Saturday, March 29, 2008

Gilligan, meet Hollyhock

Norwich had a distinguished visitor yesterday, and I suppose just his being in the Rose of New England was news (enough) and it's a bit selfish of me to expect that in addition to being news, he also make some news, but still.....

For Senator Chis Dodd, the senior senator from Connecticut, whose career took off after he was elected to Congress from the district comprised mostly of Southeast Connecticut, it was a homecoming of sorts and a home game politically after a pretty rough road trip in recent months. Senator Dodd had declared himself as a candidate for the Democratic Party nomination for President back in those heady days when it seemed almost everyone was running (on both sides of the aisle). I don't honestly know if he would have made a 'good' President though I liked his ideas on funding and financing college education (and with a child halfway through Eastern Connecticut on money she's borrowing, I admit to a certain bias), but the idea is beyond moot since the Senator really never seemed to get any traction and eventually withdrew.

That, for those he represents here in Connecticut, was and is good news, of course, since it means he can go back to working full-time for us in Washington (Can't claim to have liked that he enrolled one of his children in a public school somewhere in Iowa because he'd moved his family out there while he campaigned before the Iowa caucus.) and here he was in Norwich yesterday to offer us, as I read the news accounts this morning, a BGO (Blinding Glimpse of the Obvious). He thinks the proposed waste water treatment plant that Norwich Public Utilities wishes to build is a fine idea and a very worthy regional issue. And he continues to support the Inter-Modal Transportation Center (I'm a bit fuzzy on this one. Inter-modal suggests more than one type of thing, right? In this case, buses and cars and trains? or Planes? or Helicopters?). Both of them would be constructed on Hollyhock Island which is NOT at all like Gullah-Gullah Island but at times does remind me of where Gilligan hung out.

We have a place where all the South East Area Transit (SEAT, get it?) buses cross now, a big parking lot behind the once-old-now rebuilt Otis Library, below and beyond the Laurel Hill Bridge and rusted Providence and Worcester Railroad trestle (do you think the P & W will paint it, or at least clean it, before next July's SemiSeptennial? Me neither) which puts a LOT of travelers more or less downtown. The new bus station (sorry, inter-modal transportation center is just too unwieldy to keep typing, and too abstract to keep thinking about) will be across town, in essence in the confluence of the rivers and conveniently located next to .....well, next to the waste water treatment facility.

All of this is very worthwhile and to some sounds like a good first draft in need of a little more work and there are fine and dedicated people tweaking it, I'm sure. As it turns out, there's a little more time because Senator Dodd's visit on Friday wasn't to announce 'here's the money' or even 'here's some of the money.' He stood under a tent and explained to Norwich leaders what they already knew: both projects are really good ideas and he'll work to get both of them accomplished. considering the number of other options he could have taken, I guess this was a heartening gesture, but I don't really think it was news, much less front page news in the regional sections of both local newspapers.

Technically, and I hate to be a stickler, it wasn't news at all. He came up to Norwich to tell us he didn't have anything 'new' to tell us about these two projects and his announcement of 'nothing new' became news. I'm not sure if that's alchemy, but I think it involves mirrors or should.

Skipper? Yes, L'il Buddy, what is it? The Professor just figured out how to build Grand Central Station out of coconuts and Mr. Howell wants to have a threesome in the backseat of a Greyhound bus heading to Des Moines with Ginger and Maryanne. Somebody, quick! Call the newspapers and get that tent back up!
-bill kenny

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