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
Sunday, May 30, 2010
Now, Where Was I? No, Really, Where Was I?
Friday, May 28, 2010
Muster Day at Old Sturbridge Village on June 12
Appearance by 1812 Marines from the U.S.S. Constitution; 50% admission discount for active Military
STURBRIDGE, MA (May 28, 2010) – Old Sturbridge Village will celebrate an old-fashioned military “Muster Day” on Sat., June 12, with a special appearance by the 1812 Marines from Boston’s U.S.S. Constitution, who will march, drill, and demonstrate field maneuvers alongside the Sturbridge militia. Active military personnel get a 50-percent admission discount, and members of their party get 25 percent off admission.
Fifers and drummers will play martial music, and children can “join the militia,” learn to march and drill, and make a militia hat to wear and take home. Visitors can enjoy early 19th-century base ball, French & English (tug of war), and crafts demonstrations, head to the farm to meet the baby oxen, lambs, and piglets, and help the farmers with late spring work. For details: www.osv.org; 1-800-733-1830.
In early New England, the militia was somewhat similar to today’s volunteer firefighters, and its ranks were filled by farmers, craftsmen, and other male citizens in town. At least once a year, these folks were “called to muster,” and spent a day in training.
“The 1830s were peaceful years in New England,” notes OSV curator Tom Kelleher, adding that muster days also offered festive recreation, including a way to skirt the temperance laws banning the sale of alcohol in the 1830s. Those thirsting for liquor could pay a few cents to enter a tent to see a “striped pig,” and also get a “free” shot of rum. Muster Day visitors to Old Sturbridge Village can see a real pig, striped just for the occasion, and get a free glass of lemonade as a stand-in for the rum.
Old Sturbridge Village celebrates New England life in the 1830s and is one of the largest living history museums in the country. The museum is open daily 9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., and offers free parking and a free return visit within 10 days. Admission: $20; seniors, $18; children 3-17, $7; children under 3, free. Active military personnel get a 50% discount on admission by showing their ID and members of their party get 25% off. For information: www.osv.org or call 1-800-733-1830.
--submitted by OSV.org
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Really? I'm Responsible? Really?
A ruling has been offered regarding the case of the Selectman, and the lady committee member.
The ruling stated,
"Whereas Mr. Garieri is an elected official, the Town’s administrative officers have no authority to impose discipline. Likewise, the Board of Selectmen itself cannot impose any formal discipline upon one of its members. Conduct of elected officials is ultimately the responsibility of the voter"-- --The ruling, signed by harassment officer Town Administrator Shaun Suhoski and alternate harassment officer Finance Director Barbara Barry on May 20th.
What? The conduct of an elected official is not the responsibility of the elected official, but rather the responsibility of the voters?
The ruling was good up until that particular point. No voter is responsible for the actions, and /or words, of an individual once elected to office, or even before they are elected. The elected official is responsible for their own actions,and words. This is elementary. Yes, voters may be responsible in electing the individual to the office, but that is where it ends.
If an incident warrants discipline, or a recall, and there is none, then those that allow the behavior to go unaddressed are responsible for any future incidents along with the offending official. This is the responsibility of the Board of Selectmen, and the voters. It is not the responsibility of the voters to prevent the behavior, as stated above, but it is their responsibility to make sure it is appropriately addressed.
Was it? I think it could have gone further.
To read the article, click on the link below.
Ruling finds selectman violated policy
By Matthew Bernat
Turley Publications Reporter
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Free traffic information hotline expands into Western Massachusetts
By Dan Ring, The Republican
May 24, 2010, 3:00PM
BOSTON – Nearly 15 years after a free traffic information hotline was first introduced in the Boston area, Western Massachusetts is finally getting the service.
Gov. Deval L. Patrick announced on Monday that free 511 service is now expanded to all of the state.
“For the first time, residents of Western Massachusetts will be able to access helpful travel information,” said Patrick, who has a vacation home in Richmond on the New York border.
The 511 system was launched in eastern Massachusetts in October of 2007. It replaced a similar service in use in eastern Massachusetts since 1995.
To use the new hotline, Western Massachusetts motorists can dial “511” on their cell phones or go online at www.mass.gov/511 to receive personal updates about routes.
For the first time ever, the new 511 system includes coverage for: Interstate 90 west of Sturbridge, Interstate 91, Interstate 291, Route 2 between 495 and 91, and Route 7, said Jeffrey B. Mullan, secretary of transportation.
Previously, the system was only available east of Sturbridge, Mullan said.
To access the system, dial 511 from any cell phone and enter route numbers of interest. As reports are delivered, press 1 to skip a segment, press 2 to skip a route and press 3 to enter a new route.
To personalize the service, call 511 and enter route numbers. Information on these routes will be automatically provided on the next call. To get text or e-mail alerts, go to www.mass.gov/511, login and choose your routes off a map.
Select “Send Alerts” radio button. Sendza, a Marlboro software company, is providing the service. State officials said it will be provided at no cost to taxpayers.
To use the new 511 system for the first time by phone, follow these steps:
1. Dial 511 from any cellphone.
2. After the introductory message, enter the route numbers of interest to you. For example, for information on Interstate 90, press “90.”
3. As reports are being delivered, press 1 to skip a segment, press 2 to skip a route, and press 3 to enter a new route.
© 2010 masslive.com. All rights reserved.
Saturday, May 22, 2010
DEP fines Wal-Mart
Under a consent agreement, Wal-Mart agreed to pay the penalty and improve compliance with hazardous waste regulations at its Walmart stores, the state said in a news release.
That DEP alleged that state workers found during inspections last year that Wal-Mart failed to provide adequate security for waste oil accumulation areas, post signs, keep adequate records, properly delineate waste oil accumulation areas, label hazardous waste and waste oil containers, and keep wastes separated.
Wal-Mart previously paid more than $46,000 in penalties under a 2005 consent order.--Worcester Telegram & Gazette
Friday, May 21, 2010
What Was The Final Lesson Taught?
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Don't Confuse Me Any More Than I Already Am
Anytime an entity, like a town government, withholds innocuous information then I believe it is fair to feel as if something nefarious is afoot.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Memorial Day Weekend at Old Sturbridge Village May 29-31
OSV Sheep get yearly “haircuts” at Wool Days celebration ; Meet the new baby oxen, lambs and piglets
(STURBRIDGE, MA) – May 17, 2010: The sheep at Old Sturbridge Village will get their annual “haircuts” during Memorial Day Weekend May 29-31 as the Village celebrates “Wool Days.” Farmers will shear the sheep, and OSV historians in costume will demonstrate the entire wool textile process, from scouring and carding the wool to spinning, knitting and weaving the handspun wool yarn. Visitors can try hand carding (brushing and de-tangling) the wool, and then learn how the Village’s historic water-powered carding mill does the same job much faster.
Visitors can also meet the 14 new lambs born at OSV this season, as well as two piglets, a new calf, and new team of baby oxen, who are in training to learn their names and the 40 voice and hand commands they will need to understand to help the farmers with heavy work around the farm.
In keeping with the Wool Days theme, visitors can also make a “Wooly Sheep” ornament using wool from the OSV sheep. Also highlighting the weekend is the return of the Old Sturbridge Village stagecoach and boat ride on the Quinebaug River, and old-fashioned Base-Ball games. For all times and details: 1-800-SEE-1830; www.osv.org.
Monday, May 17, 2010
Affordable Housing In Sturbridge To Be Preserved
Just Who Is The Sign Sheriff?
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Memorial Day Schedule 2010
The Sturbridge Veterans Council cordially invites all residents, youth groups
and a special invitation to our Veterans to participate in the annual
Memorial Day Parade. The Parade this year will be held on Monday, May 31,
2010. The parade will follow the same route as in the past, except that the
parade will end on the Town Common due to the reconstruction activities of
the Town Hall and Center Office Bldg. The Tantasqua Regional High School Band
will provide music.
