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Letters to the editor of the New Haven Register, New Haven, Connecticut, Email to

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Stacey supporter ignores financial questions, fails to support cops

As a somewhat casual observer of East Haven politics, I find it amusing to follow the comments of Democratic Town Chairman Gene Ruocco. During a recent interview published in the New Haven Register, Mr. Ruocco was identified as “a staunch supporter” of Jack Stacey, whose viability as a mayoral candidate has been questioned due to personal financial problems, including a recent ruling of strict foreclosure on his home. This is public information and easily accessible. It took me only a few minutes to locate it online.
In the article Mr. Ruocco attempted to link fellow Democratic candidate for mayor, Gary DePalma, to the Department of Justice investigation at the East Haven Police Department. Why? Mr. DePalma, a retired police officer with more than 25 years of service, has never been associated in any way with that investigation. The article also confirms that Mr. DePalma has never been “embroiled in any financial legal wrangling.”
Mr. Ruocco continues to try and redirect the conversation away from a very simple question: Why is Mr. Stacey running for office when he can’t manage his own finances? Most of the people I speak to around town support the efforts of our Police Department. To suggest otherwise is a blatant attempt to antagonize an already sensitive issue. By all accounts, Mr. DePalma had a good record. Mr. Ruocco should thank Mr. DePalma for his years of service, get his facts straight and support our police officers.
Keith Hedley
East Haven

Milford wrong to allow historic home to be demolished

Last Monday night, the Milford Historic District Commission No. 1 abdicated its trust. It voted to allow the demolition of a landmark house in the district -- the Sanford/Bristol House at 111-113 North Street.
Local historic districts were created by state law to preserve and protect significant historical and architectural resources. The Sanford/Bristol House, with its five small shed dormers, is a significant landmark in the district. Instead, the commission caved in to the arguments of the present owner that the house was “beyond repair.”
The translation of that is that restoration would be more costly than he would like.
The structural engineer who viewed the property stated that “in view of the damage, deficiencies, and neglect, it does not appear viable or practical to restore the structure’s integrity without replacing most, if not all, of the elements.” He also stated that to do this would effectively demolish the “entire superstructure.”
As city historian, I have heard this claim too many times to believe it. There is nothing wrong with replacing damaged or deteriorated structural members. I walked through the house last January, and the framework of the house was standing firm. There was nothing about the place that made me fear that it would fall down about me, as claimed by one of the commission members.
True, the sills of a house that old will probably have to be replaced, as has been done with many houses that old, but replacing structural members will not effectively demolish the entire superstructure as alleged.
I should add that the area is also a part of the River Park National Register Historic District. This should mean something. The message from the Historic District Commission is, unfortunately, that if someone who owns a house in such a district wishes to replace it, all they have to do is to allow it to deteriorate and then argue that it is “beyond repair.” This sets a bad precedent. The commission members should be ashamed of themselves for abdicating their trust and responsibility.
Richard N. Platt Jr.
City Historian

Chicago has a gang problem, not a gun problem

I read with amusement the letter on the New Haven Register opinion page on Sunday, June 23, about the appalling murder rate in Chicago. The writer suggested that if only we had universal background checks this problem would be fixed.
First off, we already have universal background checks for legal transfers. The only exception is between private sellers but it is still illegal to transfer privately to a unqualified buyer.
Private sales between legal buyers is less than 2 percent of all legal sales, according to figures reported by the U.S. Department of Justice. The 40 percent figure touted by the gun control lobby and the government is a bogus statistic. It was taken from a survey in 1994 of 254 buyers who were asked if they knew a background check was performed. This study was taken before the instant background system was in use and the researcher classified as “no” responses to those who responded with “I don’t know.”
 A U.S. Department of Justice study also found that less than 2 percent of convicted felons purchased their firearms at gun shows. Most got them from theft or off the street from illegal sellers.
To say Chicago has a gun problem is incorrect. They have a gang problem and a government that pleads down gun arrests rather than prosecuting to the fullest extent of the law. The same study that interviewed convicted felons also asked if they were more or less prone to commit a gun crime if they knew the victim might be armed. Surprisingly, the majority said they would be less inclined. Chicago is a laboratory that proves that preventing law-abiding citizens from making the decision to be armed is a recipe for more gun crime and gun violence.
John Aiello

Legacy of East Side Civic Association goes on through scholarships

After 65 years in operation, the East Side Civic Association has disbanded. It originated in 1948 as a bipartisan group dedicated to protecting the environmental interests of Hamden residents living on the east side of town. The association was started by my parents, Dom and Josephine Carusone, both Democrats, and John and Kate Tilson, both Republicans and prominent attorneys. The first major issue the association dealt with was the town’s plan to develop a trash incinerator in the Quinnipiac marshes that would have destroyed the marshes, one of Hamden’s environmental treasures. The association was successful, which prompted the ire of then-First Selectman Leon Booth, who wanted to deed to New Haven the portion of the area where the incinerator would have been built. That proposal was also defeated.
A recent association victory led to the infamous State Street tire pond and illegal landfill being shut down and the landfill owner being sent to prison. At one time, the association represented more than 400 families and during its existence raised quite a sum of money to fight polluters. Recently, the association’s last president, Dr. Diana Fischer, passed away after a lengthy battle with breast cancer. Members of the association’s executive board voted unanimously to use the remaining funds to award scholarships in honor of Dr. Fischer to two deserving students at Hamden High School. The recipients of the Dr. Diana Fishcer Environmental Scholarships are Matthew Hoff and Yaffa Fain.
Ms. Fain will attend Clark University in the fall, while Matthew Hoff will attend West Virginia University and major in fisheries and wildlife. It was the unanimous feeling of the executive board that during the summer a ceremony would be held in honor of Dr. Fischer in the marshes where so many environmental victories took place.
John L. Carusone
Former mayor of Hamden and a former East Side Civic Association president

Why can't the newspaper, and the world, go back to pre-Internet days?

Why stop at Sound Off? Why don’t you put the whole New Haven Register online and save the paper?
I’m so weary of the “Information Age,” in which the news is relegated to the void of the Internet, and then “they” have the audacity to say “for your convenience.” For who’s convenience? Certainly not for the multitude of people who have no access to a computer or are computer illiterate.
There are many of us folks who are not computer dependent, nor do we care to be. That does not make us stupid or poorly educated. Personally, I graduated from a university when cordless phones first came out. Math computations in high school were done with a slide rule. In elementary school, you learned to do multiplication and division with a pencil, and yes, we learned a script called cursive. I’m not saying that we’re adverse to change, it’s just that we’re used to change being an improvement. I had to use “snail mail” (stamped envelope) to get this to you because I can’t fax it anymore now that you’re online. Is it too late to make the Register the way it was?
Matthew J. Schons
New Haven

Maturo hasn't supported East Haven's good police officers

As a longtime resident of East Haven, I’m not unaware of its shortcomings. But, I love this town and believe that with the right leadership and a focused effort, we can overcome most of our problems. With that said, I find it perplexing our mayor continues to declare that our town’s “image” has improved because of him. The Maturo Administration has enjoyed absolute authority in town government for almost 16 years, minus a four-year layoff. I’d like to know, what part of the town’s image has improved during his administration? Seems to me, it has more to do with ego than reality.
Mayor Joseph Maturo’s handling of the national spotlight during a crisis is a direct contradiction to his own perceptions. I carry no hard feelings or condemnation of the rank and file officers in our police department. They serve with honor and integrity. They deserve our respect. A few exceptions can never tarnish an entire operation. Fact is, years of neglect knowingly supported by the Maturo administration, including the Board of Police Commissioners and Chief Leonard Gallo, came to an unfortunate conclusion when our mayor caved under pressure. Perhaps, he was thinking about how his policies failed to provide adequate support to the people responsible for protecting its citizens.
Our officers have the courage to take their responsibilities seriously, and have spoken out, in the past, on many occasions. Ultimately, our mayor should be more concerned with their training, equipment and morale, instead of bald assertions associated with his leadership ability. We’ve already seen it when it counted most.
Tara Esposito
East Haven

A college professor objects to smart phone use in classroom

This is a follow-up letter related to students’ smart phone use during class time in higher education from a professor’s perspective and recommendations.
Today’s college students are easily distracted from learning in the classroom because of their regular need to be connected to others and the world around them. Students' need to keep in touch with friends using smart phones during class time hinders the learning experience. Some students text one another, visit social sites and surf the web during class time. Contact may also occur during examinations. The elimination of this temptation is paramount.
Recently, full-time and part-time professors at a mid-sized public university in New England were asked the following questions related to students’ smart phone use during class time:
First, do students use smart phones during class time to text, email, visit social sites, and so forth?
Second, do students leave the classroom during class time to take calls?
Third, do students use smart phones during class time to enhance the learning process?
Fourth, are students informed regarding the professor’s policy regarding the use of smartphones during class time verbally and or in writing (i.e., if he or she has a policy)?
Finally, do professors think the university should develop a campus-wide policy regarding students’ use of smartphones during class time?
Professors’ responses were clear regarding these questions.
First, students use smart phones during class time to text, email and visit social sites.
Second, students do leave the classroom to take calls, however, this was uncommon.
Third, the majority of professors stated students do not use smart phones during class time to enhance the learning process. However, several professors agreed that students do use smart phones to enhance the learning process.
Fourth, professors do inform students verbally and in writing of their policies regarding the use of smart phones in the classroom during class time.
Finally, the majority professors stated developing a campus-wide policy regarding students’ use of smart phones during class time would benefit students and professors. Professors provided descriptions of their individual policies regarding students’ use of smart phones during class time. Professors’ policies varied greatly. This may be one reason why students ignore the professors’ policies and continue to use their phones during class time.
The professors’ recommendations for a campus-wide policy include provisions for students to use phones for educational purposes and personal emergencies. However, texting friends, surfing the Web, and visiting social sites during class time would result in reprimands. Administrators should take the professors’ recommendations seriously. A campus-wide policy shows students that the school takes the use of smart phones during class time seriously and gives strength to the policy.
Kevin Synnott
Department of Business Administration
Eastern Connecticut State University

