Fallen star

We have lost our local star, Patricia Hemenway (Cook). I met her in high school and performed in musicals with her at Fairfield Teens. She truly blossomed in the summer cabaret shows we did at Sacred Heart University in the 70s. It was her spot-on parody of Ruby Keeler in Dames at Sea that really charmed and enchanted the local audiences. She must have performed the musical more than 100 times. As stage manger and understudy for the Captain, I had the privilege of watching her amazing "star quality" emerge. And in the early years of The Downtown Cabaret, she was the reason to see the shows -- we watched her become a "star."

I remember walking down Broadway with her after seeing Sondheim's Follies, and she confided her dream of someday appearing on the Great White Way (just like her character in Dames at Sea). Her dream came true. Patty went on to star in the national tour of Evita and perform the title role on Broadway.

She was a special presence on stage and off.

Her family, friends and audiences will fondly remember her.

Mark S. Graham

Trumbull

Shame on you

Shame on you, Joe Lieberman. As a practicing pediatrician and a small business owner (of my practice) in this community for more than 30 years, I was dismayed and disappointed by your threat to oppose the health care reform bill currently being debated in the Senate.

Over the last several years, I have seen my patients' families increasingly struggle to provide adequate health care for their children. Increasing premiums, co-pays and denials for legitimate coverage by the insurance companies have placed them in the impossible position of choosing between providing appropriate health care for their children and themselves or going with out daily necessities. Due to spiraling health care costs, we see families going bankrupt, losing homes, going into debt and divorcing. The consequent stressful effects on their own children are obvious.

As a small business owner who provides health insurance to our employees, we have also been significantly impacted by rising premiums. As a business, we are affected daily, constantly battling with the insurance companies just to get paid for what we do.

Be clear, Senator. These companies are interested in only one thing, and it's not our health. It's profits.

It is no surprise that more than 70 percent of all U.S. physicians in recent polling are for a public insurance option. Many of us view the public option as the only effective means to put competitive pressure on the insurance companies to lower premiums, be more responsive to their customers and provide the health care they have promised. Just as important, health care reform will provide guaranteed health care to the 40 million uninsured (a totally unacceptable situation in the richest country in the world), and will prevent people from being denied coverage for preexisting conditions.

You have no choice to make, Senator. You can either support the insurance companies whoa re attempting to do everything they can to maintain the status quo, or you can truly support your constituents, do the right thing and support health care reform with the public option. My patients and their families will thank you for it.

Robert D. Chessin, M.D.,

Fairfield

Response

Editor's note: this letter was sent in response to Dan Vasone's column in the Wednesday, Nov. 18, Fairfield Citizen.

Well done! I shudder to think of what our lives would be like if newspapers disappear. As you so rightly state, they are the single most important factor in keeping the citizenry aware of what's going on, be it governmental actions, social events, local advertising, etc.

Unfortunately, we seem to have raised new generations whose major interest is in talking (tweeting, texting) to each other and whose major concern is music. They don't seem to realize that what is going on around them will significantly affect their lives. Couple that with the apparent low level of education re history, geography, etc., and you have a citizenry ripe for exploitation.

I realize that, ultimately, the printed newspaper will disappear and be replaced by electronic versions. While this may reduce costs for printing and distribution, some method must be found to cover the costs of gathering and editing the content. One way would be to charge a subscription fee to readers. (We currently pay for our papers either at the newsstand or via subscription). However, there may be a better way.

Perhaps the answer is a charge (tax?) on all cellphone, Kindle (etc.) accounts which will be used to subsidize newspapers, whose content could then be distributed electronically and free.

There's no easy answer, but if we don't find a way to keep newspapers alive, we're in for a heck of a sleigh ride.

Arthur Blumenfield

Norwalk

Great news!

The grass roots organization, We the People of Fairfield, applaud First Selectman Ken Flatto's vow to have a 0 percent tax increase this year.

