Open discussion thread: Ask questions, share opinions (Updated)

by beth on June 3, 2014

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It’s time for another open thread. What’s on your mind this week, Southborough?

For those of you new to the blog, the open discussion thread is your place to ask questions, sound off on town issues, or share information with other readers. Here are some suggestions to get you started:

  • Ask questions about programs in town or the town itself
  • Post a note about things that you’re selling or giving away, or things that you want
  • Share notices about upcoming events (Southborough or otherwise)
  • Register your thoughts on town issues or news stories
  • Point out interesting or helpful resources

You can add comments to the thread throughout the week. Check back often to see new comments. (If you read the blog via email or RSS, you might want to check the site from time to time for new comments.)

To view past open discussion threads, click here.

Some reader comments below pertain to trees being decimated in town (with audible munching). I asked “AJ” if he had any photos to share. He provided these of his decimated maple and a leaf with tiny black bugs on the underside:

(Click to enlarge)

1 Desiree Aselbekian June 3, 2014 at 4:37 PM

I’m selling a full set of Kettle Worx(TM) workout DVDs (11 of them) with a 5lb kettleball. I have posted on Craigslist.

If you are interested let me know, and I’ll drop them off to anyone in Southborough. Thanks so much!

2 Diane R. June 3, 2014 at 5:28 PM

I know of four families that are moving OUT of Southborough, all of whom have children the same ages as ours. Of course they have their reasons: jobs, families, etc., but I am still sad and concerned.

Since two kids will be departing from our Cub Scout Den, it is not clear whether the Den will continue because they need a certain number of kids enrolled. (I’m going to try to recruit some families!)

I don’t know, I’m sad/perplexed/concerned, but I know everything will be okay. Any thoughts from readers? Is Southborough a “transition” town? Folks come here, realize whatever, and then move on? Or is this unusual, to know of four families moving out-of-town?

Thanks for your thoughts.

3 southsider June 4, 2014 at 11:29 AM

I think most people move here, like raising their families here and then, as they become empty-nesters, some of them begin to think about down-sizing and maybe moving out of town. All those 4 bedroom, 2.5 bath colonials get expensive to run over time. Maybe that trend is changing in the new post-recession economy but I think your recent experience is more the aberration than the norm.
With luck , those four families’ home will be purchased by folks with future Cub scouts!

4 Diane R. June 5, 2014 at 10:32 AM

Thanks, Southsider, for your perspective. The number of families that we know are moving, with young kids, is now up to FIVE. Just found out another family whose son is in my son’s class is moving back to Europe.

Like you said, let’s hope some families with 5 to 8 year olds move into town.

I must say, though, I still am a little concerned about the exodus! We’ll manage but I feel like I’m at a loss for words to explain all the moves to my soon-to-be second grader!

5 Jason June 3, 2014 at 9:01 PM


I was curious if you might know if Southborough currently offers compost bins at reduced prices?

Any information is appreciated.


6 Trash Talking June 4, 2014 at 12:47 PM

I went to Framingham DPW and bought mine through them. It is located behind the old incinerator. Just drove up, gave a check and took my bins

7 Jason June 4, 2014 at 3:36 PM

Very cool Trash Talking. Thanks for the information, I really appreciate it.

8 Jacqui June 5, 2014 at 10:38 AM

There is an Eagle Scout project underway in Southborough Scout Troop 1 to make 120 Composting Bins for local residents. Might be worth contacting the Scout Master for more information.

9 AJ June 4, 2014 at 11:47 AM

Anyone noticed that we have some bugs eating Maple trees in town? We live over by the Finn school and some trees are stripped bare while others are headed that direction. Lots of holes in leaves as well as curled and dying. I have found little black bugs on the bottom of leaves. You can hear the munching and evacuating when standing next to a tree. Eeek.

10 beth June 4, 2014 at 11:59 AM

Sounds worrisome. Have a pic you can share? Email

11 M June 4, 2014 at 12:06 PM

Do we still have a tree warden in town? Bring it to their attention.

12 resident June 4, 2014 at 12:49 PM

He retired and according to Karen Galligan when I questioned a tree on my lot, they now use a service which is quite expensive. Surprising!!

