At the start of each month’s Representative Town Meeting, a resident offers an invocation.
Last week, Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Services (WVEMS) president Mike Burns used his time to describe his organization — and to remind RTM members (who vote each year on the town budget) what a bargain they are for the town.
Westport EMS is a hybrid organization that runs the Emergency Medical Service for the town. We are 2 organizations (Westport EMS and WVEMS), and we proudly serve as one seamless team. W
Westport EMS operates under the Westport Police Department, and is made up of roughly 7 full-time staff who work hand in hand with over 50 volunteers, who come from WVEMS. The full-time staff are mainly paramedics, and the volunteers are mainly EMT’s
Together we provide amazingly good care to all who live, work and pass through Westport. On any given call, you are almost guaranteed to have a paramedic respond to the scene. This is not typical elsewhere. A paramedic is a licensed professional who provides the same emergency medical care as someone would get from a doctor in an emergency room. This makes all the difference for someone who suffers a serious medical emergency. Westport is very lucky to have this.
The volunteer organization (WVEMS) is made up of a diverse group of people who freely volunteer their time to staff the ambulances, and raise money to fund the program.
Here is where the bargain comes in. EMS is the smallest of the 3 emergency services in town, but we actually cost the town very little to operate.
EMS takes in revenue from patients’ insurance. The volunteer organization’s fundraising efforts make up a lot of the rest of the cost. In addition to staffing the ambulances and our educational classes, as a charitable organization we purchase the equipment, vehicles and supplies to run the service.
One ambulance costs about $360,000. We have 3, and are in the process of replacing them all.
Mike Burns, WVEMS president, with an EMS ambulance.
In the past, WVEMS has paid for the expansion of the Police Department building to accommodate both WEMS and the WPD.
The town budget is pretty much untouched by EMS. The town doesn’t have any bond issuances or extra budgetary requests due to EMS.
We also have 3 fly cars, which serve as paramedic vehicles. The one big request that WVEMS has made is to share in the ARPA funds to replace one of our aging fly cars with a green electric vehicle. We think this is an appropriate request, considering the driving force of the funds.
We are an amazing asset for Westport. Too few people are aware of it until they need it.
Finances aside, the members of EMS are dedicated to serving the town despite our not being sworn officers. If there is ever a mass incident in town, EMS will be there, along with the other emergency service providers, in harm’s way — myself included.
Some of the 2021 Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Service crew.
In closing I want to thank you for your time and consideration. I hope this brief overview helped to further enlighten the community as to who we are and how we operate. Please help to spread our message.
It never hurts for “06880” readers to learn more about our often-overlooked Emergency Medical Services (and their confusing structures and budget needs). Click here for more information on Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Services. Click here for more information on Westport Emergency Medical Services.
Club 203 — Westport’s new social group for adults with disabilities — had its second event this week.
Once again, it was a smashing success.
Attendees, their guests and volunteers came dressed for Halloween. Trunks were decorated, and filled with treats, Scary movie clips played on the Remarkable Theater screen, and there was dancing and games for all.
As they did at their first outing, Club 203 members greeted old friends, met new ones, and had a blast..
Next up: Gaming and Pizza Night (November 19, Toquet Hall). For more information, click here.
Club 203 members Jamie Taylor and Andreas Wagner enjoy the Halloween party.
MoCA Westport’s first-ever Open Mic last night sounds great!
Sixteen performers — as young as 14, and as old as 87 — shared poems and music with the community. Westport poet laureate Jessica McEntee also participated. Performers ranged in age from young as 14 to as old as 87.
Many Westporters loved Serena Williams big US Open win last night over Anett Kontaveit, the world’s 2nd-ranked player.
There were a couple of local connections — and we don’t mean any fans lucky enough to be in the stands.
Westport-based Birdseye Sports is a large independent production company. Specializing in game-day broadcasting and video productions, they provide camera crews to major networks. ESPN, for example, subcontracts them for the US Open.
Ryan Smith — a 1997 Staples High School graduate, and director of the Bedford Middle School Acting Group — has worked the Open for Birdseye for the past 4 years.
