Thursday, June 5, 2014

Water and Sewer Response

This was my first public response to the West Fork sewer issue. Since this was published, I have worked with our engineering firm, our water and sewer department, local inspectors, and ADEQ in an effort to assure that we stay in compliance with ADEQ directives.  

April 18, 2014

Waste Water Treatment Plant and Pipeline to Fayetteville Treatment Facilities

On April 11 I received a phone call from Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ).  This phone call was a verbal issuance of an Emergency Order of the Director to cease all unpermitted discharges into the West Fork of the White River.  Butch Bartholomew and Robert White, the engineer from McClelland Engineering, presented two solutions to ADEQ to solve the problem.  One was to control the flow of discharge from the manhole at the treatment plant and to send that rain water and sewer discharge through the plant.  The second was to increase the flow of waste water through the plant without compromising the complete treatment and without bypassing any treatment units.  The first solution to divert the flow from the manhole was completed, in operation, and approved by an inspector from ADEQ on Tuesday.  That stopped all untreated discharge into the White River.  At this point we have complied with the Emergency Order to cease all discharge of untreated waste into the West Fork of the White River.  I have asked that our city workers check the discharge area at the manhole throughout the day and about every three hours at night to make sure we stay in compliance with the order. They are doing that and reporting no problems with discharge.  The second solution, to increase flow, was reviewed by ADEQ and was approved on Thursday, April 17. We began that operation immediately on approval.  The second solution, to increase flow through the plant, should take care of the discharge from the manhole on a long-term basis until we reduce infiltration of rain water run-off and complete the sewer line project to the Fayetteville treatment facility.

I have the same concerns about this discharge as you do.  This is a serious problem and the City of West Fork wants to be good stewards and responsible members of the Northwest Arkansas Watershed.  West Fork is two years into the sewer line project to the Fayetteville facilities which is the final solution to our waste water treatment problem.  This sewer line project and process not only includes the pipeline but also the evaluation and upgrading of the infrastructure in West Fork.  Our city sewer system evaluation has been funded, and that process is underway.  We have surveyed the pipeline to Fayetteville, we have been approved for much of our funding and will continue to cooperate with all of the agencies and contractors to expedite this process.  If you find problems or have questions, bring them to me.

Charlie Rossetti, Mayor

Sunday, May 11, 2014

My Mom, My Strength, My Family's Heritage

Me, Lillian, and Mom
This is the tribute that I gave to my Mom at her memorial service on September 20, 2003. Happy Mother's Day, Mom.

Mom, I hope the following words, in some small way, do justice to the life you lived, the influence and impact you had on your family and friends, and to the relationship you had with our Lord. 

Mom spent her life in service to others, and family and friends were always the first to be served and blessed by her generosity, kindness, and love. 

Our family, beginning with John and me, have learned and observed a heritage that has stayed us through good times and bad, easy times and hard, and now celebration and heartache.

Mom was built of those things that came from the tempering of living through the Depression as many of your parents did.  She was molded by the love of her mom and the traditions of her family.  Mom was sustained by the faith she had in God and the abundant prayer life that she lived for 86 years. 

The stories that I'll share today are probably the same stories you would share about your mom in my place.  The motherhood that I will tell you about you could do likewise, and the faith in God and the prayerful life of Mom is your mom's life too. We don't, however, reflect often enough on the gifts our parents and grandparents and great-grandparents give us.

As John and I reflect on what Mom has left with us, please reflect on your lives those similar things.

I remember Mom in the stands at ballgames when John and I played.  Always supportive, always cheering us on, and occasionally getting more excited than she should have.  John broke loose and was running for a touchdown, Mom was on her feet yelling when all of a sudden her teeth few out of her mouth.  She grabbed them before they hit the person in front of her, put them back in her mouth, and cheered John down the field.  She never missed a beat.

Mom would be up at 3:00 in the morning, make Dad's lunch, do some housework before her work day began.  She would have two early customers in the beauty shop, and then get John and me up for school, get us breakfast, and send us on our way.  We never thought much about it then because Mom was always kind and cheerful and never made a big deal of hard work and long days.  A strong work ethic was taken for granted in our household.

Mom made sure that John and I knew where our roots were and the importance of family.  I can recall driving to Aguilar, Colorado, two or three weekends a month to visit Grandma, uncles, aunts, and cousins.  What we may have lacked at home in a traditional family setting, Mom more than made up for with our extended family.  We would pile in Mom's '42 Ford with only two forward gears and no reverse.  Mom was always careful where she parked that old black Ford. I never thought much about that then because I always felt safe with Mom.  There was nothing she could handle and no monster she couldn't protect us from in the darkness of the bedroom.

