Monday, February 14, 2011

Just Another Consensus on the Street

Sometimes we feel as if we can change nothing that everything and everyone else is out of our control. It shouldn't make us angry or sad or fearful-it makes us human which means we have the power to make ourselves into whomever we wish to be. Some of us like to be victims, others prefer to be a light over being a horn.

Where ever you live and whatever you do, you can make a difference and be part of the difference in your community. All you have to do is try. I've been assured by many persons where I live, in Norwich, Connecticut, that I'm one of the most trying people they know. Thanks, I guess.

This week's meeting calendar reflects many opportunities to excel and get involved, starting this afternoon at 4:30 with a meeting of the Budget Expenditure Committee of the Board of Education in their conference room at the Central Office, a/k/a John Mason School, on Town Street. If you have an interest in the City of Norwich's budget, you owe it to yourself and your wallet to get a look behind the Power point slides at what our neighbors on the Board of Ed have to work with in terms of projected expenses and revenues for the next fiscal year.

There are two meetings at five, both in City Hall. The Volunteer Fire Fighters Relief Fund Committee meets in Room 209 (here's their January meeting minutes), and the Ethics Commission meets next door, in Room 210 (NONE of their meeting minutes are available on the city's website. They used to be but now they're gone. Imagine my surprise.)

Tuesday afternoon at 5:30 on the campus of Norwich Free Academy, NFA, in Room 6109 of the Latham Science Center, it's a meeting of the NFA Board of Trustees. At six, in Room 319 of City Hall it's a meeting of the Personnel & Pension Board Regular/Investment Meeting (they didn't have one in January because of the weather).

There's a regular meeting of the Commission on the City Plan at seven in the Planning Department's conference room at 23 Union Street. This time last week, it was reasonable to assume the Commissioners might be making like the Village People though I think between (The Lofts at) Ponemah Mills request for modifications and the update on the review of the Five Year Capital Improvements Plan there should be an interesting evening for everyone (maybe just me, but 'This Song Made Me a Man' gives me the willies).

Speaking of weather creating a need to change plans, the City Council will try again at 7:30 in Council Chambers as they meet to start on their evaluation of the City Manager's role and responsibilities as well as evaluate his performance. The last part is an annual requirement that hasn't formally happened in the three years since a previous Council hired the City Manager.

Wednesday morning at eight thirty, in their offices in the Norwich Business Park, it's a regular meeting of the Southeastern Connecticut Council of Governments that will include (see item 8) a presentation on a proposed partnership to reinvent the still-closed Norwich YMCA as a regional community center. Something about Tom Sawyer comes to mind. And if there were ever a property that could use a tall, freshly-painted fence around it, that's the YMCA. Sure hope we don't run out of whitewash before we run out of partners.

At nine, in the Dime Bank (on Route 82) Community Room, it's a regular meeting of the Norwich School Readiness Council (Children First) whose actual website is a moment frozen in time from a couple of years ago, serene, immutable and sadly out of date. I'm sure they do incredibly important things and could do even more, with help from across the community but you'll never know that from visiting their website. A tool without a purpose or goal. The symbolism is striking but there's too many home fires burning and not enough trees.

Thursday at five is a chance to be part of history, well kinda, as the Historic District Commission meets in Room 319 of City Hall. It's their first meeting of the year, so wear something appropriate you wouldn't mind seeing in a time capsule, perhaps.

At six, in Room 210 of City Hall, it's a special meeting (weather has taken its toll on their schedule) of the Norwich Baseball Stadium Authority. Also at six, meeting at The Rink, is a regular meeting of the Norwich Ice Rink Authority, none of whose meeting minutes are posted on the city's website and all of whose members' appointments expired years ago.

Saturday morning at nine, in the Central Fire House it's the next installment of the Mayor's Team Norwich meetings, usually held on Wednesdays. So if you've been unhappy about not being able to attend, this is your chance to do so. Or you can continue to carp and complain. Whichever you think is easier (that was unkind wasn't it? NOT untrue, just unkind) than shouting at the ocean.
-bill kenny

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