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, April 30, 2010

This, Too, Will Pass, It Always Does

In 1968, when I entered my first year of high school, the assistant principal would actually use a ruler to measure the distance from a girls knee cap to the hem of their skirt. If he found that the number exceeded what had been established as a non-distractive distance, then the girl would be sent home to change. Most often it only required rolling down the top of their skirt to meet the safety distance. There was some secret number the distance could not be more than. I am sure the girls were aware of the number, but as a boy, I only wished the number was huge. As a teenager in high school, one prays for distraction in whatever form. Recently, a similar anti-distraction rule was proposed by the Tantasqua School Committee member, Fran Simanski, and it did not pass.

I understand why the rule was proposed, and no I do not think that Fran Simanski is a "righ-wing" fanatic, or some moral compass. Sometimes when one observes something that could be better, one proposes a change, and sometimes that proposal is received as being worse than the behavior one wants to correct.

I know, it is strange.

In this case it is just one of those things that folks in power, such as the principal, and teachers, need to handle on an individual basis. Once attention is drawn to clothing styles, methods of wearing them, and the behaviors surrounding the "distraction" it will elevate the behavior to a level not considered. The assistant principal at my high school found this out after a couple of years. When he gave up, the girls gave up trying to break records, and besides, by that time, skirts gave way to blue jeans.

No, I don't think that turtlenecks will become more fasionable now if a rule against cleavage is not written, but when handled individually, quietly, and without a supportive audience, it can be very effective.

Evolutionary correction. Something always comes along to correct a behavior, or trend, when it has gone all the way to one end of the scale. Folks always look for some other social expectation to bend.

This, too, shall pass.

Now, be on the lookout for the next trend, that one could be really scary.

By Laura Crimaldi | Thursday, April 29, 2010 | | Local Coverage

The Central Massachusetts school official who unsuccessfully proposed banning cleavage at a regional junior high school said today that he only made the suggestion to minimize classroom distractions.

“My personal experience in the classroom and supervising the classroom was that exposed cleavage was distracting to students in the classroom. As a result, I just thought I’d bring it up,” said school committee member Fran Simanski of the Tantasqua district, which serves students from Brimfield, Sturbridge, Wales, Holland and Brookfield. “I have zero interest in being any kind of moral compass.”

The Tantasqua School Committee yesterday shot down Simanski’s proposal to ban cleavage along with bare midriffs and exposed underwear, which are already forbidden in the Tantasqua Regional Junior High School handbook, said Principal Jennifer Lundwall.

Lundwall said she opposed the measure because she did not want to single out students, in this case girls, in the dress code. She said the 600 students at the school rarely wear cleavage-baring clothes. When they do, under a “strict” policy, the student is told to put a top over the revealing dress, change into something more appropriate or spend the day in school suspension, she said.

“We have a pretty lock-solid approach,” Lundwall said. “To think that putting language in a handbook would stop children from making bad wardrobe choices is not realistic.”

Simanski made the proposal while members were discussing a plan to add language to the school handbook to tighten restrictions on attire that references drugs and other troubling advertising. That proposal prevailed, but the cleavage measure was rejected in a 7-5 vote.

Simanski said he would only propose the cleavage ban again if his constituents request it, and complained that he’s being trashed online and portrayed as a “right-wing fanatic.”

“I’m a lifelong educator,” said Simanski, a retiree who worked for 39 years as a teacher and administrator in Massachusetts and Connecticut, “who is just interested in trying to eliminate distraction in the classroom.”

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Can You Imagine?

An interesting Sturbridge factoid:

"EXTENDING BEYOND THE MASS PIKE: In its 1965 "Central Corridor Traffic Study," the MassDPW recommended a 35-mile-long extension of the Wilbur Cross Highway (MA 15) from the Massachusetts Turnpike (I-90) in Sturbridge north to MA 12 in Ashburnham. The four-lane, north-south freeway was expected to carry 15,000 vehicles per day (AADT) some 20 years hence.The proposed MA 15 Expressway was to provide access to the Concord Pike (MA 2) near EXIT 24 (MA 140) in Westminster. It also was to connect to the MA 9 and MA 122 expressways, two radial routes that were to provide access to downtown Worcester. Like the MA 9 and MA 122 expressways, the MA 15 Expressway extension to Ashburnham was not built."

