Letters to the editor

To the Fairfield


On behalf of the McKinley PTA Executive Board, I want to take this opportunity to thank Fairfield and surrounding communities for attending the fourth annual McKinley World's Fair held on Saturday, Oct. 24.

This event was created four years ago by then-PTA President Dyan DeCastro to recognize and celebrate the wonderful cultural diversity of our families with students attending McKinley School. This event draws more attention every year as it continues to be a highly educational and enjoyable event for students as well as adults.

We wish to thank the following artists: Bosnian Dancers, Dana Bossio (National Anthem), Fairfield Gaelic Pipe Band, Fairfield Masala, Fred Astaire Dance Studio of Trumbull, Hagua Guatemalan Dancers, Lenihan School of Irish Dance, our very own McKinley Singers directed by Lisa Bettke accompanied by Roger Thulin, and World Champion Korean Tae Kwon Do of Fairfield for their outstanding performances.

A very special thank you goes out to the many students from the following schools and organizations who volunteered their Saturday to help us during the World's Fair: Fairfield Ludlowe High School, Fairfield Prep, Fairfield Warde High School, Notre Dame, Sacred Heart University, Tomlinson Middle School and Wakeman Boys & Girls Club's Southport and Stratfield Units, who not only volunteered throughout the entire event but also did an excellent job of creating and orchestrating the International Games segment.

My heartfelt thanks is given to each of my amazing co-chairs who worked tirelessly to make this event possible and who took us to a higher level of excellence this year: Sheila Altieri (country coordinator), Jenn Cerbone (parade), Jennifer Chrysadakis (volunteer coordinator), Will Diaz (food coordinator), Nancy Donne (admissions/passport), Sherrie Fahey (photographer), Bev Greenop (parade), Eileen Gombos (raffle prizes), Jennifer Hoffman (treasurer), Jill Kellerman (international food and bake sale), Marvin Parsons (emcee), Kathy Reddy (international crafts), Crismeylin Rivano (assistant treasurer), Adam Socol (signage), Domingo Thomas (photographer). Special thanks to Kim Barron (print design and research), Tim Cepetelli of Wakeman Boys & Girls Club (games coordinator) and Biten Kothari (photographer). Also, a huge "Thank You" to Patty Mihaylo (adviser and public relations), to whom I will forever be grateful for her advice, assistance, guidance and friendship.

We also appreciate and support the following businesses for their generous donations to our World's Fair raffle: Adore Gifts, Bridgeport Sound Tigers, Bounce U, Brian O'Gara, Brio Academy of Cosmetology, Chloe's Closet, Community Theatre of Fairfield, CT Science Center, Fairfield Magazine, Fairfield Museum and History Center, Garden Catering, Hands On Pottery, Hudson Group, Major League Baseball, Massage Envy, McKinley Room Parents, Miller's Hallmark, Nick's Automotive, Stepping Stones Museum for Children, Stop & Shop, Quick Center for the Arts, Sensaria Natural Body Care, Snip Its, Sports Center of CT, Stew Leonard's, Summitt Auto, Swoozie's, Toys R Us, Villa Car Wash, What's Cooking, Woodloch Resort, World Champion Tae Kwon Do, Yoga for Everybody.

Many thanks to the following restaurants for co-sponsoring our World's Fair: Billy's Bakery, China Wok, High on the Hog, Lupita's for providing our luncheon selections, as well as the many McKinley parents who donated both cultural foods for lunch as well as baked goods for our International Food and Bake Sale. A special "Thank You" goes to both TJ Maxx and L C Chen for graciously allowing us to use their parking lot as our overflow parking area.

Finally, we are deeply grateful to each and every McKinley family who proudly came together to showcase the beauty of their country of origin, share delicious food from their homeland and display their own unique cultural heritage which is the truly the highlight of the World's Fair.

We hope everyone who attended took with them a sense of community, unity and peace through having learned more about the many wondrous cultures within our world.

Marie Stalling,

World's Fair Chairman,

McKinley School


I would like to express my appreciation to all those responsible for the marvelous concert at Fairfield Woods Middle School recently. I'm sure it was a huge undertaking, but the results were fantastic. The combination of the Cross Border Orchestra of Ireland and The Fairfield County Children's Choir was just spectacular. The selection of songs and musical arrangements was pleasing to all. It is wonderful to know that children from all over Ireland can come together and spread their message of peace throughout the world. Music is a powerful thing. How fortunate Fairfield was to have had them in our presence.

The Fairfield County Children's Choir was equally impressive in its animated rendition of several Irish songs and popular medleys. It was great to see local children and Irish children working together to create a magnificent showcase of their talent. Those of you who are of Irish decent, please remember to teach your children about their heritage. Fairfield has many ways to assist you. We have our own Gaelic American Club, as well as, a local radio station WVOF 88.5 broadcasting from Fairfield University on Sunday afternoons and Wednesday evenings. Just turn the radio on and listen to the great Irish music as you go about your activities. It's something the whole family can enjoy.

Pat Coleman Burns



We have been proud to serve the citizens of District 8 as their representatives. We thank all of you who supported our re-election campaign. The district has chosen five new representatives to serve our community. We congratulate them and wish them well during the coming term.

Helen D'Avanzo,

Bob Greenberger, Larry Kaley, Allen Marks, Lisa Winjum

Outgoing Fairfield RTM members

District 8 voters :

The votes are in and once again (sixth time) the voters have elected me as one of their representatives from RTM District 8.

