Gail Lavielle stopped school regionalization

To the editor:

Forced school regionalization, despite being pushed by the majority party in Hartford, was defeated this month in large part because of one person — Rep. Gail Lavielle.

When the first vaguely worded bills appeared in Hartford, it was Gail who alerted the Wilton communality to the threat to our schools and our town. When citizens gathered at Trackside on a frigid January night it was Gail who told the crowd what was happening and what could be done to stop it.

Hands Off Our Schools was a spontaneous grassroots response to her call to action. The group grew to a statewide movement with more than 10,000 members writing letters, organizing rallies, and delivering testimony at the State House.

At every point in the fight Gail gave us valuable insight into how the legislative process works, who to contact, and how to frame our arguments for maximum impact.

Because of her years of experience in Hartford, her natural skepticism of political partisans, and her network of contacts throughout the state, Gail was able to rally concerned citizens in towns all across Connecticut and stop what had looked like a fait accompli. We own Gail Lavielle an enormous debt of gratitude.

Philip Murphy

Wilton

Special thanks for new library

To the editor:

I am writing today on behalf of the Westport Library Board of Trustees, staff and volunteers to invite you all to join us as we celebrate the library’s grand reopening on Sunday, June 23.

The day will kick off at 11 a.m. with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on the steps of the new Jesup Green entrance before we welcome the community in to explore and experience the new space and its possibilities.

For the past two years, we have been in the process of completing this sweeping renovation of the 1986 library facility, bringing it into the 21st century with increased flexibility, improved accessibility, more functionality, outstanding collections of materials and, hopefully, more fun!

A project of this magnitude does not happen in a vacuum or without the help of countless organizations and individuals.

There are far too many to list in this letter, but I would like to give special thanks to the Library Board of Trustees, Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe, the Westport Board of Selectmen, Board of Finance, RTM, the Town Planning and Zoning Committee and the Police and Fire Departments.

Our gratitude also goes to the library’s Cornerstone Society and all library donors, including the Connecticut State Library, the State of Connecticut and volunteers who have given their time, talent and treasure to this project.

In addition, I would like to thank our many community partners who opened their doors to allow us to continue to offer our services and programs to the public during this transition: Westport Downtown Merchants Association, the YMCA, the Suzuki Music School, Christ and Holy Trinity Church, Saugatuck Congregational Church, Westport Town Hall, the Westport Woman’s Club, The Conservative Synagogue, Beit Chaverim, Temple Israel, Earthplace, the Westport Police Department, the Greens Farms Congregational Church, the Westport Historical Society and Westport Center for Senior Activities.

Finally, I would like to thank the wonderful community of Westport at-large. By constructing in-place these past two years and keeping the library and its services accessible and connected to you, we have been honored to learn many important lessons on what you hope to see, do and experience at your Library.

We are grateful to have gathered such important feedback and experienced such infectious enthusiasm for this beloved town institution. This is truly your Library — your blank slate — to explore and use in countless ways we can’t even begin to imagine.

I speak for myself and the entire team here at the library when I say how excited we are for this new chapter. We sincerely hope you will be inspired by and proud of what we have done.

We can’t wait to share it all with you on the 23rd!

Bill Harmer

Executive Director

The Westport Library