Meet a clean energy coach 2 230626 170512

Meet an Acton Clean Energy Coach!

ACTON: Transitioning to clean energy for our homes and cars is a great decision! But the process can be complicated. Acton's FREE Clean Energy Coaches are standing by to help you through these changes.
 
On July 12 from 5-6pm, Chat with David Martin and Jim Clark, two of Acton’s new Clean Energy Coaches and find out about the free consultations available through this program, sponsored by the Town’s Sustainability Office under the leadership of Director Andrea Becerra. All seven coaches are trained volunteers with personal experience transitioning to clean energy technologies.  They are ready to help other Acton residents learn about, plan for, and initiate actions such as the adoption of home/building weatherization, efficient electric heat pump systems, solar power, electric vehicles, and other energy adaptations to help us address climate change.

This program is part of the 2023 Climate Café Series co-hosted by EnergizeActon.org and the Acton Memorial Library. The Climate Café aims to be a helpful, informal gathering where Acton residents can discuss a fossil fuel free future.  Local people who have experience in clean energy technologies will share their insights and answer questions from others who are considering these technologies and who are exploring ways to reduce their carbon footprints.  Each week in July and August will be a different focus, with a range of technical and environmental topics. Each session will be one hour, 5-6pm, on Wednesdays. When the weather is good, we will be outside behind the Acton Memorial Library, so feel free to bring a picnic or grab a slice of pizza and relax while we discuss these positive efforts. If the weather is wet, we will be inside in the Library’s meeting room on the first floor. (Sorry, food is discouraged inside.) No registration is necessary. Simply drop by the Library!

The Clean Energy Coach Program is one of the Town’s newest clean energy initiatives, which also include Acton Power Choice, EnergizeActon.org, Abode Energy Management consultations, and the Neighborhood Clean Heating and Cooling Project.
Owl

Saved an Owl Today

by Bettina Abe

ACTON: A couple of weeks ago when the phone rang in the Acton Conservation Office at Town Hall where I work, I was very happy I was there to answer it. A lady said that she was parked on the side of Pope Road next to a baby owl-- who had been standing in the middle of the road until she got there. She reported that the owl did not appear injured.
 
I asked her if she could safely stay for five more minutes, and she said yes. I had thick leather gloves in my car already, AND a cardboard box. The last time some neighbors called me to “rescue” an owl from their driveway (about 10 years ago), it was on a freezing winter day and that Eastern Screech Owl had been hit by a car. That time I had placed the almost frozen, wounded screech owl into a towel lined box and drove it to Tufts Wildlife Animal Hospital in North Grafton. It didn’t move the whole way, and just stared at me with big eyes. Tufts did what they could, but the screech owl did not make it.
 
This time I arrived at Pope Road and immediately called my former boss, Tom Tidman, who was Acton’s Natural Resources Director for 35 years. I had seen Tom rescue raptors before. The first thing Tom said was, “Be sure you have a hat on, and have someone keep lookout. If the parent owl sees you touch its baby, it may swoop down and hurt you.” No parents were seen lurking anywhere, and this baby wasn’t making a sound. Check. “Always use leather gloves or the talons will pierce your hand.” It was a young barred owl who had probably fallen out of the nest, then hopped the wrong way until it ended up in the middle of the road. Bird parents commonly feed fledglings on the ground until they learn to fly. It’s a vulnerable state for them to be in. But kids are incredibly resilient.
 
The owl did not look injured. It kept staring at the lady who had called me, and clicking its beak. They will bite, and that beak looked sharp. Just go for it. I circled around behind the little guy/gal, and gently pressed the wings to its body so it would not flap and hurt itself. It weighed as much as a pencil though it was eight inches tall, and was really fluffy. Still, no parent dive bombing me. “Put the owl on a branch about 5 feet off the ground, and be sure the talons grab onto the branch,” Tom instructed. Right. This owl locked eyes with me. I started backing away. The other folks jumped in their car and drove off, mission accomplished. 
 
A few minutes later, I backed up another six feet. In the distance I saw something with a large wingspan swoop in the trees. I hoped and prayed it was the mom or dad. I backed up another ten feet. The baby hopped and flapped and climbed to some higher branches. A very good sign. I crossed Proctor Street and just hung out, leaning against my car. It was really hard to leave. I sure wish I’d had a frog, mouse, or dog treat in my pocket to give that hungry baby. Finally, I left the owlet on its own, hoping the story would have a happy ending. 
 
If you find wounded wildlife in Acton, call Newhouse Wildlife Rescue in Chelmsford (978) 413-4085; newhousewildliferescue.org. They accept donations.  According to MassWildlife, in most cases, it’s best to leave wildlife alone. Learn more at www.mass.gov/wildlife-rehabilitation.

(PHOTO by Bettina Abe)
Nagog

Nagog Park Redevelopment Hearing

by Tom Beals

ACTON: At the June 26 meeting of Acton's Select Board, representatives for McGovern Auto Group, as well as their law and engineering firms, presented a substantially revised redevelopment plan for Nagog Park. The first Nagog Park redevelopment plan that was submitted to the Town in February 2023 had aroused considerable community opposition, and the revised plan addressed some of those concerns. The Select Board and Acton residents offered comments after McGovern's presentation.

In opening remarks to the hearing, Acton Planning Director Kristen Guichard and Select Board member Dean Charter described the scope of the Select Board's options when a project's activities fall within Zoning Bylaw regulations. Guichard said, "When an underlying use is allowed as of right under zoning, the board's review authority is confined to site plan review." Charter reiterated, "If the applicant decides to continue on with the car dealership, there's no practical way that can be stopped."

Mark Bobrowski (Blatman, Bobrowski, Haverty & Silverstein, LLC, Concord, MA) introduced the presentation, describing meetings with town staff and concerned citizens. David Kelly of Kelly Engineering Group presented the revised plan, emphasizing that the plan is a work in progress. The revised proposal describes a single auto dealership building, rather than the two buildings that were originally proposed. Possible accommodations for almost all the affected businesses were described, although not in detail.

The Select Board’s questions addressed details of the plan, consistent with the Board’s limited powers as described in the opening remarks. Residents' comments were more free-ranging. The limitations of the Board’s powers provoked comment, including frustration that those limitations were not made known in advance. Others suggested that a broader view of the Board’s powers could invoke consistency of a given project to the Town’s master plan, which might provide legal justification to reject the project outright. One speaker noted that the consultant conducting the Great Road Complete Streets Study was unaware of the impact of the Nagog Park proposal, suggesting a failure of communication among town groups. A recurring theme of the remarks questioned the need for yet another auto dealership, and the perception of a developing “auto mile” on Great Road.

The hearing concluded with unanimous agreement of the Board to continue consideration of the Nagog Park proposal on September 11, 2023 at 7:10pm.
Linens

Linen Mountain Miracle

by Alissa Nicol

ACTON: For the third year in a row, Crown Uniform & Linen Service donated their services to professionally launder over half a ton of linens that Acton-based Household Goods volunteers collected during the Boston College student move out in May.  According to Household Goods, the company transformed a mountain of donated sheets and towels into fresh and folded linens that the organization could offer to their clients. Crown was introduced to Household Goods by the non-profit organization Life Science Cares, which partners life science corporations with organizations that disrupt the cycle of poverty and inequality in local communities in the Boston and several other regions. 

