Tag Archives: Mike Noonan

Roundup: Fischels, Clemson, Sailing …

Saturday’s Roundup included news about Walter Fischel.

The Westport resident was carjacked and shot in the face in South Africa. His passport, phone and credit cards were stolen.

A GoFundMe page has been created, to help with travel, medical expenses, and living expenses for him and his family.

Many Westporters know the Fischel family. Many also know Valerie Fischel — the name of Walter’s sister.

But the Westport Valerie Fischel, and Walter’s sister Valier — who lives in Maryland — are not related.

Our Westport Valerie Fischel does not have a brother. But — like all of us — she hopes the unrelated man who shares her family name makes a full recovery.

Walter Fischel


Back when I was a Westport teenager, my friends and I spent a lot of time dodging cops.

Today, that phrase means something different.

Next Monday (November 20, 5:30 p.m., Staples High School fieldhouse), students and police join together, in the Westport Youth Commission’s annual Dodge-a-Cop dodgeball tournament.

Five students play at once, along with a Westport officer. There are winner and loser brackets, with the winners earning prizes. There’s food and drinks too.

The 16 teams will be filled fast. Tickets are $10 per student. The event is  sponsored by Gault and Mitchells; all funds raised go to the Homes with Hope and Westport Woman’s Club food pantries.

Tickets are being sold at Staples, during lunch. Questions? Contact Cabry Lueker, Youth Commission chair: cabry2006@gmail.com.

Last year, Staples school resource officer Ed Woolridge (back row, white shirt, blue headband) was on the winning Dodge-a-Cop team. The winners posed with RTM member Andrew Colabella (far right).


Yesterday, Staples’ Service League of Girls packed over 200 boxes with toys for needy children around the world, as part of Operation Christmas Child.

They filled colorful shoeboxes with items like solar calculators, toothbrushes, Baby Yodas and stuffed animals, then labeled each by age. 

The SLOGS initiative — led by Emma Morris and Lily Ashford — enlisted nearly 2 dozen girls.

SLOGs, with their holiday boxes.


Clemson University won its 2nd ACC championship in 4 seasons yesterday, in a penalty kick shootout over the University of North Carolina — and there were 2 Westport connections.

The Tigers are coached by Mike Noonan. The 1979 Staples graduate (and a star on their ’78 state championship team) won his third overall ACC championship overall. In 2021, he led the South Carolina school to the NCAA Division I title.

Paddy Donovan (Staples ’22) is a reserve keeper on the squad.

The Tigers earn an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. Seedings are announced at 1 p.m. today.


Over 2 dozen retailers, restaurants and merchants have signed up for the 3rd annual “06880”/Westport Downtown Association Holiday Stroll — and it’s still 3 weeks away.

The Saturday, December 2  (5 to 7 p.m.) event is very family friendly. There’s a visit from Santa, special kids’ activities, photo booth, holiday music from the Orphenians, caroling and more. Headquarters is a tent outside Savvy + Grace.

Among the treats:

  • Arogya Holistic Healing & Tea: Hot tea to go
  • Awesome Toys & Gifts: Giveaway (TBD)
  • Basso Restaurant & Wine Bar: 15% off for guests mentioning the “06880” Stroll (seating between 4 and 6 p.m.)
  • Castle Wine & Spirits: Expert wine pairings, with hand-picked selections
  • Clarendon  Fine Art: Bubbly, tasty treats, décor and music; framed, limited edition still life from Tim Fowler (valued at $300)
  • Don Memo: Festive holiday beverage
  • Fred: Holiday treats
  • Gordon Fine Arts: Light hospitality and hot mulled cider
  • Hummingbird Healing Center: Discounted Harmonic Egg session of $99.99; free gift to everyone visiting the center on the 2nd floor
  • Kerri Rosenthal: 20% of all KR products; rosé and Prosecco
  • Naturino Kids Shoes & More: 25% off single item all day long
  • Party Harty: 10% of all Westport-related merchandise
  • Savvy + Grace: A “north Pole” mailbox for kids’ letters to Santa; holiday cookies
  • Scout & Molly’s: 20% off total purchase
  • Serendipity Labs: Complimentary week of co-working
  • Sorelle Gallery: 20% off in store, all day
  • Stretch Zone: Stretches and free stretch vouchers
  • The Tailored Home & Studio Café: Complimentary Santa’s cookies and  hot chocolate; 50% off on all pillows
  • Town of Weston Ukraine Sister City Partnership: Apple cider, water, bracelets, ornaments
  • Toy Post: Free giveaway to children
  • Vivid Cottage: 5 free holiday cards with purchase
  • WEST: $50 gift card for holiday shopping, through December 31
  • Whip Salon: $10 gift card for stopping to say hi (18 and over); holiday treats
  • Williams Sonoma: Hot apple cider and peppermint bark
  • Winfield Street Coffee: $3 hot chocolates with candy canes
  • Merchants and restaurants wishing to participate should click here, to fill out an online form.

