Tag Archives: Y’s Men

Roundup: Local To Market, Y’s Men, Elaine’s …

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Local To Market — the food/coffee/gift/gift basket/and more shop that opened a few months ago in the former Talbots/Remarkable Book Shop prime space at the Main Street entrance to Parker Harding Plaza — is closing soon.

Whether it’s temporary or permanent is uncertain. And, in a way, up all of us.

Owner Chris Marcocci must move out by April 30, because the building was sold.

He has not yet found a new location. “We may have to hit pause,” he says, “but hopefully not for too long.

“Bringing Local To Market to Main Street was an amazing experience. My wife Rita, general manager Jon Clement and I are grateful for the wonderful community support, especially our loyal customers and amazing Connecticut suppliers.

“Bringing in the Art Collective of Westport for our art gallery, featuring local musicians and giving back to local charities made this very worthwhile.

“We wish to remain in Westport, and hope to be open again soon with an even wider assortment of products and services. We are looking for our next location, and possible partners to add a café and more.”

If you’ve got a lead, contact him directly: chris@localtomarket.com.

The Local to Market patio.

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Almost two dozen Y’s Men spent yesterday serving the community.

Joined by 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker, they gathered with bags, gloves, coffee, donuts and homemade matzoh bark at the Baldwin Parking Lot. They spent hours gathering trash — cans, paper, cigarette butts, even a tent from — from the periphery.

Dewey Loselle, head of the group’s Community Service, organized the event.

Y’s Men of Westport/Weston includes almost 400 retired men. They meet weekly from Labor Day to Memorial Day, sharing coffee and donuts and hearing speakers.

Activities range from bridge. boating, golf, tennis, hiking and walking to a global issues discussion group, dining and field trips.

Meetings are Thursdays, 9:30 a.m. at the Saugatuck Congregational Church. Click here for more information, or email

1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker (6th from right) and Y’s Men at the Baldwin Parking Lot.

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The New York Times describes a new musical in the works. “Everyone Comes to Elaine’s” is based on the Upper East Side spot that for decades attracted celebrities from Frank Sinatra, Woody Allen and Truman Capote to Joe DiMaggio and Keith Richards.

The creators optioned the rights to the 2004 book “Everyone Comes to Elaine’s.” It was written by A.E. Hotchner, a Westport resident and Elaine’s regular. He died in 2020, at 102.

They added Hotchner’s son Timothy, who grew up here, as a creative and business partner. Click here for the full Times story. (Hat tip: Fred Cantor)

A. E. Hotchner, in Westport. (Photo/Fred Cantor)

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Congratulations to April’s Staples High School Students of the Month: seniors Emma Londoner and Rachel Greenberg, juniors Carine Rosado and Ian Patton, sophomores Sacha Maidique and Nicholas De Munck, and freshmen Brady Dennett and Shelby Weisman.

Principal Stafford Thomas said they were chosen for helping make their school “a welcoming place for peers and teachers. They are the ‘glue’ of the Staples community: the type of kind, cheerful, hard-working, trustworthy students who keep the high school together, making it the special place it is.”

From left: Shelby Weisman, Ian Patton, Sacha Maidique, Carina Rosado, Brady Dennett, Rachel Greenberg, Emma Londoner. Missing: Nicholas de Munck.

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The Westport Police Department will be out in “force” next Saturday (April 23, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Stop & Shop), collecting food for the Gillespie Center and Westport Human Services food pantry.

The event is co-sponsored with the Westport Rotary Club, and Westport Woman’s Club. They ask for non-perishable items only — and no glass!

Items needed for Saturday’s food drive.

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Yesterday’s Roundup included a video with what I was told were the sons of Plácido Domingo, Andrea Bocelli and Luciano Pavarotti’s.

Nope. The trio are called Il Novo, and though they are extremely talented, they have nothing to do with those three stars. One more reason to remember that, as Abraham Lincoln once said, “you can’t believe everything you see on the internet.”

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There’s always something happening at the Senior Center. Including — this time of year — magnificent spring colors.

Today’s “Westport … Naturally” image was captured beautifully by Molly Alger.

(Photo/Molly Alger)

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And finally … until yesterday, I’d never heard of Art Rupe.

But without him, chances are I’d also never have heard of the music I love.

The founder of Specialty Records, he brought rhythm and blues — formerly “race music” — into the white mainstream. He jump-started the careers of singers like Little Richard and Lloyd Price. Hearing those artists influenced groups like the Beatles, Rolling Stones and Animals.

Art Rupe died on Friday at his home in Santa Barbara. He was 104. Click here for a full obituary. (Hat tip: Michael Taylor)

Roundup: Paddy Donovan, Staples Players, Y’s Men …

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Paddy Donovan is one of the best young goalkeepers in the country.

