Tag Archives: Tina Dragone

COVID-19 UPDATE: Town Report; Clothing Drive; Blood Donations; Help For Healthcare Workers; Playhouse Update, And More

As of 4 pm yesterday (Monday), , March 23, 2020, out of the 415 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Connecticut, 74 were from Westport and 4 from Weston.

Westport Weston Health Director Mark Cooper says, “Being ‘hit’ first, we may be first to see the virus start to slow its spread, so long as people self-isolate and socially distance themselves from others. Only time will tell.”

Although no age group is spared, the 40-49 and 50-59 age groups have the highest number of confirmed cases in the state. The 60-69 and over-80 age groups make up the majority of those hospitalized.

According to the WWHD, private company Murphy Medical tested 45 Westport and Weston residents today. However, due to the shortage of test supplies, some of this morning’s tests had to be rescheduled.

WWHD will restart the Westport Weston drive-thru testing site next Tuesday (March 31), testing supplies availability permitting. Appointments can be obtained by filling out forms at www.coronatestct.com.

Staples High School junior Remi Levitt runs a great clothing and lifestyle blog, called “Coat of Love.” Now she’s using it to organize a county-wide clothing drive for those affected by the coronavirus.

So, “06880” readers: Clean your closets. Separate items by gender and size, in garbage bags; mark their contests on the outside. Place them by your mailbox or the end of your driveway. Email remilevitt@gmail.com with your address; they’ll be picked up within 24 hours, and sent to folks in need.

For more information, click here.

Reader Paloma Bima writes that just before all non-essential stores shut down yesterday night, a customer called Compo Farm Flowers. She arranged for delivery of beautiful bouquets to many friends. It was an act of great kindness for them — and for one small, about-to-close business too.

Reader Nicole Klein has been passionate about giving blood for the last 25 years. When she was in college, a sibling was diagnosed with leukemia. Nicole is adopted, so she could not help medically.

She felt helpless that she was unable to donate blood platelets or bone marrow. Then she realized that although she could not help her sibling, she could help others.

“In today’s world of COVID-19, I again have the overwhelming feeling of hopelessness,” she says. “The only thing I could think to do was donate blood. There is an extreme shortage right now. I urge anyone who is healthy and able, to please click here to make an appointment.

“They are amazing and so grateful. During this time of indescribable helplessness, it will help you too.”

Like every gym, Upper Deck Fitness is closed. They’re doing what they can for their clients, using a two-way video platform. It’s a great solution — but not easy.

Yet Upper Deck still wants to help others. So the fitness center is offering a free month of virtual workouts to all nurses, doctors, techs and EMTs.

“Healthcare workers don’t have the liberty of social distancing, so keeping their immunity strong is of utmost priority,” says founder and CEO Suzanne Vita Palazzo.

“This is not just about a workout, but providing them with an hour to release stress and maintain their strength, while receiving support from a fully interactive community.”

The 2-way video service enables a certified coach to keep on eye on all participants. There are over 20 classes a week, all done via any device with an internet connection.

Healthcare professionals: Email
info@upperdeckfitness.com with your name and credentials.

National Hall and Upper Deck Fitness.

It’s not quite the way the Westport Country Playhouse expected its 90th season to go.

The iconic theater has pushed its April opening back to July.

The revised 2020 lineup includes the musicals “Ain’t Misbehavin’” and “Next to Normal,” and a new comedy, “Tiny House,” down from the original 5 productions. “Antigone” and “Blues for an Alabama Sky” have been postponed to future seasons.

The modified season will run from July 14 through October 24.

(Photo/Robert Benson)

Who has time for spring cleaning?

This year, most of us.

Westport Hardware is open for business, with a full supply of whatever you need for your yard, garage, attic, basement, deck, driveway, shed, etc., etc., etc.

As medical personnel desperately seek face shields, Westport Maker guru Mark Mathias says that people with 3D printers can help. For information on what to do, and how, click here. For additional info, email mark@mathias.org.

Yesterday’s post about Tina Dragone drew many comments on “06880” — and hate calls and emails to the store.

C’mon, readers. You’re better than that. She’s a small businesswoman, facing hard times like so many others.

It’s your choice to shop there or not. But personal attacks are definitely not cool.

And finally, in case you need a little reminder about social distancing, click below:




Store Promotion: The Sequel

Comments have been all over the place on this morning’s post about Tina Dragone’s weekend promotional blasts, urging shoppers to come on in — at the same time every public official and health professional desperately tried to help Americans understand the importance of social distancing.

My intent was to highlight the difficulty of enforcing that idea — with friends, the young people in our homes, even spouses or elderly parents — when a local retailer said (in effect) “it’s okay!”