(Photo Courtesy of Household Goods)
Grotonhill

Scouting for Instruments

by Franny Osmon

ACTON/GROTON: Arjun Saulnier, a member of Boy Scouts Troop 284 of Acton, didn’t have to look far to find an Eagle Scout project that was a great fit. The recent Acton-Boxborough Regional High School graduate and longtime violin student of Groton Hill Music School’s Angel Hernandez was quite familiar with Groton Hill’s mission to give music generously when there is need. So Arjun went on a mission of his own – to search out and collect gently used instruments (and the funds to refurbish them) for Groton Hill to distribute to students in need.

This spring, Arjun and his mom, Hashi Chakravarty, transported nearly two dozen instruments – violins, guitars, a drum set, woodwind and brass instruments – plus a xylophone and a banjo – to the music school. Arjun knew that many of the instruments he collected were likely in need of a tune-up, so he also collected $1100 to bring them back to life so they could go to new homes.

“I’m extremely glad to be able to give back to Groton Hill after taking lessons there for so long,” said Arjun. “I hope my project and the accompanying donation can help to bring the joy of music to other students!” Arjun plans to pursue chemistry studies at Case Western Reserve in Ohio this fall.
Massbay

Local Residents Earn Dean's List Honors from MassBay Community College

WELLESLEY HILLS: The following local students have been named to the MassBay Community College Dean's List. They achieved this outstanding academic honor for the spring 2023 semester.

* Jordan Gordon of Boxborough, who studies Business Administration
* Anna Roberts of Boxborough, who studies Computed Tomography
* Jordan Cedeno of Maynard, who studies Liberal Arts - Elementary Education
* Marina Schiering of Stow, who studies Liberal Arts
* Daniel Ryu of Wayland, who studies Business Administration
* John Wilson of Wayland, who studies Liberal Arts
* Jacob Snyder of Wayland, who studies Liberal Arts - Psychology /Sociology
* Andrew Eggleston of Wayland, who studies Computer Science
* Lara Shelton of Wayland, who studies Liberal Arts

To be eligible for the MassBay Dean's List, students must complete at least six credits of college-level courses, be in good standing with the College, and earn a grade point average of 3.5 or higher. To learn more about MassBay, visit massbay.edu.
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Discovery Museum Announces
2023 Scholarship Recipients

ACTON: Discovery Museum announced today its second annual Discovery Museum Scholarship recipients, four area high school students selected through a competitive application process that saw 143 applications from students in 73 towns throughout Massachusetts.

Launched in 2022 in celebration of the Museum’s 40th anniversary, the Discovery Museum Scholarship recognizes high school students who embody the mission and values of the Museum. Scholarships of $1,500 each were awarded to:
 
  • Caleb Conners, Westborough; Westborough High School
  • Caroline Crowley, Medford; Mystic Valley Regional Charter School
  • Kyla Hughes, Dunstable; Groton-Dunstable Regional High School
  • Aynsley Szczesniak, Norfolk; Pearson Online Academy

“We created the Discovery Museum Scholarship to recognize the millions of young people who have come through our doors over the past 41 years—so many of whom have gone on to inspire us,” said CEO Neil Gordon. “Caleb, Caroline, Kyla, and Aynsley each impressed us with their achievements, perspectives, and community support activities. From their applications we learned a bit about how Discovery Museum impacted them while they were young and contributed to the paths they have chosen. We are very proud to honor and support these impressive students on the next step in their educational journeys.”

Acton Police and Fire Departments Share Tips for Safe Fourth of July Celebrations

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ACTON: Police Chief James Cogan and Interim Fire Chief Anita Arnum wish to share several important safety tips and reminders as residents prepare to celebrate the Fourth of July holiday.

The Town of Acton will not be holding its traditional fireworks display this year, but residents are still encouraged not to take fireworks into their own hands.

According to the state Department of Fire Services and State Police, Massachusetts fire departments reported nearly 1,000 fires related to illegal fireworks between 2013 and 2022. In addition to the 42 fire service injuries, five civilian injuries, and $2.5 million in damages attributed to these fires, Massachusetts medical facilities reported about 30 severe burn injuries extending to 5% or more of the victims’ bodies that were caused by illegal fireworks. In 2022 alone, fire departments reported 106 fires and explosions attributed to fireworks, an increase of nearly a third over the prior year.

It is illegal for private citizens to use, possess, or sell fireworks of all kinds in Massachusetts without a license and a permit. This includes fireworks purchased legally elsewhere and brought into Massachusetts. It includes sparklers, firecrackers, cherry bombs, and other fireworks. Fines range from $10 to $1,000, and some violations could carry a one-year prison sentence.

Residents are encouraged to report any misuse of fireworks they notice in the community to the Acton Police Department at 978-264-9638.

In case of a firework-related or other emergency, always dial 911.

Additionally, residents are reminded of these key safety tips for Fourth of July celebrations:
 
  • Attend organized and permitted fireworks displays only.
  • Report illegal fires to the police.
  • Remember that alcohol/drugs and fireworks do not mix.
  • Keep pets indoors and away from fireworks. The loud noises and flashing lights can be frightening and overwhelming for pets. Pets can become frightened and run from familiar environments and people, becoming lost. Read more here.

The departments also urge residents to observe the following tips from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on getting home safely following Fourth of July celebrations:
 
  • Be mindful of pedestrians.
  • Always wear your seatbelt.
  • Do not drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. From 2017 to 2021, 1,460 drivers were killed in motor vehicle crashes over the Fourth of July holiday period — 38% of the drivers killed were drunk.
  • Even if you’ve had only one alcoholic beverage, do not plan on driving. Instead, designate a sober driver or use a ride-share service to get home safely.
  • Take keys away from individuals who are under the influence and are planning to drive. Alcohol and drugs impair perception, judgment, motor skills, and memory, which are critical for safe and responsible driving.
  • If you see an impaired driver on the road, safely pull over and call 911.
Habitat for humanity new home

Habitat for Humanity Home Dedicated in Acton

By Alissa Nicol

ACTON: On June 16, a bright, sunny day with blue skies, a new Habitat for Humanity home in Acton was dedicated. In a moving and inspiring program, the McTernan Daniels family moving into the Carlisle Road home expressed their deep gratitude to all who played a part in the project. Reverend Cindy Worthington-Barry led all who gathered in a blessing of the home, gifts were presented by the North Central Habitat for Humanity Construction Manager Rick Perkins, Discovery Museum CEO Neil Gordon, and the Local Project Committee. At the conclusion of the program, the key was presented to the family by Acton Community Housing Corporation  (ACHC) Chair Janet Adachi. 
 
Habitat for Humanity North Central Massachusetts is a local, independent affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International. Volunteer labor along with donated materials, land, and funding makes the construction of these homes possible. Habitat homeowners provide labor as well, and pay for a below-cost home through an interest-free mortgage. The Carlisle Road home is the fourth Habitat home to be built in Acton. This sustained collaborative relationship with Acton is a testament to the Town’s commitment to providing affordable housing opportunities for families.

This project was made possible by numerous key partners. Senator Jaime Eldridge’s remarks touched on the Senate’s focus on affordable housing in its tax package and the fact that Habitat for Humanity provides one of the few home-ownership opportunities for low-income families. All five members of the Acton Select Board were in attendance and offered a warm welcome to Zach, Maribeth and their three young children. 
 
