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. WestportNow does not publish letters endorsing or opposing any political candidates.
A postal address, e-mail address if available, and day and evening telephone numbers are required for verification 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.
Monday, December 11, 2006
To the Editor:
I cannot believe what I am reading (about the proposed demolition of the house at 16 Minute Man Hill). How can residents of a town, reportedly quite literate, be aesthetically ignorant of what they are about to lose.
Current, world renowned, prestigiously awarded architects including Sir Norman Foster, Sir Richard Rogers, Robert Stern, Stanley Tigerman, Charles Gwathmey and other notables studied under Paul Rudolph and went on to extraordinary recognition. James Polshek, David Childs (SOM) and achieving others who studied at Yale prior and subsequent to Rudolph’s deanship there are well aware of his contribution to the art. He was Dean at Yale’s School of Architecture from 1957 to 1965 and moved his office from New Haven to New York City thereafter.
And those of us who studied under him or worked in his office or were privileged to do both could not help but be aware of the opportunity his association presented.
Herbert Muschamp wrote in the N.Y. Times in August, 1997, “Mr. Rudolph wielded enormous influence over the direction of American architecture at mid-century.” Also, “In 1993, in a lecture at the Cooper-Hewitt Museum in New York, he drew a standing-room only crowd composed mostly of the young and held the audience spellbound, as if he were a visitor from a long vanished golden age.”
His architecture, in most our minds, is indeed eventfull and needs no additional accolades. The question is: will Westport provide the financial and administrative wherewithal to place the building on the Historic Register, have it saved by a local trust, or permit greed and ignorance run amuck in its course.
Office of John Damico Architects, L.L.C.
175 Pine St.
Waterbury, CT 06710
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
To the Editor:
I remember the day that Brookstone and Gardener’s Eden decided to close up shop on the north end of Main Street, and have an everything must go moving sale.
I remember how excited I was that although I could no longer take advantage of the free massage chair sessions, maybe we would get a really cool new store and knowing that the building had just been purchased, I was confident that it would be great. Perhaps the Polo store would have tied together that end of town quite well or who knows.
I have come to the realization that unique and interesting stores not typically found in a mall could no longer lease on Main Street as the costs are too high, but I never imagined what would come next. The first time I noticed a Commerce Bank sign in that spot, I thought to myself that maybe they were just financing the new great store coming in.
That was very wishful thinking though, as over the next two months I watched them build the blue florescent and neon bank that is known for its outside-the-bank and on-the-street promotions.
Now I do know that the Town of Westport has very strict zoning when it comes to signage, but somehow Commerce Bank has gotten it past the board and was able to light up their end of Main Street in blue and red.
Not only are the blue signs a bit much, but I never imagined the Town of Westport would allow people out patrolling the street asking people to “Honk for free checking.” This is Westport, Conn., right? Can we put a stop to this?
Thursday, June 01, 2006
To the Editor:
CLASP Homes was pleased to host the Second Annual Taste of Westport on May 4. The Westport community was treated to a delicious array of gourmet food displayed by some of Westport’s finest restaurants. The fundraiser was extremely well received by the community. The monies raised benefited CLASP Homes, a local not-for-profit agency serving people with developmental disabilities.
We’d like to thank Lance Herman, general manager of the Westport Inn, and his staff for helping to make the event such a wonderful success. Thank you to Carline Dean, our event chairwoman, who gave so freely of her time and talent.
Special thanks go out to our major sponsors TD Banknorth and Mose Associates Architects. We cannot forget to give kudos to the Staples High School football team for their help cleaning up after the event.
CLASP looks forward to many more Taste of Westport’s and would like to thank the community for welcoming us with open arms!
Tracy A. Flood, President
CLASP Homes, Inc.
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
To the Editor:
Connecticut residents and businesses have recently experienced one of the largest energy rate hikes the state has seen in years. It is for this reason that I am writing you to as a Commissioner of the Department of Public Utility Control (DPUC). The DPUC has developed a variety of programs and services available to electric ratepayers that will help them understand and address the high increases in energy costs.
Most immediately, the DPUC has partnered with Connecticut Public Television and the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund to release a television series entitled “Connecticut Energy: On the Line.” This program features five 30-minute documentaries and a town meeting broadcast that will investigate power, price and performance while examining energy issues in Connecticut and unraveling the complexities of the energy marketplace.
