Open letter

to Sen. Lieberman

We are absolutely appalled to learn that you are planning to block health care reform, including the version that expands Medicare to people 55 and older.

We know that you participated in the Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi in the early 1960s and that you always considered yourself a liberal, or at least that was your reputation.

Now we ask how you can reject something that so obviously is needed by the country, especially by the most vulnerable among us who are disenfranchised by our current system. How can you vote to retain a system that allows such abuses by the gigantic insurance companies as well as runaway costs by the pharmaceutical industries, the medical professionals and the hospitals? How can you allow your former party, with which you still claim to vote, to go down in flames on the most important legislation this administration will ever pass? How can you, in good conscience, strike such a blow to our first black president and his most vital agenda?

Please clarify your thinking on this so that we can stop feeling mortified about our senator from Connecticut.

Gloria and Tracy Sugarman

Westport

Review Medicare Part D

I am writing this letter to urge seniors who are state ConnPACE clients to review their Medicare Part D coverage to make sure they are in compliance with changes recently adopted by the state Department of Social Services (DSS). A major change now requires that ConnPace clients must be enrolled in a benchmark Medicare D Plan to have their Medicare D premium paid under the ConnPace Program.

To ensure the State Department of Social Services (DSS) continues to pay for your Medicare D premiums you must be covered by a benchmark plan and the enrollment must be done during the current Medicare D enrollment period which runs until December 31, 2009. If you are not already enrolled in such a plan, it is important to switch your coverage to one of these plans by December 31st to ensure that your Premiums will continue to be paid under the ConnPACE program. Fairfield residents are urged to contact the Fairfield or Westport Department of Social Services for assistance. Other residents can contact the Connecticut CHOICES program at (800) 994-9422. The Medicare D benchmark plans that qualify for Payment of Premiums under Conn PACE are:

"¢ Aetna Medicare Rx Essentials

"¢ Bravo Rx

"¢ Cigna Medicare Rx Plan One

"¢ First Health Part-D-Premier

"¢ Health Net Orange Option 1

"¢ Health Spring Prescription Drug Plan-Reg 2

"¢ Medco Medicare Prescription Plan-Value

"¢ Advantage Star Plan by RxAmerica

"¢ Silverscript Value

"¢ AARP -- Medicare Rx Saver

"¢ Community CCRx Basic

"¢ PrescribaRx Bronze

Contact my office immediately at (860) 240-8488, should you experience the loss of the state premium subsidy, are denied coverage of a drug previously covered under ConnPace or have difficulty attaining the maximum supply of refills.

Kim Fawcett

State Representative, 133rd district,

Fairfield and Westport

Consolidate

To Jeb Walker, chairman, South Western Region Metropolitan Planning Organization,

I understand that forming a council of governments, as exist elsewhere in the United States, would consolidate operations and put transportation, housing and other inter-municipal issues under the leadership of chief-elected officials in the southwestern region, I believe it would be a mistake for the Southwestern and Greater Bridgeport regions to do this separately without first consolidating the two paid planning agencies located in Stamford and Bridgeport respectively. For one, the days for these two areas to be considered distinct regions are long past gone. Even SWRPA in its Vision 2020 Congestion Mitigation Proposal of 2002 www.swrpa.org/Default.aspx?Transport=156 recognized that fact. For another, the municipalities need to do their part in looking to save state tax dollars across the board and consolidating these two agencies would do that. Thirdly, if you look to other densely populated states around the country, you will find that Connecticut's "regions" are ridiculously small. Fourth, it is time for Connecticut, the land of steady habits, to think outside of the box in addressing the issues that confront it.

I had mentioned the need for this consolidation casually to your predecessor, Woody Bliss, earlier this year. I won't put words in his mouth but I don't think he would oppose it if somebody could make the politics of true regionalism work,, which I know is extremely hard to do here in the greater Bridgeport region. Ideally this kind of thing should be coming out of Hartford, too, but since it is not, I thought I would just let you know my feelings as a citizen who watches Connecticut's floundering planning processes drive up taxes, drive down our quality of life and drive away good businesses who don't want government handouts or intervention.

Any consideration you could give to this proposal would be appreciated by this state taxpayer.

Jim Brown

Fairfield

Inviting the community

As the days grow shorter and shorter, we experience a nearly primal inward-turning ~ which can bring us into deeper contact with our very Souls. This year, many people seem to be experiencing a deeper sense of dread than usual. However, this time of year reminds us to have faith in the natural cycles of life: "What goes up must come down (vice versa)"; "It's always darkest before the dawn"; "This too shall pass"; "The only constant is change"; etc. In another week or so, the days will be getting longer again -- and hopefully the economy will be looking brighter again too, the way the Sun comes back every year, and the moon always returns, month after month.

The community in invited to share an Interfaith Celebration of Inner Light at this universally special time of year, as we interweave strands from various traditions, including the symbolism of the evergreen -- representing the eternal -- covered in lights -- reminding us of ever-repeating life cycles. Join us as the sun goes down, surrounded by candlelight in the canctuary at 10 Lyons Plains Road at 4 p.m.

Perry Montrose, director of religious education at the Unitarian Church, will give a special Hanukkah prayer with the lighting of our chalice at 4 p.m., as we welcome families to enjoy the chants from all faiths and dances of universal peace. These sacred dances come out of the Sufi tradition, but truly embrace all faiths. They are practiced around the world, by people of all ages around the world. Children are welcome. Suggested donation, $10; $15 per family.