Branford would save millions by leasing instead of building Public Works facility

With strong public opposition to building Branford Public Works at Tabor, alternative building sites are now being examined. But has anyone considered the advantages of leasing?
At present, the Public Works is housed in rented quarters near Route 1. The present site is in an industrial area. The owner wants to collaborate with the town, but the town is not interested in a serious presentation. With a long-term lease for Public Works in hand, the owner would install another overhead door, add floor drains, increase the water pressure so vehicles can be washed, and add 3,000 to 4,000 square feet in additional interior space for a requested staff locker room, cafeteria, and more office space. Munger Construction Co. and David DeMayo have looked at it, and he has prepared ballpark specifications and costs. The owner would make the requested accommodations and improvements and the town would continue to lease the facility and be in compliance with state water discharge rules.
It would cost taxpayers $6,250,000 to lease the present building for 50 years, which is the life-span of a typical facility. The town presently pays rent of $125,000 per year. Ten years would be $1,250,000. Twenty years, $2,500,000. The lease could be more expensive depending on additions, and this needs to be negotiated. Another advantage to leasing is that the property taxes on the facility would continue to be paid to the town, reducing our overall leasing costs. Compared to Public Works at Tabor, with a price of up to $15 million, or up to $10 million at another location, that’s tremendous savings.
Leasing Public Works would save Branford taxpayers millions of dollars in interest payments alone, since no bonding will be required. The idea needs to be seriously considered by the town, and that would demonstrate good government.
Frank Twohill
Member, 1st District, Representative Town Meeting (R)

Why are United States' prisons overflowing?

I read the recent New Haven Register opinion piece on “Locking Up Our Future” by the two folks from Their article contrasted the prison system in our country vs. other countries.
I agree that we have a big problem here with incarceration rates and the cost of this unfortunate (but necessary) service that is a multi-billion dollar taxpayer burden. I also support more humane solutions that include expanded rehabilitation in many cases.
The authors failed to address a larger point as to why we incarcerate so many people here in America. Is it because our laws are too strict? Overzealous prosecutors and judges? Drugs? Bad parenting? Repeat offenders ? Are our citizens just more apt to break the law? This is difficult to tell, but pointing the finger at “for profit” prisons as the reason for this problem is like blaming the rain on the folks who make the umbrellas.
Bart Piccirillo

Go vegetarian to avoid danger of 4th of July illnesses

Whatever happened to the good old days when the worst things we had to fear on the 4th of July were traffic jams and wayward fireworks?
According to the Department of Agriculture’s Meat & Poultry Hotline, this year’s top threat is food poisoning by nasty E. coli and Salmonella bugs lurking in hamburgers and hot dogs at millions of backyard barbecues. The Hotline’s advice is to grill them longer and hotter.
Of course, they don’t bother to mention that the high-temperature grilling that kills the bugs also forms lots of cancer-causing compounds.
Luckily, a bunch of enterprising U.S. food manufacturers and processors have met this challenge head-on by developing a great variety of healthful, delicious, and convenient, veggie burgers and soy dogs. These delicious plant-based foods don’t harbor nasty pathogens or cancer-causing compounds. They don’t even carry cholesterol, saturated fats, drugs, or pesticides. And, they are waiting for us in the frozen food section of our supermarket.
This 4th of July offers a great opportunity to declare our independence from the meat industry and to share wholesome veggie burgers and soy dogs with our family and friends.
Nigel Hesterheim
New Haven

What is New Haven doing about Townsend Avenue traffic safety?

It is clear that several traffic calming measures were approved at the state level for Townsend Avenue (specifically a narrowing of the road and an installation of over-sized, flashing warning lights) some time ago.
My question to Mayor John DeStefano Jr., Alderman Salvatore DeCola, D-18, and Jim Travers is what steps do we need to take in order to expedite this process? I am very interested in making Townsend Avenue safer for residents, and I know personally I have been requesting some sort of traffic calming for the past five or so years.
Are there any immediate plans to make Townsend Avenue safer for residents? Please let me know so I can spread the word among the concerned parent population of our neighborhood.
In closing, I would like to take issue with the way decisions are made regarding signals, lights, etc. It seems to me (with my admittedly small knowledge of the subject) that the needs of the residents would take precedence over the needs of the vehicles? I strongly believe that the safety of pedestrians trumps the consideration of vehicles. I understand that most cars are not used to stopping at the crosswalk in question ... but I believe in time and with exposure to the intersection that they would stop. Believe me, the residents of the neighborhood are already acquainted with dodging for our lives as is! There are two schools, a beautiful seawall, several parks and a busy church along that stretch of road. I think this would be a wonderful opportunity to ensure the safety of the residents who frequent those places. Please continue to let me know what I could do to help, and advise me of any progress you make so that I can share among other concerned parents in the neighborhood!
Richard M. DeBiase
New Haven

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Accident victim a testament to value of bicycle helmets

Austin Kamykowski, you are a hero to all. I hope your story (New Haven Register, June 21) will touch many lives. You went through much pain which according to you could have been avoided if you had worn a helmet. Parents, if you buy your child a bike also buy a helmet. Please don’t let what happened to Austin happen to your child. It’s a small price to pay. Don’t put your child through this. Austin is here to tell his story but maybe your child won’t be so lucky to tell his or hers. Good luck to you and your family. Austin. I hope the pain you suffered is better now.
Ann Sampson
New Haven

Voter feels snubbed over governor's office proclamation request

Almost a year and a half ago, I went to Governor Dannel Malloy’s Proclamation Request official website to request a proclamation. Because the word count was exceeded, I applied for a special proclamation through the regular mail. His office later confirmed that my packet was received and would be reviewed. I have never received any written correspondence from Governor Malloy or his staff. I have sent a duplicate packet and several additional letters to his office and have not received one written word.
It is truly sad when our elected officials forget the people who supported and voted for them. We give them our one vote, a precious American right, and they in turn are to work for the voters for a better Connecticut. Governor Malloy and his staff have chose to ignore my request or even acknowledge my letters. If Governor Malloy felt my request was without merit then common courtesy would necessitate a letter stating the reasons why.
My one vote is a powerful tool but only when it is used in combination with your vote. Few people write to their elected officials, but I did, and as a registered voter I anticipated a written reply. I will not again vote for a person who doesn’t listen to the voice of the people. Governor Malloy has forgotten that he works for all the people of Connecticut not just the lobbyist. Remember election time is approaching soon. Vote for the person who will work for you.
Anthony Griego

NRA's defense of assault weapons is unconscionable

There is a domestic terrorist group that operates not only with impunity, but with government cooperation. For many decades, they have used money and power to ensure that violent incidents will result in many instant deaths, rather than a few. They have been great benefactors to criminal gangs and hate groups, furnishing them with machine guns and even more lethal assault weapons. They have caused our children to live in an atmosphere of fear in our schools.
Hunters may need rifles and ordinary citizens may need a handgun for protection, but anybody that covets assault weapons most likely has criminal intentions or is paranoid. As for a few so-called “collectors,” pandering to their whims by the NRA at the expense of people’s lives, is stupid, to say the least.
Of all the evils that afflict our society, the unconscionable availability of assault weapons is the most curable. If only enough congressmen could vote their consciences and ban sale or possession of these weapons to any but the military and law enforcement, many lives could be saved.
Trudy Eber

Reader misses 'Love Is' cartoon in New Haven Register

I am writing to express my disappointment that when you made changes recently to the New Haven Register you eliminated the “Love Is” cartoon. My boyfriend for the last four years has been cutting these out for me everyday to give to me. It was his way of expressing his love since he is on disability and can’t afford much. Please consider putting it back into the paper. I miss getting those little cartoons from him. I have a box filled with hundreds of them that I have collected over the years. Thank you for taking the time to read my note.
Jeanne Kellogg

Life-long subscriber upset with new format of New Haven Register

I am 92-year-old. My folks started getting the New Haven Register in 1926. It was delivered by Mr. Abe Grurwitz, in a horse drawn two-wheeled cart. We have had it delivered ever since then, even though, we moved from New Haven to Old Saybrook. I have enjoyed reading it from front to back. Now I have trouble with the size, and I hate your new format! A disgruntled reader.
Ann E. Flanagan
Old Saybrook

Malloy urged to ban ATV bill

A letter to Governor Dannel Malloy:
Having lived in Milford, Connecticut, for many years and having experienced first hand the devastation of our parks by ATV traffic, we were appalled and horrified that a bill was passed at the 11th hour by the Connecticut legislature, which would allow ATV traffic on state and municipal property. The results of ATV traffic in one 90-acre Milford park included extreme erosion of soils, destruction of wetlands, a dense cobweb of deeply rutted, water-filled, root-exposed trails, which once were as pristine and walkable as the park itself had been.
We realize that many state properties could potentially suffer similar environmental impacts and that. like municipalities, the state lacks resources to enforce any laws concerning the ATVs, especially since ATVs don’t have to be registered. PLEASE VETO BILL SB 190.
Jeanne Cervin,
Chair, Milford Environmental Protection Initiative
Barbara Bell, Member
Ann Berman, Member
Betsey Wright, Member
Gail Dymling, Member
Barbara Milton, Member
Joy Carrigan, Member

Conservatives should reconsider stance on gay rights

To conservative Republicans:
I am a straight man who realizes that the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community has been around since the beginning of time. The gender of a baby is determined by hormones while it is still in the mother’s womb. Have you ever heard of Log Cabin Republicans? Do you know that you might have a gay child. What would you do if you found that out? Do you know that professions of all kinds have gay people in them? What if you needed assistance from a police officer, firefighter, medical professional or good samaritan? Would you ask them if they are gay before you let them give them mouth-to-mouth resuscitation?
You also might reconsider your stance on global warming/climate change. I believe it is the most important issue effecting our world. And you are wasting time by opposing President Obama’s effort to combat it.
Tom Cowart
East Hartford

