Monday, September 28, 2009

Calendar Pages and Autumn Leaves Often Fall Together

The first full week of Autumn is approaching its end (which means, since I'm a half-full glass kind of guy, winter is closer now than it was last Monday, BUT the end of winter is also a week closer) and with baseball playoffs, moving vans rolling through the Business Park shipping the Double-A team to the South, and high school, college and pro football all battling for our attention while the gridlock in Washington DC (Disruptive Contention) continues, there's the one-foot-in-front-of-the-other of daily life on this Big Blue Marble to which to attend.

And we're the ones who do it-and sometimes, inadvertently (and other times maliciously) do it to one another. I tried one day last week to count all the local elections going on across these fifty mostly United States and gave up as the number was staggering. That doesn't mean we shouldn't care or that we should become passive-on the contrary. "I am only one, But still I am one. I cannot do everything, But still I can do something; And because I cannot do everything I will not refuse to do the something that I can do."

Part of what makes this country this country and not somebody elses' are the tens of billions of hours of volunteer effort that we invest in making where we live a better place. You doubt my number? Go to your local town hall and see where the notices of meetings are posted-then find out how many of your neighbors are involved in the various groups that are meeting, and calculate the amount of time those meetings take (And don't forget to add the prep time and the follow-up time). How's that calculator doing now? Yeah, that's what I thought. Meanwhile this week in The Rose City....

This afternoon at five, in Room 210, says the city's website it's a regular meeting of the Redevelopment Agency whose August meeting was cancelled. Curious about the July meeting whose minutes are posted-if five of nine members was a quorum, how many votes does it take to get a motion passed if not all five? And while I understand (or say I do) that meeting agenda are not required by State law to be posted on municipal websites, again, why is there space to post it, and a history of their having been previously posted. Curiouser and curiouser.

Tuesday afternoon at 5:30 it's a special meeting of the Norwich Hospital Site Development Committee ('special because they would normally have met yesterday, Yom Kippur), in Room 335 of City Hall. I don't know where most of the previous meeting minutes are-they're NOT on the city's website. I have them, because Bob Mills, who is helping steer this group, sent them to me because I asked for them and will send them to you as well if you drop him a note at Here's the meeting agenda.

Not to put too fine a point on this, this project is about to reach critical mass, and unless you enjoyed the spectacle of angry voices in Council Chambers protesting the Regional Intermodal Transportation Center, Byron Brook, or a dozen other projects across the city whose public hearings were sparsely attended by an absent and/or indifferent public, find the time to get engaged and get to a meeting, because the public is welcome and welcomed. Heck, they let me sit in on the meetings; they'll embrace you with open arms.

Also Tuesday, at six at 16 Golden Street in the Norwich Public Utilities (NPU) building is a special meeting of the NPU Board of Commissioners and the Sewer Authority.

And Tuesday at seven, on the Norwich Free Academy campus, in the Slater Museum auditorium is the first (finally!!!) debate among the four men seeking to be the next Mayor of our city, Mark Bettencourt, Peter Nystrom, Joseph Radecki and Robert Zarnetske. I've already watched the snippets on Voice for Votes website until I can do all their answers by heart. The format calls for the moderator, Ray Hackett, of the Norwich Bulletin to ask each candidate the same questions in the course of one ninety minute session. Wear a coat as it's possible a very warm place will get extremely cold before some of those on stage successfully speak in other than bromides and empty platitudes. The two things we no longer need in our next Mayor.

Wednesday evening at half-past seven, if you live in Norwich and have yet to register to vote, or if you're a registered voter who will NOT be in Norwich on Election Day and need an absentee ballot, or have any other concerns or questions about your rights (and responsibilities) as a voter, be in Room 335 as the Office of the Registrar of Voters has special hours to make sure as many of those citizens who wish to be involved can be. Still not setting off any bells? Click here and learn more-each one, teach one.

On Thursday, a local newspaper suggests there's a workshop sponsored by the Connecticut Parent Advocacy Center at six in Room 335 of City Hall--a workshop the Center's own website doesn't list, but it, in turn, has other activities very deserving of further interest.

Closing out the week at seven on Thursday in the basement conference room of 23 Union Street it's a meeting of the Inland Wetlands, Watercourses and Conservation Commission. Their meeting on 3 September was cancelled so this, I'm assuming is a special meeting or at the very least, a different meeting. Bring a date and dine by the whites of their eyes.

Yeah, I know, there's band practice after school and the falling leaves will not rake themselves-though how cool would that be? And there are a hundred other reasons for leaving all the lugging and tugging to someone else, but I suspect Washington had better things to do a long time ago on a cold winter's night when someone said 'there's a rowboat across the Delaware in ten minutes, George, be on it.' There will always be another river to cross so let's hope it's always standing room only in the boat as we all put our backs into the oars.
-bill kenny

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