Monday, March 15, 2010

Norwich Meetings 15-19 March 2010

As John Wayne, celluloid hero, observed in The Cowboys, 'we're burnin' daylight' especially now that we've in Daylight Savings Time. This is a week of activities across The Rose of New England suggesting some of us know how to put that hour of additional daylight to good meeting indoors and...well, okay so that sentence started off like gangbusters before fading (what does that remind you of? And, no, I didn't mean your former spouse.)

The Senior Affairs Commission meets at nine this morning in the Rose City Senior Center. The last time they met, says their minutes, was back in November. Considering the number of residents we have who are seniors (some of us are also post-graduates, I might add), it's good that we have such an advocacy group.

At 5:15, in their offices at 1649 Route 12, in Ledyard, is a regular meeting of the Southeastern Water Authority. I still think they should erect a statue of W.C. Fields in front of the building to make it easier to find the building though I can understand their reluctance to do so.

The City Council has a full agenda tonight at seven-thirty in Council Chambers at City Hall (and they had a shortened weekend, after meeting with the Board of Education for the better part of two and half hours Saturday. You'll have to take Andy and Kathleen's word on that as citizen reps as the three of us were the only ones in the room who didn't have a dog in the hunt, but will be paying for the license and the trips to the vet, usw...).

Tuesday afternoon at five-thirty in the Buckingham Memorial building (in downtown, up the street from Otis Library and down the street from where the Y was) is a regular meeting of the Public Parking Commission. Their last meeting was in January (I especially enjoyed the entry, AFTER 'Old Business' entitled 'Anything Else Brought Before the Commission' though my heart always beats faster for 'The Dog Ate the Part We Didn't Like'.) I wish there were some way of involving the Police Department more directly in this commission's work, since, no matter what minutes I read, there's always interaction with the public safety officials before any public parking policy changes are made or implemented. Seems to me the shortest distance between two points are chairs at the same meeting.

At five, in the conference room of the Norwich Public Utilities building at 16 Golden Street it's a special meeting of the Board of Public Utilities' Commissioners.

At 5:30, in the Latham Science center on the campus of the Norwich Free Academy, it's a regular meeting of the Board of Trustees. Considering how relationship NFA and the Norwich Board of Education has in educating our high-school age children, and the amount of money required from the city to accomplish this, I'm always surprised at how few Norwich residents (you don't have to be a parent to have a piece of a tuition bill) have an interest in this institution.

At six in Room 210 of City Hall is a regular meeting of the Personnel and Pension Board, whose members have a major impact on the attractiveness of Norwich as a potential employer, in how they oversee the investment of city employees' money in pension plans. As the turbulence in the world's financial markets in the last eighteen months have, I think, helped underscore, measure twice and cut once.

And at seven in the Planning Department's basement conference room at 23 Union Street, is a regular meeting of the Commission on the City Plan (who've so far NOT been a part of the Saturday workshops the City Council is holding with the 'Alphabet Agencies').

Wednesday morning at eight thirty in their offices in the Norwich Business Park is a regular meeting of the Southeastern Connecticut Council of Government whose website fails to comply with Public Act Number 08-3. So if vague generalizations that SCCOG is doing wonderful, if not especially well-defined 'stuff' for the region is enough for you, worry no more. If it's more specific information you seek, good luck with that.

Later Wednesday morning, at nine, in the Community Meeting Room of The Dime Savings Bank is the Children First Initiative/School Readiness Council meeting. I would assume in times of budget austerity, little is of more importance than effectively marshaling every resource, be it material, financial or human, to support our children's education so in theory I applaud the CFI, except, as always, their website is pathetically out of date and completely ineffectual as a means of information and/or persuasion on the issues they are facing face and how can help them better succeed. You'll miss every shot you NEVER take.

Thursday at five, in Room 210 of City Hall, is a regular meeting of the Historic District Commission. There's a been a lot of discussion on historic or heritage tourism and the advantages and costs involved in such an initiative. Where the rubber meets the road on these ideas is where the members of this commission are located. There are January meeting minutes but none from February.

And at six, in their conference room in the Ice Rink on the New London Turnpike, it's a regular meeting of the Ice Rink Authority who had, as a reading of their February minutes indicates, a very successful winter in terms of business and visitors. I've been accused of skating for years, but it's great to see a part of the community for over a decade and a half continue to expand its outreach and enhance the quality of life of not just the residents of Norwich, but of all those who use it.

That's it for the official meetings for this week. If you'd like to become a part of something bigger than yourself and not only make a difference, but be the difference, stop in and drop in on a meeting of any of the advisories, boards, commissions and committees-after all, it's our friends and neighbors who are members so you're bound to know someone in the room. Together we are much smarter than individually and, let's be honest, we can use all the help we can get, especially one another's as we weather the winter of mixed drinks.
-bill kenny

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