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I would like to express my thanks to the residents of Duxbury who attended the 2012 annual Town Meeting. Many remarked on how it was one of the largest, if not the largest, gatherings they have seen in years. There was an effort to modify the Duxbury Town Meeting process in a small way; a similar and more extensive effort was proposed in Waterbury. Towns throughout Vermont have modified the process in an attempt to accommodate what has been a centuries-old tradition, to modernize it.
It is my belief that all of the technological changes available to us today offer opportunities to conduct our business and social relationships in a quicker and more “efficient” fashion. Sadly, the end result, in my opinion, is the loss of social interaction, of personal face-to-face contact. We are “instantly” communicating in our business environment and more so in our private through a variety of devices and “social” networks to the detriment, I believe, of the one-on-one and group interaction we experienced for years.
Recently my wife and I vacationed for a week in Sarasota, Florida, and the first morning, a Sunday, we went to breakfast and as we waited to be seated I was taken by the number of seasoned citizens in the group (if you aren’t aware, there are a lot of them down there). All without exception were dressed impeccably and were carrying on conversation. While waiting to be and after we were seated, I observed that there was not one smart phone, cell phone, mobile communicating device, electronic gaming device being used at any of the tables in the restaurant. It was a sizeable restaurant with an age-varied clientele. I have to contrast that with what I see and experience daily, as do many of us.
Technology has indeed facilitated so much and the pace of our lives has increased so quickly. We have, I believe, allowed technology to control us rather than the reverse. I sincerely hope that Town Meeting is never changed to accommodate the frenetic pace of residents’ lives, rather that we at a minimum, take one day to interact with our fellow citizens and conduct the town’s business, enjoy one another’s company and the variety that is potluck.
I would like to sincerely thank those who supported my re-election to the select board. Many expressed their feelings that it is a thankless job and at times it has proven frustrating. To the contrary, I am encouraged, bolstered and grateful to those who took the time to thank me personally and in writing; your expressions of support make all the difference in the world. I wish the best to JoAnn and Ames; it has been a sincere pleasure to have served with them. I welcome Maureen Harvey and Mo Lavanway as they join with Craig Isvak, Mike Marshall and I on our new board.
I would especially like to thank several individuals, who will remain unnamed, for their wise counsel; I sincerely hope to be able to call on them in the future. Likewise, the opinions and sentiments expressed at Town Meeting will also be factored into our decision-making process. Lastly, I am grateful for my wife’s support and tolerance of meetings often too frequently lasting too long.
I look forward to serving you as we conduct the business of the town which is moving Duxbury forward. Please feel free to provide us with any positive critique, suggestions, or ideas as we prepare to celebrate our 250th anniversary. May I remind everyone, we meet the second Monday of the month at 6 p.m. in the meeting room attached to the town garage. You are indeed welcome; no need to bring potluck.
Charland lives in Duxbury.