I wish to start this column off by thanking all the participants in the Memorial Day Parade. Perfect weather and an opportunity to thanks all our veterans. Those who are still with us and those we lost as they defended our freedoms. A special thanks to the American Legion and their Commander George Besse and all the members for their hard work in organizing the parade. I am proud to be a member of the Legion. In enjoying the day and the fellowship, it gave me the idea for this column. We know that in many ways this country is divided politically, and to a lesser degree, so is Ridgefield. However, except for some rare exceptions in letters to the editor where the terms Nazi and liars are used (which do not promote an exchange of ideas, but shed more heat than light), our discussions have been civil. Divisive comments do nothing to advance discussions on the issues that face us. We know this year that local elections will take place and hopefully we can have an open debate on how one wants to make Ridgefield even better than it is. One encouraging step in that direction was the recent opinion piece in the Press outlining the goals of non-partisanship for a stronger Ridgefield. Especially in the areas of Neighborhood Preservation and the environment. Many neighborhood alliances have been formed with one basic goal --Preserve Ridgefield. Along those lines, kudos to Alex Harris, Chairman of the DTC, and Hope Wise, Chairperson of the RTC. They are trying to work on a cooperative plan for candidates for the newly created Inland Wetlands Board. The idea being that this board will need qualified people who have the knowledge and experience in conservation efforts, and that party labels in this instance should not matter. Ridgefield faces many challenges down the road. How do we balance the need for Ridgefield to grow, and still maintain its small-town feeling? Traffic, open space preservation, safety on our roads just to name a few. Will we have to deal with reduced aid from the state? Will more mandates be passed on to the local communities, and how will that affect local taxes? All legitimate issues, that will be debated during the upcoming local elections as they should be. These debates need to occur in a civilized manner. As the saying goes, "disagreement without being disagreeable". In the meantime, summer will be here soon. There are many recreational opportunities in our Town. From outdoor activates to the cultural events that occur on a daily basis that one can take part in. They are what makes Ridgefield so unique. One cautionary note, as we head into summer. School will soon be out, and many young people will be out on our roads. Be careful. Slow down. Stay off the mobile phones while driving and while crossing the street. Enjoy your summer and I look forward to the continued debate on the issues that affect Ridgefield. Dick Moccia is a member of the Board of Finance and the Ridgefield Republican Town Committee. He is also the former Mayor of Norwalk.