But the actor/philanthropist/race car driver lives on in many Westporters’ memories.
Next fall, he’ll live on in a memoir. And it began right here, in the town he lived in and loved for 50 years.
According to the New York Times, he was frustrated by unauthorized biographies and other stories. So he recorded his own oral history.
But the transcripts were “forgotten in the basement laundry room” of his home.
Newman’s family will turn the transcripts into a book. Knopf will publish it next fall.
He spoke about “his difficult relationship with his parents, as well as his troubles with drinking, his shortcomings as a husband in his first marriage, and his flaws as a parent. It is candid about his sorrow when his son, Scott, died of a drug and alcohol overdose at 28.”
Click here for the full Times story. (Hat tips: Johanna Rossi and Fred Cantor)
Local to Market — the new curated shop in the old Talbot’s/Remarkable Book Shop at the Main Street/Parker Harding Plaza patio — introduces some exciting Connecticut-based vendors this Saturday (2 to 5 p.m.).
Shoppers are invited to meet the founders of some cool brands. They’ll tell their founding stories, and showcase their products.
There’s music too, plus works from the Westport Artists Collective.
Tomorrow (October 30, 2021) is the deadline for Fairfield County non-profits to apply for a grant from the Westport Woman’s Club. They go to deserving groups working in education, health and safety, and the arts.
Applications are being accepted too for a one-time use of their clubhouse, for an event.
Typed proposals should be sent — postmarked by tomorrow — to: Westport Woman’s Club, Attn.: Community Service Grant, 44 Imperial Avenue, Westport, CT 06880.
For more information, call 203-227-4240 or click here.
The Westport Woman’s Club on Imperial Avenue is giving out grants — and offering the use of its clubhouse for an event.
Craig Schmarr, the Westport Public Schools’ supervisor of building operations, died yesterday morning at Bridgeport Hospital. He served the district for over 27 years, in a variety of capacities. A full obituary will appear later.
Today is October 1. That’s the seemingly arbitrary date on which new laws take effect in Connecticut.
An expansion of the law requiring drivers to yield to pedestrians at crosswalks. it now includes a pedestrian who simply steps to the curb and raises a hand to oncoming traffic.
Drivers must also now stop, then proceed slowly while passing ice cream trucks (only while selling!).
It is now illegal for employers to require a jobseeker’s age, birth date or graduation date on a first application.
Medical marijuana patients 18 or older can now grow up to 3 mature and 3 immature plants at home. Starting July 2023, anyone 21 or older can grow plants at home. There is a cap of 12 plants per household.
Westport is filled with fundraising events: walks, runs, and “-thons.” All are worthy, and Westporters support them well.
But one of the most fun takes place this Sunday (October 3, Staples High School field hockey field). It’s the 12th annual Push Against Cancer.
And it benefits an organization with strong local ties.
The event — in which people of all ages do push-ups, in return for pledges — raises money for The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp. That’s the fantastic refuge for children suffering from serious illnesses, founded in 1988 by our own Paul Newman.
It costs $2,500 to send one child to the upstate Connecticut camp for a week. Since its inception by fitness expert Andy Berman, the Westport Push Against Cancer has raised over $725,000.
This year’s goal is to send 100 kids to camp. That’s $250,000. Groups like the Staples High School girls and boys have already raised over $34,000.
There’s still room to participate, or donate. Click here for information.
Police Chief Foti Koskinas, founder Andy Berman and First Selectman Jim Marpe banged out pushups at a previous event.
Nearly a week after the last ride stopped, and the final stuffed bunny was won, the Westport Woman’s Club continues to revel in the success of the Yankee Doodle Fair.
The annual event — an enormous fundraiser for the organization’s charitable activities — was moved from June to September , after being canceled in 2020 by COVID. But children (and adults turned out by the hundreds this year.
They had waited 27 months. The next wait will be much shorter. The Yankee Doodle Fair returns next spring, to its traditional Father’s Day/end-of-school weekend.
Last weekend at the Yankee Doodle Fair. (Photo/Joel Triesman)
David Komansky — a Westport resident who as chief executive officer and chair of Merrill Lynch from 1996 through 2003 led a major international expansion of the firm’s key businesses — died Monday in New York. He was 82.
He was raised in the Bronx by his mother, an Irish Catholic who converted to Judaism when she married his father, a postal worker whose family had emigrated from Russia.
Komansky began his 35-year career at Merrill Lynch in 1968 as a financial advisor trainee in Queens, after living in Miami where he served in the Coast Guard, attended the University of Miami and worked in a variety of odd jobs.
