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, May 31, 2011

Missing Memorial


If found, please return to the Sturbridge Town Hall.

Submitted by Anonymous May 31, 2011

Time To Change The Culture

There is a culture, here in Sturbridge, that encourages actions by officials to be performed for what they feel is the common good, and with little, or no input, from the citizens.  This culture also insured that little would come of their actions since, they were for the common good, after all, and who would question well intended actions for the benefit of all?

Good question, and if this was 1993, it would never be asked.  We assumed everything was being done for our benefit.  If something was questioned because it looked like it was an action that could have more thought behind it, it would take a while to find out who to ask about it, a longer time to look through all the minutes of the meetings to find an answer, even longer to find out who was ultimately responsible, and in the end, a lot longer time taken in fixing the problem.  If the issue was one that would generate the interest of the press, then things would move faster, and more answers obtained, but a missing Veterans Memorial, and who made the decision to not return it to its original site does not warrant investigative journalism, although it should.  

In 2011, things are radically different.  We may be presented with a concern, or question,  at 8:00 in the morning, and that question could be passed on to many others by 8:15 in hopes of finding an answer.  In the meantime, the old fashioned "word on the street" grows exponentially at coffee counters, and in lines at the supermarket.  iPhones, Androids, and Blackberries beep with text messages, and emails, and by 10:45 many, many others have heard of the issue, and also want an answer.  They each will email, or call their selectman, or some other official in hopes of finding out what is going on.  The selectmen will feel the need to respond with answers a lot quicker than in 1993, and they to will email, call, or talk in person to colleagues, and others,  by early afternoon.

Then something begins to happen.  Something unlike anything that has ever happened before: wheels begin to turn long before the issue is but a distant memory.  Often in the same day!  Unheard of in 1993.

Welcome to the digital age, and one of the side effects brought on by it:  Rapid Accountability.  No longer can an issue be swept under the rug, or put aside until the next year.  Once an issue is out in the public view it will stay there until resolved, or answered for in part thanks to the internet, emails, and places like this that harp on an issue until an answer is found, a resolution proposed, and every last dead horse is beaten beyond recognition, over and over again.

It started last week with a query about why the Veterans Memorial would not be put back to where it had stood for years in front of the town hall, and the realization that there was never an intention to return it to the site outside the town hall, but rather to hang the bronze plaques on a second floor wall where people can view them during visiting hours.

People don't just stop at a Memorial to read the names, they also stop and appreciate what a community has erected in honor of its men and women that served to protect our freedoms.  What has been constructed, and how the memorial is presented says so much about those that did serve, and those that are honoring them.

The same can be said when the Memorials are dismantled, and put away.  It says so much about those that at one time honored them.

Now, the issue is out in the daylight.  The selectmen are all aware, and looking for answers.  Some may be found, but most won't be.  There will denials, allegations, and accusations leveled, but in the end what will happen is a committee will be formed to study how the Veterans Memorial can be rebuilt on the original site, or across the street with the Memorials honoring our war dead, or maybe on the town common.  Then money will be appropriated to hire a firm to design the monument, and to rebuild it.  Hopefully, veterans could once again give their time and expertise to do both of these chores.    Veterans from the Revolutionary War built the stone wall around the Old Cemetery on Main Street where many of their comrades were laid to rest.

Veterans will always take care of their own, even when a town has shifted its focus, but I hope the two parties will work hand in hand on this project.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Muster Day celebrates citizen soldiers at Old Sturbridge Village – June 11

Discounts for active military and their families
Demonstrations by 1812 Marines and Oxford Light Infantry

STURBRIDGE, MA (May 24, 2011) – Old Sturbridge Village will celebrate the contributions of “citizen soldiers” during Muster Day on Saturday, June 11 by rec-creating the semi-annual training of 19th-century militias. The day will feature marching and drilling demonstrations, military music, and special appearances by the 1812 Marine Detachment from the U.S.S. Constitution, the Oxford Light Infantry, and the Sturbridge Militia. Active military personnel get 50 percent off their admission and members of their party receive a 25-perecent discount. For more information, call 1-800-SEE-1830 or visit

