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Acton Conservation Trust Hosts Mushroom Experts for Foraging at Wills Hole

by Jody Harris

ACTON: Acton Conservation Trust members and friends enjoyed a beautiful fall day during a joint event with Boston Mycological Club (BMC) on Sunday, October 1. Around 100 people from the two groups gathered at Wills Hole Conservation Land to search for mushrooms. Armed with baskets and special curved fungus knives with a brush on one end, the foragers broke into groups and spread out along the trails of Wills Hole.

Jonathan Kranz of BMC led one of the groups, and suggested beginners learn about the mushrooms on both ends of the spectrum: mushrooms which were highly edible and mushrooms which were deadly. Most of the mushrooms found during the Wills Hole walk fell somewhere in between. Following the collection walk, the foragers laid out many of their finds on a table for viewing and identification.

Leaders, including David Babik, President of BMC, gave detailed observations and information about many of the mushrooms, each observation giving a clue as to the identity. Latin and common names were given, along with common “copycat” mushrooms, which might challenge correct identification. BMC was very welcoming and inclusive to beginner and experienced mushroomers alike.

The Acton Conservation Trust is a non-profit, non-governmental organization devoted to the preservation of open space in Acton.  The Boston Mycological Club  seeks to increase knowledge and appreciation of fungi through lectures, walks and informational resources.

Jody Harris is a Trustee of the Acton Conservation Trust.  This article is adapted from the website of the Acton Conservation Trust. 
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Interview with Acton’s Children’s Business Fair Teenage Organizer & Competition Results

by Avantika Nautiyal

ACTON: The Acton Children's Business Fair was held on Sunday October 8 at Nara Park pavilion after rains forced organizers to reschedule it from the original date of October 7th. Fortunately, eighty of the registered 85 businesses, enthusiastic volunteers, and all the judges were able to accommodate this change. The weather echoed the electric energy of these young entrepreneurs by turning into a balmy bright afternoon.

This year's event was organized by a teenager, Ronit Mazumdar, with the support of many adult mentors and student volunteers.

Avantika: How long did it take to plan this event?
Ronit: I started planning this event back in February and reserved Nara Park in June. I handled all the marketing and registrations for this event. My friends volunteered their time to help with the organization and logistics of this herculean undertaking.

Avantika: What was the motivation behind this event?
Ronit: Six years ago, I was one of the participants in this event. I participated for a couple years until this fair was stopped during the pandemic. Last year, a high school student, along with the help of his Boy Scout Troop, restarted this program, and I helped him organize. This year, he is in college and so I took the lead to organize. The mission of the Children's Business Fair is to promote entrepreneurship in kids, which instills confidence and creativity from an early age. This kind of event helps in developing leadership ability, teaches us public skills and also the value of money. All these are life skills which unfortunately we don't learn as part of our standard school curriculum, so such events give us an opportunity to develop this. I have personally benefited from this and I would like to continue this and help other kids and also develop my own organizational and leadership skills.

Avantika: Speaking of support, I am curious about the involvement of our Town.
Ronit: Town Of Acton's Economic Development Director Ms. Julie Pierce invited us to a meeting to identify ways the Town could help support this event. She increased our space at Nara park and  the time allocated for the fair. We also had to change the date due to the inclement weather and Ms. Pierce reserved the next day for us. She also got us connected with Ms. Karen Herther from AB PIP STEM who guided me as a mentor and gave many great ideas.

The judges had their work cut out as they meticulously reviewed the products, booth display, business model, and novelty of the participants.The youngest participants were five years old! One seven-year-old shared his documented pricing model and marketing strategy, one had reusable cotton totes while another had made her own slime. Many had chosen to donate a percentage of their profits to a charitable cause they related to. There were an impressive number of businesses that encouraged community building and social interactions by offering do-it-yourself (DIY) kits and/or make-your-own options.


After the event, Avantika reached out to Ronit to identify how the residents can help improve the experience and/or increase the participation in the following years.

Ronit: I feel this event should be encouraged by the schools. As a student, we do a lot of creative art in school and we learn a lot of skills but we never get an opportunity to showcase our work. Events like this give us an opportunity to do so. I have always heard many of my friends say they hate math, but they all love money. You need math to make money, at least  basic math. Selling a product can be done by interacting with customers, a skill which is always useful.

We had issues with parking. So I think for next year, we would like to request the help of the Town to see if they can offer shuttle service which will help with parking.

I would also like to see local businesses getting involved and help mentor these young entrepreneurs. I remember that in 2019 the store Periwinkle Glassworks had offered that a couple of young entrepreneurs could showcase their products in their store. Something like this is helpful for the young entrepreneurs to be engaged throughout the year and not just be a day event.

The winners from the event in each of four categories were as follows:

Highest Business Potential: Sugar and Spice
They offer allergen aware baked goods and treats (free from peanuts, tree nuts, gluten, and dairy). Judges shared that this business has consistently participated in the Children’s Business Fair and showed year over year growth in sales as well as their offerings.

Most Original Business: Halo Halo Colors
This business is recycling crayons and giving them a new life for others to enjoy. They impressed judges with their mission driven and sustainable business plan.

Best Presentation: Candle Arts
They offer unique and realistic looking candles shaped as ducks, food, dessert and fruit. Their idea was completely unique from the rest of the candle businesses at the fair. The quality and craftsmanship of their highly detailed candles made them look like the real item.

Judges Choice: Advhik's Artwork
Advhik creates artwork inspired by Indian folk arts, usually pencil art based on animals or cartoons. Judges were highly impressed by the entrepreneurship and conceptualization of this 7 year old.

If readers would like to get involved in the 2024 Children’s Business Fair, they should visit www.childrensbusinessfair.org/ around June 2024.


Avantika Nautiyal is an Indian chef and the owner of All Things Spiced in Acton.
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Scarecrow Contest & Jack O’ Lanterns

ACTON: Vote for your favorite scarecrow at the “Stand Up to Stigma” Scarecrow Contest and see the Jack O’ Lantern in the Glow By event at Cucurbit Farm at 32 Parker Street. Proceeds benefit the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Central Middlesex. Jack O’ Lanterns will be displayed along the fence on in the evening November 27-29. Scarecrow contest winners will be announced November 1. There’s a corn maze too! The goal is 100 scarecrows along the fence and many conversations about mental health! Additional info at namicentralmiddlesex.org/newsletter/scarecrow-contest2023.

Middlesex Savings Charitable Foundation Awards $20,000 to Discovery Museum CEO for Outstanding Nonprofit Leadership

Ceo neil gordon outside the accessible treehouse at discovery museum
ACTON: Middlesex Savings Charitable Foundation, the nonprofit, private charitable foundation established by Middlesex Savings Bank, one of the largest mutual banks in Massachusetts, has named Neil Gordon, CEO of the Discovery Museum, its 2023 John R. Heerwagen Award recipient. The Foundation awarded a one-time grant of $20,000 to Gordon to utilize as he deems appropriate to further the Discovery Museum’s mission.

Established in 2016, the John R. Heerwagen Award commends a resilient nonprofit leader whose contributions have significantly enhanced the well-being of community residents within the Foundation's community. It reflects the support that John R. Heerwagen, former CEO of Middlesex Savings Bank, provided to the Foundation and its efforts to help strengthen local nonprofits and his belief in the importance of developing and recognizing strong leaders.

Since 1982, the Discovery Museum has provided young children and families with imaginative learning experiences that inspire hands-on, curiosity-driven play. For the past 14 years, Gordon has served as CEO, during which time the Museum has experienced tremendous growth as a result of his efforts to increase the organization’s capacity and form strong collaborations with community partners.
When Gordon took over the role of CEO in 2009, the Discovery Museum was in poor fiscal health, its facilities were badly outdated, and there was no plan in place to guide the organization’s growth or safeguard its future. Since then, Gordon has not only restored the Museum to financial health, he has also fully transformed the organization into a model center for family learning, recognized widely for its industry-leading commitments to early STEM education, accessibility, and environmental sustainability.

Gordon has worked with numerous community organizations supporting children with disabilities to lower barriers to accessing nature play experiences at the Museum. As such, the Museum has created free, accessible nature experiences through its “Especially for Me” program. Collaborators include organizations such as the Autism Alliance, the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program at Boston Children’s Hospital, the Hanscom Exceptional Family Member Program, and the Desi Moms Network.

Says Discovery Museum Chief Development Officer, Marie Beam, “Neil’s legacy will be the compassionate culture he has fostered, in which every plan, project, and program is built on the simple ideas that all children are capable of great things and that joyful play experiences are a right of childhood.”
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Countdown to April 19th, 1775: Tours of Acton Center Historic District

ACTON: As preparations begin for the celebration of April 19th, 1775 attention naturally turns to Acton Center and questions arise about which structures were actually present on that day. To establish an accurate understanding of what was and what was not an initial tour was held on October. Acton 250 Committee members joined experienced tour guides and individuals with a special interest in public history.

Amy Cole, a native of Acton who grew up in the only pre-1775 house still standing in the center, led the group. Acton Center is a local historic district and also listed on the National Register of Historic Places—a combination that affords both protections and opportunities to historic structures.
Many may be surprised that little of what they see in the streetscape today existed in 1775. The monument, recently adopted within the Acton Memorial Library’s new logo, was constructed in the mid-nineteenth century as April 19th celebrations grew in importance. The triangular commons actually is a small cemetery as the remains of those Actonians who died on April 19th are interred there.

250 years ago a small combined meeting house and church was situated on the top of Meeting House Hill now noted with a white sign. The current Town Hall is actually the third meeting house constructed in Acton. More explanation on the characteristic New England relationship between church and meeting place will follow.

Acton 250 hopes to strengthen relationships between groups interested in the town’s history. The tour, intended as the first of many open to interested individuals, helped to develop an accurate understanding of the setting for April 19th locally. Look for tour sign ups in the spring of 2024.
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Open House at Jones Tavern & the Faulkner Homestead

ACTON: On October 22, visitors are invited to the Iron Work Farm’s two house museums for the last “4th Sunday” open houses of the season. Jones Tavern, 128 Main Street, will be open from 1-3pm. The building exemplifies the architecture of several eras, including the original 1732 house, 1750 tavern taproom, and elegant 1818 addition.
 