A flat tax has been a goal of We the People since last April when we met with Flatto. At that time, he told us that a "no tax increase" could only be achieved if the teachers froze their salaries which they did in their recent contract for the Fiscal year 2010-11. Kudo's to Flatto for keeping his promise to our group. This vow will go a long way towards keeping Fairfield affordable for all who live here. Not only those who have lost jobs in the last year, but, also the seniors on fixed incomes who have had their social security benefits frozen (Social Security increases are tied to cost of living -- which has decreased this year).

The independent audit that We the People asked for in October has been on hold due to the November elections. Catherine Albin, chairman of the Board of Education sent the audit request to a sub-committee and it is now in limbo. We the People is continuing to push for the audit. This is the perfect year to do it, given Superintendent Dr. Ann Clark's retirement. In fact, we are now asking that an efficiency audit of the town be done at the same time. We the People have contacted a nationally recognized firm who has done audits of this type. They have told us that an audit of the educational system can be competed in two months. This information has been provided to the sub-committee. Many universities are availing themselves of an outside audit to key in on areas where spending can be reduced. There is no reason to delay this. Efficiencies uncovered by this audit is money that can re used to pay down the $21 million debt service the town has incurred from bonding school renovation projects over the last five to 10 years.

The supporters of We the People recognize and appreciate that we have an award-winning school system and superb town facilities, which we want and must maintain. We believe that the independent audit is about making this town stronger. We are hoping that the audit will find efficiencies to fund next year's necessities. We ask that everyone in town get behind this audit by calling Flatto to thank him for stepping up for a 0 percent tax increase and asking that the audit be pushed to the top of his agenda.

Kate Daniello,

We the People of Fairfield

Thank you

Thank you to Fairfield's voters for your support on Election Day. I am humbled and honored for the opportunity to represent you on the Board of Education. Every decision made with regards to our schools affects not only our children, but also the community as a whole. Everyone has a stake in the health and well-being of our schools. It is the gauge by which our town is judged and our properties are valued, and it is a measure of the economic strength and vitality of our community. I am very optimistic about the future of our community's education program. By working together to encourage academic excellence we can provide Fairfield's students with the tools to compete in the 21st century.

Tim Kery

Fairfield

We can maintain

or improve

I would like to thank the voters of Fairfield for electing me to a position on the Board of Finance. I appreciate the opportunity and look forward to serving on this board. I believe the board is currently served by dedicated people who have the best interest of the town in mind. I am committed, and will work with the members of the Board of Finance, the other boards in town, the RTM, the town employees, and all of you, to make decisions that are best for Fairfield. With foresight and long-term planning we can continue to meet our town obligations, maintain or improve our standard of living, and keep tax rates affordable.

James B. Brown

Fairfield

A special thank you

I wanted to take this opportunity to express my sincere appreciation to the members of the town of Fairfield who came out and voted for me. I can't begin to share how the experience of running for the Board of Education has helped me learn more about this wonderful community that my family and I live in. It was a pleasure meeting many of you and spending time hearing about the issues and concerns you have. I did not win, but I feel that I won, in so many other ways. I became involved in a process that I never thought I would see myself a part of. I am also truly honored to have had the opportunity to meet and get to know six other very talented, dedicated, and committed candidates. Spending as much time as we did together, I knew everyone had the best interests of our children in mind and would do their best to foster a fresh perspective for the BOE. Congratulations Pam Iacono, Tim Perry, Paul Fattibene and Perry Liu, I know you will stay committed and forge through tough times ahead. To Jennifer Maxon Kennelly and Josh Albin, we can still be active voices and members who need to stay involved and help the process along.

I also want to thank the many individuals who gave up so much their time to help me with my campaign, and their many words of encouragement and support.

First and foremost is Susan Fiske, my campaign manager. When I asked her to help me run, I knew I had the best person for this position. Fiske was a god-send, and I could not have been more fortunate to have her on my side. She worked endlessly to the last-minute detail to make this campaign so very enjoyable and worthwhile. She was professional, organized, dedicated and most importantly, calm. Her intelligence and insight gave this effort the touch it needed. Susan, I just can't begin to thank you for all your time and commitment and especially for our friendship.

