Tag Archives: Tom Haberstroh

Roundup: Parks & Rec Programs, Cell Tower, Tom Haberstroh …

Online registration for Westport Parks & Recreation Department programs begins next Wednesday (September 6, 9 a.m.). Click here to see all offerings (not yet viewable, however). Click here to register.

Questions? Email recreation@westportct.gov, or call (203-341-5152 weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.


Construction of the cell phone tower on private property at 92 Greens Farms Road is moving ahead quickly.

This was the scene yesterday, looking east. I-95 is on the right.

(Photo/Matt Murray)


Earlier this month, Substack launched a new sports newsletter: “The Finder With Tom Haberstroh.”

The former Staples High School basketball star was inspired to start it in part because of his mother Patty. The longtime Westport Department of Human Services social worker — who died last month from complications of ALS — gave him “The Finder” nickname when he was young. (Click here for that back story — and a mention of Westport’s own Craig Melvin.)

Another local connection: This week, Tom published a podcast with Westporter Dan Orlovsky. The former NFL quarterback and current ESPN analyst had a great conversation with Tom. (Dan recorded it on his way to Bristol.)

Click here to listen.


The Westport Country Playhouse benefit was already shaping up as a showcase of local — but A-list — talent.

Staples High School 2003 graduate Justin Paul headlines the September 9 event. He’s joined by James Naughton, and the Weston actor’s son Greg and daughter-in-law Kelli O’Hara, along with Staples ’06 alum/Broadway actor Jacob Heimer.

Staples ’87 grad/Coleytown Middle School director Ben Frimmer is the concert producer. The director is Staples ’10/former Staples Players president/current Disney creative developer Caley Beretta.

Now 12 current Staples Players have joined the cast, for the opening and closing numbers: Yusef Abdallah, Kaya Araya, Henry Carson, Finley Chevrier, Cece Diyoka, Samantha Edwards, Ben Herrera, Alyssa Lee, Andrew Maskoff, Imogen Medoff, Cooper Sadler and Melody Stanger.

Click here for tickets, and more information.

Kelli O’Hara will be joined by many other Westporters at the Westport Country Playhouse benefit.


It’s amazing what’s donated to the Westport Library and Westport Book Shop.

Now, several rare and unique literary works — given over the psat 2 years — will be auctioned online.

The September 6 event includes a letter handwritten and signed by former Westporter F. Scott Fitzgerald to his publisher, and a first American edition of “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” signed by author J.K. Rowling.

The auction is conducted by University Archives, an online auction house operated by Wilton collector/dealer/handwriting expert/auctioneer John Reznikoff.  The 2 items are among hundreds of rare autographs, manuscripts, books and sports memorabilia to be auctioned that day.

Click here to see the 7 lots to be auctioned for Westport Book Sale’s benefit. For a catalog of all 505 lots, click here.

             F. Scott Fitzgerald, and his letter.


Income-eligible residents can get help with winter heating bills. Applications for the Connecticut Energy Assistance Program start September 5.

Westport residents who previously qualified for assistance through the Department of Human Services will receive application instructions in the mail. Those applying for the first time should call 203-341-1050, or email humansrv@westportct.gov to make an appointment.

A household’s gross annual income must be at or below 60% of the state median income. The maximum income for households with 1 person is $41,553; it ranges up to $92,695 for families of 5.

Households receiving SNAP, SSI, State Supp or Refugee Cash Assistance may automatically qualify. CEAP recipients may also be eligible for matching payment plans, protection from shutoffs, and replacement and repairs for heating equipment and water heaters, along with additional fuel deliveries.

Help for winter heating bills may be available.


Westport Police made 1 custodial arrest between August 23 and 30.

A woman was arrested after a domestic violence incident, and charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct, after it was determined she was the “dominant aggressor.”

After being assigned a court date and told not to return to the residence until after that court date, she attempted to do just that. She was charged with violation of the conditions of release, 2nd degree.

Westport Police also issued these citations:

  • Traveling unreasonably fast: 5 citations
  • Failure to register a commercial vehicle: 3
  • Operating a motor vehicle under suspension: 2
  • Failure to comply with state traffic commission regulations: 2
  • Failure to renew registration: 2
  • Distracted driving: 1
  • Failure to yield right of way: 1
  • Failure to obey traffic control signals: 1
  • Failure to renew license: 1
  • Violation of readable plates: 1
  • Failure to appear: 1

Nearly every week, Westport Police issue citations for “failure to register a commercial vehicle.”


As fall nears, Aspetuck Land Trust is gearing up for another “Lunch & Learn” webinar season.

First up: “Hedges and Edges: Increasing the Resilience and Diversity of Your Garden’s Ecosystem” (September 15, noon to 1:30 p.m.).

Plant ecologist and landscape designer Heather McCargo will discuss using garden design to increase yard productivity and biodiversity.