In the early 19th century, groups like the 1812 Marine Detachment, based on at the U.S.S. Constitution, often traveled from Boston to locations throughout Massachusetts looking for recruits. The Oxford Light Infantry is typical of an early volunteer militia company that drilled together regularly and had matching uniforms.  They stood in stark contrast to less organized citizen soldiers, or “enrolled companies,” as portrayed by the Sturbridge Militia, which were made up of all men in a community between 18 and 45 years old.  These citizen soldiers met only once or twice a year and were considered to be far better citizens than soldiers.

All three military groups will lead drilling and musket-firing demonstrations. They will hold “sham fights” or mock battles, and target practice. Fife and drum players will play martial music and discuss the importance of music to military operations.

In addition to military training, Muster Day, was also a day for the community to gather and relax. As the years progressed, the social aspects of the day became more prominent than the military ones. In the spirit of community celebration, visitors can “buy” gingerbread on the Common using a period-coin replica and visit the “Striped Pig Tent.”

In the 1830s the "Fifteen Gallon Law" was enacted in Massachusetts, making it illegal to sell alcohol by the drink. To circumvent the law, an entrepreneur in Dedham, MA erected a tent, painted stripes on a common pig and charged 6 1/4 cents to see the "Wonderful Striped Pig." Customers were then given a free glass of rum, by-passing the law. OSV will re-create the event on the Common, substituting lemonade for the rum.
Old Sturbridge Village celebrates life in early New England from 1790 – 1840. Located just off the Massachusetts Turnpike and Routes I-84 and 20 in Sturbridge, Mass., OSV is open year-round, but hours vary seasonally. Currently, the Village is open seven days a week from 9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Admission is: $20 for adults; $18 for seniors; $7 for children ages 3-17; children under 3 are admitted free. Each admission includes free parking and a free second-day visit within 10 days. Woo Card subscribers get 25% of adult daytime admission; college Woo cardholders receive 50% off adult daytime admission. For details, visit or call 800-SEE-1830.
Submitted by OSV

Sunday, May 29, 2011

OSV hosts first annual Antique Car Rally – June 4

New Event features grand procession of 50 pre-1946 autos
(STURBRIDGE, MA) – May 18, 2011: More than 50 antique cars from 1901-1946 will be on display and take part in a grand procession as part of Old Sturbridge Village’s first annual Antique Car Rally set for 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Saturday, June 4 in honor of the 65th anniversary of the museum’s opening. When Old Sturbridge Village first opened in 1946, motorists were allowed to drive in and tour the Village by car.  Among the vintage cars participating are rare early “steamers” from 1901-1922, many early Ford Model As, including a Roadster, Tudor, Sedan, Coupe, and Convertible, a 1927 Chrysler, and a 1939 Ford Deluxe “Woody” Station Wagon. For more information, call 1-800-SEE-1830 or visit
Visitors can view the antique autos and meet their owners throughout the day while the cars are on display on the Old Sturbridge Village Common. The day’s highlight is a grand procession through the Center Village at 3:30 p.m. 
The oldest car on display will be a 1901 Lane Model 0 Runabout, owned by Arthur Eldredge, Jr. of Peterborough, NH.  The antique auto was acquired by his father in 1951 and restored over the course of 24 years. It is one of only two cars made by the Lane Motor Vehicle Company known to exist – and is the only one that still runs. The other known Lane auto is a 1910 touring model that was formerly owned by the Ford Museum. Lane-manufactured cars were produced in Poughkeepsie, NY from 1900 until 1911 and were tiller-steered until 1904. The high point in their production came in 1909 when nearly 150 cars were produced. The Lane vehicles were steam-powered or “steamers.” A gasoline-powered burner converted water in the 17-gallon tank to steam and propelled the car for 20-25 miles.
Other antique automobiles that will be on display at OSV include a 1912 Ford Model T Torpedo Roadster, a 1922 Stanley “Steamer”, several Ford Model A’s, and a 1938 Dodge Brothers 4-Door Touring Sedan. For a full list of cars, check the event listing at
The Antique Car Rally falls just four days before OSV’s 65th anniversary. Old Sturbridge Village opened to the public on June 8, 1946 and welcomed 81 visitors, who toured the Village in their cars and paid $1 admission each. A total of 5,170 visitors came in 1946. Just eleven years later, the one millionth visitor was welcomed to OSV.  Last year, more than 270,000 people visited.
Old Sturbridge Village grew from the personal collection of pre-Industrial New England artifacts collected by Albert B. (A.B.) Wells, whose father founded the American Optical Company in Southbridge, Mass. A.B. Wells and his brothers, Channing and J. Cheney, later realized that their collections should be made available to the public and began plans for a living history museum.
Old Sturbridge Village celebrates life in early New England from 1790 – 1840. Located just off the Massachusetts Turnpike and Routes I-84 and 20 in Sturbridge, Mass., OSV is open year-round, but hours vary seasonally. Currently, the Village is open seven days a week from 9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Admission is: $20 for adults; $18 for seniors; $7 for children ages 3-17; children under 3 are admitted free. Each admission includes free parking and a free second-day visit within 10 days. Woo Card subscribers get 25% of adult daytime admission; college Woo cardholders receive 50% off adult daytime admission. For details, visit or call 800-SEE-1830.

