Monday, July 12, 2010

To the best of intentions

Despite humidity and high temperatures, the business of local government continues and Norwich, while not exactly glowing like the metal on the edge of a knife, has a reasonably full calendar of goings on and gettings done, more than worth a mention and a moment of your time.

This afternoon at five, in Room 210 of City Hall it's a regular meeting of the Ethics Commission who held a special meeting a fortnight or so ago to offer an opinion on a proposal involving the Mayor and paid travel by folks far away for mutual public benefit, or so it was said. Reading the minutes, I think the wrong people were asked, and were asking, the wrong questions. Of course there's an expectation of a quid pro quo when you travel on someone else's dime, that's human nature. Long term I want to know who will the Mayor meet and what will he tell them about the city you and me call home? If the Mayor's job is economic development, he should have a budget, a schedule and a package of messages targeted to potential partners and we can skip all this dancing around.

Tuesday morning at 8:30 in the community room of the Dime Bank on Route 82, it's a regular meeting of the Youth Service Advisory Board. I'd assume some of the proceedings will be devoted to answering the two questions posed at the May meeting. If you need an incentive to attend, remember, "refreshments will be served."

Tuesday afternoon at five, in the Central Office across from the Norwichtown Green, the Board of Education holds a special meeting on three topics, per their agenda, though one topic has received press interest.

As a parent who had two children educated through the Norwich Public School system (to include NFA) all I can say is 'it's about time!' the Board of Education and the City looked farther than the ends of their collective noses to mapping the next generation of schools for our children. When Evert, Dr. Bill, Dr. Paul, Nick, Linda, Henry, Dave, Colonel Clay and I were on the Norwich Schools Building and Technology Committee, we failed to get anyone in charge interested in even thinking like our neighbors to the North, in Chelsea, Massachusetts (whom we visited), and now they have a vital and vibrant school system as an integral part of their city and we have sick buildings, decaying infrastructure, declining student populations and diminished standardized test scores. If you care at all about Norwich schools for the next quarter of a century, you'll make this meeting.

Also at five Tuesday in the Director's office at 50 Clinton Avenue, it's a regular meeting of the Public Works and Capital Improvements Committee. Based on the public turnout last Tuesday for the presentation on the Sherman Street Bridges Rehab (just me), capital improvements seems to be something we don't think you need to know much about to have an opinion, come budget time.

And Tuesday night at seven, the Zoning Board of Appeals meets in the basement conference room of the Planning Department at 23 Union Street.

And Wednesday evening at six, in Room 210 of City Hall, it's a regular meeting of the Norwich Baseball Stadium Authority whose meetings usually last less time than it takes to get fries, franks and two adult beverages at Dodd Stadium during a Tigers' game (and the concession guys move like lightning).

Where we live gets better a little bit at a time as each of us rolls up a sleeve and lends a hand. Find your passion and don't just make a difference, be the difference.
-bill kenny

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