Month: January 2018 (page 1 of 2)

“Long May She Wave” at the Darien Historical Society, Thursday, February 8 at 7:30PM

The Darien Historical Society’s current exhibit is called “Long May She Wave” — the chronological evolution of our Flag. It features a number of genuine historic flags, plus many more replica flags from the pre-Revolutionary War era to modern times.

The Society has invited the DMA for a free Curator’s Tour for Thursday, February 8 at 7:30 p.m. It includes the major flag exhibit and two smaller exhibits (flag photos and Historic War-Time Darien Love Letters). The tour is open to members of the Darien Men’s Association and their significant others.

The “stars” of the show are the Society’s antique flags, but there is also a timeline presentation included that highlights the key historical events in Darien as the Flag evolved.

There is also have a mini-exhibit of a local man’s collection of flag art photographs. After 9-11, this became his passion and he has exhibited and traveled all over the country in search of people celebrating the red, white and blue.

In the house museum, we have in addition a collection of Revolutionary War-era love letters written to a woman who lived in Middlesex Parish.

See more info at the Society’s WEB Site:

Joe Spain

Current Affairs: Refugees, April 19, 2018

Discussion leader: David Mace


Here is a good overview piece from the Pew Research Center on refugees

IQ2  Debate:

Since the Syrian Civil War began in 2011, more than 4 million Syrians have fled the country, creating the greatest refugee crisis since World War II. Most have fled to Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan, but many have risked death to reach Europe and the possibility of a better life. Unlike Europe and Syria’s neighbors, the United States has had the advantage of picking and choosing from afar, taking in just over 2,000 Syrian refugees since the war’s start. The Obama administration has pledged to take another 10,000 in 2016, but there are some who suggest that we are falling well below the number that we can and should accept. What are our moral obligations, and what are the cultural, economic, and security issues that must be taken into account? Should the U.S. let in 100,000 Syrian refugees?

Fact sheet supporting the debate:

And a rebuttal to the fact sheet:



“Beautiful” The Carole King Musical March 9, 2018

“Beautiful, The Carole King Musical,” tells the inspiring true story of King’s remarkable rise to stardom, from being part of a hit songwriting team with her husband Gerry Goffin to becoming one of the most successful solo acts in popular music history. Along the way, she made more than beautiful music — she wrote the soundtrack to a generation.

Featuring a stunning array of beloved songs, including “I Feel The Earth Move,” “One Fine Day,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” “You’ve Got A Friend” and the title song, “Beautiful.”

Friday, March 9, 2018

11:45 a.m.

Lunch at the Union League Cafe.
Three-course meal in a private room.

2-4 p.m.

New Haven Schubert Theater, one block from lunch.

$110 per person

Includes lunch and show tickets. Drinks extra.

Tickets very limited and are on a first-come, first-paid basis.

Transportation to New Haven is by car and ridesharing. Parking is available at the theater, 247 College Street, New Haven.

For information, contact:

Tom Brayton,
Chris Snyder,

William Frederick McClelland, Jr., died on January 7, 2018

William Frederick McClelland, Jr., a Darien resident since 1958, died on January 7, 2018, at home. He was 92.

Born December 16, 1925, in Bronxville, New York, he was the son of William Frederick McClelland and Mary Louise Mickel McClelland. His sister, Marjorie, and his wife of 54 years, Katherine “Kay” Hickman McClelland, predeceased him.

Bill graduated from Scarsdale High School, won a scholarship to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and went on to become a pioneer in the computer industry.

He joined IBM in New York City, where they were developing a digital computer called the SSEC, which covered the street floor of IBM’s Madison Avenue building. This was just prior to the birth of the stored program computer that became the basis of the computer revolution.

He was one of the developers of IBM’s first stored program computer, the 701, and wrote some of its first computer programs.

During his career he assisted other technology pioneers at Oak Ridge, Los Alamos National Laboratories and the Rand Corporation in the use of the computer.

After retiring from IBM, he joined his wife’s company, the Darien Travel Center, and traveled extensively.

Bill was an advocate for MIT and its initiatives in Artificial Intelligence and Brain and Cognitive Sciences in support of graduate students in the School of Science, and was a founding member of MIT’s Champions of the Brain Fellows.

He served on the Planning and Zoning Committee, the RTM, the Darien Information Technology Committee, and was a strong supporter of the Darien Library.

