Tag Archives: Westport RTM

Remembering Lois Schine

Lois Schine — one of the last members of a remarkable group of women who moved to Westport in the postwar years, and helped make our community what it is today — died at home July 7, surrounded by her family. She was 95 years old.

Lois was born in 1927 in Brooklyn, to Daniel and Florence Grimm Gildersleeve.  The Gildersleeve family came to Massachusetts from England in 1635, and eventually settled in Connecticut.

Lois was a pioneer. She graduated second in her class from Pratt Institute in 1947, with a degree in mechanical engineering. She was the only woman in that program.

She was elected to the Tau Beta Pi honorary engineering society with special designation as an “Honorary Member,” because it was a male-only fraternity. (In the 1960’s Lois was retroactively named a full member.)  At Pratt she was a founding member of the Society of Women Engineers. It has since grown into a large international organization.

After college Lois worked for General Electric, in advanced engineering and research. GE was one of the few companies to hire female engineers in the 1940s and ’50s.  She also taught engineering courses at Bridgeport University.

Lois met Leonard Schine, an attorney, when he hired her as a consulting engineer. In 1951, they married and had 5 children.

They made their home in Westport, where Lois remained for the next 70 years.  While raising children, Lois earned a master’s degree in administrative engineering from New York University.

When her children were of school age, Lois returned to work as an engineering consultant. She then shifted careers, and became director of volunteer services at Bridgeport Hospital, overseeing 700 volunteers. She was president of both the Connecticut Association of Directors of Volunteer Services, and the New England Association of Volunteer Directors.

In 1988 she was named executive director of the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce, a post she held for 16 years.

In addition to her professional career, Lois contributed much to Westport and the surrounding area. Among her many civic activities, she was a Sacred Heart University trustee for 37 years, a Near & Far Aid Association board member, and a member of the Westport Rotary Club and the Westport Weston Family YMCA.

She served on the Westport RTM for 20 years. She was particularly proud of her work helping create Winslow Park, and having the Planning & Zoning Commission designate it as Westport’s first “Open Space Zone.”

An intrepid traveler, Lois visited far corners of the world.  She was an avid skier, and reluctantly gave up the sport at 85 years old.  She also played tennis and pursued ice dancing.

Her parenting philosophy was “survival of the fittest.” She took her children whitewater rafting, helicopter skiing, sailing and on safaris, exposing them to a wide range of people, places and experiences.

(All photos of Lois Schine, courtesy of the Schine family)

Lois is survived by her children Leslie Schine (Nils Nilsen), Daniel Schine (Patty Sullivan), Lindsay Schine (Michael Klingher), Lauren Schine and Edward Schine (Brigitta); grandchildren Caleb, Christian and Thomas Schine; Cody Nilsen; Ben, Nathan and Natalie Klingher; Tyler and Kyle Schine and Shannon May, and her beloved dog Kirby.  Lois was predeceased by her husband Leonard, grandson Jonathan Schine and sister Joyce Feigenbaum.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Leonard and Lois Schine Scholarship Fund at Sacred Heart University or the Aspetuck Land Trust.

A memorial service will be held in the fall.

Full Obituary: Dick Berkowitz

Earlier today, “06880” reported the death of longtime Westporter and wide-ranging volunteer Dick Berkowitz. His family has provided this obituary, honoring his full life.

Attorney, philanthropist, coach and mentor Richard (Dick) Berkowitz died on New Year’s Eve, after a hard-fought battle against a rare blood disease. He was 80 years old.

He was born on June 28, 1941, to humble beginnings in New Haven Dick’s parents, Elihu and Ruth Berkowitz, were hard working members of the community. He spent his days playing football and basketball, working as a short-order cook at Chuck’s Luncheonette on Whalley Avenue, and selling pennants and banners outside Yale Bowl.

Dick attended Hillhouse High School before heading off to his dream school, Dartmouth College After becoming the first in his family to graduate from college in 1963, he continued his education and graduated from the University of Connecticut Law School 4 years later.

Dick and Carole Chasnoff met as sophomores in high school. Two years later he mustered up the courage to ask her out. After graduating from college, Carole worked as a public health nurse to help pay for his law school.

Dick and Carole Berkowitz

Dick opened his own firm in Westport, where he practiced for 55 years. He represented high profile individuals, leading executives, and members of the media. Dick spent many years as managing partner of Berkowitz, Trager & Trager.

