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Acton Recreation is Marching Into Spring!

ACTON: The Acton Recreation Department is very excited to announce their spring and summer programs are now available for easy online registration at www.actonrec.com. Programs are offered to Acton residents and non-residents and include a variety of options for all ages including Arts and crafts, Birding, Red Cross Swim Lessons, NARA Summer Camp, Camp Hill Top, Soccer, Golf, Basketball, Squash, Tennis, e-sports, Amazing  Athletes, Spring Conservation Walks, Floral Arranging, CPR/AED/First Aid, pot luck Lunch Bunch, weekly walk and talk, bus trips and much more!

On Friday, April 22 (school vacation week), they will be hosting a Pirate Party / Treasure Hunt at the Recreation Center.  Pre-registration and online payment of $5 per child is required to attend.

Events planned for the summer include: BonJourney, June 10, Vanessa Trien & the Jumping Monkeys, July 6, Xtreme Queen, July 8, Draw the Line (Aerosmith Tribute), July 22, Beach Party with Scooby Snax Band, July 24, Stifler’s Mom-Ultimate 90s Experience, Aug. 5, Decade of Soul, Aug. 12, Into the Floyd, Aug. 19, Heartless (Heart and Led Zepplin Tribute) Aug. 16, Richrath (REO Speedwagon tribute) Sept. 9, and Monsterbash, Oct. 21.  Details on all these events and online ticket information can be found by visiting www.acton-ma.gov/events

Acton Recreation doesn’t just offer programs, they oversee all of the operations at NARA, Town Fields and playgrounds.  With spring arriving, the Rec Department has been busy gearing up for the best year yet!  Applications for Fields and Facilities are now being accepted.  Visit the Recreation Department on the Town website and click on the "fields and facilities" toolbar to obtain the application form.

If you haven’t been to the most prestigious park around, visit NARA Park. It is located at 25 Ledge Rock Way in North Acton off Rt. 27/Main Street.  It is a wonderful place to take your family out to enjoy a beautiful spring day at the playground, play some volleyball, walk the 1 mile perimeter path, kick a ball  around on the field, sit on the beach, access to the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail and so much more. Right now is the best time to get your 2022 NARA Beach Seasonal Pass.  It’s Early Bird time through May 31. NARA Beach officially opens on Saturday, May 28 operating through Friday, August 26.  Seasonal membership forms are available at the Recreation Department located at 50 Audubon Drive in Acton as well as online at www.acton-ma.gov/beach.

Have you planned your child’s summer yet?  NARA Summer Camp is a safe, fun and affordable licensed summer day camp offered for children aged 4-13. NARA Summer Camp starts Monday, June 27 and offers weekly sessions that run Monday through Friday until Friday, August 26.  Each session includes activities that accompaniment the weekly theme.  For details, call 978.929.6640 Ext. 0 or  email recreation@acton-ma.gov.  You can easily register online  at www.actonrec.com. New this summer is Camp Hill Top, expanding the Camp operations to include an indoor/ outdoor camp at the Recreation Center for ages 4-7 and CIT’s ages 14-15. Registrations are filling fast, so don’t delay and secure your plans today.

The Recreation Department office is located at 50 Audubon Drive (off High Street) in South Acton and open M-F from 8AM until 5PM excluding holidays.  Coming late this spring, a full-time Recreation staff person will be moved from the Rec. Center to the new Sports Pavilion at NARA.  The Sports Pavilion will also be home to NARA Camp operations and a new snack bar.  Please visit www.acton-ma.gov/recreation
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Virtual Author Talk with Ted Reinstein

MAYNARD/STOW: The Randall Library Friends Association and the Friends of the Maynard Public Library are pleased to announce a virtual author talk with Ted Reinstein on Tuesday, March 8 at 7pm via Zoom. This event is free and open to all, but registration is required to receive the Zoom event link. Please register at www.tinyurl.com/reinstein. For more information, visit www.maynardpubliclibrary.org/reinstein.
Reinstein, long-time reporter for WCVB’s “Chronicle” and author of three previous books, will speak about his latest publication Before Brooklyn: The Unsung Heroes Who Helped Break Baseball’s Color Barrier. Jackie Robinson’s triumphant debut for the Brooklyn Dodgers in April 1947 is regarded as a seminal moment in the history of baseball and is memorialized by his retired number 42 in all Major League ballparks.

What’s less well-known is that a small army of men, women, and institutions fought for many long and bitter years prior to Robinson’s debut. This hidden story includes former stars of the legendary Negro Leagues, the Black press and Pullman porters. These and more unsung heroes were true pioneers, battling the color barrier for sixty years before Brooklyn, while making a path possible for Jackie Robinson. It was a battle largely in the shadows. But like Rosa Parks on a Montgomery bus, or John Lewis on a bridge in Selma, it was a battle of dignity and defiance in a hard-won war for justice. Join us to hear their stories.

Since 1995, Ted Reinstein has been a reporter for WCVB-TV’s “Chronicle.”  He is an Emmy Award-winning journalist and the author of three books about New England including New England Notebook: One Reporter, Six States, Uncommon Stories; Wicked Pissed: New England’s Most Famous Feuds and New England’s General Stores: Exploring an American Classic.
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Summer Camp & Kids Activities Fair  March 6

ACTON: Local parents looking for information on summer camps and kids’ activities will find plenty of resources at the Summer Camp & Kids Activities Fair on Sunday March 6.  The Summer Camp Fair will take place at Teamworks Acton, 30 Great Road, Acton from 1:30-4 PM on March 6.  Coordinated by Macaroni Kid Acton Concord Bedford Lexington, the Fair is free to attend.  Families can gather information and talk with representatives from local and overnight camps and summer programs as well as local schools offering year-round activities such as sports, STEM, coding, art and more. 

Camps exhibiting at the 2022 Camp Fair include local favorites such as Teamworks Acton, Camp Tahattawan in Littleton, Camp Grotonwood and Camp Massapoag as well as specialty and overnight camps such as Code Wiz, Camp Hawkeye, Mass Audubon's Camp Wildwood and more.  Macaroni Kid Acton-Lexington also has an online Summer Camp Guide on its website (https://Lexington.MacaroniKid.com) as a resource for parents who cannot attend the Camp Fair.  If you're unable to attend the March 6th fair in Acton, there will be another Camp Fair at the Westford Regency on Sunday April 3 from 12-3pm.

For a list of camps attending the Fair, please visit Macaroni Kid  Acton Concord Bedford Lexington at https://Lexington.MacaroniKid.com
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An Invitation from Acton Computational Linguistics

ACTON: How many times have you said 'Hey Siri', or 'Hey Alexa'? How many times have you typed something and let google do an autocorrect! For pretty much all us, this happens on a daily basis. You might be aware of terms like speech recognition, speech synthesis, machine learning etc. But what do the scientists who invented these have in common? Well - it starts with a love of language and then applying logic, science and calculations to solve problems. Just like what you do in solving puzzles or riddles!
Would you like to challenge yourself with unique problems that require intuition and logic ? Do you like puzzles and riddles? If so, visit www.actonlinguistics.org - a group of Acton High Schoolers who have started this club for Elementary and Junior High students to expose them to this magnificent world of Computational Linguistics! They host regular competitions where you can try your hand with our puzzles and win prizes, and have some wonderful sponsors.
Want to know more? Want to enroll? Please visit the website and join their mailing list.

Maynard to Elect Delegates to Democratic State Convention

MAYNARD: Registered Democrats in Maynard will hold a caucus on March 2, 2022 to elect Delegates and Alternates to the 2022 Massachusetts Democratic State Convention. The Maynard caucus will take place virtually. Democrats who wish to participate virtually may register by emailing to maynarddtc@gmail.com.

This is the process to get candidates on the primary ballot! Maynard can elect 7 Delegates and 4 Alternates to the Convention. The caucus is open to all registered and pre-registered Democrats in Maynard. Pre-registered Democrats who are aged 16 by March 2, 2022 will be allowed to participate and run as a Delegate or Alternate. We welcome any registered Maynard Democratic to run for one of the delegate seats.

Youth, minorities, people with disabilities, and LGBTQ+ individuals who are not elected as a Delegate or Alternate may apply to be an Add-on Delegate at the caucus or at  www.massdems.org by April 9th, 2022.  

The Massachusetts Democratic Party Convention will take place on Friday, June 3rd and Saturday, June 4th. The Convention will be virtual, as well as in person, at the DCU Center in Worcester to endorse candidates for statewide office, including Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary, Attorney General and Auditor ahead of the Democratic Primary this September.

Delegates, alternates, and guests will be able to attend the Convention virtually and all voting will take place remotely. Those interested in running to be a delegate or alternate or to get involved with the Maynard Democratic Town Committee should contact the Committee via email at maynarddtc@gmail.com.

Acton Caucus Results for the 2022 Massachusetts GOP Convention

ACTON: The Acton Republican Town Committee congratulates delegates upon their selection at the caucus held at the West Acton Baptist Church meeting room on February 16.   Delegates will represent all Acton Republicans at the Massachusetts GOP convention in Springfield on May 21, participating in the process of selecting which candidates will appear on the Republican primary ballot in the September 6, 2022 election. The delegates are: Tom Beals, Mike Majors, John Norton, Candy Bishop, Greg Bishop, Peggy Testa, Dick Testa, Bob Van Emburgh and Dave Lunger. In addition to these delegates, there are associate members of the ARTC that will attend as guests. 

