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, July 28, 2011
What is Back Of The Pack Productions?
Monday, July 25, 2011
The program was developed by Cassidian Communications and is used to alert, and communicate people that live in a particular area via the telephone. It can be tweaked to call only those in a particular area, and it can even reconnect a 911 call that has been disconnected. Those that have cut the cord with Verizon, can have their cell phone number associated with your street address in most communities in order to receive the warnings.
"The system can be used to notify residents in areas both large and small. During the 2010 Boston water emergency, government agencies used the system to notify a large number of Boston-area residents in particular neighborhoods to boil water before drinking. During the much more contained 2004 bulldozer rampage in Granby, Colorado, authorities used Reverse 911 to notify the approximately 1,500 residents of the town to evacuate from the bulldozer's path. During the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, Seaside and Astoria, Oregon, residents were notified by Reverse 911 and sirens to evacuate low-lying areas."---Source Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reverse_911
As with most services, and devices, there is a tendency in the beginning to over use it. Makes sense, since that is what it is for, to be used, but let's not use such an amazing system in such a way as to turn the authorities into the Chicken Little that cried wolf.
A week, or so ago, I received a reverse 911 call from the Sturbridge Police Department alerting me to a "severe thunder storm" heading our way from the west later in the day. I also received two emails from a selectman alerting me to the same storm. The storm fizzled, and what had been predicted the day before never materialized.
The intent was genuine, and sincere, but with a severe storm falling on the heels of the June 1st tornado, folks in charge were a little bit on edge, thus the early alert.
Most of us in the area have a television in our home, or a radio in our car. Very few of us are without any connection to the outside world, and although we may not be viewing, or listening at all times, we are in the audience enough to know what is happening in the world. The June 1st tornado is testament to that. The warnings given by the media were timely, and heard by those in the path. They heeded the warnings, and although nothing could have prevented the damage, the warnings prevented more injuries, and deaths from occurring. Reverse 911 calls are something that technology has given us, and will save property, and lives. It cannot be used just for the sake of saying it was used, otherwise when a storm fizzles, and a Reverse 911 call sent out many hours in advance warning of devastating consequences, does little for the credibility of the system, and those that run it, when the storm does not materialize.
I knew the storm was not going to be as it was hyped in the media the night before, the following morning. I have a TV, and I looked at the weather map. Although, storms can evolve spontaneously, or worsen at a moment notice, and do, the meteorologist on TV were saying by midday that the storm would not be as bad as predicted in some areas.
Lesson learned: Save the Reverse 911 calls for when a situation is imminent, not six hours before, that is not imminent. Remember, it's about warning of imminent danger, or a situation that requires your immediate attention, not something to schedule later in the day. It may look cool to say, "We sent out a Reverse 911 call to warn folks...", but wait until you are sure, and then warn with enough lead time to be effective.
Reverse 911 calls are needed, but we can not afford to have them delivered each time someone feels it just might be a good idea. Set up a policy, and a procedure, or refine the ones in place, to outline just how, and when an alert should be delivered. We know that when a warning system goes off too often it can lead to complacency when nothing, or little happens. Just look at what some folks do with their smoke detector when the brisket smolders.
My iPhone sends me weather alerts from Boston TV stations, as well as from the Weather Channel. I have a radio in my car, and we own a TV. I even get emails from the selectmen to alert me of the weather. Although I feel I am covered, I could always use a heads up if something evolves, and slips through the cracks. Let's just be careful of how we use it, and when.
Sunday, July 24, 2011
|The dining room inside Ovide's on Route 15 in Sturbridge|
|Ovide's from above. The sandy area at the top of the|
photo is where the Pilot Gas station is now.
|Looking down on Ovide's from where the eastbound lane|
of I-84 is now. .
Saturday, July 23, 2011
Well, first of all, thank you for the compliment about this blog. I like it, too. As far as wine reviews go, well, That's not what I do. I am not wine savvy. I 'd like to know more, and I am learning. I did stop by the new Wine Buyers Outlet on Main Street here in town a couple of weeks ago, and left knowing more than I did going in.
I do try wines when recommended by friends, and when I like them, I will recommend them to others. Since you offered a compliment about this blog, I will reciprocate and recommend a wine we tried a few weeks ago.
Recently, our brother-in-law, Paul, a man with exquisite taste, recommended a white wine that he enjoyed a great deal. The wine is named, "Conundrum". The reason for that puzzling name is that the wine is a proprietary blend of wines that one would never expect to work together, and the exact ingredients are not shared by the vineyard. A real conundrum. The wine is excellent. If you would like to learn more about this excellent wine, check them out at conundrumwine.com.
So, as far as wine reviews go, well, that's it. Now, it's your turn to share one with me, and next time I'll share with you all I know about Boones Farm Strawberry Hill wine.
Betcha can't wait.
Comment left on blog:
Friday, July 22, 2011
Quick words from the lips fired by emotion, and not tempered by thought. This scenario has changed lives throughout history as we have seen recently. We should all adopt a 5 second delay when we speak. There are so many times I have spoken, and then gasped hard as if to suck my words back into my throat.
It doesn't work.
The same goes for writing an email during an emotional moment. One word of advice from one that knows all too well: don't. If you must write in order to release the demons, then do so without an address in the "To:" box, and when you are done, save it as a draft. Do not send it.
