Tag Archives: Senior Center

Roundup: Absentee Ballots, Leaf Dumping, Comedy …

Election Day is Tuesday (November 7).

To be ready, the town clerk’s office (Room 105, Town Hall) will be open this Saturday (November 4), from 8:30 to 11 a.m., to issue absentee ballots.

They will also be available Monday (November 6), until 4:30 p.m.

All absentee ballots must be returned to the Town Clerk’s office no later than 8 p.m. on Election Day.


Speaking of Tuesday’s election:

Yesterday’s “06880” story on Board of Education write-in candidate Jill Dillon noted one particular challenge: educating voters on how to do it.

Several readers wondered how.

There are 2 steps: fill in bubble 5E, 6E or 7E (under “Board of Education”; then write in “Jill Dillon.” (“Dillon,” “J Dillon” and “Jill D” are also acceptable.)

Sample ballot for a write-in candidate.


It’s leaf season. And time to remind Westporters that dumping leaves and debris in a wetland or watercourse is illegal.

Several leaf disposal options are available to Westport residents. One is to compost leaves in the back yard within a fenced area or a composting receptacle, located at least 20 feet away from any wetland or watercourse. Click here for details.

Another option for Westport residents with a valid sticker: Deliver collected leaves to the yard waste site at 180 Bayberry Lane, behind the Aspetuck Health District (no plastic bags).

The yard waste site is open Monday through Saturday, 7 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.  Also, the Department of Public Works begins curbside leaf collection on November 6.

For more information about leaf removal or the yard waste site, call the Department of Public Works: 203-341-1120. For more information on wetlands or composting, call the Conservation Department: 203-341-1170.

Compost, don’t dump!


Before leaving Halloween in the now-November dust: Here’s one last look back at last night, from Gorham Avenue:

(Photo/Jamie Walsh)


Everyone needs to laugh.

Especially these days.

This weekend, the Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Westport offers 3 evenings of 4 one-act comedies.

The UU Players present the uplifting shows on Friday and Saturday, November 3 and 4, 7:30 p.m.) and Sunday, November 5 (2 p.m.). The suggested donation of $20 will be collected at the door.

“Miss You” explores the tangled webs we weave with the aid of telephones. “Baby Food” and “Crazy Eights” highlight the extreme and bizarre lengths people go to to get what they want. “Sure Thing” proves that connections are all about timing.

For more information, click here.


It just got easier for seniors to use technology.

A $10,000 grant from AT&T to Friends of the Westport Center for Senior Activities will be used purchase connected devices, and to support technology instruction programs (including workshops conducted by high school students).

For example, new iPads will allow the Senior Center to offer regular classes focusing on computer skills like navigating the internet, scam awareness, video conferencing with family members, and more.

Displaying a new tablet (front row, from left):  Diane Bosch and Marsha Darmory, co-presidents of Friends of the Senior Center; rear:  Harry Carey, AT&T director of external affairs’ Wendy Petty, Senior Center director; State Representative Jonathan Steinberg.


Speaking of the Senior Center: Here’s how a few folks looked yesterday:

(Photo/Bob Weingarten)

No, it’s not their normal look. It was Halloween, and they posed behind the pumpkin contest entrants. (The winner was #2 (hidden), courtesy of Jason Wilson.

It just goes to show: You’re never too old to dress up for this holiday.


Tickets go on sale today for Coleytown Company’s music revue, “Pure Imagination”. Songs from Broadway Junior musicals include “Seussical,” “Shrek The Musical,” “Beauty and the Beast” and “Frozen.”

Launching a new format this fall, the group of professionals leading the production broadened the cast to include students in all three grades (6-8). Veterans and newcomers bring their singing and dancing talents to the stage.

Performances are Thursday, November 16 (6 p.m.) and Friday, November 17 (7 p.m.). For more information and tickets, click here.

Getting ready for “Pure Imagination.”


Westport Book Shop hosts a children’s book reading and signing of “Bradford’s Walk” == with author Denis O’Neill and illustrator Cyrus Quadland this Saturday (November 4, 10:30 a.m.).

As any parent of a Bradford fan knows, the tale follows the adventures of a lovable brown dog, set against the backdrop of, yes, Westport.  It captures the simple pleasures of daily walks that everyone relates to.

Denis is a Westport native, and has lived here for 6 decades.