The Town of Acton donated the home and also provided funding from the ACHC’s Community Housing Fund and a CPA grant. The volunteers who worked on the construction of the home are too many to list here, but include residents from the neighborhood, students from Minuteman Technical High School, and corporate partner volunteers from Acton Boxborough United Way, Workers Credit Union, Emerson Hospital, Enterprise Bank, Great Road Church, Cisco, and Dell. Major contributors included Housing Ministries of New England, Wells Fargo, Acton Lions Club, Acton Congregational Church, South Acton Congregational Church, West Acton Baptist Church, UCC Boxborough, Lazaro Paving, and Solar Design Associates, and DSD Renewables.

PHOTO
: Senator Jamie Eldridge
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YV Art Museum Presents Sculptures by Ted Castro

ACTON: YV Art Museum administered by Contemporary Arts International (CAI), a non-profit organization, presents the sculptures by Ted Castro. The exhibition will start on July 9 and last through August 27. In addition, in the Gallery, a documentary film by Chen Bohan, a filmmaker from Taiwan will be showing after the Artist’s Talk. This show focuses in the presentation of Ted's wood work. Ted studied figurative subject extensively through drawing and sculpting over 20 years, particularly in the context of extraneous muscular form. His work is emotional and truly expressive deeply from his heart.

Ted Castro was born in New York City. He began art in high school. Ted attended Pratt Institute and graduated with honors. He apprenticed and made stained glass windows with Martino Studios in Framingham. Later, he taught stained glass at the Worcester Center for Crafts where he attended classes for furniture refinishing woodworking. Ted has been carving for more than two decades and is passionately creating pieces that capture the humanitarian tangles we are all in. The hard work and time dedicated to creating sculpture is transformative providing an
openness to add honesty and clarity to the work. He has had 2 solo shows, participated in sculpture symposia, and been a father at home for his two daughters. In 2022 Ted tested his will power and completed hiking the Appalachian Trail southbound in 4 months.

CAI is open to visitors everyday 10am-6pm, visitors are encouraged to phone or text (617) 699-6401 to make appointment. The admission fee is $10 for adults; $5 for over 65 or under 16, which includes a tour of the studio and the sculpture park. For more information, visit www.contemporaryartsinternational.org or www.yvartmuseum.org.

Acton Deputy Chief Anita Arnum to Serve as Interim Fire Chief

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ACTON: Town Manager John S. Mangiaratti is pleased to announce that Deputy Chief Anita Arnum will serve as Interim Fire Chief upon the retirement of Chief Robert Hart on June 25. Deputy Arnum is already the highest-ranking woman in the history of the Acton Fire Department, and she will be the first female to serve as chief or interim chief.

Arnum began her career with the Acton Fire Department as a full-time firefighter in 1989. She was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant in January 2012 and named Captain in March 2017. She was named Deputy Chief and Town Emergency Management Director in November 2020.

Arnum has a Bachelor's Degree in Microbiology and Chemistry from UMass Amherst, and a Bachelor's Degree in Fire Science from Anna Maria College. She is also a graduate of the Grants Management Certificate Program from Management Concepts, and a graduate of the Chief Fire Officer Training Program at the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute.

Arnum is a state and nationally registered paramedic, a member of the State Hazmat Response Team, and a member of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's National Search and Rescue System. She is also certified in numerous technical rescue fields, and is qualified as an instructor/trainer in EMS, hazmat, firefighting, and technical rescue.

Arnum helped guide the Town of Acton through the COVID-19 pandemic, providing testing, vaccination clinics and procuring difficult to obtain personal protective equipment for firefighters.

She is also known for fostering positive relationships between town departments and the community, and constantly seeks out opportunities for the Department to train, grow, and work with other communities to stay at the forefront of technology.

"Deputy Chief Arnum has been a great leader within the Acton Fire Department, and I look forward to her continued leadership and mentorship of firefighters in her role as Interim Chief," said Town Manager Mangiaratti.

PHOTO: Acton Deputy Chief Anita Arnum will serve as Interim Fire Chief when Chief Robert Hart retires on June 25. (Courtesy Acton Fire Department)
Oip

Community Bag Program to Benefit the Friends of Maynard Seniors

HUDSON/MAYNARD: For the month of July the Community Bag Program at Stop and Shop, 10 Technology Drive in Hudson, will benefit the Friends of Maynard Seniors. For every reusable Community Bag purchased for $2.50 a donation of $1 will be given to the Friends of Maynard Seniors. These reusable bags are a great way to carry your groceries and also items for summer activities. Why not purchase several? Your donation to the Friends of Maynard Seniors is a wonderful gift to help Senior Citizens when help is needed. Your donations are appreciated!
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Summer Bible Camp in Acton

ACTON: Join St. Matthew’s Summer Bible Camp in Acton, July 17-21 from 9am-noon, for five fun-filled mornings. Children from pre-schoolers to 6th-graders are welcome. The theme is “Seeing God,” which will be reflected in activity centers: Music, Science and Nature, Outdoor Games and Crafts. For more information visit www.saint-matthews.org.
Puppets

Volunteers Use Puppets to Teach about People with Disabilities

by Joan Burrows, founding member and still active on the Commission on Disabilities
 
ACTON: The Acton Commission on Disabilities (COD), now in its 36th year, was made a Commission by state law in 1987. The first group of seven members got to work right away. All agreed on parking as the first issue we would address. We did! And we have been working ever since to make life better for all those with a disability:from parking to accessible sidewalks, easy-open  doors, wide aisles, and people who can see the person as any other and treat accordingly. It is about access, awareness, and acceptance.
 
Dealing with adults who already had their views and prejudices was difficult at times, but our members were dedicated and tireless. This involved them and their children, their whole families, and everyday life.
 
I could now write a long article, or two  or three, about our experiences on the COD back then, but I want to zero in on the young people. Before their prejudices form, we need to reach them and help them understand. We found a program, Kids on the Block  Puppets that was and is a fantastic way to help our children (and some adults) how to better understand a disability.
 
We purchased many puppets – one uses a wheelchair, one is blind, one uses crutches—and they all have a friend they talk with. We presented shows to school groups. The best learning came when the brief show was over and the children had time to ask questions. Their questions were right on the issues; children do that! We answered all their questions and, if there were more after we left, the children wrote them down and the teacher would pass them on to us.
 
We began by training adults to perform with the puppets, and it was a successful program. Later, we tried with high school volunteers. This helped two-fold as it taught the older group as well as the young.
 
In the last couple of years, the COD has pulled the puppets out of storage and found some high school students to practice and perform with them—first, at Oktoberfest in spring of 2021, then at the Kelley’s Corner Block Party hosted by Acton’s Economic Development and Recreation departments in September of 2022.
 
However, the scripts are now old and we need help updating them—from teachers, students, people with a disability or understanding (as a family member or caregiver), or members of local organizations.
 
We have these wonderful puppets and would like to use them to help others. Please contact the Acton Commission on Disabilities, cod@actonma.gov or call the Town Manager’s office at (978) 929-6611  to offer your creative skills. Thank you.

PHOTO by Fran Osman
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Tavernier Place Opens its Doors

by Franny Osman
 
ACTON: On June 12, local and state affordable housing advocates and developers gathered at Tavernier Place at 446 Massachusetts Ave. in Acton, across from RJ Grey Jr. High, for a ribbon-cutting for the new building of 31 rental units for seniors and people with disabilities. The development is named for Nancy Tavernier, 20-year chair of the Acton Community Housing Corporation (ACHC). Project developer Steve Joncas of Common Ground Development Corporation introduced a lineup of speakers including legislators and leaders and funders of Affordable Housing. 