Residents will find out how fuel costs are affecting their electric bills, how the electric grid operates and about the challenges of demand response and load control. There will also be information about renewable energy and ways to conserve and use energy more efficiently.
Each episode in the series will discuss a current energy topic in a simple and easily understood format. It will explore how we can, individually and as a whole, reduce our electric usage along with year round energy saving tips. The programs will take a close look at the next generation and what we all need to do moving forward to avoid a future energy crisis.
The next episode, episode 3, premiers Thursday, April 20 at 9 p.m. The remaining airdates are: Episode 4 on May 18 at 9 p.m. and Episode 5 in June 2006 (date to be determined.) There will also be a live town meeting to be aired on April 11 at 8 p.m.
The series is extremely informative and will help Connecticut residents not only manage their energy usage, but also explain the current increase in energy costs. I would urge all Connecticut ratepayers to please tune into CPTV to see this timely series.
For more information about the CPTV series and energy savings tips, visit The Department of Public Utility Control’s Web site at www.WattsNewCt.com.
John W. ‘Jack’ Betkoski III
10 Franklin Square
New Britain, CT 06051
Phone (860) 571-6203
Tuesday, March 07, 2006
To the Editors:
Special Olympics 8th Annual Penguin Plunge at Compo Beach on Saturday was an outstanding success. The 250 Penguins raised $100,000 for Special Olympics’ year round fitness, training and sports programs for children and adults in Connecticut with intellectual disabilities. More than 400 cheered on their efforts.
An event this unique, and this risky, could not take place without on-site public safety provided by the Westport Police Department, Westport Fire Department, Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Service, the Dive Rescue Team, and the Westport Parks and Recreation Department.
The Westport Police Department won the “Arctic Hero Award” for the top public safety deparment fundraiser. Lt. Det. Commander Gary Golas and Deputy Chief David Heinmiller plunged for the police force.
Fire Chief Christopher Ackley and Assistant Fire Chief Larry Conklin lead a team of firefighters into the frigid waters. Staples High School turned out an outstanding group of penguins.
As always, Michael Falbo, facility manager, Parks and Recreation Department, made sure that the beach was ready for the more than 600 who arrive en masse.
Generosity, good humor, and kindess abounded on the beach Saturday afternoon.
Special Olympics Pengiun Plunge
Monday, January 30, 2006
To the Editor:
The members of the Westport Police Union would like to express their sincere gratitude to all who participated in this year’s Holiday Fund for Children project.
For the past several years, WICC AM Radio and AMR Ambulance Service have sponsored local police departments in annual toy drives throughout Fairfield County in an effort to collect holiday gifts for the less fortunate children in hospital pediatric centers and around our communities.
Each year, Westport Police Officers collect donations at Police Headquarters, Town Hall and the Toys-R-Us Store located at 1850 Post Road East, Westport. The toy drive this year was one of the most successful we have had to date.
Our success could not be accomplished without all of the hundreds of generous people who donated to the fund. The local residents, town employees, businesses, corporations, Westport Volunteer EMS and those who just came to shop and ended up donating, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
To the management and staff at Toys-R-Us (without them, we could not do it!), our deepest gratitude. They not only allowed us a place to collect donations, but they go above and beyond in their efforts to help us succeed each and every year.
Because of all of you, we were able to supply hundreds of children with gifts for the holidays which they otherwise would not have had. You have all helped to touch the life of a child this year – they are grateful and so are we, the Westport Police Benevolent Association and the Westport Union membership.
Holiday Fund for Children
Saturday, January 07, 2006
To the Editor:
As we begin a new year, we would like to recognize the many gifts we receive year round. On behalf of Dress for Success ® Mid-Fairfield County, and Buttoned Up, we would like to give tremendous thanks to our amazing volunteers who have helped us make a difference in the lives of more than 3,000 women since 1998; our board and committees who so generously give of their time to guide our work; and, our 100 plus community partners who keep us busy with referrals year round!!!
Lastly we would like to thank our individual and corporate donors who give of their wardrobe, their time, and much needed financial support.
Your collective gifts are the backbone of Dress for Success ® Mid-Fairfield County. We would not be able to do what we do, help the hundreds of women we help each year, without you.
We wish you all a happy, healthy, safe, and successful New Year.
