This year, Peter Chelico (), 2nd VP, is Speaker Chairman.
Members who have potential speakers should contact him or Y’s Men 1st VP Ed Bloch ()
Meeting Photos beginning in January 2012 can be found under Photos and Videos
Presenter's Affiliation and Topic
|Sept 27||Robert Steven Williams||F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby takes place on the North Shore of Long Island. Because he lived in Great Neck, N.Y. for a couple of years (1922-24), it has long been assumed Fitzgerald took his inspiration from that locale. But for five months following their wedding in 1920, he and his wife Zelda rented a house in Westport and there is much to suggest that West Egg in the novel actually is modeled on Westport, Conn. Author, film maker, musician and song writer Robert Steven Williams will tell us what his research has revealed in the making of his documentary film “Gatsby in Connecticut: The Untold Story” scheduled for release in 2020. He was inspired by an article in The New Yorker in 1996 by Westport writer Barbara Probst Solomon who connected Westport to the Fitzgerald novel. Williams, formerly an executive in the music industry, is the author of My Year as a Clown, his first novel, which received the silver medal for popular fiction from the Independent Publisher Book Awards in 2013.|
|Sept 20||Police Chiefs||Last September we brought together the school superintendents of Westport and Weston. This year we have the police chiefs. Foti Koskinas, Westport’s Chief of Police, and Edwin S. Henion, Weston’s Chief of Police, want to address areas of concern from the Y’s Men audience. An e-mail blast in early September will solicit your questions for the chiefs. Both are exceptionally qualified to deal with the spectrum of issues involved in law enforcement. Chief Koskinas joined the Westport Police Department shortly after graduating from the University of New Haven which he entered to study engineering. Fascinated by the University’s criminal justice program, he switched majors. He applied to the FBI, took the U.S. Marshals Service test, and also took the Westport Police exam. He was offered a part-time position and headed to the state Police Academy. He has been chief since 2016. Chief Henion began with the Connecticut State Police in 1990 as a trooper and rose to lieutenant colonel by 2016. He joined the Weston Police Department last year as chief. A National Academy Graduate of the FBI. Chief Henion has a B.S. degree in criminal justice from Western Connecticut State University and a J.D. degree from Western State University College of Law.|
|Sept 13||David Mark Brown||David Mark Brown will blend two turbulent periods in American history when he presents “Johnny Reb and Billy Yank in the Spanish American War." His interest in the Spanish American war stems from his family history which resulted in a fascination with Civil War veterans living in 1898. He will introduce us to an ensemble cast that includes a President, a newspaper publisher, a Cuban rebel, and a troupe of iconic Generals. Born in Tennessee, David received a double degree in product design and textiles from North Carolina State University. An initial job in New York City's garment district led him to a career working in Germany, Italy, England and Spain for the sport brands Adidas, Fila, Ellesse, and Champion. David resides in New York City but is a part-time Westport resident, and is currently working on a time-travel satirical novel set during the Battle of Gettysburg.|
|Sept 6||William R Harris Jr.||William R. Harris, Jr., Executive Director of the Army Aviation Association of America, is the first speaker of the new season. The not-for-profit professional association consists of 17,000 U.S. Army Aviators, crew chiefs, and other aviation personnel, and members of industry who support them. Founded in 1957, the Association has 79 chapters worldwide, with headquarters in Monroe, Conn. Bill’s responsibilities range from communicating Association initiatives to senior government leaders, and coordinating the Army Aviation Caucus of 52 U.S. Congressmen, to publishing Army Aviation Magazine and providing membership and meeting planning services including its annual meeting with 10,000 attendees.|
|May 28||Roy Fuchs
|Memorial Day Parade Float Story|
Y’s Men Annual Meeting Brandt Presentation -- 5/24/18
|May 3||Jim Himes||Jim Himes represents Connecticut’s 4th District in the United States House of Representatives where he is serving his fifth term. He is a member of the House Committee on Financial Services, serves as the ranking member of the NSA and Cybersecurity Subcommittee of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and is Chair of the New Democrat Coalition. He attended Harvard and was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford. Jim began his professional career at Goldman Sachs & Co. where he worked his way up to Vice President over the course of a 12-year career.|
