There’s a good reason why Westport schools are in session on Veterans Day.
It’s a chance for students to learn the meaning of the holiday. Some classes have special discussions. Some buildings hold special assemblies.
At Greens Farms Elementary School, youngsters hear from veterans themselves. Some served in long-ago wars. Others — including the father of at least 2 current students — are serving now.
Greens Farms School principal Kevin Cazzetta welcomes Lieutenant Commander Ryan Weddle, father of students Ben and John. He has served in the US Navy since 2008, with deployments to Guantanamo, Afghanistan and Qatar.
Each year, teachers organize a ceremony. Several dozen servicemen and women are honored. This year, nearly two dozen took the stage.
Veterans on stage. The “Missing Man” table in front is decorated with symbols representing missing family members (rose), love for country (red ribbon), tears shed for those lost (salt), missing soldiers 9inverted) glass and hope (lit candle).
They were serenaded with songs of all the armed forces branches — including, this year, the new Space Force tune.
The Greens Farms PtA sponsors a reception too.
GFS 3rd grade teacher Karen Frawley (right) with her mother Doris Serbu Seipel. She is a first lieutenant in the Air Force Nurse Corps, and a captain in the New York State National Guard.
“It’s the best assembly of the year, every year,” says longtime music teacher Suzanne Sherman Propp. “It’s really heartwarming.”
Greens Farms 3rd graders are ready.
She helped organize the event, with colleagues Amy Murtagh, Karen Frawley, Dan Seek, Jason Hubball, Catherine Vanech and Lisa Doran.
Greens Farms Elementary School 3rd grade teachers (from left): Karen Frawley, Catherine Vanech, Amy Murtagh, Jason Hubball.
Former Bedford Middle School math teacher Salpi Tokatlian (right) with her granddaughter, GFS 2nd grader Ella, and husband Sgt. Matthew Charles Tokatlian, US Army 1968-71. He served in Vietnam, and earned a Sharpshooter Medal.
All around town today, flags fly proudly to honor our veterans.
Matt Murray captured this inspiring view this morning, on Compo Cove:
A reminder: Today’s Town Hall ceremony begins at 10:30 a.m, The Community Band will play; speakers include 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker and Staples High School senior Tyler Clark; the Westport Police Honor Guard, American Legion Post 63 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 399 wilk participate too.
This first-ever MoCA Film Salon features 2 highly acclaimed documentaries about the art world.
“Jay Myself” is a behind-the-scenes documentary about photographer/ artist Jay Maisel — directed by renowned photographer and Westporter Stephen Wilkes). It’s set for December 10 (3 p.m.) A conversation with Wilkes follows the screening.
“The Art of Making It” (December 11, 3 p.m.) examines the lives of 17 young artists navigating emerging careers in the contemporary art world. It screens
Tickets ($20 for one show, $30 for both) include complimentary light bites. Drinks and cocktails will be available for purchase. Click here for tickets, and more information.
And Finally … Joe Tarsia died last week in Pennsylvania. He was 88.
You may not know his name, but you’re heard his work. A recording engineer, he was a key developer of what the New York Times calls “the lush, fervent blend of soul, disco and funk known as the Sound of Philadelphia.” Click here for a full obituary.
It’s a quasi-holiday. Banks and post offices are closed. For most of the rest of us, it’s business as usual.
But as we pause to remember the millions who served our nation, let’s think about the stories of every man.
In 2017, children at a Fairfield elementary school eagerly filled out forms honoring veterans they knew.
Six-year-old Declan O’Gorman proudly wrote “Grandma.”‘
Kendall Gardiner — a longtime Westport resident — joined the Army in 1967. She volunteered for Viet Nam.
Kendall served as a combat nurse on the ground, treating badly wounded soldiers in a M*A*S*H-type unit. She and her fellow nurses worked 12 hour shifts, 6 to 7 days a week.
But Declan’s school balked at “Grandma.” They made him rewrite the form, with help from his 7-year-old brother Luke.
“I think the school missed a great opportunity to educate the children about all the different people who choose to become soldiers,” Kendall writes.
“And they missed an opportunity for my grandson to learn I haven’t been ‘Grandma’ my whole life.”
She’s right. Names don’t matter. Actions do.
Thank you for your service, Kendall “Grandma” Gardiner.
Kendall Gardiner, in Viet Nam.
Thanks too to all your fellow nurses, doctors, pilots, soldiers, sailors, and everyone else who served: the few remaining World II veterans; those in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan; those who were stateside, and those no longer with us.
Today, we honor you all.
