3/17/2023 - 3.17 TOWN UPDATE
Top of the Morning Fairfielders,

Today, we celebrate St. Patrick's Day. While we come together to honor Irish heritage, it is important to remember the Irish join so many other nations in having faced inhumanity, war, fighting for democracy and freedom from oppression. We are blessed to live in a country that is free and in a town that takes pride in the different backgrounds and cultures that make up the diverse fabric of our community.
Highlights in this week's newsletter – Click to View
I am proud to announce that the Town of Fairfield is now a member of the AARP Network of Age ­Friendly States and Communities. Fairfield is now one of seven towns in the state to become part of this network. I want to thank Human & Social Services Director Julie DeMarco, and Senior Center Director Brenda Steele, for spearheading this effort on behalf of the Town.

AARP's network, an affiliate of the World Health Organization's (WHO) Global Network of Age ­Friendly Cities and Communities Program, is part of an international campaign to help communities prepare for our aging populations. It is projected by AARP that by 2030, one of every five people in the U.S. will be 65 or older and that by 2035, the number of adults older than 65 will be greater than the number of children under 18. 
Age Friendly Fairfield is a town-wide initiative that aims to make our community a great place to grow up and grow old. This exciting initiative will be a significant, comprehensive and challenging effort, yet will provide immense benefits to the entire Town. As a member of the AARP Age Friendly Network, Fairfield commits to assessing the challenges of its aging population and identifying policies, programs and new ideas that will improve the quality of life for all ages in the community  in collaboration with residents, communities and partners.

Fairfield will gain access to national and global research, community networks, planning models and best practices to improve livability for all ages, abilities and needs. Well-designed, age-friendly communities foster economic growth and make for happier, healthier residents of all ages. People of all ages and abilities benefit from programs that make neighborhoods walkable, feature safe transportation options, enable access to key services, and provide opportunities to participate in community activities.

The three-to-five-year process looks at community support and health services, housing, outdoor spaces and buildings, respect and social inclusion, communication and information, social participation, civic participation, employment and transportation. There is no cost to become an Age Friendly community.

The Age Friendly Fairfield initiative, led by the Human Services Department in partnership with Fairfield Senior Advocates, will utilize an advisory group of community stakeholders. The process will begin with a comprehensive survey to be distributed in April, coordinated by Fairfield Senior Advocates and Fairfield University, as well as a listening session with residents to identify community age-friendly needs and opportunities.

Click here to learn more about the Age Friendly network.

Email if you are interested in participating in the initiative or have any questions.
After COVID caused delays for many of our Town’s open contracts with 
employee unions, I was happy to join Town Hall Employee Association (THEA) Union President, Jude Fitzgerald, to officially sign their contract after reaching an agreement on a four-year deal. All parties worked together to settle on a fair and reasonable contract to benefit both the Town and the employees. 

The THEA union encompasses employees who serve as clerks, cashiers, secretaries, library associates, sanitarians, chemists, building inspectors, and much more. The importance of THEA staff for the Town cannot be underestimated. They’re the foundation and an integral part of every department's operations.   

Since COVID subsided, the Town was able to settle contracts with the Emergency Communications Center, Police, Nurses, and Professional & Technical Employees Association (PETA).
As I shared in my last Town Update, the Board of Selectmen unanimously passed my proposed budget. The Board of Finance (BOF) took up deliberations last week and will continue throughout the month. You can view the full budget hearing schedule here, including the March 25th meeting intended for public comment. 

Below I have linked my proposed budget and the presentation. 

Click here to visit the budget website.
FY 24 Budget Proposal
Slide Deck Presentation
Just as residents are currently facing, the Town is also seeing a huge increase in costs including a 13% increase in gas, 28% in diesel, 14% in electricity for town buildings, 4% for street lights and this all had to be incorporated into the Town budget. 