The 1707 Jones-Faulkner Homestead, 5 High Street, the oldest building in Acton, will be open from 3-5pm. Several restored rooms of this 1707 architectural gem will be on view, and members of the Nashoba Valley Weavers’ Guild will demonstrate weaving, spinning, and other textile crafts in honor of the building’s long association with the textile industry.
 
Parking is available on-site or nearby.
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Concord Piecemakers Hold Biennial FYN Sale

ACTON: The Concord Piecemakers Quilt Guild will hold its biennial FYN Sale (Fabric, Yarn & Notions) on October 21 at St. Matthews United Methodist Church, 435 Central Street from 9am-2pm. There will be lots of quilting and garment fabric, yarn, books, patterns and various notions for sale at fabulous yard sale prices. Proceeds support the Guild’s various charitable projects. For information about the guild, please visit www.concordpiecemakers.org.
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Donate a Thanksgiving Dinner Basket to a Maynard Food Pantry Family 

MAYNARD: The Maynard Food Pantry will once again be providing Thanksgiving dinner baskets to families in need within our community this holiday season. In the past, families, organizations, groups and companies have generously donated dinner baskets consisting of a frozen turkey or canned ham together with a combination of bagged potatoes, fresh squash, carrots, sweet potatoes, canned or fresh vegetables, apples, oranges, fruit juice, packaged rolls and packaged desserts. Similar donations would be appreciated this year so that the Maynard Food Pantry can provide these wonderful gifts to client families. Thinking about a family of six when putting together the basket is a good guide.

In previous years, Maynard Food Pantry has been able to provide approximately 85-90 dinner baskets to local families in need. If you would like to donate a Thanksgiving dinner basket or a quantity of one of the above-referenced items, please contact Mary Brannelly by email at mjtbrannelly@comcast.net  no later than November 11 for drop off instructions.  Also feel free to send along a note if you need additional information.

The Maynard Food Pantry is also always appreciative of cash donations that are used to purchase food to keep the Food Pantry stocked, especially at this time of the year when they consistently see an increase in the number of families in need of support.  Checks can be made payable to the "Maynard Food Pantry" and may be sent c/o P.O. Box 55, Maynard, MA 01754.
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Scarecrow Contest & Jack O’ Lanterns

ACTON: Vote for your favorite at the “Stand Up to Stigma” Scarecrow Contest at Cucurbit Farm at 32 Parker Street. Proceeds benefit the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Central Middlesex. The scarecrows are on display for the month of October, and there’s still time to build a scarecrow or plan to enter your carved Jack O’ Lantern in the Glow By event that takes place the weekend before Halloween. There’s a corn maze, too! This year’s goal is 100 scarecrows along the fence and many conversations about mental health! Additional info at namicentralmiddlesex.org/newsletter/scarecrow-contest2023.

Talking Statues Premieres at Acton Sculptor Meredith Bergmann’s Boston Women’s Memorial 

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by Alissa Nicol

ACTON: Acton sculptor Meredith Bergmann’s “Boston Women’s Memorial” is twenty years old this year. The City dedicated the sculpture on October 25, 2003. In celebration of this anniversary, the Boston Women’s Heritage Trail is hosting a premiere of “The Talking Statues” on Saturday, October 21 at 11:00 AM, co-sponsored by the Neighborhood Association of Back Bay and the Friends of the Public Garden. The event is free and open to the public. 

Talking Statues uses a QR code and cellphone to give first person voices to the three historical figures in the memorial. The audio recording features the voices of: Attorney General Andrea Campbell reading for Abigail Adams, Congresswoman Ayanna Presley reading for Phillis Wheatley, and Mayor Michelle Wu reading for Lucy Stone. Bergmann’s sculpture presents these women who shaped Boston’s history, in a non-traditional way; each woman is using her pedestal rather than standing upon it, encouraging the public to interact with the bronze life-size figures. The new voice feature enhances this aspect of the art’s presentation.

Bergmann will provide remarks at the event, to be held at the Boston Women's Memorial, located at Commonwealth Avenue and Fairfield Street.
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Friends of Pine Hawk Kick Off Archaeology Month

by Alissa Nicol

ACTON: On October 5, more than thirty residents gathered in the Meeting Room of the Acton Memorial Library and online for the first event honoring this year’s Archaeology Month, hosted by Friends of Pine Hawk. The speaker, former Town of Acton Health Director, Doug Halley, presented “From Pine Hawk to Trail Through Time. 

Readers may wonder how a town’s Health Director became familiar with local archaeology. In 1998, Acton decided to build sewers in part of South Acton. For the location of the wastewater treatment plant, the town chose a site beside the Assabet River that had been purchased in anticipation of this use. Due to the reliance on federal funding, an archaeological assessment was required, so in December of 1999 several test pits were dug. The results indicated a significant archaeological find. Public Archaeology Laboratory (PAL) was hired for the assessment, which uncovered several hundred chipping debris pieces, 4 projectile points, a ceramic shard, and several fire pits. The oldest artifacts dated back 7000 years. Before being removed from the site for preservation, each item was mapped with its precise location both vertically and horizontally.

The Town did more than support the recovery and documentation of Native artifacts from this site, known as Pine Hawk, on the banks of the Assabet River. Acton citizens, town officials, and educators came together in 2002 to create the Friends of Pine Hawk. An informational display of several of the original artifacts was created, now housed at the Acton Memorial Library near the Circulation Desk. A program for the schools was created, including reproductions of the artifacts (currently housed at the Discovery Museum) and posters showing the story of the Pine Hawk setting, the dig, and the artifacts. Two videos about the project, one for a general audience and one aimed at young children, were also made. Acton’s efforts to educate the public about this rich find won a Historic Preservation Award from the Massachusetts Historic Commission. The site itself is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Halley also described another archaeologically significant site along Nashoba Brook in North Acton where the Town has added educational components to tell the Native and colonial history. These informational panels, kiosks  and historic resources are collectively known as the Trail Through Time, a project spearheaded by Linda McElroy. The features include a stone chamber, a roof slab quarry, the Wheeler Homestead foundation and stone floor, the Robbins Mill (a grist mill), Native stone pile clusters, the site of other mills and a pencil factory, and the Old Road to Concord (cart path lines with stone walls). Work in the Nashoba Brook Conservation Area has included improvements to the sluice way, the construction of a foot bridge, and the reconstruction (by a master mason) of the stone chamber. For more information about this site, visit trails.actonma.gov/trail-through-time/ and to learn about upcoming Friends of Pine Hawk events, visit www.pinehawk.org.
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Acton, Boxborough & Littleton Celebrate DiwaliFest Together

by Alissa Nicol

BOXBOROUGH: A perfect fall day with blue skies and sunshine was delivered on October 8, to draw as many as 2,000 people to the second annual DiwaliFest on the lawn of the Sargent Memorial Library. The spark that initiated the event planning was the desire of several students to acknowledge the successful, years-long effort to add Diwali to the school calendar in the Acton/Boxborough and Littleton school districts as a day off; it has evolved into a well-attended, inclusive celebration of culture and community.

More than thirty vendors set up tents and tables around the large field. Attendees streamed in along the path leading from the Blanchard Elementary School parking lot and down from the library’s parking lot where shuttle buses transported people from satellite parking lots. The shuttle buses were arranged by organizer Deepika Prakash because the Blanchard lot was full before the end of the event, creating a challenge for community members eager to attend. Prakash applied for, and was awarded, a grant from the Acton Boxborough Cultural Council to support the event. Proceeds from the event support Asha for Education, a 501(c)(3) supporting grassroots educational projects in India.

Food and beverages (including a special flavor of ice cream called Kulfi served by WestSide Creamery), crafts, art, clothing, jewelry and books were available for purchase, and there were also several free children’s activities and community information tables. Children of all ages enjoyed decorating the terracotta lamps called “diyas,” paper plate “rangolis,” and applying Diwali temporary tattoos. Several large rangolis were made by families on the library patio using colored sand in a Rangoli Contest, with voting by festival attendees.

Beginning at 2pm, performers provided music and dance performances at the stage area, whose backdrop also served as a “photo booth” for attendees before and after sets. Anvi Khatri, a senior at Acton Boxborough High School, performed first on the tabla, a percussion instrument. Dance performances featured students of the GuruKool Enrichment Center (Folk Dance from the state of West Bengal, and also Bollywood), Saris Natya Academy (Bharatnatyam Classical Dance from the state of Tamil Nadu, India), the Upasana Dance School (Odissi Classical Dance from the state of Orissa, India), and the Rachana Agarwai Team (Bollywood). The final performance, pictured here, was a percussion set by the group Dhol Tasha, performing music from the state of Maharashtra, India. 

Acton Select Board Discusses Volunteer Recruitment

by Tom Beals

ACTON: The October 2, Acton Select Board meeting opened, as usual, with an opportunity for Acton residents to bring issues before the Board, and with updates from the Board. Residents’ comments are heard, but not discussed, by the Board at these sessions. In his update, Select Board Chair Jim Snyder-Grant said that he would be available for conversation at the Acton Memorial Library Atrium on October 8, from 3-4pm.

Residents’ comments at Select Board meetings span a wide range of issues. At this meeting the Board heard from a resident of Canterbury Lane about a local playground that is maintained by the Recreation Department. The speaker was frustrated at the Town’s slow response to a long broken water bubbler, and at trash such as beer bottles left by late night visitors to the park. Mr. Synder-Grant appreciated the comments, and Select Board member David Martin suggested that comments also be emailed to the Board at ‘SB@ActonMA.gov’.

A significant part of the evening’s meeting was devoted to discussion of recruitment of volunteers to serve as members of Acton’s Boards and Committees. A substantial part of Acton’s governance is done by volunteers, and the Select Board reviewed the means by which residents can be made aware of volunteer opportunities. Members of the Board mentioned information tables at public events such as the Farmer’s Market. Each Select Board member serves as liaison to several of the Town’s boards and committees, and the role of Board members to effect coordination between committees, and committee communication with the Select Board, was mentioned.

Select Board member Alissa Nicol emphasized her sense of the importance of outreach to potential volunteers and said that “the Volunteer Coordinating Committee (VCC) had partnered with ActonTV to make ... recruitment videos but it's really hard to find them on the website”. Mr. Fang Yang of the Volunteer Coordinating Committee was present and spoke briefly to the Board regarding the VCC’s publicity efforts at School Committee meetings and at Town Meeting.

