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

Friday, February 19, 2010

Ya Think?

I read a brilliant statement in the newspaper today in reference to the Route 15 sewer issue being placed on the TM warrant.

"There's no denying that water and sewer are drivers for economic growth."



  1. Looking for a Place to GoFriday, February 19, 2010

    Wow! I wonder how many in depth studies someone had to do to come up with that opinion. 'Must've cost somebody quite a bundle. 'Wonder if there's enough money on the planet to fund studies that would get such an opinion to come from our Town Hall. Oh, wait... Then there would be no money left to buy up everybody's vacant land. 'Looks like we'll just have to carry our Charmin out to the woods the town already owns. A hiking we will go. A hiking we will go. Heigh ho the la-la-la... Sigh...

  2. To Looking for a Place to Go:

    I know of a place you can go.

  3. Looking for a Place to GoTuesday, February 23, 2010

    Thanks for the invite, but you guys must be kind of crowded down there.

  4. To Looking for a Place to Go:

    You're a sexist individual; what makes you think it's all guys, huh?

    Armchair hyprocrites like yourself are a dime a dozen...what takes real chutzpah is getting involved in the town's political issues so you can make a contribution. But the world needs a-holes too, so keep up the good work.

  5. The last comment is great. "Arm chair hypocrites" and "a-holes" all in the same paragraph. And, we wonder why no one is beating down the doors to run for office in town, or "make a contribution". Think I'll go take out some nomination papers right now. I love the smack talkin', trash talkin' words of encouragement people get here in town.

  6. Brian,

    Interesting how you choose to stamp your feet about the most recent comment but overlook "Looking For a Place to Go's" initial comment. Let me remind you: It does nothing but ridicule people who DO participate in government, and to use your words, it consists of "smack talkin' trash words of encouragement."

    I have no problem with treating people as they treat others; if "Looking For a Place to Go" feels the need to denigrate volunteers who have worked hard in this town, then turnabout is fair play.

    Brain: You missed the boat to take out papers. You better get busy caucusing.

  7. Also Looking for a Place to GoSaturday, February 27, 2010

    Dear Anonymous,
    Do we in Sturbridge, MA (located in the land of free speach, the USA)not have the freedom to ask why so much money is spent for certain causes, over and above others? I would hope that Community Preservation Funds could even be used to help keep folks in their homes - thus preserving our community. If that is not the case, perhaps we should do something about changing things, such as that extra 3% we pay on our taxes for CPA. We can't all get out to the woods. We do all have to have sanitation (sewers, etc.). Please read on:

    CPA Newsletter Archives
    March 2009
    This Issue’s Featured CPA Project

    This issue’s featured CPA project in Sturbridge is the largest open space acquisition in the history of CPA, measured by acres acquired. Sturbridge adopted CPA in April 2001 with a 3% surcharge. Since then, the Sturbridge Community Preservation Committee has recommended more than 20 projects with more than $9 million in CPA funds. The project featured here was completed in 2006, when the town acquired 826 acres of land from Old Sturbridge Village.

    The Town of Sturbridge leveraged their CPA open space funds with additional funding from the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife. “We knew what a special piece of property it was… and with CPA, we were able to work with the state to purchase it,” said Penny Dumas, Chair of the Sturbridge CPC. Known as the Leadmine Mountain Wildlife Management Area, the property is part of a swath of greenspace that diagonally bisects the entire town. “There’s nice connectivity,” said Dumas, noting that the Heins Farm, a 90-acre farm also acquired with CPA funds, and the Leadmine property are connected by another town-owned parcel.

    The property is part of a large protected area that includes the 60-acre Tantiusques Reservation, owned by the Trustees of Reservations; 258 acres of town conservation land; and the 1409-acre Breakneck Brook Wildlife Management Area and the Leadmine Wildlife Management Area, both owned by the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife.

    This project is a good example of how CPA monies can be combined with other funding sources, allowing projects to proceed that might not be feasible with CPA funds alone.

  8. Of course there is the freedom to ask but I am not clear on your question. And why, in your initial post, did you post statements from a position of hostility?