(For more on Kendall Gardiner’s service, click here. Don’t forget this morning’s Veterans Day ceremony at Town Hall. The Community Band plays at 10:30; the speakers take the auditorium stage at 11.)
The new shop in the former Fleishers Craft Butchery is the creation of chef (and Staples High School graduate) Matt Storch and Susan McConnell — both of Burger Lobster and Match — plus Jimmy Bloom (Copps Island Oysters) and butcher Paul Nessel (well known from his Craft Butchery days across Riverside Avenue).
Stephanie Webster of CTBites calls Saugatuck Provisions “a new concept offering customers a curated selection of the very best ingredients from the land, sea and grocery, enabling guests to create beautiful restaurant quality meals at home.”
Saugatuck Provisions (Photo and hat tip/JD Dworkow)
The first evening of the Westport Library’s Short Cuts Film Festival earned rave reviews.
The second night is Thursday, November 17 (7 p.m., Trefz Forum).
Four short documentaries — all from the Tribeca Film Festival — will be shown.
“More Than I Want to Remember,” by Amy Bench. Winner, Best Animated Short, Tribeca. In the Congo, 14-year-old Mugeni runs to the forest, escaping bombs and surviving without her family.
“Beirut Dreams in Color,” by Michael Collins. This heart-rending story follows an openly gay Arab rock star and his activist fan. Tragedy results “in Cairo.
“Kylie” by Sterling Hampton. A Black ballerina tries to make it in the traditionally white ballet world?
“John Leguizamo Live at Rikers Island,” by Elena Francesa. The actor performs and spends time at the prison, inspiring justice-involved young men to reflect about their lives and the challenges of incarceration.
After the screenings, Kevin Wilson Jr. — an Oscar-nominated filmmaker, and member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, chats with Short Cuts producer Nancy Diamond.
The festival continues December 8, with an evening of narrative shorts.
Tickets are $25. Refreshments and popcorn will be served. For more information and tickets, click here.
The Westport Police have released arrest reports for November 2-9.
Three people were detained in custody. One was charged with identity theft and larceny, 3rd degree.
One was arrested for sale of hallucinogenics, drug paraphernalia, weapons in a motor vehicle, carrying a pistol or revolver without a permit, misuse of plates, operating an unregistered motor vehicle, operating a motor vehicle under suspension, insurance coverage fails minimum requirements, failure to wear safety belt
One was detained for for violation of parole and narcotics possession.
The following citations were issued:
Violation of any traffic commission regulation (11)
Traveling unreasonably fast (7)
Misuse of plates (3)
Operating an unregistered vehicle (3)
Failure to obey control signal (2)
Insurance coverage fails to meet minimum requirement (2)
Readings of the new musical “Psyche,” starring Jay Armstrong Johnson and Johanna Moise, are set for today and tomorrow (November 10 and 11 at New York’s DiMenna Center .
But you can be forgiven if you think it’s a Staples Players’ Class of 2017 reunion.
The musical’s book and lyrics are by Emily Garber. The score is from Jake Landau.
Rounding out the production team are developmental producer Lauren Weinberger, dramaturg Phoebe Corde, and gender and sexuality consultant Shira Helena Gitlin. All collaborated on many Players productions.
“Psyche” was featured in Broadway World (click here). Click here for the website, with a full synopsis and link to demos.
Speaking of performances: “Cheese Fries & Froot Loops” — the funny, poignant solo show written and performed by Weston’s Chris Fuller, about this lifelong dream to play on the PGA Tour while living with bipolar manic disorder — returns to the Fairfield Theater Company November 30 (6:30 p.m.).
His brothers Jeff and Judd Fuller (both professional musicians) and Chris’ step-sister Vicky — all raised in Westport — offer a special musical performance prior to the show. The theme is mental health awareness.
Chris was recently invited to join the United Solo Festival on New York’s Theater Row.
Click here for more information about the FTC show, including tickets.
Art of Everyone is launching Connecticut’s first Hybrid NFT & Traditional Art Exhibition.
The 2 mediums will be merged under one roof. The exploration of the convergence of traditional visual arts and NFTs puts artists back in control of their careers.
Set for this Saturday (November 12, 4 to 9 p.m.), it’s part of the Bridgeport Arts Trail. The Knowlton (305 Knowlton Street) has donated their entire 10,000-square foot space, audiovisual resources, staging and technology for the event.
Among the participants: Westport artists James Chantler Brown (Art of Everyone co-founder), Linda Colletta and Alison James.
Westporter Herm Freeman is showing too. He helped curate and hang the entire exhibit.
