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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

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.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Letter: Unhappy With Sound Levels at Levitt

To the Editor:

Growing up in Westport, we took vacations with Mortimer Levitt and his family.  He was an honorable and gracious man who loved Westport, hence his gift of the music pavilion.

Unfortunately, his dream has failed to manifest, particularly since the redesign, the way he’d envisioned. And Mortimer would roll over in his grave of he were a half mile away as I am tonight.

Families have had to check into hotels because they couldn’t get their kids to bed. When I along with two others who reside in downtown Westport met with the first selectman, chief of police, the man who runs the soundboard at the Levitt, and the two women who administer the Levitt, they promised to monitor the noise level. We told them all that story of families faced with an untenable situation.

The administrators said they’d not yet acquired the decibel monitor, and I shared with them an app on my phone which does just that. This summer new guidelines were instituted. Supposedly. Those guidelines and monitoring should have happened from the day the Levitt opened.

More "Letter: Unhappy With Sound Levels at Levitt"

Posted 10:02 PM
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Thursday, August 18, 2016

Letter: Developer’s Letter Re Center St. ‘Inaccurate’

Editor’s note: this letter is in response to one by Robert Haroun published on Aug. 15. (See WestportNow Aug. 15, 2016)

To the Editor:

The Historic District Commission (HDC) has worked successfully with Rob Haroun of SIR Development on a number of successful preservation efforts and he has been the recipient of Historic Preservation awards from our annual program.

WestportNow.com Image
This house at 21[-25] Center St. is scheduled for demolition. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

The HDC worked diligently with Mr. Haroun and his architect, Mr. William Achilles, to refine and encourage the adoption of their amendment No. 711 to Supplementary Use Regulation 32-18 intended to encourage the preservation of historic residential structures, to permit them to subdivide a non-conforming property to establish a third lot and to save one historic house.

Mr. Haroun has written a letter to the editor published in WestportNow that inaccurately describes the outcome of the latest review of his plan to redevelop the property at 21 Center St. 

That review was conducted by the Joint Committee of the HDC and the Architectural Review Board (ARB) as required by the Zoning Ordinance, not the ARB alone. That Joint Committee is made up of three representatives of the ARB and three of the HDC. 

More "Letter: Developer’s Letter Re Center St. ‘Inaccurate’"

Posted 04:59 PM
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Monday, August 15, 2016

Letter: Developer Says Nothing to Show for ‘Good Intentions’

To the Editor:

I have lived in Westport for 25 years and am president of SIR Development, LLC a new construction luxury home builder. I have noted that historic structures and their place in this town have been a constant debate.

WestportNow.com Image
This house at 25 Center St. was the subject of lengthy negotiations with developer Rob Haroun and the town. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

During this time, hundreds of older homes have been demolished to make room for larger ones leaving a small inventory of older structures that retain the character of yesteryear. Some efforts have been made to create incentive programs for saving these structures through the existing 32–18 zoning regulations, but clearly the existing regulations fall short.

After seeing that 32-18 was deficient, we embarked on an effort to amend Section 32-18. With a specific property in mind, 25 Center St., we saw an opportunity to save an historic structure and provide a win-win for both the town and preservationists.

Knowing that the process was quite protracted, we proceeded in good faith with the town and the community to accomplish this goal.

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Posted 06:45 PM
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Letter: Longshore Assistant Golf Pro Says Goodbye

To the Editor:

After 17 great seasons at Longshore Club Park, my wife and I have decided it’s time to move out of state.  I want to thank all my dedicated golf students for their loyal support.

I would publicly thank the longtime head and new PGA Master Professional, John Cooper, for his faith in me.  John, I learned so much from you about teaching and the golf business I never would have received elsewhere.

The staff John has assembled to represent Longshore, the cashiers, starters, and rangers are the best and most professional I have ever worked with and do a thankless job cheerfully.  A round of golf at Longshore flows so well due to a team effort.

Longshore golfers,  John and the staff have your best interests at heart. Trust in them today and down the road.

Best wishes.