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


submitted by Leslie Wong

he Sturbridge Conservation office will be holding a Trail Clean Up on May 16, 2010 at the Leadmine Mountain Conservation Land. The trail clean up will be held from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. At 10:30 Patricia Lalli, Children’s Librarian at the Joshua Hyde Library will be holding a children’s Story Book Walk featuring the book “The Dragonfly Door”. At noon there will be a picnic lunch with bagged lunches provided by Rovezzi’s Restaurant (for those that have pre-registered by May 10, 2010). A memorial tree planting will be held at 12:30 p.m. to commemorate the first Adopt-A-Trail Program Volunteers, The Hoy Family. The tree is being planted in memory of Pam and Jordan Hoy’s late son, Eli Hoy. The memorial tree was donated by with funds provided by the Massachusetts Forest Stewardship Program, administered by Berkshire-Pioneer Resource Conservation &Development, Inc., for the Massachusetts Farm Bureau. The Forest Stewardship Program is one part of the MA Department of Conservation and Recreation Working Forest Initiative - helping landowners learn ways to sustainably manage and protect their woodlands.

Following the Tree Planting there will be an “Adopt-A-Trail” dedication ceremony Senator Stephen Brewer and State Representative Todd Smola. From 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. a Forest Walk will be held with Michael Downey, Service Forester with the Department of Conservation and Recreation, as well as representatives from the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife. Assisting with this event will be the Tantasqua Skills USA students. Volunteers are being asked to pre-register for the event by contacting Leslie Wong, Open Space Assistant. Volunteers registering after May 10, 2010 will need to bring their own bagged lunches. Volunteers will be required to submit a signed waiver forms and take a volunteer “Do’s and Don’t’s” safety sheet. Volunteers are being asked to bring rakes, and work gloves.

For additional information please contact Leslie Wong, Open Space Assistant or Erin Jacque, Conservation Agent in the Sturbridge Conservation Department.

Contact: Leslie Wong Open Space Assistant Town of Sturbridge, or Erin Jacque Conservation Agent Town of Sturbridge 508-347-2506

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Little Bit Of This And That Kinda Weekend

ver the weekend, Jen and I took a ride to the Westville Dam area and put some money on the duckies. We bought a "six quack" of rubber ducks for $25.00, and tossed them into the large swimming pool they had set up. This was all to benefit Harrington Hospital. If one of our ducks were picked out of the pool at the end of the day we would have some cool cash coming to us.

Didn't happen.

On the way back home to check on Mary, who had been taken down with some sort of Ebola like GI thing, we stopped on "Old Route 15", and watched the Lions All American River Race taking place below us on the Quinebaug River. The first boats left Turners Field at 11:00 AM, and it was now about a half hour later, or so, and despite the rain, the participants were having a blast.

Maybe next year I'll try it. First I have to get me a boat, that would help.

The rest of the day was spent maintaining the quarantine at home, and just being there "in case". It helps one to recover so much faster when there is someone else there with you. I can personally attest to that.

By evening the Princess was getting back to normal, and by Monday although she was much improved, she needed something to kick her back into shape again. So, what is the number one thing some people like to do to feel like themselves again?

Go shopping.

We qualified for two MassSave appliance rebate reservations, so off to the appliance store we went. We went to Whitco over in Spencer.

Now, if you have never been to Whitco on Route 9 in downtown Spencer, you really need to. It is a trip. First of all, don't expect a "Best Buy" layout. No, don't expect that all. The store is a collection of turn of the last century buildings along Main Street with big yellow signs with red lettering on them over each window advertising what's on sale inside.

It is tacky as all hell, but too intriguing to ignore, and even better, the style works.

The inside is packed, really, really packed full. The filing system is the bit over here, and some more other there system, but as crammed as this store is, and as unorganized as it may appear, it is very organized. The employees know exactly where everything is, how many in stock, and where to find the price, rebate, and other valuable information in seconds. It is an amazing feat, but if you want kitchen appliances, bicycles, toys, or AV equipment for your home, this is the place you need to visit first.

Besides offering great deals that are comparable, or very often lower than other places offering the same item, the store is very New England. Like a country store for Kitchen Aide, Maytag, and GE, and only a about ten miles away. They install what they sell, and they service what they sell as well. Very important.

So, this Friday the Whitco truck will back into the driveway, and unload a new dishwasher, and fridge for this old house. The kitchen will then be that much less dated, and I'll tackle the other little updates over the summer.

Best of all are the rebates!! Not only did we qualify for the MassSaves rebates, but for sizable manufacturer rebates, too, all told it is $350 for the refrigerator, and $300 for the dishwasher.


And did the shopping make Mary feel better? Yes, it did, and I know I felt great after we saved all that money.

Really great.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Springtime At Old Sturbridge Village

Free Admission For Moms At OSV May 9th

(STURBRIDGE, MA) - April 23, 2010: Moms get free admission to Old Sturbridge Village on Mother’s Day, Sunday May 9, and family events are planned throughout the weekend. Each mother will receive a free Village-made cookie cutter with historical cookie recipe, while supplies last, and a raffle ticket for a chance to win scented geraniums in a Redware pot made by OSV potters.

