Greetings dear readers and fine friends and welcome back to the Front Porch for our final visit of March 2021 (will March really leave like a lamb?), where some of us are celebrating Passover, others are gearing up for Easter and most of us are cheering the efforts of the good folks administering COVID-19 vaccinations around the country, and right here at the Westerly Senior Center.

Our good friend, Dr. Tobias Goodman, longtime physician for the Town of Westerly, called recently to applaud Police Chief Shawn Lacey — and all those involved with the local vaccination process — for the good work being accomplished at the center. Imagine, it was just about a year ago that the good Doc Goodman stressed the importance of modifying our behavior during a pandemic and how right he was! Speaking of the Chief Lacey, it was so encouraging to hear him tell WBLQ's Saturday morning host, Betty-Jo Cugini Greene, that there is "a light at the end of the tunnel" at last as far as the ending of the pandemic. Hooray!

Speaking of WBLQ, thanks to Westerly Athletic Hall of Famer Sal Murano, who co-hosts — along with Jim "Fed" Federico, Dan "The Doc" Gaccione and Andrew Fiore — WBLQ's Saturday Morning WBLQ Sports Report, I learned that Westerly High Girl Basketball players Jackie Fusaro, Mackenzie Fusaro, Alexa Beal, Rachael Dobson and Coach Sue Haik visited the program via Zoom Saturday morning. Make sure to check out all the shows on WBLQ, there are so many good people, sharing so much good local news every day of the week. As most of us know by now, our pal Chris DiPaola is WBLQ's president, owner, general manager, and self-proclaimed "Ring Master" somehow manages to attend every important local event. Thus it was no surprise to see him leading the celebration last week to honor one of his special great aunties, Nora DiPaola Luther.

Yes, there were several fabulous and well-attended drive-by celebrations last week, including the surprise celebration held Friday to honor Nora DiPaola Luther, who turned 95 on March 26 and was fêted with a drive-by parade in front of her residence at the Elms, compete with a police escort. Nora's daughter, Valerie Sistare, who organized the parade, told me she was also hoping her mom would receive 95 birthday cards, one for each year of her wonderful life. At last count, Val said, her mom had received 75 birthday cards from friends around the country and around the world! She received one from "as far away as Germany," Val said. So, in case you've forgotten, send one off to Nora at the Elms! Nora, one of my very favorite folks, is the sister of Chris's grandfather, the late Vito DiPaola (and therefore the aunt of Front Porch Pal Tom DiPaola, former superintendent of Westerly Public Schools). Some readers might remember the days when Vito was an on-air personality at WBLQ known for his fiery debates with local residents about the hottest issues of the day.  

In another pandemic-appropriate celebration for a notable local resident, cars lined up behind police cars and fire trucks last week to celebrate the 98th birthday of Willis "Dusty" Edgecomb, who ran the legendary Dusty's Dairy Bar in Misquamicut for more than 60 years. (Please see the photos at right!) Happy birthday Dusty!

And happy birthday also to the legendary Tina Pagliusi, of Westerly, who was also properly celebrated last week with a surprise flash mob party organized by her friends and fitness students. Tina, say her circle of friends, has been "just amazing" with her efforts to inspire many local women keep fit and active during this crazy pandemic year. Next week, we'll share photos of that splendid event! Happy Birthday to you, Tina!  

Well dear readers, Easter and Passover blessings to all, and remember, as hopeful as we may be to be close to the end of the scourge, please keep wearing your masks, washing your hands and keeping the appropriate social distance! Stay safe, be kind, and ciao bella!

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