Tag Archives: Unitarian Church of Westport

Roundup: Coming Out Day, Family Fun Day …

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Tomorrow is National Coming Out Day.

If you’re LGBTQ (the “Q” stands for either queer or questioning) — or you know someone who is — you can celebrate by watching “When Did You Know?”

That was last week’s webinar, sponsored by Westport Pride. Panelists — including former Staples High School principal John Dodig, former Staples High School tennis captain Luke Foreman, Staples Players alum Samantha Webstier, Weston High media influencer Zac Mathias, Staples teacher Kayla Iannetta, Westport moms Julie DeLoyd and Bethany Eppner, and Westport dad Brian McGunagle discuss their growing-up experiences, and life today.

It’s wide-ranging, informative and very, very human. Click here for the link. The passcode is “Westport06880!” (without the quotation marks).

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You don’t have to be a Unitarian — or even religious — to enjoy next Saturday’s Fall Family Fun event. All (even singles) are welcome at (October 16, 2 to 5 p.m., Unitarian Church, 10 Lyons Plains Road).

Entirely outdoors, it includes a “Best of the ’70s” singalong with the lead singer of DizzyFish, a musical mural, cake carousel, rock painting and bobbing for apples. For COVID safety, bring your own food.

The Westport Unitarian Church welcomes everyone.

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Lifelong Westporter Samuel DeMeo has died. He was 94.

A US Army World War II veteran, he was a member of Joseph J. Clinton VFW Post 399. He was an avid hunter, fisherman and gardener, and loved spending time at Compo Beach in Westport. He also played the accordion in a band.

He is survived by daughters Suzy DeMeo, Karen Sternberg and Lynn Smith, 6 grandchildren, 3 great-grandchildren and 2 great-great-grandchildren. He was pre deceased by his sisters Ellen Barker, Lynn DeMeo and Palma DeMeo. Services were private.

Samuel DeMeo

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Claudia Sherwood Servidio has been a Westporter for only a few days. But she’s already contributed a striking “Pic of the Day.”

Now she’s nailed a “Westport … Naturally” feature too. Claudia has a wonderful newcomer’s eye for local beauty — and Saugatuck River scenes that never get old.

(Photo/Claudia Sherwood Servidio)

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And finally … today is the 104th anniversary of the birth of Thelonious Monk. The jazz pianist/composer died in 1982, age 64. But he lives on, in recordings like these.

Roundup: VFW, Nemo, LCDS …

 

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VFW Joseph J. Clinton Post 399 is one of Westport’s underappreciated, often-overlooked gems.

In addition to providing a home and community for veterans, the building at the Saugatuck Avenue/Riverside Avenue merge offers a restaurant and bar — and a state Veteran’s Service Office, assisting with disability support.

Thanks to 4th Row Films — Westporter Doug Tirola’s great documentary film company — you can learn all about the 100-year-od Westport VFW post, from members themselves. Click the link below; the password is “4throw” (without the quotation marks).

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Weather postponed 2 Remarkable Theater showings last week. So get ready this week for …

“Finding Nemo” (tonight, Monday, June 7) and “Rocky Horror Picture Show” (Saturday, June 12). Gates open at 7:30 p.m.; the “curtain” goes up at 8:30.

Click here for tickets and more information. Enjoy the show!

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A reader writes:

“We are a family of 4, with 3 dogs. When one was hit by a car, we wanted to find another. We ended up at Puppies of Westport (although we said we wouldn’t ever go to a ‘puppy mill’). Lauren Meren, the owner, was very kind. We had health issues with our dog, and she immediately reimbursed us for the hospital stay.

“y vet told me that Lauren recently died. Her children are trying to find homes for all of the dogs in the store. Please highlight this story, so the dogs end up in a loving home instead of a fate much different.”

There has been no answer to phone calls. If “06880” readers have any idea of the fate of the dogs — or how to help — click “Comments” below.

Puppies of Westport –

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For years, an unattractive concrete tower marred the playground and baseball field behind the Learning Community Day School (formerly Hillspoint Elementary).

Before …

Now — thanks to art teacher Lauren Beusse, her colleagues and (especially) the talented kids, it’s been  transformed beautifully.

Lauren was inspired by Tyree Guyton, a Detroit artist who creates large installations out of dilapidated properties and recycled materials.