For the past 2 elections, Mark Yurkiw’s artwork (below) offered a reminder on the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge of upcoming votes.
Tomorrow is Election Day. Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. To find out where you vote, click here.
Connecticut voters will cast ballots for state legislators, governor and US senator. There’s also a referendum question: Should the state constitution be amended, to give the General Assembly the option to allow early voting?
A “yes” vote on this one seems like a non-partisan no-brainer. Right now, only 4 states — Connecticut, New Hampshire, Alabama and Mississippi — do not permit voting before Election Day.
Four Westport Police Department members were promoted last week to new ranks.
Congratulations to Sergeants Daniel Paz and Howard Simpson, Lieutenant Serenity Dobson and Captain David Wolf.
And thanks, of course, for your service.
The Westport Police Department promotion ceremony. From left: Sgt. Daniel Paz, Sgt. Howard Simpson, Lt. Serenity Dobson, Capt. David Wolf, Deputy Chief Samuel Arciola, First Selectwoman Jen Tooker, Chief Foti Koskinas, Captain Eric Woods. (Photo and hat tip: Andrew Colabella)
He was well-known in the Westport hospitality family, and a consummate professional. He served for many years at Mario’s, DeRosa’s, Viva Zapata and the Inn at Longshore, among others.
A friend says: “His wry sense of humor, kindness and cheeky smile were just a few of the things we loved about him. Many were lucky enough to know him well and call him a dear friend, but Willie was really a friend to all he met.”
At his request, there will be no funeral. Instead, friends are invited to celebrate his life on Sunday (November 13, Black Duck Café, noon to 4 p.m.).
Light food will be served, with a cash bar. Friends can bring pictures or stories to share.Digital photos for a slide show can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Westporters know her as Julie DeLoyd. To her music fans, she is simply Julie Loyd.
By either name, she’s ready to record her 7th album — the first full-length one since 2008.
A lot has happened in that time, and she has 10 songs to share about it. The album goes back to her acoustic roots, with guitar, banjo, cello, upright bass, accordion and more.
“It’s earthy and honest,” Julie says. “I’m sharing stories from own family, about my friends, about love, about ambition. It’s an album that I couldn’t have written 15 years ago.
She’s funding much of it herself. But she’s started a $10,000 Kickstarter project to help cover studio and producer time, musicians, traveling to Nashville, graphic design and manufacture, and publicity.
Click here for more information, and to contribute.
Ann Chernow has been an important part of Westport’s arts scene for decades.
But she’s not just ours. Her work has been shown nationally and internationally, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum, DeJong Musem, National University of Taiwan, el Aviv Museum Coupozoulos Museum in Athens and many others.
Now she’s got a new website. Click here to see her work. Click below for an intriguing interview, with Miggs Burroughs.
Felice Pagliuso — well known to generations of Compo Barber Shop customers — died Thursday, surrounded by hsis family. The Norwalk resident was 73.
He was born in Calabria, and emigrated from Italy in 1971 with his wife. They began their new life in the US, and started a family.
Felice spent 47 years at Compo Barber Shop. When it closed, he moved nearby to Westport Hair &Co. He took great pride in his work, and earned rewards for his men’s hair styling.
Felice’s happiest role in life was being a grandfather. He found joy in family dinners, walks by the beach and playing Italian cards. He loved classical music and enjoyed going to Italian concerts.
Felice is survived by his wife of 52 years, Palma Torcasio Pagliuso; daughter Giovanna Pagliuso (Alex) Apazidis and son Antonio Pagliuso (fiancée Chrisavgi Sourgoutsis); grandsons Nikolaos and Anthony Felice Apazidis; brother Francesco Pagliuso, and several nieces and nephews. Felice was pre-deceased by his brother Antonio, sister Caterina and nephew Gianfranco Pagliuso.
Calling hours are today (Monday, November 7, 4 to 8 p.m., Raymond Funeral Home. 5 East Wall Street, Norwalk). A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated tomorrow (Tuesday, November 8, 10 a.m. at St. Philip Church, 1 Father Conlin Place Norwalk. Entombment will follow in St. John’s Cemetery.
On the heels of Veterans Day, Y’s Men member Jay Dirnberger has created a program about the Vietnam War for the Westport Library’s Oral History Project.
On November 23 (7 p.m., Westport Library) he and 3 other combat veterans — all now Westporters — will talk about their war experiences, reflect on its impact since leaving the military, then answer questions from the audience.