State Senator Jamie Eldridge spoke of paying tribute to the dignity of residents of affordable housing; and of the importance of advertising new housing opportunities. Eldridge remembered housing champion Bob Whittlesey, late chair of the Acton Housing Authority who was one of the fiduciaries of the Boston Housing Authority in the 1970’s and who founded several national and statewide housing organizations. Eldridge expressed excitement about an (unnamed) Acton resident who took care of other people’s children for many years and gave so much to her community, who is moving into Tavernier Place. State Representatives Dan Sena and Simon Cataldo, and a representative from US Representative Lori Trahan’s office, also spoke and presented citations.

Joncas appreciated Massachusetts Housing Partnership as true to its name of “partner” in financing. Nancy McCafferty, Director of Business Development at Massachusetts Housing Partnership, described the generosity and collaboration amongst funders, including RBC Community Investments whose Director Stephen Lee also spoke. Tavernier Place was developed by Common Ground Development Corporation, the development subsidiary of Community Teamwork Inc., a Lowell-based social service nonprofit. Much of the $15 million in financing came through low-income housing tax credits and other state funds awarded through the former Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), now renamed the Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities (EOHLC), the agency charged with creating more homes in Massachusetts and lowering housing costs for residents.

Select Board chair Jim Snyder-Grant said the Board was a “backstop,” whose role was to say “yes” as much as possible, and he looks forward to this wonderful addition to affordable housing in Acton being fully occupied within a few months.

Nine-year Select Board member Janet Adachi, who replaced Nancy Tavernier as chair of the ACHC, said that Nancy will visit the building next month. Adachi appreciated the patience, vision and tenacity of Common Ground in its work preserving the Towne high school building for 15 affordable apartments, and now building Tavernier Place. She said that ACHC has provided about half a million dollars in small grants toward the project, not easy for a small Town entity. Adachi read off an “academy award” thank you list which included developer and philanthropist Steve Steinberg, Town Manager John Mangiaratti, many Select Board members along the way, present and past Planning Directors, and the Housing for All community organization. 

Attendees representing board members from Acton Housing Authority, Acton TV, Acton Memorial Library, the Human Services Committee, Miracle Field, Housing and Climate Justice for Acton, Housing for All, Commission on Disability, Transportation Advisory Committee, and others, enjoyed refreshments and tours. They visited sample units, friends’ moving box-filled apartments, and a comfortable community room. They admired the “luxury vinyl” flooring that felt softer underfoot–and rougher and less slippery–than standard vinyl flooring. The units have ample kitchen area, living room, bedroom, and spacious, accessible bathrooms with walk-in showers. 

Asked about turning radius for public transportation vehicles, the architect and construction company said that the parking lot allows a fire truck to turn around, so the van should have no trouble.

Leaders on the project cut the ribbon (twice) to make sure all dignitaries were included.

PHOTO courtesy of State Senator Jamie Eldridge
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Victorian Home Tour

by Alissa Nicol
 
SOUTH ACTON: On June 17, a Victorian Home Tour will take place in South Acton Village. The J.W. Tuttle House is considered one of the finest examples of Victorian Italianate architecture in Massachusetts. The house is furnished with authentic 19th century art and period furnishings. The tour will offer a glimpse of the integration of modern and period design principles. To register for this free event, visit
https://vichomegarden.myshopify.com/products/victorian-home-and-garden-tour-saturday-june-17th-1-pm-tour
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Acton Boxborough Cultural Council Grantee Reception

by Alissa Nicol

ACTON: The Acton Boxborough Cultural Council (ABCC) held its Annual Grantee Reception at NARA Park on Tuesday, June 6. Attendees enjoyed musical performances and also remarks by members of our local legislative delegation, Senator Jaime Eldridge and Representative Simon Cataldo. According to the ABCC website, “The Acton-Boxborough Cultural Council (ABCC) is one of 329 all-volunteer local cultural councils serving every municipality in Massachusetts. The legislature appropriates funds annually to the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC), which then allocates funds to local councils.

The grantees in attendance were announced and had the opportunity to share details about their projects. A tribute was given by the ABCC Chair, Jin Yang, to two long-time ABCC members who passed away earlier this year, Dawn Wang and Nancy Evans. Dawn initiated and implemented the China Trail Garden special 3-year project at the Acton Arboretum which recently won a design award from the Boston Society of Landscape Architects, and Nancy served as Chair of the Our World Film Series sub-committee for several years.

A total of $16,200 was allocated this year. Recipients included the Acton Chinese American Civic Society, Inc. for the 2022 Boston Asian Music Festival, the Acton Boxborough Regional High School  for the Orquesta de la Revolucion, the Chinese Family Network, Inc. for Hands-On Demos of Renewable Energy to Immigrant Families, Eileen Herman-Haase for Dancing Joy with Dance Caliente, Nashoba Valley Chorale for Wake Up, My Spirit, Open Door Theatre of Acton, Inc. for The SpongeBob Musical, Deepika Prakash for DiwaliFest 2023, Hongbing Tang for a Digital Art Workshop, The Concord Orchestra, Inc. for the 2022 - 2023 Season and Music Director Search, and many more. Details on the 2023 grant application cycle will be posted to the ABCC website this summer, www.actonboxboroughculturalcouncil.org. Applications are due in October each year.

PHOTO:
ABCC Grantee Reception at NARA Park. (Courtesy of Senator Jamie Eldridge)
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GCFM Awards – June 2023

ACTON: The Garden Club Federation of Massachusetts (GCFM) announced awards to the Garden Club of Acton in Categories of Publicity and Historic Preservation at its annual meeting in Hyannis recently. The Acton Garden Club received an award in the category of Historical Preservation. The club was honored for preserving and archiving its history each year with the creation of beautiful photo books, using publishing software, detailing the club’s activities. The Acton Garden Club also received an award in Publicity for its program “Acton Looking Good 2022”. This program promotes civic beautification and recognizes Acton businesses who enhance the town’s beauty with their inspirational landscapes.

Congratulations to the Members of The Acton Garden Club, for their amazing work in beautifying the town and for their work in historic preservations.

The Acton Garden Club is a member of the Garden Club Federation of Massachusetts and has served the town since its founding in 1933 to “Promote a greater interest in gardening and to share experiences that shall be of mutual benefit.” For more information on “Acton Looking Good 2023” and activities of The Acton Garden Club, go to www.actongardenclub.org.
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Home Filters for PFAS Removal from Tap Water

by Ron Parenti

ACTON: Since new regulations for perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) were established by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) in 2021, the Acton Water District has issued several advisories that include the words “consumers in a sensitive subgroup are advised not to consume, drink, or cook with water when the level of PFAS6 is above 20 ng/L”. This directive has prompted a number of homeowners to consider the installation of a home filtration system, but since the water supplied to Acton residents only infrequently exceeds the State’s limit on these contaminants it is not necessary to spend a large amount of money to achieve an extra measure of protection. Filters that are effective in removing PFAS are certified by the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF), and consumers should verify that the product complies with the ANSI/53 or ANSI/58 standards. A list of NSF certified filters can be found at
www.nsf.org/consumer-resources/articles/contaminant-reduction-claims-guide

The following information is also important. The MassDEP regulation of 20 parts per trillion and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed regulation of 4 parts per trillion are relatively new.

Although NSF-certified filters for home use have a demonstrated ability to remove PFAS, this certification does not guarantee that the treated water will comply with the new purity requirements.

