Students gave

outstanding performance

To the Editor:

My family, friends who joined us for the recent performance and I would like to congratulate the Darien Music Department, the high school orchestra, a number of eighth-graders from the middle school orchestra, the concert choir, the Tudor Singers, all who helped organize the concert and Mark Wood and his family for one of the most enjoyable events that I have experienced in the Darien. The concert held at DHS a few weeks ago was very entertaining and fun (particularly those of us who grew up with '80s rock), but most importantly, it demonstrated the creativity and dedication of the music department and the talent and brilliance of so many students.

Mark Wood and his wife, Laura Kaye, have had successful music careers performing with the likes of Billy Joel, Aretha Franklin, James Brown and Celine Dion. They are now sharing their passion with students across the country and encouraging them to continue their focus on classical instruments or to even evolve to more modern ones like the electric violin, while including choirs and other groups.

I hope this wonderful event will occur in Darien again for even more to enjoy. Congratulations to Jane Minnis and everyone in the music department and to all of the students who have worked so hard to reach this level of achievement. Encore.

Bob Johnston

A dog park is the answer

To the Editor:

After pondering the Great Dog Leash Controversy, let me first make it clear that I am a dog lover, and have owned and loved dogs most of my life. I cannot have a dog that weighs more than 30 pounds at my place of residence, and unfortunately my kind of dog is a German Shepherd named Wolfgang.

That being said, I was a witness to the vicious attack by a large unleashed dog last summer of a small Bichon Frise, who fortunately survived. The owner was also injured, and I agree with the person who pointed out that small children and dogs can be at eye level. If a small child, who has not been properly warned, unwittingly approaches an unfriendly dog who is not leash-controlled, there could be a tragedy. Therefore, I fail to fully comprehend the attitude against in-town leashing, and the logical solution of a dog park.

To mention examples, Norwalk has a dog park and Nyack, N.Y. has a dog park. They are both very popular, enjoyed by many. The latter was created in a pleasant spot by the Hudson River. It is my understanding that the Dog Party objects to having to pay for such a park in Darien, where there is already an accommodating place for it. I am assuming that the dog owners pay for their dogs' licenses and veterinarian bills. They pay for dump permits, beach stickers, parking permits, gym and Y memberships, club dues and many other etceteras. What is the big deal?

Most disturbing to me are the reports we've all heard about the loud, rude, shouting-down of what are termed "dog haters" at a recent RTM meeting. Never mind the issue at hand, this is shameful, disgraceful behavior in a country where freedom of speech and the historic right of all sides of an issue to be heard without interference are principles which we value, whether everyone agrees or not.

Arden Anderson-Broecking

Darien

Dog lover

approves of leash law

To the Editor:

I am a dog owner who regularly exercises her dog in the company of friends at Cherry Lawn. I am also a dog owner who is in favor of a leash law in Darien.

That said, I feel that a blanket leash law is an extreme measure which would force a large number of responsible, civic-minded dog owners to have to leave Darien and travel to adjacent towns in order to exercise their dogs off leash. A privately funded, fenced-in dog run would, in the current economy, be an uphill proposition and there are a host of other troublesome possibilities implicit in that idea (potential for lawsuits; parking and noise issues; maintenance costs; etc).

I believe there is some middle ground here which could hopefully mesh the best interests of all Darien residents, such as establishing mutually agreeable off-leash hours for some of the parks in town. The Darien Dog Owners Group (DDOG) is busy working on a study of park usage in order to present a proposal for optimum off leash hours (optimum from the perspective of all town residents) to the Parks and Recreation Commission. These would most likely be early morning and late evening slots which would not interfere with regular activities at the parks.

I believe that our town parks should be enjoyed freely, safely and without anxiety by everyone, young and old. I also know that when I take my dog to Cherry Lawn each morning the only other visitors we routinely encounter are of the four-legged variety, together with their owners. We monitor our dogs closely nonetheless. It is my hope that we will be able to find some common ground and continue to enjoy these early morning outings with our dogs without breaking a law in the process.

Mary Waller

Darien

Thanks for making

window contest a success

To the Editor:

Halloween may be a thing of the past, but I would be remiss to not acknowledge the hard work of all those who participated in the Youth Commission's annual Halloween Window Painting Contest. Many thanks to the 29 merchants who permitted the 100-plus middle and high school aged students to paint their storefronts; to Anne Tabacco, visual arts director from the Darien Arts Center for her kind talent when "judging" the windows; to the members of the Darien Youth Commission for their help in implementing the event; and to Paula Csengo and her staff at TD Bank for again hosting this year's winners' reception, complete with pizza, soda and gift bags for all the students.

For all in Darien, this event continues to be a community favorite. Please visit the Youth Commission's website for a list of this year's winning teams and those who received honorable mention as well, at www.darienct.gov/yc.

Alicia Sillars

Youth Director

Darien Youth Commission