Sunday, June 8, 2008

<--This picture is Harriet McBryde Johnson, disability rights activist, who died this week.

Dear People--I always think of Garrison Keillor when I start writing these memos, "Well, it's been a quiet week in Lake Woebegone..." But, well, this isn't Minnesota, there ain't no lake, and, as usual, it hasn't been all that quiet.

1) Antioch alive?  The Antioch saga has apparently taken another interesting, potentially positive turn. In their meeting in Keene, NH, the university trustees apparently voted to work with the Alumni to create an "independent and separate college", as soon as possible. . . .? . . . But I admit I want to read the fine print before I actually celebrate. (Color me a cool shade of "jaded," I guess.)

For more information about this latest head-scratching turn of events, see the Alumni website--and/or the text of the Antioch Alumni "breaking news" newsletter, below my signature (dated 6/7/2008). [As far as I can tell, the University has not yet issued a separate press release.] 
This comes at a time when:

* Faculty are being forced to move out of their offices this week--and would love your help moving at 10 AM tomorrow (6/9)! (Contact Amy Maruyama to help!)
* So far as I know, tomorrow evening (6/9) we're still planning to have a picnic and speakers (including me!) about the impact of the closing on the village, at the "U" drive in front of Main Building, 5:30 (potluck) / 6:30 speakers. I will speak first, and then race off to the Planning Commission meeting, see below.

2) Consulting Village Manager: Meanwhile, back at our little ranch, many of you probably read that we've hired John Weithofer to serve as a "consulting" manager to the village during these last two weeks of Eric's work with us. We hope that he will also agree to be our interim manager. He's a very experienced manager with long-term connections in the Dayton area, who has had the experience of helping Miamisburg successfully deal with the closing of a major employer, a crisis he describes as not dissimilar in scale and implications to the Antioch situation that we face. He's intrigued by the opportunity. I am impressed by him.

Also at our last meeting we also approved the Barr property plans, which I know is not what all of you wanted. I feel at peace with the decision, but am nevertheless aware of the burden of responsibility I bear for helping to make this project work as best as it possibly can for our village, and to make sure that the developers live up to their promises about minimizing negative impacts on the neighborhood, and possibly even improving the drainage situation. I pledge to do my very best on this.

3) Monday: 6/9, 7 pm: Planning Commission: We'll be discussing our Comprehensive Plan update, the Bike Committee's Management action list, our amended goals, and, finally, and most importantly: Historical Preservation. This is the crucial issue facing our village, long term, as we grapple with the potential for a closed or seriously down-sized Antioch College. We want to make sure that key historic buildings are preserved. Please consider coming to this meeting!

4) Next: Village Council Meeting: 6/16, 7 pm, Bryan Ctr: We will have many things to take up--including, we hope, addressing our concerns about the University's plans for temporary(?) closure of the college buildings, a few resolutions that we postponed from our last meeting--e.g., reappointing our village treasurer and signing up the village utility accounts for Green Pricing, and appointments to several commissions. We'll also approve the Tax Budget for the village, hear a Run-for-Life presentation, and discuss economic development concerns. I will have more details next week, however.

Death remains mysterious.  How can I imagine a world without me?  How can I have survived so many friends, so many family members, so many heroes?  Why can't Mel Brooks live forever?  Death is natural and necessary, but not just.  It is a random force of nature; survival is equally accidental.  Each loss is an occasion to remember that survival is a gift.  I owe it to others to make good use of my time.  When I die, I might as well die alive.  ~ Harriet McBryde Johnson,  8 July 1957-3 June 2008

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