Letters to the editor
Dear nature lovers
and park goers,
The leaves are turning colors and falling, the marsh grasses are beigeing, and the water is cooling quickly. Our short, sweet summer days are coming to an end, and at Sherwood Island State Park in Westport the first season of the nature center is wrapping up. It seems like yesterday that kids were flying their newly made kites on the lawn and walking with nets in hand to go explore the inter-tidal zone. The park is equally beautiful in the winter, but our guests from now on will be mostly birdwatchers looking for migratory birds passing through the extensive and diverse refuge.
As the first naturalist for the new Sherwood Island Nature Center I would like to thank everyone who made our successful first season possible, especially all the visitors who came and usually came back. I would also like to thank the Friends of Sherwood Island and the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection for providing this rewarding opportunity, along with the eight interns and volunteers from our local schools, our other naturalist Mike Rowinsky, a biology teacher at Greens Farms Academy, and all our donors and supporters.
The new Sherwood Island Nature Center is a place where social diversity and ecological diversity are celebrated under one roof, and where learning opportunities for all ages are born. What we have helped to create together is a unique opportunity to make environmental education a tangible reality, to introduce the local habitat, get people outdoors, and change the way we live in a world that gets smaller every day.
By providing environmental education to a public that visits us from the entire eastern seaboard and beyond, we are embracing our social responsibility as a town and passing on a legacy of respect for nature that will change many individual lives. Since the last nature center was disassembled more than five years ago, Sherwood Island has been missing a place where people can come for more information and a closer look at the diverse ecosystems that the park encompasses.
The park's 200-plus acres include a wetland, an oak forest, untamed stands of wild grasses and flowers, clear-cut picnicking areas and two beaches with extensive inter-tidal zones. Sherwood Island is more than just a place to come to the beach; it is a sanctuary for wildlife and boasts a diverse habitat that is kept pristine and beautiful by our state workers and local volunteers. It is a place to savor slowly, and spending time here nourishes the imagination and pacifies the soul. We'll see you in the spring for another season of fun and learning for all.
Alan Berman, Naturalist 2009,
This is a serious error because people have called me concerning what appeared to be misstatements I had made. For example, it appears that I claimed to have held an office (chairman of the Westport DTC) that I had never held. Kramer had held this office, but I had not. Kramer referred in his letter to things that he had said and done, yet my name was at the bottom of the letter.
I agree with what Kramer said in his letter. It was a good letter.
But I did not write it. My name should not have been on it. I hope this clears up the confusion.
Editor's note: Connie Greenfield's name appeared at the end of the letter, making it seem as though she was its author. We remind potential writers to be as clear as possible when submitting letters.
As I reflect on the past few weeks of campaigning, I am truly moved by the process and the final outcome. This was an amazing experience for me, something completely different than anything I have ever done. I learned so much on this journey from my colleagues, Ron Corwin and Howard Lathrop, and from the hundreds of people that I talked to on the sports fields, at the dump, the train station and just on the streets of Westport.
When in one's life does one have the opportunity to meet so many new people and listen to their thoughts and opinions. I've learned a little more about the heart and soul of Westport. I feel that I was given a tremendous gift to have been elected through the democratic process to represent the residents of Westport on this important commission. I take this responsibility very seriously and look forward to learning and being able to make fair and rational decisions on issues that come before Planning & Zoning.
Thank you to everyone who contributed to the campaign in all ways and for believing in my abilities.
Congratulations to Coach Dan Woog, all of the coaches, and the Staples High School (SHS) boys soccer teams. Looking across the stands at the FCIAC final, we have to feel proud as a community to see that the soccer program has become much more than just a program that produces winning teams. The Superfans and fans were all there -- students, administrators, alumni soccer players, and other community members out to enjoy the excitement and to support SHS boys soccer.
Woog has always taught more than just soccer. Everyone involved in the program understands that life lessons, team, community, and memories are the foundation of Woog's program that produces more than just winning teams. Wonderful Web site at www.staplessoccer.com. Good luck in states!