A listing and description of Acton’s Boards and Committees for an April 2011 Volunteer Job Fair is at www.acton-ma.gov/DocumentCenter/View/1025/Volunteer-Job-Fair-Booklet-2011.  Current volunteer opportunities are on the Town’s website at www.acton-ma.gov/jobs.aspx; scroll down on that page to the heading “Volunteer Opportunities”.
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Farmers Market Visitors Learn about Testing their Soil and Protecting Acton's Streams

by Kim Kastens
 
ACTON: On September 10 and October 1, visitors to the Acton Boxborough Farmers Market had a chance to learn how phosphate in fertilizer runoff can harm local aquatic ecosystems and how gardeners can test their soil to see whether phosphate is necessary as part of their fertilization plan. This information was provided by the Water Committee and Materials Committee of Green Acton, at one of the Market's Community tables. 
 
Phosphate is an essential nutrient for plants and is therefore a component of some fertilizers. Unfortunately, too much phosphate can cause garden plants to wither and can favor certain invasive species. If phosphate runs off fertilized land into a stream or pond, it can cause algae and other aquatic plants to grow out of control and choke the waterway with excess plant matter. 
 
For these reasons, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts regulates the use of phosphate-bearing fertilizers for landscaping. Phosphate fertilizer may only be legally used on Massachusetts lawns under two narrowly-defined circumstances: if the lawn is newly installed, or if a soil test has documented that the lawn is deficient in phosphate.  According to the Green Acton volunteers at the Market, almost no one who stopped by the table had heard about these regulations. 

The volunteers taught visitors how to find out if their soil needs phosphate. Using a shovel or soil auger, they would collect twelve soil samples from different spots on their property, mix them together in a clean bucket, and spread the soil out to air dry. Then they would package up a cup of the mixed, dried soil in a plastic bag and ship it off to the University of Massachusetts Soil Testing Lab. The fee is $20. Approximately two weeks later, they would receive a straightforward report, classifying the soil as very low, low, optimum or above optimum, for phosphate and three other nutrients. More details about Massachusetts fertilizer regulation, how to recognize phosphate-free fertilizer at the store, and how to get your soil tested, are available at greenacton.org/2023/07/08/thinking-about-fertilizing-test-your-soil-first/.

Green Acton is a local non-profit that works to "protect and enhance Acton’s natural environment and resources for present and future generations."  The Materials Committee works to reduce the use of hazardous substances and encourage alternative, more environmentally friendly products, production methods, and activities. The Water Committee works to protect Acton's aquatic ecosystems, as well as ground, surface, and drinking water. Newcomers are welcome at all Green Acton meetings; see "Upcoming Events" at greenacton.org.
 
Founded in 2008, the Acton Boxborough Farmers Market is a "Producer Only" market, which means that vendors may sell only the produce and/or value-added products that they themselves grow or make. The Market runs on Sundays from 10am-1pm at the Elm Street Playground. The last regular weekly market for 2023 will be on October 15, and there will be a special Holiday Market on November 19, in West Acton Villageworks. In addition to farmers and food vendors, the Market showcases one or two local artisans each week as well as one or two non-profit community organizations. According to an email from manager Debby Andell, the Market will be looking for new artisans, vendors and community groups next season; applications will open early next year. 
 
Kim Kastens is a Director of Green Acton and chairs the Green Acton Water Committee.
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Connected the Musical – FPC Sunday Service

STOW: The musical “Connected” is about transgender youth, generational struggles, and how we’re all connected. On October 15, First Parish Church of Stow & Acton (FPC), Unitarian Universalist, will hold a service that will include music and readings from the score and script as FPC’s choir sings music from “Connected,” a special story is read by Thalia Hyland, and special guest preacher Kathryn Denney delivers the sermon. Denney wrote the story, the music and the lyrics for Connected the Musical and directed the premiere production in 2022. She has sought the input of dozens of transgender people and victims of narcissist abuse in an effort to tell their stories with accuracy, authenticity and compassion. The service will take place both in person and virtually at 10am. Masking is optional; a section of the sanctuary is reserved for those who wish to wear masks. To enter the virtual room, go to tinyurl.com/22-23fpc.

FPC warmly welcomes gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people. FPC’s facilities are wheelchair accessible. For more information, call (978) 897-8149 or visit www.fpc-stow-acton.org. The church is located at 353 Great Road in Stow, at the intersection of routes 117 and 62.
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Open House & Acton Schools Exhibit

ACTON: On October 21 from 1-4pm, the Acton Historical Society will host an Open House at the Hosmer House Museum, 300 Main Street.  Parking is available on site.  On display will be their new exhibit "Acton Schools, Past and Present,” with selections from our extensive collection of items and photographs related to the history of Acton's schools. 
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Trick or Trash!

ACTON/LITTLETON: Please join the community in recycling - candy wrappers!  Place your candy wrappers in another bag (recycling that, too!), and then drop it off in the TerraCycle bin at the Donelan's Supermarket (in Littleton as you exit the door, or in Acton near the bottle center), or at the lower floor of the Reuben Hoar Library.  The Sustainability Committee is also working on getting special boxes around Littleton specifically for recycling candy wrappers - at Alumni Field parking lot during Trunk or Treat, Reuben Hoar Library lobby, and the Town Hall.  Thank you for helping reduce trash in our community!
 
The TerraCycle bins at Donelan's are also where you can recycle other non-curbside-recyclable items such as:

• Oral care product containers & manual toothbrushes (no electric toothbrush heads)
• Plastic Deodorant containers (no aerosols)
• Air freshener and cleaning pumps, trigger sprays, cartridges (no aerosols)
• Empty ink-jet and toner cartridges
• Cell-phone cases of any brand
• And so much more – see tinyurl.com/littletonmarecycles
 
TerraCycle gives points for each item which translate into cash for non-profits such as 4-H, the Littleton schools, and the library.  Still have questions?  Visit https://tinyurl.com/littletonmarecycles, or email littletonma.recycles@gmail.com.
Actongarden

"What's Going On?!" It's the Acton Garden Club at Work!

ACTON: Just when you think you can relax, the construction in Acton Center is done, the lines repainted, the traffic redirected, the damage from microburst cleaned up, and the power back on and now, the plants are missing?!!! What’s going on? It’s the Acton Garden Club celebrating their 90th birthday with a gift to the town. Stay tuned. They are hard at work, and it’s going to be exciting! Here’s the story: Acton Garden Club, in cooperation with the Town of Acton, is renovating the “Oval Garden” in front of Acton Town Hall this fall to honor the Acton Garden Club’s organization in 1934 and celebrate its 90 years of service to the community. A Civic Development grant was sought by the Club and awarded by Garden Club Federation of Massachusetts to supplement funding and volunteer labor. The Historic District Commission has issued a Certificate of Appropriateness for the installation of a Victorian era fountain formerly owned by resident Mabel Jenks and donated by the O’Neil family, surrounded by holly and evergreen conifers. Upon final approval of the fountain’s location by the Historic District Commission, the Town will excavate the site, provide loam and compost, and the Acton Garden Club will plant the garden with assistance from O’Neil Construction Company. The Club installed the “Oval Garden” in 1984.
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Monsterbash at NARA Park

ACTON: The Town of Acton is proud to host its annual Monsterbash event at NARA Park on October 20 from 6-8pm at the Amphitheater.  There is a fee of $5 per person, paid at the door, for everyone who attends over the age of two. This event is family-friendly and geared to children of elementary age.  Crystal Entertainment Services will be our Ghost Host for the evening with spooky fun music and games including the annual Mummy Wrap during this blacklight Monsterbash event. Costumes are optional.  There will be prizes for costumes and games. This event is open to non-residents.  Parking lot is located off 71 Quarry Road (upper fields parking area). Monsterbash will be held at the Amphitheater stage.  If you like to be spooked, after this event, Pumpkin Guts Production’s “Nightmare at NARA” will be operating at the upper park area ($) near the amphitheater off 71 Quarry Road following this event. Please email recreation@actonma.gov if you need assistance.
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Congregation Beth Elohim Launches “Science with a Schmear” Speaker Series

ACTON: Congregation Beth Elohim is launching their “Science with a Schmear” speaker series on October 15 from 9am-11am in the Social Hall.  Free breakfast will be provided. Both members and friends of CBE are welcome to attend. Register at www.bethelohim.org/event/science-with-schmear-october to attend the free breakfast or to receive a Zoom link
 
The first talk is by Prof. David Kaiser (MIT) entitled "Einstein's Legacy: Studying Gravity in War and Peace”.  Prof. Kaiser will be introduced by Rabbi Michelle Fisher, Executive Director of the MIT Hillel. A popular image persists of Albert Einstein as a loner, someone who avoided the hustle and bustle of everyday life in favor of quiet contemplation. Yet Einstein was deeply engaged with politics throughout his life; indeed, he was so active politically that the U.S. government kept him under surveillance for decades, compiling a 2000-page secret file on his political activities. His most enduring scientific legacy, the general theory of relativity -- physicists' reigning explanation for gravity and the basis for nearly all our thinking about the cosmos -- has likewise been cast as an austere temple standing aloof from the all-too-human dramas of political history. This lecture examines ways in which research on general relativity was embedded in, and at times engulfed by, the tumult of world politics over the course of the twentieth century.
 
David Kaiser is Germeshausen Professor of the History of Science and Professor of Physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is the author of several award-winning books about modern physics, including How the Hippies Saved Physics. His work has been featured in Science, Nature, the New York Times, the New Yorker and PBS.

Discovery Museum & Chicago Children’s Museum present Dr. Nneka Jones Tapia

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ACTON: On November 2 from 7-8pm via Zoom, Discovery Museum and Chicago Children's Museum present Dr. Nneka Jones Tapia, former warden and Executive Director of the Cook County (IL) Department of Corrections and one of the first psychologists nationally to lead a correctional facility. Dr. Jones Tapia’s passion for mental wellness, criminal justice reform, and supporting young people who have experienced trauma has been an innovative force for new programs in Chicago, including ones specifically targeted at reducing the stigma and trauma that surrounds young people impacted by parental incarceration.