Over the years he was involved in many philanthropic endeavors, including: president of the Kiwanis Club of Westport, and member of the Representative Town Meeting and Planning & Zoning Commission.

He was also president of the Westport Bar Association and board member of the Westport National Bank.

Dick Berkowitz

In 1970 Dick was appointed by First Selectman John Kemish to chair a new commission on youth activities. It is still in existence as the Westport Youth Commission. He also served on the board of Staples Tuition Grants.

In addition, Dick was a mentor at Champions for Learning in Naples, Florida, and a founding and passionate supporter of New Heights Youth, a New York-based non-profit.

Dick was honored as one of the “Best Lawyers in America” for over 25 years. He was a past president of Birchwood Country Club in Westport, and a class president and alumni council representative for Dartmouth College. Classrooms are named in his honor at the Roth Center for Jewish Life at Dartmouth, and Westport’s Temple Israel.

Dick was a longtime assistant basketball coach at Staples High School, and a regular at football, basketball, tennis, field hockey and softball games. He spent long hours instructing various game officials on the fine points of their respective sport. For many years he coached Pop Warner football, Little League baseball and softball, and recreational basketball in Westport.

Coach Berkowitz

While he was incredibly accomplished, his ultimate legacy is that he was an amazing husband, father, grandfather, brother, confidante, and friend to many. He had a light that shined bright, and touched so many throughout his life. He was a mentor to young people. Many clients also became his closest friends. But family was the most important thing in his life, and it is his family who will miss him most of all.

Dick is survived by his wife of 58 years Carole; sister Jane (Eddie Brandwein) of Chicago; children Jody (Joel) Beck of Westport, Emily (Ken) Sandberg of Woodbridge; Suzy (Michael Weksel) of Edgemont, New York and Adam Berkowitz of New York City; grandchildren Sam, Zack, Rachel, John, Jack, Mia, Henry, Carina and Ben; granddogs Buddy, Bella and Eric, and great-granddog Beau. He also leaves cousin/brother Judge Stanley Novack of Stamford, and countless family and friends.

Contributions can be made to 2 charities that were dear to him: New Heights Youth and the newly established Richard Berkowitz Student-Athlete Award through Staples Tuition Grants.

Remembering Dick Berkowitz

Richard Berkowitz — an attorney whose involvement for more than 50 years in politics, sports, civic organizations, and much more helped shape Westport into what it is today — died peacefully on New Year’s Eve. He was 80 years old.

He practiced law here until his death, most recently “of counsel” at Berkowitz, Trager & Trager. He represented high-profile individuals, leading executives and members of the media. He was a president of the Connecticut Bar Association.

But his impact spread far beyond his profession.

Dick Berkowitz

In his 55 years in Westport, Dick was elected to the Planning & Zoning Commission and Representative Town Meeting (RTM).

He served as president of the Westport Kiwanis Club, Westport Bar Association and Birchwood Country Club, and was a board member of Staples Tuition Grants and the Westport National Bank.

He was a director of Project Renaissance, a drug treatment project; the Dartmouth Clubs of Westport-Weston and Fairfield County, and the Temple Israel Brotherhood.

In 1970 — 3 years after Berkowitz (then 29 years old), his wife Carole and children moved to Westport — 1st Selectman John Kemish appointed Dick to be chair of a new commission on youth and human relations activities. It was the forerunner of today’s Youth Commission.

He was a longtime assistant basketball coach at Staples High School, working with head coach Brian Kelley. For many years he coached Pop Warner football, Little League baseball and youth recreational basketball. He was also an avid member of the Compo Beach Irregulars, an “informal group of enthusiastic athletes.”

Rooms have been named in Dick Berkowitz’s honor at Temple Israel, and the Roth Center for Jewish Life at Dartmouth College.

He graduated from Dartmouth, and earned his law degree at the University of Connecticut.

He is survived by his wife Carole; children Jody, Emily, Suzy and Adam, and several grandchildren.

Information on services on memorial contributions will be announced soon.

Jeff Wieser: New RTM Moderator Builds Non-Partisan Consensus

As a commuter, Jeff Wieser did not feel a part of either Westport or New York.

He’d always been interested in government, but was not committed to party politics. The Representative Town Meeting — our non-partisan legislative body — seemed intriguing.

So in 2007 — 22 years after moving here — Wieser ran for a seat.

He won easily. “Well, it was an uncontested district,” he admits.

