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Friday, April 20 News

Letters to the Editor: Remembering Jeanne Harrison

To the Editor:

The woman on the other end of the phone asked, “Wanna get plastered?”

Not only did I recognize the oft-repeated question but also who was delivering it. Her breathy voice and the sly little giggle at her own joke were unmistakable.

That woman was Jeanne Harrison.

She wasn’t talking about having alcoholic beverages. Rather, she wanted to plaster my face to make a mask, then later add items to it that represented my life, career and interests.

Jeanne, who passed away peacefully at her home on Nov.28, is most remembered for being the person behind the painted fire hydrants around Fairfield. But I knew her for much more.

I first met Jeanne shortly after I became editor of the Fairfield Citizen in 1986. That was her wont — get to know the new person at the helm of her local newspaper. She marched in and introduced herself, thus began a nearly 30-year friendship — continuing after I left the paper in 2009. It was difficult to separate my responsibility to be an objective journalist when it involved Jeanne. She had a smooth-talking way of getting you to do what she asked.

More often than not, her ideas became good stories. We followed her multi-year effort to restore the historic Victorian Cottage — through all of its tribulations and successes. We covered her when she taught children how to build and decorate gingerbread houses. We often took her suggestions to report on some new activity or development at one of her many causes, like the YMCA, the Fairfield Historical Society or First Church Congregational. When she served on the Historic District and Land Acquisition commissions, she always was good about offering her perspective or a comment. And, of course, we made sure we captured her when she touched up the paint on the hydrants.

Jeanne leaves a lot of legacies. But most importantly was her love for her adopted community of Fairfield, moving here in 1968 from Pennsylvania. She made it a better place.

I’ll miss seeing her driving around town with her husband, Wayne, and I’ll always think of her when I drive by her Oldfield Road home.

But, mostly, I’ll miss those phone calls, which always ended with two sentiments: “I miss ya, babe. I love ya.”

The feeling was always mutual, Jeanne.

Patricia A. Hines


To the Editor:

The Town of Fairfield is negligent in forgoing federal funding for the necessary flood mitigation programs along the beach coast line. The notion proffered by the Board of Selectman that the Army Corps of Engineers won’t ask Congress for the money is just not true.

Approval of the funding by Congress could very easily come with a strong recommendation by the Army Corps of Engineers. However, the town has not answered the basic question the Corps posed to the town in the coastal engineering report of 30 March 2016. Until that question is answered no such recommendation will be forthcoming from the Corps. The Corps will not support the town’s current piecemeal approach and, in return, the town gets no federal funding whatsoever That is the truth of the matter.

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The basic local policy question, which has simply gone unanswered: “What level of protection is needed will be an important question to answer, as will what planning horizon the Town is looking at and what level of uncertainty they are comfortable with.” That is a very tough question but it is one that must be answered locally before the Army can come up with a comprehensive approach it can support.”

In posing the local policy question the corps summarized: “The existing flood protection measures in Fairfield, such as the Pine Creek dike and the system of self-regulating tide gates, may afford protection against high frequency storm events. However, to meet the severity of low frequency storm events and to adjust for the effects of sea level rise, the Town of Fairfield should consider enhancing their flood protection infrastructure. Although the shoreline can be segmented by shoreline characteristics, wave exposure, and flood hazards, Fairfield’s floodplain is, for the most part interconnected. Therefore, this highlights the importance of adopting a set level of protection, whether it be to a certain elevation or to a certain return interval storm. A combination of alternatives would likely be needed to address all areas impacted by flooding and storm damage.”

In recent months the Board of Selectman, the Board of Finance and the Representative Town meeting did a little financial engineering of local and state funds to continue the piecemeal approach to flood mitigation. They all just ignored their collective elected responsibility to give the Army an answer. And in the process, they abrogated their responsibility to get us the federal funding we deserve.

With all the hand wringing going on these days on the budget, you would think our elected officials would do what they need to do to get us every dollar from DC that we need. And in this case they are passing up millions.

To repeat: Fairfield’s floodplain is, for the most part interconnected. We need a flood mitigation policy, and capital program, that recognizes that. Then, and only then, can we get the Army to support our request for funds from Congress.

Yes, decision making is tough!

Jim Brown


To the Editor:

The holidays are a time to surround yourself with family and friends, eat seasonal treats, and toast to what’s to come. Help keep the celebrations going and #GiveADamn about the safety of your family, friends and community this holiday season.

If you choose to celebrate the holidays with a “cheers,” always remember to drink responsibly and plan ahead to use a rideshare service, designated driver, or public transportation to get to and from your destination safely.

Drunk driving is 100 percent preventable and it’s up to you to do your part this holiday season to keep our roads safe. That’s why we’re joining Budweiser to celebrate the holidays by reminding everyone to plan ahead for a safe ride home from his or her holiday celebrations. Over the past 35 years, Anheuser-Busch and its wholesaler partners have invested more than $1 billion in the United States to promote alcohol responsibility and reduce drunk driving, and we are looking forward to continuing this effort through 2018 and beyond.

From everyone at Dichello Distributors, we wish you a happy and safe holiday season!

Tonty Lota, alcohol awareness coordinator

Dichello Distributors Inc., Orange