Well, its here-Thanksgiving 2011, the start of the official holiday season.
And, considering how 2011 started, I sure have a lot to be thankful for!
First, I am thankful that my family and friends are healthy and all around to help me celebrate. With so much sickness, needless tragedy and heartache in the world today, to have wonderful friends and family is the greatest gift of all!
Here are some of the other things that I am grateful for:
I am thankful that Thornberry's has reopened as "Thornberry's Backstage."It was so weird last year to see the shuttered and lifeless remains of the once successful and bustling restaurant that I truly thought was gone forever. Enter Mike Mahoney, whose talent and vision brought it back to life, this time for many more years to come!
I am thankful the Oneida Square Roundabout is as beautiful and successful as it is. Let's give thanks to the REAL person behind that vision, Mike Shamma of the regional DOT. His steadfastness and foresight has transformed Oneida Square. Lets hope it spreads to the rest of the city.
I am giving thanks today for Dave and Regina Bonacci, the latest in a series of investors to come downtown. Their Bleecker St. project is a magnificent example of what can be done to transform our city. Along with all the other visionary downtown projects-Strut, The Cobblestone Building, Piers and Blake, The Taylor and the Cook, Utica Roasters, Gerber's Grill, California Pizza, The Cage Sports Bar, The Stone Cellar, project developers that, in a time of economic hardship, have gone ahead and invested in our city to make their dreams come true. I am thankful for their dedication to my home town.
I am thankful that, in a year that started with great political upheaval, the BEST candidate is now the incoming mayor. When he was fired by Roefaro in January along with my sister and I, Rob Palmieri could only dream of one day replacing the man who so callously and needlessly severed from public service a man who had devoted his entire life to the betterment of Utica. Well, he is set to be sworn in as Mayor of Utica in January. He will replace the man who fired him, and for that I give great thanks.
I am also thankful that Roefaro had the brains to withdraw from public life. Never in our history has a mayor so divided the city. Never in our history has a mayor treated his fellow citizens with such contempt by promoting an agenda that benefited his "friends and family."We have come out of a very dark period in our history. But, today the future looks bright, in part because the cronyism and underhandedness that has ruled the day here in Utica is about to evaporate with the termination of the current administration.
Finally, I am thankful for you, the readers of this blog. My musings, observations and sometimes ramblings here have attracted a great audience. I hope that I have been able to bring you some insight into the inner-workings of our city and I respect your allowing me to share with you the experiences I have gained over the many years I have spent as a public servant.
Now, I am off to Albany with my Mom to enjoy a Thanksgiving feast at my sister's home!
Thanks for that!