Open discussion thread: Ask questions, share opinions

by beth on October 4, 2019

Schipper Barn contributed by Jennifer Leuck

(click to enlarge)

Right: Reader Jennifer Leuck captured a beautiful sunrise early this morning at the corner of Fischer Rd and Barn Lane. It’s a good excuse to post a long overdue open thread. (click image to enlarge)

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.

[Editor’s Note: If you have pictures you want to share of Southborough landscapes, events, or residents having fun in town, email your contributions to]

1 crickets? October 6, 2019 at 9:50 AM


Pretty quiet in this thread!

Can you hear the crickets chirping?

It seems that ARHS is now using a form of academic coercion to persuade students to bring items to the school to stock local food pantries. One teacher has promised their students they can take an upcoming quiz/test with a partner, rather than individually, if they bring food items.

What happened to the concept of charity and its associated giving being its own reward?

Perhaps it’s a sign of the times, you know – our current economic ‘boom’, that food pantries in the prosperous *boroughs are becoming desperate for donations.

2 northsider October 9, 2019 at 8:33 AM

How is this allowed? Giving advantages to students in exchange for a donation? That seems totally ridiculous to me! What if one of the students is the one who needs the food pantry to eat? Extremely unfair to give academic advantages in exchange for donations. I am all for donating, I am all for reminding folks that donations are needed. Many of our residents have more than enough means to donate. But involving school work should absolutely not be allowed.

3 Helper October 7, 2019 at 10:16 AM

I am happy to donate to the food pantry and do so on a regular basis. However, I find it a little distasteful when they grovel for donations. Each of the schools collect donations which sometimes sit for a good period of time before being picked up, and there is a LOT of stuff. The Friends of Southborough Recreation donated $4000 last Thanksgiving from the Gobble Wobble and the Middlesex Savings Bank donated $20000.00 shortly after. I understand there is need but if you ever go into the Pilgrim Church, you will see they have a good stockpile. I can see asking for donations, they are always going to be needed. However, one person who works there regularly stands in front of the congregation at church on Sunday with bags to give out, and is a little pushy about it. People have lots of things to give to and only have so much to give. The food pantry is pretty rich in Southborough and goes way beyond food with helping with gas and electric bills, etc. People get turned off when they feel like they are being bullied. Sad but true and then good and necessary organizations like these will eventually suffer.

4 Steve October 8, 2019 at 9:54 PM

Wow. Just…wow. Is there anything that epitomizes the worst aspects and attitudes of this town more than someone who has so much, who is so entitled, that they find it “distasteful” when the Food Pantry “grovels” for donations? What must it be like to have never wanted for anything, to the extent that you can’t summon a bit of compassion and understanding for the people who need those donations? I’m willing to bet there are a few thousand things that “pushy” volunteer at Pilgrim would rather be doing than groveling before a congregation that looks away awkwardly and responds with silence. Your comment—and your total lack of empathy—make my skin crawl.

5 Genuine Helper October 12, 2019 at 12:30 PM

Hi Helper,

I feel sorry for you. it must be so lonely up on that high horse. can’t imagine what a terrible time it must be to spend 45 seconds on a sunday morning hearing someone ask for help for the disadvantaged. Maybe next time try paying attention to the first 45 minutes of the mass. Pretty sure there’s a more than a few homilies that deal directly with charity you could benefit from listening to.

Sometimes pantries may be stocked full of pasta and soup but have other needs – diapers, fresh foods, etc. Sometimes they have new families in need who may have specific food needs – ever heard of an allergy? Consider those people the next time you feel the need to complain online.

Please take the anger you feel at the people trying to help those in need and direct it at the causes of neediness instead. A touch of self-reflection couldn’t hurt either.

– Your Neighbor

6 my town sb southborough October 9, 2019 at 2:53 PM

Steve, calm down. We are all philanthropic at some time in our life. You miss the point, totally. Bartering buddy system testing for food is out of this world. Is it that hard to get kids and their families to donate food without a carrot dangling. That’s the question. This needs to be brought to the attention of the pricipal and superintendent. This makes my skin crawl.

