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April Town Meeting Notes 2012
This April Town Meeting was perhaps not as well attended as most but the council members who came were there to discuss matters of importance. Unseasonably cool for this time of year, the grey evening sky cast a backdrop for arriving members as they crossed the entrance threshold of the Venture Center’s Coleman Gromack auditorium. The group was mostly late and by the 6:45 scheduled start time, the hall was still half empty. Nonetheless, a very sunny group of recreation staff was there for the group as they appeared in the hall with kind words and warm welcomes that helped to take the chill off this otherwise raw Spring night.
The Council of Advocates met on Monday April 23. In attendance were Meagen, the President and Jen, the Vice President. Lee, the Treasurer, was all so present. Terry Freson acted as the group’s facilitator and Executive Director, Dan Lukens, took notes. Approximately 40 voting members of the Council were in attendance by the opening gavel.
The president started the proceedings for this late start at 7:00PM.
Tom B. was the first speaker. Having arrived early, Tom seemed anxious to share a few words. After a brief introduction in which he told the group that he lived in the Kathy Lukens Independent Living Center in his own apartment and that he was a 30-year employee of Macy’s, he opened up about work, family and Venture.
Tom discussed the management of his personal affairs mostly related to maintaining his apartment and managing his money and personal effects. Moving on, he discussed job related concerns. “They are constructing a new Nanuet mall around the old one,” he explained. Tom mentioned the changes to the work environment. Mostly what he shared though was his career development and on-the-job relationships. Before yielding the floor, Tom asked about the coming Butterfly Ball.
Taking the floor, Terry announced that the event was May 5, at the Colonial Inn. “D.J. John will be on hand and there will be lots of prizes, dancing and fun,” she said.
The group applauded enthusiastically for Terry’s announcement.
Peter C’s big smile, as he took the floor, offered a pleasant contrast to this melancholy sort of night. Pete spoke warmly of his friends at Venture Industries and bragged a little about his bowling game. He also offered a few kind words for his friend Emerson.
Jeff B. greeted the group and said it was cold. He apparently missed his friend Maria who would arrive later.
David L. shared with the group his enthusiasm for several trips that were planned for the coming month. One was to Harriman State Park and the other was to Haverstraw but the purpose of the Haverstraw trip he did not elaborate on. He also said that he was going to the dentist the next day in a tone that suggested that he had some concerns about how this would go. “I don’t like cake and ice cream,” he said.
Peter S. took the floor looking rather sober. “I run the machine, the vacuum,” he said. He talked about his household chores and work responsibilities and discussed a recent trip to Seven Eleven. Peter also talked about how much he enjoyed a recent visit to a carnival.
Jeff K. bounded to the front of the room with his usual verve. “Friday, Alex Rodriguez hit a home run,” he announced enthusiastically. He also spoke with pride about his job at Toys r’ Us. “I help out,” he said.
The group applauded warmly for Jeff.
Marie P. said that she missed Antoine.
Judy L. approached the front of the room shyly but when Terry Freson mentioned her plum jumps suit, she lit up. Smiling from ear to ear she told the group that it was new.
“Everybody quiet!” Eileen M. said commanding the attention of the room. She waited for a long moment with her hands on her hips and with her lower lip pressed over her upper in a kind of scowl. When the room was silent, she continued. “I love my staff,” she said. “I like Judy. I do a good job at bowling. How may strikes?” she said asking herself.” “A lot!”
“I have new glasses,” Angel said coyly. They were new and they looked great.
The group rose to applaud for their much-beloved resident fashion diva. Angle glowed for the attention.
Richard, standing before the group, announced emphatically that he loved Marie.
Merlin, smiling, told the group about his rock and roll exploits and the coming “Rock of Ages” concert.
“Today,’ Joel announced, “I am 20 years old.”
He told the group that he was working very hard at Venture Industries and said that he liked his job.
The group applauded warmly for Joel.
“I am the ladies man of the Town Meeting!” Garry announced triumphantly.
He said that, though he couldn’t bowl anymore, he still enjoyed going to the lanes, having coffee and talking with friends.
“Go Yankees!” Kevin said. Dressed smartly in a shirt and tie, Kevin looked sharp as he spoke to the group. He discussed a recent visit with family and his affection for Julie.
Robert stepped to the microphone also looking quite the dude. “Hi everyone,” he said in his usual friendly way. “We’re playing the Rock of Ages,” he announced.
Patrick M. took the floor and offered a spirited oration. As he finished his statement, Dan Lukens arose from his seat and with his arm on Patrick’s shoulder spoke to the group. “Is this guy the greatest”? The group responded with applause and Patrick beamed.
Michael S. speaking plainly said, “What’s going on?” less as a question than as a statement. He updated the group on the Yankees progress and said that they were playing the Rangers that night.
Susie S. told the group that her dad was in the hospital. “I miss him,” she said.
“There are some things going on in my life,” Ryan relayed to the group in low tones as if preparing to relay a saga. “Someone here I love a whole lot. We had something special.” he said. “I think about my dad sometimes. And, Dan Lukens I am grateful for what you did and grateful for your daughter Sarah.”
Maria R. greeted the recreation staff, Dan Lukens and the Council leadership warmly.
“Be a good boy,” she said to Dan Lukens wagging her finger.
There were a few giggles from the group as Maria yielded the floor.
“My step mom is very sick,” Zac said looking distraught. “Pray for her so she gets better,” he said.
Greg was helped to a chair at the front of the room and took the microphone with some authority. “ I have to say this for all at Venture and around this building. I truly truly love Venture and all of you.”
The group rose to their feet in applause for Greg.
“I love everybody,” Jennel announced. “I love everybody but right now I am very sad. I need a hug,” she said and her friends obliged as she yielded the floor.
Emerson looking circumspect spoke to the group. “Randi is my girl friend,” he announced. He also talked about his friendship with Lee and said he appreciated all his friends at Venture.
Kelly Ann announced that she was going to Myrtle Beach. “Who wants a t-shirt?” she asked.
With Kelly Ann at the microphone, Dan Lukens stepped forward and asked her to introduce the new resident at Venture East. “This is Chuck,” Kelly Ann announced. Chuck rose and the group applauded for him. Apparently shy, Chuck nonetheless seemed pleased.
“Hi there,” Billy said. “Two weeks ago,” Billy announced, “I went out for Mexican food.” Billy discussed a Cinco de Mayo celebration in Congers and a new Nickelback (band) CD he had just gotten. Billy also mentioned marching in the St Patrick’s Day parade.
“Yankees won 15 to 9,” John announced with authority. “Go Yankees!
Randi used her time to offer warm regards to her staff especially Danielle Gaspard.
Michael C. introduced himself. “Saturday I went bowling and got a 115 and a 117,” he said proudly. He also discussed a shopping trip with his family.
James L. announced that he had been in the hospital. “I’m better now,” he said.
The audience came to their feet in ovation for James.
Patrick D. had a lot to say about his family and about Julie whom he referred to as his wife.
Dieter offered a few kind words to his fellows. And, though the specifics of what he was saying were not completely clear, the message was, nonetheless, understood as a warm sentiment, which, inspired applause from the group.
Dieter was the last speaker in the regular session of the Town Meeting. Meagen closed the regular session at this point and took the floor to offer a few words.
“On April 19, I took one of my staff, Danielle, to the Venture Awards Party,” she said. “Dan (Lukens) gave a talk and I agree with everything that he said. The staff here at Venture are the best. I am grateful to be part of this family. It’s the number one place to be!”
The group applauded enthusiastically for their president.
Meagen then allowed Terry Freson a moment. “Tonight,” Terry said, “I would like to introduce our new recreation staff, Dana.” A spirited Dana sprung to her feet and waived to the group with all the enthusiasm that her youthful appearance seemed to suggest. The group responded enthusiastically too as they joined the recreation staff in a very welcoming ovation.
Lee followed Meagen and Terry and struck a more somber note. “I lost my dad the week of March 11,” he said with an apparent mix of sadness and lament. “I am trying to help my mom,” he said. Lee spoke of his job and the band he’s in and other aspects of personal and professional life but the sadness of his opening thought lingered.
Meagen closed the meeting with Lee still standing before the audience that had already begun to exit the hall. A couple of his housemate came up to him to offer support and his tone seemed to match the grayness of the cool spring sky that awaited the group as they made their way home.
It was a good night. Not one for high spirits or boisterous merriment but a good time to share a few thoughts and feelings with friends and comrades. The good weather and summer fun was coming but this evening was not about anticipation. It was a soulful moment in the here and now. A time for this family of friends to know that bond and to revel in quiet celebration for what they have in each other.
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