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December 21, 2016
U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal
Key issues facing our state and country

Senator Richard Blumenthal

Senator Richard Blumenthal

Richard Blumenthal, United States Senator for Connecticut, serving his first term, will talk about the key issues facing the state and the country.

Previously, he served five terms as Connecticut’s attorney general where his law enforcement for consumer protection, environmental stewardship, labor rights and personal privacy helped reshape the role of state attorney general’s nationwide. As attorney general he advocated for reforms in health insurance and worked to eradicate corruption in state government. He fought unfair utility rate charges and air pollution causing acid rain.

From 1977 to 1981, he served as a U.S. attorney for Connecticut. He also served in the Connecticut House of Representatives from 1984 to 1987 and the Connecticut State Senate from 1987 to 1990.

Senator Blumenthal graduated from Harvard College and Yale Law School, where he was editor-in-chief of the Yale Law Journal. He served in the United States Marine Corps Reserves from 1970 to 1976 and was honorably discharged with the rank of sergeant.

Arranged by Bob Fiske

December 14, 2016
Jon Zagrodzky, Chairman,
Darien Board of Finance

Jon Zagrodsky

Board of Finance Chairman Jon Zagrodzky (image from Darien TV79 video)

Jon Zagrodzky, chairman of the Town of Darien Board of Finance, will summarize his comments to the December 12, 2016, State of the Town meeting.  That meeting covers key town financial issues, including the outlook for the 2018-2019 budget process, which starts in January, and the possible impact of Hartford’s difficult financial situation on the Town of Darien.

The elected seven-member Board of Finance is responsible for the town’s $130 million annual budget. Jon also serves as a member of the Darien Town and Police Pension boards and was president of the Darien Historical Society from 2011-2015. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Forman School, a Litchfield (Connecticut) high school that specializes in children with learning differences.

Jon is a managing director of Oak Hill Capital Partners and serves as chief administrative officer and chief compliance officer. He is responsible for finance, operations, human resources, administration, information technology and business planning.

Prior to joining Oak Hill, he was an associate principal and director of financial planning and analysis at McKinsey & Company.

He earned a B.A. degree in economics and romance languages from Washington & Lee University and an M.B.A. degree from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Arranged by Tom Lom

December 7, 2016
Sylvia Reiss
The stone walls of Connecticut

Connecticut stone wallSylvia Reiss will talk about “Our Amazing Stone Walls: What They Are and Where They Are.”

A local resident, stone wall enthusiast and historian, Sylvia will present a fascinating, educational and amusing look at these historical structures. Stone walls are the signature archaeological legacy of Darien and New England itself. They can be seen along roadsides, far into the woods, across back yards and between houses. The stone walls delineate and define northeastern America as surely as the Appian Way says Italy or the Great Wall says China.

Darien is fortunate to have within its 23.4 square-miles many miles of these walls that have for centuries characterized our town’s agrarian heritage. It is the story of millions of fieldstones, tossed, stacked and laid; of single walls, double walls capped or coped; of rare walls and mysteries that will be revealed during Sylvia’s presentation.

Sylvia Reiss is a former teacher, retired antiques dealer, past president of the Antiques Council, and tag-along historian with her husband Ken Reiss, who is the Darien Historical Society’s historian.

Arranged by Tom Haacke

November 30, 2016
Art Gottlieb
Was Hiroshima Necessary?

Art Gottlieb

Art Gottlieb

Art Gottlieb, a local historian on political and military history, will talk on whether the use of the atomic bomb was justified in order to bring the war in the Pacific to a speedier conclusion.

Art is a professional curator of naval history and Technical Director of Exhibits at the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum in New York City. He has worked with veterans of all services creating exhibits accurately, illustrating the history of 20th-century warfare and has helped recover scores of artifacts from warships slated for demolition.

He coordinates with all branches of the armed services to preserve historic ships, aircraft and armor from around the world. Art also serves as a counselor and certified senior advisor in Norwalk, Conn.

He uses his professional talents to address the needs of aging veterans and their families and offers pro bono counseling services to soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

He served as an auxiliary officer of the United States Coast Guard for 17 years and, for four years, was commander of Flotilla 7-2, 1st District (Southern Region), Sector Long Island Sound North.

Arranged by Tom Lom.

November 16, 2016
Frederic Chiu
Renowned Concert Pianist

Frederic Chiu

Frederic Chiu

Frederic Chiu will talk about his life as a pianist. His intriguing piano-playing and teaching springs from a diverse set of experiences and interests that include his Asian/American/European background and his musical training that he has combined with an early and ongoing exploration of artificial intelligences and human psychology, especially the body-mind-hearts connection.

With over 25 CDs, his repertoire includes the complete works of Prokofiev and popular classics of Chopin, Liszt, Mendelssohn and Rossini. His work has been recognized by Stereo Review, The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.

Chiu has toured Europe and the United States appearing with world renowned orchestras in prestigious halls such as the Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, and the Koi and Suntory Halls in Tokyo.

His most recent releases are entitled “Distant Voices” and “Hymns & Dervishes.” On his 50th birthday he hopes to have completed performances in 50 of the United States.

