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    Op-Ed
    Friday, June 21, 2024

    Demystifying change

    As is usually the case, in this part of the country, new endeavors that include change are often viewed with an oversized dose of skepticism. This may or may not be a bad thing. As is true nearly everywhere, it will be almost impossible, here, to make or get a decision that everyone is going to like or agree with, that involves change. What should be agreed upon by all, at this stage of the game, and during the upcoming process, is civility. There are no "bad guys" in this situation. Superficial or at-first-glance judgements about the principals and parties involved should be looked upon with skepticism. It should be remembered that we don't always know what we don't know.

    Kris and Kerrie Nyman did create something that enhanced the character of the area, and in doing so created similar angst and strong opinions, both pro and con, among zoning officials and neighbors, over the changes they initiated. That's all part of the area's history, remembered best by those involved.

    The Nymans took over and made changes to a longstanding business previously operated by Orion Ford and Minnie Hart, who changed the character of the business that they took over from Mrs. Haring, who herself was a character. All of those mentioned above were given a chance and opportunities by the Copp-Halsey family, who are not absentee landlords and who pretty much allowed and helped all their tenants to make changes and create the very things being valued today. In addition, the Halseys did it and welcomed it all, in and on their own shorefront property, in front of their home. Stop and think of how many other folks you know that have shared such resources in their midst with so many others.

    I appreciate the work David Collins does to spur discussion and would not have written this letter if not for his column. David was right when he said Tom Halsey, the owner’s representative, lives in a grand house across the street and up the hill from Ford’s, but that's only because the family spent years restoring and preserving that grand structure, which was not the only place in town that the family quietly, respectfully and generously saved from a sad slide into oblivion. Jane Carson's little store, up the hill from their home would have ceased to exist if Tom Halsey's mom and dad had not stepped in to buy and breathe new life into the old place that Jane and Roy Nelson had rescued and kept going for several years. The Nelsons purchased it from Bernie and Catherine Carson, after their 37-plus years of stewardship and change which commenced upon the death of then owner, Bernie's mother, Jane Carson, in 1935. The store was one of Jane's proud accomplishments, which she opened in 1907.

    Tom Halsey's mother and father took a chance 45 years ago when they rented and then sold that little store to me. I recently had the opportunity to thank another couple in this town for a similar gift they gave me years ago and I'd like to do the same now, and thank the Halsey's for the same gift their family gave me, and all those others. The chance. The best gift you can give someone. I hope that the Halseys and all of their tenants in the future get one too.

    Editor’s Note: This version replaces a previous version that ran due to an editing error.

    David Blacker is a longtime Noank resident.

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