He was a member of the Tokeneke Club and the Darien Men’s Association. He was known for his quick wit and intellectual curiosity, and led the weekly Contemporary Issues discussion group at the Darien Senior Center until just a few weeks before his

Bill is survived by his three children, William McClelland III, Frances McClelland Brady, and James McClelland, and his long-time companion, Lynne Lippincott.

A private family remembrance was held at his home.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Darien Library.

Rocco A. Evola June 29, 1919 – January 7, 2018

Rocco A. Evola, a resident of Darien, CT, passed away on Sunday, January 7, 2018 at home in Darien. Born on June 29, 1919 in Flushing, NY, he was the son of the late Rocco Gaetano and Maria Smania Evola. He was 98.

Before serving with the U. S. Army Corp during World War II, Rocco attended Pratt Institute. He received a B.S. degree in drafting and architecture from New York University. He taught drafting and other subjects at Thomas Edison High School in Jamaica, NY for over 30 years. After retirement, he opened and operated RAE’s Antiques and Clocks in Flushing, NY for many years. He enjoyed helping with the Darien Boy Scouts annual tag sale.

His hobbies were clock repairing and wood working. He was a member of Watch and Clock Associations, a past member of the Darien Senior Center, the Darien Senior Men’s Association and ROMEO’s (Retired Old Men Eating Out).

Rocco is survived by his two children, Kevin F. Evola of Melbourne Beach, FL and Maura J. Evola and her husband, Ed Jonker, of Darien. He is survived by two grandchildren, Scott Jonker, a student at Erasmus University, Rotterdam, the Netherlands, John Jonker, a student at Union College and his girlfriend Abi Marin, also a student at Union College. He was predeceased by his beloved wife Frances Evola.

Rocco is also survived by his siblings Julia Leskinen of Flushing, NY; Phillip Evola of Tryon, NC; Terry Catalano also of Tryon, NC; and Lawrence Evola of Buffalo, NY. He was predeceased by siblings Katie Stonehill, Louis Evola, Connie Evola, Tony Evola, John Evola, Rose Murphy, Helen Fetzer and Anna Evola.

He loved the family’s two dogs Lily and Vincent, both Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. He really liked spending time with the family, especially his grandsons, a glass of red wine with dinner and still approving Maura’s clock and collectable purchases.

The family will receive friends at the Edward Lawrence Funeral Home, 2119 Post Road, Darien on Friday, January 12, 2018 from 5:00 to 8:00 PM. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. John R.C. Church, 1986 Post Road, Darien on Saturday, January 13, 2018 at 9:30 AM.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, 1663 Bristol Pike, Bensalem, PA 19020.
To send flowers or a remembrance gift to the family of Rocco Evola, please visit our Tribute Store.

Arun Nandi, M.D.,FACEP, Emergency Medical Services at Stamford Hospital, February 28, 2018

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Arun Nandi, M.D., FACEP, chairman of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Stamford Hospital, will talk about emergency care services. As part of the hospital’s recent expansion, Dr. Nandi ensured the smooth and safe transfer of services to the new emergency room that expanded to 52,000 square feet from 19,000 square feet. Dr. Nandi also is responsible for the Immediate Care Center at 32 Strawberry Hill in Stamford and the Stamford Health Urgent Care Centers at 497 Westport Ave., Norwalk, and 2001 West Main St., Stamford. Prior to coming to Stamford, he was chairman of Emergency Medicine & Observation Services at Columbia Memorial Hospital and director of Emergency Medical Services at Columbia County EMS & Disaster Response in Hudson, N.Y. He also served as director and chairman of the Emergency Department at St. Mary’s Hospital in Amsterdam, N.Y. Dr. Nandi received his medical degree from Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research at Madras University, where he also completed a residency in general surgery. In addition, he completed two fellowships, one in general surgery at Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and the other in burns, trauma and reconstruction at Royal College of Surgeons of London. He completed research in wound healing at Stony Brook University and his residency in emergency medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Jacobi and Montefiore hospitals in the Bronx. He is active in international emergency medicine and is a visiting professor at Jawaharlal. He is fluent in Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, Tamil and basic Spanish.