09:30 A.M. Parade formation at the Old Fire Station at RT 20 & RT 148
09:45 Parade Step-Off
09:50 Parade Stops for ceremony at the American Legion Monument
10:00 Parade Stops in St. Anne's Cemetery for service, reading of
"In Flanders Field"
10:20 Parade Marches out of St. Anne's to board buses
10:45 Parade Reforms in front of Public Safety Complex
10:50 Ceremony for Police and Firefighters Monuments
10:55 Parade Step Off, 2nd part, proceeds to North Cemetery
11:10 At North Cemetery, memorial service, reading of the
11:25 Parade returns to Town Common for final ceremony
11:30 Memorial Service for Old Cemetery, Decoration of Monuments,
Replacement of the POW Flag, National Anthem and Flag raising
12:00 noon Open House at the American Legion, All parade participants
and residents invited.
Bus transportation will be provided BEFORE the Parade, starting at the Town
Hall at 09:00 A.M., Safety complex at 09:10 A.M., Senior Center at 9:20 A.M.
Legion Hall at 9:25 A.M. at Old Fire Station for 9:30. Bus transportation
will be provided during the parade from the Senior Center to the Public
Safety Complex, and after the parade from the Town Hall back to the Old Fire
Station with stops at the Safety Complex, Senior Center and Legion Hall. Any
veteran, elderly or disabled person needing a ride for the parade is asked to
call the American Legion Post 109 at 347-3248 by Friday May 28th. For more
information call Tom Chamberland at 347-3386.
STURBRIDGE Pre- Memorial Day ACTIVITIES
All Veterans are encouraged to attend any or all of the events listed.
Friday, May 28,
1: Annual Memorial Day breakfast and ceremony, 8:00 AM Tantasqua Regional
Junior High School, All veterans invited, please call the Junior HS to
confirm your attendance, 508-347-7381.
2: Annual Burgess Elementary School Memorial Day assembly, 1:30 P.M.
3: Veterans who want to help decorate graves are asked to meet the
American Legion Hall at 6:30 P.M.
4: Women's Auxiliary, Poppy sales at Yankee Spirits, 9:00 am - 9:00 pm.
Sunday, May 30:
All veterans are invited the annual Memorial Day Sunday Service of the
Sturbridge Federated Church. Veterans are asked to meet outside of the
Church at 10:15 A.M.
Monday May 31:
Annual Memorial Day Parade and Services. Parade Forms at 9:30 A.M. at the
old fire station, Corner of Rt. 20 and Rt. 148, proceeds to St. Anne's
Cemetery, for services at 10:00 A.M. then reforms at the Public Safety
Complex at 10:45. Parade concludes at 11:30 on the Town Common.
Open House will follow at the American Legion Hall.
Bus transportation is available before, during and after the parade.
Veteran's needing rides are asked to call Post 109 at 347-3248. Before Friday
For further information call Tom Chamberland, Director of Veteran Services,
Friday, May 14, 2010
Maybe you remember a month ago there was a whole lot of hullabaloo in the local papers about some off color, verbal interactions at a Town Administrator Search Committee meeting.
There were cries of "Off with his head!!". As you can imagine, people were very upset. I mean, everyone, all over town was upset, or so it seemed. In fact, one resident started a recall petition to remove the blue mouthed selectman from office.
I said it then, we elected him. Most of us knew what we were electing, and we shouldn't be surprised by the behavior. We just didn't think that it would come out in the way it did, or at the place it did.
In order to go forward with the recall it was necessary to obtain signatures of 20% of the towns registered voters on the petition.
They got six.
Of course, there is a lesson in here somewhere, but for the life of me, I haven't the foggiest idea as to what it is. Maybe it has something to do with those with the pitchforks and torches marching on the castle door should have an attention span a bit longer than that of a gnats.
If you are going to be outraged about something, then do something about it. Don't leave it if something else attracts your attention. Stick with the issue. If you can't follow through, don't make it an issue.
Six signatures. Either someone didn't try very hard, or all those outraged folks from last month got over their outrage pretty damn quick.
I think it's the attention span thing.
Monday, May 10, 2010
We Need It, But Will We Like It?
One thing that cannot be put on a blueprint is the heart, and the soul of a place. As a result, the planning and design is done with respect to all things related to construction, and nothing as it relates to the feeling that the construction should give to us once complete.
