News and Newsmakers
As we wind down another year of news and newsmakers in all of Falmouth's villages, here's a glimpse at the top 10 issues that garnered a mention in Troy's Take:
10. So long, friend - The retirement of longtime Human Services Director Peter Kirwin was not a simple passing of the baton. Peter was a pioneer in the science - the art - of caring for others from a local government perspective and his retirement ended an era. Local governments near and far are now using his template for the human side of government. No thank you will ever be enough.
9. The Winds of Change - As we continue to search for more efficient and earth-friendly was to run our lives and the things around us, the news surrounding the placement of a wind turbine in the Falmouth Technology Park was significant as much for its symbolism of the push-pull of the alternative energy debate as for its basic NIMBY qualities.
8. Discord on the ConCom - The still unresolved issue of a member of the Conservation Commission being charged with harassment by a colleague for simply offering a spirited dissenting view was one of the more disturbing developments of the year. Of equal concern was the lack of outrage by fellow Commissioners for this bullying tactic. This is one to follow as the New Year takes shape.
7. One hundred years young - Falmouth's nonagenarian poet is now Falmouth's centarian poet. Mildred Allen, who has brought joy to many Falmouthites with her heartfelt and genuine poetry, ushered in her second century recently with a grand celebration at the Coonamessett Inn. This was definitely one of the feel-good stories of the year.
6. Follow the Old Main Road - Another of the year's most enjoyable stories was the relocation of the Tin Man Diner to the four corners in North Falmouth. Owner Barbara Lind has a wonderful story of personal triumph that translated into the community-based effort to renovate an aging landmark into a new source of neighborhood pride.
5. Alas, poor Eric, we knew you well - Eric Turkington, the Cape's most veteran member of the Great and General Court and a favorite son of Falmouth retired after 20 years representing Falmouth on Beacon Hill. Equally newsworthy was phase II of Eric's electoral career, where he lost a bid to become Barnstable County's Register of Probate. This coming year should bring news on what's next for the Dean of Falmouth's Democrats.
4. Yes, No, Maybe - Although this title may be appropriate for Selectman Ahmed Mustafa's voting proclivities, it is also an apt moniker for the still churning debate on the fate of affordable housing on the site of the Woods Hole Fire Station, recently renamed Webster Woods by opponents of housing on this town-owned site. This is another that will spill over into the New Year, and will certainly be part of the May election cycle.
3. Yes, No, Maybe - This one is appropriate for Selectman Ahmed Mustafa's voting (or lack of voting) proclivities. Shortly after securing a third term and the gavel as Chairman in May, Mustafa announced that he would not be voting, much to the dismay of many who had done just that for him weeks before. He now reveals an occasional opinion on the issues of the day.
2. Brent is Falmouthese for Change - In an upset predicted by few beyond this column, one-term Selectman Catherine Bumpus was involuntarily retired in favor of political newcomer and East Falmouth activist Brent Putnam. Putnam's populist themes still resonate months later. Look for him to assert himself and his people-based issues more in 2009.
And the #1 Troy's Take issue of 2008 - FHS is Falmouthese for Finish, Hurry, Sheesh! - After a grass-roots campaign helped secure an additional $18.8 million for the troubled Falmouth High School renovation, the much anticipated House A&B completion occurred, signaling an important milestone and a much-needed sigh of relief. Progress is stalled, though, as the general contractor went on Santa's naughty list. The Building Committee got a couple of new members and has been keeping the public informed. As the ball drops next week signaling the start of another trip around the sun, this will continue to be the headliner here in Falmouth.
This column is reprinted from the Falmouth Bulletin.