The Acton Republican Town Committee meets the third Wednesday of the month. Meetings are open to all individuals, Republicans and Unenrolled, interested in furthering the principles of limited government and individual liberty.   For more information, contact Chairman Dave Lunger at 781-775-9922.

Sudbury-Wayland-Lincoln Domestic Violence Roundtable Provided Valentine Gift Bags to Survivors of Domestic Violence

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SUDBURY/MAYNARD: This year, despite the continuing circumstances created by Covid 19, the Sudbury-Wayland-Lincoln Domestic Violence Roundtable held its annual Valentine Collection at Sudbury Wine and Spirits and Spirits of Maynard. Although community members could not be invited to help fill the Valentine bags for families affected by abuse, two members of the Roundtable - Fay Farber and Diane Seligman - gathered to fill the bags and delivered them to clients of REACH Beyond Domestic Violence, The Second Step, and Voices Against Violence. Due to the generosity of our local communities, the Roundtable was able to provide 70 gift bags to recipients aged 9 months to 71 years old.

The Roundtable would like to thank Joseph Saia of Sudbury Wine and Spirits and Spirits of Maynard for hosting the collection baskets and the students at Sudbury Extended Day for decorating the gift bags. Also thank you to Wayland Creative Preschool for partnering with us again this year. The pandemic has been especially difficult for families in an abusive situation, and these Valentine’s Day bags brighten the lives of families living in domestic violence shelters and transitional housing and let them know that they are supported in their efforts to rebuild their lives free from abuse.

Boxborough Conservation Trust’s Annual Meeting: Nature’s Best Hope with Doug Tallamy

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BOXBOROUGH: "In the past, we have asked one thing of our gardens: that they be pretty. Now they have to support life, sequester carbon, feed pollinators and manage water." - Doug Tallamy.

Join the Boxborough Conservation Trust’s Annual Meeting March 29 at 7pm via Zoom – free and open to the public. The meeting will begin with a brief introduction from the President, including an update about the potential to purchase 21 acres of conservation land in Boxborough.  Sign up here: https://tinyurl.com/doug-tallamy.

Hear an engaging talk from world-renowned scientist, Dr. Doug Tallamy, author of several best-selling books (Nature’s Best Hope, Bringing Nature Home, The Nature of Oaks), and professor of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware. He co-founded the Homegrown National Park, a network of citizens dedicated to planting natives and regenerating biodiversity at home, one yard at a time.

Recent headlines about global insect declines and three billion fewer birds in North America are a bleak reality check about how ineffective our current landscape designs have been at sustaining the plants and animals that sustain us. To create landscapes that enhance local ecosystems rather than degrade them, we must add the native plant communities that sustain food webs, sequester carbon, maintain diverse native bee communities, and manage our watersheds. If we do this in half of the area now in lawn, we can create Homegrown National Park, a 20 million acre network of viable habitats that will provide vital corridors connecting the few natural areas that remain. This approach to conservation empowers everyone to play a significant role in the future of the natural world. 

The Friends of the Acton Libraries Almost-Spring Book Sale Outdoors - March 12th

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ACTON: Following their successful $10/bag book sales, The Friends of the Acton Libraries are holding another on March 12th. The location is the old fire station (the barn), across from the West Acton Citizens’ Library, at 18 Windsor Avenue in Acton. Sale from 10am until 2pm and will be held outdoors.

Along with almost everything else that’s usually routine, it is impossible to hold the kind of huge, all-encompassing used book sale The Friends are known for. But being resourceful, The Friends have planned a third outdoor sale focused on children’s, teen, and young adult books.

The sales space is arranged to limit foot traffic and patrons may have to wait until there is space for them to enter the sale. All sales will be cash only at $10/bag, and bags will be provided. Browsing and selecting will be possible through tabletop displays.

According to James Fox, president of The Friends of the Acton Libraries, “We have the books, but we didn’t have a good place to do a traditional sale. Working with Jennifer Friedman, Library Director of the Citizen’s Library, we created a model for a safe, limited, outdoor sale that would get books into the hands of the young people in our community, while raising the funds for all of the libraries that we support. It’s a novel solution to a difficult situation.” Fox continued, “our previous outdoor sales were quite successful. They are well-attended and re-homed a good number of books from our storage space. We are very grateful to our partners at the West Acton Citizens’ Library for helping us make this happen.”

The Friends of the Acton Libraries is a 501c3 volunteer organization dedicated to raising money towards the town's public, elementary, middle and high school library budgets. The Friends additionally present scholarships each year to deserving high school senior(s). To join The Friends of the Acton Libraries, go to the Acton Memorial Library webpage and print out a membership form. Or visit friends-of-the-acton-libraries.square.site/.

As a registered 501c3 organization, your donations are tax deductible. If your employer matches donations, your generosity will go twice as far. Thank you to all our sale attendees, volunteers, and supporters throughout the community. For more info follow the Friends everywhere @friendsactonlib.

Acton Conservation Trust (ACT) Annual Meeting: "New Conservation Strategies for the 21st Century"

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ACTON: All ACT Members and others are invited March 13 at 6:30pm, at Acton Town Hall, Room 204 and/or Zoom, for a night with landscape ecologist, Claudia Thompson.  Climate change and loss of biodiversity are the critical ecological challenges of our time.  To address these crises, conservation efforts must become much broader and more inclusive than has been the norm, so that they engage virtually all citizens. The extent of our current human impact, and the fragmentation of our landscapes over the past one hundred years, clarify the need - every piece of land, large or small, public or private, deserves careful stewardship so that it becomes part of the solution instead of contributing to the problem.

Using her garden as a case study, Claudia will discuss valuable lessons learned over several decades. she transformed her small urban property into a landscape rich with habitat for birds, pollinators, and other wildlife.  Much can be achieved. Indeed, the significant challenges before us are motivating many people to action.  The growing native plant movement, with its focus on landscapes as ecological systems, instead of gardens as adornments, is an essential component of 21st century conservation strategies.

Free and open to the public. A short ACT annual business meeting will be held from 6-6:30pm including introduction of ACT's Carol Holley Conservation Award winner, Sue Whitcomb.  Guest speaker will follow. Visit ActonConservationTrust.org to register.
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Acton Garden Club Hosts March Meeting

ACTON: The Acton Garden Club’s March Meeting will take place virtually at 9:30am on March 1 with a program at 10:15am titled “Natural Control of Invasive Plants” presented by Michael Nadeau. Nadeau’s thirty plus years in the organic landscaping business have positioned him as a leading authority in the field of sustainable organic and ethical land care strategies in the U.S. He developed both the Northeast Organic Farming Association’s (NOFA) Standards for Organic Land Care and the NOFA Organic Land and Turf Course Manual, the only 100% organic manual for the care of athletic fields and home lawns. In today’s program he will teach us the best natural tools and techniques for tackling the difficult task of controlling invasive weeds.

Anyone who is interested in the joining the meeting can visit the club’s website at http://actongardenclub.org and leave a message for the webmaster. You will be contacted with the information needed to log into the meeting.

The Singularity Concert Series: A Focus On Improvisational Music
March 1

MAYNARD: Fugitive Productions and Possum Hall Music present the first of three concerts in The Singularity Concert Series: A Focus On Improvisational Music on March 1 at 7:30pm at The Sanctuary at 82 Main Street. Performers include Jerome Deupree on drums and percussion, Duncan Watt on keyboardsBurcu Gulec on vocals, Andrew Dow on bass and soundscapes, Gus Sebring on french horn, Neil Kruszkowski on saxophone, and Mac Ritchey on oud, guitar, and soundscapes.
This trio of truly unique musical experiences, the Singularity Concert Series will take place on the first Tuesday of each month from March to May and with a changing line-up of cutting-edge musical performers and creators. No songs, no sheet music — music being made purely “in the moment” and showcasing the power and creativity of live improvisational performance.

Tickets are $12/advance at  www.eventbrite.com/e/singularity-improv-tickets-254210469357 or $15/door. Doors open at 7pm and the performance starts at 7pm. Attendees must show proof of vaccination or negative test required with ID. Enjoy a full bar and table service. The Sanctuary is BYOFood. You can order dinner in one of Maynard's many fine restaurants and bring it with you.

Acton Republicans to Hold Caucus

ACTON:  The Acton RTC invites you to their Caucus to elect delegates to the Republican State Convention, on February 16, 2022. The meeting will start at 6:30pm at the West Acton Baptist Church meeting room, 592 Mass Avenue. Any Actonian Republican as of December 31, 2021 is eligible to be nominated as a delegate. If you are interested in being a delegate please attend the Acton RTC Caucus on February 16, 2022 at the WABC, or contact Dave at 781-775-9922 or email davelunger@pm.me.

If you cannot attend the Caucus, but would like to be a delegate, you must make your intentions known to a committee member in advance, so we can nominate you. Otherwise, please attend the meeting.