He’s seen a lot. But last night was special. He was behind the camera for Williams’ match.
Ryan Smith, at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
“I still kick myself from time to time, for how lucky I am,” he says.
He did not get home until 2:30 this morning. But he got up early, to head back to Queens. He’ll be behind the camera tonight — again covering Williams. She and her sister play doubles, in what their fans hope will not be their final match together. (Hat tip: Kerry Long)
Speaking of the beach: “06880” has run stories recently about beach days of old. Rocks instead of sand at Compo; sand instead of rocks at Longshore; demolished bathhouses, no houses along the shore — different days, for sure.
Suzanne Sherman Propp owns an interesting piece of art. It combines several elements of old beach-y Westport — some real, some imagined — in a fanciful way:
Created by Suzanne Urban, in part from a 1906 postcard, it shows bathers at Old Mill Beach; nearby homes (that probably were not there then), and — in the background — the old Longshore lighthouse.
Urban is a 1971 Staples High School graduate. After studying art at Marymount College, she worked as an illustrator.
For steady income she became a secretary at Greens Farms Elementary School, from the early 2000s to 2014. Former Stapleites Propp and Carey Leonard also worked there.
Urban moved with her husband to Windsor. They live in one of the oldest houses (1664), in what residents claim is Connecticut’s oldest town settlement (1633).
Urban has found a niche selling “contemporary folk art” — including holiday-themed work — online.
Her Halloween witches, ghosts and pumpkin-heads and cute. But only a true Wesetporter — like me, Suzanne Sherman Propp, and any “06880” reader — can appreciate the Old Mill Beach of Suzanne Urban’s imagination.
It’s not too late to sign up for Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Technician training.
There’s an orientation tonight. Classes begin next Tuesday (September 6). Most are on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with some Saturdays as well.
The course covers information needed for state certification tests, a prerequisite for joining WVEMS. Click here for more information.
Meanwhile, mark your calendar for September 9 (7 p.m.). DNR — the grimly named, highly entertaining and very professional rock band made up mostly of doctors — plays a free show at the Levitt Pavilion, in honor of Westport Volunteer EMS.
WVEMS personnel will be there, answering questions about donations or joining the ranks.
Standing by, at a Levitt Pavilion concert (though not one headlined by DNR).
Speaking of the Levitt: Though summer is over (at least, for those with kids in school), outdoor entertainment is not.
In addition to the Orebolo show September 7, featuring Rich Mitarotonda, Peter Anspach and Jeff Arevalo — members of the popular Connecticut rock group Goose — The Levitt just added a special free-ticket show at 1:30 p.m. September 17.
It stars ElephantProof. The band includes Ben Atkind — a founding member of Goose.
ElephantProof is “a euphonic snapshot of the unique sonic energy born at the house parties your best friends still talk about to this day. Refined by disciplined training and years of performance experience, Ben Atkind (drums), Sean Cronin (guitar), Chris Enright (keys) and Shon Gordon (bass) are reconnected, traipsing along the rigid confines of genre using erudite tonal expression.”
I’m not sure what that means, but I’m sure it will be a cool show! Click here for more details, and tickets.
Another piece of Pavilion news: Karina Rykman, whose band plays tomorrow (Friday, September 2), has another gig after the Levitt. She’ll fill in on bass during next week’s Late Night with Seth Meyers Show.
PS: The Levitt has added a “child 12-and-under free ticket” to the BYO-lawn chair section of the Robert Cray show on September 10 (8 p.m.). Click here for details and tickets.
Tonight’s (Thursday, 6 to 7 p.m.) MoCA “Cocktails & Conversations” event features the curators of the current “Women Pulling at the Threads of Social Discourse exhibition.”
Attendees will peek behind the scenes, learning more about the works and the artists. Cocktails and drinks are available for purchase.
“Cocktails & Conversations” is free, but advance registration is requested (click here). The exhibition runs through October 2.