Children worked on 6 individual panels, exploring colors and adding their own touches. LCDS says: “the flowers reaching for the sun, and birds and insects flying above, will always remind us of the way young children grow, bloom and take flight during their time here.”

… and after.

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo from Lou Weinberg. In addition to overseeing our fantastic Community Garden next to Long Lots Elementary School, he’s a brilliant nature photographer.

Lou says: “The cedar waxwings are tossing them back at the old serviceberry tree. Robins are getting their fill as well. Serviceberry trees are native, and have very high wildlife value.

(Photo/Lou Weinberg)

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Voices Café — the Unitarian Church’s music series — premieres its livestream season on June 19 (8 p.m.). Featured performers are Goodnight Moonshine with Molly Venter (of Red Molly), and Eben Pariser, who also performs with Roosevelt Dime.

For nearly a decade, Voices Café has supported social justice programs. Recognizing the historical significance of this year’s concert date — Juneteenth — proceeds from the performance will benefit the Mary and Eliza Freeman Center for History and Community in Bridgeport. Click here for tickets, and more information.

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And finally … in the hopes of finding homes for all the Puppies of Westport (see story above) …

 

Roundup: Real Estate, Real Help, Flags …

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The local housing market still sizzles.

Brown Harris Stevens reports that 42 houses closed in February in Westport — the most for that month since at least 2014.

The average closing price was $1.8 million, up 50% from the same period last year.

Supply was down. On February 28 there were 138 houses on the market, 52% fewer than in February 2020.

Prices for the 68 houses pending — properties with signed contracts — ranged from $565,000 to $6.3 million. The average list price was $2.1 million.

Weston has seen a 76% increase in home sales for December through February, compared to a year earlier. The average closing price was $1.09 million, up 46%. (Hat tips: Roe Colletti and Chuck Greenlee)

This gorgeous home on Hidden Hill, off South Compo, is listed for $4.8 million. (Photo courtesy of Compass)

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For many people, COVID created 2 types of hunger: for food, and for the human spirit.

Westport’s Unitarian Church helps feed both needs.

For years, a community of food-insecure people has gathered on Sunday mornings under Bridgeport’s Route 25 overpass. They celebrate together: children’s birthdays, sobriety, housing, new jobs. When ministers or priests appear, prayer circles form.

As the pandemic’s quarantine and health regulations prevented many non-profit providers from serving food at the John Street site, Unitarian Church members worked with April Barron of Helping Hands Outreach in Bridgeport to coordinate bagged lunches.

Over the past 9 months, they’ve handed out over 12,000 lunches — filled with sandwiches, drinks, fruit, snacks, and messages of support.

With donations of food and money way down, April says the Unitarian Church — and similar help from St. George Greek Orthodox Church in Norwalk — were crucial. Just as important: the interaction with people.

The Unitarian Church’s Shawl Ministry — which for years has knit and crocheted shawls for congregants — also made and gave warm hats, scarves and cowls to the John Street community this winter.

To help distribute lunches, email david@uuwestport.org. To help make lunches (Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m.), click here.

Westport Unitarian Church volunteers, with bagged lunches.

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There’s always something to see at Sherwood Island.

The other day, Jack Menz did not like what he saw.

The American flag is in tatters. The Connecticut state flag is not much better.

(Photo/Jack Menz)

“It’s wrong to fly such a battered flag,” Jack says.

“Wrong for visitors to the park, and wrong for those honored at the park. We should have a new flag flying there.”

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The other day, the Cornell Daily Sun highlighted the student-run Cornell University Emergency Medical Service. Working through the pandemic, they provide free 24/7 emergency care to staff, students and visitors.

Director of operations Hannah Bukzin is a Cornell senior — and a Staples High School grad. She honed her skills working hundreds of hours with the Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Service.

CUEMS answers 600 calls a year — “allergic reactions, alcohol or drug overdoses, motor vehicle accidents and everything in between,” Hannah says.

Click here for the full story. (Hat tip: Dennis Poster)

Hannah Bukzin

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Klein’s is long gone from Main Street.

So is its successor, Banana Republic.

But the old department store — at least, its signage — reappeared the other day, during construction work on the property.

You can no longer buy books, records, cameras or typewriters on Main Street. But — for a while, anyway — Klein’s was back.

(Photo/Jack Whittle)

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And finally … today in 1876, Alexander Graham Bell was granted a patent for the telephone.

