JWC touched by community support

The Junior Women's Club of Fairfield is thrilled to announce that its 2010 Touch-a-Truck fundraiser, held Sept. 19, was a huge success, attracting more than 1,800 guests and generating more than $10,000 in scholarship funds!

But we're not writing to "honk" our own horns! We could never have steered such a successful event without the support of the entire community, starting with our young visitors and their families, who climbed aboard and explored more than two dozen vehicles parked on the grounds of Fairfield Ludlowe High School.

We also wish to thank our sponsors in the Fairfield business community, most notably the Sportsplex@Fairfield and our raffle sponsors: Hobbytown USA, Blinns, Bounce U, the Connecticut Audubon Society, Bridgeport Sound Tigers, Bridgeport Bluefish, Harbor Yard Arena, Giove's Pizza and Splash Car Wash. The owners of the trucks themselves volunteered their time, as well as their vehicles. We thank you all: Fairfield police, fire and public works departments; the U.S. Army; American Red Cross; GBTA; First Student Bus Co.; Mohican Valley Corp.; Gigliotti & Walsh Fine Properties; Fairfield Stone, Big Little Sanitation;, McLevy Builders; Two Men & A Truck; The Dogfather; The Amazing Fun Bus; Stanley Steemer; and Grow-N-Mow.

We'd also like to shine a light on New York Life Insurance, which provided free Child ID emergency kits, and on the Fairfield Public Schools for the use of the FLHS facility and to the school custodial staff for their wonderful help throughout the day.

This event took many volunteers to pull off! Thank you to our terrific student helpers from Notre Dame and Fairfield Prep and to the Fairfield Police Explorers who helped set up and break down the event, as well as lent a hand at the event booths. And we mustn't overlook our families (especially our husbands!) and friends who helped with the heavy lifting and endured our absences as we prepared for the event. It was well worth it!

You are all great ambassadors for Fairfield and the Junior Women's Club is proud to be part of this wonderful community! We sincerely hope you will join us Saturday, Dec. 11, and Sunday, Dec. 12, for the 25th anniversary of "A Visit to Santa's House," a magical weekend during which the Burr Homestead on Old Post Road is transformed into a winter wonderland with entertainment, photos with Santa, arts and crafts, raffles and more. Check our website, www.jwcfairfield.com, for more information or to learn how you can help out as an individual or a business. Proceeds will benefit Brady's Smile, a Fairfield-based charity that supports families with children in the NICU and PICU at Bridgeport Hospital and a dozen others.

Linda Cronin McCloat

Meghan McCloat

JWC Touch-a-Truck co-chairs

Pension viewed through

rose-colored glasses

The Town of Fairfield must have handed out rose-colored glasses to many of our elected officials.

How else can you explain a Board of Education who votes on a plan with increased costs for busing and a fiscal officer who has commented that a $6.2 million dollar contribution will need to be part of the Town's overall budget to meet the actuarial assumptions of the Town pension fund, which is still feeling the effects of the Madoff debacle. Maybe with our next tax bill the Town can send all taxpayers a pair of these rose-colored glasses so that, as our taxes increase to compensate for these two lapses in judgment, maybe it won't feel so bad.

For Mr. Hiller to comment in the Connecticut Post in the beginning of October that the Town has "recovered nicely" and that the financial picture of the pension fund "looks a bit rosier" is quite puzzling to this taxpayer. The Town has never recouped the original $15 million dollar investment with Mr. Madoff; instead it is the taxpayers of this town who have been required to foot the bill. For the last two years the taxpayers have seen a combined budget item of approximately $4.5 million dollars to the pension fund, this combined with the $6.2 million dollar request for the next fiscal budget has the taxpayers almost compensating for the mishandling of the pension funds by Mr. Hiller, Mr. Flatto and the Pension Board.

The fact that no one has ever been held responsible for that debacle and now in light of Mr. Hiller's comments about diversifying into some of the same asset classes that got us into this situation, it makes one wonder who is at the helm of this misguided ship. The Pension Board needs to stop "return chasing" and start investing the pension fund in an educated manner. The new investment advisor to the Pension Fund is leading the Pension Board down the same narrow path as the one previous, investing in high risk, aggressive investments in under regulated financial markets. Hedge funds and private equity funds might generate great returns but are a costly investment in regard to fees paid and risk incurred. We have been on the high risk merry-go-round before and we did not catch the golden ring, instead we fell off.

Mr. Hiller, Mr. Flatto and the Pension Board need to stop asking the taxpayers of this town to finance their high stakes investment gamble.

Suzanne Miska

Fairfield

Shining a light of hope for adoption awareness

Please take a moment to reflect with me on an important issue. I write to you today, as a member of this community, to request your support in shining a light on National Adoption Awareness Month.

Do you know what a foster or adoptive family looks like? Do they stand out in our community? Can you pick them out of a crowd, cheering at a town sporting event? Do they sit in the front pew during the weekend church services? Do they have a sign posted on their front lawn ?

If you have ever had the fine opportunity to know a foster family or an adoptive family you are well aware that they look no different then you or I. A foster family is a person, or couple who comes forward to nurture a child who has been abused or neglected. A foster care experience is temporary; however, it is difficult to envisage how long a foster child will live with a foster family. There are many factors to consider, however, reunification with the biological family is, in most cases, the permanent goal for any child who comes into the protective service system. When this goal cannot be obtained, the child, through court proceedings, becomes legally free for adoption. There are foster and adoptive children who live right here in this community. They attend our public schools, they play for our town sports teams, they attend our church services, they are cared for by local pediatricians and dentists -- they are your children's friends.

In recognition of National Adoption Awareness Month, celebrated each year during the month of November, we ask you to shine a blue light to support our cause. Whether the light shines brightly on your front door step or through a side window of your home ... let us feel the warmth of your support as we try desperately to advocate and find homes for Connecticut children.

If you would like to know more about how you can become a foster or adoptive parent in this community, please feel free to call: 203-583-9374 to find out a date and location for a Foster and Adoptive Mission (FAM) open house in your area, or e-mail (puccoordinator@gmail.com) with your questions or comments.

Fairfield County needs your help. Please shine your blue light to support our children!

Lori Boersma

Community coordinator

Foster and Adoptive Mission

Make pancreatic cancer a priority

Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cancer killer in the United States, and in 2010, an estimated 43,140 Americans will diagnosed with the disease. This terrible disease will claim the lives of 540 people who live in the State of Connecticut. Despite improved survival rates for many other forms of cancer, pancreatic cancer remains the only major cancer with a single-digit five-year survival rate at just six percent. The five-year survival rate has remained largely the same for the last 40 years.

If we do not tackle this problem now, it will become a growing burden on our society. Between 2010 and 2030, the incidence of pancreatic cancer cases is expected to increase by 55 percent. It is essential that we make research into pancreatic cancer a priority in this country so that real progress can be made toward better treatment options, early detection, and a cure.

I am a volunteer for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network in Connecticut, and am helping to accomplish that goal by introducing a Town of Fairfield Awareness Proclamation that recognizes November as Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month.

The proclamation will raise awareness about this terrible disease and encourage our elected officials to make fighting pancreatic cancer a priority. We must support our fellow citizens who have been afflicted by this disease and advocate for greater awareness and more resources to fight pancreatic cancer.

Rachael Klotzberger

Pancreatic Cancer Action Network volunteer