Safety tips offered in wake of recent water deaths

The recent drownings are really sad, but they’ve inspired me to offer some suggestions concerning water safety. Having come from a family of champion swimmers, brought up on the beach at Mansfield Grove, and fishing and boating all my life, I humbly submit my ten commandments. Hopefully they will help to minimize some deaths due to water activities. Most of them you’ll find to be common sense:
1. If you are a boater, take the required safety course and pay attention to the weather. Tell someone where you are going and expected time of return. If the boat capsizes, stay with the boat if possible.
2. Never swim alone - anticipate tides and watch for currents.
3. Know your limitations - don’t swim a long distance on a bet.
4. If you are drinking, do not swim or operate a boat.
5. Do not overexpose yourself to the sun.
6. If you cannot swim - lessons are suggested.
7. Pay attention to signs and lifeguards.
8. Do not dive in unfamiliar waters.
9. Take a CPR and lifesaving course.
10. Stay focused and observant to your surroundings and people in your area.
Have fun, be safe, and respect the water.
 Ron Johnson

'125 Most Influential' section should have included Ribicoff

The Sunday New Haven Register published a valuable and educational supplement titled: “The 125 Most Influential People in Connecticut History.” One person who should have been included was Abraham A. Ribicoff. Ribicoff was born in 1910 and died in 1998. He had a distinguished political career as a United States senator, congressman, governor of Connecticut, judge and was President John F. Kennedy’s Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare. It should also be noted that Ribicoff was the first and only Connecticut governor of the Jewish faith.
Barry E. Herman

New format of New Haven Register is too vanilla, editorial pages too biased

This relates to your new “newspaper formula.” The new format is so vanilla that it has no character. The former newspaper was much more entertaining and readable. You have neutered your newspaper. What a shame! One more thing. Your repeated presentations of columns on your editorial pages by Michelle Malcolm are sickening. She has to be one of the most biased columnists that I have ever, in my 70-plus years, read. She makes Bill O’Reilly look open-minded. I don’t expect to see this letter published in your paper, but I had to write it anyway.
William W. Jones

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Questions about rape victims should be allowed in court

Thank you for your recent editorial, “Wesleyan Frat Wrong To Force Rape Victim ID.” You present four possible questions: “What was she wearing that night? Who was she hanging out with? How much did she have to drink? Was she flirting with people?” You state that these questions “have no place in a court room.” In an open court system, they seem undeniably valid and appropriate.
 Steve Groninger
New Haven

Arts and Ideas Festival's Shakespeare interpretation wasn't family-friendly

Your publication of Brad Minor’s review of ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’ convinced me to relinquish being outside on a perfect June Saturday, to support the International Festival of Arts and Ideas.
The elderly woman who’d had a hard time seeing from the balcony, and had been kindly—or not so, treated to a front row seat looked shell-shocked upon exiting the theater. From there, she probably heard every word but had to endure a close-up of the character Bottom’s ample hairy buttocks propped upon a vehicle as part of a fanciful interpretation of an ass. I always thought of the festival as a family affair, and indeed there were many children present, as well as genteel white-haired ladies who were no doubt made uncomfortable by this unnecessarily gross humor. For heavens’ sake, at least find a brownish leotard for the man.
Parents who’d brought their fairy-obsessed little girls were probably further mortified by the spirits being portrayed - not adorned with sparkling gossamer wings, but by a rusty saw, oil can, dolls, one of which sprouted demonic horns, and other objects whizzing about. Further, what began as a moving symbolic love-making between the finally well-matched and newly married couples was carried too far by frantic rolling around atop one another. Part of what had drawn me to this production was the fact that it had been done by the same group that had fabricated the puppet horses in the Broadway musical, ‘War Horse’, but this very clever and often amusing play went on for over two and a half hours - even cutting a favorite character Phoebe, and who remembers what else. I like imaginative and fanciful interpretations, but I think the Bard might have thought he had wandered into the inmates’ Thespian group at the asylum - especially during the play within the play. Lest you think I’m entirely negative, I thought the actors were superb, the mix of human and puppet characters well integrated, and the cat-fight between Helena and Hermia very funny and energetic. My problem is with the artistic choices made for this audience. I have an idea: how about warning the public when presenting an avante-garde performance, which for a matinee, part of a city-wide Arts and Ideas Festival, may be unsuitable for children and a general viewing audience.
Claudia Sorrentino

West Haven ignores wetlands problem on Boston Post Road

Regarding the approval of the Inland Wetlands Agency for the new magnet school on the Boston Post Road in West Haven, (story here) maybe someone should check that again. Over the past years, the supposedly protected wetlands in West Haven have been very badly mismanaged, as many residents can attest. The result has been flooding and weeds on formerly dry properties. (I was pulling swamp weeds out of my lawn this morning.) No person or agency will take responsibility for this. A meeting with the mayor, residents’ organizations, all result in lots of talk and no action. Do we have to wait until foundations fall apart from underground flooding before anyone notices?
Harriet V. Harris
West Haven

James Gandolfini didn't deserve New Jersey flags at half-mast

Just when you think politicians can’t do anything more absurd they top themselves. Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey has ordered flags to fly at half-mast in honor of actor James Gandolfini. Now Mr. Gandolfini might have been a fine man, but come on, he was a TV actor who played a mob thug. The lowering of the flag to half-staff is intended show the respect of the citizens to those who selflessly sacrificed their lives for their country. This honor is usually reserved for soldiers who die in battle, not every elected official or TV star. I guess this is what we should expect in the Kardashian age.
Jeff Osborn

New Haven Register editorial cartoons show anti-Republican bias

Your Opinion page cartoons have shown a disturbing trend of constantly denigrating the Republican Party. The cartoon in Saturday, June 22nd’s edition regarding a woman’s reproductive organs is appalling and offensive. This type of imagery is outrageously biased and a misrepresentation of what the Republican Party advocates. As a longtime subscriber, I am considering canceling my subscription.
Anthony Vallillo

Respect women and stand up for rape victims

I am responding to the letter written by Steve Groninger concerning the questions asked of a rape victim. No woman, regardless of what she wears, drinks, or says to anyone, male or female, deserves to be locked in a room and raped by a number of different men. Women are people, and deserve respect. Let’s hope, with your kind of thinking, that you do not have a daughter or sister who finds herself in that situation. I believe your opinions will change then.
Carol Penna

Touched by customer service at Barnes & Noble in North Haven

Customer service seems to be a lost art lately - but not at Barnes & Noble in North Haven thanks to their manager, Jean Recapet.
Recently I purchased a gift certificate for my grandson’s college graduation, and sent it on to California. It never arrived. I had not saved the receipt. With scant information, Jean was able to find the transaction using the bar code of another purchase made that day. He was able to cancel the original certificate and issue a new one.
As a senior citizen it would have been impossible for me to buy another one. Through his patience and knowledge, he resolved a difficult situation. It is just wonderful to find that there are still employees willing to dedicate their time to actually helping their customers!
Wendy H. Stern

Polluting Bridgeport coal plant needs to go

It’s time to retire the Bridgeport coal-fired power plant - one of southern Connecticut’s biggest polluters. The plant’s pollution contributes to the 32 orange alert days my town has on average. That means my 90 year-old grandfather is not even allowed to go outside 32 days of the year! He cannot go get the mail, go to the grocery store, or chat with the neighbors - simple tasks that everyone should be able to enjoy. Instead we stay inside and play cards. Not that I don’t enjoy cards, but my grandfather loves being active. How else do you think he has lived to reach the age of 90? One of the biggest pollution culprits? The Bridgeport coal-fired power plant.
That power plant does not just affect Bridgeport but neighboring towns as well, like where my grandfather lives in Stratford and where I live in Woodbridge. It’s time for this old polluter to go. A concerned granddaughter ...
Charlotte Sappo

New Haven Register shouldn't have abandoned traditional design

Without a doubt, more than a few readers are dismayed with the style change in the heading of the New Haven Register. The very character of the century plus publication is lost - as would be with the New York Times. It would seem wise to reconsider its established trademark.
Donald J. Tasso

Derby should consider merging high school with another town

With Derby High School graduating only 62 senior graduates this year, isn't it time for Derby officials to be thinking about a cost-saving-outsourcing of Derby High School to a neighboring city? Even Emmett O'Brien Technical School, which formerly shared their football program with Derby High School in recent years, graduated 115 students.
In a similar circumstance, considering the current State of Connecticut budget crunch, it would be prudent for state officials to consider merging Emmett O'Brien with nearby Platt Technical School in Milford, if Emmett O'Brien had only graduated 62 students. The small, land-locked City of Derby appears to need to evaluate a similar alternative.
Shelton leads Valley-area high schools with 1379 students, followed by Naugatuck with 1214 students, Platt Tech has 821 students, followed by Seymour with 765 students, Woodland Regional with 616 students, Oxford with 591 students and Emmett O'Brien with 540 students edging out Ansonia with 539 high school students. The enrollment information on Derby High School will not be available until July 8.
Stanley F. Muzyk

Hobby Lobby not hypocritical, just steadfast in beliefs about birth control

In a previous letter to the editor, the company Hobby Lobby was called hypocritical because they did not want to go against their religious beliefs and provide birth control coverage to their employees. How can this be called hypocritical? they just don’t want to pay for something that goes against their religious beliefs. It would be hypocritical if they did provide birth control coverage.
The writer also stated that Hobby Lobby has a reputation for imposing their religious beliefs on their employees. Hobby Lobby is not telling their employees not to use birth control. As noted before, it just does not want to pay for something that goes against their religious beliefs.
Joe Pisano
New Haven

President Obama right to focus on nuclear threat

President Obama’s speech in Berlin, building on a long bipartisan tradition, marked out the next stage of negotiations with the Russians over updates to our respective nuclear weapon forces. Presidents George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush both initiated efforts to eliminate unnecessary nuclear capabilities and focus on tools that actually protect America from today’s security threats. Today, security experts on both sides of the aisle agree that continuing these initiatives makes strategic sense. “Having more nuclear weapons doesn’t mean we are winning,” General Dirk Jameson recently wrote, “It merely reflects that our nuclear strategy is ill-suited to our times.” The Cold War is over; it’s time to ditch the relics of the past and bring our nuclear strategy into the 21st century.
Francis Mastri
West Haven

