Outback is an

asset to town

To the Editor:

As I read the letter submitted by the leadership of the Outback Teen Center Board last week, I was reminded of what a special organization the teen center is and what a valuable asset to the community and my family it has been for these past 10 years.

Twelve years ago, I served in an advisory role during the conceptual and organizational phases of the teen center and I am very proud of my association. In the past few years, my own children have become active participants in the many social and community events sponsored by the teen center. Most recently my daughter, Kit, went "missing in action" for 10 days as she helped with the successful operation of the teen center's Haunted House.

During the debate last spring and summer regarding the future usage of the area behind Town Hall, I was most impressed with the measured tone and cooperative message that the teen center's leadership continued to promulgate. I wondered how other organizations would have acted if discussions centering on their environment and facilities were brought to the forefront without prior consultation.

In recognizing the 10-year anniversary of the teen center, I hope many of our citizens will continue to support this worthy organization. The teen center continues to thrive in its downtown location, has sought the professional help and infrastructure from our YMCA and has stayed true to its mission. The organization receives very little funding from the Town and its success is mostly predicated on the generosity of the community and the tireless efforts of its Board of Directors.

In my estimation, the Outback Teen Center has done all in its power to deserve your support during its Annual Appeal. Please join me and my family in helping the teen center continue in the vital role it plays in the lives of our New Canaan teenagers.

Rob Mallozzi III

Student production a hit

I fell in love with the Charlap/Styne version of "Peter Pan" in the 1950s, which many of us knew as the Mary Martin "Peter Pan," or later the Cathy Rigby "Peter Pan," and it is hard for me to adapt to the music of the Piers-Chater-Robinson version which the New Canaan High School presented this week. But it's an easy task to praise the singers and actors involved in the production.

Let's begin with Ashley Feldman's very athletic Peter, and move quickly to Christy Coco's beautiful singing as Wendy. Next up: Thomas Evans as Captain Hook and Brett Gerardi as Smee. What excellent characters these guys produced. Then there was Rachel Guth's Tiger Lily, simply superb.

I'd say the choreography of the Indian drum dance "Braves to War" was the best in the show, and full credit should be given to the Totem Pole (Beyer, Gilhool and Scipper). Daniel Klingenstein's John and Megan Mistretta's Michael also had lots of persona. And the flying scenes were awe-inspiring. Katlin Ostling's Nana and Gabrielle Ames Crocodile were favorites, too. And all the other lost boys and Indians and pirates. Lots of folks were involved in this show.

This production is what our school system now thinks of as entry level -- ninth- and 10th-grade students. Something we provide so these youngsters won't get bored waiting to be in all-school productions when they're older. Wouldn't you have liked to mention, in a college application, that you'd already flown in two different productions of two different versions of "Peter Pan," or led a band of twenty Indians in a spectacular dance on stage? Or been the student director? Wow!

While we're giving thanks this week let's remember the highly competent programs for the arts in New Canaan's schools. Hats off to Dee Alexander and Don Rickenback and all the cast of 50 and the crew of 50 more and the parents and friends of New Canaan High School Theatre who work so hard to keep these programs alive. It's one of the best reasons I know to live in New Canaan, and a real source of community pride.

Tom Nissley

Tom Nissley is a resident of New Canaan, and a member of the Connecticut Critics Circle: reviewers of professional Theater throughout Connecticut.

Murray thanks supporters

To the Editor:

I would like to say thank you to all of my supporters and to all of you who voted for me to become probate judge on Nov. 2. Your help with obtaining signatures, writing letters, lawn signs, fund raising, trains, e-mails and everything else related to the campaign was amazing.

I also can't thank enough those who supported me when it was not politically expedient to do so.

I look forward to serving as your Judge of Probate and will strive to prove worthy of your faith in me.

