Members who have potential speakers should contact Peter
September 24, 2020 - Dacia Toll
Dacia Toll is CEO of Achievement First. Dacia Toll will talk to us about charter schools, Achievement First and about the challenges of opening schools in the face of COVID-19. Dacia Toll is a lawyer with a deep interest in giving back. She led the team that founded Amistad Academy as a charter school in New Haven in 1999, and served as its principal until 2005. In 2003 she co-founded Achievement First, the umbrella non-profit that oversees what are now ten charter schools in Connecticut and 27 others in New York and Rhode Island. Charter schools are free, public schools accountable to the State Board of Education. They have fewer restrictions than local districts, and so have significant room to innovate. Under Ms. Toll's leadership Amistad Academy realized the greatest performance gains of any middle school in the state of Connecticut. Amistad scholars consistently achieve scores that triple New Haven Public Schools and topped Greenwich averages in some subjects.
September 17, 2020 - Doug Tirola
Dacia Toll is CEO Doug Tirola will tell us about one of Westport's few summer bright spots — The Remarkable Theater. It is our own “pop up” drive-in movie theater, located in the Imperial parking lot. Successful? Last week's showing of American Graffiti was the 31st film of their initial four film schedule. And they just received permission to continue through October. Tirola heads the restructured Westport Cinema Initiative, and is vice president and creative director of the Remarkable Theater. The drive-in is providing new money for the WCI. And, working with Marina Derman, who heads Creating Acceptance through Purposeful Employment (CAPE), it offers meaningful jobs for disabled people. Tirola is a digital storyteller. His 4th Row Films is a New York based producer of documentaries, non-scripted television and branded entertainment. Among his productions is Brewmaster, a film that artfully captures the craftsmanship, passion and innovation of people who brew one of our favorite adult beverages. Another is Drunk, Stoned, Brilliant, Dead, a story about the National Lampoon from its beginning in the 1970s to 2010.
September 10, 2020 - Basil Hero
Basil Hero is a former NBC investigative reporter and is the lead hitter in our new 2020/2021 season. He will talk about his recent book The Mission of a Lifetime: Lessons From the Men Who Went to the Moon. He interviewed the 24 living astronauts who have journeyed there and gathered "the kind of life-reflections generated by the accumulated wisdom of their emeritus years. Reflections about courage. About conquering one’s fears. About what constitutes a worthwhile personal and professional life. About the latest data on our home planet’s perilous state."
• March 12 - MEETING CANCELLED
• March 5 - David Waldman
David A. Waldman grew up in the real estate business in Westport, graduated from Syracuse University in 1991, and shortly thereafter founded David Adam Realty, Inc. His firm is an investor/developer and a leading property lessor and manager, and has managed, acquired and sold over 30 properties for DAR entities. He has built expertise in all areas of real estate development: zoning and entitlement, financing/capital raising, development/redevelopment, construction management, property management, and leasing. Mr. Waldman is the Past President (2004-2006) of the Westport Downtown Merchants Association. He currently heads its Capital Improvement Committee, and is leading its initiative to beautify and revitalize Westport’s Downtown Triangle. He is also an active member of The International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC).
Mr. Waldman will discuss challenges facing downtown Westport and offer ideas and solutions for Westport to be best positioned for continued success. Technology has brought fundamental shifts in how we shop, how we eat, play, work, learn — and, ultimately, how we live. As these subtle changes spread they are altering some very fundamental behaviors, locally, regionally and nationally.
Demographic change is among the factors impacting Westport and Fairfield County. Over the last decade many communities have benefitted from dramatic population growth and business formation, and from the continuing trend toward urbanization, with people wanting to live in vibrant, walkable urban areas.
• February 27 - Major Nathan Clason
Major Nathan Clason will talk to us on Thursday about The Vietnam War and US Society, how that war affected America’s perspective on and relationship to its leadership and to war. He will highlight the major political turning points and evaluate the overall impact on the way we as a nation think.
He graduated from Pensacola Christian College in 2001. He enlisted in the US Army as a Vietnamese linguist in 2002, and later earned a degree that promoted him to Second Lieutenant. He served as unit security officer at the brigade and battalion levels, then served two tours in Afghanistan. Upon returning to the US he earned an MA in Southeast Asian History, and shortly thereafter was promoted to the US Military Academy where he teaches East Asian History.
• February 20 - David Pressler
Dave Pressler is an inveterate world traveler and a photographer who documents all his ventures. Next week he will tell us about a recent trip to Chile.
Dave holds a BFA in Industrial Design from Rhode Island School of Design. He is an artist for all seasons, working with photography, digital, printmaking, drawing, painting and sculpture.
His professional career has been in corporate identity and branding, product and package design, advertising and exhibition design. He is a former Director of the Package Design Council International and an officer of the Industrial Designers Society of America.
In his pre-Y’s Man days he headed educational exhibit divisions of The American Museum of Natural History in New York, Field Museum in Chicago and the Hudson River Museum. He studied at the Smithsonian Institute and Silvermine Guild Arts Center. He is a member of many area groups.
Throughout his career he has used his design and problem-solving ability to create award winning solutions for companies including AT&T, 3M, Procter & Gamble, Merck, Coca Cola, Farberware, as well as the American Museum of Natural History. His name appears on proprietary design patents for Warner-Lambert, Kodak, Hasbro and BASF.
Dave has exhibited works across the range of his interests at numerous galleries, museums and hospitals in this area.
His core message is “Learn to look in order to see.” He encourages others to become visually conscious of the world around them. “Come with your eyes wide open.”