He’s earned national renown for his play with the Beachside Soccer Club MLS Next academy program. Yesterday, he became Clemson University’s first recruit of the season to sign a letter of intent.

Under Coach Mike Noonan, the Tigers are one of the top teams in the US. That makes Donovan’s signing especially sweet: Noonan won a state championship at Staples High School in 1978, where he played soccer with Donovan’s late uncle Doug.

Donovan’s father Dan was a state champ himself, captaining the Wreckers in 1981.

Signing any blue-chip recruit is a major coup. But Noonan put a personal spin on the announcement, posting on Instagram:

“Patrick is an outstanding prospect who has a very high soccer IQ. He has been developed in one of the best youth clubs in the country, and attended the best high school in the country.”

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This week, “06880” has reported 2 ways to support Staples Players. You can buy tickets to “Grease,” the fall musical. You can also purchase 3 special flavors of gelato, at Cold Fusion.

Now there’s a third way to support the nationally renowned theatrical troupe: a silent auction.

It’s online before the show, and in person during the show’s opening weekend (tomorrow, Saturday and Sunday).

Auction items include theater tickets; gift cards and baskets from local restaurants, specialty food stores and other local retailers; sports swag, artwork and more. Click here to see them all. 

Bidding is open now. It closes Wednesday, November 17.

In more “Grease” news, due to booming ticket sales, Staples Players is adding another performance. The additional date is Thursday, November 18 (7 p.m.). Click here to purchase, and for more information.

Among the items in Staples Players’ silent auction: 2 tickets to next September’s Tony Awards.

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Yesterday’s Roundup story about this Saturday’s Police Department food drive neglected to mention an important detail: It takes place at Stop & Shop. Here’s the story again — with apologies:

The Westport Police Department and TEAM Westport are sponsoring a Thanksgiving food drive this Saturday (November 13, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.. Stop & Shop). All donations support Homes with Hope’s Gillespie Center and food pantry, and Westports Human Services Department.

Westport Police officers and volunteers will collect non-perishable food items and cash. Suggested items include canned meats, tuna, salmon, Spam, canned cranberries, boxed stuffing, canned yams, canned corn, canned gravy, pasta, and sauces, chili, hot and cold cereal, canned fruit, canned and dry soups, peanut butter, jelly, mac and cheese, rice, granola bars, pancake mix, syrup and mayonnaise.

Earlier this year, after another drive, Westport Police and Homes with Hope volunteers delivered food to the Gillespie Center, across from police headquarters.

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This morning’s feature story on new 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker notes that she’ll be sworn in this coming Monday — along with other town boards and commissions — and that the Representative Town Meeting swearing-in would be the following day.

Late last night, it was decided that the entire swearing-in ceremony — including RTM — will take place on Monday. Mark your calendar: November 15, 7:30 p.m., Town Hall auditorium). The public is invited.

(For officials who cannot make the Monday evening event, there will be brief swearing-in ceremonies on Monday and Tuesday, both at 4:30 p.m. on the Town Hall steps.)

Jen Tooker (left) and Andrea Moore, Westport’s new selectwomen, will be sworn in — along with all town boards, commissions and RTM members — on Monday night.

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June Rose Whittaker and Karen Weingarten are frequent contributors to “06880”‘s Saturday morning online art gallery. Readers love their photography.

So do the Y’s Men. They recently awarded prizes to the duo, in the annual Y’s Men’s Camera Club hoto Contest.

Weingarten earned 1st and 2nd place honors. Whittaker snagged a second.

All photos are on display at the Senior Center. Congratulations to all!

June Rose Whittaker’s photo.

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Westporter Janet LaReau died suddenly on Tuesday at Yale New Haven Hospital. She was 58 years old.

The Bridgeport native enjoyed spending time with her grandchildren, walks on the beach with her husband Edward Luciano, and Sunday dinners with her family. They describe her as selfless, loving, and someone who always went out of her way to help others.

In addition to her husband, survivors include her mother, Antoinette LaReau of Stratford; son Robert Battey of Phoenix; daughters Janet Dziekonski (Thomas) of Westport, Rebecca Sampieri (Kenneth) of Shelton, LeAnn Battey of Westport, Michele Caggiano (Amanda) of Stamford, Rita Luettger (Cody) of Arlington, Virginia, and Laura Battey of Stratford; brothers David LaReau and Jeffrey LaReau, both of Stratford; sister Nancy Tomasco of Stratford, CT and grandchildren Santino, Jayen, Daniel and Abigail.

A funeral is set for Saturday (November 13, 11 a.m., Assumption Church) for a Mass of Christian Burial. Interment will follow in Willowbrook Cemetery. The family will receive friends in the Harding Funeral Home on Friday from 4 to 8 p.m.

Click here to leave online condolences. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital (501 St. Jude Place Memphis, TN 38105).

Janet LaReau

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo shows our town at its absolute best.