At his second meeting, the RTM passed a plastic bag ban. It was the first such measure east of the Mississippi River. Wieser realized the potential and power of the body.

Seven terms later, he is the new RTM moderator.

Earlier this month, Wieser took the gavel from longtime moderator Velma Heller.

On Friday — the day he retired from his 3rd career, as CEO of Goodwill of Western & Northern Connecticut — he reflected on his path to the post.

He and his wife Pat moved here in 1985, after his banking career took him to Hong Kong and Australia. Now, he says, “I can’t imagine living anywhere else.”

In 1989 Wieser joined the board of Homes with Hope, the supportive housing agency. Founder and CEO Pete Powell retired in 2009. A 6-month search failed to find a qualified replacement. Would Wieser be interested?

He spent 3 days considering it. When he asked Pat what she’d think if he gave up banking, she said, “It’s what you’ve always wanted to do.”

After a decade at the helm — opening more housing options, and adding services for homeless and hungry people — Wieser retired,

A few weeks later, he joined Goodwill as interim CEO. Two weeks after that, COVID hit. Good will laid off employees, and closed stores. Wieser felt he could not leave then. He stayed many months longer than he’d planned.

Jeff Wieser, at the Westport Goodwill.

Now that he’s finally retired, he’ll have the time to dedicate to his new position. It’s an important one.

Wieser knows the only image some Westporters have of the RTM comes from watching contentious meetings. They draw crowds. Few people view the more mundane sessions. Fewer still see the committee work and constituent outreach that is so important, to him and fellow members

The RTM’s non-partisan mandate appeals to Wieser.

“This is the essence of democracy,” he says. “We’re a town of 28,000, and we have a legislative body one-third the size of the US Senate. But there’s no party affiliation, so we have reasoned. thoughtful debates. The RTM should be a model for any democratic institution.

“Sometimes I appreciate the RTM more than I like it. But I really do like it.”

As chair of the RTM’s Finance Committee, Wieser worked with the 1st selectman and Board of Finance. That experience deepened his appreciation for how well the town is run.

As deputy moderator, he watched Hadley Rose, Eileen Lavigne Flug and then Heller run meetings. They are the 3 most recent moderators, in a long line of effective consensus builders.

Wieser describes the moderator’s role as “herding 36 pretty intelligent cats every month. I’m supposed to guide the conversation, slow it down, keep people in line, keep the rules of order, keep the agenda in good shape, and make sure the committees are meeting.”

The moderator is not supposed to participate in debates. “My goal is to help members accomplish their goals,” he explains.

Wieser calls his style “collaborative.” At Homes with Hope he learned that nothing gets done unless everyone pulls in the same direction.

“I’m a consensus builder,” Wieser says. “I won’t rush anything through.”

Wieser’s style has served him well in his previous work. It’s helpful too at Positive Directions: The Center for Prevention & Counseling, on whose board he serves.

But, he says, he’s “clearing the decks” of other obligations, to be as effective as he can as RTM moderator.

Jeff Wieser (left), his wife Pat (center), their children (back row), with grandchildren and daughter-in law, at the Westport Library.

Of course, herding “36 pretty intelligent cats” is not all he does. He and Pat enjoy living near their son Charlie — who has moved with his wife back to Westport — and daughter Casey, in Darien.

Son Teddy is a bit further away: Hong Kong.

“Life is good,” Wieser says.

He aims to keep it that way, for the RTM he now leads, and all the rest of us who — though we seldom realize it — benefit every day from  it.

Remembering Julie Belaga

Julie Belaga — whose career took her from the Westport P&Z and RTM to the Connecticut House of Representatives, then a run for governor, teaching at Harvard, regional director of the EPA and a director of the Export-Import Bank —  died peacefully on Friday, at her Westport home. She was 91, and lived here since 1965.

Julie grew up in Brookline, Massachusetts, where her father was a fish wholesaler on the Boston docks. After graduating from Syracuse University, she worked for several years as a 2nd-grade school teacher.

Then she found her true calling: politics. After a term as president of the Westport League of Women Voters, Julie served on the Planning and Zoning Commission (including a stint from 1972 to ’76 as chair), and on the Representative Town Meeting.

She was next elected as Westport’s representative to the Connecticut House . She served for 10 years, including positions of deputy majority leader and assistant minority leader. Julie achieved legislative success on a number of environmental issues. She took the lead in drafting and implementing Connecticut’s coastal management laws.

