Monday, January 24, 2011

Getting Down on the Cellular Level

I think some of us have been here before, that place where "(A)ll at once the whole joint goes quiet and all the wavy lines go straight." In darker, distant days, I usually got here through synthetic means so drinking my life straight, out of a tall glass in a small city during a cold New England winter is quite an eye opener. But considering where each of us could be, I'm grateful so many think I'm where I should be, as I wonder about what could be and if we have the courage to become the people we hope we are.

This week in Norwich it's meetings and melon balls but, sadly, we're all out of melon balls.

This morning at 8:30 in the Planning Department conference room at 23 Union Street it's a special meeting of the Dangerous Buildings Board of Review who have two particular concerns on their plate. Speaking of the Reid and Hughes building, this afternoon at five in Room 210 of City Hall it's a regular meeting of the Redevelopment Agency, who, looking at their December meeting minutes draft are continuing to work on brownfields analysis, which, as economic development moves from talk to action, will become more and more important.

At seven thirty tonight in Council Chambers the City Council meets for a 'goal setting session and city manager evaluation process.' There's something, at least to me, slightly Samuel Beckettesque, about this whole process but we have to start somewhere and this will do, because it has to to.

Tomorrow at 3:30 in the conference room at the Central Office (across from the Norwichtown Green) it's a regular meeting of the Board of Education's Policy Committee whose most recent meeting minutes, posted on the school's website, are from October (file under 'langsam aber sicher') . Speaking of somewhat dated minutes meeting minutes, at five in the City Manager's office, it's a regular meeting of the Harbor Advisory Committee, whose most recent posted (draft) minutes are from August (the September link on the municipal website doesn't work).

If you like value in your municipal meetings, you'd be hard pressed to top the double header starting at six at 16 Golden Street in the Norwich Public Utilities conference room as the Board of Public Utilities Commissioners and then the Sewer Authority hold their regular meetings. The most current minutes of either board's meetings are from September which is a bit disquieting in light of all the activities in which the Department of Public Utilities is engaged.

There's another double header starting at six-thirty in the Planning Department conference room on 23 Union Street. First up, it's a special meeting (because the regular meeting last week was cancelled, then the agenda was enhanced and the meeting was rescheduled) of the Commission on the City Plan. For those following current events by only reading headlines, on the agenda tonight is a recommendation on the attempt to purchase the former YMCA. For those intending to attend, the agenda doesn't seem to have an opportunity for public comment. And, as I understand, the parameters of review for the CCP are very structured and defined by the City Plan itself, as opposed to any other considerations. Following that meeting there will be a 7 PM gathering of the Plan of Conservation and Development (PoCaD, say I) subcommittee to start that decennial project.

Wednesday at 3:30, in their Central Office conference room, all systems are go for a regular meeting of the Norwich Board of Education Building and Space Committee, none of whose meeting agenda or minutes you will find here. Interesting (to me) is a listing also on the city's website for this same committee to meet Thursday at four o'clock-sounding like if you want to go, maybe you should call the Central office, 860-823-4200, and get the real where and when. Good luck, Major Tom (I adore the idea of a 'space committee' even though I know no rockets were harmed in the formation of it; it's a fine line between aufgeloest and losgeloest), to infinity and beyond!

At five thirty, the Dangerous Buildings Board of Review, who had a special meeting at the crack of dawn this morning, will hold a regular meeting in the Planning Department conference room at 23 Union Street.

At six, there's a regular meeting of the Recreation Advisory Board in the Rec Department offices alongside of Dickenman Field. The December draft meeting minutes are here, and just a note: the City Charter recognizes two states of being for meetings: present and absent. One or zero. There is no such thing as 'excused.'

At six thirty in the basement conference room of the Planning Department at 23 Union Street, it's a regular meeting of the 751 North Main Street Committee whose most recent meeting minutes on the city's website are from 2009. And also at six-thirty in Room 210 of City Hall it's the rescheduled (from last week) meeting of the Sachem Fund Board. The May 2010 draft minutes are here and, not that anyone has asked, I think the ordinance language that created the fund serves as a pretty good mission statement; perhaps we need to read it again before we start knocking on the Board's meeting table and asking for money.

At seven in their conference room at the Course on the New London Turnpike, there's a regular meeting of the Golf Course Authority. Someone was telling me the other day there are courses in Alaska where folks play golf all year round, thinking about the snow we have here, and because of visibility the golfers have yellow balls. In light of the temperature here in recent days, I'm thinking more like blue and how uncomfortable winter golf might be.

Thursday morning at 7:30 in their offices at 77 Main Street, it's a regular meeting of the Norwich Community Development Corporation Board of Directors. And while I can't find the agenda or previous meeting minutes on either the city's website or the NCDC site, I suspect you can complain bitterly about the Confluence of the Forces of Evil and how you are but a hapless, hopeless and helpless victim or you can drop a note to Shelley and she will send you whatever you request.

There's talk of a Saturday meeting, perhaps at the Central fire house maybe at nine though there's nothing yet on the city calendar so I guess we'll have to wait and see or see and wait. Or fish and whistle if you're so inclined. This past Saturday I met a life-long resident of Norwich (despite her luck finally ending, she was a very good sport about meeting me) who was quite eloquent when speaking about the importance of everyone's involvement in our city-and that's as true for where you live as it is for us here in The Rose of New England. All it takes is a cup of Joe and a Vicks inhaler; now you're ready for the big boy game.
-bill kenny

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