We spent most of our vacations on the banks of the Red River, Young's Ranch Lake, Eagle Nest, or the Cimarron River.  We would eat sandwiches, cook hotdogs and hamburgers and fish when we caught them.  John caught the biggest trout in all of our outings.

We would walk around the streets of Red River, ride horses, and go bowling at night.  To this day I'm not sure why people go to Las Vegas or tours on cruise ships when they could spend a little time in paradise in the mountains of New Mexico with their mom.  We never knew that we didn't have much and never felt deprived.  Mom made our time together valuable, memorable, the best. 

Christmas was always a celebration of the birth of Christ and the traditions of the Rossettis, the Scuzzaros, and the Cacciatores.  Mom, John, and I would cook our Christmas fudge until that drop we put in the water balled up and sank to the bottom where it disappeared with the other 75 drops of fudge we had tried, knowing it must be ready now.  Mom never argued when we wanted to test the fudge, knowing full well it wasn't ready, but we were young and impatient, and Mom fully understood that.  "Test it again," she would say, "and see if it's ready."  When it was finally done, we would pour it into a pan and put it in the frig to cool.  Mom, in her infinite wisdom, knew we couldn't wait, so out came the spoons, and John and I would share the bowl that we mixed the fudge in.  I don't think Mom had to wash that bowl after we were through with it.

Mom's garlic chicken is a lesson in life for all of us.  She would mix up her sauce of herbs and spices (that have been replicated by no human alive), peel back 75 fresh garlic cloves, and arrange the chicken and cloves perfectly in the roaster pan, put it in the pre-heated oven, and let it cook.  Mom never opened the door to look into the pan to see if it was ready.  She KNEW when it was ready. When Mom took it from the oven, it was dinner time.  I have never tasted anything as good as Mom's garlic chicken.  Even with her recipe, we can't duplicate the taste.  Must be Mom's love. I think Mom did that with John and me.  I think she prepared us, covered us with her mix of herbs and spices, arranged fresh garlic around us, and then let us cook, undisturbed until we were ready and, remembering how John and I were as young boys, I think she had to do that often.

The rest of the Christmas preparations consisted of Mom, Grandma, and our aunts rolling out dough, preparing the stuffing for 5,000 ravioli, cooking nanny goat, preparing a turkey the size of an ostrich, and simmering spaghetti sauce on the wood cook stove at Grandma's house.  There were honey cookies (struffoli), biscotti, patitsa, and pies and cakes.  Whenever a bowl needed cleaning, John and I were there with our spoons, and Mom was always willing to oblige our appetites.  Why both of us didn't weigh 200 pounds at the age of 12, I don't know.  But the memory that holds strong is that all the meals I remember at my Grandma's were a celebration of family, conversation, and time together.  I remember the first time Kay went to Aguilar.  She looked at two little four foot by four foot aunts, Carmela and Mary, and got hugged and smothered with big brea-- women and saw food and quantities of food she had no idea existed.  I love family meals.  Thanks, Mom!

Our friends always had a place to stay or a meal to eat.  Mom was generous to a fault with whoever needed help.  Family came first; friends right behind.  We never lacked for attention or love.  Mom would read us to sleep at night, rub our bellies when they were hurting, and fix us her famous Hot Toddy when we were sick.  A tradition my children like.

Mom never abandoned our needs.  I challenged health, good sense, and even death a few times as a teenager.  By all rights, I probably shouldn't be here today.  I know in my heart that all those wrong turns I took and all those dumb things I did, that I survived because of Mom's constant and fervent prayers for me.  Mom prayed for John and me and whoever else her heart was burdened for every day. God listened to her prayers because she prayed unselfishly. God blessed Mom with the ability and strength to survive abuse, to love her family, to have compassion and empathy, to rely on Him.

Mom's last battle in life was to see Wendy and Curt's new baby.  But she didn't lose that battle.  Mom died before Campbell's birth, but now she can see him and be with him in spirit without the pain and discomfort she had her last days.  The day before Mom died, I was sitting with her, and we were talking.  Actually, I was talking, and Mom was sleeping.  I was telling her about Wendy and Curt and how Wendy was feeling, and then I mentioned Lillian.  Mom's eyes smiled and her mouth quivered slightly.  Mom always knew what was important in life, and right now our youngest members of the family are the most important.

