Tag Archives: Laurie Crouse

Roundup: RTM’s Petition, Martin Crouse’s Bench, UConn’s President …


Town Clerk Jeffrey Dunkerton has certified a petition requesting that the Representative Town Meeting review the Planning & Zoning Commission’s settlement of a lawsuit, permitting Summit Saugatuck to build 157 units of housing on Hiawatha Lane.

The RTM has 30 days to render a decision.


The saga of Martin Crouse’s memorial bench — first gone from Compo Beach, then located by Westport Police — is over. And the ending could not be better.

Martin’s wife Laurie reports that bench is back at its cherished spot near Ned Dimes Marina, after repair work by the Parks & Recreation Department.

It was delivered there yesterday. A new anchoring system will keep it there.

Laurie asked “06880” to thank Debbie Detmer and Ed Frawley at Parks & Rec, Westport police, and the many Westporters who offered support.

Westport Parks & Recreation staff secure Martin Crouse’s memorial bench.

Laurie Crouse, back at her favorite spot.


The Remarkable Theater announces its schedule for Memorial Day week:

Thursday, May 27 (8 p.m.): “Private Benjamin” (“I wanna wear my sandals. And I wanna go out to lunch. I wanna be normal again.”)

Friday, May 28 (8 p.m.): “Finding Nemo” (In association with Sped*Net Wilton)

Saturday, May 29 (8:30 p.m.): “Rocky Horror Picture Show” (Special Best Costume contest)

Sunday, May 30 (8 p.m.): “Saving Private Ryan” (Special $25 Memorial Day price)

And don’t forget: “Happy Gilmore” tomorrow (Saturday, May 22, 8:30 p.m.).

Click here for tickets and more information.


There’s a new interim president at the University of Connecticut.

And he’s a Westport resident.

Dr. Andrew Agwunobi and his wife Elizabeth (also a physician) moved here 2 years. He has served as CEO of UConn Health — a position he will continue in. He is the first person of color to be named president in the university’s history.

Click here for the full story.

Dr. Andrew Agwunobi


Westport firefighters joined their brothers and sisters from across the state yesterday. Over 130 Connecticut fire departments, many first responder agencies, and fire departments from as far as Detroit gathered to pay respects to Firefighter Ricardo “Rico” Torres. He died last week battling a blaze in New Haven.

He leaves behind his wife Erica Martinez, and sons, due to be born in August. Click here for a fundraiser to support his family and unborn sons.

Firefighters at the funeral for Ricardo Torres. (Photo/Andrew Colabella)


Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo is not just a couple of horseshoe crabs.

They’re a pair that was rescued by MaryLou Roels, after being stranded by low tide. They look as good as ever.

(Photo/MaryLou Roels)


And finally … on this day in 1927, Charles Lindbergh landed in Paris. It was the world’s first solo non-stop flight across the Atlantic Ocean.

Special Westport connection: Lindbergh and his wife Anne Morrow lived for several years on Long Lots Road, near the Fairfield border.


Missing Beach Bench: The Sequel

On Friday I posted Laurie Crouse’s heart-wrenching story. The Compo Beach bench she’d bought to memorialize her late husband was missing.

But I had faith. I was sure it would turn up soon.

So did “06880” readers.

There are many benches, on every part of the beach. “They get moved around a lot,” wrote one commenter who had lost — and then found — her family’s bench.

Westporters promised to look carefully. Some said they’d make a special trip. A few folks theorized that a storm or exceptionally high tide had submerged the one with Martin’s plaque.

Martin Crouse’s bench

I did not realize that Laurie had sat on the bench earlier this month. There has been no bad weather since.

Now it turns out that hers is not the only memorial bench that’s gone missing.

Laurie writes that her good friend Vicki Mintz lost her husband Robert last year. She bought a bench, and had it placed next to Martin’s several months ago.

It too has vanished.

So are all the others that had provided such solace on the little peninsula between South Beach and the Ned Dimes Marina.

Laurie took a photo March 3. It shows Robert’s bench (left), moved from its original spot. Martin’s bench is further back. on the right. A third bench is in the shot too, behind the people.

Laurie Crouse’s March 3 photo.

All 3 benches are now gone.

The same scene, yesterday..

Vicki’s daughter investigated yesterday. She noted tire tracks on the sand

“It looks like a vehicle pulled up there,” Laurie says.

Tire tracks in the sand.

If this was an actual, premeditated theft: That’s awful. The benches are public property, sure. More importantly, they were purchased to honor people who loved Compo, and who themselves were loved.

Thieves stole more than benches. They tore out our neighbors’ hearts and souls.

Everyone does things they regret. If you’ve got the benches — or you know where they are — please do the right thing. Email dwoog@optonline.net, or text 203-984-9635. I’ll let Parks & Rec know where and how to pick up the benches.

Anonymity is assured. Getting the benches back is more important than making sure justice is done.

In the meantime, it’s come to this: Perhaps we need security cameras at the beach. Or at least at the entrance and exit roads.

It’s pretty clear those benches did not move themselves.

Beach Bench Goes Missing

Compo is a big beach.

You can do anything there — or nothing at all. A favorite pastime is sitting on one of the dozens of handsome, heavy wooden benches. They’re everywhere, from Schlaet’s Point to the cannons and Ned Dimes Marina.

The benches blend unobtrusively into the landscape. But each one bears a small plaque. Each memorializes a man or woman, whose family and friends honor them in this special way.

It’s hard to imagine anything could go wrong with these timeless benches. But alert — and anguished — reader Laurie Crouse writes:

In 2011, after my husband Martin passed away, I purchased a bench from Parks & Rec. It was placed in a spot that was special to him and me, on South Beach facing the sunset.

This bench has provided great comfort through the years. It’s a sacred spot for me, because we did not do a traditional cemetery burial.

On the bench is an engraved plate: “I’ll meet you at the sunset.” That’s what we always said when we would head to the beach at the end of the day. His name — Martin Crouse — is at the top of the plaque. The years he lived are below it.

Right after I got the bench in September 2011, Hurricane Sandy struck. When I visited the bench after the storm, it was gone.

I was devastated.

In the center of the beach near the skateboard park, Parks & Rec created a staging zone for many recovered items, including benches that had been scattered.

Martin’s bench never showed up.

A couple of weeks later, someone on the far end of Owenoke called me and said the bench ended up in their yard. A visitor had recognized his name. and told her how to reach me.

Martin Crouse

I was thrilled. Parks & Rec got the bench from her. and returned it to our devoted spot. It’s been there for nearly 10 years.

Today I went to sit at the beach. Once again, the bench was gone.

These benches are heavy! You can’t drag them very far. You need multiple people to move them.

I walked the beach. I looked at every name plate on every bench. I don’t see it anywhere.

I called Parks & Rec. They searched. But they cannot find it.

The now-vacant spot for Martin Crouse’s bench.

I hope you can share this with “06880” readers. It would be nice to have multiple eyes out, in case I missed it somehow.

More importantly, the public needs to understand more about these memorial benches.

Each bench you see was purchased in dedication for a loved one. I’ve noticed over the years that more and more people move them, turn them around and leave them wherever they see fit, without understanding that the chosen spots are important to the people who purchased them.

We have donated them to the town so the public can enjoy them. But there is a story behind each one.

If there was a greater awareness, perhaps people would be more respectful. Thank you!

Martin and Laurie Crouse.