Darryl Manning, Executive Director
Mary Sarin, Director of Development
Carmen Nieves, Director of Programs
Vicky Solano, Program Coordinator
Marjorie McAllister, Program Coordinator
Elma Rodriguez, Administrative Assistant
Margarita Rodriguez, Buttoned Up Manager
Margo House, Bookkeeper
Katherine Griffing, Development Assistant
Friday, October 28, 2005
To the Editor:
The League of Women Voters strives to educate voters about the candidates and their views on the issues. One way to assist this process is through the annual publication of our Voter’s Guide.
Many voters find this an invaluable tool in making their electoral decisions. In addition to finding the Voter’s Guide in print, this year it can be located online at our Web site. Please visit http://www.lwvwestportct.org today and vote on Tuesday, Nov. 8.
Lynn Crager and Sally Galan
Vice Presidents of Voter Services, LWV Westport
Friday, October 21, 2005
(Editor’s note: This letter is being carried on the front page as well as the letters’ page due to its nature.)
To the Editor:
My name is Crystal Tillman, a student at Pascagoula High School. I would like to thank the Town of Westport for everything that you sent to our town.
Hurricane Katrina unleashed the fury of wind and water on the citizens of Pascagoula, Miss.
The Pascagoula School District has suffered catastrophic losses to property and school contents. With water damage to almost 95 percet of all homes in the Pascagoula School District, the students have lost much of their clothing, books, and much more.
There are approximately 4,700 students enrolled per grade kindergarten through 12 in our school district. With people all over the nation helping the city of Pascagoula we can begin to restore order.
Thank you again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Crystal Tillman and All the People of Pascagoula
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
To The Editor
On Saturday, Oct. 1, the Westport Fire Department hosted the annual household Hazardous Waste Collections Day and the community responded in an amazing manor.
We had 510 cars come through the Health District in five hours and we filled an entire tractor trailer truck and half of a second with paints, pesticides, cleaning products, fertilizers, propane tanks and much much more!
A big thank you to every one who cared enough to take the time to clean these potentially deadly products from their homes. Not only does this help protect the environment, it removes a potential risk to firefighters who may be fighting a fire in your home.
For anyone that missed out on this terrific opportunity there are collections that will be held in neighboring towns. If you are interested please contact the Fire Marshals Office at (203)341-5020 for times and dates.
Thanks again Westport!
Fred S. Baker
Westport Fire Department
Wednesday, October 05, 2005
To the Editor:
The League of Women Voters of Westport invites you to come to the Candidates’ Forums, scheduled this year on three consecutive Sundays in October at the Westport Town Hall Auditorium. They are all scheduled to begin at 3 p.m.
The first forum, focusing on candidates for the office of First Selectman, will be held this Sunday, Oct. 9. On the following Sunday, Oct. 16, candidates for the Board of Finance and Board of Education will appear. The final forum, featuring candidates for the Board of Assessment Appeals and the Planning and Zoning Commission, will take place on Sunday, Oct. 23.
The forums will be in a question and answer format, including questions submitted by audience members. This is an opportunity for you the voter to become more informed about the issues and candidates in this year’s election. Please join us on these dates and be sure to vote on Nov. 8.
Lynn Crager and Sally Galan
Vice Presidents of Voter Services,
LWV of Westport
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
(Editor’s note: Due to the nature of the following letter it is being published here as well as on the letters page.)
To the Editor:
Residents of Pascagoula, Miss., are better off today because of the help they received over the weekend in the form of a truck full of cleaning supplies, food, toys, books, backpacks and school supplies from Westport residents.
Westporters in Pascagoula: Pictured are (l-r) Officer Flor Olivares, Firefighter Neil Perrotti, Betty Goodgame (mother of Westporter Dan Goodgame), Dan Smith (a local high school history teacher who took the Westporters around), Officer Laurie Huzina, and Firefighter Brian Meandows. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo
Two Westport firemen, Brian Meadows and Neil Perrotti, drove a large rental truck, full of boxes packed like sardines, for two full days to the Gulf Coast town that was severely hammered by Hurricane Katrina.
The truck, paid for by the firefighters union, was escorted by Westport police officers Flor Olivares and Laurie Huzina, who were driving an official police vehicle which would bring the four back to Westport. What they saw when they arrived made them want to stay an extra day, which they did, to do whatever they could to help Pascagoulans start over.