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Happy to see Sound Off eliminated, new Register design

I personally would like to thank the paper, heartily, for removing the "Sound Off’ column. I do have to admit that the questions themselves were meant to stir up the "rowdies" and I came to ignore it altogether. The same people used it most every day, and there was actually one lady from North Branford who could turn ANY subject into an insult against our president. All manner of "redneck" comment was on it each day, and only a few that had actually had given thought to the question.
One other thing is beginning to trouble me ... I know the Register was bought by another group, and am wondering if I am not seeing a decidedly more conservative/far-right/Rupert Murdoch aspect to the newspaper than ever before. Most every day this week, there has been a large "Forum" column, with someone spitting vitriol and far-right opinions against President Barack Obama’s administration. I intend to wait a bit and see if this is the way it is going to continue. If that should be so, I will discontinue my subscription, and get my news elsewhere.
On another note, I like the new layout of the newspaper. It is easier to read, and everything has its place.
Patricia A. Garcia
New Haven

Editor's note: The ownership of the New Haven Register's parent company does not weigh in on the newspaper's editorial page decisions. We've maintained a pretty consistent voice in our own editorials, and seek to have a variety of viewpoints expressed in our guest columns.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Paul Newman wasn't in 'Some Like it Hot'

I just read the June 16 issue of the Sunday New Haven Register which includes a section called "The 125 Most Influential People in Connecticut History." One piece was written by Ed Stannard about the actor Paul Newman. Mr. Stannard writes that Mr. Newman was in the movie called “Some Like It Hot” and dressed as a women in the picture. I must suggest to Mr. Stannard that he was not in that movie. He was in “The Long, Hot Summer,” and “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.” I wonder what Mr. Newman would say if he was alive to read that piece about him. He would probably laugh, but his fans do not think it is funny. If you are writing about a person, which I have done in the past, get your stories straight. Let someone else read them to make sure everything is accurate.
Ann Hayes
New Haven

Samuel Huntington snubbed in list of influential Connecticut people

In your special section listing the 125 most influential people from Connecticut, I’m dismayed to see that you left out the first president of the United States, Samuel Huntington. How could you possibly overlook this man while including some of our most ideologically driven and petty politicians who ever darkened the doors of power?
Peter C. Jenkin
North Haven

Norm Pattis is wrong about Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning

Norm Pattis’ column is a great addition to your paper. I don’t always agree with him but his intelligent discussion of legal topics makes you think about and see arguments from a side you don’t normally consider.
I do have to wonder about his view of Edward Snowden's and Bradley Manning’s acts of releasing secret documents to the press. Were they acts of civil disobedience or treason? I would guess both men swore an oath to keep secret what information passed through their hands. Do oaths, whether it be some low level information technology guy or a general in charge of the National Security Agency, really mean nothing as long as the person crosses their fingers?
I wonder if Mr. Pattis would consider it just an act of civil disobedience if one of his legal secretaries, because she feared for the public’s safety, released confidential information about a person Mr. Pattis was defending? It is one thing to walk away from a job because you don’t like what you or your employer is doing. It is a completely different thing if you break an oath you took to get that job.
Jeff Osborn

New Haven Register's new design is more difficult to read

Sorry, but I think you have laid an egg with your new format. The printing seems much lighter for one. You have left out some enjoyable comic sections. The small articles tell so little. I liked the older format much better. Your table of contents is smaller and hard to read. I have been a customer for many years too.
Mike Ferraro Jr.

Missing Family Circus and Sound Off in New Haven Register

What have you done with our newspaper? It is terrible. The print is too small and the format is terrible. Where is the Family Circus? It gave me a laugh for the beginning of the day. There is no description on the front page to tell me where to find what I’m looking for. Where is the Sound Off? You can’t find a thing. I hope someone looks into what the readers are looking for.
Marie Scalese

Boo on New Haven Register redesign, out-of-touch recipes

What a shame! Your new “format” is plain awful. The quality of the paper and print is so bad. I no longer have a morning paper to enjoy with my coffee.
While I’m writing, your food editor who decides what is of interest food-wise is way out of the ballpark. Most people don’t have and will not buy some of the suggested ingredients. I am referring to Mario Batali grilling a rib-eye. A steak needs salt and pepper not arugula, mushroom powder, sea salt or garlic. C’mon!
Eleanor Wallace
West Haven

Missing New Haven Register's "Sound Off" and "Love Is" cartoon

When I received my paper with the new look, I was disappointed not to see the Sound Off. Most of all I miss “Love Is.” I have been collecting them for years. They reflect many happy times and some sad ones also.
Eileen Bilotta
North Branford

Monday, June 17, 2013

Don't eliminate program that helps elderly renters

The Commission on Aging of the city of New Haven adopted a resolution on May 21 calling upon our legislative delegation, the leadership of the Connecticut General Assembly, Commissioner Edith Prague of the State Department on Aging and Governor Dannel Malloy to act in every way possible to prevent the proposed sunset of the state Rental Rebate Program.
This program provides a one-time payment each year for low-income renters who are aged 65 or aged 18-64 who are permanently and totally disabled. Governor Malloy proposed that the program be phased out, and the Appropriations Committee approved that in the budget now before the full legislature. Those who turned aged 65 during 2012 would not be eligible. Those found to be totally and permanently disabled in 2012 would not qualify. A parallel program that helps low-income seniors facing high property taxes would be untouched. The Commission supports both as important ways to help seniors to make the ends meet during hard times.
 In a recent month, there were more than 150 homeless older adults in New Haven. The majority of the nearly 5,000 people who receive a Rental Rebate from New Haven annually are at the very low end of the income spectrum. Our state can afford to assist the poorest, oldest and most frail among us. We call upon Governor Malloy and our legislative delegation to reverse course and restore this to the proposed state budget.
Howard Saroff
Commission on Aging New Haven

Rapists, not victims, are to blame for military's sexual assault problem

I was rendered speechless by Peter Cortland’s letter to the New Haven Register regarding sexual harassment in our military.
For the past month, there have been numerous articles addressing the epidemic of military sexual assault. Three times in May, a male uniformed military official whose job was to prevent sexual abuse has come under investigation for sexual abuse. On May 21, the Department of Defense released a survey estimating that 26,000 men and women in our armed forces were sexually assaulted in 2012, up from 19,000 in 2011. The DOD estimates that 12,000 were women soldiers; 14,000 were men (that’s right, Men!). Sixty-seven percent of women’s assaults happened on base, 19 percent in a war zone and 20 percent on a ship or field exercise. For male on male assaults, 73 percent happened on base and 26 percent in a combat zone. Fewer than 3,400 reported the incident. Most victims are reluctant to press charges because they fear retaliation from their superiors and ostracism from their units.
Mr. Cortland asks “who put the women there?” We have a volunteer military. The women put themselves there. President Barack Obama’s speeches about sexual harassment are not grossly insulting to our military personnel. Knowing the magnitude of the problem and NOT doing anything about it, that would be a gross insult to our soldiers.
Jack Mordente
Veterans Coordinator
Southern Connecticut State University
New Haven

Why didn't letter writer complain directly about restaurant dish

I am writing to address a recent letter that you published from Jack Tom of Bridgeport regarding Miya Sushi in New Haven. Let me begin by stating that I have never patronized the establishment nor am I familiar with it; however, that does not prevent me from pointing out that Mr. Tom is asking for support regarding an offensive issue that he helped sustain. In short Mr. Tom, three strikes, you’re out. Upon seeing the offensively named dish, Mr. Tom chose to remain in the restaurant and continue to order off the menu including ordering the offensively named dish. STRIKE ONE.
He didn’t ask to speak to the manager or leave and take his business elsewhere. When the dish was brought by a waiter singing “ching chong ching chong,” Mr. Tom remained in his seat and continued as a patron. STRIKE TWO.
He could have gotten up, refused to pay the bill and leave. Mr. Tom did not take a stand with the waiter, with the manager, with the owner and even with his own daughter and, yet, he has the nerve to state that he finds “the New England areas (outside of NYC and Boston) lack the sensitivity of the Asian American Awareness.” STRIKE THREE.
Mr. Tom is a perfect example of what ails our nation. Even though he was an active participant in keeping a system that he strongly disagrees with in place, somehow he wants everyone but himself (and the people of NYC and Boston) to take responsibility for it. The person who should be offering the public apology is Mr. Tom for painting New Englanders as insensitive and unresponsive to Asian Americans. Perhaps, next time Professor Tom will take a stand rather than sitting idly by waiting for others to stand up and lead.
Michele Young

Schools should provide smart phones if they are used in classroom

I read with interest the article in Monday, June 10th’s paper regarding the use of cellphones in schools. This has become an issue in our home. I do recognize the educational benefits of working technology into school. However there are definite drawbacks.
My children attend a school system where most kids do seem to have smart phones. Yet, my children do not have smart phones, and I have no intention of getting them smart phones. I have no interest in spending an additional $30 per month for a data package.
However, electronics are being used in the educational process in their schools. They have been requested to bring smart phones or other similar electronic devices to school for use in the classroom. So my son has brought his iPod Touch and iPad Mini. I believe that this is just asking for trouble. Theft in the schools is prevalent on all levels, and the ability to lose it is possibly even greater among middle school children.
And for those children who have no device at all, it is just a source of embarrassment. If the school wants to make use of these devices in the classroom, the school should be providing them, handing them out for use in the classrooms only and collected at the end of each class period.
Emily Resnik Conn

Not a fan of redesigned New Haven Register

Your new paper, you can’t even read it and I got better then 20/20 vision. How about the old people who can’t see as good? Your opinion section was good and it is gone now. Why? I hope you fix this or we will be canceling the paper soon.
James Morman
East Haven

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Police too lenient toward man who threatened neighbor