Christopher Carriero
Longshore Golf Professional
Westport

Posted 07:37 AM
(0) CommentsPermalink

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Letter: Don’t Blame GOPers for Transportation Woes

To the Editor:

In a recent opinion piece, lawmakers were blamed for the deep budget cuts impacting transportation and increasing Metro-North fares. (Talking Transportation: Don’t Blame Malloy for the Fare Hikes, WestportNow, Aug. 1, 2016)

That blame is half misplaced.

You see, the op-ed wrongly grouped Democrat and Republican lawmakers together, and failed to recognize the stark differences in our approaches to improving transportation in Connecticut. 

The Democrats sat back and decimated our state’s Special Transportation Fund for years by taking transportation money to balance their ill-conceived budgets. The Republicans want to make transportation a priority.

More "Letter: Don’t Blame GOPers for Transportation Woes"

Posted 01:55 PM
Permalink

Poetic Tribute to Oscar’s Owner

To the Editor:

Editor’s note: the author wrote this poem to Lee Papageorge, owner of Oscar’s, which closed on Aug. 1.

What genuine joy and endless glee,
You gave with your iconic restaurant – Oscar’s deli –
To Westporters, ‘out of towners’, those from N.Y.C.,
To so many others …
Decades of the W.F.D., W.P.D., town employees,
And generations of families,
From kids of all ages, fathers, and mothers,

Extraordinary sandwiches, food, drinks, desserts,
Oh - so fine, each time,
And topped off with priceless memories.
This will never be surpassed – or ever be beat,
On downtown’s ‘Main Street’.

Year after year, for those people
‘On the go’, and did not know –
You gave ‘the community’ more and more –
Always with such loving kindness, Lee,
From your legendary store for free,
With charitable contributions of your food,
That was delicious, nutritious and galore.

When God made you, he broke the mold,
Mr. Papageorge – your heart’s made of gold,
For all of your giving
Teaching by example, each day,
How ‘we all should be living’.

I give you thanks,
Praise, and three cheers,
For providing the town with Oscar’s,
Forty two glorious years!

May you find God’s love in each day,
By those who now help you along your way.
Sending you special prayers,
For healing and fortitude,
With my kindest regards and sincerest¬ gratitude.

Annie Fasanella          
Westport

Posted 11:49 AM
(0) CommentsPermalink

Monday, August 01, 2016

Letter: Praise for ‘Incredible’ Sherwood Island Lifeguards

Editor’s note: The writer of the following letter requested anonymity and while we do not normally publish anonymous letters, the reason for making an exception in this case will be clear.

To the Editor:

I would like to take a minute to give some credit where I think it’s due. In our profession, we get to see a lot of heroic acts by fellow firefighters, police officers and other emergency personnel where they are given either awards or public praise for their actions.

WestportNow.com Image
Sherwood Island State Park lifeguards in the water during Sunday’s rescue operation. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

Sometimes though, I feel it’s the ones who maybe aren’t in the public eye as often that can be left out—specifically the lifeguards who keep watch over and protect our beaches. 

Late yesterday afternoon, we received a call for multiple drowning victims at Sherwood Island State Park. My company was the the first fire department unit to arrive on scene. Two victims had been rescued by another beach goer.

A third victim was still reported to be in the water. Needless to say, the scene was chaotic.

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Posted 03:35 PM
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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Letter: Thanks From Stamford Health

To the Editor:

After 21 years, I am both honored and humbled that the community continues to rally around those who have been touched by cancer by supporting the Bennett Cancer Center’s annual Walk & Run. As the signature event for Hope in Motion, our year-round fundraising initiative, the Walk & Run gives families and friends a way to honor and remember loved ones. On Sunday, June 5, more than 4,800 community members, including many from Westport, braved the intermittent rain showers to participate in the event. To date, we have raised more than $824,000, 82 percent of our $1 million fundraising goal.

These funds go directly towards programs and services that benefit our patients and their families, such as: nutritional counseling; a post-treatment exercise program; integrative medicine (yoga, reiki, massage); patient transportation services; individual, family and group counseling; and survivorship programs. As the director of the Bennett Cancer Center, I witness every day the life-changing impact that these services have on our patients and their families.