A Pascagoula High School history teacher took the crew on a tour of the town, down by the shipyard and over to the beach where massive old oak trees and majestic Southern homes with wrap-around porches and gingerbread trim were crushed like bugs.
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
(Editor’s note: Due to the nature of this letter, it is being carried both on the main page of WestportNow as well as on the Letters to the Editor page.)
Dear Friends and Neighbors of Westport:
Thank you so very much for opening your closets and your hearts to families and friends of our native New Orleans. Because of your generosity we have been able to send clothing to more than 70 families. Most are now in a position to share clothes and other tangible items with their extended families, friends, and neighbors.
We are beginning to receive emails and phone calls as the lines of communication become available and the deep felt gratitude is truly overwhelming. The clothing is much appreciated but most have reached a point where they simply do not have space in the spare room, motel room, camper, or any other place in their newly nomadic lifestyle to carry the goods.
As weeks go by the pride level continues to soften and there has been gentle admissions that “gift cards” are an amazing lift to their dignity. Gift cards from stores such as Target, Walgreens, Home Depot, Barnes & Noble, Bath Bed & Beyond and others are what they truly need.
The ability to buy personal toiletries and new underwear can be so uplifting at this time. Many local libraries, businesses, and schools are offering access to the Internet, which truly opens the world to them via gift cards.
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
To the Editor:
The YMCA has repeatedly stated that it is open to hearing the opinions of Westport residents about its proposed move to Camp Mahackeno, in the remote, residential northwest corner of town.
Its interesting, therefore, that upon learning about a survey being conducted by an independent group of citizens (not related in any way to our group, Y Downtown), to determine WestportersҒ viewpoints about the Ys proposed move, Y Director Dick Foot hastily issued a condemnation of the survey to Y members and the papers. We can see from the slick PR campaign that the Y has underway that the Y board is going to great lengths to control public comment and shape media coverage of its planned move.
Mr. FootҒs panicked note also raises some questions: If the Y is open to public comment, why are the Y directors so jittery and so quick to fire back at any and all questioning of their plan? It seems that the growing, vocal opposition to the Ys intended relocation, which any informed Westporter can see as ill-conceived, is striking a nerve.
To counter the idea that members of the Westport community would refute the Y directorsҒ plan, Mr. Foot in his letter invokes the idea that the Y speaks for the greater community. In fact, the Y does not speak for the community, and saying it does belittles every residents opinion and discredits the YҒs position.
The Y directors say they have listened to and are willing to listen to the communitys concerns, but based on their attempt to ғhead off the survey, itԒs clear that they are choosing not to hear. And when they say that the community does not want public land used by the Y, it begs the question as to why so many people are asking to reopen the Barons South issue or to look at other centrally and accessibly located alternatives.
Camp Mahackeno is not an appropriate place for a 100,000 square foot fitness facility. In fact, a few years back, Mr. Foot said himself that the property was not an ideal location for a full-service YMCA. Repeating how wonderful the new Y facility would be does not justify its location at Mahackeno. Informed people can see through the spin and realize that a new Y on BaronҒs South or the Imperial or Baldwin parking lots also would achieve the same benefits, while at the same time bolstering downtown and preventing sprawl, traffic congestion and the overdevelopment of a residential section of Westport.
Y directors—the community is speaking; the townspeople of Westport are saying even more clearly now: Do not relocate from downtown. Listen to them. Work with them and do what is right for everyone. For more information, visit http://www.YDowntown.com.
Saturday, April 09, 2005
To the Editor:
It has come to our attention that a telephone survey is being conducted in Town regarding the new YMCA at Mahackeno. I am writing to inform the public that the Y is in no way involved with this survey and does not condone its content or style whatsoever. We understand that it is being conducted by private citizens.
Regrettably, many people who were contacted believed that the Y was conducting this survey and they contacted us to express various concerns about the nature of the survey and the manner in which it was conducted.
We regret that some may have mistakenly but understandably ֖ thought the Y had commissioned this survey. Although we did not, we welcome the opinions of all at any time and we invite you to learn more about the new Y at Mahackeno by visiting our website at http://www.westportymca.org/imagine.