I’m baffled after reading an article in the New Haven Register on Tuesday about a man in Hamden who was released on a $2,500 bond. According to the article, the man got upset because he was sprayed with grass from a neighbors leaf blower, assaulted the neighbor with, I believe, a shovel, and then went home to retrieve a shotgun to, one would assume, shoot the neighbor.
The neighbor fled and called the police who arrested the man. But what baffles me is that this man was a convicted felon, assaulted a person with a weapon (shovel), possessed a gun illegally, threatened a person with the gun, and then is released with only a $2,500 bond? Am I missing something here? Because of the Newtown massacre, didn’t we just go through weeks of news on gun violence, do to various reasons like mental illness, illegal gun possession, dangerous looking guns, and a variety of other reasons? Didn’t we create a new law, along with the laws we already have, to prevent things like this? Didn’t we want to stop the wrong people from owning or possessing a gun, especially like a convicted felon?
The police throughout the state were all for a new gun law to create more restrictions and penalties. So the state hurries and passes another useless law, which of course, only restricts legal gun owners and obviously not felons. Why create new laws if you’re not going to enforce the ones you already have? Why release a felon, possessing a weapon illegally, using that illegally possessed weapon to threaten someone, performing an act of violence through assaulting the victim with a shovel, for a bond you would give a person driving without a license or less.
Where does the Hamden police get off doing this? Haven’t the Hamden police been reading the news lately or read the state and federal laws on a felon possessing or using a gun in a criminal act, like threatening? This proves what the gun owners have been saying all along, we don’t enforce the laws already on the books. Any felon possessing a gun or using a gun to threaten or attack someone should be held without bond or have a bond set so high that even OJ Simpson couldn’t afford it. The Hamden police should have set the bond at $250,000 or more at least, not $2,500. If this felon goes back out now and harms or kills that neighbor, will the Hamden police be libel?
James Pace Jr.

Connecticut legislators ignore public will over immigrant driver's licenses

Someone should explain to our legislature exactly what their job description is. You are there to represent the people that put you in office and to vote the way they want you to vote and not what you think is best for them. When is the last time you heard a politician say, this is what I believe but the people I represent believe something different so that’s how I will vote? I know the next time I hear will be the first time.
Polls show that more than 65 percent of the people in this state don’t think giving driver's licenses to people that are here illegally is a good idea. But politicians believe they know better. Nobody believes these people are going to buy insurance or pay for car registrations. You don’t really have to since we don’t have a tag anymore that says our registration is up-to-date. So as long as you obey the laws, you will never get stopped. We are suppose to feel sorry for the woman driving around who doesn’t have a drivers license, and by the way, where did the license plate come from? Off the wall of some grocery store perhaps? You think cops will stop anyone after what you put East Haven through? There should have never been a problem with people hiding in the shadows because if you people in government just did your jobs, people would not be here illegally. The people I feel sorry are the ones that came in the right way and did the hard work because they want to be Americans, this is just a slap in their face. We all know what this is all about in the end, votes. That’s the next step! You think we are all stupid and maybe you are right.
I was born in this country, but I am sure somewhere in my family’s history someone worked hard to make this country what it is today. Despite all our flaws, we are the greatest nation and people should have to do some hard work to reap the benefits that our forefathers fought so hard for. People should want to come here to be true Americans and come in the right way and not the lazy way.
Tom Conroy
West Haven

With help from the Tea Party, Republicans have lost their way

The Tea Party feels that they have been unfairly singled out by the IRS. Republicans are up in arms over the Benghazi affair. There have been other accusations, real and imaginary, laid at the steps of the White House. Conservatives are reveling and demanding firings and jailings. Anything and everything is being used, in an effort to discredit President Barack Obama. Hatred for President Obama overshadows Congress, and the obstructionists are at work.
Every administration has had its’ failings and scandals. Remember Watergate, Oliver North, Irangate, Monica Lewinsky, imaginary WMD, etc. etc. etc. Republicans are attempting to discredit President Obama in any way possible and also damage the hopes of the Democratic nominee, the next time around. While we are seeing gutter politics at its’ worse, all voters should keep in mind, certain obvious flaws in the Republican modus-operandi. They are anti-middle class, anti-poor, anti-minority, anti-immigrant and anti almost everything else.(Excluding the wealthy, of course) They are pro-war, pro-military industrial complex, pro-lobbyists. They are capable of many things. It should be pointed out that the GOP has been heavily influenced by the cult-like Tea Party. They want to attack and diminish Social Security benefits of 62,465,000 people, VA compensation for close to three and a half million veterans, and also the VA and military pensions. It is time for practical reasoning. The numbers add up. The Greedy Old Party has lost its’ soul. It is dedicated to the few, at the expense of the many.
George P. LaMarsh
North Haven

Gary DePalma explains candidacy for East Haven mayor

Recently, I had the opportunity to speak in front of the Democratic Town Committee at its monthly membership meeting. As stated that evening, I’ve had a wonderful experience meeting and talking with people from all areas of town, since I announced my candidacy for mayor. That effort will continue, as I intend to listen, answer questions and welcome everyone to participate in a positive movement to bring strong values back to Town Hall in order to build a better, more prosperous community.
My decision to run for mayor was made after I was elected to my 3rd consecutive term on the Town Council, representing the 2nd District. Quite frankly, I became frustrated with a process that catered to political expediency more than the best interests of our taxpayers. With the help of the Democratic Party, I saw this decision as an opportunity to change that cycle, force our elected officials to accountability and advance town government beyond its current limitations. A deep commitment to public service best distinguishes my candidacy. My parents, Fred & Sylvia DePalma, raised three boys and taught us the importance of public service. I spent my professional career as a police officer. I worked on the front lines of this community for over 25 years. As mayor, I will use that experience to restore integrity and apply the principles of hard work to town government. My top priorities will always be the East Haven taxpayer and quality of life in our town.
I know I need to work hard to earn every vote. But, I’m confident the shared ideals of honesty, integrity and respect will move people to participate and create positive change. I promise focused, honest leadership and a spirited campaign during the upcoming months. I look forward to meeting with the residents of East Haven to discuss how we can work together to build a winning team.
Gary DePalma
East Haven

Hold President Obama accountable as a failed CEO

A Forbes survey in 2011, asked people who they believed is the most responsible for a company’s impact on society, the environment, and the larger community. The results revealed that over 70 percent felt that CEOs held a high level of responsibility.
So, why do the American people not hold President Barack Obama responsible for the criminal actions and scandals that have rocked his administration? President Obama is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the federal government. He is responsible for what happens while he is running his administration. Why do we hold people in the private sector at a higher standard than we hold our President? People hold judges and law enforcement to a higher standard, so why not President Obama? What is it that President Obama has that allows him to not to be held responsible for the illegal and unethical acts? Why are the people so forgiving of President Obama; yet, when President Nixon did lesser crimes they demanded his impeachment? What reason do you believe President Obama is not being held responsible?
Ssg. Wynn S. Allen, USA (Ret.)

Old English front page of New Haven Register will be missed

Sob! First you changed the paper size and texture. Every morning I struggle to fold it properly so I can read it at the breakfast table. You shrank the comics. We’ve hung a magnifying glass by the table. Now you have abandoned the old English lettering which was so attractive and distinctive. Not all changes are improvements. It doesn’t feel like my paper anymore and it makes me sad.
Jane Platt

Happy to see end of New Haven Register Sound Off column

Congratulations on the new format: the paper is much better organized and easier to read. Also, thank you, thank you, thank you for getting rid of the Sound Off column. It was often the same people day after day spewing hatred and ignorance.
Philip W. Bennett

New Haven Register should have stuck with old design

After perusing the “new and improved” New Haven Register, an old cartoon comes to mind. Popeye from back in 1939, and may I add parenthetically that is before my time, ran a cartoon called “Leave Well Enough Alone” which included these song lyrics: “I know me stuff and I’m smart enough to leave well enough alone.” Just my opinion of course, but the Register should have done the same. The “screaming” new front page font is ridiculous. If this is the Register’s coming of age…it’s not working. Seems closer to coming apart!
Sharon Cullen
West Haven

It's time to close the Bridgeport coal plant

I think it is time to shut down the Bridgeport coal plant. This coal plant has to obviously be one of the biggest unnecessary contributor to pollution; they had more than 700 air pollution violations in the past five years. The year is 2013 and we have a lot of other methods to use for energy - a lot of cleaner options. When I heard that the smog and soot were major triggers for asthma attacks as well the fact that kids in Bridgeport are 10 times more likely to die of one compared to the rest of the state I was appalled. When I was younger I used to have a minor asthma problem myself - so I know from firsthand experience that it is not fun at all. Therefore we should be doing everything in our power to protect the adults of the future today. We need to get rid of this plant now.
A former victim of asthma,
Gregory McDaniel
New Haven

Branford should weigh options before replacing town planner

Our Branford town planner is retiring after decades of excellent and distinguished work on our behalf. The individual has made Branford a better place to live in.
This letter provides a suggestion for Branford to consider. Before we rush into hiring a new full-time town planner replacement, I request the town review Branford Planning and Zoning Commission operations. In today’s poor economic times, we need to review all town functions on a continuous basis in getting the best bang for our taxpayer bucks, while still providing residents their essential services.
Less building is now going on in Branford. Can we provide Branford residents with the same function in a different way for fewer tax dollars? We need to discuss the continued need for the full-time town planner position and review alternatives.
The town planner salary is $95,678. The assistant town planner salary is $62,965. These salaries are expected to increase with new union contracts under negotiations. Benefits are generally 40 percent additional for government employees. We are spending roughly $222,000 on their salaries and benefits.
I understand that the Branford town planners do handle development applications in-house. Over the years, some planning work has been contracted out at additional taxpayer cost, including drafting the new zoning regulations. There may be major savings to Branford taxpayers by using an outside planning consultant to review development plans and eliminate the need for our town planners. Branford has done so in the past. A contract could be awarded to a consultant planner after negotiations. Branford residents could have significant savings in their tax dollars by such an arrangement and we would still have the essential services in place. Let’s review and discuss this subject before hiring. That would make good and responsible government.
Frank Twohill
Member, Branford Representative Town Meeting, 1st District

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Redesign doesn't fix New Haven Register's journalism

When I purchased Tuesday’s edition of the New Haven Register, I was to delighted to see you have redesigned your format to make the newspaper “more modern and readable.” Now you all you have to do is improve your shoddy journalism and clumsy prose you’ll have an almost mediocre paper.
William Musco

Cafero betrayed gun owners

I read with interest House Minority Leader Lawrence Cafero’s comments about the chances for the Republican Party in upcoming elections and about his possible run for governor. With all due respect to Minority Leader Cafero, the sportsmen of this state will not forget how he sold us out to the Democrats after the Sandy Hook shooting. The deal he and other Republicans made with the Democrats to curry favor with a small minority of voters, who don’t fully understand the implications of the law, has resulted in Connecticut passing onerous firearms restrictions that will not do anything to protect our children but will make felons out of law-abiding citizens and will cost Connecticut jobs and income. It’s Republicans like Minority Leader Cafero who have caused me to withdraw my support and renounce my affiliation with the Republican party. Connecticut will continue to be a one-party state as long as there is no difference between Democrats and Republicans.
John Aiello

When did drivers stop obeying the rules of the road?