Curators of the MoCA exhibit, and speakers at tonight’s event (from left): Maria Gabriela Di Giammarco, Melanie Prapopoulos (founder and director of the CAMP Gallery), Mario Andres Rodriguez), in front of a work by Shelly McCoy. (Photos/Leslie LaSala)
Yesterday’s “Unsung Hero” story brought tears to many readers’ eyes.
It also brought this email, from hero Tucker Peters himself. After saving fellow teenage sailor Mark Adipietro’s life — and reading many heart-warming comments — he wrote one of his own:
“Thank you to everyone for the kind words. I was just one part of an extraordinary team. The true hero though is Mark, who fought like hell. Not many people have the grit or determination to fight back the way he did. He was back on the water with me today — onward and upward we go, forever connected.”
Tucker Peters (left) and Mark Adipietro, on their C420.
The fall Emergency Medical Technician/Responder class, sponsored by Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Services, begins September 6. It runs through December 20. Classes are held Tuesdays and Thursdays, with some Saturday sessions.
Over the years, at least 14 WVEMS members have gone on to medical school. Others became nurses, physician assistants and paramedics.
The cost ($1250 per Emergency Medical Technician student, $750 per Emergency Medical Responder student) includes classes, book, stethoscope and BP cuff. WVEMS can reimburse for the cost of our class after students are cleared as regular WVEMS members.
Click here for more information, and registration details.
Speaking of service: Tony Giunta died on Saturday. He lived for many years with kidney disease.
A Staples High School graduate who spent 34 years as a Westport Police Department officer and detective, he was equally dedicated to the Boy Scouts, Kiwanis Club, Staples Key Club and Masonic Lodge #65.
In 1996 he carried the Olympic torch down the Post Road, en route to Atlanta.
A full obituary will be posted later. Visitation is a week from tomorrow (Friday, July 22, 4 to 8 p.m., Harding Funeral Home). A funeral mass will be celebrated Saturday, July 23 (10 a.m., St. Luke Church), with a graveside service to follow at Willowbrook Cemetery.
Once upon a time, there were a few dozen service stations in Westport: up and down the Post Road, on Main Street, Riverside Avenue, even Hillspoint Road.
There are very few now. Most sell only gas (and food).
A shout-out to one of the stalwarts: Westport Center Service. The station directly opposite Playhouse Square went above and beyond when I had a tire issue the other day. They were quick, responsive, and very, very efficient.
it’s been owned by the same man — Robert Walsh — since 1965. In a world of ever-changing businesses, and every-diminishing quality, it’s not hard to see why.
Longtime resident Phyllis Tremonte died last month at her Westport home. She was 100 years old.
Phyllis worked for C.B. Dolge Company for over 20 years. She was a member of the VFW Women’s Auxiliary, and was an avid reader. She loved to travel, and enjoyed cooking, baking and taking care of her family.
Phyllis was predeceased by her husband Thomas Tremonte, son Thomas Tremonte Jr., brother John Borriello and sisters, Mary Carrione and Archangel Argenio.
She is survived by her daughter Loretta Tremonte of Westport, daughter-in-law Peggy Tremonte of Wilmont, New Hampshire, grandchildren Thomas P. (Jessica) Tremonte, Julia A. (Mike) Cushman and Michael J. Tremonte, great-granddaughters Laina and Gianna Tremonte, sister Amy Campanella, and many nieces and nephews.
A memorial Mass will be held on Monday, July 18 (10 a.m., Assumption Church). In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory may be made to a charity of one’s choice. Click here to leave online condolences.
Media personality David Briggs has interviewed some heavy hitters in his career.
But, he says, actor/filmmaker/director/martial artist/studio head Michael Jai White was “the most inspirational person” he’s ever talked with.
The InstagramLive interview is deep and intriguing (see below). And you can see — and listen to — White live and in person tomorrow.
He kicks off the 2nd day of the Westport Library’s VersoFest — a music-and-media extravaganza modeled on South by Southwest — with an 11 a.m. keynote address. It’s free, as are nearly all the events starting today.
Click here for a full schedule and more details — including 3 big concerts.