The YMCA is a private organization that serves a very public mission. Although it receives no Town or other public funding, the Y is very much a community organization, dedicated to serving a community mission and meeting the needs of the community. As a result, we solicit community input every day regarding the programs and services we provide and we have done so in numerous ways regarding the need for a new Y.
For the past 10 years, the Y has engaged with the community in an effort to find a new home for the Y. This has included countless meetings, public hearings, informal conversations, membership and other surveys, personal interviews, and more. Throughout this process, several things have become very clear:
The community recognizes the vital role played by the Y
Օ The community recognizes the desperate need for a new Y facility
The community does not support using public property for private purposes
For this reason and others, our search for a home for the new Y focused on Mahackeno Ֆ a 32-acre piece of property abutting the Merritt Parkway at Exit 41 that we have owned for more than 50 years. When we looked closely at Mahackeno, we realized what an ideal location it is for the new Y. It will not only be a fantastic facility, it will be a truly one-of-a-kind resource that offers programs and a setting that will be unrivaled in all of New England.
Although we are pleased with the broad support for the new Y at Mahackeno that exists within the community, what is most encouraging is that the more people learn about the project its environmental design, its placement in the most removed part of the property, its potential for truly innovative programming, its integration with the camp, the opportunities for outdoor recreation and more ֖ the more they share our incredible enthusiasm for this new community resource.
So, although it is always helpful to receive input, we doubt that a survey at this point will yield any new insights, particularly when it presents an option locating the Y on Town-owned Baron֒s South property that is simply not viable and that has already been thoroughly opposed and decided against by Town residents and elected officials.
Again, I regret any misunderstandings regarding this survey and hope that anyone who has been upset by this survey will not hold the Y responsible.
Thank you for your understanding in this matter.
Richard A. Foot
YMCA Executive Director / CEO
Westport / Weston YMCA
Sunday, March 27, 2005
To the Editor:
How can a town founded on preservation even consider the destruction of acres of land in a remote, residential area to construct a new fitness facility? The YMCAs desire to place a Wal-Mart sized building in the middle of one of the last parcels of open space in Westport would be a crime.
What exists at Camp Mahackeno today is miraculous, enchanted woodland that every child who passed through camp there, or just passed the day there, remembers for the rest of his or her life. Remember: Inner cities allocate hundreds of thousands of dollars to send underprivileged children to facilities like Camp Mahackeno. Have we forgotten how privileged we are to have such a beautiful resource in our town?
It is time to reconsider for whom we wish to construct a new facility: the children….or the YMCAҒs Board. We will best serve our children by preserving Camp Mahackenos pristine open space for future generations. The YMCA belongs downtown in a central and accessible location such as Baron’s South, to name one of several possibilities. For more information, visit www.YDowntown.com.
Thursday, February 17, 2005
To the Editor:
This letter is to bring to your attention a matter of critical concern to Kings Highway Elementary Parents. As you may not know, the average class size in the third grade at Kings Highway School is disproportionately high versus the other Westport elementary schools and is dangerously close to the legal limits set by the Board of Education.
As concerned parents, and taxpayers, we ask you, should where a district line is drawn be the determinant for optimizing our children’s education?
As you can see, Coleytown has the closest number of students to Kings Highway, yet their class size is significantly smaller. To further add to this huge imbalance, many of the current Kings Highway students were redistricted from Coleytown on the pretense of reducing class sizes. Obviously, this was not true.
Study after study confirms that one of, if not the most, critical factor in education quality, particularly in elementary school years, is class size. Our children are suffering with teachers who are stretched thin by class crowding and cant afford to provide the kind of attention and focus they want, we demand and the kids need.
Additionally, Kings Highway has become known throughout the Westport system as having one of the best Special Education programs. Children from other school districts and communities are being placed at Kings Highway without the benefit of increasing our staff.
We as concerned parents want to know what plan the BOE has in place to deal with the class overcrowding issue for the fall semester. When will additional teachers and classes be allocated to normalize KHS to the balance of Westport?
We have respectfully requested a formal advisement or meeting with BOE to discuss the matter. To date no response has been received.
I strongly suggest, that before the BOE approves millions of dollars for “nicer” offices, this issue be reviewed, discussed, and resolved!