|May 10||James Canton||Who better to tell us about the 30-year history of The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp and its program “A Different Kind of Healing” than James Canton who has had a relationship with the organization since its founding in 1988? Jimmy has been a counselor, unit leader, assistant director and camp director, and was appointed Chief Executive Officer in 2002. He has extended the Camp year-round with fall and spring weekend programs to serve the previous summers’ campers, as well as family retreats for children who might not have the chance to experience a summer session.|
|May 17||First Selectmen||Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe and Weston First Selectman Chris Spaulding will end our season with discussions on the State of Our Towns. Continuing the format begun last year, Rebecca Surran, former News 12 anchor, will moderate an informational session with the Selectmen. It promises to bring us up to date on the latest important happenings in our two towns, put them in perspective, provide a better understanding and learn what’s in store for the future.|
|May 24||Annual Picnic||The 2018 Y's Men's Annual Meeting and Spring Luncheon begins at 11:00AM in and around Hoskins Hall, where New England's changeable weather, like last year’s monsoon, will cease to be a factor. Plan to attend this year's edition and share in the award ceremonies, the confirmation vote for the new Board, and enjoy each other’s company. A terrific buffet lunch will be catered by Fortuna's Deli, promising some special culinary treats. And, even with the indoor/outdoor venue and Fortuna's famed cuisine, admission is still only $10.00. Please sign up at a Thursday meeting.|
|Apr 5||Claire Gold||Educator Claire Gold will talk about creating schools of the future that will focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and achieve desegregation while maintaining educational excellence. This school model will provide opportunity for minority, inner-city children to graduate from high school, go to college, enter the work force at a skilled level, and have a positive, productive life. She believes it can be done. Claire served nine terms as Westport’s superintendent of schools and two terms as interim superintendent of schools in Weston.|
|Apr 12||Alex Spitzer||The Wolf Conservation Center teaches people about wolves, their relationship to the environment, and the human role in protecting their future. A Y’s Men visit last October to the Center, located in South Salem, N.Y., was such a hit that the Center now will come to us. Alex Spitzer, an educator there, will tell us about the aims of WCC to become the pre-eminent facility in the eastern United States for the captive breeding and pre-release of endangered canid species. He may even bring along a wolf ambassador.|
|Apr 19||Julie Belaga||Julie Belaga will focus on her lifelong commitment to environmental integrity and the danger of global warming, both examples of her belief in the vital importance of volunteerism. She was co-chairman of the CT League of Conservation Voters, and was on the board of the Fund for The Environment and the CT Mirror. Julie was appointed by President Clinton to the Board of the Import-Export Bank. Prior to that, she was appointed by President George H. W. Bush as the EPA’s Region One Administrator of the EPA. Julie was in the CT Legislature from 1976 to 1986, and was the Republican candidate for governor in 1986.|
|Apr 26||Dan Woog||Dan Woog returns to the Y’s Men to talk about the evolution, from its inception to its current scope, of his blog “06880, Where Westport meets the world.” Besides multiple daily blog postings, Dan writes “Woog’s World” a weekly column which has appeared in the Westport News since 1986. He is a full time freelance writer whose work has been published in The New York Times, USA Today and Sports Illustrated. A graduate of Brown University, Dan is the author of 17 books. In his spare time he is the head coach of the Staples High School boys’ soccer team for which he has won numerous coaching awards.|
|The 90th Academy Awards ceremony is scheduled for Sunday, March 4th. For Y’s Men, that means noted film and theater critic Susan Granger will give us her picks in the major categories and provide insight into the latest machinations of the Academy. She may deal with the sexual harassment complaints which have roiled the industry in recent months. As usual, Susan will play movie trivia with us and award movie-related gifts to the winners. Born into a film-business family and raised in Hollywood, she appeared as a child actress in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, and Lassie. Susan studied journalism with Pierre Salinger at Mills College and graduated with highest honors in journalism with a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania.|
Rescheduled again due to the weather
