Dear Fairfield

residents, town

government officials:

This is an open invitation to mark your calendars for two very important dates.

The first is for you all to take a moment in the very near future to walk the gorgeous public open space on Hoyden's Lane. The town voted last night to spend $350,000 (against the advice of many financial planners that say the town simply cannot afford additional expenses -- where in God's name is our Board of Finance?!) to develop this property into girls softball fields for a private organization, so this land will no longer be open to Fairfield residents and will not look the same either. There are probably many Fairfield residents who have never seen this part of Fairfield, and probably most of those representatives that voted to develop it have never set foot on it. So I encourage you all to do that soon. Because it is now gone forever.

The second date I'd like to invite Fairfield residents to mark on their calendar is our next election day. Most of the RTM members who voted to spend this money to develop this property and take it away from Fairfield residents received letters and emails from residents all over Fairfield asking them not to support it. But these representatives voted their own interests above those of their constituents. Please vote on election day. Ken Flatto will ride the first bus out of town when something better comes his way. He has no vested interest in the town of Fairfield. He will leave Fairfield with debt and with such poor planning that this town will be a shell of its former self. Fairfield needs leadership, not a select group of people who use their authority to further their own agendas.

Check with your representatives to see how they voted. Let's make these people accountable for their appalling decision.

This land is now gone forever and this embarrassing sum of money is now being squandered while Fairfield services are being cut.

Walk the open space and then vote on election day. This is our town. We need to fight for it before we lose it completely.

Tiffany DeMartin

Fairfield

`It is about the lives and health of our children'

I've been observing with great interest the position that senate candidate Linda McMahon has been taking with respect to the dangers of anabolic steroid use. McMahon has indicated on multiple occasions that she believes that there is no conclusive evidence that steroids are dangerous. Her views are wildly out of touch with the scientific evidence and reality.

My youngest son, Taylor, died from his use of anabolic steroids at the age of 17. He was a high school baseball player whose coach told him that he needed to get bigger in order to play baseball. To meet the coaches guidance, he began injecting hardcore anabolic steroids. (Later we learned that roughly half of the other boys on the team were already doing steroids when Taylor started using.) Seven months later he was dead.

I know firsthand that anabolic steroids are dangerous.

Taylor's tragedy is not an isolated problem.

Experts agree that steroids damage various parts of the body to the extent that overall life expectance is shortened. The wrestling profession is a perfect case study for this truth. The death rate among these wrestlers, a group reputed to be heavy users of steroids, is 7 times higher than the general US population. A professional wrestler is 12 times more likely to die from heart disease than the average American. It just so happens that the heart is the organ in the body that almost all medical experts agree that is under heaviest attack by steroids in addition to the liver, the kidneys, and other organs.

Adults, especially our leaders, have a profound responsibility to be sending the clearest of signals to our youth that steroid use is profoundly dangerous and can be deadly. Instead, to protect her political flank, McMahon is trying to hide behind a false contention that we're really not sure about the risks of steroid use. These sorts of messages, combined with the widespread use of steroids among a group of role models (wrestlers), is a recipe for disaster.

About 4 to 6 percent of our high school students nationally admit to using anabolic steroids -- about 800,000 to 1 million kids. And this number does not include those kids that are unknowingly ingesting anabolic steroids via the unregulated supplements that they are buying at the health food stores. (About 20 percent of bodybuilding supplements pulled randomly from the health food store shelves have been found to contain anabolic steroids.)

All this is to say nothing about the fact that the use of steroids for these sorts of purposes is against the law. These drugs are Schedule III substances under federal law and under most state laws. They are illegal to possess without a legitimate medical purpose -- and using them to bulk up to wrestle is not a legitimate medical purpose.

McMahon has responsibility to the youth of our nation that transcends her need to take a position that protects the interest of any business, including her husband's, and her political candidacy. Every time she makes a statement questioning whether these illegal drugs are dangerous or not, another group of kids get the message that it's okay for them to play with these drugs.

These arguments are much larger than any political race. It is about the lives and health of our children.

Don Hooton,

President, Taylor Hooton

Foundation, an organization fighting the battle against the use of appearance- and performance-enhancing drugs by the nation's youth.

Frisco, Texas

Fourth of July safety

This Fourth of July, Americans will toast the country's independence with friends, family, and fireworks. Before these celebrations get underway, Dichello Distributors, Inc. reminds adults to show their patriotism by designating a driver or skipper to keep everyone safe. You'll join the millions of American adults who have been a designated driver or designated skipper, or been driven home by one.

Here are some additional tips for safe celebrating during the holiday weekend:

1. Buckle up. Ask everyone to wear a seat belt or a life jacket.

2. Be an attentive driver. Always be in control and aware of those around you.

3. Don't speed. Resist the urge to speed by making sure there's plenty of time to reach your destination.

4. Drink responsibly. Adults who choose to drink should make responsible choices about when, where, and how much.

Dichello Distributors, Inc. is committed to keeping our nation's roadways and waterways safe. We offer programs to encourage the use of designated drivers and skippers. Thanks to efforts like these and increased law enforcement, drunk-driving fatalities during the Fourth of July holiday period are down 40 percent since 1982, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

We can all do our part to make sure everyone has a fun and safe holiday. Remember, responsibility matters.

Tony Lota,

Alcohol Awareness Coordinator,

Dichello Distributors Inc.,

Orange