Monday, February 07, 2005
To the Editor:
The newly appointed Secretary of Education, Margaret Spellings, recently encouraged PBS to withdraw an episode of Postcards From Buster,Ӕ a popular children’s cartoon (and was successful) because in that episode a child was shown to have two lesbian mothers.
She said that she did not believe that any public money should be spent promoting the homosexual lifestyle and that parents would not want their children exposed to this material. This recent event prompted me to write to Ms. Spelling to share my opinion on the matter.
February 1, 2005
Ms. Margaret Spellings
Secretary of Education
U.S. Department of Education
Building FB6, Room 7W301
Mail stop 0100
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202
Dear Secretary Spellings:
I recently retired as a high school principal, but was asked to serve on an interim basis for a year in a neighboring high school. I remain, therefore, surrounded by teenagers for a 36th year. The decision to become a teacher and then a principal is something I have never regretted. I truly believe that teaching is a noble profession and is sorely underrated by the general population.
To the Editor:
For the past 14 years, I have hosted a Ladies Lunch Ӗ for the ladies who dont have time to lunch.Ҕ Hundreds of women have come to lunch and contributed thousands of dollars to local non-profits.
This year, the ladies dont have a place for lunch (the usual venue is unavailable) so IҒve decided to have a tea instead, on Sunday, March 6 at 3 p.m. at the Westport Historical Society, 25 Avery Place.
This will be a wonderful setting for tea, especially due to the current exhibit Hilla Rebay: A Baroness in Westport.Ӕ
The beneficiaries this year will be Legal Momentum (formerly the NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund), which is the nations oldest WomenҒs Rights Legal Advocacy organization; the Arts for Youth Fund, a new fund for arts education at the Fairfield County Community Foundation; and Dress for Success: Mid-Fairfield County (Suits to Self-SufficiencyӔ.)
Wednesday, January 26, 2005
To the Editor:
At the Jan. 12, 2005, Board of Selectmen meeting a “sense of the meeting resolution” on the underage drinking ordinance was discussed. That simply means the Board of Selectmen has no legal authority to vote on such a ordinance only the RTM can legally implement it.
Because of my apparent lack of support, [First Selectwoman] Diane [Farrell] asked that I attend a forum on underage drinking before taking this SYMBOLIC VOTE. I did so on Wednesday.
For the public record, I am holding to my original position and do not support a new underage drinking ordinance for some of the following reasons in no particular order of the importance:
1. The police did not request this ordinance.
2. The PTA maintains a neutral position and did not endorse this ordinance.
Basically, this ordinance would allow the police to enter private property and ticket underage drinkers. If that drinker is under 16 he (she) must pay a $90 fine and must go to juvenile court. If over 16, pay a $90 fine only. No court appearance.
Here is a possible fallout: Perhaps only one or two children are drinking—do the police ticket everyone? Most likely, yes. So certainly innocent kids will be ticketed. A record will exist and newspapers may print their names if 16 years of age or older.
I have not seen any police records that indicate any frequency of such parties. Ordinances on the books already allow any adult to be ticketed for serving minors. The key words here are PRIVATE PROPERTY and POLICE POWER
I could go on at some lengt, but I see no need. My position remains the same, “parents should parent and police should police.”
When my sons were growing up my wife, Joan, and I had a curfew for the boys. It, of course, grew later as they grew older, but we always made sure we were awake when they came home. I’ll bet the same tactics will work today.
In my view, we shouldn’t be in any hurry to turn our parental responsibilities over to the police.
Selectman John Izzo
Monday, December 13, 2004
To the Editor:
I was surprised, but then again, after the reval fiasco, not(!), to receive an e-mail from my neighbor across the street, stating that she, along with at least six other families in our area, had received a notice this past Friday, alleging that they had neglected to pay the sewer assessment fees that were supposedly billed last August.
Below is my e-mail response to her upon receiving the news that we were indeed not alone:
Amazing! I had even remarked to Steve I wondered if this was intentional (as in: “Can you imagine the revenue they can generate if they simply say that notices were sent and can levy 1,000 interest charges. Multiply times $15.48 and voila, they can make $15,480 with no effort!!!”).
We both wondered if anyone else had the same problem. We got our delinquent notice on Friday. Steve called immediately and spoke to someone at Town Hall who defensively gave Steve the same story: that original notices were sent in August and by law, he could not “waive the interest.”