I am humbled by your vote of confidence and appreciate the opportunity to serve you.

Please call me or e-mail me at REARTM@aol.com if I can be of any assistance or if you have concerns or questions about our town government.

Michael Rea


Thank you

I would like to thank the Fairfield voters for your overwhelming support on Election Day. I will continue to listen and make informed decisions in the best interests of all children and all Fairfield taxpayers, as educational decisions affect everyone. I would also like to thank Josh Albin, Lenora Campbell, and Jennifer Maxon-Kennelly for the energy they each brought to the campaign and ideas they each put forth to improve the Board of Education. To Tim Kery, Paul Fattibene and Perry Liu who were elected along with me on Nov. 3, "welcome." I look forward to working with you as board members. Thank you Fairfield citizens. I am honored to serve you. Together, we can make our educational system better than ever.

Pamela Iacono,

Board of Education Member,


Amethyst excuse

The following is the "statement" from the Amethyst Initiative whose stated goal is to "rethink the drinking age" and is signed by 135 college and university Presidents around the country including Jeffrey Von Arx of Fairfield University:

It's time to rethink the drinking age

In 1984 Congress passed the National Minimum Drinking Age Act, which imposed a penalty of 10% of a state's federal highway appropriation on any state setting its drinking age lower than 21.

Twenty-four years later, our experience as college and university presidents convinces us that...

Twenty-one is not working

A culture of dangerous, clandestine "binge-drinking"-- often conducted off-campus -- has developed.

Alcohol education that mandates abstinence as the only legal option has not resulted in significant constructive behavioral change among our students.

Adults under 21 are deemed capable of voting, signing contracts, serving on juries and enlisting in the military, but are told they are not mature enough to have a beer.

By choosing to use fake IDs, students make ethical compromises that erode respect for the law.

How many times must we relearn the lessons of prohibition?

We call upon our elected officials:

To support an informed and dispassionate public debate over the effects of the 21 year-old drinking age.

To consider whether the 10 percent highway fund "incentive" encourages or inhibits that debate.

To invite new ideas about the best ways to prepare young adults to make responsible decisions about alcohol.

We pledge ourselves and our institutions to playing a vigorous, constructive role as these critical discussions unfold.

The way I read it, these signatory academics are already done thinking and have set a course of thinking to lower the age. I am glad my alma mater, Lehigh University, has not signed on to the Amethyst Initiative. I happen to think, at the very least, the Amethyst Initiative sends the wrong message to the student body. More likely, the Amethyst Initiative is a weasel way for the signatory academics to throw up their hands because they have failed to promote the law. While academia has a responsibility to promote free thinking, the administrative leaders of academic institutions have a responsibility to promote compliance with the law among its members and right now 18 is the law, like it or not.

So while I happen to think that 18 is the right legal age to order a drink, I don't believe anybody should be violating the law. College kids are smarter than the Amethyst Presidents give them credit for. The "free thinking" underage drinking down at Bravo Restaurant in Fairfield Center by mostly sophomores last week is testament to that.

Jim Brown


Don't spend money we don't have

It seems the consequences of one-party rule, whether in Hartford or Washington, is always the same: unrestrained spending, and huge deficits for future generations.

Last April when Jim Himes voted for the bloated $3.5 trillion budget, he said, "Today I voted for a budget that is responsible, honest, and forward-looking. This budget will reduce the national deficit by two-thirds in four years." [April 2 press release available on himes.house.gov.] Fewer than six months later, deficit projections have gone up by $2 trillion.

This is not merely a case of hindsight being 20/20: before voting for runaway spending, Himes voted against freezing domestic spending. With the national debt hearing $12 trillion, now Himes is poised to follow Pelosi into authorizing more debt.

If you or I reach the limit on our credit card, we put the credit card away. For Jim Himes and the Democratic Congress that's the wrong answer -- they're about to raise the limit on the government's credit card, yet again.

The country is facing great challenges, but the answer to every problem cannot be to spend money we don't have and borrow against our children's future.

Whether Himes recklessly misjudged the economy by $2 trillion or was just robotically following Nancy Pelosi's lead (as he does on more than 95 percent of votes according to the Washington Post), we have a problem.

Rob Russo


Rob Russo is a former state Senator, and is a candidate for Congress in the 4th district.

Know it. Fight it.

End it.

With the recent passing of prominent American figures such as actor Patrick Swayze and NCAA President Myles Brand, pancreatic cancer has been in the national spotlight yet many people don't realize the severity of the disease and the urgent need for early detection methods and effective treatment options.

Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death in our country and the most lethal among leading cancer killers with a five-year survival rate of just 5 percent. Seventy-six percent of patients die within the first twelve months of diagnosis because there are no early detection methods and the disease is often diagnosed when it has spread to other organs.

As November nears, and we commemorate National Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month, now, more than ever we must: "Know it. Fight it. End it." Pancreatic cancer has long been overlooked and under-funded among the leading top five cancer killers.

I volunteer for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, a nationwide network of people dedicated to advancing research and supporting patients. You can be a part of the movement to bring hope to those affected by the disease.

Visit www.pancan.org to learn how to get involved today.

Together we can make a difference in the fight against pancreatic cancer.

Amy Gironda

East Setauket, N.Y.