I can't think of a better way to connect a community than by featuring the community members and the business owners who want to interact with them in the same space.
If you're a resident, we showcase YOUR stories, every month. You are the stars of the show. A different family or group of residents is featured each month as we honor achievement.
If you're a business owner, you won't find a better way to connect with a micro-targeted community of people who benefit from your services every day.
I'm committed and will be your connector. It's what I do. Let's do it together.
We are thrilled that our cover featuring longtime Westwood native Bruce Cook was selected from more than 1,500 Best Version Media magazines across North America as one of the top five for the month of January. Congratulations to Rick Bern for capturing such a captivating shot.
We coordinated with Bruce to meet him at his location by Thurston Middle School on the morning of November 30, bright and early as the sun was rising over Nahatan Street. It was brisk and Rick was working hard to keep his fingers warm, while dealing with a rising run and unpredictable conditions, with cars and kids entering the equation at random.
We aimed to capture Bruce in action, and Rick accomplished this perfectly, with the morning sun illuminating Bruce's face as he gave a thumbs-up to the oncoming drivers, indicating it was clear for them to pass. Using the string of cars lined up behind Bruce as a backdrop, Rick perfectly captured him "In The Crosswalk," which is where Bruce has made such a significant difference with kids and parents for years.
Thanks to Best Version Media for the recognition, Bruce for the cooperation, Rick for his fantastic work behind the lens, and Sara Jessick for once again creating a lasting cover that makes an impact in our community.
Westwood Living was proud to organize and orchestrate the inaugural Lessons From Leaders Series, presented by Dedham Savings.
Thanks to the support of more than 50 professionals, we provided unprecedented, comprehensive access to useful tutelage, guidance and information to high school students in our community.
Visit lfleaders.com to check out our photo galleries and listen to the keynote speeches delivered by Dr. Peter Kevorkian from Westwood Family Chiropractic, Ariel Dangelo from Nightingale Wealth Solutions and Mike DiSarro from Neroli Ristorante & Mercato.
What's old is new again - because tried and true wins the day, every time.
Did you know it typically takes 7-12 touches for a sale to close - before someone decides they want to buy something from you? It's the human condition. You have to stay present. You have to build rapport and a level of trust and comfort. It's the 7-12 rule.
Why bring this up? Putting you persistently and consistency in front of our audience is what we do. We work with you to keep you present while building that rapport and trust with an unbeatable demographic. It works.
It's really simple. Trust the proven process. There's a reason Best Version Media, the company that powers Westwood Living and more than 1,500 other publications, saw record growth in 2023 and will print more than 50 million community magazines in 2024. Over 42,000 of those will spotlight everything that's good about Westwood - our people, our businesses, our issues.
Engage locally, with a true vision and commitment to bolster your brand through consistent and persistent presence in arenas your target audience appreciates. Sponsor a team. Support a local event. Invest in a local endeavor that makes a difference in the community.
Take ownership of something that says more than "Buy from me." People want to hear, "I care about you. I'm invested in this community." Invariably and historically, this approach wins brand loyalty and triggers action, which is why thousands of companies around North America are committing millions of dollars to support local publications that spotlight residents and connect business owners directly to the community in a personal way.
Digital is an important component. You have to be present digitally, and easy to find online - which means you need a partner who can effectively manage your digital demands and provide a personalized, affordable, effective local marketing package for you.
As digital agencies swallow your hard-earned dollars trying to decipher algorithms in a raucous sea of change, remember what got the most popular companies to their highest level of success - BRANDING.
1) Identify a target audience
2) Invest in something of value and importance to that audience
3) Consistently and Persistently position your brand within or around that valuable commodity.
4) Understand branding success is a process that takes commitment. You don't dip your toes in the branding pool fixated on "What's my ROI?" Use coupons for that.
5) Pick partners committed to your growth who are willing to be creative in ways you've never tried before while building your brand. Who do you WANT to work with? Good relationships make your day better.
Thank you to the wonderful companies who joined the Westwood Living Business Network in 2023. I love working with people who will put trust in the process, truly partner and grow together. If that's you, let's do it in 2024. I guarantee we'll have some fun.
Joining the Westwood Living Business Network immediately connects you with more than 60 local business owners who are looking to grow and partner with like-minded individuals. You're building your business before a single magazine goes in the mailbox and before a single digital impression is delivered online, on Facebook and on Instagram. Let's grow together.
Rita Ann (Nuss) Leyden, age 85, of Westport, CT and Westwood, MA, died peacefully from natural causes on March 2, 2023. Her warmth, generosity, ready laugh, quick wit, listening ear, impeccable style, and deep faith will be sorely missed.