Of All The Weekends For This to Come to Light

The Veterans Memorial that once stood in front of the
Sturbridge Town Hall.
A few days ago I received an email from a reader.  She wrote about the  Veterans Memorial that once stood outside of the Town Hall, and was removed during reconstruction of the Hall.  She assumed the Memorial would be returned to its original place, outside of the building, but she had learned that the monument was no more.

No more monument to the veterans of Sturbridge outside of the Town Hall.  The stone work was discarded, the plaques removed and attached to the walls on the second floor of the Town Hall.  The front lawn of the Town Hall was cleared of everything except the flag pole.

There is nothing left, and the reader wanted to know why, and what could be done to return the memorial.  This was was the first I had heard of the monument not returning to its original site, and I passed along the readers email to our Veterans Agent, Tom Chamberland in hopes of getting an answer.  Tom was quick with a reply, but was in the dark as much as the reader and I were.

In the meantime, there seemed to be a local ground swell of anger, and disappointment that the monument was gone for good, and a petition was circulating in town wanting the Veterans Memorial restored.  The petition will be circulated along the parade route on Memorial Day for people to sign to support the restoration of the Veterans Memorial.

Ironic is not a strong enough word to describe that last sentence.

We have all seen plaques that were once dedicated with pride relegated to some back wall when construction forced their being moved.  Bronze honoring those that served in the Spanish American War hanging in a dark third floor hallway, or a plaque honoring those that served in Indochina being sentenced to the wall of the break room.  It happens as a temporary fix, but is seldom if ever really fixed.

Whose idea was to not restore the monument?  Who decided that hanging the plaques on the second floor was memorial enough for those whose names are on those plaques?  Above all, when did it become the culture of the Town of Sturbridge to make decisions,and perform actions without the input of the citizenry?

Sidewalks, slate roofs, single pane windows, snow removal along our sidewalks all decided on, and on and on all decided upon at meetings, not by votes of the residents.  Now, the destruction of the Town of Sturbridge's Veterans Memorial, the hanging of the once proud plates of bronze on the wall in a second floor assembly room, and no one seems to know how, or why it happened.

I want to refer you to Selectman Tom Creamers blog for additional information Tom has posted about this matter.  Please take a moment to read it.

What is happening here?  Something as sacred as the monuments to those that served our country in time of conflict being torn down without a plan to rebuild them?

It is not only a shame, but it is a disgrace if the Memorial is not restored.