. Space is limited. RSVP by email or by phone (203-349-5141).


Speaking of children: Every kid needs a pet.

Every adult too.

This Saturday (November 4, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.), William Pitt Sotheby’s (199 Post Road East hosts an event to benefit Westport Animal Shelter Advocates, PAWS and Hopalong Hollow Rabbit Rescue.

There will be available-for-adoption furry friends to meet (no on-site adoptions, though).

There’s also a raffle with donations from restaurants, merchants and animal service providers (plus New York Yankees merch). Food trucks will feed hungry humans.

For additional information, call 203 557 0361.

One of the dogs that will be at William Pitt Sotheby’s on Saturday.


The Short Cuts Film Festival returns to the Westport Library on Thursday, November 9 (7 p.m.).

Six short narrative films will be screened, on the state-of-the-art 18-foot video wall.

Curated from the Tribeca Film Festival, Short Cuts showcases current trends in filmmaking. Selected films are a diverse cross-section of stories and perspectives, including one animated short.

“Fourteen years ago, when we began Short Cuts, it was difficult to find films directed by women, people of color, or LGBTQ communities,” says producer Nancy Diamond.

“Now filmmakers of all genders, cultures and life choices abound. Short Cuts brings these award-winning short films to you.” Click here for details on the 6 films.

Following the screenings, Olivia Shapiro, Let Liv writer and actor, will join Diamond on-stage for a conversation. Questions will be taken from the audience.

Tickets are $26.50; click here to purchase. Refreshments and popcorn will be served.


It’s just a coincidence, but Aspetuck Land Trust’s next “Lunch and Learn” — the noontime webinar series — is about food.

Expert forager and author Russ Cohen hosts “Wild Plants I Have Known and Eaten” (November 10, noon to 1:30 p.m.).

He’ll featuring at least 2 dozen species of native edible wild plants suitable for adding to your landscape, or nibbling on when you find them. Click here for more information, and to register.

Russ Cohen, with wild plants.


Remember Saturday’s beautiful, midsummer-like weather?

Pat Auber was at Compo Beach (with hordes of others), to enjoy it.

Also having fun: many unleashed dogs (in the leash-only area). She writes:

“This Animal Control officer policed the area. As he said, ‘it’s like putting my finger in a dike.’

“This is not the off-leash area!” a security officer explains. (Photo/Pat Auber)

“Dog owners: We don’t love your dogs off leash sniffing our toes and eating our food, like you seem to think we do.

“Westport is kind enough to offer a leash off area. Respect it! So thank you to this security gentleman, who managed this and made for a pleasant experience for all.”


“06880” has posted plenty of images of Sherwood Mill Pond, from many angles.

But today’s “Westport … Naturally” offers a perspective we rarely see:

(Photo/Clarence Hayes)


And finally … Aaron Spears, a Grammy-nominated drummer who played with Usher, Ariana Grande and many other major pop stars, died recently. He was 47.

Click here for a full obituary.

(If you enjoy our daily Roundups, please know: The stories are short, but they take a ton of effort. Please support our work, with a tax-deductible contribution. Click here — and thank you!)


Roundup: Turkey Quake, Tailgate Party, Casket …

George and Libya Kocadag moved to Westport years ago, from Turkey. Many Westporters know him as one of the friendliest members of the very friendly Trader Joe’s staff. She shares her wonderful baked goods, yogurt and hummus with everyone (those great raspberry cookies at Layla’s Falafel are hers).

Libya’s family lives in Samandag, Turkey, not far from the center of the recent earthquake. In the aftermath of the devastation — with lives lost and houses destroyed — the Kocadags are asking for help.

She set up a GoFundMe page. The goal is $20,000. All money will go directly to Samandag. Click here to contribute. (Hat tip: Danielle Teplica)

A small part of the devastation in Turkey and Syria.


Whether you’re rooting for Kansas City or Philadelphia, or have no idea who’s playing: Everyone is invited to tomorrow’s Super Bowl tailgate party (Sunday, February 12, 12:30 to 4 p.m.).

It’s at the Senior Center — but all ages are welcome. The afternoon includes hot dogs, spring rolls, chips and cake, and a guess-the-score contest.

Former director Sue Pfister will be honored, along with the state champion Staples High School girls soccer and boys lacrosse teams. The Staples cheerleaders will be there too.

The only thing missing: the game. Kickoff is 6:30 p.m. — 2 hours after the party ends.


The Post Road East log pile has been an object of fascination and fear for drivers near Roseville Road.

It’s also the subject of litigation, brought by the town.

At least now there’s something interesting to look at, besides high towers that look like they could collapse and spill into the roadway.

Several colorful wood carvings recently appeared. Their back story is unknown.

And — like the log piles themselves — the saga continues.

(Photo and hat tip/Stacie Curran)


Another odd Post Road East sight: a casket.

For a few weeks, it’s been spotted amid the “stuff” near Goodwill and the  Westport Tennis Club.

(Photo and hat tip: Eric Bosch)

The Post Road is not the prettiest street. But at least we’ve got some interesting things to see, as we drive by.


Spiders and moths and wasps, oh my!

“Little Things Run the World” — and that’s the subject of the next Aspetuck Land Trust free seminar.

“Insects with Benefits: Pollination and Pest Control” is the sub-head of the Wednesday, February 15 event (1 to 4 p.m.).

ALT says: “Learn about the most important part of our web of life, and be inspired to make your yard more welcoming for them. Without our insects, the web of life comes apart. Love our spiders, moths and wasps from the comfort of your home.”

Click here to register, and for more information. (NOTE: The 3 previous sessions were recorded. All are available with registration.)


Registration is now open for the CT Challenge. The July 29 bike ride — with distances of 10, 25, 40, 62, 100 and virtual — raises funds for the local non-profit Mission. They help 16.9 million cancer survivors in Connecticut and throughout the US rebuild, improve and prolong their lives through exercise, nutrition, mind-body health and community-building support programs.

Click here to register. Click here for more information on the CT Challenge.


Staples High School offers courses in Spanish, French, German, Italian, Latin and Mandarin.

All will join in, to celebrate World Language Week. Among the events:

The cafeteria will serve themed dishes, and promote international cuisine.

Students are invited to wear t-shirts or sweatshirts supporting the language they’re studying (for example, sports teams, international universities, and souvenir shirts from abroad).

Music will play in a variety of languages before school, during the 5 minutes of passing time, and immediately after school ends.

Students will make morning announcements, in the languages they’re taking.

The library will display world language literature, art and more, and will host international karaoke and a trivia competition.

The “Connections” period will feature trivia games, video links, and basic conversational instruction.


Students studying Italian will celebrate World Language Week.


Today’s intriguing “Westport … Naturally” photo comes from Greens Farms, courtesy of Joanna Sierakowska. You never know …

(Photo/Jenna Sierakowska)


And finally … the recent death from lung cancer of David Harris — the journalist who went to jail for refusing the draft during Vietnam, and encouraged others to do the same — brought to mind the song Joan Baez wrote for and about him. They were married at the time; he had just been sentenced to 3 years in prison. (Click here for a full obituary.)

(To celebrate World Language Week [story above], please consider a donation of euros, pounds, yuans — or dollars — to “06880.” Just click here — and thank you!)

Roundup: Candlelight, Sue Pfister, Black Plastic …

The Staples High School Music Department celebrated the holiday season last night with its 82nd annual Candlelight Concert.

It was stunning.

The choral symphonic and jazz ensembles awed the full auditorium with their voices and musicianship. The program — from the traditional, lovely “Sing We Noel” through the stunning “Nutcracker Suite,” rousing “Jubilate Deo” and clever production number, to the powerful “Home Alone Suite” and rousing “Hallelujah Chorus” finale — was both proof that our town’s young artists are very alive, quite well (and superbly well-trained), and that even in times of uncertainty and division, all can be right in Westport.

Thanks to all who produced and participated in last night’s Candlelight. Two more (sold-out) concerts continue today.

The “Sing We Noel” processional. (Photo/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)


It’s still hard to believe Sue Pfister is retiring.

The beloved Senior Center director has spent 36 years serving Westport with plenty of kindness, tons of care and tremendous competence.

The town gets a chance to say goodbye and share memories on Wednesday, December 28. An open house (1:30 to 4:30 p.m.) is set for her beloved Senior Center.

Can’t make it? Drop in virtually. Just click here; the passcode is “retirement.”

And once again: Thank you, Sue!

Sue Pfister


Did you know that black plastic can’t be recycled?*

So what can you do?

