To the Editor:

On behalf of STAR Inc., Lighting the Way, I would like to extend our deepest appreciation to New Canaan’s local businesses, customers and residents who supported STAR and its mission that benefits local people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) at our recent ribbon cutting and holiday shopping events.

STAR is thrilled to have a new office location at 111 Elm St. with the specific goal to bring services for all ages closer to home for those in New Canaan with I/DD and their families. Our generous neighbors welcomed our open house.

To Walter Stewart’s Market, ACME Markets and Garelick & Herbs, thank you for your donation of delicious food for our open house guests.

To Gregg’s Garden Center and CVS, thank you for your donations of holiday decorations to dress up our front entrance and inside space.

Our generous retail neighbors hosted several holiday shopping events with a percentage of sales proceeds donated to STAR. These shopping events make a significant impact in expanding the services we provide and creating greater awareness in the community. Together we raised over $6,500 while making new friends and having some fun.

To J. McLaughlin, She la la, and groove, thank you for generously hosting shopping events with delicious cookies and beverages and offering a 10-percent savings and 10 percent of sales proceeds to benefit STAR.

We are excited to be a part of such a great town that not only supports STAR generously, but also employs STAR participants (HALO Fitness, CVS, Grace Farms, Garelick & Herbs and ACME Markets); provides enriching recreational opportunities (Art and Soul Pottery, New Canaan YMCA, Grace Farms, New Canaan Mounted Troop, New Canaan Library); and offers generous volunteer support that engages many New Canaan families. STAR’s Board of Directors currently includes three New Canaan residents, Meghan Cioffi, Kimberly Butenhoff and Joanna Galvin, with a host of local alumni directors.

Last year STAR had almost 100 individual volunteers from New Canaan and support from groups such as New Canaan Community Foundation, Young Women’s League, New Canaan Chamber of Commerce, New Canaan Newcomers, New Canaan Country School, New Canaan Mounted Troop, New Canaan Artisans, DramaRama, St. Luke’s School, T. Aloysius, St. Mark’s Church, New Canaan YMCA, New Canaan Library, Kiwanis Club, Rotary Club, SLOBS, New Canaan High School sports teams and more.

We appreciate the enthusiastic and generous welcome shown to STAR by New Canaan, and we intend to make our new in-town office a modern model of community-based opportunities for the people and the families we have served since 1952.

Best wishes for a happy, healthy, and productive 2018.

Katie J. Banzhaf

STAR executive director

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

Ruth Canovi

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