Actual contaminant levels following filtration cannot be determined without an expensive test (about $300) and, to maintain performance, the internal filter cartridges must be replaced regularly. Finally, it's important to understand that only a fraction of our daily exposure to PFAS is attributed to drinking water. While exposure ratios for Acton residents have not been measured, the EPA and MassDEP assume a 20% fraction for drinking water and assign most of the remaining exposure to food and food packaging. All of these factors should be considered when considering the purchase of a home filtration system for PFAS removal.

Types of Filter Installations
 
  • Whole-House Filters - The most expensive installation is a point-of-entry filter that treats all of the water that enters the house. These systems can be customized to remove a wide variety of chemical contaminants, heavy metals, and particulates. Installation is usually performed by a licensed plumber, and the total cost typically exceeds $1,000. Replacement cartridges may cost as much as $200.
  • Under-Sink Filters - Since only about 10% off the water that enters a house is actually consumed as drinking water, point-of-use filters represent a cost-effective option for PFAS removal. The cost will depend on the complexity and type of filtration, but NSF certified units can be purchased for about $300. Replacement cartridge prices are in the $50 to $100 range.
  • Pitcher Filters - Compact counter-top filtration units that can be automatically or manually filled have recently become available for PFAS removal, and these products represent the least expensive treatment alternative. Prices for the pitchers are in the $100 range, but the removable filter cartridges may need to be replaced frequently at a cost of about $50. Over the long term, this option is likely to be more economical than the purchase of bottled water.

Filtration Technologies
 
  • GAC Filtration - Granular activated carbon is a filtration media that has been widely used to remove chemicals and particulates in drinking water. Contaminants adhere to the carbon media and are efficiently removed from the input water stream. Since the number of adsorption sites is limited, the lifetime of the filter cartridge will depend on the contaminant load and is not easily determined without regular testing. Regulations relating to filter disposal are still being reviewed by the MassDEP and the EPA.
  • Reverse Osmosis - These filters employ a porous membrane that segregates the input water stream into two outputs, one of which is the treated water and another that contains the extracted contaminants. Studies have shown that reverse osmosis is more effective than GAC in removing PFAS, but this method has two serious drawbacks. First, it is very inefficient in terms of water use, since the contaminated output stream comprises 75% of the input water volume. Second, according to Massachusetts law it is illegal to discharge the contaminated water stream from a reverse osmosis system to a Title 5 septic system, which would preclude the use of this filtration technology for most of the homes in Acton. Regulations for this type of discharge into the Town’s sewer system are still under review.

Ongoing PFAS Remediation Efforts at the Acton Water District

Because PFAS chemicals have been used to manufacture a wide range of consumer products for over 50 years, trace amounts of these contaminants have been detected at the parts per trillion level in water supplies throughout the world. The new MassDEP drinking water regulations for PFAS are far more stringent than those placed on any other contaminant (almost 1000 times lower than the EPA regulation for arsenic), and warnings must be sent to water users whenever the specified limits are exceeded by even a small amount. The Acton Water District has expended  significant time and monetary resources in the past two years to initiate the capital improvements needed to comply with the current MassDEP and anticipated Food and Drug Administration regulations. Full compliance will require substantial  upgrades to each of the Water District’s three treatment facilities.
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Feeding the Birds

by Bettina Abe

ACTON: “Feed the birds, ‘tuppence’ a bag” is a familiar Mary Poppins song. People feed the birds for lots of reasons, the least of which is the gratification that we are supporting and supplementing food sources for our feathered friends.  After all, humans build on land, replacing trees, shrubs, grasses, dunes and riverbanks with houses, mills, bridges, roads, parking lots and factories—land that otherwise would be available to birds to land on, forage around, and nest in.

We hang our feeders from tree branches  or poles. Some of us are friendly to squirrels and let them share in the spoils, entertained by their antics. Other people wage battles with squirrels to ban them from the bird food bounty by greasing the poles, putting up plastic domes, metal baffles, or cones.

Wildlife experts share conflicting advice on feeding local bird populations on our properties.

- MassWildlife emphasizes that  congregating wildlife into unnaturally high densities (under the feeder) increases the risk of disease spread, especially during warm weather where accumulated seed can spoil.
- MassWildlife and MassAudubon strongly suggest removing feeders from yards between March and November, the months when black bears are active.
- MassAudubon reminds us that a number of Massachusetts hawk species prey on birds at feeders, most notably Sharp-shinned and Cooper’s hawks. The organization notes that predation is a natural occurrence in the lives of wild birds and mammals along with normally high mortality in most bird populations, including owls.

Visit the MassAudubon website for information on how to store seed and clean feeders.

The bottom line is that people love to watch birds, count them, and marvel at their biodiversity. Migration alone is a Herculean feat for such a tiny animal that flies thousands of miles under the blazing
sun, howling winds, and driving rains.

There are many other extremely effective ways to support birds besides feeding them. Donate to a worthy conservation organization. Plant native trees, shrubs, and perennials that provide food and habitat year ‘round. Don’t spray pesticides and herbicides. Insects are important to the food web cycle and there are other ways to protect ourselves from mosquitoes and ticks without spreading poison and carcinogens into the air, soil, and water. Avoid using rodenticide and educate others on the danger to owls and hawks who fatally ingest poisoned rodents.

Continue to watch, count, appreciate, and research these fascinating dinosaurs! It’s a hobby that will keep giving back to you. There’s always something new to learn. According to Emily Singer, Quanta Magazine (June 12, 2015) birds descended from a group of two-legged dinosaurs known as therapods, whose members include T-Rex. Not sure I want one of those snacking in my backyard, however! There are wonderful apps for identifying bird song and learning about nest engineering and remarkable adaptations and variations. According to BirdLife International, there are over 10,000 species of birds on Earth, each with their own unique appearance and habits. Birds are depicted in painting, sculpture, on fabric, and in every conceivable art form. Bird conservation is a great place to meet people and explore the planet, virtually and in person. Protecting open space is the best way to ensure avian survival.The Acton Lions provide support to eye care research & many local charitable organizations & community efforts.  If you are interested in membership, please contact a member or email  acton_lions@hotmail.com.
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Acton Lions Town Fair

by Marion Maxwell

ACTON: Acton Lions Town Fair is back!  June 25-28 at the School Street Fields off Route 2 Eastbound. Thursday & Friday 6-10pm;  Saturday noon-11pm; Sunday noon-6pm.  Fun for all. A significant amount of funds collected is donated to the Massachusetts Lions Eye Research Fund.  Other funds raised during the fair and throughout the year go to about 25 local charities. Info: www.actonlions.org.

The Acton Lions provide support to eye care research & many local charitable organizations & community efforts.  If you are interested in membership, please contact a member or email  acton_lions@hotmail.com.
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New Leadership at the Acton Water District Finance Committee

by Kim Kastens

ACTON:  Laboring in relative obscurity, the Acton Water District Finance Committee (AWD FinCom) grapples with tough problems and big price tags. Their work is becoming more complicated and possibly more consequential as the Water District faces escalating capital and operational costs to remove perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and other contaminants from the water supply.

The AWD is a separate municipal entity from the Town of Acton, with its own charter, bylaws, board of commissioners, annual meeting, moderator, and finance committee. According to the bylaws, AWD FinCom's responsibilities are to review the budget for the annual meeting, make recommendations to the commissioners on any matters of a financial nature arising out of an annual or special meeting, and make recommendations as to the long-range fiscal plans of the District. The three members of the AWD Fincom are appointed by the AWD Moderator, and serve three-year, renewable terms.