• February 13 - Dr. Pietro Marghello
Dr. Pietro Marghella—a Professorial Lecturer at the Milken Institute school of Public Health at The George Washington University and a nationally-recognized expert on disaster medicine and public health preparedness—will provide an overview of the current global Coronavirus outbreak. Declared a “global public health emergency” by the World Health Organization (WHO) on January 30th, the outbreak continues to demonstrate an increase in its mulitinational caseload and associated case fatality ratio (CFR), and is likely to be declared a gobal pandemic in the very near future.
Dr. Marghella will provide the background and overview of the etiology of the virus; a review of previous outbreaks (including the Sudden Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak of 2003 and the Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) outbreak of 2015, both of which occurred as a result of coronavirus mutations leading to significant epidemics), including key implications of the outbreaks and lessons learned; an overview of the impact of past and future pandemics; a discussion on the “7 Pillars of Catastrophic Casualty Care” as it relates to key areas of focus when responding to incidents of national significance; and finally, what can be done to enhance preparedness, response, and recovery capabilities at the state, local, and personal/familial levels.
This presentation is designed to help educate, inform, and distill key information about this outbreak to help reduce the spread of disinformation and to provide community leaders with resources to help them make informed decisions on community readiness.
Link to Dr. Marghello slides: Coronavirus - An Informational Presentation
• February 6 - Susan Granger (At the Westport Library in The Main Forum)
Susan Granger makes her annual Oscar picks for the Y’s Men — February 6.
WE WILL MEET AT THE LIBRARY. It’s an open meeting. Bring your significant other, bring your friends, even your grandchildren!
Ms. Granger will entertain us with her Hollywood insights, she will show trailers and clips on the beautiful big screen, and she will offer her usually on the money picks for the Oscars.
The awards will be presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (ABC, Red Carpet at 6:30pm, Awards at 8:00 pm, abc.com will livestream both events).
Susan Granger grew up in Hollywood, the daughter of producer S. Sylvan Simon and the adoptive daughter of producer Armand Deutsch. She was a child actress who appeared with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton and Lucille Ball.
Ms. Granger earned her journalism degree from UPenn. She has been a radio and television anchorwoman and is now a globally syndicated movie and drama critic.
Her hard work has its own rewards — she watches some 350 movies a year.
• PAST SPEAKERS ARE BELOW
Presenter's Affiliation and Topic
|Jan 30||Bob Lorenz||
Yankees fans know Lorenz as the primary studio host on the YES Network for Yankees pre- and post-game shows, as well as for the network's Yankees Hot Stove and Emmy Award-winning Forbes SportsMoney programs. He is also studio host for Brooklyn Nets games.He earned a degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Southern California, started his career as a sports reporter in California, then moved to WPTV-TV in West Palm Beach, Fla. in 1988.
He joined CNN/Sports Illustrated as an anchor in 1991. He hosted CNN's signature weekly sports programming, including NFL Preview, College Football Preview, This Week in the NBA, SI Cover to Cover and Page One. He also worked on a variety of programs for CNN's sister networks TBS and TNT.
Lorenz serves on the Honorary Event Committee for the Connecticut chapter of Make-A-Wish and has emceed its annual Make-A-Wish Ball.
|Jan 23||Pastor Anthony Bennett||
Pastor Anthony Bennett leads Mount Aery Babtist Church in Bridgeport. His faith and his holistic vision of health and healing direct his active participation in religious and social service activities in Bridgeport and beyond.
He has established numerous programs to broaden engagement within his church and works for social causes beyond his community. And he serves as Co-Chair of Congregations Organized for a New Connecticut (CONECT), a Fairfield and New Haven county multi-issue organization with 35 congregations as members.
CONECT helps undocumented immigrants obtain drivers licenses, works for in state tuition for all qualified graduates of Connecticut high schools, is at the forefront of efforts to promote responsible gun technology, and is currently working to expunge criminal records of non-violent offenders.
Pastor Bennett is a native of Los Angeles CA.
He graduated from Morehouse College, earned a Master of Divinity degree from The Union Theological Seminary and holds a Doctor of Ministry degree.
|Jan 16||State of CT Senators Will Haskell and Tony Hwang, Representatives Jonathan Steinberg and Gail Lavielle, Moderated by Tom Appleby|
|Jan 9||Addie Ricci|
|Dec 19||Holiday Party|
|Dec 12||Staples Orphenians||
Luke Rosenberg, Staples’ Choral Music Director, will lead the Staples' Orphenians in the much anticipated preview of their portion of the (sold out) 79th Annual Candlelight Concert.
The Orphenians are 33 of the best voices at Staples, a mixed a cappella chorus that has been a part of the school’s rich music scene since 1958. Many Orphenians go on to sing in college groups, and some pursue professional careers.
Rosenberg is a native of Michigan, a graduate of Western Michigan University, and a leader in vocal music education. He joined the Staples faculty in 2012 after serving as director of Vocal Music at Caledonia High School in Caledonia, Mich.
He expanded an already strong choral program at Staples by adding fall and spring concerts to the school’s program, and the Orphenians will, again, carol on Main Street during the holiday season.
Mark Pazniokis and
Mark Pazniokas, Capitol Bureau Chief and a Founder of CT Mirror will make a return visit on December 5. He will be joined by Keith Phaneuf, State Budget Reporter.
What they will talk about will probably be driven by the events of the day. Among those they have covered recently are transportation (MetroNorth? Tolls?), the rainy day fund and raids thereon, and the federal tax cap. Perhaps insights into how Governor Lamont is managing our state’s government.
