Support for banning disposable bags

We strongly support the proposed ban of all disposable bags in favor of reusable shopping bags in Darien. We have been using reusable bags for years and love them. More items fit in a bag, making the arduous tasks of lugging bags into the car and into the house more efficient. If you remember to bring your wallet into a store, then you can remember to bring bags into a store.

Real damage is being done to our town and planet by the production and use of both those flimsy plastic bags, and paper bags, too. Bags in trees, bushes and waterways are not only a blight to our town but they also present real dangers to wildlife. As a town that values its waterfront, and prides itself on the attractiveness of our community, banning the use of plastic bags embodies a real desire to keep our town beautiful.

Here are other important things to consider regarding the ban of disposable bags:

The oil and energy required to make and transport paper and plastic bags is an unnecessary and excessive use of limited resources;

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The average bag is used for only nine minutes, yet takes hundreds of years to degrade;

Westport was the first town on the East Coast to ban plastic disposable shopping bags and their economy has fared no worse than elsewhere;

When deposits on bottles and cans and curbside recycling first became mandatory, some were skeptical of and/or outraged by these measures. Now these laws are standard. Banning disposable bags now is a parallel situation -- today it might seem like a big and unimaginable change, but in a short amount of time it will be old news, yet making a real and positive impact.

Finally, we are parents of three young children. We implore Darien to join those already leading the way toward the elimination of unsustainable paper and plastic bag use. Darien can take this opportunity to improve our quality of life and the legacy we are leaving our children. It is estimated that each family will save about 1,000 bags per year by simply bringing our own bags when we go shopping.

Beth Skudder

and Chris Jobson

Darien

Darien High School

band thanks everyone

On behalf of the Darien High School Band, we wish to thank the entire Darien community for its overwhelming response to our fundraiser earlier this year. Our goal was to raise $50,000 to replace many well-used instruments, and thanks to the community we were able to surpass our goal. Individuals, local businesses and community organizations all answered generously to our plea for donations.

The band has been able to purchase all of the instruments that needed replacing and was able to pass down many pieces to Middlesex Middle School.

At the band concert on May 18, we will dedicate a plaque that lists the names of everyone who contributed to this very worthwhile cause. Please join us for the concert and dedication. Again, many thanks for your generosity.

Band Fundraising Committee

Bernadette Kominek

Ginny Losito

Chrissie Osborn

Irene Trautmann

Shelley Washer

Put an end to plastic bag use in Darien, everywhere

I am a member of the Choose to Reuse group which is launching an effort to encourage the Board of Selectmen and the RTM to adopt an ordinance to ban the use of the type of plastic bag (size 11.5 by 21 inches) used by most of our local super markets and drug stores.

An issue for some people is that this ban would deprive them of the bag which they currently use for wastebaskets, garbage and cat litter. Based on the 450 plastic bags per adult, per year (6 million bags total per year) that stores in Darien provide their customers, it is difficult to believe that more than a very small fraction of these bags are utilized by Darien residence in the ways mentioned above.

I urge this small group to understand the importance of this proposal in the larger framework of the environment and for the well being of our children and grand children. We all make changes every day in our life style, as the new technological advances dictate in the fast paced global world we live in. It would be a great disservice to all of us if we miss this opportunity to eliminate these plastic bags.

Making a change is sometimes difficult, but this is our chance for our town of Darien to lead the way and do the right thing.

Linda Goodyear

Director of The Green Team

Commission on Aging supports town facilities shuffle

To the Editor:

Recently, one of the members of the Commission on Aging has written letters to the editor which have noted his disagreement with the plan informally known as the "Shuffle." While he is certainly entitled to his opinion, he is the only member of the commission who is opposing the project.

If approved by the RTM, the "Shuffle" will move the Board of Education to the Leroy Avenue building previously occupied by the Darien Library and then transfer the Senior Activities Center to the vacated Board of Education space in the town hall. This will provide the following benefits to our town:

- We will have a brand new senior center in a facility which is ADA-compliant;

- Our seniors will be able to easily access other town services, such as the Health Department, the Parks & Recreation Department and the Department of Social Services;

- There will be plenty of parking and a large gym for our seniors to use;

- With the demolition of the current Senior Activities Center building, the town will reduce its office space by more than 17,000 square feet.

Furthermore, with bonding costs at historically low levels, the cost to the average Darien taxpayer is estimated to be only $37 to $40 per year. Finally, although not "guaranteed" by our selectmen, the Commission on Aging strongly supports a public-private partnership to create affordable senior housing on the Edgerton Street parcel currently occupied by the Senior Activities Center.

At this juncture, three town organizations have reviewed the "Shuffle" -- the Commission on Aging, the Social Services Commission and the Board of Education. All three have approved the same. Once the architectural drawings are ready, I believe the benefits of this plan will be clear to the RTM, as well.

Joe Pankowski, Chairman

Darien Commission on Aging

Spring does not come to everyone

To the Editor:

It's spring. Flowers are popping out of the ground. Birds are chattering as they return to the area. Days are getting longer. Everything seems to be rejuvenating. For most of us.

Unfortunately, behind the good news this spring, many among us stand in shadows -- and will not be able to enjoy the new season. They don't carry much of a voice. Maybe they lost their jobs in the recent downturn. They're having trouble paying their utility bills. A mortgage or other debt crushes their ability to simply put food on their tables.

This is a reality The Community Fund of Darien hears about every day. A single parent in Stamford can't afford care for a little one. An elderly woman in Darien can't pay to get to her doctors for help. A young boy in Rowayton is being driven out of his house by domestic violence from his parents. Where do these people turn? Who is able to see what's needed -- in a time when so many of us are concentrating on our own families.

Fortunately, we have a network of human services agencies that make it their business to reach out and help those living on the margins. They see. They act. And they desperately need your help to continue doing the good work they do.

For spring-cleaning his year, if you want to help "clean your conscience," please consider donating generously to The Community Fund of Darien. During April, 50 of our dedicated allocations volunteers from Darien and Rowayton are visiting 26 agencies to form recommendations for support during the year ahead. These volunteers audit needs and ensure the effectiveness of how our generous donors funds are used during these difficult times.

I'm delighted to say this year marks the 60th spring for The Community Fund of Darien. Throughout these decades we've operated with a simple mission: "to increase the capacity of the community to care for one another." As you enjoy the pleasures of spring, please consider helping us make this a more hopeful season for those in need around us.

Bob Wells, President

The Community Fund of Darien