Town comes together

To the Editor:

There were many heroes in Darien who deserve credit for helping the town weather the recent storm. Among them are Darien's emergency responders, Selectman David Bayne, the entire staff of the Darien Library, the YMCA and the public works department.

The police and volunteer firefighters kept everyone safe. The library gave us a place to get warm and re-connect to the outside world, staying open as late as 11 p.m. The YMCA offered a place to shower. Public works helped clear up the debris.

David Bayne, as acting first selectman, worked with fellow Selectman Jayme Stevenson to coordinate the efforts of town workers, CL&P and the state to get power restored as quickly as possible, to set up a shelter at Tokeneke school, and to keep everyone informed. It's worth noting that Mr. Bayne is also a volunteer, he has a full-time job as an attorney with a New York law firm, and his house was among the many that lost power on Saturday afternoon. Nevertheless, he put the town's needs over his own. He took time off from work to deal with Darien's emergency -- all while he and his wife and children made due without heat, hot water and electricity.

Thanks to Mr. Bayne and everyone else who stepped up during the storm.

Tony Imbimbo

Campbell's vacation

came before constituents

To the Editor:

A tremendous thanks to David Bayne and Darien's emergency services for not only keeping us informed during last week's crisis, but coordinating efforts with CL&P to restore us back to normal as quickly as possible. Our police, fire and EMS departments acted heroically while placing themselves at risk to get us back up and running.

Receiving Code Red updates and having the Darien Police tell us not to leave our homes was pretty scary. As a dual working family, school closures presented child care issues for me and many others in town. The fact of the matter is, with roads blocked and people without power for days, lives were at stake. And our First Selectman, Dave Campbell, decided that his personal vacation took precedence over leading us through this unexpected crisis.

The First Selectman is the only paid position on the board -- the remaining four members are all volunteers. His salary is paid by taxpayers -- those of us he left behind. During his campaign, Mr. Campbell touted that his experience as a businessman would help him run the town. I too am a businesswoman -- and know very well that your customers are your business. We are Mr. Campbell's current customers -- and as such, I would appreciate thoughtful engagement, consideration and respect.

Upon his return, media outlets published his various quips regarding the storm. Did he really think what the town went through was funny?

Arrogance aside, what about just poor judgment and bad decision making? According to the Darien News, Campbell knew on Sunday morning that 30 percent of the town was without power. Was that number not compelling enough to change his mind on leaving? Theoretically the earliest Campbell could have gotten back to town was Tuesday, but he did not take that opportunity to return. Wouldn't Tuesday have been better than Thursday?

Of greatest concern is Campbell's inability to discern the difference between right and wrong. Should we ever be faced with a similar or even more dire circumstance during his administration, will he really be able to make better decisions the next time?

Whether you lean right or left, during times of crisis, people turn to their elected leaders for information, guidance and reassurance. Campbell's indifference has proven that he doesn't take the job seriously and is not committed to being the kind ofl leader that the First Selectman position, and the people of Darien deserve.

Rachel Martin


Bayne showed

proven leadership

To the Editor:

It's during times of crises like the one we had last week when the talents of exceptional government leaders like David Bayne are laid bare for all to see. David, here's to you and my sincerest gratitude for all that you've done.

Bob Vilter


Bayne goes

above and beyond

To the Editor:

We all have so many people to thank and so much to be thankful for following last week's storm. Everyone from the first responders, to the massive crews that descended on our town, to the library that proved to be the heart of our community, made a huge difference in the recovery effort.

In a time of crisis and uncertainty, we look our elected leaders for reassurance and guidance. And beyond the public image, they have a great deal of work to do, coordinating with numerous departments and agencies to ensure continued progress in getting the town back to normal.

Our acting first selectman during this disaster, David Bayne, went above and beyond the call of duty. In many respects he put his own career on hold while stepping in to perform the full-time obligations required of our town's first selectman. He is to be commended for his herculean effort in both leading the community and his behind the scenes work in helping bring this crisis to an end.

To quote Mr. Bayne from Thursday's Board of Selectmen meeting, "We have seen the best of Darien in the worst of times." David deserves a huge thank you for his unwavering, dedicated leadership, which no doubt helped bring out the best in each and every one of us.