Pazniokas has been a Connecticut based reporter for over 35 years. He has covered some of the most compelling stories in the state, including the impeachment and resignation of Governor John Rowland in 2004, Joe Lieberman’s 2006 Senate race, and Linda McMahon’s $100 million runs for U.S. Senate in 2010 and 2012. He was named on the Washington Post’s 2014 list of the best state capitol reporters.
Keith Phaneuf has been CT Mirror’s state finances reporter since it launched in 2010, and before that the State Capitol bureau chief for The Journal Inquirer of Manchester. For most of the 31 years he has been a reporter he has specialized in state government finances. He is a graduate of and a former journalism instructor at the University of Connecticut, and the winner of numerous journalism awards.
Click here to view CT Mirror
|Nov 21||Stef Webster, Bill Taibe, Matt Storch, and Brian Lewis||Stephanie Webster, Editor in Chief of CTBites, will chat with three chefs of repute, Matt Storch, Bill Taibe and Brian Lewis, about the local food scene.
Stephanie Webster’s quest to find great food in Connecticut is ongoing and all consuming. She started her career as an eater, photography editor, and digital strategist in the NYC advertising world, moved to Westport and founded CTbites.com in July, 2009. She has published many Connecticut dining guides, the Fairfield County Chef’s Table book, and recently launched the CTbites Hot Dish podcast.
Chef Matt Storch
A favorite of the local foodies, food press, and among Connecticut’s leaders in fine cooking, Chef Matt Storch brought the level of cuisine found in New York City, Boston and Las Vegas back home to the ’burbs.
Chef Storch first took the helm at Match Restaurant in South Norwalk in 2000 and energized Fairfield County’s dining scene with his unique twists on the classics. He seeks out what’s different, what’s fresh and what’s local, and he combines culinary styles from around the world to create menus he can—and does—change nightly.
His food has been rated four stars by the New York Times and is consistently voted best of Connecticut.
His newest venture was partnering with the Bloom’s, a three generation oyster farming family, two years ago to open Match Burger Lobster in Saugatuck.
Executive Chef/Owner, The Whelk, Kawa Ni and Jesup Hall.
Bill Taibe has developed, designed and run many successful restaurants in Fairfield County, including G/R/A/N/D, Napa & Co., and his own, Relish, in Norwalk before opening LeFarm in Westport in 2009.
Since then Taibe expanded in Westport, opening The Whelk, a seafood and oyster bar, and Kawa Ni a Japanese inspired pub.
His newest venture, Jesup Hall, in the historic original Town Hall the early 2017, at the epi-center of downtown Westport.
All Chef Taibe's restaurants are guided by his belief in sourcing the best possible ingredients and supporting our local farms and community.
Taibe created “Kitchen Share” to improve the quality of life of his employees. He adds a three percent surcharge to all food sales and contributes that money to his kitchen employees. Many other tri-state area restaurants are adopting his program.
Chef Brian Lewis
The NYT recognized The Cottage in Westport with an “Excellent” review after it was open a mere four months, commending Lewis’ sophisticated menu in a cozy setting.
Chef Lewis is one of Connecticut’s most celebrated chefs, lauded for his seasonally driven American cuisine featured at The Cottage, and the love he expresses for Japanese cuisine through his newest venture, OKO.
He has also received national acclaim as opening Executive Chef at The Barn and The Farmhouse, both destination restaurants at Richard Gere’s The Bedford Post Inn including Esquire Magazine’s “Best New Restaurant” list in 2009, and an “Excellent” review in the New York Times for his thoughtful and consciously sourced cuisine.
Brian Stern will talk about Westport’s financial state and its major challenges. He will assess the impact of external forces (Federal and State), as well as some important internal issues.
Brian has served on the Board of Finance since 2009 and has been it's Chairman since Novemer, 2015.
Brian has also served as a soccer coach, an alternate to the Planning and Zoning Commission, and on the Board of the Levitt Pavilion and is a proud and active member of our Westport Weston Y’s Men.
|Nov 7||Dawn Henry||
Westporter Dawn Henry will talk to us on November 7th about the impact of climate change, and the need to shift to clean, renewable energy, and she will tell us how we can take action in our own lives.
She and her husband bought a Tesla three years ago — not because it was an electric vehicle, but because it was a “hot, sexy car” — took delivery at the factory in Fremont, CA, then spent three weeks driving home, learning from fellow Tesla owners at charging stations about the need to move away from fossil fuels.
The election later that year encouraged her to get engaged and to use her professional skills as a communicator to raise awareness and get others engaged.
In 2017 she attended Al Gore’s three-day Climate Reality Project training. Since then she has traveled the state using the presentation he made famous in his Oscar-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth to bring home the need to make climate change a personal priority.
Ms. Henry is a volunteer in many local sustainability-related organizations, including Sustainable Westport, the Electric Vehicle Club of Connecticut, and the Connecticut Fund for the Environment/Save the Sound.
|Oct 31||Leonard Everett Fisher||
Born in 1924, LEONARD EVERETT FISHER is a WWII veteran. He served two overseas deployments as a non commissioned officer with the Operations Section, United States Army’s 30th Engineers — a highly invisible topographic unit accountable to General George C. Marshall, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs.
The unit partnered in this command with the British Survey Directorate, and the Joint Intelligence Command Pacific Ocean Area. Activated in 1939, the 30th provided essential base ground maps for the 5th (Italy), 3rd (N France) and 7th Armies (S France) to support Mediterranean and European invasions and engagements; 15th Air Force navigational charts (Ploesti Oil Fields); Navy, Marine, and Army engagements in the Pacific (Iwo Jima, Okinawa, Kikaiga Shima, and the invasion and occupation of Japan).
