Monday, June 1, 2009

If Wishes Were Horses

Welcome to June. Graduations, marriages, state legislators unable to agree to budgets-all the fun stuff going on 24/7. Before I offer an attempted overview of this week's municipal meetings in Norwich, let me pass along an item I think you'll appreciate. In recent years and attendance at a variety of municipal meetings, I've encountered a gentleman who's elevated being a good citizen to an art. It's only fair, as today starts a month that marks the 350th anniversary of the founding of Norwich that I should celebrate some of his art and ask you to do the same.

Keith Ripley used his photography and web skills to create his own celebration of the Norwich Semiseptcentennial with imagery of some of the buildings built in Norwich's heyday that are still around as well as historical information and some just plain old picturesque views. There are three different flavors, and plenty for everyone so I hope you enjoy them as much as I did:

YouTube - ; Picasa - and Panoramio -

Today is a good day to have track shoes on because you'll need them for all the important meetings going on all over the city, beginning at four o'clock this afternoon at their offices across from the Norwichtown Green when the Board of Education Budget Expenditure Committee holds a special meeting. Of course, the Norwich Public Schools' website doesn't have the minutes of their committee's last regular or special meeting-it has NO minutes at all, but I'm no longer surprised, are you?

I think, strictly speaking, the notice of special meeting on the city's website is illegal as it must contain an agenda (and only what is on the agenda may be the subject of a special meeting). Cynic that I am, it's an example of 'rules are for people who don't know better' that we employ so often here in The Rose City. There's also a special meeting of the entire Board for an expulsion hearing, and as a parent, myself, I think a private matter like this is best left to only those involved in it.

If you're heading to City Hall tonight, better pack dinner. There's an informational meeting by Donald Monti the developer who's lobbying for an opportunity to develop the Norwich portion of the Norwich Hospital Property, though none of that is contained in the oh-so-plain vanilla meeting notice. (BTW, a free ice cream cone to anyone who can translate "(t)he country is currently on the precipice of a cultural renaissance" into actual English. Reads like someone got a Random Phrase Generator for his birthday.) The informational meeting (you don't suppose there'll be PowerPoint slides, do you? I always get nervous and reach for my wallet when a PowerPoint Ranger shows up) starts at six and the City Council meeting follows at 7:30, so this could be a long night, based on the Council agenda.

It looks (to me) as if the Council is hedging its bets that our state legislators won't have a state budget (which means the dollars flowing to the city are not yet known) and rather than approve a city budget that will then have to be re-defined in a matter of days or weeks, we are better served by vamping for a bit of time and waiting to see how this all shakes out in Hartford. It won't be good news for us in any event but I applaud the idea of measuring twice and cutting once-assuming that's what the plan is.

Wednesday evening at seven, in Room 210 of City Hall is a meeting of the Republican Town Committee. Anyone can attend, of course, but to participate you need to be a registered Republican voter. Also at seven, across town at the Rose City Senior Center is the Society of the Founders (of Norwich, Connecticut) Annual Meeting. It's equal parts social interaction and business-here's their 2008-2009 annual report which they'll review as part of their meeting.

And Thursday evening at seven is a regular meeting of the Inland Wetlands, Watercourses and Conservation Commission (all but one of whose members' appointments, not the members themselves (hopefully), expired two years ago) next door to City Hall in the basement conference room of 23 Union St. Here's a draft of their May meeting minutes.

As I mentioned at the top, June marks the start of the Semiseptcentennial observances in Norwich, and a good place to check on activities is right here, in addition to the local papers. Even if you're planning on being around for the Norwich Quadricentennial, why risk missing out on the good times and chance to learn about, and be part of, history? Remember as a kid when the teacher warned you 'that will be part of your permanent record'? Who knew she'd be right? Be hysterical if not historical.
-bill kenny

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