Children can meet the baby animals on the farm, and enjoy indoor crafts, including making block printed note cards for a Mother’s Day gift. Moms can gain insights on childbirth, raising children and running a frugal household from OSV costumed historians portraying Midwife Lucy Tucker and 19th century author Lydia Maria Child, who wrote The Mother’s Book.

OSV horticulturists will present “The Family Nurse’s Tour of the Herb Garden” and a special Mother’s Day Brunch will be served in the Oliver Wight Tavern (reservations required). For times and details: or call 1-800-733-1830.

Old Sturbridge Village celebrates New England life in the 1830s and is open daily 9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. seven days a week. Admission: $20; seniors $18; children 3-17, $7; children under 3, free. For information: or call 1-800-733-1830.
Submitted by OSV

Friday, April 23, 2010

A Day Of Fun On The Common

April 24 th, 2010
on the

Sturbridge Common
Pancake Breakfast
9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
Prepared and served by the Tantasqua RHS Culinary Students,
in collaboration with The Copper Stallion restaurant.
All proceeds will go towards the TRHS Culinary Scholarship.
Afternoon events include:

Bake Sales brought to you by Operation Friendship
and Sturbridge Nursery School
Interactive Story Hour for the Kids
Hosted by Savoir Donner
Crafters & Artisans
Restaurant Vendors
Local Retail Merchants
Scavenger Hunt
Maple Products & Earth Day Education
Maple Recipe Contest

Live Celtic Music:
Mark Renburke performing from 1:00 to 3:00

Funded by Sturbridge Tourist Association
Planned by Members of the Merchants of Sturbridge

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Starts Today!! MassSave Appliance Rebates: Money For Free

Mary was able to get our reservations for rebates before the system
become overloaded , and went down.
Way to go, Mary!--ed.

From WGGB in Springfield, Massachusetts

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) -- It's a program that could save you a bundle on your next appliance, but Bruce Durocher, a manager at Manny's in Wilbraham, says it's also a program that's causing a lot of confusion.

"It just seems that nobody's getting it right," said Durocher.

Starting at 10 a.m. Thursday, the MassSave Great Appliance Ex""change kicks off, allowing Massachusetts residents to receive stimulus rebates for trading in their current appliance for a more energy-efficient model, but unlike the Cash for Clunkers program, appliance retailers can't give you your rebate, instead the state is in charge of that.

Consumers must reserve a rebate voucher by either logging on to or by calling 1-877-MA-SWAP-1 and retailers are urging you to do so exactly at 10 a.m.

"Once they have the voucher," said Durocher, "they can come into the retail store and choose a qualifying appliance."

There are only a few thousand appliances that qualify and they fall into four categories.

The program will offer rebates of $250 for qualified dishwashers, $200 for qualified refrigerators, $175 for qualified clothes washers and $50 for freezers. Consumers can qualify for up to four rebates, one on each appliance type. But the program's money is limited to $6.2 million, and when that money runs out, the program's over.

In addition to the rebates offered by the state program, stores like Manny's are offering their own discounts, so whether you get a voucher Thursday or not, now really is the time to buy.

If you successfully reserve your rebate voucher on Thursday, you have up until May 5th to make your purchase and until June 19th to receive the item. The state will not release rebate money until the new appliance is delivered to the home and a working model has been traded in.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Sturbridge Father And Son Video Volcano In Iceland!

Two days after a volcano in Iceland erupted, a Sturbridge man and his son who were vacationing in that country shot video from the volcano's upwind side of the billowing ash cloud.

"I can't begin to tell you how incredible it was to be there," John Kittel said. "It was just magnetizing. We couldn't leave it and kept being drawn toward it. We didn't want to get too close because it was scary, but at the same time, it was just so awesome."

The trip to Iceland was a college graduation gift Kittel gave to his son Benjamin, 21. Along with their plans to snowmobile over glaciers, climb through caves, and hike to waterfalls, they had planned to see a smaller eruption on the same volcano, Eyjafjallajokull, that had been occurring since March. When they arrived in Iceland nearly two weeks ago, rainy weather and cloudy skies kept them from seeing it.

When the weather finally cleared, the duo immediately booked a helicopter flight and instead headed toward the new eruption and the ash cloud that made worldwide news when it floated over Europe, forcing the closures of airports and disrupting travel plans for millions.

After the flight, they hopped into their rental car and drove to a spot where they could get another good view of the spectacular cloud.

"We wanted to see it from a different perspective because watching it was just incredible," Kittel said. "It was a very windy day, so the ash and the particles from it were clearly being swept downwind."

Kittel said he and his son didn't take any undue risks. "I'm a safety buff," said Kittel, who works in the insurance industry. "We did this thoughtfully and cautiously."

Benjamin filmed, propping the camera up on lava rocks and pebbles for some shots and steadying it on top of the car for others.

"It's the magnitude of the whole thing," Kittel said. "If you look carefully, you can see an airplane flying right in front of the volcano, and it looks like a fly.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

An Example To Follow

Give credit where credit is due. It's just a natural thing for most of us, whether we do it in our heads, or out loud, giving credit is the acknowledgment of a job well done.

The job Jim Donahue has done, with his staff, at Old Sturbridge Village during the recession has been totally contrary to what the rest of the nation had been feeling, and has been well done.

Twenty five per cent increase in donations to $1.7 million, a two per cent increase in attendance, and a significant increase in school field trips over the last fiscal year that ended on January 30 of this year.


Part of the continued turn around of OSV has been due to well thought out cost cutting instituted in January of 2009.

Numbers helping numbers. Business. But, that is only part of the reason that OSV has succeeded where others have not. One other part of the reason is the mindset at OSV. One has to have their heads on straight and in synch with everyone else in order to accomplish a feat like this. It starts at the top, and flows down stream, and then flows back up again.

That's the difference. The attitude just doesn't fall out the bottom. It is felt all along the way down, and responded to in kind. Then, it is returned up stream again. Happens naturally. You know like when you are feeling good about something, and your enthusiasm touches those around you. Same here.

That is the hardest part. Money is money. Numbers can be manipulated to a degree, but it is the attitude of the people that work, and volunteer, that insure continued success.

So, for another year, Jim Donahue, and all those folks at Old Sturbridge Village, have done it again, they've succeeded.

Well done, OSV.

Monday, April 19, 2010

A Natural Mystery In Our Midst

Mary and I took a walk at the old Camp Robinson Crusoe this morning, and I saw something pointed out to me a few years ago by an old Sturbridge resident, a blue lagoon in the forest. I've always wondered about natural phenomena such as this. The photograph above is of the pond on the former OSV property, now the Lead Mine property that has this lagoon at one end of it. In the foreground you can see the water is crystal clear,with white sand on the bottom, and is a couple of feet deep. The water then changes color to a brilliant green-blue towards the center of the pond, and at the opposite bank.

It's beautiful.

Why the color? Is it deeper, and there is no organic material to muck it up, just clear water refracting the sunlight? Why in this spot, and no other spot on the property. Are there minerals leaching into the water, and refracting the light differently?

I haven't the foggiest idea. If any of you have any experience in light, prisms, geology, or pond water, and have a clue as to why this is, let me know at Apparently, this "blue lagoon" has been know about for many years.

If you look at the aeriel map below, you can actually see the blue color coming from one section of the pond. This is one of the ponds that may dry up when the dams are removed on the property.

In the meantime, until I find an answer, I'll sit here, bewildered as usual.

Later that day...

The mystery may be solved, by none other than Tom Chamberland.

Wally: no real mystery here, It is a spring, that feeds the pond, separate from the stream. The clear ground water contrasts with the more nutrient/sediment laden stream flow, If one had visited during the winter, one would have seen this same area unfrozen from the rest of the pond, again a "clear" indication of the spring. As to this area after the dam is removed, as I understand, this this area is deeper than the "pond" of the dam and will remain, as a small pond and new tributary to Hamant Brook, although only time will tell. The clearer water reflects the blue sky better, thus the color. The ponds have already started to show signs of an algae bloom, thus reflecting less blue sky. I also believe that some time in the past, the Hamant Brook stream channel was relocated from approximately this blue lagoon area to its current route slightly to the west. My training in riverine ecology leads me to believe moving surface flow is easy, moving sub surface flow is not so easy.

I'm no expert, but this my best guess.

Tom C

Thank you, Tom. Your explanation does make a lot of sense. The down side is my theory of the blue lagoon being the home for woodland mermaids is completely out the window.

Thanks again, Tom.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Thinking On A Rainy Night

Think about this: If someone on the Presidents cabinet spoke out of line should others in the cabinet take a passive posture, or an active posture protesting the behavior?

Lots to think about here. If the words spoken were hurtful, derogatory, and/or vulgar then the behavior should be addressed by peers and colleagues. This is usually done privately, and most often a good result is obtained The reprimands, and other action, is addressed by the President. The Boss.

Then there are the times when the event makes it to the media. Now what? And, what if the behavior occurred not during a cabinet meeting, but a meeting of another committee? Again, then what?