Following the war Fisher earned BFA and MFA degrees from Yale University. He also taught design theory there as a graduate teaching fellow.
In an art career spanning nearly a lifetime he has created numerous easel works, illustrated and authored books for young readers, designed United States postage stamps, and executed lobby art for Norwalk’s Transit District Building.
His published works can be found in nearly every American school and library. His paintings, drawings, manuscripts, and illustrations are in the collections of the White House, National Gallery of Art, Smithsonian Institution Postal Museum, Library of Congress, Butler Art Institute, Yale University Art Gallery, New Britain Museum of American Art, New York Public Library, Mt. Holyoke and Union Colleges, Universities of Connecticut, Minnesota, Southern Mississippi, and Brown, among others.
His honors include Yale's Winchester Fellowship and John Ferguson Weir Prize, a Pulitzer painting award, Italy's Premio Grafico Fiera Internazionale di Bologna, the University of Southern Mississippi Medallion, a National Jewish Book Award, the Catholic Library Association Regina Medal, the Christopher Medal for Illustration, the University of Minnesota's Kerlan Award, and the Monuments Men Foundation Medal. The International Biographical Centre, Cambridge, England includes him in its Y2K compendium, 2000 Outstanding Artists and Designers of the 20th Century.
|Oct 24||David Pogue|| In the AAA’s latest poll, 71 percent of Americans say they wouldn’t want to ride in a self-driving car. (56 percent even object to empty robo-delivery cars on the roads!) Yet from a rational standpoint, the safety and economic arguments for automotive autonomy are incredibly persuasive; already, with car autonomy in its fledgling state, you’re already four times more likely to die in a car you’re driving yourself.
In this authoritative, entertaining talk, David Pogue dives deeply into what the new, driverless future looks like—and the ripples it will send through society, culture, and law. When a car on Autopilot crashes, who’s responsible—the car maker, the software designer, or the driver? When there are 90 percent fewer accidents, what happens to car insurance companies? When you can sleep behind the wheel, what happens to the motel industry? When everybody just summons self-driving Ubers to get where they’re going (robo-taxis are already operating in four U.S. cities), what will happen to car ownership, let alone driver’s ed, drunk driving, speed limits, home garages, and parking lots?
With videos and lively anecdotes, Pogue also explains how self-driving cars work, what their weak spots are, how far along they are, and—the big one—when we can expect fully self-driven cars to be sharing our roads.
|Oct 17||Stephanie Dujarrie||
Stéphane Dujarric de la Rivière, Spokesman for António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, will be our next speaker.
He was formerly spokesman for the previous Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and earlier for Secretary-General Kofi Anon.
During his time as Spokesman, he conducted daily briefings for the UN press corps and faced questions on a number of crises, notably the Oil-for-Food scandal and the Israel-Lebanon conflict.
Prior to his current appointment, Dujarric was Director of News and Media for the United Nations Department of Public Information. In this role, he oversaw the UN's television, radio and photo operations. He coordinates the work of the main United Nations news sites, operating in eight languages.
Before joining the United Nations, he worked for ABC News television for close to ten years in various capacities in the network's New York City, London and Paris offices. He traveled extensively on assignment to cover major stories throughout Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
Born in France, Dujarric, has been living in the United States for the most part of the last 40 years. He is a graduate of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.
|Oct 10||James Naughton||
Honorary Y's Man Jim Naughton will speak to us. This will not be about his long and successful stage and screen career, which you can read about on imdb.com.
Instead he’ll speak about what he’s doing right now on and off stage — “Paying it Forward.”
Naughton, like most of us today, sees the need to leave the world a better place than he found it.
He’s become a part of a high-energy campaign, the specifics of which you’ll have to come to hear about, again, from one of Y’s Men’s most engaging speakers.
On October 3 Y's Man Bernie Perry will show photos he took in Iran, to offer us a bit of transparency and color to what is, in his words an "opaque country."
Perry traveled throughout Iran photographing people and places that no American had previously done, images that lift the veil on daily life in that mysterious land, that create intimate portraits of the social, cultural and economic landscape and that give us personal views of Iranian people from all walks of life.
He'll lift the veil on the country so we take away a sense of what life is like under the pressures of its harsh Islamic theocracy.
Perry’s focus is photographing people and places in remote and exotic locations.
Before he visited Iran he visited 13 countries on four continents, photographing the ancient Hadzabe people in the African Bush, the Hill Tribes of Northern Thailand, and the Naxi People of Southwestern China.
He has published five books. His award winning works are parts of Permanent Collections in 19 Museums in the U.S. and Europe. And his work has been exhibited in the Fairfield Museum of Art, the Boca Raton Museum of Art and The Florida Museum of Natural History.
Perry has been a Y’s Man for over 20 years, and was a founding member of our Camera Club.
His pre-retirement, pre-photography life included a stint at Time Magazine, after which he was CEO of Perry Communications, an owner of cable TV systems and radio stations.
Westport owns three art collections made up of 1,800 works. One is the town’s, a second the schools, and the third are WPA works, including murals done during the 1930s that still grace many of our older schools and town buildings.
Kathy Bennewitz, Westport’s Curator, and a Princeton alumna, will talk to Y’s Men on September 26 about “Reframing of Westport’s Public Art Collections.”
Many, perhaps most of the works, are products of local artists, including Len Fisher and Steven Dohanos. And through the generosity of many Westporters, the collections also include pieces by artists including Matisse, Picasso, Warhol and Calder (paintings, not mobiles).
Bennewitz said Westport’s collection, perhaps uniquely, “is not housed in a museum, but in public buildings throughout the town,” at Town Hall, in the Library, at the Senior Center and in school buildings.