Affectionately known as “Grey Momma” for her stunning silver hair and nurturing spirit, Rita was a voracious reader and lifelong learner. Her enthusiasm for sports was genuine; she knew the players, the stats, and the strategy. Rita enjoyed playing tennis, bowling, and riding waves in Quogue and Maui. Her knitted infant blankets and prayer shawls brought comfort to hundreds. Her homemade chocolate chip bars were devoured by those who visited the family home one block from Compo Beach.
Rita was the cherished wife of Thomas Patrick Leyden, her husband of 59 years who predeceased her in July 2020. She raised three devoted children: Margaret Mary (Peggy) Leyden Holda, of South Easton, MA; Patricia Marie Leyden Paul of South Grafton, MA; and Thomas Patrick Leyden, Jr. of Westwood, MA. She was beloved by her granddaughters Megan Elizabeth Paul, Abigail Marie Paul, Dahlia Anna Leyden, and Olivia Rita Leyden. She also was blessed to have numerous nieces and nephews whom she loved dearly.
Rita is survived by her sisters Dorothy (Nuss) Finnegan and Edna (Nuss) Leyden and her brother Hon. Thomas Nuss and his wife, Susan Case Nuss. She is predeceased by her parents Francis Bernard and Edna Ellen (O’Gara) Nuss, her brother Rev. Francis Bernard Nuss, her sister Ellen (Nuss) Illuzzi and brothers-in-law Francis Finnegan, Francis Illuzzi, and Lawrence Leyden. She also is predeceased by her parental in-laws Arthur Francis and Margaret Mary (Long) Leyden and siblings-in-law Arthur Francis, Jr. and Regina Leyden.
Born in Flushing, NY on November 2, 1937, Rita grew up in Great Neck, NY. She graduated from St. Aloysius School in Great Neck in 1951 and Our Lady of Mercy Academy in Syosset, NY in 1955. Rita earned a BA in History from the College of Saint Elizabeth in Morristown, NJ in 1959.
Rita dedicated most of her adult life helping her children realize their potential. She also put her talents to work as a volunteer, forming the Assumption School library and fundraising for Fairfield College Preparatory School. A longtime member of the Westport Young Women’s League, Rita served as its President from 1976-77, overseeing numerous social and charitable initiatives and forming friendships that would last decades. When her nest emptied, Rita re-entered the workforce, becoming a top salesperson at Talbot’s and a knowledgeable circulation desk assistant at the Westport Public Library.
Rita was an active parishioner at the Church of the Assumption in Westport, CT, serving as both a Lector and Eucharistic Minister. In 2013, Rita received the St. Augustine Medal of Service from the Diocese of Bridgeport, CT, which recognizes "unsung heroes" who unselfishly dedicate their time and talents to develop parish communities.
Visiting Hours will be on Wednesday, March 22 from 4-8 p.m. at Harding Funeral Home, 210 Post Road East, Westport, CT. A Mass of Christian Burial will be on Thursday, March 23 at 10 a.m. at the Church of the Assumption, 98 Riverside Avenue, Westport, CT. The Funeral Mass will also be available for viewing via live-stream online. Further details will be available through the Assumption parish website www.assumptionwestport.org
In lieu of flowers, the family invites you to make a donation in Rita's honor to a cause that was very dear to her - The Women's Empowerment Scholarship, PO Box 380, Monson, MA 01057, www.womensempowermentscholarship.org
We sat in the studio, watching via satellite, as Don Shane stood on the third base line at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. Mere moments had passed since the Tigers lost the 2006 World Series, and our legendary leader was recapping the mistakes that cost the boys victory while also recounting indelible memories the team had created that summer and fall. His ability to poetically, intelligently and thoroughly encapsulate a moment, live, was one of the many characteristics that set him apart. On this night, specifically, he spoke for more than eight minutes, alone, uninterrupted.
It was riveting. Every second.
With seemingly no effort, Don narrated a scene better than anyone else, not just "filling the air," but providing context, perspective, humor and gravitas. If it was a big game, Don was there. He was an embedded fixture of your viewing experience.
Don covered it all - the biggest fights, the NBA Finals, the Stanley Cup Finals, the Rose Bowl, the Final Four, the World Series, the Super Bowl, you name it. He was equally dedicated to our local athletes, spotlighting high schoolers in and out of the classroom and making sure that connection with Detroit was never forgotten.
"There are people in this community that have woven themselves into the fabric of this community," said Basketball Hall-of-Famer Joe Dumars. "And he's absolutely one of 'em."
