Town employees, volunteers ensure smooth election

The 2010 election in Westport went smoothly.

That is due to several factors:

1. Nita Cohen and Judy Raines, the registrars who developed the blueprint for conducting current Westport elections, created a first-class voter service system.

2. Our voter service representatives at the polls, from our moderators to the workers who process Westport voters, are well trained and do a first-rate job, often above and beyond what is expected.

3. The Registrar of Voters staff and deputy registrars could not be more dedicated and professional. I hope Westporters value the contributions of Susan Voris and Len Ances, and deputy registrars and Linnea Vornkahl, Mary Ann Champagne and John Sabito.

4. We could not conduct these elections alone. It takes much hard work and cooperation from the Westport School System; Town Clerk's office; and the departments of public works, police, fire and information technology.

In all, it is an effort Westport can be proud of and it works to make for a smooth election process for all Westport voters.

Marla J. Cowden

Registrar of Voters

Thank you, Westport

I want to thank all of Westport for your support in my election as your new State Representative. I'm touched and honored by your confidence in me.

My opponent, Nitzy Cohen, waged an excellent campaign which made both of us better candidates. I want Nitzy's supporters to know that I intend to represent all of Westport. You can count on me to listen and to give voice to your concerns as well.

I am committed to making Westport and Connecticut great places to live, work and grow. I will strive to reform our state government to be much more efficient, effective and responsive. You know I will do the hard work to make it happen.

Again, thank you Westport voters for your support at the polls and in the future.

Jonathan Steinberg

State Representative elect, 136th District

Hunting has no place in Westport

There is a movement afoot in this town to overturn the long-standing ordinance banning hunting in Westport.

If this ordinance gets overturned, the kind of hunting that will take place will not be "controlled hunts," also known as "open space hunting." Hunting will occur in our backyards. Once the town votes to allow hunting, the State of Connecticut takes over, regulating every aspect of it.

The frightening realities are:

1. There is no distance or property size minimum for bow hunting, and only a 500-foot setback from homes for shotguns.

2. Hunters as young as 12 years old can obtain a hunting permit in Connecticut.

3. Residents who elect not to invite hunters onto their property will have to contend with neighbors who welcome hunters into their own yards, possibly only a few feet away. If a wounded deer runs into your yard and dies, and the hunter doesn't claim it, you have to pay for its expensive removal.

4. I, like many Westport residents, live in close proximity to my neighbors. I'm concerned about the safety of my children and my pets, especially when many of the hunters will not be residents of this town. I have studied hunts in other Connecticut towns -- the majority of the hunters came from all over the state, other eastern states and southern states as well, to do their killing. These out-of-town hunters have no regard or vested interest in the safety of local citizens.

5. In addition, hunting exacerbates car accidents as it frightens deer out of their habitat and onto unfamiliar terrain and roadways. Of some 1.5 million reports of U.S. drivers hitting deer each year, about half occur in October, November and December -- these are the months when hunters are most

active. Moreover, 98 percent of all 2009 motor vehicle accidents in Westport had nothing to do with deer.

6. Hunting proponents claim that reducing the deer population will lower the rate of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases. Not one scientific study supports that claim.

Neighboring towns have had deer reduction hunting programs in place for five to 13 years and they have not lowered their rates of Lyme disease at all. According to the Department of Environmental Protection, the deer population in Connecticut has been the same for the last 10 years -- it has not increased as many erroneously think, nor has it decreased despite hunting programs in place.

Eve Nadel Catarevas

Westport

Mom-n-pop shops still thriving

Might we introduce you to The Brownstone? We are a "mom and pop" lifestyle store, located at 36 Main St. in Westport. We opened on July 8, 2007.

With regard to your recent series comparing the commercial viability of downtown Fairfield and downtown Westport, we are puzzled by your failure to walk the entirety of Westport's center. Perhaps, an unreasonable deadline (certainly not, a lack of curiosity, and old-fashioned leg work) caused you to re-enforce the much-ballyhooed misperception that downtown Westport lacks diversity.

This misperception harms Westport's downtown "mom and pop" stores. If this falsity is repeated enough times, by respected community leaders, this misperception will become an accepted fact. Then its correction will prove difficult.

The independent/privately-owned stores on Main Street's two-block area include, but are not limited to:

1. Henry Lehr

2. Lili's Designs

3. Mikol & Company Fine Jewelry

4. New England Jewelers

5. Westport Pizzeria & Restaurant

6. Great Stuff

7. Shoe Inn

8. Community Art Up Gallery

9. Bobby Q's Restaurant

10. Aqua Restaurant

11. Francois DuPont Jewelers

12. Liquor Locker

13. Tavern on Main

14. Faye Kim Designs

15. Oscar's Deli

16. Achorn's Pharmacy

17. Sally's Place

18. Mirabelle Cheese Store

19. Optical Shop Westport

20. Shoes & More; and

21. The Brownstone.

Church Street has the following independents: 1. Metro Swim Shop; 2. Café Manolo; 3. The Wild Pear; and 4. Love & Co.

Jessup Road, which intersects Main Street, has the following independents:

1. Matsu Sushi; and 2. Lynne Scalo.

A three-block area on the Post Road anchors Main Street's entrance. Here independent retailers outnumber box stores. Some are:

1. The Age of Reason

2. Top This

3. Westport Workout Wear

4. Soleil Toile

5. Lucy's

6. Dovecote

7. Fig

8. Max's Art Supply

9. Specs

10. Rahelia's Evening Wear

11. The Avenue/Chart Room

12. Dazzle Designs

13. Second Time Around

14. 4@1

15. Amy Coe

16. Agabhumi; and

17. Finalmente Trattoria.

We would also direct you to visit Sconset Square, which is occupied solely by independent merchants:

1. HB Home; 2. Bungalow; 3. Room; 4. Blue Lemon; and 5. Rockwell Art and Framing.

Yes, Klein's closed. Yes, The Remarkable Bookstore is sorely missed, as is Swezey. But, is it accurate to say there are no independents left?

More disturbing, which owners of the businesses listed above, perceive they now occupy a different place in the local economy? We certainly do not believe this. Nor do we believe most of Westport's independent merchants have succumbed to this insidious malaise. On the whole, successful, independent business owners are objective and astute. Therefore, would they not perceive this as a period of great opportunity?

Granted, Westport must plan future changes. However, should future plans be predicated upon the denial of Westport's key assets, which include many independent merchants and a well-defined downtown center? Had Mr. Schott walked the above-named streets, his article might have acknowledged that unlike Fairfield, Westport offers its residents and visitors the luxury of a downtown neighborhood that may be called a true walking district.

Before you publish another article about Westport's downtown merchants, please remember Chicken Little might be considered a wonderful theatrical role for a pre-schooler, but a journalist must play a more objective, albeit far less dramatic, role.

Mariana Hurtado

Celeste Puglisi

Victoria Schallert

The Brownstone, Westport