Tag Archives: The Susan Fund

Roundup: Motorcycles, Daffodils, Kelli O’Hara …

For 21 years, Stacie Curran and friends have ridden in the CT United Ride. The largest motorcycle ride in Connecticut pays tribute to the victims and first responders of 9/11.

Yesterday’s event took place on the actual date: September 11. Before the start at Sherwood Island, the group met at Stacie’s house:

The entire group — hundreds strong — gathered at the state park:

(Photo/Tom Lowrie)

Soon — with a police escort from several towns — they headed onto I-95. Their route of remembrance took them to Exit 17, Riverside Avenue, Wilton Road, and through 8 other Fairfield County towns.

(Photo copyright by Ted Horowitz)

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Every year, the arrival of spring in Westport is heralded by the “Daffodil Mile” — the long, winding rows of daffodils at Willowbrook Cemetery on Main Street.

Daffodil Mile, at Willowbrook Cemetery … (Photo/Andrew Colabella)

For the past few years, daffodils have also bloomed throughout the rest of Westport. On Prospect Road, in Saugatuck, in traffic islands everywhere, the week of yellow flowers brings smiles to Westporters sick and tired of snow and slush.

Greens Farms Road, at Prospect Road.

Those daffodils don’t just fall from the sky (to mix metaphors). They’re the product of plenty of planning — and planting.

“Paint the Town Yellow” is a project begun 4 years ago by Debra Kandrak. This fall — prime daffodil-planting time — she encourages everyone, of all ages, to plant “around our neighborhoods, around street signs, mailbox posts, in front of your business, in front of the Police and Fire Departments.” She’d love for schools to be involved too.

This year’s theme is “plant in memory of a loved one lost.”

The easiest way to plant, Debra says, is to dig a trench and pop the bulbs in (pointy side up). Costco sells 50 bulbs for $13.99.

After you plant, email the location to debra.kandrak@raveis.com. She’ll come around next spring, and take photos.

Which, of course, she will share with “06880.”

So get going. Spring is only 7 months away.

Daffodil bulbs from Costco. (Photo/Debra Kandrak)

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The New York Times says that this November’s Metropolitan Opera staged premiere of “The Hours” is “New York City’s opera event of the fall.”

In addition to renowned soprano Renée Fleming, it stars Kelli O’Hara. The Times calls the Westport resident “a Tony Award-decorated musical theater actress with opera bona fides (even at the Met, where she was a standout as Despina in Mozart’s ‘Così Fan Tutte’).”

That’s part of the intro to an interview published yesterday with Fleming, O’Hara and Joyce DiDonato.

Click here for the full (and very interesting) piece.

Kelli O’Hara (Photo/Thea Traff for New York Times)

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Every Staples High School reunion is a cause for celebration and remembrance.

COVID caused the Class of 1980 to wait an extra 2 years to gather for their 40th. But as they got together last month (and shook their heads that they’re all now 60 years old, or about to be) they turned their thoughts to classmate Susan Lloyd.

The popular, always-active native Westporter was diagnosed with cancer as a senior. She passed away while at Colgate University. Her parents and friends created the Susan Fund in her honor. For 4 decades, it has provided important educational scholarships to Fairfield County students diagnosed with cancer.

Ten years ago, the reunion class raised $2,300 for the Susan Fund. This year, they contributed $5,500.

Kelly Frey Pollard — Susan’s good friend, and a Susan Fund board member — created a beautiful display, with letters from classmates to Susan and her family during her battle with cancer. Classmates were encouraged to take their letters home, as mementoes.

Over 130 alumni attended the reunion. A 45th is planned for 2025 — with another contribution to the Susan Fund. To find out, more follow the “Staples Class 1980” Facebook page, or email Amy Potts: amy@aapk.com,

The Class of 1980 display, of cards and letters sent to Susan Lloyd.

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The Westport Woman’s Club big clothing tag sale is next month. They’re getting ready — which means, they need items to sell.

Tax-deductible donations of new or gently-worn women’s, men’s and children’s clothing, and accessories like shoes, handbags, scarves, hats and jewelry, can be dropped off weekdays (9 a.m. to noon, and 1 to 4 p.m.) at the WWC (44 Imperial Avenue).