Prominent as the WPA murals have become, some 50 years ago they fell out of favor and were relegated to building basements. They have more recently been restored.
The schools’ collection was begun in 1964 by artist and Greens Farms Elementary School art teacher, Bert Chernow “with the vision that original art be a daily part of the educational environment of every student.”
The town collection was established “to support and promote the artistic and cultural heritage of Westport.”
Looking ahead, Ms. Bennewitz talked about the volunteers involved with the collections looking to social media, including Facebook and Instagram, and particularly otocast, a cell phone app she will discuss that offers short virtual tours guided by well known Westporters around downtown, Saugatuck and about a small bit of the collection.
“Does any other community have something equal?”
Alan Moskin, a World War II US Army veteran, will talk to Y’s Men on September 19 about helping liberate
Germany surrendered to the Allies on May 7, 1945. Three days earlier his unit, the 66th Infantry, 71st
Among the liberators was 18 year old Staff Sergeant Alan Moskin. Gunskirchen was the first they had heard
His unit was patrolling in the woods looking for the camp. Their first sign was a horrific odor. Next was the sight of barbed wire. Entering the camp they faced minimal resistance, though Moskin shot one of the few remaining guards for refusing to surrender.
The Americans came across piles of dead bodies, bodies with broomstick thin arms and legs. The living Moskin described as “zombies,” wearing the striped pajama uniform of the camps with their yellow Mogen Davids, and calling out for food, water and cigarettes — not to smoke, but to eat the tobacco.
The prisoners were so malnourished that as they started eating they began choking, and grabbed their esophagus until the medics screamed “No solid food.”
A lieutenant who knew Moskin was Jewish asked him to try to communicate with the prisoners — “Ich bin auch Jude” — “I am also a Jew” just came out of his mouth. One man wrapped his arms around him, saying “Danke, danke, Jude.”
He didn’t speak about his experience for 50 years — not uncommon among those who lived through or lost relatives to the Holocaust.
It wasn’t until 1995 that he began to open up. Talking to groups he found he was a natural story teller, and that he had a message. Since then he’s traveled nationwide, talking to audiences of all ages.
Moskin was born in 1926 in Englewood, New Jersey. He attended Syracuse University before and after his military service, then graduated from New York University Law School. He practiced as a civil trial attorney, and later became a business executive.
He is a Vice President on the Board of Trustees of the Holocaust Museum and Study Center in Suffern, and is also Past Commander of the Rockland/Orange District Council of Jewish War Veterans.
For all his generation did to rid the world of Hitler and his ideology, Moskin regrets that they were unable to rid the world of hate and prejudice.
Lou Del Bianco
Luigi Del Bianco was the chief carver of the Mount Rushmore stone portraits. Yet he was overlooked in the records of the National Park Service and completely ignored in the definitive book about the project.
On September 12 his grandson, Lou Del Bianco, will tell us a perhaps typical immigrant’s story, about superior work unrewarded until Del Bianco and an uncle, Caesar Del Bianco, had spent 25 years researching the lost legacy and gaining his deserved recognition.
The senior Del Bianco’s work, the younger men’s efforts and much about Mount Rushmore and its carving is documented in Lou Del Bianco’s book Out of Rushmore's Shadow: The Luigi Del Bianco Story – An Italian Immigrant's Unsung Role as Chief Carver. The book will be issued as a paperback on September 9.
Luigi Del Bianco was born on a ship in 1892. He studied stone carving in Europe as a youth, then immigrated to Vermont as a 17 year old to practice his trade. After fighting for Italy in WWI he returned to the US, ultimately settling in Port Chester, NY. There a friend introduced him to Stamford carver Gutzon Borglum. And there he also met his future wife, Nicoletta.
Borglum was named sculptor for Mount Rushmore in 1927. Four years later he brought on Del Bianco, who worked for four seasons, two as a driller, then, in 1936 and 1940 as the chief carver.
Del Bianco was an artist able to etch emotions and personality into the 60 foot high heads.
The carving ended in 1941 with Borglum’s death and the loss of financing — and before the team of 400 could carve all four statues from head to waist.
The entire project cost $989,992.32, all of it federal funds.
Borglum said Del Bianco “Is worth any three men I could find in America, for this particular type of work.”
Dr. Grossman enjoyed a more than 40 year academic career at Fairfield University. He retired as its Academic Vice President, and today is Emeritus Professor of Visual and Performing Arts. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Harvard, earned a Ph.D. in Music at Yale, then built a long second career, touring the globe as an entertainer and, ever the teacher, as an interpreter of some of America’s most notable music. Dr. Grossman will play 100 years of American music history for our group, from two of America’s early jazz giants, Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington, on to 1930’s swing, to 1940’s bebop, to today, pulling together Scott Joplin’s ragtime, Zez Confrey’s novelty piano, Jelly Roll Morton’s Dixieland, and James P. Johnson’s stride piano into contemporary jazz — America’s Classical music. More information on Dr. Grossman can be found at Orin Grossman Performs.
