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

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Selectman's Meeting Minutes Now Available

The Selectman's Meeting minutes from July through October have just been made available to the public.  Links to the minutes are posted in the margin to the right.


  1. Thank you for posting the Selectmen's minutes, Wally!

  2. Looks and Quality?Friday, October 22, 2010

    From reading the minutes of the Selectmen's meeting of July 19th, it appears that the concrete base for the bricks is only 4 inches thick. For something that we are told is so perfectly built, a "4 inch mortar base" seems like only a minimal base.

  3. With the thickness of the brick, and the 4 inch base that makes 6 inches, and that is a good amount. It isn't going anywhere for a long time.

  4. Look and QualityFriday, October 22, 2010

    You say you know what's a good amount of "base", so you must know how far they dug down and built it up for frost protection. As deep as the road bed?

  5. Sidewalks like this need an adequate base for "frost protection" here in New England. An adequate base was prepared for all the concrete and brick sidewalks. The brick portion was treated to the same preparation as the concrete portion. It will be fine, and will suffer no more cracking than the concrete side would over its lifetime. Don't worry, it will be fine. Now that we all own it it isn't going to meltdown, explode, or get up and run away over night. It is all ours for our lifetime at least.

  6. Questions re the minutesSaturday, October 23, 2010

    Regarding the minutes of the meeting of the Board of Selectmen,
    Oct. 4, 2010
    Under Old Business:
    …”T. Creamer asked about the status of feedback from the engineers regarding Routes 131 and 15. (Town Administrator) S. Suhoski said that he had received feedback and noted that it would necessitate changes in the timing of the traffic signals, but the state indicated they would not be in favor of making the change.”
    That’s it? That was the discussion? What would necessitate changes in the timing of the traffic signals? Why is the state not in favor? So what IS going on in terms of fixing that intersection?

    There was also a discussion of pedestrian foot traffic between “the two buildings” in general and in poor weather. Duh! Having the town offices split into two buildings across a busy intersection from each other may pose difficulties? Ya Think? Well, I guess that the folks that voted to do this didn’t think ahead that much…

    The BOS also discussed getting a variance to put in a sidewalk from the front of the town hall to the back of the town hall. Can anyone say “road narrows?”

    M. Dowling wants a five minute break a 8:30 and to aim to finish the meetings by 9:30, leaving unfinished business until the next meeting. So unfinished business can be put off for another two weeks? Shouldn’t it depend, at least, on what the unfinished business is?

    By the way, do they keep minutes at the one work session per month as they do at the two regular meetings per month? Votes do occur at those meetings, which as one member of the BOS stated, have evolved into real meetings, only less formal.

  7. Questions regarding the minutes:

    Minutes do not record every single word said. If you want actual discussion, and if you want answers to your questions, call one of the Selectmen; watch the meeting on cable access; or attend the meetings on Monday nights. Then you will be able to write about things of substance instead of using words like "duh!" or "can anyone say 'road narrows'? With these comments, you seem to imply you're smarter than everyone else. Well, if that's the case, then please grace everyone with your presence at meetings and provide input and ideas. Input and ideas are wanted and needed.

  8. My Two Cents WorthSunday, October 24, 2010

    Minutes of a meeting are not a transcript of a meeting. A transcript records every word spoken. Transcripts are usually produced if a meeting is televised, or broadcast. Something for the Town to keep in mind for the future. MInutes record what was spoken, by whom, and what action may, or may not have been taken. Minutes also record the beginning and end of a meeting, those present, the date, time, when the next meeting is, the current agenda, and on and on...but nothing word for word.

  9. A pedestrian tunnel should have been built between the Center School and the Town Hall. I said this two years ago, and I am saying it again. It would have fit right in with the road construction.

    A sidewalk to the back of the town hall is smart, but they need to mark Maple street as a Two way road. Too many people thin k it is a driveway and drive all over the place. They also need to get rid of the diagonal parking in front of the church and library, too. Unsafe.

  10. Dear Anonymous,
    It's a long walk to the library from the parking spaces along Maple St. as it is. Where would you suggest we park? It's nearly impossible for some of us to make it to the library door already! I cannot believe the poor planning that went into this whole project - obviously the folks that voted for this didn't realize what the results would be. I know, "Don't cry over spilt milk," but at least we should handle the cleanup intelligently. As far as watching the selectmen's meetings goes, are you kidding me? You never know which day they might happen to be on TV and the sound quality is poor. I thought that they weren't even going to hold the meetings back in the town hall until they could have live telecasts.

  11. Please TranslateSunday, October 24, 2010

    Wally what is the translation of what appears to be an Asian message under your welcoming statement?