Serendipity Chorale’s Serendipitous 45 Years

In 1975, the Norwalk Symphony Organization planned a concert version of “Porgy and Bess.” Composer George Gershwin had stipulated it could only be performed by Black artists.

Gigi Van Dyke knew many Black singers in the area. She was asked to recruit a choir of 40 or 50 voices, teach them the score, and rehearse them.

Gigi called choir members from Norwalk to New Haven. She credits “serendipity” with finding all the sopranos, altos, tenors and basses needed.

Gigi Van Dyke

The story goes that the Norwalk Symphony Orchestra told Gigi to bring “her people” to the concert hall for a technical rehearsal. When the members — all well prepared and ready — showed up, there were more commands like “get your people to…” and “your people had better…” 

Gigi told the NSO that she could not be involved with the project. The choir did not want to go on without her.

The Norwalk Hour got wind of the exit from a sold-out performance. The headline was something like “Porgy and the Norwalk Symphony: It Ain’t Necessarily So.”

Members of the pick-up choir did not want to disband after enjoying singing together, with Gigi playing piano and directing. They continued rehearsing.

Again by serendipity, opportunities to perform kept coming Gigi’s way.

Hundreds of men and women singers have been part of the group — now called the Serendipity Chorale — over the past 45 years. They performed with Pete Seeger, Andy Williams, Betty Jones, (and the Norwalk Symphony Orchestra), among others.

Peter Jennings and ABC News recognized Van Dyke and the chorale in 1998 for its “service to all mankind.” In 2000, Governor Jodi Rell honored the Chorale as a “Connecticut Treasure.”

The Serendipity Chorale’s last live performance was last February 23, at the Darien Library. The repertoire of show tunes, pop standards, folk songs and gospel spirituals was to have kicked off a busy year celebrating their 45th anniversary.

The pandemic shattered those plans. Instead, Chorale members and friends decided to sponsor the production of a solo piano CD featuring Gigi.

Finding the right piano, recording site and engineer was difficult. Finally Gigi’s longtime friend and colleague, Rev. Dr. Edward Thompson — minister of music at Westport’s Unitarian Church in Westport — suggested recording in the now-empty sanctuary, on the church’s Steinway Grand.

Gigi Van Dyke at the Unitarian Church’s Steinway. (Photo/Lynda Shannon)

Congregation member Alec Head — a recording engineer and producer — heard Gigi play. He quickly signed on.

The sanctuary was booked for 4 hours in September. Recording took just an hour.

“Artists always tell me they can do their piece in a single take,” Alec said. “It just doesn’t happen. Except that with Gigi it did.”

Head remastered the CD, titled “It’s Love.” It was created not as a Chorale fundraiser but as a gift to Gigi, and from her to churches that could no longer have live music, as well as to senior centers and other organizations where she and the Chorale had often performed.

Recording and production costs were underwritten by donations. Copies were sent to singers who have been part of the Chorale’s life and spirit for 45 years.

The Serendipity Chorale looks forward to singing together again — perhaps this year.

In the meantime, they can hear Gigi at the piano playing her favorite hymns and songs.

For the past year, the choir could not sing. But — without missing a beat — they shared the magic of music anyway.

(Hat tip: Lynda Bluestein)

Roundup: Politics, Religion, Entertainment, More


The title is intriguing: “Living Progressive Values in a Polarized Election Season.”

So is the sponsor: The Unitarian Church in Westport.

The liberal faith tradition opens its Zoom room on 4 Tuesdays in October (6 to 7 p.m.). Everyone — of all political persuasions — is welcome.

Senior minister Rev. Dr. John Morehouse will begin each hour with observations about Unitarian-Universalism. Then the “floor” is open for discussion, debate and conversation.

Topics include:

  • October 6: Civility, Tolerance and Grace
  • October 13: The Blurring of Church and State
  • October 20: Public Convictions and Private Behaviors
  • October 27: Our Children: Our Pupils and Our Teachers.

Email events@uuwestport.org for Zoom information.


Another Westport congregation had a big day yesterday.

Christ & Holy Trinity Episcopal Church officially inducted Father John Betit as rector. The ceremony — which was also livestreamed — marked the first Sunday morning gathering since COVID-19 struck in March.

But that was not all. CHT also welcomed new confirmands — and celebrated a baptism.

The busy — and welcome — morning at the handsome downtown church was followed by a courtyard liturgy, and blessing of the animals.

Rev. John Betit’s official induction.


