Well, the Thanksgiving holidays are past. Most of us are planning for Christmas, New Years and the other special days between now and the middle of January.

Before we end this year, a few more moments of recognition will take place. As I’ve written many times, Idyllwild is nurtured and sustained by the life line of volunteers.

This week, we should recognize and thank several people for their willingness to step into very public and open spaces.

Serving in these positions requires the devotion of time with minimal compensation. Actually, fire district commissioners receive no stipend for their work.

On Friday, the new terms of special district directors begin. So first, I want to thank Ron Korman and Paul Riggi for their service to the community at Fern Valley Water District and the Idyllwild Fire Protection District.

Ron is stepping down to devote time to travel adventures in the greater northwest and Alaska. Although Paul could not repeat his 2007 electoral success, he also worked hard.

While the Town Crier may have expressed disagreement with some decisions, these men have intended to do their best for all of us.

Our gratitude should also extend to several water district directors who chose to continue their pubic service: Jim Billman, Warren Monroe and Allan Morphett for Idyllwild; Diana Johnson at Fern Valley; and Mike Esnard and Tom McCullough for Pine Cove.

In between continuing and a new appointment, thanks go to Pete Capparelli for his earnest effort to extend his tenure on the Idyllwild fire commission.

And finally, I’d like to welcome the new directors and commissioners. Trischa Clark assumes her new role at Fern Valley. She replaces Ron Korman.

Also this week, Jerry Buchanan and Larry Donahoo begin their terms on the Idyllwild Fire Commission.

All of these individuals have a responsibility to act in your behalf. They have staff to help and to implement the policies they approve, but the individual accountability weighs heavily.

And the paper is always looking over their shoulders and second guessing what should be done.

The Brown Act, California’s open government law, is both sword and shield. It guides them in how to conduct business so that their constituents, you, can know and participate as much as you chose.

It also provides interested parties, such as the Town Crier, with tools to ensure and encourage as much openness as possible. I imagine that sometimes, the openness makes one feel exposed without any protection. But that’s the price public officials must pay to help us get water, protect our water or ensure we’re not consumed in a huge conflagration.

Regardless of how much effort or time they invest, the best policies are only as good as the citizens who care. You don’t have to be an elected director to attend a meeting. You don’t have to have a disagreement with the district nor do you have to speak if present.

But community involvement, of which Idyllwild prides itself, involves more than service at events, for which we excel.

As they say about a falling tree in the forest, if nobody attends a meeting, is it really open? Marshall and I have been to many Idyllwild Water, Pine Cove and Fern Valley meetings in which we were the only member of the public present.

So extend a warm welcome to the new members and a grateful appreciation to the returning members at the agencies’ next meetings:

  • IFPD special meeting 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 30
  • IFPD regular, 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 13
  • PCWD 10 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 14
  • FVWD 9 a.m. Friday, Dec. 16
  • IWD 6 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 20