Now, with all of the above in mind, I want to ask you to view the video below.  It is about the War Memorials that were recently constructed in the Town of Auburn along Route 12 in 2010.  The difference between one towns honoring of its veterans, and the way those in the brick building at the corner of Main and Maple have chosen to, is a galaxy apart.  I sincerely hope there are those among us with the gumption, and resolve to once again do our veterans proud.

I also hope that in  the coming days some answers will be obtained, and offered to the town, if not, then it is far past the time to reclaim our town from those that have such little respect for its citizenry, not to mention its veterans.

At the end of Tom Creamers post on his blog he wrote,

"I am unclear as to what resolution can be achieved at this point, though certainly the status quo appears unsatisfactory in that the decision seems to have been made by a few, as opposed to the many. To that end, I, as an individual member of the Board, am open to any and all viable solutions."

Tom,  this was the "other issue" I alluded to in my previous post.

Please take a minute check out the video below, and when it has finished think about what you have just read.

Worth A Bit Of Worry

One hundred and fourteen acres in Charlton are being ,marketed as a site for a casino.  I've been to Foxwoods, and to Mohegan Sun, and they are both somewhat bigger than 114 acres.  Their parking lots are bigger than 114 acres.  Does this mean that a casino wouldn't be built on a parcel of land as small as 114 acres?  No.  It does mean that  the owners will aggressively market it even more, and with the lands proximity to I-84, and the Mass Pike what it doesn't have in acreage it sure has in infrastructure.

I'd worry a bit about this one.

Charlton pitches for casino

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


CHARLTON - The owner of 114 acres being marketed for a casino resort next to the Charlton eastbound service plaza on the Massachusetts Turnpike said he has an option to buy an additional 90 acres, which would make his parcel attractive for multiple hotels.

Vincent P. Iuliano also said that his property meets criteria advocated this month by the administration of Gov. Deval L. Patrick to locate casinos near other entertainment centers.

"I have had two inquiries for hotels, so this would be ancillary to the casino," said Iuliano, the owner of Jencent, LLC, which has been marketing its land adjacent to the turnpike to casino developers.

Iuliano said his property, bordered by the turnpike, the service plaza and a four-lane stretch of Route 20, has attracted interest from two casino resort developers: Penn National Gaming and the Seminole Indian Tribe of Florida, which owns the Hard Rock entertainment brand.

"We have water and sewer and the right zoning already. It is shovel ready," Iuliano said.

"Our location offers the operator the lowest cost access to the highways. We are the most central to all of the arteries. We do not need to move mountains or build a (highway) fly-over," Iuliano said.

Iuliano announced his potential for nearly doubling the size of his property in a letter distributed to state legislators and the press.

Legislation to legalize casino gambling was approved by both houses of the Legislature last summer but died when Patrick refused to sign it because of his objections to provisions pushed by House Speaker Robert DeLeo to allow slot machines at race tracks.

Patrick and DeLeo have had recent talks aimed at coming to agreement on terms for casino legislation this year, and the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies held a hearing on casino legislation May 4.

Iuliano said his property's proximity to the intersection of the turnpike and Interstate 84 and to entertainment sites like the Brimfield Antiques Shows and Old Sturbridge Village make it "the most advantageous casino site in the state."

Another advantage of the Charlton site is its having a population of 7.4 million people living within a 55-mile radius, Iuliano said.

There are also proposals pending for building a resort casino in Holyoke and in Palmer.

The Charlton site was being marketed as a casino site in 2010 by Springfield lawyer Paul P. Nicolai, but Iuliano said Nicolai no longer has an option to purchase the original 114 acres of Jencent property.

Iuliano said his property has 0.8 miles of frontage along the Massachusetts Turnpike, just east of the service plaza. The 114 acres is divided by Route 20, with 46 acres to the north of Route 20 and 68 acres south of it.

