Autumn in the North Cemetery.

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

Monday, February 25, 2008

"Marge, Have You Checked the Twins Lately?"

I guess every village does have one.
I found the following article in the Worcester Telegram today.

We are not alone.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Billboard gets too personal for officials

Others welcome signs often marked by dissent

BROOKFIELD— A large sign prominently displayed on Route 9 frequently features its owner’s political views and has become a thorn in the side of some residents.

The 8-foot by 4-foot double-sided sign, across from the local elementary school, belongs to John D. Holdcraft of Allen Road, who has a reputation for speaking out on local issues.

Mr. Holdcraft, 54, believes he is exercising his First Amendment rights, but Selectman James W. Allen thinks the man has gone overboard because he takes shots at town officials, mentioning them by name on the sign. Mr. Allen believes that makes the comments too personal.

“If he was more positive about things, more sensitive to other people’s feelings, I’d be more empathetic with what he’s doing,” Mr. Allen said. “I feel he shouldn’t be making personal comments up there. If he wants to make general comments, fine.”

Mr. Holdcraft said he has received encouragement about the sign, but it worries town officials because they don’t know whose name will be on it next.

“They’re really scared of it,” Mr. Holdcraft said. “I go from good to bad. I give zingers and I let people know what’s going on.

“I’m just trying to be a voice in the town and they’re saying I’m negative, but a town problem is a negative. We’ve got to come up with a positive solution. You just can’t keep looking the other way. That’s what they’re doing in this town. They’re sugar-coating everything and then the problem’s still there.”

The sign has been visible for about four years, Mr. Holdcraft said. It followed a long legal battle with the town over his leaving unwanted items, such as used furniture, on the same Route 9 lot for people to take for free.

Town officials believed Mr. Holdcraft, who maintains property in Sturbridge and Brookfield, was leaving discarded junk there and it was creating an eyesore.

“Fifteen years I had fought them and I finally beat them,” Mr. Holdcraft said. “Now its payback time for them.”

After the legal fight, some handmade signs were installed at the site and eventually the billboard-style, two-sided sign went up, which has been used to oppose various efforts in town, such as the construction of a highway garage, purchase of a firetruck and bylaw changes and to express views on conditions at the local library and a youth center. The sign’s messages are not limited to Mr. Holdcraft’s political views. They frequently contain reminders of upcoming community events.

“There’s a feeling that the sign creates dissension,” Selectman Rudy Heller said. “The sign is obtrusive. The sign is negative more often than not and that Mr. Holdcraft uses it to further his own personal agenda.”

Mr. Holdcraft said he would gladly give opposing views equal space on the sign, but “no one has ever asked me for that, though.”

Selectman Ronald J. Dackson has a different view from Mr. Heller and Mr. Allen.

“I have no problem with the sign,” Mr. Dackson said. “Anybody can express their opinion.”

“He puts a lot of things there,” he said. “The town meetings, the Christmas celebrations and Halloween activities.”

Asked whether residents had complained to him about the sign or Mr. Holdcraft’s views, Mr. Dackson said, “I haven’t heard anything.”

Mr. Holdcraft said residents have told him that they support the signs.

Mr. Holdcraft serves on the town’s Cable TV Advisory Committee, the Police Study Committee, the Cultural Council and the Advisory Committee on town finances. Recently there was a petition with 47 names, presented to selectmen asking for his removal from the Advisory Committee.

Residents have indicated that his activism goes counter to what the Advisory Committee is all about.

“This is a gentleman who hasn’t shown objectivity and the advisory board needs objective thought,” Mr. Heller said. “The advisory board does itself a disservice by appointing somebody who as soon as somebody walks into the town meeting and sees him sitting on the Advisory Board they lose credibility.”

Mr. Holdcraft believes that sentiment is foolish. He is trying to be informative and working for the betterment of the town, he said.

The real reason for the opposition, he said, is “I’m against their little clique, you know. They’re worried about their clique.”

From the Worcester Telegram & Gazette Feb. 25, 2008

Comments to this particular post have been discontinued due to space. Thank you for your comments.


  1. How very interesting this is because, Mr. Holdcraft talks about Brookfield's brand of little "clique". Ha, Sturbridge supposedly has its own "small vocal group". How silly - what the heck does it matter? If there were not people who banded together for certain causes, what would this world be?

    Everyone has the right to free speech, but there are those who abuse it and attack others. At least Mr. Holdcraft ADMITS he's paying back those who asked him to clean up his JUNK.

    It's selfish, and it's a moral buster for the community. It's the EASY, cowardly way to attack those who have different opinions. It's also a way to form your own "clique" - very hypocritical!

    Daily Reader

  2. So let me get this correct Daily Reader, its okay to have a "clique" if its a "clique" that you agree with, otherwise its hypocritical.
    Afraid you speak with forked tongue.


  3. This article is truly amazing. It shows that we are not "not alone" and other towns have to deal with the same craziness, too. Not much we can do, as you said every village has one of them.

  4. OMG, I almost fell off my chair when i read this. we aren't special anymore!

  5. Dear Confused:

    I'm afraid you are confused. All I can say the comment again. I think you missed the points in the article and the comment, and instead made it personal to yourself.

    Mr. Holdcraft is quoted as saying he's using his sign for "payback". At least he admits his bad behavior and the reason why. It's
    not disguised as something else.

    Sturbridge has a similar, but not the same, crazy guy. Sturbridge's crazy guy is serial, and maniacal.

    Don't oppress me; I'm only exercising my right to free speech!