On behalf of everyone at Stamford Health’s Bennett Cancer Center, I would like to thank our generous sponsors, event organizers, committee members and volunteers for their ongoing and tireless dedication and hard work. We could not do it without you!

From the bottom of our hearts, we are ever grateful for all that you do and for showing us what it truly means to put “hope in motion.”

See you all next year!

Liz Manfredo
Director, Bennett Cancer Center
Stamford Health
Stamford

Posted 11:30 AM
(0) CommentsPermalink

Letter: BOE Issues End of School Year Report

To the Editor:

The Westport school district has just completed its most impactful year in a generation. Starting July 1, our two important new hires will begin their leadership posts: Dr. Colleen Palmer as superintendent and Mr. James D’Amico as principal of Staples.  Both have significant experience as academic leaders and will foster continuous improvement in our already-strong school district.

Connecting with Our Community

Stay tuned for a calendar of upcoming opportunities this summer and fall for members of the community to meet our new superintendent, Dr. Palmer. She is planning a host of informal coffees, meetings, and gatherings at which she would enjoy hearing perspectives on what is cherished most about our district and what are areas that might be explored for further enhancement. We encourage everyone to participate in one of these events and personally welcome our new superintendent.

Guiding Principles

Starting next year, our schools will be guided by four principles that embody the values we aspire to for our students and ourselves: social and emotional awareness, kindness with sincerity, principled in thought and action, and learning always. Known as the “Guiding Principles,” these are ways of being that will make up the fabric of everything we do in Kindergarten through 12th grade both in and out of the classroom. Having these clearly articulated guiding principles truly sets Westport apart in giving our children proven skills needed to succeed long after they graduate. 

New for Next Year

The budget we developed for next year saw the leanest increase in many years - and yet we are making many program improvements. Starting in September, Staples will introduce nine new courses across multiple subject areas. Each elementary school will have a half-time science coach and dedicated laboratory, further enhancing our commitment to that discipline. We also are incorporating new elements of strategic planning that align our budget closely with longer-term goals.  We want to thank our administrators who put together a budget that moved us forward academically while remaining fiscally disciplined. We also want to thank our outstanding teachers and staff who meet our mission for Westport’s children each day.

More "Letter: BOE Issues End of School Year Report"

Posted 10:43 AM
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Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Letter: Thanks After a Fall

To the Editor:

We want to thank our fellow beach people, the lifeguards police, EMS for their concern and aid when my husband fell on his way to the beach this past weekend.

Everyone was so kind and helpful.

Thank you very much. 

Gene and Roslyn Gans
Westport

Posted 02:40 PM
(0) CommentsPermalink

Friday, May 27, 2016

Letter: Thanks P&Z Commission and Staff

To the Editor:

I would like to take the opportunity to thank the Westport Planning and Zoning Commission and Planning Director Steve Palmer and his staff for all of their hard work and efforts to help save the character and heritage of our town.

My wife Julie and I have lived in Westport for 24 years and during this time we raised our three children and built our business. We have always appreciated the unique nature of Westport and tried to help retain the character that makes Westport a special place that it is. 

WestportNow.com Image
This 1782-built house on Center Street was saved by a text amendment. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

We recently submitted a zoning amendment, along with our architect Bill Achilles to save a house built in 1782 on Center Street. The neighbors rallied behind us along with the help of many departments in town including Historic District Chairman Francis Henkels and Coordinator Carol Leahy. As we all know everything changes but it is how we manage the change that matters.  It was the diligence and forward thinking planning of the Planning and Zoning Commission that will enable us to save the antique house.

We hope that the amendment that we initiated will encourage builders and homeowners throughout the town to save historic buildings and maintain the unique and wonderful history of Westport.