What residents may be surprised about is that the Town is now paying more to dispose of recycling than our garbage. I shared during my budget presentation that recycling is $125 per ton and solid waste is $85 per ton. The town does not charge for recycling at the transfer station.

This topic came up during a recent BOF budget meeting, and I think many residents might find it interesting. You can listen to the very important conversation on what is really happening with recycling in Connecticut here

Municipal Solid Waste fees, or what is paid to dispose of waste at Wheelabrator, have increased from this current budget to what we are projecting in FY24 at $90 per ton. The hauling and disposal cost is expected to increase by $168k for a total of nearly $3 million in next year's budget. We process approximately 33,000 tons of municipal waste each year.

Single Stream Recycling Markets are depressed globally which has a huge impact on Fairfield's budget over the last few years  from revenue-generating to costing taxpayers. Half of the recycling we receive at the Town Transfer Station is contaminated and either sent to Wheelabrator to be burned, or sent to an out-of-state landfill. Fairfield recycles approximately 5,650 tons a year costing $700,000 which the town fully funds and is not charged to anyone.

Many new initiatives have been launched recently including a pilot program to separate out 
glass textiles and food waste to try to reduce the overall tonnage at the transfer station at no cost to the town or residents. 

You can read more here. 
I wanted to make sure residents are aware that there is a new noise ordinance being proposed by members of the RTM. Implications of this noise ordinance were discussed at the BOF meeting on Tuesday night, and you can listen to that portion of the meeting here.

The first read will take place at Monday evening's RTM meeting. The agenda is 
here and the backup is on page 246 here

The RTM Committee meeting will be held on Monday, March 20
th at 7:30 PM at the Education Center, 501 Kings Highway East, Fairfield, CT, and via Webex.

To hear the noise ordinance presentation with Q&A:
• Via Webex:
• FairTV’s cable channel (channel 79 for Fairfield Cablevision and 6010 for Frontier Cable)
• FairTV’s website,
• By phone: (667) 776-9044
On Monday night, the Board of Finance approved the funding plan to repair the Penfield Pavilion Notice of Violation on the foundation, and funding to clean the contaminated soil deposited under the building. I provided an updated presentation with a new timeline to clarify questions we have received. 

The next and final step in the process is a vote by the RTM on Thursday, March 23rd. If the RTM passes this item, the federal delegation and I will send a reconsideration letter to FEMA. The letter will demonstrate action taken by the Town toward compliance, with the goal of avoiding the insurance retrograde for residents who live in the flood plain, and myriad of other consequences for the town as a whole.
Penfield Update
Please click here to open the March 2023 Bigelow Center for Senior Activities newsletter.
AARP Tax Help: AARP Foundation is again offering free, in-person tax prep services. Appointments for hour-long sessions with trained, certified volunteers will be available on Mondays and Wednesdays, between 9:00 AM and noon, through 
– April 12th.        

Although this service is geared toward seniors with limited incomes, AARP volunteers will assist anyone of any age. Volunteers do not have access to your prior year's information. Call (203) 256-3166 to make an appointment. Appointments fill up fast.

Check out the Social Services Winter Newsletter for various programs addressing financial assistance programs; information for Veterans; career development; and mental health help.
The State Legislature is in session and during this month there will be many public hearings for proposed bills. You can see the weekly schedule, sign up to track bills, watch live and learn how to submit testimony for or against any bill through

To view bills proposed by State Senator Tony Hwang, click here.
To view bills proposed by State Representative Cristin McCarthy-Vahey, 
click here
To view bills proposed by State Representative Jennifer Leeper, 
click here.
To view bills proposed by State Representative Sarah Keitt, 
click here

For questions on pending station legislation, reach out to your State Senator and State Representative. You can find their contact information here