Wakeman Town Farm is crowing about its “egg-cellent” 3-session series: an introduction to raising chickens responsibly at home.
Whether you attend just one, two or all three of the sessions, you’ll have a chance to bring home 2 Farm-raised chicks, along with a handy starter pack, (feeder, waterer, wood shavings, and 5-pound bag of organic feed).
Instructors include WTF staff and “local chicken experts.”
Session 1 (April 26, 7 p.m., $40): “Introduction and Starting Your Flock” covers how chickens can enrich your life; positive environmental impacts; chicken facts and anatomy; starting a flock, dos and don’ts and more.
Session 2 (May 17, 7 p.m., $55): “Coop, Habitat, Environment and Basic Needs” includes housing and spacing issues, free range pros and cons, local zoning, and creating a happy, stress-free environment.
Session 3 (June 21, 7 p.m., $55): “Products, Maintaining Your Flock, Behavior and Physical Health” offers product recommendations, plus coop maintenance and advice on physical behavior and disease.
Westport Sunrise Rotary’s contribution of $5,000 to the only coding school for girls in Afghanistan has gone a long way.
It helped ensure that 160 females ages 15 to 24 had access to computers — including 12 laptops purchased through the grant — in class and at home during COVID lockdowns, then following the rise of the Taliban when the school was closed.
Twenty girls and women have already received remote jobs, ranging from design and animation to website development. They have earned $10,000 — an enormous sum in that impoverished country.
Since graduating from Staples High School in 2015, and the University of Southern California, she’s been a producer’s assistant on “Love, Victor” and
“Euphoria.” Season 2. Zoe now works for the president of the K Period Media production company.
In her free time she produced a short web series (“LolaMay”) and a short film (“Great White Lies”). In 2020 Zoe co-founded the Mental Health Content Collective.
(Oh, yeah — she’s also been a tutor, restaurant hostess, communications intern for the Two Oh Three lifestyle brand, babysitter, Challah Connection worker, jewelry designer helper, and started a greeting card/poster business).
Now Zoe has joined a few other young creative-types to produce a play.
“Get It Together” is a woman-led comedy/drama about 2 alienated kids finding a sad, imperfect, real romance at the most confusing time of their lives: stuck between home and the rest of the world.
Since premiering at Boston College in 2018, the play has won awards at the NYC Indie and Denver Fringe Festivals.
Zoe and her crew are raising funds to pay for the crew, set, props, marketing and LA’s Zephyr Theater. To help with a tax-deductible contribution, click here.
Westport artist/author/illustrator Elaine Clayton as she discusses those topics (and more) as she celebrates her newest book, “The Way of the Empath: How Compassion, Empathy and Intuition Can Heal Your World.”
The in-person and virtual event is set for the Westport Library on April 20 (7 p.m.).
Her book mentions fellow Westport artist/author Miggs Burroughs’ book “What If?” Clayton says his art “shifts people and communities into a place of compassion.”
No prior experience is needed — just curiosity, and a willingness to be open and have fun. Click here to register, and for more information.
Nancy (Roach) Tanzer — a longtime social studies teacher at Bedford Middle and Staples High Schools — died March 29 in Marshfield, Massachusetts. She was 92, and suffered from congestive heart failure.
She grew up in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Nancy graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Pennsylvania in 1952. She played lacrosse there, and was one of the few women enrolled in business classes.
She began her career in advertising and public relations, where she met her first husband, Duane Roach. After starting a family, Nancy earned a master’s degree in education at Fairfield University and became a history teacher.
Throughout her 20-year career in Westport, she impacted the lives of students in the classroom, and through ski trips and outdoor backpacking adventures. She spent her summers racing sailboats on Long Island Sound. When her children were in college, Nancy became a volunteer Emergency Medical Technician.
Nancy enjoyed the peacefulness of Vermont, and had a vacation/retirement home built there. During a sabbatical year from teaching, she lived in her Vermont home and earned a second master’s degree at Dartmouth College. While there she met Henry Tanzer, who shared her love of the Vermont lifestyle.