In this interactive webinar event, Dr. Jones Tapia will speak about the toll of parental incarceration on children and some of the ways those impacts have and can be addressed. This program is free with advance registration, which is required, at
http://bit.ly/DMSpeakerSeries. The event will be live captioned.
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Revolutionary Gravestones Get a Facelift

by Alissa Nicol 

ACTON: Work is almost complete on the renovation of the Revolutionary War section of Woodlawn Cemetery. MKai Nalenz, President and Chief Conservator at Gravestone Services of New England, reports that he expects the work to be finished in mid-October. You might be lucky enough to see him straightening gravestones with a crane if you visit Woodlawn on a weekday morning over the next couple of weeks. Nalenz is a Veteran himself, having served in the German navy in the early 90s. “It’s been such a pleasure working on this project. I got to meet a number of very appreciative residents. I noticed some amazing carvings, and in some cases, a person’s entire life is summarized in the epitaph."

The Revolutionary War Section contains about 400 gravestones. Many of them were covered in lichen, and a significant number were tilted, fallen off their bases, and even broken due to the effects of weathering. The lichen is being removed using a biodegradable cleaner and without scrubbing, which can damage the stones. The breaks are repaired with an adhesive, and gravestones that have fallen or are tilted are replaced and straightened using the crane.

Half of the $100,000 project was funded with Cemetery funds approved by the Cemetery Commissioners, and the other half by an allocation of Community Preservation funds approved by 2022 Annual Town Meeting. The Commission submitted a Community Preservation Act funding application on November 15, 2021. The project was given a high priority by the Select Board, their reasoning being that the renovation should be completed in time for the 250th Anniversary of the Commencement of the American Revolution on April 19, 1775. The application narrative suggested that “one of Acton’s showpieces for this special occasion should be the Revolutionary War section of Acton’s Woodlawn Cemetery, which includes graves of numerous Acton participants in that war.”

The application narrative also provided a bit of cemetery history. “Founded in 1738, Woodlawn Cemetery, a municipally owned and operated cemetery, is a well-preserved example of a rural to suburban New England burial ground that illustrates evolving concepts of funerary from the Colonial period through the twentieth century. It was established in the early eighteenth century when it became clear that the North Acton Cemetery was too small and too remote for general utility to the community. The original deed for a half acre of land that would become the oldest part of the cemetery is dated January 16, 1737.” The cemetery in North Acton is the Forest Cemetery on Carlisle Road, and there is also a third cemetery in West Acton, the Mt. Hope Cemetery, established in 1848.

Woodlawn’s Revolutionary War section is bounded by Concord Road and the interior roads of Prospect, Cedar, and Grove Avenues. It includes Woodlawn’s oldest burials, the earliest dating to 1740-41. For a list of Soldiers and Sailors of the American Revolution buried in Acton, visit this Acton Historical Society page.

Photo by Kim Clark, Land Use Office Manager
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Open-Air Tap Room at the Faulkner Homestead

ACTON: On October 7, the Iron Work Farm’s popular annual fundraiser, the Open-Air Tap Room, returns to the Jones-Faulkner Homestead, 5 High Street from 4-8pm. A 4pm salute by the Acton Minutemen will open the event. Featured will be music by Ward Hayden & the Outliers, and outdoor games for both kids and adults. Join in a local pizza fest, and have a "colonial" selfie taken! Roast marshmallows the old-fashioned way, and help raid the popcorn machine! Or you may bring your own picnic. In case of inclement weather, there will be tents for shelter, and fire pits for warmth. A $40 admission/ donation covers three drink- and food tickets. (Children are free). Parking is available in the nearby commuter lots. Handicap parking on site. Advance registration is recommended. Visit ironworkfarm.org for more information.
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Tap Dancing at Acton Woman's Club

ACTON: Lexington tap dancer and choreographer Valery Marcantonio will be featured at the Acton Woman's Club's October 11 monthly meeting at their Acton Center Clubhouse.  An 11:30am light luncheon and a short business meeting will precede Valery's program.
Valery founded and directs Studio10Tap, based in Lexington, where her focus is on tap technique, rhythmic and percussive tap, and original dances in a convivial and supportive environment. At Studio10, adults of various ages and backgrounds learn routines based on Valery’s choreography as well as classics from such stellar dancers as Buster Brown, Gene Kelly, Gregory Hines and, yes, even Steve Martin. Valery and her students frequently perform in tap showcases and at community settings such as  senior residential facilities. Many friendships, tap movie nights, and field trips continue to blossom at Studio10Tap.

Other activities planned by the Club are an October 14 Pie Sale, a trip to the Museum of Fine Arts, Mah Jong and Bridge lessons and play, book club and a Halloween Party at the Clubhouse with husbands or partners. New potential members are welcome to attend.  For an invitation to this or another monthly lunch and program at the Club’s lovely Acton Center home, please send a message to AWC01720@gmail.com or call (978) 263-5275.
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MCC Grant Period is Open

MAYNARD: The Maynard Cultural Council Grant period is open! They are seeking funding proposals for community-oriented arts, humanities, and science programs due October 17. Organizations, schools, and individuals can apply for grants that support cultural activities in the community. These grants can support a variety of artistic projects and activities in Maynard - including exhibits, festivals, field trips, short-term artist residencies, or performances in schools, workshops, and lectures. Grants typically range from $50 to $1500 – however one change this year will be the funding of a small amount of higher impact projects with bigger disbursements. The application is open now. The deadline for applying is October 17, 2023 at 11:59pm.

“We are grateful to the Massachusetts Cultural Council for making it possible to contribute to the cultural character of the Town of Maynard with these grants,” said Maynard Cultural Council Chair Jenna Dargie, “Maynard is a town abundant in creative thinkers and doers, and we are delighted to be able to offer some support to the creative process.”

Who Can Apply? Individuals, organizations, agencies, schools, and non-profits may apply for grants that support activities in culture, humanities, arts, and sciences publicly benefiting the local community. Projects must take place between January 1, 2024 and be completed by December 31, 2025. All applicants must reside or be located in Massachusetts.

How to apply? Applicants must be submitted online via the MCC website www.mass-culture.org/lcc_public.aspx and at https://massculturalcouncil.org/.../apply-for-lcc-grants.../
Questions? Message us here or email culturaldistrict@townofmaynard.net. Application forms and more information about this Local Cultural Council Program are available online at www.mass-culture.org and at www.mass-culture.org/lcc.
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Lincoln Sudbury Civic Orchestra Holds Open Rehearsal

SUDBURY: The Lincoln Sudbury Civic Orchestra (LSCO), in residence at the Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School, will hold an open rehearsal on October 17 at 7:30pm at the high school. The session is open to all orchestral players interested in participating in the orchestra’s 51th season and beyond. Conductor Alfonso Piacentini begins his second season directing the orchestra in two concerts in January and June. The orchestra will rehearse music for its January concert including Brahms Symphony #2, Mozart Overture to The Magic Flute and Saint-Saens Horn Concerto, with young Cuban artist Mauricio Martinez. There are openings in all string sections, particularly low strings, trombone, and horn, but all are welcome. Visit the LSCO Youtube channel to see an invitation video from Maestro Piacentini. All musicians who are interested in joining the LSCO for this open rehearsal and for the concerts of their 51st season should send an email to lscivicorchestra@gmail.com, or use the Contact Us link at lscivicorchestra.org. You will receive instructions on obtaining parts and other details.

For over 50 years, the LSCO has been dedicated to providing opportunities for talented students and supportive adults to perform orchestral literature of the great classical composers. The LSCO has provided playing opportunities for over 500 student musicians and given over thirty student and adult concerto artists an opportunity to show their skills and love of classical music. Membership is open to the community regardless of town of residence. The orchestra rehearses every Tuesday evening from 7:30-9:30pm in the large ensemble room at Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School (LSRHS), 390 Lincoln Road.
Danny

20 Year Reflection

by Katie Gorczyca, Danny’s Place Youth Services Executive Director

Re-published from dannys-place.org with permission. This reflection shares the events that took place on the day that Danny McCarthy died. Some information may be emotional to read. The names of those involved have been changed to protect their privacy. 

ACTON: It was April 10th, 2003. I couldn’t tell you what I did earlier that day other than the daily motions of going to school. I remember my brother, Matt, up in his room as usual. I remember Danny and his friends in the basement watching movies, as usual. My dad was traveling and in Florida. Matt was a senior in high school, Danny was a junior. I was in sixth grade.
It was a typical night, until it wasn’t. Danny had a lot of creative ideas; ideas that didn’t necessarily fit the mold set up for kids in our community. One particularly bold idea was to submit a video into America’s Funniest Home Videos. Confident he would win, he said he would use his winnings to buy himself his dream car: a blue Subaru WRX. That night, Danny and his friends were going over to Kimball Farm in Westford to film a part of this funny video. So, after watching a movie together in the basement, the group of friends came up the stairs and filed out to their cars to make their way to their destination. 

I was sitting on the computer; my mom and I were watching Survivor in the family room when the group left. My mom asked Danny if he would be coming home that night or if he would be staying over at a friend’s house.

“I don’t know,” he responded. 


“Should I leave the light on for you?” Mom asked.

“No,” he replied.

They left in a line of four cars. At the time, we lived on Pope Road, a long street that is tree-lined and hilly. When Danny and his friends left, my mom and I turned back to our respective activities. I don’t know how many minutes went by, but it couldn’t have been more than 10.

We heard the door to our mudroom open, and one of Danny’s friends, Pete, came inside. He was out of breath and the look on his face told us that something was very, very wrong. He could only manage three words, “Dan. Luke. Tree.”

My mom bolted off the couch and went with Pete, who took her down the road, literally, still on our road, to where it happened. I turned back to my computer wondering what happened. I recall sending an AIM to my friends telling them that I think my brother was in some sort of accident, but asking them not to tell anyone because it probably wasn’t a big deal. “Probably just a broken leg, or something,” I typed.

The series of events that happened after that are a bit blurry. There are so many different vantage points of what happened that night depending on who you talk to. From my perspective, what seemed like hours went by before we got a phone call from my dad, still in Florida, who broke the news to us. But here’s a bird’s eye view of what happened.