As of their May 26 meeting, the AWD Fincom has a new chair and one new member. The new chair is William (Bill) Guthlein. He has been a AWD FinCom member for approximately ten years. He brings to the committee a background in corporate financial management, underlain by an MBA from Harvard Business School. In addition, he is a lawyer, Certified Public Accountant, and Chartered Financial Analyst. The new member is John Peterson, a veteran of the Acton School Board. He leads a consulting company in the pharmaceutical industry, making use of his PhD in organic chemistry. The third member of the committee is engineer Ron Parenti, who is a former water commissioner and currently serves on the Town of Acton Water Resources Advisory Committee.

When asked about his priorities for the AWD Fincom for the coming year, the new chair replied by email, "... the top priority of the Finance Committee is always to provide oversight of the financial
management of the district. This role involves periodically reviewing operating results and investment performance; reviewing and recommending approval of the budget and warrant articles to the public at the annual meeting; and providing advice to the commissioners about water pricing and capital spending.
These latter items, water pricing and capital spending, are currently the focus of AWD FinCom's efforts as the cost to treat PFAS and other contaminants drives up water rates. The FinCom is currently preparing a proposed scope of work for a water rate study for the district. As water rates have increased there has been growing concern about whether the current pricing model fairly allocates the cost of water to users of water. Volume rates vs. fixed fees, summer rates vs. winter rates, and increasing block rates [the tiered system by which larger-volume users pay more per cubic foot] all have an impact on who pays for the cost of water. Water rates influence the incentive to conserve. There is also concern about the burden water rates have on low-income households."
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West Acton Baptist Announces Mini Food Pantry

WEST ACTON: The West Acton Baptist Church is pleased to announce the installation of a Mini Food Pantry! The Acton community has a need for items to be available for those in need beyond the hours of the Acton Food Pantry. The structure is located next to the door by the elevator just off our parking lot located at 592 Massachusetts Avenue. Donations of non-perishable & unexpired items greatly appreciated. For more information, visit www.westactonbaptistchurch.org.
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Settlement agreement reached in PFAS lawsuit, potentially benefiting the Acton Water District

by Fran Osman

ACTON: At the June 5 meeting of the Acton Water District (AWD) commissioners, District Manager Matthew Mostoller announced that the District had received word that a settlement agreement had been reached in a multi-district lawsuit against the manufacturers of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). PFAS are a family of chemicals that have been widely used in non-stick coatings, water-repellent surfaces, personal care products, food packaging, firefighting foam and other applications.  However, they have been linked to liver damage, weakened immune systems, and several forms of cancer.  The Acton Water District was one of thousands of public water suppliers signed onto the lawsuit. According to New York Times coverage of the settlement agreement, the chemical companies Dupont, Chemours, and Corteva have reached an agreement in principle to set up a $1.19 billion fund to help remove these toxic substances from public drinking water supplies. The deal still requires approval by a judge. Spread among thousands of public water suppliers and subtracting lawyers' fees, $1.19 billion will not come close to covering the costs of remediating PFAS. In Acton alone, voters at the 2023 AWD annual meeting authorized the District to borrow $14 million to install PFAS treatment systems at the Central Acton and South Acton Water Treatment Plants.
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2022 Acton Water Quality Report Available

ACTON: The Acton Water District’s latest Water Quality Report is available online at www.actonwater.com/ccr. This report details Acton’s drinking water supply and treatment methods and summarizes the results of water quality samples collected in our system in 2022. If you would like a hard copy of the report or have questions on the information contained within it, please contact Alexandra Wahlstrom, Environmental Analyst at (978) 263-9107.
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Acton Fire Chief Robert Hart to Retire from 38-Year Career

ACTON: The Acton Fire Department reports that Fire Chief Robert Hart, who joined the department as a call firefighter in 1985, will retire on June 24 from a 38-year career. Chief Hart became a call firefighter in 1985, and was among eight men hired as a full-time firefighters on August 8, 1988. He was promoted to lieutenant in 2001, captain in 2007, deputy chief in 2012, and became chief of the department in 2016.

In his years as a firefighter and chief, Hart oversaw a vital modernization of the Acton Fire Department, with computers added to fire apparatus, schedules changed from a bulletin board to a computerized schedule, and records management transferred completely to computers, along with the department's policy manual, among other changes.

"We moved into the 21st century with a lot of our technology," said Hart.

The department also launched an Advanced Life Support ambulance service in 2017, improving the level of service from town ambulances from what was previously only Basic Life Support service.

Hart also prioritized protecting firefighters, and worked to increase education and the use of specialized equipment such as gear washers, extractors and dryers to help protect firefighters from cancer risks, while also procuring improved gear for firefighters to wear.

Hart said being chief taught him that people and personnel are the most important thing in any fire department, and he credits members of the department with doing the hard work that was required to modernize and upgrade the department's services.

"It's not like I did all that myself," Hart said. "It was accomplished with our personnel really working hard behind the scenes to make sure they were communicating with vendors and getting the most out of our new products. My hat is really off to the members of the department for embracing new technology and really working hard to make it the best it can be."

It was also people who made the job the most interesting and rewarding for Hart, who worked with other town departments and boards, as well as residents, in order to get a fourth fire station built in North Acton. He also noted the community and town hall's support for keeping firefighters well equipped with the tools they need to do their jobs.

"I've really enjoyed working with the community," Hart said. "We could not have built a fourth fire station in North Acton without community support, which was overwhelming and awe inspiring. The willingness of this community to support it's fire department is huge. It's been wonderful to work with the fire department family, but also to work with the town hall family."

Chief Hart followed in his father's footsteps when he became a firefighter, and said it was his father's experience and working a carpentry job for another firefighter that first got him interested in joining the fire service.

Hart said firefighting changed over his years on the job. Equipment improved to enable firefighters to get further into buildings and hotter and more dangerous conditions, but fires changed as well as building furnishings are more commonly made with plastic products, which burn faster and hotter than the wool and wood and cotton that furnishings used to be made of.

"Fires get hotter a lot quicker now, which poses a higher risk for firefighters," Hart said. "Understanding how building products and furnishings change is important for a firefighter, as is fire education and working with the academy to make sure personnel are well-trained."

Asked for advice for younger firefighters and up and coming officers, Hart said that while it's important to keep up with technology and to make sure firefighters are always equipped with what they need to do their jobs, he recommends keeping focus on the personnel within a department.

"Your people are what makes this wheel go around," said Chief Hart. "They are, by far, the most important piece of the fire department puzzle."

"I'm honored and grateful to have had the opportunity to be this community's fire chief," said Chief Hart. "This department and town treated me very well over the years, and I'm really humbled to say thank you. I wish everyone much success, and I am able to retire without worrying about the future of the department because there are a lot of good people here to carry on."

Photo courtesy of Acton Fire Department.
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Adaptive Bikes at NARA 

ACTON: The Acton Recreation Department is delighted to announce the return of adaptive bike rentals. The bikes make it possible for people of all abilities to ride on the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail or around Acton. Their rental program is running thru August 27. To rent a bike outside of this timeframe, please contact the Acton Recreation Department directly.

The fleet of bikes include: 2 adult recumbent trikes, 1 adult hand cycle, 1 adult trike, 1 adult side-by-side trike, and 2 child trikes. To reserve a bike, please go to www.actonrec.com and follow the prompts on the date, time, and the bike you'd prefer. This rental program is FREE for Acton residents, and $5 for non-residents to help with the maintenance of the bikes. After you sign up for a time slot, go to NARA Park, 25 Ledge Rock Way, and speak with the park ranger there who will help you get your bike. It is recommended that you get to the park at least 15 minutes before your designated time. Please bring a photo ID as collateral when you take the bike with you.