It is four miles east of Exit 9 in Sturbridge, the location where Interstate 84 traffic from New York and Connecticut reach the turnpike.

This property at 130 Sturbridge Road was the location of American Reclamation Co., a hazardous waste recycling business that Iuliano operated for 35 years.

Iuliano said his property was used as a facility for crushing concrete, asphalt and brick and for processing oily soils and is ready for construction of a casino and hotel.

"It is shovel ready, zoning compliant and has successfully passed a 21E (environmental test) and has drinking water quality tested monitoring wells," Iuliano said.

Iuliano said the additional 90 acres he now has an option to buy is contiguous to the 68 acres he owns south of Route 20.

In July 2010, when the Legislature was considering whether to establish geographic zones for licensing casinos in Massachusetts, the Charlton Board of Selectmen went on record urging legislators not to establish zones because that system could mean that Central Massachusetts communities would have to compete with Boston.

©2011 The Republican

© 2011 All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Finally, An Open Door Policy At The Town Hall

Sometimes all the writing, whining, and annoying other people pays off. 

Sometimes people will act in order to turn down the volume, it's akin to swatting a pesky fly.  The action is usually done by someone that has had it, and just wants to handle the issue since no one else seems to give two hoots, or know how to.

Well, it took awhile, but Selectman Tom Creamer finally got some answers, and a solution.  Why was Tom successful, and others seemed to founder about?  The answer is simple:  he actually picked up the phone and called someone that had a clue.

No one else did.  No one else had a clue as to how to fix the problem. 

Tom didn't either, but he found someone that did. 

This is a good thing.  I have another other issue I'd like looked into, and I'll share it in my next post. 

I know Tom will jump all over this next one, too.

From the Worcester Telegram:

Public access granted for Town Hall doors


STURBRIDGE — The Town Hall’s front doors, which haven’t been open to the public since the newly renovated building was opened for business in the fall, are now open to all.

The state’s Architectural Access Board voted Monday night in favor of granting Sturbridge’s request to allow the public to use the doors, despite their lack of access for people with disabilities.

Thomas P. Hopkins, executive director of the access board, said the request was granted on the condition that the town submit a formal variance request in June for Town Hall and the Center Office Building across the street.

On May 16, Mr. Hopkins came to speak to selectmen on his own initiative, he said, because he was concerned about the misinformation the town had been spreading about the state board’s requirements. He said no one from Sturbridge ever reached out to the board with inquiries or to seek guidance specific to a handicap-access variance request. Nevertheless, the town had kept the doors shut for months on the belief their being open would be in violation of state requirements for access.

Yesterday, Mr. Hopkins said if the matter had been brought to the access board at the time the project was proposed, it would have been resolved a long time ago.

“Historical buildings, as well as buildings that are undergoing this kind of significant renovations have applied for and received variance relief,” Mr. Hopkins said yesterday from his Boston office. “The board grants variances for essentially two reasons — technological infeasibility or the cost to comply is excessive without substantial benefits for persons with disabilities.”

On behalf of the selectmen, Thomas R. Creamer, the board’s chairman, yesterday thanked the access board and, in particular, Mr. Hopkins, for working to resolve the matter.

“The progress achieved over the last two weeks rests solely with the AAB and Mr. Hopkins, whose willingness to proactively initiate outreach to the town speaks to their professionalism and commitment to problem-solving,” Mr. Creamer said. “They accomplished more in two weeks than we have been able to as a community to accomplish in nearly three years.”

Monday, May 23, 2011

Heritage Trail Construction To Start!

