To the Editor:

On behalf of Fairfield Social Services, I would like to thank the community for your wonderful holiday support.

We received over $20,000 in donations of gifts, toys, clothing and gift cards from the Rotary Club and the League of Women Voters, Town Departments, civic organizations, schools, local businesses and generous individual donors. The 2017 Holiday Giving Program also included generous gifts from Near and Far Aid, the Unquowa School, the Fairfield Firefighters Charitable Foundation, Norwalk Veterinary Hospital, Merry Maids, Trader Joe’s and Fairfield University Bookstore.

Vivint Corp. was a new donor this year and very generously sponsored two Fairfield families with deliveries of gifts.

A total of 158 families and seniors participated and were very grateful.

A special thank you is extended to all the Senior Center members who contributed to the Holiday Giving Program.

Appreciation and gratitude for a job well done is given to Eileen Fickes, who coordinated this year’s program and to all current Social Services staff and interns who helped during a very busy season.

Thank you all for your caring support for Fairfield’s families in need.

Your thoughtfulness and kindness, at the holidays and throughout the year, makes Fairfield such a wonderful place to live!

Teresa Giegengack,

Director of Human and Social Services

Bigelow Center for Senior Activities

Fairfield

To the Editor:

“Massachusetts students from low-income homes are among the highest achieving in the country in math and reading and above average in science. Their Connecticut peers are among the nation’s worst performers in math and science and are middle-of-the-pack in reading.” So says a recent study of K-12 education in the two states.

And Massachusetts does that while spending less per student than Connecticut. That pretty much says it all about the failure of leadership in Hartford on education.

I could not vote for Trump in the last election and I had no interest in seeing crooked Hillary rewarded for anything. I voted for the quixotic long-shot team of Johnson/Weld, both former Republican governors with records of success.

As the Republican governor of the ultra-liberal Massachusetts, Weld signed into law major education reforms. That was 25 years ago. The reforms went well beyond just spending money, so they worked. Meantime, in Hartford, Conn., all anyone can talk about is spending more money with no plan to make anything better or to hold anyone accountable.

Leadership is about more than handling the snow and traffic in a snowstorm.

Jim Brown

Fairfield

To the Editor:

I commute to Manhattan daily on Metro-North’s New Haven line, where the service has gotten markedly worse over the past decade, deteriorating from merely annoying to downright deplorable.

The trend continues apace in the first days of 2018. Trains are chronically late, short cars more often than not, and breaking down more frequently than ever, regardless of the season.

This means that commuters are often late to work or school, that trains that used to be eight cars long are now usually six, resulting in no seats and packed aisles and vestibules, usually by Fairfield.

When that happens, many conductors — who are not responsible for assigning equipment — stay in their cubbyholes for most or all of the trip because they can’t physically pass through the cars and they don’t want to listen to grief from riders when the problem is not their fault.

This also means that the conductors routinely leave revenue on the table by not collecting fares, often on multiple days a week, at the same time fares are steadily rising and the MTA and Connecticut DOT cry poor mouth.

Now, Connecticut’s incompetent but reliably arrogant governor, the clown college that passes for the Legislature and the dangerously inept DOT want over several years another total 20 percent hike in rail fares.

This is supposedly because the Special Transportation Fund, created after the fatal Mianus River Bridge failure and fueled by what is now the sixth highest gasoline tax in the U.S., is supposedly broke.

If true, why is that?

It’s because these self-dealing hacks and their equally larcenous predecessors repeatedly robbed the fund to pay for other goodies — usually to benefit state employee unions and the other financial overlords who fund their campaigns.

Prediction: Even widespread public outrage over this proposed fare hike won’t change a single thing. Service will continue to deteriorate, fares will continue to rise, other infrastructure will keep crumbling, and Connecticut’s economy will continue to swirl down the drain.

Bob Fredericks

Bridgeport

To the Editor:

The Connecticut Department of Health recently announced that it was giving away free radon test kits during the first two weeks National Radon Action Month.

That offer expired on Jan. 12. But that shouldn’t stop anyone from getting their home tested for this odorless, clear and extremely harmful gas.

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas, and the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers. It silently accumulates in buildings and homes all over the country, and Connecticut is no exception. There are no symptoms and without proactively testing for radon — a known carcinogen — there is no way to tell if you and your family may be at risk.

Testing your home for radon should be a priority for all home owners and landlords as well as employers. If you haven’t had your space tested yet, the American Lung Association can provide you with a low-cost kit available online at lung.org/radon.

Ruth Canovi

Editor’s note: The writer is director of public policy for the American Lung Association in Connecticut.