Funds raised from this clothing tag sale support the town food closet, local charities throughout Fairfield County, and student scholarships.

The clothing tag sale is set for October 28-29 (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.) and October 30 (noon to 3 p.m.). For more information, call 203-227-4240 or email  wwc@westportwomansclub.org.

Westport Woman’s Club tag sale.

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Longtime Westporter Geoffrey Hooper died last week. He was 87 years old.

He was born in Victoria, British Columbia. After serving in the Canadian Air Force he met his first wife, Jeannette Lauzon, and moved to Connecticut to work for his father-in-law at Stamford Typesetting Corporation. In 1976 he bought the company with a partner, Frank DeBartolo.

At Stamford Type Geoff was a force to be reckoned with as a typesetter, salesman, accountant, proofreader and generous employer. He loved taking clients out charter fishing from Old Saybrook, and delivering bags of bluefish fillets to clients and friends. As the business changed from linotype to computers to desktop publishing and scanning, he kept up with all the new technologies.

When his children were growing up in Westport, Geoff was active in the Westport Community Theater and other acting groups. 

After retiring in 2008 he spent most of his time at his favorite place: home. Geoff was a talented gardener who always grew too many seedlings, but was happy to share them with family and friends. He enjoyed reading, cooking, traveling, theatergoing, and the YMCA’s water aerobics classes.

He is survived by his wife of 38 years, Suzy; his brother Murray (Barbara); his children and their partners Debbie (Norman), Lynne (Gary), Geoff Jr. (Susan) and Kenneth (Kim); his grandchildren and great-grandchildren; his brother- and sister-in-law, Ken Solomon and Janice Lakey, and many other relatives and friends.

In lieu of flowers, please donate to a cause of your choice.

Geoff Hooper, in the water.

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Last March, 3 dolphins hung out for a few days in Bermuda Lagoon, by Saugatuck Shores.

Westport architect Peter Cadoux did not see them. In all his years has boating on Long Island Sound, in fact, he has not seen a single dolphin.

Yesterday he made up for that. Peter was awed by a pod of about 100 dolphins, cavorting a couple of miles off Smithtown Bay. That’s almost directly across the water from Westport.

Here’s a close-up, for today’s fascinating “Westport … Naturally” feature:

(Photos/Peter Cadoux)

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And finally … in honor of the pod of dolphins, last seen frolicking in Long Island Sound:

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(Without “06880,” would you know there were dolphins right off our coast? Please click here, to help us continue to bring you all the stories of where Westport meets the world.)

Roundup: Stakeout, Sand, Soundview …

There is a back story to yesterday’s post about the “stakeout” at the Compo Beach fireworks: the large section of sand marked off by stakes and ropes.

Just before 7:30 p.m. last night — as crowds swelled — I received this email:

“I was involved in the group that staked out a portion of the beach today. It clearly looks bad, and I guess we should have thought of another way to handle it.

“Some members of my church are bringing 30 men from the Pivot House substance abuse program in Bridgeport to Compo for the fireworks. We wanted them to have a nice night out, and to know that there are people supporting them.

“We had a cookout at the church prior to the show, and wanted to make sure we had a large enough space so they could all be together, and frankly insulated from the amount of drinking that will be going on around them.

“While the stakes were overly aggressive, I wanted you to know it was coming from a good place.”

All’s well that ends well. Next year, they’ll put up several signs noting exactly why the area was staked out.

And no one else will copy the idea for family and friends.

Yesterday’s stakeout. (Photo/Gara Morse)

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Meanwhile, in one of the most astonishing (and under-appreciated) vanishing acts of the year, Westport’s Parks & Recreation and Public Works Departments worked (once again) through the night to turn last night’s massive bash into this morning’s pristine beach. Gone, miraculously, are (literally) tons of trash.

When the final firework faded (and the barge fire was doused), thousands of partyers headed to their cars. They left behind all the remains of picnics, barbecues and open bars, plus countless chairs, tables, towels, and probably a random kid or two.