Danny and his friend were in the last car in the lineup. Danny was in the passenger’s seat; Luke behind the wheel. The four cars headed down Pope Road toward Great Road. Danny and his friend thought it’d be funny to try and pass the other cars, so pulled into the left lane. What they didn’t see was the car coming in the other direction. Luke swerved to try and avoid the car; he swerved further left. In swerving to avoid the car, he hit a tree right off the side of the road, with the impact on the right side of the car. Right where Danny was sitting. 

Luke needed to be airlifted to the hospital. Danny was pushed so far back that the police thought he was sitting in the backseat. But they said he was alive. Both were wearing seatbelts. Neither had been using substances. No distractions, just speed. Just something that could happen to anyone. 

Danny died before they made it to the hospital. 

My dad got on the next flight home, and Matt and I were picked up and driven to the hospital. The local priest came to sit with us in the small room where families go to get the worst news. 

At some point, we went home. Without Danny. His slippers were still in the spot by the mantle, his guitars were still strewn about the house. Evidence of him everywhere.

April 10th, 2003 changed so many lives. And Danny’s legacy continues to change lives in the way our family has built and grown a space to support the kids of our community. 
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Goats & Giggles at the Acton Memorial Library

by Alissa Nicol

ACTON: The Acton Memorial Library (AML) hosted a “Goats and Giggles” program on Wednesday, September 20 by Farmer’s Helpers, a community farm education program based at Chip-In Farm in Bedford that aims to cultivate “connections between people, food and farms.” The young goats are Fainting/Nigerian Dwarf crosses, small and gentle. Farmer Sandy Couvee explained that fainting goats’ muscles sometimes freeze up when they are excited or startled, causing them to fall over.  

Robert Carter, AML’s Head of Children’s Services, shared that the goat visit is one of the most affordable and popular programs, “the most bang for our buck.” Thirty-seven registrants were signed up, but many more stopped by, the fenced in play-area an obvious draw with five baby goats scampering around legs and jumping on the backs of the courageous attendees who were on hands and knees, or even lying on the lawn. 
Farmer Sandy offered up pellets to feed to the goats. She introduced the goats by name: Charcoal, Molly, Stewart, Midnight, and Turnip. Turnip was the “mountain goat” of the bunch, eager to scale up onto backs and shoulders to reach the offered treats.

Volunteers Remove Massive Pile of Invasive Water chestnut from Ice House Pond

Chestnuts
by Kim Kastens 

ACTON: On September 23, a flotilla of a dozen canoes, two kayaks, and one stand-up paddleboard set forth onto Ice House Pond in East Acton. Forty-two volunteer "Pond Defenders" fought back against invasive water chestnuts, which have been clogging the north end of the pond and shading out native vegetation. 
 
The Water Chestnut Pull was organized by OARS (the watershed preservation organization for the Assabet, Sudbury, and Concord Rivers) and the Town of Acton Conservation Division. Paddle Boston contributed ten canoes, with paddles and life vests. The Town of Acton Department of Public Works has taken responsibility to remove the heaps of plant material and take it away to be composted. Once up on land, water chestnuts, even the seeds, cannot propagate.
 
Heather Conkerton, OARS' Ecological Restoration Coordinator, taught the volunteers how to recognize water chestnuts' distinctive leafy rosettes. The rosettes spread out on the water surface, anchored to the pond bottom by a long, slender stalk. The volunteers' task was to reach under each rosette, snap it off, and deposit it into a plastic laundry basket in the boat. The goal was to remove the nasty, hard, sharp "nuts" that grow on the bottom side of the rosette and give the water chestnut its name. If not removed, the nuts fall to the bottom of the pond and lodge into the mud, where they can remain viable for 10-15 years, according to OARS' Water Chestnut Management Guidance and Plan
 
Most of the volunteers had never pulled water chestnuts, and some had never paddled a canoe. But with helping hands and advice from one another the boats got launched and headed out onto the pond. At first, they encountered isolated rosettes and small clumps. But as they moved towards the shallower north end of the pond, the chestnut infestation thickened, until eventually each boat was surrounded by a continuous carpet of floating green leaves. Volunteers began scooping, snapping, and dumping rosettes into their baskets, occasionally stopping to disentangle a pointy, clinging nut from their gloves or clothes. The recruitment brochure had warned that volunteers would get wet and dirty, and the brochure spoke the truth. 
 
As the baskets filled, each boat made its way back to the boat launch. Enthusiastic shore-based volunteers grabbed each full basket, swapped it out for an empty one, and carried the invasive plant material well away from the water's edge. Conkerton counted baskets as the contents were dumped into the growing heap.  Estimating number of plants from number of baskets, she figured that 16,400 plants had been pulled from the pond by the end of the morning. 
 
The Acton Conservation Division and OARS are planning another water chestnut pull for next spring, aiming to get at younger plants, before they form nuts. To be notified about the next chestnut pull, email Acton Land Stewardship Coordinator Ian Bergemann at ibergemann@acton-ma.gov. To learn more about water chestnut, visit www.oars3rivers.org/our-work/water-chestnut.  For the history of Ice House Pond, see https://www.oars3rivers.org/river/tributaries/nashoba-brook/photos-history.

Acton 250’s Inaugural Event Covers “Crown Tensions to Tea Parties”

Meeting
by Alissa Nicol

ACTON: Acton’s inaugural event commemorating the 250th Anniversary of the Commencement of the American Revolution took place at Town Hall on the evening of Thursday, September 21. Organized by the Acton 250 Committee, created by the Select Board in August of last year to plan community events to mark this anniversary, this lecture by noted historian Professor Robert Allison, is the first in a Speaker Series, and was dedicated to the late Patricia Herdeg, beloved community member and Acton Historical Society Secretary. 

The Francis Faulkner room was packed with 133 people in the room, and another 36 viewing the live-stream. Three high school history classes were among the attendees, each student earning extra credit for US History and Government I or AP European History. Several 250 Committee members attended, to run the event or simply enjoy the presentation: Chair Steve Trimble, History Subcommittee Chair Pam Lynn representing the Acton Libraries, Anne Forbes representing Iron Work Farm, Bob Ferrara representing Friends of Pine Hawk, Bill Klauer representing the Acton Historical Society, Dean Charter, the Select Board representative who wrote the committee’s charge, Sue Peterman, and Mary Price Maddox, the Acton Boxborough Regional School District  representative.

Professor Allison was a dynamic speaker, holding the audience’s attention with his in-depth knowledge of the events surrounding the “Destruction of the Tea” in 1773, and story-weaving skill. His wit was appreciated by students and seniors alike, most of the students sitting rapt, a handful taking notes. Allison noted that the event we now know as the “Boston Tea Party” was not given that name until some 50 years after the night that more than 300 chests of tea were split open with axes, dumped overboard into the Boston Harbor, and the tea pushed underwater to spoil it. Historians estimate that roughly 9,000 pounds worth of tea were destroyed that night, over one million in today’s dollars. John Adams called it “the most magnificent Movement of all” in his diary entry of December 17, 1773. Parliament did not agree, and in 1774, the Massachusetts Charter was suspended, Boston’s port was shut down, and General Thomas Gage, the commander of British military forces in North America, was sent to replace Governor Hutchinson in an attempt to keep the colonists in line.

Allison recalled hearing a story that during Queen Elizabeth II’s visit on the occasion of the Bicentennial, a cheeky American handed her a check for $9000, explaining, “This is for the tea.” The Professor reminded the audience that the salt-water logged tea was not a loss for the Queen’s family, but for the East India Company and Parliament, who had authorized a monopoly to the Company to sell tea to the North American colonies in an effort to pull them out of a very large debt. Allison concluded his presentation by reminding the audience that the American Revolution was about ordinary folks determining how they were to be governed, and a particular reminder for the students in the audience was that knowledge about defending their rights would serve them, not only for the test they’d take next month, but for the rest of their lives. 

For those who missed the lecture, the recording is available to view on Acton TV’s YouTube channel. The series continues with a presentation, “Daily Life in Colonial Acton,” by local historian Dr. Mary Fuhrer on Monday, November 13 at 7:00 PM in Room 204 of Town Hall.

Acton Water District Receives State Grants Totaling More Than $2,000,000 to Purchase the 549 Main Street Property

Property
by Ron Parenti

ACTON: At the  Annual Meeting of the Acton Water District held last March, voters  overwhelmingly approved an article that allocated $4,900,000 to purchase the 57-acre parcel at 549 Main Street on the south side of Brook Street and obtained a permanent Conservation Restriction on that tract of land.  In the presentation of that article, the Commissioners of the Water District noted the generosity of the Conant family in offering this property at a price that is well below market value.  The primary purpose of the  purchase is to enhance the protection of the wells that currently supply the Central Acton Water Treatment Plant, and facilitate the development of two new bedrock wells, which will diversify the water supply.  The article received the full support of Acton’s Open Space Committee, which has a strong interest in preserving public access to land that includes a large section of the Isaac Davis Trail and also serves as an irreplaceable habitat for local vegetation and wildlife.  The Open Space Committee also requested that the Community Preservation Committee recommend the approval of $1,030,000 at Town Meeting for the purchase of the Conservation Restriction on this property.  This expenditure passed by a 2/3 vote at the Annual Town Meeting in May.
 
To further mitigate the financial impact of this land purchase, District Manager Matthew Mostoller and his staff worked closely with Town officials, State Senator Jamie Eldridge, State Representative Simon Cataldo, the Acton Conservation Trust, and the Sudbury Valley Trustees to apply for State grants and low-interest loans.  As a result of these collaborative efforts, the Healey-Driscoll Administration announced two awards this summer totaling more than $2,000,000 to support the 549 Main Street purchase.  On July 25th, a grant in the amount of $500,000 was awarded by the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs’ Drinking Water Supply Protection Program to safeguard drinking water and protect public health in Acton.  With regard to this grant, Senator Eldridge has stated, “The Acton Water District does an incredible job of not only ensuring that water is safe to drink and use, but also acts in an environmentally sustainable manner, and this grant reflects the state's continued recognition of the district's vision and leadership.”
 
