As I listen and view the many scenarios of reaction and witness individuals express such outrage and emotionally charged rhetoric, I can’t help but think of Carl Sagan, American astronomer, cosmologist, astrophysicist, astrobiologist, author, and the list goes on. As we already know in the early 1980s, Sagan co-wrote and narrated the PBS television series “Cosmos: A Personal Voyage.” It was thoroughly fantastic, mystical, and intellectually stimulating in ways never experienced before and it altered the way we understood and perceived the universe and our place within it. Just as an FYI, it has recently been re-produced for National Geographic Television, which is also quite well done.
Anyway, the reason I bring all of this to our attention is that he developed a “Cosmic Calendar” to help the layperson grasp the magnitude of time from the “big bang” to present day, after all the universe is approximately 13.8 billion years old, obviously a VERY, VERY, long time. I say this in all seriousness because 13.8 billion years is difficult to get your head around in context of our own lives. So, what Sagan did was to condense 13.8 billion years into one calendar year. He had midnight of January 1 as the moment the big bang took place. The following is an edited breakdown of our Cosmic Calendar:
January 1, 12:00 Midnight: The Big Bang
January 22: First galaxies form
March 16: The Milky Way Galaxy is formed
September 2: Our Solar System is formed
October 29: Oxygenation of Earth’s Atmosphere
November 9: Complex Cells
December 7: Simple Animals
December 26: Mammals
December 31 at 6:05 PM: Apes Appear
December 31 at 11:44 PM: Domestication of Fire
December 31 at 11:55 PM: Beginning of Most Recent Glacial Period
December 31 at 11:59.33 Seconds: End of Ice Age
December 31 at 11:59.53 Seconds: Iron Age
December 31 at 11:59.58 Seconds: Renaissance in Europe, Classical Music to the Time of Johann
December 31 at 11:59.59 Seconds: Modern History; the last 437.5 years before the present
[Carl Sagan, The Dragons of Eden (1977)]
The juxtaposition of 2016 post-election reactions with Sagan’s Cosmic Calendar may initially seem ignorant, irrelevant and confusing. But the point is rather simple: We pour too much worth, meaning, and value into events without placing those events into perspective of time and the successful progression of our existence in this vast and complicated universe. My father used to always say, “This too shall pass” as my brothers, sisters and I would emotionally hyperventilate about some event that happened at school, with our best friend, or with each other.
Of course, our lives have meaning; human events have extraordinary meaning. The existence of life in the universe is truly an amazing and often incomprehensible thing. Our existence, our lives provide the very means, the vehicle, to experience and report on the essence of the universe’s evolution, its expansion, and its many wonders. But one event, such as the 2016 Presidential Elections, in context of our place in the universe should be tempered a bit. We all live, love, cry, work, play, and interact on a tiny blue globe that circles a sphere of hot plasma in a solar system on the fringe of the Milky Way Galaxy surrounded by billions of other galaxies. Let’s enjoy our stay and embrace the wonders of our lives, as “this too shall pass” and sadly all too quickly. Just a thought…
Now in our corner of the universe known to many as the City of Coopersville, we have a city council meeting November 28, 2016 at 7:00 PM. Mr. Jeff Sluggett (City Attorney) will be in attendance to assist in the explanation and discussion on the Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS) issue.
One last time, mark your calendars for the Joint Council, Planning Commission, and DDA meeting on Monday, December 12 at 6:00 PM. It will be held in the Heritage Center of the Community Services Building at 182 East Street. Enjoy the last days of autumn before winter takes residence for the next few months. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving in whatever manner you celebrate the occasion. We have much to be thankful for in this country even though there is much sadness and danger around the world. See you Monday night.
No NEW information is available at this time. We are still waiting for CDF to respond to the city’s proposal options.
LAST MEMO: CDF and fairlife have received two proposals from the city to review and provide comments and questions on the attributes of each. My expectation is they will provide me with their response tomorrow Friday or early next week. Once that is done, the Utility Advisory Committee will be brought together to discuss the options and weight in on what best fits Coopersville financially and functionally. As always, please contact me if you have any questions.
Water Project Phase I
No new updates at this time on the project itself. However, Keri Rogers and I have been discussing financing options not just on this Water Project, but also how best to maybe refinance another bond that that we have with a slightly higher percentage rate than what is currently available.
Garfield Road “Hidden Drive” Sign
As most of you have seen on Garfield Road going west from 48th Avenue towards the WWTP is a sign that warns of a hidden drive below the hill. The original sign was placed there decades ago as an obvious warning to slow down because cars may be pulling out of the WWTP drive. Over the years many of our employees have been very nervous about this drive because of “close calls” with vehicles traveling at high rates of speeds. They have often turned right towards 68th Avenue deciding that being hit in the rear of their vehicle was far safer that being tee-boned on their driver’s side.
This past summer there were other “close calls” that I experienced, the last being two young girls traveling at a high rate of speed not even looking towards the WWTP drive. This, forced me to slam on the brakes to miss being hit. At this point I had Bryan Buist order and install a flashing LED solar green light in place of the existing sign. Since installing the new sign I haven’t had any near misses but it’s far too early to collect anecdotal data.
So why am I informing you of this? Polkton Township has requested the city to turn off the flashing light as it is against local ordinances to have electronic/electrical signs. The Ottawa County Road Commission has also stated we didn’t pull a county sign permit as well. The result of this is, we are going to pay $500 (Special ZBA Meeting) to apply for a variance that would allow this solar powered LED light to be reactivated for the safety of our employees and the public at large.
We heard that some individuals find this sign “irritating.” Our reply is, great! It’s supposed to be. It gets your attention and reminds you that MORE attention needs to be paid in the immediate area. Our goal is to present our argument to Polkton Township and if all goes well the variance will be granted and we can turn the sign back on to remind drivers that a hidden drive is very close and to reduce speed and increase your attention. We don’t need a tragedy because the sign was turned off due to its irritating nature.