An Act Concerning a Needs Assessment and Fair Share Plans for Municipalities to Increase Affordable Housing
  • Requires an assessment of the state-wide need for affordable housing and an allocation of such need to planning regions and municipalities, (2) require the creation of fair share plans for each municipality, and (3) establish penalties for municipalities that fail to submit fair share plans.
  • Exposes municipalities to lawsuits if a municipality does not submit a fair share plans.
  • Municipality that fails to submit a fair share plan loses zoning authority, instead replaced with “default zoning”.
  • Municipality that fails to submit a fair share plan OR whose plan does not create a “realistic opportunity” may be sued by ANY housing nonprofit or developer to obtain a court order to force the municipality to create a fair share plan and update its zoning regulations to create a realistic opportunity, including through “express agreements” with developers for housing development projects.
  • If housing is not built by private sector, municipalities may be sued and forced by courts to build housing at public expense.
Submit Testimony
Our community mourns the passing of retired Assistant Fire Chief Chris Tracy. Chris served the Fairfield Fire Department with dedication and was the driving force behind the Fairfield Regional Fire School. Chris will always be remembered as a consummate gentleman who was passionate about proper training for the department. 
I hope you will join me in keeping Chris’ wife, son and the Fairfield Fire Department in your thoughts and prayers during this very sad time.
The Fire Department has set up a 
GoFundMe page got Chris’ family.
On March 16th, in coordination with the Spear family, Special Services and Patrol Officers made Lucas' wish a reality. Officers visited Lucas and his siblings with seven police vehicles, two police motorcycles and one police K9, to celebrate his last chemo treatment. The officers were greeted by the entire Spear family along with neighborhood children and families. 

Thank you to our officers who took the time to make Lucas feel like a superhero for the day. It is a memory I know he and his family will always cherish. 

I hope you'll join me in celebrating Lucas and his family's strength and determination.
Flagman Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to saving lives, is launching its national K-12 Education Outreach program in Fairfield from April 17th  28th. The program aims to educate students about their role in road safety and the importance of slowing down and moving over for first responders and highway workers.
The Iodice family, a highly regarded member of Fairfield's towing community for nearly 70 years, founded Flagman Inc. in response to the tragic death of Corey Iodice, who was struck and killed while assisting a disabled motorist.
The objective of Flagman’s K-12 education outreach program is to instill in students a sense of responsibility when driving or riding in a vehicle and to raise awareness about the importance of safety for first responders and highway workers. To engage students, Flagman's education team is seeking gift cards ($5) or monetary donations to support the initiative. Your support of the Flagman Slow Down Move Over K-12 program will help educate our youth and save lives.
Fairfield resident, Sarah Lubarsky, Executive Director of Connecticut Women's Hall of Fame presents "Celebrating 300 Years of CT's Remarkable Women". Learn about some of our state's most remarkable women! Be inspired as you learn about well-known figures like 
Ella GrassoPrudence CrandallKatharine Hepburn and Marian Anderson and lesser-known heroines like Maria SanchezBarbara McClintock and Hannah Watson

This presentation will introduce you to the Hall, its mission and programs, and give you a panoramic view of some of its 125 inductees from across all fields of endeavor from politics and sports to the arts and sciences.

For more information or to register, call the Bigelow Center at (203) 256-3166 or 
click here.
Through the Pillar Awards ceremony, Fairfield Rotary spotlights the very significant work and commitment made by the honorees to impact the lives of others, and is a chance for our entire community in Fairfield and beyond to come together to say a great big, heartfelt “Thank You!”