The convention’s purpose is to select and possibly endorse the party’s ticket for statewide office. Candidates for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, State Treasurer, and State Auditor will vie for the convention endorsements. To obtain the endorsement, a candidate must attain a majority vote of the delegates at the convention. This is an excellent opportunity for us grass-root Acton republicans to have a direct influence in our state politics.

Please feel free to contact Chairperson Dave Lunger at 781-775-9922 or davelunger@pm.me.

ArtSpace Maynard @ The Umbrella Visiting Exhibition
January 20 - February 26

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CONCORD/MAYNARD: A diverse array of 30 artists from ArtSpace Maynard will be featured in a new gallery exhibition at The Umbrella Arts Center in neighboring Concord, January 20 through February 26, 2022. With 2D and 3D work representing a variety of styles and media on display, this will be the first group exhibition of ArtSpace artists since the pandemic. It is being hosted by The Umbrella in support of its fellow nonprofit, which has been forced to temporarily close following a notice of reduced occupancy from the Town of Maynard. Normally providing affordable space for some 85 local artists to work and exhibit art, ArtSpace has been forced to close until issues are identified, remediated, and a re-inspection can be performed to reinstate the historic building’s full occupancy certification.

Works can be viewed 7 days a week, 10am-9pm, in The Umbrella’s Main Gallery at 40 Stow Street, Concord, which is free and open to the public and ADA accessible. CDC-approved face masks are required for entry. Several artist talks to be announced will be scheduled throughout the exhibition.

The Umbrella encourages art audiences to support ArtSpace by purchasing exhibition artwork available for purchase through the Art Cloud online art market gallery, or by making a donation at https://secure.actblue.com/donate/artspace.  Find more information about ArtSpace Maynard and The Umbrella Arts Center at https://TheUmbrellaArts.org/ArtSpace.

Yawkey Foundation Awards $75,000 to Kick Off Discovery Museum’s Multilingual Materials Translation Program

Funds will support 2022 translation & printing of materials for schools & visitors, including special needs audiences

Discovery Museum announced a $75,000 grant from Yawkey Foundation to launch the Museum’s work to translate a significant number of educational and access materials across its school and family programs into multiple languages, to better welcome and serve a diverse audience.

“Yawkey Foundation recognizes that delivering educational and access support materials in the languages that families speak at home is an essential step in our work to expand access to the Museum’s learning experiences and resources,” said Discovery Museum CEO Neil Gordon. “Ten percent of Massachusetts schoolchildren are English Language Learners, with a language other than English spoken in their homes. That’s more than 95,000 kids—plus their families—that the Foundation is helping us reach. Yawkey Foundation’s longstanding support of children and families and belief in the Museum’s impact will jump-start our work to make educational materials, parent information, at-home STEAM activities, and more available in the languages most represented in the 300 cities and towns we serve.”

Materials to be translated include pre- and post-workshop student activity guides for the Museum’s in-school STEM programs; museum exhibit guides, sensory guides for children with special needs, field trip chaperone materials, and at-home STEAM activity resources for families. Different content pieces will be translated into languages most impactful for their reach, including Haitian Creole, Khmer, Portuguese, Arabic, Russian, Hindi, Spanish, Vietnamese, and Chinese (Traditional).  The Museum’s website, already equipped with Google Translate functionality, is being enhanced to allow visitors to select their desired language for downloadable materials.

Local Students named to Fall 2021 Dean's List at Saint Michael's College

ACTON/MAYNARD: The following students were named to the Dean's List at Saint Michael's College for the Fall 2021 semester.
  • Danielle Butler, a senior biology major from Acton and a graduate of Acton Boxborough Regional High School.
  • Daniel Armstrong, a junior criminology major from Acton and a graduate of Acton Boxborough Regional High School.
  • Matthew Wilkins, a senior history / secondary education major from Maynard and a graduate of Maynard High School.
Saint Michael's College, founded in the great Catholic intellectual tradition, which also recognizes the principles of social justice and compassion, is a selective, fully residential Catholic college in Vermont's beautiful Green Mountains. Our closely connected community delivers internationally-respected liberal arts and graduate education near Burlington, one of the country's best college towns. To prepare for fulfilling careers and meaningful lives, young adults here grow intellectually, socially, and morally, learning to be responsible for themselves, each other and their world.

Acton Center ‘Bugles’ Memorial Service February 6

ACTON: This month’s ‘Bugles Across America’ memorial service will take place at 5pm on Sunday, February 6 at Acton Center. This is a short memorial (15-20 min) to those that served and paid the ultimate price for their service to our country defending freedom. The service consists of the Pledge, a few words from one or more in attendance and the live playing of “Taps”. For more information, contact Dave 781-775-9922.

Acton-Boxborough United Way Receives 3-Year Grant from Emerson Hospital to Advance Community-Based Mental Health Resilience

ACTON/BOXBOROUGH: Acton-Boxborough United Way has been awarded $64,000 from Emerson Hospital to implement its three-year Community Mental Health Resilience Plan. 

Acton-Boxborough United Way envisions a community where residents recognize the importance of prioritizing mental health, know where to turn for resources, and enjoy regular programming to promote well-being among all neighbors.

Developed in the spring of 2021, Acton-Boxborough United Way’s 3-Year Strategic Roadmap, Thrive2024, names mental health as one of its key priorities. Acton-Boxborough United Way will convene a Mental Health Collaborative to undertake a community-centric Assessment focused on resilience and to conduct an innovative, free “21-Day Mental Health Challenge”. With the support of a grant from Emerson, each of the three project components - Collaborative, Assessment, and Challenge -  will be scalable across Middlesex County. 

To continue its focus on expanding access to mental health care for the community, Emerson Hospital named three local grant recipients to address the needs of residents in its service area. In addition to Acton-Boxborough United Way, Elder Services of Merrimack Valley-North Shore and First Connections will receive funds from Emerson over the next three years to improve the accessibility of mental health services for residents. The recipients collectively represent the entire life span and were chosen among 18 applicants from a request for proposal process held during the Fall 2021. 

Mental health care was identified as a critical need across all ages, income levels, and racial/ethnic groups in Emerson’s most recent Community Health Needs Assessment (www.emersonhospital.org/chna). “The pandemic significantly exacerbated the need for mental health support for people of all ages. Core to our mission of providing care to residents in our community, we are pleased to partner with these innovative organizations to make mental health care more accessible to all,” said Christine Schuster, RN, MBA, President and CEO, Emerson Hospital. 

Funding for the grants is stipulated by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health based on the capital investment of Emerson’s new Digestive Health Center that is expected to open this Spring. For more information, please visit www.emersonhospital.org/community-programs. For mental health resources in the community, visit www.emersonhospital.org/mentalhealthresources

Northeastern University Announces Fall Semester 2021 Dean's List

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ACTON/MAYNARD: Northeastern University is pleased to recognize those students who distinguish themselves academically during the course of the school year. The following local students were recently named to the University's dean's list for the Fall semester, which ended in December 2021.

* Acton resident Soumili Dey, majoring in Cell and Molecular Biology.
* Acton resident Julia Luisa Lee, majoring in English/ Theatre.
* Acton resident Hudson Gore, majoring in Business Administration.
* Acton resident Niraagi Shah, majoring in Business Administration.
* Acton resident Caitlin Laska, majoring in Health Science.
* Acton resident Isabel Maas, majoring in Health Science/Psychology.
* Acton resident Kevin Zheng, majoring in Comp Sci/Business Admin.
* Acton resident Victor Sun, majoring in Cybersecurity.
* Acton resident Rohini Jangi, majoring in Computer Science.
* Acton resident Jasmine Lai, majoring in Computer Science.
* Acton resident Anne Fu, majoring in Bioengineering.
* Acton resident Annika Maas, majoring in Bioengineering.
* Acton resident Jacqueline Sater, majoring in Undeclared.
* Acton resident Thiviyan Satheesh, majoring in Behavioral Neuroscience.
* Acton resident Halley Friedman, majoring in Biology.
* Acton resident Olivia Maas, majoring in Biology.
* Acton resident David Song, majoring in Biology.
* Acton resident Somya Prabhakar, majoring in Comp Sci/Business Admin. In addition to achieving distinction through the dean's list, Prabhakar is a member of the University Honors Program.
* Acton resident Owen Simpson, majoring in Computer Science/Biology. In addition to achieving distinction through the dean's list, Simpson is a member of the University Honors Program.
* Acton resident Satwik Misra, majoring in Computer Science. In addition to achieving distinction through the dean's list, Misra is a member of the University Honors Program.
* Acton resident Anmol Sakarda, majoring in Computer Science. In addition to achieving distinction through the dean's list, Sakarda is a member of the University Honors Program.
* Acton resident Joshua Chun, majoring in Biochemistry. In addition to achieving distinction through the dean's list, Chun is a member of the University Honors Program.
* Acton resident Devin Brown, majoring in Mathematics. In addition to achieving distinction through the dean's list, Brown is a member of the University Honors Program.

* Maynard resident Alyssa Barilone, majoring in Undeclared.
* Maynard resident Hazelyn Aroian, majoring in Computer Science/Linguistics. In addition to achieving distinction through the dean's list, Aroian is a member of the University Honors Program.
* Maynard resident Hannah Carlisle, majoring in Chemistry. In addition to achieving distinction through the dean's list, Carlisle is a member of the University Honors Program.