    Daily Reader

  6. Oh Daily Reader

    I think you protest too much. And please remember, no name calling and as far as your assessment of anyone's mental capacity, are you qualified to make such a judgment?
    All we want are the facts, just the facts please


  7. Dear Thinking: seems Mr. Creamer is posting anonymously, as "Confused", and his comments are not relevant to topic.

    Daily Reader's comments are relevant to topic.

  8. Dear Thinking: seems Mr. Creamer is posting anonymously, as "Confused", and his comments are not relevant to topic.

    Daily Reader's comments are relevant to topic.

  9. Dear Keeping It Real:

    Good observation. We should not be "confused" or sidetracked from this topic.

    I'm glad Thinking has posted this on his blog, as it certainly shows the differences between the two "free speechers", while also pointing out their similarities. Each has an axe of some sort to grind, and it's being wielded at certain individuals, not really accomplishing much except a lot of turmoil while casting a dark cloud over the community. These people seem to want all the attention on themselves, while turning their towns into a laughing stock.

    They make their towns proud, don't they? Such political figures bring SO much to the residents in their communities.

  10. Nope, not Tom Creamer. And is it really off the subject to say, stop calling names and putting a label on people that puts them down. No, what I think we're talking about is free speech and giving each side point and counter point without resorting to name calling Because people see things differently doesn't make one side right and the other wrong, just means things are seen differently. Guess that's why they make vanilla and chocolate.


  11. Dear Confused:

    You do seem truly Confused. Point and Counterpoint do not exist on Creamer's blog.

    We are talking about free speech, but also the extremists like Creamer that are hiding behind free speech, really intending only to demean and publicly humiliate people. THAT is the topic.

    Hope you're unconfused now. And I've got a hankering for ice cream.

  12. Daily Reader
    You're right I am confused I didn't know we were talking about TC's blog . Why do all comments have to come back to personalities and not facts.....both sides are guilty.
    Not fun playing anymore, I'm outta here


  13. Dear Confused:

    Daily Reader did not "name call". If you look up the text book definitions of "serial" and "maniacal", your blog meets those definitions, clearly.

  14. Dear Confused:

    It's tiresome when you fall back on the "personalities" excuse Mr. Creamer.

    Since the topic we were talking about involves two people in different towns who have personal axes to grind, and they go about it in ways which publicly humiliate people, Creamer's blog has everything to do with the topic of conversation.

    His personality is out there, on his blog, he put it there, and there is no Counterpoint. The only one who gets to speak freely there, is Creamer himself.

    You're absolutely right about one thing: it's not fun. Now, to that nonsensical ice cream.

  15. I just re-read some of the comments from Daily Reader and Keeping It Real. I'll say it again, I'm not Tom Creamer but now I understand why in his blog he will say "they'll probably blame me for this also".....


  16. Dear Confused (Still):

    The title of Thinking Out Louds article is: "Marge, Have You Checked The Twins Lately?", with a lead-in by the blogmaster that says: "I guess every village has one...." "We are not alone".

    Just a reminder: You are on a Sturbridge blog. Two individuals are the focus of that title. One of them does not live in Sturbridge.

    Without a doubt, Creamer is one of the twins. "Blame"? Please...he (you) must take full responsibility for your own actions.

  17. it seems the main difference between the twins is, the degree of sophistication: one uses a billboard, the other uses a blog.

  18. And to add to the twins - one is a public official and one is not!

  19. Does one give up their right to speak because they are an elected or appointed "official" of a town, do they not have the right to speak as an individual/private citizen or have they lost that identity?

  20. Wondering,

    Excellent question. In essence, the answer is "yes". When one decides to run for office, or be appointed to an office, they are chosen for their skills, AND to represent those that have elected them, or appointed them. When one is elected to represent a segment of the population they do not let their own feelings on a particular matter interfere with what the majority of those they represent desire. Yes, they can use their feeling to guide them, but the official is their as a representative of the people.

    The same holds true for an appointed official. They are chosen by a government because of what they can bring to the position. The government body that choses them does not want somebody to run counter to their goals, have their own "pocket agenda", and tear off on their own.

    The official can vote their mind in elections, or at town meetings. They can stand up and offer their opinion in other meetings and speak as a private citizen, but historically, and ethically, those are the only times an official can speak, or vote as themselves. All other times they must be the representative of the people. In interviews, in letters to the editor, in public meetings they are a part off, they are on duty.

    "Wondering", one never gives up their rights, but with any position comes responsibilities, and ethics that must be adhered to, otherwise the person is not fulfilling their responsibilities for their position.

  21. Polisci
    I can understand not being able to speak about an issue that is before the Board or Committee that a person is on, but to give up the right to speak on any other issue before the Town is a very high price to pay for an unpaid position.
    I'll give an example, or question if you will....someone from Design Review has no right to speak at Town Meeting on Burgess School without a conflict, is that what I'm hearing? Are they only allowed to speak if they agree with the "official" decision?

  22. Wondering,

    Now, think about your question. Someone from the Design Review Committee has already had the opportunity to speak, offer their opinion, and ask for change, if warranted, by the sole fact that they are ON the Design Review Committee. Once they discuss, make changes, or not, they will vote on the matter at hand. They ARE the official decision. For this committee member to then go before a Town Meeting and speak out against a matter their committee just approved would be ludicrous.
    However, if the matter was not something they were involved with, and had no say in, then it would be acceptable for that person to speak as a private citizen in a Town Forum. They must introduce themselves as a private citizen, and be absolutely sure that the matter they are going to comment on does not run counter to the agenda of any committee they are a part of. They can voice their opposition to the matter at those committee meetings, that is one reason they are a member of the committee.

    It is always a slippery slope for elected/appointed officials to express themselves outside of office. In a way they are very fortunate to be in office and to have the power at hand to decide issues before they go before the people.

    If an official does speak against issues that their position/ or committee has already favored, then what does that say about the individual?

    One can not have it both ways. Either be a strong official, and fight long and hard from there, or give it up and become a citizen activist. There is room for both positions, but not being held simultaneously by the same person.

    I hope this helps. Now, I need to earn some of the money they pay me here. Have a good day.

  23. Polisci - I have to guess you don't have a political science degree because your comment that a public official gives up their right of free speech is not correct.

    The first amendment reads, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

    To date, I don't recall any law Congress has made that would restrict the free speech rights of a public official...

    Read Diane Williamson's comment on 2-26 on this topic, involving the Spencer Selectmen and the ACLU. Perhaps people in Sturbridge should get a copy of the advisory opinion from the ACLU and take it to heart.

    Tolerance of others ideas and the ability to disagree agreeably is a key to democracy.

  24. Stur,

    Just when I think I have explained things very well to "Wondering" another voice is heard.

    I did not say that an official gives up their First Amendment right to Free Speech, but you already know that.

    And, yes, I have degrees.

    I will say to you what I say to my students, "Reread the chapter. Explore the content. Tell me what the author has said, and not what you think he has said."

    Keep in mind: ethics, responsibility, and position.

    I agree with your statement,"Tolerance of others ideas and the ability to disagree agreeably is a key to democracy." However, it must be taken in the context I have spoken on this morning.

  25. Polisci
    Wonder why some people issue
    Minority Reports, is it because even though the majority of a Board agrees, there are some that don't, thus the Minority Report.
    Seems to me even the Supreme Court issue Minority Reports but the majority rules.

  26. To wondering--whats your point? how does your statement relate to anything else written here ths morning? of course there is a majority & a minority in everything. So? again, what is your point?

  27. The point is,even if you're in the minority you still have a right to speak on that subject


  28. wondering--of course you do. No question about it, but this has nothing to do with what is being discussed. no one is gagged because they are a minority.

  29. The arrogance comes off the page in "Stur's" comments. Do YOU have a political science degree?

    Are you an expert on the 1st amendment?

    No, you just think you are.

    I hope the two "proceduralists" on the Planning Board learn something here today, mainly about ethics, responsibility and position, and take it for what it's worth.

  30. "The official can vote their mind in elections, or at town meetings. They can stand up and offer their opinion in other meetings and speak as a private citizen, but historically, and ethically, those are the only times an official can speak, or vote as themselves. All other times they must be the representative of the people. In interviews, in letters to the editor, in public meetings they are a part off, they are on duty."

    This is the quote from Polisci's post which seems to suggest a limit to a public official's right to free speech. No?

  31. hey stur, read the freakin words! And don't take things out of context. nowhere does it say that. read the other posts , too. it doesn't "seem to suggest " anything but what it says. i don't think the planning board chair is suffering from lack of free speech. check out the video from the planning meeting the other night, unless you were there. someone should upload that to youtube. try defending that behavior. will be pretty hard now with that video out there.

  32. Hey Main and Maple
    Read the other blog again, there was a private and also public apology.
    Think both weren't on their best behavior


  33. I haven't commented in a while, but I downloaded that video of the Planning Board Meeting last night. Took forever. Holy crap! An apology? He should resign. Nothing he can say can make up for acting like that. Whatever little credibility he once had went out the window. I used to agree with some of his ideas, but this is so crazy. Apologies don't cut it, and if people still defend him then they are not thinking right. Instead of getting a petition to cut down a tree we should get a petition to get his ass out of that chair!!! Everyone that sees that video should email the town hall and demand some action!!!

  34. i haven't seen this video. but if it is that bad maybe there is something wrong. people can be so mean. what if the things he says and does he can't help? i say back off and hope he can work things out on his own.

    my mother told me that being mean back doesn't make something right and I don't think we should be attacking someone that is having problems. so cool it everyone!!!

  35. Wait a minute: ANOTHER apology from the Chair? Has that been in the newspapers?

    In order to meet the same level as the cable access broadcast of the Planning Board meeting the Chair should, at the least, likewise make a "public" apology to the newspapers.

    Or, will the Chair choose once again to apologize for the first 15minutes at the next Planning Board meeting (watch, while in embarrassment, his peers on the board stare at their desk tops), but not allow commentary from his peers or the public afterward?

    There is a definite pattern of abuse, apology, abuse, apology.
    How many times is this now? 5, 6 times?

    Ooops, perhaps instead of just viewing the "other" blog, which is the Chair's blog and opinion, you should view broadcasts of the most recent and past Planning Board meetings.

    If a person on the receiving end of long term bad behavior, abusive comments and public humiliation finally stood his/her ground, then it's a step in the right direction.

    No one should have to take that kind of treatment on a constant basis, in what is supposed to be a "professional" forum.

  36. Guess we can all think what we will, but in the end, did the person accept the apology and if she did who are any of us to say it should continue.
    If the apology wasn't accepted then that person can file a complaint.

  37. oops:
    You are partly right. We'll won't know if the person accpted the apology unless they make their acceptance public, and I am sure they want this matter gone. But this is a pattern that is only escalating. I agree with Keeping it Real too. It affects all of us, not jsut one or two people. An apology to the town is important, and it should be done in the newspaper, not online. the apology to the person should be done in the paper too. the newspaper is the only way it should be handled.

  38. Ooops -

    Whether the person accepts the apology or not, is irrelevant. In fact, you speak as if you have personal involvement in the issue.

    Such behavior is not acceptable, nor should it be tolerated, especially in a public forum while doing the business of the townspeople.

    Perhaps if this was a stand alone situation, it would probably be expected that the offended individual should forgive and forget; we all have bad days.

    This is different. It has emerged as a pattern of abusive behavior followed by apology.

  39. The 2/26/08 Planning Board meeting now available for viewing at the towns website (click left: Boards/Committees, Planning Board/Videos). In lieu of a "public" apology, residents can access it there. Plan to spend a couple hours watching it. It may be listed at the top of the 2006 meetings, so look carefully!

    Consider this whole string started because Thinking Out Loud posted a T&G article about a Brookfield resident that uses a different method of "payback" to embarrass certain people in his community (his own words) while disguising it as "free speech".

    Now it has become a Sturbridge discussion and residents can see, some of them for the first time, how impaired the Planning Board is, by its Chairs inability to be impartial and objective.

  40. What's distressing about the commotion here is that on the many occassions that Chairman Hal White has been rude and disrespectful to residents, (who deserve even more respect than board members) not one of you had any comments about that. This is more of the same Creamer bashing. At least he is man enough to apologize. Chairman White could learn quite a bit from Mr. Creamer.

    Most certain this won't be posted as it highlights the negatives associated with Chairman White and that is off limits on this blog.

  41. dear another reader,
    whats distressing is that you can't keep on subject. this is about 2 guys, one from brookfield, one from sturbridge, and more recently the performance the sturbridge guy put on in public. you sound like a second grader. "mommy, joey was doing it too! he should be punished not just me!!!" give it a rest. there is a difference between rude and orchestrated crazy. we need to clean house.

  42. Move on you are so right, it is time to clean house and it will start in April

    Oh Yeah

  43. I just watched that video. My goodness Tom C, where do you get off talking to Penny D that way? Even if you don't like her, which is obvious by your treatment of her, can't you be adult enough to be civil to her and professional for just a couple hours? If not, then you do not belong in that chair. Where is objectivity? During the meeting, Tom C focused on Route 15, and more than one member of the Planning Board noted this. How is it that a Chair of a Planning Board is promoting development in certain parts of Sturbridge? How is it that he is pushing for sewer expansion for up to 1.5 MGD? He is NOT fulfilling his role as chair, and he is not an objective member of that board.

    Another question: why do most other PB members sit there and allow him to speak to and humiliate a colleague in such a tone? And although Sandy GQ probably cares less, I have to applaud her for speaking up and being honestly "out there" with her opinions and statements. More and more lately, Sandy GQ and others are agreeing with the smart and experienced pertinent points raised by Penny D. And she raises good points and ideas, something which seems to irk Tom C and push his buttons.

    So why isn't Jim Malloy putting such craziness to a halt? It is his job as he appointed Tom C to his position. I am going to write a letter right now to Mr. Malloy and to Selectmen, and I urge every other resident to watch the meeting and if moved to do so, do the same.

    I have watched Sturbridge Planning Board meetings on and off for the last year. The 2/28/08 meeting is just about on par with a couple other times Tom C has verbally attacked Penny D. Watch the 2/12/08video where Penny D. asks the D'Angelos proponent if a timeline to complete the project would help them in meeting their deadlines; then watch Tom C rudely tell Penny D that the planning board should not operate outside of legal & statutory obligations (reportedly, Penny D has held numerous seats on various boards and committees. She KNOWS what the towns obligations are, better than the Chair does). Then watch the proponent AGREE with Penny D that a timeline/deadline would HELP in motivating their contractors to get the job done on time.

    Tom C: you should resign and make way for someone to run the meetings properly. "Another Reader" is definitely offsides. I've watched those selectmen's meetings too, and Tom C was there speaking out of turn, he ignored Chairman White's numerous requests and direction to behave professionally, thereby totally disrespecting meeting protocol. It is clear Tom C was there to provoke, which he does well.

    Time for a change on the Planning Board. And the rest of you on that board who sit there and watch it happen: how the heck do you sleep at night?

  44. Boards usually reorganize after the election and in the past couple of years the PB has changed Chairs yearly so I doubt TC will be Chair. Nothing to do with anyone wanting him out, just normal procedure.
    As far as getting him off the PB, don't know if anyone has noticed but there isn't a long line of residents wanting to become invovled. The Citizenship Academy isn't full but its ongoing anyhow.
    This lack of invovlement leads to a few people being on too many committees!

    Oh Yeah

  45. To those of you who so easily complain and criticize, put up or shut up. Your either part of the problem or part of the solution, so step forward and get involved, and be part of the solution!

  46. I agree with daily reader, it would be nice for some proof to be unveiled showing the BOS to be controlled by, or in cahoots with, a specific group. I would only ask that daily reader ask for the same level of proof regarding the Planning Board Chair since "obvious" is clearly in the eye of the beholder. What's good for the goose is good for the gander.

  47. I agree the planning board chair was totally out of line in the manner he trets his fellow board members. They all just sit there and take it from him. Thank goodness for Sandra GQ for giving her opinion on the issues and the rest jumped aboard her train. She seems like she is one of the few who actually knows what is going on. Jim Malloy needs to take care of the situation and remove the chair, get someone who works with others in a professional manner and works for the good of the town.

  48. Dear Goose: glad you asked. I hope you will avail yourself of planning board videos.

    In particular the 2/28/08 video is very telling in terms of how the Chairman tries to exert control over his colleages on planning board, and use his power to sway votes.

    And Stop Complaining: stop complaining. You don't know me or my level of involvement. But this is certainly a forum for letting people know the facts. What is your level of involvement?

    1) By his own admission, "TC" states he represents the GBIS group. According to news reports, that's roughly 40 businesses or more. TC stated this in the Sturbridge Villager a few weeks back when interviewed by Bruce Coulter regarding Selectmen Emrich's alleged illegal inlaw apartment. (as an aside, the article proved that TC's accusation was misguided and wrong). TC stated he was speaking for the businesses because he didn't mind being the one to "take the heat" for them. Scott Garieri, who is running for Selectmen, is the supposed figurehead of GBIS.

    2) Watched a Planning Board video a few months back where the Chair called upon an audience member to make his statements before the audience member even asked to be recognized. That audience member was Scott Garieri, the alleged head of GBIS.

    3) Citing the Planning Boards responsibilities as they correlate with the Citizen Planners Training Collaborative (CPTC), and with one solid year behind the Planning Board with regard to the WWTP, TC in his role as Chair at 2/28/08 planning board meeting requested the Planning Board "weigh in" and "provide the boards position" for town meeting, regarding what it agrees is appropriate expansion of the WWTP. Chair read an e-mail from Greg Morse, as to what Greg felt was "probably" reasonable:

    WWTP had never been a topic of planning board discussion for the prior year. None of the planning board members had been provided any information, documentation, or anything else with which to make an informed decision. Yet, they were being asked by the Chair to provide an opinion after a 15-20 minute discussion that evening?

    In fact, TC neglected to add the WWTP to the Planning Boards agenda for discussion for a solid year prior to the 2/28/08 meeting. TC stated "the Planning Board was never asked to provide an opinion". It begs the question: if it falls within the CPTC, why did the PB need an invitation? Vice Chair states "those actively engaged have not sought out planning boards input" it perhaps because the Chair has shown he does not work well with others?

    Have the Planning Board members even READ the experts report? Have they read the Selectmens reports? Have they taken into consideration what the EPA & DEP will permit for discharge into the river? Have they considered the tax increase to all residents on sewer? No, and the Chair knows this.

    But they've been inundated with falsehoods in the media put there by the Chair, and the Chair's blog, which is edited by planning boards Vice Chair.

    4) Chair suggests "marketing the proposal" of the zoning bylaw change as it relates to development of Route 15, to the abutters at Kelly Rd Retirement Park.

    Planning Board member Sandy Gibson Quigley eloquently reminds all planning board members that the program should cover ALL zoning bylaw changes, not just the one that affects Route 15.

    Question: do all residents get a program about upcoming zoning bylaw changes when a development is taking place next to them?

    Finally: at the end of the meeting, Chair states that the town meeting warrant is "difficult for people to understand". What kind of a blanket statement is that? We aren't that stupid Mr. Chairman.

  49. To daily reader-
    Wow! You certainly know your facts. Don't be offended if I add a little. I was watching the PB meeting this week and was appalled at the Chair's actions as a moral human being but also in his role as PB chair. His public "disklike" (yes that is a quote from TC himself) for one of his own members is nothing new - nothing shocking. This is a pattern of abuse then apologies - nothing new - nothing shocking.

    When the PB then wanted to chime in on the sewer issue and used the "we were never invited" - my first thought was that I must be delusional since I clearly remember just the opposite! At selectmen's meeting it was brought up many times (with TC of course in attendance)but also at their own PB meeting on 3/13:

    "Mr. Chamberland would like the Board to consider and review the Town’s Waste Water
    Treatment Center. He suggested that the Board should gather information and discuss what
    its roll as a Board can be. Considerations to be addressed include how to balance residential
    and commercial growth and how to convey these views to other Boards.
    Board members agreed and would like to have the information on the Waste Water
    Treatment Center that was given to the Selectmen. The Board would also like time to review
    the information and then set time aside at future meetings for discussions.
    On a motion made by Ms. Morrison and seconded by Mr. Chamberland, and voted
    unanimously, the meeting adjourned at 9:12 PM."

    But hey - that is nothing new - nothing shocking.

    If something was actually done about this? Now, that would be new AND shocking!

  50. Hey oh yea,
    You said there is not a long list of people wanting to be on boards or committees. Who would want to be on the planning board when the chairman orchestrates the meetings, doesn’t allow the other members to speak and is hostile towards them when they do? Just watch the meetings who wants to subject themselves to that atmosphere willingly?

  51. Bob
    A Chair is suppose to run the meetings, in order to avoid confusion the Chair should recognize members before they talk.I agree a Chair should never be rude but from where I see it, both go out of their way to get the other going. They forget their adults and both the child egos get hooked.
    Oh Yeah

  52. wI've been watching all the commentary. I'm so glad there is this blog, so people can express their points of view. Thanks Thinking Out Loud!

    Just one comment, to Oh Yeah (who said the same thing Ooops said earlier): did you watch the same video? You must be kidding. You also must be male.

    I saw a man speaking to a woman with hatred, complete hatred, while also being condescending and demeaning. I saw a woman taking that treatment with disbelief, as if to say "here comes another beating". I saw her trying to speak, and make her good ideas and points, which let's not forget, the rest of the board agreed with numerous times that evening!

    I saw him take pleasure in not allowing her to speak, and in trying to control what she said. I saw him trying to piss her off so she won't come back. I saw him trying to make her feel small and stupid. This is "nothing new".

    He apologized. He admits it, and didn't ask her for an apology, because one isn't necessary. This is also "nothing new".

