Speaker — May 7, 2014
Jack Fitzgibbons

Jack Fitzgibbons, DMA member and retired primary care physician, will speak about the health issues of the Presidents. This has become sort of a hobby for Jack, and combines both medicine and history.

Arranged Bob Smith and Jack Fitzgibbons.

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Hiking Ward Pound Ridge Reservation
Friday, April 25, 2014 at 10.00 am

Pound Ridge ReservationOur first hike of 2014  is scheduled for  Friday, April 25  at Ward Pound Ridge Reservation. Located in Pound Ridge, NY, this is a 4000 acre park with 42 miles of trails over varied terrain. We will select a trail approximately 4 to 5 miles in length and the hike should take  about 2 ½ to 3 hours.

The trails are well maintained and somewhat less difficult than those at  Mianus River Gorge, which we hiked last October. The hike will be followed by lunch (optional). Spouses, significant others, friends and guests are welcome to join the hike.

No entrance fee is charged of seniors during the week in the off-season and there is plenty of parking available. We plan to assemble at 10.00 am at the parking lot near the entrance of the park (where the ticket booth is located). There are restrooms here. At 10.10 am we will  proceed as a group by car to the trailhead which is a short distance past the ticket booth on Michigan Road.

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Speaker — April 30, 2014
Jennifer Herring, President and CEO of The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk

Jennifer-HerringJennifer Herring, president and chief executive officer of The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk for more than 10 years, longer than any CEO in the Aquarium’s 25-year history. She will talk about history and plans for the Aquarium. Herring has announced plans to retire from her position in 2014 but will continue to serve in her present role, leading the Aquarium through a new animal-touch exhibit experience to be announced in January, the institution’s primary gala fund-raiser for education in April and the launch of a new boat – the only research vessel in the world with hybrid-electric propulsion – in June.

Herring joined The Maritime Aquarium in fall 2004. She retires from a career spanning 35 years and fulfilling her passions for arts, culture, outdoor adventure, travel, birding, wildlife and environmental conservation.

Starting as an opera singer in San Francisco, she found her talent for fund-raising, leading major development efforts for the New York Public Library and the New York City Opera. She honed her administrative abilities at the Wildlife Conservation Society, which operates the New York Aquarium and Bronx Zoo, among others.

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Speaker — April 23, 2014
Dr. Sylvanie Wallington

SylvanieWallington2Dr. Sylvanie Wallington, Harvard Educated Astronomer, will speak about Dark Matter.

Over the last 80 years astronomers have observed that the motion of some stars in galaxies and other celestial behavior cannot be explained without there being much more total mass in the universe than we detect from observations. Things don’t “add up” unless there is some mysterious “dark matter” that cannot be directly observed since it neither emits nor absorbs light. And this “missing mass” is not insignificant: it makes up about 85% of all the mass in the universe! As such, it plays a crucial role in our understanding of the structure and evolution of the universe.

Dr. Wallington presents the evidence for this dark matter in simple layman’s terms. We follow the scientific trail that led to our understanding of dark matter in the universe by examining how astronomers gather light from celestial objects, how they use that light to understand the motions of stars and galaxies, and how they calculate the gravity needed to explain those motions. Step by step, we build the case for this mysterious substance, whose existence is widely accepted by the scientific community.

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Jay Dirnberger’s Presentation: Introduction to Unmanned Vehicles

Click here to download this informative presentation.

MQ-9 Reaper

MQ-9 Reaper

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Speaker — April 16, 2014
William B. Barnett on Myanmar: Unlike Any Land You Know About

PSA-CoverMyanmar, formally called Burma, is a country in southeast Asia bordered by Bangladesh and India to the west, by China to the north, and by Laos and Thailand to the east. The country has been under military control since a coup in 1962, but is starting to implement democratic changes and emerge from isolation. It was visited by President Obama in November of 2012 in recognition of the changes that have taken place. Because it was cut off from the rest of the world for many decades the country has been able to preserve its culture better than many other countries.