I have been reminded of something else in the past several months as we have had to help Mom make decisions and finally make decisions for her.  My friend, my partner in life, my love, my children's mom and grandchildren's grandma is that same person and more to our children.  Kay has cried with me and laughed with me, and taken care of Mom as though she was her own.  Our children are most fortunate, and I am again blessed.

Dominic was with Mom the morning of the day she decided to leave us.  When Kay and I arrived at Mom's, Dominic was there holding her hand, his eyes swollen and red, and at that moment I was so proud and so glad to see him.  I thought Mom was there alone and worried.  Kay, Wendy, Dominic, Curt, and I spent the day with Mom, and that evening John joined us.  I watched Wendy at Mom's side that day.  Sitting as pregnant women sit, watching Mom with love and compassion, and knowing instinctively when to smile at me and touch my hand.  I was further assured that Wendy had her lifelong partner in Curt as he stood by with all of us.  I was surrounded by the strength of family that seemed inherent in the gifts of character that Mom had lived her life with.  We talked and laughed and cried, and I know Mom was somehow aware of all that was going on in her room and with her family.  She had brought us together into her fold once more.  John and I stayed the evening and held Mom's hand as she took her last breath.  It was quiet and calm as she left to be with our Lord.  She took care of us and sheltered us even in her death.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


photo courtesy of Iris Page
I want to thank the voters of West Fork for choosing me to serve as Mayor. It is a responsibility that I do not take lightly, and I will work to represent all of you.  I am especially grateful to the impressive number who came out to vote – even when the weather turned nasty. 

I would like to thank my opponent for running a competitive campaign and for sending his message of congratulations. I appreciate our campaign committee and the volunteers who worked so hard. Kay and I are grateful to those who put up and took down signs, wrote words of support, helped with the costs and kept us honest, made us laugh, and fed us on Election Day. We could not have made it through this without the help of friends, family, concerned citizens, and good ol’ boys and girls. We wanted an open and positive campaign, and that is what you helped to accomplish.  As the campaign progressed and we were able to renew friendships and meet many residents, we realized without a doubt that this election was not about just us but about all of us.   

Many friends and acquaintances have commented that they are seeing a better sense of community through the efforts put forth in this election. Let’s continue to be positive, put aside the critical rhetoric and discontent, and portray West Fork in the positive light that we deserve.  Thank you all for using your voice, your vote in this special election; I will do my best to represent all of the people of this community. 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Good Ol' Boys

I’ve read and heard throughout the campaign for West Fork Mayor that my husband, Charlie, is a member of the Good Ol’ Boy Network or GOB Club.  That worried me a little because I just didn’t see it.  My concern led me to do some research.  

According to my first source, the Urban Dictionary, a good ol’ boy can be one of two things. One is that a good ol’ boy
1 – is from the South. New Mexico is south of somewhere, I guess. 
2 – likes cheap beer. Nope.
3 – is a NASCAR fan. Uh-uh. That’s a no.  
4 – follows pro wrestling. Sorry.
5 - drives a muscle car or pickup – O.K., he drives two different pickups, but he sold his muscle cars quite a while ago.

A second possible good ol’ boy
1 – comes from old money. That’s not Charlie.
2 – has a degree from a prestigious Southern college. He graduated from the University of Northern Colorado.
3 – wears nice clothes such a collared shirts and khakis. Not often. (They don’t make Life is Good tee shirts with collars, but he does have a nice pair of khaki carpenter pants.)

Just when I was about to give up hope, I ran across these entries from
·      a person who belongs to a network of friends and associates with close ties of loyalty and mutual support.
·      a man considered as being trustworthy and dependable because of his ordinary and down-to-earth background and upbringing.

Yep, there it is. Finally.  Charlie is trustworthy and dependable and down-to-earth.  And, in spite of what some have been led to believe, a network of friends who are loyal and mutually supportive is a good thing.

Now I can say with confidence, Vote for Charlie Rossetti in the April 8 special election for Mayor of West Fork. 