Questions? Email Huong Belpedio (operations@westportdowntown.com) or Jessica Isaacs (marketing@westportdowntown.com).

See you at the Stroll!


The thermometer struggled to reach the mid-40s yesterday.

But a number of sailors were out on the Sound.

I thought it was part of the Frostbite series.

Apparently though, it must be a lot colder for those races.

(Photo/Pamela Docters)


Brilliant fall sunshine yesterday at Willowbrook Cemetery highlights today’s “Westport … Naturally” image:

(Photo/Claudia Sherwood Servidio)


And finally … on this day in 1940, Walt Disney released “Fantasia.” It was an experiment in animation and classical music, and took a while to become a classic.

There is probably no connection between the Fantasia below and the Disney film, but today is one of the most boring days in history.

(“06880” relies on reader support. If you appreciate our daily Roundups, please click here to donate. Thank you!)

Roundup: Clemson Soccer, Truck Parking, Toy Drive …


Clemson University won yesterday’s NCAA Division I national championship with a convincing 2-0 victory over the University of Washington.

Congratulations to the Tigers — especially Coach Mike Noonan. A star on Staples High School’s 1978 state championship team, and then at Middlebury College, yesterday’s win in Cary, North Carolina is the latest accomplishment in an illustrious career.

Before Clemson, Noonan coached at Brown University, the University of New Hampshire and Wheaton College. He is considered one of the most brilliant minds in the college soccer ranks. The Tigers proved it this year, knocking off the #1, #2 and #4 seeds during their tournament run.

There are 2 more Westport connections to Clemson’s title. Noonan’s brother Mark — a Staples state champ himself in 1981 and ’82 — won his own national crown, as a Duke University player in 1986. That marked the first NCAA title for the Blue Devils — in any sport.

Coach Noonan reached out to his hometown this winter. His #1 recruit for next fall’s freshman class is Paddy Donovan. The Staples senior — who just completed his Beachside Soccer Club academy career — is considered one of the top goalkeepers in the nation.

Now all of Westport has a college soccer team to root for.

Clemson University soccer coach Mike Noonan.


In the best-case scenario, this guy parked his truck when the railroad station lot was full. Somehow, he did not realize that every single vehicle passing westbound would have to swerve to avoid him.

(Photo/Todd Freeman)

The less-best-case scenario is that the lot was full; he realized he was hogging half of Ferry Lane, but didn’t care.

Worst-case: The lot was empty, and he just decided to flip a vehicular middle finger to the rest of us.


The Westport Police Department Union and Westport Police Benevolent Association wrapped up 2 weekends of toy collections yesterday, at ASF Sports. Gifts will go to underprivileged children throughout Fairfield County, including St. Vincent’s Hospitals.

Thanks to everyone who donated new toys (and cash to buy more) — and of course to our fantastic Police Department, for conducting the drive.

Longtime Westporter Tom Lowrie (center) donated toys at the Police Department’s annual drive.


I get lots of beach sunset photos. But this one has an added attraction — which qualifies it for today’s “Westport … Naturally” feature.

(Photo/Melissa Sobil Zitomer)


And finally … Jamaican bassist Robbie Shakespeare died last week in Miami, from complications of kidney and liver transplants. He was 68.

Shakespeare was half o the rhythm duo Sly & Robbie. According to the New York Times, they “played with and produced some of the biggest names in music while transforming reggae with bold infusions of rock, blues and jazz,” Click here for the full obituary. (Hat tip: Amy Schneider)

Roundup: Paddy Donovan, Staples Players, Y’s Men …


Paddy Donovan is one of the best young goalkeepers in the country.

He’s earned national renown for his play with the Beachside Soccer Club MLS Next academy program. Yesterday, he became Clemson University’s first recruit of the season to sign a letter of intent.

Under Coach Mike Noonan, the Tigers are one of the top teams in the US. That makes Donovan’s signing especially sweet: Noonan won a state championship at Staples High School in 1978, where he played soccer with Donovan’s late uncle Doug.

Donovan’s father Dan was a state champ himself, captaining the Wreckers in 1981.