Arranged by Tom Lom

A brief video of Chiu playing the piano can be seen by clicking on the image below.



November 9, 2016
Dr. Arash Salardini
Assistant Professor of Neurology
Yale Medical School

Dr. Arash Salardini

Dr. Arash Salardini

Dr. Arash Salardini, Assistant Professor Of Neurology, Yale Medical School and co-director, Yale Memory Clinic, will talk about dementia, the degree to which it is preventable or reversible, and the results of the latest Alzheimer’s research, including the use of brain imaging to study the disease.

He is currently the associate leader of the clinical core of the Alzheimer Disease Research Center at Yale where he sees patients who have problems with thinking, understanding, learning and remembering due to neurodegenerative and other neurological causes. His work has been widely published both in the United States and internationally. He is editor of the text book The Hospital Neurology Book to be published this year by McGraw-Hill.

Dr. Salardini received his medical degree in 1999 from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia where he developed his interest in neurology. In 2007, he began a two year fellowship in movement disorder at Yale, and then completed a residency at the University of Florida under the noted neurologist Dr. Kenneth Heilman. He returned to Yale to complete a two year fellowship in behavioral neurology and neuropsychiatry under the nationally prominent research neurologist Dr. Stephen Strittmatter.

November 2, 2016
Tom Molito, Author
Mickey Mantle: Inside and Outside the Lines


Tom Molito will talk about his book, Mickey Mantle: Inside and Outside the Lines, that was written for baseball lovers and Mantle fans. Archival newspaper articles, websites and more than 35 books on Mantle are used to weave the most complete, unique look at an American icon. The book recalls never-before-told stories: from Park Avenue to Las Vegas to Cooperstown; from television shoots to concerts and Mickey’s restaurant on Central Park West.

This year is the 60th anniversary of Mantle’s Triple Crown season, which many baseball experts consider one of the best seasons ever for a ball player. Although baseball fans who experienced that season are decreasing in number, Mickey Mantle is more popular than ever. The value of his memorabilia is second to none. He remains respected and admired for the redemptive quality of his life.

Mickey Mantle and Tom Molito

Mickey Mantle and Tom Molito

Molito collaborated with the highly respected baseball historian Harold “Doc” Friend. The late Mr. Friend wrote for Bleacher Report (CBS) and uncovered previously unknown facts about Mantle’s career – such as Mickey hitting the facade in Yankee Stadium three times, not the reported twice. An entire chapter updates Mantle’s career with present-day statistical measures and comes to the indisputable conclusion that “Mickey Mantle was even better than we thought!”

Tom lives in New Canaan with his wife Kathleen. They have three adult children, four grandchildren and will soon celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary. A graduate of Iona College and a U.S. Army veteran, Tom served in senior marketing positions at both Nestle and UST Inc. where he founded and was president of a wholly owned subsidiary, Cabin Fever Entertainment. He met Mickey Mantle as a result of Cabin Fever’s award winning production of the 500 Home Run Club. Tom’s relationship with Mickey Mantle developed into a friendship and eventually the book that is available at leading booksellers.

Tom has served on the boards of The Country Music Association and Family Services of Westchester. He was very involved in the Children’s Program at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility. His talk will include an exhibit featuring Mickey Mantle by various artists.

Arranged by Alex Garnett

Speaker — October 26, 2016
Hon. David M. Walker
Senior Strategic Advisor, PwC
Former U.S. Comptroller General

Hon. David M. Walker

Dave Walker

Dave currently serves as the first Senior Strategic Advisor for the Global Public Sector Practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). He is a well-recognized fiscal responsibility/accountability, government transformation, and retirement security expert.

Dave received Presidential appointments with unanimous Senate confirmation from Reagan, Bush (41) and Clinton, including serving as Comptroller General of the United States and head of the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) for almost 10 years. He previously served as a Partner and Global Managing Director with Arthur Andersen LLP. Dave also served as the first Chairman of the United Nations Independent Audit Advisory Committee for four years. He currently serves on a number of non-profit boards, including AARP. He is also is an inductee into the International Accounting Hall of Fame.

See David Walker’s Presentation Slides.

Speaker — October 19, 2016
Ute Wartenberg Kagan
Introduction To The World Of Numismatics

Ute Wartenburg-Kagan

Ute Wartenburg-Kagan

Ute Wartenberg Kagan, whose primary research focus is on ancient Greek coinage, has spent most of her academic career in the museum world. From 1991 through 1998 she worked as the Curator of Greek Coins in the British Museum in London, and since 1999 she has been the Executive Director of the American Numismatic Society in New York. The American Numismatic Society is the pre-eminent national institution focused on the research and the advancement of the appreciation of coins and related objects. It maintains a museum collection of over 800,000 objects dating from 650 BCE to the present.

Educated in Saarbrucken, Germany, Dr. Wartenberg Kagan was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University where she received her doctorate in papyrology. She has published more than 50 books and articles on numismatics and papyrology, is recognized public speaker, and is frequently interviewed for newspapers, radio, and television. In connection with her active interest in current U. S. coinage, Dr. Wartenberg Kagan has testified about coin design before the Senate Banking Committee, and she has been appointed by the Secretary of the Treasury to various coin advisory committees. She was formerly a member of the German national fencing team.

