Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Your Thanksgiving Twerkey

Oh, that's just not right.

We’re Number 3 – Uh Hurrah?

Of the 72 central Massachusetts cities and towns surveyed by reporter Zeke Wright in Go Local Worcester Southbridge is tied for third place with Gardner.

Unfortunately, it is not a distinction that any community would relish.

You see, at 9.9% we’re tied for the third highest unemployment rate of those 72 communities. We are only beaten out by Fitchburg and Athol at 10% and 10.5 % respectively.

What is more disturbing to me, however, is how this survey is used as a premise for launching into the repetition of hackneyed attacks on plans to raise the minimum wage. 

The Bish Case – The Southbridge Connection

(MyFoxBoston.com) -- At Comins Pond in Warren, 13 summers have now come and gone, yet the mystery of what happened to 16-year-old lifeguard Molly Bish remains.

On the morning of June 27, 2000, on the second day of her new lifeguard job, and within minutes of starting work, Molly Bish was abducted.

Molly's remains would not be found for another three years, deep in the woods in nearby Palmer, Mass.

Molly's killer has never been identified.

But Rodney Stanger, a former Southbridge man, now convicted in Florida of murdering his girlfriend Crystal Morrison, continues to be a focal point of the investigation. Some believe Stanger could be the mysterious man Molly's mother saw at Comins Pond the day before the abduction. 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Maher: Kennedy Or Reagan?

One of the great generational divides is the idealization of two Presidential icons.

To one group it’s the Jack Kennedy persona that embodied hope and idealism tragically cut short. To the other it’s the equally bigger in memory than reality legacy of Ronald Reagan.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Advice To The Next Town Manager Search Committee

With the announced departure of Town Manager Christopher Clark Southbridge is about to embark, again, upon the joys of hiring another Town Manager.

Having been the Chairman of the last search committee I feel that I may be able to offer some advice to those who will be appointed to undertake this task.

In the interest of full disclosure, I must preface my remarks with the fact that I am an avowed advocate of Southbridge adopting a mayor/council form of government. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Eating Crow For Thanksgiving

Councilor Nikolla’s words from the night of the vote on the Casella contract still echo in my ears. “I’ve read this contract. This is a good contract.”

I was among a number of those who disagreed with this assessment. The most ardent of the opponents were John Gatti, Jr., and Larry and Ann Beinema. We all suffered for our outspoken disagreement with the merits of that contract.

Monday night the chickens set loose by the decision to adopt the contract came home to roost.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Bylaw Brigandry?

Councilor Nikolla
Apparently there are some things that former Town Council Chairman Nikolla has learned.

One is clearly how to undertake a major project and keep the product out of public view until it is a fait accompli.

Such is the case with the work of the Bylaw Review Committee.

The lesson learned came from the experience of the Charter Review Committee (CRC).

Really? Let’s Hope It’s A Trend!

Steve Lazo
Last night the Town Council’s DPW subcommittee took a major step toward financial sanity.

Former Town Council Chairman and current subcommittee citizen member Steve Lazo saw fit to question the item.

And question it he did! 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A Tribute To Student Achievement

In the midst of all the criticism I level at our town and its government, the accomplishments of individual citizens are often overlooked.

Such achievement is especially noteworthy in the youngest of our community. These accomplishments are not only a tribute to their own efforts. They also represent the embodiment of that all-too-often forgotten commandment, “Honor thy father and thy mother”.

Success in the academic realm has been all too rare in our school district. The third and fourth graders who excelled in their performance on the MCAS are worthy of recognition for their efforts. They are a tribute to their parents. And they are a reflection on the teachers who are all too often the subject of criticism.

Monday, November 18, 2013

What A Wonderful School Committee

by Pim Stewert 

The "Wanted For Treason" Flyer Distributed in Dallas Before JFK's Visit

This flyer, around 5,000 copies of which were distributed around Dallas in the days before President Kennedy’s November 22, 1963 visit, accused Kennedy of a range of offenses, from being “lax” on Communism, to “appointing anti-Christians to Federal office,” to lying to the American people about his personal life.

General Edwin A. Walker, a Texan who served in World War II and the Korean War, had resigned his Army post in 1961 after a Kennedy-ordered investigation found that he had violated the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal employees from engaging in political activity on the job, by distributing John Birch Society literature to his troops. Walker moved to Dallas and became a leader of right-wing activity in the city (more on the full range of that activity here). The ex-General led resistance to James Meredith’s 1962 enrollment at the University of Mississippi and unsuccessfully ran for the position of Texas governor 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Carpetbagged Again: The Southbridge Soap Opera Continues

Ken O’Brien

As we return to today’s episode, the semi-conscious residents of the whimsical town of Southbridge are victimized by ether waves that penetrate their tin foil helmets.