|SPEAKERS Calendar 2018-2019|
|Y's Men Annual Report - May 23, 2019|
|May 23||Y's Men Annual Meeting and Picnic||The 2019 Y's Men's Annual Meeting and Picnic (buffet luncheon) begins at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, May 23rd at our regular Thursday morning meeting venue in Hoskins Hall at the Saugatuck Congregational Church. Plan to attend this year's edition which includes the election of next year's officers, awards for contributions to this year's successful programs and a great buffet luncheon catered by Fortuna’s. The luncheon fee is $10.00, payable at the weekly meetings from now through May 16th at a table when you enter Hoskins Hall. Don't miss this celebration of another great year for the Y's Men.|
|In what has become an annual tradition, 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 in 2017, 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 9||Anne Keefe||The Westport Country Playhouse is a nationally recognized, not-for-profit, professional theater whose mission is “to enrich, enlighten, and engage our community through the power of professionally produced theater worth talking about and the welcoming experience of our Playhouse campus.” Anne Keefe, associate artist at the Playhouse, accompanied by Bruce Miller, company manager, will tell us about the rich history of this Westport institution and bring us up to date on its activities.|
|May 2||Bill Harmer||The Westport Library is nearing completion of its extensive Transformation Project, and a Grand Re-opening is scheduled for Sunday, June 23rd. Library Executive Director Bill Harmer will tell us all about the Project and what to expect after the Library re-opens. A native of Michigan, Bill is a passionate advocate for public libraries and their essential role in today’s society. He had nearly two decades of experience in library management when he came to head the Westport Library in 2015.|
|April 25||Bill Taibe||Bill Taibe, Executive Chef/Owner of The Whelk, Kawa Ni and Jesup Hall, will talk about how the restaurant industry has evolved since he opened Le Farm, his first restaurant, in 2009 in Westport. He will address the impact of social media on the industry and how it affects the expectations of diners today. By the age of 33, Bill had received three “Excellent” ratings from The New York Times and has become a leader in a community of chefs who source and support local farms and distributors. His love for food began early while working after school at a local butcher shop. As a young chef, he quickly advanced from Sous Chef to Executive Chef, and in the years that followed, Bill helped to develop, design and run many successful restaurants in Fairfield County. He serves on the board of Food Rescue US and is the President of the Westport Farmer’s Market. Over the past decade, Bill has mentored dozens of Weston youth through his involvement with the Weston Little League.|
|One of the ways many Y’s Men stay engaged is worldwide traveling. Two of them recently took adventurous trips. Y’s Man Toshi Bekku will present his trekking experience in the Peruvian Andes. The area he trekked is the so-called Cordillera Blanca which is 250 miles northeast of Lima. It is the highest tropical mountain range in the world and contains more than 32 peaks above 18,000 feet. During the 12 day trip, he crossed seven passes with an average altitude of 15,250 feet, and the highest pass he crossed was 15,925 feet. Y’s Man Peter Donovan made two attempts to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, the tallest mountain in Africa, with its summit about 16,100 feet from its base, and 19,300 feet above sea level. He made it to the top in his second try last year. Mount Kilimanjaro is taller than any mountain in the continental United States except Denali in Alaska which is about 1000 feet higher.|
|April 11||Twig Holland||Water usage is something we take for granted. Twig Holland, a public information coordinator for the Aquarion Water Company headquartered in Bridgeport, will discuss the public water supply, residential consumption, and suggestions for using water wisely as well as the processes involved in collecting, treating and delivering safe drinking water. She has worked in the public domain for nearly 20 years and is the former director of purchasing for the Town of Fairfield, where she was responsible for the procurement of all goods and services required by the town and its school system. Twig is a graduate of Fairfield University.|
|April 4||Troy Amuso||Troy Amuso will talk about “The Fine Art of Art Restoration” as he takes us on a descriptive and visual journey showing how the environment and age cause paintings to deteriorate so badly that they need to be restored. Sharing his experience of restoring paintings for over three decades, Troy will show the processes used by master art restorers to bring paintings back to good health. Whether aged and deteriorated or damaged by accident, age old remedies as well as modern techniques are used every day by highly skilled art conservators to keep treasured paintings alive. He launched Troy’s Fine Art Services, based in Fairfield, in 1997.|
|Mar 28||Michael Lynch||Too many of us, at this stage of life, are becoming all too familiar with joint pain often in our knees. Dr. Michael Lynch, an orthopedic surgeon, will tell us about advances in knee surgery. He was the first surgeon in Fairfield County to implement a new type of knee replacement that uses a 3D printer to create femoral and tibial implants that are unique for each patient.|
|Mar 21||Phil Vitello||On the night of February 17, 1864 at about 9:00 p.m. the CSS Hunley became the very first submarine to sink a ship in combat. This feat was so advanced for its time that it did not occur again for another 50 years. Historian Phil Vitiello will tell the story of what happened to the Hunley that night and trace the vessel’s conception, its underwater discovery, conservation and the historic burial of her last crew. Phil is a specialist on the Civil War and a re-enactor for more than 40 years.|
|Life for those living around Long Island Sound during the American Revolution was filled with action, intrigue and terror. Historian Ed Hynes will tell us how raiders crossed the Sound every fair night either to smuggle and/or steal goods and to kidnap or kill enemies. The economic blockade between British-occupied Long Island and Patriot-led Connecticut was the foundation of this violent conflict. His presentation will detail some of these raids and discuss the fate of Patriot prisoners held by the British.|
Suzanne B. Sutton
Susan F. Filan
|The Me Too Movement (more popularly expressed as#MeToo) is a movement against sexual harassment andsexual assault especially in the workplace. Three attorneys from Cohen and Wolfe will bring us up to date on this significant social phenomenon. Courtney George is a principal of the firm and chair of its Employment and Labor Group. Suzanne B. Sutton serves as Of Counsel and has extensive experience in attorney discipline matters and bankruptcy law. Susan F. Filan also is Of Counsel and is a former MSNBC Senior Legal Analyst and NBC News legal analyst. She will moderate the discussion.|