|Dan Woog, who was snowed out of our January 4th meeting, returns to the Y’s Men to talk about the evolution, from its inception to its current scope, of his blog “06880, Where Westport meets the world.” Besides multiple daily blog postings, Dan writes “Woog’s World” a weekly column which has appeared in the Westport News since 1986. He is a full time freelance writer whose work has been published in The New York Times, USA Today and Sports Illustrated. A graduate of Brown University, Dan is the author of 17 books. In his spare time he is the head coach of the Staples High School boys’ soccer team for which he has won numerous coaching awards.|
|Kevin Green, a physicist who is on the board of the Westport Astronomical Society, will talk about “This Golden Age of Astronomy” where hardly a week goes by without some new announcement representing a major advance in Astronomy over distance scales from the Solar System to the size of the Universe itself. The advances are the result of new techniques and an unprecedented plethora of instruments observing the Universe through light, cosmic rays, and gravitational waves. A Westporter since 2000, Kevin has a Ph.D. in Physics and currently teaches at the University of New Haven.|
Rescheduled due to the weather
|What’s doing at the Westport Weston Family YMCA? CEO Pat Reimersma will bring us up to date on what the Y offers specifically for Y’s Men like us, with particular emphasis on how our physical and mental health has a direct relationship to longevity. She will take us through various programs, demonstrate some strengthening exercises, and talk about how the Y has fared since its controversial re-location nearly four years ago. Pat has been associated with the YMCA for 31 years. Before coming to Westport/Weston, she was Vice President of Youth Development at the YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities.|
|Mar 29||Arthur N. Gottlieb||Historian Arthur N. Gottlieb, a specialist in military and political history, returns to the Y’s Men with another fascinating talk – this time about World War I which ended 100 years ago this November. Art has served as a professional curator of naval history and the technical director of Exhibits at the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum in New York City. For more than the past decade, he has devoted his professional efforts towards reaching out and addressing the growing needs of aging veterans and their families. Art has a private practice as a counselor and certified senior advisor in Norwalk, and is a field instructor for Sacred Heart University. He offers pro bono counseling services to soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.|
|Feb 1||Tom Seligson||Tom Seligson believes “everyone has a story; you just have to find it.” Tom, who grew up in Westport, has been telling personal stories throughout his 40-plus-year career. He’s an author, journalist and four-time Emmy Award-winning television producer. He will share his thoughts on writing memoirs, revealing just how rewarding it can be. Recent studies have shown that writing can alleviate stress and reduce worrying.|
|Feb 8||Mary Elizabeth Fulco||The interplay between social media and journalism will be examined by Mary Elizabeth Fulco as she sorts “the good, the bad and how to tame” the dynamic relationship between the two. She is a teacher of advanced journalism and adviser to Inklings at Staples High School. In 2016, Mary was honored by the Deadline Club of the New York City Society of Professional Journalists for excellence and professionalism.|
|Feb 15||Dr. Robert Altbaum
Dr. Stephen Batter
Dr. Martin Krauthamer
Dr. T. Jay Kleeman
Dr. Kenneth Wright
|In a reprise of last year’s popular “The Doctors Are In” panel, five of the most talented physicians in our area will put forth the questions (and answers) that they would most like their patients to ask them. The physicians and their specialties are Dr. Robert Altbaum, internal medicine; Dr. Stephen Batter, urology; Dr. Martin Krauthamer, cardiology; Dr. T. Jay Kleeman, orthopedics; and Dr. Kenneth Wright, emergency medicine.|
|Feb 22||Alison Davis,||With a booming stock market many of us may feel good about the way we are handling our finances, but what is the true level of our financial literacy? Alison Davis, an Executive Director and Banker at J.P. Morgan, sees an American crisis in financial literacy that has the potential to exacerbate problems in difficult markets. She will discuss reasons behind the low level of financial literacy; its unintended consequences; and why it should be relatively easy to correct.|
|Jan 4||Dan Woog||
Meeting cancelled due to snowstorm
Dan Woog returns to the Y’s Men to talk about the evolution, from its inception to its current scope, of his blog “06880, Where Westport meets the world.” Besides multiple daily blog postings, Dan writes “Woog’s World,” a weekly column which has appeared in the Westport News since 1986. A graduate of Brown University, he is the author of 17 books. In his spare time Dan is the head coach of the Staples High School boys’ soccer team.