Through observation I have decided that the rules of the road as I know them have changed. Now I guess people can decide if they apply to them. I sometimes think cars no longer have directional signals. When a light turns red people in multiple numbers (usually three) fly through like the light isn't there. A car practically in my trunk actually passed me on Paradise Avenue in Hamden, a really stupid thing to do. Stop signs used to been meant for everyone. So many people are still on the phone although it's still illegal, isn't it? There are, of course, drivers who drive safely. Unfortunately they are often the victims of the drivers in such a hurry they make the roads unsafe for everyone else. It's like the Wild West on our roads, so be careful out there.
Ellen Casper

Pie in face is inappropriate activity for school principal

In your May 1, 2013 edition, I was appalled to see a photo of Ansonia school principal Terri Goldson covered with whipped cream. Why? The reading challenge was certainly a worthy one: reading 5,000 books would make the students better at spelling, reading, and writing. But shouldn’t that be a reward in itself? Throwing pies at a person of authority as a prize for reading is senseless and undermines the good order and discipline necessary to effective teaching and learning. No wonder there are so many discipline problems in the schools! How can students be expected to show respect for a principal who allows them to turn him into a clown?
Barbara Whitcomb

Happy New Haven Register added cryptogram

I am so happy that you now carry the daily cryptogram. It is my favorite puzzle. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Eda Moroney

After latest tax hike, Ansonia needs to get its fiscal house in order

In light of the recent passing of Ansonia’s latest tax increase, I have to say that this is hard to understand given the current state of the economy, including high unemployment and an abundance of taxpayers on fixed incomes, especially senior citizens. As a life-long resident, Ansonia business owner, involved citizen and family man, I can’t help to notice that the taxpayers find themselves in the same situation every year.
We struggle with tax and fee increases, cuts in the wrong places, not enough funding in the right places, and less money in our pockets, not to mention outrageous WPCA fees that give new meaning to the phrase “poor planning.” Most people’s incomes are not keeping up with the rate of increased city spending. The city doesn’t seem to get that. It doesn’t appear that we ever make any real headway and just hear more excuses about less state money, increases in wages and health benefits that the same people who have been in office for over a decade say they have no control over it. That’s unacceptable. It makes me wonder why we keep electing them when they obviously have no solutions to our problems and no new ideas to help us out. It’s time to clean house.
If Ansonia is going to be successful, we need officials who have not been collecting dust in office since gas was $1.82 per gallon. I would encourage people to look ahead to November to get a jump on who will influence next year’s budget. Get involved. Speak out. Are those same old folks going to make our situation any better?
Now it seems we have a June referendum for capital improvements. Why is it on a special ballot at additional expense instead of being on the November ballot? Bonding is much better than raising taxes to pay for necessary items but that doesn’t excuse, yet again, the poor planning that City Hall seems to excel at. Proper planning, including contingency operations and funds, would have allowed the bonding issue to be on last year’s ballot or even this year’s November ballot.
Ansonia needs to be run like a business. Businesses look out at least five years into the future to try to predict upcoming expenses. They plan. They reduce costs. They implement new practices. This type of foresight eliminates the piecemeal, last minute attempts to fix problems by throwing taxpayers’ money at them. The city should be looking for every possible way to reduce taxes to alleviate the burden on the residents and attract new businesses.
An economic development study for Ansonia was completed in February. Why aren’t its findings being released to the public? What are we still without an Economic Development Director? Can we really afford not to put economic development into motion now?
Another important change that may help ease our increasing financial burden is a city charter revision. The Charter Revision Commission has been meeting since December and will present proposed changes to the Board of Aldermen and to the public in time for the November ballot. It’s time to pay attention to what is going on there and implement new approaches that give the citizens a say in being more fiscally responsible and holding the line on property taxes.
David S. Cassetti Ansonia

A preview of how Obamacare will work

If you were wondering what government run health care is going to look like, just ask Sarah Murnaghan. She is the 10-year old girl with cystic fibrosis who is in desperate need of a lung transplant. In spite of her severe circumstances government rules prevent her from being listed on adult transplant lists because she is under the age of 12. Apparently her doctors feel this is an arbitrary rule and they would be happy to transplant her with adult lungs if they are given permission. Murnaghan’s parents brought their pleas for help to Secretary of Health and Human Service Kathleen Sebelius. Sebelius acted with all of the compassion that you would expect from a government bureaucrat, she denied the request to intervene.
When Congressman Lou Barletta asked Sebelius to intervene she again responded with all of the concern and compassion that you would expect from the average DMV employee and said: “I would suggest, sir, that, again, this is an incredibly agonizing situation where someone lives and someone dies.”
Organ transplants are a difficult situation since they are a limited resource. Transplant boards often must make difficult decisions. In the United States we have never viewed other forms of health care as limited. Unfortunately, The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will necessitate rationing of care. Government officials like Sebelius will be making decisions like this on a daily basis.
The Obama administration shamelessly paraded survivors of the Newtown shooting around to pressure Congress to pass gun control laws. Apparently this administration only cares about children dying from gun violence and has little concern for children that die as a result of government regulations. A federal judge has intervened and ordered Sebelius to allow this girl to be placed on the transplant list. Unfortunately that is what it took to change the government’s position.
If you thought it was difficult to argue with an insurance company review board, just try getting a federal judge to approve your healthcare. When Obamacare is fully implemented, the same government that uses the IRS to attack its critics will be making your healthcare decisions. That same IRS will be enforcing key provisions of the affordable care act. Will these healthcare decisions be made free of political considerations? Will critics of the government have the same access to treatment as supporters of the administration? The same government that has been monitoring the phone calls of every American will soon have access to all of your healthcare records. If you were not afraid of the government running our health care system before, you should be now.
Frank J. Mongillo III, MD
New Haven

We shouldn't be forced to waste money on unwanted cable TV channels

I applaud Sen. John McCain for his stand on the escalating costs related to cable television. I recently joined the expanding list of people who have cut my cable back to basic cable. I saved $75. per month by doing this.
I enjoy watching TV as well as the next person, but at what cost? I can go to the movies 10 times a month for that price or spend my time actually doing a craft instead of watching someone else do it on TV. I can go to the library and read any number of magazines and other periodicals for free. My husband is a sports fan and is now listening to his team on the radio when it is not on one of the channels that are included in basic cable. THE RADIO IS FREE!
We have been sold the idea hook, line, and sinker that we cannot live without 967 channels, and it is our budgets that are sinking in the process. Our states regulate all other utilities and I assumed that they regulated cable TV, so why do they get to increase their fees so often and at such a high rate? It is time they are held accountable.
It seems that every special interest group is now getting a TV channel and they convince the cable company to buy it and they pass the cost on to the consumer, whether we are interested or not.
I would like to think that I could start a movement to convince people that there are other ways to spend your time with the money you spend on cable TV. At the very least, they should, as Sen. McCain advocates, charge on an a la carte basis. Then the channels that no one watches will fall by the wayside and not be bundled with the ones we really want. By the way, my daughter also reduced her cable to basic and she has a teenage daughter and son so it is possible to do this. Just think of how many times you can do another activity with the money you save.
Barbara A. Torino

Six cats arrive, and it's made their home happier

I am so happy that the New Haven Register chose to print a wonderful article by Lindsay Pollard-Post regarding the need for cats and kittens in shelters to be adopted.
Five years ago, my fiancé and I adopted a beautiful, female kitten we named Tiffany. Tiffy was at the West Haven Animal Shelter. She has brought us so much joy that we can’t imagine our lives without her.
Within the next two years, four male, stray adult cats found their way to our porch in the middle of winter. We fed them and provided numerous shelters on our property and even went so far as to build a shed attached to the house where they could get in from the cold. We attempted to find homes for these four boys to no avail. Nobody wanted them, so we decided to have them neutered, given vaccinations, and to take them into our home so that they wouldn’t have to endure the harsh winter. Again, these felines give us joy every single day, and we have been so happy to make them part of our family.
After the recent blizzard, a beautiful, long-haired orange and white female showed up on our doorstep needing food and shelter. She, also was taken in and added to our growing family. Thus, we own six cats at the present time. I implore your readers to check out the many cats available at your local shelters. You will know “ the one” when you see it. My animals have changed my life for the better. It gives me a reason to wake up in the morning and be happy all day long.
Sandra Witkowski
West Haven