He sat on the boards of BlackRock, the WPP Group and the New York Presbyterian Hospital, where the Komansky Children’s Hospital was established at the Weil Cornell campus.
He is survived by his wife, Phyllis, of Westport; daughters Jennifer Komansky and Elyssa Williams (Simon), and grandchildren Joey and Maverick Williams.
A private family service will be held. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to NewYork-Presbyterian Komansky Children’s Hospital (www.nyp.org/komansky) or the Alzheimer’s Association (alz.org).
Fred Cantor just finished reading noted food writer (and former Westporter, and Weston High School graduate) Alexander Lobrano’s memoir, My Place at the Table.
It’s mainly about his experiences as a food critic in Paris.
But, Fred says, Lobrano does not neglect his childhood here.
The book opens with excerpts from a 2nd grade writing assignment (saved by his mother). His teacher, Miss Armitage, asked students to write about one of their “very favorite things.”
Lobrano’s essay was called “The Very Best Sandwich.” Miss Armitage gave him an A. She also rates “thanks” in the Acknowledgments.
Lobrano also writes about his elementary school cafeteria cooks: “…hardworking women…(who) cooked some off the most delicious things I’ve ever eaten—spaghetti with homemade marinara sauce and meatballs, handmade pierogi filled with potato purée or cheese topped with crisp fired onions, and moussaka slathered with bechamel sauce. They made everything from scratch…”
He also praises the fresh produce at Rippe’s and Wakeman’s farms.
High praise indeed, from someone who has eaten at the finest restaurants around the world.
It’s still September. But the Westport Woman’s Club is accepting donations for its November clothing tag sale.
Tax-deductible donations of new or gently worn women’s, men’s and children’s clothing, plus accessories like shoes, handbags, scarves, hats and jewelry, are welcome through October 27.
Items can be dropped off weekdays between 9 a.m. and noon, or 1 to 4 p.m., at the WWC (44 Imperial Avenue).
Funds raised from the clothing tag sale help support the town’s food closet, charities throughout Fairfield County, and need -based student scholarships. For more information, call 203-227-4240 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Affordable housing — what it means, where to put it, how it fits in to the suburban and statewide landscape — is a controversial topic.
Next Tuesday (September 28, 6:30 p.m., Zoom), State Senator Will Haskell and State Representative Stephanie Thomas host a bipartisan panel: “Affordable Housing in Our Community.”
Panelists include Westport Planning & Zoning Commission chair Danielle Dobin, and her Wilton counterpart Rick Tomasetti. The moderator is Heather Borden Herve, editor of “Good Morning Wilton.” Click here to register.
Among Westport’s affordable housing options: Sasco Creek Village.
It’s almost October. Almost time to say goodbye to your garden, for the year.
How do you do it? On October 18 (7 p.m.), Wakeman Town Farms hosts “Putting Your Garden to Bed: The Pollinator Friendly Way.
Nathalie Fonteyne joins WTF master gardeners and coaches Alice Ely and Ryan Brunelle to share tips on what to cut down and what to leave, how to recycle and compost the last greens as the garden prepares for its long winter nap, and what vegetables you still have time to plant to ensure a healthy, beautiful garden next spring.
But there’s no band livelier than Band Central. The “house band” for CLASP Homes — the Westport-based nonprofit serving adults with autism and other developmental disabilities — headlines the organization’s first in-person, indoor event in nearly 2 years.
On October 15 (6:30 p.m., Fairfield Theater Company), they’ll play songs from Motown, and soul greats like Aretha Franklin, the Commodores, Earth Wind & Fire and more. Special guests will join in.
$40 tickets to the benefit include a pre-party, and an art show with work by CLASP residents. Click here to purchase, and for more information.
Speaking of music: Scott Barr loves venues like FTC, the Levitt Pavilion and Capitol Theater, plus bars and other spaces to see local (and national) acts. He particularly enjoys seeing bands in small, intimate spaces, then watching as they achieve great success.
Every so often you stumble upon an entertainment event or a scene that must be witnessed and it usually happens where you least expect it.
He’s done it with the Spin Doctors, Blues Traveler, Joan Osborne and Phish. More recent examples include The Record Company playing at Roton Middle School, and the Revivalists and Black Pumas playing at StageOne.
Now, Scott says, a music scene is happening in Westport “right under our noses.”
Every Tuesday night at 8, a band called Residual Groove (aka KRIS or JEDD ) plays at Dunville’s. This week, members of Goose played with them.