  12. T@ Please Translate: The translation of the Chinese characters the top of the page is:
    "Common sense here to speak" As close a translation I could get to "Common sense spoken here."

    Thanks for noticin'

  13. Questions regarding the minutesSunday, October 24, 2010

    Thank you, Wally. The value of plain old common sense should never be underestimated. Plain speak and common sense would have kept us out of a few uncomfortable spots. Thinking ahead is important, too - for example, if you split the town offices into two buildings at a problem intersection, what happens next? Duh!(Sorry "Anonymous, but I can't resist saying it again.)
    Regarding the suggestion that parking be eliminated along Maple St. by the library and the church. Am I supposed to believe that the resulting narrowing of that street by the latest project was never even thought of by the planners? I guess it must have been too difficult to say, "Road narrows!" (Sorry again, Anonymous)
    So what are we left with? How long will it take before someone says, "Oh, by the way, there's no parking at the library, and not enough parking by the church, so, ummm, we think that the townsfolk should be willing to pay a little more in taxes to rip up part of the library lawn and make parking spaces there."
    Our library lawn is lovely, now, so how will they talk up the "wonderful ambiance" of parking lot in its place?

  14. Please TranslateSunday, October 24, 2010

    Hi Wally,
    I put "常識在這裡發言," as you have near the top of your page into a translator and it came out to say "Common sense to speak here."
    What a perfect phrase to lead in to your well thought out writings!

  15. People should watch the meetings. The selectmen never talked about getting a variance for a sidewalk. The variance is for the use of the front door, which the state won't allow. People should check their facts before they spread misinformation. And under the Open Meeting Law all meetings are "real" meetings. Taking shots at Mary Dowling for suggesting breaks is just plain stupid. If you can do better why are you a selectmen?

  16. People seem to be conveniently forgetting that these buildings and that Route 15/Route 131 intersection are not new. The intersection is...200 years old? The buildings are approaching or exceed 100 years old. We have to work with what we got and it's great to have more space in historic buildings in the most public, prettiest part of town.

    Build a tunnel under the roadway - are you serious? How about we make town hall employees wear padded suits to work? That would be much cheaper.

    Two things missing from many of these comments is common sense and reality.

  17. Done with FOOLISH THINKING OUT LOUDMonday, October 25, 2010

    Common sense spoken here is a joke. Ripping up the lawn at the library? Where did that come from? Is that the same person who said the town was trying to get a variance for a sidewalk? That's just plain not true. Interesting how folks just write whatever nonsense they want here and it's supposed to be taken as common sense. Seems to be a lot of foolishness lacking FACTS. Rarely ever see any FACTS backing up the wild claims some people make here. The better phrase is NONSENSE SPOKEN HERE.

  18. @Done with Foolish Thinking Out Loud: Now, now. Re-read the library lawn comment. I believe the writer was being sarcastic to make a point. Yes, folks can write whatever nonsense they want here, and people as smart as you can see that it is nonsense, but in no way is it censored. To take comments at face value is foolish. Comments are written while the writer is having an emotional moment. Like letters to the editor, they should be taken with a grain of salt. It is the gist of the comment that means the most. Facts?? Are you kidding? Facts are a rare bird in the comment section no matter where it is.

    Do YOU have any thoughts about building a sidewalk from the front to the back of the town hall? Constructing a sidewalk there was discussed at the BOS meeting, whether on not a variance was. Do YOU think it would be a good idea? Wouldn't it make the road narrower? Do YOU agree with the person who suggested eliminating parking on the road by the library and the church? Do YOU agree that 9:30 should be a cut-off time for the BOS meetings if there is unfinished business that would have to wait a couple more weeks? Do YOU have a solution for the comings and goings between the town hall and the offices at the old school?
    Do YOU think that every times someone makes a comment they need to run it by the selectmen first? What are your thoughts on the ISSUES?

  20. Hey, Look it over,Monday, October 25, 2010

    You wrote, "People seem to be conveniently forgetting that these buildings and that Route 15/Route 131 intersection are not new. The intersection is...200 years old? The buildings are approaching or exceed 100 years old. We have to work with what we got and it's great to have more space in historic buildings in the most public, prettiest part of town."
    Fact: As you wrote, the buildings and the intersection are not new.
    It's also sort of a fact that "we" have been working with what we have.
    Another fact, which you did not write, is that we have also made things more inconvenient and less safe in the outside space of the location of the buildings and the intersection.
    Should I check with the BOS before stating that as far as the area face lift and Botox injections are concerned, the Botoxed area is bulging and is preventing us from moving easily, and perhaps some of the silicone emphasizing our curves should be removed?

