'Tis the season for thanks

To the Editor:

The economy is bad, the politicians are corrupt, we're arguing over whether we need a town center. Let's all stop for a minute and think about the good. We live in one of the most beautiful towns in the world. We have a community that rallies to help us when we need it. We have a great school system and no gangs. We have police officers that find our phones and deliver them back to us (Thanks Officer Jeff!). We have stores that wrap our presents and shop keepers that greet us by name.

Over at Ib.l.a.s.t headquarters, we're thankful for our generous sponsors (the Bank of New Canaan, Walter Stewart's Market, Nurenu Brand Marketing and Toddlertime Nursery School), our supporters (Harrigan Insurance, Joe's Pizza, New Canaan Community Foundation and the New Canaan News), our merchant partners (at more than 100, there are too many to name but visit www.iblastcard.comfor a full list) and our loyal Ib.l.a.s.t shoppers and readers. We are really thankful for your support over the last two years.

Barbara Davis

Carolyn Williams

Ib.l.a.s.t.

"I buy local and shop in town"

Grant recipient thankful

To the Editor:

I am honored to be one of 10 recipients of an inaugural Jones New York Empowerment Fund grant. The JNY Empowerment Fund was created to help women reach their personal, professional and community goals. Grants were awarded this past September at a luncheon hosted by former White House Press Secretary Dee Dee Myers and Vanity Fair magazine at The Campbell Apartment in New York City's Grand Central Station

Of the 10 recipients from the tri-state area to receive grants from Jones New York Empowerment Fund, three were chosen from Connecticut. The grant I received will go to fund Naked, a documentary by Roynn Lisa Simmons that chronicled my second occurrence with aggressive HER2+ breast cancer and serves to empower, educate and inform women of the choices and decisions that confront a breast cancer diagnosis.

I would like to thank Kathy McShane, market director of Ladies Who Launch Southwest Connecticut located in New Canaan, for spearheading the grant application initiative in our area. Not only is Kathy an accomplished business woman and community leader, she is a role model and mentor for women that wish to make a meaningful transition in their career or re-enter the professional work force after a hiatus.

Making mid-life transitions without support and financial funding is often difficult. It is organizations like Ladies Who Launch that help provide women with resources, coaching and networking tools that serve as a catalyst to inspire and empower; and companies like Jones New York that offer grants to assist women in achieving their goals. I urge all women with an idea, a new business plan, a dream or a cause that they are passionate about to apply next year for a Jones New York Empowerment Fund grant. To find out more about the grant application process, visit www.ladieswholaunch.com/southwestct or e-mail Kathy McShane at kmchane@ladieswholaunch.com.

And to learn more about this year's Jones NY Empowerment Fund grant recipients visit www.jny.com/Empowerment/FUND,default,pg.html

Meredith Gray

Silvermine

Seek Pavia's character in successor principal

To the Editor:

As I talk frequently to people about New Canaan High School I tout it as a great school with an extraordinarily great principal.

I earnestly hope that the search committee, which will choose NCHS Principal Tony Pavia's successor following his retirement at the end of this school year, will try to find a new leader with some of Tony's great qualities.

As a parent of a 2008 NCHS graduate and two current undergraduates, I have heard Tony speak to assemblies about his role as principal. As editor of New Canaan Matters a few years ago I received Tony's open and honest answers to important questions.

In a school where there is a widespread pressure to achieve and succeed among students -- pressure from parents, from peers and from themselves - Tony speaks about his desire to help young people develop virtues like honesty and respect for others. In a school where athletes seem to get the most public accolade, Tony sought greater recognition for the lesser known students in the arts.

Two of Tony's recent letters to parents via the Ram-O-Gram newsletter further exemplify his emphasis on character issues. In one letter Tony seeks to preclude bullying harassment by urging youths to think in advance about the feelings of the would-be recipients of the ill treatment. In another, Tony advocates a more civil discourse in our school communities. He suggests that words that one would not utter to another person face to face should not be written in derisive e-mails either.

Honesty, integrity, civility, respect for others and raising up the unheralded. By fostering an environment at NCHS that promotes these characteristics in students while academic achievement is taking place, Tony revealed his own greatness.