Keri McKay, my campaign treasurer, not only volunteered to work the numbers and money, learn all about campaign laws with such expertise and take care of all the expenses, she graciously offered and sponsored a candidate coffee for me as well. Thank you so very much, Keri, for being so generous of your time and effort.

I also want to personally thank all my campaign committee members, Karen Linder, Cody Linder, Carrie Lester, Kerry McManus, Denise Walsh, Kathy Dittrich, Charlotte Hommel, Julie DeMarco, Jessie McGrath, Martha Seymour, Heather Martens, Janet Brogan and Patti Dyer. You all were so instrumental in every effort (designing my logo, sponsoring coffees, attending my coffees, writing letters, designing my Web site/Facebook, putting up lawn signs, early mornings at the train station, spreading the word and being there to support me every step of the way) you all took this on to make this experience so doable. I am so fortunate to have such wonderful friends who made this such a tremendous event in my life. It has been a pleasure working with all of you and many thanks again for making this all happen.

There are two other individuals (and children) that clearly need to be thanked and they are, Ron Fiske, Susan's husband, and her two children, Harry and Caroline. Ron, I want to thank you for supporting me by supporting Susan in taking on such a role and becoming involved in my campaign. You three were so gracious to "share" Susan/your mom with me, and I will be forever grateful.

The other individuals are my husband Erik and my boys, Brandon and Hunter. I can't begin to tell everyone, and some of you might know, but Erik attended every single coffee, forum, panel and meeting that was offered to the BOE candidates except for one. His love, dedication, support and encouragement have been wonderful, and our family has truly gained so much because of this experience. A special thank you to Brandon and Hunter for always being there to support me and wanting to be part of this process every step of the way.

Last but not least, I want to send a heartfelt thank you to a number of individuals for their wonderful support, encouragement, and kind efforts throughout my entire first time campaign go-around and the many new found and continued special friendships. Cristin McCarthy Vahey, Devon Pfeifer, Kim Fawcett, Judy Ewing, Sue Brand, Mitch Fuchs, Jen Hochberg, Matt Waggner, Debbie Blanchard, Helen D'Vanzo, Catherine Albin and the members of the DTC. I also want to express my thanks and appreciation to my supervisor and colleagues at Sacred Heart University, who supported and encouraged my efforts to be involved with this process and event.

I am again very thankful and I can't begin to let everyone know how humbling the overwhelming gestures and acknowledgements of daily support so many of you gave me. I am not disappearing ... and I plan to stay involved and bottom line as I often said throughout my campaign, our children are the basis of our efforts and doing all that we can to insure that all children are continuing to achieve the highest academic success from our Fairfield education program is what matters.

Leonora Campbell

Fairfield

Dept. of Protection should regulate

health services

The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) is the wrong state agency to be licensing and regulating health services providers including medical doctors and hospitals. Health services providers often serve as an arm of the DPH in delivering services to the public so it makes absolutely no sense to have the DPH do the regulatory function as well.

The regulatory function belongs with the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection (DCP), which already regulates all persons and firms involved in the distribution of all legal drugs, medical devices and cosmetics in Connecticut along with most other professions in the state. The DCP has the right culture and mentality needed to protect the public from the bad actors in the health services industry.

There's always big talk from the governor and state legislators in Hartford about reinventing government, but there is rarely ever any real action on the issue. The fresh story uncovered by Hearst Newspapers about the licensed medical doctor who screwed up big time in a fertilization case is sensational, but it's just one of many where the consumer gets a bad deal and the doctor gets a slap on the wrist if any discipline at all. The DCP goes after bad pharmacists, architects and package store owners with a vengeance.

It's high time the DCP be given the mission to protect the public from the bad medical providers too. We all know the bad actors in medicine are out there. We just need an agency that takes the mission of cleaning up the mess seriously and the DPH, which consistently ranks at the bottom among the states in doing that, just isn't getting the job done. Give the mission to the DCP and I bet they'll not only get the job done right but get it done for less cost, too.

Jim Brown

Fairfield