I was particularly struck by the tone of the promotion when so many other small businesses have voluntarily closed, and places like Trader Joe’s and banks took strong actions — clear marks on the floor, limiting the number of people inside, etc. — to reinforce the new normal.

In retrospect, I should have emphasized more the solution, which Tina Dragone noted in both messages: “private appointments available.” It would have been great had that been the only way she saw customers, and if that was the sole focus of the promotions.

I absolutely empathize with the position her store is in — along with thousands of other small businesses throughout Westport, Connecticut and the nation. Many closed voluntarily last week, when the scope of the crisis became clear.

Others, like Tina Dragone, will have to shut down at 8 p.m. tonight. Legally, she is permitted to stay open until then.

I am sure the store is filled with newly arrived merchandise. The spring fashion season was just getting underway. Who knows when clothes shoppers will next venture out — and how much money they’ll have to spend when they do.

I am sorry that the post sounded overly harsh. It was. I am also sorry that some readers asked me to “be more positive.” These are tough times, and I have tried — with all kinds of uplifting stories, like yesterday’s on the Old Mill Beach wedding (and the follow-up!) — to be as positive as possible.

I’ve also tried to give pertinent information — ways to find what you need, tips on how to help others, links to everything from Small Business Administration loans to testing sites.

Most readers have been wonderful. They understand I might not be able to pass along their news immediately (if an email inbox can overflow, mine is). They appreciate that I’m trying to balance my stories, not overwhelm everyone, but at the same time provide as much detail, about as much of the town, as I can.

We’re all in this together. You, me, and Tina Dragone.

Now go wash your hands.

Not A Lot Of Good Will From Tina

In December 2010, Tina Dragone was mad as hell. And she wasn’t going to take it anymore.

Goodwill was about to move a few hundred yards down the Post Road — to the old Peppermill site, across from the store Dragone named after herself. It’s “Westport’s premiere (sic) style destination.” (According to the website, anyway.)

She gave the Planning and Zoning Commission a piece of her mind.

She raged about the “32 arrests” at the current Goodwill. She talked about larcenies, shoplifting and stolen handbags. (Goodwill’s attorney replied that there had been 7 police calls that year — some from people locked out of their cars.)

Dragone said that Goodwill hires “ex-convicts.” She pronounced “this kind of element coming into our neighborhood” to be “ludicrous.”

And, she concluded ominously: “We are really afraid.”

Dragone got pilloried by “06880” readers.

But it’s now 2012 — not 2010 — and with the new Goodwill opening to out-the-door lines, I decided to see if the Dragone Lady had softened. I wanted to give her a chance to say, yeah, I just sent over a welcome-to-the-neighborhood fruit basket.

I called yesterday afternoon. I told her who I was, mentioned the “controversy,” and asked what she thought now.

She put me on hold. For 5 minutes. Then she returned.


Tina Dragone (the store).

Perhaps she hung up on me. Maybe we got cut off? (What you believe probably correlates to whether you think President Obama is a Muslim or Christian.)

I called right back. Someone else answered.

I asked for Tina. The new woman asked if she could help.

I explained again why I was calling.

She didn’t hang up immediately.

Instead, she said, “We’re really busy right now.”

Then she hung up.

Bad Will Over Goodwill

I go away for 24 hours, and look what happens:  I miss the biggest bonehead story of the year.

In case you missed it:

Tina Dragone

Tina Dragone owns a women’s clothing store in Westport.  Not just any women’s store, mind you, but an “upscale, fine” one.  It is located at 1687 Post Road East, near an animal hospital and takeout Chinese place.

Or, to be more precise:  several hundred yards, and across the street, from Goodwill.

Goodwill — which has been in Westport 50 years, or in other words, decades longer than Tina Dragone — wants to move a few shopping cart lengths down the road, to the site of the currently closed Peppermill.

Tina Dragone freaked out.

Last night she told the Planning and Zoning Commission that there were “32 arrests” there.  She complained about larcenies, shopliftings, and stolen handbags.  (Goodwill’s attorney replied that there were 7 police calls this year — some from people locked out of their cars.)

She said that Goodwill hires “ex-convicts.”

She added, “to have this kind of element coming into our neighborhood is ludicrous.”

And, she said — using perhaps the royal pronoun — “we are really afraid.”

On WestportNow.com, Westporters responded in force.   They slammed Tina Dragone — the heartless human being, not the store — for everything from mischaracterizing the people who shop at Goodwill, to the fact that “given the scope of FBI investigations,” Tina’s own customers may actually be the spouses of “future cons.”

I’m sorry I missed today’s brouhaha.  But “06880” readers are invited to chime in.

Some of you crucified Lynsey Addario for winning a MacArthur genius grant and photographing Afghan women.

There’s no telling what you’ll do to this poor, fearful women’s clothing store owner.