Bring your washed, clean, black plastic takeout food containers (and matching lids) to the Westport Farmers’ Market the next 2 Thursdays (December 22 and 29, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Gilbertie’s Herbs & Garden Center, 7 Sylvan Lane).

Food containers will be used by Fridgeport Outdoor Food Pantry to repackage large trays of donated prepared foods into smaller portions for people facing food insecurity. Many recipients reuse the containers many times over.

The event is co-sponsored by Sustainable Westport and Food Rescue CT

*Why can’t black plastic be recycled? Optical sorting systems used to sort recycling cannot identify it as “plastic.” When black plastic is placed incorrectly with other items it contaminates the overall recycling stream reducing its value. In addition, black plastic has a hazardous level of toxins that increase in the recycling center. So whenever you can: Refuse or reuse black plastic!


¡Felicidades! to José “Feliz Navidad” Feliciano and his wife Susan.

The longtime Weston residents are the proud grandparents of twin grandsons. Their daughter Melissa and her husband Charles announce the birth of Theodore “Theo” Jose and Beau William Erickson.

They arrived 5 weeks early, weighing 3.13 and 6.02 pounds respectively.

They’re home and thriving, with Theo coming home on his mother’s birthday.

José and Susan say: “The Feliciano and Erickson families are blessed, and thrilled beyond words. So many prayers offered by so many good and loving people … we are incredibly grateful.”

Proud grandparents Jose and Susan Feliciano.


The bar for our Entitled Parkers feature is extremely high. Usually, someone hogging 2 spaces won’t make the cut. “06880” readers demand something even more egregious: 3 spaces perhaps, or a vehicle completely covering a sidewalk.

But this Very Important Person takes today’s (Trader Joe’s) cake.

He — and you know it’s a guy —

  • Takes not just 2 spots, but they’re both handicap reserved.
  • He doesn’t appear to have a handicap placard.
  • Just look at what he’s driving.


Speaking of driving: We’re not sure how this car managed to get where it is — the grass near Cabin 1 at Longshore.

But it doesn’t hurt to remind everyone: Be careful out there.

(Photo/Andrew Colabella)

Andrew Colabella — who was driving (carefully) by — reports that the driver was okay.


Westport Sunrise Rotary’s guest speaker yesterday was Lexi Shereshewsky.

Founder and Executive Director of the Azraq Education and Community Fund (formerly The Syria Fund) — a non-profit providing education programs and hands-on humanitarian aid to Syrian refugees and other vulnerable families living in Jordan — she’s no stranger to the group. Sunrise Rotary is a longtime supporter.

Lexi Shereshewsky and Rick Jaffe, past president of Westport Sunrise Rotary.


Thursday was wet and windy.

But on Friday — yesterday morning — our Public Works crew was out early, cleaning Compo Beach.

It’s the kind of thing most people don’t notice, on a December weekday.

But Sunil Hirani did.  Here’s his photo:

(Photo/Sunil HIrani)

Thanks to all the often-unseen workers, who make this town what it is.


Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo shows Friday’s nasty weather, as seen at Compo Beach.

The weekend forecast is nicer: partly cloudy skies today, sunny tomorrow. Temperatures will be in the high 30s and low 40s.

It’s a great time to get your shopping done. Or head to the beach.

(Photo/Sunil Hirani)


And finally … we don’t have video of last night’s “Candlelight Concert” (copyright issues prevent its recording and posting).

But here’s a wonderful version of one of its centerpieces, performed by a community choral ensemble in South Carolina:

Roundup: Politics, Trees, Music …

Candidates for State Senate and House seats squared off yesterday, at the Westport Library. The debate was sponsored by the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce. Chamber director Matthew Mandell moderated.

Among the main topics: reproductive rights and affordable housing.

Candidates at yesterday’s Westport Library event. (Photo/Dave Matlow)


Bob Weingarten reports on the latest tree-cutting: He estimates more than a dozen have been felled at 31 Turkey Hill Road South, “and more” to come.

(Photo/Bob Weingarten)


Fall is in full force. But the Westport Farmers’ Market plows on in its summer location — the Imperial Avenue parking lot —  every Thursday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

They’ll be there another month, through November 10.

In addition to vendors with seasonal vegetables and fruits, meat, milk, cheese, seafood, baked goods, prepared foods (plus knife, scissors and tool sharpening), the Farmers’ Market hosts different musicians each week.

