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Constance Ippolito, 89

Constance Mary Florence Ippolito, wife of Andrew Vincent Ippolito of Westport, died Oct. 18 at her home. She was 89.

Constance Ippolito
Constance Ippolito Contributed photo

Constance was born in Astoria, NY. She is the daughter of the late Paul and Vincenza (Perno) DiMitro. She received her nursing degree from Flowers 5th Avenue in NYC and her Masters degree in Early Education from Queens College. Prior to retiring and moving to Westport with her children in 2005, she owned and operated the Happy Time Nursery in Bayside, NY for almost 40 years.

She is survived by her husband Andrew; her children Jenette, Andrew, Paul, Michael, and Paul’s wife Lisa; her grandchildren Vanessa and Steve, Andraya and Keenan, Andrew, Dimitra, Sofia, Michael, Paul, Christofer, and Lucas; her great grandchildren Daniel, Cosette, Keenan, and Charlotte. She is also loved by her sisters Mary Morrisette and Linda Benner and many cousins, nieces, and nephews.

Constance was an incredible woman and was the heart of our family and touched the lives of everyone she met.

Friends are invited to attend a visitation on Wednesday and Thursday, Oct. 21 and 22nd from 4 to 8 p.m at Harding Funeral Home, 210 Post Road East, Westport.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held Friday at 10 a.m. at Church of the Assumption, 98 Riverside Ave., Westport. An Interment will follow in Willowbrook Cemetery, 395 Main St., Facial coverings and social distancing will be required.

WPS Honor Students for Embodying ‘Guiding Principles’

Westport Public Schools honors students embodying Guiding Principles, James Dobin-Smith, Colin Konstanty, & Caroline Caggiano
The Westport Public Schools adopted the “Guiding Principles” to provide a foundation for its work across the district and define outcomes they deem as essential for all students and are honoring students from each grade level whom they believe best embody these principles: Socially and Emotionally Aware, Kind with Sincerity, Principled in Thought and Action, and Learning Always. Pictured, from left to right: James Dobin-Smith, Colin Konstanty, and Caroline Caggiano. Missing from picture: Rachel Greenberg, Natalia Maidique, and Kyla Race. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020


Westport Town Offices & Senior Center are closed.
9:15 a.m. – Virtual Westport Library – Job Search Work Team
4:30 p.m. – Virtual Westport Library – Create a Writing Portfolio for Your College Resume
5 p.m. – Electronically – Zoning Board of Appeals: live streamed on http://www.westportct.gov, Optimum ch. 79, Frontier ch. 6020
7 p.m. – Virtual Westport Library – JW Ocker and Sam Weller: “Cursed Objects” & “Dark Black”
7:30 p.m. – 646-876-9923 ID:  886 8991 1312 Code: 348060 – RTM Ordinance Committee
8 p.m. – via YouTube Live Stream or Zoom – WAS Lecture: NASA Flight Director Dr. Bob Dempsey – How do you throw a refrigerator away in space?

Westport Senior Center YouTube Channel
Westport Library Event Calendar
Westport Library YouTube Page
Earthplace YouTube Channel
Virtual Westport Museum for History & Culture
See more events: Celebrate Westport Calendar

Plans in Play to Reopen CMS

By Jarret Liotta

Students may finally be back at Coleytown Middle School (CMS) by Dec. 14, but school officials can’t guarantee it.

Monday night the Board of Education (BOE) heard details about the transition plans, which will require Dec. 9 and 10 becoming fully remote school days for all middle school students to augment the move of equipment and furniture from Bedford Middle School (BMS) to CMS.

“I just want to be clear with the public … There is some level of risk and there are some pieces that aren’t gonna be inherently in our control,” cautioned BOE Chair Candice Savin in regard to the dates.

“At this point right now we’re looking at Nov. 20 as being the date that the building committee will hand the building over to the board,” Superintendent of Schools Thomas Scarice said.

CMS principal Kris Szabo outlined various phases of the transition process, emphasizing not only that a general first-time orientation is necessary for two-thirds of the incoming CMS students—namely grades six and seven—but also that the transition is tantamount to restarting the school year.

“This is gonna be like a brand new school year,” she said, with schedules having to be changed for both BMS and CMS students.

“Even though we’re going to keep the kids on their core teams … their encore classes will have changed,” she said, as will staff schedules as a result of the split.

“There are going to be some shifts there for students,” Szabo said.

“We’re working to have our community understand that there may be a few little bumps in the road and to be … forgiving of that,” she said.

While some moving and interior cleaning will take place through November, Szabo said the intention is to bus students over from BMS to CMS on Dec. 7 and 8 in their respective cohorts in order to tour the school.