After retiring to Vermont with Henry, Nancy volunteered reenacting historical events at Billings Farm and Museum, and giving presentations at the Vermont Institute of Natural Science.
She enjoyed playing bridge, was president of the garden club, and an active member and trustee of the senior center.
She skied at Killington and Okemo well into her 70s. Her love of travel brought her to 36 countries, and she saw 5 of the 7 wonders of the modern world.
Nancy was predeceased by Duane Roach and Henry Tanzer. She is survived by her daughter Deborah (Jeff) Lasala of Scituate, Massachusetts; son Jeff (Susan) Roach of St. Charles, Missouri; her granddaughter Mary (Jake) Genthon and her husband Jake of Ballwin, Missouri, and the Tanzer and Benjamin families of Massachusetts and Connecticut.
Nancy was passionate about the work of Doctors without Borders, the World Wildlife Fund, and St. Jude’s children’s hospital. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to any of those causes.
And finally … Francisco González, a founding member of Los Lobos, died recently. He was 68, and had been diagnosed with cancer.
The group blended “rock-and-roll and R&B, surf music and soul, mariachi and música norteña, punk rock and country,” their website says. NPR called it “Chicano hippies playing mariachi music.” Click here for a full obituary.
And this part has not gotten the publicity it deserves either: The Westport Woman’s Club has donated $300.000, to fund a new ambulance.
The gift includes $150,000 from the club’s Ruegg Legacy Fund, and $150,000 from an anonymous member.
The Westport Woman’s Club was founded over 100 years ago, to support charitable, educational, cultural and public health services in Westport and surrounding towns.
Among their early projects: cleaning our muddy, horse manure-filled town streets, planting trees and laying sidewalks.
In 1925 the Woman’s Club began a Visiting Nurse Service. They funded it for 35 years, before turning it over to the town.
Its initiatives included free dental, vaccination and well-child clinics; tuberculosis campaigns; free milk distribution, polio saliva tests, and lending sickroom equipment.
Now the Westport Woman’s Club has made another giant contribution to the health and well-being over our town.
Thanks to the Westport Woman’s Club, another one is one the way.
Due to supply chain issues, it will take at least a year for our new ambulance to arrive. But when it does, it will be stationed next to the others at WVEMS headquarters — right across Deadman Brook from the Woman’s Club building on Imperial Avenue.
That’s where their Yankee Doodle Fair is held every year. It’s where their Curio Cottage operates too.
Both are major fundraisers for the WWC. Club members thank everyone for supporting the Fair and Cottage.
And we thank the Westport Woman’s Club — and its anonymous donor — for putting those funds to incredibly good use.
As Russian troops advance into Ukraine, Lynsey Addario and Tyler Hicks — both Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times photographers, and both Staples High School graduates (1991 and ’88, respectively) are there, shooting important images and reporting too.
Today, Addario joined the paper’s podcast, “The Daily.” She’s on near the beginning. Click here to listen. (Hat tip: John Hartwell)
Ukraine president Volodomyr Zelensky (Photo/Lynsey Addario for the New York Times)
Most Westport Astronomical Society events take place (duh) in the dark.
But this one starts when it’s light.
WAS’ “astrophotographers” host a gallery opening next Saturday (February 5, 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.), at the GR Art Gallery (1086 Long Ridge Road, Stamford). It runs through March 26.
Prints are on sale. A portion of proceeds benefits the Astronomical Society.
Up next: “Dark Skies: The Silent Threat of Light Pollution.” The January 31 (7 p.m.) event, with presenters from Sustainable Fairfield Task Force, Connecticut Audubon and United Illuminating, is virtual. Click here for the link.
Worried about traffic? Want more bike lanes? How can we balance growth with greenery? Interested in Westport’s goal of Net Zero by 2050, energy, transportation, waste, water and conservation issues?
Sustainable Westport and Earthplace are sponsoring a pair of “environmental debates,” prior to next month’s election. Candidates for the Planning & Zoning Commission will meet this Monday (October 18, 6:30 p.m.). Those running for Board of Selectmen will meet on Thursday, October 21 (7 p.m.).