13 Southside June 4, 2014 at 2:53 PM

I think it is the green worms that hang. Our maple trees have been having the same problem. They have a munching sound. They are moth worms

14 SB Resident June 5, 2014 at 10:07 AM

Yes it is most likely the green caterpillars. They are called winter moths. Lots of info on the web. Has been a problem throughout mass for a few years now.

15 Kate June 4, 2014 at 1:10 PM

Unfortunately what you are most likely seeing is damage from the Winter Moths. The black “seeds” you may see on the leaves are the droppings from the small green caterpillars that are, in many cases, defoliating entire trees. Around now the caterpillars balloon down to the ground and bury themselves in the ground. Typically, most maple trees will refoliate themselves unless the tree is too stressed. The Winter Moths are starting to cause significant damage in this area of MA.

16 Chris June 4, 2014 at 4:16 PM

re: Winter Moths…so is there anything to do? Spray? W/ gypsy moths I recall putting 2-sided tape on the tree trunks to ‘capture’ them…anything similar?

17 AJ June 4, 2014 at 5:17 PM

Moths makes sense. We did notice that we had tons of moths before the freeze this past winter. We have some professional tree people coming early next week. Hope to get rid of this because to lose the trees would be a significant problem in our neighborhood. Thanks Kate.

18 Kristen June 4, 2014 at 9:10 PM

We have several trees that met the same demise but I think that it was due to inch worms and we had Westboro pest control spray the trees. It may have been too late to save the foliage this year, but I am trying to find the silver lining and am thinking we will have less raking to do in the Fall

19 NVargas June 4, 2014 at 6:20 PM

The caterpillars are attacking cherries too. They have partially defoliated 7 ornamental and 12 fruit-bearing cherry trees/shrubs on my property already. There are non toxic treatments that you can get. “Safer” has a concentrate that I plan on trying once all this rain has moved out. Since my trees are small, I have also been removing the caterpillars by hand which has resulted in very good regrowth, but that is impractical for large trees. Good luck everyone. This happened several years ago and all of my “victims” rebounded quite well, so fingers crossed! Chances are, very large, established trees will rebound unless they are also stressed by other conditions, like drought. If it suddenly gets very dry while the tree is trying to rebound, consider some deep watering around the root system (basically under the entire canopy of the tree) even if the tree is quite mature. It will help.

From the DEC:

“Healthy deciduous trees can survive 2-3 successive years of defoliation without mortality (dying). Trees defoliated early in the season often grow a new, smaller set of leaves in July once tent caterpillars and gypsy moths stop feeding…However, defoliation does reduce the vigor and resistance of the tree; it becomes more susceptible to pests and diseases. Mortality can occur when other stresses such as disease or other insect outbreaks attack trees in the same year.”

Hope that helps!

20 beth June 5, 2014 at 9:05 AM

Just updated the post with photos shared by AJ

21 Kathryn June 5, 2014 at 4:56 PM

Hello all — just a quick announcement. The Blackthorn/Bantry/Tara neighborhood will be having a neighborhood tag sale and family fun fair this weekend, Sunday June 8th from 11-2. There will be lots of items including furniture, baby/kid items, household items and fun things including a bouncy house, face painting, lemonade and bake sale.

Hope to see you all there — it’s supposed to be a beautiful day!

22 Emperor Needs New Clothes June 7, 2014 at 1:57 PM

I have noticed several posts on various threads by the Emperor’s New Clothes. It seems this person does nothing but bash the goings on in town, municipal services, and the recent electees of the race for Selectmen. Of course, reading all the posts make one realize who this person is. You do nothing but add to the problems people are trying to correct. Your obvious hate of the police department, Lt. James in particular, is appalling and unwarranted. Your dressing down of Bonnie Phaneuf, likewise, was appalling. Your distaste for our town is quite obvious. My suggestion to this person would be to pack up and move. Perhaps the grass is greener over on the other side of the border. And I would suggest you get some new clothes!

23 Chris June 9, 2014 at 8:39 AM

re: the winter moths, the June 8th Boston Globe had an article about them in Carol Stocker’s “The Gardener” column…she sprays her orchard w/ Spinosad, an organic fermented bacteria every April.

I also found this older article on them:

24 AJ June 9, 2014 at 12:12 PM

We did get a local tree company over this morning and they confirmed the wisdom of the commenters above. Winter Moths. Lacking a truck in the area today, they say that it will be OK in our case (healthy trees) to wait until next April for spraying. That said, if it is a dry summer, help them with soaking the roots to aid them through the distress. Thanks again to everyone who posted.

