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

Friday, April 13, 2012

Am Not! Are Too!

I don't have to look too far for things to write about.  Sometimes they fall onto my lap like the article below that I received via email from Google News.

After reading the article, by Craig Semon, I had a vision of a playground with a dozen or so  nine years olds gathered around the slide.  One kid, at the top of the slide, spins around and starts kicking those coming up the ladder, "You can't use this slide until I've had my turn!", the kid yells as they kick the air.  "Besides, you don't know how to use it the right way!  Only I do!"  Then the kid sits at the top of the slide, refusing to budge.

Every playground had one.  One kid that thought they were the best, and made it small town career of making it known to everyone else.  They also made their feelings known about how everyone else was a ineffective dork, and would sooner eat a bug than give anyone else a chance to prove otherwise.

They say we change, as we leave childhood, and become a grownup.  We mature.  We evolve into what our environment has taught us, our family has shown us, and our friends show by example.  For some, all these influences can do more to change us in a negative way depending upon what examples they experience.  For others, positive examples spawn positive results.

As with most life lessons, this one is simple as well.

Another life lesson is when one way is blocked, and an obstacle stands in the way, someone will go around the other way, climb up the front of the slide, and clear the way by kicking that obstacle in the butt.

Playground, or boardroom, one has got to play well with others.  Otherwise, all that will be on their minds will be planning , and figuring how to remove the obstacle in their way, and all that energy will be wasted.  When that happens you can be sure little will be done as a group, and the kid on that's on top of the slide will realize this, and may even strike out on their own.

It's cliche, but too true to ignore, playing well with others fosters great success for all.

Creamer, Dowling clash over leadership in Sturbridge

STURBRIDGE —  Thomas R. Creamer was voted in again as chairman of the Board of Selectmen, but not before butting heads with a fellow selectman.

Priscilla C. Gimas nominated Mr. Creamer as chairman, while Mary B. Dowling nominated Ms. Gimas and later Mary Blanchard for the position. Mr. Creamer accepted the nomination while Ms. Gimas and Ms. Blanchard both declined. But it was comments Mr. Creamer made about Ms. Gimas’ leadership skills — and by extension the lack of leadership skills of everybody else on the board — that rubbed Ms. Dowling the wrong way.

“She (Ms. Gimas) is a leader and she is willing to lead from the front and not from the rear. And I do not believe that we as the true elected executive body of leaders in our community should be leading from the rear. We should be leading from the front,” Mr. Creamer said. “I would completely support Priscilla. I can say that that would be the sole reason why I would be unable to support any other nominations.”

Questioning Mr. Creamer’s “leading from the rear” comment, Mrs. Dowling asked, “You think any other nomination would be leading from the rear?” And Mr. Creamer answered, “Based on what I have seen in the past year, yes.”

Mrs. Dowling called Mr. Creamer’s “leading from the rear” comment a “huge insult” and took Mr. Creamer to task for acting as an individual rather than a board member when dealing with National Grid after the June 1 tornado.

“Being told that anybody would lead from the rear is directly at odds with the qualities that I would look for in a chair,” Mrs. Dowling said. “I think that was an extremely inappropriate comment. And I would leave it at that.”

Mr. Creamer countered, “I would suggest to state as you have or suggest that the town administrator has not been able to develop because of the chair is equally inappropriate because the chair’s role is not to direct the town administrator or tell him how to do his job.”

Mrs. Dowling said she never said that. The reorganization discussion started with Mrs. Dowling suggesting a “different mix” mainly because she said she wanted to see how the town administrator’s leadership skills develop under various chairmen.

— Craig S. Semon 

Worcester Telegram & Gazette


  1. Sometimes it really is what it isFriday, April 13, 2012

    Wally you've missed the boat here. Fact is Selectwoman G. was highly supported by Seletman C. Selectwomen B & D have contributed nothing.

  2. What do we think?Friday, April 13, 2012

    What do you think, folks?
    Fill in the blanks:
    1- The selectman who works the hardest for the citizens of Sturbridge is
    2- The selectman who works second hardest for the citizens of Sturbridge is
    3- The most negative selectman is
    4- The most talkative selectman is
    5- The second most talkative selectman is
    6- The selectman whose reasoning is closest to my own is
    7- The selectman whose reasoning is most often a mystery to me is
    8- The most approachable selectman is
    9- Is there a selectman I’d rather not speak to if I call “Ask the Selectman, and, if so, who is that person?
    10- Which selectman do I trust most?
    11- Which selectman is better able to express his or her ideas?
    12- Which selectman would I most expect to treat all people equally?
    13- Which selectman or selectmen do I think would be the most comfortable in all Sturbridge homes? Schools? Stores? Businesses?
    14- Which selectman or selectmen would you prefer to represent our town on a television program?
    15- Which selectman do you perceive as having the best sense of humor?
    16- Which selectman do you expect could best handle a municipal emergency?
    17- Which selectman would you feel comfortable inviting to dinner?
    18- Which selectman do you feel is most fair?
    19- Which selectman do you feel has the fewest personal political agendas?
    20- The quality you appreciate most is a selectman is

  3. dowling's been out of joint since she got called out by creamer for screaming at a resident during a meeting...she's loud...tries to push her views down everyone's throat...walks in late on tv to almost every meeting...gets nasty to anyone who disagrees with every issue to death, death, death...and is a crab when votes go against her.

  4. Who plays well with others on the BOS?Saturday, April 14, 2012

    The entire Board of Selectmen has me baffled. Every one of them supported the CPA – which, when they can get their hands even more money, will allow us to buy more things we don’t need on the chance that the state will provide something meaningful in the way of a partial match for the many years to come we spend in paying back the loans we already have - a match we would have still been entitled to even if we had revoked the CPA. I wouldn’t personally buy anything on those terms.

    After the town voted and the board attempted to reorganize themselves things got a little strange. Priscilla Gimas nominated Tom Creamer to be chairman - to keep the position he had held since the last election. Tom said he would accept. Mary Dowling nominated Pricilla Gimas to be the chairperson. Ms Gimas said she would not accept the position. Mary Dowling then nominated Mary Blanchard to be chairperson. Mrs. Blanchard also did not accept. No one nominated Mary Redeske, as it was her very first night on the Board. That left only one other person who could have been nominated, that being Mrs. Dowling herself – but she had made it clear that she hadn’t even wanted her vice-chairmanship any longer. This left Tom Creamer, who had not only been nominated and accepted, but remained the only logical person left willing to do the job.

    The fact that Tom had said that, other than Ms. Gimas, he was the only person who would not “lead from the rear” was unfortunate. To the home audience it appeared that as Mary Dowling nominated someone other than Tom, sour grapes began to appear on the selectmen’s table. Unhappy utterances were exchanged. Mary Dowling more than clearly expressed that she was highly insulted. If they had calmly listened to each other and to the rest of the Board as the whole scenario was playing itself out, the unpleasantness could have been avoided.

  5. The CPA functions as an end-run around Proposition 2.5. Proposition 2.5 puts a cap on how high the tax rate can rise; but the CPA surcharge is not included for the purposes of establishing limits on the local tax levy.

    In watching the Selectmen's meeting while this whole thing with Tom and Mary went down, it was clear to me that Mary wanted anyone but Tom to be the Chair. This clashes with her previous position of ensuring the most qualified people get the job.

    Given the current slate of Selectpersons, and the lack of qualified opposition in the most recent election, Tom is the best person for the job. Also, Mary's use of Shaun being "brand new" to his job to unseat Tom was pretty lame. Shaun's not "brand new" - he's been with Sturbridge for going-on a couple years now.

    I don't always agree with Tom - we clashed hugely over the CPA issue - but I think he's in the correct chair because he can make the time commitment, he's devoted to the job, he has completed everyone of his campaign promises, and last but not least, he's qualified and experienced in the political arena, including both day-to-day issues and disaster operations in the town.

  6. Mary Dowlings a strange bird indeed. Regularly says the Town Administrator is a professional and wants his professional input then argues against it when it clashes with her views. The whole Shepard conflict proves that. She calls him the new Town Administrator when it suits her like with his evaluation and giving him high marks for everything. Same thing with the board nominations for chairperson but then 10 minutes later talks about his expertise.

    Anonymous is right that this is about her being corrected when she went off the charts with Carol and her lawyer during the Shepard land. It's too late for Mary to grow up so it's time for her to move on to something else when her terms ends. I see a year of sour grapes coming from that woman.

  7. twisted undergarmentsMonday, April 16, 2012

    I was shocked watching the meeting. Mary Dowling talks about being insulted. Does she ever listen to herself? She was insulting from the get go. Anytime someone disagrees with her she gets all twisted in the pants. You could see right through the whole "shake things up". It was about shaking things up for Mary Blanchard. She was a pain in the fanny on the financeboard and she's the same as a selectwoman.


Anonymous comments not accepted, and will be rejected. Please use your full name. Choose "Name / URL" and enter your name, and your name ONLY. Leave "URL" blank.