If anyone ever asks why we live here, just show Wendy Crowther’s image — shot yesterday — of Winslow Park.

(Photo/Wendy Crowther)

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And finally … today is Veterans Day. Please take time to think of every man and woman who has ever served this country. We would not be the nation we are, without them!

Roundup: Vaccines, Basso, Butterflies …

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The Connecticut Department of Public Health, Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference and many youth sports organizations are urging all athletes 12 years and older to get vaccinated against COVID.

It’s the best way, officials say, to ensure a healthy, safe and uninterrupted fall season. The organizations suggest that sports groups host and sponsor mobile or other vaccine clinics, to reach students.

They note one major reason to get a shot: people who have been vaccinated do not need to quarantine if exposed to a COVID case, if they are asymptomatic.

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La Plage — the great new restaurant at the Inn at Longshore — opens today. But — as noted in a recent 06880″ story — it’s dinner only for now, Wednesdays through Sundays.

The reason: staffing. Finding help — cooks, servers, dishwashers, bussers, front-of-the-house, you name it — is tough.

It’s a town-wide (and nationwide) problem. Basso is one of Westport’s most popular restaurants. This sign hangs near the outdoor tables, on Jesup Road:

(Photo/Dan Woog)

There’s no such thing as a free lunch. But there may be no lunch at any restaurants, if they can’t find enough help.

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Devil’s Den has reopened.

The popular 1,800-acre Weston preserve — The Nature Conservancy’s largest in Connecticut — closed in the spring of 2020, in the early days of the pandemic. It was overwhelmed with visitors, many of whom parked illegally, brought dogs or stayed past dark.

As of last Sunday, the woodlands, wetlands and rock ledges are open from sunrise to 5 p.m. Click here for more information. (Hat tip: Weston Today)

Devil’s Den

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Speaking of nature: Earthplace did it! They reached their $40,000 fundraising goal — and got a full matching grant for their Animal Hall.

Donations came from regular friends, new donors, neighbors and from afar. A matching grant of every dollar up to $20,000 was key too.

Earthplace officials thank the “amazing, generous and kind” community for its support. The animals join in too (see below!).

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Speaking still of nature: ButtARfly  is inelegantly named.

But it’s a great program, bringing butterflies from the Smithsonian’s Open Access collections to life on a computer screen. Users can learn about butterfly species, add them to a virtual shadow box, and release them into an augmented reality experience for desktop and mobile. There are even different sounds for each specimen.

The Department of Media Arts & Technology at New Mexico Highlands University helped develop the initiative — with the help of 1984 Staples High School graduate Lauren Addario, as audio advisor and content developer.

Click here to enjoy.

Monarch butterfly at Compo Beach. They’re everywhere — including the Smithsonian. (Photo/Jamie Walsh)

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Lotsa nature today. Our “Westport … Naturally” photo shows “2 bees in a bud.” It’s courtesy of Tracy Porosoff, from her garden near Compo Beach.

(Photo/Tracy Porosoff)

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The Y’s Men (and their wise spouses) meet every Tuesday during the summer at South Beach, for food, camaraderie and sunsets. Jon Fox organized the event several years ago.

Yesterday they added a bit of fundraising, for the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp. Peter Nathan solicited donations — and brought in over $1,300.

That’s one more feather in one of Westport’s premier volunteer organization’s cap!

Y’s Men (from left): Mike Guthman, Roy McKay, David Kalman (hot dog supplier), Peter Nathan, Jon Fox, Baxter Urist and Larry Lich. (Photo/Dorothy Fox)

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And finally … our musical interlude usually celebrates birthdays, anniversaries and upbeat events from years gone by. After all, there aren’t too many downer songs about bad things in history. (Okay — “Eve of Destruction.”)

But today is the 47th anniversary of the day 3 civil rights workers — Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman and James Chaney — were found dead in Mississippi. They had disappeared 43 days earlier.

So — at the risk of alienating all my friends from that state — I present Phil Ochs:

Roundup: Bear, Beach Sticker, Back …

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The past few days have brought numerous reports of a bear wandering in northern Westport. It is behaving normally — and non-aggressively.

The Westport Police Department says:

“Black bears are becoming increasingly common in Connecticut. To safely co-exist, residents are reminded to take precautions to prevent negative encounters.

“Bears have an incredible sense of smell. To prevent luring them towards your property, secure your garbage in sturdy covered containers in a garage or outbuilding. Residents who compost should do so responsibly. Do not throw meat scraps or greasy, oily, or sweet materials in your compost pile. These will attract bears and other animals.

“Clean barbecues and grills after each use, refrain from leaving pet food outdoors, and remove bird feeders from your property for the summer. Keep your eye on pets and small children playing outside.

“While it can be frightening to see a bear on or around your property, it is important to know that they are very timid animals. They try to avoid human contact.