After twenty-four hours or so, look at the draft. Reread it. If you still feel the same way you did when you first wrote it delete it, and the same goes if you feel better than you did the day before. After you delete it, pick up your phone, and call the person to speak to them live. You may just come up with a solution when there is an active, live exchange.
I guess the bottom line is to think out what you intend to say, or write, in advance, pause before you speak, or save your thoughts as a draft, and respond appropriately to those that are present. If there are those that disagree with you, and tell you to go soak your head, and it happens to be on a day like this when it is 100℉ plus, then thank them for caring, and move on.
You tried, and that's all you can do.
Thursday, July 21, 2011
I almost pulled a "U-ee" in front of the dance studio.
The sign announces that a development called "Quinebaug Landing" is to be built on the land at the intersection of Route 20, and Holland Road. The current site of abandoned old mill buildings, overgrowth, and no inspiration. I would like to think the owner of the land read one of my previous postings suggesting just this kind of development, but I understand that others can have awesome ideas as well. Either way, it is a great way to rescue that corner, and I wish the developer the very best of luck.
This morning I wrote to the owner to acknowledge his wonderful idea for developing the area. I also told him the sign needs some tweaking since it can hardly be seen to drivers heading east bound, and it comes up way too fast on the west bound side. Ideally it should be directly at the intersection with two signs in order for those at the light coming from the south and north can view it as well. When an opportunity like this comes to a financially stressed area, we have to do everything we can to help it succeed. The jobs that would come from construction, shops, restaurants, and offices are so needed.
It will be nice to drive up onto that intersection and see anything other than the wasteland it has become, and to see a facility that will actually take advantage of the rivers beauty.
Now, all we have to do is wait. Wait for interested businesses to tell the developer that they are on board. Seeing how well other business developments have filled in around town, even in a time of "economic downturn", I have a great deal of confidence.
If I had the money, I would be one of the first in line, and put a cafe, and art gallery right on the river. For those of you with more of an ability to invest, take that dream as inspiration, and go for it. I don't think a better investment could be made in today's economic climate.
One more thing, it is all about location, and this site has it all.
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
|Photo courtesy Old Sturbridge Village.|
Billerica Colonial Minute Men
Danvers Alarm List Company
Eighth Regiment (Kings)
Eighty Fifth Regiment de Saintonge
First Foot Guards
Fourth Regiment of Foot
Lexington Training Band
Royal Irish Artillery
Second Massachusetts Regiment
Second New Hampshire Regiment (Cherry’s Company)
Second Rhode Island Regiment
Sixteenth Queens Light Dragoons
Sixty Fourth Regiment of Foot
Tenth Massachusetts Regiment
Tenth Regiment of Foot
Twenty Fifth Continental
Twenty Third Regiment: Royal Welch Fusiliers
Yarmouth Minute Men
Fifth Connecticut Regiment
Great Quinnehtukqut Company of Artificers and Traders
Lebanon Towne Militia
Ninth Regiment of Foot
Prichard’s Company: King Rangers 2nd Co.
Sixth Connecticut Regiment
First New Hampshire Regiment
Regiment von Riedesel
Twenty Ninth Regiment of Foot
Alden’s Sixth Massachusetts Regiment
Second Regiment, Albany County Militia
Third Ulster County Militia
Twenty Fourth Regiment of Foot
Eleventh Pennsylvania Regiment
Twenty Fourth Connecticut Regiment
Fortieth Regiment of Foot
Smith Castle Museum
United Train of Artillery
Saturday, July 16, 2011
Sounds a bit silly really, but it is one of the soundest pieces of unasked for advice you will receive. If a person with bad intent has a small snippet of information about you, they can, and do everyday, use that snippet to bilk you, and others, out of hundreds, and thousands of dollars. You can prevent it from happening by spending between $70.00 and up for shredder that will shred well, and shred for awhile. Once you have the shredder home put it where it can be accessed easily, and begin the habit of shredding every piece of paper that comes into your home that does not immediately go into a file cabinet to be saved, or put aside for when you pay the bills. Everything with your name on it, and/or your address on it. Everything you do not wish to keep, shred.
Obviously, don't shred your bills, as much as you would like to, or insurance policies, and other important papers you will need in the future, but everything else...into the shredder once it has served its purpose.
Consider this preventive medicine. A stray breeze could pluck a bank statement of yours from the trash, and place it right into the hands of a person who knows just how to access your funds with that small snippet of information. Don't give them the chance.
Tomorrows Saturday, a good day to cruise the aisles at Staples. You will never regret it.
Oh, and I don't get a kickback from Staples, but it would be nice.
Friday, July 15, 2011
For 60 years, according to some, the Tantasqua School Committee and the Sturbridge Board of Selectmen have chosen, and appointed a replacement to the School Committee when one was needed. They did this together. 60 years of using a system that worked well for both parties, until it was recently discovered that there there is a law that does not allow this to happen.
So, here are the questions of the day, do the past actions, over 60 years, establish enough of a precedent to supersede the newly discovered law? If an agreement was made between the School Committee , and the Board of Selectmen back then, what were the circumstances around that decision? Is this newly "discovered" law the sole reason behind the Board of Selectmen wanting to stop the current practice, or is there an agenda we don't see? And, speaking of agendas, if this law only recently came to light, who brought it to the attention of the Selectmen? How was it discovered? Why now? Was it always known, and just ignored? What is wrong with the original law, and having the BOS choose the replacement? Has the town been breaking the law for 60 years?
Ok, enough questions for this morning. Pour another coffee, and discuss.