Japanese Quince blossoms in Fiskdale.

Sixty miles west of Boston, Massachusetts there is the small New England town of Sturbridge. Located at the junction of I-90 (The Mass Pike), and I-84 it has become known as the "Crossroads of New England". The town was first settled over 300 years ago, and like other small New England towns it has grown just enough over the years to be in a difficult place today. How do we embrace the future without forgetting how we got to our present? How do we attract the right kind of growth, and maintain who we are? And, what about our culture out here in Central Massachusetts?

These pages will cause one to think about how to protect what we have, our future direction, and how to move on in the very best way.

Those thoughts, and other ramblings, will hopefully inspire more thought, conversation, action, and occasionally a smile...

...seems to be working so far

Friday, June 6, 2014


No more Mini Coopers being swallowed by the potholes that lived in the parking lot at the Hobbs Brook Plaza.  No more mandatory wheel alignments after a half dozen trips to Stop & Shop.  The roadway, and parking lot is being completely redone--the right way.  The old asphalt has been completely removed, not milled, or ground down, but totally removed.  A bottom coarse layer of asphalt was put down followed by a top, fine coat.

Seems like a simple thing, a newly paved parking lot, and it is, but it is also a very appreciated thing.  Long overdue things always are.

Roadbed removed in preparation for the paving of new roadway.

Looking toward Route 20

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A Whole Lot Closer Now

I received this email late this morning, and it made me smile.  You see, I had just emailed the Chief at the end of last week, before the Holiday weekend, and on the first business day after the weekend I was sent a reply.  I had already received a reply, and had spoken to Selectman Moran on the phone, and was reassured that the matter would be addressed.

He was right, the matter is being addressed.  Let's hope that it comes to fruition.

Thomas Ford

10:52 AM (5 hours ago)
Good Morning All,

This morning I spoke with Joe Farley at MASS DOT regarding the signage at Rtes 20/148. He advised me that he and his staff would be looking into the posting of this signage. He told me that they would need to look at the age of the existing traffic signal to determine if it could withstand the weight load of this signage. If the signal was not able to sustain the load, then they would erect a standing sign reminding motorists to follow the state law and yield on green. The Police Department has addressed this issue on many occasions with patrol officers stationed in the area monitoring this intersection. Unfortunately, we have not had much success in enforcing this violation (it is amazing how cognizant we are of the law when a marked cruiser is within sight). We will not be discouraged by this and will continue with our enforcement efforts in this area. On a side note, I also spoke with Mr. Farley regarding replacing the green traffic lights at the intersection of Rte. 20 and OSV with green arrow lights in order to assist visitors who cannot read the overwhelming amount of signage in that area. This idea was given to me by Tony Celuzza. Mr. Farley advised me that he would notify me, via e-mail, of their progress. So, thank you all for your assistance and continued commitment to a safer community.


Thomas J. Ford III
Chief of Police
Sturbridge, MA 01566

A Little Closer Now

Update on the requested sign at 148 & 20.

Sent: Sunday, May 25, 2014 6:42:47 AM
To: DOTInfo (DOT)
Subject: MassDOT Contact Us: MassDOT
Auto forwarded by a Rule Name: Walter Hersee

Phone Number: 508-963-5465
Email Address: hersee@gmail.com
Topic: MassDOT

I write a blog in Sturbridge. Recently I received an email re: placing a sign reminding drivers to yield when turning left at the intersection of Route 148, and Route 20. The intesections configuration with Holland Road encourages those coming from the north on 148 not to yield. This occurs with each light change, and results in confusion, and anger. I don't have accident data. Apparently the idea of a sign reminding to yield has been on other peoples mind for this intersection as well. Could this be looked into b the DOT? Regards, Wally Hersee Fiskdale, MA

From: Jessen, Klark (DOT)
Sent: Sunday, May 25, 2014 6:46 AM
To: DOT Feedback District3
Subject: Fwd: MassDOT Contact Us: MassDOT

From: "DOTInfo (DOT)" <DOTInfo@dot.state.ma.us>
Date: May 25, 2014 at 6:42:49 AM EDT
To: "Jessen, Klark (DOT)" <Klark.Jessen@dot.state.ma.us>
Subject: FW: MassDOT Contact Us: MassDOT
Mr. Hersee,

Thank you for contacting MassDOT Feedback.  We have forwarded your email to the District’s Traffic Section for their review.

Feedback District 3


Saturday, May 24, 2014

An Inexpensive Fix

Ever sit and think why something was, and how it could be made better?  Of course you have.  Passive fixing accounts for much of what occurs around us.

I am sure many of you have driven south of Route 148, and stopped at the lights at the intersection with Route 20.  And, most of you know that you must yield to oncoming traffic if you are going to turn left.


Well, you do, but most of you don't.

I have seen close calls, obscene gestures, and hands flying up, and off the wheel in exasperation at this intersection, and it doesn't have to be that way.  People just need to be reminded to yield.  Those yellow triangle signs we see at merges are there to remind us to Yield; so are stop signs.  As drivers we need to be reminded, alerted, and instructed as we drive.  Experience, common sense, and knowledge can only help us so far.

At the intersection of Route 148, and Route 20 there is the need for a reminder.  A sign placed on the large metal support for the traffic lights where Holland Road and Route 20 meet, and facing towards Route 148, and another placed on the wire light  supports over the intersection would be very good reminders.  This past week I received an email from a fellow Fiskdale resident expressing the same concerns.  That email prompted me to write today.  Thank you, Hoyle.

This is not an expensive fix, but as with the No Turn On Red signs at Hobbs Brook, it is necessary.

I have forwarded the email I recieved to  to Selectman Moran, Greg Morse of the Highway Department, and Chief Ford.  All of these men consider public safety to be a priority.

I'll let you know when I hear back.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

It's Simply A Matter Of Public Safety

A few years ago I wrote about the abandoned house beside the Blackington Building in Fiskdale.  It wasn't the first time I had addressed the issue of the abandoned house, and the fire danger it presented.  It is also a blight on the neighborhood.

The former chairman of the BOS contacted me in an email, and assured me he would address it.  He later called me and said he was involved with other negligent property owners in town, and wanted to take care of them first.  He felt if the BOS addressed the Fiskdale house it would affect the proceedings with the other abandoned homes in town.  He assured me he would address it in about three months.

Say what?

I was confused.  Here was a safety concern for the businesses, and those living next to the abandoned building that had been an issue for many, many years, yet the town would was not going to address it.  Any other town would have cited the owner, given them a date to correct the issue, and if it wasn't, tear it down.

I did email reminders each year after the initial email in 2010, but never received a reply.

It's 2014.  The building is still there, and he's not.  There is a a new chairman, a new building inspector,  a new fire chief, and a new attitude.  So, let's try this again.

To the Sturbridge Board of Selectmen, Fire Chief, and Building Inspector:

The abandoned house beside the Blackington Building is a public safety hazard.  It has sat empty for well over a decade, and it needs to be razed.  

What are the towns plans for the building?

OK.  Let's give the town a chance to formulate a plan, and to get back to us.  This time, I promise not to let it go.