“If sighted, use caution, and do not approach the bear. The mere presence of a bear does not necessitate its removal. If left alone and given an avenue for escape, the bear will usually wander back into more secluded areas. Sightings can be reported to Westport Animal Control at 203-341-5076, or reported to the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (click here).”

The bear on Old Hill. (Photo/Stella Wong)

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After a year’s hiatus, beach sticker sales to non-residents is back.

Westport’s Parks & Recreation Department began sales yesterday. The cost is $775 (plus tax). Click here, then follow the “Membership” links.

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Back too are Staples Players. Their laugh-out-loud funny, wide-ranging, clever and very welcome spring production — “Words Words Words … and Music” drew raves when the high school troupe returned to stage last month.

Now it’s available — this weekend only — as a video stream. Starting at noon on Saturday (June 5) through midnight Monday (June 7), you can watch the show as many times as you like. It’s a great offer for out-of-towners, and anyone who missed the show (or wants to see it again). Click here for tickets.

Sophie Rossman, Benny Zack and Samanath Webster in “Words Words Words.” They are monkey, writing “Hamlet.” Or trying to … (Photo/Kerry Long)

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How “back” is Westport?

The Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce announces the return of 2 favorite events. Both were knocked out last year by COVID.

Slice of Saugatuck returns Saturday, September 11. It’s an afternoon of food, entertainment, food, games, food, fun and food. It takes place in the pizza-shaped “slice” of Saugatuck that is home to so many restaurants, and is so easily walkable.

The Dog Festival returns Sunday, October 10. Winslow Park — always a haven for canines and their masters — really goes to the dogs. It’s filled with vendors, K-9 demonstrations, obstacle courses, contests and much more.

To learn more about both events, click here.

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Also back after a year away: The Y’s Men’s Tuesday evening gathering at Compo Beach. Non-men are, as usual, always welcome.

(Photo/Molly Alger)

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And back too is the Longshore pool. Michael Catarevas reports: “After rainouts Saturday and Sunday, and no one showing up on Memorial Day, I was delighted to be first in the water this season — especially after it was closed all last year. I had three pools to myself Tuesday afternoon, though I only used the big one. The water was very cold, but great!”

Michael Catarevas: first in the Longshore pool. (Photo/Patrick Haggerty)

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Yet another post-pandemic sign: Starting Monday (June 7), the Board of Education will return to in-person meetings. Everyone must wear a mask, and maintain 3 feet of social distancing. Meetings will still be livestreamed on the town website and Cablevision Channel 78.

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Today (Wednesday, June 2) is the 1st-ever Lou Gehrig Day across Major League Baseball.

Chuck Haberstroh co-chairs the group that lobbied for the day. It will be featuresd on all media platforms.

A large group of Westporters will be at Yankee Stadium, honoring Chuck’s mom Patty Haberstroh, an inspiration to her family and the entire town.

Click here for an interview with Chuck and Sweeny Murti, WFAN’s longtime Yankees beat reporter. Chuck starts around the 15-minute mark.

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Speaking of baseball: 50 years to the day after Staples High School beat Norwalk 4-2 in a state tournament game, Class of ’71 teammates Nils Nilsen and Steve McCoy returned to the Wrecker diamond.

They were in the stands to watch the ’21 team open its own state tournament. Unfortunately Staples fell, 9-4 to New Canaan.

Half a century ago, Nilsen halted a Bear rally with 1-hit relief pitching. McCoy had 2 hits, including a game-winning double.

Nilsen went on to pitch at Harvard University. McCoy became a soccer captain, and the 3rd-leading career goal scorer at Duke.

Nils Nilsen and Steve McCoy, at the Staples baseball field. (Photo/Fred Cantor)

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MoCA Westport’s “Yappy Hour” — yes, for dogs — has been postponed. It was set for tomorrow (June 3); the new date is Thursday, June 10.

The event includes custom drinks (for owners), and a chance for pets to meet others, sit for a free portrait, and romp outdoors. It’s free — but all dogs must be leashed. (MoCA encourages donations of unopened food or treats to support local rescue organizations. For more information, click here.

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A crew of volunteers — including Danielle Dobin, Michael Cammeyer, Emma Rojas, Sarah Manning, Luc Lafonta and Shawn Kapitan turned out yesterday to change the lights on the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen bridge.

Danielle Dobin and Michael Cammeyer, on the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge.

They now shine in the colors of the rainbow, to celebrate Pride Month. Enjoy them throughout June!

(Photo/Brian McGunigle)

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One of the 3 American oystercatcher chicks at Compo Beach has died, Carolyn Doan reports.

She adds: “My son James is a huge fan of the piping plovers, so we visit the area regularly. The Audubon Society has talked with the town because of drones being flown overhead. Oystercatchers attack them frantically to distract them from the nest, thinking they are predators.”

