Editorial: Creating Our Own Future

At the Polar Plunge. Photo by John Ferris Robben.

At the Polar Plunge. Photo by John Ferris Robben.

We can empathize with Dorothy when L. Frank Baum has her utter that tantalizing line, “Toto, I have a feeling we are not in Kansas anymore.” What a difference the turn of the calendar year can make, both tangible and intangible. The holidays brought record-breaking warmth to our area. The chatter at parties turned often to the almost forgotten subject of climate change. Fast forward to this week and it is our teeth that are chattering as children go to school in single digit temperatures. It is almost as if we needed the contrasting weathers to ensure we knew that a new year was beginning. And we are at a new beginning.

With 2015 behind us, we are looking forward to covering some interesting topics in this space. 2016 has much to offer in terms of news stories that we know about. We will continue to report developments on the New Lebanon School Building saga. At the moment, it appears we’ll be at a standstill until the Board of Selectmen and building committee can agree on a path that leads to the best possible building for the school children. There are always pros and cons on issues of this magnitude, and we will be looking at them closely and weighing in.

While we saw a positive resolution to band teacher John Yoon’s employment status at Greenwich High, there are other issues percolating that the Board of Education will undertake. We were pleased to see movement this week on two fronts. First, a recommendation has been made to hire a firm to study what the impact of changing school start times would have on bussing. This is an important step forward on what became a political hot potato during last year’s municipal elections. We would have liked this effort to include hiring a professional traffic engineering firm to look at traffic patterns and bus usage.  At this point they will be using a study done last year by our Department of Public Works.

The second front we were pleased to see addressed is the need to study student stress at Greenwich High School. This is something Board of Education Vice Chairman Barbara O’Neill spoke passionately about last fall. High school is stressful. The drive to succeed in our town adds to that stress. We applaud Headmaster Chris Winters on bringing together a diverse group that will represent the various constituencies at the high school. And we are pleased to see that their goal is to complete the study before schools Superintendent William McKersie makes his recommendation in May about the district’s 2017/2018 school timetable. Hopefully, all information will be included in the final recommendations.

2016 looks to be a very interesting year politically. We already see the Presidential candidates almost minute-by-minute on cable news. We do not think anyone would have suggested a year ago that the race would look as it does now. But that is not the only race to consider. Our own Dick Blumenthal and Jim Himes are up for re-election, as is our entire Hartford delegation. Like everyone else, we will be watching the campaigns, hoping there is more civil discourse than partisan rhetoric, and opining on which candidates would be best for Greenwich.

There will be many other topics that we will address as well—52 in total. We do not know what they all are at the moment, but all will be with an eye toward improving our community. Abraham Lincoln said: “The best way to predict your future is to create it.” And that is precisely what we intend to do as we stand at the beginning of a new year. We, as a community, will create our future together. How we choose to do that will show the character of our community. Certainly, many tough choices lie ahead. But none are so daunting that we cannot, as a community, make them for the betterment of our community.

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