I hope the next principal brings similar character to the school.

Greg Reilly

New Canaan

Toddlertime thanks

local merchants

To the Editor:

Thank you to all the wonderful New Canaan merchants who recently welcomed trick-or-treaters from Toddlertime Nursery School to their shops and restaurants. Toddlertime decided to take advantage of its in-town location by parading into town in handmade "BOO" shirts the children made at school.

Our trick-or-treaters where greeted by Lamakers, Candy Nichols, Rosie, Crew Cuts, Benefit, Togs, Penny Weights, Shoes n' More, Littlejohns and the New Canaan Toy Store. It was a beautiful autumn day our Toddlertime students had so much fun.

Barbara Davis and Carolyn Williams

Toddlertime Nursery School

Suggestion to move

utility garage

To the Editor:

Eureka! With all the controversy about retaining the dysfunctional utility garage at the edge of Mead Park, a brilliant idea just occurred to me. If the few people who want to keep the building and use it as their headquarters, it makes sense for them to move the building.

They can pay for the move and install it in Father Peters Lane or wherever they want it. That way, the rest of us who love Mead Park will have an unobstructed view of the park; a glorious vista once the dredging is completed.

The town will be spared the expense of demolishing the unsightly garage and those who live miles from the park will be able to enjoy the building they are so anxious to keep standing. Everyone will be happy.

Janet Kersten

New Canaan

Town Hall ramp --

unanswered questions

To the Editor:

Last Monday I attended a meeting at Town Hall and realized that the lives of the attendees could be jeopardized if an emergency ensued. The fire exit was locked because the ramp had been demolished. Why we even need to spend taxpayer (town or federal) money to rebuild a functioning ramp is even more perplexing.

There is no building permit posted, nor have I read of any bidding process or funding process. This exit is the only secondary means of egress out of the building for the second and first floors. The work, which is possibly being done without a building permit, has completely closed off the second means of egress for the entire building.

The lives of Town Hall employees and visiting citizens are jeopardized each and every day. I am shocked that the fire marshal, building inspector and town planner are not jumping all over this. After all, Town Hall is a public building, and to my knowledge the lives and safety of the buildings occupants are at least considered by the code to be of major importance.

Why are we spending taxpayer money on rebuilding a perfectly functioning ramp, at Town hall, when the boards of Finance and Selectmen just approved $25,000-plus for a study to tear down Town Hall and rebuild the entire structure (aka "Walkerville).

Who approved the work, the contract and expenditure. The current Town Hall leadership forces the citizenry to follow "all" regulations, which they do not follow, with impunity. A few years ago a director of one of our departments built an addition to their home without a building permit. The punishment was a slap on the wrist and a hefty raise.

Town Hall's message is loud and clear: "Do as I say, not as I do." First the Mead Pond ecological disaster, and now this debacle.

I am speechless, but not surprised that the present leadership in our town does not know better. They are telling us by their actions that they believe we do not deserve better and they will not listen. However, they will continue to excessively spend and waste our tax dollars

Roy A Abramowitz

YMCA thanks sewing club

To the Editor:

The New Canaan YMCA is grateful to the New Canaan Sewing Club for all this wonderful group has done over the years to support our charitable mission of community service.

This past year, the sewing club provided a generous grant to the Y for us to purchase therapeutic sensory equipment for our special needs initiative. The Y's special needs initiative provides a variety of specialized and inclusive recreational programs and opportunities to children, teens and young adults with special needs -- as well as their families. Launched in 2009, the YSN has grown by 60 percent in the last year to now serve 200 individuals in our community.

Each year, the sewing club is able to support so many local charities through funds raised by its craft sales. This year's Holiday Boutique is set for Friday, Nov. 19, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at St. Mark's Church and will feature exceptional items, including needlepoint, hand knits, items for infants and toddlers and one-of-a kind handcrafts.

It's a great opportunity to start on holiday shopping while at the same time helping a fantastic group in their efforts to help others. Don't miss out.

Susan Cossette Eng

Financial Development Director

New Canaan YMCA