    I would not have been so gracious to the *@*&%.

    Just in watching that one video of 2/28, anyone can see that he treats her differently than other board members. Ever see him talk to Jenn Morrison or Sandy Quigly that way?? Never, ever happens.

  53. Dear Nothing New:

    Thank you for providing actual quoted minutes from that meeting.

    Here I was believing what the Planning Board Chair and Vice Chair said about "not being invited by anyone actively involved in WWTP discussions". I'm afraid the planning board has lost all credibility, in my view.

    Another LIE has just collided with the TRUTH.

    It is incumbent upon the Planning Board Chair and Vice Chair to explain this discrepancy and their lack of participation in WWTP discussion, to residents of Sturbridge.

    Also, perhaps Mr. Chamberland could explain why he didn't speak up on 2/28/08 when the Chair and Vice Chair stated the Planning Board has not been invited.

    While some on this blog comment page talk about "change coming in April", it is so very apparent now that there are blatant lies being expelled into the media. There is enough on this page alone to show people they need to reconsider what they once thought was truth and "integrity".

  54. Hey Oh Yea,
    You must be watching different meetings. The chair dominates the meetings and fails to recognize everyone, if he disagrees with their view he becomes irate and hostile. Didn’t you notice the body language of the board when the chair went into his tirade they looked like they wanted to crawl under the table. Like I said who would subject themselves to that hostility voluntarily? Perhaps that is why not many volunteer for town government.

  55. To daily reader and nothing new,
    Thanks for the times and dates of the planning board talking about their “future” input to the WWTP. I also recall the selectmen asking for several boards input including the planning board and board of health. For the planning chair and clerk to claim they were never asked for their input is not accurate at all. Shows their integrity or lack of it.

  56. Daily Reader and Bob stuck to just facts,although accusatory, "why didn't ......say something" while Maggie resorted to name calling "you must be a male". When that happens its like backing someone into a corner and the only way to come out is fighting. Again, I'm not saying the Chair is an angel, just that there are two sides.

    Oh Yeah

  57. Interesting that some of the commentary here is blaming the PB for not acting on what it had intended to act upon - WWTF. Has anyone asked if the PB actually got the information it sought? has anyone actually asked if the BOS was responsive to the inquiries of the PB for information? Has anyone actually asked any quesitons at all, or are you all making assumptions, once again, with only half the available information? Now, those are questions worthy of answers.

  58. Maggie,

    What's your point? Who cares what gender they are? Since when is that relevant to the issue at hand? Are we now saying that if a man talks to a woman he must do so with greater sensitivity than if he were talking to another man? Please; it's the 21st century. Let's stick to the actual topic at hand and leave issues of gender out of it.

  59. How come everyone is picking on the chair and vice chair because of a lack of available info for the PB, and then questioning their integrity? I believe Ms. Dumas made the same statement, as did Ms. Gibson-Quigley, and Mr. Smith. No one here is singling them outm are they? Nope. That says a lot about integrity, now doesn't it?

  60. To equal rights: I care what gender they are as related to Maggies comment. It presents a picture of just how things went down that night, and the video doesn't show the character with hoods over their heads to hide their gender, so why should Maggie doctor her comments. Manners, and decorum did not go out of style last century. He was horrendous. Period. And, now it is on video for everyone to see. He can't get out of this one, and he trying to wiggle out as hard as he can. He screwed up, let his guard down, slipped out of his public character, and reveled his true self. He is screwed, and there are many of us here in town that will not forget it even after he is long gone from town affairs.

  61. integrity?, all they can concentrate on is a tree, they are unable to concentrate on anything else, or be effective with anything else. they are stuck, and totally useless. they will try to blame anyone else for their shortcomings, just as you are trying to do now.

    I am all for removing the chair from his position.

    Had enough.

  62. Hal W. disrespects residents at meetings and Special Town Meeting and not one of you says a word. Ed G. publically insults Cramer at a meeting, not one of you says a word. Hal W. refuses to answer questions at a meeting, not one of you says a word. He blames Walmart for our problems, not one of you says a word. Steve H. insults residents over sewer, not one of you says a word. Utter nonsense and very hypocritical.

  63. Dear anonymous, there is a simple reason for that. Now, I'll write slowly so you can understand it, ok? It is because this article is about 2 guys, one from Brookfield, and one from Sturbridge, and how similar they are. It isn't about anyone else, only the antics of each of those guys. Someday, if there is an article in the paper about the guys you mentioned, I am sure it will be mentioned here as well, in the meantime, stop whining, and stick to the topic. I am sure your feelings are, or have been posted eleswhere on the net. Go there, and add your 2 cents worth.

  64. To kathleen at work: I susepect if he'd made those comments to a male on the PB that Maggie would not have bothered to make mention of gender. Of course, I'm assuming, but let's face it: when anthing happens that involves two historically opposed peoples (gender, sexuality, race) those differences are all too often included in the story. Perhaps it's human nature, but I still think it's irrelevant in this case. As for Creamer's behavior, it's there for the world to see and any commentary about doesn't change a darn thing about it.

  65. To had enough: who is the "they" you are referring to? I've yet to see the PB discuss the tree issue since it's pulic hearing about it. Mr. Creamer and the folks trying to save the tree are talking a lot about it...but what does that have to do with him being chair? And, I see no one has considered my original question, at least not yet.

  66. Thanks for the clarification Bill. I got confused by all of the chatter about the clerk. I honestly missed that part of the article when I read the story. I'll go back and read it again. I do apologize for commenting on your blog.

  67. I'm relieved to see that so many people are exclaiming 'ah-ha!' at Tom C.'s true character. Its refreshing to know that the world is filled with so many saints who have never reacted inappropriately, raised their voices, cussed in public, or done anything otherwise unbecoming. How very comfortable you must be in your lovely la-la-land. Oh, and before you or someone else accuses me of defending him, I'm not. His actions were inexcuseable, but please, none of us are perfect either. Newsflash: we're all just human.

  68. Just when I think I can sit back and finish my lunch, the nuts come out to play. Ok, this is about a guy in Sturbridge that has made it his sole purpose for living to chop down a tree. It has nothing to do with the planning boards take on it. Got it? and to the other guy "equal rights", yes it does make a difference because this guy would never have spoken to a guy like he did that night. He picks the weakest person in the room, or the one he feels is the weakest, and attacks. And, you are right, the world will see it, and you are also wrong, commentary WILL have something to do with resolving it. It has already begun. The "paper trail" on him has been accruing for some time now, and when the time is right, he will be no longer a black spot on our town government.

  69. Yes, we are all just human, but that is no excuse to let atrocious behavior go by the wayside. we all make mistakes, but and i hope that is brought to my attention when I do it, just as it should be brought to anothers attention whrn they do it. Only way this will go away is if he writes an apology and has it published in the newspaper, then maybe we can move on. Till then, he is fair game for all to voice their opinions.

  70. To bill on the hill: um, sorry dude, but you've assumed incorrectly: I'm a woman, not a man. As for Tom C. never doing that to a guy, I guess you must know him much better than any of us since you know who he would say what to.

  71. "Integrity": Oh Yeah's comments completely gloss over the abuse, apology, abuse, apology - the "pattern" on the part of the Chair.

    This string began with a news article about two MALES in their respective towns who have axes to grind. There is a degree of insensitivity which some males possess, which is evident in Oh Yeah's comments. That makes me believe he's male. You don't have to agree, and it has nothing to do with "equality" either. It has to do with control, power and abuse.

    Every single day, women escape to shelters to get away from such treatment at the hands of males.

    Oh Yeah says: the Chair is "not an angel"; "child egos" - what? He chalks up the irrational, abusive behavior on the part of the Chair to both parties being immature. Huh?

    The magnitude of the hatred and abuse from the Chair that evening was overwhelming. It overrules any immaturity, apology or somebody not being an "angel".

    Oh Yeah's comments remind of what some males may say when a woman is attacked: "she asked for it".

    And the fact of the matter is, "Integrity", he doesn't treat anyone else on the planning board, male or female, in that manner. He NEEDS those other people to continue agreeing with him. My best guess though, is once that stops, he'll cut them a new one too.

  72. Bill on the hill,
    Thank you. You do realize they are all the same person, don't you?


  73. equal rights,

    I know this, he "ain't stupid", and he knows how far to push which people. If anyone pushed me like he did that night to that lady, I'd call for a recess, and have a talk with him. Most guys would, and some women , too. He knows his limits in any situation. Guarantee you this, he won't ever do it again. He'll be the perfect gentleman from now on at those meetings. He knows we're at home watching, and he does not want to deal with us outside a room without a video camera. Maybe now he will keep to PB business in a nice way.

  74. Kathleen,
    I do. Thanks.

  75. I visited a newer blog in Sturbridge called Newsotronics, and there are several posts there by the Chairman of the Planning Board. I have written, and asked that blogmaster to watch the Planning Board meeting and provide a comment on his blog.

    The Chairman's post seems to be about the tree again, though he says it's not about the tree. But at the end of that long, long post, he again brings up "personalities" and slams his peers at town hall again.

    For a moment, set aside his continuous abusive treatment of a person on the planning board: if his defenders that are posting here cannot see that there is something very wrong, or at the least hypocritical, perhaps some of you need a reality check.

  76. Wow! Someone just told me about this undending string of comments that was originally about our neighbor to the north, so I figured I'd check it out. I am sickened by what I'm reading - you guys are all over the place! I believe in free speech, I also believe in free hearing (as in I don't want to listen). No wonder I'm not a fan of blogs...they are the equivalent of bar-room banter, mostly for folks that like to hear themselves talk. I'm outa here.

  77. hey anonymous,
    Like rubberniecking at an accident scene, huh? still had to come and put your piece in the mix though. Yes, it was an article about a man in brookfield, and it started out as how similar the two towns are in this regard. not a "fan of blogs" yet you came, and "bar room banter". NOw, how would you know about that? You're right, you don't have to listen, read or see. But, why tell us that?

  78. To Bill on the Hill,
    You must be new Creamer won’t be able to control himself. He will do it again like he has before. He mistreats a fellow human being then apologizes, then more mistreatment then more apologizes. He will be on good behavior for a few days then watch out he’s baaack ! I do hope you keep your eye on him so he does not mistreat anyone else and when he does you can point it out to him. Good luck.

  79. I have just started reading this blog and realize that this article is old news with the last comment left on March 4th. What bothers me is that this article is about an issue in the town of Brookfield and it turned into a bash session of Mr. Creamer. What bothers me the most is 78 comments were left and not one person left their name. How can people leave 78 comments, some of which sharply criticize certain individuals, and no one signs their full name. Don't get me wrong, people have the right to post anonymously, but I suspect that some of these comments were left by the same person using different screen names. Since these comments are off the original topic, I will throw my opinion into the mix. First off, I am extremely suspicious of every member of the board of selectmen and their basis for making decisions. Further more, I am extremely upset at Mr. Hal White for the way he treated Mrs. Courtney at the Dec. 3rd BOS meeting and feel he owes her an apology. Lastly, their are a lot of accusations made in the above 78 comments. I feel people should attend or at least watch the BOS meetings and see what really goes on. That's all for now. I don't hide behind my computer screen and have no fear of leaving my true identity. Hope to see you at the next town meeting.

