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Weston Leader Looks Forward to Community Farm

WESTON, Conn. -With the new year just a few days old, The Daily Weston asked Selectman Dennis Tracey to look back on the year gone by in Weston and to give some insight on what he foresees for the town in 2012. These are his answers:

1. Looking ahead into 2012, where do you see the Town of Weston? What are you looking forward to most?

From my discussions with voters in 2011, my sense is that people in town want Weston to stay fundamentally the way it is – a friendly, small town with a strong sense of community and mutual support. They want to continue to protect our open spaces, support our schools with both necessary funding and parental support, and help those who are in need.

We have a continuing difficult environment economically and we in Weston are not immune to the effects of the economy. Our leaders need to be especially sensitive to the needs of those who are less fortunate. But we have a great community with much to be thankful for.

2. Is there anything new coming to Weston that you are excited about?

I am looking forward to realizing some dreams in 2012. I would love to see the Friends of Lachat, who recently received a $20,000 grant from the Connecticut Historic Trust, raise enough money to allow us to renovate the historic and beloved farmhouse on the Lachat property in a way that would save it for future generations (and allow it to be used by present generations).

I am also looking forward to the establishment on the property of a community farm or other sustainable way for the community to enjoy the unique Lachat property. We have a number of exciting improvements in store in our senior center, which will make it an even more inviting gathering place.

In Town Hall, we are rethinking the way we govern ourselves in the Charter Revision Commission , which is scheduled to announce its recommendations in 2012. Those recommendations may not be as exciting as a pristinely restored farmhouse, but I think they will be thoughtful recommendations that will put our town government in the forefront of openness, fairness and effectiveness.

3. We had a very tough year in terms of weather - there was an earthquake, a hurricane and an unusual snowstorm in October. What would you like to say to the Weston community about this winter?

Well, it feels like we have already been through a winter, and it hasn’t even started. But whatever challenges the winter brings, we will be ready. Our Department of Public Works is a well-oiled and hard working group. We have developed a good emergency response protocol, and we are improving it. We have evaluated our responses to previous emergencies to improve our overall responsiveness. And we are very lucky to have the help of the Community Service Alliance, which has organized the hundreds of willing volunteers around town to help in an emergency. We cannot control the weather, but we can be as prepared as possible.

4. Looking back, what are some of your fondest memories in Weston? Is there anything that you are most proud of that helped benefit Weston?

Ironically, the storms were the backdrop for some of my fondest memories of the year. I have never seen so many Westonites working together for a common goal. Driving through the various communities, I saw Westonites with dark homes but warm hearts, talking together, walking together, and being together in a way one sees less frequently when lights and power are our jealous companions.

Perhaps the warmest memory I have is on the Sunday of the great October snowstorm, while my family visited with those who are vulnerable, we had the occasion to visit a 40-plus year resident of Weston (whose exact age is a secret), and whose husband was wheelchair-bound. Thinking we were going to be driving them to the shelter, we were greeted, to our surprise, by a very proud and feisty woman who had no power and a disabled husband, but enough pluck and self-reliance to make it through any storm. She proudly showed us her wood-burning stove and, in the yard, a massive pile of split logs – that she had split herself. We visited for a while, enjoyed their warm and welcoming company, and left, with a sense that all would be well in that household – with electricity or without. 5. Looking back, do you have any regrets? Is there anything that would change that happened in the past year, in Weston?

Last year had its challenges, but I think we showed our true colors as a community in hardship and in better times. I hope the new year sees a Weston community that is a great place to live for both coming generations and our wise and wonderful elder community.

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