Heritage Trail Extension Construction to Start, 
One of several National Trail Day® events in Area.
Southbridge: Saturday June 4th will see the start of construction of the last incomplete section of The Heritage Trail, a portion the regional Titanic Rail trail.  This section will take the Heritage Trail from its current terminus which is point approx 2000 feet up from West Street School to Marjorie Lane, an additional distance of 1100 feet.  When completed this trail will allow for trail users to traverse from West St School thru Westville Park and up to the Ed Calcutt Bridge a distance of 3.5 miles.  
Funding for this $36,000.00 construction project is a partnership between the Recreation Trails Grant program of the Mass Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), The U S Army Corps of Engineers, Westville Lake, The Clair Birtz Trust and the Town of Southbridge. Donations are also being received from Pioppi Construction, Bertin Engineering and East Acres Farm.  
Design, engineering and permitting work has started and on Saturday, June 4th the initial phase of tree and brush removal will begin. It is projected the construction to take approx 4 months, with final loam and seeding and clean up to take place in late September.  The completed trail will be 10’ wide with a firm hard pack fine gravel surface which is ADA compliant, and have grades of no greater than 8%.  Drainage, 2’ wide grass shoulders and an informational kiosk located at Marjorie Lane will complete this work.
Saturday June 4th is the American Hiking Society’s National Trails Day® (NTD) and this Southbridge trail project is one of several National Trails Day® events in the area. The Communities of Sturbridge and Brimfield as well as the Corps of Engineers will be holding morning work projects with Sturbridge and the Corps also conducting family friendly trail hike events in the afternoon. All work projects will go until 12 noon. Projects will take place rain or shine. Afternoon trail hikes will be cancelled in case of rain.
Southbridge volunteers are asked to meet at the Ranger Office of Westville Lake on 200 Marjorie Lane at 8:30 am.  Please wear sturdy shoes, long sleeve shirt, long pants and heavy duty work gloves and bring along a water bottle. 
In Brimfield volunteers are asked to meet at the newly constructed Grand Trunk Trail Main Street Trail head parking lot located at 120 Main Street. Work will consist of grading loam, raking and seeding the trail edges of this newly installed parking lot and trail section. Rakes and wheelbarrows are requested along with water bottles and work gloves.  Registration starts at 8:30 am.
In Sturbridge volunteers are asked to meet at 10 Shattuck Rd, the “back gate” of the OSV access Rd at 8 am for registration, work here will involve spreading fine gravel to complete the trail surface of the universally accessible Arbutus Park trail.  At 2 pm Sturbridge Tree Warden Tom Chamberland will conduct a hike along the Old Growth Trail, a short trail off of the Arbutus Park trail in the Leadmine Mt area talking about “Reading the Forested Landscape” a book by Tom Wessels.  
At Westville Lake Park join Park Rangers at 2 pm in the large picnic shelter for a family scavenger hunt and interpretive hike of the Westville Lake community trail.  Kids will be instructed on searching for “clues” of our native plants and animals and all can learn of the Corps stewardship of the Westville lake area and some of its history.
National Trails Day® is sponsored by the American Hiking Society with support from several national retailers of outdoor products.  The slogan for NTD 2011, Made With All Natural Ingredients, is an open invitation to all Americans to get outside and connect with local hiking clubs, outdoor retailers, local parks and recreation departments or federal land managing agencies to experience everything the great outdoors has to offer. National corporate sponsors include Backpacker Magazine, Columbia, Eastern Mountain Sports, Fetzer®, Merrell, The North Face, and partners, REI, and American Park Network.  For more information on NTD visit the American Hiking society web site:
For more information on local NTD events, to preregister or to make a donation contact Park Ranger Tom Chamberland at 508-347-3705 or email

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Time To Bring Back The Abandoned And Forgotten Pieces Of Our History

Do you know where this sign is in Stubridge?
When Mary and I are out and about with the top down on the Solara, we notice our history forming before our eyes.  Well, I do, Mary just tells me when to brake, and to stop rotating my head like an owl as I drive.

Have you ever seen an old, abandoned house on the side of the road all overgrown in weeds and neglected trees and shrubs.  Sometimes the house is leaning to the side, or collapsed upon itself.  I always wonder about the history of the building.  Why was it abandoned?  Who owns it now?  What happened to the family?  Abandoned property is always an issue in a community for reasons as benign as the property becoming and eyesore, to the property becoming a safety concern.