All riders must wear a helmet. It is suggested you bring your own, as there is a limited supply to lend out. Have a cellphone on hand; if you have any issues on your bike ride, call NARA's office for assistance at (978) 929-6641. If you have any questions about this program, please email recreation@actonma.gov  or call (978) 929-6640 x0.
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Acton Pride Festival

By Jeff Vandegrift

ACTON:
Friday, June 16 – Acton Pride Drag Show, NARA Amphitheater, 8pm. Ages 14+. Online Tickets can be purchased for $10/person. $15/person at the gate.

Performers include: Onya Neez, Mal E Fishn't, Sasha Stone, Ms. Petty, Lana Backwards, Stef Anya, and Servixx. Join us for Acton's first Pride Festival. Tickets and more information.  

History of drag shows

Saturday, June 17 – Acton Pride Festival, NARA Amphitheater, 12-3pm. Free Event for all ages!

The Acton Pride Festival has been made possible by a Festival Grant from Mass Cultural Council and sponsorships from businesses and residents in our community. The Town of Acton is proud to receive this grant for the first annual Acton Pride Festival. The Acton Pride Committee strives to be as inclusive as possible to all abilities, ages, races, ethnicities, genders and sexual orientations.

One Acton resident says, "I’ve been an Acton resident for 15 years and this is the first time there’s been a Pride celebration planned, and I am excited to bring my kids so that they can see other queer families and feel like they have community here in Acton."

The Acton Pride Festival will be a day of free activities for children such as bounce houses, yard games, music and more! More information.  
 
History of Pride
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Emergency Rental Assistance Program

By Alissa Nicol

ACTON: The Acton Select Board allocated $50,000, and another $100,000 in reserve, of the approximately $7 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) monies the town received in 2021 from the Federal Government to fund an Emergency Rental Assistance Program. Requests from residents for funds to help pay bills associated with mortgages, childcare, and utilities led the board to expand the initial $50,000 allocation to a more general Emergency Assistance Program in February of this year. This program has been successful in helping fifty-two Acton residents with grants totaling $45,654. 

The flexible use of these funds has been a tremendous support to the residents receiving the grants. Requests for assistance continue to remain high. On Monday, May 22, the Select Board unanimously approved that the remainder of the allocated ARPA rental assistance funds, totaling $100,000, also be expanded to include the categories of mortgage, utilities and childcare. With this vote, the program can continue to provide flexible assistance that best meets the needs of the community. 

To apply for a grant, please find the application here.
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Discovery Museum CEO Neil Gordon Honored with 2023 Nonprofit Excellence Award in Leadership

ACTON: The Massachusetts Nonprofit Network (MNN) announced yesterday that Discovery Museum CEO Neil Gordon was selected winner of the 2023 Nonprofit Excellence Award in Leadership.
 
The Excellence Award in Leadership recognizes a nonprofit chief or senior executive who has an extraordinary record of organizational results and exemplifies strategic vision, passion, integrity, innovation, perseverance, and a collaborative spirit at an organization that exemplifies the most innovative, creative, and effective work being done throughout the Commonwealth.

As CEO of Discovery Museum, Gordon guided the beloved institution through more than a decade of transformative growth, successfully expanding access for children with disabilities, leading the industry on sustainability, and connecting kids and families with the joy and developmental and mental health benefits of nature play. Motivated by an unwavering commitment to families and to his staff, Gordon, who will retire at the end of 2023, also deftly steered the organization through the pandemic, with the Museum emerging stronger than before.

This year, an independent panel of judges reviewed more than 135 nominations for awards in six categories. The 30 finalists ranged from large education providers to small arts organizations and represented different regions of Massachusetts.
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NVTHS Craft Fair Seeks Vendors

WESTFORD: The Nashoba Valley Technical High School Foundation's 11th Annual Craft Fair will be held November 18 from 10am-3pm (set up 8am-9:30am) at NVTHS, 100 Littleton Road (Rt. 110). Register now for this well-attended event - only 100 spots available! Vendor fees are $75, which includes an 8' spot and 2 chairs. Bring your own table or display. Click HERE for more information and to complete the online registration/payment. Any questions, email NVTHSFoundation@nashobatech.net.
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2nd Annual Maynard Jazz Fest

MAYNARD: The second annual Maynard Jazz Fest will be held on June 17 between 2-6pm! Make your way to Maynard’s lively downtown and enjoy the second annual Maynard Jazz Fest, sponsored by the Maynard Cultural District and the Massachusetts Cultural Council! Music will take place on the main stage in Memorial Park right in the center of downtown, and
on a second “education” stage in front of the mural in Naylor Court. This Maynard Cultural District event is FREE and “open air” allowing you to come and go as you please while you experience the buzzing life that surrounds Maynard’s downtown storefronts. Be sure to bring a blanket or some lawn chairs and come early to reserve your spot!

Listeners will hear a wide variety of talent on the main stage featuring Blueprint Jazz
Club, District 5 Jazz Band (pictured), Latin Logic: Boston based Salsa band, and headlining this year: BT ALC Big Band! Between the mainstage sets, MHS Jazz Band will perform and there will also be jam sessions hosted by JazzHers and Interlude Music! The headliner Boston’s BT ALC Big Band is a fabulous and entertaining group that never disappoints.

Mark your calendars, and expect to experience the best that Maynard has to offer this summer! If you have any questions, email maynardjazzfest@gmail.com.
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Town of Acton Announces New Chief of Police

ACTON: The Town of Acton Police announced the promotion of James A. Cogan to Chief of Police! Town Manager, John Mangeratti, held a ceremony this afternoon where Chief Cogan was officially sworn in and was joined by family, friends, and colleagues.
 
Chief Cogan joined the Acton Police Department as a Patrol Officer in 1984. In 1988, he became the department’s youth officer until he was promoted to Sergeant in 1993. Chief Cogan was promoted to Lieutenant in 2012 serving as the Special Services Division Commander, and then Deputy Police Chief in 2017. He served as Deputy Chief until he took on the role of Interim Police Chief in December 2022. Chief Cogan received his Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and Master of Science in Criminal Justice Administration degrees from Western New England College. In 2016, Chief Cogan graduated from the FBI National Academy Session #265.
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0.0 Race at Sterling Street Brewery to benefit Habitat for Humanity NCM

ACTON/CLINTON: Habitat for Humanity NCM is holding a 0.0 Race Event at Sterling Street Brewery in Clinton on June 22, 6-8pm. The 0.0 is a race for everyone. You walk in the door, and you are the winner of the race!

This event is $30 per person, for that you will receive a drink ticket, and a winner’s medal. Music by Workingman Bank, amazing silent auction items to bid on and great networking event. Please email diana@ncmhabitat.org to reserve your spot.

The proceeds from the event will support Habitat NCM’s work including building simple and affordable homes for partner families throughout North Central Massachusetts as well at critical home repairs in the 30 towns they serve. Current projects include new homes on Carlisle Road in Acton and Taft Street in Fitchburg, as well as repairs in Gardner, Littleton, Leominster and Lunenburg. For more information or to sign up visit ncmhabitat.org

After 10 Years, Cooperative Grocery Store Opens in Maynard

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MAYNARD: On May 31, at noon, the Assabet Co-op Market will host a ribbon cutting at 86 Powder Mill Road to open Metro West’s only cooperatively owned grocery store. More than 2,200 residents from 40 local communities own the co-op, which prioritizes local food producers and healthy food access for all.