So, Westporters: Give all these birds space. They were there long before us!

American oystercatcher and chick (Carolyn Doan)

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” takes us to the Lansdowne garden of Lauri Weiser. What a spring we’ve had!

(Photo/Laurii Weiser)

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Before we close the book on the 2021 Memorial Day parade, here’s one final shot. It’s a unique drone perspective from Joel Triesman, as marchers turn onto the Post Road and cross the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge:

(Drone photo/Joel Triesman)

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And finally … the lyrics and art are cringe-worthy. But in honor of the bear that is doing who knows what in our woods:

Roundup: Y’s Men, Oka …

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Yesterday was Westport Clean-up Day. The Y’s Men (of course) did their part, at the Baldwin parking lot.

Unlike last year, they did not find an abandoned sofa. But there was still more than enough trash to go around.

Y’s Men take a break. (Photo courtesy of Jay Dirnberger)

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One more Main Street vacancy has been filled. OKA — the English furniture retailer — will move into the former Banana Republic property. (Hat tip: Kathleen Fazio)

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Longtime Westporter and university professor David Levande died Friday. He was 75.

Born in the Bronx, he grew up in Mount Vernon, New York. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University and a doctorate from Teachers College, Columbia University.

David was a well-respected professor at the Southern Connecticut State University graduate school of education. He took pride in founding a summer institute for improving urban education, following his lifelong passions of equity, tolerance and kindness.

David previously taught at Iona College, Enrico Fermi Middle School in Yonkers, and the Bronx.

He was a popular fixture in Westport for years, enjoying Compo Beach, tennis, the YMCA, and connecting with new and old friends at local restaurants and cafes. A devoted father and grandfather, he is survived by his daughter Lynne Longo (Christopher) of Bethel; son Paul Levande (partner Bryce Payne), grandchildren Andrew, Dylan and Matthew Longo, and niece Rachel Sirak. David was predeceased by his sister Laura Levande.

Services will take place tomorrow (Monday, April 26, 2 p.m. at Willowbrook Cemetery in Westport. In lieu of flowers, David’s family requests that donations be sent to the Lewy Body Dementia Association in his name.

David Levande

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Rindy Higgins is a substitute teacher in town. She writes:

One day when I was assigned to 3rd grade at Saugatuck Elementary School, a little girl looked pensively at her writing, slightly nodding her head from side to side.

Eventually she came up to me and said excitedly, “Look! Look at the word ‘impossible.’ If you change it just a little bit, it can say ‘I’m possible!'”

Wow! Learning from kids is the biggest reason I love to teach! So I called the class together to consider how one might use this idea.

Lots of them shared their ideas, such as changing ‘it’s impossible for me to make that goal’ to ‘I’m possible; I can make that goal!'”

What a great lesson. So the next time it seems ‘impossible,’ think “I’M possible!'”

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And finally … Shock G was found dead on Thursday in a hotel in Tampa. He was 57.

He was the leader of the hip-hop group Digital Underground, was found dead on Thursday at a hotel in Tampa, Fla. He was 57.

Digital Underground had a string of hits in the early 1990s, and launched the career of Tupac Shakur.

Roundup: Memorial Day Parade, Yankee Doodle Fair, Waterspout …

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In one more sign of approaching normalcy, the town is moving forward with plans for an actual Memorial Day parade.

This year’s theme for the float contest is “Honoring Women Veterans.” Certificates will be awarded for Best Development of Theme, Best Youth Organization Float, Most Creative, Best Community Organization, Most Colorful, and the Best Overall Float.

If past form holds true, the Y’s Men will win the Overall award. They’ve won it nearly every year for the past 20 or so.

And the only reason the Y’s Men did not win in 2020, 2017 or 2016 was because there were no parades. (COVID last year; rain those other 2.)

Weather and COVID permitting, this year’s event begins at 9 a.m. on May 31, at Saugatuck Elementary School. Veterans — and thousands of others — will march north on Riverside Avenue, trn right on Post Road East, then continue to Myrtle Avenue.

 

The Y’s Men’s float won, as usual, in 2012. This one honored Korean War veterans — complete with freezing mist.

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The Memorial Day parade is not the only tradition that’s returning.

The Westport Woman’s Club’s Yankee Doodle Fair returns this year — but not in its century-old mid-June, end-of-school, welcome-summer slot.

Yesterday, the Board of Selectmen approved the event for September 23 through the 26th.

So it will be a start-of-school, welcome-fall fair.

But it’s still at the Woman’s Club site on Imperial Avenue.

Even after 100 years, little changes.

The 2017 Yankee Doodle Fair (Drone photo/Ryan Collins)

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Yesterday was spring-like — warm and mostly sunny. Guy Sherman wanted to  photograph a few interesting clouds over Saugatuck Shores.

