Murray for probate judge

To the Editor:

Michael Murray will be a wonderful probate judge and should be elected at the Republican primary Aug. 10. We are fortunate to have a person with Mike's integrity, common sense and empathy who is incredibly enthusiastic about running for public office.

It has been very satisfying to watch Mike build a network of individuals from all walks of life who have in common the goal of wanting to elect a good man to an office that will touch lives when help is needed most.

I have worked with Mike in a professional capacity as an attorney and have always been impressed by his ability to make things work no matter how difficult or contentious a situation may become. We need positive people in the political arena who are into solutions that work for all parties involved and who are able to build a consensus. Please vote Aug. 10 for Mike because he will make a difference.

Amy Gildea

Political reality extends beyond New Canaan

To the Editor:

A few weeks ago, an RTC member and I conducted a debate on this page, which I thought it had run its course. Then, last week, the RTC chairman quoted my letters and argued that New Canaan's enrollment statistics tell us something about the national scene. They don't. While voter enrollment here might look like it's still 1980, the 30 years since have seen the national GOP move away from the Northeastern political center and build its ideological base in the American South.

Today's national Republican party is increasingly inflexible, increasingly dogmatic and increasingly at odds with the sensibilities of its historic New England roots.

Four years ago, three of Connecticut's five US Representatives were Republicans. Today, none are. Lowell Weicker was our last Republican US Senator, elected in 1982. I doubt someone like him could win Connecticut's Republican nomination today. Indeed, the relatively moderate Rob Simmons was thrown under the bus by this state's GOP establishment just two months ago. Republicans have won all gubernatorial elections since 1986, but Gov. M. Jodi Rell is hardly the poster-official for the national party. She keeps issuing press releases with titles like "Governor Rell Announces Connecticut To Receive $58.6 Million in Stimulus Funds for Unemployed." Get out the pitchforks.

The Republican party itself is not "going, going gone." But its centrist New England branch is. The "Rockefeller Republicans" of old -- socially moderate, fiscally responsible -- have been marginalized. Look at the re-alignment in the House. In 1993, Republicans held 40 percent of the Southern seats and 42 percent of the Northeastern seats. Today, they hold 57 percent in the South and 18 percent in the Northeast (none in New England). The GOP will make gains this year, but the majority of them will again be in the South.

New Canaan is a Republican enclave in a Democratic state. Change will come to New Canaan slowly. I'm encouraging voters to look at where the socially moderate, fiscally responsible members of Congress come from. Why, you might call them the Rockefeller Democrats. And we welcome your votes, regardless of party enrollment.

David Kostek

Voter deadline


To the Editor:

Those planning on voting in the Aug. 10 primary should be aware that enrollment and registration deadlines are fast approaching. All new Canaan voters are encouraged to participate in either the Republican or Democratic Primaries.

If you need to register, or if you want to change from unaffiliated to a party, a voter registration application must be mailed by next Thursday, Aug. 5, or submitted in person to the Registrars of Voters or Town Clerk by noon on Tuesday Aug. 9.

Primary law requires that voters must be enrolled in the party holding the primary they wish to vote in. Unaffiliated voters may not participate in either primary without first enrolling in that party.

Absentee ballots are available from the Town Clerk for those who will not be in town on primary day, Tuesday, Aug. 10. Required applications for absentee ballots are also available. Contact the Town Clerk at 203-594-3070.

The polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., with Districts 1 and 2 voting at the high school, and District 3 voting at Saxe Middle School.

For more, information, or to verify your status, please call the Registrars at 203-594-3060.

George Cody

Robert Shafter

Support for

Bill Osterndorf

To the Editor:

In a recent article I came across, Darien's current Probate Judge

John Reardon and former Darien Probate Judge William Atkinson, both discussed what the most important qualities where for a good probate judge. They said "temperament, knowledge of probate law and most importantly practicing it."

Bill Osterndorf has all of these qualities. It is easy for all the candidates to say that they know probate law and that they have done probate work. The real issue for us as voters though should be: Does the record support any such claim?