Julie Belaga

She was active in developing the state’s hazardous waste management service, and instrumental in reforming the Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority (now the Materials Innovation and Recycling Authority), which provides recycling and waste disposal services for cities and towns. In 1985, the Hartford Courant named Julie one of the “Top 10 Legislators of the Year.”

After deciding not to seek reelection, Julie was chosen by the Republican Party as its 1986 candidate for governor. She lost to incumbent William O’Neill in the general election.

Out of politics for the first time in more than a decade, Julie served briefly as a television political commentator. She was also a fellow at the Institute of Politics at Harvard University and taught grassroots politics at the Kennedy School.

In 1989, President George H. W. Bush appointed Julie as administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency for New England. As regional administrator she oversaw a budget of over $5 million, and more than 14,000 employees.

After she left the EPA, Governor Lowell Weicker appointed her to the Connecticut Development Authority. She left that position in 1994, when she was nominated by President Bill Clinton to serve as one of 5 directors of the US Export-Import Bank. Clinton cited Julie’s “impressive range of public and private sector experience, particularly in the area of the environment.” She was easily confirmed by the Senate, and she served on the Ex-Im Bank board through 1999.

Julie retired from government in 1999 but continued her active community engagement, serving on the boards of several environmental organizations, including the Connecticut Fund for the Environment/Save the Sound, the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters and the Audubon Society, as well as the Westport Library and the CT Mirror.

Julie was predeceased by her husband of more than 65 years, Mike. She is survived by her children Debra Belaga (Steve Stublarec) of Tiburon, California; David (Alison) Belaga of East Northport, New York, and Heather (Rob) McLean of Owings Mill, Maryland, and granddaughters Kristen Stublarec, Tracy Spencer and Lindsey Belaga.

Arrangements for a memorial service are pending. Donations in lieu of flowers may be sent to the Connecticut Fund for the Environment/Save the Sound.

Julie and Mike Belaga

 

Remembering Garson Heller

Garson “Gar” Heller — a longtime town elected official and volunteer who with his wife, RTM moderator Velma Heller served Westport in many ways, for many years — died yesterday.

A 40-year survivor of multiple bypass surgery, he experienced serious health issues shortly before his death. He was 85 years old.

His family calls him “generous and kind, sometimes to a fault, with a dry wit and a keen mind.”

Born in Manhattan to Elsie (Lakoff) and Garson F. Heller on December 11, 1935,  Garson was the eldest of 4 children. The family moved to Scarsdale when he was 2. He excelled in the classroom and on the athletic field. He also enjoyed many adventures with his boyhood friends and siblings, including riding his bicycle into New York City for a surprise visit to his grandmother when he was 11.

He graduated from Yale in 1957 with a degree in chemical engineering. He competed in intramural sports, then later corporate and local softball leagues. He played tennis into his 70s,until health issues forced him to put down his racquet.

Garson Heller

Gar started his long and varied career at Mobil Oil. With a talent for math, logic and complex problem solving, in 1969 he moved to a technology consulting firm, Data Dimensions, where he designed content automation and workflow systems for United Press International and other large organizations.

In 1982 he joined Securities Industry Automation Corporation, which supported the back-end trading and processing activities for the New York and American Stock Exchanges. He played a key role in the design and procurement of systems architecture for SIAC’s facilities at MetroTech in Brooklyn, and was the senior director for computer acquisitions until his retirement in 2002.

He loved all professional sports, but especially the Yankees and Steelers. He was also a competitive bridge player, strategizing tricks on Metro-North and playing with the same group of commuters for more than 20 years.

After retirement he continued to play in various bridge leagues and, since the early days of the pandemic, online. He was a Bronze Life Master bridge player, based on numerous competitions.

Garson read each section of the New York Times and many other publications, and completed the Sudoku and KenKen puzzles each day in record time. As passionate as he was about monitoring current affairs in the US and around the world, he loved Westport, the town that he and Velma moved to in 1964, with 2 little boys.

He was first elected to the Representative Town Meeting in 1969, and served for 14 years. In 1983 he was appointed to the Board of Assessment Appeals, and later elected to a seat on that board which he held for 38 years.

He also volunteered as a poll worker for local and state elections, often staying until the last vote was counted. He was honored by the Republican Town Committee in 2011 for his many years of outstanding service to the community, which continued until his death.