In contrast to their normal long-term loss of short-term memory the sinister forces of the O’Zone Vandals are beaming recollections of moments past into their vulnerable noggins. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Southbridge Town Council Meeting Agenda - November 18, 2013

Southbridge Town Council Meeting

Council Chambers, Town Hall

November 18, 2013 – 7:00 PM


1.      Pledge of Allegiance

2.      Roll Call

3.      Consider and accept Town Council Meeting Minutes of Monday, November 4, 2013. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Southbridge School Committee Agenda, November 19, 2013

Southbridge School Committee Meeting

: Robert G. MacKinnon Council Chambers, 41 Elm Street

Date: Tuesday, November 19, 2013

                                                                  Time: 7:00 PM

NASA Video Shows Mars 4 Billion Years Ago As Lush, Verdant World

NASA has prepared a new video to illustrate its Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) mission's investigation of dramatic climate change on Mars. Today, Mars is a cold and barren desert world, with no sign of life, at least on the surface. However, billions of years ago when the Red Planet was young, it appears to have had a thick atmosphere that was warm enough to support oceans of liquid water – a critical ingredient for life.

The animation was created by the NASA Goddard Conceptual Image Lab.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Should Southbridge Help People Save Their Homes?

Ken O’Brien

Based upon a quick search I found between 85 and 92 foreclosed properties currently for sale in Southbridge.

I was prompted to undertake the inquiry by a recent email I received from Town Councilor Amelia Peloquin. She was seeking my views on a program that has been undertaken by the community of Richmond, CA. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Southbridge - Mayor Maybe? (Vote in our poll)

With the imminent departure of Town Manager Christopher Clark I believe that it is time to resurrect a proposal that I have put forward in the past. I have been encouraged as well by several people asking me to create a poll gauging public interest in such a proposal.

The issue in question is the proposition that Southbridge switch from its current town manager/council form of government to a mayor/council format. 

Honor Our Veterans

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Southbridge School Committee Attends OML Class - Learns Nothing

Ken O’Brien

The newly constituted leadership of the Southbridge School Committee continues its pattern of setting a poor example for the youth in their charge.

In this installment of the ongoing soap opera “As The District Burns” we examine the lesson provided on paying attention in class.

Specifically we will illustrate how what one supposedly gains by attending a specialized training is useless if you cannot apply it in “real life”.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Southbridge School Committee Still Misleads On Policy

Ken O’Brien

At the November 5 meeting of the Southbridge School Committee Town Councilor Monique Manna questioned the procedure used to select the chairman of the committee following the resignation of former chairman Patricia Woodruff.

Following is a video of the question posed by Councilor Manna and the response from Chairman McLoughlin.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Update: Southbridge School Committee Applicants Now Directed To Town Clerk

Ken O'Brien

Despite what you might have heard from last night's School Committee meeting, if you are interested in filling at least one of the current vacancies on the Southbridge School Committee you are directed to now send your letter of intent to the Town Clerk rather than the Superintendent of Schools.

Apparently they are still asking for background materials including a resume, none of which are required from anyone running for office. As Councilor Monique Manna pointed out at Monday's Town Council meeting, the only legal qualification is that one be a registered voter in the town.

We'll try to keep you abreast of this, apparently, developing story.

Below is the announcement as it currently appears on Southbridge CATV.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Monday, November 4, 2013

Breaking News: Clark Offered Town Administrator Job In Harwich

Ken O’Brien

Southbridge Town Manager Christopher Clark has been offered the position of Town Administrator in Harwich, MA.

The offer is pending contract negotiations.

The job has been vacant since James Merriam retired last June. Robert Lawton has been serving as interim town administrator.

Breaking News: Director Of Operations For Southbridge School System Resigns

Ken O’Brien

Roland Gaboury, Director of Operations for the Southbridge School District, today resigned from his position.

Also, Everything Southbridge informs The O’Zone via Twitter that School Committee member Dr. Thomas O’Leary has been removed from the Harrington Hospital’s Doctors Listing. 

27 GOP Senators Vote To Disapprove Of Themselves

From AlterNet

About time these clowns disapproved of themselves for their heartless policies and shameless tactics. But, no, no. No such attack of conscience has hit the Republicans in Congress. What took place last week in the Senate may have set a new low on the moron scale—and these days, that is really saying something. All 27 Republican senators who voted recently to raise the debt ceiling, pay the nation’s bills, and reopen the government (and arguably do their jobs), voted in favor of a symbolic “resolution to disapprove” of that vote. All of them.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Southbridge School Committee Agenda, November 5, 2013

Southbridge School Committee Meeting

Location: Robert G. MacKinnon Council Chambers, 41 Elm Street

Date: Tuesday, November 5, 2013

                                                                      Time: 7:00 PM

Friday, November 1, 2013

Southbridge School Committee Vacancy: Submit Application To Your Future Subordinate

On Tuesday October 29, there was a joint meeting of the Southbridge School Committee and the Town Council’s subcommittee on Education and Human Services.

Item number two on the agenda for that meeting was, “Discuss the process to ‘temporarily’ fill vacancy on the School Committee until the 2014 election.”

On October 30 a memorandum was released to the media that outlined the “process” that was adopted by this joint session. It reads as follows: