2014-01-02 / Front Page

Islanders share New Year’s resolutions

By Tim Riel


The sign above is perched on Mount Adams in New Hampshire. It reads, “The area ahead has the worst weather in America. Many have died there from exposure, even in the summer. Turn back now if the weather is bad.” Town Administrator Kevin Paicos plans to hike the Presidential Range this year. The sign above is perched on Mount Adams in New Hampshire. It reads, “The area ahead has the worst weather in America. Many have died there from exposure, even in the summer. Turn back now if the weather is bad.” Town Administrator Kevin Paicos plans to hike the Presidential Range this year. New Year’s resolutions can sometimes be a tall order. For Town Administrator Kevin Paicos, he interpreted “tall” in the literal sense.

The first-year administrator and recently retired Army officer said he plans to traverse the Presidential Range in 2014.

“In winter,” he said. “In a single day.”

The range is located in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Its highest peaks are named after American presidents, most notably Mount Washington, a 6,288- foot crag known for its tumultuous winds. The presidential traverse is a strenuous hike over each of the major summits along the 19-mile ridge. It encompasses more than 8,500 feet in elevation gain.

For state Rep. Deb Ruggiero, her New Year’s resolution is much less perilous than Paicos’, but ask any golfer, and they’ll say it’s just as tough as any trek across snowy mountains.

“Lower my golf handicap,” she said.

More importantly, Ruggiero said she wants to continue to work hard in Providence for the people of Jamestown.

New Year’s resolutions can be traced back to the cradle of civilization, when ancient Babylonians would make promises to their gods at the start of each year. Romans as far back as 8th century B.C. used the New Year to honor Janus, the god of beginnings. The month of January is named in his honor.

Superintendent of Schools Marcia Lukon says she isn’t good at sticking to resolutions – a common occurrence among pledging participants. According to a 2007 study by the University of Bristol, almost 90 percent of Americans who set New Year’s resolutions fail.

Lukon, however, said her past shortcomings won’t impede her future goals. She plans to have more fun this year, and wants to make progress with her bucket list.

“After all,” said Lukon, “aren’t our buckets meant to be emptied?”

Director Mary Wright of the Jamestown Community Theatre wants to expand her vocabulary – but not in English. She hopes to learn Spanish, as well as improve her French.

Wright also wants to follow through on a book idea she’s been mulling. “If I want to be realistic,” she said, “the outcome would probably be a short story.”

Sue Maden of the Jamestown History Society has a much more grim resolution – but with an optimistic twist.

“I have been meaning to write my own obituary,” she said. “I should do it this year, but I have no intention of it being published for a long, long time. I’m too busy. I’m in good health and have projects to keep me going for decades.”

Planning Commissioner Rosemary Enright says she doesn’t make New Year’s resolutions, with one exception: to do what she promises, and to do it on time. (Enright’s column this week can be found on Page 5. It was filed a day before deadline. She hopes to continue being punctual in 2014.)

Town Councilor Mary Meagher wants to start her spring cleaning – now. “Clean out those literal and metaphorical cobwebs,” she said.

Meagher also wants to get back to the gym. She even has a resolution for her constituents: “Work to increase the stock of affordable housing here in town so people who grew up here, or work here, can live here.”

Fellow Councilor Blake Dickinson said he wants to learn to cope with failure better.

“So, right out of the gate, I steer away from setting goals that do not support the objective,” he quipped.

Dickinson has thought about exercising more and drinking less. He also wants to take life a little less seriously.

“Generally speaking, if I have a little more to give, I will try,” he said.

Councilor Gene Mihaly is antiresolution. In his experience, Mihaly says artificial goads to better behavior don’t work.

“The trick is to have a running internal pants kicker that functions year-round,” he said.

Attorney John Murphy agreed with Mihaly. He said constant vigilance of an on-going program is the key to success. “One day at a time,” he said.

Murphy did, however, make one promise: “Use fitness to maintain serenity.”

John McCauley, executive director of the Jamestown Chamber of Commerce, gave a modest resolution: “Start peace with myself.”

U.S. Sen. Jack Reed’s decree was just as simple: Exercise more.

Town Planner Lisa Bryer said she gave up resolutions in 2012 because she was disappointed in her 2011 effort to keep her promises. Two years ago, she vowed to read more world news.

“I think that lasted a week,” she said. “Until I retire, the local news will have to do.”

She is giving it another shot in 2014. Bryer hopes to increase her time with friends and in the yoga studio, and also wants to discover 100 new ways to cook “yummy vegetables.”

The Rev. Kathryn Palen of Central Baptist Church says she usually doesn’t make resolutions, but this year she is. “Instead of always planning for the future or evaluating the past, I resolve to live more in the present,” she said. “I hope this will help me notice and appreciate the things of beauty, wonder and joy that offer themselves each day.”

School Committeeman B.J. Whitehouse, who also directs the community chorus, has a resolution he hopes will benefit hundreds of islanders.

“I’m going to work toward establishing a performing arts center in Jamestown,” he said.

While Police Chief Ed Mello didn’t make any promises to be more lenient on speeders, he did vow to be more prompt with his emails, especially to the Press.

And finally, School Committee Chairwoman Cathy Kaiser made a resolution inspired by her highschool students (“tweeple”). She wants to figure out the attraction of the Twittersphere.

“I would attempt a tweetorial,” she said, “but I’m too busy taking selfies.”

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