Saturday, March 02, 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.

Allen’s Last Stand

To the Editor:

When I was the executive director of the Westport Historical Society, I received countless calls from distraught residents—current and former.

They called to tell me that either a house was in the process of being torn down or that it was already gone. What could they do? Of course, it was always too late.

I have great respect for the presentation Town Historian Allen Raymond made at the RTM meeting last night (March 9, 2004) about saving Allen’s Clam House.

Someone said that we are losing Westport’s history one building at a time. It is tragically true.

I hope Allen’s comments, his passion and determination can at least help raise the level of consciousness about the importance of historic preservation.

But to drag this out any longer, ignoring the hard, conscientious work that Amy Van Arsdale and other neighbors did over a five-year period, would be an outrage.

If anyone is concerned about a building in Westport, I urge you to contact the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation.

They have circuit riders with extensive experience and expertise that can help explore options you may not have thought of (

Their mission is “to preserve the character and ensure the vitality of Connecticut’s historically significant places.” Do it before it’s too late.
Susan Farewell

“Shocked” to See Schools Adding Administrators

(The following letter was sent to Schools Supt. Elliott Landon and Board of Ed Chair Sandra Urist)

In this time of dramatically rising property taxes due to new schools and school renovation, I am shocked to see that the school system is continuing to add to the already excessively large number of school administrators.

In the list of administrative positions that the school board is looking to fill (as listed on the school Web site), I see none that are essential.

I see none that add to the learning of the students who are at school. All I see is more and more layers of highly paid administrators.

Please take a look at the essentials of running the school and eliminate what is not necessary. 

In the business world, people who run companies have to look at what is non-value-added and question whether or not a company really needs or can afford a position. 

If the school system were a business, it would be out of business long ago. The fact that the town is expected to just fund and fund what is wanted, building up a top-heavy administrative staff is not reasonable.

I have no objection paying for teachers and a skeleton administration. That is reasonable. What is happening now including the administrative positions that are currently being advertised ֖ is not.

Jane E. Sherman

“Our Democracy Got Measurably Stronger”

To the Editor:

Our democracy just got measurably stronger last Saturday as 80 local residents, curious and hungry for the truth, attended a film documentary at the Westport Public Library called Uncovered: The Whole Truth about the Iraq War.”

Sponsored by Peace Action of CT, the documentary by Robert Greenwald featured interviews with high-level government officials, CIA analysts, top Pentagon officials, and foreign service experts.

They made a compelling case for intentional misrepresentation and distortion of intelligence assessments by the Bush administration.

The experts in the film methodically demonstrate how what was actually known at the time was politicized, stripped of caveats about the unreliability of sources or the uncertainty about certain conclusions—even reused when rejected as junk by CIA—and presented as rock solid ӓevidence by President Bush in his January 2003 State of the Union address and by Secretary of State Colin Powell in his February 2003 U.N. address.

Nearly all of the people who viewed the film raised their hand when asked if they thought a credible case had been made for distortion of intelligence.

And more people around the country are becoming aware of this timely film, as screenings of it have been occurring in libraries, town halls, rented movie theatres and house parties from coast to coast for the last eight weeks.

In our area, it was shown at the Weston Library and Town Hall, at a Veterans of Foreign Wars meeting, and it can be seen again at the Unitarian Church in Westport this Sunday, Feb. 8 at 4 p.m. with a discussion to follow.

Timing is everything, and David KayԒs report on the absence of weapons of mass destruction, along with his conviction that there was no manipulation of intelligence, has made this film essential viewing by serious people interested in knowing how we actually got into Iraq and what we must do to get out of it.

You can learn more about this film, view the credentials of the 26 career officials, and even purchase the film online, by visiting

Sean Hannon

Don’t Eliminate Staples Arts Coordinator

To the Editor:

At the Jan. 26 Board Of Education meeting, there will be a discussion to eliminate the position of Arts Division Coordinator at Staples High School.

This position is crucial to not only the physical maintenance of the Staples High auditorium and arts facilities, but in maintaining awareness of the needs of the arts when it comes to fiscal and policy decisions. 

For unexplained reasons, the Arts Division Coordinator is the only division coordinator position being proposed for elimination.

The administration intends that all questions regarding the arts would be decided and coordinated by an as yet unnamed assistant principal. 

This proposal means that all those who teach music, drama and visual arts would be evaluated by an assistant principal who may not have experience or training in the arts. 

It also means that the arts would have no representation at the weekly division coordinator meetings. The administration and other departments would be free to make decisions that affect the arts program without input from the people who actually know and teach the arts.

To give you a practical example of the importance of having an Arts Division Coordinator, the fire curtain on the Staples stage fell the week before Staples Players production of “Oliver!” opened this fall. 

If it were not repaired, the Fire Marshal would not have allowed the show to open. It was Arts Division Coordinator Alan Dodd who quickly managed the repair of the fire curtain so that the show could go on.

Without the help of a person whose most important priority is the arts, the show was at risk of being cancelled, obliterating months of work by hundreds of Staples students. 

We are extremely concerned to consider what the future of the arts at Staples will be if we donҒt have a representative who understands the importance of the arts to the educational curriculum.

This proposal is a slight to the arts, communicating to the students and the community that the arts are not as important as other disciplines.

It is imperative that the community speaks out on this important issue before it is too late. Please attend the Jan. 26 Board of Education meeting, or contact its members in advance, to express your concern about the elimination of this position and its ramifications on the arts program at Staples.

Lisa Rhodes
Linda Collins

Winslow Park Dog Warning

To the Editor:

I am writing about this incident for two reasons:  A warning to dogs owners to be very careful at Winslow Park, and Id like information about the owner of the dog that attacked mine.

I often go to Winslow Park with my two dogs, small terriers that weigh 20 pounds each, and are both elderly—the male is 11 years old and the female is 14 years old.  I arrived there on Friday, Jan. 2, 2004, at about 4 p.m. It was pretty busy, with a lot of dogs running around and playing. 

My male dog, who is neutered, nevertheless tries to mount many dogs, most of whom are larger than he is, and generally succeeds only to the extent of grabbing their back leg. He did this to a black lab named Boone, who turned around and attacked him.

My dog screamed in pain, and then ran off very quickly. I ran after him, and with the help of some nice people was able to catch him. His ear was badly ripped and I could see it would need stitches; he also had some wounds around his eye. 

I walked quickly to my car, but stopped near the area where he had been bitten to try to talk to the owner. I asked a few people if they knew where she was, and was told her left the park. No one I spoke to knew her name or where she lived. 

At that point my concern was with my dog and I left and drove straight to the vet, where he had to be anesthetized, sutured, and stay the night.

He is now home with a wound drain in his ear, and is on pain medication and antibiotics and will require two more visits to the vet to treat the wounds. 

He had to have another rabies shot, as I did not know the vaccination status of the dog that bit him, because his owner was too irresponsible to wait to find out what happened. The cost for his treatment was $515. 

Aside from the expense, both my husband and I (and our dog) suffered a great deal of stress related to this incident, that could have been lessened had the owner acted responsibly. I think this is disgraceful behavior. 

I hope that if anyone knows who the owner of this dog is, that person will contact me and give me the persons name.  I will report the incident to the Westport dog warden on Monday.

I know Winslow Park can be dangerous, I remember when a dog was killed there about six years ago (a Jack Russell terrier was attacked by a German shepherd mix, the owner in that case also left without helping in any way). 

I hope all dog owners are very careful when they go there to make sure their animals are safe. I would also hope that owners would be responsible for any actions of their pets. It is only in that way that we can all feel safe there.

Janet Welch