To achieve the dean's list distinction, students must carry a full program of at least four courses, have a quality point average of 3.5 or greater out of a possible 4.0 and carry no single grade lower than a C- during the course of their college career. Each student receives a letter of commendation and congratulation from their college dean.  The University Honors Program offers high caliber students the chance to further hone their studies and interests, live in special interest residential communities, participate in enriched, interdisciplinary courses, and engage in research and creative endeavors, service, and global experiences. Invitation into the University Honors Program is highly competitive and students must maintain a high GPA to maintain membership.
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Pre-order Period for At-home Covid-19 Tests Has Begun

The Biden Administration is offering free rapid tests to all residents in the United States. The pre-order period for the at-home COVID-19 tests via www.covidtests.gov has begun. Every household in the U.S. is eligible to order four free at-home COVID-19 tests. The tests are completely free and will usually ship in 7-12 days. Please visit www.covidtests.gov to submit an order and learn more.

Massachusetts Circuit Breaker Tax Credit for Seniors

ACTON: As a senior citizen, you may be eligible for the Massachusetts Circuit Breaker tax credit on your Massachusetts income tax return – even if you don’t otherwise owe taxes or need to file an income tax return. Homeowners may be eligible for a tax refund of up to $1,170 if your real estate taxes paid in 2021 plus half of your water/sewer payments exceed 10% of your total income from all sources. Renters may be eligible for a tax refund if rent payments in 2021 exceed 40% of total income from all sources.
The tax credit is available to Massachusetts residents age 65 or older with total income from all sources is $62,000 or less if single and $93,000 or less if married. It is not available to those who received subsidized rent such as from a housing authority or those who are dependents of another taxpayer. Special rules apply for those who houses are in trusts. For full details of eligibility requirements and program rules visit www.mass.gov/service-details/senior-circuit-breaker-tax-credit.
Free tax preparation assistance is available at from IRS-certified volunteers through the AARP Tax-Aide program. You can check with your local senior center or, for appointments at the Maynard Public Library, please call (978) 760-9146 seven days a week.

A Talk: The State of Our Local Economy—How to Optimize Today’s Opportunities

ACTON: On February 3 from Noon to 1pm, attend a very special Middlesex West Chamber of Commerce virtual Lunch ‘n Learn. Network with members and join an exclusive event featuring a talk by Acton’s new Director of Economic Development, Julie Pierce Onos.  Pregistration required at www.mwcoc.com (events page). Valentine’s Day is coming—Love Local! The first twenty members to register receive a complimentary (and delicious) bag of Valentine’s treats, courtesy of local Chamber sponsors. Members: free, Future members: $20. 978-263-0010.

Greater Lowell Community Foundation Seeks Request for Proposals for 2022 Discretionary Grant Cycles & Nashoba Valley Healthcare Fund

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LOWELL: The Greater Lowell Community Foundation will open its 2022 Nashoba Valley Healthcare Fund and Discretionary Grant Cycles on February 2 and is seeking requests for proposals from nonprofit organizations. The Foundation will award $160,000 through the Discretionary Grant Cycle. Funding areas for 2022 include children’s services, elder services and racial equity/inclusion.

Non-profit organizations serving the communities of Acton, Ashby, Ayer, Bedford, Billerica, Burlington, Carlisle, Chelmsford, Concord, Dracut, Dunstable, Groton, Littleton, Lowell, Pepperell, Shirley, Tewksbury, Townsend, Tyngsboro, Westford, and Wilmington are invited to apply.

Additionally, GLCF will open its 2022 Nashoba Valley Healthcare Fund Cycle on February 2. The foundation seeks requests for proposals from non-profit organizations supporting the advancement of community health of residents in the following GLCF communities: Ashby, Ayer, Dunstable, Groton, Littleton, Pepperell, Shirley, Townsend, and Westford. The Foundation will award $80,000 through this grant program.

Nashoba Valley Healthcare Fund Cycle grant awards will range from $5,000 up to $20,000; however, larger scale collaborative projects that are more than $20,000 will be considered if the funding request is justified by the impact of the project. Of particular interest are proposals that address systemic issues like (but not limited to) addiction/ substance abuse, domestic violence, food insecurity, mental health, suicide screening and prevention, obesity, racial equity and inclusion and other specific issues as indicated by community needs.

Grant applications for both grant opportunities must be submitted by noon on March 4, 2022. Grant recipients will be announced in May. More information is available on the foundation’s website: www.glcfoundation.org.

For more information about the grant process, contact Sharon, GLCF Grants Coordinator with any questions at sharon@glcfoundation.org.

Established in 1997, the Greater Lowell Community Foundation (GLCF) is a philanthropic organization comprised of more than 390 funds dedicated to improving the quality of life in 21 neighboring cities and towns. With financial assets of more than $55 million, GLCF annually awards grants and scholarships to hundreds of worthy nonprofits and students. It is powered by the winning combination of donor-directed giving, personal attention from Foundation staff, and an in-depth understanding of local needs. The generosity of our donors has enabled the Community Foundation to award more than $25 million to the Greater Lowell community.

PHOTO: Catie’s Closet, Inc. received a past Discretionary Children’s Grant to support their Lowell program. Pictured, Catie’s Closet volunteers with special request bags packed with urgently needed items for children.

Boxborough Democrats to Hold Caucus, Elect Delegates to State Convention

BOXBOROUGH: Boxborough Democrats will hold their annual caucus on Thursday, February 10 at 6pm to elect three delegates (plus one ex-officio) and three alternates to the 2022 Massachusetts Democratic Convention. The caucus will be held virtually via Zoom. To register, go to https://tinyurl.com/3nurkdpw, visit www.boxboroughdems.org, or facebook.com/BoxboroughDTC.

All Boxborough registered and pre-registered Democrats are eligible to participate. Pre-registered Democrats who are 16 by February 4 are eligible to run and be elected as delegates. Those not elected as a Delegate or Alternate, but who meet the qualifications, may apply to be add-on delegates in the following categories: youth, minority, disabled. Delegates and alternates from across the state will gather at the convention for the purpose of endorsing candidates for statewide office and unite to elect Democrats down the ballot in November 2022. The Convention will be held on Saturday, June 4 at the DCU Center in Worcester. Elected delegates will be divided equally between men and women. Candidates whose gender identity is non-binary can run without needing to classify as either male or female.

Discrimination on the basis of race, sex, age, color, creed, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, ethnic identity, economic status, or disability in the conduct of the caucus is strictly prohibited. Challenges to the delegate selection process can be filed with the Massachusetts Democratic Party, 11 Beacon Street, Suite 410, Boston, MA 02108 no later than ten days after the caucus date. For additional information, please contact Abby Reip, Chair of the Boxborough Democratic Town Committee at abbyreip@gmail.com or 978-490-5343.

Virtual Speaker Series Schedule Announced; Series Kicks Off with Chris Singleton

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ACTON: Discovery Museum kicks off the 10th year of its Discovery Museum Speaker Series with Chris Singleton, inspirational speaker and children’s book author, speaking on “Unity in Our Communities: Empowering Kids and Communities to Put Human Dignity First.” The event will be held virtually via Zoom webinar on Wednesday, February 16 from 7-8:30pm. Registration for this event and the entire 2022 series is open now at http://bit.ly/DMSpeakerSeries. All events will be virtual.

Singleton will share his expertise on how communities in both big cities and small towns can be united and explain the differences between listening to argue a point versus listening to understand perspectives. Whether they agree with their counterparts or not, the audience will be equipped with a different perspective on privilege and racism and receive key takeaways they can use in their everyday life to be more empathetic. Singleton’s heart-warming story of how love conquers hate will leave the audience inspired to be the change that they wish to see in the world.

Chris Singleton is a former professional athlete drafted by the Chicago Cubs in 2017. Following the loss of his mother in a racially motivated mass shooting, Chris has now become an inspirational speaker and best-selling author who has shared his message of unity and racial reconciliation with clients such as: Microsoft, Biogen, Houston Texans, and Washington Wizards, sharing with over 50 organizations and more than 30,000 students annually. Singleton is the author of two children’s books: Your Life Matters and Different: A Story About Loving Your Neighbor, both of which may be purchased locally at The Silver Unicorn Bookstore in Acton.
Full 2022 Schedule

Registration for all events is open now on the Museum’s website at http://bit.ly/DMSpeakerSeries.

Wednesday, February 16 | “Unity in Our Communities: Empowering Kids and Communities to Put Human Dignity First,” with Chris Singleton, inspirational speaker and children’s book author.

Thursday, March 24 | “The Power of Play: How to Help Children Buffer Stress and Become More Resilient,” with Dr. Michael Yogman, pediatrician, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School.

Wednesday, April 27 | “Helping Kids Understand Climate Change and How to Make a Difference,” with children’s book authors Stacy Clark and Christy Mihaly.

Thursday, September 22 | “Playgrounds vs. Playpens: Coding, Computational Thinking, and Robotics in Early Childhood,” with Marina Umaschi Bers, PhD, Professor, Tufts University, Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study and Human Development; Secondary Appointment, Department of Computer Sciences.

Wednesday, November 16 | “The Art of Storytelling,” with Joseph Sarosy and Silke Rose West, authors of "How to Tell Stories to Children.”

