Darien fireworks a success thanks to community, sponsors

To the Editor:

On Sunday, July 7, almost 4,000 local spectators gathered together at Darien High School to celebrate the Fourth of July underneath the refreshing clear blue sky after having to postpone from Saturday evening due to inclement weather. The evening kicked off with live music and appealing food truck options, while the anticipations built for the event’s real purpose - the fireworks show! The fireworks display did not disappoint with dazzling bursts that sparkled and a finale that will not be soon forgotten.

The Darien Fireworks is a cherished town tradition and would not be possible without the diligent efforts of David Genovese and the support of several local businesses including: Baywater Properties, Darien Sport Shop, The Corbin District, The Town of Darien, First County Bank, PG Properties, Rings End, Nielsen’s Florist, Merrill Lynch, Dolcetti Inc., Orchard Tree Care Specialists, Rand Insurance, Darien Toy Box, City Carting and The Growing Concern.

Darien Parks and Recreation would also like to give a special thank you to the Parks Maintenance Staff, Parks and Rec Office Staff, Noroton Heights Fire Department, Darien Police Department, Post 53, Darien High School Facilities and Custodial Staff, the Darien Public Schools Administration, the Board of Education, the Darien Athletic Foundation, the Darien Community Band and Leaf Jumpers. Lastly, we would also like to thank our food vendors including Mister Softee, Vavalas’s Deli, Lobstercraft and Taco Tequila and our face painter Honey Bunch.

We look forward to seeing everyone in 2020!

Jami Gore and Pamela Gery

Darien Parks and Recreation

Board of Finance chairman hopes to rebuild trust with Board of Education

To the Editor:

Last week, the Darien Times ran an editorial describing some recent difficulty between the Board of Education and the Board of Finance regarding a data request by BOF member Jim Palen. Jim asked in early May to see a comprehensive dataset showing budgeted and actual expenditures over the last three years, including transfers - a request he submitted with my knowledge and approval. Our hope was that an analysis of this information, which is still underway, would help the BOF refine its annual budget process.

Town staff quickly supplied the data on behalf of the Board of Selectmen, but the BOE resisted, raising questions about why the information was being requested and whether an individual BOF member could make such a request. The back-and-forth continued for weeks, with the BOE ultimately spending a considerable portion of their recent retreat discussing thinly-veiled request “scenarios” with legal counsel.

Finally, the BOE relented on June 5 and supplied the data. Even now, though, Jim is listed in the BOE’s Freedom of Information Act log, as if there were something adversarial about his request. In short, a straightforward ask escalated into a pointless dispute, which served no one’s interests.

As the editorial says, transparency and openness are vital elements in town government. Unless information is protected by law from disclosure, there is no reason for anyone in government to delay fulfillment of any data request, whether by a town official or a town resident. Period.

I have huge respect for anyone willing to step into a town government role, particularly members of the BOE. I value the collaboration and respect all of us have worked to build over the years. I would very much like to put this dispute behind us, and I pledge to do what I can to rebuild trust between these two important Boards.

Jon Zagrodzky

Chairman, Darien Board of Finance

Grateful for newspaper’s non-profit support

To the Editor:

During these quiet summer weeks, it gives us time to stop and reflect on those who support our community and it’s non-profits. I would like to take the time to whole heartedly thank Susan Shultz, editor of the Darien Times, for all the support she has shown two Darien non-profits that are close to my heart.

As the executive director of development at the Depot Youth Center, I have come to rely heavily on Susan for helping us build awareness and communicate to the community all the Depot has to offer families in Darien. Susan never fails to help tell our story and spread our mission. Secondly, Susan has been instrumental in raising awareness for Darien's volunteer firefighters and supporting the Town of Darien’s Firefighters’ Foundation. From helping the Foundation promote the fireworks to showcasing select volunteer first responders and profile all that they do serving our town as members of Darien, Noroton or Noroton Heights Fire Departments.

Thank you Susan for all your support and superb journalism.

Kesti Aysseh

Executive Director of Development, Depot Youth Center

Board Member, Town of Darien Firefighters’ Foundation