Arranged by Alex Garnett


Michelle Beltrano and Karen Goersch: Estate Planning, February 21, 2018

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Michelle Beltrano and Karen Goersch will lead a practical discussion on common pitfalls and current opportunities in estate and financial planning. The objective is to ensure such plans accomplish the intended goals. Michelle will talk about myths and surprises about estate planning documents. She also will explain how to start the conversation of estate planning with loved ones. Finally, she will cover the cost of settling an estate in Connecticut and what to expect from the probate process. Michelle lives in New Canaan with her family and is principal and founder of Beltrano Law, a boutique firm located in Greenwich. Her practice areas include estate planning, elder law, special needs, probate matters and estate administration. Michelle represents individuals and families who are dealing with complex matters, including Medicaid eligibility and applications, long-term care planning, will contests and trust administration. As an attorney and nurse, Michelle has unique insight into her clients’ situations and provides individualized, concierge services.


Karen Goersch will provide several tips to help ensure that clients effectively implement their estate plans and meet financial goals, such as the titling of assets, beneficiary review and gifting strategies. She also will discuss selecting which assets to deplete first, considering future estate and income tax implications. She will show how to use insurance as a tax-planning strategy to potentially eliminate the IRS as one of the biggest beneficiaries. She is a financial advisor with Ameriprise Financial in its Westport office and holds several professional designations, including CPA. She works with a team of professionals to develop personalized financial plans and investment solutions, helping clients simplify complex issues, often with a focus on tax minimization and efficiency. Karen moved to Rowayton a year ago after living in Darien with her husband and twins for more than 20 years.


Arranged by John Wolcott



Joseph A. Williams, Sunken Gold: A Story of WWI Espionage and the Greatest Treasure Salvage in History, February 14, 2018

Wednesday, February 14, 2018 

Joseph A. Williams will talk about his latest book, The Sunken Gold: A Story of World War I Espionage and the Greatest Treasure Salvage in History. In 1917, the “HMS Laurentic,” with 44 tons of Allied gold on board and bound for the United States, was sunk by German mines off the coast of Ireland. The struggle to recover the treasure by Royal Navy divers and their spy work of breaking into sunken U-boats for secret documents helped win the war. Today, there is still gold in the wreck waiting to be discovered. Unfortunately, no gold will be present at his talk, but attendees will be treated to a thrilling tale of determination, persistence and patriotism. A librarian, archivist and historian, Joseph received a bachelor’s degree in political science and history at SUNY Geneseo and a master’s degree in American history from Queens College. For six years, he was head of collections and assistant director of the State University of New York Maritime College’s Stephen B. Luce Library, which specializes in nautical research. His first book, Four Years Before the Mast, is a history of the Maritime College, the nation’s oldest maritime training school. His second book, Seventeen Fathoms Deep, is an action-packed narrative of the 1927 submarine S-4 disaster. He is deputy director of the Greenwich Library. He lives with his wife and two children in Ridgefield.

Arranged by John Wolcott


On January 25, 1917, HMS Laurentic struck two German mines off the coast of Ireland and sank. The ship was carrying 44 tons of gold bullion to the still-neutral United States via Canada in order to finance the war effort for Britain and its allies. Britain desperately needed that sunken treasure, but any salvage had to be secret since the British government dared not alert the Germans to the presence of the gold. Lieutenant Commander Guybon Damant was the most qualified officer to head the risky mission. Wild gales battered the wreck into the shape of an accordion, turning the operation into a multiyear struggle of man versus nature. As the war raged on, Damant was called off the salvage to lead a team of covert divers to investigate and search through the contents of recently sunk U-boats for ciphers, minefield schematics, and other secrets. The information they obtained, once in the hands of British intelligence, proved critical toward Allied efforts to defeat the U-boats and win the war. But Damant had become obsessed with completing his long-deferred mission. His team struggled for five more years as it became apparent that the work could only be accomplished by muscle, grit, and persistence. Using newly discovered sources, author Joseph A. Williams provides the first full-length account of the quest for the Laurentic?s gold. More than an incredible story about undersea diving adventure, The Sunken Gold is a story of human persistence, bravery, and patriotism


Jayme Stevenson, First Selectman: The State of the Town, February 7, 2018

Wednesday, February 7, 2018 

Jayme Stevenson, first selectman of the Town of Darien, will present “The State of the Town.”