7 Steve October 10, 2019 at 9:28 AM

Thanks for the insight, “my town sb southborough,” but I actually agree 100% with “northsider” that trading academic advantages for donations is ridiculous. Totally on the same page there. Unfortunately the point you’re missing “totally” is that that’s not the comment I was responding to.

8 M October 9, 2019 at 4:09 PM

Open Space Deer Hunting!

There are signs posted at SOME of the entrances to the trails in town, saying that walkers/hikers on the trails should be wary that White-tailed Deer will be hunted until December. The Open Space Committee recommends that we wear orange vests to be safer due to the hunting. WHAT!!!
We are new to the trails this year due to a new puppy that we like to walk there. Is this the norm? Is deer-hunting always allowed? I imagine that the Town must feel that deer are extremely harmful to our Open Space or this wouldn’t be happening. But, Is the mere wearing of an orange vest enough to secure one’s safety? Do we put a vest on the dog as well? What normal people who are not hunters have these vests? Why aren’t all the trail entrances marked this way instead of only some?
Finally, are there other trails in town that are not part of Open Space’s realm that are walkable and hunting is not allowed?

9 beth October 10, 2019 at 8:48 AM

I need to get more information on this. Can you clarify what the sign said? Did it say it was by “Open Space Preservation Commission”, which is closest to what you wrote? (Other possibilities would be Southborough Open Land Foundation or the Southborough Trails Committee.) And what part of town was it?

If anyone else has direct knowledge of what is happening please chime in.

I think warning signs may have given the wrong impression. I don’t believe that hunting is allowed in Town owned open spaces. However, some of those open spaces and trails may be near privately owned property where officials know that hunting is sometimes allowed.

Private landowners have the right to hunt on their land and can grant the right to others. The Police Department’s website states:

And Per the Town Bylaw #110-1, No hunting is allowed on public or private property without written permission from the landowner. Hunters must have this written permission in their possession at the time of hunting.

The signs may be due to concerns about possible accidents if hunters get too close to trails or accidentally cross into the official open spaces.

But again, I’d love to get more information on this from someone who actually knows why the signs were posted and if there are specified danger zones or the concern is that during hunting season anyone walking on any trails or open spaces should wear bright clothing.

10 beth October 10, 2019 at 8:56 AM

In a search for information on hunting on the Town website, I found information that the state Department of Conservation and Recreation added watershed land it owns around the reservoir to area allowed for hunting.

An August press release from DCR, posted by the Conservation Commission, states:

Due to the impacts on the forest in the Sudbury watershed from deer over-browse, the Sudbury watershed lands will be added to the lands within the watershed system that are open to hunting.
The 3,000+ acres of undeveloped land controlled by the DCR’s Division of Water Supply Protection (DWSP) surrounding the Sudbury and Foss Reservoirs and their tributaries is a valuable asset to the water supply system. The Sudbury Reservoir is an emergency water supply for the MWRA system. The Sudbury System was last used as an emergency supply in 2010 during a water main break in Weston.
Importantly, the forests in the Sudbury Watershed ensure the reliable protection of the reservoir’s water quality. Watershed management dictates that an actively growing, diverse, multi-age forest should be managed for regulating stream flow, maintaining water quality and preventing erosion. DCR staff have documented that deer browsing is a serious threat to the health and reproductive future of forests in the watershed. Due to deer browse and the persistence of invasive species, the Sudbury Forest is significantly lacking the regeneration needed to provide the future forest overstory. Currently, there is no deer management at the Sudbury Reservoir.

Therefore, DCR is planning to open a portion of the DWSP lands in the Sudbury to hunting. Hunting on these lands would require a free, online 5- year permit from the DWSP. The two areas open to hunting will be the lands immediately surrounding the Sudbury Reservoir (1400-acres) and the Crane Swamp/Walnut Hill area (650-acres).”

You can find full details here.

11 Sara October 10, 2019 at 12:20 PM

I thought hunting wasn’t allowed in Southborough.

12 Pat D October 10, 2019 at 2:05 PM

I thought hunting is not allowed. Now I find out hunters can hunt on my property with my written permission. Just saying — not happening!