He got a bonus: this rare and remarkable waterspout:

(Photo/Guy Sherman)

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A month ago, the old wood-shingled house at 19 Soundview Drive bore a demolition sign.

Then it was gone.

Now the home — one of the oldest, as-yet-unrenovated along the Compo exit road– has been painted and spiffed up. It looks eager to greet renters and beachgoers.

And ready to last another 100 years.

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The Learning Community Day School celebrates its 50th anniversary on April 28th.

The institution — housed for many years on Hillspoint Road — is not just patting themselves on the back. They’re raising money for kindergarten scholarships, with their first-ever golf outing.

It’s set for Monday, April 26 at Longshore. Check-in and breakfast are 9 a.m.; tee times start at 10 a.m. You can play 9 or 18 holes.

The cost is $250 per player, $900 for a foursome. You can form your own twosome or foursome, or be paired up.

Popup Bagels and Manny’s Ultimate Bloody Mary Mix are sponsoring food and drinks. Of course, there are prizes and giveaways.

For more information, email learning_community@yahoo.com or call 203-227-8394.

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Longtime Westport resident Judith Portner Sappern died peacefully on Saturday. She was 88 years old.

The Rumson, New Jersey native was an adventurer who, after serving as managing editor of her high school newspaper, took the unusual step at the time to go out of state for college. A

t the University of Connecticut she served as president of Alpha Epsilon Phi sorority, made lifelong friends and fell in love with Donald Sappern. Married shortly after graduation, they started a telephone answering service in Norwalk.  As Don’s career progressed and he became a successful insurance executive, Judy managed office operations and bookkeeping.

Judy Sappern

As the couple’s children grew, Judy helped with their studies and supported every interest, from the choir room and pool to the baseball diamond and the rock band that practiced in the basement. She fed generations of Staples High School students who used their nearby house on Wedgewood Lane as a home base throughout the day.

Judy pursued a master’s degree in social work, and volunteered at Norwalk Hospital. She loved helping others work through tough times, and passed that empathy on to her children. When not at the hospital or office, Judy worked on needlepoint, and played golf or bridge with friends. She also became a personal computer enthusiast and fanatical supporter of UConn basketball.

She was preceded in death by her husband of 63 years, Donald, and her older sister Joyce Cooper. Judy is survived by her children, Laurie Sappern Gaugler  (Dean), and Matthew (Rianne), both of Fairfield, and Adam (Margot)of Bethel, Vermont. Judy enjoyed frequent visits and calls with her 7 grandchildren: Billy, Chloe, Brian, Geoffrey, Rachel, Carly and Tobey. She is also survived by her beloved sister-in-law, Pietrina Sappern of Milford.

A memorial service will be held when travel and gathering is less limited. Memorial contributions in Judy’s memory can be made to the IGA Nephropathy Foundation, PO Box 1322, Wall, New Jersey 07727.

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And finally … sure, the IRS has extended this year’s filing deadline to May 17. But April 15 will always be, um, special.

 

Roundup: Y’s Hikers, David Waldman, Amazon’s Gatsby, More


COVID has caused many organizations to move meetings online.

You can’t do that with a hiking club, though. So the Y’s Men group has adapted. They meet in smaller numbers now. They maintain strict social distance — 8 feet, just to be sure. They wear masks when they assemble.

But they still get their exercise. And their miles.

Twice a week, Chris Lewis leads 10 to 15 hikers. He knows all the trails, throughout the county.

Wednesday hikes are 2 hours long. Friday’s are more strenuous, and can take up to 3. Only heavy rain or extremely slippery conditions stop the Y’s Men.

In addition, “walkers” meet nearly every day. They avoid difficult trail conditions.

This may not be the Y’s Men’s motto. But it should be: “COVID? Take a hike!”

(Hat tip: Michael Hehenberger)

A recent hike at Trout Brook Preserve, owned and managed by Aspetuck Land Trust.
Tom Johnson (3rd from left) is a Y’s Men hiker and ALT member. (Photo/Sal Mollica)


Dave Briggs is one of the best interviewers around. He brings out the best in his subjects, in a relaxed, fun and insightful way. His Instagram Live chats are always intriguing.

And I’m not just saying that because I was a recent guest.

Today (Wednesday, January 6, 4 p.m.), he’ll chat with David Waldman. They’ll talk about the commercial realtor’s work developing Bedford Square and the west bank of the Saugatuck River, bringing Barnes & Noble downtown, and much more.

Head to @WestportMagazine on Instagram. You’ll be entertained — and learn a lot.


“Gatsby in Connecticut: The Untold Story” is ready for prime time.

Or at least, Amazon Prime.

The 70-minute movie by Robert Steven Williams — starring Sam Waterston and Keir Dullea, covering F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald’s formative summer in Westport — is available on the streaming service.

