Question Box #10

Our Question Box is  full. 

That doesn’t mean I have all the answers.

But I’m sure our readers — in their collective wisdom — do.

Please chime in with any additional information. Click “Comments” below.

And, as always: If you have a question for our box, email


Who isi responsible for the upkeep and oversight of electric vehicle chargers on Westport town property?

There are 4 in the railroad station parking lot next to Donut Crazy. Two of them have not worked for months. No one seems to be doing anything about it.

Is the town paying a company to provide these chargers? Are we receiving subsidies for having chargers? (Anonymous)

The Police Department oversees railroad parking, so I asked Police Chief Foti Koskinas.

He said the town owns the charges. The first generation — installed in 2012 — required less voltage than the current ones. So now, there’s enough voltage only for 2 chargers.

They’re aware of the situation. Within a few weeks, all 4 will be operational.

The town gives the power away for free, at the train station and at all other charging stations on municipal property.

However, Foti says, the Selectwoman’s office, under the direction of operations director Tom Kiely, is looking at a new policy under which users would pay a fee.

An electric charging station at the Saugatuck train station. (Photo by Paul Schott/Westport News)


Where does the compost from the dump collection bins go? And is the ripe compost available for customer? (Chuck Hill) 

I went to Public Works director Pete Ratkiewich for this one. He says: “Some goo to Southington to an aerobic digester. Some go to composting farms in Danbury and the New Milford area.

There is no compost available for customers.


How did Imperial Avenue get its unlikely name? (Dick Seclow)

A great question — and one I’ve often wondered about.

Westport historians: Please let us know. And please include whether you’re passing along a fact, local lore, or something in between.

Imperial Avenue, in the fall. (Photo/Carmine Picarello)


When hanging out at Compo Beach, exactly what Long Island town are we looking at across Long Island Sound? (Kevin McCaul)

It’s between Northport and Stony Brook, according to this map.

But I don’t know exactly. Nor do I know what those very visible large stacks are.

Long Islanders: Feel free to weigh in!


Mr. Mailbox charges $800 to put in a new post and box. Can you completely ditch a mailbox and just use a PO Box? Is there a law that every house needs to have a street mailbox?

As best as I can determine, there is no law regarding mailboxes. It seems you can have a mail slot in your front door, so long as you tell the post office.

Without either option, the US Postal Service will mark your first-class mail “Undeliverable” and return it to the sender. Other mail will be discarded.

You can rent a PO Box at the Post Office — or through a private service, like the UPS Store.

You can also have your mail addressed to “General Delivery,” with a specific Post Office and ZIP Code. But you’d have to wait in line there to pick up your mail.

Colorful Compo Road North mailboxes. (Photo/Mark Mathias)


 I was raised in a Marine family, and was taught to address any adults as “sir” or “ma’am.” My brother was actually told to stop calling his teacher “sir,” because he thought he was being mocked.

Today, young kids and teenagers seem to think it is okay to call adults by their first name. What do Westporters think? (Jo Ann Miller)

I have no idea, ma’am. Readers: Please click “Comments” below.

Marine Lt. Gen. Thomas H. Miller — Jo Ann’s father — in 1960.

(The Question Box is one more service of “06880.” Our question is: “Can you help support what we do?” Please click here — and thank you!)

17 responses to “Question Box #10

  1. The area you seen directly across from Compo Beach ( depending on how your head is cocked) is the Smithtown/ St James towns )!slightly left is Stonybrook. The stacks you see as you look further right are the LILCO power plant. Looking left of directly across you can see the stonybrook hospital. I lived in those areas for many years, before coming across the pond to lovely Westport.
    And yes those EV chargers should not be there at the expense of Westport taxpayers..God knows we are taxed enough!

  2. When I taught in NYC private school all the teachers went by first names and I got used to it. Later I worked at GFS and I found I loved being Mrs. Essagof. I believe if kids are taught to respect everyone matter the name anything works. If no respect is modeled or demanded then we all know what happens. As a teacher those kids are not fun to work with but there is always hope. A rose by any other name…

  3. How about putting in your own mail box for about 60 bucks including 4×4 post and the box.

    • Beth Berkowitz

      I’m from East Northport and so the Northport power plant for energy is the 4 stacks you see when you look across the sound. The town directly across is called Kings Park and as teens we called that area “the bluffs”. Kings Park is part of the township of Smithtown and Northport is part of the township of Huntington. Stonybrook is just east of Smithtown. Commack which is just inland, is part of the township of Smithtown too and some of East Northport and all of Commack all go to the Commack school district. Sorry I elaborated but I have such great memories of frowning up there and having friends from all the neighboring towns. I never really understood how most CT people grew up only knowing the other kids from their own towns for the most part, unless they did “activities/sports” with kids from other towns.

