Op-Ed: A Case for Healthcare in Future ARPA Funding

The American Rescue Plan Act has delivered a one-time COVID-era windfall of just over $6 million to the town of New Canaan. While some of these funds have already been spent or earmarked for specific projects, we are fortunate to be able to have a public debate as to how a portion of the remaining funds should be spent. 

The current spike in infections from the Omicron variant tells us two important things: first, this virus will continue to mutate and is not going to disappear overnight; and second, the economic and health related effects of the pandemic are likely to linger for some time. That makes our choices as to how to spend the one-time Federal ARPA funds so critically important. 

Thanks to exceptional local leadership during the pandemic, coupled with our town’s consistently prudent stewardship of municipal finances, it is my hope that we can wisely invest these funds in a way that has a positive impact on life, wellness, and healthcare services for our New Canaan residents. 

Before I make any suggestions, I need to cover some background. 

I write to you wearing many hats; I am a local resident, taxpayer, business owner, volunteer, former Board Chair of the New Canaan Community Foundation, and current Board Chair of the Waveny LifeCare Network. I believe my collective experiences provide a unique and insightful perspective on our community’s needs. 

In my work with NCCF during a Strategic Planning process in 2018, we identified Behavioral Health as a specific area requiring focus within our New Canaan Community. At that time, we identified a vast array of resources provided by many exceptional organizations; however, it was not necessarily easy for anyone in need to gain access quickly, efficiently, or effectively to the right services for their specific needs. 

Through a series of focus groups and other work, NCCF’s Behavioral Health Committee outlined a series of steps that could help bridge the gap between individuals and families to available services.

Op-Ed: The Right Time and Place for Senior Independent Living

At Tuesday evening’s Planning & Zoning Commission meeting, I made closing comments on behalf of Waveny LifeCare Network and in support of their proposed development on Oenoke Ridge. The hearing on this application was held open until the Jan. 28 P&Z meeting. I am writing to share those thoughts with all members of the New Canaan Community, in hopes that residents might spend time over the holidays considering the issue:

My name is Leo Karl III, an almost lifelong resident, business owner, and current vice chair of the Waveny LifeCare Network Board. On behalf of myself, everyone at Waveny and the residents of New Canaan, I extend a huge ‘thank you’ to the members of New Canaan’s Planning & Zoning Commission.

Op-Ed: New Canaan Rotary Club’s Efforts to Combat Polio

Thursday, October 24, 2019 is World Polio Day. What do we care about Polio here in New Canaan? Plenty. Today there are many local residents who have been personally affected by polio or who know of a family member or friend who has been affected. We have other neighbors who may be completely unaware of polio’s impact on the world.

Letter: ‘Profound Sadness and Loss’ of Substance Misuse

Dear Editor, 

We are writing with an open invitation asking our New Canaan Community to come together for a common cause. This cause may not be the topic of conversation at the club this weekend and it won’t spark the next trendy fashions on Elm Street. But it affects each and every one of us. 

As local residents, businessmen and volunteers, we have personally read too many stories of young people leaving us way too soon. We have seen too many adults not be able to function to their fullest potential. And we have seen too many seniors not be able to fully enjoy what should be their golden years.

Letter: ‘Thank You’ from God’s Acre Christmas Caroling Committee

While the carols and the Christmas Eve gathering remained the same, this year marked a changing of the guard in terms of leadership for the annual God’s Acre Christmas Caroling. 

A century ago, when John E. Hersam, then publisher of the New Canaan Advertiser, along with other members of the Town Band, invited friends and neighbors to God’s Acre for Christmas Eve Caroling, he likely had no idea he was helping to launch one of the quintessential New Canaan traditions. Thus, at the start of this year’s Carol Singing, it was fitting that V. Donald Hersam, and the entire Hersam family, was publicly thanked for their 100 year stewardship of this wonderful community event. 

With the sale of the Advertiser to Hearst last fall, the Hersams have transitioned stewardship of this annual event to a new God’s Acre Christmas Caroling Committee. We are each honored to help carry on this amazing tradition. 

Even though this is a free event open to all, there are annual costs associated with hosting it. This year we want to thank Tim Brown, from Brown Thayer Shedd Insurance, for stepping forward to underwrite construction of the bandstand and Rand Insurance for underwriting the cost of the song sheets provided that evening. We thank each individual and local family who sent in donations to help defray the costs.