Burmese-BuddhaDuring this trip Bill visited Yangon (formerly Rangoon), Mandalay, Began, and the region around Inle Lake. The program is divided into three sections: an introduction; a presentation on Buddhism, practiced by an estimated 89% of the population; and a section on the people of Myanmar who were friendly and very accepting of tourists. This multimedia, storytelling program contains about 250 still images and video clips. These are blended with music, live narration, and locally recorded sounds to bring a visit to this wonderful country to life.

Bill-BennettBill is well qualified to present lectures and programs on photography. He is a retired PhD analytical chemist and spectroscopist who worked for 34 years helping to design spectroscopic instrumentation for the chemical laboratory. His work included the design of the software user interfaces for a number of products. At the same time he pursued photography as a serious hobby. This combination of experience in science, spectroscopy, computers, and photography allows Bill to understand the technical aspects of photographic equipment plus the associated computer software, and relate them to the needs of the photographer.

Bill’s interest in photography began in high school, but really started to develop after he finished graduate school, moved to Connecticut, and joined his first camera club in 1969. He first joined PSA in 1970 and began entering exhibitions soon after. He now has 5 stars in four divisions of PSA (Projected Image, Photo Travel, Photojournalism, and Nature). He also has ten galaxies in the Color Class of the Projected Image Division and three galaxies in the Photo Travel Division. He has also earned numerous awards in local competitions. He has received the distinction of Master from PSA (MPSA); the distinction of Artiste from the Federation Internationale de L’art Photographique (AFIAP); and has been awarded the honor of Master Member by the New England Camera Club Council (MNEC). He has also received four Bronze Stars for contributions to the PSA Journal.

Bill is a member of the Photographic Society of America, the New Haven Camera Club, and the Connecticut Association of Photographers. He is on the Executive Board of the New England Camera Club Council. He is a frequent lecturer for camera clubs and other organizations on travel and photography, and is a frequent judge.

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Remembering Harry Berkowitz

Harry BerkowitzHarry Berkowitz brought graciousness wherever he went. Those around him found themselves engaged with someone inquisitive and insightful, with genuine interest in their life. His passion for life and consideration for others was remarkable. Harry, 81, died Saturday, March 15, 2014 while recovering from surgery in New York City.
His career as a retail executive at Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Sakowitz, and the Zale Corporation spanned 30 years and moved he and his family throughout the southeast United States before returning east to Norwalk, Connecticut in 1986. He served as President of the Yale Co-op for seven years until he retired in 1998. After he retired, he continued to consult, sharing his experience with retailers in need for several years.
Born in San Antonio, Texas on November 15, 1932, to Sidney and Rosalie Berkowitz, Harry was raised in a home filled with artists and fine art. Harry was educated at Andover and graduated from Princeton in 1955. At Princeton, he was a letterman in both lacrosse and football, and his experience in college athletics helped shape his motivation and passion for outdoor activities. He was an avid skier and fly fisherman, enjoying trips to Alta, Utah for the slopes and throughout the country in pursuit of rising trout.
In 1956, he wed Mary Jane (Mimi) Dreier and they raised their children, spending family vacations on Shelter Island, New York. Mimi passed away in 2007. In recent years, Harry cherished his relationship with Donna Dean whose care, friendship, and love fulfilled his life.
Harry’s twenty-fifth college reunion began a chapter of very active involvement with his Princeton class of 1955. He was dedicated to both his classmates and Princeton, and the lives of these friends intertwined with his through the remainder of his life. He was a founder of Princeton Project ’55, now part of Princeton Alumni Corps, and worked to connect recent graduates with non-profits in Connecticut for internships. He was also a member of the Princeton Prize in Race Relations committee.
Harry is survived by his partner, Donna Dean, of Darien, CT, his brother, William, of Topsham, ME, and four children and their partners: Ann Berkowitz, of Alexandria, VA, Peter and Debra Berkowitz, of Trumbull, CT, Edward Berkowitz, of Bristol, CT, and David and Deidra Young, of Franklin, TN. Harry is also survived by his six grandchildren.
A memorial service in celebration of Harry’s life will be held Wednesday, April 9, 2014 at St. Luke’s Parish, 1864 Post Road, Darien, CT. The service will begin at 11:00am, followed by a reception at the Parish. A private burial will be held in Shelter Island, NY.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Princeton Alumni Corps, in Princeton, NJ, or Norwalk Community Health Center in Norwalk, CT.