On Wednesday, Dec. 9, SmartBoards will be disassembled at BMS, with packing, transition, and set-up occurring the next two days at CMS with students on remote schedules at both schools.

“It’s not a lot of time,” Szabo said, but having both buildings empty of students will help streamline the process.

While some parents have suggested they put off relocation until January, school officials believe it will be best to have the week to acclimate and begin testing procedures.

“It gives us essentially one week with kids in school,” Szabo said, prior to winter recess, which begins Dec. 24.

“So, the little bit of time we have in that time, we can iron out some of the kinks and over that winter break address anything,” she said.

Though it took no action—nor did it hear any new recommendations—the BOE was also informed by Suzanne Levasseur, supervisor of health services, that virus numbers continue to climb in Connecticut and Fairfield County.

State numbers show a rise from 6.8 to 7.9 this week overall for cases per 100,000, while in Fairfield County it rose from 5.4 last week to 6.4 this week.

“I think the take-home point is that these numbers continue to remain low overall … but they continue to rise,” she said.

“They had 13 cases that were positive in Westport this week … Over the summer they were seeing approximately one to two a week,” she said.

“We do have more students and staff on quarantine and I do think that is a direct result of more cases in our community,” Levasseur said, noting the state sees more cases spreading from the eastern side of Connecticut toward Westport in the coming weeks.

Scarice noted that some of this is the result of “fatigue,” with people not taking as much care to protect themselves.

“A lot of this is happening in small gatherings,” Levasseur said of the infections, which she said are showing larger numbers among young adults.

Wreckers Field Hockey Defeats Tigers in Overtime

Staples Girls Field Hockey defeats Ridgefield Tigers in overtime Oct. 19, 2020
Staples field hockey’s potent offense was completely stalled for three periods against Ridgefield today, failing to score any of their 15 shots on goal. The Wreckers relied on their dominating defense which allowed the Tigers zero shots on goal. The 0-0 tie at the end of regulation forced an overtime, which was ended after barely a minute by sophomore Francine Stevens, who scored the winning goal, maintaining the Wreckers position as undefeated in this abbreviated season. Staples plays five opponents, two times each and will face Ridgefield again Wednesday, Oct. 21, at home. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) J.C. Martin for WestportNow.com

Wreckers Soccer Shuts Out Tigers

Staples Boys Soccer beats Ridgefield Oct. 19, 2020
Alan Fiore’s goal in the first five minutes set the tone Monday. Staples boys soccer was in command for 80 minutes, shutting out Ridgefield 3-0 at Loeffler Field. Fiore tacked on another goal, after Jackson Hochhauser tallied. Hochhauser, Graham Barnes, and Surya Balaji added assists. The Wreckers travel to Brien McMahon on Wednesday, Oct. 21. In the photo, Staples goalkeeper Sebi Montoulieu punches a ball clear, while a swarm of Wrecker defenders (blue) help out. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Barry Guiduli for WestportNow.com

Westport COVID-19 Cases Up Seven, Deaths Unchanged

The state said today its Westport COVID-19 case count was up seven at 406 (389 confirmed and 17 probable) and deaths unchanged at 23.

Gov. Ned Lamont said he will reset the rules on his quarantine mandate for travelers after several regional coronavirus outbreaks pushed Connecticut’s numbers to their highest levels since mid-June.

The governor announced today during a televised briefing that he expects to complete a new quarantine program in cooperation with neighboring states that should not affect Connecticut commuters’ ability to travel to jobs just across the state’s borders.

And while the new standards are expected to reduce modestly the number of states on Connecticut’s COVID watch list, Lamont urged residents to curb travel as much as possible as the colder months of fall and winter approach.

“We’re trying to adjust this as we see fit, but the more you can stay closer to home, the better,” Lamont said during today’s briefing on public access television.

Connecticut, New York and New Jersey have jointly urged residents or visitors since early June to quarantine for 14 days if coming to the region from a state with a high coronavirus infection rate.

Lamont made it official in July with an executive order, mandating a two-week quarantine from anyone arriving here from a state with either an infection rate equal to 10% of all coronavirus tests completed during the past week, or with more than 10 positive test results for every 100,000 tests undertaken during the most recent week.

Under Connecticut’s new system, Lamont said, states must fail two different metrics to be considered a COVID hot-spot for quarantine purposes.

In addition to having 10 positives for every 100,000 tests completed each week, a state also must have a seven-day infection rate that exceeds 5%.

Health care experts nationally have hailed the weekly infection rate as one of the most important metrics for measuring COVID-19 spread, while the 10 positives-per-100,000 tests drew less attention.