Don's impact on the people of Detroit was significant and real, largely because he came to personify the personality of Motown's people. He was lovable and energetic, knowledgeable and unafraid to challenge authority, asking tough questions when they needed to be asked.
"You think you know him," said former Red Wings coach Mike Babcock "I'm sure it happened a lot in his life. People would walk by, 'Hey, how are you?' And he doesn't know who they are, but they're watching him every night. They've become part of your life."
Don's life was one of action and he was a pillar upon which the Channel 7 brand was built. He WAS personality and as WXYZ built a dominant news team, leadership focused on spotlighting the top personalities and letting them shine - Bill Bonds, Diana Lewis, Jerry Hodak, Robbie Timmons, Erik Smith, Frank Turner, Mary Conway, Cheryl Chodun, Don Shane, to name a few. It's a strategy most news organizations have moved away from, but not before Don's personality left an everlasting mark on millions of viewers over the course of four decades.
His "Dare Don" segments live forever as some of the most wild, ingenious, creative television programming ever produced at the local level, the diminutive sports anchor interacting with some of the top athletes in the world, playing out fantasies time and again for Detroiters to watch.
"He's Detroit," was how Hall-Of-Fame trainer Emanuel Steward summed up Don in 2012.
Not always. Don's career on the big stage took him from Detroit to Chicago to Boston and back to Detroit. He launched Sports Final Edition at WDIV in the early 80s and later launched the Sunday Sports Update at WXYZ upon his return to Michigan. Sandwiched between those stints, he teamed with Bob Lobel at WBZ-TV in Boston as the Celtics won championships, the Patriots went to Super Bowl XX, Roger Clemens struck out 20 and the the Red Sox went to the World Series.
"Don understood that you can break stories and you can be the people that generate stories, not just the newspapers," said long-time play-by-play broadcaster Mark Champion. "Don was very good at that."
"He was emotional," said former Red Wings forward Kris Draper. "Because he cares."
"He brought a lot of energy, a lot of passion, to what he did," said Basketball Hall-Of-Famer Ben Wallace.
"When you saw Don interviewing myself, or Drapes, or whoever, it was just two buddies talking," said former Red Wings forward Darren McCarty.
I'm lucky to say Don was a true buddy and we had many conversations. Conversations about career. Conversations about fatherhood. Conversations about how to be better. Don truly cared about me. He cared about my development and my family and there's no chance I would have enjoyed the level of success I have enjoyed without his mentorship. Don made it look easy and just soaking in how he did things, every day, made me a better professional.
Inevitably, it took awhile to weave through a crowd on our way back to the car after a game. Fans would constantly stop us to take a picture with Don or share a laugh and he would always engage with a smile on his face. Don was one of those guys you just wanted to be around. People constantly swung by the sports office to share a laugh or listen to a story.
I can't tell you the number of times I pinched myself, realizing in the moment how fortunate I was to have a front row seat.
Donnie - Reggie and Reimont have prepared a spot for you and, as always, are ready to make you shine!
The family gatherings, most notably the storied Fourth of July celebrations in Hampton Beach, NH, date back more than 80 years. “Cousin Camp” has stood the test of time, gathering kids of all ages under one roof. Rooted in laughter and camaraderie, the Perry family convenes for the fun of it. They find joy in each other’s company and love competing.
Inevitably, the conversation always turns to football – unavoidable when four coaches, a bunch of baseball players and an aspiring pro quarterback start swapping stories.
E.J. Perry IV is weeks away from getting the call he’s envisioned since the first day he grabbed a football. The former Andover High School standout, who began his college career at Boston College and finished at Brown University, will likely be selected in the 2022 NFL Draft. All signs are pointing in that direction.
A week ago, when I first learned Hall of Famer Mike Bossy was approaching death, I immediately thought of my old boss and lifelong friend, Bill Mitchell.
The affable, lovable master-connector had a special connection with Bossy, dating back to the days when the Islanders dominated the NHL and the Mitchells were beginning their run as one of the nation's top clothiers.
Bill and his family watched Islanders games at Nassau Coliseum from a suite, and naturally, Mitchell and Bossy became good friends. Mike's wife, Lucie, was learning English and Mike had asked Bill if she could watch the games from the sanctuary of the Mitchell suite.
Of course Bill said yes and wanted nothing in return but friendship, something Mike returned with sincerity. Their bond grew along with their respective legends. The Isles, led by Bossy, took home the Stanley Cup four consecutive years. The Mitchell empire was just taking off, with a who's who of clientele walking through the doors to buy suits, ties and sportswear.