The New Yorker called it one of the best films of 2020. Click here, and judge for yourself. (Hat tip: David Meth)


David Tarqueno died on December 24 at Norwalk Hospital, from complications of COVID-19. He was 61 years old.

His obituary says, “David left behind an incredible number of friends who loved him. His personality was like no other. His presence could light up a room. His smile, his laughter and his humor will remain with every heart he touched.

“David loved fishing — he was out there every fishing season opening day. Nature and animals were an important part of his life. He was devoted to his family and friends. That devotion was selfless, his trust boundless, and love endless.”

The Staples High School graduate is survived by his parents, Joseph and Marianne Tarqueno; sister Lisa Tarqueno-Crawford; brother Peter Tarqueno, and his beloved dog Harry.

David Tarqueno


And finally … today, the Electoral College meets. Will Vice President Pence do what Joe Biden did as vice president 4 years ago (and Al Gore, George H.W. Bush and many others before him), affirming the legitimate winner of the election 2 months earlier?

Or will American democracy be launched into a parallel universe, one in which lunacy rules and losers’ temper tantrums make us the laughingstock of the world?

Fingers crossed!

Roundup: Ballots, Food Drive, Atlantic Sports Story, More


To clarify yesterday’s Roundup story on absentee ballots:

The registrars of voters have not “counted” ballots yet. They cannot do that until tomorrow. What they did on Saturday was open the ballots, to find any without signatures.

Five of those — out of approximately 8,000 returned — were discovered. Those voters will be contacted today, and are allowed to vote in person tomorrow.


As Thanksgiving nears, Wakeman Town Farm is collecting nutritious, non-perishable food, for delivery to 2 local pantries. Among the items most in
demand:

  • Pasta
  • Rice and quinoa
  • Oatmeal
  • Cereal
  • Mac and cheese
  • Canned fruits
  • Applesauce
  • Dried fruits (raisins, prunes, apricots, etc.)
  • Canned vegetables
  • Soups (canned or boxed)
  • Stews and chili (canned or boxed)
  • Peanut butter and jelly
  • Dried beans and ;entils
  • Canned tuna, salmon, chicken in water or broth
  • Jell-O
  • Protein and granola bars, unsalted nuts and seeds, whole grain crackers
  • Coffee and tea.

Items can be dropped off at the “Food Donation” bins at the gates to Wakeman Town Farm on Cross Highway, and at Franny’s Farmacy and Savannah Bee.


As COVID cases rise, what will local retailers do on Black Friday?

Jillian Elder wants to know. The founder of the Finding Westport platform — your go-to site for all local retailers, restaurants and services — is surveying businesses, and will post that information soon. It will go on Finding Fairfield County and Finding Connecticut too.

If you’re a retailer or restaurant owner, tell Jillian your hours, limitations on customers, etc. Email submissions@findingwestport.com.


Westport writer Ruth Shalit Barrett’s long article about crazy, college-focused  Fairfield County niche youth sports — fencing, crew, squash, lacrosse — created quite a buzz when The Atlantic published it last month.

It’s creating more buzz now. First, the magazine appended an extraordinary 800-word correction.

Last night, the Atlantic retracted the entire piece. Click here to read why.

The Atlantic illustrated Ruth Shalit Barrett’s story with this time-lapse photo by Pelle Cass.


Every day, the Y’s Men walk. Yesterday was typical: a group gathered at the train station, then headed out for 4 1/2 miles. Molly Alger joined them, as “the token woman.”

All walks are socially distanced — except for their brief gathering for this photo, part way through.


And finally … today is of course the Day of the Dead.

 

Roundup: Art For Auction; The Future Of The Arts; Tavern On Main; Trader Joe’s; More


Olivia Macior graduated from Staples High School last June. For weeks, she waited for things to get back to normal. Now — in the wake of George Floyd’s murder — she wants something different: a “new normal.”

It’s “a normal where people of color don’t have to fear the very people who should be protecting them; where education is equitable; where the criminal justice system is fair and lawful, and racial injustice does not plague every aspect of our lives.”

Inspired by the words of Angela Davis — “I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.” — she is using her considerable art talents to help.

Her powerful work is up for auction on Facebook, through June 21. 100% of the winning bid will go to Black Lives Matter. Click here; then message her with your bid, via Facebook or at ohmacior@gmail.com.


Not everyone agreed with yesterday’s Black Lives Matter protest in downtown Westport. This graffiti was seen this morning at the boarded-up Tiffany store:

(Photo/Marcy Sansolo)


Westporters in the know know: No one beats the Y’s Men for hosting insightful, thought-provoking speakers. Thursday’s — their first via Zoom — was typical: informative, wide-ranging, both global and local.

Andrew Wilk — executive producer and director of “Live From Lincoln Center” — moderated a discussion on the future of the Westport Country Playhouse, and arts in general, in the wake of COVID-19.