Well, protocol would say that unless the other cabinet members were directly involved in the matter, or the episode affected them personally, that they should refrain from offering anything more than the cursory condemnation of the behavior to the public, and in private, they should address the matter more vigorously.

Just the way things work. The proper way of offering up corrective measures. This prevents vigilantism that can undermine the proper response. Now, occasionally, an individual will take it further, and condemn the behavior of a peer in public, and to the media. I guess if they are asked specific questions about the incident by the media they could either answer it, or give out the standard "no comment" response, and it would be fine.

Then again...

Think on this: if the unoffending cabinet member goes further with their opinion, and aligns them self with those citizens demanding censure, a resignation, a recall, and talks it up at this level, instead of at the level of their post, then have they done something that, although not wrong, changes who they are? No longer are they acting as the cabinet member, they have, by their own choosing, become just one of the crowd. One of the angry spectators. They have donned the uniform of the pissed off, and for some, have just entered the proverbial glass house.

They stand out more than they may want to.

So, I guess what I'm thinking is this a wrong thing to do? Does it depend on the actual situation? The person?

Somethings just need more thinking on. So, in the meantime I am going to step out of my role as a writer, and become a chef for just a few minutes. Consider the words above as food for thought.

Route 131 Traffic Advisory

The Sturbridge Police Department would like to notify members of the public that the next phase of the Route 131 roadway construction project will begin implementation during the week of April 19th, continuing on for the foreseeable future months.

Motorists are advised that as a result, there may be intermittent periods of traffic delays and/or traffic pattern adjustments for this project.

It is suggested, when possible, for motorists during the daytime hours to seek alternate routes whenever possible.

Additionally, motorists are reminded that any alternate routes may be in or around residential areas of town. Motorists are reminded to strictly observe the posted traffic regulations and speed limits for these areas. These areas will be monitored by additional police patrols.


Sgt. Kevin Mercier 508-347-2525 ext 122

Det. Mark Saloio 508-347-2525 ext 112

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Fund Raiser For Local Soccer Players Trip To Italy

Dear Friends/Family,

As most of you know, our youngest son Chris Junior, “CJ” is somewhat of a soccer fanatic and last year, as a freshman, he earned a starting position on the Tantasqua Regional High School varsity soccer team. This year he has been given an opportunity to practice with AC Milan in Italy for the last 2 weeks of June.

In order to raise the funds for his trip we will be hosting an event on April 24th, at TJ O’Brien’s at 407 Main Street, Sturbridge MA from 1- 5pm.

Pasta, meatballs, chicken wings, etc will be offered and OF COURSE there will be a cash bar.

Tickets are $20 EACH and can be purchased upon request at or 617-201-6801 and available until the 20th.

If you can't make the event but would like to send a donation, checks can be made out to "Cj" Mattioli and sent to Barbara Mattioli's attention at 47 Breakneck Rd., Sturbridge MA 01566.

Donations beyond the unrelated cost of the above will be donated to the Alzheimer’s Association in recognition of Doris Mattioli.

Hope to see you on the 24th.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

No Longer Stuck Somewhere In Time

I was driving down Route 131 last week and it hit me: this berg ain't standing still.

I know it's easy to say we are stuck in a time warp, but if one looks at what is being accomplished, and will be accomplished over the next couple of years, it looks like we are coming out of our shell.

First of all, the rehab of the town hall and Center School will be done in June of this year. Already the gleaming white pillars, trim, and windows on the town hall make the building look almost new. The Center School is coming along, too, and will look awesome in a couple of months.

The Burgess School re-construction is on the agenda, and the construction new waste water treatment facility has been announced by a new sign at the intersection of route 131, and New Boston Road extension, both projects are going to be very 21st century.

But it is Route 131 that is going to be the center of attention over the next twenty four months. From the intersection of Route 131 and Route 20 right to the town line with Southbridge the road way will be not only repaved, but totally torn up, dug down, refilled, with new storm drains, and this part is so cool, a new sidewalk stretching the entire way to the Southbridge line! Imagine, people actually walking along Main Street for more than 50 feet, and with a remote destination in mind, too!! Amazing.

Amazing changes are coming. A side benefit of our town taking care of itself like this is that others will see it for what it is, too. Business owners that want to relocate to someplace else will consider Sturbridge when they see us investing in our future. People looking for a new community to live in that offers more of the things they want for themselves, and their family will check us out in earnest.

A town that is improving itself, and careful not to loose it's character, becomes especially coveted.

Yes, there will be a some tough days in Trafficville ahead, but in the end, it will be so worth it. You know what would be really neat, a place along Route 131 to sit , relax, maybe have a cup of coffee, a sandwich, and watch the goings on. Hmm. I don't know, maybe a picnic table on the Common would be really something.

