Thoughts on Items from the Year Past  
Thursday, December 30, 2010

Let’s start 2011 with a few observations and comments, all while offering best wishes to our readers.

•Joseph M. Mikolajczak, who seems to make friends wherever he goes, was invited to a Grandparents Day program at the prestigious Pomfret School a couple of years ago by one of his Putnam granddaughters. He struck up a conversation there with Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Feller, 92, the Cleveland Indians right hander who died just before Christmas. Some great dialogue ensued, as reported at the time by Mr. Mikolajczak. Joe is probably the only Webster resident with a recall of Robert Feller as another visiting grandfather.

•How will municipal revenue managers get more out of less? Property values in most towns will decrease, but the promise is a magic formula that will increase revenue. Read: A big squeeze.

•Mary T. and Kenneth R. Cardinal, a couple of our neighbors, broke their walking pace on a recent evening because Mary had a “say hello” message to deliver. My identity crept into the dialogue when Ms. Cardinal met Shirley Ballard at Christopher Heights, and Shirley said we were longtime friends. I don’t know where Ms. Ballard will assign treads to our acquaintance, but I think it was at a square dance a gosh-long time ago at the “Top of the Hill” in Dudley, the open sides place that Jesse and Bertha Downey built at the apex to their Dresser Hill Road farm. It was aptly named, located next to what is now the Dudley Water Department’s storage tank. And, by the way, we were just kids on the outside watching.

•Sad to say, there aren’t many tax watchdogs about. Webster is supposed to have a 15-member Finance Committee, with five elected, five appointed by the Board of Selectmen and five appointed by the town moderator. The appointing authorities haven’t filled their slates in years. Seems time to acknowledge failure.

•The Webster-based Abletones, directed by Dan Gabel and gaining recognition for its Big Band sound, presented a holiday party recently at the Congregation Beth Israel auditorium in Worcester. We didn’t get there, but Jeanne bought a copy of the group’s first CD. It has a lot of the great tunes from the region’s big band venues of our time.

•Some towns have an added revenue stream this year, but Webster has two. The state gave its municipalities a small percentage from its increase in meals taxes last year, and most said “thank you.” Also, Webster extended its nonresident parking charge at Memorial Beach last summer, nixing the previous exemption for townspeople. Now most everyone has to shell out for a window sticker that allows use of the town transfer station, the town compost site, and parking at the beach. First reports should be forthcoming.

•Library and Police Station building committees seem to be pressing on with plans for new facilities. The police project is double-pronged, with rehabilitation of the existing police-fire stations for fire use only. The projects are desirable, but to be realistic, we have a town that can’t afford to keep all of its streetlights illuminated.

•What happened to Proposition 2-1/2?

-Courtesy Of
Telegram & Gazette

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