For example, ALT says, “Group together shrubs of different species into a hedgerow for small or large spaces, add herbaceous groundcovers and small trees to the shrub layer for a multi-level garden that creates amazing habitat for a variety of species.”

Click here for more information and registration.

Heather McCargo


Potential Pennsylvania senatorial candidate David McCormick stirred controversy earlier this month, when news outlets reported that the former CEO of Bridgewater Associates actually continues to live in Westport.

Official documents list his home here as his address; so does a $5,000 campaign contribution made this spring. McCormick, a Republican, is raising money and hiring staff as he prepares to challenge incumbent Democratic Senator Bob Casey next fall.

Now a new report notes that his 2019 Honda CR-V and 2019 Toyota Land Cruiser are both registered to his Westport address. He paid the motor vehicle taxes that were due July 1. Click here for the full story. (Hat tip: Allan Siegert)

David McCormick


Today is the Westport Farmer’ Market.

There’s always something to see, smell and admire at the Imperial Avenue lot. Here are just a few items, photographed last week by Mary Sikorski for our “Westport … Naturally” feature:

(Photo/Mary Sikorski)


And finally … Ray Hildebrand, the “Paul” of “Paul & Paula” fame who had a #1 love song using those names in 1963, died this month in Kansas. He was 82, and suffered from dementia. Click here for a full obituary.

(F. Scott Fitzgerald, heating bill assistance, police reports, much more … as usual, this “06880” Roundup has it all. If you appreciate our work, please consider a donation. Just click here — and thank you!) 

0*6*Art*Art*0 — Week 8 Gallery

Congratulations! We’re already at Week 8 of our pandemic art gallery.

Every Saturday, “06880” highlights readers’ creativity. Professional, amateur, old, young — you send us your paintings, collages, sketches, photos, sculptures, chalkwork, cartoons, whatever.

The only rule: It must be inspired by, reflective of, or otherwise related to the times we’re going through.

After 2 months, we’re still going strong. Keep the submissions coming (including students, of any grade!). Just email dwoog@optonline.net.

“The Scream 2020,” painting (Norm Siegel)

“Close and Separate” (Lawrence Gordon)

“My Bedroom Window Haiku” (Diane Lowman)

“Spring is Inevitable” (Werner Liepolt)

“Isolation” (Leslie Beatus)

(Tess Feldman, age 13)

“Back and Forth on the Same Street” (Joyce Landon)

Sidewalk art (Tom Haberstroh)

“Absence of Truth in Our Critical Time of Need” (Miggs Burroughs and Mark Yurkiw)

“Floral Distancing” (Judith Marks-White)

“We Are All Interconnected,” handmade beaded necklace (Amy Schneider)

“Guard Dog” (Karen Weingarten)

Hand-sewn masks in production (Amanda Kuster)

“Seeing What I’ve Known, and Seeing an Unknown Future,” collage and acrylic (Bevi Bullwinkel)


Haberstrohs’ Hot Pepper Challenge Picks Up Steam

Everyone in Westport knows Patty Haberstroh. The energetic, creative and deeply committed family programs specialist for the town’s Human Services Department ensures that our neediest neighbors get the resources they deserve — and that those of us with the ability to help get a chance to do so.

Patty Haberstroh

Patty’s husband Charlie is embedded in town too: He chairs the Parks and Recreation Commission. Patty’s sons starred on Staples High School sports teams, and retain strong ties to their hometown.

So when Patty was diagnosed 3 months ago with ALS, they did what the Haberstroh family always does: got together, and got to work.

The result is the #ALSPepperChallenge. It’s like the 2014 Ice Bucket Challenge — except much, much hotter.

The idea is to eat a hot pepper — habanero or jalapeno — on camera. You’re filmed making a pledge to  help find a cure. Then you nominate someone (or many others) to do the same.

A project like this needs a kick start. Patty’s son Tom — a longtime ESPN basketball writer — was just the man. His sports and media connections pushed the #ALSPepperChallenge into overdrive.

Since Christmas, Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley have eaten peppers — and raised funds. So have Domonique Foxworth, Dan Le Batard and the Miami Heat.

Oh, yeah: The Staples boys basketball team is doing it too.

Media giants like USA Today and People magazine covered Patty’s #ALSPepperChallenge.

“I’d never eaten a habanero, and I never want to again. But I’ll eat it a thousand more times if it means my mother and others living with ALS can kick this horrible disease,” Tom told People.

“There is no effective treatment for ALS. There is no cure. Anything we can do to change that, we’re going to try.”

(If you’re wondering: Why hot peppers? There are few things that make you feel more alive than eating one.)

Patty has been buoyed by support from friends, her sons’ and daughter’s friends, and complete strangers.

The average life span after diagnosis is 3 to 5 years. “I’m fighting against time here,” Patty said.

“I pray that these hot pepper eaters are raising enough money to find a cure for me and others before it’s too late.”

Anyone who knows Patty Haberstroh — and in Westport, that’s all of us — knows she is not sitting back, feeling sorry for herself.

She told People: “The adage to live each day fully has never rung more true to me. I’m saying to people that I’m lucky in that you often wish in a memorial service that the person who has passed away could hear the wonderful things being said about them. I am reading and seeing those things said while I’m very much here!”

The accolades will continue.

As will the hot pepper-eating, video-making and fundraising — in Westport, and around the world.

(For more information — and the donation page — click here.)

ESPN: “Go Wreckers!”

This afternoon, Tom Haberstroh was a guest on David Lloyd’s “Sportscenter” ESPN show.

Haberstroh jokingly asked fellow NBA analyst Chris Broussard if the San Antonio Spurs could make him into a pro player.

Broussard laughed: “I don’t know. I’ve seen you play!”

David Lloyd, Chris Broussard and Tom Haberstroh on ESPN's "Sportscenter" this afternoon.

David Lloyd, Chris Broussard and Tom Haberstroh on ESPN’s “Sportscenter” this afternoon.

Lloyd — a 1979 Staples High School graduate — alertly noted that Haberstroh played hoops at Staples.

Sure, it was more than 2 decades after Lloyd graduated. But that gave Haberstroh a perfect opening. He drove the lane, and took it.

“Go Wreckers!” Haberstroh said, as the segment wound up.

Most of Sportscenter’s millions of listeners had no idea what that meant.

But Haberstroh, Lloyd and all of us do.

BONUS FUN FACT: Haberstroh also was featured on Colin Cowherd’s ESPN radio show. It’s produced by John Lawrence — another former Staples athlete. Quite a day for the Wreckers!

Jessica Gelman, Tom Haberstroh Star In Special “Super Bowl”

When Jessica Gelman starred on the Staples High School basketball court in the early 1990s, Tom Haberstroh was just entering elementary school.

As he grew up — and became a Wrecker hoops player himself — their paths crossed occasionally. Tom says, “She was the first athlete to teach me that girls could kick guys’ butts.”

Jessica Gelman, at work. (Photo/Sports Business Journal)

Jessica Gelman, at work. (Photo/Sports Business Journal)

Jessica went on to star at Harvard, play professionally in Europe and enter the New England Basketball Hall of Fame. After earning an MBA at Harvard, she’s now a high-powered vice president with the Kraft Sports Group, handling marketing strategy for the New England Patriots and Revolution. Last year, Sports Business Journal named her to their “Forty Under 40” team.

Tom’s path took him to Wake Forest. He’s been an ESPN NBA analyst since 2010.

Jessica Gelman fights for a rebound, as a Staples junior.

Jessica Gelman fights for a rebound, as a Staples junior in 1992.

Both Jessica and Tom are numbers guys people. She took high-level math classes at Staples, learned to use data as a pyschology major in Harvard, and became an early leader in the field of sports analytics. (Her database of 3.4 million names makes Kraft the envy of the sports world.)

A decade ago, she taught a course on sports analytics at MIT Sloan School of Management with Daryl Morey. When he got a new job — general manager of the Houston Rockets — they turned the class into a conference.

The initial event, in 2006, drew 150 people. (“Half of them were my friends,” Jessica jokes.) Nine years later, she’s still the chair.

This year’s conference — tomorrow and Saturday (February 27-28) — will draw over 3,000 industry leaders. Michael (“Moneyball”) Lewis, statistician Nate Silver, US Soccer president Sunil Gulati, and league commissioners Adam Silver and Rob Manfred are among the presenters.

So is Tom Haberstroh.

Tom Haberstroh, as a Staples senior in 2004.

Tom Haberstroh, as a Staples senior in 2004.

Like Jessica, he’s a sports industry leader in the field of analytics. He parlayed his background — which included Jen Giudice’s AP Statistics course at Staples, and the strong influence of math teacher Rich Rollins — into a highly respected specialty.

(In a small-world coincidence, Jessica’s former colleague Daryl Morey used an ESPN statistical segment of Tom’s to promote Dwight Howard for the NBA All-Star game.)

A few years ago, Tom introduced himself to Jessica at the Sports Analytics Conference. They kept in touch. This year, Jessica asked Tom to moderate a panel on the growth of sports science and data collection.

The 2 former Staples basketball players are huge fans of each other.

“Jess just won the Super Bowl with the Patriots,” Tom says. “Now she’s running a Super Bowl conference of her own.”

Tom Haberstroh

Tom Haberstroh

“Tom’s stuff is great!” Jessica replies.

Both look forward to this weekend’s conference. Tom jokingly calls it “the Super Bowl for sports nerds.”

Don’t be fooled. If the conference adds a 2-v-2 basketball game to the agenda, Jessica Gelman and Tom Haberstroh will kick everyone’s butts.