Tag Archives: John Harris

Roundup: Dunkin’ Down, Politico Zoom, Oldenburg Sculpture …

Westport is down one Dunkin’.

The donut-and-coffee spot on the Post Road at Maple Avenue North closed abruptly yesterday.

Some folks thought it’s because there will soon be a new Dunkin’ in Compo Shopping Center, near CVS.

Nope — that’s the new home for the Dunkin’ across from Fresh Market. The shopping plaza there is being renovated, prior to Westport Hardware moving in from its current digs a few yards away.

The “CVS Dunkin'” will drive more traffic to that already gruesome lot. But it’s a toss-up which is more dangerous: Compo Shopping Center, or the angled spots and snake-like exit from the smaller strip mall at the now-closed Maple Avenue store.

The closed Dunkin’.

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A COVID diagnosis has turned tonight’s 7 p.m. Westport Library discussion with John Harris into an all-virtual event.

The founder of Politico — the must-read news site — will talk with Steve Parrish, the Westport public affairs and communications expert. They’ll chat about Harris’ career, his work with Politico, and the future of politics in an increasingly polarized nation.

Click here to register for tonight’s Zoom session, and more information.

John Harris

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Bostonians love Kured. The charcuterie company has a shop in Beacon Hill, and delivers throughout the area. Now it’s opening in the Seaport District, on the Ombrello patio that includes restaurants, retail and entertainment.

Kured is the brainchild of 2016 Staples High School graduate Gilli Rozynek. She captained the field hockey team, and was a Student Ambassador, Best Buddy and SafeRides board member.

Gilli started Kured as a part of the start-up accelerator program at Boston College. She calls it “Sweetgreen or Chipotle for charcuterie.” Expansion to New York may be in the works.

Click here for the full story. (Hat tip: David Loffredo)

Gilli Rozynek, at Kured.

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The death of Claes Oldenburg — the pop artist known for his large sculptures of everyday objects — reminded Paul Lowenstein of a local connection.

For nearly 20 years, Oldenburg’s 19-foot, 10,000-pound work of a typewriter eraser surprised and entertained drivers and joggers on a staid stretch of Beachside Avenue. In 2019, the sculpture was moved to the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, Florida.

It now sits in Heyman Plaza. The site is named for Sam and Ronnie Heyman (she’s a Norton trustee) — the Greens Farms couple who donated the massive work. (Hat tip: Dick Lowenstein)

“Typewriter Eraser, Scale X” — Claes Oldenburg’s sculpture on Beachside Avenue..

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Speaking of art: Local artist Sherri Wolfgang gets her star turn next month at the George Billis Gallery.

Her show opens with a reception August 4 (4 to 7 p.m., 180 Post Road East). It runs through September 3.

“Same As It Ever Was,” oil on linen (from Sherri Wolfgang’s “American Pathos” series).

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Thursday’s Jazz at the Post (7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., VFW Post 399, 465 Riverside Avenue; $10 cove) features legendary bassist Harvie S., with James Weidman,
Tony Jefferson and “Jazz Rabbi” Greg Wall.

Dinner service begins at 6:30. Reservations are strongly recommended: JazzatThePost@gmail.com

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Pam Kesselman is an avid beach-goer. A grossed-out one too, these days.

She writes: “Before I went for a swim. I picked up this debris. I wonder how many fish we’ve hurt with our garbage. It was disgusting!”

(Photo/Pam Kesselman)

She adds: “Everyone: Please pick up after yourselves at the beach . It can be lovely but won’t be unless everyone works at it.”

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How fierce was yesterday’s storm?

This drain at Stop & Shop could scarcely keep up with all the rain:

(Photo/Jacquie O’Brien)

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Gloria Ann Calise Franco, a member of Westport’s noted Calise family, died last week in New Canaan, surrounded by her family. She was 95.

Born in New York City, she moved with her parents Mike and Catherine Calise to Westport. Her father founded the Westport Game & Poultry Farm on the Post Road.