On August 30th, the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) program announced the award of a second grant for the purchase of 549 Main Street in the amount of $1,501,610.  This money is part of an $28.5 million dollar State program that has been established to address the impacts of climate change.  The grant announcement includes the following statement.  “The acquisition of this parcel will enable two bedrock wells located on the premises to be used as additional sources of water supply, increasing resilience to drought, as these wells are much less susceptible to failure and other negative impacts attributable to drought conditions than the network of shallow sand and gravel wells that currently supply water to 95% of the community.  Additionally, the project seeks to protect the natural resources this property offers, including a multi-aged forest, freshwater wetlands, an open meadow, and two potential vernal pools.  These natural resources offer priority habitat for rare species and their preservation will provide flood mitigation, carbon sequestration, and cooling shade during extreme heat in a densely populated and developed part of the community.”
 
The two State grants for the land purchase and the Town’s contribution for the Conservation Restriction on the 549 Main Street property compensate the Acton Water District for 62% of the total acquisition cost.  The Water District has issued a 6-month bond anticipation note for the full purchase price of $4.9 million, but will recover about $3 million of this expenditure.  A 20-year General Obligation Bond will be issued for the balance in the spring of 2024.  The cost of this valuable land acquisition to water users will be modest.  Assuming that the bond will be issued at a 5% interest rate, the Water District's Treasurer/Collector estimates that the resulting increase in the debt service fee will be $4.28 per billing cycle.
 
Dr. Parenti is a member of the Town of Acton Water Resource Committee and the Acton Water District Finance Committee

Planning Board Considers Permits and Hears Updates on the Powder Mill Road Corridor Initiative & Bumblebee Way Subdivision

Planningboard
by Franny Osman

ACTON: The Acton Planning Board met earlier than its regular time on September 19 at Town Hall in order to join the Maynard Planning Board to hear a presentation by the Planning Department and Sarah Scott of the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) on the Powder Mill Road Corridor redevelopment initiative. The project is funded, in part, through technical assistance grants awarded from MAPC and the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.

Phase 1 of the project, begun in 2022, defined the strategy for redevelopment: create an overlay zoning district (where owners are given additional options for use of their property); improve access to, and environmental quality of, the Assabet River; incorporate "complete streets" features to make Powder Mill Road safer; and design future transportation projects to advance safety and environmental goals. The current Phase 2 aims to "create a more walkable, safe Powder Mill Road neighborhood where people want to live, visit, walk, and spend time” according to the presentation. 

Community outreach showed a majority preference for a more populated area with additional housing and businesses in the Powder Mill area. Members of both Maynard's and Acton's Planning Boards commented on the plans for Phase 2. Acton Planning Board member Pat Clifford asked Town staff for other examples of contiguous towns creating an overlay district together. The situation is not common enough for the team to name examples immediately, but they said they would research that question. Staff and Planning Board members from both towns indicated that they enjoy this joint planning process.

The Planning Board meeting also included three public hearings. One was an application from the RH Adhesives company at 308 Old High Street for a Groundwater Protection District Special Permit. The company, which makes a variety of glues, applied for a permit to expand a non-conforming use, based on the construction of concrete footings under storage containers housing non-hazardous materials, a 2021
change for which they had not obtained a permit. The engineer on the project, George Dimakarakos from Stamski and McNary, Inc., noted that the company would go before other boards, such as the Conservation Commission, following this hearing. He said that the changes to the property had resulted in a "net improvement” to the land. The Planning Department reached out to the Acton Water District, Health Department, and Economic Development Committee for input as they reviewed the company's application. The board voted to approve the Special Permit.

The Planning Board also reviewed an application for a Planned Conservation Residential Community (PCRC) on Quarry Road that would add four single-family lots east of two existing houses. The applicants, Jamie and Bettina Norton, and Jamie and Bill Hryniewich of Rhino Construction, answered questions about septic disposal, wells, and electric service–the latter of which would be brought to the land for the first time. After creating the PCRC, the Nortons hope to donate part of the open space to the town. Bettina Norton, long-time resident on the land, said the donated section would be a complement to the Acton Arboretum, as there are 27 different varieties of lilac- –100 plants— on the land that came from the Arnold Arboretum in Jamaica Plain. Due to some outstanding items, including expected comments from the Design Review Board, the Board continued the hearing until its next meeting.
The Board also voted to allow a new sign to be installed on the side of Citizens Bank in Gould's Plaza, removing the word “Bank” according to a company name change.

The Planning Board heard updates on work at the Bumble Bee Way subdivision at 46 High St. from the developer, Mark Gallagher of Seal Harbor, and from the engineering firm GCG Associates who had conducted a site walk that morning at the request of the Planning Department. GCG estimated that the remaining work ranged from $30,000 to $50,000. The board heard complaints from neighbors about debris, slow and incomplete work, and drainage issues. 

The town holds a $149,000 performance bond to assure the completion of the road and associated stormwater system. The bond itself does not expire, but has a deadline by which the construction must be completed. The board had previously changed the terms of the bond to extend the deadline of January 1, 2023 to May 30, 2023. At this meeting, that deadline was extended again, to November 15, 2023, with a statement that the Town would pull the bond if the work is not complete by the deadline. After the vote, members of the board urged Gallagher to get the work done. Director of Planning Kristen Guichard added, “We want it to be done correctly and we want it to be done with expedience.” 

Nagog Park and Hanscom Field Discussions at the September 18, 2023 Acton Select Board Meeting

Nagog
by Tom Beals

ACTON: The proposed auto dealership at Nagog Park and a possible expansion at Hanscom Field were both revisited at the September 18, 2023 Acton Select Board meeting.

The September 18 Nagog Park discussion had been continued from September 11, 2023, extending a pattern of scheduled appearances with requests for continuation, and another request for continuation had been made shortly before this meeting. Attorney Mark Bobrowski, appearing remotely, gave an update on progress since the last presentation, describing meetings and discussions with Town committees and Town officials. Select Board Chair Jim Snyder-Grant said that because the request for continuance had arrived late, and in recognition of residents’ expectation of a discussion, the Select Board would hear residents’ comments and respond to their questions.

Select Board members discussed details of issues that had been addressed since the last substantive discussion, such as green spaces, parking, and sidewalks. Select Board member David Martin addressed the repeated requests for continuances, saying that he would prefer to have further hearings delayed until the Board received a definitive plan.

Residents also expressed frustration with the series of requests for continuances that were made on short notice, noting that people took time to attend in person only to hear about a request for delay from a remote participant. A resident mentioned that several businesses would close or relocate out of Acton, which will reduce the town’s tax base. Some residents urged the Select Board to simply reject the proposal. The Board did not reply directly to the call for outright rejection. The Board closed the hearing with a unanimous vote to continue at the October 16, 2023 meeting.

A proposal for an expansion at Hanscom Airport that would, among other things, expand private jet hangar space was submitted as an Environmental Notification Form to the Massachusetts Environmental Protection Agency on January 17, 2023. At the July 10, 2023 Select Board meeting, Board Chair Jim Synder-Grant brought the proposal to the Board’s attention, to assess the Board’s opinion of a draft letter opposing the expansion, being evaluated at the time by the Select Boards of Concord, Lincoln, Lexington, and Bedford, to be sent to Governor Healey. The Board’s deliberations at the July 10 and September 18 meeting covered much the same ground.

The draft letter opposed the project primarily on the basis of increased greenhouse gas emissions, but also objected to increased runway capacity that would accommodate larger aircraft. As Select Board members Dean Charter and David Martin noted, plausible arguments could be made that the expansion might result in a net decrease of CO2, as aircraft hangared elsewhere might fly empty to Hanscom, make their passenger flight, then return empty. Similarly, auto traffic to Hanscom might replace longer drives to Logan airport. Select Board member David Martin noted that development at Hanscom had been opposed for decades before ‘climate change’ became a popular concern and, at both meetings, characterized some arguments as “greenwash”, the opportunistic use of climate as a new cover for long-standing opposition.

The potential for larger aircraft was opposed on environmental justice grounds, but Select Board members noted that communities surrounding Logan airport already bore the brunt of large aircraft noise, and sparing the relatively privileged communities surrounding Hanscom hardly seemed like justice. Residents’ comments were uniformly opposed to the expansion, both on climate grounds and the perception that wealthy interests were running roughshod over local communities. Discussion ended with general agreement to defer a decision pending an anticipated environmental impact statement.
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A Toast to Hope to Benefit Local Projects by Habitat NCM

ACTON/DEVENS: Habitat for Humanity North Central Massachusetts (Habitat NCM)  announces lineup of area restaurants, wine, craft beer, and spirits experts at its ninth 'A Toast to Hope' to be held at the Devens Commons Center, October 12 from 6-8pm.  Numerous wine, beer, spirit and food purveyors will be putting their best “tastes” forward, including Boston Harbor Distillery, Berkshire Brewing, Elijah Craig Bourbon, Ruby Wines, Mad River Distillery, Tito's Handmade Vodka, Stateside Spirits, Signature Wines, Frolic & Detour, Firefly's BBQ, Kith & Kin, Red Tail Golf Course, and Devens Common Center.  Tickets are $30 per ticket if you register before October 11; $35 at the door, and are available online at www.ncmhabitat.org

Habitat NCM is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing decent and affordable homes for those who cannot qualify for conventional mortgages, as well as doing Critical Home Repairs throughout the 30-town region. Habitat NCM relies on volunteers to accomplish its mission and is supported only by local funding and donations.  
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Town of Acton Collects Photographs for Open Space & Recreation Plan

ACTON: Do you have any favorite photos of Acton’s nature, open spaces, and recreation? The Town of Acton is actively collecting photographs to be featured in our updated Open Space and Recreation Plan. Please submit your favorite photos of Acton’s nature, open spaces, and recreation to photos@actonma.gov, including: 1) Your name; 2) the location the photo was taken; and 3) any other notes you would like to add . Reminder that all photographs of any individuals must be submitted with the individual’s consent.
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"Our Changing Climate & Horticultural Impacts with Dave Epstein, Meteorologist and Horticulturist” 

ACTON: On October 3 at 10:30am in Acton Town Hall's Room 204, the Acton Garden Club will present Dave Epstein, as he looks at climates and the impact to plants both close to home and further afield. Dave Epstein has been one of New England’s most trusted meteorologists for decades and a lifelong gardener.  A biology major who now lives in Natick, Dave has been explaining the weather to TV viewers, radio listeners, and newspaper readers across New England for a long time. Along the way, he has become one of the region’s favorite and most trusted forecasters because of his straightforward, uncomplicated approach to informing people what is happening in the skies and why—and how it will impact their day.

