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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Letters

Letters

WestportNow welcomes letters from readers on matters pertaining to Westport and Westporters. Those of 300 words or less are given preference. Letters are edited for grammar, clarity, and accuracy. Publication shall be at the sole discretion of WestportNow. Third-party or anonymous letters, those signed with a pseudonym, or letters appearing in other publications are not published.

A postal address, e-mail address if available, and day and evening telephone numbers are required for verificiation purposes, although this information is not published. Letters may be submitted by e-mail to , via fax at (203) 286-2099, or by mail to 150 North Ave., Westport, CT 06880.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Letter: Summer Noise Makes Resident ‘Pray for Winter’

To the Editor:

The noise in my neighborhood between Long Lots and Cross Highway over the past few years has become unbearable. Being outside during the summer before 7 p.m. is pretty much a no-hoper, at least where I live.

It is either a chain saw, a huge tree shredder, the reverse alarm on a large truck, a leaf blower, a lawn mower or somebody getting their septic drained. It never seems to stop and has me eager to get out of town or praying for winter, which is weird.

Maybe we have just had some bad luck and it will change. Maybe it is not so bad in other parts of Westport. But it seems a helluva way to live, particularly given the price of living here.

I am curious if others have a similar experience and if there is anything that might be done.

Gerard MacDonell,
Westport

Posted 06:17 PM
(0) CommentsPermalink

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Letter: Senior Activities Committee Issues Invitation

To the Editor:

The Enhancement Committee of the Westport Center for Senior Activities, 21 Imperial Ave., is excited to invite you to an ice cream social on Tuesday, July 11 from 5 to 6:30 p.m. 

Following the social, we hope you will join us at the Representative Town Meeting (RTM) at Town Hall at 7:30 p.m. as the RTM considers our request for funding for our enhancement/expansion project. This is the last step in funding approvals as we inch our way towards groundbreaking. 

The Enhancement Committee would like to thank everyone who has supported this project to date; whether it was writing a letter of support, calling an elected official, attending a meeting or by making a donation. Thank you. We look forward to seeing you on July 11.

Stan Nayer, Co-Chair
Lynn Goldberg, Co-Chair
Leslie Wolf. Vice - Chair
Westport

Posted 03:25 PM
(0) CommentsPermalink

Monday, June 12, 2017

Letter: Thanks From the Superintendent

To the Editor:

Education and the pursuit of learning have been my lifelong profession. Last Friday night, at the Westport Pops Concert, I had an epiphany that dramatized and clarified our educational mission in Westport.

In its aftermath, I am still processing the profound impact that event had on me and on the entire audience.  Beyond the exquisite music performed, the evening sent powerful messages to our students. 

They were told that their music is cherished, their hard work to perfect their talent is honored, and with such distinguished guest host, James Naughton and Lincoln Center’s Andrew Wilk as their guest conductor, they were told that they could be anything they wished to be.  This evening under the stars taught each one of them that the stars are reachable.

Too few students in public education are afforded such extraordinary pathways to success. To everyone who contributed to this extraordinary evening, I extend the gratitude of the Westport Board of Education and our entire district. 

Colleen Palmer
Westport Superintendent of Schools

Posted 09:58 AM
(0) CommentsPermalink

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Letter: Support Your Local Firefighters

To the Editor:

The Board of Finance and First Selectman have written a few notices lately regarding the town budgets, and I just feel a few things have gotten lost in the shuffle. 

My husband went to Town Hall the other day so his fellow firefighter could turn in his retirement papers. He has served this town for 38 years. He did this not because he wants to retire, but because he has to. 

It was a sad moment for everyone. This is years of experience walking out the door, and he is not alone. They are all facing significant reductions in benefits.

The Firefighters Union and the town are still in arbitration over their contract. My husband has been a firefighter in this town for over 20 years. He did not take this job to be wealthy. He took this job because he cares about this town.

More "Letter: Support Your Local Firefighters"

Posted 11:06 AM
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Thursday, May 04, 2017

Letter: BOE Says RTM Vote Investment in Future

To the Editor:

This week’s vote by the Representative Town Meeting (RTM) is an investment in the future of our town, our schools, and our children It also sends a strong signal of support to Dr. Palmer, our outstanding new superintendent, and her vision for an academically-thriving, fiscally-disciplined, and kind organization.

We’d like to thank the many, many members of the Westport community, including our wonderful students, who were engaged and effective throughout this budget process.

We also would like to thank all of the hard-working, thoughtful volunteers on the PTA, RTM, and Board of Finance who help keep our schools on a track of continuous improvement.  Most importantly, we’d like to thank the truly excellent staff of the Westport Public Schools who meet the mission for our children every day.

