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

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

It Has Turned Into Quite The Tea Party

"I can't understand why they (the front doors of the town hall) are closed and why town counsel can't tell us why and what needs to be done, " Selectman Mary Dowling is quoted as saying in the last Thursdays issue of the Town Common.

Board of Selectman Chairman, Tom Creamer said, "I am frustrated by this whole thing.  No one has directed the town not to open the doors."

(deep breath)

The chairman also stated that there was a safety issue by directing the pedestrian traffic along the street to the rear of the building, and that by not opening the doors, the town was promoting that unsafe practice.

The chairman also stated that only the architect had told them that the doors could not be opened legally.  The architect has not provided any documentation to back up that claim, either.

It has been more than six months, and nothing has been done.

(really deep breath, and again...)


When I first read the original report in the "Sturbridge Selectmen Notebook" in the Town Common I almost went completely "Charlie Sheen".

Is it true that front doors of the new multimillion dollar restored / refurbished / rebuilt town hall are not being opened not because of some mandate from some American with Disabilities Board of Governors, or some cease and desist order from the state, or because some one lost the key, but it is because the architect said in passing, "Oh, I wouldn't use the front doors.  They don't meet the ADA code".


The town has not met the requirements since the American with Disabilities Act became law with the sidewalks along Route 20 in Fiskdale, yet we still allow pedestrians to use the sidewalks.  In fact, we insist that our residents clear the snow from those non-ADA compliant sidewalks  (now there's an argument for residents to refuse to clear the snow).

Excuse me...


Alright.  So what's next?

"I have very little faith in the architect," selectman Scott Garieri stated.

Really?  Great.  Glad we hired them.

The Town Administrator, Shaun Suhoski, was asked by the Chairman of the BOS if the town had anything in writing telling the town not to open the doors.

"No.", said Suhoski.

Really?  Really?

"Open the doors, " said Garieri.

"I don't want to open them until we can be sure,"  said selectman Mary Dowling.

Be sure of what?  If you wait to see if they are compliant, which they are, you will wait until the next building restoration.  If you want to hasten things along, open the doors, and use them.  The enforcement side of things always acts faster than the just asking a question, and getting an answer back.  If you done wrong, they will find you. Don't worry.

Suhoski then stated that they did not ask the town counsel if the doors were in violation, but only asked him about how to get a variance.  This is like calling AAA for a jump start without attempting to start the car.


It was at this point, during my reading of the original article in the Town Common, that my socks actually exploded from my feet and shot across the room.

When my daughter was little, she began a phase each night at bedtime asking me to open her closet door, and to check for monsters.  After the all clear was given, she asked me to make sure the doors were shut tightly, and only then would she feel comfortable in saying goodnight.  What the Town is doing is the very same thing.  They are keeping the doors closed, and locked, in order to keep the perceived monsters away.  The whole dialogue amongst the selectmen, and actions being maintained by the town is like the Mad Hatters tea party.

This how you fix the problem:  Open the doors.  Leave them open.  Lock them at night, and in the morning, open them again.  Allow people to walk through the doors, both ways.



  1. There's another phrase to be used here other than non compliant. NON FUNCTIONAL!

  2. Wally, you're using much too much common sense, don't make it easy when we can make it complicated!

  3. this is ridiculousThursday, March 10, 2011

    when i first read this i didn't believe it. i then read it in the newspaper and it is true, but it is like it is a fairy tale. how can the doors be closed and locked for o long with no official telling us we are in violation of the ADA? How can the selectmen not look more into this sooner? it has been since last summer!!! I will expect the selectmen to have some answers at the next meeting. they need to clear things up, or they will look like dummys. d

  4. The reason the towns counsel did not get back to the BOS about a variance for the violation was because there is no violation, and therefore, no variance to be had. The counsel could have gotten back to the BOS sooner. Next question for the chairman, and the members of the board is are you going to open the door now?


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