New Bedford Light readers share their thoughts on recent stories, including the Southcoast Health board of trustees’ response to domestic assault and battery charges against President and CEO Keith Hovan:

Letter: Domestic abuse is not a ‘private matter’

To the Editor:

As an agency that provides services to survivors of domestic and sexual violence, I am writing to express concern re: the response of Southcoast Health, following the arrest of Keith Hovan on domestic abuse charges.

Southcoast Health is an integral partner in the work to address and to end domestic violence in the Greater New Bedford Community. It is troubling to hear the response from the Board of Trustees that this is a private matter. Advocates have worked tirelessly to shatter the myth that domestic violence is a private matter. Domestic abuse impacts individuals, families, neighborhoods, school, employers and communities. Such comments from the Board of Trustees devalue survivors and their experiences and also send a message to employees that those with privilege and status play by different rules. Additionally, such messages damage the work that advocates are doing to engage the community in this public health crisis. As an agency on the front lines of public health, I expected a better response.

I am glad to see that Mr. Hovan is now on administrative leave. I trust that Southcoast Health will center survivors in future decisions related to this case as details emerge.

Marcia Szymanski
President and CEO of New Hope Inc.

Letter: Make New Bedford’s parking garages free

To the Editor:

Everyone hates parking garages. But they are more bearable if you don’t have to stop and take a ticket and then stop and pay on the way out. I was in Newport yesterday and had no choice but to park in the garage, but I felt a lot better when I saw that it was free since it was off-season.

Make the garages in New Bedford free. People still won’t like them but they’ll use them a lot more. It makes no sense to have an empty garage while people are driving around in circles outside.

Steve Sciscento

Make your voice heard

What do you think about the way Southcoast Health’s Board of Trustees handled the arrest of its president and CEO for alleged domestic assault and battery? Let us know. We’ll publish select responses in Community Voices.

Send your response in an email to: or use our online comment form. Please include contact information so we can verify your comments.

Sign up for free

Our free newsletter will drop into your inbox weekday mornings, giving you all the highlights of our in-depth news stories and community arts and culture coverage.


As an independent, nonprofit news outlet we are reliant on reader support to help fund the kind of in-depth journalism that keeps the public informed and holds the powerful accountable. Thank you for your support.

New Bedford Light is an IRS-determined 501(c)(3) Public Charity; all gifts are tax-deductible. Our EIN number is 86-2407296.

Thank you to our sponsors

Founding benefactors:
Irwin and Joan Jacobs, Mary and Jim Ottaway