    Respectfully Submitted,

    David M. Mattioli

  80. Respectfully Submitted,

    It IS an article about a guy in Brookfield, and as the article starts out, it mentions how similar the towns are in this regard, thus the comments. Yes, people posted comments under different names, the comments even mention it happening. Nothing new there. Nicknames are ok to use. But, stay on track, the article has nothing to do with selectmen, or Hal White. If there is ever an article about the selectmen you should bring up your concerns then.

    Bill (and this is my real name)

  81. Bill on the Hill, I just wanted to comment that I find it inappropriate that (for the second time now) you are telling people what they can discuss on this article. Since the Blog manager decides what comments to post, he and only he, should decide what is appropriate to dicuss under this topic. Therefore, if the Blog Manager posts something you have no right to tell that person to "stick to the topic". Furthermore, Mr. Mattioli is right in his comments about Mr. Hal White, the chairman of the BOS. If you can slam Mr. Creamer for his actions as Planning Board Chair (which is what half of these 80 comments are about) I find it hypocritcal that you tell Mr. Mattioli to write elsewhere about Mr. Whites actions as chairman of the BOS. I, too, have witnessed Mr. White rudely addressing residents that come before the Board, belitting them, cutting them, etc. Thus, my question, What makes Mr. White's actions ok to you and what you claim Mr. Creamer does not ok?
    I admire Mr. Mattioli for his courage to stand up and express himself with no fear of signing his name. I also think it is wonderful how dedicated he is to his family and defending his sister.
    Bill, it is great you signed your real first name, but lets be real, there are a million bills in this world so don't pat yourself on the back too hard.

  82. For someone who claims to be "non-political", you are certainly adding in your political comments Mr. Mattioli.

    If you did not watch the Planning Board meeting on 2/26/08, then I'm not sure you can really criticize commentary on this topic, because from a professional standpoint, Mr. White, while abrupt, did not mistreat anyone.

    If you want to see mistreatment and unprofessionalism, watch the Planning Board video of 2/26/08.

    Perhaps a Code of Conduct is a good thing after all? Selectmen are discussing that, while Mr. Creamer discredits the Selectboard for considering it. What is wrong with this picture?

    Mr. Mattioli, I'm not sure how you can sign your name to such comments when it's clear that Mr. Creamer's blog is no different than Mr. Holdcraft's billboard on Route 9. It's all about discrediting individuals who disagree with him in Sturbridge, nothing more. At least Mr. Holdcraft admits it.

  83. annoyed, the reason 1/2 the comments are about one person is because the article was posted to compare town characters that are similar. and, where do you get off commenting on people and how they sign their name? Hal White isn't a topic of this discussion. I admire anyone that defends family, but this original posting had nothing to do with that. Keep to the subject. I think the blog moderator is being kind in letting people stray off the subject.

  84. mark t, wow. God forbid anyone have an opinion other than yours. i commented on bills name because he made a point that it was a real name when directing his comments to Mr. Matioli. i think you need to calm down just a little. this country prides itself on free speech, so i will write about what and whoever i want, as can you. thanks.

  85. Again thank you all for the feedback. I have read them all and respect everyone’s opinion.

    To Bill,

    It is certainly your right to stick up for Mr. White, I would never criticize you for that. I felt people got off track from the original article and began bashing on a particular individual. I guess I got off track and commented on my dissatisfaction with Mr. White.

    To Daily Reader,

    I have no political agenda. I lived on McGilpin Road for 24 years and have since moved out of town, I am obviously no longer a Sturbridge resident but keep myself informed of Sturbridge news because my family lives there. My only involvement in this whole issue was to support my sister’s valiant efforts to have tree #25 removed. When threats were made against her, I went with her to the town meeting on December 3rd so she would have a sense of safety. My father, who could not make the meeting, asked that I act as his spokesman and read a letter he had written. My perception of that particular meeting was that Hal White treated us both like dirt. I voiced my opinion on that. That is the extent of my involvement. Nothing political there, just supporting my family. Daily Reader, I will quote you, “Mr. Mattioli, I'm not sure how you can sign your name to such comments”. (end quote) Sir/Ma’am, I stand behind everything I have ever written and take great pride in supporting my family. That is why I sign my name.

    This will be my last post under this particular article and just wanted to clarify one of my previous points. If one posts a comment about another person and is not willing to stand behind it because they are embarrassed about what other people might think than they should not post it. I guarantee that most people who post anonymously or under an alias about someone else would not say those same things to that person face to face.

    In closing a wise man once read the following to me:

    “When you get what you want in your struggle for self
    And the world makes you king for a day
    Just go to the mirror and look at yourself
    And see what that man has to say.
    For it isn’t your father, or mother, or wife
    Whose judgment upon you must pass
    The fellow whose verdict counts most in your life
    Is the one staring back from the glass.
    He’s the fellow to please – never mind all the rest
    For he’s with you, clear to the end
    And you’ve passed your most difficult, dangerous test
    If the man in the glass is your friend.
    You may fool the whole world down the pathway of years
    And get pats on the back as you pass
    But your final reward will be heartache and tears
    If you’ve cheated the man in the glass.”

    Respectfully Submitted,

    David M. Mattioli