He is, after all, a Good Ol’ Boy!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

A View From My Window

I don’t like to campaign, but it is a means to the end come April 8.  I do enjoy being mayor of West Fork because this is the way I can help make a difference in the town.  As mayor, I have worked to build trust and confidence within and among city departments. Since November, I have 
  • been present at city hall almost every day, in daily contact with the city business manager and the city treasurer, and with the city clerk as necessary. 
  •  met with nearly every city employee.
  •  kept the website updated and will be adding additional pages, including a historical page.
  •  helped facilitate the cleaning and repair of the Community Center and City Hall.
I have had the privilege to work with the
  • Chief of Police, police officers, and their Commissioners.
  • Fire Chief, Assistant Fire Chief, the city and rural firefighters, and to attend their board meetings. 
  • Parks and Recreation Director and Commission Chairman and to attend commission meetings.
  • Planning Commissioners, the Water and Sewer Commissioners, the library board members, the Friends of the Library, and the RRC board members.

Within the region, I have tried to be a positive ambassador for the city of West Fork by 
  • meeting with regional planning commission and Alta Greenway for the bike and pedestrian trails.
  • working with the Mayor of Greenland to lead a group of citizens from our communities as we  discuss the impact of the bike and pedestrian trails on our communities.
  • helping facilitate the work of the Ozark Regional Transit project.  (In June we will have bus service to all points in NWA on ORT.)
  • meeting with the West Fork Schools Superintendent to pursue avenues of cooperation between the school and the city.
  • jumping into the frigid waters of the White River in the Polar Plunge for Special Olympics.

All of this has been possible because of open communication and the cooperation of all the players who have offered help, suggestions, and hard work.  We need to continue to unify our efforts.  I will
  • support the efforts of the Creating Community Group.
  • join those who are working as the city website committee. 
  • get involved in the Senior Center activities at the community Center.  A committee is forming. 
  • join those who are volunteering to establish a Veteran's Memorial. There are already preliminary plans. 
  • establish additional committees as needed: Community Development, Economic Development, Beautification, Arts, and others. 
If elected April 8,  I will continue to do my part for West Fork and encourage input and involvement from all who are willing to participate. 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Counting the Days 'til April 8

We're counting the days 'til the April 8, 2014, special election.  And we're also counting the ways that you can help the Charlie Rossetti for Mayor campaign.  Early voting takes place from April 1 to April 7 at the courthouse.  Voting on the day of the election is at the community center from 7:30-7:30.  This election belongs to everyone. If you are willing to help in any way, please call us at 479-466-3496 or 479-466-4496.  We have been out and about putting up signs, knocking on doors, making calls, and we want you to join us.  It's a great town!  

1. Go door-to-door Saturday, April 5, from 10-12 to hand out brochures - or at a convenient time for you. We have addresses of registered voters. 

2. Make phone calls Sunday and/or Monday before the election.  We have lists with numbers and a written script.

3. Contact my Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and face-to-face friends, reminding them to vote for Charlie Rossetti for Mayor.  

4. Use my plane to skywrite "Charlie for Mayor." 

5. Hold a sign at the community center on the day of the election (10 minutes or 10 hours). 

6. Drive people to the polls. If you need a ride or know of someone who does, please call! 

Thanks, Charlie and Kay and the members of the campaign committee

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Buffalo Wings

I’m not a politician; I’m a public servant. This race and certainly the office of Mayor of West Fork have little room for deception or for politicking around. What is required is someone who cares about people. The office of Mayor represents all the residents in West Fork: the registered voters and the unregistered voters; those who believe in everything you do and those who oppose everything you believe in; the young, the old, the business people, the skilled workers; the movers, the shakers. This is about community. This is about using all the resources we have available in our employees, elected officials, residents, schools, organizations and businesses, the institutions, the right wing, the left wing; I don’t care about wings, except for the occasional Buffalo hot wings.

Bank of Fayetteville solo cups
Greenland Mayor Bill Groom and
West Fork Mayor Charlie Rossetti
I participated Saturday in a wonderful event attended by over 100 area residents where mayors from West Fork and Greenland joined hands for the Polar Bear Plunge, where young and old entered the White River to support the Special Olympics. People joined together for a common cause, for unselfish reasons, for the good of the community. Laughter, applause, handshaking, and brave Grannies dominated the crowd. This kind of unselfish activity is not uncommon in West Fork. There are church food banks available for those who need help, men gather together to cut and split firewood for those who are too old or not healthy enough to supply their own for heat, people supply winter coats for children in need, and it is never an us-against-them attitude. It’s just people working together and offering what they have to make a community. It’s always been this way; it’s West Fork. I can tell you that I will continue to respect all the people, their ideas, wants, and needs...

                                 ... of all ages ... Young and old. 

Granny Dippers
with Fireman Mark Myers and
the rescue team