Panelists included Playhouse artistic director Mark Lamos, general manager Michael Barker and actor Jake Robards.

The 30-minute chat ranged from the many issues impacting the Playhouse reopening — like safety, audience response and finances — to the importance of live performances. Click below to view:


As restaurants around Westport reopen, at least one will not.

An online auction is underway for many items at Tavern on Main: food service equipment, outdoor patio sets, decor and smallware.

It’s the end of the last sit-down, full-service restaurant on the main part of Main Street. It had a long run — and so did its predecessor, Chez Pierre.

No word yet on what — if anything — will replace it.


Nearly a dozen retailers are helping Home with Hope collect liquid dish detergent, all-purpose cleaners, soap, paper towels, sponges and sanitizing wipes. All donations go to families living in the organization’s supportive housing.

Hours are 10 a.m. 2 p.m. for all collections. There’s a box outside Restore Hyper Wellness (877 Post Road East) every day.

Other stores, with collection days:

  • Thursdays: ASF Sporting Goods (1560 Post Road East); UPS (606 Post Road East)
  • Fridays: West (117 Post Road East); Blow Dry (76 Church Lane)
  • Saturdays: Verizon (379 Post Road East); Fleet Feet (10 Sconset Square)
  • Sundays: The Granola Bar (275 Post Road East)
  • Mondays: Greenwich Medical Spa (645 Post Road East.)
  • Tuesdays: New England Hemp Farm (136 Main Street)
  • Wednesdays: Green + Tonic (17 Jesup Road)

Questions? Email westport@restore.com


How’s this for a way to treat the frontline workers we have been hailing as heroes?

Trader Joe’s had a picnic table at the back of their parking lot. It was a nice place for employees — sorry, “crew members” — to eat, or take a break.

The other night, it was stolen. (Hat tip: David Meth)


Eighth graders missed their “moving up” ceremony this year. But — thanks to the Bedford and Coleytown Middle School PTAs  — the 400-plus graduates are having their day in the sun.

Now, as you see these signs throughout Westport, you know who to thank.


Speaking of graduates, Margo Amgott writes:

“We’ve seen all the great signs celebrating Staples seniors. But there are others who are sheltering in Westport. We’ve long been weekenders, and after COVID now here we are!

“Could we do a shout-out to those transplanted seniors? The lovely people at Baker Graphics helped me make these for our daughter.” (The other sign — not shown — congratulates Molly for her acceptance at Trinity College.)

Great idea, Margo! Here’s too all Class of 202 grads! Wherever you went — and wherever you’re going — out town salutes you.


And speaking yet again of graduates …

St. Paul Christian School celebrated the end of the year with a drive-through closing celebration. Children received a diploma, yearbook and blessing from their teachers.


Tomorrow (Sunday, July 7, 5  p.m., Klein Memorial Auditorium, Bridgeport), a number of Westport congregations are participating in an “Interfaith Prayer for Racial Justice & Healing.” Masks are mandatory, and social distancing is enforced.


And finally … it’s hard to believe I haven’t posted this yet. I guess I was waiting for the exact right time.

[UPDATE] Remembering Joe Hawley

The coronavirus has claimed the life of a well-known local volunteer.

Joe Hawley lived in Norwalk. But he was very active in both Sunrise Rotary and the Y’s Men. He died on Wednesday, at 67.

An entrepreneur and sales and marketing executive, he worked with global beauty and fashion accessories firms like Healthtex, Liz Claiborne and Avon. He served as a mentor and coach to many in the industry.

Joe Hawley

In retirement, Joe devoted himself to serving his community, as a volunteer with Westport Sunrise Rotary and Y’s Men.

Roy Fuchs — who know Joe through both organizations — says, “Joe’s abilities, judgment and willingness to get involved, to help wherever he could, were respected.

“In Sunrise Rotary he held no office, but was a leader. He took over our already successful annual wine tasting fundraiser. He led, he organized, he managed — he joked, he cajoled. He made it successful beyond our wildest imagination.

“At our meetings Joe was quick to speak, but always with a purpose. Always with a message. He got most of us to think just a bit harder about what’s important, in our lives and in the spirit of Rotary, as we follow the motto of ‘Service Above Self.'”

“We will miss his joy, his laughter and his willingness to help others.”

Joe was an avid kayaker and bike rider, and a wonderful neighbor. In fact, he said being president of his Norwalk neighborhood association was his “best job ever.”

Joe loved to travel, and loved his family. He was happiest when they intersected. His 2 grandchildren were the lights of his life.

He is also survived by his wife Susan; daughters Ashley and Signe; son Trevor; 2 brothers, a sister and 21 nieces and nephews.

A celebration of his life will be organized by his family at a later time. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Westport Sunrise Rotary or Norwalk Hospital Community Care Team.