Town Election Results

The town election results can be found with a click here.

Monday, April 12, 2010

It's Like So Today

Sometimes, in the heat of anger, or in the awe of astonishment, we will loose our minds for just a little bit. It's natural. It comes with the emotion. The trick is to ride it out, and if it still angers, or astonishes you in the morning, then use it as inspiration.

Inspiration is the word. Nothing more.

If you do decide to do something about what you are feeling, then be sure that your inspiration is in line with the event, and your action is in line with your inspiration.

Some folks in town have taken to Facebook to conjure up support for action inspired by the poor choice of words of a Sturbridge pol.

It's modern. It's "today". It will get some attention.

Think, then act. It's always the same no mater what we do. Think first, then act.

If the selectman had done that he would not be in the mess he is today.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Need For Changes In The Law

Those teenagers in South Hadley that are accused of bullying a classmate to death got me to thinking a lot over the past couple of days. The documentation of the abuse the victim went through is enormous. Seems that there were those in a position to intervene, but for reasons known only to them, they did not.

Maybe those in position did not think it was a serious threat.

This seems to be a continuing theme in most bullying cases. Those in the position to intervene, and stop the bullying, just don't. I want to think that they really don't think the threat is real, that it is only a random, occasional act, but I can't. In this particular case, the story, and documentation tell otherwise.

The teenagers are accused of constant, harassing, threatening behavior towards the victim. Some say the parents are to blame. I don't know. Maybe the parents were lax in not teaching them about how to play well with others, and about good and bad behavior. Who knows? But, one thing is for certain: those accused are people with the capacity to know the difference between good, and bad behavior entirely on their own. The parents cannot be blamed because their child decided not to use the lessons taught them, unless those same parents were aware of what their child was doing.

The only ones that can be blamed are those that are accused, and those that knew of the bullying, and chose to do nothing.

They are as guilty as those that did the bullying. They were the enablers.

I see something coming from this case other than a verdict. I see laws being written to insure this does not happen, in the same way, again.

Those that suspect bullying must report it. Teachers, medical professionals, family members, anyone that sees bullying, or suspects it, must report it. Then it will be investigated, and if real, the behavior will be stopped.

The result of another law controlling more of our behavior? Lives will be saved.

Good enough for me.

Corps to host 10th annual volunteer trail day, Celebrates Earth Day 2009

Sturbridge: The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers as part of the Army’s Celebrate Earth Day 2010 is asking area residents to come out and volunteer to help work on the trails of the local community on Saturday April 17th from 8:30 AM to noon. The Corps has partnered with the Sturbridge and Brimfield Town Trail Committees and the Grand Trunk Trail Blazers to oversee several projects to improve the local trail systems. Volunteers of all ages and skills are invited. This is the 10th annual spring trail day hosted by the Corps.

With the recent construction of the Grand Trunk trail out to the Ed Calcutt Bridge in Westville Park this past spring several portions of the trail system need shoulder work, and slope stabilization. Other projects include flood and winter debris pick-up, brush trimming, and spreading loam and seeding trail shoulders. In Brimfield, the trail committee will be working on similar projects getting that section of the Grand Trunk trail ready for their 5K run/walk event also set for April 24th. Also in Sturbridge the Trail Committee will be hosting trail projects at the Heins Conservation land including trail cleaning from this past winter, and trail surface improvements. In total over 15 projects are being planned between the four organizations and sites.

Sign –up that day begins at 8:30 AM in the Park at Westville Lake for Corps volunteers At the Heins Conservation access, 197 Leadmine Rd in Sturbridge. Brimfield volunteers are asked to meet at the trail head parking lot on 5 Bridge Rd in Brimfield. All work tools will be supplied. Please bring work gloves, your own bottle for water, dress for the weather, and wear sturdy shoes. If heavy rain on the 17th the event will be held on Sunday the 19th, same time and schedule. Bottled water and coffee will be available. A pizza lunch will be provided to all participants at noon, thanks in part to the Grand Trunk Trail Blazers.

Any one with questions on this event or for volunteers and crew leaders who are encouraged to sign up before the event by calling Corps Park Ranger Tom Chamberland at 508-347-3705 or email Brimfield Trail committee member Tony Bys at 413-245-9297, email at: or Sturbridge Trail Committee Chair Randy Redetzke at 508-344-9823 or email;

Thursday, April 8, 2010

A Message From A ZBA Candidate

Dear Fellow Sturbridge Resident,

First of all, I would like to thank all the voters who signed my papers to place my name on the ballot for the open three-year term on the Zoning Board of Appeals. At the same time, I would like to thank the Democratic Party for endorsing my candidacy.

