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
Monday, October 24, 2011
Saturday, October 22, 2011
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Charter Communication does not offer what the competition offers, and what the modern consumer has come to look for. Technology advances every day, and woe to the company that does not latch onto it, or promotes it the wrong way.
Modern consumers not only expect to be able to stream a movie, or TV show to their TV, but to a smart phone, iPad or remote computer, too. Our expectations have grown as fast as our technology. The competition has kept up, and being able to stream is very convenient especially for those times trapped at the airport, or dentist's office. Streaming has become basic.
Digital Video Recorders like the TiVo service were only introduced by Charter in the past couple of years, long after the competition introduced the service to their customers, and that is the extent of their high tech with the exception of introducing High Definition (HD).
|Current cable service in Sturbridge, MA.|
For me being good enough is not good enough. When I pay for a service I want the best service I can afford. So do you. With our current cable service we have no choice, except to go without, or with satellite, and neither choice is one I like.
Currently, Sturbridge is under contract with Charter Communications to provide our cable services, however if the service is poor, we do not have renew the contract. We can say goodbye to Charter, and open our town up to the competition. It's OK, we're consumers, and we don't have to accept what is offered, we can go for the best service for the best price.
However, have had that option many times in the past, and despite the complaints from other residents, the town has listened to the promises made by Charter, and then smiles at the dollars offered to the town for media services, and calls it a wrap.
|A happy Sturbridge family watching modern cable TV.|
It's time to get real.
Loose a poor service, and bring a modern, current cable service to Sturbridge. Charter has had many chances to improve, and they haven't.
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. Sturbridge is long overdue in regaining it's sanity.
Well, at least in this regard, we can work on the other things later.
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
The exceptionally hot and humid weather we had a couple of weeks ago, not having a hard frost, or two yet along with all that extra rain in September has confused the bejeepers out of the leaves.
All over New England the foliage has been muted with less reds because of the fungus the rain brought to the maples. As we were driving home on I-290 through Worcester on Sunday the amount of green leaves still clinging to the trees was remarkable for this time of year.
No heavy frost so the chlorophyll stays in the leaf, and the leaf stays on the tree. It looks like the first of October instead of entering its third week.
Thus far it has been a foliage fiasco.
But, wait, it's coming.
The sad faces of the TV meteorologists as they proclaimed the foliage season a bust this year, are about to change. Mother Nature has not surrendered, she never does.
The color we saw in New Hampshire this past weekend were phenomenal, despite a storm the night we arrived that blew many of the leaves from the trees, and it's coming our way.
The photos below are a preview of what is to come to Central Massachusetts, and Sturbridge, very soon.
All is not lost, leaf lovers. Enjoy.
Photos © 2011 W. Hersee
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
|North Cemetery Sturbridge, MA|
No, same people, but their heads are in a totally different places. In spring, after many weeks of cold, grey colorless days the slightest twinkle of life returning to ones world sparks the emotions. In the fall, after running about all spring and summer enjoying life, places, and family outside the confines of a closed up house we begin to slow down. It seems to happen naturally, like what we do after a long day of chasing kids, mowing lawns, painting shutters, beach trips, cookouts, and just enjoying.
At the risk of being over analogous, and repeating an overdone cliche, it is like life. I know, I know, but true.
The season changes the scenery to match the moment. Blossoms straining to burst open as we are straining to burst out past our storm doors in spring, and soft, comfortable days with bright colors slowly revealing themselves as our pace slows in fall.
Yes, It's a toss up. One season compliments the other. Spring and autumn designed to ease us into the next season, and back out again.
Leaves falling onto the steps, frost on the grass, wood smoke in the air; the senses acknowledge, and confirm the changes about us. The season itself is a cliche.
Too much thinking about it can stifle the moment. Time to enjoy, and put the thinking aside for a bit.
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
|The found chair before restoration.|
We have "shared" a number of items in this way. Things that are not worth posting on Craig's List, and furniture with some life left in them, and too good for the Recycling Center's dumpsters.
Last week the magic worked in reverse (see karma in last post). We were driving along a road in the southern part of town when I spotted a chair like the ones I had been pricing online for a few months. There it was on the side of the road with a familiar "FREE" sign beside it, and some other less impressive abandoned items.
Booya! I struck gold. The exact same chair was $269.00 to $320.00 on line, and here it was on the side of the road beckoning to me.
