Tag Archives: “The Takeaway

Roundup: Lynsey Addario, Kowalsky Farm, Moon Gazing …

Before next month’s School of Visual Arts solo exhibition, Pulitzer Prize- and MacArthur “genius grant”-winning photojournalist Lynsey Addario sat with NPR’s “The Takeaway” for an interview.

The 1991 Staples high School graduate spoke yesterday about her long career capturing intimate, human moments during devastating wars and disasters.

She discussed too why photojournalism is important, how she keeps her cool in unspeakable danger, and why she is such a positive person (spoiler alert: her parents and sisters help).

Click here for the story. (NOTE: An ad about “quicksand” may precede the interview.)

Lynsey Addario (2nd from left) says sisters Lauren, Lisa and Lesley keep her smiling.


“06880” has reported on the gradual teardown of 117 Morningside Drive South — the famed Kowalsky farm.

Now it’s complete:

(Photo/Wynne Bohonnon)

Wynne Bohonnon lives nearby. His kids are now grown, but he remembers taking them often to see the goats, sheep and llamas there.

The new owners may not be putting up a parking lot. But, in Joni Mitchell’s famous words: “… ’til it’s gone.’


“06880” readers sent plenty of moon photos — particularly special full ones, like harvest, wolf or strawberry.

But why watch from your back yard or Compo Beach, when you can gaze at the moon through the Westport Astronomical Society’s powerful telescope?

The public is invited to the observatory for International Observe the Moon Night. It’s next Saturday (October 1, 8 p.m.).

Green cheese is optional.



Westport native James Backiel died last Sunday in Norwalk Hospital. He was 81 years old.

Son of Stanley and Mary Backiel. Jim grew up on Old Road, and graduated from Staples High School.

He was a US Navy veteran, and an avid bowler. In the late 1950s and early ’60s he worked at Westport Lanes and the Westport Batting Cages, which was connected to the Westport Golf Range.

Jim also worked at Nash Engineering in Norwalk.

He was predeceased by his wife Joyce,, and brothers Stanley and Michael. He is survived by his son Christopher, and cousins Jack Backiel, Barbara Cieplinski, Janet McGoldrick and Irene Hubbard.

Calling hours are Tuesday (4:30 to 6 p.m., Edmund Dougiello Funeral Home, 36 South Pine Creek Road, Fairfield). A committal service with military honors are at noon on Wednesday, at Willowbrook Cemetery.


This guy — or perhaps it’s a gull — posed for a “Westport … Naturally” photo at Sherwood Island State Park.

(Photo/Beth Berkowitz)


And finally … Wynne Bohonnon reminded us of the prophetic song, “Big Yellow Taxi.” Here are 3 great versions:

(“06880” rounds up the news every day. Please click here to help support what we do.)

Haris Durrani’s Takeaway

Haris Durrani did not attend Tuesday night’s Staples High School awards ceremony.

The soon-to-graduate senior was in a different auditorium:  Carnegie Hall.  He was accepting a Scholastic Art and Writing Award gold medal, for his portfolio of work.

This is a biggie.  Previous winners include Joyce Carol Oates, Truman Capote and Andy Warhol.

Out of 185,000 writing and art entries, Haris received — in addition to his portfolio gold — a gold medal for short story, a gold medal for memoir, and a gold medal for Best in Grade.   He earned $10,500 in scholarships for his efforts.

At Carnegie Hall, he hung out with Mayor Bloomberg.  Professional actors read his words.

And he was interviewed for NPR’s “The Takeaway.”

For nearly 10 minutes, Haris talked easily with John Hockenberry about his life — literary and otherwise.

The son of a Dominican mother and Pakistani father, Haris grew up Muslim in a post-9/11 world.  Feeling a duty to represent himself and his communities well, Haris writes about diversity and social justice with insight and perception.

Writing allows Haris to try to figure out who he is — while challenging readers’ preconceptions and assumptions.  One of his stories about racial profiling explores a policeman’s misjudgment of an Asian/Hispanic woman.

But, Hockenberry noted, Haris also shows sympathy for the cop.

“We’re all on the good guys’ side,” the young author explains.  His feelings about diversity and human rights derive, he says, “from growing up in America.”

Hockenberry got Haris to reveal that one of his early influences was Isaac Asimov.  What the interviewer did not say — and may not have known — is that besides being a national award-winning writer (with Scholastic Gold Key honors for memoir and short story, along with his portfolio), Haris is also captain of Staples’ robotics team.

That is, Staples’ world champion robotics team.

You can’t make this stuff up.

Only Haris Durrani could.

To read NPR’s Takeaway story on Haris, click here.  To view a video of Reg E. Cathey from “The Wire” reading Haris’ “Jedi Night,” click below:

To hear the Takeaway interview, click the arrow below: