About Town: Information

Freedom of Information (FOI) is a term of art. For those of us who are followers of what is going on at town hall and in Hartford, it means being able to know what government is doing. I always prefer to start at the bottom and work my way up when following such things. So what is most important for me is to know where local government is at. Thanks to living in Weston, where a favorite word is “transparency,” doing so is a piece of cake. Do you want to know what any board or commission is up to? … Read more

Walsh’s Wonderings — The importance of silly

In what was the most expensive act of littering in the history of our planet, Elon Musk launched his cherry red Tesla Roadster into space last week. Because ’Merica. The enduring image was of the mannequin in the spacesuit lounging behind the wheel of the open convertible while Earth looms in the background. The incongruity of a car in space captures both the audacity and absurdity of Mr. Musk’s latest effort to monetize the final frontier. It was at once silly and significant. As ridiculous and admittedly useless as firing a car into orbit around the sun is, the act … Read more

Walsh’s Wonderings — Fingernail technology

In my ongoing effort to address all the world’s problems, I’ve finally come to fingernail clippers. You’re welcome. Clippers have never gotten respect. Even inventor David Gestetner’s heart was really in his other invention, an early handspun office copier for documents. As a result, the simple compound lever device we’ve used since the 1800s hasn’t changed much. Most come with that tiny hook to scrape the dirt underneath the nail and a file to smooth the edges of that dull blade you’ve been nursing for years. I used to get a zipped case every other Christmas or so with a … Read more

Walsh’s Wonderings — When trust goes bust

Nothing screams “first world problem” more than the whining about Apple’s recent announcement that they designed iPhones to throttle their own batteries as they aged. While the flagship tech company put out a tone-deaf press release to quell the storm (it didn’t), it did little to remove the impression that they’d just been caught making their phones artificially antiquated in order to get their customers to buy new ones. Things like this matter. Not because it’s Apple, and not because battery life is so important. Rather, it’s the idea that another institution in which we placed our trust has let … Read more

Commentary: Extreme times call for extreme measures

Connecticut residents recently received two discouraging pieces of information. First, the state lost $2.6 billion in revenue during 2015 as high-earning individuals left Connecticut. Second, the Special Transportation Fund used to maintain and improve the state’s aging highways and rail lines is going broke. The two are not entirely unrelated. Residents are using our state’s roads, railways, and airports to flee before Connecticut collapses into an enormous infrastructure and economic sinkholes. We saw this coming. For years, the legislature siphoned money from the Special Transportation Fund to fill potholes in the General Fund. Without funding to repair and improve the … Read more

Editorial: Christmas Message

WESTON EDITORIAL

Christmas is the transcendent holiday of our culture. It is a Christian holiday, reflecting our nation’s history as a colony and refuge for Europeans. But its appeal and the trappings of its celebration reach beyond the holiday’s deep sacred meaning for Christians, and it has become something not greater, but broader, more encompassing. The symbols are everywhere. Its celebration seems at times to have been appropriated entirely by commercial interests and pop culture foolishness, leading to concerns among some of the devout that the true meaning of Christmas is lost. Do not fear. The message is alive and shines for … Read more

About Town: Vision 2020

“Vision 2020” is what I call the next Town Plan project. It could perhaps be subtitled “you have to have a map.” Periodically since I moved to Weston in 1980, both when I was a Planning & Zoning Commission member during the 1980s and at other times, I’ve dutifully gone through my own planning processes, separate from those of P&Z but paralleling its efforts and sometimes contributing to them. My process for 2010 appears in a column on my website at aboutweston.com. In 2000, I was an adviser to the commission, providing guidance on how to think like a planner, … Read more

Walsh’s Wonderings — The rise of the North Star (Shower)

The holiday season hits me like a swing from a coal-filled stocking once CVS starts playing Christmas carols the day after Halloween; the pressure alone could turn that coal into a diamond. Many of us spend the next two weeks struggling to manage seasonal stress like underfed reindeer pulling a giant, gift-laden sleigh. Americans have spent decades trying to make the holidays more manageable. My siblings and I grew up circling pictures in the Sears catalog for Santa (How had he grown so lazy? And brand-loyal?) while buying pre-filled stockings for our dog. Soon enough, Christmas trees were coming out … Read more

About Town: Less

“Less is more.” I have always loved that expression without realizing why. Now I know. It hails from the poetry of Robert Browning and the designs of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Words and architecture. Two of my favorite things. But speaking of “less,” right now the drumbeats are beginning in Hartford once again. Cut, cut, cut! The state’s comptroller has seconded the governor’s opinion that the budget is running over projections. And by more than the amount that calls for his mandatory rescissions. One of the basic reasons I love Weston is our simplicity. For one thing, that means … Read more

Editorial: Gift giving in Weston

WESTON EDITORIAL

This is the time of year when most people are gearing up for Christmas and Hanukah, two significant religious holidays that are celebrated with much gift giving. It’s a festive time for many families, but it can be a difficult time for others. Those who have lost loved ones often struggle with loneliness. Those who face health issues — their own or of those for whom they give care — battle fatigue and are often overwhelmed by the extra obligations that accompany the holidays. There are many who cope every day with financial struggles, too, and for them, the holidays … Read more

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