Westport Board of Education

Michael Gordon, Chair
Jeannie Smith, Vice Chair
Elaine Whitney, Secretary
Karen Kleine
Mark Mathias
Vik Muktavaram
Candice Savin

Westport

Posted 10:13 AM
(0) CommentsPermalink

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Letter: Thank You for Restoration of Educational Funds

To the Editor:

I want to send out two massive thank you messages to our town. All of our town.

First, thank you to the RTM for delivering this rare supermajority vote to restore more money back to our great schools than the Board of Finance was willing to do. Secondly, a big heartfelt shout out to all the parents, PTA, and especially the students for engaging in this process.

I am proud that our petition, just one month old, gave people a voice. In that short time to secure over 1,700 online signatures and more than 500 written signatures is an achievement for the community — not for me.

To have more than 500 written comments from the public in one document was more than we expected or asked for. To see our students stand up to speak, one after another last night, made me proud for all of our town and its future.

More "Letter: Thank You for Restoration of Educational Funds"

Posted 01:33 PM
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Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Letter: Signs Gone But Campaign More Active

To the Editor:

It was great to see our signs on WestportNow today.

Unfortunately, every single sign about the school budget on North Avenue was removed — presumed stolen — overnight. I contacted the police, and they were clear they would not have removed them.

WestportNow.com Image
Some of the signs on North Avenue before they disappeared overnight. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

It’s great that you were able to post a picture before these signs that were intended to promote a local issue and tonight’s public meeting were removed.

Rather than get angry, our campaign is getting more active. We don’t have time or the money to print and replace the signs. So we are getting creative and doing everything we can to promote tonight’s important town meeting.

More "Letter: Signs Gone But Campaign More Active"

Posted 01:10 PM
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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Letter: Let the Coyotes Be

To the Editor:

Nature and its wildlife are under siege.  We also are witnessing a new generation of children who regard the outdoors as “a place that doesn’t get Wi-Fi.”

WestportNow.com Image
What appeared to be a coyote was spotted last month by a surveillance camera outside a house on Woodside Avenue in Westport. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

When Richard moved to Fairfield County almost a decade ago, he was told by neighbors not to leave his young children outside at dusk because coyotes might eat them.

At the time, this sounded amusing—-who leaves their two-year-olds alone anywhere, much less outdoors.

Fast forward to the present. Not a day goes by where someone confesses that they are afraid to go outside because of the “coyote problem.” Worse yet, some are even arming themselves just in case.

More "Letter: Let the Coyotes Be"

Posted 09:02 PM
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Friday, March 31, 2017

Letter: Despite Budget Cuts, ‘We’re in Good Hands’

To the Editor:

Budget cuts or not, we’re in good hands.

Recently many have been worried about the future of our schools. I’ve been looking for a way to explain why I’m not worried about the future of our schools — not yet anyway, and tonight I found it.

I don’t know what will happen with our budget, but I know that our students will always be in good hands and in great schools regardless.

In support of fellow WEMS volunteer Ben Frimmer and several kids that I’ve watched over the years, I went and saw Coleytown Company’s performance of “Cinderella” — directed by Ben and put on by the kids of Coleytown Middle School.

More "Letter: Despite Budget Cuts, ‘We’re in Good Hands’"

Posted 07:59 AM
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Monday, March 27, 2017

Letter: Town ‘Remains Committed’ to Providing Excellent First Responder Pensions

(Editor’s note: The following letter is in response to one earlier today from the wife of a Westport firefighter who, in turn, was responding to a letter from Board of Finance members.)

To the Editor:

The Town of Westport respects the important and challenging role that its firefighters play in keeping our citizens safe.

Unfortunately, in the face of recent, unprecedented increases in pension and retiree health insurance costs in recent years, the town had to ask the fire union to consider adjustments to several pension provisions that appear to go beyond what is typically found in a municipal fire pension. 

At the same time, the fire union also sought enhancements to its pension. After months of negotiations, the town and fire union were unable to reach agreement.

More "Letter: Town ‘Remains Committed’ to Providing Excellent First Responder Pensions"

Posted 07:59 PM
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Letter: Response to BOF Members Letter Re BOE Budget

Dear Board of Finance Members:

I’ve read your letter dated March 26 posted on WestportNow.com. I am … it’s hard to put into words. Disgusted? Confused? Disheartened? Although perhaps not for the reasons you would hope to have accomplished by publishing this letter.