The Westport Woman’s Club Yankee Doodle Fair takes months of planning. It raises important funds, which go toward much-needed community grants and scholarships.

COVID put the kibosh on last June’s century-old tradition. Now — in a matter of days — the WWC has organized a new, socially distanced, outdoor fundraiser.

A jazz concert with the great Chris Coogan Trio is set for this Friday (October 9, 5 to 7 p.m.). The clubhouse upper parking lot — where the Yankee Doodle kiddie rides and carousel usually are — is the site.

A limited number of tickets are on sale ($40 for 1 adult, $65 for 2; children are free); click here. Venezuelan food is available from El Chamo. Bring your own chairs and blankets.

An added attraction: Concert-goers can buy a ticket for the Remarkable Theater‘s special “Greatest Showman” feature that night, at 7:30. It’s a fundraiser for Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities — so you can support 2 local profits that day.


Old Hill residents don’t know who stole the Biden/Harris signs from their lawns.

But there was a witness to a similar act Thursday afternoon, on Compo Road South across from Longshore.

A man with gray hair — perhaps in his 60s — in a gray Volkswagen sedan was spotted stealing a Biden/Harris sign from private property. A police report was filed.

The signs were quickly replaced. Here they are, yesterday afternoon:


When she was singing and acting at Staples High School, everyone predicted that Cara McNiff would be a star.

The 2014 graduate has just released a new single. “See the World”is an ethereal, uplifting pop song evoking wanderlust and dreams of escape in a time of restriction and risks. She and 2 other artists recorded it remotely, while scattered across the country by the coronavirus.

Cara — who now calls herself Caraa — pushes the boundaries of pop and R&B.

Click here to stream “See the World” on major music platforms.

Cara McNiff


And finally … today — October 5 — is the most common birthday in the United States.

On a normal day, 750,000 Americans celebrate a birthday. Today, more than 960,000 will.

Why is today unlike any other day?

One theory is that the average length of a pregnancy is 274 days. Counting backward, the date of conception for babies born today is December 31 — New Year’s Eve.

i guess not everyone spends the night watching the ball drop.

Roundup: RBG, EV, IVF, More

A crowd of 75 people — of all ages — gathered last night at Westport’s Unitarian Church to honor Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

The vigil was held while the late US Supreme Court justice was being honored in Washington, DC.

(Photo/David Vita)


Pink Aid is going semi-virtual.

The renowned breast cancer organization celebrates their 10th anniversary on Saturday, October 10 at Mitchells of Westport.

There’s a fashion show featuring Brunello Cucinelli; video appearances by the CMA-winning band Old Dominion, Hoda Kotb, Giuliana Rancic and Susie Essman from “Curb Your Enthusiasm”; a photo booth, and mixologist.

But you can also enjoy Pink Aid’s gala at home.

You can pick up a “Pink Aid Party in a Box” at Mitchells’ Westport or Greenwich stores. Charcuterie boards and dinners from Marcia Selden Catering will be delivered in Fairfield and Westchester counties.

For tickets and more information, click here.


Who doesn’t love a parade? Particularly one that — these days — includes everyone driving their own cars.

As part of National Drive Electric Week — who knew?! — 1st Selectman Jim Marpe will wave the checkered flag on Sunday (September 27, 10 p.m.). The site is Donut Crazy, in the Westport train station eastbound parking.

Organized by the Electric Vehicle Club of Connecticut and Sustainable Fairfield Task Force, a parade of 30 EVs will be led through downtown and into Fairfield by

Organized by the Electric Vehicle Club of Connecticut & Sustainable Fairfield Task Force as part of National Drive Electric Week. Marpe will speak and wave the checkered flag to kick it off, and the parade of ~30 decorated & flagged electric vehicles will be led through downtown Westport and into Fairfield by Police Chief Foti Koskinas. He’ll drive (of course) the department’s Tesla Model 3.

Electric vehicles in the parade include a 1903 Baker Torpedo, Vespa Elettrica scooter, Porsche Taycan, Volkswagen E-Golf, Jaguar i-Pace, Nissan Leaf, Kia Soul, Chevy Bolt, and Tesla Models Y, S, and 3.

Socially distant spectators welcome all along the parade route. Click here to see.


Timothy Cole’s The Sea Glass Mysteries goes on sale October 6. He says:

“I want to take the reader on a fun romp through the seamy underside of a wealthy seaside suburbia.