I have been a Sturbridge resident for 24 years and have had the privilege of serving on the Planning Board for 15 years. While on the Planning Board, I made every decision in what I felt was in the long-term best interest of the Town and its residents. At the time, Sturbridge enjoyed its largest employment and development growth in its history. It is a responsibility I took very seriously, both as a member and as Chairman for 5 years.

In the seven years I have been away from direct town service, I have been dismayed both by the emergence of special interests attempting to wrest control of the decision-making process and the lack of civility that has taken over the process.

Massachusetts General Law is very specific on the role of the Zoning Board as it decides Variances and Special Permits. The ZBA is a judicial board, not a forum to promote an agenda. Each application needs to be evaluated on the merits of the individual case and not on whether it is aligned with a special interest. If elected to the ZBA, I pledge to do what is in the best interest of the Town and all of its residents.

In addition to my serving on the Planning Board, I currently serve as an overseer to Old Sturbridge Village. I am married and our two sons attended public schools. One of them is presently a junior at Tantasqua, the other is a junior at Wesleyan University where he is a math major and plays on the basketball team. I have coached both basketball and baseball in Sturbridge and YMCA leagues. Prior to coming to Sturbridge, I served two years in the Peace Corps and graduated with honors from Bentley College as well as received a master’s degree in Engineering from UMass Amherst.

I am asking for your vote on Monday April 12th.

Kind Regards,

Thomas Creeden

Candidate for ZBA

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


"First, I want to apologize to Carol for what I said. I don't want to say I take responsibility, that's a cop-out *, but I want to say I'm sorry."

Selectman Scott Garieri
April 5, 2010

*cop out
Function: intransitive verb
Date: 1952

1 : to back out (as of an unwanted responsibility), i.e cop out on jury duty
2 : to avoid or neglect problems, responsibilities, or commitments , i.e. accused the mayor of copping out on the issue

"cop-out." Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. 2010.

Merriam-Webster Online. 7 April 2010

John 8:32

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

A Softer Side

Over the weekend I found a cat. It was down below the embankment in the backyard, near the stream. It was sitting down, and heard me, but was not running away. It just sat there, with it's head looking in my direction, and bobbing a bit.

She didn't look well. I rolled a stone down in her direction to see if she would move. The stone came to rest a few feet from the her. She fell onto her side, and with her legs stretched out towards the stone, and she cried out in anger at it.

It was obvious now that this cat was hurting, and I was at a loss as to how to help it. It may have rabies, or distemper, so a hands on rescue was out of the question. I called the the Sturbridge Police, and told them the situation. Like me, they were interested in getting someone over to take a look at the cat since it may be diseased.

Officer Hillary Dadalt responded in short order after I made the call. I have to say that this young officer was very professional, concerned, and caring. She immediately went out back to see the cat, studied it from afar, and assessed it's movements. Officer Dadalt also determined that the cat needed help. She returned to the cruiser, and called the Animal Control Officer and left a message. The Animal Control Officer only works on a Monday through Friday schedule. The weekends are up for grabs, and on Sunday, it was Officer Dadalt that ended up grabbing it.

I was impressed at Officer Dadalt's genuine interest in making sure the cat was fine for the time being, and would be OK overnight until the Animal Control Officer could get to her. The police officer observed the cat from afar, and spoke to it in calming tones. If one is able to do that at this level of police work, the officer will have little problem with the major issues.

We both knew that although the cat was walking slowly, and methodically along the edge of the stream, and resting for long periods in between, it probably would not survive the night. The illness she had, or a predator would be working against her survival.

The morning came, and I went outside to check on the cat. It was nowhere to be found. Nowhere. Not a trace of it. The Animal Control Officer arrived too late.

Maybe, when it got dark, and had built up some strength from the liverwurst I had thrown down to her, she was able to wander away.


We'll never know, but I am glad for the interaction with Officer Dadalt. She is totally professional, and has heart.

That is a great combination. She has a great future.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Now, Let's Not Get All Crazy

There is a article in todays Telegram & Gazette about the events at the Town Administrator Search Committee meetings that I mentioned here recently. The article mentions things we already know, that there was some blue language at the meetings by some folks, and their true personalities were exposed for others to see.

Ain't no big deal. Most already know about the personalities. Nothing new here. What is a big deal is not having the ability to control the behavior of ones personality. It's the whole Dr. Jeckyl / Mr. Hyde thing.

Control is so very important. If I didn't practice control I would be dope-slapping folks for singing off key while driving, including myself. Not a pretty sight.

Yes, it is better to think the thoughts, and not say them, or act on them.

In todays article in the Telegram, at the very end of the article, there is mention of papers being taken out for a recall of Selectman Scott Garieri.