Tomorrow (October 20), hear Picnic on the 4th of July. Guitars, banjo, harmonica, washboard and vocals offer “new grass” music – songs with a bluegrass twist. The band includes Westporters Louis Fuertes and Pat Blaufuss.

Picnic on the 4th of July band members (from left): Martin Daniels, Jeff Carroll, Pat Blaufuss, Louis Fuertes. (Photo /Lynda Carroll)


Westport Country Playhouse has added a 5th play — the comedy of manners “The Cocktail Hour” by A. R. (Pete) Gurney, to its 2023 seaso

“Pete Gurney has been a Playhouse audience favorite for many decades,” says WCP artistic director Mark Lamos, who will direct the show.

“My long association and friendship with him, both at the Playhouse and Off-Broadway, makes me happy to be reunited with his work.”

For more information on the 2023 season, including tickets, click here.

Westport Country Playhouse (Photo/Lynn U. Miller)


Several dozen Westporters received flu shots yesterday, at the Senior Center.

The event was sponsored by the Aspetuck Health District. The Fire Department’s Rescue 3 unit was on hand to help.

Getting ready for flu season. (Photo/Molly Alger)


Sherwood Mill Pond presents ever-changing scenes — perfect for “Westport … Naturally.”

This morning, Matt Murray spotted egrets in the fog:

(Photo/Matt Murray)


And finally … Peter Tosh was born today in 1944. From 1963 to 1976 he, Bob Marley and Bunny Wailer were the heart of the reggae band the Wailers. He then became a successful solo artist. He was killed in 1987 during a home invasion, at age 42.


(“06880” is your hyper-local blog. Please click here to add your support.)

Photo Challenge #404

Last week’s Photo Challenge drew the fewest number of guesses ever.


That’s right — just one reader offered a stab at where the etching of a tree, with clasped hands underneath, hung. (Click here to see.)

Susan Iseman was the lone one. Fortunately, she was right. It’s at the Senior Center, on Imperial Avenue.

I know that many Senior Center-goers read “06880.” All I can guess is that in last Sunday’s beautiful weather, they were all out playing pickleball, taking walks, going to Mark Naftalin’s blues concert at the Library, or doing a zillion other things besides sitting around trying to figure out the Photo Challenge.

Perhaps this week’s will engage more readers. So if you know where in Westport you’d find this, click “Comments” below.

(Photo/Tammy Barry)

(Here’s another challenge: Please support “06880.” Click here to help.)

Photo Challenge #389

Fred Born died.

Then his son donated a flagpole in his memory to the Senior Center.

A plaque at the base describes the longtime member as a “boatsman, machinist, story teller and Gentleman with a never-ending smile.”

It’s a wonderful plaque. However, no one ever sees it.

The only “06880” reader to correctly identify last week’s Photo Challenge was Susan Pfister. And she should know: She’s the director of the Senior Center. (Click here for the image; scroll down for the several wrong guesses.)

For this week’s challenge, you have to look up — not down. If you know where in Westport you’d see this, click “Comments” below.

NOTE: It’s not obscure. You just have to know where to look.

(Photo/Sally Galan)

(“06880” relies entirely on reader donations. Please click here to help.)

Roundup: Green Acre Teardown, Tax Help, Ukraine Aid …


Westport teardowns happen so often, they’re not news.

This one might be.

A 5,400-square foot, 5-bedroom, 4 1/2-bathroom 1930 Tudor at 36 Green Acre Lane — well known by visitors to nearby Haskins Preserve — will be demolished soon. A 180-day waiting period set by the Historic District Commission has expired.

Westport Journal reports that property was sold in 2020 for $2,570,000. 

36 Green Acre Lane will be demolished soon.


Who you gonna believe?

The sign on Jersey Mike’s says “Permanently Closed.” A couple of screen shots on social media show the Westport location as “Temporarily Closed for Renovation.” The app and website list it along with all the others as open.

Meanwhile, the phone rings there, but no one answers.


It’s late March. April 15 — Tax Day — is closer than you think.

Help is closer than you think too — at least, for preparing your forms.

No-cost, full-service tax preparation assistance is available, with special attention to seniors and low- to moderate-income households.

The program — offered by Westport’s Department of Human Services, through VITA/IRS volunteers — includes both personal counseling by appointment at Town Hall and the Senior Center, and virtually through a secure website.

