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In recognition of this past weekend’s ribbon cutting and public opening of Village Hall, I’d like to pay tribute to those who toiled mightily on both the Road and Village Hall. Catherine Whitney, Trustee and Commissioner of Village Hall masterminded the Village Hall project for nearly a decade, through three design processes, three bid events, and endless renovation. She took on FEMA and NYS, and got us everything we wanted and more. The word “herculean” would understate all she has done. Jill Kaliff took on the role of project designer for both the interior and exterior of the Hall. The resulting beauty of the place is a tribute to her generous efforts. Her husband David kindly consulted with us on electronics and security issues.

Behind the scenes, our Village Clerk Treasurer Julie Pagliaroli, Building Inspector Joe Knizeski, and Village Attorney Doris Ulman went above and beyond their responsibilities managing different facets of the project, from its inception with an application to FEMA for Sandy Relief, through supervising contractors on the renovation.

Regarding the Road, the two volunteers who need to be singled out for praise are Lorena, our Queen of the Road, and Joe Abrams, Deputy Mayor, Trustee, and Roads Commissioner. You all know how tirelessly Lorena worked on the “Daily Pain,” patrolling the road every day, and soliciting information, advocating for homeowners, and much more. Then late in the evening she would write it all up, always with wit and wisdom. Lorena, your father would have been proud. For those of you who didn’t know Don Vernon, he was head of the Planning Board for many years. He served on one or another Village board for 65 years.

Joe Abrams took the lead in managing our relations with the County Highway Department including reaching out to unhappy residents and advocating on their behalf, and serving as the Village’s principal liaison on the project. He spent countless hours on the phone or email with Skip, Al, and Sikander.

Again, Julie deserves tons of credit for her efforts in dealing with County Highway and Northbrook. She also fielded endless questions from residents, passing on their complaints and assuaging their anxiety.

A special word of thanks to Charles “Skip” Vezzetti who came to Joe Abrams and me 17 years ago with a plan to rebuild River Road. He stuck with it through a Great Recession, Tropical Storm Sandy, and many tribulations.

And another shout out to whatever higher power gave us a drought so that work proceeded as quickly as it did and spared us any hurricanes.