Author Doris Kearns Goodwin to be honored by Filmmaker Ken Burns and Old Sturbridge Village May 20
Pulitzer Prize-winning author and presidential historian to receive third annual “Ken Burns Lifetime Achievement Award”
This year’s Ken Burns Lifetime Achievement Award is the third in the series. Last year’s award was presented to actress Laura Linney in recognition of her portrayal of Abigail Adams in the HBO series, John Adams. Old Sturbridge Village presented the first lifetime achievement award to Ken Burns himself in 2008 in honor of his many award-winning documentary films.
Goodwin’s “No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II” was a New York Times bestseller and earned Ms. Goodwin a Pulitzer Prize in history in April 1995. Her most recent book, “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln” (Simon & Schuster 2005), was a New York Times #1 bestseller and is being developed into a feature film by Steven Spielberg. Her first book, “Lyndon Johnson and The American Dream” (1976) was also a New York Times bestseller.
Along with history, Goodwin has a love of baseball instilled in her by her father, who taught her to keep score of Brooklyn Dodgers games when she was only six years old. Her “Wait Till Next Year” (1997) was written about the love of baseball she shared with her father. This memoir was also a New York Times bestseller and was optioned for a musical. She was also the first female journalist to enter the Boston Red Sox locker room.
Goodwin is frequently called upon as a political and news analyst by all the major networks in the U.S. and others around the world. She lectures extensively, and has offered insights in many PBS documentaries, including Ken Burns’ “Baseball.” She is married to writer Richard Goodwin, who worked in the White House for Presidents Kennedy and Johnson. The Goodwins have three sons and two grandchildren.
“Doris Kearns Goodwin’s compelling books, articles and insightful broadcast commentaries have won her the respect and admiration of millions of readers, listeners, and viewers the world over,” said Jim Donahue, president and CEO of Old Sturbridge Village. “We are deeply honored to have her as our guest at the Village.”
Ken Burns, who has been making films for more than 30 years, is perhaps the most critically acclaimed documentary filmmaker in the country. According to the late historian Stephen Ambrose, “more Americans get their history from Ken Burns than any other source.”
Famous for his documentaries that include “The Civil War,” “Jazz,” “Baseball,” and “The War,” Burns actually made his very first film about Old Sturbridge Village as a college student in 1975, during which he used the now-famous “Ken Burns effect” – a panning technique – for the first time.
Burns’ OSV film, produced as his senior project while a film major at Hampshire College, is a 28-minute film entitled,” Working in Rural New England.” The project inspired him to pursue historical subjects, a direction he has continued throughout his career. “Sturbridge is where I became a filmmaker, and where I caught the history bug for good,” he noted.
“Working on that first film aroused in me a passion I didn’t know I had, which is history,” Burns said of the film at a later visit to Old Sturbridge Village. “That was the first film that I signed my name to. That was the first film in which I felt I was the author.”
Burns, whose production company is based in Walpole, N.H., is recently produced a six-part film on the history of the National Parks, which aired on PBS in 2009. He is also working on a history of Prohibition, for which his production company recently filmed scenes at Old Sturbridge Village, and an update to his 1994 epic “Baseball.”
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
We All Need To Learn More
I am at a most awkward place right now. I really can't say how I stand on a casino here in Central Mass. I have to admit that I have thought about it, but not really thought about it.
- Current infrastructure may not be able to handle increased traffic to area from Route 20, and Mass Pike.
- Increased traffic, at all hours, will strip the area of the small town, rural-ness away from the area forever.
- Crime will increase.
- Folks with an issue with gambling will have just another venue for that issue to run rampant.
- Other folks may develop issues with gambling as a result of a casino down the road.
- Folks with an issue with gambling will eventually have severe financial problems that may weigh on the taxpayers of Massachusetts in some form.
- The money generated is entirely dependant on the success of the casino in rural Central Massachusetts. Is there a sufficient audience here?
- The tax revenue generated is tied directly to income generated. Little interest, little income, little tax revenue. How can the casino owners be sure of success in Central Massachusetts?
- Gambling can be fun.
- The entertainment at casinos is world class, and something not available here in Central Mass.
- The facilities a casino offers is usually much more than other hotels, and there is more to do at these venues besides gambling.
- There will be construction jobs as the facility is built.
- There will be other jobs once the facility is built.
- The infrastructure leading to the facility will be upgraded by the casino owners.
- Tax revenue generated by the facility will be well worth the aggravation.