The presents are unwrapped and the paper recycled (but not at the dump, because No one goes there anymore). The leftovers are gone (almost), and first round of batteries on the nerf guns are almost depleted. With that, it's time to look forward to what is sure to be an eventful and exciting 2011 in Falmouth. Here are some predictions for the New Year:
After a snow-filled winter of our collective discontent, DPW Director Ray Jack announces that he can make snowplowing more efficient and cost-effective "in a heartbeat," much like a similar statement made about profitability at the dump. He is promptly and publicly challenged by Highway Division Director John Lyons, who notes that snow is left on the roads intentionally as a teaching tool for young drivers. A Blue-Ribbon Committee of former DPW Commissioners, including Nate Ellis, Virginia Valiela, and John Elliot (that retirement didn't last long), is appointed by Selectmen to discuss the matter. They conclude and recommend a $7.5 million engineering study to determine the proper sand/salt mix for the roads.
Speaking of an engineering study, the April Town Meeting unanimously and vociferously rejects the alphabet-soup Comprehensive Wastewater Management Study it to Death Committee (CWMSITDC) proposal for $7 million engineering study to further examine the town's nitrogen and wastewater woes. By an overwhelming margin, the town does approve a $500,000 initiative to plant eel grass in every yard along Bourne's and Great Ponds put forth by Ron Smolowitz and a related initiative to rename the CWMSITDC as the Dozens of Answers (DOA) committee.
In the May elections, former Fire Chief Paul Brodeur easily wins a seat on the Board of Selectmen, assuming the vacant seat left by nine-year incumbent Ahmed Mustafa, who does not seek re-election, citing the demands on his time representing pal George Morse before the U.S. Supreme Court. Brodeur promises a joke at the beginning of each meeting and quickly becomes a fan favorite, restoring some levity to the Monday night proceedings. He is censured by his colleagues in October, though, for placing whoopee cushions on each chair and asking Selectmen repeatedly to pull his finger.
Selectman Chairman Brent Putnam is soundly defeated in his quest for a second term by local man-about-town Ron Braga, brother of Selectman David Braga. The campaign slogan, "If you love Braga Burgers, you'll REALLY love the Braga brothers" becomes a marketing sensation, propelling both the burgers and the brothers to national prominence. Both resign their posts shortly thereafter, citing the need to devote their full attentions to the burgeoning burger business, and the unrelenting demands of numerous appearances before an adoring and hungry public. A special election is held to fill both seats. In a crowded field, including previous candidates Catherine Bumpus, Cheryl Kozens-Long, R. Jude Wilber, Robert Volosevich, and Town Meeting veterans Richard Latimer and Dan Shearer, the election has to be postponed because the candidates continue to debate one another at the Morse Pond auditorium long after election day. Eventually, Volosevich and Wilber are declared winners. Exit polling shows that Volosevich's promise of free ice cream and Wilber's promise of free hats carried them to victory.
Former Town Manager Bob Whritenour joins former FCTV personality David Oshman as the host of a new live call-in show on channel 13. The show is promptly cancelled due to a lack of callers.
As Christmas 2011 rolls around, Parks Superintended Brian Dale makes his way into local lore by camping out on the Village Green for the entire month of December to prevent the stealing of Santa, after repeated attempts to swipe the local holiday icon. Dale foils a late-night Santa-steal attempt on Christmas Eve by Mustafa and Morse. Upon arrest, Police Chief Anthony Riello sings "How Do You Like Me Now," by Toby Keith to the two in the booking room. They are not amused.
Falmouthites continue to be involved and informed, maintaining both their civic commitment and their sense of humor. That's one prediction you can take to the bank.
This column is reprinted from the Falmouth Enterprise.