This has been quite a week - in this country's politics and for me, personally.
Sen. Barack Obama officially became the Presidential nominee of the Democratic Party - the first African-American to win this in history. The vote making Obama the nominee - and Obama's speech accepting the nomination - occurred on historic anniversaries.
The Democratic National Convention voted the nomination of Sen. Obama on Wednesday, August 27, which was the centennial of the birth of President Lyndon Baines Johnson. Given President Johnson's role in promoting civil rights in the 1960s, there is much poetic justice in this conjunction of the two events.
As many observers have noted, yesterday was the 45th anniversary of the March on Washington, when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his "I have a Dream" speech. Again, the confluence of Dr. King's speech and Sen. Obama's seems to this observer to be quite auspicious.
For me personally, I helped build a playground this past Sunday - and got to comment on this on television.
This was before I got very sore and sunburned.
I was also quite active in West Brookfield affairs. Replacement of a key bridge in West Brookfield got attention in both the Worcester Telegram and Gazette and the Spencer New Leader. My colleagues and I on the Board of Selectmen expressed our concerns about the apparent refusal of CSX, which owns the rail that runs under the bridge, to allow a grade-level crossing adjacent to the bridge. Without this nearby detour, while the bridge is closed for as much as two months, traffic would be detoured 7 to 9 miles through the neighboring towns of Brookfield and Warren - a prospect that poses safety, economic, and quality of life issues for the residents of West Brookfield.
My colleagues and I also expressed our concerns about the count of West Brookfield students attending the Quaboag Regional School District. The residency of 45 students, previously identified as West Brookfield residents, has been called into question. This is a matter that needs to be resolved before the official school census is done on October 1.
Items that haven't yet been covered in the newspaper include our efforts to expand long-range financial forecasting for the Town of West Brookfield - and the effects of a decision by the state Department of Revenue not to allow the Town to maintain a "fleet account." This is an account into which the Town Meeting appropriates funds for the purpose of acquiring vehicles and other rolling stock for Town departments. The Board of Selectmen and the Advisory Committee have been making decisions on specific vehicle purchases.
I have felt that this approach circumvents the legislative process. Town Meeting is the legislative body in West Brookfield - and should be the body that decides major capital purchases. However, I am not happy about the way in which this change was made. I had hoped that a more comprehensive capital planning process would be in place before anything was done to the "fleet account."
Finally, I had the opportunity to attend the annual meeting of the Lake Wickaboag Preservation Association - and to speak to the meeting. Lake Wickaboag is a "great pond" of about 400 acres located in the center of West Brookfield. It really is one of the gems of our area. I grew up in a community that has a similar lake - I'm happy to support efforts to maintain Lake Wickaboag.