The Top Ten Falmouth events of 2007
The end of the year always has its lists - some interesting, and some not so much. I can remember anxiously anticipating Casey Kasem's top 40 songs of the year during the 80's, only to have my hopes dashed every year when Neil Diamond didn't make it. I suspect Neil is out of luck this year, too. Rumor has it that he may come to Fenway on opening day for the ring ceremony and to "Sweet Caroline" to Caroline Kennedy, who he recently revealed as his inspiration for his best-known work. That will make some top ten list to be sure.
For now, I'll offer my own top ten for the top news stories in Falmouth as we wind down an eventful 2007:
10. Wind Turbine in the West - With all the talk of Cape Wind and its ongoing saga, the arrival of wind power in Falmouth flew under the radar, or blades, or well, you understand. An educational turbine was erected at Falmouth Academy and the Falmouth Fall Town Meeting approved $4 million to plant one at the Wastewater Treatment Facility. The operation of this turbine is expected to fully cover the cost of installation and pay for the electric costs at the plant. File under: Blowin' in the West Falmouth wind.
9. May Election - The annual Town election was notable for its non-event, as incumbent Carey Murphy and former but dismissed three-term Selectmen were victorious on election day. See results here. Although affordable housing was debated and discussed endlessly during the campaign, the months since have seen little on the subject, other than Selectman Flynn's opposition to same in Woods Hole. File under: The more things stay the same, the more they stay the same.
8. Jacoby, our local MVP - As the Red Sox were spoiling and thrilling us with their second World Series triumph in four years, a stunning and inspiring rookie supplanted Coco Crisp in center field while stealing hits from batters, bases from opposing teams, and our hearts. Jacoby Ellsbury, who did the same at the Arnie Allen Diamond on Guv Fuller Field for the Falmouth Commodores, was a late-season standout for the Sox and is sure to be a Falmouth favorite for years to come, even if he's playing in Minnesota...File under: He's got Sox appeal!
7. Pay now, Pay Later - For the first time in recent memory, Falmouth property tax bills were mailed months late, costing the town as much as $500,000 in unearned interest and precious savings from our stabilizaiton fund. During financial times that have been described as the worst since the fiscal armegeddon of the early 80's, this administrative snafu, blamed on new procedures by the Department of Revenue, could not have come at a worse time. Although revenues are racing in now so that property owners can take advantage of 2007 tax year breaks, it is still unkown what the long term impact will be of the lost revenue. File under: Song Sung Blue, no Revenue.
6. We are Family - The drama of the Reine family continues. As Todd Reine, son of Melvin, ends the year in jail for a conviction for orchestrating the burglary of his stepmother's house, his uncle, John Reine awaits the trial that almost wasn't. Falmouth's most notorious family was in the spolight for much of the year, as the murder of Melvin's wife Shirley remains unsolved. John Reine, who faces charges for slashing tires in the local Wal-Mart parking lot, almost walked away from this stunt, as the tape was unable to be viewed by the DA's equipment but functioned properly upon further review by Wal-Mart personnel assited by the Falmouth Police. Todd and his former girlfriend Nadia Smuliac were found guilty of arranging the break-in of Melvin's former home in East Falmouth where his will was stolen. File under: You can pick your friends...
5. Zoning Board of Unreal - While the year ended with things up in the air, as no decision has been made on new appointments to the Zoning Board of Appeals, the town's quasi-judicial board had its most eventful year since McDonald's was okayed in Woods Hole and the ZBA was sued by the Planning Board. The Chairman resigned after weeks and months of tumult and infightint that culminated in alternate members being told to sit and be quiet, relegated to board members with fewer rights than the public. Probably out of reaction to the chaos, Town Meeting approved a petition article in the fall that expanded the total membership from five to seven, giving what is hoped to be broader (and better behaved) representation. File Under: 40Bad.
4. Berry Interesting - The years-old story of do or don't or will or won't with the town's cranberry bogs marches on. The latest chapter in this never-ending tome is the current deliberation by the Community Preservation Committee on whether or not to fund an irrigation system for the cranberries. This current debate is but a rehash of the battle that has raged since the Sox were perennial losers. All characters, too, remain. File under: how can I miss you when you won't go away?
3. Gone too Soon - Without a doubt one of the most tragic stories of the last year was the untimely and sudden deaths of at least five Falmouth residents due to the use of heroin. This vile killer has been a scourge in Falmouth for some time due to its wide availability and cheap price, but the rash of deaths has vaulted the problem of addiction to the forefront of our local conscience. Although investigations into the source of the killer opiate are ongoing, the real story is how some of the families pubicly and graciously discussed the pain of their loved one's stories in an attempt to raise awareness and help others. File under: There but for the grace of God go us all.
2. Hello and Goodbye - In a strange juxtaposition of good and bad behavior, the Town welcomed an energetic and experienced Police Chief and gave another the bum's rush. Anthony Riello was selected as the town's new top cop and took over the reins from retiring Chief David Cusolito in December. Riello, who has nearly three decades of law enforcement experience, the last 11 as a chief, has already received high marks for his common sense approach to the job and his officers. The Town has clearly made a good choice. Such was not the case in deciding to usher Chief Cusolito out the door with nary a handshake or kind word after over 30 years of combined public service. File under: The Good, the Bad, and the badge.
And, the #1 story in Falmouth for 2007 -
FALMOUTH'S BIG DIG
How could the top story be anything else than the over time, over budget, and overwhelming revnovation of Falmouth High School? The entire project was supposed to be completed right now, and the proponents are still explaining why the oft-delayed phase I will be plodding along for another four months or so. Those who championed for a new school can at least savor their correctness as they dip into their savings accounts for their share of the additional debt (some estimates exceed $10 million) that will be foisted upon us in the Spring. File under: Big Pig.
Feel free to share your own - there was plenty to ponder in 2007. Happy New Year to all, and to all a great Falmouth night!