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Who Keeps Us Informed?

I’ve lived in town for over 30 years.  For all of those years, I never got a personal letter from the Board of Education, the Board of Finance, the Board of Selectmen, or any other board in town to “inform” me.

I read the newspaper daily, and if there is an issue that interests me, I read the respective board’s minutes and even attended meetings now and then.  When our children were in school we did get information from school about various issues through notices.  I signed up for agenda and minutes publication emails on the town website, and the links to those things just show up in my inbox.

Nothing in town is done in secret.  Whatever issue we are dealing with in town is covered extensively, and you don’t even have to leave your house to find out about it.  It is our responsibility to remain informed; it is not up to someone else to inform us.


Closing Bakerville School

We moved to New Hartford in 1977.  We lived through a time in the 80’s where there were larger class sizes, buildings were actually crowded because enrollment in the town’s elementary schools was somewhere around or over 800 students.

There was a debate at the time whether to build a new school and close Bakerville.   I’m not sure whether New Hartford Elementary was also to be closed, but many folks in town used Bakerville’s wood-frame construction as a reason that it was not fit to house classrooms for any of the town’s children.  The resolution was to add classrooms to Antolini (I think there were 10 to 15 but that could be wrong), move the third grades there and correct code problems at the two other schools.  That gave us the space to hold our over 800 students and saved a ton of money.  Our students’ scores continued to excel, classrooms weren’t bulging at the seams and all was well.  Fast forward to today, where we have about 460 students in buildings designed for many more students.

Emotions are bound to run high for the folks affected by the change.  I think everybody needs to take a deep breath and spend some time thinking about what the town really needs and on how best to fulfill those needs with the resources we have.

After the holidays we can dig into the numbers a little deeper.  I am thankful that the Board of Education posts its minutes.  I invite you to join the conversation and ask that you be respectful of other people’s opinions and of the Board of Education members who work very hard trying to make sure our kids have the best education.  I don’t delete comments, but reserve the right to edit them for inappropriate language.


Don’t Forget to Vote Today

Polls are open until 8:00 pm.  It’s up to you.  Be involved.

Northwestern Regional #7 Budget

It has been frustrating watching budget preparations for a couple of years now.  It seemed that while our town and local education representatives attempted to keep budgets tight so as not to burden taxpayers in what has been a tight economic climate, Regional 7 budgets have come in with greater than inflation and contractual increases despite decreasing enrollments.

While that may seem an over-simplistic analysis, a fellow taxpayer in Barkhamsted has done an analysis that shows those same Regional 7 budgets to have been significantly padded.  Tom Palmer has retrieved past budget vs actual numbers and developed an analysis of their budgeted vs spending variances for three years.

On May 5 there will be a budget referendum.  Perhaps the only way to require more accountability in budgeting at Northwestern is to vote their budget down and make them develop something a little closer to what they need. Please spend some time reviewing the analysis.

Northwestern is an excellent school.  It is not necessary to pad the budget with a half million dollars more than is needed to retain that excellence.


Please remember to vote on May 5.  The Town of New Hartford’s Finance Board does not support the Regional 7 budget.  I find myself in agreement.

Looking Forward to a New Year

Here we are on the last day of 2014.  While it was a tough year in some ways, it was a wonderful year in others.  We were kind of silent on the Beacon unless something came up.   We had a lot on our plate this year, and there wasn’t a lot of time.

We lost Dad in July, and in the months leading up to that were with him as he failed in health.  He passed away while we were away with our entire family branch for a family reunion on my husband’s side.  The reunion coincided with our annual trip to Maine which gets booked in January.   It was difficult for us, but he told us before we left to “GO, get out of here and enjoy your grandkids!”  We can never change a minute of the past, and I’m not sure I wouldn’t have changed that had I known.  He would have been angry with me if I had, so I guess for us it was the right decision.

Thankfully 2014 was a healthy year for us.  No major health issues propped up, and some got a lot better.  Other than the occasional cold or stomach bug (one which has postponed our trip to visit to our daughter’s family in New Hampshire today), we’ve all been fine.

I started a new passion which went through the family like a virus.   Krista started it and has infected all of us.  Essential oils and their use seems to be a new thing locally so I’ve launched a new educational journey.   As I continue researching and experimenting my way to wellness through essential oils, I’ll be sharing with Stef on a blog called “Country Comfort Essential Oils.”  On it we share information we learn and recipes for natural products that can be made at home that are pretty fantastic.  That’s another blog and it’s linked at right at the top.   Stef and I are both Wellness Advocates for doTERRA, which sells 100% pure Certified Therapeutic Grade essential oils, so we post our own links to doTERRA in each post that one of us writes.  Researching and learning takes a fair amount of time but the benefits have been wonderful.   I really enjoy being able to make homemade products like fantastic lip balms that taste great and have nothing but organic ingredients.

You can also check out “Macaroni Mojo” also listed at right, where so far Stef and I have shared some recipes from our favorites.  Some are handed down; some are just made up along the way.  It’s just a fun thing we hit now and then with something new.  We’re hoping to entice the other two daughters to share and hopefully they’ll find the time because they have plenty to bring to the collection.

I’m looking forward to reading, writing, studying, camping, and enjoying our daughters’ families in 2015.

All of us wish you a happy, healthy and love filled year!  Happy New Year!!



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