“They have special guests all the time, and their playlist is for all ages,” Scott reports. “If anyone is looking for a fresh new scene and great music, check it out.”
He gives a special shoutout to Dunville’s owner Steve Carpentieri, for making it all happen.
Residual Groove (with special guest Peter Anspach from Goose, center) at Dunville’s.
“We are lucky to have this wildlife rehabilitator right in Weston,” Jayne says. They are great, dedicated people. Over the years I have brought them birds, squirrels, opossum, and all manner of forest creatures.”
Lifelong Westporter John Stahursky died Tuesday at Fairfield County House in Stamford. He was 86 years old.
John graduated from Staples High School in 1953, and retired as a mechanic from Slez Garage in Westport. He loved gardening and farming, and volunteered for many years maintaining the lawns and flower gardens at St. Anthony of Padua Church in Fairfield. John grew from seed, then donated, countless plants to the parish for sale at their annual picnic.
He was honored with the St. Augustine Medal, from the Diocese of Bridgeport.
John enjoyed restoring Model A Fords, which were driven in Westport’s Memorial Day parades.
His family remembers him as “a hard working man, always ready with a smile and happy to help others in need.”
Survivors include his siblings Bernard Stahursky of Westport, Wanda Ornousky of Norwalk and Bertha Matis of Westport, and many nieces, nephews, great-nieces and nephews.
John was predeceased by sisters Jean Kral, Helen Rutski and Sophie E. Stahursky, and brothers, Joe, Frank and Steve Stahursky.
A funeral will be held Monday (September 27, 9:15 a.m. from the Dougiello Fairfield Funeral Home, and 10 a.m. in St. Anthony of Padua Church with a Mass of Christian Burial. Interment will be in Assumption Cemetery in Westport. Friends may call Sunday (noon to 3 p.m).
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in John’s memory to St. Anthony Parish, 149 South Pine Creek Road, Fairfield, CT 06824 or Fairfield County House, 1 Den Road, Stamford, CT 06902.
Today’s “Westport … Naturally” scene is familiar, yet fresh:
And finally … singer Sarah Dash died Monday. She was 76.
According to the New York Times, she “brought her church-rooted soprano and high harmonies to Labelle, which began as a 1960s girl group before reinventing itself as a socially aware, Afro-futuristic rock and funk powerhouse, costumed in glittery sci-fi outfits and singing about revolution as well as earthy romance.”
After an absence of 27 months, the Yankee Doodle Fair returned tonight to Imperial Avenue. That’s good news for the Westport Woman’s Club, which relies on the event to fund its charitable work. The fair runs through Sunday. (Photo/Patricia McMahon)
Back in the day, the Westport Woman’s Club’s Yankee Doodle Fair raised money to build sidewalks on Main Street, install toilets at Compo Beach, and bring hot meals and health care to our schools.
That day was over 100 years ago.
Today we’ve got sidewalks (some in retro red brick). There are toilets at Compo (both permanent and portable, including some controversial new ones). And our schools serve plenty of hot meals (plus, at Staples, sushi).
But the Yankee Doodle Fair still raises money for local causes. Each year, the Woman’s Club donates over $200,000 to community groups.
That would pay for a lot of Port-a-Potties.
This week — for the first time in 15 months — the Yankee Doodle Fair returns.
The 2020 edition was a victim of COVID. The last thing the club that started out bringing nurses to schools wanted was to spread a virus to kids riding tilt-a-whirls, laughing in bounce houses and sharing cotton candy.
A decision had to be made far in advance of the June 2021 event too. At that point, the answer was “no.”
But now kids are back in school. We’re vigilant, but not paranoid.
The Yankee Doodle Fair returns this Thursday through Sunday (September 23-26). It’s 6 to 10 p.m. Thursday and Friday; 1 to 10 p.m. Saturday, and 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday.
Yankee Doodle Fair, 2019/ (Photo/Lee Scharfstein)
There’ll be attractions like a Ferris wheel, kiddie cars, basketball toss, bumper cars, tower drop, giant slide and scrambler.
For the less adventurous, there’s face painting, sand art, and plant and bake sales. Sweetcake Mountain Band plays Thursday; the School of Rock rocks Sunday.
Amy takers? (Photo/Dan Woog)
The Westport Woman’s Club downplays their civic contributions. Few Yankee Doodle Fair-goers — little kids enjoying the rides; middle schoolers primping and preening; adults reliving a relic of their youth — even realize they help the organizers support dozens of worthy charities.
