Dave Richards for November 6th….…………
--The federal holiday observance of Veterans’ Day is Monday. Of course, we should honor our veterans all days, but especially when it comes to Veterans’ Day. Every community, it seems, has scheduled some public ceremony. Good. Here in Woonsocket we will gather at the U.V.C. Armed Forces Park on Davison Avenue on Monday, but this Friday afternoon Senior Services will hold a very special Veterans’ Appreciation Dinner at the Senior Center on Social Street beginning at 4:30pm. In addition to live music and appropriate recognitions, a pot roast dinner will be served. Linda Thibault is in charge of the program, so you know the event will be run with “military precision”. She promises you’ll be out by 7pm with a warm feeling in your belly and in also your heart.
--A couple of comments on this past Monday’s Woonsocket City Council meeting. Councilor Denise Sierra disagreed with a timeline explanation given to the council earlier in the session of what happened ‘behind the scenes’ in the apparently failed attempt to have the TAO group of Pawtucket purchase and put the former Woonsocket High and Middle School at Park Place to a useful purpose. In fact, Denise went so far as to accuse Woonsocket Mayor Lisa Baldelli-Hunt of telling lies. The Mayor, in attendance, did not agree with nor did she appreciate that characterization of events, and she told Councilor Sierra so in no uncertain terms. I think Council President Dan Gendron did an able job of stepping in to quench the heated exchange, but the fact remains, even though there are two sides to the controversy of what went wrong, the city is still stuck with an aging and deteriorating building complex it needs to find a useful purpose for.
I think it is right and proper that we all examine failures and disappointments in our lives to learn the lessons they can teach us and to take steps to insure they do not repeat. But, it is my experience in life that beyond a sober examination of facts, emotions are better left out of the exercise. The ‘blame game’ siphons off energy which can be better used to turn failure into eventual success. The city as a whole has experienced a failure, and in the end it doesn’t matter who did what, the game of life continues. The clock is running. It is time to come up with another play and reverse our fortunes, I say.
--It was a sober examination of facts which I think prompted Woonsocket’s Public Works Director Stephen D’Agostino to list for the City Council the un-reimbursed expenses his department contributes to the annual Autumnfest celebrations. For this past year it amounted to somewhere close to $30,000, much of it coming out of his department’s overtime fund. Director D’Agostino pointed out to the councilors that with winter’s snow removal season yet to begin, the council should not be surprised if, after paying for the Autumnfest costs, he may run short of budgeted monies in the season ahead.
Councilors individually and collectively responded they found it useful to learn of the actual numbers involved, thanked the Director for the information, and promised him they’d keep his words in mind at budget time. In fact, it was informally discussed that perhaps in the next budget cycle there should be a separate budget item for the city’s contribution to Autumnfest, to separate it from the DPW budget. All agreed that the positive good Autumnfest brings to the city was worth the expense.
My take on this Autumnfest discussion? I think it’s a shining example of how municipal government should work. Concerned people initiate a lively discussion of important issues and then a consensus is reached to address the concerns of all parties. Well done!
--That's what I think. What do you think? Comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332. Thanks for reading.