Tuesday, 16 May 2017 16:35

Talk of the Towns for May 17, 2017

Written by  Staff

Quality decisions

“Quality of Life” is one of those terms Talkers hear frequently in tours of duty around town board meetings, civic functions and school activities. And it’s one of those terms that, Talkers have learned, has a definition determined by who’s doing the talking and in what direction the conversation has drifted.

As municipal budget season evolves, the phrase becomes more prevalent as elected officials struggle with the seasonal chore of deciding which expenditures are crucial for their community while simultaneously looking for ways to appease taxpayers (and potential voters) by promoting spending cuts.

It’s not easy, but it’s also not an assignment that can be ignored — and more than once in private conversations Talkers have been compelled to remind some of those same struggling officials that identifying things vital to their constituents’ quality of life is part of the job for which they volunteered. The problem is that, very often, those who want the focus on just what they consider necessary are the loudest voices, while those who just assume everyone understands the intrinsic value of amenities don’t speak up.

Parks and recreation activities are always a popular target for those who think town-funded services should only include the barest of minimums. But many others consider places to play, exercise and relax as true basic necessities.

It would be easy for towns to slice expenditures by eliminating park space and reducing the staff and programs that provide outlets for active and athletic adventures. But what those elected to represent the best interests of their entire town need to consider is, in terms of real quality of life, how much would those potential savings cost?

This one’s for the birds

Talkers have been in our new Huntersville digs now for about five months, having made the arduous move all the way from Gilead Road near the post office to just around the corner on North Old Statesville Road.

It doesn’t seem like a relocation less than five miles away would make that big a difference, but we have thoroughly enjoyed our new — and far more improved — location. Parking is a dream now that we don’t have to share a lot with a bunch of spatially challenged fitness nuts, and our view of Old Statesville Road is our own real-time traffic alert.

Aside from the incredibly painful contortions we have endured and the Time spent wasted in dealing with a major Cable company whose Charter was to provide us a Spectrum of reliable and timely communications services (and you know who you are), this has really been a great move.

The problem, however, is our neighbors.

No, not the friendly people just to the north of us. It’s the critter menagerie that we’re becoming alarmingly well acquainted with.

It was cute at first. There’s the big fat cat that comes and goes through a broken board in the barn behind us, and the variety of songbirds that we can hear all day long in the towering trees that shade our old house-turned-office.

But lately, Talkers have a few new visitors that are far from cute. There’s a turkey vulture that regularly perches on top of the old building near our parking area, just sitting there with wings stretched wide in a menacing pose. Today, he was parked on the railing of our back porch. When the sound of the door opening ran him off, a second one immediately joined him on the adjacent roof in an obvious show of strength.

And we’re pretty certain we have a slightly deranged squirrel. He spent most of today trying to eat through the surface of a board on our back deck. Unfortunately, he’s making progress.

Talkers guess it’s only fair, though. They can just imagine what the local fauna thought when a bunch of journalists moved in ... there goes the neighborhood.

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