To show our support for the families affected by the tragedy in Newtown, Fairfielders have set up a few vigils and services today and tomorrow.
A town-wide community vigil is scheduled for Monday, Dec. 17, at 5 p.m. on Sherman Green. Community and spiritual leaders are being invited to help lead this vigil. According to a statement, “The Fairfield Board of Selectmen understands that it is important that the community have the opportunity to come together as a whole to grieve, as well as to support the survivors of the tragedy and our very own first responders who were there in Newtown Friday.”
According to a post on Facebook, the Stratfield neighborhood will conduct a vigil from 5 to 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16, at the corner of Fairfield Woods and Stratfield roads. Participants are asked to bring a Teddy Bear, which will be collected and given to the children and families in Newtown. Candles will be provided.
At 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16, First Church Congregational, Beach Road, will host an interfaith service, according to another post on Facebook.
To show our support for the families affected by the tragedy in Newtown, Fairfielders have set up a few vigils and services today and tomorrow.
When the two reporters I work with at the Darien News and New Canaan News told me there was an illuminated Christmas tree in the middle of the Merritt Parkway, I thought they were telling me a tale.
They said the tree is small, sits in the middle of the parkway but surrounded on two sides by the barriers and is aglow in lights. And situated just before Exit 44 northbound.
But yesterday on my way home from New Canaan, I was determined to see this tree – which is not an easy task if you’ve ever driven the parkway at rush hour. On the northbound side, we sit in traffic for miles, inching along at 5, 10 or 20 mph, while the cars on the southbound side speed by. Despite the slow going, one still must be attentive to the stop-and-go on the road at that hour.
As I approached Exit 44 in Fairfield, I saw out of the corner of my left eye THE TREE. Yep, it really exists.
But the questions are, how and why? After all, it’s in the middle of the divider and is draped in multi-colored lights. Who put it there? How does it get illuminated?
It may be a bit of a mystery, but it’s also kind of magical.
So as everyone makes that mad dash – starting today – to get the perfect gifts for friends and family for the holidays, let’s remember to shop local.
Our small businesses need you.
There was a time when the Fairfield shopping experience left something to be desired. Not now. Fairfield Center and the Black Rock Turnpike commerce areas are full of interesting boutiques and shops that are sure to please even the most difficult gift recipient or discerning customer. And keep in mind some of the other business areas in town, like the Grasmere section, Greenfield Hill and Southport. You never know what you will find.
And when you shop local, you help the Fairfield economy stay vibrant and keep our small business owners in operation for years to come.
If you need help deciding which stores carry which items you are looking for, or maybe you just want to browse to see if something strikes you, consult the Fairfield Chamber of Commerce’s website. On it, you can search the chamber’s directory of businesses. Or, better yet, click on the tap “Shop Fairfield,” where you will find interesting features, like Chamber Bucks, which help local businesses and provide an easy way to please a gift recipient.
Almost two weeks after the Nov. 6 election, and would you believe that there are campaigns signs still hanging around on lawns, corners and even the Merritt Parkway. Yep, the parkway. I saw two Obsitnik signs at an exit.
Really, folks, isn’t it time to bring these signs in? I have seen them throughout Fairfield County in my travels – and our community of Fairfield is not immune. Signs for Hwang, Kupchick, Dean, McMahon, Fawcett and others are still dotting are sightlines.
This is a one of my pet peeves. The candidates and their campaigns should be aware where signs have been placed so someone is assigned to travel around after Election Day and remove them.
An interesting event is taking place at the Fairfeld Museum and History Center that brings into discussion our nation’s dilemma with immigration and looks at the past.
“Emancipation Proclamation Revisited: Immigration Today” is a joint presentation of Fairfield University’s Center for Faith and Public Life and the Fairfield Museum. It take place at Fairfield University’s Dolan Center, on Wednesday, Nov. 14 at 7 p.m.
The event – a panel discussion – relates to the museum’s exhibition “Promise of Freedom: The Emancipation Proclamation,” which celebrates the 150th anniversary of the document. The exhibition, which continues to Feb. 24, includes two rare, Abraham Lincoln-signed copies of the Emancipation Proclamation and the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.
The moderator will be the Rev. Richard Ryscavage, S.J., professor of sociology and director of the Center for Faith and Public Life, which is overseeing two major projects concerning immigration issues. The panel will discuss the issues of human trafficking and modern slavery, which intersect with immigration policy; a historical perspective on U.S. immigration in the 18th and 19th centuries; the current immigration policies; and the future challenges.
Other panelists also include Kelly Ryan, deputy assistant secretary of Immigration and Border Security in the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Policy; Angela Rossi Zurowski, executive director, International Institute of Connecticut; and Cecelia Bucki, Ph.D., professor of history, Fairfield University.
According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ data from 2011, there are nearly 23 million living veterans of the U.S. armed forces from both the periods of war and peace from 1775 to 1991. Then we have to add the approximately 1.5 servicemen and -women involved in the global war on terrorism since 2001.
It’s only fitting in the year that we commemorate the War of 1812 that we take a quick look at how many men served in the conflict that ended in 1815 – 286,730. Fairfielders too was involved in that war.
Here’s another interesting fact: Of the more than 16 million service members of World War II, only 1.7 million survive. My father was one of those veterans – having served in U.S. Army including the D-Day invasion. He died in 2007. Though he rarely talked about his World War II experience, my father was always proud of his service to this country.
All of the men and women who opt for military service deserve our gratitude.
And we here in Fairfield can do our part to show our appreciation and thank them for their selflessness by attending ceremonies to mark the day, which technically is Nov. 11.
On Saturday, Nov. 10, St. Pius X Church on Brookside Drive is hosting an 8:30 a.m. Mass to honor our veterans. The parish welcomes town officials, representatives of the veterans’ organizations and family and friends of all veterans, living and deceased.
Fairfield ’s annual memorial service will take place at the Town Hall green, including a ceremony at the Honor Roll, at 11 a.m. the same day. Everyone is invited – in fact, encouraged – to attend. Additionally, the Eunice Dennie Burr Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution is hosting a veterans’ reception from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Old Academy, which is also on the Town Hall green campus.
On Sunday, I am spending a quiet afternoon at home, sorting through mountains of paperwork that accumulated over the last month and watching the news on TV when I hear a voice coming from my driveway. I don’t recognize the voice. But what he is saying scares me a little, “Please get out of the car” (or something of that nature – as the windows are closed and his voice is a little faint).
I peer out the den window and see a Fairfield police officer standing midway up the driveway, his patrol car parked at the end, and a bright yellow, “suped-up” car containing five guys closest to my garage. I run to the front door and open it slightly so I can hear what is being said but steering clear from the scene I’ve yet to figure out. I don’t mind the cold air nipping at my feet because I need to know what’s going on. We’ve had burglaries in my neighborhood and that’s all I’m thinking about right then – that these five guys were planning on breaking into my house.
The officer asks the driver to slowly get out of the car, show his hands and walk toward him. That’s when my eyes see the Humvee, adorned in camouflage, parked on the road behind the Fairfield patrol car and a National Guardsman, dressed in uniform, also camouflage, standing on the other side of yellow car, his eyes fixated on the passengers.
The police officer starts to question the driver, asks for identification and talks into his radio. Before long, two more Fairfield patrol cars come racing up and down my street, lights flashing. Now I’ve got three patrol cars with lights flashing, three police officers and two National Guardsmen (by this time, the driver of the Humvee has emerged from it and also stands, well, guard). I realize that all of these law enforcement officers are armed, by the way.
The driver is frisked and patted down by the first officer and is asked to sit down on my driveway. He is asked (politely, I might add) if the trunk of his car can be opened and searched as well as the rest of the car. The driver agrees. Now the passengers are asked to slowly get out of the car and sit on the other side of my driveway. Everyone is being questioned, but I sense there is a language barrier to some extent.
Suddenly, my quiet Sunday afternoon was turned into a scene from a police TV drama playing out on my driveway.
The first officer discovers that the driver has no license. And in the trunk were two, 5-gallon pails of gasoline wrapped in black plastic bags and one small, red gas container. The officers remove all the containers and place them on my driveway.I can smell the gas.
Next thing I hear is that the yellow car will be towed because the driver didn’t have a license and that the gasoline in the 5-gallon pails will be confiscated.
The first officer comes to my door to tell me what’s going on. The officer was showing the Guardsmen around Fairfield because he said they would be helping to patrol the town while our cops were occupied with other jobs in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, which still was keeping many neighborhoods dark. Apparently, the five young men, from Queens, N.Y., were in New Haven the night before at a party. They stayed over because they decided they shouldn’t drive home after partying. And while here, presumably, they decided to buy gasoline since we have it and New York and New Jersey doesn’t after Hurricane Sandy.
The officer tells me that he and the Guardsmen stopped when they saw the yellow car and one or more of the occupants rummaging in the trunk and acting suspicious when they spotted the officer, who also was concerned, as I was, that they were up to nothing good, like burglary.
The first officer and the Guardsmen leave, and the other two cops wait for the tow truck with the five guys from Queens. I can tell from smiles and body language among the seven that the conversation is pleasant. Tow truck arrives, car is pulled onto the bed and the gas containers are secured on the truck. The driver is allowed to keep the safe, red one (which I suspect only contained about 2 gallons).
The scene is about to break up. One of the remaining two officers comes to my front door to talk to me and thank me for allowing this incident to play out on my driveway. He said the young men were actually good kids. The officers leave and the rest of the group, tow truck included, move onto the street. Thirty minutes or so later, another car pulls up, the yellow car is taken off the truck bed and the five guys disperse into both cars and drive off. I’m not sure, but someone in the second car hopefully with a license drove the yellow one.
So in the end, the biggest offense was driving without a license. The biggest mistake was putting that valuable commodity of gasoline in unsecured pails and intending to drive back to Queens with it in the trunk of a car.
When you think about it, the officers saved the lives of those five guys from Queens and anyone else who would have been driving on the road at the same time.
There was a time long ago that the only choices Fairfielders had for dinner out was a pizza place, and maybe a handful of other establishments that served traditional fare. We had to travel to Westport to find a good meal or some other nearby time known for its dining establishments.
Now Fairfield is a destination for out-of-towners as well as for residents, who can find a host of restaurants that offer a variety of cuisines. How lucky we are.
To showcase those restaurants – and that Fairfield is the place to be for a night out – the town is sponsoring its first-ever Restaurant Week, which takes place from Sunday, Oct. 14, to Saturday, Oct. 20. More than 30 restaurants will participate in the special event that features prix fixe lunch and dinner menu prices. Restaurants will offer $10 and $15 lunches and $20 and $30 dinners or other discounts on their menus.
Among the participating restaurants are 55 Wine Bar & Restaurant, Archie Moore’s, Artisan, Avellino’s, Bangalore, Barcelona, Bella Sera, Bodega, Bon Appetit Café, Bonda, Café Lola, Café Madeline, Centro Ristorante, Colony Grill, Fairfield Café, Hunan Pavilion, Kiraku, LC Chen’s, Lilac House, Mamma Mina’s, Martel Bistro, Michael Gennaro’s Steakhouse, Old
Post Tavern, Osianna Mediterranean Taverna, Paci’s, Quattro Pazz, Tabouli Grill, The Brasserie, The Chelsea, The Gray Goose, Tucker’s Café, Wafu Asian Bistro and Wild Rice.
The town also has partnered with a number of businesses, community groups and organizations to conduct a variety of cultural events and other activities throughout Fairfield during Restaurant Week. Among those groups are the Fairfield Theatre Company, Fairfield Museum & History Center, the Fairfield University Bookstore, the Fairfield Sportsplex, Fairfield University and Sacred Heart University. More information can be found at www.fairfieldct.org/restaurantweek.
Additionally, a passport book has been created will be available with the purchase of lunch or dinner at participating restaurants during the week. Passports will be “stamped” with the purchase of lunch or dinner at each successive visit to a participating restaurant. Passports bearing two or more stamps will be eligible for a special raffle drawing at the conclusion of Restaurant Week. The top prize will be a night’s stay, deluxe accommodations at the Southport Delamar. Additional raffle prize sponsors include the Fairfield Sportsplex, the Fairfield Theater Company,The Stand Juice Company, Yoga for Everybody, Michael Gennaro’s Steakhouse, Fairfield Ice Academy, Carabiners, Fairfield University Bookstore, Mo’s Wine & Spirit, The Gray Goose, East Coast United and the Fairfield Cheese Company.
Finally, GoodLife Productions, a Fairfield-based TV Production Company, is producing short videos that showcase each of the restaurants that are participating. The videos may be viewed online at www.fairfieldct.org/restaurantweek as well at www.BizzBuzzTV.com.
Restaurant Week is a good opportunity to support our local businesses, return to a favorite haunt for a night out or try a new place.