Since 1898, Lux Bond & Green Jewelers has been dedicated to offering truly extraordinary diamonds, jewelry, watches and gifts for the home.
May 4 benefit for CLASP. CLASP is a local not-for-profit organization whose mission is to provide homes and opportunities for people with autism and other developmental disabilities.
Westport Dog Festival, Sunday, May 7, Winslow Park, 10-4
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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.

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"

   

04/18/17 09:02 PM Comments () • Permalink

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’"

   

03/31/17 07:59 AM Comments () • Permalink

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"

   

03/27/17 07:59 PM Comments () • Permalink

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"

   

03/27/17 11:43 AM Comments () • Permalink

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.

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03/26/17 11:10 AM Comments () • Permalink

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

   

02/10/17 10:29 AM Comments () • Permalink

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"

   

11/11/16 07:07 PM Comments () • Permalink

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.

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09/18/16 10:04 PM Comments () • Permalink

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Letter: Backs Westport Contractor in Norwalk Dispute

To the Editor:

Today I attended a rally in Norwalk in support of A. J. Penna & Son. The Pennas own a third-generation family business that employs 50 people. They are emergency contractors who serve CL&P, Aquarion Water, and the towns of Norwalk and Westport, among others.

The CT Department of Transportation wants to replace the 120-year old Walk Railroad Bridge in Norwalk at a cost of roughly $1 billion.

As part of the plan, they want to take the Penna property as well as the property of 16 others, by eminent domain. 

The price being offered as compensation to the Pennas is virtually nothing. Alternatives to this costly plan are being dismissed out of hand. The Pennas’ small but strategically vital business is being threatened.

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09/07/16 02:57 PM Comments () • Permalink

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.

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08/27/16 10:02 PM Comments () • Permalink

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’"

   

08/18/16 04:59 PM Comments () • Permalink

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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08/15/16 06:45 PM Comments () • Permalink

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

   

08/15/16 07:37 AM Comments () • Permalink

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.

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08/04/16 01:55 PM Comments Closed • Read Existing Comments (13)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

   

08/04/16 11:49 AM Comments () • Permalink

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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08/01/16 03:35 PM Comments () • Permalink

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

   

06/15/16 11:30 AM Comments () • Permalink

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.

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06/15/16 10:43 AM Comments () • Permalink

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

   

06/01/16 02:40 PM Comments () • Permalink

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

   

05/27/16 12:00 PM Comments () • Permalink

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

   

05/20/16 07:04 PM Comments () • Permalink

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.

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04/02/16 08:10 PM Comments () • Permalink

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.

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02/19/16 09:20 AM Comments () • Permalink

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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11/09/15 04:17 PM Comments () • Permalink

Friday, November 06, 2015

Thank You From Coalition for Westport

To the Editor:

The Coalition for Westport wishes to congratulate all the successful candidates in the Nov. 3 election. CFW is pleased that Paul Lebowitz secured a seat on the P&Z, and is confident that he will bring a diverse and intelligent voice adding balance and moderation to the Commission’s deliberations.

All of the candidates for all offices, both those who won and those who lost, are owed our gratitude.  Being a public servant is no easy task and their willingness to devote their time to the future of Westport is to be applauded. 

The Coalition looks forward to hearing of, and contributing to, the ideas and plans for charting Westport’s future.

Denise Torve,
Chairperson
Coalition For Westport

   

11/06/15 03:54 PM Comments () • Permalink

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Thank You, Westport

To the Editor:

Dear Westport,

Thank you for the crane downtown!  LOVE. It makes us look progressive and imposing, like a moving-forward kind of town.

One question: what does it do? Anything?

If not, I totally get it. For instance, the strip of parking spots next to the river in Parker Harding - you know, the ones we all covet when the lot is full and we just stopped by for a quick Starbuck’s and we’ve circled the lot for 20 minutes and there’s no place to park our car except for the 15 empty, beckoning spots over which a “No Parking Permit Only” lords? The spots which, after roughly 12 calls to Town Hall and Main Street businesses, no one is able to offer the remotest clue about how to obtain said permit?  Yes, those.

Those spots and the crane are like Chanel: even though you’ll never directly benefit from their existence, at least you get to look at it.  Like, when you dreamed you’d wear Chanel for your Rehearsal Dinner and ended up wearing a $5 suit your Mom bought at an outlet the week before. Okay, maybe that’s not relevant but it feels good to vent.

More "Thank You, Westport"

   

11/01/15 05:20 PM Comments () • Permalink

Monday, October 26, 2015

Thank You for Help on Rushdie Talk

To the Editor:

The 13th Malloy Lecture in the Arts featuring internationally acclaimed author Salman Rushdie was an enormous success, bringing nearly 1,000 people together at Staples High School on Oct. 22 for an enlightening and entertaining evening with one of the greatest writers of our time.