The ceremony is open to the public on March 24
th. Tickets purchased at our Fairfield Rotary website or here will support Fairfield Rotary’s continued commitment of service to those in our community and around the world. Every year, Rotary awards scholarships to high school seniors, awards grants to local non-profit organizations, provides tangible support to veterans/veteran organizations, adopts families in need during the holidays, plus more. Internationally, Rotary helps build wells so villages have clean drinking water, build schools to ensure access to education, and provides medical equipment to care for the sick.
March is One Book One Town month at Fairfield Public Library!  This year’s selection is I Keep Trying to Catch His Eye, a memoir by Fairfield resident and ESPN sportswriter Ivan Maisel. Ivan will speak at Fairfield University’s Quick Center at 7:00 PM on March 28
th; registration for this popular event is open, so reserve your seat early! Author talks are also scheduled for the children’s (The Rhino Suit), middle-grade (Hope Wins) and teen’s (Hope Nation) companion books. See the Library’s online calendar of events for a schedule of all programming.
The Fairfield Police Department is proud to partner with Social Work and Law Enforcement (SWLE) Project and presents: Bridging Communities in Response to the Opioid Crisis. On Friday, April 14th from 8:00 AM –12:00 PM, a training (Free & Open to the Public) will be hosted at Sacred Heart University's School of Social Work at West Campus, East Auditorium.

To register, please click 
After many months of working with multiple Town departments, the brewery owners, the landlords, and the State, I am very excited to announce that the Town Plan & Zoning Commission approved Tuesday night the application from Elicit Brewing Company to come to Fairfield! In addition to brewing beer, Elicit has a full kitchen, beer hall, Biergarten, cocktail bar and entertainment. The facility will be located at 111 Black Rock Turnpike, the location of the old Planet Fitness that opened a new facility at the former Walgreens, and is within walking distance to the Metro Center. I can’t wait to welcome them to Fairfield! 

I hope you have a lovely and peaceful weekend.

Brenda L. Kupchick
Fairfield First Selectwoman

Pink Pop Up Party has become one of Norma Pfriem Breast Center’s signature fundraising events over the years because of its reputation for being a lot of fun while supporting the underserved patients at the Breast Center.

The theme of this year's Pink Pop Up Party is "Rock the Boat". We'll be turning the Fairfield Theatre Company into a yacht including a casino, live yacht rock music, tropical drinks, seafood and more!

Your sponsorship/ticket purchase will help the Center continue our mission to provide screening and diagnostic mammograms to the many underserved women of our community who might otherwise be unable to access these vital services.
This spring, UI will begin pruning and removing trees as part of the Utility Protection Zone Program. Residents will be notified prior to any work being conducted. The list of streets can be found here. For more information, visit UI's website here

Work planners from UI, Nelson Tree Service, Lewis Tree Service and Asplundh Tree Experts will be canvassing neighborhoods and contacting residents in early spring.
Operation Hope’s Food Pantry is open all Winter to all Fairfield residents on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM and Thursday from 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM.
Items can be dropped off at 636 Old Post Road between 9:15 AM 
 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday. During the month of March, Operation Hope is in need of the following items:
  • Paper Towels
  • Size 6 Diapers
  • Sugar & Oil
  • Microwave Popcorn & Crackers
  • Canned Fruit
  • Stew & Clam Chowder
  • Canned Fish Other Than Tuna
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Honey
  • Ensure, Boost & Glucerna
  • Shaving Cream
  • All Purpose Cleaners & Sponges
Thank you for considering a donation to help them feed our hungry neighbors!
During the month of March, please visit Main Library’s “cardboard zoo,” a collection of amazing cardboard animals crafted by 9th-grade art students at Fairfield Ludlowe High School. The animals are on loan from Virginia Zimmermann’s 3-D Foundations class, where the students used principles of anatomy and structural engineering to create the large, 3-D sculptures from cardboard strips. 
Until April 18th, IRS-certified volunteers will provide free tax preparation assistance to seniors and low-income households on Tuesdays at Main Library, either in-person or virtually, from 9:30 AM – 4:00 PM. In-person help is on a first-come, first-served basis; the virtual option can be accessed herePlease call (203) 256-3160 for more information.

The public is invited to view the current art exhibit “Moon Dance” at the Bruce S. Kershner Art Gallery at Main Library until April 15
th“Moon Dance” features the work of photographer Steve Labkoff and painters Ronnie Gold and Marjorie Sopkin. Drop by and view this dazzling display during regular Library hours.

