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, September 3, 2013

What Is Missing

Last week a letter to the Editor of the Sturbridge Villager was pointed out to me.  The letter, written by Donald Fairbrother of Sturbridge,  offered some thoughts that many of us have, and he placed them on paper.  The sad thing is, as well as the letter was written with obvious passion, it will be read, commented on, and it may just be lost to history.

That's just the way we roll in Sturbridge.  We bitch, moan, and then roll over.  We are unable to bring issues to the next level.  It exhausts us.

We bring observations, and insight to our neighbors, often with suggestions on alternative ways to make life better within our borders, but there is nothing more than a rumble, a nod, and then, nothing.

Mr. Fairbrother addressed the recent loss of "hard working employees" from the towns roles.  Several reasons for this are offered, such as the "heavy handedness" of the BOS, the suggestion that department heads should only be residents of Sturbridge (as if that will insure better performance), a zero % merit raise, and bullying by the members of the BOS.  All of these factors, plus others, have led to a high attrition rate among town employees.

Replacing employees is costly, yet we do little to raise their moral to retain them in our employ.  In fact, the BOS does quite the opposite.

All of this is nothing new.  I've written about  attitudes towards others here in town many times.  I've written about specific incidences, yet nothing happens to either cause a riot at the town hall doors by residents, or a denial, or explanation of incidents by those involved.

Life just goes on.  It goes on unchanged because WE allow it to.  We will readily comment anonymously here, and at the Telegram site, as if that has to power to evoke any kind of change, yet do nothing to lend a name to any kind of grassroots movement for change.


What makes it worse is that those we know are the worst offenders here in town know full well that they are safe from recalls, or having anyone question their actions, because they will make life miserable for those that do anything they consider an attack.

We have strong voices that want change, and write strong words encouraging others to join them, yet they fade away because, although an idea, and a voice are always needed, what it takes to carry an idea one believes in to fruition is balls, and we lack those.

The BOS has them.  They have brass ones.

Until we can compete in their arena, give it up.  Nothing is going to to change, just accept life as it is, take a deep sigh, and move on.

Keeping this in mind, I have decided to stop taking anonymous comments here at Thinking Out Loud In Sturbridge.  I've wanted to do this for a long time.  Anonymous comments mean little, and do little to inspire change.  My accepting anonymous comments did  little to affect change, but only maintained the culture of bitch, moan, and sit down.  From now on if you have a feeling, a suggestion, a rant, or just an opinion, then own it, and attach your name to it, just as Donald Fairbrother has done.

This blog may be small in size, but in five years it has had over 100,000 visitors, and way over 300,000 page views.  In fact, it is being read by at least 150 to 300 people each day, and you can be very sure that those very same people holding meetings at the Town Hall every week are part of the readership.  I know they are, and if you want to to make an impact, then say it, and sign your name.  Otherwise, your words are like gossamer.

To see a need for change takes an understanding; to see a way to invoke change takes vision; to believe in that change takes passion, but the courage to fight for change takes something I have yet to see, it takes balls.

For those that would like our town to be a far better place to live, a fairer, more affordable place to live, and have the conviction to fight the powers that be that you believe are holding us back, then go to the next step, and grow a pair.  It is the only thing that has been missing from all the rhetoric for years.

It's really just that simple.


  1. Tom Hybiske (Fiskdale)Thursday, September 05, 2013

    Check this pair. I think we often look at the slate of BOS running for office and fill in a dot on the ballot based on some kind of a whim without knowing anything about the candidate's platform. If you don't know what the candidate stands for, for Pete's sake, don't vote for any! Don't just fill in a dot for the sake of a complete ballot. Better yet, spend some time and read up on those running for office. The BOS are more than just a bunch of volunteers who help run the town. They shape the town's future whether we like it or not. Choose those who will help make it so we'll like it. If we don't choose wisely, we might up with traffic circles at either end of town.

    Tom Hybiske (Fiskdale)

    PS I had to choose "Anonymous" becasue the others reqire URL's or some other account ID. You need to make it clear what selection we should use at the bottom of the form.

  2. Tom, just choose name/url, and enter your name, and that's it. Thanks for commenting, and for using your name. You just added a whole bunch of credibility to your words.

  3. The Sturbridge Tourist District Improvement committee will hold a Public Meeting on Sept. 25. This is the group who hired consultants to create a plan for possible roundabouts on Rt. 20. They have already spent $125,000 for the consultant's fee. That money came from our tax dollars and other money that could have possibly been spent on other items or projects. Check the newspapers or the Town website for more details and potential date changes.

    The Tax Classification meeting will be held on Sept. 16 at 6:45 p.m. in Veterans Hall. If the discussion follows the format of last years meeting important determinations regarding tax rates will be made at this meeting. Only those who attend have the possibility of contributing to the conversation.

    Barbara A. Search

  4. Barbara,
    Thanks for the heads up on the meetings. This is a good place to post upcoming meetings. This blog apparently gets quite a bit of traffic and the more people that know about the upcoming meetings the better. Last year the turn out at the tax classification hearing was impressive, this year i am willing to venture a guess it will be less than 10.

    Wally, is there a way you could post information about upcoming meetings somewhere on this site? If it encourages even a handful of people to attend it would be worth it in my mind. Maybe a time, date, matters to be discussed and possible consequences of the decisions made. Just an idea. Love the site.

    I give all the members of the BOS a lot of credit for their hard work. While i often do not agree with them i still appreciate the work they put in. I wish i had the time to run for the BOS and sit on other boards. Unfortunately, with life getting in the way there simply is not enough hours in the week, and also apathy has crept into my mind. I have friends and neighbors who feel the same way especially after the way this past Town Meeting went.

  5. Wally: Amen! I support your decision to stop posting anonymous, Free speach is protected, our elected leaders should and MUST recognize that, and stop holding it against those who choose to speak out.

  6. Wally - Does this new policy include last names? A quick look at the Sturbridge Street Listing reveals at the very least nine Tom Cs.
    Janet Celuzza

  7. That one slipped by me, Janet. Whoops. That is from Tom Chamberland.


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.