13 John Kendall October 10, 2019 at 3:01 PM

We need to cull the herds. On my way to Marlborough at 5:00 this morning, driving up Marlborough Road, I saw at least a dozen deer on the side of the road, trying to cross. It’s dangerous for motorists and deer alike.
And no, we can’t cull the herd of motorists.

14 Al Hamilton October 10, 2019 at 9:30 PM

Hunting is allowed with the permission of the landowner. However, there are a number of other constraints. For example, discharge of a firearm is not allowed within 500 feet of a building (except with permission). There are also time and day restrictions.

15 Allan Bezanson October 10, 2019 at 9:57 AM

Bright clothing rant

In hunting season It’s smart policy to wear clothing that advertises you are not a deer, even on land where hunting may not be legal. But a surer way to get yourself killed is to walk or bike. on country roads with your back to traffic while wearing nothing bright. Older drivers have a problem with contrast when the sun is bright and they are passing in and out of dark shade.

And here’s one more …. police directing traffic would do well to wear white gloves or use a flag. Of the numerous police on Main Street traffic detail I have come upon exactly one with white gloves.

16 Pat D October 10, 2019 at 2:04 PM

I agree with this post. Half the time I cannot see the policeman’s hand so have no idea what he is signaling — not until he gives me a big wave! Some colored glove — white or orange would do the trick.

17 Marthab October 10, 2019 at 6:46 PM

I agree too. Why can’t they hold a paddle with a big STOP on one side and GO on the other?? Have seen this method in many towns, so can’t understand why we don’t have the same.

18 arborist October 10, 2019 at 5:25 PM

The deer have a right to be here too, people just have to slow down, I see way too many cars go by at 50 to 60 mph on our street that is posted for 35 MPH, I will be glad when southborough has a town wide speed limit set at 25 mph as was purposed by our DPW chief last month.Then just maybe the pedestrians and the deer can cross the roads without getting hit.

19 Sara October 11, 2019 at 8:54 AM

I agree. The deer have a right to be here. Their habitat is shrinking. We need to coexist with wildlife not kill them.
The speed limit is 20 on my street and I’ve witnessed cars and trucks go way over that daily.

20 Anne Jones October 11, 2019 at 11:41 AM

Deer indeed have a right to exist, but because of habitat destruction, they have difficulty finding sufficient food. In addition, deer can carry the bacteria that cause Lyme disease. Well regulated hunting, with a proper concern for human safety, can help reduce the deer population, and thereby reduce the incidence of deer starvation and Lyme disease transmission.

21 resident October 11, 2019 at 12:48 PM

You are mistaken to think that a town-wide speed limit of 25 (which in my opinion is silly – are you driving 25 on Route 9?) will change any of the speeding going on. The police are not staffed enough to control that either. I think you may be fooling yourself to think that will make the difference.

22 Lisa Tommaney October 16, 2019 at 9:38 AM

As I understand it, a town wide speed limit of 25 would apply only to town-owned roads and roads that are not otherwise posted with a different speed limit and are “thickly settled” or business districts. State roads like Routes 9, 30 and 85 are not town-owned *and* are already marked with higher limits. While the police are not staffed to do many speed details, if the limit is 25 on a given road, the price of a substantially higher ticket if caught may help keep speeds in check. For more on the state law on this topic, see:

23 crickets? October 16, 2019 at 1:13 PM

YES – let’s go for the town-wide speed regulation!

This would have a positive impact on all of those streets and roads used as cut-throughs by commuters, racing up and down our streets morning and night. A few tickets going 45 in a 25 (20 MPH over – 6 points!) will hit these people in the pocketbook/wallet for both the ticket and their insurance premiums – for years.

Adoption of a town-wide limit would circumvent having to deal with a cumbersome street by street approach.

I regularly see traffic whizzing by in both directions – most of it either: parents shuttling their children to/from schools or commuters racing to/from work or trying to beat a bottleneck on route 9.


Remember, a car traveling at ‘only’ 20 MPH is moving at almost 30 feet per second. Who would want to be struck at that rate of speed? Now consider what it would be like at 30, 35, 40, etc. Not pretty!


