Deborah Rose column: Hello, 2020!
The New Milford Village Green is one of the most picturesque in New England.
Cobblestone streets, historic buildings, local shops, restaurants and businesses, and an iconic bandstand are among the features that contribute to the downtown’s charm.
On a recent cool winter day, I headed to the Green to experience the town, this time just to reflect.
As I made my way along Main and Bank streets, along Railroad Street, and along the Housatonic River, I stepped back in time to 1998 when I joined the other original staff members and we beat the pavement sharing the word about the new publication.
Since then, the staff has shared its wish list for the new year.
My hope for 2020 begins with a wish for all individuals to experience light and goodness, and to have an open heart to new opportunities.
To those who feel lost, alone and are grieving or ill, I wish you healing and peace.
On the local level, my biggest wish is for the state to fix the traffic lights at Main, Bridge and Railroad streets so the traffic flow runs more smoothly.
Traffic has always been a point of contention in town, but ever since the state made changes to the lights last year, backups seem even more common.
The backup at East and Grove streets, and Elm and East streets continue. So, it’d be nice if some progress was made at those intersections, too.
Next up is politics, in particular, the divisive, partisan politics.
It’s around us on a national level, and it’s exhausting. Let’s build from the ground up and be civil locally.
It is OK to disagree, but disparaging people on social media, behind closed doors and to their face is just rotten and unkind.
My next wish is one that is repeated year after year because it is so important and must be repeated.
I also hope the town will support — and see the need for — funding in the arts programs in the school system.
It seems cultural programs are always among the first to go at budget time.
These programs are vital, and we need put political agendas aside and make a real investment in our children.
Children need to be able to express themselves in healthy ways and arts programs provide them those opportunities.
The more often we reduce or altogether remove those programs, we limit our children’s access to the educational tools that help them grow into young men and women.
Funds are tight for many people, and individuals don’t want to see taxes increased. That makes sense.
At the same time, we need to supply the means for our children — the ones who are our future — to be equipped with the right tools they need to succeed.
I wish Loaves & Fishes Hospitality House much success as it continues construction of a new, permanent home off Bridge Street, and I pray for all those who utilize the resources available there, at Social Services and throughout our community.
Our community is filled with giving people who volunteer their time and participate in programs that aid those who are without, or have limited, food, housing and funds.
I extend my sincere gratitude to all those who do support those in need and hope that we will continue to come together as a community to engage in that unified front.
Along those lines, I also wish the new high-risk navigator working for New Milford Police Department success as he connects residents at risk from substance abuse, mental illness, homelessness or other problems with area programs.
Our community is not immune to substance abuse, mental illness, homelessness or other problems that affect an individual’s well-being.
The opioid crisis has struck the Greater New Milford area and we need to pull together and care for those who are suffering.
Thankfully, some new programs have already been put in place and more are to come. We must do all we can for our neighbors.
Another wish that has made the list each year is passenger rail service.
Perhaps this is the year solid steps will be made.
I would also like to see continued growth in the areas of conservation.
Several land trusts operate in the region and do their part to protect and preserve land.
I hope that continues and that New Milford will build on the projects it has already begun in this area.
There are many more things to be hopeful for, but I will close with this.
It is a privilege to be part of this community.
I grew up here and have been fortunate to be a part of this publication since its inception.
Each day I reflect on the community, its people and its heart.
It’s a gift to be able to share my voice in this forum.
I pray the stories we share in The Spectrum about the businesses, people and happenings in the community are meaningful, and that the messages I share in my columns provide a sense of connection with you.
Best wishes to you for fulfilling new year.
Deborah Rose is a lifelong New Milford resident who has worked at The Spectrum since its inception in 1998. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.