Dave’s work can be found with Boston.comBostonGlobe.comWBUR.com, and Growingwisdom.com, his videoblog for home gardeners. He provides daily weather updates and weekly higher-level conversations, talking all things weather and plants. This program is open to the public, followed by a business meeting for Club members.  For more information, visit actongardenclub.org.
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Open House at Jones Tavern & Faulkner Homestead

ACTON: On September 24, visitors are invited to the Iron Work Farm’s two house museums as part of their “4th Sunday” open house series. Jones Tavern, 128 Main Street, will be open from 1-3pm. The building exemplifies the architecture of several eras, including the original 1732 house, 1750 tavern taproom, and elegant 1818 addition. The 1707 Jones-Faulkner Homestead, 5 High Street, the oldest building in Acton, will be open from 3-5pm. Several restored rooms of this 1707 architectural gem will be on view, and members of the Nashoba Valley Weavers’ Guild will be on hand to demonstrate weaving, spinning, and other textile crafts in honor of the building’s long association with the textile industry. Parking is available on-site or nearby.
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Upcoming at First Parish Church of Stow & Acton

ACTON/STOW: It’s time again for First Parish Church of Stow & Acton (FPC) to sell its homemade apple pies, and on its first day, you’ll also be able to visit the annual FPC Community Yard Sale. On September 23, FPC will hold its yard sale from 8:30am-1pm. With multiple sellers and tables, you’ll find a wider variety and number of items in one place than you’d find at a typical household yard sale. Items are likely to include household wares, artwork, ceramics, toys, sports equipment, and one-of-a-kind items. Pie sales will continue each Saturday and Sunday through October 15, beginning at 1am and closing when the day’s pies are sold, or at 1pm (whichever comes first). 3 lb. pies are $18 each, withc apples generously donated by Stow's Shelburne Farm. The apple pie stand is located at the front of the church grounds; the yard sale will be held in the church parking lot, unless it rains, in which case it will be held indoors.

There will be an Open House on September 24. All are welcome to attend the Sunday service at 10am, or to show up at Fellowship Hall at or after 11:15am. The service is entitled “Radical Welcome!” - because it is for the newcomer who has never been to an FPC service. The Rev. Dr. Cynthia L. Landrum will explore the question “How do we create a community of radical welcome?” Child care is available for children 6 months to 3 years old during the service. At the Open House that follows, you can find out more about FPC’s many programs beyond the church service, including a religious education program that teaches world religions and encourages and leads children and youth to use their own hearts and minds to find their own religious/spiritual path. Find out about opportunities to serve on various social justice committees, such as the Racial Justice, Supporting Asylum Seekers, and Climate Change task forces. As part of FPC, you might even help plan the next beerfest! The Open House is expected to end at about 12:30pm.

From September 24-October 15, a series of free seminars for people approaching or in retirement will be running over four consecutive  Sundays from 1-3pm. All are welcome! The first seminar is “Estate Planning for Massachusetts Residents,” during which attorney Barbara Epstein (of Scheier, Katin & Epstein) will offer an overview of the key elements of creating and updating an estate plan. This includes a will, trust (if needed), durable power of attorney, and health care directives. Epstein will address the implications of the Massachusetts Estate Tax, which has one of the lowest exemption amounts in the country - many residents must pay Massachusetts estate taxes even though their assets are far below the asset level needed to trigger federal estate tax. She’ll also cover ways to be the most effective with charitable giving through your estate. The remaining seminars are on October 1, 8 and 15, and will cover Medicare and Social Security Programs, Senior Living Options in the Metrowest Area, and Local Services Available to Seniors.

FPC will hold its first vesper service of the church year on September 28 at 6pm. With the autumnal equinox not far behind us, the Rev. Dr. Cynthia L. Landrum will lead a service focused on the Pagan holiday Mabon and the harvest. The evening vesper service is a shorter, more intimate spiritual service and is held in the Community Room.

FPC is located at 353 Great Road in Stow, at the intersection of Routes 117 and 62. Its facilities are wheelchair accessible. For more information, call (978) 897-8149 or visit www.fpc-stow-acton.org. will offer free classes in English as a Second Language. Classes begin 9/28 from 5:30-6:30pm and continue once a week in the Cullen Room on the second floor of the library. The class is aimed at Advanced Beginner and Intermediate English learners and puts an emphasis on commonly used American words and idioms . It is taught by Jeff Loeb, a long-standing certified ESL teacher with over ten years experience, many of which with the Hudson Maynard Adult Learning Center. There is no need to register. Students of all ages are welcome.
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Free ASL Classes at Maynard Public Library

MAYNARD: The Maynard Public Library will offer free classes in English as a Second Language. Classes begin 9/28 from 5:30-6:30pm and continue once a week in the Cullen Room on the second floor of the library. The class is aimed at Advanced Beginner and Intermediate English learners and puts an emphasis on commonly used American words and idioms . It is taught by Jeff Loeb, a long-standing certified ESL teacher with over ten years experience, many of which with the Hudson Maynard Adult Learning Center. There is no need to register. Students of all ages are welcome.
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Acton Senior Center Hosts AARP Smart Driver Course

ACTON: On September 27 from 1-3pm, Acton Senior Center will be hosting an AARP Smart Driver Course that is open to out-of-town seniors. The cost is $20 for AARP members; $25 for non-members by cash or check payable to AARP. Drop off payment at the Senior Center reception desk or mail it before September 27. Participants will receive a certificate at the end of class, which may result in an insurance discount, depending on insurance provider. There will be a break for lunch; bring your own or you may purchase lunch at the Senior Center café ($6).

Cars have changed. So have traffic rules, driving conditions, and the roads you travel on every day. Although older Americans live a healthier lifestyle than the generations before them, they are still more likely than younger drivers to experience vision, hearing, or other impairments that could create risks on the road. The AARP Smart Driver course is designed specifically for drivers aged 50 and over to help them continue to drive longer and safer. It is designed to help:

- Learn research-based strategies that can reduce the likelihood of having a crash.
- Understand the links between the driver, vehicle, and road environment and how this awareness encourages safer behavior.
- Learn how aging, medications, alcohol, and other health-related issues affect driving ability, and ways to adjust to allow for these changes.
- Increase confidence.
- Know how to drive safely when sharing the road with others.
- Learn the newest safety and advanced features in vehicles.
- Learn when driving may no longer be safe.
- Explore other ways to travel.

For more information, call (978) 929-6652; email seniorcenter@actonma.gov; visit actoncoa.com or visit them on Facebook at facebook.com/actoncoa..
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Picky Eating in Toddlers with Pediatric O.T. Anna Knox

ACTON: First Connections welcomes all parents to attend a free live webinar on October 25, 1-2pm. Picky eating phases or patterns typically begin between the ages of 1 and 3, and can feel tricky to manage alone. Picky eating doesn't usually go away on its own, and may require parents to really work at it thru changes to routines, food presentation or expectations, with the goal being safe and joyful mealtime experiences. There are many supports that can help prevent the dinner table from turning into a battleground, and Anna will outline the role of the parent, the child, and the environment in feeding. The spectrum of picky eating behaviors, strategies to prevent and respond to picky eating, and signs that a more formal evaluation might be helpful will also be discussed. To register for the zoom link, email lmatthews@jri.org.

Businesses in Your Community

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“Stand Up to Stigma” Scarecrow Contest

ACTON: Enter the “Stand Up to Stigma” Scarecrow Contest to benefit the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Central Middlesex. Bring your $25 donation to Cucurbit Farm at 32 Parker Street in Acton and pick up your scarecrow starter frame. Then drop off your family friendly scarecrow at the farm stand. Individuals, organizations, and businesses are invited to participate. The scarecrows will be on display for the month of October, and the public is invited to cast their vote for the winning entry. The goal is 100 scarecrows along the fence, as well as many conversations about mental health! Additional info can be found at namicentralmiddlesex.org/newsletter/scarecrow-contest2023.
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Acton Water District Fall 2023 Water Main Flushing

ACTON: The Acton Water District will begin its fall water main flushing program on October 2, 2023 and continue through the month of October. They will primarily be flushing water mains in North Acton, which is roughly the area northeast of Route 2 in the vicinity of Great Road (Routes 2A/119) and Main Street (Route 27) to the Westford/Carlisle/Littleton town lines. This is inclusive of intersecting streets and neighborhoods.

Discolored water and periods of low pressure may be experienced on, or in the general vicinity of, any of the streets being flushed. We will place road signs in the vicinity prior to initiating flushing on any street. Areas outside of the flushing zone may also experience some of these conditions, although the program is designed to minimize widespread impacts.

Flushing will occur between the hours of 8am and 8pm Monday-Thursday. They will not be flushing on October 9 due to the Indigenous Peoples’ Day holiday. At any time during this period, customers may experience discolored water. It is advisable to draw and store some drinking water prior to flushing. Any customers experiencing discolored water should not launder light-colored clothing or run their dishwashers, as the minerals in the water may cause staining.

This process is necessary for improving water quality in our distribution system, exercising valves and hydrants, and to clean mineral deposits from the pipes to minimize future incidents of discolored water. For updates on areas being flushed, please refer to the Water District website at www.actonwater.com, or call (978) 263-9107. You may also follow them on Twitter and Facebook @Actonwater.
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Run a Food Drive to Spread More Love, Less Hunger

Did you know that 24% of the food Open Table distributes comes from community food donations?  Your assistance is vital to Open Table.  Please consider running a food drive this autumn if you are hungry to help neighbors experiencing food insecurity.  It's an easy, feel-good community service that is a great activity for neighborhoods, businesses, schools, scouts, clubs, teams, and faith-based organizations.  All size food drives are welcome.  Sandwich boards and other signs are available to help you spread the word.  Go to www.opentable.org/donation-activities/ for information.   Stay up-to-date on our changing needs and news on Instagram and Twitter @opentablema and Facebook.com/opentablema.  
 
Open Table is the local food pantry supporting those in-need in Concord, Bedford, Carlisle, and 18 other surrounding areas.  If you or someone you know is in need of food assistance, email info@opentable.org or call (978) 369-2275. 
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Land Stewards Clear Trail Blockages Following Recent Storms

by Kim Kastens

ACTON: Following the storms of September 8 and 10, regional headlines and newscasts were filled with photographs of downed trees across roads, railroad tracks, cars and buildings.  Out of sight, the forested lands of Acton also suffered.  Across the 1700 acres of Acton Conservation Lands, scores of trees fell, either snapped off mid-trunk or pulled up by the roots from the saturated soil.  
 
