Wednesday, April 17, 2024



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.

Honoring a Friend

To the Editor:

A friend and former classmate of ours, Sameer Mathur, passed away on April 30, losing his battle against meningitis. He was a distinguished member of the Authentic Science Research program at Staples High School and graduated in the class of 2006. 

To honor his memory, we are working to create the Sameer Mathur Memorial Award for Execllence in Neuroscience or Infectious Disease to be awarded by Dr. A.J. Scheetz, director of the ASR program and a mentor of Sameer’s. In addition to a physical award, we would like to facilitate the endowment of a small monetary prize. 

If you would like to contribute to help us create this award in Sameer’s memory, you can visit or send a check, made out to “Staples High School,” to Dr. AJ Scheetz, 70 North Ave., Westport, CT 06880.

Any small contribution will be extremely helpful in establishing this permanent memory of Sameer.

Aaron Eisman, Steve Beckoff, and Rob Sobelman
Staples High School ‘04

“Lifetime of Love and Fun”

To the Editor:

Seeing photos of those adorable dogs needing a home on prompted me to write about our wonderful 16-year experience with Thor, a mixed breed (probably partially Border collie) adopted as a puppy from the Westport branch of the Connecticut Humane Society.

Thor was healthy and had been given his shots when we took him home, and for the rest of his life received loving care from Westport veterinarian Dr. Christian Benyei. With all the dogs available and waiting at the Humane Society I don’t know why anyone who isn’t interested in “showing” dogs would buy one, or even want a purebred; mutts are known to be healthier and smarter.

Thor looked after us with total dedication. He alerted us to snakes in the grass, and to people arriving at our house, had a great bark but never bit or even snapped at a human, or hurt an animal or bird he found – merely brought the creature to our attention.

Thor did, unfortunately, have a couple of tiffs with Boo-Boo, a dog he played with as a puppy, after the two matured and the testosterone, or whatever male dogs have, kicked in.

He also fell in love – with Beuli Getts, Lise Connell’s dog, also obtained from the Humane Society, who looked enough like him to have been a sister, but Beuli was cool to his advances, and the tender letters he wrote to Beuli’s column in the Westport News didn’t alter her indifference. 

(Adoptions at the Humane Society then – and perhaps now – were not “open” so we never found out anything about Thor’s original family.) What a blessing Thor was; he truly enhanced our lives.

For anyone thinking about getting a dog, I strongly recommend visiting the Humane Society on the Post Road to find the right dog for a lifetime of love and fun.

Nina Streitfeld

Westport Police Chief Responds to Beverage Instititute

(Editor’s note: The following is a copy of a letter addressed to Sarah Longwell, managing director, American Beverage Institute, in response to a letter posted on WestportNow on Dec. 4.)

Dear Ms. Longwell:

I would like to respond to your comments in relative to the article on DUI checkpoints on Dec. 3, 2007. I take offense to your quick judgment about our enforcement efforts. Had you taken the time to be responsible and do a little investigating, you would have found that the DUI checkpoint is only a small part of our DUI enforcement efforts. The majority of our resources are in fact devoted to “roving patrols” as you put it.

I strongly disagree with your statement that the DUI checkpoints are ineffective. It is a common question from people throughout our area to be concerned about the DUI checkpoints, doesn’t that say they are concerned about them and they keep those checkpoints in mind when consuming alcohol?

You and your Web site make numerous references to the “Chronic Alcohol Abusers,” are they the only problem? I think not. A casual alcohol abuser who gets behind the wheel of a car can just as well kill a motorist or pedestrian as a chronic abuser. I believe that these checkpoints do make a difference. They educate and raise the awareness level of the motoring public.

Next time think before you make a statement, be part of the solution. There are thousands of law enforcement professionals on the streets everyday trying to make our communities safer for everyone, please support their efforts and the sacrifices they make.


Alfred R. Fiore
Chief of Police

Ray Dalio and First Night: “Unbelievable”

To The Editor:

Let me get this straight.

Last year the Dalio Family Foundation and Ray Dalio donated approximately $5 million to 400 different charities.

Yet the executive director of the local First Night group feels justified to engage in libel and besmirch the man’s good name because he did not specifically give to her charity?


J. Kevin Shushtari, M.D.
Farmington, CT 06032

Roving Police Patrols Better Than DUI Checkpoints

To the Editor:

In the fight to get drunken drivers off the roads, Connecticut law enforcement agencies would likely make far more arrests if they spent their available time roaming the streets looking for drunken drivers, rather than standing at roadblocks waiting for these drivers to come to them (Westport Police to Set Up DUI Checkpoints, Dec. 3 ).

Because they are highly visible by design and publicized in advance, roadblocks are all too easily avoided by the chronic alcohol-abusers who compose the core of today’s drunken-driving problem.

Conversely, the number of DUI arrests made by roving patrol programs is nearly 10 times the average number of DUI arrests made by checkpoint programs, according to testimony by a Pennsylvania Department of Transportation official.

