Pay attention to the road

To the Editor:

Early on the morning of Dec. 21, a car traveling south on Hollow Tree Ridge Road struck our mailbox, splitting the post in thirds and spraying debris -- including a part of the car -- across our front yard.

Christmas came early for that driver because had the car not struck the mailbox and corrected its path, only 25 farther -- less than a second of travel time -- a massive oak tree would have been far less forgiving.

So as we start 2011, we need a new mailbox. But I hope this event has prompted the driver to correct his or her path, too; reckless, irresponsible driving has no place in Darien.

Joseph De Rocco


Support the Community Fund of Darien

To the Editor:

People who have never required help before are lining up at food pantries, asking for help to pay for basic needs like rent and heat, requesting mental health services to cope with the stresses of the times and dealing with other significant challenges of this difficult economy.

Meanwhile, financial support for these agencies from government and private sources has decreased and so they are stretched to their limits.

For 60 years, The Community Fund of Darien has been a major source of funding for a broad spectrum of human service agencies serving Norwalk, Darien and Stamford. All this time, local businesses have been committed partners in this mission. In fact, my grandfather Joseph Palmer was among the first local businessmen who contributed to The Community Fund because he knew how important it was to support agencies that help people who live and work in our community. And since 1951, hundreds of Darien businesses have donated time and funds to help those less fortunate.

This year alone The Community Fund is giving more than $750,000 in grants and initiatives that are critical to our town. And yet we know this isn't enough -- we want and need to do more.

On behalf of the Business Campaign Committee, I want to thank those who have already made a donation and I invite all other businesses and residents in town to join us with your support. Your one check can make a difference to so many.

Greg Palmer

Chairman, Business Campaign

An open letter to DHS neighbors and Town Hall

To the Editor:

All of us involved with the Darien Junior Football League and, most importantly, our 500 players thank you for your understanding and support this past season with the use of practice lights at the Darien High School Stadium and Holahan fields. Teams from three of the six grades reached their respective league championship games and one team walked away as the champions. Moreover, the practice lights at the stadium also assisted various DHS fall sports teams in the achievement of a great amount of success this season. Our players were properly prepared in safely lit practice environments and the net result was a large number of very happy student athletes.

The DJFL did its best to limit the use of the practice lights late in the season at both facilities. Their usage was controlled very tightly and we logged as to when they were turned on and off. This year, in conjunction with the school administration, we tested the lights at the stadium at modestly higher elevations in order to increase their effectiveness while limiting any perceived trespass light. We also constructed sound barriers around the units at Holahan Field to minimize any perceived noise impact.

Of course, all this could not have been achieved without the help and support of the respective neighborhoods -- along with additional input and backing from the Planning & Zoning and Parks & Recreation Commissions, and the Board of Education. Outside of one neighbor, we did not directly receive any complaints or concerns. However, the DJFL Board continues to welcome your constructive feedback and ideas.

We thank you all once again for helping us to provide a safe practice environment for Darien's young athletes and we look forward to working closely with you next year.

John Sini, Jr.

On behalf of the DJFL Board, coaches, players and parents

Donate to town

lighting fund

To the Editor:

Darien does such a superb job of decorating every Christmas. We have given to the Chamber of Commerce decorating fund for years to help defray the costs. We are sure that many enjoy all their efforts and would love to support them also, but do not know how they can.

Please give to the Chamber of Commerce Decorating Fund, 10 Corbin Drive, Darien, as generously as you can so that we can continue to live in such a beautifully decorated town during the holidays

Dick and Lois Berry


Board to rely on

TV79 for minutes

To the Editor:

At its meeting on Jan. 3, the Board of Selectmen voted to streamline the format for its minutes. During a three-month test, the minutes will just summarize the Board's actions. The Board intends to rely on TV79 recordings to complete its official records. Ironically, TV79 lost its live video track, but not the sound, within two minutes of the debate about minutes. The blackout was short, but relying on technology to complete the Board's record obviously has risks.

Volunteers operate TV79's equipment. What happens if none of these dedicated people are available to record a meeting, particularly a special or emergency meeting called on short notice?

Many town bodies prepare substantive minutes. Citizens refer to them, and members of these bodies refresh their recollections from them. New members use them to learn about matters that were introduced before their terms began. Reading substantive minutes of a lengthy meeting takes about 20 minutes. Watching the video takes hours.

The BOS is a policy making board. Its deliberations should be transparent and easily accessible. The BOS is limiting our ability to know about their meetings. Now there are substantive minutes plus TV79. The new policy discards the substantive minutes.

Mr. Campbell, Mr. Nielsen and Ms. Stevenson noted that reviewing minutes before they are finalized is time consuming. Yes, it is. But it is not unduly burdensome. Rather, it is an opportunity for the members of a government body to reflect upon their deliberations. It's part of the job.

The new policy drops a shroud over the BOS; it does not enhance government transparency or accountability, and it does not serve the Selectmen. I hope the BOS will abandon this idea.

Vickie Riccardo


Community Fund

in need

To the Editor:

In a previous letter to the editor, Bob Wells wrote about the need for helping our neighbors in these difficult financial times and how the Community Fund of Darien is doing just that. Giving to the Community Fund of Darien is a smart way to help in and around your own community.

Darien Social Services has a long history of support from the Community Fund. Most recently that support has come in the form of a fund known as the Touch A Life Fund. With this fund Darien Social Services is able to help individuals and families who may otherwise fall through the cracks of the very restrictive state welfare system. Darien families who are low income or suffering a job loss are often making the untenable choice between paying bills and buying food.

With this fund, we can buy grocery gift cards and paid bills, which relieves residents of having to make that choice. This fund also allows us to help people improve their lives in very creative ways. We have paid for or helped pay for retraining of three individuals, which has given each the opportunity for more productive work. We have bought books for college students; help repair a roof, paid for summer school, paid dental bills and much more.

We are grateful to the Community Fund of Darien for helping us help our neighbors in such meaningful and important ways.

Olive Hauser, Director Darien Social Services