Let’s hear it for all the men and women we never saw, who made sure that when the sun came up, not a trace of last night remained!

Compo Beach, 8 a.m. this morning. Party? What party? (Photo/Karen Como)

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Speaking (still) of the fireworks:

One of the great parts (among many) of last night’s show was the scene along Soundview Drive.

Closed to vehicles, the waterfront road became a party promenade.

People of all ages strolled up and down, greeting friends and enjoying the views. A marching band strutted; music blared from house parties; vendors sold sparklers.

Kids rode bikes and scooters. Police officers chatted with teenagers. It was like Venice Beach in California, without the body builders.

So I’ll resurrect the idea I throw out every year, which never goes anywhere: Why do we do this only once a year?

How about 2 or 3 other dates each summer? Pick a few Sundays. Close down Soundview. Bring in a band or two, maybe some jugglers and clowns too.

Okay, Parks & Rec, police and selectwomen. Let the good times roll!

Soundview Avenue — without vehicles — was a place to see, and be seen. (Photo/Diane Yormark)

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There may have been 15,000 people at the Compo fireworks last night.

But dozens of others opted instead for MoCA Westport.

They enjoyed the less crowded but equally exciting opening reception for the summer exhibition, “Women Pulling at the Threads of Social Discourse.” It explores how female artists use textiles to subvert the social expectation of crafting by lambasting this soft medium with political and social awareness.

The museum will hold free “Cocktails & Conversations” events on select Thursday evenings, featuring speakers relevant to the exhibition. Free gallery tours will also be available. Click here for details.

Shelly McCoy writes on her interactive piece, “We The People.” Musem-goers are invited to write their own thoughts and feelings about the US and its politics, in red and blue crayons. (Photo/Leslie LaSala)

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After 3 years Westport’s first poet laureate, Diane Meyer Lowman, has passed her pen along. Newly appointed laureate Jessie Noyes McEntee has taken over.

First Selectwoman Jen Tooker paid tribute to Diane and her contributions, in a Westport Library event on Wednesday.

Poet laureates Diane Lowman (left) and Jessie McEntee on the Library screen, and the crowd after the ceremony. (Photo/Dave Matlow)

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Sunday marked a milestone: The Susan Fund has now distributed more than $2 million in scholarships to area students diagnosed with cancer. For the 3rd year in a row, this disbursement ($99,500, to 23 recipients) set a record.

The Fund honors Susan Lloyd, a Staples High School graduate who lost her battle with cancer before starting college at Colgate University. Her mother, Fund founder and chair Ann Lloyd, served as MC for this year’s ceremony.

To learn more or to donate, click here.

Ann Lloyd

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Details come later, but mark your calendar now:

The 2nd annual VersoFest is set for March 30 through April 2, 2023, at the Westport Library.

The multimedia festival — with music, workshops and much more — builds on the success and power of this year’s inaugural event.

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Thanks to all who sent fireworks-and-more shots yesterday. I’m sorry I could not use them all.

But before we go, here’s one I just got, from a true pro — Ted Horowitz. It’s not from Compo Beach, though. He captured the view from Harbor Road perfctly.

Enjoy!

(Photo/copyright Ted Horowitz)

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A few hours earlier, Ted captured (on camera) this handsome egret, for “Westport … Naturally”:

(Photo/copyright Ted Horowitz)

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And finally … as we head into our Independence Day holiday, let’s not forget our neighbors to the north. It’s Canada Day today.

Congratulations! Félicitations!

Roundup: Birds, Gifts, Music …

Here’s a bright idea: The Connecticut Ornithological Association has just launched a “Lights Out Connecticut” initiative.

Residents, businesses, schools and building managers can pledge to turn off non-essential exterior lighting each night from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m., during periods of peak bird migration. The goal is to help save migratory birds.

Connecticut joins Colorado, Georgia and Texas as the only places in the nation with statewide “Lights Out” programs.

The COA says that because most North American migratory birds travel at night, artificial light can disorient them, leading to fatal window collisions. There may be as many as 988,000,000 bird deaths in the US each year.