Michael P. Murray

Probate Judge Elect

Darien/ New Canaan

Preservation Alliance votes to save barn

To the Editor:

The New Canaan Preservation Alliance values the historic barn at Mead Park as a contributing asset to the character of the Town and by unanimous vote of its board members at Monday night's board meeting, the NCPA voted to request the Town to conserve its financial and historic resources and to abandon its plan to demolish the Mead Park Brick Barn adopting the following resolution:

Whereas The New Canaan Preservation Alliance has as its mission to establish as a community priority the conservation of the town's character-defining historic architectural and natural environments; and

Whereas: The Mead Park Brick Barn has been identified as having historic, architectural and cultural significance in New Canaan and in the State of Connecticut and meeting all the criteria for listing on the State Register of Historic Places;

Whereas: By unanimous vote of the CT Historic Preservation Council the Mead Park Carriage Barn, a.k.a. the Mead Park Brick Barn, has now been listed on the CT Register of the Historic Places qualifying it for certain grant funds for capital improvement;

Now therefore be it resolved that the Board of Directors of the Alliance hereby requests the Town of New Canaan to abandon its plan to demolish the Mead Park Brick Barn and instead requests the Town either directly or through a separate organization to promote and arrange for the adaptive reuse of this local heritage resource.

Resolution adopted at the regular board meeting, New Canaan Preservation Alliance, Nov. 15.

Robin M. Beckett

1st Vice President

New Canaan Preservation Alliance Inc

Pleased with

CCRC decision

To the Editor:

Charged last May with the task "to analyze long term trends, identify future needs for senior citizens in the community, and to provide options for senior health care and housing," the New Canaan Senior Health Care & Housing Development Team, chaired by Jim Lisher, and appointed by the Board of Selectmen, has done just that.

In addition to studying a wide swath of senior health care issues, the team considered a diversity of housing options, including "original home, 55-plus community, co-housing, CCRC at home, CCRC, assisted living and nursing homes." Not only did the team consider CCRCs, they conducted field visits to two -- Meadow Ridge in Redding and Edgehill Lifecare Community in Stamford. We were particularly heartened that the team's report said, "Redevelopment of parking lots or existing properties -- rather than undeveloped sites -- maintains [our] Town's commitment to open space."

We are deeply grateful to the committee for recognizing what we believe to be town wide commitment to preserving Waveny and other Town owned parkland and open space. In fact, at the focus groups which the team organized, many participants specifically advocated not building senior housing on public park land.

We wish to thank and congratulate Mr. Lisher and his team for their excellent and thorough work, which they described last week to the Board of Selectmen and which was published as "Phase II Final Report," on Nov. 16. Copies are available at Vine Cottage, located in the Health & Human Services' office in the yellow Victorian house at 61 Main St., and the report is now available at www.newcanaan.info.

And we wish to thank Selectmen Hines and Mallozzi for broadening the study scope of the committee before beginning its work.

Tanya Bickley, Lucy Lee Evans,

Skip Hobbs, Cam Hutchins

and George McEvoy

Keep Waveny A Park!

New Canaan changing

at extreme pace

To the Editor:

I always thought that a small town should be a slower paced and more conservative place where one is somewhat sheltered from the ever-changing fast-paced environment of urban areas. Well, lately the change and the prospect of change in New Canaan is accelerating at a dizzying and rather uncomfortable speed.

We are faced with losing more and more independent shops, the ones that give our town its unique flavor, the latest of which is Gramophone Video (and hopefully that won't happen).

We took a giant architectural hit this week in losing the Maples Inn Building, a grand and wonderful antique structure that I suspect could have been restored in a much less radical way and been saved.

We have the prospect of losing and changing so many of our public buildings in the new plan that's in the works. I simply worry that I'm in the minority of people who would sooner work around those wonderful old buildings in any way necessary to preserve their beauty for us and for future generations. And not, as in the case of Vine Cottage potentially tucked out of the way, but right in the way, preserving our town's charm.

And then, to top off all this new and uncomfortable change we have to do without Tony Pavia. Well, in this case I'd be the first to wish him well with his choice, but selfishly, my family and I will miss him so much. Where will we find another principal as personal, funny, capable and caring as he?

I'm hoping many people feel the way I do. I know we'll always have some change, but let's not lose all that we've created and inherited in the process. This Thanksgiving let's keep as much as we can of what we're thankful for.

Patricia Funt Oxman