|Ken Bernhard, a senior partner at the law firm of Cohen and Wolf, PC, will be speaking on the subject of the 2nd Amendment of the Constitution. His talk will include the history of the amendment, how the courts have interpreted it over the past 240 years, the role of the NRA in the debate over gun rights, and the current state of the law. Ken and his family have lived in Westport since 1974. He has held numerous positions in town government including Town Counsel for three administrations and Westport’s State Representative in Hartford for four terms. Ken is a Senior Attorney with the Center for International Legal Studies located in Salzburg, Austria. Over the past 12 years, Ken has taught a course on the American Constitution as a guest lecturer in a number European law schools, including ones in Latvia, Russia, Croatia, Bulgaria and Ukraine. He will be teaching again this April in the Czech Republic.|
|Just in time for the Academy Awards on Sunday, February 24th, Susan Granger returns to the Y’s Men to give us her pick of who will win what Oscars and the reasons why. A product of Hollywood, Susan’s natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at MGM and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at MGM. As a child, she appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O’Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic, syndicating her reviews/articles around the world. Her website is www.susangranger.com. She has appeared on American Movie Classics and Turner Classic Movies. Susan is also the feature film critic for Video Librarian magazine, distributed to libraries nationwide. Her latest book is “150 Timeless Movies.”|
|Feb 14||John Krubski||John Krubski will talk about “A Family Heritage Journey” the love story of two young people who found one another in the worst of times and, in spite of the hell around them, made the most of their lives – even though they had to restart their lives three times virtually from scratch. Those young people were his parents who were buffeted by ever changing world events. John Krubski has spent his professional life as a consultant; helping some of the world’s smartest people think smarter and some of the world’s most creative people think more creatively. He is currently the Founding Director of The Institute for Applied Decisional Sciences, and has a book coming out this year titled “Breaking Genius.” It discusses how you can create repeatable moments of genius on demand to improve your life, your work, your mind, and your world.|
|Feb 7||Jeff Weiser||“Why Every Town in America Needs a Homes with Hope. And Why They Don’t Have One.” That’s the title of Jeff Wieser’s presentation and he is in a position to know. Jeff has been president and CEO of Homes with Hope since 2010 having previously served on its board for a dozen years, four of them as chairman. Based in Westport, Homes with Hope is dedicated to ending homelessness in Fairfield County. Incorporated in 1983 (formerly the Interfaith Housing Association) it opened in 1984 as a homeless shelter for single men. It has grown significantly since then providing a food pantry and soup kitchen; emergency shelters for single adults, families and young women aged 18 to 24; permanent supportive housing for the chronically homeless; mentoring; youth education and the life skills training needed to prevent homelessness from reoccurring.|
|Jan 31||Mark Albertson||Mark Albertson is historical research editor at Army Aviation magazine based in Monroe and is the historian for the Army Aviation Association of America. He teaches history as an adjunct at Norwalk Community College. His talk is titled “American Putsch.” He will tell the story of how, in 1933, retired Marine Corps Major General Smedley Darlington Butler reported to Congress the existence of a Wall Street plot against President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Some of those implicated -- the Du Ponts, Morgan interests, the Pitcairns, Remington Arms, and elements of the American Legion – were attempting to erect a Fascist regime.|
|Bill Mitchell, one of Ed Mitchell’s two sons, will bring us up to date on what Mitchells is today. Ed Mitchell founded the store in 1958, with three men’s suits, a coffee pot (brought from home) and 800 square feet of space. Today there are eight Mitchell owned stores. It truly is still a family business with Bill and his brother Jack having their children and grandchildren active in the business.|
|Jan 17||Leonard Everett Fisher||Our own member, Leonard Everett Fisher, will present “Past Is Present: Creative Connections Revealed.” Leonard attended Yale after his World War II military service, where he earned bachelor and master degrees in fine arts. His visual works are part of collections in the White House, the Library of Congress, the Yale Art Gallery, the New York Public Library and many other prestigious galleries. He is also a past president of the Westport Library Board of Trustees and is currently a board member of the Westport Arts Center.|
|Grammy nominated musician Chris Brubeck will talk about “the life of a modern-day composer and jazz musician.” He will show a video of one of his pieces and may play and discuss some other samples. Chris had been a long-standing member of the Dave Brubeck Quartet, writing arrangements and touring and recording with his father's group for over 20 years.|
|Our immediate past president, Jay Dirnberger, will talk about Unmanned Aerial Vehicles or Drones. The drone industry has expanded exponentially over the last three years when Jay last spoke to us and it is now a multi-billion dollar global endeavor. Drones serve the military forces of friends and foes and provide assistance to national and municipal organizations and commercial enterprises. Jay served in the U.S. Army as an Infantry Captain and was a helicopter pilot with the 1st Cavalry Division in Vietnam and the 18th Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg.|
|Dec 27||No Meeting|
|Dec 20||No Meeting|
|Dec 13||Holiday Party||It’s time for the Y’s Men to party — that is at the 2018 Holiday Party, which begins at 11:30AM at the Norwalk Inn and Conference Center at 99 East Avenue. It’s one of only two meetings in December and our last chance to get together before the holiday break. We've been taking reservations and payment for the Party at recent meetings and tables are filling up fast. Now is a good time to organize a table with friends and their guests and sign up at the November 29th or December 6th meetings. The cost is $46.00 per person and a cash bar will be open throughout the affair. Food choices are sirloin steak with a mild garlic butter sauce, coq au vin over wild rice and Norwegian salmon poached in white wine. There also will be a special meal for people with food sensitivities. The Staples Jazz Band will play a set of Big Band Favorites before lunch (served at 1:00PM) and music for dancing will be played during and after the meal. Please take part in this annual opportunity for fellowship and celebration. Contact Ed Bloch at e or 203-227-4920.|