But after an August outbreak in Danbury was followed in September and October with coronavirus surges in Norwich, New London and Windham, Connecticut’s statewide COVID-19 numbers began to rise.

Weekly infection rates, which hovered at or below 1% for most of the summer, have nearly doubled since August, standing Monday at 1.9%.

And though that remains one of the lowest weekly rates among all states, Connecticut hovered close to the metric of 10 positives per 100,000 tests completed. The Washington Post reported Monday that Connecticut was one of eight states the District of Columbia has added to its list of “high-risk” locations for travelers because of the coronavirus.

Paul Mounds Jr., Lamont’s chief of staff, said the new system should be imposed in the next day or two. And it’s expected Connecticut and its neighboring states all will follow the same standards.

“We’re all one region,” Lamont said. “I think we’ll all be working together on this.”

Lamont also recently cited a 5% weekly infection rate as a potential trigger for another kind of action.

The governor, who in early October further eased gathering limits and other pandemic-related restrictions on Connecticut businesses, said he would considered restoring them if weekly infection rates approached 5%.

Despite lowering the weekly infection rate that could trigger travel-related quarantine activity from 10% to 5%, the governor said he wasn’t ready to set a lower threshold for tightening rules on business activity.

“I think [5%] still makes sense,” he said. “I think we’ve got it under control. … I don’t think we’re going to get there.”

The new standards for imposing travel-related quarantines are expected to reduce slightly the current total of states red-flagged by Connecticut health officials for excessive COVID-19 numbers.

Through early evening, the administration’s travel advisory website identified 36 states, Guam and Puerto Rico from which visitors would have to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in Connecticut.

Based on the data available Monday, administration officials said the number of restricted states would drop by three under the revised standards, but they did not identify which states.

If new standards are not set, they added, the number of red-flagged states and other territories would rise to 40.

—CTMirror contributed reporting.

Granger at the Movies: ‘The Trial of the Chicago 7,’ ‘Britannia,’ ‘Death of Me’

By Susan Granger
Special to WestportNow

With Netflix’s “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” the 2021 Oscar race is officially underway. For this surprisingly timely, compelling courtroom drama, writer/director Aaron Sorkin has assembled a stunning all-star cast.

Susan Granger at the Movies

The story begins before the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago when the presumptive candidate Hubert Humphrey indicates his support for America’s continued involvement in Vietnam.

Sorkin sets the stage for the seven Anti-Vietnam protestors who will subsequently be accused of conspiracy, inciting to riot, and other troublemaking charges stemming from disruptions during the Convention.

So we meet Abbie Hoffman (Sasha Baron Cohen) and Jerry Rubin (Jeremy Strong), founders of the Youth International Party, known as Yippies, along with pacifist David Dellinger (John Carroll Lynch), social/political activist Tom Hayden (Eddie Redmayne), and protesters Rennie Davis (Alex Sharp), John Froines (Daniel Flaherty), and Lee Weiner (Noah Robbins).

There were original eight defendants but Bobby Seale (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), a Black Panther Party leader, was so constantly reprimanded by Judge Julius Hoffman (Frank Langella) and so repeatedly found in contempt of court that he was removed from the case.

Lawyer William Kunstler (Mark Rylance) led the defense against prosecutors Tom Foran (J.C. MacKenzie) and Richard Schultz (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) with former Attorney General Ramsey Clark (Michael Keaton) as the star witness.

Best known for his sharp, perceptive dialogue, peppered with succinct soliloquies, writer/director Aaron Sorkin (“The West Wing,” “The Newsroom,” “The Social Network”) has crafted a timely, yet talky tale, utilizing flashbacks and newsreel footage. Free speech and demonstrations are interpreted as lawless rioting with the government and its supporters expressing complete faith in the police.

In the production notes, Aaron Sorkin explains its relevance: “The script didn’t change to mirror the times; the times changed to mirror the script.”

Perhaps Baron-Cohen’s Abbie Hoffman puts it best: “The institutions of government are wonderful things, but right now are populated by some terrible people.”

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “The Trial of the Chicago 7” is an incisive 8, a showcase for the superb acting ensemble.

If you’re still suffering “Game of Thrones” withdrawal, let me recommend “Britannia,” a nine-part series from Europe’s Sky Atlantic, owned by Comcast. There’s war, family intrigue and witchcraft aplenty.

In 55 BC, Julius Caesar invaded Britannia to exploit the island’s legendary tin deposits. But—after facing the wrath of barbaric Druids—he soon departed, noting: “Druids conduct public and private sacrifices and interpret all matters of religion … sacrificing fellow Gauls by burning them alive inside giant wicker cages.”