      By the way as far as putting in a new mailbox post, most landscapers can help you dig the hole for the post and a handyman can help secure it in place and attach the new mailbox to the post.

    • $800 for a post is a rip off period.

  4. The view from Compo beach across LI Sound includes The Northport Stacks of Northport power station, in Northport, NY. National grid property…
    Quite visible as a sailor growing up as is the Port Jefferson Stack!

  5. Sam Brothwell

    The Northport generating station was built by LILCO but is now owned by National Grid after LILCOs late 1990s demise. The plant was built between 1967 and 1977 and runs on natural gas and occasionally oil. While it runs less frequently than it used to, the old plant still remains essential to maintaining reliability during periods of peak power demand.

  6. Dorothy Robertshaw

    Love this thank you Dan great information to pass on to others about our town. I will leave a comment on the Mr. and Mrs. I am a new grandmother and my son-in-law out of respect, would like his children to use Mr. and Mrs. uncle, or auntie to refer to elders out of respect, and I was very very impressed. He said that’s the way he grew up. And my daughter is in agreement I think it’s very nice …..Regarding the four stacks that you see in Long Island, that lineup across the sound between Westport and Norwalk it is the Northport Power Station, just east of Eaton’sNeck in Long Island …

  7. Ralph Balducci

    I think the two large buildings visible across the Sound are Stony Brook University Hospital.

  8. Bob Weingarten

    Imperial Avenue History from Edward Coley Birge book. Erastus Smith requested the town to build “Imperial Avenue” in 1873. $1,000 was appropriated to “build Imperial Avenue from the Post Road down to join a southern section already owned by Smith and some of his neighbors in the new Bridge Street territory.”

    Also according to Birge “Smith was an enthusiastic salesman. The promontory on the river fired his imagination and he called it Point Imperial.”

    The first name of Imperial Avenue can be found on the Hurd 1893 map and identified as “Point Imperial Ave”. It was later changed to just Imperial Avenue by the town. Not sure when the name was official changed.

    • Bob beat me to it – as I recall (perhaps from Coley’s book or elsewhere) Smith was a bit of a developer / land speculator and saw Imperial Ave as a good place for houses between “downtown” Westport and the upcoming boom in Saugatuck when the railroad was put in

  9. Richard Johnson

    I’m pretty sure you cannot change from a mailbox to a mail slot without permission from the postmaster in your area and having good reason for doing so. I looked into this because I have a long driveway on a busy road, but when you think about it, wouldn’t everyone prefer to have their mail brought right to their front door, given the option?

  10. Jonathan McClure

    Since retiring and moving to the gulf coast of Central Florida, I hear “Sir” and “Ma’am” used quite a bit. No one seems offended or thinks of it as anything but a friendly or respectful form of address. I understand that my current location makes these two forms of address more common in usage, but I’ve met just a few native Floridians in my area – my neighbors are mostly expats from NY, CT, MN and NJ!

  11. I think the “colorful North Avenue mailboxes” in the photo are actually on Compo Road North across from the ball fields and tennis courts.

  12. Fun fact: Mariners transiting the Sound east-west know that when the four LILCO “Northport stacks” all line up and appear to be one, you are just passing Norwalk.

  13. Michael Calise

    You can buy a Mailbox post, a mailbox and a post hole digger for around $125.00 and after a little work end up with a little satisfaction as well as a handy post hole digger as a bonus

  14. I was brought up in the 50’s in the Bronx and called my parents’ friends by their first names. One friend, however, asked me to call her “Mrs. Hoffman”. Currently, I prefer to be called Mrs. by younger people (as I was when I taught school) and especially don’t care for students calling teachers by their first names. I even go so far as to call my (much younger) doctors “Dr. —-” even if they call me by my first name.

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