At the DMA Dr. Wartenberg Kagan will provide an entertaining, amusing, and educational introduction to the world of numismatics, including stories of rare and valuable coins, counterfeit coins, the discoveries of treasure coins, and a discussion of how coins are our only means by which we might have a realistic visage of Cleopatra.

Speaker — October 12, 2016
Thomas M. T. Niles
Vice Chairman
United States Council for International Business

Thomas M. T. Niles

Thomas M. T. Niles

Thomas M. T. Niles retired from the United States Foreign Service in September 1998 following a career of more than 36 years. In the Foreign Service, he served as Ambassador to Canada (1985-89), Ambassador to the European Union (1989-91), Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Canada (1991-93), and Ambassador to Greece (1993-97).

Earlier in his career, he served in Belgrade, Moscow (twice), and the United States Mission to NATO in Brussels as well as in the Department of State. On February 1, 1999, he became President of the United States Council for International Business (USCIB), which advances the global interests of American business both at home and abroad, promoting an open system of world trade, finance, and investment. It is the U.S. affiliate of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the Business and Industry Advisory Committee (BIAC) to the OECD, and the International Organization of Employers (IOE).

On April 15, 2005 Ambassador Niles retired as President of USCIB and became Vice Chairman of the Council.

Speaker — October 5, 2016
Donald P. Gregg
Chairman of the Pacific Century Institute (PCI) in Los Angeles, and
Chairman Emeritus of The Korea Society in New York City.

Donald P. Gregg

Donald P. Gregg

Donald P. Gregg currently is chairman of the Pacific Century Institute (PCI) in Los Angeles and chairman emeritus of The Korea Society in New York City.

Following graduation from Williams College in 1951, he joined the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and over the next quarter century was assigned to Japan, Burma, Vietnam and Korea. He was seconded to the National Security Council staff in 1979, where he was in charge of intelligence activities and Asian policy affairs.

In 1982, Gregg was asked by the then Vice President George Bush to become his national security advisor. He then retired from the CIA, and was awarded the Distinguished Intelligence Medal. During his six years with Vice President Bush, Gregg traveled to 65 countries.

Gregg also served as a professorial lecturer at Georgetown University from 1980-1989, where he taught a graduate level workshop entitled Force and Diplomacy.

In September 1989, Gregg began his service as the United States Ambassador to Korea. Prior to his departure from Korea in 1993, he received the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service, an honorary doctoral degree from Sogang University, and a decoration from the prime minister of Korea.

In March 1993, Gregg retired from a 43-year career in the United States government to become the president and chairman of The Korea Society. He has been chairman emeritus since 2009. In 2012 Gregg was appointed chairman of the Pacific Century Institute.

Gregg remains strongly interested in establishing normal relations with North Korea, a country he has visited six times. The Pacific Century Institute actively supports unofficial meetings between Americans with significant experience in Korea with North Korean officials. Gregg led a PCI delegation to North Korea in February 2014.

Gregg is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Recent awards include an honorary degree from Green Mountain College (1996), the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service (2001), Williams College’s Kellogg Award for Career Achievement (2001), the 2004 Bartels World Affairs Fellowship from Cornell University, and an honorary degree from Colorado College (2010). Gregg and his wife were honored in 2009 by the establishment of The Donald P. and Margaret Gregg Professorship at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University. In July 2014, Gregg published a memoir entitled Pot Shards; Fragments of a Life Lived in CIA, the White House and the Two Koreas.

Speaker — September 28, 2016
Alan J. Mathis
President and CEO of Liberation Programs

Alan J. Mathis

Alan J. Mathis

Since 2006, Alan J. Mathis has served as the President and CEO of Liberation Programs, one of Connecticut’s leading nonprofits providing prevention, education and treatment services for persons with substance abuse disorders and co-occurring mental health conditions.

Under Mr. Mathis’ leadership, the agency has increased the number of people served by 38%, reduced wait times for treatment, and expanded access to wraparound social services to include a transitional employment program, and increased access to primary medical care through partnerships with community health centers.

Working with the Board of Directors, the agency developed an 18-unit permanent supportive housing complex in Norwalk for women and their children. This also included renovation of a 7,000 square foot space for Liberation’s inpatient program for pregnant and parenting women. Mr. Mathis transformed Liberation into an organization that provides evidenced-based, targeted care for the 1,200 individuals seen every day while strengthening the agency’s business practices and management.

Mr. Mathis is a frequent speaker in the community. He is currently chairing Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling’s Affordable Housing Committee.

Prior to joining Liberation Programs, Mr. Mathis served as President and CEO at the Lower Eastside Service Center providing housing, primary medical, addiction and mental health services in NYC and served on NYC’s Mental Health and Hygiene Policy Advisory Board under Dr. Thomas Frieden, the current Director of the nation’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He holds a Master’s of Science in Public Policy and Management from the Averall Harriman College at the University of NY at Stony Brook. As a Sloan Fellow, he studied public policy at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University and the Humphrey Institute at the University of Minnesota.

He resides in Norwalk with his wife Melissa.

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