That’s fine. The last thing you want to think about — hanging upside down on the banks of the Saugatuck River, your change falling out of your pockets — is where your money is going.
Well, let me rephrase that…
Flying high at the Yankee Doodle Fair on one ride …
Westport Urgent Care‘s air conditioning unit has been in urgent need of a part for a while. It’s still on back order.
What was merely an inconvenience earlier became — well, urgent — this sweltering week. With latex gloves sticking to doctors and nurses’ hands, dangerous heat levels, and ill patients being exposed to even more danger in the waiting area, the health care center tried to adapt.
Yesterday, the walk-in clinic closed early. A sign cited “equipment failure,” and apologized for “inconvience.”
There was no notice on the website, or voice message, whether Urgent Care will be open today. It usually opens at 9 a.m. on Saturdays.
Then there’s this heat-related postponement: Today’s Car Cruise has been rescheduled for next Saturday (August 21, 4 to 8 p.m., Saugatuck train station parking lot #1).
The sponsoring Westport Police Benevolent Association decided it was just too hot.
Cars of all years, makes and models are welcome. The fee to enter and display is $20. Funds benefit charities like the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, Special Olympics, and Veterans and Families of Fallen Officers.
The first 100 cars to arrive get a gift bag. The family-friendly event includes music, food, trophies and raffle prizes.
Still on: Wednesday’s (August 18, 2 p.m., Jesup Green) rally to end a message about the importance of supportive housing for Connecticut’s most vulnerable residents.
As the housing market is at a fever pitch, a coalition of groups — including Homes With Hope, the Westport Housing Authority and The Partnership for Open Communities — are working on funding initiatives.
Vulnerable residents include homeless people, the housing insecure, domestic violence survivors, youth, and families struggling to stay in our community.
Congrats too to Tallula Stvan. The June Staples High School graduate heads off to the University of Connecticut as winner of the Westport Woman’s Club’s Leah Scherzer Scholarship.
Tallula’s activities included the school newspaper Inklings, and a community service project. Her award — part of the WWC’s $31,000 given in student aid this year — is named for the Woman’s Clubs most active member.
And more kudos: rising Staples High School sophomore Leigh Foran just had a paper published in The Pre-Collegiate Global Health Review. It’s called “A Disease Called Poverty: The Sickness Dismantling Global Health Equity.”
PGHR — a Johns Hopkins University student- and faculty-led publication — is the first international, peer-reviewed journal that features articles on global health topics written by high school students. Leigh’s article underwent a rigorous review process.
In it, she discusses the inequitable correlation between poverty and illness, including how poor people are disproportionately more devastated by preventable diseases. She comments on the role of non-governmental organizations in adding to this problem, and what can be done to find a solution.
This week’s #FridayFlowers grace the front entrance of Earthplace. It’s appropriate. The arrangement was created by club member Becky Newman, who in her spare time directs the center’s nature programs.
And finally … it’s too hot to do much during the day. But tonight, head outside. Look up. You’ll see the Perseid meteor shower. If you’re lucky — and away from too much light pollution — you’ll see one of nature’s true wonders.
If it’s a day that ends in “y,” it’s a good time for wine.
The Westport Woman’s Club plans a wine tasting for Friday, July 23 (6-8 p.m., 44 Imperial Avenue). Net proceeds benefit Staples High School scholarships, and grants to community organization. A portion of the wine orders at the event will be donated to the WWC, too. Door prizes are donated by Castle Wine and Gaetano Catering.
Tickets are $30 each. To order, and for more information, click here.
Tomorrow is worldwide “Make Music Day.” There are more than 1,000 events, in over 120 countries.
Unfortunately, there is no specific Westport celebration. But residents Louis Fuertes and Pat Blaufuss — members of the 4-person band Picnic on the 4th of July — will perform at Old Post Tavern in Fairfield (7 to 8 p.m.).
The CUkes — a ukulele group that originated at the Westport Weston Family YMCA — entertain in the Nordstrom Courtyard of The SoNo Collection mall (Norwalk, 6 p.m.).
And Talking Heads members Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth — who live just over the line in Fairfield — are part of an international “This Moment in Time” musical event. Click here for details.
Click here to help support “06880” via credit card or PayPal. Any amount is welcome — and appreciated! Reader contributions keep this blog going. (Alternate methods: Please send a check to: Dan Woog, 301 Post Road East, Westport, CT 06880. Or use Venmo: @DanWoog06880. Or Zelle: email@example.com. Thanks!)