Celebrating the Beauty of Living in the Moment: Accompanying Persons Living with Alzheimer’s

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BOXBOROUGH: UCC Boxborough invites you to worship on Sunday, February 13 at 9:30am via Zoom for a special service with guest preacher Rev. Jade Angelica. For the Zoom link, visit the church website at http://boxoboroughucc.org or contact the church office at boxborochurch@verizon.net.

Alzheimer’s is a mysterious and misunderstood disease, and as such can cause confusion and fear for those diagnosed as well as their families and society. This service offers information and inspiration that can lead to spiritual awakening and healing as we all navigate the unknown and choppy waters of life with Alzheimer’s. For those caring for and about persons with Alzheimer’s, this service can open hearts to embracing possibilities - that all is not lost, and that joy and connections and relationships can grow and flourish.

Rev. Dr. Jade Angelica has been a practicing minister since 1992. Her education and training include a Masters of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School and a Doctorate in Ministry from the Newton-Andover Theological School. She has offered presentations for dementia caregivers throughout the country.  However, Jade’s most important and most rewarding ministry, to date, has been caring for her mother, Jeanne, who died from Alzheimer’s in 2011.

“Celebrating the Beauty of Living in the Moment” offers hope and consolation to those who accompany loved ones through the journey of diminishing capacities. Lives of family members and friends with Alzheimer's and dementia will be honored and remembered. Following worship will be a time for questions and discussion.

Domestic Violence Roundtable Collects Valentine Donations for Families in Shelter

2018 roundtable valentines day bags decorated by children at sudbury extended day
SUDBURY: Each February, the Sudbury-Wayland-Lincoln Domestic Violence Roundtable collects items for Valentine’s Day and fills gift bags for women, men and children temporarily living in local domestic violence shelters and transitional housing programs: REACH Beyond Domestic Violence, The Second Step, and Voices Against Violence. The Valentine Bags are decorated by the children from Sudbury Extended Day.

Members of local communities are cordially invited to participate in this collection again this year. Donations are welcome, but due to Covid 19 restrictions and social distancing, donors will not be assembling the gift bags. However, this is still a great opportunity for civic organizations, workplaces, families, friends and neighbors to contribute to the Roundtable collection and to help make lives brighter for families affected by domestic violence. Small acts of kindness like the gift bags let families know they are supported in their decision to leave an abusive situation and brighten their day. These gestures are especially appreciated during the pandemic.

Some examples of needed items are gift cards for CVS, Target, Market Basket, Gas etc. For mothers and teens some items would include full size bath products, fuzzy socks, cosmetics, nail polish, hair products, journals, etc. Items for children could include playing cards, art supplies, small toys, small stuffed animals, matchbox cars, and educational items. Baby items may include toys, rattles, baby cups, baby socks, bibs, and baby body products.

In past years the Roundtable has provided as many as 125 bags for families in shelter and transitional housing. If you are interested in contributing to the Valentine’s Day collection and have questions, please contact the Roundtable at info@dvrt.org. Donations may be left in the collection baskets provided at Sudbury Wine and Spirits in the Rugged Bear Plaza Road, 410 Boston Post Road, Sudbury or at Maynard Spirits, (near Market Basket) 4 Digital Way, Suite 3, Maynard. The collections will start on January 22 and end on February 5.

Artists Opportunity: Acton Memorial Library Meeting Room Gallery One-Person Shows

ACTON: The Arts Committee of the Acton Memorial LIbrary invites Massachusetts artists to submit work for consideration for upcoming exhibitions in the Meeting Room Gallery. The Committee will review work for one person shows and will set the schedule for July 2022 - September 2023. Various media including painting, drawing, printmaking, illustration, photography, textiles and mixed media are eligible. Sculptural work will be considered for exhibit on the second floor of the library.

All work should have been created within the last five years. All applications must be submitted through Google Forms Online. A Google account is required to complete your submission and can be setup for free if you do not already have one. The submission form is at https://forms.gle/i8mMYLBr7xQFqXoT6. Your completed submission should include up to 10 digital images; an image list with title, media and dimensions; an Artist’s statement; and your resume. Deadline for submissions: March 1, 2022. Questions? - 978-929-6655; www.actonmemoriallibrary.org.

Literacy & Fine Motor Skills for Kindergarten Zoom Seminar at First Connections

ACTON: First Connections welcomes Dr. Sharon Ryan, Pre-K-2 Literacy & Social Studies Curriculum Coordinator for Acton-Boxborough Schools, who will discuss the kinds of activities that families can enjoy together to nurture young children's literacy and fine-motor development in preparation for transitioning to kindergarten.
A packet of information which includes a rhyming book that Sharon will use during the presentation, and fine-motor development tools such as playdoh, scissors, bead stringing, clothespin pickup activities, and pencil control practice will be available for pickup at First Connections in Acton during the 10 days prior to the program. This program is free and will take place on Tuesday, February 8 at 9:30am via zoom. To join the discussion, email lmatthews@jri.org with your name and town. The program is not specific to Acton-Boxboro - it is appropriate for families with 3-5 year olds in any town.

Discovery Museum Announces 2022 Series of Free Events for Families of Children with Disabilities

ACTON: Discovery Museum announced its full 2022 schedule for the Especially for Me series of free events for families with children with an autism spectrum disorder, sensory disorders, or hearing or vision loss. The first event of the year, an Autism-Friendly Evening, will be held this Saturday, January 15, 5pm to 8pm. Space is limited and advance registration is required at www.discoveryacton.org/event/autism-friendly-evening-13.

This is the 12th year of the popular program series that offers families an opportunity to play together when the Museum is closed to the public and capacity is limited in order to improve access. Because admission is free, families may come and go based on their child’s needs without concern for cost. Parents also have the chance to meet other families in similar circumstances, thereby reducing feelings of isolation often described by families dealing with special needs. A medical diagnosis is not required to attend, and mask exemptions can be requested in advance.

Discovery Museum is ADA-compliant and all exhibits are accessible, designed according to Universal Design principles to be both aesthetically pleasing and usable by the widest possible range of people, without regard to age or ability. Special resources are available to families including noise-reducing headphones, audio-description devices, a sensory guide to the Museum, sensory-based programming, and American Sign Language (ASL) language facilitators. Additionally, dinner, including a gluten-free option, is provided at all evening events.

All Especially for Me events are free to attend for all family members, but preregistration is required. Dates and available registration links can be found online at http://bit.ly/EspeciallyforMe.

2022 Event Schedule

Mornings for Families of Deaf, Hard of Hearing, & KODA Infants and Toddlers (closed to the public):
Mondays 9:30am-12:30pm | March 7, October 17

Sensory-Friendly Afternoons (open to the public, but no school groups or birthday parties scheduled):
Tuesdays 1:30-4:30pm | February 1, March 1, April 5, May 3, June 7, October 4, November 1, December 6

Evenings for Families with Deaf, Hard of Hearing, & KODA Children (closed to the public):
Saturdays 5-8pm | February 5, April 9, June 11, September 10.

Visually Impaired Family Evenings (closed to the public):
Saturdays 5-8pm | May 7, October 1

Autism-Friendly Evenings (closed to the public):
Saturdays 5-8pm | January 15, March 19, April 30, May 21, September 24, November 12, December 10

All-Access Evenings (closed to the public):
Saturdays 5-8pm | March 5, October 22

Autism-friendly events are offered in conjunction with Autism Alliance of MetroWest; events for children with hearing loss are offered in conjunction with the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program at Boston Children’s Hospital.

Especially for Me is part of the museum’s Open Door Connections program to provide opportunities for those who face a variety of barriers---financial, developmental, or cultural---to experience the Museum.

Discovery Museum is a hands-on museum that blends science, nature, and play, inspiring families to explore and learn together. The museum and its Discovery Woods accessible outdoor nature playscape and 550sf treehouse blend the best of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) learning on a beautiful 4.5-acre campus abutting 180 acres of conservation land in Acton, MA, about 20 miles west of Boston. Originally founded in 1982 and expanded to two museums in 1987, the museum reopened in a single, 16,000sf accessible building after a complete renovation and expansion in early 2018. Hands-on, open-ended exhibits developed by professional educators inspire curiosity and exploration, providing a fun and engaging experience for children and adults to discover their world together. Serving families and schools from towns throughout the region, the museum is devoted to informal education that enhances classroom learning. Discovery Museum is committed to accessibility and is a proud recipient of the 2017 Massachusetts Commonwealth Award, the only winner in the Access category, and a 2018 LEAD® Community Asset Award from The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. For more information please visit www.discoveryacton.org. Discovery Museum is a community-supported non-profit organization.

Town of Boxborough’s Annual WinterFest at Steele Farm January 29

BOXBOROUGH: The Boxborough Recreation Commission invites you to enjoy the annual Boxborough WinterFest on Saturday, January 29, 2022 (rain date on Sunday, January 30), celebrating the season at Steele Farm on Middle Road from 1pm to 4pm.  Warm up with friends and neighbors around the bonfire, listen to great music and try your hand (and feet) at a human foosball game for all ages.

