Having worked at the newspaper for almost four years, I know there’s only a handful of issues sure to fill seats at a public meeting: high taxes, schoolyard fights... and the possibility of losing a hot dog stand. On Tuesday, more than a dozen people turned out to the City of Norwich Joint Committees meeting specifically to defend Patricia Leahy (aka “Hot Dog Lady”) and her vendor spot on the corner of West Park. Following rumors that the city was considering a change to its peddling ordinance and thus, an abrupt end to Leahy’s 35-plus year hot dog vending business, people were quick to come to her defense. While I do applaud those who took a stand for free enterprise (because what’s more American than allowing an entrepreneur to sell me a foot-long with relish and mustard?), I can’t help but wonder: Where are all these people at regular council meetings – the boring ones where the folks we voted for decide how to spend our money? When “we the people” speak out, it’s my experience that those who are calling the shots, at least at the local level, will listen. It’s awesome that so many people took a stand on Tuesday for what they believed was right; but imagine how much better this community might be if that level of engagement was present at every meeting. Thumbs down for the lack of commitment.
Thumbs up and down to the real world. I just graduated from Le Moyne College and this is my first week having a real job. Getting up early is still a struggle, but this past week has been a lot of fun for me. The staff here at The Evening Sun has been nothing but helpful and friendly to me. I am just now getting acclimated to what it means to have a real job and responsibilities and am getting over that initial graduation shock and the “I need to get a job or live in my parents’ house forever” phase. Sometimes being a real adult isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, especially when I can’t sleep in until noon everyday, but it’s also been really fun. I actually get to contribute to society and do something that I enjoy. In summation, thumbs up to having a job that I like and the help that I’ve been getting all the way; and thumbs down to not getting to go back to college and having no responsibilities.
This week, my ‘Thumbs Up’ goes to the Matthews Auto Group who celebrated the completion and grand re-opening of the former, dated building that has served as a gateway into the city from East River Rd. since the late 1960's. The Matthews family invested a reported $1.4 million in upgrades and renovations to the facility and by proxy our community. From what I hear, the deals and service there look just as good as the new facade. Thanks for believing in Norwich, and welcome to the community.
Thumbs down to the driver of the school bus in front of me on Thursday morning. I stopped behind said bus six times in a one quarter mile span. When I stopped behind the bus, my tires totally halted. They stopped moving, as they should when a vehicle stops. I abided by the rules for the safety of the children. I counted that ten students were picked up while I was behind the bus. However, the bus then approached a four-way stop. The driver rolled through it. It’s expected that ‘regular’ vehicles stop for buses, yet a bus with 10 children at minimum cannot stop at stop sign? Think about the safety of the children, please. I have your bus number, and will making the necessary calls.