Robert Haroun
SIR Development, LLC
Westport

Posted 12:00 PM
(0) CommentsPermalink

Friday, May 20, 2016

Letter: ‘Outrage’ Over Fireworks Date

To the Editor:

We wanted to express our outrage and disappointment to PAL for choosing June 30 for the fireworks. It is a Thursday night with people having work the following day. We usually host a party of nearly 110-120 people and already have 20-30 cancellations right off the bat. PAL will be the loser and we are very sorry to see that happen. Everyone we have spoken to is just as disappointed as we are.

Charlene Girden
Westport

Posted 07:04 PM
(3) CommentsPermalink

Saturday, April 02, 2016

Dale Call: ‘Beacon of Light’

To the Editor:

(Westport resident Annie Fasanella marked the retirement of Police Chief Dale Call after 35 years in verse:)

What paths you chose and did not yield,
For your quest to be best in your field.
To Westport’s police force, you dedicated your life,
Always focused and calm, despite any strife.

As a 1980s Staples grad,
You were brilliant and a lanky lad.
With your perseverance and your demeanor,
And years of hard work in graduate school,
You became a 21st century leader and a flawless jewel.

You “walk the talk” of “protect and serve,”
For the past 35 years.
I give thanks to you, with deep gratitude,
And “3 cheers!”

You’ve been a beacon of light-
Keeping Westport safe, both day and night,
In all kinds of weather,
Have made our town today, so much better.

More "Dale Call: ‘Beacon of Light’"

Posted 08:10 PM
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Friday, February 19, 2016

Healthy Alternative to Crumb Rubber Artificial Turf

To the Editor:

As one of the last schools in Fairfield County to make the move to artificial turf, Greens Farms Academy (GFA) felt some pressure to “keep up with the Joneses” and install a turf field, mostly to ensure our athletes would have comparable playing conditions and a safe, consistent surface.

Several of our parents, however, voiced concerns about the potential health risks of the typical crumb rubber used in artificial turf.  Listening to our parents, and not feeling completely confident about the current “industry standard” of crumb rubber, we began to research other options for artificial turf. Our trustees, always keeping both the health of our students and our surrounding ecosystem a top priority, looked into other options

In the end, GFA elected to use a greener alternative known as thermoplastic elastomer (TPE), a relatively new product in the United States. There was an initial hiccup, however. The TPE began to clump, so we needed to look for alternatives. In conversations with the manufacturer, FieldTurf, we decided that a cork composite would be the best option for replacement. However, although covered under warranty, the cork composite has to be manufactured overseas and took several weeks to arrive. We had a few weeks that fall of rescheduling games, and playing mostly away matches. But it was worth the wait and inconvenience. Once installed, the cork infill was tested for safety, and the results showed our field exceeded requirements within all parameters.

Our turf field has been up and running for four years now, and is used on a daily basis with positive feedback. It was and still is the most environmentally responsible and healthy option available, in addition to being cutting-edge in its design and in the use of cork as an infill.

More "Healthy Alternative to Crumb Rubber Artificial Turf"

Posted 09:20 AM
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Monday, November 09, 2015

Letter: Thanks for Saving a Life on Soccer Field

To the Editor:

On October 23, 2015 our son Andrew suddenly and for no apparent reason, cardiac arrested during halftime on the Staples soccer field. Andrew survived due to the amazing teamwork of some trained professionals and loving Staples parents.

Andrew was and is a conditioned varsity basketball athlete, with no prior medical history or pre-existing medical condition before this event.

We would like to publically thank Gaetana “G” Deiso (head athletic trainer at Staples), who provided breaths of life and chest compressions to maintain blood and oxygen flow; Tiffany Kinahan (a SCSU intern in athletic training at Staples) who assisted in CPR; Kerry Liles (a nurse and Staples parent) who assisted in CPR; Nicole Donovan (Westport EMT and Staples parent) who also assisted in CPR; Mark and MaryGrace Gudis (Staples parents) who had a defibrillator (AED) in the trunk of their car, which was used to shock Andrew back to life; and Corey Iomonico (assistant Staples athletic trainer) who brought an additional defibrillator to the scene.

Without the quick administration of CPR and the use of the AED, Andrew may not have survived.

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Posted 04:17 PM
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