Snacks will be available for purchase from Supa Dupa food truck featuring BBQ sandwiches, quesadillas, and tacos. Two Friends Chocolates, a Boxborough chocolate company will show how chocolate making is an art. A local, hard cider company, Pony Shack Cider, Inc. will also be on hand for purchase of hard cider for all adults. True West will be serving their famous beer and The Boxborough Regency will be providing their world-famous warm chocolate chip cookies and mulled cider and wine for purchase. The local 4th grade Girl Scout troop will also be on hand to sell Girl Scout cookies.

Be sure to bring your sleds to see how far you can make it down the hill with friends and family. Feel free to enjoy the day as well by hiking through beautiful conservation trails at Steele Farm.

Children can enjoy special activities from the Taylor School in Boxborough and the Acton Boxborough Family Network. The Boxborough Historical Commission will also be present to showcase some of the historical farming tools and the icehouse to show how ice was made and stored back in the day. Say hi to your neighbors and participate in all that winter has to offer in beautiful Boxborough!

The Boxborough Minutemen Company Wants You!

BOXBOROUGH: The Boxborough Company of Minutemen will hold a Company meeting on Sunday, January 16 at 8pm. The Company is open to anyone of least 18 years of age who is interested in service to the Town and/or perpetuating the memory of the Minutemen of 1775. Members may participate in any number of the Company's activities including marching in parades, organizing the annual Fifer's Day town festival, performing seasonal clean-ups on Route 111, sponsoring the Boy and Cub Scouts, providing volunteers to the Blanchard School and other service organizations, and participating in our various social functions. The Company also provides financial support to a variety of service organizations and sponsors a number of annual scholarships to Boxborough students who are continuing their education after high school.
Both old and new residents of the town are welcome to come and make new connections with others in town.

For information, contact Captain Dave Bull at
captain@boxboroughminutemen.org, 978-263-5607, or visit www.boxboroughminutemen.org.

Free Virtual Support Group for Parents of One Year Olds

ACTON: First Connections is offering a free 6-week virtual support group for parents of 12-24-month babies. The group will meet on Thursdays from 11:30-1 over zoom from January 13 to February 17. During this ongoing pandemic, 43% of new parents experienced post-traumatic stress, and 31% experienced anxiety/depression. Recovery takes time. Connection and support are essential for recovery. Your weekly participation will enhance the benefit of the group and we ask that you attend most if not all sessions, which include: Practicing Mindfulness, The Impact of Gratitude, Healthy Communication, Prioritizing Self-Care, Sharing Resources, and Building Community.

This group will be facilitated by Heather O'Brien, LICSW, Certif. Infant-Parent Mental Health. Parents of every culture, age, income level, gender identity, race and ability can develop perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. A diagnosis is not required to participate in this group. Single, partnered or married parents, adoptive and biological parents, and parents of first or subsequent babies are all welcome. This group is able to be offered free of charge due to funding from Mass. Dept. Early Education and Care, Emerson Hospital, Acton-Boxboro United Way, Concord-Carlisle Community Chest, Sage Therapeutics, Nordblum Family Foundation and the Mass. PPD Fund. To register, email Heather at hobrien@jri.org. For more information on New Moms and New Dads Groups, go to www.firstconnections.org

Commonwealth of Massachusetts Winter Advisory Regarding Face Coverings

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This Advisory has been updated as of December 21,  2021.

COVID-19 vaccines and vaccine boosters are highly effective at protecting against serious illness, hospitalization and death and every individual who is eligible and works, studies or resides in Massachusetts is strongly urged to get vaccinated and boosted. The Department of Public Health urges all eligible residents to get vaccinated against COVID-19 because vaccination provides the most effective protection from severe illness associated with COVID-19.

In response to the spread of the Delta variant and the emerging Omicron variant, the Department of Public Health now advises that all residents, regardless of vaccination status, wear a mask or face covering when indoors (and not in your own home). The DPH particularly urges this recommendation if you have a weakened immune system, or if you are at increased risk for severe disease because of your age or an underlying medical condition, or if someone in your household has a weakened immune system, is at increased risk for severe disease, or is unvaccinated.

Your primary care physician can advise you whether you are at increased risk.  Information from the Centers for Disease Control regarding the conditions that may put you at increased risk can be found at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/people-with-medical-conditions.html.

All people in Massachusetts (regardless of vaccination status) are required to continue wearing face coverings in certain settings, including transportation and health care facilities.  Please see www.mass.gov/maskrules for a complete list of venues where face coverings have remained mandatory since May 29, 2021.

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s current mask requirement and Policy on Vaccination Rate Threshold issued on September 27th, 2021 is not impacted by this advisory.  As a result of the most comprehensive and robust school testing program in the country, with 99% of public, collaborative and charter districts enrolled, Massachusetts elementary and secondary schools remain open and safe for children and youth to engage in learning, with over 325,000 school days saved. Only schools who can demonstrate they have high vaccination rates of over 80% of all individuals vaccinated are able to remove masks for vaccinated individuals upon a written attestation.
For individuals who are not fully vaccinated, it is especially important that you wear a face covering or mask any time you are indoors and not in your own home to reduce the chance that you may spread COVID-19 to other people. People who show no symptoms of illness may still be able to spread COVID-19.

An individual is fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose in a two-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine. However, if a fully vaccinated individual becomes symptomatic, they should be tested and wear a mask until receiving test results.
When you wear a face covering or cloth mask, it should:
  • Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face,
  • Be secured with ties or ear loops,
  • Include multiple layers of fabric,
  • Allow for breathing without restriction, and
  • Be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape.

For more information, please refer to the CDC at: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vaccinated-guidance.html
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New Exhibit: Lola Chaisson's “Straits of Magellan” Opens January 5, 2022 at 6 Bridges Gallery

MAYNARD: 6 Bridges Gallery presents “Straits of Magellan,” paintings by Lola Chaisson. The exhibit will be on view from January 5 through February 12, 2022. It will also be hosted online at http://6bridges.gallery. An artist’s reception will be held on Saturday, January 8 from 1-3pm. 

Lola Chaisson invites you to journey to the southern tip of South America through this exhibit of paintings. From sketches, photos and memories, local artist Lola Chaisson has captured the spirit of a voyage taken shortly before the pandemic. "Rather than focus on being 'stuck at home' I picked up my brushes and looked back to the open vistas where mountains stretched up to the clouds and down to the sea. In my mind switching the view of my living room back to the views along the passage from Punta Arenas to Ushuaia via Cape Horn." the artist reports.

A sense of motion is captured by the horizontal format of many of the paintings, you can imagine floating past peaks and distant waterfalls. Occasionally the movement is interrupted by stops to consider closely orchids, birds or glaciers. Over or near the top edges are the coordinates, and notes have been added to the labels about what drew Chaisson to the particular view. Often after a trip there are intentions to organize  thoughts and fill gaps in journals but life intervenes, however this time the pandemic stoppage presented time to reflect and paint.

"When I paint," says Chaisson " I am often enthralled with the first stroke or two on the canvas. As tempted as I am, I can't stop myself there. Angles, shapes, colors and more and more detail flow in and build to record very specific moments. When I'm successful, the spirit of that first line survives in the finished work."

With the pandemic still constraining our wanderlust, it feels good these days to think of faraway species and lands. An astronomer by training, Lola Chaisson feels fortunate to have had James Rayen as a drawing and painting professor while at Wellesley College. With a studio at ArtSpace Maynard, grown children and, in recent years, no more day job she has felt fortunate to be able to focus more on her art work.

A Concord resident for many years, she has maintained a studio in Maynard and enjoys the community that provides. However due to the pandemic and construction she is trying to paint at home where distractions abound. For the most part she works in acrylics, loving everything about them except their hard to spell name. In summer she heads north along the coast and paints the view from her kayak. A member of Concord Art Association, Arts Wayland and Newburyport Art Association you can often see her work in area shows.

She has also had shows or works in shows at Pine Manor College, The Brush Gallery Lowell, Serendipity Cafe Maynard, Gallery  Twist, Worcester State University, 6 Bridges Gallery Maynard, Mass Audubon at Moose Hill, Post Road Art Center, the Concord Free Public Library, the Maynard Library, Harvard’s Cabot Library, and the Massachusetts State House. More of her work can be found at   www.lolachaisson.com or on Instagram @Lola.Chai.

For more information about the exhibit, please visit http://6Bridges.Gallery, Facebook and Instagram.

6 Bridges Gallery was established in 2014 by a group of artists to create a retail and display gallery in the heart of downtown Maynard, Massachusetts. The ever-changing work in our gallery includes a diverse range of media and artistic styles. All of our artisans are local; many - including our founding members - are residents of the ArtSpace Maynard studios. Our gallery is owned and operated by our artists, so there is a unique opportunity to meet one or more of them on any given day.

Maynard Community Band Presents 32nd Annual “A Christmas Pops”

MAYNARD: The Maynard Community Band (MCB) presents its 32nd annual "A Christmas Pops" on Sunday, December 19 at 5 pm, in Sanctuary, 82 Main Street. This annual holiday concert has become a growing tradition for the town of Maynard.  Join in celebration of the holiday season as the MCB and Conductor Michael Karpeichik present their 32nd annual holiday concert.