Signing any blue-chip recruit is a major coup. But Noonan put a personal spin on the announcement, posting on Instagram:

“Patrick is an outstanding prospect who has a very high soccer IQ. He has been developed in one of the best youth clubs in the country, and attended the best high school in the country.”


This week, “06880” has reported 2 ways to support Staples Players. You can buy tickets to “Grease,” the fall musical. You can also purchase 3 special flavors of gelato, at Cold Fusion.

Now there’s a third way to support the nationally renowned theatrical troupe: a silent auction.

It’s online before the show, and in person during the show’s opening weekend (tomorrow, Saturday and Sunday).

Auction items include theater tickets; gift cards and baskets from local restaurants, specialty food stores and other local retailers; sports swag, artwork and more. Click here to see them all. 

Bidding is open now. It closes Wednesday, November 17.

In more “Grease” news, due to booming ticket sales, Staples Players is adding another performance. The additional date is Thursday, November 18 (7 p.m.). Click here to purchase, and for more information.

Among the items in Staples Players’ silent auction: 2 tickets to next September’s Tony Awards.


Yesterday’s Roundup story about this Saturday’s Police Department food drive neglected to mention an important detail: It takes place at Stop & Shop. Here’s the story again — with apologies:

The Westport Police Department and TEAM Westport are sponsoring a Thanksgiving food drive this Saturday (November 13, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.. Stop & Shop). All donations support Homes with Hope’s Gillespie Center and food pantry, and Westports Human Services Department.

Westport Police officers and volunteers will collect non-perishable food items and cash. Suggested items include canned meats, tuna, salmon, Spam, canned cranberries, boxed stuffing, canned yams, canned corn, canned gravy, pasta, and sauces, chili, hot and cold cereal, canned fruit, canned and dry soups, peanut butter, jelly, mac and cheese, rice, granola bars, pancake mix, syrup and mayonnaise.

Earlier this year, after another drive, Westport Police and Homes with Hope volunteers delivered food to the Gillespie Center, across from police headquarters.


This morning’s feature story on new 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker notes that she’ll be sworn in this coming Monday — along with other town boards and commissions — and that the Representative Town Meeting swearing-in would be the following day.

Late last night, it was decided that the entire swearing-in ceremony — including RTM — will take place on Monday. Mark your calendar: November 15, 7:30 p.m., Town Hall auditorium). The public is invited.

(For officials who cannot make the Monday evening event, there will be brief swearing-in ceremonies on Monday and Tuesday, both at 4:30 p.m. on the Town Hall steps.)

Jen Tooker (left) and Andrea Moore, Westport’s new selectwomen, will be sworn in — along with all town boards, commissions and RTM members — on Monday night.


June Rose Whittaker and Karen Weingarten are frequent contributors to “06880”‘s Saturday morning online art gallery. Readers love their photography.

So do the Y’s Men. They recently awarded prizes to the duo, in the annual Y’s Men’s Camera Club hoto Contest.

Weingarten earned 1st and 2nd place honors. Whittaker snagged a second.

All photos are on display at the Senior Center. Congratulations to all!

June Rose Whittaker’s photo.


Westporter Janet LaReau died suddenly on Tuesday at Yale New Haven Hospital. She was 58 years old.

The Bridgeport native enjoyed spending time with her grandchildren, walks on the beach with her husband Edward Luciano, and Sunday dinners with her family. They describe her as selfless, loving, and someone who always went out of her way to help others.

In addition to her husband, survivors include her mother, Antoinette LaReau of Stratford; son Robert Battey of Phoenix; daughters Janet Dziekonski (Thomas) of Westport, Rebecca Sampieri (Kenneth) of Shelton, LeAnn Battey of Westport, Michele Caggiano (Amanda) of Stamford, Rita Luettger (Cody) of Arlington, Virginia, and Laura Battey of Stratford; brothers David LaReau and Jeffrey LaReau, both of Stratford; sister Nancy Tomasco of Stratford, CT and grandchildren Santino, Jayen, Daniel and Abigail.

A funeral is set for Saturday (November 13, 11 a.m., Assumption Church) for a Mass of Christian Burial. Interment will follow in Willowbrook Cemetery. The family will receive friends in the Harding Funeral Home on Friday from 4 to 8 p.m.

Click here to leave online condolences. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital (501 St. Jude Place Memphis, TN 38105).

Janet LaReau


Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo shows our town at its absolute best.

If anyone ever asks why we live here, just show Wendy Crowther’s image — shot yesterday — of Winslow Park.

(Photo/Wendy Crowther)


And finally … today is Veterans Day. Please take time to think of every man and woman who has ever served this country. We would not be the nation we are, without them!