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Ruminations

Wikipedia defines a "picnic" as "an excursion at which a meal is eaten outdoors (al fresco), ideally taking place in a scenic landscape such as a park, beside a lake, or with an interesting view and possibly at a public event such as before an open-air theatre performance, and usually in summer."

It's a stretch to call the Saturday part of the two-day annual Portuguese Picnic a "picnic." But, it could easily become one again.

For whatever reasons, attendance at this year's annual event – especially Saturday – declined. Maybe people found better places to drink alcoholic beverages. Because that's what Saturday at the picnic has become over the past few years: an opportunity for younger people to gather, to drink, and to see and be seen.

Why not change things around? How about a football (soccer, to us Americans) tournament on the field from late afternoon to early evening? How about setting up picnic tables and inviting families to come and eat and reminisce? How about making it family-friendly, like on Sunday?

Communication experts say that "perception is reality." After a murder occurred the same weekend, social media speculation was that the argument between two people had to have started at the Portuguese Picnic. (Police Chief Tom O'Loughlin says the two people involved did not even attend the picnic at all.) Is that really the image the Portuguese Club wants? I don't think so.

Already, Selectman Bill Buckley has called for rolling the Saturday night closing time back to the 9-10 p.m. range to make it less of a drinking event. Maybe the Portuguese Club should change its Saturday events on its own before it's done for them.

Next month, we have the September 19 special town election "referendum" on whether to allow retail marijuana sales in Milford. Instead of the simple, straightforward language on the initial ballot, you'll now be looking at the wording of a proposed Zoning By-law change so as to comply with the changes the state legislature just passed.

All you have to remember is this: Voting "Yes" means "No." Voting "No" means "Yes." Got it? In other words, if you vote "Yes," you do not want retail marijuana shops in Milford. If you vote "No," you do want them.

The ballot question is worded like one of those confusing, multiple-choice exams where you have to look at the possible answers several time to figure out the actual intent of the question. Normal people would think that a "yes" vote means you want something. Here, it means you are against it.

If you are confused about the whole idea, there are two groups in town advocating each side of the issue. Milford CARES (Community Against Recreational Marijuana Retail Establishments wants you to vote "Yes" on September 19. Citizens for Responsible Retail Cannabis Sales wants you to vote "No."

By the way, Milford approved last November's ballot initiative allowing retail sales of recreational marijuana in Massachusetts with 6,968 (50.4 percent) people for it and 6,441(46.6 percent) against it. The ballot initiative passed statewide by a 53.7 percent to 46.3 percent margin.

Since there is no presidential election next month like there was last November, who knows what the turnout on September 19 will be?




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