Counseling at Town Hall is available Mondays (1 to 6 p.m.) and the Senior Center (Wednesdays, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursdays from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m.). Appointments are required; call 860-590-8910.

Click here for the virtual option.

The free Tax Assistance Program is available to all individual filers regardless of income or age. Last year, more than 5,000 returns were prepared and filed – almost all electronically – by the counselor group that services Westport. Federal refunds totaling $4,500,000 were received by clients..


Staples High School Class of 1972 graduates Tom McCann and his wife Mary-Jo Birtwell McCann live on Nantucket now.

But they’re helping Ukraine relief efforts. And they invite Westporters to participate.

For the past 10 days, Mary-Jo shopped and shipped for items to send to 2 refugee centers in Poland. Next week, Tom and 4 others from the island will head to those centers, to assist personally.

Financial support is needed for the mission. Venmo this link, or send a check to: Tom McCann, 35 Hummock Pond Road, Nantucket, MA 02554.


Speaking of Ukraine: Steve Taranko reports that a recent shipment of tourniquets — donated by generous Westporters and others — has arrived overseas.

Unfortunately, they’re desperately needed.

Tourniquets in Ukraine. (Photo courtesy of Steve Taranko)


Bob Knoebel — longtime Westport YMCA aquatics director and Water Rats coach — now lives in Idaho. The other day, he traveled east and visited with his own Staples High School swim coach from 51 years ago, Bruce Gardiner.

Bruce is retired, after a long career as director of admissions at Lehigh University. Bob posted a photo on Facebook, adding: “Thanking you properly for being a fantastic coach, and apologizing for the awkward, tongue-tied thank you I delivered at the banquet as team captain in 1971.”

Bob Knoebel (left) and Bruce Gardiner, at Lehigh University.

Bob also sends along an update on his godson Enrique, profiled 4 years ago on “06880”:

He’s graduating from Bates College in May with a double major in economics and Latin American studies, and landed a job at First Republic Bank in San Francisco.

In the Small World Department: He worked remotely from campus this year for native Westporters and Water Rats David and Danny Platow who are at a New York branch of First Republic.

Bob had nothing to do with it, though. Enrique was linked to them by his boss, after interning for her last summer in San Francisco.


Staples just wrapped up a very successful World Language Week.

Each day began with music related to the Language of the Day — Spanish, French, German, Italian, Latin and Mandarin. Morning announcements (including the Pledge of Allegiance) were made by students, in the language of the day.

Language clubs raised awareness — and funds for less fortunate youngsters in other countries.

The Italian Club, for example, collected $400 for at-risk youths in Napoli. The club  also offered Italian pins, bracelets, lanyards and Italian goodie bags. Grazie! (Hat tip: Bruno Guiduli)

Italian Club members outside the Staples cafeteria, with goodies (from left): Luca Caniato, Bruno Guiduli, David Sedrak, Amanda Rowan, Maisy Weber, Caroline Motyl.


In September, the Westport Unitarian Church high school youth group embarked on an intensive environmental initiative. The goal was to become more mindful of how everyday decisions profoundly affect the Earth.

That effort culminates next month in a trip to Alaska, to see the effects of climate change close up. Members hope to return both nourished by nature, and awakened to the realization that we live on an amazing planet that we often take for granted.

To help fund their trip, the youth group presents an “Afternoon of Music and Laughter.” It’s this Sunday (March 27, 2 p.m., both in-person at the Unitarian Church and via Zoom). The program includes vocal music, classical piano and guitar, comedy routines and more.

Tickets are $25 each. They’re available at the door, and online (click here).

Unitarian Church high school youth group.


Thomas Howard, a well-respected economist, lifelong adventurer and Westport resident, died last week while mountaineering in the Adirondacks.  He was 63.

His family says, “Many will remember him for his deep morality, thoughtfulness, loving nature, intellectual capacity, generosity, and playful sense of humor.”

He was born in 1958 in Richmond, Virginia. At both the Highgate School in London and Hopkins School in New Haven he was an avid track and cross country runner, at one point setting the 10K record in Britain for his age group.

At Dartmouth College he studied math under John Kemeny. and became his teaching assistant. He completed an honors thesis exploring the equations and logic required to teach computers to talk. He earned a doctorate in economics from Yale University, where he expanded on an interest in econometrics and completed a dissertation on employment uncertainty under advisor Robert Shiller.

