|Webster’s Future Stash Stripped, Flushed Away|
Thursday, August 10, 2006
Do you remember Webster’s Future?
It was a relatively short-lived, community-minded group of citizens, actually do-gooders, dedicated to betterment of the town.
They tried to fill some of the gaps in municipal life, taking on recreational tasks scissored from hard-pressed town budgets. Overwhelming success and a nudge of negative criticism marked their activities.
Among other things, they ran Independence Day celebrations at Memorial Beach, complete with monster fireworks shows. An attendance charge was levied, with proceeds banked and rolled over to finance other programs. Everything was aboveboard, and revenues were detailed.
But there was a fly in the ointment. This happy, well-intentioned band of citizens didn’t have official town status. They could work like heck, keep people happy, but they couldn’t collect funds at a town facility for a public service program, even one that people willingly paid to attend.
Word filtered to a state agency and the poor souls identified with Webster’s Future were called on a bureaucratic carpet, a big, official one decorated with crossed t’s and dotted i’s. Their treasury was impounded, in a manner of speaking, reserved for a future town use at the public beach.
Singed, the Future gang backed off and went out of the helping business. Most people didn’t blame them. Well, the $11,000 or so left in the Webster’s Future account has now been spent.
“We installed a new water main, a 6-inch one, from Thompson Road to the bathhouse (at Memorial Beach),” Parks-Cemeteries Foreman Kevin Esposito revealed when we crossed paths recently. “It’s about 600 feet long.”
The 1-1/2-inch line it replaced was inadequate, according to Mr. Esposito. Water pressure to serve the restrooms on a busy beach day was inadequate.
So, there you have it — Webster’s Future’s last public service venture, managed in absentia. Come to think of it, it seems appropriate that state intervention should get flushed down bathhouse toilets.
Joseph S. Beresik, the erstwhile Webster Finance Committee member, was observed driving his little gas scooter about North Grosvenordale recently.
It turns out that Mr. Beresik, the retired Ashland assistant assessor, meaning the full-time staffer, is a postcard collector, with hundreds of regional prints. He bought one recently because it had a Webster postmark and a 1-cent stamp. It didn’t match anything “Webster,” but seemed to emanate from the Thompson village. He used the scooter run to confirm highway contours and house counts.
By the way, like anything else, the scooter is a bit more expensive to run these days, Mr. Beresik said.
“I used to fill it up for $1.30. Now it costs me $3.30,” he said, smiling. “It’s either that or walk.”
The scooter’s small internal combustion engine gets about 100 miles to a gallon of gas, Mr. Beresik said.
The heating system in Webster’s Chester C. Corbin Public Library has seen its best days, and the boiler, original to the facility and dedicated July 3, 1921, has to be replaced.
It’s an emergency that had selectmen sputtering a few weeks ago. Yet the possibility of a combination heat and air conditioning system was mentioned. I can’t address finances, but it’s a stellar idea.
The library is a virtual heat box on humid summer days, discouraging use, especially in the early afternoon. Library Director Joseph Rodio thinks a twin energy plant, hot and cold, would be great, but he’s not one to push concerns. So, let me do it for him here and now.
There are some pretty good-sized fans in the Lake Street building, but the temperatures read well into the 80s on many summer days, Mr. Rodio said.
“It was 89 at closing one day late last month and the temperature dropped to only 82 overnight,” he said.
In addition, he said, “the humidity is not good for people or books.”
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