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
Wednesday, December 21, 2016
Thank you for all your support over the years. It has meant more than I can say. I hope you like it.
Click here to preview, and to purchase book.
Friday, April 1, 2016
I plant seeds, and cultivate. Thoughts, and ideas that come to me through the ether, or an overheard conversation in the check-out line at Shaw's, they're all seeds worth planting, and ideas worth nurturing.
Now, the harvest is something totally different. Most of the time the seeds may be the very best, but they just didn't grow. No one else took up the hoe. No further cultivating of idea by just talking it up at the counter at Annie's at breakfast. Without a little care even the best of seeds will simply wither, and die.
I don't enjoy it when an idea fizzles. I offer them up, support one already out there, but when they fail to take root I don't take it personally, I just wait.
There are times when after years, and years of waiting a sprout pokes up. I imagine I was not the only one that had the idea, but I really like to think that someone read something here, and told someone else, and so on, and so on.
That would be the best.
Lately, I have had a lot of delayed gratification. I wrote on these pages back in November of 2008 of the need for a seasonal trolley in Sturbridge. Thinking Out Loud In Sturbridge: The Sturbridge Trolley Company
Not bad, only eight years later some folks see the need a well. Well, at least the direction they are heading is right. Now, let's see what the harvest will bring.
click for complete article.
Town of Sturbridge to Receive $10K Grant for Trolley Service Study
Senator Anne Gobi and Representative Todd Smola announced on Wednesday that the town of Sturbridge will receive $10,000 though the Massachusetts Downtown Initiative (MDI) to conduct a feasibility study for seasonal trolley service for the town of Sturbridge.
Wednesday, February 17, 2016
The house was built in a time far different from today, and is comfortable still being there, although the owners have moved on, and grown through fifty years of changes. The single car garage tells of a one car family that moved in back when the space race was just beginning. No need for two cars since it was usually the father that went to work each day, leaving the mother home to watch over the family, and home.
This particular house is in excellent repair on the outside. When I pass it each day I imagine the inside is still living in a time when copper gelatin molds hang on the kitchen wall, and crocheted poodles hides the toilet tissue in the bathroom. Of course, that is a lot of assuming, and imagination at work, but without it, the story would be just a story, and my drive by would be just that, a drive.
I imagine they raised their children in this house, and they devoted all their resources towards their upbringing. Saved a lot. Sacrificed even more. Money was set aside for college, maybe an eventual wedding. The family car was kept for longer than a few years, and when it came time for a new car, it was newer, not new.
The grass was mowed, and lime put down. Leaves were raked each fall, and burned in a pile out behind the ranch. The light, gray smoke joined other swirls from other fires up and down the street billowing high over the treetops. It gave the spotter at the fire tower something to report on a quiet Saturday morning.
Birthdays were held in the backyard at a homemade wooden picnic table draped with a tablecloth. Countless games of hide and seek, tag, and kick-the-can were played on that grass as the space race moved on from Mercury to Gemini, and finally Apollo. The sounds of far away gunfire, and mortar shells were muffled by distance, but heard clearly in the evening on the Philco.
If you stop, and listen quietly outside this old ranch, you can almost hear, through a half opened window, Cronkite speaking from the television, dinner plates clattering in the kitchen, and children teasing each other before bed. Those simple fifty year old walls are still talking, and if you actually listen, you will hear them.
The ranch is only one house frozen in time on a drive to anywhere. Some are kept far better, most not kept up that well at all. Their stories as individual as the reasons for their various conditions, and those that live inside them.
One thing is for sure, your ride will be shorter, and far sweeter than you imagined when you let your mind wander into a story.
Tuesday, January 5, 2016
|Blue route is the area that is to have traffic lane reconfiguration.|
As I read the article on my phone I stood up, and screamed, "OHMYGOD!! Don't let them do it!!" Scared the cat to death, and as of this morning she has yet to show herself.
One of the biggest design mistakes ever to hit any department of transportation was the idea of taking away a lane of traffic and designating it for left, or right turns only.
Well, it if a road was initially designed for four lanes of traffic, two one way, and two the other, it was because the traffic flow dictated it.
Four lanes flows smoother than two, and when it comes time to take a left turn across oncoming traffic one just has to wait. Simple. And, when one has to take a right turn, one just does it when it is safe to do so. The whole waiting-our-turn-to-turn thing takes under a minute, but on average just a few seconds.
Now, a turning pocket allows a driver to pull to the side, out of the way of the traffic behind him so as not to hold them up, and still wait their turn to make a turn.
Hmm. The only thing that they are gaining is getting out of the way of the traffic behind them, and not holding them up, but they will unless the the lanes a kept at the same number, and the turning pocket is ADDED to the lane configuration. This configuration works great in front of the Hobbs Brook Plaza on eastbound Route 20.
When one takes away a lane to facilitate easier turning it leads to a bottleneck. The drawing below is of Route 20 in Charlton at the intersection of Route 169. I have been trapped in traffic heading east in this area from Sturbridge for an hour. For one mile west of Route169, until just after the Route 20 / 169 intersection it has taken me anywhere from twenty five minutes to one hour to travel on my way to work. Now, there are a couple of factors that play into this delay. Most times I take it when the turnpike is bogged down, and it is barely moving. If is a recent delay, then my delay on Route 20 will be minimal, but if it is a long term delay on the Pike, then everyone else is thinking like me, and we are stuck in this debacle of poor planning which I have scribbled below.
Whether there are traffic problems on the Mass Pike , or not, Route 20 should be free flowing at all times, and man made obstacles should not be part of the equation. Yes, traffic will run at a slower speed now, and again, but is should not be at a standstill on a regular basis. Cutting back to only one lane of east bound traffic in order for only a few cars to turn right onto Route 169, and creating a bottleneck of traffic that stretches far beyond Zorbras Restaurant far to the west is a design born in the mind of a silly person.
There. I said it. A silly person. I know, strong language, but well deserved. And, to take the silly design even further, the designer kept the lane configuration at one lane even further east on Route 20 to allow vehicles to make a left turn at the next light.
At the light. This is the very reason why God gave us traffic signals with little green arrows pointing left.
|The Route 20 / Route 169 Traffic Bottleneck|