Published in The Hour on Mar. 19, 2014

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Speaker — April 9, 2014
Hanifa Washington, Executive Director of Amistad America

Hanifa Washington studied Communication Theory, and Russian and Soviet Studies at Beloit College in Wisconsin. Her studies pushed her to be critical of mass media, to examine the motives of human communication on varying platforms, as well as exuberantly explore the evolution of anthropologic linguistics in varying human societies.

She is steeped in digital media creation and studied Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed at length- a form of popular theatre that empowers communities to problem solve constructively. Hanifa studied Russian for 7 years and traveled to Moscow and St. Petersburg in 1996. She graduated with her BA in 2001 and went on to work heavily as a youth development specialist in the experiential learning sector. She was a co-founder the first worker owned cooperative in Portland, Maine and has a reverence for sustainable, organic food sovereignty.

Hanifa served as the cook and educator on the Amistad throughout a ten-month tour of the Caribbean. She was part of the Amistad’s historic arrival in Cuba and completed the schooner’s homecoming to Mystic, Connecticut. During this high-profile public diplomacy initiative with the direct involvement of the United Nations, US State Department, and the Cuban government, Hanifa fulfilled her professional work duties with efficiency and skill, but she did so while bolstering crew morale at critical moments, and she did so while always reminding the crew of the greater purpose of the voyage they had undertaken.

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Update from Terrie Wood

Terrie WoodAs I mentioned in my talk with you all, the next Mental Health First Aid Course will be offered in Darien in Thursdays April 3 and 10. This is the Nationally certified course that was one of the initiatives of the Gun Violence bill the legislature did in response to the Sandy Hook School massacre. We essentially hope that everyone in the state will take this course. Just like the Red Cross First Aid course so many of us took when our kids were younger.

 

 

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Speaker — April 2, 2014
J. Michael Lennon, official biographer of Norman Mailer

J. Michael Lennon, the official biographer of Norman Mailer, knew Mailer for thirty-five years, and in writing this biography, he has had the cooperation of Mailer’s late widow, Norris Church, his ex-wives, and all of his children, as well as his sister, Barbara. He also had access to Mailer’s vast, unpublished correspondence and papers, and he interviewed dozens of people who knew Mailer. Norman Mailer: A Double Life gives us the man in full, a remarkable and unique figure in the context of his times.

Norman Mailer was one of the giants of American letters and one of the most celebrated public figures of his time. He was a novelist, journalist, biographer, and filmmaker; a provocateur and passionate observer of his times; and a husband, father, and serial philanderer.

Perhaps nothing characterized Mailer more than his unbounded ambition. He wanted not merely to be the greatest writer of his generation, but a writer great enough to be compared to Dostoevsky and Tolstoy. As Michael Lennon describes, he even had presidential ambitions, although he settled for running for mayor of New York City. He championed personal freedom and civil liberties, calling himself a “left conservative,” and yet he was Enemy #1 of the Women’s Movement. He was as pugnacious in real life as in print, engaging in famous feuds and fights. Although he considered himself first and foremost a novelist, his greatest literary contribution may have been in journalism, where he used his novelistic gifts in tandem with self-revelation to explore the American psyche. In that regard, the subtitle of his Pulitzer Prize– and National Book Award–winning Armies of the Night is telling: “History as a Novel, the Novel as History.” He would return to certain subjects obsessively: John F. Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe, sex, technology, and the intricate relationship of fame and identity. Michael Lennon’s definitive biography captures Mailer in all his sharp complexities and shows us how he self-consciously invented and reinvented himself throughout his lifetime.

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