Tag Archives: Josh Koskoff

Staples Students Fight Gun Violence

The other day, 2 students were killed — and 18 injured — in a Kentucky school shooting.

It barely registered as news.

We’ve grown so inured to the drumbeat of gun violence — 89 people are shot to death each day in America, including far too many young people — that it’s become almost a non-issue.

But “almost” means there’s still hope.

At Staples High School, students in Cathy Schager’s Contemporary World social studies class have formed a community action group.

It’s called Disarm Gun Violence: Educating the Public About Common Sense Gun Laws.

Ms. Schager’s class created a poster, and hung it near the Staples cafeteria. Each dot represents one child killed by a gun last year. This is a small section of the poster.

This Monday (January 29, 7 p.m., Staples library) they’re hosting an event. There are 2 goals: raising awareness, and encouraging a community conversation.

A short documentary will be followed by a panel. Speakers include Westport police chief Foti Koskinas, and Josh Koskoff, a Westport resident and attorney representing 10 Sandy Hook victims’ families, in a suit against Bushmaster Firearms.

The evening includes a raffle. Proceeds will go to Sandy Hook Promise and CT Against Gun Violence.

Because — far too often — this issue hits very close to home.

Please Excuse Eli And Lulu …

This is the time of year when 12th graders suffer serious cases of senioritis.

But Eli Debenham and Lulu Stracher are 2 of Staples’ most politically aware — and active — students.

So this morning — instead of school — they headed to Norwalk Community College.

Senators Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal discussed gun violence. The forum was moderated by Westport attorney Josh Koskoff.

It was an important, informative event. But afterward, Eli and Lulu had a typical high school worry: They needed a note for missing class.

No problem!

They just asked Senator Murphy to write one.

He happily obliged.

Lulu Stracher, Eli Debenham, and the man who excused them from class this morning.

The note read:

Please excuse my friends for their absence. I required their attendance in my forum on violence — under penalty of arrest! — Chris Murphy

You may like Connecticut’s junior senator or not. But you gotta admit: That’s great constituent service!

Lulu and Eli’s note.

Other Roots: A Very Different Tree Story

Yesterday, “06880” reported on the questionable status of a jinormous sycamore arcing across Long Lots Road.

Today’s post is about another tree. This one is going nowhere. Harding Lane residents make sure of that.

The story begins with Orvis Yingling. He, his wife and their 3 kids moved to Westport in the early 1960s, and took full advantage of the town. They were avid sailors. Orvis joined the board of the Nature Center (now Earthplace), and was a longtime Y member.

He and his wife climbed Mt. Everest before it was trendy. Back at sea level, Orvis walked up and down Harding Lane even after suffering a series of strokes.

When he died at 90, everyone on his road — honoring his fondness for nature — bought a tree in his memory.

Harding Lane tree

Orvis’ wife thought ahead. Knowing she’d be moving — and unsure what would happen to her home — she asked Josh Koskoff and his wife Darcy Hicks if it could be planted on their lawn. (They live on the corner of Hillspoint Road, so everyone on the cul-de-sac enjoys it.)

A couple of weeks ago, Orvis’ daughter brought over a plaque. It reads:

In memory of Orvis Yingling, Jr.
1919-2009
Gardener, Gentleman, Friend
Given by his neighbors

It makes his memorial a bit more official.

Though his tree will live on long after the lettering fades.

Sad footnote: Orvis’s wife was right. Her property is in the midst of being completely razed — trees and all.