“Memory Kits” and Simple Music Players are now available at both Libraries to assist with the care of dementia patients. The Memory Kits are packaged in backpacks with items to manage varying degrees of dementia, including DVDs, puzzles, coloring books and games to jog the memory and start conversations. The Simple Music Players are easy to use and pre-loaded with over 200 songs for the dementia patient who enjoys music.  Memory Kits and Simple Music Players can be checked out together or separately with a library card.

For the second year in a row, the Library invites adult patrons to join its year-long reading challenge—renamed “Genre Challenge”—which began January 1
stEach month participants will be encouraged to choose a book from a genre such as Fun in the Sun (beach reads), Short Stories, and Screen Gems (book-to-movie or -TV adaptations). Journals will be provided to keep track of your reading and occasional meet-ups will be scheduled throughout the year. For full rules and more FAQs, visit our website here.  

The Library continues to offer a mix of in-person and virtual programming at both locations for children, teens and adults. Please view our online calendar of events on our 
website to see the offerings and reserve your spot!

Fairfield Public Library offers 24/7 access to its digital collection of books, music, magazines, movies and databases. Information services are available in person, by phone (203-256-3160), by email at, and via text messaging (text askfplct to 833-232-4100).
Pequot Library has a number of delightful programs in the pipeline. First, on March 21st, in partnership with book influencer Robin Kall Homonfoff of Reading with Robin, we welcome bestselling authors Heather Webb, Lauren Willig, and Sarah Penner for an engaging conversation moderated by Robin. Proceeds from this fundraiser will benefit Operation Hope and Pequot Library. Tickets cost $75 for a VIP reception starting at 6:00 PM, which includes priority seating, a meet and greet with the authors, light bites and wine, book signing, and the Meet the Authors program. General Admission costs $20 and covers the Meet the Authors program only; guests may arrive starting at 6:45 PM. Proceeds from this fundraiser will benefit Operation Hope and Pequot Library. All other March programs are free and open to the public.

Also on March 21st at 4:00 PM, join us as we chat virtually with celebrity chef Jernard Wells about his newest cookbook Southern Inspired: More Than 100 Delicious Dishes from My American Table to Yours. Wells' inventive recipes remix the traditional flavors and classic dishes of Southern food and celebrate African-American culinary contributions to tables worldwideThis talk is produced in partnership with the Library Speakers Consortium.
For students in grades 6-12, register today for Teens Take Over the Exhibition for April Fool's Day on March 24th at 4:00 PM. Learn more about the current exhibition, "Alphabets, Bedtime Stories, and Cautionary Tales: Children’s Books and the Shaping of American Identity" and write your own fictional wall label for one of the items on display. These hoax or joke labels will be placed alongside the actual ones for April Fool’s Day.  Students in grades 6-12 are also invited to a workshop on Architectural Drawing led by Westport’s One River Art School on March 25th at 1:30 PM. Explore Pequot Library, sketching the architectural details that catch your eye. All materials will be provided by One River. 
Tune in for a digital author talk with New York Times bestselling historical fiction author Pam Jenoff about her newest book Code Name Sapphire, on March 28th at 7:00 PM. It's 1942, and Hannah Martel has narrowly escaped Nazi Germany and finds herself in Brussels. With no safe way to leave, she must return to the dangerous underground work she thought she had left behind. This talk is produced in partnership with the Library Speakers Consortium. 

Scholars Kyle Roberts and Laura Wasowicz lead an online evening discussion on March 30th at 5:30 PM about the influence and impact of "The New England Primer", the text that brought secular content to the children of New England, ushering in a new era of learning. This program is developed in conjunction with the Library’s "Alphabets, Bedtime Stories, and Cautionary Tales: Children’s Books and the Shaping of American Identity" exhibition, on view through May 6th. Meet at the Library for a live screening of the online program, hosted by Charlie McMahon, Adult Programs Manager. 
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