Following graduation from Staples High School in 1944, she attended Berkeley Secretarial School in New York.

The game farm became Calise’s Market. Her father opened a liquor store next door. A salesman caught Gloria’s eye. With some matchmaking from Gloria’s sister Susie, Gloria and Dick Franco married in 1949.

They moved to New Canaan, where they raised 11 children. She was involved in their school activities, as well as the Democratic Town Committee, UNICEE (chapter president), the New Canaan Women’s Club and Parks & Recreation Commission (board member of both), and the American School for the Dea.

She and Dick were presidents of the New Canaan Dance Club too. She was a faithful churchgoer, and well known for her 3 p.m. tea time.

Gloria was predeceased by her husband; their children Richard A. Jr. of New Canaan; Tom (Yvonne) of Ridgefield, Chris (Christie) of Monroe, New York, Anne Franco McAndrew of Kent, Tim (Marie) of Concord, Massachusetts, Mike (Mary) of New Canaan, Duffy (Megan Collins) of Norwalk, Carl of New Canaan, Claude (Val) of New Canaan, Katie Franco O’Neill (Mike) of New Canaan, and Kelley Franco Throop (Tom) of Rowayton; 16 grandchildren; 7 great-grandchildren, and her sister Marie Sodaro of Fairfield.

A wake will be held Thursday (July 21, 3 to 7 p.m., Hoyt Funeral Home, New Canaan). The funeral is set for Friday (July 22, 10 a.m., St. Aloysius Church). Contributions in her honor may be made to St. Catherine Center for Special Needs in Fairfield.

Gloria Calise Franco

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Most visitors to the Senior Center are a “certain age.”

Not this family. Jill Grayson spotted the young-looking parent and her children there the other day. They patiently posed for her — and for “Westport … Naturally.”

(Photo/Jill Grayson)

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And finally … on this date in 1848, the 1st US women’s rights convention was held in Seneca Falls, New York.

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Roundup: Ireland, Lacrosse, Politico …

“06880” readers know that Westport is a great place to live.

Now it’s official — at least, across the Atlantic.

Susan Garment spotted this sign the other day in Westport, Ireland. It says: “Tidy Towns National Winner.:

And below that: “Best Place to Live in Ireland.“

(Photo/Susan Garment)

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Westport sports fans know that the Staples High School boys lacrosse team’s rout of Darien in the state championship final was big.

But just how huge was it?

Inside Lacrosse just ranked the Wreckers’ win as the top performance in all of public high school lax this spring — in the entire country.

The site says:

A strong argument could be made that the Wreckers’ stunning 12-3 victory over Connecticut powerhouse Darien in the Class L state championship game was high school lacrosse’s biggest story in June. Scoring the game’s first eight goals to take a 9-1 lead into halftime, Will Koshansky’s squad played smart, methodical lacrosse en route to a commanding win over a Blue Wave squad that spent much of the season in the national Top 10.

This spring, the Wreckers picked up six victories over teams from the computer ratings Top 100, topping Massachusetts state champ St. John’s Prep, as well as Fairfield County foes Greenwich, Wilton, New Canaan, Ridgefield and Darien….

The 9-goal victory over Darien in the state championship stands above all of the Wreckers’ previous accomplishments this season, and now, Staples finishes as IL’s No. 1 public school program to end 2022…

AD

A young nucleus returns, so expect to hear even more about Westport’s finest going forward. (

(Click here for the full story. Hat tip: Dave Briggs)

Staples High School: boys lacrosse state champs — and now, #1 in the nation. (Photo/Chris Greer)

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Earlier this year, Steve Parrish brought Carlotta LaNier — one of the Little Rock 9, who desegregated Central High School in 1957 — to the Westport Library.

Now the consultant specializing in specializing in crisis management, corporate social responsibility, public affairs and communications — and frequent TV news show guest — has reached into his Rolodex, to plan another intriguing evening.