Above all else, Gar was a man of the highest morals who approached everything he did with integrity, candor and humor. As the longest serving member of the Board of Assessment Appeals he strove to treat each appellant fairly, and to serve both the town and other taxpayers equitably.

He was predeceased by his brother Andrew. He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Velma Heller; sons Grant (Joanne) of Westport and Bradenton, Florida, David (Wendy) of Simsbury; daughter Julie of Brooklyn Heights; grandchildren Bonnie Steinman (Zachary), Katie, Grant Jr., Lisa, Nicole and William Heller, and great-grandchildren Jacob and Mia.  He is also survived by brother Richard and sister-in-law Rosemary; sister Ronnie; sister-in-law Rita, and numerous cousins, nieces, nephews, grand-nieces and grand-nephews.

The family will observe a private memorial.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Garson’s memory to the American Heart Association, in gratitude for the advances in cardiac care and interventional technologies that enriched Garson’s quality of life and extended his years of impact on all who knew and loved him.

Roundup: RTM, WTF, Catch A Lift …

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All 36 Representative Town Meeting seats will be contested in November’s election. Four members from each of Westport’s 9 districts vote on town appropriations, and give final approval to the budget; approve town ordinances; make recommendations regarding ordinances, and review certain decisions of town boards and commissions.

So far, all members in districts 2 (Jay Keenan, Lou Mall, Christine Meiers Schataz, Harris Falk), 3 (Mark Friedman, Arline Gertzoff, Jimmy Izzo, Ross Burkahrdt) and 6 (Jessica Bram, Seth Braunstein, Cathy Talmadge and Candace Banks) have submitted letters of intent to run again.

So have 3 members in districts 1 (Chris Tait, Matthew Mandell, Kristin Mott Purcell), 4 (Andrew Colabella, Noah Hammond, Jeffrey Weiser), 5 (Peter Gold, Dick Lowenstein, Karen Kramer), 7 (Brandi Briggs, Lauren Karpf, Jack Klinge) and 8 (Wendy Batteau, Lisa Newman, Stephen Shackelford). In District 9,Sal Liccione and Kristin Schneeman are running again.

Six candidates have requested petitions, and are collecting signatures. They are in districts 1 (Richard Jaffe, Abby Tolan, Carolanne Curry), 5 (Claudia Shaum) and 9 (Nancy Kail, Marla Cowden).

Petitions are due September 14. Click here for a petition. Click here for a map of all 9 districts.

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Westport has a special relationship with Catch-a-Lift. Our town has gone all in, supporting the national non-profit that helps post-9/11 combat-wounded veterans recover and rehabilitate, physically and mentally, through physical fitness, motivation and support.

COVID canceled last year’s event. It returns this year, stronger (naturally) than ever.

Appropriately, it begins on Saturday, September 11 with a community workout, with Catch-a-Lift veterans (Westport Police Station, 1 p.m.). Sunday, September 12 features a family bike ride, in Ridgefield.

The action shifts to Birchwood Country Club on Monday, September 13. There’s a 9-hole golf tournament (2 p.m.); a tennis point play event (3 p.m.), and the highlight: from 5 to 7:30 p.m., a chance to meet amazing veterans; enjoy music, food and drinks, and hear inspiring stories.

Click here for details and information, including how to help with auction items, sponsor a golf hole and more. 

Catch a Lift veterans — shown at Birchwood Country Club in 2018 — are inspirational role models.

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Wakeman Town Farm calls raising milkweeds and monarchs “the hobby that gives back.”

Next Monday (August 9, 7 p.m., in person), they’re offering a back-by-popular-demand lecture on the subject.

According to WTF, “monarchs, the once plentiful beauties of yard and field, have suffered habitat loss so great that their numbers have dwindled to 10% of their peak population. They are called the ‘poster child’ for pollinator habitat protection, owing to their beauty and the remarkable feat of their annual migration to Mexico and back.

“Protecting monarchs leads to a wider awareness of the fragility of insect populations, the steady assault on their numbers through the indiscriminate use of pesticides, and the vital role that diverse native species play in keeping our planet healthy.”

Alice Ely — “mother of monarchs, University of Connecticut advanced master gardener, master composter, garden coach and Pollinator Pathway member and creator of public and private monarch way stations in Fairfield County (including Wakeman Town Farm) — is the speaker.

Click here to register.

Monarch butterfly at Compo Beach (Photo/Jamie Walsh)

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Congratulations to Westport Little League’s 10U team: Connecticut’s new state champions!

