This year of 2014 has impressed me as an atypical weather year. Summer was absent of the usual long stretch of scorching hot days. Fall has been somewhat wetter and cooler. Tree leaves were not as colorful as in past years. A number of sources have projected that winter will be colder and snowier.
The 2014 Villages of Urbana snow budget was “clobbered” by numerous snow and ice events. In response, that element of the 2015 budget allowance was substantially increased. The snow removal contract provides for paying on the basis of “pushes,” measured in inches of snowfall, as well as other sidewalk and pavement treatment tasks. In the past we paid on a time and materials basis and had less control of costs.
The Villages of Urbana reelected two sitting Board of Directors members, Darrin Santay and Lew Moon, at its Nov. 11 annual meeting. My congratulations go to my re-elected board colleagues. While the entire community was invited to nominate candidates to compete for the positions, the incumbents were the only ones to express interest. There were a handful of write-in candidates at the meeting.
In the past, candidates without prior community involvement self-nominated and won seats. A number of reasons can be conjectured to explain the lack of candidate self-nominations, including: resident apathy, satisfaction with the two board candidates willing to extend their service, and concern that developer block votes would favor incumbents.
The Villages has more than 2,700 settled homes, but Board of Directors meetings don’t attract much resident attendance. Attendance — not counting those attending to appeal fines and other adverse actions — is normally five or less.
In contrast to the Villages election, the recent county and state elections impressed me as particularly hard fought. Criticisms and claims thrown by some candidates against their opponents stretched the truth to the point of digging deep into mud. Congratulations and best wishes to all the winners, and thanks to the unsuccessful candidates who invested much time and energy in campaigning. Tony Chmelik will represent District 2 on the new council, which includes Urbana and other southeastern county areas. As I write this, vote counting is incomplete for the District 1 Council seat. The unusual situation of a tie exists for the two candidates.
With 2014 nearing an end, and 2015 around the corner, beyond the weather and elections, I found myself thinking about changes. I suspect that seniors, such as me, may not be as quick as younger persons to recognize the development and implications of change. I’ll list some changes that impress me. Readers will be able to add items to my list.
Folks have been dropping their hard-wired phone lines in considerable numbers. Cell phones and other devices now outnumber hard-wired phones. Complicating the identification of personal phone numbers, “people finder” web sites now charge to provide numbers.
Hard copy newspapers and other print publications are in a battle with their on-line options. Smart phone owners read news and other publications on their screens.
Interest in fitness and exercise has grown by leaps and bounds. Walking, running and working out attracts persons in large numbers. Thousands of people — of all ages — participate in walks and runs.
I casually observe an explosion in the number of households with one or more dogs. Complex networks exist for transporting and settling “rescue” dogs.
Communications among people—with the aid of various electronic means — have exploded. While young, tech-savvy people were early adopters, older age groups have followed. Grandparents wishing to be aware of, and connected with, their children and grand children, have become active adopters. All age groups have to deal with the issue of how much and what they share.
Cars and trucks are experiencing dramatic changes. While some cars are smaller, pickup trucks and mini-vans have become humongous. Automotive technology adoption has rapidly grown, but problems with “infotainment” systems and touch screen displays are a frequent source of complaints.
Marriage, a previously well-defined aspect of social organization, has been redefined in the eyes of large numbers of people, and with the help of courts.
Have a pleasant holiday season and best wishes for health, happiness and success in 2015.
Editor’s Note: Rich Terselic is a member of the board of directors of the Villages of Urbana Homeowners’ Association.