A review of the records at the Darien and New Canaan probate courts for each of the three candidates running for probate judge reveals the following: number of matters closed or pending in the New Canaan court -- Osterndorf - 45; Ryan - 12; Murray - 0; Likewise, the number of matters closed or pending in the Darien probate court are: Osterndorf - 7; Ryan - 5; Murray - 1. If voters are interested in electing a person with real probate experience, the choice is clear. Bill Osterndorf has the most probate experience both in terms of quantity of probate work and in terms of diversity of probate work.

Let's not fall into the "politics as usual" syndrome. It is a much too important position to be selecting a probate judge because of Hartford contacts or friends in the selectman's office.

I urge all voters to vote for Bill Osterndorf.

Brenda McKenna

Protect historical home

To the Editor:

This is a copy of a letter I have e-mailed to the New Canaan Historical Review Committee:

I am so sorry to see that the Walter Dubois Richards house is slated for demolition. I did not get to prepare my request for a delay in time, having been away. I assume you all were aware of this; 87 Oak St., a small Arts and Crafts/Tudor style cottage built in 1929.

The Town Assessors list tells us that it was the residence of Walter Dubois Richards, who died in 2006 (at age of 99) having lived in that house in New Canaan since 1941.

Walter Dubois Richards was a major American artist -- oils, pastels, linotype, lithograph, etc. -- whose works are in major museums including the Whitney, the New Britain Museum and the Pentagon.

He was a master of lithography leading him into a successful commercial career in advertising in the 1930s and 1950s.

In the 1950s, he was the official historian and painter for the Air Force.

His story illustrations were published in Collyers, Argosy and other magazines. He designed more than 37 U.S. Postal stamps, including an architectural series of significant buildings that span 150 years of American history. Some of his stamps for "Plant for more Beautiful Parks" and a series of tree studies are now on exhibit at the Historical Society Library.

The black-and-white lithographic series of New Canaan historical vignettes are collected not only by local residents but by art lovers all over the country. His most popular is said to be "New Canaan Express 1905," in addition to scenes of God's Acre with its variety of church architecture.

To honor this extraordinary artist who contributed so much to New Canaan's cultural history, I requested -- but too late -- a demolition delay to photograph and document his charming cottage, where he lived and produced this major oeuvre for more than 50 years.

I close with a poignant but prescient comment from a local architect:

What a shame. I drove by the house, which is overshadowed by the giant new houses being shoehorned into that street.

In the long run, houses like this one -- smaller, of architectural value, and tied to the social history of the community -- will be more important to the town than the big new houses which will be the white elephants of the next generation.

Mimi Findlay

Support of the candidacy of Bill Osterndorf

To the Editor:

We are writing to express our support for Bill Osterndorf who is currently running for Judge of Probate for both Darien and New Canaan.

We have known Bill for well over a decade and know him to be a man of true integrity, intelligence and compassion. His years of experience in handling probate cases make him the most qualified of all the candidates to be Judge of Probate. Bill is a thought-filled listener who will handle each probate case wisely and with concern for all involved.

Bill has also been a wonderful contributor to the community in so many ways, through his involvement in the schools, coaching local sports teams and at his place of worship.

We have a personal story to relate to you about Bill. Lisa was volunteering with Bill on a local endeavor. There were many volunteers who were supposed to help out on this one particular day and they did not appear, probably due to the extreme heat. We were outdoors, the sun was beating down intensely, and it was about 100 degrees outside with 100 percent humidity. The particular assignment had to get done and it could not be put off as time was of the essence. Bill took the task in hand and did it without complaint, with a sense of humor and with certainly a good amount of steel as a backbone. At the end of the task, he was drenched to the bone in sweat but we both noted at the time that Bill Osterndorf was a person of tremendous honor and commitment who, by golly, was going to get the job done because he had committed to doing so and truly cared about the end result.

It is time that we rally to support Bill in this election. It would be easy to want to forget about politics in the heat of the summer, especially when politics at the national level holds such discord. Don't let such feelings keep you from supporting someone at the local level who has very much earned our support and who will handle subjects that may directly affect you and your family at some point in the future. We urge you to vote for Bill on Aug. 10. If you will be out of town on that date, please secure an absentee ballot at town hall to cast your vote for Bill Osterndorf.

