Tag Archives: United Nations Association of Southwestern Connecticut

Roundup: Express Train, I-95, Passover …

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Today is National Vietnam War Veterans Day.

Let’s pause and remember all who served — including Westport’s own Jay Dirnberger.

Jay Dirnberger

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After New Orleans Pelicans star Zion Williamson’s great game Saturday night, Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle had an unusual way of comparing Williamson to an express train:

“It’s not just an Amtrak, it’s the Acela. it doesn’t stop in Westport, it just goes straight to New York City.” (Hat tip: Fred Cantor)

This express train does not stop in Westport.

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Westport Book Shop is a smash.

That’s not just my opinion. The Jesup Road used book store — which also sells vinyl, CDs, DVDs and audio books — is so successful, it’s expanding its hours.

They’re now open Tuesdays through Fridays, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sundays, noon to 5 p.m. They’re closed Mondays.

They’re open 24/7 online, too: www.westportbooksales.org.

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How is the I-95/Beachside Avenue bridge replacement project going?

Brandon Malin’s drone offers this unique view:

(Drone photo/Brandon Malin)

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COVID knocked out every in-person Seder last year.

This Passover, some Westport families gathered in small groups. Others celebrated virtually.

Below, David Ader joins the Yormark Seder. Pippa Bell Ader notes: “In the interest of saving paper, this year we read from the Haggadah via the second computer, on the right.”

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Easter is Sunday. Which means there are only a few days left to get your Easter basket.

Savvy + Grace has great ones. You can head to the popular Main Street store and pick what you want.

Or email savvyandgracewestport@gmail.com. Include your name, phone number, and the age, likes and interests of the recipient. Annette Norton and her staff will put baskets together, and call for your review.

Not sure? Check out some pre-made baskets online (click here).

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International Mother Earth Day is coming soon. To celebrate, the United Nations Association’s Southwest Connecticut Chapter is running a Student Creativity Contest.

They’re looking for ways to promote the UN’s sustainable development goals, legal protections for nature, and efforts to preserve biodiversity.

Submissions in any form are welcome: posters, flyers, stickers, postcards, videos, tweets, web pages, poems, songs, social media posts, whatever.

Cash prizes are awarded: $300 for 1st place, $150 for 2nd, $75 for 3rd, $25 for 4th through 10th place.

The deadline is April 16. Email a JPG, PDF, PowerPoint, MP3, MP4 or hyperlink to unaswct@gmail.com. For more information, click here.

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Speaking of Earth Day: Last fall , Melissa Ceriale and her Prospect Road neighbors participated in Debra Kandrak’s daffodil planting project.

The results are gorgeous. And they’ll pop up every spring too!

Daffodils on Prospect Road. (Photo/Melissa Ceriale)

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And finally … on this day in 1871, Queen Victoria opened London’s Royal Albert Hall.

Kids’ Art Contest Honors Earth Day

With all the excitement over Easter and Passover, we may forget that Earth Day is coming.

And not just any ol’ Earth Day. This is the 50th anniversary! It could not have come at a more appropriate time.

To celebrate, the United Nations Association’s local chapter invites students throughout the area to submit art work — all kinds, in any media. There are 3 prizes — $300, $150 and $75 — and the first 50 submissions will be posted on Instagram.

Winners will also be invited to the UN.

Winners can choose to have part or all of their prize money donated to UN agency working with at-risk populations. Donations will be matched by an anonymous donor.

Unsure of what to do, or how to do it? Beloved Westport artist Miggs Burroughs will tell you everything you need to know — and offer suggestions.

Just click here this Thursday (April 9, 3 p.m.).

Entries are due April 16. Include name, age, school and grade, and make the submission via a parent or guardian’s email address. For submissions and questions, email UNASWCTIG@gmail.com.

Westport Celebrates World Press Freedom Day

Alert “06880” reader Mark Friedman — an RTM representative, and founder of iheartfreedomofthepress.com — writes:

As a child of the 1970s, I watched Superman cartoons. He worked tirelessly for “Truth, Justice, and the American Way.”

Somewhere along the way (in law school?), I came to accept that people would not soon jump tall buildings in a single bound. But I also developed an abiding gratitude for the rights protected by the Constitution of the United States — in particular, our First Amendment freedoms.

World Press Freedom Day is tomorrow (Friday, May 3). Westport honors this day with a 3:30 p.m. event at Town Hall.

Mark Friedman, at Westport’s Memorial Day parade.

Westporter Bill Haas of the UN Association of SW CT will moderate a panel discussion considering the impact of money, politics and censorship on press freedom.  Participants include Congressman Jim Himes, Francesca Procaccini of Yale Law School, Michael DeDora of Committee to Protect Journalists, and myself.

Westport — known for its artistic influences and commitment to freedom of expression — strikes me as the perfect place for this event.

At a time when governments worldwide jail hundreds of journalists, and the US is ranked 48th worldwide in terms of press freedoms, Westport seems especially equipped to provide the intellectual and moral leadership, given its ethos of service — both locally and globally.

I encourage Westporters to attend Friday’s event. I also ask us everyone to consider Nelson Mandela’s reflection on press freedom:

A critical, independent and investigative press is the lifeblood of any democracy.  The press must be free from state interference.  It must have the economic strength to stand up to the blandishments of government officials.  It must have sufficient independence from vested interests to be bold and inquiring without fear or favor.

Westporters have a significant role to play in protecting Truth, Justice, and the American Way. And as a certain Marvel superhero reminds us, with great power comes great responsibility.

Iran, The US, The UN — And Westport

By the time Alex Anvari was 9 years old, he spoke 3 languages: English, French and Farsi.

His parents had met at the University of Illinois when his father was a Ph.D. candidate from the Middle East; his mother was a Midwestern undergrad.

Alex’s father’s job in academia brought the family to his native Iran. Alex played soccer in the streets, learning the language and culture of his new country.

His classmates at Tehran International School came from 35 countries. “We were just like the UN,” Alex says.

Alex Anvari (right), in jUNe Day soccer action.

So it was natural, when he moved to Westport in 1992 — he worked in “the Oracle economy” — to play in the jUNe Day soccer game pitting local players against UN guests. Soon, Alex was running the event.

He made occasional trips back to Iran, where family members still lived. While Americans have long been fascinated by the country — its fascinating history, the larger-than-life stories of the shah, its longtime role with Israel as a “policeman of the Gulf” — he’s had an up-front-and-personal view of it.

So he’s excited to be moderating an event — sponsored by the United Nations Association of Southwestern Connecticut — a week before UN Day.

Set for Town Hall (Wednesday, October 17, 12 p.m.), it’s a conversation with Dina Esfandiary, international security fellow at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

They’ll talk about Middle East geopolitics, the role of the UN regarding Iran’s nuclear deal, US foreign policy, and business strategy after American sanctions.

“06880”‘s tagline is “Where Westport meets the world.” Alex Anvari is one Westporter who has done that all his life.