|Dec 6||Marty Yellin||The Y’s Men’s own Marty Yellin will give a talk on the Human Microbiome which concerns the trillions of bacteria on and within our bodies. Marty reports that we are now learning for the first time that having the correct bacteria correlates directly with preventing, arresting, and even curing most of the chronic diseases that affect us, mostly as we get older. These diseases include heart disease, multiple sclerosis, diabetes and obesity, many forms of cancer, Parkinson’s disease, allergies, depression and possibly Alzheimer’s disease, among others. As he has previously demonstrated, Marty can make even the most complex subjects interesting and understandable to the layman. This is a presentation not to be missed.|
|Nov 29||Andrew Banoff||Andrew H. Banoff is president and CEO of Jewish Senior Services, which, for more than 40 years, has provided skilled nursing and senior care services. As the needs of seniors and the community changed, it has responded by introducing community programs with “Jewish Senior Services‚” as the umbrella for its services. Andrew will tell us about them.|
|Nov 22||No Meeting||Thanksgiving|
|Nov 15||John H Durham||John H. Durham was appointed United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut in February. Mr. Durham has served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in various positions in the District for 35 years, prosecuting complex organized crime, violent crime, public corruption and financial fraud. His presentation to the Y’s Men is entitled “The Use of Informants; A Cautionary Tale. U.S. v. John J. Connolly & Its Consequences.”|
|Nov 8||Vincent Santilli||Homes for the Brave is a non-profit organization based in Bridgeport, dedicated to providing safe housing, vocational training and life skills coaching to homeless individuals, most of whom are veterans. Vincent E. Santilli, CEO and Executive Director, will tell us about their various programs including Female Soldiers: Forgotten Heroes, Connecticut’s first and only facility for homeless female veterans and their children.|
|Nov 1||James Mapes||James Mapes is a speaker, coach, philosopher, clinical hypnotist, actor, award-winning performer and bestselling author. His presentation to the Y’s Men is entitled ”IMAGINE THAT! Igniting Your Brain for Creativity and Peak Performance,” based on his book of the same title which is said to be the first web-enhanced volume of its kind. He will delve into topics like reframing thinking patterns, shattering limiting myths, breaking through fear, managing stress, and love and forgiveness|
|Oct 25||Walton Brown-Foster, Ph.D.||Walton Brown-Foster, Ph.D., is a professor in the department of political science at Central Connecticut State University, in New Britain and is currently the Acting Coordinator for the International Studies - Latin American Studies program. Her presentation is entitled “Latin America for All--untold and ignored legacies of race and ethnicity and their impact on the challenges facing the region in the 21st Century.” Dr. Brown-Foster will cover the often and untold impact of race, identity, exclusion and inclusion on the politics and economics for select countries in the region. She also will discuss some of the major challenges facing the region in the 21st Century including migration, violence, corruption and globalization. Dr. Walton-Brown received her doctorate in political science from the University of Michigan. She has taught at the University of Georgia and Yale University and has developed and teaches several online courses, including Latin American politics, for Charter Oak State College, Connecticut's only public online College.|
|Oct 18||Mark Pazniokas||Just in time to provide an analysis of the upcoming state elections on November 6, Mark Pazniokas, Capitol Bureau Chief of the CT Mirror, returns to the Y’s Men. Mark covers state politics and elections as well as legislation and the legislative process. Before co-founding CT Mirror in 2009 Mark was a reporter for The Hartford Courant and The Manchester Journal Inquirer. He is also a former contributing writer for The New York Times. In 35 years as a reporter, he has covered some of the most compelling political stories in Connecticut, including the impeachment inquiry and resignation of Gov. John G. Rowland in 2004, the nationally watched Senate race won by Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman as an independent in 2006, and Linda McMahon’s efforts to remake campaigning in Connecticut by spending $100 million on runs for U.S. Senate in 2010 and 2012. The Washington Post included Mark on its list of best state capitol reporters in the U.S. in 2014. Mark is a graduate of Boston University.|
|Oct 11||Eric Burns||Eric Burns will talk about his book “The Golden Lad: The Haunting Story of Theodore and Quentin Roosevelt.” It is one of only two biographies that Eric has written among dozens of other works yet Publishers Weekly said of them: “Burns’s work is captivating, suspenseful, and heartbreaking: this is how biographies should be written.” Besides being an author, he is a playwright, media critic, and former broadcast journalist. And he has won major awards in three distinct genres. His first play captured the Eudora Welty Emerging Playwrights Competition in 2010; He was named one of the best writers in the history of television journalism; and his book “1920: The Year That Made the Decade Roar” was named one of the best non-fiction books of 2015. Two of Eric’s other books won the highest award given by the American Library Association, being selected as the “Best of the Best” in 2004 (for his history of alcohol) and 2007 (his history of tobacco).|
|Oct 4||Pat Riemersma||
Weather cancelled her presentation to the Y’s Men last March, but Pat Riemersma, CEO of the Westport Weston Family YMCA, will bring us up to date on what’s happening at this venerable organization which was founded in Westport in 1923. She will review what the Y offers specifically for Y’s Men like us and talk about how the Y has fared since its relocation more than four years ago. Pat has spent her entire career with the YMCA beginning 31 years ago in Sioux City, Iowa as a program director. She held increasingly responsible positions at Y’s in Connecticut and Minnesota before being named CEO in Westport in 2015. Before coming here, Pat was Vice President of Youth Development at the YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities in Minnesota.
|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.|
|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.|
|SPEAKERS Calendar 2017-2018|
|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