Monday, May 10, 2010

Under the Hood, Looking at the Stars

It's okay, I think, that the farther physically and philosophically we are from Government, the more often we use the capital "G." When you get to the Representational Town Meeting, the Board of Selectmen or the City Council, we usually know most, if not all, of those on these boards and are comfortable with the lower case "g."

It's comforting to believe in Mr Smith Goes to Washington but our limited supply of Jimmy Stewart is currently exhausted and sometimes, I fear, so is our patience with one another. When I hear a neighbor wonder what difference her or his voice make, then it means we all have to work just that much harder-and that's as true where you live as where I do. Same movie; different cast.

In Norwich, so much of what happens across our city is in the hands of volunteers who find or make the time to be part of solutions to situations they didn't make that the rest of us do really owe our neighbors a debt of thanks for seeing and doing what needs to be done. This week is not exceptional in any sense of the word-men and women rolling up their sleeves and lending a hand because there are things that need to be done and they can, and do, help.

At three this afternoon, in Room 335 of City Hall is another public hearing by the Community Development Advisory Committee on this year's applications for Community Development Block Grants, CDBG.

Later this afternoon at five, in Room 209 of City Hall is a regular meeting of the Volunteer Firefighters' Relief Fund Committee whose minutes and agenda can all be found here (I think I like this layout on the city's website because it's easier for me to navigate) though I'm not sure all the members have been captured on the roster. Also at five, upstairs and across the building in Room 335 is a regular meeting of the Ethics Commission whose April meeting was cancelled but whose work on the Citizens Guide continues.

Tuesday morning at eight-thirty is a regular meeting of the Youth Service Advisory Board whose March minutes are here, though I never know what to make of the phrase 'excused absence.' The City Charter is VERY clear-you are present or you are absent. Not sure where 'excused' comes from. Also, I'd have appreciated reading about the start of plans for dealing with a projected smaller budget for the coming year than this year's-the minutes note a reduction of 54%, but not a word on what possible courses of action might be taken.

At five-thirty in the Kelly Middle School, is a Board of Education regular meeting; though neither the minutes of the April meeting nor the agenda for this one are posted, I suspect we can all guess what the primary topic will be. I think the area to next concentrate on is making the consolidation as smooth and successful as possible and as cliché as it sounds, change is, indeed, the only constant and anyone who thinks otherwise is invited to think again.

At seven, in the conference room of the Planning Department at 23 Union Street is a regular meeting of the Zoning Board of Appeals whose agenda underscores how many small actions and gestures are needed to create the larger tapestry of a city. Also at seven in two different locations in City Hall, the Republicans will host their 47th District State Representative Convention while the Democrats hold their Probate Court District Convention.

Wednesday morning at a quarter of nine, the Rehabilitation Review Committee meets on the 2nd floor of the Planning Department at 23 Union Street. I'm assuming they had no April meeting as those minutes are not on the city's website, though the March meeting minutes include an excellent summary of the impact and implication of reverse mortgages on the municipal lead abatement program.

The Housing Authority holds its regular meeting at 4:30 in its offices at 10 Westwood Drive though, and I do admire their consistency, what it is they do NEVER generates any minutes that are supposed to be posted to the municipal website within seven working days. I'm sure they do wonderful things for the housing stock of the elderly citizens living across Norwich-such a pity that the specifics seem to be lacking, again.

The Baseball Stadium Authority meets at six in Room 210 of City Hall. The last meeting minutes posted are from December of last year, so Happy New Year to its members. And at seven, in the Taftville Volunteer Fire Department is a regular meeting of the Public Safety Sub-Committee of the City Council, whose April meeting was cancelled, but whose March meeting minutes are right here.

On Thursday afternoon at their new time of six PM in Room 210 of City Hall is a (now special because the time of the meeting has changed since the schedule was shared with the City Clerk) meeting of the Mohegan Park Improvement and Advisory Committee (in light of proposed budget cutbacks I'm wondering if the decision to close Mohegan Park Road to Spaulding Pond will now be revisited). I think their April meeting was cancelled but I did locate the March meeting minutes on the city's website, which is where the change in the meeting time is noted.

And at seven in City Hall, not quite sure where but will probably be easy to find, is the Republican Party 19th State Senate District Convention choosing a candidate for the November election to represent Andover, Bozrah, Columbia, Franklin, Hebron, Lebanon, Ledyard, Lisbon, Montville, Norwich and Sprague in the upper chamber in Hartford.

There's enough going on in The Rose City to allow each of us to put an oar in the water (why do you think we're bounded by three rivers?) and put our backs into it. Chiropractic referrals available upon request for those who over indulge. See you at something?
-bill kenny

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