(That brutal ritual was vividly depicted in Robin Hardy’s folk horror film “The Wicker Man.”)

Some 90 years later—in 43 AD—Roman legions returned and discovered warring Celtic tribes. There are the Regni, ruled by Queen Antidia (Zoe Wanamaker), and the Canti, governed by King Pellenor (Ian McDiarmid)—plus ruthless Druids, led by shaman-like Veran (Mackenzie Crook).

The marching Roman invaders with “SPQR” on their banners are led by Gen. Aulus Plautius (David Morrissey), who proclaims “Behold, gods of Britannia! I am Rome! And where I walk is Rome!”

Amid the blood feuds, treacherous decapitations and secret alliances, there’s 16 year-old Cait (Eleanor Worthington-Cox), introduced in an interrupted Celtic girlhood-to-womanhood ritual on the Summer Solstice, along with a wandering Druid outcast Divis (Nikolaj Lie Kaas) who exerts strange mind-control over those he encounters.

There’s Antida’s eunuch son Gildas (Joe Armstrong) and regal Amena (Annabel Scholey), a manipulative Canti who plays her two husbands against each other. Perhaps the most compelling character is King Pellenor’s rebellious, red-haired daughter Kerra (Kelly Reilly, familiar as Kevin Costner’s daughter on “Yellowstone”).

Writers Jez Butterworth, Tom Butterworth, and James Richardson use the Druids’ murky, nature-worshipping, pagan history as a launching point for this fictional fantasy.

The language the Druids speak is ancient Welsh, still used in Wales. And the song during the introductory credits is “Hurdy Gurdy Man,” released in 1968 by singer/songwriter Donovan Leitch.

On the Granger Gauge, “Britannia” is a blood-soaked, sword ‘n’ sorcery 7—on Amazon Prime.

Occasionally, there’s a movie like “Death of Me” that so dumb and dull that one wonder how and why it ever got made.

Neil Oliver (Luke Hemsworth) is a travel writer who takes his wife Christine (Maggie Q) to a remote tropical island off the coast of Thailand. After experiencing the local culture and cuisine, they wake up one morning with their hotel room in shambles and no memory of the previous night.

Searching on Neil’s digital camera, Christine finds shockingly explicit footage as Neil appears to murder her by breaking her neck. And, sure enough, she has fresh bruises around her throat.

To add to their confusion, a typhoon is threatening the region and, because their passports are missing, they have to find them in order to catch the next ferry to the mainland.

“No typhoon has hit this island in 200 years,” they’re told. But the weather reports are increasingly dire.

Meanwhile, mysterious locals, many wearing grotesque masks and moaning incoherently, are preparing for an upcoming festival. They all seem fascinated by Christine as she dashes around the village, trying to figure out what’s happening.

Apparently, Christine and Neil drank a cocktail that turns out to be heady hallucinogenic brew, served by Madee (Kat Ingkarat), who may have placed a sinister tribal talisman around Christine’s neck.

After projectile vomiting, Christine asks to see a physician, so their Airbnb hostess Samantha (Alex Essoe) recommends the local ‘witchy’ doctor (Chatchawan Kamonsakpitak).

Writers Arli Margolis, James Morley III, and David Tish patch together a murky, improbable horror/thriller—with obvious cult allusions to “The Wicker Man” and “Midsommar.”  But the action is lethargically directed by Darren Lynn Bousman, credited with three installments of the “Saw” franchise.

Vietnamese-American actress Maggie Q (“Divergent”) deserves better, as does Aussie actor Luke Hemsworth (“Thor: Ragnarok”).

On the Granger Gauge, “Death of Me” is a tedious 3, available on digital platforms and VOD.


Susan Granger

(Editor’s Note: Westport resident Susan Granger grew up in Hollywood, studied journalism with Pierre Salinger at Mills College, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with highest honors in journalism. In addition to writing for newspapers and magazines, she has been on radio/television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic for many years. See her reviews at www.susangranger.com.)

Monday, Oct. 19, 2020


Westport Town Offices & Senior Center are closed.
Noon – Staples High School – Press Conference: CT High Schools Voting Process Education Initiative, with Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz, First Selectman Jim Marpe, & Superintendent Thomas Scarice
6 p.m. – 646-876-9923 ID:  875 8870 2200 Code: 984318 – Planning & Zoning Commission
7 p.m. – Electronically – Board of Education: live streamed on http://www.westportps.org, Optimum ch. 78, Frontier ch. 6021

Westport Senior Center YouTube Channel
Westport Library Event Calendar
Westport Library YouTube Page
Earthplace YouTube Channel
Virtual Westport Museum for History & Culture
See more events: Celebrate Westport Calendar