Lisa and Scot Melland

Murray has what it takes

To the Editor:

We are writing to encourage voters to support Mike Murray in the upcoming election for probate judge. We are convinced that he has both the professional and personal traits that are needed to make him an effective probate judge. As a probate judge, Murray has what it takes to manage all aspects of the job.

Probate judges protect the needs of families facing difficult times their lives. Whether dealing with the death of a family member, a minor who needs protection under guardianship, the consideration of adopting or giving up a child, people find themselves in probate court dealing with life changing decisions and sensitive personal issues. Those involved need a judge who knows the law but can enforce it expeditiously and compassionately. Murray possesses the temperament and expertise to handle this job effectively.

Not only does Mike have the education and years of legal experience to enforce the law but he has the levelheadedness to get the job done right. Mike is a devoted and patient father, is highly involved in his church and community both in Darien where he lives, as well as New Canaan where he practices law.

Ultimately this job needs someone with the utmost integrity. We will be voting for Mike Murray and hope others do the same. Please consider voting by absentee ballot or in person. It is worth taking the time to make the right decision.

Steve and Cara Blatney

Osterndorf the most qualified for probate

To the Editor:

I have been reading numerous letters in the local papers of late with regard to the Probate Judge race. There have been a lot of opinions as to the personality, temperament and qualifications of the candidates running in the Republican Primary. I decided to do a bit of research so as to make the best decision when going to the polls on Aug. 10. According to the New Canaan Probate Office Mr. Osterndorf has 45 cases pending or closed, Mr. Ryan has 12 and Mr. Murray has zero. In the Darien Probate Office Mr. Osterndorf has seven cases pending or closed, Mr. Ryan has five and Mr. Murray has one that dates back to 1993. Judging by this information, Mr. Osterndorf is clearly the most experienced candidate in the race. No one wants to think about ever having to come before a probate judge but in the event that you do, wouldn't you want the most knowledgeable person on the other side of the table?

Michelle Sriubas

Kiwanis Club thanks Walter Stewart's

To the Editor:

The Kiwanis Club of New Canaan held its annual food drive for the New Canaan Food Pantry on Saturday, July 24, at Walter Stewart's Market. We thank Alex Stewart for his steadfast support of this event.

Despite the dreadful heat and humidity, club members Barbara Wagner, Janice Kunst and Beth Jones stood outside the store for several hours, offering a list of needed items to every shopper.

Stewart's Market customers were both plentiful and generous and we collected not only a lovely pot of cash but a great amount of foodstuffs -- all of which will help the food pantry meet growing demand.

Thank you, New Canaan, for caring and giving.

Eloise H.P. Killeffer, President

Kiwanis Club of New Canaan

Endorsing Bill Osterndorf for

probate judge

To the Editor:

I am writing in support of Bill Osterndorf for the position of New Canaan / Darien Probate Court Judge. I have known Bill for 10 years and can think of no person more qualified to serve as a judge. Bill has all the qualities of a good judge: patience; wisdom; courage and integrity.

Bill has been a New Canaan resident since 1991 and has tirelessly served our community as baseball coach, basketball coach, soccer coach, YMCA Basketball Commissioner and on the Board of the New Canaan Teen Center.

Bill's probate work is far more extensive than any other candidate in the race. Bill has 28 years of legal, estate and tax experience -- 20 of those years have been as a solo practitioner here in New Canaan. There will be no learning curve if Bill is elected.

Please support Bill Osterndorf for this important position and get out and vote in the Aug. 10 primary.

Mark Cuoco

Chamber thanks Sidewalk Sale volulnteers

To the Editor:

On Saturday, July 17, the New Canaan Chamber of Commerce hosted the 45th annual Village Fair and Sidewalk Sales. Thousands of bargain hunters and their families came downtown for a day of fun. With more than 100 participating merchants and vendors there was plenty of entertainment, food and, of course, bargains galore for everyone.

The day, like any other big event, takes months and months of planning. The Chamber would like to thank our sponsors: Webster Bank; The Bank of New Canaan; Peoples Bank; KARL Chevrolet; L'Armoire; The Roger Sherman Inn; New Canaan Patch; TheDailyNewCanaan; and the New Canaan Advertiser.