“In this case, the scene of the crime is a highbrow enclave within Westport, Connecticut…yes, home to solid strivers, but with a light sprinkling of moguls and misanthropes.

“Our unlikely protagonist? Ex-CIA intelligence officer Dasha Petrov. Think Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple with a Russian accent.

“She’s now retired from her secret life in America’s clandestine services. But her skills remain pin sharp as she teams with a Westport police detective and a local television reporter. Sergeant Anthony DeFranco becomes Westport’s finest as he confronts treachery in his own ranks….

To learn more — and order — click here.


What is called Connecticut’s “first non-conventional IVF center” opens in Westport on November 2.

Rejuvenating Fertility Center is founded by Dr. Zaher Merhi. He has served Manhattan residents for more than a decade. One of the managers is Jessica Haroun, a 2014 Staples High School grad.

RFC services include ovarian rejuvenation, natural (non-medication, no blood draw) IVF, and ozone sauna therapy. The location is 225 Main Street.


And finally … Roy Hammond — better known as Roy “C” — died last week at 81. A soul singer, he also wrote and produced the Honey Drippers’ “Impeach the President.” The New York Times called it “a political funk barnstormer released in 1973 as the Watergate scandal unfolded around President Richard M. Nixon. It was resuscitated just over a decade later by the Queens hip-hop producer Marley Marl, who sampled its crisp drum intro for MC Shan’s ‘The Bridge.’ Released in 1986, that track caused a tectonic shift in the sound of New York rap.”

Roundup: RBG Vigil, Paving Project, Teen Photo Contest, More


Tomorrow night — as Americans pay respect to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in Washington — the Unitarian Church will honor her here.

The outdoor vigil begins at 7 p.m. (Thursday, September 24). Guests can bring a candle in a mason jar, an RBG quote, or a story to share.

Masks are required. If you feel safer in your car, you’re invited to stay there.

Children are invited to be part of this memory-making event too.

Artwork courtesy of Stephen Goldstein.


If you live on a few local roads, you’re in luck. Starting tomorrow, Westport’s Public Works Department will begin paving:

  • Ellery Lane
  • Ambler Road
  • Main Street
  • Myrtle Avenue
  • Reichert Circle
  • Dover Road
  • Janson Drive
  • Janson Court
  • Harborview Road
  • Meeker Road
  • Crestwood Road
  • Coleytown Road
  • Old Hill Farms Road
  • Winding Lane


The Westport Library’s 8th annual Teen Photography Contest has an apt theme: “Together Apart.”  

It’s open to all Fairfield County residents in grades 6 -12. Renowned photographer Pamela Einarsen is the judge.

Click here to enter. The deadline is October 30. So there’s plenty of time for young photographers to take photos — alone or together, but of course apart.


The Richmondville Avenue Mill building is being renovated. Offices will be converted to condos. Michael Pearl was there, and warns: “Beware of flying doors!”

(Photo/Michael Pearl)


And finally … Bruce Springsteen turns 71 today. There were only a zillion songs I could have chosen, to honor one of my favorite artists and human beings. This one made it to the top. (Hat tip: Amy Schneider)

Church’s “Black Lives Matter” Sign Vandalized

In 2016, the Unitarian Church in Westport hung a “Black Lives Matter” banner at its Lyons Plains Road entrance.

A few months later — just days after neo-Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan and other hate groups marched in Charlottesville — the banner was ripped from its post.

(Photo/David Vita)

Church officials replaced it — and added a “Hate Has No Home Here” sign next to it.

This time, it took just 5 days before it too was gone.

Another replacement was ordered.

Senior minister Rev. Dr. John Morehouse said, “Every time the banner is vandalized it fortifies our resolve to replace it and underscores the very need for its existence.”

Last week, the Unitarian Church sign was vandalized again. Written under the phrase “Black Lives Matter” was scrawled: “Is A Racist, Terrorist Organization.”

Someone then covered the graffiti with black tape, in an attempt to blot it out.

Each time haters struck, the church — well known for known for its commitment to diversity, inclusion, openness and social justice — contributes $100 to the Black Lives Matter movement.

Each time too, community reaction has been overwhelmingly positive. Strangers have sent words of support, and offered to help pay for a new banner.

“Black Lives Matter is a movement dedicated to the proposition that black lives should matter as much as white lives do today,” Rev. Morehouse says.