It’s a great idea. It’s especially welcome by residents of Cottage Lane. They’ve been aggravated by bright lights at the new 1480 Post Road East development nearby. The Planning & Zoning Commission has ordered a new lighting plan by May 9.

It can’t come soon enough for the neighbors. Or the birds. (Click here for the full Connecticut Ornithological Association story.)

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Need gift ideas for Mothers Day, Teacher Appreciation Week (May 2-6) or Nurse Appreciation Week (May 6-12)?

How about a gift for yourself?

Beauty consultant Carmela Cusano can help. She’ll be at Salon Nash tomorrow (Sunday, April 24, 1 to 4 p.m., Nash’s Plaza, 179 Post Road West).

While you’re there, enjoy a free wash and blow dry, courtesy of owner Felicia Catale, the great and very generous owner.

How’s that for a great gift!

Felicia Catale

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It took a while during the pandemic for Hook’d to get its act together.

But the Compo Beach concession stand was open yesterday for business.

Anyone can enjoy a meal there before May 1. On that date, stickers are required for beach entrance.

(Photo/Karen Como)

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Westport has many adult education offerings in many areas.

Andrew Smith thinks there are not enough in music.

He’s the executive director of Suzuki Music Schools of Westport & Orange — well known as a center for early childhood, and middle and high school, programs.

The Suzuki Philosophy is that children need an immersive experience in music. Smith says that holds true for adults too. Suzuki is not just for kids.

The school offers basic classes like Music Reading for Beginners, and Listening to Classical Music. Smith hopes to add Singing for Pleasure, Film Music and Composing.

He’d also like to create a Suzuki Members Club for Adults, with social engagement, public concerts and use of the facility. It would be like rowing or golf clubs — but focused on music.

Click here for more information, and registration.

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May is flower month at Wakeman Town Farm.

“Blooming With Paint’ (May 9, 6 to 8 p.m.) is a painting and drawing workshop, focusing on floral still life and challenging students to notice scale, proportion and placement.

Each participant receives a piece of handmade Nujabi paper, watercolor and oil pastels, paint brushes, Nujabi paper and drawing board. Click here for more information, and to register.

WTF also offers “sweet and whimsical spring flowers” for Mothers Day. Each bouquet comes in a mason jar tied with grosgrain ribbon. They’re $55, and designed by Sarah Shaw Floral Design exclusively for Wakeman Town Farm.

Orders will be taken through May 4. Pickup is at the Farm on Saturday, May 7 (10 a.m. to 1 p.m.) A portion of the proceeds supports WTF programs. Click here to order.

Wakeman Town Farm Mothers Day flowers. (Photo/Nancy Elizabeth Hill Photography)

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The Camp Gallery’s new solo show is “The Rooms of Joseph Ginsberg.”

There’s an opening reception next Friday (April 29, 5 to 7 p.m.) at 190 Post Road East. The show runs through May 24.

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It’s 2 years late. But Staples High School’s Class of 1980 celebrates their 40th (okay, 42nd) reunion (and giant 60th birthday party for all) this year.

The main event is Saturday, August 13 at LaKota Oaks in Norwalk. The 65-acre site features a pool, basketball and volleyball courts, horseshoes and more. Dinner includes a DJ and dancing.

There are also meet-ups as Viva Zapata (Thursday, August 11) and the Black Duck (Friday, August 12).

As is traditional, they’ll raise money in honor of beloved classmate Susan Lloyd, to support The Susan Fund.

PS: Thanks to a generous donor, tickets are (almost) free!

Click here for more information. Questions? Email Amy Potts: amy@aapk.com.

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This guy popped out the other day at Sherwood Mill Pond.

Then he looked John Kantor in the eye, stood still, and posed for a “Westport … Naturally” photo.

(Photo/John Kantor)

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And finally … in honor of the photo directly above:

Remembering Wally Meyer

Randolph “Wally” Meyer — a beloved Westporter, former RTM member and 2nd selectman, former Rotary president and longtime justice of the peace — died Saturday. He was 91.

In typical Wally Meyer fashion, his obituary notes that he was born in Mount Vernon, New York; graduated from high school in Rochester, and “not having ‘bone spurs,’ he enlisted in the Army for 3 years.”