Private fundraising shows support for Wallingford fireworks

Another fundraising season for the Wallingford Fireworks Fund has ended with Jason Zandri and the Wallingford Fireworks Fund fundraising team saving our event for another 4th of July Independence Day celebration.
Despite all the headwinds encountered from the administration – from the original cancellation of a decades-old tradition without basis (as we have a rainy day fund in the millions which draws interest earnings in less than half a year to pay for the event) to the continued refusal year after year to restore the event, they persevere. This is despite what the people want; as shown by their willingness to get behind Zandri and The Fund to restore the event each year – this year with enough donations to secure the performance and associated costs of the R Band. Despite The Fund approaching Mayor William Dickinson Jr.’s administration each year and asking for them to at least partner with The Fund on the costs of the town services they are turned down with Mayor Dickinson steadfastly indicating “the funds are not available.”
The Fund tackles the fundraising for every single related cost of the event each year, and for four years running with the support of the residents and Wallingford businesses and corporations they’ve been successful. Celebrate Wallingford, Seasons of Celebration, Holiday Stroll, the Farmer’s Market and other events are all covered by the town either directly or through the funding of Wallingford Center Inc. (WCI is funded directly from the town at budget time).
None of these events (save Celebrate) draw more people than the fireworks and yet that event was the only one cut due to this supposed total lack of available funding. The people have spoken for four years now – the thing is, they are not being listened to.
Robert Olesen

Appreciating Norman Pattis's column in New Haven Register

I wanted to express my thanks to attorney Norman Pattis for such thoughtful and detailed columns that now appear regularly in the New Haven Register. While I often disagree with Pattis’ opinions on the cases he is presenting, I never fail to either learn something novel from his presentation, or to reconsider my opinion. I look forward to reading them each time they are published.
Nancy Evans
East Haven

Monday, June 10, 2013

Working Families Party isn't a 'fake' political party

Your April 11th editorial, "Allow cross-endorsements, but not phantom third parties," asks a legitimate question: What is a political party?
It then paints the Working Families Party as a fake party that only exists as a ballot trick. But I’ve got a few questions of my own. Would a fake political party run its own candidates? Contrary to your claims, the Working Families Party does run its own candidates, and holds nine municipal offices in Hartford and Bridgeport. Would a fake political party successfully advocate for its own issues?
The Working Families Party helped pass the historic paid sick days legislation in 2011, and a progressive income tax reform in 2009. It continues to push for a raise in the minimum wage, and against corporate school takeovers. The Working Families Party doesn’t sound fake to me.
Ted Fertik
New Haven

What if background check gap was applied to other safety issues?

So it has happened, the post-Newtown gun legislation has been defeated in the U.S. Senate.
And now as before, 40 percent of the gun sales in this country (i.e., gun shows and over the Internet) will go on with no background checks.
But that begs the question; in what other context would the Senate and House find such a 40 percent gap acceptable regarding the safety of their own families? Would it be OK if the FAA only inspected 40 percent of the airplanes for safety, or if the FDA left 40 percent of our food uninspected? Would the NRA devotees in the U.S. Congress feel safe if the airlines only screened 60 percent of the luggage going on board our flights? Probably not.
President Obama was spot on when he said to those who would consider this a victory “a victory for what a victory for whom?” Well those against this legislation, ignoring the actual wording of the bill might well answer; for the survival of the Second Amendment. Really? How about considering the survival of our country’s second grades.
Norman L. Bender

Why not ban pressure cookers in wake of Boston bombing?

It’s clear what we must do. Hold phony public hearings so that the public will think they are being heard. Surround ourselves with families of the victims as props to keep the emotions running high. Then ram through emergency legislation to ban pressure cookers. These evil devices kill people. More pressure cookers equal more deaths. Surely legislated bans will save lives. We owe it to the victims of the Boston bombing to do this. They must not be forgotten. There are many other ways to cook our food so cooks can just use those methods. There is no legitimate reason to have these evil devices in our homes.
Peter Spinner

Double standard for male Boy Scout leaders?

The Boy Scouts have been criticized because of their policy of not allowing their scoutmasters to be homosexuals.What I would like to know is what would the feelings of parents be if they had a teenage daughter in the Girl Scouts and when they went on a camping trip the leader was a 21-year-old heterosexual male.
Joseph Pisano
New Haven

A beautiful memorial on 10th anniversary of daughter's death

I would like to thank my extended Hanover Elementary School family (both past and present), especially Dr. Miguel Cardona (principal), for the beautiful memorial garden and stone commemorating the 10th anniversary of may daughter Rachel A. Luedee’s death on April 19, 2003. Rachel was a first-grader at the time and the school has always been supportive. Also, thank you to my oldest son, attorney Richard A. Rochlin for his contribution in helping Hanover get such a beautiful stone, to Shelley Brothers for making such a beautiful stone and to the groundskeepers for making a beautiful memorial garden.
Laurie Rochlin Luedee
New Haven

Guns, police and liberal bias

It was absolutely precious reading the April 28, 2013, edition of the New Haven Register. The front page article on police brutality was a welcome change from the usual anti-gun bias.
Imagine my delight when I read Thomas DeMatteo’s letter stating how he needs the government to protect him from gun owners. We know the police would never exceed their authority. What happens when the people who are supposed to protect us run amok?
The news is replete with cases of police corruption, brutality and abuse of authority. If I remember correctly, the Gestapo was a very efficient police organization, too.
I realize I must be a liberal. I merely want to exercise my constitutional rights without taking anyone else’s rights away. This is not the case for those on the Left. They have to take something away from me in order to exert their control. The Left may have a lot more in common with the police than I ever thought possible.
Michael J. Tagliatela

Ernie Pyle would have been proud of war memorial story

If the late Ernie Pyle is looking down from heaven, he’s smiling and cheering for the editors and reporter Rachel Chinapen of the New Haven Register.
Pyle was a World War II correspondent who lived with the troops and watched their heroic fighting from the front line of action. He reported the wars from Africa, Europe and the Pacific. He was killed by Japanese machine gun fire on April 18, 1945. Word of his death brought tears to all the troops, and millions of Americans.
Four hundred thousand of America’s sons died in Europe and the Pacific. Six hundred thousand were wounded. These young fallen heroes answered America’s call to defend her against Nazi and Japanese aggression and brutality. Their deeds must never be forgotten.
The Register’s commitment to a fair, objective, tenacious inquiry into the missing war memorial is greatly appreciated. Your reporting reminds us of the absolute necessity of the print media and of a strong military, to protect, defend, and preserve our democracy. War must never be glorified. But we must glorify the humility, simplicity, and heroism of those who fight our wars. For their sacrifices, we owe them unending gratitude. America thanks you, the veterans thank you, and I thank you.
Maria Notarino

Elimination of New Haven Register's 'Sound Off' is anti-senior citizen

As a longtime customer and faithful reader of the New Haven Register, I was very disappointed to learn that today (June 10) would be the last day of the print version of the "Sound Off."
In an age where most people are forced to be "connected" due to their jobs, everyone needs a break now and then from the glare of their computer screens. My relaxation time is in the morning with my coffee and the Register reading it in front of me in PRINT!
I love seeing everyone's opinions in the Sound Off, and I'm sure that judging by the amount of people who reply each day, there is no loss for participation.
Additionally, I would bet my life that many who respond to Sound Off are retired, senior citizens who are not forced to use the Internet and perhaps may not even have access to it. By taking this away from them you are contributing to a growing number "anti-senior" people and that is disgusting!
It is a little something that they probably look forward to every morning. As the Register continues to "sell out" by joining the digital age instead of leaving well enough alone, you will continue to lose more and more loyal customers, including myself.
Robyn DiNatale
East Haven

Dietitians support new GMO labeling law in Connecticut

The Connecticut Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the leading advocate of the dietetic profession in the state, would like to thank our state legislators for passing legislation that requires the labeling of food products that contain a genetically modified organism (GMO).
It may be some time before the law can be implemented, due to a provision that requires several other states to pass a similar law. However, it is a very important step in the right direction of allowing individuals to know the exact ingredients that are included in their foods and if those ingredients have been altered in any way. Just as products are required to list a type of additive or the amount of calories, they should be required to list whether they contain a GMO.
As registered dietitians, we believe that this information will provide consumers with the knowledge needed for better decisions about what they will eat and the effects on their health. Registered dietitians help translate science into terms people can understand and provide medically proven nutritional advice to the public. What cannot be lost in translation is that the labeling of an ingredient does not necessarily mean it is “bad.” Labels not only show what is less healthful, but also what will be beneficial. Food labels are a great tool to help educate people about food and nutrition. By simply looking at a label you can see if the product is a great source of fiber or calcium for health, as well as if it is high in sodium or saturated fat for prevention of disease.
Registered dietitians look at evidence based research regarding food science, food safety and food technology. Connecticut Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has no official stance at this time on the health consequences, either positive or negative, of GMOs and believes further study is required. But, we do believe in giving the public the right to know in order to help educate consumers in making personal health decisions. We thank our legislators and Gov. Dannel Malloy for their leadership on this issue.
Judy Prager
New Fairfield
President, Connecticut Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Pass a flat tax, and we can file returns on a postcard

Well, you did it again. Your reprinting of the Washington Post editorial on Thursday supporting the appointment of Susan Rice and the nomination of Samantha Powers as U.N. ambassador was mind-boggling. Ms. Rice is a proven liar on the Benghazi scandal. Ms. Powers has a long history of being anti-Israel and supporting international law over United States sovereignty.
But, this is not the main point of my letter. With the admitted and proven abuse of power of the Internal Revenue Service against American citizens, why don’t you write an editorial supporting a change in our federal tax system that would actually benefit Americans? I am talking about a flat tax. Wouldn’t it be nice if our state became a leader of something positive for a change? The tax return could be done on a postcard. Gross income minus a couple of standard deductions; the rest taxed at a flat rate for everybody. The left is always talking about fairness, and what could be fairer?
Wouldn’t it be great if the $500 billion per year now spent on an out-of-control bureaucracy could be reallocated to creating jobs and on our infrastructure. What say you?
Ray Carazo

Lower property values brought no tax relief to Ansonia residents

Wow! Ansonia recently went through revaluation and most residents saw a decrease in value of their properties. One would think that would also mean a decrease in taxes -- wrong! The mill rate went from 27.65 to 39.34 mills, nearly a 12-mill jump! Many residents will be surprised to get tax bills reflecting higher taxes for lesser valued properties.
Yes, the education allotment was increased, which was a good thing, but couldn’t the tax board adjust other categories to help the citizens of Ansonia? The economy is still in recovery, and the income of retirees and unemployed is still the same, as well as most ordinary working people.
It’s been noted that not one alderman spoke up to represent the majority of taxpayers in this city - go figure - so glad I voted. It is becoming increasingly more difficult to live in this city. What a shame! We are taxed right out of this city. The exodus has already begun and those left will continue seeing increased taxes to make up for the residency losses.
Joyce A. Harris