I agree that Westport residents should not have to pay for the mistakes made by the state. That being said, do the Westport residents know the whole picture of what else is going on in our town? “Education” is a big trigger word for this town, for myself as well.

I have a child in the Westport Public School system, and am disheartened every year by budget cuts. I would get into the details regarding those disappointments, but that isn’t what this letter is about.

Do the residents realize what is happening with our local first responders? Do they know that this town, with all it claims to offer, is asking that the new contract for our first responders cancel benefits to their families in case of a line of duty death? And this is only one of many items listed.

More "Letter: Response to BOF Members Letter Re BOE Budget"

Posted 11:43 AM
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Sunday, March 26, 2017

Letter: BOF Members Say Tell State Westport Is Not Its Piggy Bank

(Editor’s note: The following letter is from six Board of Finance members. Member John Hartwell decided not to participate)

Dear Westport Resident:

Westport has worked hard to prudently manage its finances and tax base. All branches of our town government, many elected officials and volunteers, have worked collaboratively, on behalf of all residents, to ensure we have a high quality of life at a cost all residents and businesses can afford. Sadly, maintaining this balance will be more difficult in the future.   

Today we are faced with grim economic news from the State of Connecticut. This is not a one-off problem and it will continue for years to come. Because of our state government’s inability to manage its budget and to control spending resulting in a projected deficit of over $1.5 billion next year alone, Westport finds itself in a difficult position.

Instead of tackling a state government that has grown too large and too expensive for the residents of Connecticut, the state is largely trying to solve its budget problems by shifting costs to towns. 

First, the state is decreasing or totally eliminating payments it has made to Westport for either education or other services which equals $3 million-$4 million in 2018 alone. We assume this revenue from the state, which directly supplemented our operating budgets, is permanently gone.

More "Letter: BOF Members Say Tell State Westport Is Not Its Piggy Bank"

Posted 11:10 AM
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Friday, February 10, 2017

Letter: Thank You to Public Works

WestportNow.com Image
To the Editor: Thank you Westport Department of Public Works for the job it does in removing snow from our streets. Just one block away from my home (and one town away-Norwalk) the roads are treacherous. — Pipa Bell Ader, Westport (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Photo by Pippa Bell Ader

Posted 10:29 AM
(0) CommentsPermalink

Friday, November 11, 2016

Letter: More Taxes Next Year for CT Residents

To the Editor:

In a recent memo to the agency heads in Connecticut from Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s Budget Director Benjamin Barnes, he details his projections for the upcoming fiscal budget in 2018 (July 1, 2017-June 30, 2018).  These projections show a deficit of over $1.1 billion. Based on information I was able to find, the budget deficit will be much higher.

Driving the huge upcoming budget deficit is significant growth in fixed costs the state cannot avoid. The increase comes from rising costs in debt service, teacher pension plan, state employee fringe benefits and OPEB, Medicaid and other entitlements and pay increases forecasted for the new collective bargaining agreement. 

Adding to the upcoming deficit, the budget director is also forecasting a drop in state revenue, due to the continuing decline in Connecticut state income tax receipts.  His total projected budget deficit starting July 1, 2017 is $1.162 billion.

However, based on several recently published reports, the upcoming budget deficit will be much higher than the budget director’s projections. Just last week, in a new actuarial analysis of Connecticut’s teacher pension plan, state contributions need to increase by an additional $47 million more than what is in the budget director’s projection. 

More "Letter: More Taxes Next Year for CT Residents"

Posted 07:07 PM
(1) CommentsPermalink

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Letter: ‘We Have to Change Our Attitude as a Community’

To the Editor:

Last Wednesday, I dropped my kid off at Staples High School at 7:25 a.m. and headed for the Merritt. The traffic has been extra heavy due to the construction at Cross Highway and Compo Road North, so when I turned onto Weston Road I was in bumper to bumper stop and go traffic. 

Gazing into the Audi convertible in front of me, I realized that there were moving images on the GPS display. I looked more carefully and saw that the driver had his cell phone propped up in the display area and was live streaming a talk show to watch while “driving.” 

Sitting there in traffic, I watched the eyes of the Audi driver in his rear view mirror and he was barely glancing at the road: so much so that when the car in front of him took his turn at the stop sign, the Audi driver coasted right through behind almost getting t-boned by the car from Main Street, who had the right of way.

Even more alarming is that the Audi driver got on to the Merritt, pulled into the left lane and sped away.  I prayed that he got to his destination safely and without hurting anyone else.

More "Letter: ‘We Have to Change Our Attitude as a Community’"

Posted 10:04 PM
(2) CommentsPermalink
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