On July 19 (7 p.m.), he’ll chat with political journalist and Politico co-founder John Harris. Prior to creating one of the country’s most visited news sites, Harris was a national political reporter for the Washington Post.

Click here to register for a seat in the Trefz Forum. Click here for the livestream.

John Harris

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Kathie Motes Bennewitz — who serves as both Westport town arts curator and executive director of the Hopper House Museum and Study Center in Nyack, New York — joins Westporter Robin Frank in inviting “06880” readers to the Museum on July 19 (6 p.m.). Frank will give a presentation on “Framing Memory in American Art: Visions of Love and Loss.” The lecture is followed by  complimentary cocktails to toast the current exhibition Liliane Tomasko: Evening Wind.

Memory is the underlying theme of both Hopper’s isolated figures in interiors and Tomasko’s lyrical paintings of unmade beds. In addition to their works, I will discuss a diverse array of historic and contemporary objects—ranging from eighteenth-century mourning jewelry to a Covid-inspired video on view at the Whitney Biennial—that celebrate love and memorialize loss.

Click here for more details and tickets.

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Longtime Westporter, Red Cross volunteer, and one of Staples High School’s longest-lived graduates, Eloise Neyle Reilly died peacefully at her home, surrounded by her family and caregiver, on July 1. She was 102 years old.

Born on March 22, 1920 in New York City, she was called “a remarkable, self-sufficient and independent woman, known for her positive outlook on life.”

Eloise moved to Westport in 1934, and graduated from Staples High School. One of the most important chapters in her life began during World War II. She joined the American Red Cross Club Mobile Unit, a service to provide comfort and support to combat troops on the front lines with coffee, donuts and conversation.

After the war ended, she spent 2 more years in Germany, supporting US troops. She often told stories of her remarkable friendships and experiences during her years with the Red Cross.

Eloise’s strength and independence continued beyond the war when she returned home to Westport. In the late 1940s and ’50s she built a career in New York City, culminated as a human resource director at the advertising firm Young and Rubicam.

Eloise designed and worked with a local contractor to construct the home that she lived in since 1957. She was an avid gardener, a lover of nature and a long time member of the Westport Garden Club.    

In the late 1960’s, she left the city and the commute to start a second successful career as a real estate agent, with Helen Benson Real Estate.

One of her passions and strengths was maintaining great friendships in her community, and staying connected with lifelong friends and family across the country. A result of this passion came in the early 1970’s, when she began the first of many annual Red Cross Club Mobile reunions at her home here.

The tradition gained momentum and continued through the early 2000’s.   Reunions were held at the homes of Red Cross members and friends across the US and Europe.

Eloise is survived by her nephews, Kevin (Leslie Carrere) Reilly of Newfield, New York; William (Laura Gotfried) Reilly of Enfield, New York and Peter (Mary Picard) Reilly of Rye, New Hampshire; grand-nieces and nephews Colin, Marissa Mia, Megan and Conor Reilly, and great-grand-niece Kendall Reilly.  Her brother, Donald Reilly, recently predeceased her.

The family gives special thanks to Mary Krewsen, her personal caregiver, for her loving care, and the staff of Visiting Angels of Fairfield for their support.  In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in her honor can be made to The American Red Cross.

Family and friends are invited a visitation on Wednesday, July 13th (9:30 a.m., Christ & Holy Trinity church. Funeral services will follow at 10 in the church sanctuary.  Interment will follow at the Christ and Holy Trinity Cemetery.  Click here to sign the online guestbook.

Eloise Reilly

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Crabs are not the most elegant looking creatures.

But they — like this one, today’s “Westport … Naturally” feature — have been at Compo Beach and environs longer than we have.

lot longer.

(Photo/Jeanine Esposito)

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And finally … happy 52nd birthday to Beck. The one-named singer/songwriter/ producer turns 52 today.

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