Whoa, there, Buckaroo! A recall? For being a muck mouth, sexist? No. That was a personality trait that was part of the package the folks in town elected. If they weren't aware of the whole package, then a recall ain't going to make it all better now. If he knocked over a Brinks truck, yes, a recall may be in order, but not for being an ass. No, we elected him, and he is our ass now, at least until the next election, or if he chooses to resign.

All we can do now is advise him to clean up his act, apologize for his behavior, and tell him to "chill", and think before speaking during heated meetings in the future.

It all comes down to the election. We chose to elect an individual warts and all. That is what the process is all about. It is the candidates job to share with us only what will get them elected, and not the things that won't. We need to be clever enough to figure this out before the votes are cast, or live with the consequences as we are now.

No, a recall is not the answer, it is just an action that one does when they feel so duped, fooled, and embarrassed by a candidate and all they want is the ultimate humiliation for them.

A dope slap would be more effective, and cost a lot less.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

'Tween Season

The Spring routine began a few weeks ago, but ramped up this week. Yard work began with the raking up of those scattered leaves, and twigs. The chain saw made an appearance for a bit, and several barrels of harvested small branches, and such, were were dumped down back.

The ground smells great, and the grass is greening up from the pale brown and yellow of early March. Now, taking the truck to the car wash is more of a treat than a necessity.

The nursery doesn't have all the flats of flowers available just yet. Some Petunias, and a few other hardy ones are available, but we're not quite ready for planting everything. No, not quite yet. There could still be a frost. WalMart doesn't have the big bags of Turf Builder either. It may be in the 70's, but on the store calendar it isn't time yet. Which is strange since WalMart rushes every season by at least three months. I heard Christmas carols in WalMart on September 29th, 2009. No joke.

Meanwhile, everyone is tapping their feet in the parking lot. Impatiently waiting for the Turf Builder, and flower delivery.

Maybe next week.

Mary put the top down to her car for the commute home from Route 2, and once she was home we left it down for a ride over to Howards Drive-in in West Brookfield.

On Easter Sunday we drove over to Westview Dairy in Monson, but they were closed, and won't be opening until April 16th. Seems that like WalMart, some places will be playing catch-up this season. Even the miniature horses at Sawmill River Farm in West Brookfield were nowhere to be found.

But, this time of the year, the time between actual Mud Season, and Mid Spring is a great time of the year. It's 'Tween Season, somewhere between winter and real spring. Nothing major being done just yet, the yearly routine is still hatching, and with each chore accomplished, the major things just fall into place on their own. It is a fleeting season.

It's like batting practice. We're all warming up slowly.

Hot coffee's at Dunkin's are forgotten for the season on Opening Day, and ice coffee takes its place until October. New wipers are put on the car and truck, and they'll be there until the coffee becomes hot again. These are things I have control over, and not relying on someone else's calendar.

New tulips have broken ground, and their leaves are four to six inches high. We're waiting for their announcement of color. I have no idea what we planted where. I like surprises.

In the next couple of weeks, the grass will be much greener, the Scotts delivery will be in, the dairies and drive-in's will all be open, the miniature horses will be gallivanting around their paddocks, the tulips will be open and their petals licking the spring air, the truck will be shiny, and the top will be down on the Solara for a run to some far off clam shack in Worcester County.

In the beginning it takes Spring a little while to get its act together, but things do fall into place, and by the time the leaves are half way out, we'll be on track towards summer.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Off The Clock

We have a few live ones amongst us. You know the ones. They rarely make contact with the outside world except when they are calling "Voice Off" editorial phone lines, and sending off the wall comments to the Telegram & Gazette about anything they have the faintest knowledge of.

T&G: The crocuses are blooming in Central Mass..

Comment: Those crocuses do the same thing year after year. You would think they would learn by now. Where do they get off? It is up to the Chairman of the Highway Department to stop this behavior. It happened on his watch...blahblahblahblahblahblahblah.

I get my share of them, too. Go figure. I post most of them, and let folks sort them out on their own. Others, that are hateful, totally off subject, using a lot of foul language, or just totally crazy, I ignore.

Recently, I have received comments regarding a post, and the same person comments over and over again about people not associated with the original article. I have no clue to who they are referring to most of the time, and neither do they. Sometimes I post them to be kind, but after awhile, and as they get crazier, and crazier, I just delete them.

I know, a bit hard, but I punch out on the Compassion Clock at 7:15 in the morning, and from then on it is anyones guess which one of me you'll get.

It's my time now.

So, I guess what I'm saying is continue to make comments about what you read here, and if you don't see yours posted you'll know why.

I was off the clock.