He also said “he cannot be responsible for the post office. Quadruple “hmmmm!” Likewise, we are also extremely conscientious and would not have let a bill just sit around unpaid!! We did not under any terms receive a bill in August. I smell a rat!
I’m going to write the same to WestportNow,and perhaps we should send letters/e-mails to Westport News as well.
Lisa and Steve Alter
To the Editor:
I am hoping that you will post this letter prominently on WestportNow.com as I would like to find out if other Westport residents have encountered this problem.
On Friday, I received a Town of Westport delinquent sewer/special assessment bill with an interest charge of $15.48. I was surprised, as I had not seen the original bill. I am in the habit of paying bills as they come to get them out of the way.
I called the office and was told that even if I had not received the original, it was state law that I was required to pay the delinquent charge. Hmmm. I couldn’t quite believe it, so I called back. I was told emphatically that I really had no say in the matter. The bottom line—just pay.
At a neighborhood party this evening, the topic of delinquent sewer/special assessments actually came up and no fewer than six people said they had had the exact same experience. Double hmmmm.
The neighborhood is Compo Beach. We are all interested in learning whether we are alone in being singled out by this latest example of Town Hall ineptitude. Is this a “reval revisited” problem looming on the horizon?
Wednesday, December 08, 2004
To the Editor:
I want to wish all of your readers a wonderful holiday season.
For those of us fortunate enough to enjoy good health and have families and friends with whom to celebrate, this can be the most wonderful time of the year. We should revel in the happiness that this holiday season generates, but also remember to be grateful for our good fortune, as there are always far too many people who do not share it.
As I do every year at this time, I would like to urge everyone who is able to contribute to the efforts of the many organizations and volunteers who strive to make life better for those who need their help, not just during the holiday season but also all year long.
These organizations and volunteers work tirelessly to provide food, clothing, and other essentials to those who would go without the necessities of life without their help. These wonderful, caring people appreciate our help any time, but probably need it most now when they are devoting their efforts to bringing cheer and happiness to the adults and children who also want, and deserve, some happiness during the holiday season.
We must also remember our neighbors who will be celebrating this holiday season worried about the safety of relatives and friends who are overseas fighting the war on terror. We owe our love and support to these brave men and women, and to their friends and families. Our thoughts and prayers are with those who have lost someone in this war.
Wishing all of you a happy and healthy holiday season,
State Sen. Judith G. Freedman
Wednesday, November 10, 2004
To the Editor:
I want to thank everyone who voted to support my candidacy and reelect me to the state senate. The Freedman State Senate campaign was run by a grass roots-volunteer organization with many local people joining in to assure our message was heard across seven towns.
I was gratified by the response of the many residents of the district that contributed to the campaign, either monetarily or by volunteering or both. We operated on a shoestringbut it was a mighty shoestring.
Most of you know how tenacious I am. I will pursue the issues important to you. I return to Hartford in January with an agenda developed by the constituents of the 26th District.
The first items of business are to ensure that new railroad cars are designed and ordered for the New Haven Line; that legislation addresses the issue of medical malpractice insurance, including caps on non-economic damages; and that our state budget is balanced with fiscal sanity.
The legislature needs to review the education cost-sharing formula, refine it to make it less convoluted and revisit the issue of funding special education. I am hopeful the Democrat majority will to continue working cooperatively with us as in the past.
Thank you for your overwhelming vote of confidence. I will work to justify it every day.
Judith G. Freedman
Thursday, October 21, 2004
To The Editor:
In my column in the Westport News of Oct. 20, I incorrectly wrote that the first news of the passing of Leroy Ellis appeared in a news story in the Westport News.
In fact, it was reported to the entire town on Oct. 8, two days after his death, by Gordon Joseloff’s timely WestportNow Web site.
My apologies to Gordon, a true professional journalist, who keeps both town newspapers—and this columnist—on our toes.
Wednesday, October 20, 2004
To the Editor:
My wife and I noticed that our Chris Shays sign was missing from the corner of our home on Kettle Creek in Weston, as well as the neighbors signs for
Chris. (We’ve since reordered more signs.)
We reported to police and they made a report. Seems like some supporters of Congressman Shays’ opponent aren’t into free speech or am I just being paranoid?
Wednesday, October 13, 2004
To the Editor:
Cablevision News-12 today saluted our own Gordon Joseloff and his Web site WestportNow.com.