Shawn and Jennifer St. Jean


Town unites in disaster

To the Editor:

I would like to thank the Darien community for uniting last week in response to the storm and the extended loss of power which many of us experienced. The way our community came together to help those without power by providing warm meals, hot showers, a warm place to stay, etc. was truly remarkable.

Neighbors were watching out for each other, and, in particular, taking the time to check in on their elderly or infirm neighbors to make sure that they were alright. There were countless acts of kindness, both great and small, in our community last week, and the people who opened their hearts and their homes to those less fortunate than themselves are among the heroes of the crisis.

We really saw the best of Darien last week in the way in which the Town's residents handled themselves and took care of each other at a time of extreme adversity. Thank you to everyone.

David Bayne


Thank you David Bayne

To the Editor:

Setting aside the inauspicious circumstances that put David Bayne in charge of Darien's recovery after the most damaging weather since the Hurricane of '38,

I have to say that Bayne's leadership over the last week showed local government at its very best.

Jody Hotchkiss


Campbell's apology

is just the first step

To the Editor:

David Bayne deserves the heartfelt gratitude of every Darien resident for his performance as acting first selectmen last week. Mr. Bayne was called upon to manage what was arguably the worst disaster Darien has seen in decades, while continuing his responsibilities as a partner in a small law firm in Manhattan. He did this with grace and competence without complaint, fulfilling his responsibilities as acting first selectman and demonstrating his commitment to us.

While the first selectman is a full-time paid employee of the town, the remaining four selectmen are unpaid volunteers. The first selectman's apology to the town is the first of many steps he must take to regain my trust in his ability to execute the duties of the office he holds.

Nancy Coughlin


Conservancy to help

educate town on trees

To the Editor:

The nor'easter of Saturday, March 13, presented the residents of Darien with many tree-related challenges. Fallen trees blocked roadways, damaged homes and pulled down power lines all over town. Many of the trees that fell were on town property and a large number of those trees were pine, a variety that does not develop a deep and stable root system.

The Tree Conservancy of Darien, a new non-profit group in town, is dedicated to preserving and enhancing the town's tree resources for the benefit of the community. Because we recognize the vital role that trees play in our lives, the Conservancy is committed to raising awareness about the importance of tree care and maintenance, as well as smart choices in tree replacement.

Over the next few months, we will be introducing ourselves and our mission through educational programs and community projects. Through these programs, we hope to build partnerships to protect and augment Darien's trees, both public and private.

The word `trees' was on everyone's lips last week. We hope to keep it that way.

Pam Bass, Susan Flanagan, Lynn Hamlen, Gil Kernan, Debbie Parnon, John Schlachtenhaufen and Eileen Smith

The Tree Conservancy of Darien

Groppa retiring from

Historical Society

To the Editor:

Judy Groppa, a touchstone and guardian of Darien's history as well as a caring many-faceted community volunteer, is retiring after 10 years as executive director of the Darien Historical Society. She began her role with the Society as board member in 1990 curating an exhibit titled "Vanished Darien." Now, 20 years later, Judy and Ken Reiss have curated a large, excellent exhibit titled "The Story of DARIEN: The Exhibition" which is currently on full display in the exhibit barn through May 2010.

Guided by Judy's vision, courage and determination, one of the most impressive transformations in the history of the society, or indeed in the history of any Darien organization, has been made. With the combining of the original barn with the Bates-Scofield Homestead, as well as the accompanying construction of office and collection space, the society took the enormous step from being basically a repository of closeted collections to the level of a museum that will extend its reach by sharing its very significant collections with a wide community. This ability to provide Darien with a sense of itself and pride in its past is invaluable to every age group and, most vitally, to future generations.

It was a long, bumpy road full of pitfalls and mountains. Judy was the vital force behind it all as she outlined the society's future functions and its architectural expression. The result is a legacy that brings pride to all of Darien as well as an accomplishment very few are able to attain in their lifetimes.

With warmth and graciousness, Judy has brought the Historical Society and Darien to a new frontier. We are grateful and proud of her years of service as well as the legacy that she has left for us. We stand in appreciation and we will remember.

Marian Castell, Town Historian

For the Darien Historical Society Board