An open letter to columnist Nick Troilo

Dear Nick:

I appreciate your plug for the library's fund-raising campaign in your column in last week's paper, because without charitable donations we would not have any books on our shelves. However, I beg to disagree with your assessment of our collection of plays.

We have all the plays written by Eugene O'Neill, Arthur Miller and Lillian Hellman; quite an extensive collection. We have Odet's play "Awake and Sing" in a collection of plays titled "Famous American Plays of the 1930s," a title that may interest you.

We have ordered a replacement copy for "Waiting for Lefty" -- thanks for that catch. Any of our librarians would have been happy to order this for you when you were in the library if you had mentioned its absence from our shelves -- that's a service we provide to all our users.

If there are other plays that we do not own, I hope that you will let me know so that we can order them as well.

Next time you're in the Library, stop by and say hello.

Louise P. Berry, Director

Darien Library

Ed budget exceeds enrollment and cost

of living

To the Editor:

The 2011-12 budget Superintendent Falcone submitted to the Board of Education asks for an 8 percent increase over the prior year. Despite being characterized as driven by increased enrollment, the requested increase is far in excess of the increase in next year's anticipated increase in enrollment and the cost of living.

If accepted, the budget would grow $5.7 million or 8 percent over the prior year. Yet, the total enrollment is projected to grow 0.6 percent, or 30 students to 4,871. The Superintendent asks for head count increase of 12. Since 17 of the 30 student increase is projected for the ELP Pre-K program, and the head count increase is targeted to grades one through 12, the budget request of 12 new staff relates to 13 new students.

This does not appear to be a catch-up from prior year's spending, which was 4.8 percent, 3.6 percent and 6.4 percent in the past three years. If accepted this budget would be 24 percent higher than four years ago. Compare this to student enrollment, which is expected to grow 4 percent over the same time period. That is, over the past four years spending is set to increase $14.8 million for an extra 200 students, or $71.8 thousand for each additional student. Keep in mind, the budget dollars being discussed are net of grants and fees. Actual spending is about $4.5 million higher and the growth rates higher as well.

This does not appear to be in anticipation of higher student enrollment. Rather, student enrollment is estimated to decline by 48 students by 2015.

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Finally, the budget growth is in excess of cost of living increases. Using the same inflation index as the Social Security Administration, inflation in 2009 and 2010 was zero. Over the past four years it has been a total of 8 percent. Again, compare this to the 24 percent increase in the Board of Ed budget, or the 20 percent increase in spending per student.

James McIlree

Darien

Thank you Greg

Twardy and DHA

To the Editor:

I am a resident of the Old Town Hall Apartments located on the Post Road in Darien. We are, for the most part, senior citizens, and quite a few of us are fortunate to still have our own cars which we park in the designated areas.

I have lived here for two years and in that time, we have had a lot of snow fall. I am amazed and very grateful that after almost every snowstorm, as well as always having our driveway and walkways plowed and shovelled clean, our cars are totally cleaned off and ready to drive away. What a blessing this is for older people to not have to shovel snow anymore. Greg Twardy and his very capable crew keep the grounds beautiful year round which is greatly appreciated.

BUT, there was nothing quite like watching TV on Wednesday, Jan. 12th and seeing pictures of the world around me buried in snow, and then going outside to find our cars totally free of snow. What a relief that was.

The members of the Darien Housing Authority as well as Kathy Malgano and her staff, Patty and Joe, deserve a lot of credit for all their efforts to make 719 Post Road a very nice place to live.

Thanks also to Greg Twardy and his men for making life in the winter time much easier for us older people who live here.

Thank you all very much.

Ann Boyle

Darien

A simple bill to

minimize gun killing

Dear Rep. Himes, Sen.

Lieberman and

Sen. Blumenthal:

I urge you to introduce to the House of Representatives and to the Senate a bill that will make it illegal, at a calendar date in 2011 to be determined, to manufacture for or to sell to private citizens ammunition magazines holding more than 10 rounds. No law abiding, gun-owning citizen needs a gun that shoots more than 10 rounds to defend his or her home or business. Your bill would help minimize the number of people killed in murder sprees when a gunman uses an AK-47, automatic hand gun or Glock. It will be much easier than you think, I believe, to rally the support of your colleagues in the House and the Senate -- and Americans everywhere.

I have not urged you to support the bill being co-sponsored by Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy of New York and Congressman Rich Holt of New Jersey because I have read that Ms. McCarthy and Mr. Holt have added a provision that could doom their bill. It calls for banning the use of all large capacity bullet magazines already sold or manufactured. Although the congressmens' intent is noble, gun store owners will respond with an uproar because they will not be able to sell top selling, already manufactured, automatic hand guns that use 17-bullet cartridges.

Be courageous. Be of good heart. Every life is precious. Start small and watch your bill snowball to victory. Help protect disturbed gunmen from their mass murderous intent and help protect the lives of innocent boys, girls, men and women.

Tanya Bickley

New Canaan