|The theatrical career of Tony Award-winning actor James Naughton will be examined when “Play With Your Food” artistic director Carole Schweid interviews him. In the process, she will add some of her own background in musical theater. A Weston resident, Jim won his first Tony for best actor in a musical in “City of Angels” and his second for his role in “Chicago.” Carole is a co-founder of JIB Productions, Inc. a non-profit producer of professional performing and visual arts programs in Fairfield County. Following the interview, the two will perform a short "script-in-hand" piece entitled "Post-its."|
|Jan 18||David Waldman||David Waldman, whose firm, David Adam Realty, created the Bedford Square redevelopment of the YMCA, will discuss changes to downtown Westport in the last decade. He will describe zoning changes, Bedford Square, and the Save the Children development on the West Bank. Looking to the next decade, David will examine the rapid changes which are affecting the way we shop, live and work. David founded his company in 1991 following his graduation from Syracuse University.|
|Jan 25||Staples Chamber Orchestra||The Staples Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Adele Cutrali-Valovich, will perform a variety of pieces in their conductor's swan song appearance. Adele retires this year after heading the Staples orchestras, both symphonic and chamber, for more than 35 years. She started her teaching career in Atlanta, and found her way to Westport where she originally taught music in a middle school before coming to Staples. Wives and significant others are invited to attend. There will be coffee and donuts as usual downstairs in Hoskins Hall followed by our business meeting and the Orchestra’s performance in the sanctuary|
|The Orphenians - a 33-member vocal ensemble at Staples High School, was founded in 1958. Since then, the group has concertized in the U.S. and abroad, even opening two Yankees baseball games at the Stadium with the National Anthem. On December 7th, the Orphenians, led by their director, Luke Rosenberg, will herald the holidays in the Sanctuary of the Saugatuck Congregational Church with a performance of sacred and seasonal music. Members and their significant others are cordially invited.|
|Dec 14||Holiday Party||
The 2017 Y's Men's Holiday Party - begins at 11:30AM at the Norwalk Inn and Conference Center at 99 East Avenue. The cost is $46.00 per person and a cash bar will be open throughout the affair. Food choices are prime rib with horseradish sauce, chicken cordon bleu and poached salmon with dill sauce. There also will be a special meal for people with food sensitivities.
|Dec 21||No Meeting|
|Dec 28||No Meeting|
|Nov 2||Charles Grady||Who better to tell us about addressing the opioid crisis here in Connecticut than someone who is on the front lines of the battle? He is Charles Grady, Community Outreach Specialist for the FBI based in New Haven. He became a police officer in Hamden in 1982 and was the department’s first African American civil service ranked detective. During the next 25 years, Charles focused on investigating long term narcotics trafficking on assignment to FBI and DEA task forces and was deputized by the U.S. Marshalls. He has a long history of creating a number of significant community programs including the FBI’s Connecticut youth program.|
|Nov 9||Stefan Underhill||Stefan R. Underhill has been a U.S. District Judge for the District of Connecticut since 1999. He graduated from the University of Virginia in 1978 with a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies, and, in 1981, received a second B.A. in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from Oxford University. He graduated from Yale Law School in 1984. After graduation, he clerked for Judge Jon O. Newman of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, and then joined Day, Berry & Howard LLP, becoming a partner in 1991. Recently, he has begun a program of trying to rehabilitate convicted drug dealers who have served long sentences, once they are released from prison.|
|Nov 16||Leonard Everett Fisher||The Y’s Men’s own Leonard Everett Fisher, a pillar of the Westport arts community, will talk about “Artists in Westport.” Len served with the 30th Engineers in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in WWII, making topographical maps from aerial photographs. After discharge, he returned to the art world, receiving Yale’s Winchester Fellowship and the John Ferguson Weir Prize. He taught Design Theory as a Graduate Fellow. He was recently appointed to the board of the Westport Arts Center where he will focus on helping to bring the Westport Artists Museum to fruition.|
|Nov 23||Thanksgiving||No Meeting|
|Nov 30||Mark Pazniokas||A close up view of Connecticut politics, public policy, and all things going on in Hartford that affect us will be provided by Mark Pazniokas, Capitol Bureau Chief of the CT Mirror (CtMirror.org) a non-profit and non-partisan web site launched in 2010 to help fill the void left by the retreat of newspapers from coverage of the State Capitol. A winner of numerous journalism awards, Mark has written for The Hartford Courant and The New York Times. In more than 30 years as a reporter, he has covered some of the most compelling stories in the state.|