Westport residents and taxpayers would benefit from employing the most effective tactics to catch drunken drivers: roving police patrols.

Sarah Longwell
Managing Director
American Beverage Institute
Washington, D.C.

RTM District 4 Vacancy Session Set for Nov. 26

To the Editor:

We want to thank all of the Westport electorate who voted in the recent mid-term elections. As your two returning members of the town’s legislative body, the Representative Town Meeting (RTM), Liz Milwe and Gene Seidman wish to welcome our newest elected member, Jeffrey Wieser.

This leaves one remaining vacancy for RTM District 4. In accordance with the Town Charter, (specifically Section C5-8C), the vacancy must be filled by a registered voter living in District 4. No party affiliation is required since Westport’s RTM is non-partisan. The term expires in November 2009. 

Residents of RTM District 4 interested in being considered to fill the vacancy are invited meet with your elected representatives on Monday Nov. 26 at 10 a.m. at Town Hall Room 309 (110 Myrtle Ave., Room 105, Westport, CT 06880).

Any questions can be directed to the remaining district members below.  Contact information and a district boundary map are available on the town’s Web site at .

Gene Seidman
Liz Milwe
Jeffrey Wieser
Patricia Strauss, Town Clerk

Congratulations to Woman’s Club

To the Editor:

The Westport Woman’s Club is celebrating its 100th Anniversary this year and deserves special recognition for all the “good” this civic organization has brought to Westport.

My association with Westport Woman’s Club is very recent. We just completed Build for the Cure™ supporting Susan G. Komen for the Cure and our breast cancer programs. We turned to the Westport Woman’s Club for help with this major project in their community and without hesitation, they were there to help. They provided advice, committee volunteers, and house tour guides, and very importantly awarded a $10,000 Ruegg Grant to Komen for the Cure in Connecticut. We were honored to be selected as the recipient of such a prestigious award.

The Westport Woman’s Club embodies a strong commitment to volunteerism which is so vital to any community.  In these times, it is increasingly difficult to keep this type of organization together and strong, but in Westport, these ladies have done an outstanding job.

I congratulate them on their 100th Anniversary and personally thank President Barbara Levy and Linda Clair for their leadership and assistance on our Build for the Cure.

Pauline R. Kezer
President, Komen for the Cure CT
Old Saybrook, CT

Concern Over Arrest at Rell Inaugural Parade

To the Editor:

The recent arrest of journalist-activist Ken Krayeske at Gov. (M. Jodi) Rell’s inaugural parade is the latest in a growing series of government covert actions that make modern life feel more and more like a spy thriller.

Krayeske’s arrest brought to light the existence of a secret “suspicious persons” list provided to state police by the little-known Connecticut Intelligence Center.  Apparently Krayeske got on the list because he was campaign director for Green Party candidate Cliff Thornton, and because he criticized Rell for refusing to debate Thornton.

This list may or may not be the same as the Violent Gang and Terrorist Organization File (VGTOF) maintained by the FBI.  The VGTOF has included, among others, the American Friends Service Committee, a pacifist organization.  And then there is the secret “no-fly” list which bans people from airplanes based on their political affiliations.

These secret lists, we are told, are a necessary tool of law enforcement, along with warrantless wiretapping and, as of last month, the opening of sealed mail without court orders.

In Stamford, the police department, with support from the Board of Representatives, is planning to install video surveillance cameras throughout the city to monitor people’s behavior in public places.  This is already widespread in London and New York.

Secret lists, eavesdropping, hidden cameras.  And we also have midnight deportations to secret overseas prisons (“extraordinary rendition”), indefinite detention without trial at Guantanamo, and the use of approved forms of torture to extract information.

Not very pretty.  And not very effective, either. How can these heavy-handed, clandestine, and centralized methods of gathering information keep up with a world of burgeoning print media, the Internet, cell-phones and digital cameras?

Perhaps we need a new national security paradigm, based not on obscure government operations but on the collective intelligence of an informed citizenry. 

Imagine, instead of J. Edgar Hoover and his G-men, a whole society armed with cellphones and computers, combing publicly available information sources and reporting their findings on blogs.  Imagine, instead of a Central Intelligence Agency, a Citizen Intelligence Network. The young hackers will run circles around the old spies.

This is the concept behind Open Source Intelligence, a movement founded by former Marine and CIA officer Robert Steele.

To learn more about the movement, the Fairfield County Green Party will show and discuss a film about Robert Steele, “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Spying and Intelligence,” on Thursday, Jan. 25 at 7 p.m. at the Westport Public Library.

We need to start treating bloggers like Ken Krayeske as a national resource, not a national threat.

David Bedell

“I Cannot Believe What I am Reading”

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.

John Damico
Office of John Damico Architects, L.L.C.
175 Pine St.
Waterbury, CT 06710

Honk for Brookstone to Return

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?

Adam Goldberg