Today we have a number of houses in town that can be considered abandoned due to the economic trouble we have experienced in recent years.  Modern houses.  Their lawns mowed once or twice a year, and no buyer in sight.  They, too, will be relegated to the overgrowth in a few years, and in a few more years there will be other couples riding around wondering about the neglected house in the woods that at one time was a fine lawn.  This is history forming before our eyes.

We have a few of those properties here in town, but more on those at a properties in a later post.  We also have the bits and pieces  of the properties that are still very active, and alive, but a portion of them have been forgotten.  The abandoned sections served their purpose, and now are relegated to the Land of the Forgotten.  The sign in the above photo is one of those forgotten pieces of history here in town.  The ironic thing about the sign, is it is a sign about history.

At one time, the little bits that we sprinkled around to teach, explain, and tell about ourselves were valuable, and then, they are gone for a variety of reasons.

Go figure.

I think the sign in the photo still serves a purpose, and if you learned something new when you read it then you need to contact the owner, and have them move it so all can read it.

Do you know where it is?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Is This 2011, Or 1900?

One violation can be seen as an oversight.  Twice is ignorance.  More than that is a flagrant violation of the laws written to protect our children.  Now, when one discovers that the violations occurred not just at one store, but at five stores,  it becomes obvious that the owners could care less about our children.

Too harsh?  Just paperwork snafu's?  Scheduling foul ups?  After you read the article below, scan the summary of the Massachusetts Child Labor Laws posted under the article, and ask yourself, "Is my child affected where they work?".  If you think they might be, give Martha a call.  (617) 727-2200

Dunkin’ franchisees fined for child labor violations

Date: Tuesday, May 17, 2011, 12:09pm EDT

A pair of Dunkin' Donuts franchise owners have been cited and fined for violating state child labor laws at stores in four Massachusetts towns, according to Attorney General Martha Coakley’s office.
The two Dunkin’ franchisees are James Carafotes, 54, of Sutton, Mass. and his business partner Dinart Serpa, 52, of Beverly, Mass. The two business partners own five franchise locations in Fiskdale, Oxford, Sturbridge and Southbridge, the Attorney General's Office said.
Carafotes, Serpa and their five franchise locations have been fined a total of $7,700 for multiple violations of the state’s child labor laws, according to Coakley’s office.
During an investigation of the frachises in question, investigators discovered that they employed minors before the earliest permissible hour and after the latest permissible hour, according to Coakley’s office. The owners were also cited for employing minors without the required work permits and for failing to post all minors’ work schedules in the workplaces.

Prohibited Jobs (Hazardous Orders)

Persons under 14 may not work.  There are a few exceptions to this such as working as news carriers, on farms, and in entertainment (with a special permit).

Persons under 16 may NOT:

  • Operate, clean, or repair power-driven machinery (except office machines or machines for retail, cleanup, or kitchen work not otherwise prohibited
  • Cook (except on electric or gas grills that do not have open flames)
  • Operate fryolators, rotisseries, NEICO broilers, or pressure cookers
  • Operate clean or repair power-driven food slicers, grinders, choppers, processors, cutters, and mixers
  • Perform any baking activities
  • Operate microwave ovens (except to heat food in microwave ovens with a maximum capacity of 140 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • Clean kitchen surfaces that are hotter than 100 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Filter, transport, or dispose of cooking oil or grease hotter than 100 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Work in freezers or meat coolers
  • Work in a manufacturing facility or occupation (e.g., in a factory, as an assembler)
  • Work on or use ladders, scaffolds, or their substitutes
  • Work in garages, except dispensing gas and oil
  • Work in brick or lumber yards
  • Work in amusement places (e.g., pool or billiard room, or bowling alley)
  • Work in barber shops
  • Work in door-to-door street sales, including work as a sign waiver (except directly outside employer establishment)
  • Work in construction, transportation, communications, or public utilities (except doing clerical work away from heavy machinery off the job site)
  • Work in warehouses (except doing clerical work)
  • Load or unload trucks, railroad cars, or conveyors
  • Ride in or on a motor vehicle (except in passenger seat if wearing a seatbelt)
  • Work doing laundry in a commercial laundry or dry cleaning establishment
  • Work as a public messenger
  • Work at processing operations (e.g., in meat or fish, poultry catching, cooping, cracking nuts, bulk or mass mailing)
  • Work around boilers or in engine rooms
  • Do industrial homework
  • Work with dangerous electrical machinery or appliances
  • Work in any of the occupations or tasks prohibited for persons under age 18
  • Enage in work that is determined by the Massachusetts Attorney General to be dangerous to the health and well-being of minors

