We're approaching the shortest day of the year next week, though as we start to accelerate the rate of travel in the circles we're running as Christmas shopping days dwindle down, you might think you're living through the shortest day of the year every day until the 25th.
Meanwhile, government back and small, marches on with the Connecticut legislature set to convene in special session tomorrow to take another crack at balancing the current year's budget which no one involved in believed was actually viable when it finally months late. Yeah, I, too, am amazed that somehow all the vaporware and magic arithmetic didn't work. I wonder whose pocket will get picked and--waitaminit, I can't find my wallet.....
Here in The Rose of New England the business of local government is in good hands as neighbors work to do what they can for all of us by helping out each of us starting this afternoon at five in room 209 of City Hall with a regular meeting of the Volunteer Firefighters' Relief Fund Committee (you can find the draft minutes of the September meeting on the municipal website).
Also at five (and NOT a word about it on the City's meeting schedule) is a regular meeting of the Ethics Review Commission in Room 335. If you are interested in becoming a member of this commission (where have I heard this before?), there's a link to the application on the same page of the website. Tip on Room 335-sit up front as the acoustics are horrendous and you can't hear a thing beyond the first row.
There's a budget forum sponsored by State Representative Chris Coutu (R-47) before he heads back to Hartford on Tuesday to try to keep his House and Senate colleagues from continuing their attempt to make jet fuel from peanut oil. It starts at seven and runs until nine in Room 335 of City Hall (and just me, is it not funny that a discussion on state finances would follow a meeting on municipal ethics? I love God's sense of humor.)
Tuesday in the Otis Library starting at five thirty and slated to run until 7:30, it's the Rose City Renaissance Holiday Celebration, Community Update and Awards Presentation (How'd you like to have put all of that on the invitation?). Lots of well-deserved recognition for many talented people, working in and for a downtown district that has, for me, gamely struggled and must be admired for never giving up on itself.
You'll have to leave the party early if you're going to get to the Norwich Public Utilities offices on Golden Street by six for a regular meeting of the Board of Public Utilities Commissioners (which appears to have a vacancy by the way. Perhaps you're interested in applying) with a bonus, so to speak, of a regular Sewer Authority meeting to immediately follow. The minutes of both of their regular November meetings are on the NPU website.
The Commission on the City Plan has a regular meeting at seven in the basement conference room at 23 Union Street. I've not been able to locate the agenda as it's not on the city's website (doesn't need to, in accordance with the public law on meetings (I was told), but they're usually very good about posting it). As you probably know from the local papers, last week's special meeting on the Norwich Hospital Site purchase resulted in a negative recommendation to the City Council, meaning a 'super majority', five votes of seven, to acquire it will be necessary.
The Downtown Neighborhood Revitalization Zone meets at seven at Artwork to Empower (no idea where that is) and SUPER job by the committee in assuring their meeting minutes are posted in a timely fashion. I never tire of reading the (draft of the) June minutes on the city's website, which is a good thing, as that's all that's posted there. I'm a little surprised the 337 Main Street slide show for the Rec Department hasn't ended up on the website as well.
The regular monthly meeting of the Personnel and Pension Board has been cancelled and their piece of the municipal website could do with an update on members' terms expirations and November agenda and minutes.
Wednesday morning at eight thirty in their offices in the Norwich Business Park is a regular meeting of the Southeastern Connecticut Council of Governments who serve as a reminder that while at times each city and town may feel adrift in the ocean, it is the same ocean and together we are smarter and better than each of us alone.
Wednesday at nine in the Community Room of the Dime Savings Bank on Route 82 is a regular meeting of the Norwich School Readiness Council (Children First), whose efforts, I'm sure, are laudable and deserving of all the support we can give but whose efforts at telling me what they do and how they do it in anything vaguely approximating a timely fashion are, at best, execrable. One of the sites, in explaining the political climate in Norwich, describes a precinct system that disappeared after Charter Revision in March of 2001.
Thursday's Historic District Commission meeting has been cancelled, but Thursday morning at 9:30 in their offices in the Norwich Business Park, just down the street from Dodd Stadium (whatever happened to the idea of a NY-Penn League team to take the place of the now-departed Defenders?), is a regular meeting of the Connecticut Municipal Electric Energy Cooperative (I'm hoping that's not a real-time photo on the website), another example of cooperation across town lines that benefits everyone if we make the effort.
And Thursday at five, in the conference at The Rink, is a regular meeting of the Ice Arena Authority, whose meeting minutes are nowhere to be found on the city's website and whose members' appointments expired years ago, but certainly not their sense of dedication to working as best they can to help make sure the rink is one of the coolest places in Norwich. So, no matter how many awful puns are made at its expense, this is my town.