As president of the Westport Library’s Board of Trustees, I am overwhelmed by the exemplary collaborative effort that made this special program possible.

I, along with the rest of the board, extend a huge thank you to school officials and town leaders, local and regional police and fire departments and Staples High School staff and students for diverting business as usual to accommodate the event.

We’ve heard many comments about the seamless efficiency of the program—from the time the doors opened to the expert traffic control at the end of the evening.

In addition, the event provided a special opportunity for a group of high school English students to hear personally from Mr. Rushdie, demonstrating the potential for libraries to connect people for unique learning experiences.

Specifically, we extend sincere thanks to:

The late Susan Malloy
Salman Rushdie and his publisher, Random House
Police Chief Dale Call and his team
Fire Marshall Edward Zygmant and his team
Jim Marpe, First Selectman
Elliot Landon, School Superintendent
Lisa Marriott, Dr. Landon’s office
Horace Lewis and his staff at Staples High School
Julie Heller, Staples English Department Chair
Kim Herzog, English Department
The SHS AP English Students
Colin Neenan and Tamara Weinberg, Staples Library Media Specialists
Francis Fiore and Braden Smith, lighting
Mike Phillis, Performance Audio
Tricia Tierney, Barnes & Noble
Colin Bloom, Terrain
Jen Albuck, Soda Man

Joe Pucci
President, Westport Library Board of Trustees
Westport

   

10/26/15 12:30 PM Comments () • Permalink

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Letter: Thank You Westport Fire Department

To the Editor:

We would like to express our heartfelt thanks and appreciation to the Westport Fire Department, Red Cross, and First Selectman Jim Marpe for their outstanding public service in response to a recent fire at our home.

On Friday, October 9 at about 9 p.m., we experienced an accidental fire at our home in Westport. Within minutes of our call, the Westport Fire Department arrived at the scene. 

The firefighters worked quickly to extinguish the external flames and contain the damage. Once the fire was out, several firefighters cleaned up the water and other debris inside our house. 

The Fire Warden went out of his way to explain the situation and allay our concerns. The firefighters were the height of professionalism—efficient, thorough, safety-conscious, and courteous.  These guys are awesome! 

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10/11/15 04:26 PM Comments () • Permalink

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Letter: Takes Issue With Story Citing Staples Enrollment

To the Editor:

Your story dated August 25, 2015 appears to be extremely misleading and lacks fact-based information. The headline “Already Over Crowded, Staples will get 100 more Students” is extremely misleading to your readers. This leaves the reasonable reader to believe Staples High School will get 100 more students this school year… And that the high school is in a crisis mode with no plan to deal with overcrowding.

The Facts are below:

In 10/1/2012 SHS had actual enrollment of 1,882 students
In 10/1/2013 SHS had actual enrollment of 1,837 students
In 10/1/2014 SHS had actual enrollment of 1,855 students
In 10/1/2015 SHA was forecasted to have enrollment of 1,888

Source: Board of Education Adopted Budget

The facts show that Staples High School enrollment is forecasted to be approximately the same level in 10/2015 as it was in 10/2012. Moreover, enrollment for SHS, as forecasted by the administration for 10/1/2015, is an additional 33 students vs prior year, not 100.

The numbers and the story do not add up.

Paul Block
Member, Westport Board of Education

(Editor’s note: the original story says Staples will have 100 more students than it can accommodate. It does not say 100 more students will enroll this fall, though the headline erroneously suggests that is the case. The headline and story have been updated. The story now notes Staples has been overcapacity for several years, but the 1,900 figure cited by Landon is the highest enrollment in recent years and is 45 more than last year.

   

08/25/15 04:27 PM Comments () • Permalink

Letter: Praises WestportNow Series on Senior Housing

To the Editor:

The Coalition for Westport (CFW) congratulates WestportNow for its outstanding series of articles on the lack of adequate senior housing in Westport. (Click here for series)

The series presented the history of the senior housing issue and the manner in which the Planning & Zoning Commission voted to change the zoning of the entire Baron’s South property to recreation/open space.

Our town, which is such a leader in creating and providing first class community amenities, has failed abysmally in looking after its seniors, a shocking indictment of the shortsightedness of those charged with the responsibility of ensuring that Westport welcomes and values residents of all ages.

The personal consequences of this lack of planning was highlighted by telling the stories of long-term residents who have been forced to leave Westport and find housing facilities in other towns. Many of our neighboring towns boast one or more such facilities.

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08/25/15 03:20 PM Comments () • Permalink

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