Monday, July 11, 2011

Heat Not Just on the Street

Don't know about your neck of the woods but around here we've had a smattering of just about every kind of weather (except the rain of frogs though there's an Alberta High slated for Tuesday I'm watching carefully) so far this summer, most of which helps remind us that things get a little slower this time of year and that slow's not always a bad thing.

Here in Norwich, the tempo of public meetings remains pretty constant year round as volunteers on various committees and advisories work around their own, and their children's, vacations and activities to not absent themselves from meetings because it takes a lot of different people trying to work together (and not always succeeding) to get things. Democracy is a team sport and we need as deep a bench as we can get.

This week, while there's no City Council meeting (arguably the 'biggest' meeting on the municipal calendar in terms of import and impact) there's a wide range of other convocations beginning with this afternoon's five o'clock session in Room 210 of City Hall of the Ethics Commission whose meeting will have an Executive Session on the results of an investigation from a previously filed complaint. Actions (and inactions) have consequences and the Ethics Commission is part of the monitoring and enforcement process to assure we all remember that.

Tuesday morning sees a meetings at 8:30 in Room 335 of City Hall (I call it The Vacuum because of how sound doesn't travel) of the Youth and Family Services Advisory Board whose importance in a city (unlike most of the rest of state) that grew in size this decade, says the US Census, could be critical in continuing this positive momentum. The benefits of incorporating aspects of their activities and addressing issues and concerns they raise or highlight should contribute to a more holistic community development approach in Norwich except, as is so often the case, it's difficult to understand what those issues, concerns and solutions could be since meeting minutes are conspicuous in their absence. The most recent posting is from January. Seriously?

The Public Works and Capital Improvements Committee holds its regular monthly meeting at five in the Public Works offices at 50 Clinton Street. Reading their June meeting minutes, I find it even more incomprehensible with what happened last Tuesday in Council chambers since a forum to address questions, asked at the latter, was available but, certainly not used. Their meeting agenda suggests an attempt, with apologies to Captain Yossarian, to go around the bridge twice (with little regard for what happens when you do that).

One of our local newspapers lists a Board of Education meeting for Tuesday night that's not on the city's website nor is it on the Norwich Public Schools' website (inside joke; probably just my puckish sense of humor). I don't think there is one as it's about the only time all year the schools aren't regularly in session. The volunteers on the Board of Ed need vacation, too.

Wednesday morning at 8:45 (insert your quip about start time here) in the conference room of the Planning Department at 23 Union Street, it's a regular meeting of the Rehabilitation Review Committee, whose archive of previous meeting's minutes looks like it's being managed by the same folks responsible for the Youth and Family Services Advisory Board minutes; mainly because it is (one meeting in all of 2011?).

If you're downtown for that meeting, and even if you're not, why not swing by the Howard T. Brown Park afterwards (actually from ten through two), and visit the waterfront farmer's market?

At 4:30, speaking of non-existent meeting minutes, there's a regular meeting of the Housing Authority at 10 Westwood Park. Don't bother clicking here. There are no notes of any kind about anything despite good intentions to the contrary. Justice Marshall has made his decision, let him enforce it. Strange days, indeed.

At six, in Room 210 of City Hall, it's a regular meeting of the Baseball Stadium Authority whose May meeting minutes are here. And, as an aside and nothing (well, hardly anything) to do with the name of an activity I'm involved in with on a daily basis, I love the idea of windmills for electricity at Dodd Stadium.

After the Stadium Authority, stick around because at seven in City Hall is the unveiling of the Lincoln Portrait followed by a reception and presentation on the creation of an Emancipation Bell to mark, in 2013, the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation.

Also at six and running until at least eight, it's the next installment of Rock the Docks with The Cartells (neither oil nor drug are intended, I'm sure, nor even spelled correctly) .

Thursday evening at six, at the Lakeside Pavilion, it's a regular meeting of the Mohegan Park Improvement and Advisory Committee, who have zero meeting minutes from anything for this entire year on the city's website (gotta admire that kind of consistency) though a copy of the November 13, 2008 minutes is still extant.

Friday morning at nine, in Room 319 of City Hall, it's a regular meeting of the Chelsea Gardens Foundation who have no archive of past meeting minutes or even a notation as to who the members of the Foundation are listed anywhere on the city's website. Here is where you'd find out more about them, though perhaps not enough.

You don't have to be on a committee to make a difference. Being a good neighbor when you're out for a walk, or a loyal patron and supporter of a local business, or offering a pony ride to a dweeb in need (okay, two out of three) can make a world of difference one step at a time. All we have to do is decide to take that first step. The movement you need is on your shoulders. See you at something?
-bill kenny

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