To the Editor:

Thursday, March 8 was International Women’s Day, a day dedicated to celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. It is also a day to also spark conversation about how we still have ways to go to ensure equality among all.

Girl Scouts of Connecticut is part of a sisterhood of 2.6 million strong across the globe. In Connecticut, we have nearly 30,000 girls and over 13,000 adults who believe in the power of every girl and young woman. On March 12, Girl Scouts will be 106 years young—106 years of being the leading expert on girls. On March 12, 1912 in Savannah, Georgia, when Juliette Gordon Low organized the very first Girl Scout troop, and every year since, we’ve honored her vision and legacy to build girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.

When Juliette founded Girl Scouts, the role of women in this country was on the brink of dramatic change. Women did not have the right to vote yet, and organizations like the General Federation of Women and the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs were working to lead women into the next century. There were also countless efforts of reform regarding race, immigration, and civil rights. This was the state of our world when Juliette founded Girl Scouts; she was headstrong in giving every girl the opportunity to be a Girl Scout—something we continue to hold to this very day.

Girl Scouts is, and remains to be, the one-of-a-kind leadership development program for girls, with proven results. From advocating for pay equity and fair treatment of women to bridging the gender gap in STEM and civil service, Girl Scouts are bold, visionaries, and confident leaders.

The need for female leadership has never been clearer or more urgent than today and Girl Scouts has the expertise to give girls and young women the tools they need to change the world. Happy International Women’s Day to all of the barrier-breaking, glass shattering girls and women in Connecticut and across the globe.

Yours in Girl Scouting,

Mary Barneby

Girl Scouts of Connecticut CEO

To the Editor:

With the problems we face both here in Connecticut and in Washington, D.C., it’s no secret that we need new ideas and creative solutions to fix what is broken in government at every level. That’s why I am excited that my friend Ashley Gaudiano is running for state representative for the 134th District, which represents portions of Fairfield and Trumbull.

Ashley is a nonprofit consultant, Trumbull Town Council representative, and licensed attorney who has spent the last 10 years advocating on behalf of people in Connecticut and across the country.

As a mother with two young children, Ashley understands that we need leadership for the future — people who are unafraid to step up and speak out. Ashley will bring honesty, passion and collaboration to Hartford as she works to tackle the big issues we face. As a former colleague of mine, I know that she will bring the stories of every resident to the Capitol, where she will tirelessly advocate for the people she represents.

Now more than ever, we need smart, hardworking people like Ashley in government.

This November will be such an important election in our state. Please join me in supporting Ashley Gaudiano for state representative.

Amanda Morgan


To the Editor:

In the short period of a summer in 2014, the Westport Board of Education (BOE) placed special security film on all first floor windows and doors at its eight public schools. The purpose of the security film, commercially available, was to slow down access by those who would harm students, teachers and any other lawful occupants. The Westport RTM allocated $500,000 for the project. This was just one of a number of comprehensive measures implemented at Westport schools to mitigate risk of injury to the occupants.

Fairfield BOE chose to do its post-Newtown security review in house, with Fairfield police taking the lead. From the outset I saw that as a huge mistake and I still see it as a mistake. Some of the comments at the recent BOE town hall on school security about the unprotected windows at Fairfield Woods Middle School confirmed that. Being ready for the last catastrophe is never the answer.

Westport BOE used an independent professional security firm, which, working with all appropriate town departments, conducted a thorough review of school security measures. The consultant came up with recommended improvements to mitigate the risk from Newtown-like and other catastrophes. Their independent work cost no more than Fairfield spent in house and it produced a better result.

The film in Westport schools will delay the entry time of someone shooting into a locked school from a minuscule three seconds to at least two minutes. That may not sound like much. But it really is huge when you look at the collective response time from police, fire and EMS, as well as the response from occupants to shelter in place. The film is about mitigating risk, just as the ban on the new purchase of military-style weapons in our state is about mitigating risk.

Anyone who claims 100 percent security can be had most anywhere in our free society in America has little credibility with me. Anyone who tells me they have looked at the risk systemwide and worked to mitigate it in a cost-effective way gets a gold star.

I do not think our public schools should be fortresses or prisons, but, so far, Fairfield BOE barely gets a tin badge on school security from me.

Jim Brown


To the Editor:

Although I was never a personal friend of Judge (Dan) Caruso, I must share with you a fact pertinent to the gentleman’s life.

He was not only the the man that all those who knew him well say about him in the press, but also the man that those who did not know him as well or who only recognized him on the street in passing and who, like me, were prompted to say, “hello,” for I know that for every “hello” we interchanged, there was a smile that came with it, and on those occasions when we might have been rubbing shoulders while standing in some audience, listening to a speaker, he was always courteous enough to acknowledge me and exchange not only pleasantries, but also remarks that were pertinent for the occasion.

For this, I always held him in high regard, not only for his position, but also most importantly for the friendly gentleman he was, the one who always spoke kindly and sympathetically in short but pleasant conversations. Judge Caruso steadfastly maintained a respectful dignity that I felt worthy of a gentleman.

Gerard Coulombe


To the Editor:

We are fortunate in Connecticut to have a robust system of laws that bar the mentally ill from possessing guns. Connecticut’s Probate Courts play a critical role in keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill. Connecticut law requires Probate Courts, in conjunction with the Department of Public Safety, (DPS), Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS), and the Judicial Department to coordinate compliance with federal laws that bar the mentally ill from purchasing guns.

Probate Courts are often the first forum where a person is adjudicated to be mentally ill. Probate Courts are empowered to grant conservatorships that lead to commitment of a mentally ill person to a psychiatric hospital. Civil commitment is based on the opinion of physicians and psychologists who examine the mentally ill person.

Civil commitments may be done on an involuntary basis where the mentally ill person lacks awareness of his or her illness. They may also be done on an emergency basis when a physician concludes a patient’s psychiatric disabilities present an immediate threat to himself and/or others and that person is in need of immediate care and admission to a psychiatric hospital.

Once committed, the Probate Court is the forum where the commitment may be litigated, including whether it is terminated or extended. The terms of a civil commitment may be modified by the Probate Court, including the nature, extent and duration of the commitment and psychiatric supervision.

The final report of the Sandy Hook shootings issued by the Connecticut State’s Attorney Office concluded the killer, Adam Lanza, had “significant mental health issues that affected his ability to live a normal life and to interact with others, even those to whom he should have been close.”

Undoubtedly had an application been filed with the local Probate Court seeking appointment of a conservator and commitment to a psychiatric hospital it would have been granted. Adam Lanza would have been involuntarily committed to a mental health institution for diagnosis and treatment. He would have remained hospitalized until found psychiatrically stable enough to be discharged.

His discharge would have contained appropriate follow-up and monitoring. Lanza would have remained under the supervision of a conservator and subject to the jurisdiction and supervision of the Probate Court until it was determined that he was no longer a risk to himself or others.

Connecticut’s Probate Courts maintain a database for use by state and federal authorities to check the mental health backgrounds of citizens who seek to buy or own firearms. The database, called the Mental Health Adjudication Repository, (MHAR), lists the names of individuals who have had their firearms eligibility rights terminated due to a mental health adjudication in the Probate Courts.

Having been determined to be mentally incompetent, Lanza’s name would have been listed in this database as well as federal databases.

He would never have owned a gun.

Patrick J Filan