Monday, May 25, 2009

Norwich Meetings (Short Week)

With today being the Memorial Day holiday, consider this another reminder for those in and around Norwich: there's an observance this morning at ten in Taftville over at the Memorial Park and then this afternoon, stepping off at two, is a parade from St Pat's Cathedral to Chelsea Parade. The guest speaker this morning is State Representative Christopher Coutu, a Taftville native (it's one 'm' in homage, btw). Would hope to see you at one and/or the other and if you're not from here, no worries as there's plenty of room for friends we haven't yet met.

In terms of municipal meetings, the holiday shortens the week, or if you're a pessimist, concentrates the calendar (you decide). Either raise the river or lower the bridge as a well-known local real estate novelist is fond of saying.

Tuesday afternoon at 3:30 in the main offices at 90 Town Street, opposite the Norwichtown Green, is a meeting of the Norwich Public Schools' Board of Education Policy Committee. Good luck finding the meeting agenda and/or minutes of previous meetings. When my wife and I had children in the school system, I made it a point to attend many of the Board's meetings as well as its sub-committee meetings and was always dismayed at how few parents were in attendance.

This was in the Dark Ages in the early days of dial-up and I'm impressed with how parental participation can be controlled now by just not sharing information that, by law, must be shared. Thank goodness we no longer teach civics in our schools, Madame Superintendent or Mr. Board Chairman! We'd be hard-pressed to explain to the children what we were doing, eh?

Also Tuesday afternoon at five in Room 219 of City Hall is a regular meeting of the Harbor Management Commission. Here's the March meeting minutes (they had NO April meeting) and I was disappointed to read, or more precisely, to not read how near the Heritage Trail is to being reopened. It's been closed (that area near the Sweeney Bridge) pretty much since the mini-golf course caught on fire which was about two years ago(?). Never understood why it took so long for that to all get secured. Then it was closed as the rehab work on Howard Brown Park was going on but the March meeting minutes suggest the work's about over (and just in time for the semiseptcentennial), so I'm trying to understand why we wouldn't want visitors to enjoy the river walk (and the residents, too).

And Tuesday night at seven, there's a twofer (of sorts), at the Norwich Public Utilities Offices at 16 Golden Street with a regular meeting of the Board of Public Utilities and a public hearing on proposed new sewer rates by the Sewer Authority.

Wednesday afternoon at three o'clock in Room 210 of City Hall is a regular, I presume, meeting of the Community Development. Advisory Committee whose minutes of NONE of their previous meetings are posted on line, in violation of CT Public Law (and people wonder why so many of us mis/distrust our government. Gee, I wonder about that, too).

Speaking of violating public law, at 4:30 in their offices at 10 Westwood Park, is a (special) meeting of the Norwich Housing Authority. I assume it's special since they supposedly meet on the second Wednesday of each month and the 27th is certainly not the second Wednesday.

Later in the afternoon, at 5:30 in the basement conference room at 23 Union Street is a regular meeting of the Board of Review of Dangerous Buildings. Here's a copy of the April meeting minutes (read just the paragraph on the lack of cleanup at 219-231 Central Avenue (where that big fire was); it's an eye opener), and here's the meeting agenda for Wednesday night.

Sort of as a follow-up to a meeting last week (and that got launched at the April meeting of the Board of Review of Dangerous Buildings) are the next meetings of the two sub-committees on what to do with 21 West Thames Street (at 6:15) and 751 North Main Street (at 6:30). Yeah, it does look like someone got a 'Writing Meeting Agenda for Dummies' Book, but if that's all the law requires, that's all the law requires.

At seven o'clock in their meeting room at the Golf Course is a regular monthly meeting of the Golf Course Authority. Here's a draft of their April minutes. Between you and me, I'm not sure what to make of the mention of deferring membership (under chairman's report) since as I read the charter, decisions as to who is and who isn't on advisories, boards, commissions and committees are made by the City Council and not the members of a committee.

Thursday morning at eight in their offices at 75 Main Street is a regular meeting of the Norwich Community Development Corporation, which still has no website to speak of but is edging closer, they say, to standing one up. If you were interested in either the agenda or the minutes, or both, Mr.Bob Mills, the Executive Director, told me to drop him a note and he'll send them out (which, until they can be posted in compliance with the law is as good as it gets). He's at And, remember: if you don't ask, you don't get.

Thursday night at seven, in Room 335 of City Hall, is a regular meeting of the Democratic Town Committee. I understand anyone can attend but you have to be a registered member of the Democratic Party to be able to speak (I heard a rumor Saturday there will be free Jell-O shooters after the meeting. Considering I got that rumor started two weeks ago, I wondered what took so long for it to get back to me).

The July meeting is when theoretically, if there's to be an endorsement for mayor and city council, it will happen. My feelings on the mayoral nominee are well-known and I won't bore you with that (okay, maybe a little), but I will say I'm (more than) a bit disappointed the DTC hasn't (so far) sponsored ANY opportunities for debate and discussion between the two candidates who've announced they are seeking the nomination. That there's a shortage of democratic choice (with a little d) in the Democratic (with a Big D) Town Committee is funny, except for the sad part.

Of course, I'm used to being a punch line and tend to dress for the part. Judging from most of the other people I see, we're buying our clothes in bulk, discounting everything we see and passing the savings directly on to you. Cash or charge (it to future generations)? See you at something this week?
-bill kenny

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