Letters to the Editor: Pacific House thanks community
To the Editor:
On behalf of the Pacific House organization, I extend my heartfelt appreciation to every student, music teacher, local business and volunteer for creating a tremendously successful 10th Annual Close To Home Dessert Tasting and Youth Concert.
On Feb. 23 hundreds attended this event to sample delicious bites from restaurants, bakeries and chocolatiers, and to enjoy performances by talented student musicians from local high schools. We thank our special guest artist, Javier Colon, winner of The Voice, who provided exclusive performances. The event raised over $160,000 for Pacific House’s Young Adult Program, which helps homeless youth ages 18-24. We are indebted to all the schools that shared their gifted students, including Brunswick School, Darien High School, Greenwich Country Day, Greenwich High School, King School, Sacred Heart Greenwich and Stamford High School.
Pacific House is grateful to the evening’s generous corporate sponsors. Concert Sponsor: Olympus Partners; VIP reception sponsor: Webster Bank; Coach Sponsors: First County Bank, Harbor Point, Purdue Pharma, and Stamford Hospital Foundation; Guide Sponsors: Renewal by Anderson, Pitney Bowes, Sympl Co., Shoprite and Creative Video Corporation; as well as First Congregational Church of Greenwich and individual sponsors: Cliff Berger, Debby & Mark Blackman, Francis J. Connor Family, Andrew M. Reid, and the Fred & Joan Weisman Fund. We extend our thanks to our media partners, Fairfield County Look, 95.9 the FOX, CTbites and Hey Stamford and to all the restaurants, bakeries and chocolatiers that participated in the evening, including Acuario Restaurant, A Chef’s Choice, Bad Louie’s Fudge, Bella Nonna, BonJo Coffee Roasters, Bull’s Head Diner, Chocolate Works Darien, Dimare's Pastry, Filicori Zecchini, Izzi B’s Allergen Free Bakery, Le Rouge, Little Pub, Longford’s Ice Cream, Pasta Vera, ShopRite, Tea-riffic Ice Cream, The Granola Bar and Tomatillo.
For 35 years Pacific House has served Greenwich, Stamford, Darien, New Canaan and the rest of Fairfield County, providing food, temporary shelter and an array of support services to homeless men and young adults. To learn more, visit www.pacifichouse.org.
Rafael Pagan Jr.
Pacific House executive director
To the Editor:
Nor’easters have left tens of thousands of Connecticut households temporarily without heat and electricity this winter. Eventually everyone has had their power restored and things have gone back to normal.
But living in fear of losing heat and electricity is a constant reality for 320,000 low-income households statewide that must deal with unaffordable energy bills year-round. Connecticut is among the states with the highest energy rates nationwide.
Some Connecticut households pay between 20 and 50 percent of their income on home energy bills. Nonprofit organization Operation Fuel tries to help as many of these struggling families and individuals as possible with a one-time energy assistance grant. For families in crisis, energy assistance can mean the difference between having heat, electricity and hot water or losing these basic necessities and feeling insecure in their own homes.
Operation Fuel believes the best solution to the energy affordability crisis is a holistic approach that, along with energy assistance, includes making homes more energy efficient and adopting a discounted utility rate. But reaching this goal is still a long way off. For many low- and moderate-income households, the need is immediate and the quickest solution is energy assistance.
Operation Fuel’s Add-a-Dollar program is one of the easiest ways to help Connecticut families and individuals who are struggling with unaffordable energy bills. Utility customers can contribute to Operation Fuel simply by adding a dollar when they pay their monthly utility bill by check or online; and 100 percent of the money collected is used to provide energy assistance for Connecticut households.
Our recent snowstorms and power outages are yet another reminder of how important having heat, electricity and hot water are in order to feel safe in your own home.
Operation Fuel executive director
To the Editor:
Global warming is real. Sixteen of the 17 years since 2000 have been the warmest on record. Ninety-seven percent of scientists know it’s real and caused by human activities, NASA’s website addresses it and the National Intelligence Community’s 2018 Threat Assessment lists it as a security threat.
For Connecticut, the risks are immediate, and expensive. Remember Sandy? We can expect more of those. Warm ocean water fuels the winds of tropical storms, and warm air, holding more water, causes flooding. The destruction we saw last fall can happen to us.
We are part of a nine-state coalition, including all of our neighboring states, committed to making polluters pay and giving a bonus to those who use energy responsibly. Connecticut’s bill, now in committee, will charge energy and fuel distributors a fee based on the greenhouse gas content of their products and distribute the money collected to the community. Economists and politicians across the political spectrum support this effective, fair approach.
The bill should be approved and sent on to the full legislature. It won’t hurt consumers because it returns 95 percent of the fees. The remaining 5 percent covers administrative costs so the deficit is not increased. Since the surrounding states will also price carbon, our businesses will remain competitive.
Market forces will spur both energy providers and consumers to find the most carbon-efficient energy solutions.
We have to act now to protect ourselves, our property and our environment.
Jo Ann Flaum
To the Editor:
Checking the proliferation of mass killings is stymied by the NRA’s diversionary tactic of blaming society for not stopping the perpetrators. The following is a common sense approach to reaching the real crux of the problem. Mass killings contain the following ingredients:
A. The perpetrators. Mass killers can be of any sex, be as young as a teenager; and are motivated by an endless list of emotional reasons, which are not easily identifiable due to the inexactness of the science involved and the lack of needed resources. Consequently, potential perpetrators of mass killings will continue to lurk.
B. The victims. We are all potential victims of mass killings because we are habitually at gatherings — in schools or churches, on trains or buses, or at weddings, and, ironically, funerals — all easy “soft” targets.
C. The weapon of choice. Most weapons found at crime scenes, including the proverbial blunt instruments, knives, or pistols, are more for individual killings; for mass destruction what is needed are explosives, chemicals or high-capacity rapid-firing weapons. Because of their ease of availability and the absence of expertise needed to make or operate, the assault rifles have become the weapon of choice.
This points to the obvious conclusion that the simple act of eliminating the availability of assault rifles will drastically reduce the number of mass killings.