Tag Archives: Justice of the Peace

Roundup: Young Performers, JPs, Debris Dump, More


Among the early casualties of COVID-19 last March: dozens of young performers, in the final days of rehearsals for school plays. Months of work went for naught.

Many students in canceled shows are in the acting program TheaterCamp4Kids! Broadway Academy. Owner/artistic director Laura Curley Pendergast decided to create a “Canceled Concert” video. The selection of short clips allows her young actors — from high school down through elementary age — to perform their “lost songs.”

Selections come from “Wizard of Oz,” “Seussical: The Musical,” “Shrek: The Musical,” “Legally Blonde,” “Beauty and the Beast” and more.

David Bibbey — an Emmy Award winner and talented producer of the Westport Library’s media studios — shot the video. Now just click on, sit back and enjoy!


It’s a good thing no one commutes to New York anymore.

After Tropical Storm Isaias, the town has used the Greens Farms railroad station parking lot as a spot to dump trees, branches and debri.

A few months ago, that would have wreaked havoc. Today: no problem.

There’s even plenty of room to expand.

(Photo/Bob Weingarten)


Always dreamed of being a justice of the peace?

Now’s your chance!

Westport voters who are not members of a major political party but are interested in becoming a JP can request an application (email tclerk@westportct.gov) between now and November 1.

A voter must have been an unaffiliated or minor party member voter since May 1. Registered Democrats and Republicans must be named by their parties, and cannot now become unaffiliated to apply as an unaffiliated JP.

Justices of the Peace have authority to take oaths and depositions, perform marriages, and handle other duties.

Justice of the Peace Wally Meyer (left) performed a marriage at Old Mill Beach, during the first days of the pandemic lockdown.


Like so many nonprofits, Friends of Sherwood Island State Park is reinventing their annual appeal.

Theirs — an evening of food and drink at the pavilion, called the “FUNdraiser” — will this year be called … “Shorefest on a Roll.”

On Sunday, September 20, guests will enjoy a “rolling tour of the park.” As they drive through the 236-acre gem — Connecticut’s oldest state park — a podcast will describe its history and features.

There’s entertainment, including whirligigs, kites, disc golf, music and model plane flyovers. Plus: a lobster roll-to-go feast.

Proceeds support the Friends’ efforts, including the newly renovated Nature Center, tree planting, maintenance of the vast purple martin colony, and the 9/11 Memorial.

Tickets will be available soon on www.friendsofsherwoodisland.org.


And finally … true?

Remembering Saul Haffner

Saul Haffner died Tuesday, after a brief illness. He was 87.

He served on the RTM, was a member of the Y’s Men, and taught photography and writing at the Senior Center and Norwalk Community College.

Haffner was a US Army veteran. Professionally, he was an engineer who worked on NASA’s Gemini program, as well as a professor of business and marketing at Sacred Heart University.

But he is perhaps best known as a justice of the peace. In fact, he may have been the nation’s foremost authority on the subject. In 2009, I profiled Haffner for “06880.” Here’s that story:

“In the beginning of time,” Haffner says — back when he worked for the Congregation of Humanistic Judaism, not 1362 (the first time time “Justice of the Peace” appeared in English law) — he fielded calls from couples looking for rabbis to perform interfaith weddings. They were hard to find — so he vowed that when he retired, he would become a JP and do those ceremonies.

Fun fact: Every Connecticut town is allocated a certain number of JPs, based on the number of registered voters. Westport has 60 — equally divided between Democrats, Republicans and independents.

Saul Haffner (left) and a couple he married on Compo Beach.

After becoming a Justice of the Peace in 2001, Haffner wondered how anyone would find him. He looked around for a national JP organization. There was none. So he and his wife, Barbara Jay, formed one.

Their website — JPUS.org — is now the go-to source for JPs around the country. The site offers a registry (JPs can include their political affiliation, ethnicity, religion and languages spoken); resources and guides for personalizing weddings; an interactive forum (with topics like “code of ethics,” “same-sex ceremonies” and “how the economy is affecting the JP business”), and discounts on JP merchandise (certificates, embossing seals, chuppas, etc.).

Haffner performs 10 or so weddings a year. That’s low, he admits. But the JP does not want to compete with members of his own JP association.

Saul’s motto is “Your wedding, your way.” He’s married couples on motorcycles, on a boat that sailed into the sunset (Haffner returned to shore via rowboat), and in Scottish clothing (the bride and groom gave him a kilt).

“Weddings are such a happy occasion,” he says.  “I come away from each one on a real high.”

Not bad for a job with no requirements, no entry fees, and no experience needed.

(Hat tip: Jessica Bram)

The DL On JPs

There are no qualifications for being named a Justice of the Peace.  Nor do you have to pay a fee to become a JP.

It’s the perfect job, laughs Saul Haffner.

The retired Westporter should know.  He’s a JP himself — and perhaps the country’s foremost expert on that unique position.

“In the beginning of time,” Saul says — back when he worked for the Congregation of Humanistic Judaism, not 1362 (the first time time “Justice of the Peace” appeared in English law) — he fielded calls from couples looking for rabbis to perform interfaith weddings.  They were hard to find — so Saul vowed that when he retired, he would become a JP and do those ceremonies.

Fun fact:  Every Connecticut town is allocated a certain number of JPs, based on the number of registered voters.  Westport has 60 — equally divided between Democrats, Republicans and independents.

After becoming a Justice of the Peace in 2001, Saul wondered how anyone would find him.  He looked around for a national JP organization.  There was none.  So he and his wife formed one. 

Their website — JPUS.org — is now the go-to source for JPs around the country.  The site  offers a registry (JPs can include their political affiliation, ethnicity, religion and languages spoken); resources and guides for personalizing weddings; an interactive forum (with topics like “code of ethics,” “same-sex ceremonies” and “how the economy is affecting the JP business”), and discounts on JP merchandise (certificates, embossing seals, chuppas, etc.).

Saul Haffner (left) and a newly married couple on Compo Beach

Saul Haffner (left) and a newly married couple on Compo Beach

Saul performs 10 or so weddings a year.  That’s low, he admits.  But the JP does not want to compete with members of his own JP association.

Saul’s motto is “Your wedding, your way.”  He’s married couples on motorcycles, on a boat that sailed into the sunset (Saul returned to shore via rowboat), and in Scottish clothing (the bride and groom gave Saul a kilt). 

“Weddings are such a happy occasion,” he says.  “I come away from each one on a real high.”

Not bad for a job with no requirements, no entry fees, and no experience needed.