    First: the CPA is made up of various individuals in town, some who represent other commissions and committees in town. There are also a couple or three residents-at-large who do not hold seats on other boards. For example, there is a resident who represents the Historical Commission. He does his homework, talks to his Commission, they bring forth ideas for historical improvements.

    There is a representative for affordable housing on the CPA Committee - his name is Charles Blanchard. If you attend town meetings, you will remember voting to approve CPA funds for a couple affordable housing projects that are in the works for a couple years now - that's how long some real estate deals or studies can take.

    If you don't attend town meeting and you don't attend CPA meetings, I suggest you educate yourself about what they've been up to and to what purposes CPA can be used. CPA funds cannot be used to install sewer. In addition, it may not be possible to "combine funds" due to state laws.

    Furthermore, you may want to ask Charles Blanchard, or the CPA committee, what other affordable housing projects are in the pipeline.

    I do not understand why you posted the article above. Nothing can happen with CPA funds unless approved by the majority of voters at town meeting.

    Somehow, I sense my answers are not "good enough" and all you want is sewer up Route 15. If I am correct, then your question should be pointed to all sewer-users in Sturbridge, whose bills are going to skyrocket from $300 - $1,400 per household in the coming months. If you can get those poor folks to foot that Route 15 sewer bill, then the majority vote will win and it will be the will of the residents.

  9. Some people keep saying that everyone will have to pay for a sewer extension up route 15. The truth of the matter is that all properties along that sewer line, and only those along that line, will be assessed a betterment assessment to pay for the installation of that line. Furthermore as to the increase in sewer fees, they are assessed on actual users of the sewer system. Wouldn't it make sense that adding more users to the system would reduce the overall cost per user?
    What I have trouble understanding is why people on Kelly Road are being told they must pay installation, betterment and a privilege fee in order to obtain sewers when everyone else pays a betterment and connector fee.

  10. I would like an answer to that question, too. Is this true?

  11. So where's the money going to come from for the STUDY relating to the possibility of the town allowing a sewer line for Route 15? We certainly spend plenty on things that aren't as pressing.

  12. These are all very good questions. What I don't get is, why doesn't anyone asking these questions watch Selectmen's meetings on cable access? The answers to your questions are there; they are the sewer commissioners.

  13. It may surprise you to know that some us have been watching and listening and researching. You say that the answers are to be found in watching the Selectmen's meetings. Mostly, they are not. As taxpayers, we have the right discuss town matters. We may not be available to volunteer in town government or to attend many meetings, but we do reasonably keep up, and do have concerns. We may be busy volunteering for causes other than town government, we may have home lives more difficult or more complicated than others, we may be old and our volunteering days may be over,we may work more than one job, we may be caregivers, etc., etc,. This page is called "Thinking Out Loud in Sturbridge." That's what we're doing. It's really okay that you don't "get it."

  14. The comment immediately above is the comment I have read here in so long. They are right, this place is called thinking out loud in sturbridge, and it is just not the writer that is thinking out lout, it is everyone that comments, too.

  15. For the particular questions above, the answers are there, or they're in the sewer and other bylaws, or at meetings of various committees. It means you may have to read documents more than once, or watch cable access more than once to really understand it. For some people, it's easier to choose to believe rumors and what they read in the newspapers which only complicates matters.

    As taxpayers, the responsibility is to pay attention to what goes on in town because we are all effected. Once a vote is passed at town meeting and the majority wins, it's over, stop complaining. There is also the responsibility to ask questions that are in context. However, as shown above, many people hear rumors, or ignore government altogether, make up their minds based on what their friends or newspapers tell them, then take a hostile approach toward town government and also backbite their neighbors.

    As Brian said above: no wonder people don't want to run for town government. The apathy and disdain is mindboggling.

  16. What planet do you live on?

  17. lol!! the comment that is above the last one is well written, and it puts everything right in our laps where it should be. we need to let go when we loose, and question things we we have questions. we also have the responsibility to stop being sheep. think for ourselves and speak our minds. Now for the next comment, how does all this make me an alien? Ohhh. I see, because that's not the way we do things here in this world.

    I get it now.


Anonymous comments not accepted, and will be rejected. Please use your full name. Choose "Name / URL" and enter your name, and your name ONLY. Leave "URL" blank.