gerisullivan: (MarchFrog)
Snow tires are the best.

I had a 9am meeting here in town this morning. Ah, yes, after 10 years I have succumbed and am now serving on a committee to help the Town of Wales figure out what we're going to do with a piece of property the Town bought last year. When we scheduled this morning's tour of the house (built in 1875 or thereabouts), the snow wasn't expected to start falling until mid-morning. When I got in the Cardis to see if I could get up the driveway at 8:50am, there were already 4 inches of fresh white stuff on the ground. And, more importantly, on the driveway. The uphill, curved, 275' driveway.

For the first several years I lived here, there'd be a few times each winter when it took both a running start and multiple tries to get up the driveway after 2-3 inches of snow, before it was plowed. Heck, sometimes it would take a couple of tries even after it had been plowed and sanded, though the time I had to call AAA for a tow wasn't one of those.

Then I bought snow tires. I haven't had to back up and try again once since then, but I've also not tried getting up the driveway through 4 inches. I didn't know if I'd make it out this morning, but those snow tires carried the Cardis right up that hill and out onto Monson Road without complaint or hesitation. I didn't even hit that point of hoping, hoping, hoping the car had enough momentum to carry it up the steepest bit. It just plain went.

The Road Commissioner, who couldn't be at the tour because he and his crew are all out plowing roads, had plowed out the utterly flat, wide driveway at the house we were touring, which is right on Hwy 19. So we all had a place to park. Win. He'd even warned us all in email yesterday afternoon to not park alongside the road itself as the state highway plows and sanders would be coming through.

Seeing the house, getting a feel for the space and how much clean-up work will be involved...it was all great. I even got to wear my Geri Sullivan, Girl Homeowner hat a few times. From my early days at Toad Hall, I knew that a small tank in an attic crawl space that one of the guys didn't recognize is quite likely an overflow tank for the hot water heating system. And from my more recent years here at Toad Woods, I was able to point out the well pump and an inline water filter to a couple of the women as we were exploring the basement. And when one of the guys pointed out how a load-bearing wall had been removed, I knew enough about how support pillars should work to see the problem he pointed out in how the pillar had been installed. Doing it over so it's right won't be a big deal and the house itself feels both spacious and solid.

A good start to a snowy Saturday!
gerisullivan: (Default)
I'm getting near the warrant now. But first, a report excerpt from Lynn Greene, our fabulous Town Clerk, and Leis Phinney, her equally fabulous Assistant Town Clerk. From the Dog Licensing section:

We sold 267 Licenses in 2009 which consisted of: 6 Kennel Licenses for up to 4-dogs and 5 Kennel Licenses for up to 10-dogs, 22-Females, 32-Males, 132-Spayed Females and 156-Neutered Males. What's the most favorite name(s) for a dog? There's a 2-way tie with 6 dogs each named Max and Sadie. We have a 3-way tie with 5 dogs eachnamed: Buddy, Ginger and Jake and with 40-way tie with 4 dogs each named: Angel, Bear, Cody and Molly(ie). What's the favorite breed? Again, the Lab won with a count of 60, next we have 33 Shepherds, following with 15 Chihuahuas, 14 Beagles, 14 Dachshund, 14 Rotties, 10 Shih-Tzu, 11 Poms, 11 Jack Russells, and 10 Poodles.

In other demographics, I think we're pretty darned good on registered voters.Tthe following numbers are from slightly different times, but we reportedly have 1,869 residents. 1,279 of those are registered voters. Another 159 are in elementary school and 128 in high school. I don't have a count on the babes and tots under age 5, but they account for a good number of the remaining 303 folks.

I'm surprised by how few hunting, fishing, and sporting licenses the town sold: 2-Hunting, 10-Sporting, 10-Fishing, and 1-Trapping. Plus the following stamps: 7-Archery, 3-Waterfowl, and 6-Primitive Firearms.

Ahhh. All becomes clear. You can buy hunting, fishing, and sporting licenses all over the place, not just from your Town Clerk. The numbers now make a lot more sense.
gerisullivan: (Zeppelin Hangar)
From page 64, The Wales Public Access Cable Committee report:

"Within one year we have gone from producing one program a week to 5 programs per week. WPA has showcased local talent such as Maggie the Clown, Jewels the trans-gender dressmaker, and local musicians."

Yep, I love this town.
gerisullivan: (Zeppelin Hangar)
Today's mail brought my favorite publication of the year: the Town of Wales Annual Report. I'm only 26 pages into the 121-page report and I've already called my dad to tell him about the number of tobacco, milk & cream, bed & breakfast, and campground permits issued in 2009. (1, 2, 1, and 1, respectively.) While I had him on the phone, I also gave him the rundown on the number of new homes built (3), additions and remodelings (8), roofing and siding repairs (21), and so on for the various permits issued by the building inspector.

The Wales Cemeteries had a quiet year. There were 17 deaths in town, but "only one full burial and two burials of cremains." The Cemetery Commission did see to the planting of 20 arbor vitae trees in the #4 Cemetery, "along the property lines with the campgrounds to enhance the beauty of the cemetery and discourage access to the campgrounds." It's the first I'd heard of arbor vitaes as ghost and zombie traps, but there you go.