    Some folks are all for making this more of a "walking" town, with new "traffic calming" measures implemented. There may be places for that, but on major traffic routes, keeping the road as open as possible is paramount! Oh, wait, should I call the town hall and request that they look out the windows?

    FOOLISH THINKING OUT LOUD,you might have picked up your marbles and left this discussion once more without sharing your ideas but if you are reading this, I know, I know, you "only want what's best for Sturbridge..."
    "Sturbridge" is more than buildings and pretty new things to look at. It is people who need to function in today's world, and it is people who think out loud on blogs and come up with good ideas now and then. Think tanks are good things.

  21. Go back and read it againMonday, October 25, 2010

    Anonymous, perhaps you could reread this quote from a posting above?: "M. Dowling wants a five minute break at 8:30 and to aim to finish the meetings by 9:30, leaving unfinished business until the next meeting. So unfinished business can be put off for another two weeks? Shouldn’t it depend, at least, on what the unfinished business is?"
    The question the writer asked was about ending the BOS meetings at 9:30 and putting off unfinished business until the next meeting, but you wrote: "Taking shots at Mary Dowling for suggesting breaks is just plain stupid." Me thinks you should calm down and read it again. No one complained about her asking for a 5 minute break. The sentence only stated that she asked for the 5 minute break at each meeting that went beyond 8:30 or so, and suggested that unfinished business be left as unfinished at 9:30. The question that followed had nothing to do with the 5 minute break.

  22. Getting to the PointTuesday, October 26, 2010

    Anonymous wrote:
    "The variance is for the use of the front door, which the state won't allow."
    That's an interesting statement. Would you be willing to tell us why the state won't allow the use of the front door?
    Anonymous also wrote:
    "Two things missing from many of these comments is common sense and reality."
    Now you're getting the idea! The lack of common sense and reality is the point!
    This is 2010. We use e-mail and blogs for communication and ideas. The "town hall" is in two locations. There is traffic between the town office buildings. We drive cars. Trucks are large. And regarding the intersection, shared sidewalks are usually not a few inches high, but level with the road.

  23. I believe that many of the BOS meetings could end by 9:30 and all business before them could be completed by that time. How could this be accomplished you ask, well, I believe if the Chair stated his opinion just ONCE instead of over and over and also if the Chair didn't REPEAT everything someone else said, 9:30 could happen easily.
    Can'tuse the front doors because there not handicap accessible!

  24. Can't Use the Front Door at the Town Hall????Tuesday, October 26, 2010

    All this money spent and we can't use the front doors? Why didn't we do something to make it handicap accessible? Ambiance over need,anyone? So now what do we do to fix that?

  25. The Definition of "Think" is?Tuesday, October 26, 2010

    The BOS might try to get a variance so the non handicap accessible front door of the town hall can be used. Why couldn't we have designed a handicap accessible front entrance to the town hall when we spent all the money to redo the building?
    So now the folks who come across the street from the town offices in the old school house have to go all the way to the back of the town hall to get in?
    The intersection didn't get fixed, we can't use the front door, we got the bricks delivered within hours of the vote on the sidewalk, we've got "the right look," and a person still can't cut down a tree in his own backyard. Way to go, guys!

  26. Here's an idea that should make everybody feel better regarding the A.D.A. regulations glitch pertaining to the town hall. If we place one of these outside the front door, and another one inside the building... problem solved for all of us.

  27. Watch the meetings? HaWednesday, October 27, 2010

    Wally, do you have any information about any selectmen's meeting/meetings after Oct.4th? I can't find anything, and channel 12 is just hopeless. I haven't seen anything regarding a BOS meeting there. Thanks for helping us to get a glimpse of what's happening in town.

  28. @ Watch the meetings? Ha: No, I am sorry, I don't have any more information. I published the meeting minutes as they were sent to me from the town hall, and will continue to do so as I receive them.

  29. I Can See Clearly NowWednesday, October 27, 2010

    Thanks again, Wally. It's always good when the sunlight and fresh air come in.

  30. the brick sidewalks were voted in july. materials were delivered in september. lot's of thinking out loud and lots of nonsense posted. get over the intersection. it's no more dangerous than waking up in the morning.

  31. Dear Anonymous,
    You seem to be living in a Lala Land, and writing a bit of whimsy! I hope it makes you feel better about the voter unfunded sidewalk. It is too bad however that waking up in the morning feels like a dangerous thing for you to do. (What a bunch of revisionist B.S.!)

  32. It's Been a Long, Long Time...Monday, November 01, 2010

    I wonder if the selectmen still have meetings. It's been a long, long time since I've been able to see one on TV, and the latest minutes seem to be from Oct.4th...
    Where's that poster who is forever telling us to keep informed? Does he or she, who appears to somehow keep "informed," have some information to share?


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