Save the zipping about for the highways! Cool it in residential areas!!!

24 crickets? October 11, 2019 at 7:48 AM

How does the DCR hunting decision mesh with the fact that it is illegal to discharge a firearm (that INCLUDES rifles used for hunting!) within the town limits?

Where’s the SPD in all of this?

Let’s not be proactive – let’s wait til someone is shot, then react…

I suppose this town’s not called Stupidborough for nothing…

25 beth October 11, 2019 at 8:29 AM

Multiple people have made this claim. And yet it seems to just be rumor. There is a state law that is close to the wording used by Al Hamilton:

Whoever discharges a firearm as defined in section one hundred and twenty-one of chapter one hundred and forty, a rifle or shotgun within five hundred feet of a dwelling or other building in use, except with the consent of the owner or legal occupant thereof, shall be punished by a fine of not less than fifty nor more than one hundred dollars or by imprisonment in a jail or house of correction for not more than three months, or both. The provisions of this section shall not apply to (a) the lawful defense of life and property; (b) any law enforcement officer acting in the discharge of his duties; (c) persons using underground or indoor target or test ranges with the consent of the owner or legal occupant thereof; (d) persons using outdoor skeet, trap, target or test ranges with the consent of the owner or legal occupant of the land on which the range is established; (e) persons using shooting galleries, licensed and defined under the provisions of section fifty-six A of chapter one hundred and forty; and (f) the discharge of blank cartridges for theatrical, athletic, ceremonial, firing squad, or other purposes in accordance with section thirty-nine of chapter one hundred and forty-eight.

Not every piece of the DCR property in Southborough is open to hunting. I’m running a post this morning with more details – but there are areas where the land is too close to the public and is offbounds.

As for Town bylaws, the following words don’t come up anywhere: firearm, gun, rifle, weapon, or firing. The words fire and discharge brought up plenty – but nothing related to using guns. The only bylaw referencing hunting is the one I previously shared. In that bylaw, no restrictions are made about the types of firearms allowed.

Finally, in 2013, the Southborough Police shared a warning that I posted when deer hunting shotgun season opened in December.

26 beth October 11, 2019 at 9:51 AM

I shared more information on the hunting situation on DCR property and in town in a post just now. You can find it here:

27 Frank Crowell October 11, 2019 at 10:13 AM

My niece and nephew in VT, who are in second and third grade, were asked recently what personal pronoun they would prefer. I do not have kids in school anymore. Is this same question being asked in our school system?

28 crickets? October 11, 2019 at 10:36 AM

This probably has to do with the whole gender identity thing. Not your biological sex or
whether you have XX or XY chromosomes – the gender you mentally identify with.

My understanding is the trend is to use ‘they’ instead of ‘he’ or ‘she’. While the person might manifest the appearance of a female or a male, they may identify with something other than that.

There’s recent press on the subject and there are now three cases before the US Supreme Court to determine whether the law(s) on employment discrimination on the basis of ‘sex’ shall include gender identity – and not just physical attributes.

Yes – really.

Think of ancient Rome…

29 M October 18, 2019 at 11:40 PM

We spoke with hikers today who were unknowingly veering off the hiking trails and walking directly toward the areas designated by DCR for hunting. They said they saw no signs posted when they entered the trails, so how were they to know? All of the town’s organizations that control open space and marked trails need to do SOMETHING to educate any hikers of potential dangers. There needs to be better signage since the maps are confusing or, block all access to the hunting areas, or, lastly, just stop access to all these open lands and trails until hunting season is over!

Lest you think I am making too much of this: As an example of the careless way we enforce existing rules on these trails, dog owners are seen daily with their dogs unleashed and running ahead of them. What makes anyone think they are checking any websites for updated maps from the DCR? When that dog chases after a deer one of these days, we will have a disaster. If someone or their pet is shot because of the hunting, you better believe that everyone who has responsibility in Town for the trails, the open spaces, the safety notices, etc, will be sued or held libel. Get your act together now before it’s too late.

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