The MCB is the longest standing tradition in the town, with continual performances since 1947.  The community concert band is a non-professional musical ensemble comprised of musicians from Maynard and its’ surrounding communities who demonstrate strong interests in playing music in a purposeful but non-stressful atmosphere.

The MCB performs summer concerts every Wednesday evening throughout the months of June, July and August.  Additionally the MCB has performed for local telethons, various private events as well as performances outside the town of Maynard.

Whether this is your first time or a returning fan, you’ll be inspired by our time honored program for the young and young at heart.  Sit back, relax and listen to the musical sounds of the season.  Try to stay in your seats through “Bugler’s Holiday”.  Then recall “A Visit from St Nicholas” more commonly known as “’Twas the Night Before Christmas”.  Once the presents have all been left, climb aboard a “Sleigh Ride” and recount the miracle through Kaylee Rodgers interpretation of the holiday version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”.  Then once again remembering “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”, end with “Wishing you a Mambo Christmas”.  Weather permitting you may even get a visit from Santa himself.

This concert has become an annual event in town and always proves to be an entertaining and memorable experience...and it’s FREE!  Go early and stay for the main event as the MCB Holiday Concerts have become standing room only by downbeat time.  Doors open at 4pm.  Cash bar open.

For the safety of the audience, staff and MCB you must provide ID and proof that you are fully vaccinated (two weeks after your last vaccination dose) or, have proof that a negative Covid test result was received from a certified medical facility within 72 hours of the event. Sanctuary no longer accepts over-the-counter self-test results.  In addition, audience, staff and MCB are required to wear a mask while in the building.  

For those unable to attend or wanting to view the concert from home, it will be LIVE streamed at: www.facebook.com/events/656773792358330/  and 

Troop 284/Troop 1 Acton - Holiday Tree Fundraiser

ACTON: Boy Scout Troop 284 and Troop 1 had such a successful holiday tree pick up fundraiser last year that the two troops have decided to do it again! This time around, they are including collecting trees from ACTON and BOXBOROUGH residents. Tree pick-ups will take place on Saturdays, January 8 and 15. The money raised will help to fund campouts, merit badge workshops, camp, the upkeep of camping gear, and high adventure trips for scouts. Your contactless tree removal can be scheduled at www.ActonBSA.org for a recommended donation of $20, or call at 978-795-4225. For your convenience you can either write a check made out to Troop 284 Acton and leave it with your tree or feel free to use Paypal! Sign up for your tree pick-up using the QR code herein.

Boxborough Minutemen Tree Pickup: January 8, 2022

BOXBOROUGH: The Boxborough Minutemen will once again be collecting and (with help from the Boxborough DPW) disposing of Christmas trees from Boxborough residents after the holidays this year on Saturday, January 8, 2022.  Online sign up forms will be on the Boxborough Minuteman website at https://boxboroughminutemen.org/christmas-tree-pickup after December 18. Hard copy sign up forms are also expected to be available around the same time at the Town Hall if you prefer to mail in your form.  The cost for pickup is $11 if you sign up and pay on the Minuteman website (deadline for signup and payment online is January 2) and  $10 if  you mail in your form and check (deadline for mail in forms and payment is January 2).  If you prefer not to sign up for tree pickup, you can also deliver your tree for disposal to the “old” Boxborough DPW facility located at 577 Mass Ave (Rte. 111) on Saturday, January 8 between 10am and 2pm. A disposal fee of $5 will be collected on site when you drop off your tree. If there are questions please email captain@boxboroughminutemen.org.

Acton Area Youth to Help Acton Residents Dispose of Christmas Trees after Christmas 

ACTON: For the 18th year, the youth of the Acton Congregation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will be collecting and disposing of Christmas trees in Acton to raise money for youth summer activities. This annual fundraiser helps  defray the costs for their summer camp and outdoor adventure activities. The boys and girls will be picking up trees on Saturday, January 1 and Saturday, January 8. The suggested donation is $15. If you would like to have them pick up your Christmas tree, please visit http://treepickup.blogspot.com, email treepickup2008@gmail.com, or call/text 978-272-2063 to make arrangements.

Nashoba Valley Neighbors Club Holiday Lunch at Tavern in the Square, The Point

LITTLETON: Nashoba Valley Neighbors will host its monthly “Lunch Bunch” gathering at 12:30pm on Thursday, December 16 at Tavern  in the Square. Members and guests are welcome to this “Dutch Treat” affair for neighborly conversation and enjoyment of a menu of fresh handcrafted foods and homemade cocktails, wines and craft beers.  A group reservation is required so all are asked to RSVP to Info@nashobavalleyneighbors.org on or before Wednesday, December 15.  This is an indoor event, and if you are vaccinated and feel comfortable with indoor dining.

The Nashoba Valley Neighbors Club is a non-profit social organization open to new and established residents from our communities.  Celebrating over 50 years, they were originally known as the Welcome Wagon Newcomers Club of Acton. More recently, they have been known as the Acton-Boxborough Newcomers & Neighbors Club.  Discovering that established residents in our surrounding communities are also looking to explore new interests and to make connections with new friends, we became the Nashoba Valley Neighbors Club in 2014.

The Nashoba Valley Neighbors Club is excited to invite community members to join us in a variety of activities including Men’s Night Out, Ladies’ Night Out, Book Group, Wine Tasting, Lunch Bunch, dining in and out events, and special events to start and finish the membership year.  Visit the Club’s website at www.nashobavalleyneighbors.org for more information on this and other events, as well as information on how to become a member of the Nashoba Valley Neighbors Club.
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Longest Night Service at United Church of Christ

BOXBOROUGH: A Longest Night Service will be held on Wednesday, December 15, 7pm at the United Church of Christ, 723 Massachusetts Avenue. This service will be offered in person, with brief singing, masks for all, and physical distancing. For more information, please see Rev. Cindy.

According to everything Hallmark tells us, this time of year is supposed to be filled with family, celebration, and delightful promise. But for many people the holidays bring up painful memories. Others struggle with the gap between what they see in TV commercials and the experience in their own lives. And in 2021, the ramifications of a lingering global pandemic are making everything harder on everyone. But in the midst of discouragement, frustration, grief and pain there is hope. Sometimes we find that hope in a friend, or a poem, or an early-morning walk; wherever we find it is a Holy place.

Experience Christmas at Mt. Calvary

The king is born
ACTON: Everyone in the community is invited to attend Mt. Calvary Lutheran Church for Christmas Eve services at 4pm and 7pm - “The King’s Christmas: The King is Born!”. Staffed nursery will be available during both services.

First, experience a joyful Christmas Eve service that feels more like first-century shepherds worshipping outdoors. Arrive early (3:40pm) to enjoy seasonal music before the service. This will be a family-friendly outdoor service with Christmas carols, a beautiful Christmas tree, and an oversized Nativity. Children and families come together to celebrate Christmas at a fun, socially distant experience where everyone gets to be an angel, sing carols, and receive a joyful message!

For those who like a warmer worship experience, Mt. Calvary’s spectacular and festive indoor candlelight service will be at 7pm with solo instruments, Joyful Praise Choir, bells and organ. Arrive at 6:30pm for a special pre-service concert in the sanctuary.

Mt. Calvary is located at 472 Massachusetts Avenue. Parking is available off Prospect Street. Handicap parking is available at the Massachusetts Ave. circle drive and the Prospect St. parking lot. Overflow parking is available in the Acton Funeral Home parking lot right next door. For more information, visit mtcalvaryacton.org, call (978) 263-5156, or send an email to info@mtcalvaryacton.org.

Maynard Education Foundation Launches Annual Appeal

MAYNARD: During this season of giving, the Maynard Education Foundation (MEF) is very grateful to the Maynard Public School teachers and staff who go the extra mile to bring new learning opportunities to their classrooms, to our donors and sponsors ~ whose support makes MEF’s grant program possible, and to the volunteers who donate their time and talent to ensure MEF’s success. For over 20 years MEF has been funding grants that benefit Maynard Public School students and staff.  Patron support has resulted in over 225 grants being provided to over 300 staff members and benefiting more than 112,000 Maynard students! This year's goal - to reach a participation goal of 50 families.  
Join MEF in supporting educational excellence by participating their 2021 Annual Appeal.  All donations are appreciated and no amount is too small to make a difference to a Maynard Public School student or staff member! Donations of $100 or more will receive a gift card to one of the 2021 Restaurant Appreciation Week or Taste participants. 
Visit www.maynardeducation.org to donate.
The Maynard Education Foundation is an independent, non-profit 501 ( c ) 3 organization that uses its philanthropic contributions to enhance educational excellence in the Maynard Public Schools by funding ideas and projects which promote and celebrate academic rigor and achievement, excitement about learning and innovation in instruction.

