distancing delivery, phoning those who are isolated, etc. Email Garelickandherbs@gmail.com or pgarelick@aol.com; call or text 203-913-9737.


As students adjust to distance learning, Staples High School principal Stafford Thomas is a clear, calming presence.

This morning he offered his second video update. He discussed next steps for students and staff, AP tests, social distancing and more. You don’t have to be a high schooler or parent to appreciate today’s news. Click here, then scroll down under “Announcements” to March 23, and click on the video.


Former FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb appeared yesterday on CBS-TV’s “Face the Nation.” He spoke “outside his Connecticut home” — which, as “06880” readers know, is in Westport.

Click below for the informative interview.

(Hat tip: Dennis Jackson)


As visitors to Aspetuck Land Trust’s 44 trailed preserves increase dramatically — particularly Trout Brook Valley — the non-profit reminds visitors to leave dogs at home. Unfortunately, they create too many opportunities for close human contact. In addition, Aspetuck will closely monitor all areas, to make sure there is proper social distancing. Click here for information on all the preserves.

—————————————

Back to face masks.

Lea Kaner is the mother of former 2nd Selectman Avi Kaner and fellow Westporter Celia Offir. When the virus hit, over 1,300 employees in her family’s business — Morton Williams supermarkets — had no face masks.

Unpacking shipments, stocking shelves and checking out customers, those men and women are on the front lines. So Lea — an expert seamstress — stepped up.

Kaner and his wife Liz found pattern cut sheets and instructions on the internet. They drove to a store in Milford, and filled the car with fabric and ribbons. Then Lea went to work.

She’s still working almost non-stop to make sure every employee is protected. Plus, they’re the best looking face masks around.

 

Unsung Hero #88

Little things mean a lot.

This year, Greens Farms Elementary School is performing its first play: “The Lion King.”

Director/producer Laura Pendergast — a GFS parent — and teachers Ellen Hardy and Suzanne Sherman Propp have prepared for months for this week’s show.

Dozens of school hours, plenty of work at home, and countless contributions from parent volunteers have gone into the production.

A crucial full-cast rehearsal was scheduled for last Saturday. Then, disaster struck. In anticipation of snow, all Westport school activities for that day were canceled.

Finding space for 70 children seemed impossible. Realizing that Town Hall auditorium might be an option, GFS parent Danielle Dobin called 1st Selectman Jim Marpe.

Rev. Jeffrey Rider

It was not available. But Marpe suggested she contact Greens Farms Congregational Church, and ask about using the Fellowship Hall.

It was Friday evening. Danielle called Rev. Jeff Rider. She did not know him at all — they’d never met or spoken.

He said he’d check the calendar. Soon, he said the space was free — and that GFS was more than welcome to use it.

The location — smack in the middle of the Greens Farms neighborhood — was very convenient. The room was perfect. The cost was free.

And on Monday — when Westport schools were closed because of the overnight storm — Greens Farms Church opened its doors again, for another rehearsal.

Speaking for the entire GFS community, and citing his flexibility and generosity, Danielle nominates Rev. Rider as “06880”‘s Unsung Hero this week.

As she notes: “Thanks to Rev. Jeff, we went from stressed out to Hakuna Matata in no time flat.”

(Do you know an Unsung Hero? Send nominations to dwoog@optonline.net)

The show must go on: Rehearsing in the Greens Farms Church Fellowship Hall.

Pic Of The Day #617

Greens Farms Church, from Hillandale Road (Photo/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)