He was posted to the 25th Division as a squad leader, and served in Korea from August 1951 to May 1952.

Wally finished his military obligation in Germany, and traveled extensively in Europe. He attended Queen Elizabeth’s coronation in London, and Bastille Day in Paris.

Wally Meyer

Wally used the GI Bill to attend Union College. After graduating in 1957, he joined IBM. He spent 20 years there, then left to establish Westport Marketing, a computer leasing company.

Wally served 12 terms on the RTM, and 4 as 2nd selectman, under Democratic 1st selectman Martha Hauhuth.

Wally was a founder of Project Return — the North Compo Road home for teenage girls and young women — and was its treasurer for 12 years.

He then joined the board of Mid-Fairfield AIDS Project, and spent 25 years as treasurer.

In addition to his service with the Westport Rotary Club (including president), he was a justice of the peace for 18 years. In March of 2020, in the early days of the pandemic, he officiated at an impromptu wedding on Old Mill Beach, across from his home. (Click here for that “06880” story.) 

Wally Meyer (left) prepares for a marriage ceremony at Old Mill Beach.

Wally’s obituary calls him “a strong globalist. He believed that some day the world will have a single government.” It also includes a quote from William Penn: “For death is no more than a turning of us over from time to eternity.”

Wally was predeceased by his sons John and Kevin Meyer, and his stepdaughter Susan Lloyd.

He is survived by “Mother Earth, he hopes:; his wife Joan Beauvais; and stepsons James Meyer of Trumbull, William Lloyd of Westport, David Lloyd of Canton, Connecticut, Douglas Lloyd of Sacramento, and Bob Beauvais of Grapevine, Texas.

Per Wally’s request, there will be no services. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Susan Fund, 458 Newtown Avenue, Norwalk, CT 06851.

Susan Fund: Reaching A Milestone, Helping Hundreds

Thirty-five years ago, the Susan Fund awarded its first grants.

The recipients were special: young men and women battling cancer who — besides facing staggering medical bills — needed help paying for college.

Susan Lloyd

Susan Lloyd

This year, the Susan Fund — named in honor of Susan Lloyd, a popular, multi-talented Staples student who succumbed to bone cancer while at Colgate University — reaches a milestone. It has distributed $1.5 million, providing hope (and education) to hundreds of Fairfield County residents.

Every awardee’s story is unique. But Kendall Mather illustrates just how powerful an impact the Susan Fund can have.

Kendall grew up in Westport. She attended Greens Farms Elementary and Bedford Middle Schools. At Staples she was on the tennis team, and active in the St. Luke Church youth group.

Two years ago, near the end of junior year, the back, hip and leg pain she’d experienced for a while grew intolerable. The morning of her Advanced Placement Economics test, she could not walk.

Several doctors thought it was a sports injury. But at Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital, Kendall was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Kendall’s cancer has a very high cure rate. Still, she underwent several rounds of chemo, and a few surgeries due to complications. She’ll finish her treatment in October — soon after entering the University of Miami. (She took this year off, to focus on her health.)

Friends and family have provided tremendous support. “When I was in my worst shape, they treated me normally,” Kendall says.

The Susan FundThe Susan Fund offers a different kind of support: financial.

“Medical bills are a huge burden to many families,” Kendall notes. “Even the scans to see if treatment is working are enormous. It’s amazing what this fund can do for families.”

Kendall is gratified to be one of the recipients. At Miami, she plans to major in business, with a focus on real estate.

Then — when she embarks on her own career, with her degree (and a cancer-free diagnosis), Kendall looks forward to giving back to the Susan Fund.

“They’ve helped so many people,” she notes. “It’s the least I can do.”

(On June 26, the Susan Fund holds its 35th annual reception. They’ll distribute more than $75,000 in college scholarships to 29 Fairfield County students — including 4 Staples grads — diagnosed with cancer. For more information, or to contribute, click on www.TheSusanFund.org)

The Susan Fund 2015 scholarship recipients.

The Susan Fund 2015 scholarship recipients.