Jayme’s update will include a review of town operations and the outlook for changes in the near future. She has been first selectman since 2011 and has been a member of the Board of Selectmen since 2009. Jayme recently was elected chairman of the Western Connecticut Council of Governments and served as vice chairman beginning in 2015. She also recently was named to the board of directors of the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities and to that organization’s municipal risk insurance agency known as the Connecticut Interlocal Risk Management Agency. Jayme has served on a variety of Darien nonprofit boards, including The Depot, the Darien Nature Center and the First Congregational Church Nursery School. She also was chairman of the Parent Teachers Organization for Royle Elementary School and Darien High School. She has been a member of the board of The Center for Sexual Assault Crisis Counseling and Education since 2016. Jayme and her husband have lived in Darien for 26 years and have five children. Her husband grew up in Darien and is a graduate of Darien High School.


Arranged by John  Wolcott


Les de Villiers, Ph.D.: Animal Behavior, January 31, 2018

Wednesday, January 31, 2018 

After a break of three years, Les de Villiers, Ph.D., will speak to us again. Dubbed the “Sultan of Safaris,” South African-born Dr. de Villiers is a former diplomat, wildlife expert and photographer. He immigrated to the United States in the late ‘80s and founded a consulting firm before moving into publishing and arranging upscale African safaris. Apart from several books on wildlife, he has authored more than a dozen books on African politics and economics. Last time, Dr. de Villiers’ talk was entitled “Gorillas in Our Midst”; this time, he will be speaking about “Animal Behavior.” After years of safari experience and with the help of stills and videos, Dr. de Villiers takes a look at natural animal behavior in the wild and asks the question: “Are we smart enough to know how smart animals are?” You will be fascinated and surprised at what he found by following lions, leopards, elephants, hyenas and a host of other creatures in Africa’s safari country. His conclusion: “If only humans could behave like animals, it would be a better world.”


Arranged by Sunil Saksena


Joseph Feuerstein, M.D.: Dr. Joe’s Man Diet, January 24, 2018

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Joseph Feuerstein, M.D., director of Integrative Medicine at Stamford Hospital and assistant professor of Clinical Medicine at Columbia University, will talk about his book, Dr. Joe’s Man Diet. “This lifestyle and eating plan are proved to help men get their cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure under control, lose weight and regain their health without medication,” says Dr. Feurerstein. The diet has been used more than 15,000 times in the last decade at the Stamford Hospital Center for Integrative Medicine and Wellness. In clinical studies, patients lost 15-20 pounds, lowered cholesterol by 20%, and reduced blood sugar and blood pressure in 10 weeks without cutting carbs or eliminating fat. The book offers a medication-free lifestyle makeover, explains common blood tests and hormone readings, and details exactly what to eat and when. It also provides 50 recipes. Dr. Feuerstein has worked as a physician at Greenwich Hospital and the Boyd Center for Integrated Medicine. He received B.S. and M.D. degrees in pharmacology from Kings College of London and an M.B.A. degree from the University of Cambridge. Dr. Feuerstein is a New England School of Homeopathy licensed homeopathic. He also received certification in clinical hypnosis from the American Society for Clinical Hypnosis and certification in integrative medical acupuncture from SUNY Downstate Medical Center. He served in the Israeli Navy as a combat physician in the Submarine Corps and in the Special Operations Command.

Arranged by John Wolcott

Provides a lifestyle makeover and meal plan tailored to help men lose fifteen pounds in twelve weeks, and includes recipes for such dishes as huevos rancheros, ancho pork and pinto bean stew, barbecue chicken coleslaw, sangria salmon, and devilish eggs


Margaret Gaffney Benedict, Ph.D.: The Mathew Gaffney Foundation, January 17, 2018

Margaret Gaffney Benedict, Ph.D., executive director of the Matthew Gaffney Foundation, will discuss her work helping high school and university-level students who are economically disadvantaged obtain an empowering college education. Most students are the first member of their family to attend college. Over the past 20 years, Dr. Benedict’s foundation has helped more than 100 students gain acceptance to top schools on the eastern seaboard. Many receive scholarships covering 75% -100% of their education. Students pay no fee for the Gaffney services. Her talk will include stories of students who now enjoy happy and productive lives. Dr. Benedict is a professional educator, with a doctorate in 16th century English literature from Lehigh University. She has been published in multiple professional journals and has presented her work at international educational symposiums. She is a member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association and the National Association for College Admissions Counseling.
Arranged by Tom Haack


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