A small blurb on the Fairfield Citizen website caught my eye this morning. It can be viewed here.
It announces that several citizens’ groups have established a coalition to ask the candidates for first selectman to consider issues important to the new organization, which is called Fairfielders for Good Government. The release noted that the coalition “wants to identify common ground, but did not identify any specific issues it wants the candidates to address.”
Fairfielders for Good Government was created by Kate Daniello, who gained local fame as the founder of We the People, which has been after the town and school administrations over the last few years to reduce spending and become more efficient, and Laura Incerto. Ten community groups were invited to join and eight have signed on. They are: Concerned Citizens of Fairfield, Fairfield Beach Association, Fairfielders for Charter Revision, Fairfielders for Open Space, Old Post Road Association, Pension Group, Pine Creek Association and We the People of Fairfield.
While the release said the coalition did not specify topics of interest, it is a little obvious merely by their names what the groups’ interests will be when they approach the candidates, who are Democrat Michael Tetreau, who currently is serving as the interim first selectman; Republican Robert B. Bellitto, the vice chairman of the Board of Finance; and the Independent Party’s Hugh Dolan, who is a Fairfield firefighter.
Without knowing much more than this, it is difficult to say what the coalition has in store for the candidates or us, the voting public. That aside, I’m all for residents availing themselves of the process and making their voices heard. This reminds me of the Coalition of Neighborhood Associations of the late 1980s, early 1990s that tackled zoning issues during the campaigns for municipal office.
Meetings of the coalition, which are open to the public, will take place at the Fairfield Public Library, 1080 Old Post Road. For the date and time of the next meeting, e-mail Incerto at email@example.com. I might stop in to see for myself what the group has in mind.
A small blurb on the Fairfield Citizen website caught my eye this morning. It can be viewed here.
When it comes to the Assumption Church SeptemberFest, I am a bit of a curmudgeon. But that doesn’t mean everyone else can’t have a good time. I’m only a curmudgeon about it because it inundates my neighborhood with cars, which are parked up and down Stratfield Road and on every side road in the church’s immediate vicinity. Traveling on any of these roads can be a nightmare.
But I am fascinated by one thing about the fair – the amusement rides get delivered to the church grounds, but I never see them erected. And when the fest is over, the rides such seem to disappear. It’s like magic.
That said, it’s a wonderful end-of-summer activity and a tradition for the church and our community. It also is a major fundraiser for the church and school. And, don’t get me wrong, I do go over to the fair to get a beer and a pizza fritte and visit for a while with some friends who work one of the booths. I also take a chance on the raffle, which could bring the winner several hundreds of dollars. And these days, that money could come in handy.
The 19th annual SeptemberFest started on Friday night and continues through tomorrow. It is open today from 1 to 11 p.m. and tomorrow from 1 to 6 p.m. In addition to the rides and the raffle, there are arcade games, a white elephant sale and plenty of food. Very enticing and delicious food, I might add. The atmosphere is electric and fun and admission is free. For more information, call 203-333-9065.
Go and have a good time. Just be careful where you park.
A really unique and novel idea has emerged from the Fairfield PTA Council – the Veggie Pledge. I found this item on, of all places, the Fairfield Chamber of Commerce website and I was intrigued.
I’m an avid vegetable eater so taking a pledge would not be a hardship or out of the ordinary for me. But for the children – and their parents – of Fairfield, this is a welcomed program.
Fuel for Learning Partnership, a program of the PTA Council, wants to “make eating veggies a delicious habit for Fairfielders. We are asking everyone to pledge to eat their veggies from Sept. 1 to June 30,” according to its website, www.veggiepledge.org.
“We all know that vegetables are good for us but that doesn’t mean we eat them. We’re fewer than 30% of us eat all of our recommended servings of vegetables. Children eat even fewer vegetables with only 13% getting their daily amounts. Fuel for Learning Partnership would like to change those statistics for Fairfield with the Veggie Pledge!” proclaims the partnership.
On the website, you can make your pledge as well as post recipes, ideas and events. As of this morning, 37 pledge posts were recorded, five recipes and 13 events. Among those upcoming events are a movie at 10 a.m. and 2 and 7 p.m. Sept. 21 at the Fairfield Public Library about Frank Ferrante, who was overweight, addicted to drugs and fighting hepatitis-C and who went on a 42-day regimen of nothing but raw, organic, vegan food and a gallon of water each day; and Real Food for Real Life with Tara Cook-Littman, who will talk about learning what real food is and how to easily incorporate it into your everyday life, at 7 p.m. Sept. 27 at the main library.
The reason this item was on the chamber website is obvious – it is a partner of the programs. Others are Bloom Massage & Fitness, Fairfield Public Library, GourGanics, GreenGourmetToGo, Maione’s Brick Over Pizza, Mama Manna Organic Buying Club, The Pantry, Pediatric Healthcare Associates and Whole Foods.
There is a whole list of ideas on how to incorporate healthier choices into your diet and can be viewed here.
For more information, visit www.veggiepledge.org or its Facebook page.
I had every intention of writing about 9/11/01 and where I was on that day and how it has affected my life. But I couldn’t think of anything new and different to say than what already has been documented. I posted a photo of the American flag on this blog as my offering to mark the day and headed off to spend Grandparents Day at my mother assisted living facility with my sister, my niece and her two sons and my nephew and his two sons.
What better way to spend an afternoon than with four adorable, smart and comical boys – all under the age of 10 and all born in the years after that day in September 2001. But before I even got there (or even left Fairfield, for that matter), I was sidetracked by the CT United Bike Ride in honor of 9/11.
On my way to the Merritt Parkway via Park Avenue, I got no farther than Geduldig Avenue, where a Trumbull police car and officer blocked the road. I pulled over to the side of the road to wait until it went by, but after 15 minutes I decided to turn off the car and walk to the corner and watch the parade.
And what a parade it was. Large American flags were strung between several ladder trucks supplied by area departments, including Fairfield, over Park Avenue near Sacred Heart University. Traveling underneath the flags was a convoy of motorcyclists – some riding alone, others with passengers, men, women, municipal police officers, state police; some carrying large flags attached to their bikes, others carrying them on their helmets and yet others waving them as they passed by. One passenger wore a flag shirt.
The noise of the bike engines and horns blowing and cheers from the crowd was deafening. I watched with a smile on my face as the Trumbull police officer stationed at Geduldig Avenue flashed the peace sign, jumped up and down and offered her hand for the riders to slap.
More than 4,000 motorcyclists roared down the road toward Seaside Park in Bridgeport. It was an incredible display of patriotism.
I am glad I got out of the car.
A dedicated and intensive investigation by Fairfield’s Police and Fire Departments is credited with finding, and stopping, an alleged arsonist from doing any more harm. The arrest comes mere hours after the fires were extinguished.
At a late Thursday press briefing, Police Chief Gary MacNamara, flanked by detectives from his department and Fire Chief Richard Felner and two of his officers, announced that Fairfielders could rest easy for the night as they had arrested Christopher Message, 34, and charged him with three counts of first-degree arson and one count of burglary in connection with house fires that took place on North Benson Road, Woodridge Avenue and Cornell Road. The police chief also said the arrested individual confessed to three other fires on Chatham Road. All the fires, except for the one on North Benson Road, occurred in the Stratfield section of town. Message lives on Valley Road, also in Stratfield. Also, all the houses had for-sale signs out front and were vacant. And two firefighters were injured while fighting the blazes.
A video from DoingItLocal of yesterday’s press briefing can be viewed here.
The briefing was just that, brief. It did not provide a lot of details about the whys and hows of these instances of arson, other than MacNamara saying that witnesses provided some important evidence as well as that found at the scenes by firefighters and police officers. It surely was a cooperative effort by the entire community – professionals and civilians.
Thank you to our first responders and police investigators for a job well done.
For some of you reading this, you have no idea about B.V. Brooks. But to me – and the scores of people with whom I worked for nearly two decades – he was an integral part of my early career as a journalist. And I am forever grateful to the opportunities he afforded me.
Mr. Brooks was the chairman and publisher of Brooks Community Newspapers when I started there in 1982 as a young and scared reporter for the Westport News. He was the man down the hall in the big office on the second floor of 136 Main Street. He always was “Mr. Brooks” to me. Other people called him Dexter and when we spoke about him he was “B.V.” His other day job was as the owner of Brooks, Torrey and Scott, real estate developers, but I always believed that the newspaper business was at his core.
Over the years, as I was promoted from reporter to managing editor to editor (all with his blessing and support), I gradually came to know him well. And in return, he treated me like one of his daughters. He had a soft spot for me (and a former colleague told me just that the other day), and, of course, it didn’t hurt that he laughed at my jokes.
He was a true gentleman, but at times he seemed like a larger-than-life figure. I never heard him raise his voice and when he called me into his office to discuss an issue or problem, he was polite and even-toned. He also was a rare breed of executive and ahead of his time – he hired several female editors in an era when only men seemed to get the management jobs elsewhere. Although he might have had his mind made up when he was approached with a dilemma, he continued to listen, asked questions and gave his opinion or advice. But every once in a while, I swayed him to my way of thinking. (Hmmm, or did I really?)
I have so many memories of him that it would take a book to list them all. Here’s a few: seeing him, in his suit and tie, riding his scooter to work on nice days; watching him as he stood on a desk in the editorial offices at Brooks Corner as he made a company announcement; greeting him one-to-one when he handed out a profit-sharing check at year’s end; taking my turn dancing with him at the company Christmas party; and witnessing him carrying water-soaked computers into his pristine Lincoln the day after the Fairfield Citizen-News office flooded from a broken pipe.
In Brooks Community Newspapers’ heyday, he got pleasure out of “measuring” the press run for the largest paper of the year, which came at the beginning of the holiday season. He calculated that if the paper were laid out end-to-end, it would stretch to a particular location in the United States. One year, we reached Ohio. At his instruction (and delight, I might add), all the editors had to publish his calculation on page one of that edition. Oh, and since the individual papers had different press runs, he figured out the miles for each one.
I marveled at his vast interests. He never was the all-work-and-no-play kind of guy. He was a skier, tennis player and sailor – well into his upper years. I learned just this week that one of his other hobbies was creating crossword puzzles and, in fact, self-published two books and had been working on a third. And he and his wife, Kay, traveled the world. One of my favorite questions to him (and one that always brought a smile to his face) was, “Where are you going now?”
He may have had a long career in finance and real estate, but it was being the owner of the newspapers that gave him his greatest pride. He liked a good political fight, but he also made sure the papers supported their communities, providing charities with important advertising space. That was a vital lesson of balance I learned from him for when I became editor of the Fairfield Citizen-News.
He sold Brooks Community Newspapers to Thomson in 1999. Kay told me the other day that relinquishing the newspaper chain freed him up for other things, but I believe deep down it bothered him. There was the idea of being a big fish in a small pond that he so enjoyed, but giving his “family” over to strangers had to be unsettling for him. While we all at one time or another had some differences with Mr. Brooks, no one can deny that we weren’t like a family. I made lifelong friends simply because I worked there.
And it is that sense of family that provides me with the nicest memory of Mr. Brooks. In March 2007 when my father died I was staying with my mother at her house in Weston. One day in the week following his passing, my mother and I were sitting on the couch talking when the phone rang. She answered, lapsed into her phone voice and said to the caller, “Why, yes, she’s right here.” She handed the phone to me and on the other end was Mr. Brooks, for whom I had not worked in some years. No one but a few friends knew I was staying with Mom, but Mr. Brooks made the effort to track me down to offer his personal condolences. I never will forget his kindness during a very sad time in my life.
Mr. Brooks died on Aug. 31 at the age of 84, two days before his birthday. (That was something else we shared – we were both September babies.) He was on a cruise, suffered two heart attacks and died in a hospital in Mexico. In addition to Kay, he is survived by two sons and their wives, a daughter and her husband, a stepdaughter and her husband, a stepson and his wife and six grandchildren – and hundreds of former employees from the Brooks family.
There will be no services. Kay said that when she and Mr. Brooks talked about their eventual funerals, he said he wanted a “party.” That is so him. It may be a party, but I suspect it also will be a reunion, something he surely would have liked.
A celebration of his life will take place from 3 to 6 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 18, at the Westport Woman’s Club on Imperial Avenue, Westport.
The kids are back in school. Although delayed because of the devastation caused by Tropical Storm Irene, school opened for the 2011-12 academic year today. And with that are the hundreds of school buses on the streets from now until June as well as kids walking and biking to school.
So let’s all follow some basic rules of the road, as provided by the state Department of Transportation:
*Slow down. Observe the speed limit in school zones at all times.
*Be especially careful when driving on neighborhood streets and around school zones. Always expect the unexpected.
*Be alert for children walking and biking as you back out of your driveway or leave your garage.
*Watch for children on bicycles, especially at intersections.
*Stop your car when you see lights flashing on a school bus. Red flashing lights indicate that the bus is stopped and students are getting on or off. Don’t start driving until the red lights stop flashing. Be aware that a child may dash across the street.
*Always walk on the sidewalk. If there is no sidewalk and you have to walk in the road, always walk FACING traffic.
*Wear bright color clothing to increase visibility.
*Cross only at corners or marked crosswalks.
*Stop at the curb, or the edge of the road.
*Walk in groups, there is safety in numbers. Groups are more likely to be seen by drivers.
*Before crossing the street, stop and look left, then right, then left again.
*If you see a car, wait until it goes by. Then look left, right and left again until no cars are coming.
*Wear a helmet.
*Be sure to have reflectors on your pedals, frame, and wheels.
*Be Seen – Be Aware – Be Predictable.
*Follow the Rules of the Road – Ride on the right, with the traffic, in single file. Obey stop signs and traffic lights. Never cross a street without looking for cars. Give the right-of-way to pedestrians in crosswalks.