Persons under 18 may NOT:

  • Drive a vehicle, forklift, or work assist vehicle (except golf carts in certain circumstances)
  • Ride as a passenger on a forklift
  • Operate, clean, or repair power-driven meat slicers, grinders, or choppers
  • Operate, clean, or repair power-driven bakery machines (except for certain countertop models and pizza dough rollers)
  • Work 30 feet or more above ground or water
  • Handle, serve, or sell alcoholic beverages
  • Use circular, chain, or band saws; guillotine shears; wood chippers; and abrasive cutting discs
  • Use power-driven woodworking machines
  • Use, service, drive, or work from hoisting machines
  • Operate or load power-driven balers, compactors, or paper processing machines
  • Use power-driven metal-forming, punching, or shearing machines
  • Use buffing or polishing equipment
  • Manufacture brick, tile, or kindred products
  • Manufacture or store explosives
  • Work in excavation, wrecking, demolition, or shipbreaking
  • Work in forest fire fighting, forest fire prevention, timber track operations, and forestry service
  • Work in logging, sawmilling, or mining
  • Work slaughtering, packing, or processing meat and poultry
  • Work in railway operations
  • Work in roofing or on or about a roof
  • Work in foundries or around blast furnaces
  • Work manufacturing phosphorus or phosphorus matches
  • Work where they are exposed to radioactive substances
  • Work as a firefighter or engineer on a boat
  • Oil or clean hazardous machinery in motion
  • Work in any job requiring the possession or use of a firearm
Tasks not specifically permitted by the US DOL Secretary of Labor are prohibited.
This is a compilation of state and federal child labor laws. The most protective laws are presented here and apply to all employers of teens including parents who may employ their children. There are additional regulations in this area not summarized here and some exceptions for employers in agricultural industries. 
Questions about the state child labor laws should be directed to the Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General, Fair Labor Division (617-727-3465).

Questions about federal child labor laws should be directed to the U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division (617-624-6700).

Legal Work Hours for Teens in Massachusetts

Note: After 8:00 p.m., all minors must have the direct and immediate supervision of an adult supervisor who is located in the workplace and is reasonably accessible to the minor, unless the minor works at a kiosk, cart or stand in the common area of an enclosed shopping mall that has security from 8:00 p.m. until the mall is closed to the public.

14 and 15 Year Olds Work Hours

Only between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. during the school year

Not during school hours

Only between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. during the summer
(from July 1 through Labor Day)

Maximum Hours When School Is in Session

18 hours a week
3 hours a day on school days
8 hours a day Saturday, Sunday, holidays
6 days a week

Maximum Hours When School Is Not in Session

40 hours a week
8 hours a day
6 days a week

16 and 17 Year Olds Work Hours

Only between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. (on nights preceding a regularly scheduled school day) – if the establishment stops serving clients or customers at 10:00 p.m., the minor may be employed until 10:15 p.m.
Only between 6 a.m. and 11:30 p.m. (on nights not preceding a regularly scheduled school day).
Exception for restaurants and racetracks: only between 6 a.m. and 12:00 midnight (on nights not preceding a regularly scheduled school day).

Maximum Hours of Work – Whether or Not School is in Session

48 hours a week
9 hours a day
6 days a week