Virginia's Xeriscape and Paul's Peace Okayed for Monuments
Valiela Tenure Recognized with Town Hall Garden
Longtime Falmouth Selectman Virginia Valiela joined former colleague Ed Marks as the beneficiary of an official honor recognizing her contributions to the Falmouth community as Falmouth Selectmen dedicated the landscaping in front of Town Hall as the Virginia Valiela Water Conservation Garden.
Recognizing Valiela's tireless support of water quality and conservation, Selectmen renamed the "xeriscape," the brain child of Public Works Director Ray Jack and Parks Superintendent Brian Dale, for Falmouth's longest serving Board member in the post-charter era.
With a tenure spanning three decades highlighted by a steady and reasoned voice for environmental causes, Valiela is widely credited with being a driving force behind the cleanup of the nearby Massachusetts Military Reservation and for adeptly walking the tightrope between competing interest in the near-legendary "cranberry wars."
Selectmen lauded Valiela's service during a brief discussion on the dedication and placement of a monument in front of Town Hall. The vote was unanimous.
Peace is coming to Main Street
"The Great Debate opened the door for this to happen," was the statement of one supporter, after Falmouth Selectmen also voted unanimously to place a "peace rock" in Peg Noonan Park on Main Street. He was referring to the recent debate on the Iraq war, sponsored by local peace activist Paul Rifkin, which has been credited with bridging many a gap between former rivals.
During the presentation by rock supporter and organizer Sally Fritz, many stalwarts of the local peace movement nodded in approval as Selectmen noted that the simple word "peace" can have many meanings for many people. Fritz noted that the concept of peace is the "will, vision, hope, yearning, and goal" of many Falmouthites. She credited former Selectman candidate and Planning Board Chairman R. Jude Wilber with coming up with the concept and a wide array of Falmouth citizens with supporting the effort.
While local gadfly Marc Finneran accused Selectmen of making a political statement by supporting the rock, Selectman Mary "Pat" Flynn explained that "peace is in the heart or mind of the beholder."
For a brief few moments, the discussion of these two monuments to peace and public service showed us what is great about Falmouth. The discussion, of course, returned to cranberries and High Schools, but the placement of these rocks will be a lasting reminder of two of Falmouth's finer moments.