Tag Archives: United Nations Association of Southwestern Connecticut

Roundup: Halloween Parade, Mike Sansur, Paul Newman …

Halloween comes early!

The annual downtown Children’s Halloween Parade is set for next Wednesday (October 26). Kids and parents meet at the Post Road East/Main Street intersection at 3:30 p.m.

They’ll march up Main Street, turn right to Avery Place, then turn left on Myrtle Avenue to Town Hall and Veterans Green. Children may trick-or-treat along Main Street and outside Town Hall. 

Entertainment, refreshments and a small gift will be provided on Veterans Green across from Town Hall at 4 p.m. 

The Parks and Recreation Department, Westport Downtown Association and Westport P.A.L. are sponsoring the event. It’s for all children — “especially those 8 and under.”

NOTE: There is no parkin on Main Street between 2 and 4 p.m. during the parade.

Seen at a previous Halloween parade.

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The Westport Education Association is raising funds to honor one of its own.

Beloved Staples High School technology education teacher Mike Sansur was killed Saturday, when his vehicle was rear-ended on I-95. His 21-year-old son — who is studying to be a teacher too — is hospitalized with serious injuries.

A GoFundMe page will help defray medical costs for Mike’s son, and help with future college costs for his 2 high school daughters.

The WEA says, “Mike touched the hearts of all students who walked through his door. A former student said was the “the only class where I felt like I belonged. He opened up a world of possibilities, and a desire to learn more. He taught the importance of attention to detail, design, and craftsmanship, which influenced me to pursue architecture. As I write this, the lamp he helped me build is still on my desk. Its light will not go out.”

Click here to contribute, and for more information.

Mike Sansur

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In the wake of “The Extraordinary Life of an Ordinary Man” — Paul Newman’s new memoir — it’s hard to keep up with media mentions.

But a story in the current issue of The New Yorker caught my eye.

Twice, writer Louis Menand references the book’s genesis: over 100 interviews with and about the actor, conducted by his screenwriter friend Stewart Stern.

But in 1991, Newman asked Stern to stop. In 1998, Newman “took the cassettes to the dump and burned them all.”

Later, Menand mentions the incident again: “the auto-da-fé at the town dump seems a pretty clear indication that Newman did not want a memoir.”

The New Yorker is well known for its rigorous fact-checking.

It seems pretty clear that “the town dump” is our town dump. After all, this is where Newman lived. It’s where he kept the tapes.

But wait! We don’t have a “town dump.” It’s a “transfer station.”

And there’s no place there to burn anything.

So … maybe Paul Newman did not burn those hundreds of tapes here, but somewhere else?

Or maybe they were never burned at all?!

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One of the major themes of “From the Mississippi Delta” — the current Westport Country Playhouse production — is civil rights.

That’s inextricably tied in with voting rights. So — with an election looming next month — Westport’s League of Women Voters is offering political information in the Playhouse lobby through the show’s run. It ends on October 30.

For over 70 years, the LWV has been a non-partisan Westport institution. They do not support individual candidates; instead they advocate for voter education and enfranchisement. They actively register voters, and organize candidate debates.

Before each performance of “From the Mississippi Delta,” LWV volunteers will offer information on times, locations and requirements for voting in the November 8 mid-term election, including how to get an absentee ballot and online registration.

They will conduct in-person voter registration for people with valid identification (driver’s license, passport, or Social Security card).

The LWV will also explain the ballot referendum about adding days to voting in Connecticut. Right now, we are one of only one 4 states that limits voting to one day.

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Before Halloween and Election Day, there’s another holiday.

United Nations Day is not a big one. Except for the people who believe in things like, um, world peace.

To celebrate, the United Nations Association of Southwestern Connecticut is sponsoring a talk and Q-and-A at the Westport Library (October 24, 7 p.m.).

Dr. Mary Evelyn Tucker, co-founder of the Yale Forum on Religion & Ecology, will speak on “Reimagining Our Environmental Future Together.” Her goal is to inspire people to “preserve, protect and restore the earth community.”

After nearly 3 COVID years away from cabaret,  Leslie Orofino is back. And “Laughing at Life.”

This Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Lecture honors the founder of the UNASC. She was  a longtime Westporter, and advocate for all things UN-related.

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Speaking of world peace: World-famous photojournalist (and 1991 Staples High School graduate) Lynsey Addario has spent more than 2 decades reporting in the face of conflict, corruption and censorship. She’s done it in the Middle East and Africa; now she capturing the horrors of war in Ukraine.

On November 9, she’ll receive a “Courage in Journalism” award from the International Women’s Media Foundation.

The virtual ceremony is set for November 9 (5:30 p.m.). CBS News’ Norah O’Donnell will host. Click here for free registration, and more information. (Hat tip: Naree Viner)

Lynsey Addario

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Westport’s prized vocalist joins director (and fellow townie) Louis Pietig in 2 performances at New York City’s Don’t Tell Mama.

“Laughing at Life” — that’s the show’s name — is a “foot-stomping, life-affirming journey of love.” It includes songs by Alberta Hunter, Fats Waller, Cole Porter, Bob Dylan and many others.

The first show is this Saturday (October 22); the next is Sunday, October 30. Both are at 4 p.m. There’s a $20 cover, with a 2-drink minimum. Click here for reservations.

Leslie Orofino

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Not much gets by Bob Weingarten.

He spotted frost yesterday morning on a Morningside Drive South roof.

“It’s the first of the season,” he reports.

Spring arrives in 152 days.

Frosty roof. (Photo/Bob Weingarten)

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Autumn continues to awe. Jonathan Alloy sends along today’s spectacular “Westport … Naturally” foliage. It’s at Long Lots Elementary School. Similar scenes can be found all over town.

But not for long.

(Photo/Jonathan Alloy)

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And finally …  On this date in 1977, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s plane crashed in the Mississippi woods. Six people, including 3 band members, were killed.

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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.