The editorial by Dianne Wildman congratulated the manner in which Gordon has reported Westport news that appears on the Web almost as the news is breaking.
Our local school news, sports, community events, politics, accidents, property transfers and a daily calendar is just part of what is posted.
She noted that this Web site is maybe the only one in the country like it. Photos have included some of the finest scenic scenes of our town.
Ms. Wildman also mentioned how WestportNow.com is permanently preserving Westport’s history with its now popular “House Teardown” series.
I say that if you want to know what’s going on in our town, you need to log on to this great site.
Many Westport residents, including me, have helped Gordon by contributing photos and stories and hope this will continue.
At almost any hour of the day Gordon is ready to post a story as long as is Westport news.
Congratulations to one of our own and thanks for the hard work as you keep us informed. And, thank you Dianne Wildman for reporting Gordon Joseloff’s contribution to Westport.
Thursday, September 09, 2004
To the Editor:
The Westport Public Library would like to announce the fantastic success of its Summer Reading Program and thank those who made it possible.
This summer, Westport elementary and middle school children came to the Library in record numbers to participate in the annual Summer Reading Club, Another Super Summer.Ӕ This summer, the Clubs participation grew 40%, to a whopping 1,822 young readers. Summer 2004 was the largest club ever!
Enthusiasm for the program was universal. One young reader, buried in new books to take home, smiled as he commented, ғBecause of this reading club, I read non-stop all summer long. It really got me going. I cant wait to tell my teacher!Ҕ
And if you saw sand buckets and frisbees, sporting the Westport Public Library logo, down at Compo Beach, its because their owners were Summer Reading participants who received free gifts upon joining.
An indispensable element of the success of the Summer Reading Club was a wonderful group of young adult volunteers, grades 7 to 12, who worked with the droves of young readers and contributed a total of 457 volunteer hours by the end of the summer.
In addition to the young adult volunteers, generous contributions were made to the Summer Reading Program by local businesses. The Library thanks Westport Pizzeria, Ben & JerryҒs, McDonalds, DominoҒs Pizza, Westport Young Womens League and Friends of the Westport Library for helping to create a successful Summer Reading Program.
Director, ChildrenҒs Library
Sunday, June 20, 2004
To the Editor:
One of your readers wrote to WestportNow to inform us that: [he] “awoke this morning (March 30, 2004) to the sound of bulldozers and backhoes…” He then goes on to state that the “mindset” of Fairfield County politicians should change so that such wanton destruction of historic places should not occur.
What he fails to mention is that what should also change is the mindset of Fairfield Country businessmen like John Nelson of Paragon Realty. Mr. Nelson wants to build 330 condos on 56 acres of wetlands, vernal pools and forests in “far away” Middlebury, CT.
A disregard for history and nature is not a mindset limited to a specific area of Connecticut but rather it is a symptom of current business practices in Connecticut. Such practices condone destruction of any property which is out of the immediate sight of the perpetrator.
Your reader should realize that the answer to Fairfield County’s problem is not to send the bulldozers out of town to us but to convince men like John Nelson that some things are sacred and such destruction should cease no matter where it takes place.
Please don’t send your bulldozers here to Middlebury, CT.
Middlebury, CT 06762
Saturday, May 01, 2004
To the Editor:
Please allow me to extend my warmest appreciation to the Westport community for their strong support of CLASP Homes at our recent wine tasting event at Black Bear Wines & Spirits.
I was so pleased at how willing and eager the community was to support CLASP by purchasing tickets, ads for the program booklet and donating silent auction items.
Having grown up in Westport, it is so heart warming to know how supportive the community is towards people with developmental disabilities.
These people often rely on the generosity of others to keep them safe and healthy.
Special thanks goes to Black Bear Wines & Spirits for generously supporting this event and to First Selectwoman Diane Farrell, a strong advocate for CLASP over her many years in public office.
In addition, Id like to thank state Rep. Ken Bernhard and all the vendors; Stew Leonards, The Vine Restaurant, Michael Powers Catering, Wild Oats Market, Miggs B. Design and Photographic Memories. Together, they helped CLASP raise over $10,000.
Thank you for supporting this fun event that we look forward to sponsoring annually.
CLASP Homes, Inc.