Quite a bit was accomplished during the last 12 months
CORNWALL — The past year offered a great example of how Cornwall always manages to move forward while celebrating and preserving its rich past — along with more than a bit of record breaking.There was, for example, the historical society’s summer exhibit featuring Dr. Brad Walker, the ultimate old-fashioned country doc. Also in the historic village, where most homes are old enough to have been built without central heating, an outdoor wood burning furnace and pertinent regulations were scrutinized. Around town, buildings were considered for solar energy installations. Affordable housing continued to be a focus of planners, both local and regional. While solutions to the problem of creating that housing remain elusive, progress was made toward affordable senior living with zoning approval for the proposed Bonney Brook apartments in Cornwall Bridge.While other towns were struggling with budget cuts, Cornwall found itself in good financial shape. However, Yankee conservatism is the bottom line here. Despite the healthy budget, small pay hikes for Town Hall workers turned into a philosophical debate.At the transfer station, electronic waste was collected in vast amounts, earning the town a third-place finish in a six-week contest across the state. Cornwall Consolidated School said goodbye to Principal Robert Vaughan after his two-year tenure and welcomed Michael Croft. The new school year was put off by a day due to Tropical Storm Irene. That didn’t seem so bad in comparison to what happened just before the storm, when a refrigerator compressor caught fire in the lower level of the school. Quick action by custodian Tom Brown and volunteer firefighters confined the blaze to one room.Of course, weather was most often the topic, rarely as a casual aside. When the snow finally came, it seemed to never stop. Plowed piles soared to amazing heights, transforming the landscape. Record rainfall followed. Things were still pretty wet when Irene showed up in late August, downgraded by then, but dumping enough rain to take out the more than century-old Lower River Road bridge. Residents of the tiny road were stranded, but not for long. In record-breaking time, and with an amazing effort on the part of all involved, a new, much-improved bridge was built.It was the Oct. 28 nor’easter that was the major power buster. Cornwall Consolidated opened as an emergency shelter and received overnight guests for the first time.Amid all the cultural, charitable and celebratory traditions that enrich Cornwall life, the Farm Market, in its fifth year, has come to define the town. It just can’t be called new anymore. Its roots are deep. It has brought a vibrant revival to West Cornwall on Saturdays from spring to fall, with everything ‘homegrown,” from produce to musical performers, all available to buy or enjoy.The year ended on a quiet note, with low-key municipal elections and two months when people could talk about something other than the crazy weather.