The audits are a go!

We the People (WTP) want to thank the boards of Selectmen and Finance, the RTM and the Board of Education for approving a total of $ 100,000; $ 50,000 for each of the independent operational audits. Now we face the next step and that is getting the audit started so that preliminary findings can be used in compiling the budget for 2011--12.

We The People supports the sense of the RTM body that the audits of the town and educational systems should be done concurrently and by the same firm to keep the cost down.

WTP agree that a Request for a Proposal (RFP), outlining the scope of both audits, should be completed quickly. A retainer of some amount should be used to hire a reputable firm with proven experience in achieving efficiencies and finding waste in operational audits of municipalities and educational systems.

WTP feels that the members of the town boards have worked tirelessly to reduce the increases in spending. The time has come, however, to have an outside party take a proper look at how we do things. The town of Fairfield will be stronger for it.

Kate Daniello,

We the People of Fairfield

The arts at Riverfield

What a week for the arts at Riverfield School. Last week started off with the Spring Concert which was a smashing hit. Under the direction of Jeff Albright we were treated to the orchestra dancing the samba and performing many great songs, including one composed by Albright himself. The orchestra really showed what hard work, dedication and the passion of the teacher can really accomplish.

Next we were rocked by the fifth grade band under the direction of Brian Borelli. We were tapping our toes and rocking out to the beat throughout the entire show. The children really brought their best to the stage and Borelli showed great enthusiasm for the children in the band.

Last, but definitely not least, was the fifth grade chorus under the direction of Donna Beatty. What a treat to hear the children belt out the songs and to manage the additional percussion instruments that she included during the Beatles medley. Beatty always gets the best out of the children and their performance clearly showed their hard work and her dedication as a teacher.

The Beatles' "Yellow Submarine" had a prominent part in the festivities. Diane Lynch, our art teacher, had received a PTA grant to incorporate The Beatles' "Yellow Submarine" -- in honor of Riverfield's 50th anniversary -- into the art, music and physical education programs at the school. The children worked under the guidance of Lynch to create a mural, which was hung at the Art Show, and from which a T-shirt was made and sold at school. The children wore the T-shirts during their musical performance. A portion of the proceeds of the sales of the T-shirts were paired with a matching grant with the money going to the Save the Children organization.

We ended the week with the Art Show, which was done under the direction of Lynch. All the students from kindergarten through fifth grade were represented with a selection of the art curriculum. The quality of the work that the children produced was outstanding. It seems that every year Lynch creates such challenging and creative projects for our children to produce. Her passion for art and her willingness to challenge our children to produce their best just shows how dedicated she is to our children. Lynch not only has a passion for teaching our children but the necessary compassion that needs to go hand and hand with it to make the combination a success.

So, as you can see, we are very fortunate at Riverfield to have such dedicated teachers that allow our children to shine like the brightest stars. Thank you to these and all our teachers at Riverfield who give their best to our children every day!

Suzanne Miska

Fairfield

Petition to review

school lunch menu

I am writing as a concerned parent and as a medical professional. I am a mother to three children (two in the public school system) and a pediatric nurse practitioner caring for children with obesity and diabetes. As you know, obesity has become a frightening epidemic, seriously threatening our children and our future generations. The school lunch program in Fairfield consists of mostly prepackaged, frozen processed food that is thawed and reheated. Processed foods are high in fat, sodium, and sugar and have little nutritional value. Daily consumption of chicken nuggets, pizza, nachos, "mozzy" sticks and popcorn chicken is making our children sick.

Obesity puts children at risk for type II diabetes, high blood pressure, insulin resistance, obstructive sleep apnea, heart disease and many other serious life threatening diseases. They are also at risk for social and psychological issues. The most recent statistics are startling. One in three children are overweight, and one in five struggle with obesity (CDC). Our own children are at risk. Right here in Fairfield, our children are at risk.

As a nurse practitioner, I take care of children as young as 9 years old with type II diabetes. These children are dealing with diseases that were once only seen in older adults. Many of these children have school lunch everyday. One of the first changes I make is to have them avoid school lunch. Children who bring their lunches from home are healthier.

As parents, our responsibility is to provide healthy and wholesome food everyday. Isn't it the school's responsibility to provide our children with healthy food? Isn't school where our children should learn lessons that they will take with them for life? Isn't healthy nutrition an important life lesson? Shouldn't it be part of the daily curriculum our children learn? Our children deserve a meal that is fresh, comprised of whole grains, lean meats, and fresh fruits and vegetables. Instead, they are offered mostly processed food that comes out of a big bag from the freezer.

Another problem is that many parents don't know how to read a food label or how to pick healthy foods for their families. Many are having processed foods at home, as well as school. Many parents work long hours, and have little time to prepare wholesome meals. If we were able to provide wholesome meals daily at school, it would be one time of day our kids were guaranteed a healthy meal. The school strives to keep our children safe and healthy, but why are they missing this major issue?

Unfortunately, it boils down to the dollar. It is very inexpensive to purchase processed food that can last in the freezer for months.

The brain needs food to function. Brains fed high sugar, high fat and processed foods are not at their best. Food affects children's memory, cognition and attention. Our children need healthy food to be at their best for learning. Studies have shown children who have meals and snacks lower in sugar and fat, perform better physically, emotionally and cognitively. Why are we letting our children eat food that affects every aspect of their health, education and mood?

Soon, we will be asking the Board of Education to allow for a professional review of the school lunch program for our children. If you have children in the Fairfield Public School system, please help us in attending the Board of Education meetings, and sign the petition. It can be found at http://food.change.org/petitions/view/petition_to_review_the_school_lunch_program_in_fairfield_ct

Miranda Vincent

Fairfield