There's interesting information about various gifts made to the town, most notably the "Norcross Gift." Arthur D. Norcross, founder and manager of the Norcross Greeting Card Company, was a native of nearby Monson, MA.

Arthur Norcross also created the 6,000+ acre Norcross Wildlife Sanctuary, starting with the 100 acre family woodlot and pasture he inherited from his father and expanding from there.

The wildlife sanctuary is just 2 miles from Toad Woods:

See?

More of the interesting history.

Okay, back to the Wales Annual Report. I started this post to share this gem from the Highway Department's report on page 26:

"Our 1965 Wayne Surplus Sweeper is running again. This machine has been around! Somers, CT scrapped it and Wales Highway has serviced it and put it back in service. Then it went to Brimfield and was scrapped again. Wales took it back for a second time -- and put it back in service again. Parts are very hard to find, hopefully it will last the season."

I love this town.

I've looked ahead to confirm that my name does not appear on any of the delinquent taxpayer lists. Now it's back to the fun and informative perusal of the report as well as the 22 articles in the Town Warrant and proposed budget we'll be voting on at the Annual Town Meeting a week from now.
gerisullivan: (Default)
This week's Sturbridge Villager reports that 1,013 of 1,240 eligible voters cast ballots in Wales, for a turnout of 81.7%. I'm pleased.

It looks like there's not much future opportunity for registering more voters around here, either. Wales has somewhere between 1,800 and 1,850 residents. Of those, 1,240 are registered to vote and 294 of them are in the public K-12 school system. (School numbers are as of last spring's annual town report.) That leaves somewhere between 266 and 316 residents not accounted for in those numbers. Considering that roughly 16% of our population is in the public K-12 system and general population realities of small towns, it's reasonable to expect that there are at least some pre-school kids. I've certainly seen a fair number of them in strollers and such. There are probably more kids being homeschooled than off in private schools given how far we are from the latter. In 2000, there were 435 kids under 18 in town and the town's population has gone up by 100-150 or so since then.

From what I can see, something on the order of 90% of the people who are eligible to vote in Wales are already registered. There's not a lot for canvassing efforts to turn up in terms of voter registration. The one obvious place for GOTV work would be in the low-income apartment complex that houses several of the town's seniors. Then again, I wouldn't be in the least bit surprised if they already have something along those lines. The voting place is at our Senior Center, after all.

Way to go, Wales! Well done.
gerisullivan: (Default)
I just did 4,700 of them in an hour. My second Zumba class went better than the first two weeks ago -- the teacher slowed things down (her footwork was super-fast the first week), and the steps were more familiar thanks to having done most of them once.

Zumba is a dance-based exercise class like Jazzercise, only using Latin music and dance steps. An 8-week class is being offered for free here in Wales as part of the town employees' wellness program. The February schedule is tricky thanks to the election and a no school day, so it will be another two weeks until the next class. Then we go weekly; that will be good.

I'm deliberately not linking to the Zumba website; the content content and quality doesn't warrant dealing with the glitz.

I am enjoying both the workout and meeting more of my neighbors. Win-win.

In other "move more" news, I finally seem to have settled into using the NordicTrack ski machine that [livejournal.com profile] debgeisler and [livejournal.com profile] benveniste gave me. I'll abandon it for the elliptical I want the moment I'm able to purchase one, but I no longer abhor using the NordicTrack and I rarely feel like I'm about to fall off more than once or twice a session. (While there's no promise of future performance involved, I do note that I've felt like I'm about to fall off the thing hundreds of times, and I have yet to fall or otherwise injure myself once. And being free, it fit the budget beautifully.)

All that Peeps shopping yesterday put 14,500+ steps on my pedometer. That kind of step count is normally unheard of unless I'm traveling. So, yes, it's a good couple of days on the move more front. And surprising, considering that I'm spending most of my days and nights doing design and layout here at my computer.
gerisullivan: (Monkey)
My car played a trick on me, and earned a new treat in return. Or maybe I was the one playing the trick... )

As I wrote in [livejournal.com profile] minnehaha K's and [livejournal.com profile] debgeisler's LJs yesterday, my mailbox and other bits of frontage were included in the massive TP'ing that stretches over 3/4 mile along Monson Road. I like watching the TP draped over my power lines blowing in the breeze. It makes me feel like a member of the community, even if it would be more accurate to say the kids were simply more energetic than they've been in the past. I don't remember them ever making it past the pond before. So that counts as both a trick and a treat.

My Ravelry invitation arrived today! That's pure treat, I hope, though it could prove to be a time-consuming one. Ravelry is, in their words, "a place for knitters, crocheters, designers, spinners, and dyers to keep track of their yarn, tools and pattern information, and look to others for ideas and inspiration." Edie Stern is having a blast with it, and I hope I will, too. In my Copious Free Time, of course. [livejournal.com profile] snippy, I've just friended you there, and joined the Ravelry LJ group, too. But when will I have time for knitting?!?

Speaking of treats, I have a new client. Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] elaine_brennan referring me to [livejournal.com profile] rosefox, and Rose then referring me on, I'm going to be helping with layout on the bi-monthly Annals of Improbable Research! Whoohoo! And speaking of work, I'm going to toddle along and do some more of it now.

Happy Halloween, everyone! Best wishes for a treat-filled night!

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