When trees fall across trails in Acton's Conservation Lands, clearing up the mess is the responsibility of the volunteer Acton Land Stewards, supported by the  staff Land Stewardship Coordinator, Ian Bergemann.  The twenty members of the Land Stewardship Committee each take responsibility for one of Acton's 17 conservation land parcels.  Stewards walk the trails regularly, watching for misuse of the land and keeping the trails open.  They maintain signs and blazes, build bridges and walkways, and occasionally re-route a trail to avoid muddy patches or sensitive habitats.  Stewards provide their own tools, and routine work is done with hand tools, such as clippers and handsaws.  A subset of Stewards, called "sawyers," have taken additional specialized training and are authorized to use chainsaws and other power tools in the conservation lands.  In the aftermath of the storms of September 8 and 10, the sawyers have been hard at work.  Their database of recent trail blockages shows nine  blockages cleared as of September 16, and at least 21 more to go. 
 
If you encounter a fallen tree or branches blocking a trail in the conservation lands, the Stewards and Stewardship Coordinator Bergemann request that you report the problem by emailing lscsawyers@googlegroups.com.  Include as much as possible of the following information:  a photograph of the situation, its location, the diameter of the largest trunk or branch, whether a walker can easily get over or around the blockage, and whether there are fallen branches or trunks suspended over the trail that could fall on a walker.  If you are using a hiker's GPS system or the Acton Trails interactive map  on your cell phone, it is helpful if you can snap a screenshot of your location and send that along as well.  If you enjoy walking in Acton's conservation lands, thank a Land Steward. 
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Danny’s Place New Space Reveal and Community Celebration

by Alisa Nicol

ACTON: On September 17, Danny’s Place Youth Services (DPYS), a 501c3 non-profit, held a ribbon-cutting at their new location in West Acton village, and a community celebration to honor the 20th year of the Danny’s Place vision. Danny’s Place was created in honor of Danny McCarthy, an ABRHS student who died at the age of 16 in a car accident. Executive Director Katie Gorczyca welcomed the large crowd gathered on the sidewalk to the new space, sharing that the day before, September 16, would have been Danny’s 37th birthday. Gorczyca is McCarthy’s younger sister, and, standing with their family, she described the organization’s focus on health and wellness, self-exploration and life skills, and leadership and community-building.

The organization was created in 2003, and opened a youth drop-in space in the Acton-Boxborough school district's Administration Building at 15 Charter Road in 2006. After moving to West Acton VillageWorks in 2014, and shifting to a program-centric focus, DPYS is now housed in the former architecture offices of Michael Rosenfeld, once St. Elizabeth of Hungary Parish, at the corner of Mass Ave and Spruce St in West Acton. The new space is much, much larger, and the organization is going to be able to greatly expand its program offerings.

Danny McCarthy lived his life giving his best effort to everything: not just academics, but sports, art, music, and his relationships, with his family and with his friends, bringing kids from different friend groups together. Gorcyzyca’s message to all who gathered in the community celebration was that Danny’s Place is carrying on this tradition by providing a space an a community “where kids can be kids and be their true, authentic selves.” 

Following the ribbon-cutting and tours of the newly opened space, attendees were invited to cross Mass Ave. to the Gardner Field & Playground to enjoy food from True West and WestSide Creamery, a raffle, art activities, face painting, and a cornhole tournament. DPYS serves AB students in grades 3-12. The low-cost and free programming includes Girls on the Run, a non-competitive program for girls in grades 3-6 that focuses on both inner strength and physical health and stamina, Youth Leadership Councils for grades 7-8 and 9-12, Coloring Equality, a social justice art program for grades 4-6, and the U Project for grades 9-12 focused on community service. More information can be found at www.dannys-place.org.
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Commission on Disabilities Annual Picnic Returns

by Joan Burrows

ACTON: The Acton Commission on Disabilities (COD) held their picnic on September 10, and had both rain and shine... luckily mostly shine. There was a good turnout despite inclement weather reports and blocked off roads. Old connections were renewed and new ones were made. The need for additional and more effective supports for people with disabilities was discussed. The next COD meeting will be focused on finding solutions. The food was plentiful and varied and enjoyed by all. 
 
Senator Jamie Eldridge was there as he always is to support the commission, and most welcome. 
 
The highlight for “entertainment” and learning was the Kids on the Block Puppets. They are life-sized puppets, some disabled, and their friends, learning about disabilities. Our high schoolers are mostly pros now, having started learning and working with them last year. All are seniors now and we are hoping to find new volunteers. One, a ninth grader, joined us at the picnic and performed with only one rehearsal...no one could tell! All it really takes, once you get used to their heavy heads, is caring and understanding. All people are more the same than different.
 
We used to have performances in our schools with members of the Commission using the puppets. The most informative was when the children asked questions, after the brief skit. It is a special learning opportunity, and important for children to be exposed at an early age, before prejudice sets in! We noted later, when using younger people as puppeteers, that they were learning by performing. Jr. high students are welcome too. Anyone interested in seeing the puppets or learning more, please call (978) 263 0843 and leave a message.

PHOTO: Acton-Boxborough High School students perform disability-related skits with “Kids on the Block” puppets. (
Franny Osman)
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Acton “Main Street” Energy Efficiency Grant Program Launched

by Kj Herther

ACTON: Are you an Acton business owner looking to make your business more energy efficient to reduce costs and lower your carbon footprint?  The Town has partnered with AECOM and Eversource as part of the "Main Street” grant program for small businesses. For a limited time, Eversource will cover up to 90% of the cost of select business energy efficiency solutions for small businesses in Acton. AECOM energy efficiency experts will visit Acton businesses and provide a free energy use audit and customized recommendations that save money, energy,and boost the comfort of your customers and employees. Contact AECOM to schedule an assessment by October 9 to be guaranteed the enhanced incentive.

The “Main Street” program launched in front of Acton Town Hall on September 11 with representatives from the Town of Acton Sustainability Office, Economic Development Office, Select Board, and AECOM Eversource business energy efficiency experts. Folks from EnergizeActon.org, a resource created in partnership between the Town of Acton and Acton Climate Coalition, were also on hand to support the initiative.

Eligible business can also apply for the Acton Business Energy Efficiency Grant Program (ABEEG). ABEEG will provide qualified business owners in Acton with American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) reimbursement grants of up to $2,000 to mitigate the financial impacts of improving the energy efficiency of their physical location. The Town will allocate up to $20,000 for this program. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis between September 11 and October 25, 2023. Grant awards will be announced in the order received. The grant will reimburse approved energy efficiency expenses incurred between September 11, 2023 and May 23, 2024. Businesses must schedule an energy audit with a Mass Save Sponsor (such as AECOM during the “Main Street” campaign) in coordination with the landlord of the property before applying. Visit bit.ly/ABEEGapp.

“Main Street & ABEEG grants provide a chance for qualified Acton businesses to take advantage of multiple incentives” to save energy, said Andrea Becerra, Town of Acton Sustainability Director. 

Bogi Boutique in Acton recently did AECOM Eversource lighting upgrades at their new 133 Great Road location as part of a Main Street pilot. Jackie Porto, Bogi Boutique owner, said, “It really brightens our space and accents the clothing colors and prints. Even Bogi customers are noticing.” As a follow-up, a local Acton Energy Coach is scheduled to visit Bogi to offer additional small business energy saving ideas for heating and cooling, including a heat pump mini split consult.

Q Cleaner & Tailor Acton owner Kim Walsh took advantage of an earlier AECOM small business energy efficiency program, replacing all of Q lighting with energy efficiency LED lighting. Walsh said, “Our lighting is all new and brighter, and Q is saving some money on our electricity bill with the higher efficiency upgrade.” In addition, Walsh noted that Q Cleaner & Tailor is powered by renewables, as they opted up to the 100% renewable electricity option available to all businesses and residents in Town through the Acton Power Choice program via www.ActonPowerChoice.com.

Look for AECOM Eversource energy efficiency experts wearing their blue shirts in Acton this month. To get started, Acton businesses can schedule a no-cost, no obligation energy consult by contacting AECOM at (617) 371-4512 or contacting Casey Sheehey at casey.sheehey@aecom.com. For more information and other ways to “green your business,” contact Andrea Becerra and the Acton Sustainability Office at sustainability@actonma.gov, or visit actonma.gov/sustainability.

PHOTO: Town of Acton Sustainability Office (Lauren West, front right) and Economic Development Office (Kj Herther, front left), Acton Select Board Chair (Jim Snyder-Grant, front 2nd from right) and AECOM Eversource team. (Casey Sheehey)
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The Friends of the Acton Libraries To Host Used Book Sale

ACTON: The Friends have been collecting and sorting a lot of books since the last sale! Now is your chance to come to stock up on good books in good condition and settle in for some cozy reading this winter. The live and in person used book sale will take place October 21 at the Acton Memorial Library from 9am-4pm. Members of the Friends are invited to a preview of the sale on October 20 from 7-9pm. Sunday will be half price day for all, from 2-3:30pm.
 
While not required, face coverings while inside at the sale are encouraged. Weather permitting, there will also be tables outside of the library for browsing and shopping, too. Be sure your membership is up to date before the big Friends Used Book Sale so you can have first crack at the great selection of used books at the sale preview. If you aren’t yet a member, you can join on Friday night. But why wait? Go to the Friends of the Acton Libraries page on the Acton Memorial Library website (www.actonmemoriallibrary.org/about-the-library/friends-of-the-acton-libraries). Print out the membership form and mail it in. Or, bring it with you on Preview Friday night.
 
The Friends of the Acton Libraries is a 100% volunteer organization that has a unique remit; they donate funds to Acton's 8 elementary middle-school and high-school libraries,as well as the two town libraries. Book sales and other activities raise money which is then distributed to these entities. The funds given to the elementary school libraries represent almost 50% of their book buying budget.
 
For more information, contact The Friends at friendsofactonlibraries@gmail.com, or visit www.facebook.com/friendsactonlib. You can also find them on Twitter (friendsactonlib) and Instagram (friendsactonlib).