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

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

All Around Us There Are Lessons To Be Learned

Freedom of Speech
Norman Rockwell © 1943
After people vocalized their displeasure with the Registry of Motor Vehicles move to an inconvenient, and unsafe location on the Mass Pike, it is finally back home again in Southbridge on LaRochelle Way.  A much safer, and more convenient place.

Only took a year of negotiations.  RMV Registrar Rachel Kaprielian stated repeatedly that the Mass Pike site was safe.

And, her job is safety.  Cripes.

Well, the good news is that the RMV is now located in a place that has plenty of parking, and is convenient to all.  At the former Senior Center in the old Train Station, the RMV is now full service, and will also handle road tests at the site.  The road tests were previously held in Sturbridge during that Limbo period when the RMV was on the Pike.

This whole episode in Central Mass politics shows just what can be done to correct a wrong when people are loud enough, and persistent enough.  The key to their success?  The people refused to give up. They refused to accept something that was so obviously flawed.  They saw that those in the know should have known better, and refused to give in.  Those in charge repeatedly stated the original move was due to state budget woes, but their action was so severe, and so poorly thought out, that one would have a very hard time ever believing that that was really the reason.

Well, that is all old news, and the new, good news is that all those voices that  rose up together in a chorus of defiance, and demanded action, were finally heard.

Can I get an "Amen"?

A little further northwest of Southbridge in Brimfield there are some voices rising up as well.  The plan to put ten wind turbines with 250 foot towers with 250 foot blades on top of West Mountain in Brimfield has pulled the towns pigtails enough to get a major reaction from the people.  Selectmen took a trip to Maine to check out another First Wind wind farm, and some were not too impressed by the noise the turbines made, or the "flicker effect" thrown over the country side.  At a recent meeting in Brimfield attended by 250 people, the  Board of Selectmen listened to the people, and voted unanimously not to sign a Memorandum of Understanding between the town and First Wind.  The memo was  non-committal, and would have provided the town with $30,000 from First Wind for further research into the noise and other effects that were of a concern to the town.  None the less, they said "No thank you".

What's next?  No one has a clue, but the town has spoken.  The people have spoken.  Maybe First Wind will submit different plans.

So, here is todays lesson.  The united, consistent voice of the people will be heard eventually.  Don't ever forget that.  If enough people feel the same way about an issue, then it can happen.  Backing off, and lowering the volume of those voices will almost always insure that the opposite will occur.

When we hear of issues in town that cause concern, whether they be sidewalks, sewers, or intersections, if there are no united, consistent voices expressing concern, or need for change, then the other side has been handed a ticket for a free ride.

Take this lesson to heart.  It will come in handy in so many different ways in the future if you learn it well now.

Class dismissed.


  1. The wind turbines are 400 feet tall with the 250 foot blades on top of that. Located on one of the highest points in Brimfield and an historical landmark you better believe the people of Brimfield unite.

  2. OOO! OOO! OOO! OOO!
    Mr. Kotter! Mr. Kot teir! OOO! OOO! OOO!
    I saw a big trying to make a left turn out of Haynes Street, and it didn't go so well. Then I saw a man cross the street there. Whew, I'm sure glad the truck was gone by then because that man crossed onto the sidewalk in front of the town hall - the sidewalk the truck had been on a few minutes before.
    Today my friend said it looks like someone already ran over the bricks in front of the Center School.
    Mr. Kotter, those people who are responsible for that mess ain't even as smart as us Sweathogs!

  3. This could have all been prevented, rebuilt, and made safe if there was enough of a in person squak at a BOS meeting. Believe me, if we had 250 people show up like Brimfield did, and express their displeasure the selectmen would have been a little different in the direction they took. Problem is, we all like to "phone it in" and then complain that the everything sucks. Just need to get off our asses long enough to amke an appearance in person, and go on record.
    doesn't take much.

  4. Now there's a problem with the town administrator's hours? He lives an hour away, but he drives his kids to school. He stated, way back when, that he drives his kids to school. I thought that must have meant that his hours here would begin later that 9 in the morning. Correct me if I'm wrong, which I may be, but when he made the statement, I think it was before they voted to have him become our town administrator. In any case, he made the statement a long time ago, but some how has it just publicly become a problem now? Who wasn't listening? Are we over a barrel again?


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