|Oct 5||Frederic Chiu||Frederic Chiu a world-renowned musician, pianist, teacher and devotee of arts integration returns to perform for the Y’s Men. This time he will focus on Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 comparing orchestral performances with the Liszt piano transcription. He plans to play at least two of the symphony’s four movements. In addition to his performing, recording, teaching and world tours, Frederic has created a local arts experience with his periodic, multi-disciplined Beechwood Arts Immersion Salons located on Weston Road. They offer a chance for music, dance, the written word and the fine arts to meet and interact in front of an appreciative audience. Frederic has performed worldwide as well as in all 50 United States.|
|Oct 12||Daniel Ksepka||Did you know that the world’s largest bird had a wingspan of up to 24 feet? No chance of encountering it today because it lived 25 million years ago in South Carolina. But a full scale model of this largest known flying animal resides in the lobby of The Bruce Museum whose Curator named the species (Pelagornis sandersi) and reconstructed its flight capabilities. He is Daniel Ksepka who will tell us about his research in this field. He earned a Ph.D. in Earth and Environmental Sciences from Columbia University, performing his dissertation research on fossil penguins at the American Museum of Natural History. His current research focuses on fossil birds and reptiles and has resulted in over 40 scientific papers. He has named 13 extinct species including a giant penguin, the oldest tree-dwelling crown bird, and a long-necked sauropod dinosaur. His field work has spanned sites in Peru, New Zealand, and China in search of new fossils.|
|Oct 19||Foster Hirsch||Hailed as perhaps “the best film interviewer in the world,” Foster Hirsch is Professor of Cinema at Brooklyn College. A graduate of Stanford University, Dr. Hirsch received his M.F.A., M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Columbia University and joined Brooklyn’s Department of English in 1967. He moved into the newly-formed Film Department in 1973 and has been there ever since. The author of 16 books on subjects related to theatre and movies, Dr. Hirsch was a key pioneer in film noir studies. His Dark Side of the Screen was published in 1981 and, considered a seminal book in the field, was updated in 2008. His books have examined widescreen cinema, key facets of mid-century theater and cinema, colorful directors and movies of the 1950s. When he is not conducting interviews or presiding over packed classes at Brooklyn College, Dr. Hirsch may be traveling the globe as a lecturer and interviewer.|
|Oct 26||Dr. Sandhya Dhruvakumar||We all have heard about arrhythmia and some of us unfortunately may have experienced it. Here, to give us a better understanding of the subject, is Dr. Sandhya Dhruvakumar, a specialist in Cardiac Electrophysiology, which deals specifically with heart rhythms. She is Director of Electrophysiology for Stamford Hospital and is fellowship-trained in electrophysiology with expertise in device implantation and cardiac ablations. She also has advanced training in complex ablations including atrial fibrillation, ventricular tachycardia and premature ventricular contractions. Dr. Dhruvakumar received her bachelor’s degree in biochemistry with honors from Brown University, attended the University of Massachusetts Medical College, and completed an internship and residency at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. She also completed a cardiology fellowship at New York-Presbyterian Hospital and an electrophysiology fellowship at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.|
|Sept 7||David Dequeljoe
Dave Dequeljoe is a former Navy fighter pilot with two combat tours in Iraq. He was awarded the Navy Commendation with Combat "V" device for valor, as well as an Individual Air Medal with Bronze Star and two Strike Flight Air Medals. But a battle with untreated combat issues began after the fighting. He took careful notes during his recovery from severe depression and now helps veterans and others overcome the disease. Author of “Dogfighting Depression,” Dave is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
|Sept 14||Supt's of Schools
As a new school year begins, we will gain a perspective on the state of education in our towns from Dr. Colleen Palmer and Dr. William McKersie, Superintendents of Schools for Westport and Weston, respectively. Dr. Palmer, beginning her second academic year in Westport, was formerly, for five years, superintendent of schools in Weston. She considered the Westport position “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.” Dr. McKersie is a career educator who previously was superintendent of Greenwich Public Schools. He has worked for a diverse set of high performing educational organizations—public, independent, parochial and philanthropic.
Sept 21 meeting cancelled.
Speaker rescheduled to May 10, 2018.
|James Canton||Who better to tell us about the 30-year history of The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp and its “A Different Kind of Healing” than James Canton who has had a relationship with the organization since its founding in 1988. Jimmy has been a counselor, unit leader, assistant director and camp director, and was appointed Chief Executive Officer in 2002. He has extended the Camp year-round with fall and spring weekend programs to serve the previous summers’ campers, as well as family retreats for children who might not have the chance to experience a summer session.|
|Sept 28||John P McKinney
"How Connecticut Became a Fiscal Mess. What Can Be Done to Fix It."
website development: eMediaNation