Captain Jay Dirnberger, US Army retired, came home from his last college final exam to find he’d been drafted. He missed his graduation to report to the Army. He completed helicopter flight training, was commissioned a Second Lieutenant and assigned to an assault helicopter battalion in Vietnam in 1968.
Also on the panel: Lieutenant JG Tucker Mays, US Navy retired. He served most of 2 9-month tours at Da Nang as a boat group commander,
Air Force Sergeant Bud Siegel was assigned to an air traffic control unit responsible for controlling fighter/bombers near the North Vietnam border.
The final member of the panel, Army Sergeant and Y’s Man Preston Koster, was first assigned to Vietnam as a combat engineer, then finished his tour of duty near Saigon.
Y’s Man John Brandt, a Vietnam era Naval Reservist, though not a combat veteran, will moderate the discussion.
Jay Dirnberger served with the 1st Cavalry Division in South Vietnam.
They’re years away from military service. But Boy Scout Troop 100 had the honor of accompanying and supporting veterans during yesterday’s ceremony at VFW Post 399.
Led by Scoutmaster Alexey Syomichev, the troop has dedicated this year to supporting local veterans, and the VFW post. Scouts have built relationships with VFW members, and are dedicating service hours, and leadership and Eagle projects, to benefit and support those who served.
Before yesterday’s festivities, Troop 100 cleaned and painted the VFW parking lot, provided fresh painted lines and arrows, and cleaned up the VFW grounds.”
Boy Scout Troop 100, at yesterday’s VFW Veterans Day ceremony.
Over 100 people — Hindus and others — headed to MoCA yesterday. They celebrated Diwali, the festival honoring the triumph of good over evil, light over darkness and wisdom over ignorance. It is an auspicious day, for new beginnings.
And an auspicious start for — we hope — one of Westport’s newest traditions.
For more information, including upcoming events, email email@example.com. You can follow AAPI Westport — our local Asian American and Pacific Islander organization — on Instagram (@aapiwestport),
One of the many children’s activities at yesterday’s Diwali celebration. (Photo/Sarin Cheung)
As NBC Sports’ contract ends, broadcasters around the world are battling for rights to the Premier League: world soccer’s biggest yearly showcase. The deal may reach $3 billion over 9 years.
That’s a far cry from what Westporters Joe Pierce and Norm Bierman paid a couple of decades ago. As partners in rights to the first season in the USA, they paid $45,000 — and that included all languages.
Matches were shown on Prime Network, and on closed circuit to bars.
So — in a sense — perhaps there would be no US bidding war for the English league, were it not for a couple of Westport fans who only wanted to watch their favorite teams, back in the day.
Regina Pape died last month in Paoli, Pennsylvania, surrounded by her family. She was 79.
The Philadelphia native graduated from Manor College. She worked as a medical secretary at Pennsylvania Hospital. Reggie lived in Westport from 1976 to 2006.
While raising her children here, Reggie volunteered with their schools and other activities. She also worked as a freelance typist and editor. She had a close-knit circle of friends here, and loved to entertain and spend time at the beach. Reggie was an avid reader and traveler.
Reggie is survived by her husband of 57 years, Morgan Pape Sr.; sons Morgan Jr. (Christine) and Timothy; daughter Regina Carron (Thomas); 5 grandchildren; sisters Judith Riley and Mary Clare Hogan, and brothers Charles Jr. and Daniel. She was predeceased by siblings John T. Sweeney and Jean Cummins.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a memorial contribution in Reggie’s memory to The Paoli Hospital Foundation or the charity of your choice.
And finally … on this day in 1860, Abraham Lincoln was elected our 16th President. He got only 40% of the popular vote though, defeating John Breckinridge, John Bell and Stephen A. Douglas in a 4-way race.
Posted onNovember 7, 2020|Comments Off on Roundup: Veterans Day, COVID Testing, Cottage Thanksgiving
The other day, “06880” reader Ernest Lorimer went for a break-quarantine COVID test at St. Vincent’s Health Center on Long Lots Road. He reports:
“The line was a little over 2 hours long, compared to less than an hour a few weeks ago.
“Three Westport police officers had firm control over the line. Cars were divided into 2 queues on either side of the drive. I imagine that was to get more cars off Long Lots, while keeping the drive open for emergency vehicles.
“Cars were not being taken out of the queue in a zippering fashion, which we are used to from traffic merges, but a string from one queue and then a string from the other.
“Officers kept exact track of those queues so no one was getting ahead of anyone else. But that didn’t keep people from haranguing them about queue management, often in heated fashion. Glad they were there!
“Next step in improvement: a Porta Potty. These lines aren’t going to get shorter.”
Westport’s Veterans Day service — traditionally held in the Town Hall auditorium — has been COVID-shifted outdoors. The Wednesday, November 11 ceremony begins at 11 a.m., at VFW Post 399.
The program includes posting the colors; remarks by 1st Selectman Jim Marpe; placing of a memorial wreath by members of VFW Post 399 and American Legion Post 63, and a Westport Police Department firing detail.
The event concludes with honors to 5 veterans.
Because of the pandemic, attendance is by invitation only. Video of the ceremony will be posted on all town social media pages, plus Optimum channel 79 and Frontier channel 6020, soon after its conclusion.
The color guard, at last year’s Veterans Day ceremony.
One of our area’s great organizations is the Council of Churches of Greater Bridgeport. They fund programs like the Janus Center, which aids at-risk youth; Projecto Nueva Vida, which helps people who have been incarcerated re-enter society; FEED, which assists the less fortunate, and CREATE, which trains disadvantaged adults to be chefs.
Christ & Holy Trinity Church has been delivering donations to several food pantries sponsored by the Council. They also bring fresh produce from the Westport Community Garden to FEED.
Bridgeport’s Council of Churches is sponsoring a virtual “FUNdraiser” next Thursday (November 12, 7 p.m.). There’s music by Chris Coogan, a great auction and much more.
Christ & Holy Trinity asked me to spread the word. I’m honored to do so. Click here for the link.
Looking for a cozy, COVID-friendly Thanksgiving restaurant option?
The Cottage will offer in-house dining from 2 to 7 p.m., with a prix fixe menu ($95 per person; $45 per child under 12).
Reservations can be made via phone only: 203-557-3701.
And finally … On this day in 1944, Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected to an unprecedented 4th term as president. He was first elected in 1932, during one of the darkest years in American history. This was his theme song.
Comments Off on Roundup: Veterans Day, COVID Testing, Cottage Thanksgiving
Yesterday was Veterans Day. For several years, Staples assistant principal Rich Franzis arranged assemblies, speakers and other events at his school to mark the day.
This year, former Staples teacher — and US Army Ranger — Dan Geraghty invited Franzis to participate at Geraghty’s current school, Easton/Redding’s Joel Barlow High.
Franzis brought along 2 Staples grads. Both are from the Class of 2005. Both joined the Marine Corps.
“At the point in their lives when most 18-year-olds are thinking about summer jobs, the beach and an upcoming transition to college,” Franzis noted, “each of them wrote a blank check made payable to the United States of America for an amount of up to, and including, their life.”
All-State football player Pat Scott served 2 tours of duty in Iraq, and another in Guantanamo. This year, he will graduate from Fairfield University.
Cal Wauchope pinned on sergeant stripes in record time. He served twice in Iraq, and once in Afghanistan. He too graduates this year, from Pace University.
Celebrating Veterans Day yesterday at Joel Barlow High School *(from left): Calvin Wauchope, Rich Franzis, Pat Scott and Dan Geraghty
Franzis also talked about 2 other members of Staples’ Class of ’05. Greg Jacobs, an excellent student, served several tours of duty in Afghanistan as a scout sniper. He is now studying at Columbia University. Orlando Figueroa served in Iraq, after getting himself in superb physical shape as a senior.
At Barlow, Franzis presented each former Stapleite with a letter. It conveyed his personal thanks — and a story.
The story began when Franzis was a battalion commander in 2004. One of his soldiers was an intelligence analyst who had deployed to Afghanistan just a few weeks after 9/11.
Before he left, he got permission from the FBI, NYPD and Fire Department of New York to go to the Fresh Kills landfill site, where remains from the World Trade Center were hauled.
Franzis’ soldier secured 50 pounds of granite from the fallen buildings. With the Army’s blessing, he transported it to Afghanistan. His goal was to distribute pieces of the granite to troops on the ground, as a remembrance of why they were there.
Remains from the World Trade Center found their way to Rich Franzis’ soldiers in Afghanistan.
In 2007, when Franzis was in Iraq, he received a box from the man. In it was a personalized letter to every one of Franzis’ soldiers — with a piece of the granite from the World Trade Center for each.
Yesterday, Franzis gave a piece of the granite — and a copy of the letter his soldier sent — to Scott and Wauchope. It’s a personal reminder of their own journeys.
“You have figuratively walked a million miles since the Twin Towers fell on that September morning of your freshman year at Staples,” Franzis said. “Let this be a reminder that you can do anything you set out to do.
“The hardest thing you’ll ever have to do in your life is already behind you.”
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