Both events are virtual. Click here for links, and more details. The debates will be recorded, and posted on the Sustainable Westport website for viewing later.
Sunday is International Observe the Moon Night. The worldwide public event encourages observation and appreciation of (yes) the moon.
The Westport Astronomical Society invites everyone to the observatory on Bayberry Lane this Sunday (8 p.m. — only if skies are clear). It’s a chance to see the moon as you’ve never seen it before. All you have to do is look up.
Chris Frantz knows music. The Talking Heads and Tom Tom Club artist — and Fairfield resident also knows the importance of introducing new musicians to new audiences.
He’s partnering with the Westport Library on a new series. The inaugural “Chris Frantz Presents Emerging Musicians” concert (December 4) features New York’s Lulu Lewis, and New Haven’s The Problem with Kids Today. Both specialize in punk rock.
This is another music collaboration and production by Verso Studios at the Westport Library and the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce. The series will feature up-and-coming regional, national and international talent, hand-picked by Frantz..
Vice President Larry Kleinman won the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award. He logged vastly more than the 4,000 volunteer hours required for the honor. Kleinman also received Crew Chief of the Year.
Jenna Baumblatt and Ryan Blake were named Youth Corps Members of the Year. EMT of the Year went to Yves Cantin, an ex-president who stays involved.
Volunteer of the Year is Andrew O’Brien.
Volunteer Service Award winners include James Bairaktaris, Jenna Baumblatt,. Ella Bayazit, Ryan Blake, Michael Burns, Yves Cantin, Andrew Dinitz, Carol Dixon, Danielle Faul, Leah Foodman, Daniel Guetta, Dorothy Harris, Deanna Hartog, Jonathan Huzil, Mary Inagami, Vignesh Kareddy. Larry Kleinman, Eliza Lang, Christopher Moore, Annika Morgan, Christopher Muschett, Andrew O’Brien, Lynette Pineda, April Rademacher, Stewart Reifler, Morgan Rizy, Joshua Rosen, Alice Sardarian, Kathleen Smith, Ian Speers, Swati Sriram, Nancy Surace, Audrone Tarnok and Ekaterina Taylor-Yeremeeva.
Honorees (clockwise, from upper left):Yves Cantin, Jenna Baumblatt, Larry Kleinman, Ryan Blake.
Despite the recent deaths of 3 of the their most active, engaged members — and the COVID cancellation of the traditional Great Duck Race and Wine Tasting fundraisers — Westport’s Sunrise Rotary Club pushes forward with its mission to give talent, time and money to community and social causes.
Sunrise Rotary’s International Service Committee got approval last week for 2 new projects: sustainable agriculture to benefit Syrian refugees in Jordan, and battling malnutrition through improved food security in Guatemala. Members are also excited about participating in the upcoming Bridgeport schools’ Read Aloud Day.
For more information on Westport Sunrise Rotary, click here.
Up Next Teens is a Staples High School organization that fights food insecurity in Fairfield County.
They’re sponsoring tomorrow’s Remarkable Theater showing of “Pirates of the Caribbean.” Ticket purchasers have the option of contributing $25 to their fundraiser. Click here for tickets. Enjoy the show — and help a great cause.
And finally … on this day in 1878, the Edison Electric Light Company began operation. By 1890 it merged with several other Edison companies, and became the Edison General Electric Company. Today we know it as GE.
Westporters know, admire — and, after needing one, really, really respect — our Volunteer Emergency Medical Services’ ambulances.
But — let’s face it — an ambulance is not always what the doctor ordered.
Coming soon: a WVEMS UTV.
The 4-wheel drive John Deere heavy industrial unit is custom-made for military and emergency services. It goes places a normal ambulance can’t — woods and the beach, for example.
Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Services’ new ride.
Its smaller size makes it ideal for getting patients to bigger ambulances too, in crowded situations like the July 4th fireworks and Minute Man Race, or when trees are down after blizzards or hurricanes.
Residents will see the UTV soon. It’s being outfitted now with a few final items — including the official WVEMS logo.
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