Live longer by cutting meat out of your diet

This week’s issue of Time Magazine brings more documentation that vegetarians live longer than their meat-chomping friends. A six-year study of 70,000 Seventh-Day Adventists, published in the current issue of American Medical Association’s prestigious Journal of Internal Medicine, found that vegetarians and vegans have a 12 percent lower risk of death.
This is but the latest evidence linking meat consumption to killer diseases that kill 1.3 million Americans annually. It comes only two months after a discovery at the Cleveland Clinic that carnitine, contained in all meat products, is a major factor in heart failure. Similarly, an Oxford University study of nearly 45,000 adults in last January’s American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that vegetarians were 32 percent less likely to suffer from heart disease than people who ate meat and fish. A Harvard University study of 37,698 men and 83,644 women, in last year’s Archives of Internal Medicine, concluded that meat consumption raises the risk of total, heart, and cancer mortality.
Indeed, each of us can find their own fountain of youth by adopting a meat and dairy-free diet. An Internet search on “vegan recipes” or “live vegan” provides ample resources.
Nigel Hesterheim
New Haven

Ballroom Polka gets its due in Connecticut

Congratulations to radio host Peter Danielczuk for succeeding, after years of trying to get the Connecticut General Assembly to make the "Ballroom Polka" the state polka song. After nearly seven years, lawmakers passed the bill making the "Ballroom Polka," written by the late and great polka bandleader Ray Henry -- official. “Polka Pete” Danielczuk, a native of Ansonia, has been known as “The Connecticut Prince of Polka” for more than 40 years.
Stan Muzyk

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Where have all the barbershops gone?

Where have all the barbers gone? I live in Hamden and by my count there are only six barbershops in Hamden. According to Town Hall, there are 32,000 men living in Hamden. It’s a crime that men have to go to beauty salons for haircuts, i.e. Supercuts and unisex shops.
I am a barber in Hamden for 50 years and I have watched the demise of the men’s industry since 1975.
The barber industry needs help. Are there not any legislators in Hartford that can stem the tide before all the barbers disappear? My brother-in-law in Ohio tells me the same problem exists there. All you guys that read this, contact your legislators and tell them to wake up and create an incentive to start a career in the men’s industry. Male or female, it doesn’t matter.
Dino Zaino

Friday, June 7, 2013

Impressed by musical at West Haven High School

I’m not a “West Havener,” but my heart filled with pride as I watched the musical production presented by the students, graduates and educators from West Haven High School on Saturday evening, April 27. The variety of songs from Broadway shows were performed so well and the entire show was so enjoyable. The talent displayed was incredible.
While WHHS students often get negative publicity on the paper’s front page, this show was worthy of front page recognition. Under the direction of Margi and Sean Maher and accompanied by pianists Art Bellucci and Phyllis Silver, the students delivered a show worthy of the standing ovation that was accorded them at the end.
The production was a fundraiser for the Fisher House which is soon to be built in West Haven. This will allow out of town families of injured military members to have free housing while they visit their loved one at the Veterans Administration Hospital. Mr. and Mrs. Maher have taught their students far more than that which could be learned from textbooks. They have taught them to give of themselves for the benefit of others. What a gift!
May the kindness and generosity of all those who performed or participated in the production be richly blessed. They were all a credit to themselves, WHHS and to the town of West Haven.
Julie Ryan Ogren

Brian Schweitzer for president in 2016

The 2016 presidential race is rapidly approaching us and we must look to the most logical choice that will best occupy the Oval Office. That choice is Governor Brian Schweitzer of Montana! Schweitzer will bring a calm, laxed, intelligence to the White House that we have not seen since Bill Clinton. We must elect Brian Schweitzer to insure the continued improvement of the life that we expect as American citizens.
Darin McCoy

Proud of Jacky Cohen for Branford Remarkable Senior Award

On May 21, my wife came home from a dinner with friends and said to me, dear, please look at this. I was astounded and aghast to see this award plaque, which read - Branford’s 2013 Remarkable Senior Award presented to Jacky Cohen. The award was in recognition of her outstanding service to the community of Branford through volunteerism; commitment to her friends and family and her professional achievements. Jacky brings inspiration and continuity to the fabric of Branford. Wow! In my unprofessional opinion, I could not agree more.
Richard Cohen

New Haven Register shouldn't have printed letter degrading women in military

I found Peter Cortland’s June 2 letter to the editor ignorant and insulting. What’s really outrageous, however, is that you gave him the opportunity to spew forth his preposterous poison regarding women in the military. Mr. Cortland has the right to believe whatever conspiracy theories he conjures from his nightmares, but to write that women have been “put” in the military to seduce, degrade and weaken the military is preposterous and wicked. You are not obligated to print such lies.
Janet M. McCarty
North Haven

We should be proud of women's service in U.S. Armed Forces

In response to Peter Cortland’s letter to the editor on June 2, about women in the military. I served in the U.S. Army for almost 20 years, and my conclusion is women in the military did, and are doing an excellent job; as good as or better than men. The Armed Forces of the United States today are the best organizations ever, but what makes them bad, is some screw-up leadership in the chain of command, not the women who are wearing the same uniform as my son, who is the 3rd generation in the military. Why are women in the military? Because they can become fighters, and leaders as well as any combat troop. What is degrading in the military are the actions of some screw-up officers and noncommissioned officers who forgot the meaning of wearing an uniform and the oath taken.
Melvin “Mel” Morales
Gulf War Veteran/Disabled Veteran/Wounded Warrior Alumni

Happy to see more national news in New Haven Register

Just a thumbs-up for bringing back a significant amount of national and international news into the pages of your print editions. I am glad to see that you have not given up being a newspaper in the traditional sense, despite your enhanced Internet presence. Your local coverage also now seems to be more in-depth. Keep it up.
Joel Marks

Letter writer who knocked female soldiers 'needs help'

To letter writer Peter Cortland regarding "Women know they’re in service to seduce and degrade military,” if you truly believe this then you need help, sir.
Ernie Mazza

You won't regret adopting from a local animal shelter

We are a family that has adopted three dogs from various shelters in our area. We have made a commitment to help animals in need, but more often it turns out the animals are the ones who help the humans. Our oldest dog, Delilah, was adopted from the New Haven Animal Shelter in 2002. Little did we know what an integral part she would play in the daily life of our special needs daughter. Delilah was even featured in a book and on a television program highlighting her help and work with our daughter.
Please adopt from your local animal shelter. If we are willing to give humans a second chance, why not do the same for dogs and cats. With time and love you will have a wonderful family member that completes your home.
Carol Marie Asprelli

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Don't judge Milford organization by the actions of one person

I am writing this letter in reference to the Milford Technology Advisory Council (MTAC). It seems this fine organization has recently run into some bad publicity. I am here to tell you this is an organization that supports the Milford community. Not only do they refurbish personal computers for those that don’t have access, but their recycling of electronics allows people to properly dispose of this material. These are well-publicized events, but what most people don’t know is that they also sponsor field trips for high school students to become aware of careers in the information technology field. I know this because this group of volunteers approached my class at Platt Technical High School to take part in a day in New York City to visit the Microsoft Technology Center. All expenses were paid for 10 of my students to be exposed to this unique experience. I hope people can look past the indiscretion of one and see the good the many are doing for the community.
Thomas Viola
East Haven
Mr. Viola is an instructor in information technology at Platt Tech which is located in Milford.

Why did Register print 'twisted' letter on sex assault in military?

I read the three responses to the letter by Peter Cortland regarding women in the military. My gut reaction to the New Haven Register’s decision to publish Mr. Cortland’s twisted letter was why? Of all the letters sent to the Register, why pick this one? Maybe they just wanted the public to know what’s out there in the way of outrageous opinion.
Or, and I sincerely hope that this is not true, they agree with the premise of that letter. This prompted me to see who exactly in the paper makes these decisions. Lo and behold, on the very same page, above the opinion piece, sat the names of the movers and shakers at the newspaper and they were all male. Yup, not one female name appeared there.
Then I noticed the cartoon chosen to exemplify the problem the military was facing. The cartoon was a terrible choice. The comment by the female soldier (“when they said hand-to-hand combat, I thought they were talking about the enemy”) reduced the problem of sexual assault to a "nuisance"-type issue. It showed a level of immaturity that does not belong in this newspaper.
In conclusion, I have to say that women in the military have rights. They have the right to do their job unimpeded. They have a right to mingle with, meet and date their fellow comrades with no obligation to give them their bodies. Men in the military have the same rights. What they don’t have is the right to the bodies of these women. This sense of male "ownership" has to end, in the military and outside the military. We are equals and we bring our talents to the military and the world, the same as men do, minus the muscle. Get used to it.
Jean Heagy
North Haven

Monday, June 3, 2013

Significant improvement needed in Connecticut rail infrastructure

I am writing in response to your editorial published on May 21 regarding transit infrastructure in Connecticut; the editorial is absolutely correct the state must make the investments necessary to make sure that the recent train accident NEVER happens again and that, even with the recent upgrades to the Metro-North New Haven line, much more needs to be done.
It is my position that the rail line should be transformed in order to utilize “magnetic-levitation” technology, which would be more energy efficient and reduce pollution. It’s also my position that, in order to reduce traffic and pollution on Interstate 95, work should be done on transferring trailers, especially diesel powered refrigerated trailers, from tractor trailers onto railroad cars powered by electricity. The transfer of diesel-powered refrigerated trailers onto electric-powered railroad cars would not only reduce traffic and pollution, it would also insure the integrity of a rather perishable product. It would also create good jobs in Connecticut in the process of providing cleaner air and protecting our environment.
The recent death of a Metro-North worker in West Haven provides more evidence that a very large amount of work needs to be done on improving transit infrastructure in our state and hopefully the General Assembly will be up to the challenge.
James Callahan