Upfront, none of the meetings in the Rose City this week have the promise of drama or trauma of last Monday's City Council meeting ("Give me active adults over 55 years of age, or give me a zoning variance") or Thursday's third installment of the Mayor's Economic Round Table (this time on Property Owned by a Private Corporation Not Interested Enough in What Was Going On to Attend) but the issues confronting our fellow citizens and residents are important and their decisions help shape the way ahead and the road forward for all of us here in Norwich.
Speaking of which, tomorrow afternoon at 5 in the Public Works Office at 50 Clinton Avenue (you know where Norwich Ten Pin is? That neighborhood) is the Public Works and Capital Improvements Committee meeting. This is technically a standing committee of the City Council which is why its three permanent members are aldermen, Messrs. Bettencourt, Coutu and Desaulniers. Wondering about the progress of infrastructure improvements or investments in Norwich? These are the people to ask, and this is the forum in which to do it.
At 6:45 PM in the Otis Library (and where, btw, is the handicapped parking for the library? It's not in front of the building nor on the side street. I hate to say 'nowhere' so I'll just say I don't see it anywhere) is a meeting of the Downtown Neighborhood Revitalization Zone Committee. I've no idea as to its membership, goals or progress. But if you go, you could share what you learned and I'd help spread the word. Promise.
And, sort of dovetailing (at least in my mind) at 7 PM is the Zoning Board of Appeals meeting at 23 Union Street. The ZBA is a five person panel who do not have one of the easier, volunteer jobs in our city.
Wednesday shapes up as an informal Day of the Child, judging from the meetings slated to include the Children First Norwich Readiness Council at 9 in the morning at the conference room in the Dime Savings Bank on Route 82. Their website is looking for volunteers and since their Events page is a release written in the future pluperfect tense about something that happened thirteen months previously, that might be a place to help out.
There's a Board of Directors meeting in their media center at 5:30 PM for the Integrated Day Charter School to whom the Norwich Board of Education chose almost a decade ago to not grant a local charter (click here for an interesting comparison of this school to all public schools not only in Norwich but in Connecticut). My two children spent parts of their growing up years in Integrated Day when it was three classrooms tucked into the downstairs of the William Buckingham School on Washington Street.
At 6:30 PM. the Youth and Family Services Committee (you'll find them on the City's website as the Youth Service Advisory Board) meet in Room 335 of City Hall and the Norwich Golf Authority hold their monthly meeting at the Golf Course at 7. PM. Remember to replace your divots (that's all I know about golf-that, and what Mark Twain once noted about it ).
Thursday has a meeting at ten in the morning of the Housing Authority, whose website information is 180 degrees out from reality in terms of time they meet and where.
The Board of Commissioners of Public Utilities (the folks who have something to say about the rates for sewers, water, natural gas and electricity) will hold their meeting at four PM in the Courtyard by Marriott over on West Town Street (perhaps all the rooms in City Hall were booked for other events) with a 5 PM meeting of the Historic District Commission in Room 210 of City Hall (I guess not all the rooms were booked) and a 6 PM meeting of the Ice Rink Authority at the Ice Rink rounding out the week except for....
Also Thursday night, starting at 6:30 in the Rose City Senior Center, but most certainly NOT restricted to seniors, is a health-care accountability session sponsored by the Caring Families Coalition. I'm hoping this is an attempt to get everyone who provides and/or receives health care in the room at the same time to better work on a large-scale concept of accessible and affordable universal care as opposed to pouting, posturing and finger-pointing so many of us confuse with 'solving the problem.'
We all hope for the best when addressing issues so large and complex they threaten to engulf us that we often forget hope is not a plan. We mean well with no way to do well. With tens of millions of uninsured Americans, it's hard to imagine a more pressing issue nationally or locally that needs a resolution. To have a conclusion, though, we need to start-maybe Thursday is when we do that.
Some years ago there was a quote I enjoyed because it sounded great, 'it takes a village to raise a child' but its specific meaning got lost in the tall grass. It became a truism without ever being the truth and the thought really should have been 'it takes a village to raise a village.'
It does take each of us, every day in some way, to improve where we live for ourselves, our families and our neighbors. You don't have to live in Norwich to make a difference to those of us who live here, and vice versa. Ask John Donne after the bells stop ringing.