“Unsung heroes” – that is a catchphrase used quite frequently lately by broadcasters and journalists to highlight the good deeds of everyday people.
And rightly so. Our neighbors, our friends, our acquaintances and even total strangers quietly go about their business helping others, trying to make the world a better place. The need for heroes emerged with fierceness and importance after 9/11 when we lost so much.
Seven years ago, the Board of Selectmen launched a special program to honor town employees and Fairfield residents. Among the past Fairfielder of the Year recipients are Patrick Carroll, Isobel Broadhurst, Denise Dougiello and Frank Rice; past Employee of the Year honorees are Raymond Agostino, Bill Hurley, Scott Bartlett and Barbara Hawkins.
Residents and town employees can submit applications to the first selectman’s office. The deadline is noon on Wednesday, Nov. 10. Nomination information and forms are available for each award from the first selectman’s office or the town’s website, www.fairfieldct.org.
An independent committee will review all submitted applications and then recommend three finalists for each award to the Board of Selectmen, which will select the two final winners. The selectmen will present both awards in November.
“Unsung heroes” – that is a catchphrase used quite frequently lately by broadcasters and journalists to highlight the good deeds of everyday people.
Despite the fact that I suffer greatly with allergies at this time of year, the fallen leaves, spread out across lawns, is a beautiful sight. Raking them up is a whole other story.
I remember the days of my childhood when my father raked the leaves into an old blanket or sheet, carried it to the road and dumped the leaves into piles. Then he lit a match. The smell of burning leaves is unique and memorable. We then threw potatoes into the burning pile for eating later. Delicious.
Dad also would make one large pile of leaves on our lawn so the kids could jump into it. He joined us sometimes.
But the burning of leaves (actually a pretty dangerous activity) was outlawed many years ago. Some towns now ask homeowners to rake the leaves to the roadside so public works crews can come by and vacuum them up. Other towns, like Fairfield, ask homeowners to place them in large paper bags (found in almost any store), place them at curbside and public works crews come by to pick them up.
Fairfield’s annual townwide leaf collection begins on Monday, Nov. 15, and will continue for four weeks, ending the week of Dec. 6 for all neighborhoods except Greenfield Hill.
Biodegradable paper bags must be placed curbside by 6 a.m. on the Monday of each week to ensure pickup.
The Solid Waste and Recycling Department requests that the bags not be sealed. Loose leaves, brush, branches, wood, grass or leaves in plastic bags will not be picked up. Also, bags placed outside of the town right-of-way, such as along driveways or inside stonewalls and fences, will not be picked up.
For Greenfield Hill, residents should call the town garage at 203-256-3177 on Monday, Nov. 15, to arrange for pickup before Thanksgiving. Greenfield Hill residents may call the week of Nov. 22 for one additional pick-up.
The department reminds residents that they also can bring their bags of leaves to the compost facility run by GreenCycle at One Rod Highway. For hours of operation, visit www.fairfieldct.org.
Bagging leaves is definitely more environmentally friendly, but I do miss the old days – and those leaf-baked potatoes.
In my 24 years as editor of the Fairfield Citizen-News, I sat through many candidates’ forums, sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Fairfield. In fact, I probably sat through all of them in my tenure. I attended them for two reasons: as the editor, I needed to make informed decisions about who the paper would be endorsing; as a voter, I wanted to make an intelligent decision once I went to my polling place. Believe it or not, the two decisions were not always the same. (Other factors and people were involved in the endorsement choices.)
What always bothered me, however, about the candidates’ forums for local and state races was that the same people were in the audience – campaign staffers, town and state officials and members of the press. Where were all the “regular” people, the everyday residents and voters of the community? Only once was there a packed house, which predominantly was people not associated with the campaigns or government. That was the Republican primary battle between John Metsopoulos and Mary Carroll-Mirylees. And it was fun and educational. The expanded crowd made the evening one to remember.
The Fairfield electorate has a chance next week to show they are interested in who they want to represent them in Hartford on the General Assembly and who they want to be judge of probate.
A candidates’ forum will take place at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 18, at the Fairfield Public Library.
Invited to participate are the candidates for the 28th Senatorial District, incumbent Republican John McKinney and Democrat Mitchell Fuchs; 132nd General Assembly District, Republican Brenda Kupchick and Democratic incumbent Tom Drew; 133rd District, Republican DeeDee Brandt and Democratic incumbent Kim Fawcett; 134th District, incumbent Republican Tony Hwang and Democrat Michael Murren; and judge of probate, incumbent Republican Daniel Caruso and Democrat Pamela Jones.
The public will be able to submit written questions for the candidates, but they are screened by LWV members for duplication and clarity. Kiki Karpen, the past president of the League of Women Voters of Connecticut, will moderate the debate.
Try to be there and learn what the candidates have to say and how they would tackle some of the bigger issues facing the state in the next term.
I remember the first time I voted. It was the presidential election between Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford. I voted for Carter. I was young and impressionable and was caught up in the anti-Nixon sentiment. Carter represented a needed change from the dark days of Watergate. I remember being scared and thinking to myself: “Will I know which booth to enter?”, “Will I pull the right lever?”, “Will my vote really make a difference?”
Thirty-four years later, it is all second nature to me. And I have come to truly appreciate what a gift it is to elect our leaders. One of the first things I do when I move into a new town (and I have lived in several in Connecticut), I register to vote.
Election Day is November 2 – less than a month away. This year, we will cast ballots for governor and the entire General Assembly, U.S. senator, U.S. representatives and a host of other offices. You can’t vote if you are not registered. It is very simple. Here is some basic information, which was obtained from the town’s website, www.fairfieldct.org.
The registrars of voters, who also are called election administrators, can be reached at 203-256-3115. Their office is at Old Town Hall, 611 Old Post Road and is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Residents may register to vote in person or by mail. Mail registration forms may be obtained at any Connecticut town hall, public library or registrars’ office. A voter registration form that can be completed by typing online and then printed and mailed in is available at http://www.fairfieldct.org/voter-stateregistration1.pdf.
Because the form must be signed, it may not be emailed. Although there are no length of residency requirements, you will need proof of town residency and age, and if a naturalized citizen, proof of U.S. citizenship. You must be at least 18 years old on or before Election Day.
Town Clerk Betsy P. Browne reminds Fairfield’s voters that absentee ballots are now available. Absentee voting is permitted for any of the following reasons: physical disability, absence from the town during all of the hours of voting, or religious tenets that forbid secular activity on Election Day.
A signed application must be received by the town clerk before an absentee ballot can be issued. Applications are available in the town clerk’s office Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. or you may call 203-256-3090. Applications also are available through the secretary of the state’s website:
The town clerk’s office will be open on October 30 between 9 a.m. and noon for absentee balloting.
I know the Greenfield Hill Cemetery. You might say that I have been up close and personal with it.
On a beautiful day in September 2008, I joined an army of residents and out-of-towners at the 300-year-old cemetery on Bronson Road. For several hours, we scrubbed – and I mean scrubbed – the headstones of this town’s ancestors. Members of some of Fairfield’s well-known families – and many of them founders of this great community – are buried there as well as 103 Revolutionary War soldiers. And then there are the other soldiers, those who fought in the French and Indian War, the War of 1812 and the Civil War.
But the cemetery, which is town-owned, became neglected and the grave markers were left to deteriorate. Some crumbled, others toppled over.
That first cleanup day was organized by Fairfielder Melanie Marks, who had a special interest in the cemetery. Turns out that while she was renovating her home on Redding Road, she discovered the headstone of Abigail Banks buried in the basement. A genealogist, Melanie researched and found that Abigail’s headstone belonged in the Greenfield Hill Cemetery. On that day in September, the stone was reinstalled.
How did I get involved in the first cleanup? I always have had a fascination for old cemeteries. And Melanie is hard to refuse. She gives so freely and unselfishly to her community lending her talents that helping her is the least anyone can do.
Another cleanup is planned for Saturday, Sept. 25, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. It is sponsored by the Greenfield Hill Village Improvement Society. This cleanup will focus on removing brush and doing general landscaping duty. After the latest round of storms, many large trees fell, damaging the stone wall and some grave markers. Another effort at a later time will repair and replace the headstones.
Those who help out should bring their own rakes, gloves and pruners. Refreshments will be served. The cleanup takes place rain or shine, and is a good event for middle and high schools students who need to fulfill some community involvement hours.
For information, call Melanie Marks at 203-856-6270 or Letty Patino at 203-292-5286.
The good thing about what transpired Tuesday night was that the Board of Education made a decision.
The bad thing was that it made the wrong one.
Just before 11 p.m. and after several hours of discussion – and some confusion, I might add – the board voted 5-4 in favor of redistricting option E, which moves students around from eight elementary schools into the town’s three middle schools beginning in the 2011-12 academic year.
The board’s action angered the majority of the people in the room, who were mainly parents and who rose practically in unison once the vote was made. As members of the public filed out of the Roger Ludlowe Middle School auditorium, some shouted at the board: “It’s all about ego!”, “What a joke!”, “Did you listen to anyone tonight?” and “You wasted our time!”
The evening had all the makings for a classic Fairfield town meeting. There was tension among board members and frustration among audience members. There was an 11th-hour alternate redistricting proposal and confusion about procedure. There was little talk about costs and a last-minute attempt to discuss criteria. And then there was the inexcusable audio system that made it nearly impossible to hear anyone.
I am sorting it all out and will have a complete overview and commentary in “Hines Sight” in Friday’s Fairfield Citizen. Stay tuned.
My cousin Terri-Lynn was born and raised in Fairfield, but moved away 35 years ago. After living in numerous parts of the country, she moved to Watertown, South Dakota, where her parents already had settled in; she resided there for 15 years. Six weeks ago, she came home to Fairfield to live.
One of the first comments she made about her former, and new, hometown was how it is plush and green and full of trees. “It’s like living in a forest,” she says. (From everything she has told me, Watertown, South Dakota, sounds a little barren.)
I never gave much thought to our town being so tree-laden, even after living here for more than 20 years. But come to think of it, the scenery is just another reason why Fairfield is so special. Fairfield has been designated a Tree City, U.S.A., by the National Arbor Day Foundation every year since 1983.
So it was with great interest that I was reading Kirk Lang’s article in the Fairfield Citizen about the resurrection of the town’s commemorative tree planting program. With the program, residents and businesses can purchase a tree from a participating nursery and donate it to the town. The trees are planted on public property and the town will maintain them. The donor is given a certificate for the contribution and all commemorative trees will be recognized on a plaque displayed in Independence Hall and on the town’s website.
Misty Beyer, the chairwoman of the Fairfield Forestry Committee, which is working in conjunction with Tree Warden Ken Placko on the initiative, told the Fairfield Citizen, “Take a look as you’re driving down the Post Road. Imagine how it would look without those trees. The color green is a relaxing color. There’s something very therapeutic about it.”
She added, “So we’re looking at an opportunity here to replant some beautiful trees on our public spaces, public right-of-ways and parks. I just think it’s a great way to give back to the town.”
I wholeheartedly agree. And when I get a little bit ahead financially, I will donate a tree in honor of my family, who has deep roots in Fairfield and Southport.
Information about the program can be obtained via http://www.fairfieldct.org/forestry.htm or http://www.fairfieldct.org/Forestry/TreeDonation2010.pdf
One of the great things about Fairfield is how much there is to do on any given weekend. Year-round, Fairfielders and their friends and family and out-of-town visitors can find a multitude of activities to keep everyone happy.
Among those events is the Fairfield Kiwanis Club’s 19th Annual Fall Juried Arts & Crafts Fair, which takes place Saturday, Sept. 11, and Sunday, Sept. 12, on the green in front of Old Town Hall on the Old Post Road. The hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. – rain or shine.
The work of artisans and crafters from the New England area will be featured. Also planned are a bake sale and a hardy mum sale.
The Kiwanis Club’s “famous” grilled hot dogs and hamburgers and soft drinks will be available for purchase.
All proceeds from the fair are distributed by the Kiwanis Club of Fairfield directly into the community to better the lives of children.
For more information about the fair or how to become a Kiwanis Club member, call the president, Dave Padua, at 203-336-2158.
Have fun while helping a good cause – and the weather will be terrific too.