Parent alumni, Team 2000,
The Westport/Weston Y's Men's International Discussion Group had a recent discussion on the need for and the desirability of nuclear energy for electricity generation in the U.S. The majority of the meeting centered on the potential problems with nuclear power plants, including:
"¢ Disposal of nuclear waste
"¢ NIMBY -- not in my backyard
"¢ The uncertainty of nuclear accidents.
"¢ The emotional xenophobic fear of the unknown with nuclear
"¢ Large transmission losses if plants are too far from population centers
"¢ Possible high costs if the regulations were too severe
After one-and-a-half hours of mostly negative discussion about nuclear because of the above, a vote of the attendees was taken "whether the U.S. should pursue nuclear power plants." Startlingly, after all of the negative discussion, the vote was 25 for actively pursuing nuclear power plants with 2 abstentions. This was so surprising, the group felt we should share it with your Westport readers.
Some of the reasons for recommending positive action were:
"¢ There is no carbon footprint from nuclear. No CO2 emissions -- a contributing factor of climate change.
"¢ Nuclear is a domestic fuel. We would not be dependent on rogue nations.
"¢ Natural gas from the west would cost billions to send to the eastern U.S.
"¢ The French, who generate more than 70 percent of their electricity from nuclear, have solved the waste problem by vitrification (glassification) of the concentrated liquid waste. Recent western technologies take the nuclear waste and recycle it.
"¢ The amount of energy possible from solar, wind, geothermal or water is de minimus versus our needs.
"¢ There have been no lost lives from nuclear power in the U.S. as opposed to lost lives in refineries or coal fired power plants. U.S. plants are much more sophisticated than Chernobyl. The Chernobyl technology has been outlawed.
"¢ It will take 20 to 30 years to build a significant number of nuclear plants.
"¢ The waste is not a precursor for nuclear weapons.
"¢ There is seldom an ideal solution, but there is no other viable alternate to fossil fuels.
The preceding was just the highlights of the meeting and hardly covers all of the pros and cons discussed. We thought that the town would be interested in the outcome.
Mike Belaga, Chairman,
Y's Men's International Discussion Group
Could work here
In the United States we could learn a lot by looking at the Israel National Health Insurance System.
In Israel, the health care system provides intensive medical coverage through a network comprising of hospitals, clinics, and mother and child care centers.
The high quality of medical care is reflected in the life expectancy of 79.1 for women and 75.3 for men and the infant mortality rate of 7.5 per one-thousand live births. The sources of funding include health insurance premiums paid by each resident, parallel tax payments are also made by employers and self employed persons.
The National Insurance Institute Funds -- funds from the ministries, from health budget and consumer participation payment.
The collection of health insurance premiums is progressive, low income earners pay less and high income earners pay more.
When both spouses are employed they pay separate insurance premiums.
If we are serious about real health care reform, we should look at Israel's system, if it works there it could work here.
Brian A. Petronella, International Vice President,
President, Local 371 UFCW,
Thank you Westport voters for the confidence that you have shown in re-electing me to the Board of Finance. Most especially, I want to commend Bob Zappi, an extremely competent running mate and a wonderful person besides.
This election focused on the crucial financial issues facing our town over the next few years. The loss in our revenue streams and our growing unfunded pension liabilities have been a wake-up call. Our platform included recommendations to address these problems, and I will work diligently with my colleagues to translate these ideas into action.
It is now time to toss those election placards aside, roll up our sleeves, and work together so that Westport continues to be the model for excellence, an example of just what an exceptional community can be.
Board of Finance,
Food for thought
Am I getting too old to shop, or has Stew Leonard's evolved into a classic puzzle maze so utterly complex that it is now impossible to pick up a milk and find a cashier? And what is this health food cartel?
All three supermarkets within 5 miles of my house are wall-to-wall yogurts and multigrains. The rare meats and sweets they offer are triple-priced, apparently as a cover charge for their virtuous veggie floorshows. You have to drive almost into Fairfield or almost into Darien to find a big store with straight aisles, people food and people prices.