To the Editor:

So who knows Darien best?

As winners of the Darien Youth Commission’s second annual Darien Dash, apparently Jim O’Brien, Kiera O’Brien, Whitney Scallon, Sophia Condon and Lindsey Turner do!

The second annual community-wide scavenger hunt included many elements. Some of the expected components were puzzle solving, geographical planning and mapping, and photography. Some of the unexpected elements included good, clean competition; inter-generational cooperation; a whole lot of smiles, reflection and fun. The event, which took place March 10, started at the Darien Town Hall and ended with a reception at the Depot Teen Center. Second-place bragging rights belong to the Barkley family with the Hyatt family claiming third-place victors.

Thanks to the students on the DYC whose vision and hard work culminated with a terrifically-fun community event. Thanks to Diane Farrell, of Farrell Marketing and Media, for her expert guidance in once again promoting the event. A huge shout-out to the following merchants who participated: Espresso Neat; Darien Diner; Barrett Bookstore; Palmer’s; Nielsen’s; Mama Carmela’s; Louie’s Italian Restaurant; Darien Doughnut; Darien Ice Rink; Chocolate Works; Everything’s Rosie; Wild Birds Unlimited; The Goose; Bertucci’s; Danny’s Cycles; Grieb’s Pharmacy; Jennifer’s Kitchen; Embody Cafe; Hands on Pottery; Johnny’s & Company; Burgers, Shakes & Fries; Driftwood Diner; the Dock Shop; Beadworks; and Uncle’s Deli (who also provided gift certificates for each member of the winning team).

And finally, a special thank you to the Depot for again hosting the reception at the end of the event. It was a great opportunity while points were being calculated for participants to compare notes and strategies, share in a “debrief” of sorts and enjoy each other’s company.

Be certain to keep the third annual Darien Dash (March 2019) on your radar. The only way you lose is by NOT participating!

Alicia Sillars

Darien Youth Commission youth director

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

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.

Brenda Watson

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