Teaching budgeting 101

Woody Klein got it exactly right about the uncontrolled Board of Education spending. We cannot afford it in these dire economic times, particularly when town budget needs, including those of the police and fire departments, are going unmet.

I urge parents and teachers who want to continue the status quo to consider a non-economic reason for slowing Elliott Landon's out-of-control education train: Spending without restraint teaches our children that their wants will always be satisfied, even when the financial faucet is running dry. Living within one's means, prioritizing needs over wants, and learning to make the best of limited resources are lessons for a lifetime.

I wonder whether the same parents who see no reason to put the breaks on the Landon Express would be happy if their children charged whatever they wanted on credit cards during their first year of college. The answer is obvious, but so is the responsibility we all share to teach -- and live -- Budgeting 101.

Judy Block


ITNCoastalCT proud

of service and name

Thank you for your wonderful article informing your readers about our new service [Westport News, Aug. 18]. Only one thing missing -- Fairfield. We do, in fact, also provide rides in and to Fairfield, as well as Westport, Weston, Wilton, Norwalk and Easton. Oh, and we're proud to be an affiliate of ITNAmerica -- a leader in providing dignified transportation for seniors -- even if our name seems a bit "cumbersome" to some.

Nancy McCormick



Cyclists obeying traffic laws is not the norm

Before Mr. Izzo wrote about witnessing the poor behavior by cyclists [Westport News, Aug. 25], I thought I was the only one who saw the same thing: these people showing total disregard for their own safety and the law.

I was expecting a response from a cyclist and Mr. Paul fulfilled the expectation [Westport News, Sept. 3].

Alas, Mr. Paul's point of view is one from the over the handle bars and not from behind the wheel of a car or walking on the street.

He mentions the "rogue" actions of just a few cyclists. Sadly, that is wrong. As one example, the areas south of Greens Farms Road, along Hillspoint and South Compo, the blatant disregard for traffic lights, stop signs and pedestrian crossings occurs just about non-stop. Let's not forget passing on the right, either. I suggest Mr. Paul (and perhaps a few folks from traffic enforcement) just sit at Hillspoint Road and Compo Hill Avenue (where Elvira's is) on a Saturday morning.

They can observe the individual riders as well as the pelotons of cyclists blasting through that intersection as if they were in the Tour du France, complete with support teams and police escorts. I have witnessed people in the crosswalk being yelled at for being in "their" way. As Mr. Izzo noted, heaven forbid you should say something to one of these cyclists or you will receive a tirade of foul language in addition to the one-finger salute.

Of note, many of the more flagrant violators are wearing the apparel of Sound Cyclists Bicycle Club, Target Training (do they train them to ride recklessly?), and the Bethel Cycle shop.

So, Mr. Paul, the riders who stop and signal and follow the rules of the road are the rarity. I wish it was the other way around, but the reality is as Mr. Izzo wrote. If you would like to join me at Elvira's on a Saturday morning I'll buy the coffee. You will be very dismayed by the actions of your many fellow cyclists.

Matt Murray


Human services brightens lives with help from community

The school buses may be rolling again, but the Westport Department of Human Services would like to thank all those individuals, groups, teams and agencies who made this past summer brighter for hundreds of Westport and Weston children and families in Westport and Weston.

Two programs were administered through this department this summer, inviting Westport and Weston families who met income eligibility guidelines to participate in the Campership and Back to School Programs. Funding for these programs is primarily through community donations to the Westport Families in Need Fund through the Department of Human Services, which supplemented the many camp scholarships given by the organizations themselves.

With the cooperation and financial support of many, more than 500 weeks of "camperships" to various local day camps, sleep-away camps and other programs were enjoyed by 160 Westport/Weston children. Special thanks go to the Westport Parks and Recreation Department, Camp Mahackeno Outdoor Center of the Westport Weston Family Y, Westport Continuing Education, Longshore Sailing School, and Camp Gan Israel for their hundreds of weeks of camp scholarships. Further afield, generous scholarships were given by YMCA Camps Jewell, Becket, Hazen, Hi-Rock and Mohawk, plus Camp Laurel, Brown Ledge, Washington, CONNRI and several other local programs.

At the end of the summer, the Human Services Department conducted its "Back to School" program, where 121 Westport families with 221 children were able to choose backpacks and supplies for the new school year, as well as receive a gift card for new shoe purchase.

In addition, Athletic Shoe Factory and ASF Outdoors in Westport donated hundreds of clothing items and shoes to our clients, affording many students several brand new "first day of school" outfits.

For both programs, in addition to more than 70 wonderful individual donors, the department would like to thank the PTAs of all eight Westport schools, the United Way of Coastal Fairfield County, the generous donations of the Salvation Army, the Westport Police Benevolent Association, the Westport-Weston Foundation, the Hurlbutt Foundation, the Grace Salmon Foundation, Westport Sunrise Rotary, the Westport Rotary Club, Christ and Holy Trinity Church and the United Methodist Church for their generous donations.

The efforts of all these wonderful people and organizations remind us once again how fortunate we are to live here.

Barbara Butler

Director, Westport Department

of Human Services