A round of applause also goes out to the many folks and organizations that made this day possible including the New Canaan Chamber Board, the team of KARL Chevrolet, Old Faithful, NC Fire Department, EMS, NCPD, ShopNewCanaan, the Canaan Parish Chapter of the National Charity League, Aetheria Spa, Village Critter Outfitter, NuRenu Marketing, Keith Simpson and Associates and of course Mose Saccary and the crew at Public Works who had downtown all cleaned up in little over an hour after the event closed down.

We tried a few new innovations this year from closing a portion of Main Street to the food court and from what we heard they were well received. We are always looking for ways to enhance and improve the fair so your suggestions, feedback and concerns are always welcome. Feel free to give us a call at 203-966-2004, e-mail us at or better yet, stop by and pay us a visit at 91 Elm St., above the Playhouse, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to noon.

Our next exciting event will be the "Dog Days of Summer" to be held on Sunday, Aug. 29, at Cherry Street East Village, 111 Cherry St., from noon to 4 p.m. This fundraiser will include canine contests such as the Best Kisser, Best Tail Wagger, Dunkin' for Hot Dogs, Doggie Duets and more.

For additional information see our web page at It is going to be pawesome!

Tucker Murphy,

Executive Director

New Canaan

Chamber of Commerce

Osterndorf for

probate judge

To the Editor:

I am writing to support William "Bill" Osterndorf for probate court judge. My wife and I have known Bill for more than six years, being first introduced through his legal practice and have since had the pleasure of knowing him and his family.

I am supporting Bill Osterndorf in part because his probate work is very extensive and perfectly suited for work as probate judge. Probate courts are incredibly important in family estate matters as I have come to appreciate the last few years with the passing of a parent. Should you find yourself requiring a probate judge, Bill Osterndorf is the fair and impartial judge you want.

Bill has been practicing law for the past 30 years, 19 of which have been in his own private practice in New Canaan.

Bill specializes in wills and trust, income tax, probate and residential real estate.

Prior to starting his New Canaan practice he spent time in New York City in the personal financial planning group at Coopers and Lybrand and at Gibney Anthony and Flaherty working on wills and trust and general estate planning.

A primary is being held on Aug. 10 to determine which candidate will receive the Republican endorsement and most likely win. Bill is the only candidate from New Canaan.

I am writing to ask you to vote for Bill Osterndorf in the primary at the high school or Saxe. Absentee ballots are obtainable from

Ted Bernhard

Osterndorf has

necessary experience

To the Editor:

I have followed the contest for probate judge since the Republican caucus in March. The Republican voters in New Canaan strongly endorsed Bill Osterndorf in the Republican caucus. Bill Osterndorf is the only New Canaan resident in the race. He has had a law office in New Canaan since 1991; and most importantly, Bill Osterndorf very clearly has the most probate experience among the three candidates in the race.

New Canaan voters -- vote for Bill.

Danielle Sibilia

Osterndorf `well-suited' for position

To the Editor:

I would like to express my support for Bill Osterndorf as probate judge for our local district. Based on my personal interactions with Bill over the past few years, I can write with confidence that Bill is very well-suited to holding the office of probate judge and to serving our community.

For the past three years I worked with Bill while he served as the legal advisor on the Board of Directors of the New Canaan Outback Teen Center. First, he demonstrated strong commitment to our board by serving the full three-year term on the board of directors. Secondly, whenever an issue arose, Bill demonstrated a calm and reasoned manner by always listening to the facts and gathering a complete assessment before he took a position on a matter affecting the board. Whether it related to issues pertaining to the Teen Center's Planning & Zoning permit, long-term rentals or other business matters, Bill was able to come up with very effective strategies for outcomes that were successful.

It has been a pleasure to work with Bill Osterndorf, and I feel that his personable and productive nature greatly favors his ability to carry out his duties as a judge. In addition to his service on the Teen Center Board, Bill Osterndorf has coached boys basketball teams for the New Canaan YMCA for many years, and our son has had the fortune to be on his team. Bill never lost his cool during a game but persevered to help the boys win through strategy and persistence. As an attorney, father, coach and servant of the community, Bill Osterndorf exhibits the qualities that make him an outstanding candidate to serve as judge of the newly formed probate court for New Canaan and Darien. I hope you will join me in supporting him.

Christina Fagerstal