I wanted a wooden desk chair with wheels for the desk in the den. The chair we had there now was an antique one we picked up at a garage sale at a private school in Woodstock, Connecticut a few years ago while we were on one of our drives through the country. It is a nice wooden chair with thick arms, but no wheels. Not a good choice for in front of a desk.
I pulled a "u-ee", and swung back to the house with the chair. There was another couple there, and I was praying they weren't going for the chair, and they weren't. It coulda gotten ugly. I stopped, and popped the chair into the trunk, and tore out there like I had just robbed a convenience store. It was free, but to me I had just found $269.00 on that road side.
|The old chair where it was meant to be.|
I sanded off the old finish, applied two coats of Minwax stain followed by three coats of gloss polyurethane, and Voila!
Cha-ching! Money in our pocket!
To the family that shared their out grown chair with me, thank you.
Recycling comes in a lot of different forms, but I think I like this form best.
Save the planet. Save my wallet. Culturally, there is something very New England about this concept, and I like being a good yankee.
Monday, October 10, 2011
Saturday, October 8, 2011
Route 131 is finally completed. ☑
Burgess School occupied, and will be completed in a little over a year. ☑
The new Waste Water Treatment Plant will be online in the beginning of 2012. ☑
The completion of Well No. 4 has occurred , and the well passed testing by MassDEP last month. ☑
Took some effort, a lot of input from the residents, and the occasional "fix" along the way for each on of these major town projects.
We done good, Sturbridge. We done good, despite it all, we done good.
Now, the question we all have swimming around in the back of our heads, "What now?".
What new projects would you like to see here in town?
How about I start it off?
Traffic lights at the intersection of Arnold Road and Route 20, and the intersection of New Boston Road and Route 20 are needed, and have been for a very long time. Now, we are way beyond hearing that it is not something the town has jurisdiction over, or it is a project that only the state can perform. I've heard it before, and this time, I'm not listening to the rhetoric. Maybe it's true for the projects entirety that the state would be responsible, but it is up to the town to express a need to get the ball going, and to pursue it until it is completed.
I challenge the BOS to punt the ball to MassDOT, and put some effort behind it this time. No onside kicks this time around. Smack that puppy, and make our roads safer.
Quite frankly, I don't think it should be necessary for me to say a prayer before I turn from Route 20 eastbound onto New Boston Road.
So there, the gauntlet has been thrown down. The challenge made. Now it is time for the BOS to make its move. A simple exploratory committee with a 90 day expiration date would be an excellent start.
Now, your turn. What new project would you like the town to embark on?
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Monday, October 3, 2011
In Brimfield, Park Ranger Tom Chamberland, working with the Brimfield Trail Committee put together three crews of volunteers to each start on a section of the closed 2.8 mile section of the grand trunk trail to clear it of downed trees from the tornado in an effort to get the trail re opened. Three local tree companies, Northern Tree Service, Advantage Enterprises and DB Tree all donated brush chippers for this effort, who were assisted by the volunteers some who operated chain saws and others dragging brush. Of the 2.8 miles closed by the tornado, these crews were able to reopen about 1 mile of trail.
At East Brimfield Lake, two boat crews assisted by a land crew cleared approximately 5 miles of shoreline of East Brimfield Lake, filling a 10 yard dumpster to capacity. Keith Beecher, Park Manager of East Brimfield lake said “ we closed the 360 acre lake and 5 mile river trail immediately after the tornado as we knew we had trees and other debris deposited in the lake by the tornado making recreation on the lake hazardous. With this shore line clean up I am now more comfortable with opening up water based recreation on out lake and I want to thank all those who came out and help make this possible” Although most of the debris were pieces of foam, plastic and wood, the more notable exception was the recovery of a kitchen sink. Possible from a camper unit from one of the two Camp grounds located adjacent to the lake.
Southbridge had the fewest number of volunteers at 5, but none the less they continued to remove invasive plants and remove brushy overgrowth along the Heritage trail. Scott Benoit, crew leader for Southbridge said “I think the rainy humid weather really dampened the volunteer spirit of folks and our turnout out was lower than expected, but we still got a lot accomplished. Everyone worked hard and it shows.”
National Public Lands Day attractedmmore than 180,000 volunteers at some 2,000 sites across the country and in U.S. territories on Saturday, September 24 the largest single-day volunteer effort for public lands in the United States. To find out more about NPLD visit http://www.publiclandsday.org/ . Or to find out how you can help volunteer with any of the local public lands contact Park Ranger Tom Chamberland by calling him at 508-347-3705 or email: email@example.com