During his 40-plus year career Tom worked as a computer programmer for the Pentagon, a macroeconomist for Fuji Bank, and a consultant for Arthur D. Little and PIRA Energy. He was skilled in forecasting, econometrics, data analysis, and formulating options trading strategies. Other employers included Louis Dreyfus, Statoil and, most recently, the Department of Defense.

Tom was an accomplished mountaineer and hiker. He spent over 40 years climbing some of the most challenging mountains on the globe: ascending Mt. McKinley, Mt. Huascaran in Peru and Xixabangma Peak in the Himalayas, to name a few. He hiked the 273-mile Long Trail in Vermont and the entirety of the 2,000-mile Appalachian Trail, from Maine to Georgia. In October 2021 he crossed the entire White Mountain Presidential Range in one day. Tom aspired to climb the second-highest mountain on all 7 continents. Hw finished the first part of this journey when he scaled Mt. Kenya in the fall of 2021.

Tom is survived by his wife, Zhu Zhang Howard (Julie), and daughters Gwendolyn and Madison Howard. He met Julie while working in New York; they married in 1993, and moved to Westport in 1997. He is also survived by his siblings Margaret Paar of Niantic; James Elbert of Wallingford; Amy Howard Chase of New Rochelle, New York; Mary Howard of Branford; Martha Howard of Guilford, and Emily Howard of Washington, DC, plus many nieces and nephews.

Visitation hours at the Courtyard Marriott, 474 Main Street, Norwalk will be tomorrow (Friday, March 25, 5-8 p.m.). A Funeral Mass will be held Saturday, (March 26, 11 a.m., St. Luke Church), and can be viewed via livestream. A reception will follow to celebrate his life. Masks are recommended.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in the name of Tom Howard to Search and Rescue of the Northern Adirondacks, benefitting search and rescue efforts in the Northern Adirondacks, or St, Luke Church.

Thomas Howard


Today is pretty gray. Two days ago, dogs romped on Compo — as our “Westport … Naturally” feature shows. Their time is limited though. On April 1, they’re banned from the beach for 6 months.

(Photo/Cathy Malkin)


And finally … in honor of Staples High’s World Language Week (story above), and the fundraising work of the school’s Italian Club, here’s a song everyone loves:

“06880” Podcast: Sue Pfister

From the time she visited her grandmother in a nursing home, Sue Pfister felt drawn to older people. She earned a social work degree, and in 1986 interned at Westport’s Senior Center.

She’s been there ever since.

The other day, Sue — now its beloved director — traveled the short distance from the Senior Center to the Westport Library’s Verso Studios. We chatted about her career path, the Center’s journey through many stops to its current beautiful home, the Center today and tomorrow, demographic trends in town, and much more.

As always, I learned a lot from Sue. You will too. Just click here and scroll down, for the latest “06880” podcast.

Screenshot of Sue Pfister

Roundup: D-I Athletes, Shoveled Sidewalk, Happy 95th …


A record-tying 13 Staples High School student-athletes signed letters of intent yesterday, to play sports at NCAA Division I schools.

Principal Stafford Thomas, athletic director Marty Lisevick praised the 12th graders. Each was introduced by his or her coach; each also thanked the many people who helped them on their journeys.

Congratulations to soccer player Gaby  Gonzalez (Cornell University); field hockey player Jess Leon (Bucknell University); baseball player JW Fitzgerald (Sacred Heart University); lacrosse players Aiden Best (Lafayette College), Gabe Chinitz (Bryant University),  McKenzie Didio and Mia Didio (both University of Delaware), Henry Dodge (University of Vermont), Charlie Howard (Boston Univesity); softball player Gabby Lantier (University of Rhode Island), tennis players Tighe Brunetti (Villanova University) and Amelia Galin (Colgate University), and track athlete Tatum Havemann (Elon University).

Staples athletic director Marty Lisevick addresses one group of D-I signees ….

… as the other group looks waits their turn.


Yesterday’s “06880” Roundup included a photo from Amy Shapiro, showing an Easton Road sidewalk near Coleytown Elementary School that was still filled with snow, 72 hours after the storm.

Shortly thereafter, she sent a follow-up shot. Lookin’ good!

(Photo/Amy Shapiro)


The Senior Center reopened for guests on Monday, after a month-long COVID hiatus.

Carl Frey was there yesterday, celebrating his 95th birthday. Welcome back, all!

