Tag Archives: myTeam Triumph

Roundup: Y & Ukraine, Descendants, myTeamTriumph …

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The world knows Lindsay Czarniak as a Fox Sports anchor and reporter.

Westporters know her as our neighbor.

Westport Weston Family YMCA members know her as a fellow cardio fitness class member. Instructor Ashlee Grieb is a longtime friend.

The other day, Lindsay posted a story to her 180,000 Instagram followers. She described how Ashlee introduced a song requested by Jane Laska, a fellow group member.

Jane came to the US from Ukraine years ago, as an exchange student. She fell in love with a man from Alabama, and married him. They live here now, where she’s raising a family.

But her own family, and many friends, remain in Ukraine.

Ashlee then played a song — “Good Evening, We Are From Ukraine” — as a way to support Jane. And she added her own choreography.

It was a special moment, for Ashlee and Jane.

It was special enough for Lindsay to post about it. It already has over 10,000 likes. Click below to see for yourself. (Hat tip: Julie Maciejewski)

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Didn’t get a chance to see “Descendants: The Musical”?

Staples Players’ lively musical has 3 more dates: tomorrow (Friday, April 8, 7:30 p.m.) and Saturday (April 9, 3 and 7:30 p.m.). Click here for tickets, and more information.

Not sure about it? Need a little push?

Disney executives came to Westport during rehearsals. Staples is piloting the show, and they wanted to see it in action.

They brought a camera crew. The teenage actors and tech crew were eager to talk about the show’s message — and its energy.

The result is a sizzling sizzle reel. Click below to see:

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Speaking of live theater, here’s a message to the woman sitting next to me at last night’s powerful Westport Country Playhouse performance of “Next to Normal”:

Unless you’re waiting for a kidney, there’s no need to check email messages on your phone in the middle of a show.

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It was Staples Day yesterday, when Middlebury and Union faced each other in a college baseball game.

Both starting pitchers were former Wrecker teammates: Justin Lessing for the Panthers, Harry Azadian for the Dutchmen. George Goldstein also pitched, for Middlebury.

George got the victory, 7-5. But the real winner was Staples baseball.

George Goldstein (Photo/David Goldstein)

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In a town filled with volunteer opportunities, myTeamTriumph stands out.

The program pairs children, teens and adults with disabilities (“captains”) with volunteers (“angels”) who help them participate in triathlons and road races. In those events, everyone truly is a winner.

The next big event is the Westport Young Woman’s League’s Minute Man 10K and 5K Runs, and 5K Walk, on April 30.

MyTeamTriumph always looks for more captains (special needs athletes). They’re also short of angels (volunteer runners). This is their first time participating in the Minute Man.

They’re excited to provide an opportunity for people with special needs (and their families) to have increased visibility, and be involved in a great community event.

There is no cost. Angels can be any ability of runner or jogger.

Captains and angels can click here to sign up. MyTeamTriumph will take care of race registration.

Questions? Email kziebell@myteamtriumph-ct.org. For more information on myTeamTriumph, click here.

Sami Leskin, racing with myTeamTriumph in the 2018 Westport Triathlon.

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The Westport Library’s Spring Book Sale returns soon.

From April 29 through May 2, thousands of “gently used” books, in over 40 categories of fiction and non-fiction, for children and adults, plus antiquarian volumes, CDs and DVDs, will be on sale (and cheap!) in the Library.

Of special interest this year:

  • Vintage matchbooks from around the country
  • Antique photographs and daguerreotypes
  • Psychology texts for the practitioner
  • Large selection of books in German and Czechoslovakian
  • Many “Great Courses” DVDs.

Vinyl records (and of course more books) are available across Jesup Green, at the Westport Book Shop.

Admission is free, though there’s a special “early bird” admission on Friday, April 29 (8 to 9 a.m.; click here for tickets, beginning April 18 at 9 a.m.).

For exact times and more information, click here. To volunteer to help, click here or email volunteers@westportbooksales.org.

Can’t make it? Shop 24/7 on the book sale’s online store, or at their new eBay store.

Westport LIbrary Book Sale.

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In June, 22 Staples High School students will graduate with high honors. The distinction goes to those with a GPA in the top 4% of the graduating class.

Principal Stafford Thomas says, “This class is extremely talented. The most
astonishing aspect is that these students were involved in a number of
extracurricular activities and various aspects of school life which took a great deal of time, focus and concentration outside of the classroom as well.

We were lucky to have had them for 4 years, and we will no doubt hear about their next great achievements in the years to come.”

High honor graduates include: Emma Alcyone, Natalie Bandura, Gregory Beal, Zachary Bishop, Michael Brody, Oliver Clachko, Sabrina Didner, Erin Durkin, Matthew Genser, Alexandra Maskoff, Aidan Mermagen, Gabriella Messenger,
Tessa Moore, Luke Morelli, Chloe Nevas, Emma Nordberg, Talia Perkins, Finn Popken, Ishan Prasad, Jessica Qi, Allison Schwartz and Julian Weng.

Staples High School principal Stafford Thomas (back row, far left) and assistant principal Chase Dunlap (back row, far right), with Class of 2022 high honors graduates.

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Though dogs are banned for the spring and summer at Compo Beach, they’re still welcome at Sherwood Island — but only through April 14.

Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo shows a bit of canine joy at Connecticut’s first state park.

(Photo/Cathy Malkin)

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And finally … people of a certain age knew him as a smooth-voiced, good-looking pop singer in the pre-Beatles days. He had 19 Billboard Top 40 hits,.

People of a younger age knew his name only because it was a fictional high school in “Grease.”

He was Bobby Rydell. He died Tuesday near Philadelphia, his longtime home, from complications of pneumonia. He was 79. Click here for a full obituary.

Roundup: MyTeamTriumph; Old Mill; Mr. Woods’ History; More


COVID has hit MyTeam Triumph hard. The great program pairs children, teens and adults with disabilities (“captains”) with volunteers (“angels”) who help them participate in triathlons and road races. But close physical contact during the crisis is forbidden.

So the Westport chapter has created a new event. On Sunday, July 12, at any time between 4 and 5 p.m. captains are invited to the Charles Street railroad station parking lot across from Mystic Market.

They, their families and caregivers can drive, walk or run through the lot. MyTeam Triumph angels will line both sides, honking and cheering — and remaining socially distant.

There’s a special gift for captains too, at the end.

For more information, click here or email tehrlich@myTeamTriumph-ct.org.


The newest beach beautification project is a joint effort between Parks & Rec, and local residents.

Old Mill neighbors LaVonne and Lynn Kramer (shown with grandson Cooper) and the town teamed up to add flowers at the Old Mill Beach entrance. They’ll maintain them together too.


North Woods graduated from Staples High School in 2015, then from Indiana University 4 years later with an honors degree in history.

That doesn’t always pay the bills. So — with a minor in French, and a longtime passion for the culture — he landed a teaching position with France’s Ministry of Education.

He spent the last 9 months teaching in Le Puy en Veley. While waiting out the pandemic there, he started listening to podcasts.

North loves both history and talking. So he created a podcast: “Mr. Woods’ History 101.”

He’s recorded 12 episodes so far. Topics range from the Tour de France and American flag to Nazi uniforms. The most recent topic: the Statue of Liberty.

Click here to listen.

North Woods


And finally … what goes up must come down. That includes the number of COVID cases, for sure. Wear your mask!

Walk, Run & Roll Is A True Team Triumph

The 5k Walk, Run & Roll is one of the greatest fundraisers of the year.

Over 800 men, women and children flock to Sherwood Island to raise money for STAR — the local organization that supports people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, through job training, scholarships and enrichment programs.

But some of the folks most impacted by STAR have not been able to take part in an endurance event.

This year’s 13th annual Walk, Run & Roll — set for Sunday, May 6 (Sherwood Island State Park, 10 a.m.) — solves that problem. And it does so in an ingenious, inclusive way.

STAR has partnered with myTeam Triumph — an athletic ride-along program for children, teens and adults (including veterans) with disabilities. These “captains” are fitted with a safe, comfortable specialized racing chair. They’re joined by “angels,” who fundraise for, run alongside and guide them through the race.

This Sunday’s event — the first for the state chapter — includes well-known Westport captains Wyatt Davis, Jenna Herbst and Stefan Esposito, plus Weston’s Jonathan Piazza.

Stefan Esposito and his brother Christophe, on a training run.

Westporter Curtis Lueker — myTeam Triumph Connecticut chapter founder — will join over 2 dozen members in the run.

“This is all about inclusion,” he says. “Our angels and volunteers get to know the captains. They spend time during training runs, and hanging out. The captains and the families are the stars.”

During the week, Lueker is head of commercial markets for a private New York bank. But his passion is endurance racing, and giving back to his community.

He raced short distance from 1999 to 2013, when he moved to Westport. He joined Total Training & Endurance, and has completed 2 Ironman races, plus 50K and 50-mile trail runs. His 3rd Ironman is this July.

Fifteen years ago, after struggling to complete his first short-distance triathlon, he saw a father and disabled son race together in a longer distance triathlon. When he saw them again on HBO Sports, they became his heroes.

Lueker later found Team Triumph, and formed Connecticut’s chapter.

His involvement has given him great insights, he says. His 3 young kids — all of whom will join him on Sunday — get it too.

“We live in an amazing town with many luxuries,” he says. “We lead lives that many would die to have. Yet we complain about our commute, our job, the lunches served at school. Meeting captains and their families with real challenges really puts things into perspective.

“I’ve also seen how people with disabilities often don’t feel included in the community. MyTeam Triumph can’t solve that issue. But we can make an impact.”

(A 1K route is suitable for walkers, strollers, wheelchairs and baby joggers. The 5K race includes  prizes for the top finishers in each age group. Attendees enjoy a continental breakfast, live music, arts and crafts, kids’ fun bus, face painting, balloon sculpting, yard games and lunch. To register to run, walk or stroll, or donate to an existing team, click hereFor more information on myTeam Triumph, click here, email clueker@myteamtriumph-ct.org, or call 646-330-1235.)