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Scout Gets a Civics Lesson

James Rubidge, 12, wants to earn his spot as an Eagle Scout. If that means he has to sit through the occasional town meeting, well, so be it.

Rubidge grabbed Third Selectman Gavin Anderson for a quick signature following the last Board of Selectmen meeting. He needed one of the members to sign off on a piece of paper stating the member of Boy Scout Troop 39 attended the meeting.

Rubidge is going for his Citizenship in the Community merit badge. “This is one of the badges required for Eagle Scout,” explained Rubidge.

Enduring what he described as a “very long meeting” isn't the end of the process. Rubidge will still have to produce a paper on one or more topics from the meeting. He is thinking about looking into the selectmen’s vote to accept a gift to install crosswalk signs and pedestrian pedestals near 1655 Post Road East. The devices will serve as notices for drivers to be more aware, but they will not include push-buttons to trigger stop lights. “That seemed kind of important,” said Rubidge.

For the family of Billy Ford, it was an extremely important vote. They are making the $7,000 donation to install the safety measures. Ford died crossing the road two days before Christmas in 2008. His sister, Maureen Bates, was the driving force behind the gift. Ford was a Staples graduate and former custodian at the school. He was working at Trader Joe’s at the time of his death.

Representative Town Meeting Member Allen Bomes fueled some of the interest in the topic by questioning the practicality of the gift. “I think nothing short of a traffic light with a push button is going to solve the problem,” said Bomes. He added, “It's going to give people a false sense of security.”

Rubidge's dad, Bill, sat with his son through the meeting. It wasn't his first choice on how to spend an afternoon, but he was happy to do it. “This is solely to help support him,” said the elder Rubidge.

The Eagle Scout path will eventually require a civil project. “I don't know at all what I am going to do,” said Rubidge.

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