25 MarthaB June 9, 2014 at 3:56 PM

We have a cherry tree that had a few rough years some time ago due to the winter moth. The folks at Tree Specialists in Holliston have restored “her” to good health by spraying every April. And as you mentioned AJ, periodic watering is very helpful too. Good luck!

26 fayville resident June 9, 2014 at 5:51 PM

We will be looking for some handy man type help for a rental unit. Not much work is needed, mostly repairing, caulking, light plastering. Not a big job. Am looking for trustworthy, responsible person. have been burned in past, so honest recommendation would be appreciated

27 Fiona June 17, 2014 at 2:13 PM

Keep an eye out for the Asian Longhorned Beetles destroying trees in Massachusetts, although I believe they have it under control now.

Read here:

28 Emperor's New Clothes June 18, 2014 at 4:53 PM

To: Emperor “Needs” New Clothes
When you created a new alias on this blog, trying to be cute, with your new user name one word away from my unique user name, it actually was confusing to some people. I stated on this blog my reason for not giving my real name, which was due to the vandalism with intent to injure that occurred at my home right after my being a whistleblower against some town cronies. What was your reason for not giving your name? Apparently I struck a chord with you. We are regular citizens, as opposed to these people who have chosen to be in the political arena, volunteer on committees, or work in a public service job. We have the right to hold them accountable for their actions. Everything you’ve said is general in nature. If any facts or circumstances I related on this blog are untrue and not factual in any way, here’s the time for you to be specific. The only ones who know who I am are the ones I exposed, so it’s no wonder you want me to go away! Thank you for mentioning two of the names, but as you know there are several more, including one who disappeared from many committees in town, but I notice is trying to come back now. The town cronies aren’t always trying to “correct problems”, as you say, but unfortunately they have their own agenda to benefit themselves, not the town. Are you insinuating our town belongs to the cronies, and the rest of us can just move “across the border”? Too bad there are way more of us than those like you, so you should keep that in mind when you are working for us regular people. You are right that I need new clothes. The stench of cronyism on me from dealing with them has created such a foul odor that burning the clothes would not suffice. I tried to clean the bottom of my sneakers, but the offensiveness keeps coming back. Not only will I not move out of town as you suggested, but I will be right here playing “whack-a-mole” when the cronies pop up and harm the town again. We do love Southborough!

29 Richard June 23, 2014 at 9:18 PM

Does anyone know the length of the running track at Trottier? I’m trying to figure out if it’s 1/4 mile or 1/5 mile. Thanks very much!

30 Joe Kacevich June 24, 2014 at 9:08 AM

The Trottier track is 300 meters long. The size of this track was limited because of wetlands restrictions.

31 Richard June 24, 2014 at 6:26 PM

Joe, thank you very much. That means 1 mile = 5.364 laps. Wow, that’s depressing. I was timing myself at 5 laps to the mile. Guess my times aren’t nearly as good as I thought.

32 A Parent June 24, 2014 at 7:21 PM

Can anyone recommend a karate training place for kids near Southborough? We have been to Westborough for years and hoping to find a closer location. Thank you!

33 beth June 25, 2014 at 7:38 AM

We liked Premier Martial Arts in Marlborough. Whether that’s closer or further depends on where you live in town!

34 A Parent June 25, 2014 at 9:34 AM

Thanks Beth. This is great!

35 tristen August 7, 2014 at 11:21 AM

I am wondering if this is the right place to post this, but my question is: does NECC pay property tax on their land and the houses they are buying up in the area. That is the School on Route 9 which treats autistic children, where most of the interns are from foreign countries, who may pay to have a one year internship. Now being housed on Pleasant Street and elsewhere. From what I have read they are fairly well off with off shore money besides the money they draw away for local school districts. I hope the town does have a plan because the are wrecking the nearby streets and causing major traffic problems. They claim the problems are the towns responsibility to fix. Is this true?

36 beth August 7, 2014 at 1:05 PM

Your question actually ties in better to another recent post. There is a story I posted on Payment in Lieu of Taxes contributions from tax-exempt institutions in town. You can find more information and related comments there.

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