They won the crown last night in Stamford, 11-0 against East Lyme. The game ended after 4 innings, thanks to the “mercy” (aka “murder”) rule that ends lopsided contests.

Here’s wishing the squad good luck 2 years from now, when as 12Us they hope to emulate  the 2013 team’s run to the Little League World Series finals.

Bottom row (from left): Luke Moneyhon, Chris Lambert, Wes Walters, Chase Landgraf. Middle row: Brody Chlupsa, Nolan Walters, Dylan Burdeshaw, Miles Delorier, Noah Smith, Grant Theisinger, Justin Goldshore, Jack McGrath. Top Row, coach Marc Theisinger, coach Dave Smith, manager Justin Walters. Missing: Henry Ellis.

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Speaking of sports: This Saturday, Westport becomes the center of the American rugby world.

Players get a chance to showcase their talents in front of Major League Rugby scouts, coaches and star players like Ben Foden. The event at Staples High School’s Paul Lane Field (August 7) takes place 2 weeks before the MLR draft.

It begins at 9 a.m. with physical testing, and continues with professional positional coaching, laser timing technology and live scrimmaging. “Scouts from multiple national rugby teams” will be in attendance, organizers promise.

The event is free, and open to the public. It will also be broadcast on The Rugby Network. For more information, click here.

English rugby star Ben Foden will be at Staples High School on Saturday.

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Speaking still of sports: Congratulations to Shira Parower!

She was on the winning North side, which beat the South 16-8 in the All-America Lacrosse Game at Johns Hopkins University.

Shira — a June graduate of Staples High School, who will play at James Madison University next season — had 2 goals  and 3 assists.

She told the Baltimore Sun: “I just felt like since the first whistle we came out with a lot of fire and we just wanted to win this game. We were finishing our shots and kept them going through the whole game.”

(Click here for the full story. Hat tip: Don Kubie)

Shira Parower

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Joanie Landau is August’s featured artist, at the Westport Book Shop. She’s exhibiting her digital collagraphs. They combine photographic elements with graphic design techniques.

Joanie — a member of the Artists Collective of Westport — has exhibited in shows across the country, and won awards.

The art exhibit is open during Book Shop hours

Joanie Landau’s work, at the Westport Book Shop.

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Recent “Westport … Naturally” photos have featured deer, butterflies and flowers.

But Westport is nothing without dogs. Here are Noah — the 3-legged wonder dog who has way outlived his osteosarcoma diagnosis and amputation from January 2020) and Logan, on an early morning walk at Wakeman Field

(Photo/Marc Katz)

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And finally … happy birthday to Tony Bennett. He’s 95 years young today!

 

 

 

RTM: Straightforward Meeting Last Night; Controversy Ahead

This is Peter Gold’s report on the June Representative Town Meeting. He is an RTM member writing for himself, not in an official capacity.

The regular June RTM meeting dealt with 2 noncontroversial items. A third item, dealing with police and fire pensions, was withdrawn and will be considered at a subsequent RTM meeting.

Andrew Wilk and Jeremy Price were reappointed to 4-year terms as trustees of the Westport Library. Price is currently vice president of the board of trustees, while Wilk is responsible for sourcing and producing many of the Library’s cultural events.

The RTM unanimously certified Homes with Hope and the Westport Country Playhouse as organizations eligible to receive grants under Connecticut’s Neighborhood Assistance Act Tax Credit Program. corporations can make grants to eligible not-for-profit organizations in lieu of paying a portion of their corporate income taxes. No town funds are involved with the grants.

The maximum amount any organization can receive is $125,000. The Playhouse hopes to receive $14,210 to upgrade its parking lot with LED lights, and $10,500 to acquire assisted listening devices for the theater.  Homes With Hope is asking for $24,340 for roof replacement at the Bacharach Community housing

In addition to the regular monthly June meeting, the RTM will also meet next Tuesday (June 8) to consider overturning the Planning and Zoning Commission’s decision to permit a 157-unit housing development, including 47 affordable units, at Hiawatha Lane.

The P&Z approved the development as part of a settlement of a lawsuit seeking to overturn its earlier denial of the project and revoke the town’s moratorium from the affordable housing requirements under Connecticut statute 8-30g. A two-thirds vote of the entire RTM (24 votes), is needed to overturn the P & Z’s decision.