Bossy was one of many celebrities who stopped by Mitchell's in the late 80s when I first started working behind the customer service desk. As an aspiring sportscaster and huge fan, I was in awe of the steely, yet friendly, glare, the strong handshake and a humility that was evident from the first introduction.
Today, I called Bill and he shared some Mike Bossy stories in only the way Bill can. At times getting choked up, he recalled the most meaningful memory from their decades-long friendship.
It was 1986, and Westport had suffered a terrible tragedy. Michael Kowall, a friend and baseball teammate of mine, collided with another player during a soccer game. Mike was knocked out, never regained consciousness and later died from a brain hemorrhage. In the wake of his death, Michael's soccer teammates, a collection of incredibly talented eighth-graders, were stunned, shocked and unmotivated to press on.
Bill, along with his friend and coach Dave Harrison, made a decision that ultimately re-energized and re-focused the squad.
The Islanders had two home games approaching on the schedule and the dads decided to split the team in two and take the players to those games - half for the first game and the other half two nights later. Bill called Bossy and asked if the future Hall Of Famer would visit with the players in Bill's suite after the game and talk to them.
"Would it be possible to bring some sticks and pucks for the kids?" asked Bill. "And you better score a couple goals to make it worth their while."
Bossy agreed to do it. Bill convinced the guy who ran Nassau Coliseum to keep the lights on both nights, and the enduring magic ensued.
The Islanders superstar spent an hour in the suite both nights, shaking hands, taking pictures and answering questions. One question focused on the fear of something bad happening again and how to handle that fear. Bossy described his own acceptance of hockey's inherent danger and stressed how he couldn't ever allow himself to think about it if he wanted to succeed at the highest level.
He told the players, "When the spring season starts, I'll be at your first game. And if I'm on that hill at Staples High School, I better see you on the field."
Sure enough, on an Islanders off-day during the postseason, there was Bossy, on the hill at Staples watching the boys as they once again played the game they love, overcoming those natural fears and emotions.
By the way, Bossy scored a goal in the first game against the Maple Leafs and a goal in the second game against the Whalers, as the boys from Westport watched. That's what friends do for friends. When someone asks a favor, you take care of business.
Mike Bossy will be missed, and my heart hurts for his dear friend, Bill.
Bossy's friendship with Bill Mitchell was special
By Caroline Hall
Westwood High School Class of 2023
Editor's Note - Ms. Hall and her classmates were assigned to write an article about something that is positively or negatively affecting the Westwood community. I was honored to spend time answering Caroline's questions and am grateful for the time she dedicated to developing this story.
Westwood local Tom Leyden founded and launched Westwood Living magazine in May of 2022, with a mission of bringing the community together.
After moving to Westwood in 2015, Leyden explained he saw “a need for community bonding” and became “the middle-man that brought it together.”
Leyden created a space where small businesses in the area could interact with both each other and residents. His main goal when creating Westwood Living was to “build networking” and he has certainly accomplished that. Westwood Living is unique in its innate ways of connecting members of the community, making it stand out from an ordinary media source. Inside the magazine, locals will find features of other locals as well as advice applicable to many in the community.
This magazine shares information alongside fun, engaging images, furthering the magazine's popularity amongst locals. Plus, if you are a Westwood resident you can subscribe to get magazines free of charge.
Westwood High School Senior and head of the Westwood Fashion Instagram, Jade Dunn, had an opportunity to submit an article about the fashion Instagram to be displayed in Westwood Living. The fashion Instagram account is run by advisors of the Fashion Club at the high school, and features students’ outfits weekly. After Dunn’s article was published, she noted “the account’s following grew significantly more than normal.” This goes to show how Westwood Living’s readers are seeking out the opportunities to connect with the community.
As more editions are published, more stories are shared, and small businesses become better known to community members. However, one of Westwood Living’s biggest successes happened off paper.
On March 2, 2023, Westwood Living hosted a sold-out Winter Social at a local restaurant often featured in their magazine, Neroli Ristorante. On a cold night in Islington, the small business was filled with the warmth of over 200 community members. This night was a huge success for Leyden and Westwood Living, but even more so the community. Westwood Living proved it was so much more than just an information source, as it continuously creates a space for the community to grow together.
Leyden explained his hopes for Westwood Living’s future is “just continuing to connect with people. Obviously growing bigger, creating more opportunities for networking, I [Tom Leyden] sometimes call it ‘Westwood Living business networking’ because we have built so many opportunities and will continue to for small businesses.”
Westwood residents, be on the lookout for the next edition!