Carl Frey blowing out birthday candles with (from right) his wife Iris, and Senior Center director Sue Pfister.


Baby, it’s cold it’s outside.

But the Westport Farmers’ Market‘s “Operation Warm Hug” helps vulnerable children and adults who need clothes to get through winter. This month, they hold a coat and accessories drive, to benefit Community Coat Corners of Bridgeport.

New and gently worn winter coats, scarves, hats, mittens and gloves will be accepted on Thursdays, February 10 and 17 (Gilbertie’s Herbs & Garden Center, 7 Sylvan Lane, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.).


As noted above: Yeah, it’s cold. But it’s not too early to begin thinking about summer.

Registration is already open for Camp MoCA. Weekly sessions run at the Museum of Contemporary Art Newtown Avenue campus from June 6 to August 22.

Each week includes art activities, hands-on agricultural and gardening lessons, outdoor fun and special events. Campers also engage with MoCA’s art exhibitions. The camp is led by certified art instructors.

The schedule includes a full day camp (ages 3 1/2 to 8, from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.); half day camp (same ages, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.), and an afternoon intensive art camp for ages 9 to 12 (1 to 3 p.m.). Click here for more information, or call 203-222-7070.

Fun at Camp MoCA.


The Westport Book Shop’ February guest artist is Niki Ketchman.

All month at the used book store on Jesup Road, she’s exhibiting pieces from her “Resination” series. That’s a play on words like “resonations,” “resolutions,” “renovations” and “realizations” In addition, each piece is created with resin.

Niki Ketchman and her work, at the Westport Book Shop.

The next Westport Country Playhouse Script in Hand play reading is the thriller “Murder by Misadventure,” by Edward Taylor. It’s set for a live audience on February 21 (7 p.m.) The performance will be available too for on-demand streaming at home, from February 24 to February 27.

Script in Hand play readings offer intimate storytelling, as professional actors bring the words to life without sets or costumes.

Tickets for the live event are $20. Patrons must be masked and show proof of vaccination. Tickets for on-demand streaming are $20 individual, $40 pair and $80 household. Each purchase entitles the buyer to an individual link. Click here for tickets, call(203-227-4177, or email boxoffice@westportplayhouse.org.


The Westport Astronomical Society explores Venus — from the comfort of everyone’s home.

The next free online lecture is “The DAVINCI Mission to Mars.” NASA Goddard Space Flight Center’s Dr. Giada Nichole Arney does the honors on February 15 (8 p.m.).

Click here for the Zoom link; click here for the YouTube link.


“Westport … Naturally” has featured plenty of swans. This may be the first appearance, though, of buffleheads. Matt Murray captured them — by camera, anyway — at Sherwood Mill Pond.

(Photo/Matt Murray)


And finally: It’s the Chinese New Year — the Year of the Tiger!

Roundup: Senior Center, EMS, Astrophotographers …


The Senior Center is once again open for programs. After a COVID-induced shutdown in late December, the doors were unlocked today.

Masks are required of everyone.

Pre-registration is required for all programs, including lunch. Click here for details, or call 203-341-5099.

Back in action soon — hopefully.


Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Services always needs help. Here’s your chance.

EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) and EMR (Emergency Medical Responder) classes begin March 16. They run through June 30.

They’re thorough. They’re intense. They’re also very important.

Click here for details. And thanks to all who enroll.


Most Westport Astronomical Society events take place (duh) in the dark.

But this one starts when it’s light.

WAS’ “astrophotographers” host a gallery opening next Saturday (February 5, 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.), at the GR Art Gallery (1086 Long Ridge Road, Stamford). It runs through March 26.

Prints are on sale. A portion of proceeds benefits the Astronomical Society.

Up next: “Dark Skies: The Silent Threat of Light Pollution.” The January 31 (7 p.m.) event, with presenters from Sustainable Fairfield Task Force, Connecticut Audubon and United Illuminating, is virtual. Click here for the link.


“Westport … Naturally” ventures today to Weston. Betsy Pollak shares her shot of her bird feeder, getting good use in this weekend’s storm.

(Photo/Betsy Pollak)


And finally … Franz Schubert was born today, in 1797. The Austrian composer wrote more than 600 vocal works, 7 symphonies, along with sacred music, operas, and piano and chamber music.

He did it all before dying at just 31, from either typhoid fever or syphilis.