Roundup: RTM & Hiawatha, Mercury & Cumby’s, Coral & Ospreys …

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This week, the Representative Town Meeting’s Planning & Zoning Subcommittee voted 5-1 to uphold the P&Z’s agreement with Summit Saugatuck, to build 157 units of housing — some of it deemed “affordable” — on Hiawatha Lane, near I-95 Exit 17.

The debate now moves to the full RTM. That meeting is set for June 8 (7:30 p.m., Zoom).

It will be livestreamed on http://www.westportct.gov, and shown on Optimum channel 79 and Frontier channel 6020.

Members of the public may attend the meeting by video. Send an email before or during the session to RTMcomments@westportct.gov, with your name and address. Meeting details will be emailed to you. Registered electors attending by video can comment (3-minute time limit).

Emails to all members may also be sent before the meeting: RTMmailinglist@westportct.gov.

Artist’s rendering of one of the buildings at the Hiawatha Lane development.

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Mercury just spent a ton of money to upgrade their gas station on Post Road East, near the Southport border.

Cumberland Farms must have come in with a great offer. Soon, Mercury will turn into Cumby’s.

No word on whether it will replace the smaller store near Sakura, or if Westport is doubling its Cumberland Farms count. (Hat tip: Matt Murray)

Mercury, at Post Road East and Bulkley Avenue South. (Photo/Matt Murray)

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Around here, Jana Ireijo is known for her role in the vanishing murals project downtown. (She drew a koala.)

Now she’s earning renown clear across the country.

The Nature Conservancy Hawaii commissioned her to create a vanishing mural of a coral reef on Maui. Parts are done in chalk, and are already washing away.

The project was timed to coincide with Earth Day and World Ocean Day (June 8). Click here to learn more.’=

Jana Ireijo’s vanishing Maui mural.

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Charlie Capalbo’s battles with cancer have inspired people around the world.

The 23-year-old Fairfield native — and grandson of Westport writer Ina Chadwick — beat lymphoma and leukemia. Now he’s facing off against leukemia again.

It’s a costly fight. And the need is great. Charlie’s dad lost his job at the beginning of COVID, and is just getting his new real estate career off the ground. His mom, Jen, has been working per diem. That’s now on hold.

Fortunately, Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask and radio personality Greg Hill have pledged to match every $1 donated — up to $20,000 each. That could mean a total of $60,000 to support Charlie and his family.

Click here to help. Then watch your contribution triple.

Charlie Capalbo (Photo/Dave Gunn)

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This week’s #FridayFlowers bouquet decorates an appropriate site: the Doughboy statue on Veterans Green, opposite Town Hall.

Hundreds of Westporters will gather there Monday, for the post-Memorial Day parade ceremony. The moving tribute will be extra special, thanks to the Westport Garden Club.

(Photo/Topsy Siderowf)

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Osprey update!

Carolyn Doan reports: “All is well at the Fresh Market nest. The female is up and around more. She faces inward, meaning she’s tending to something in the middle.

“I think I heard faint peeps while standing below, so presumably there are chicks! If so they are very small. We’ll have to wait to see their little heads.

“Yesterday the male brought home a fish. He patiently waited on his favorite branch for the family to wake up. Once there was enough activity, he swooped in with breakfast.”

(Photo/Carolyn Doan)

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“Westport … Naturally”: Today Lori Levine shares a shot of found a little fellow she found sunbathing in her back yard, on an Adirondack chair.

(Photo/Jan van Arsdale)

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Seen at Sherwood Island: Yeah, this means you!

(Photo/JC Martin)

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And finally … John Davis died this week, of complications from COVID. He was 66.

You may not recognize his name. But he was one of the real singers for the fake duo Milli Vanilli. They won a Grammy for their debut album in 1990, but lost it when news broke that the singers had not actually sung. Click here for a full obituary.

 

RTM Subcommittee Upholds P&Z On Hiawatha Lane

The Representative Town Meeting Planning and Zoning Subcommittee voted decisively yesterday to uphold the P&Z’s agreement with Summit Saugatuck, to build 157 units of housing — some of it deemed “affordable” — on Hiawatha Lane, near I-95 Exit 17.

The vote was 5 to 1 to uphold the P&Z decision,, with one abstention. Member Matthew Mandell recused himself.

The meeting was required by law, following a petition by more than 60 electors in the wake of the P&Z vote earlier this month. The matter now moves to the full RTM, early in June.

Artist’s rendering of one of the buildings at the Hiawatha Lane development.