Acton FD SantaRide / Food Drive 2021

ACTON: Santa Claus is coming to town to visit the neighborhoods of Acton on Saturday, December 18 from 9am-3pm. The jolly fellow will ride in a vintage 1936 REO fire truck, escorted by the Acton Fire Department. Be sure to bring your wish list. Santa’s helpers will also collect non-perishable food items for the Acton Food Pantry. Santa’s Itinerary*:

9am - Oakwood Road and Fernwood Road
9:15am - 32 Parker Street, Cucurbit Farm
9:35am - 15 Hillcrest Road
9:50am - Faulkner Hill Road at High Street
10:10am - Robbins Street at Heron View Road
10:30am - Lothrup Road at Spencer
10:45am - Joseph Reed Lane at Capt. Forbush Lane
11:05 - Ethan Allen Drive at Black Horse Drive
11:20am - Duggan Road at Townsend Road
12pm - Nashoba Road at Huron Road
12:15pm - Seneca Road at Seminole Road
12:30pm - 29 Jackson Drive
12:50pm - Musket Drive at Fife & Drum Road
1:10pm - Acton Memorial Library, lower lot
1:30pm - Acorn Park Drive at Walnut Street
1:50pm - 47 Nonset Path (Nagog Woods Post Office)
2:10pm - Nara Park, 25 Ledge Rock Way (Bathhouse)
2:30pm - Bayberry Road at Magnolia Drive
2:45- Hosmer Road at Alcott Street

If your child is unable to meet Santa outside, Mr. Claus will make special visit to your house. To arrange a special visit or to obtain more information, call the Acton Fire Department at 978-264-9648 or email actonl1904@verizon.net.

* Times are subject to change.
* Please note that times and locations have been adjusted to help keep the Jolly old fellow and his elves on schedule.
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A Friend in Need...

ACTON: A Friend in Need (AFIN) is an arm of the South Acton Congregational Church (SACC). It is a small, all-volunteer organization dedicated to offering financial aid to people in need in the Acton/Boxboro/Maynard area. Recently they were contacted by an advocate for a gentleman whose only income is Social Security. He has health issues and fell behind in his rent. His advocate is pursuing additional resources but in the meantime his rent was due.  A Friend in Need was able to help.

A single mom finds she cannot make this month’s rent. She has just gotten a new job and is catching up on her back bills which left her with no funds for rent. Her advocate contacted A Friend in Need and we agreed to provide some financial help.

Usually there is a one-time limit for help given to any family, but due to the economy, AFIN is trying to be a bit more flexible. Their mission is to provide immediate help until the family can receive more substantial aid from other agencies.

Much of AFIN's money comes through pleas published in local newspapers and from generous community residents.  Acton-Boxborough United Way and the Maynard Community Chest also support the organization through grant money. Besides SACC, several other churches support them through their Mission Funds.  Depending on the resources we have on hand, we can usually provide between $300-$500 to those in need.

AFIN will consider helping anyone who is recommended by clergy or social professionals associated with a local agency.  Anyone in urgent need can be considered for financial assistance by going to a member of the clergy or social service representative and asking them to contact A Friend in Need on their behalf. They do not discriminate and will try to help anyone with a genuine need.

The AFIN mailbox is located at the South Acton Congregational Church. Volunteers pay for postage and all other costs, so we are able to give away 100% of the money available. If you would like to make a donation, please send your check to A Friend in Need, c/o South Acton Congregational Church, 35 School St., Acton MA 01720. For information, email afriendinneedacton@gmail.com.

Current Critical Needs at Acton Food Pantry

ACTON: Acton Community Supper and Food Pantry is extremely grateful to the community for their continued support.  For anyone considering donating food items in December, the following are on their "Needs List":  Spam, sardines, corned beef hash, coffee, sugar, canned corn and peas, canned tomato sauce and tomato paste, canned stewed tomatoes, gluten-free bread, boxed rice mixes, laundry detergent, baby diapers (size 6 only), baby wipes, Pull-ups size 4T-5T, women’s size L incontinence briefs. Monetary donations can also be made online at any time at  www.actonfoodpantry.org/funds.

Donate a Dinner Basket or Sponsor a Child to Help Maynard Food Pantry

MAYNARD: As in years past, the Maynard Food Pantry will be helping local families in need during the upcoming holiday season by providing them with dinner baskets and gifts.Donations of dinner baskets and/or gifts from families, organizations, groups and companies will help us accomplish this goal. Suggestions for dinner baskets include a canned ham or fresh ham together with a combination of bagged potatoes, fresh squash, carrots, sweet potatoes, canned or fresh vegetables, apples, oranges, canned pineapple, fruit juice, packaged rolls and packaged desserts.
Those who would like to purchase gifts will be given specific information about a certain child(ren) including ages, sizes and special gift requests.
If you would like to donate one or more of these items or would like additional information, please contact Mary Brannelly at mjtbrannelly@comcast.net no later than Sunday, December 12, 2021 for drop off information.
Please consider sending a donation of any amount to Maynard Food Pantry, P.O. Box 55, Maynard, MA 01754.  As they begin their 29th year, the Maynard Food Pantry is very grateful for the outpouring of support we receive from residents, businesses and organizations in Maynard and beyond!

Give Back to the Friends of Maynard Seniors

MAYNARD: For the month of December Friends of Maynard Seniors will receive a $1 donation from the purchase of each reusable $2.50 Give Back Where It Counts bag sold at Shaw’s 155 Great Road in Stow. This is a wonderful way to buy something useful for yourself and to provide donations to Maynard’s Senior Citizens when they really need your support. 'Tis the season... why not purchase a few extra as holiday gifts for family and friends?
Margaleet katzenblickstein color

Nashoba Valley Chorale Announces 2021 Emerging Artist  

LITTLETON: Nashoba Valley Chorale is pleased and proud to introduce its 2021 Emerging Artist, Margaleet Katzenblickstein, soprano, of Westford. Margaleet will perform at the Chorale’s winter concert, Awake, Psaltery, & Harp on Sunday, December 12 at 3pm at the Acton Congregational Church, 12 Concord Road in Acton.

Margaleet, a student at Middlesex Community College, majors in Music Performance. She plans to graduate her homeschool/high school within the next few months, and Middlesex Community College in August of 2022. As of right now, her primary instrument is the cello, and she hopes to start conservatory soon after graduation. Margaleet currently takes voice lessons with Anna Ward.

COVID-19 Policy: The safety and comfort of our community is of utmost priority.  Nashoba Valley Chorale will be closely following the COVID-19 guidelines as mandated by the CDC and the state of Massachusetts. To keep Audience members, singers and performers safe, Audience members must show proof of full vaccination, or a Negative COVID-19 test result from within 72 hours of the performance to gain entrance.

The Nashoba Valley Chorale, based in Littleton, is well known throughout Central Massachusetts and draws singers from towns in the heart of the Nashoba Valley as well as from all over the metro-west Boston area and southern New Hampshire. For more information about Nashoba Valley Chorale, this concert, and the Emerging Artists program, visit https://nashobachorale.org/

Mothers Out Front Enact Race Against Time
Call on Utilities to Provide Clean Heat Now  

ACTON: In a rousing display of support for clean energy, mothers and families rallied and raced recently in a spirited relay from Pittsfield to the Prudential Center. Acton mothers and others took part in the Statewide Relay for Clean Heat by rallying along Elm Street with the new Triple Net Zero Twin school under construction in the background to celebrate the future of clean heat! 

Over the last 3 months Acton Mothers Out Front has been gathering postcards, signed by gas customers, addressed to the presidents of the state’s three largest gas utilities. With participants from across the state, they delivered more than 3,000 postcards.  See attached photos of local residents as they prepared for the relay to National Grid the gas supplier for Acton.

“Our utilities need to lead on climate solutions to protect future generations," said Jean Cummings, local resident and mother. In a state where heating & cooling account for 30 percent of heat-trapping emissions, the mothers say utilities are moving too slowly and offering false solutions to families’ needs for safe, renewable and affordable heat. “They are clinging to natural gas and variations on natural gas,” added Judy Hodge. “Every day of inaction further threatens the health and safety of our children and grandchildren.”  

State Senator Jamie Eldridge, Representative Tami Gouveia and Representative Dan Sena also spoke at the Acton rally.  Eldridge said, “As I am waving at my nephew (on the Douglas School playground), he is a reminder of the stakes here, of the next generation. We are already seeing the impacts of climate change across Massachusetts.” Gouveia emphasized the positive, “We are strengthening a movement here so we can accelerate even faster toward green energy sources.”

Relay participants criss-crossed the state using electric vehicles, bikes, public transit, running and walking. The route included stops in Pittsfield, Northampton, Hadley, Gardner, Acton, Concord, Waltham, Brookline, and Boston.  

The mothers are asking utilities to partner with their workforce, government and customers to provide clean, safe, affordable heat to all Massachusetts homes. Specifically, they want the gas companies to align with the Mothers Out Front Future of Clean Heat Platform. This demands that utilities:
  • Offer heat pumps and other electric appliances to all homes and buildings;
  • Subsidize these technologies to make them affordable for everyone;
  • Replace leaky gas infrastructure with networked geothermal systems; and
  • Make clean energy available and affordable to all families, especially renters and low-income residents. 

Mothers Out Front is a national movement of mothers working to ensure a livable climate for all children. The group brings together mothers in communities across the U.S. to help them advocate for transformative climate policies at the local, state, and national level to achieve a just transition away from fossil fuels to clean and renewable energy. Founded by two moms in 2013, the organization now includes 21 local chapters in Massachusetts and more than 35,000 mothers and caregivers across the country.

PHOTO: Jude Aronstein, coordinator of the Mothers Out Front Acton chapter, spoke about clean heat as represented by the Twin Schools Project in the background.