“But the fact is that currently, white lives matter more by almost every measure.  Our Unitarian Universalist faith community has been, and continues to be, dedicated to defeating racism. The fact of the matter is that Black Lives Matter is avowedly anti-racist in its call for black and brown lives to matter as much as white lives.”

Once again, the church will repair the sign.

Once again, representatives say, “it will remain as a testament to our community’s aspiration.”

Westport’s Unitarian Church.

Gambling, Gaming And The Teenage Brain

Gambling is a tough illness.

It takes a gambler’s money, and pride. It’s got the highest suicide rate of any addiction.

It affects a gambler’s entire family, friends and colleagues.

And gambling impacts not just people with too little money to begin with. Connecticut has 50,000 problem gamblers. Plenty live in places like Westport.

We have neighbors who spend their weekends at casinos, where they’re treated like kings.

We have kids who are addicted to gambling via video games. It starts when they buy treasure chests, with their parents’ credit cards. Some become binge gamers.

Rob Zuckerman knows all that, and much more. He’s a recovering gambling addict.

A 1968 graduate of Staples High School with a BFA in photography from the Rochester Institute of Technology, he took over his father’s business after his death in a 1978 automobile accident.

Rob moved the studio to South Norwalk in 1981 — an early pioneer in the new SoNo real estate venture. He ran it successfully for 20 years, before relocating to Fairfield.

During the 2008 recession, and with the rise of smartphones and other technology, the photography business changed dramatically.

In 2009 his son Ben fell off his bike, and was run over by a UPS driver. In the year it took him to recover, Rob got addicted to online gambling.

He got himself clean, and has not gambled in a decade. Along the way, he learned a lot about the disease — and his own compulsive side.

He credits much of his recovery to Renaissance — a Norwalk-based treatment center — and Gamblers Anonymous in Darien.

Rob Zuckerman

To pay it forward, Rob became one of the state’s 5 peer counselor for people with gambling issues. He answers hotline calls, escorts people to GA meetings, and helps with gamblers’ denial, guilt, remorse and anger however he can.

Rob is also a recovery coach at Renaissance.

Now — with plans rolling along for a casino in Bridgeport — Rob wants Westporters to be alert to the dangers of gambling for young people.

Rob is proud that Renaissance is sponsoring a talk on “Youth, Internet Habits and Mental Health.”

Set for Sunday, March 1 (12:30 to 2 p.m., Unitarian Church, 10 Lyons Plains Road), it features Dr. Paul Weigle. An adolescent psychiatrist, he’ll speak about how gaming and screen habits impact physical and mental health of children.

The church’s addictions recovery ministry is a co-sponsor of the event.

He’s seen the effects of gambling first-hand. Rob has seen too the work that can be done — by community organizations and his own church — to help with recovery from addictions.

He’s betting this is an important event, for anyone who lives with or works with young people.

Choral Chameleon Pops Up At Unitarian Church

Choral Chameleon is well named.

The New York ensemble works in a dynamic blend of genres and art forms — whatever type of choral music is called for, whenever they’re called to perform.

This year’s tour was inspired by the questions: “Regardless of whether we lean left or right, what if we could just leave the zoo? Would we find utopia, or go back to the never-ending search for meaning we humans have been on since creation?”

Cue: “If I Left the Zoo.”

Choral Chameleon

Using humor, animals and music ranging from the Beatles’ “Blackbird” and “I Am the Walrus” to the world premiere of Westport’s own Edward Thompson’s whimsical a cappella trilogy “Aphorisms of the Zookeeper,” Choral Chameleon returns to Westport’s Unitarian Church this Saturday for their only Fairfield County appearance.

The February 22 concert “explores the primal instincts in humans, and the stories and fables of earth’s creatures and transformations.”

For example, Thompson’s new work includes “Alligators.” It’s based on the saying “When I’m up to my neck in alligators, I remember that my intention was to drain the swamp.”

Animals can teach us about life — and with a bit of humor. Both are much needed these days.

Edward Thompson

Thompson — the church’s music director — has quite a resume. He earned a master’s degree from Juilliard, a doctor of musical arts from the University of Hartford, and did post-doctoral work at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.

He has composed dozens of pieces for youth, mixed, women’s and men’s choirs, as well as instrumental works.

But this is his first for — okay, about — animals.

 (Choral Chameleon’s “If I Left the Zoo” tour is Saturday, February 22 at 7:30 p.m. For tickets and more information, click here.)