Bring a special holiday dish to share at 6 p.m., and we will open the Peace Labyrinth walking meditation with a prayer from the Sufi mystical poet Hafiz at 7:30 p.m. The Dances of Universal Peace and the Peace Labyrinth are parts of the Interfaith Sacred Activism Program of the Social Justice Council of the Unitarian Church in Westport, which was founded on the fifth anniversary of 9/11 by Jungian Astrologer Marjorie Partch. The labyrinth is available to visit other congregations and groups. For further information, please contact Marjorie Partch: (203) 838-6825 or mpartch@optonline.net.

Marjorie Partch

Westport

Thank you!

On behalf of the Westport Historical Society's 2009 Holiday House Tour and Twilight Soirée, the after-party and silent auction, we are writing to thank those who made this 23rd annual kickoff to Westport's holiday season such a terrific success. The return of clear skies and calm weather on Sunday morning, Dec. 6, brought a surge of ticket buyers from Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and beyond to Westport to enjoy five festively decorated homes plus historic Adams Academy -- all for the benefit of the not-for-profit Historical Society.

Thanks must begin with our year-round sponsors: BNY Wealth Management, Berchem, Moses & Devlin, Weichert Capital Properties & Estates, Patriot National Bank, The Fresh Market, Kowalsky Brothers, Leigh Overland-Architect, Moffly Media, Michael Greenberg Associates, Cohen & Wolf, Buttendorf Building and Remodeling and Venture Photography. Additional support comes from Marc André-Architect, Gilbertie's Herb Gardens, Villeroy&Boch, Compo Farm, Westport Florist, LCR-Westport, the Westport Woman's Club Garden Department The A-Team (Ann Meyerson & Anne Landis) at William Raveis, William Raveis Realty and Riverside Realty.

Next, special thanks to the homeowners who graciously opened their homes and entrusted them to our docents for the Tour and Twilight Soirée: Ariane Mermod, Susie & Ted Aldrich, Fay & Cy Wright, Mary Wells Vickery & the Board of the Westport Woman's Club (1881 Sidney Watts House), and Ann Sheffer and Bill Scheffler.

Led by the house captains Dorothy Packer, Mindy Wolkstein, Deborah Kulback, Hope Trowbridge, Richard St. Francis, Ann Meyerson, Anne Landis and Margaret LeBedis, about 80 docent volunteers, including some from the Staples High School Key Club, did a marvelous job greeting visitors, distributing shoe bags and presenting the interiors, room-by-room.

A huge round of applause from 2009 Holiday House Tour & Twilight Soirée chairman, Dorothy Curran, Westport Historical Society president, Katie Chase, and executive director, Susan Gold, to them and to our tireless committee, toiling behind the scenes, including Joni Andrews, Totney Benson, Miggs Burroughs, Larry Untermeyer, Morley Boyd, Margaet LeBedis, Dave Matlow, Mary Ann Laurita, Maggie Feczko, Dorothy Packer, Deborah Herbertson, Joyce Losen, Barbara Brauner, Mimi Burroughs, Rebecca Howe, Kathy Nixon, Barbara Van Orden, Fran Thomas, Mary Lee Clayton, Kathy Groener, Jeannette Tewey, Anne Levine, Beverly McArthur, Rose Jordan, Betsy Dickinson,Sarajane Lynch, Jane Potkin, Beth Danziger, Denise McLaughlin, Rick Benson, Arthur Kirsch and Bill Chase. Without you, this event simply would not have happened.

We also must salute the work of the interior designers and stylists for the homes Soirée, including Beverly and Rebecca Ellsley of Beverly Ellsley Design, plus tabletops by Villeroy & Boch and LCR-Westport, and the floral designers, Gilbertie's Herb Gardens, Laurel Rock, Surrey Style Designs, Westport Woman's Club Garden Department, Deborah Herbertson and Geiger Garden Center.

Warm thanks to Deborah Herbertson for Twilight Soirée décor, and to our musicians, Mark Naftalin and Barry Urich, and our caterers, Cecily Gans and Richard Stein from The Main Course Catering, LLC. You made the evening one to remember.

We also deeply appreciate the generosity of our Silent Auction donors: Janet Slom, Miggs Burroughs, Tiffany & Co., LCR-Westport, Villeroy & Boch, Kismet, Flowers by Michelle, Mirabella Miniatures, Pierre Deux, River House Tavern, Joni & Nigel Andrews, Bradford Renaissance Portrait, Headliners Salon, Linda Dohanos, Philip Bruce Salon, Silver of Westport, Mionetto Prosecco, Margaret Lebedis, Purple Feet, La Villa Trattoria, Matsu Sushi, Marc André-Architect, Cynthia Alexander Jewelry, Chi Dance Center, The Fresh Market, Delamar Greenwich Harbor Hotel, Mirabelle Cheese Shop, Max's Art Supplies, Onion Hill Design. We encourage all who read this to thank them with your business and mention their support of the Westport Historical Society.

Finally, to all of you who bought tickets, Toured, made merry at Twilight Soirée, and bought auction items, you are the best! Your loyal support sustains the Westport Historical Society, its historic Wheeler House, cobblestone barn, archive, collections, exhibits and programs for all to enjoy!

Happy Holidays to all!

Dorothy Curran, 2009 Holiday House Tour Chairman; Susan Gold, Executive Director, Westport Historical Society; Katie Chase, President, Westport Historical Society