On June 3 at noon, a community-wide celebration will feature local food producers from across the region, including bakers, ice cream makers, coffee roasters and more. They will join hundreds of local residents to sample their food and celebrate the Assabet Co-op Market.

"This has been a grassroots community effort 10 years in the making," said Sam McCormick, the store’s general manager. "All are welcome to shop at the co-op, and anyone can become an owner and enjoy great owner benefits." State and local officials, including State Representative Kate Hogan and Senator Jamie Eldridge, will attend the May 31 ribbon cutting.

The co-op has spent the last 15 months renovating an 8,000-square-foot riverfront space leased from the Coffman Development Group. The store will include every department found in a conventional grocery store, including an extensive bulk foods section. It will also have prepared foods, an indoor cafe, and a 64-foot deck cafe overlooking the Assabet River.

Unlike conventional grocers, food co-ops are democratically owned by their shoppers and prioritize local producers, including local farms, bakers, cheese makers, and more. The Assabet Co-op Market also aims to increase access to healthy food, regardless of a shopper’s income. The store will be open to everyone to shop and plans to accept SNAP and WIC benefits soon after opening. As members of the National Cooperative Grocers (NCG), the co-op will also sell hundreds of natural and organic staple items at affordable prices. And co-op leaders are building a Healthy Food Access program to provide additional discounts to low-income shoppers. Co-op owners purchase a one-time $200 share and are entitled to benefits, including an annual dividend in profitable years; a say in products and classes; bulk ordering discounts; and voting rights for store initiatives and board elections.

Sourcing from local producers keeps money in the local economy, something co-op leaders say will build economic strength across the region. According to Food Co-op Initiative (FCI), a national nonprofit that advises startup food co-ops, every $1,000 spent at a food co-op generates $1,600 in the local economy. "Cooperatives exist to serve the communities that own them, not enrich far-away corporate shareholders," said JQ Hannah, FCI's assistant director. "That mission -- and the fact that local residents own the business they're supporting - builds community and builds loyalty. It's just one reason why co-ops are so  successful."

Maynard has a long history of cooperative businesses, with Russian and Finnish immigrants establishing a host of cooperatives stretching back to the 1800s. The Assabet Co-op Market hopes to carry on that legacy for the Metro West Boston community.
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Acton Observes Memorial Day

By Franny Osman

ACTON: Acton’s annual Memorial Day parade stepped off from the Acton-Boxborough Regional High School at 10:15am on May 29, and headed toward Woodlawn Cemetery, with multiple marching bands, members of the Acton Select Board, state legislators, public safety officers, Acton Minutemen historic reenactors, and Scouts. The day was warm, but not so hot that band members would likely faint, as they do on occasion. Gail Sawyer, chair of the Ceremonies and Public Celebrations Committee, led the parade and emceed the ceremony. Behind her in the parade rode James MacRae, Acton Veterans’ Service Officer and Gail’s fellow organizer of the event, with Colonel Henry Hogan, a Vietnam-era veteran and local attorney honored as Grand Marshal of this year’s parade.

Before a crowd of a few hundred Actonians at Woodlawn Cemetery, Boy Scouts read Governor Healey’s  proclamation for the Memorial Day observance, laid a wreath, and raised the American flag as the Acton-Boxborough Regional High School Marching Band played the National Anthem. The Acton Minutemen let off a three-gun salute and James MacRae shared a biography of Colonel Hogan and presented Hogan with a flag box.

Select Board members Dean Charter and Fran Arsenault read the names of local veterans who have died this year. Select Board Chair Jim Snyder-Grant encouraged us to support and listen to each other, and remember those who are gone. A transcription of his speech follows.

“Good morning. It’s great to see everyone here. Thank-you for joining us here on Memorial Day 2023. It’s an honor to be here. For those that marched today, we passed the memorial at the Town Common. The words written there start with this: The Commonwealth of Massachusetts & the Town of Acton, cooperating to perpetuate the fame of glorious deeds of patriotism, have erected this monument in honor of Capt. Isaac Davis, & privates Abner Hosmer & James Hayward, citizen-soldiers of Acton & Provincial MinuteMen, who fell in Concord the 19th of April A.D. 1775.

That was written in 1851, on the eve of another important war where once again the patriots of Acton came together to keep the nation together.  From the ashes of that civil war, arose the practices and ideas that eventually came together as Memorial Day.

We've just heard about the horrors of the civil war, with hundreds of thousands of deaths; and the prisoner of war camps where captured soldiers were mistreated badly. One of those prisoner of war camps, in Charleston, South Carolina, built on an old race course, became the location for perhaps the first decoration day, just months after the end of the war.  Recently freed formerly enslaved people came together to individually rebury more than 250 union soldiers who had been left in a mass grave at the race course, because they understood that the arrival of their newly recognized freedom was because of the sacrifice of those soldiers. After the reburial, there was a solemn ceremony with flowers and marching and speeches with thousands in attendance, almost entirely formerly enslaved people to honor the sacrifices that had led to the end of chattel slavery in the US. That sense of deep thanks and appreciation for the sacrifices of warriors led to more Decoration day ceremonies across the country, formalized as the national Memorial Day holiday in 1971.

Each time our country went to war, Acton answered the call. Each cause was different, but one result was always the same: some of our bravest men and women went off to fight, some didn’t come back, and those that did come back, were changed.  Families mourned, and made do, and carried on. The Town, State and Nation do what they can to honor those who sacrificed, and support the survivors. What we do is never quite enough to meet the immensity of the need, so we are called to try to do more. So we have events like this, where we come together in solemn witness to thank and support those who survived war and those who did not, and their families and friends. We must always come together at events like this to reflect and reaffirm that those of us who are still here, we are here to support each other and remember those who are gone.  We remember the achievements of those who have left us, their courage and their dedication.  We must honor their memory by living our lives to the fullest and by always striving to make our country a better place. We must never forget their sacrifice, and we must always be grateful for their service.

Thank you so much to everyone for being here today.  Each of you have your own stories, your own reasons for being here. In my case, it’s the stories of my uncle Norris, who waited until near the end of his life to finally open up and share his war stories. There are plenty more stories out there to be shared and learned from. Please, seek each other out, talk and listen and learn. This is one of the simplest ways we can support those impacted by war, by sharing the memories and weaving these hard-earned lessons into all of our lives.  Thanks for listening, and thanks for being here.  May the spirit that unites us bless us and help us carry on.”

PHOTO: Acton Veterans’ Service Director James MacRae (left) and Select Board Chair Jim Snyder-Grant after the ceremony.
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Will Migratory Fish Swim to Acton from the Atlantic?

By Kim Kastens

ACTON: All the brooks and streams in Acton flow into the Assabet River, which flows into the Concord River, which flows into the Merrimack River, which flows into the Atlantic Ocean. At one time, migratory fish swam back and forth along this pathway.  During the Industrial Revolution, many dams were built to provide hydropower to mills, water to canals, ice, and fire protection water.  An unintended consequence was that these dams cut off the passage of fish species that spend part of their life cycle in freshwater rivers and brooks and part in the open ocean, including blueback herring, alewife, and American shad. 
 
Now there is a growing movement to remove these old dams, which no longer serve their intended purpose, are expensive to maintain, and can present a risk of downstream flooding.  The town of Acton is in the process of removing the dam at 53 River Street.  Two other dams, downstream from Acton, are also being considered for removal:  The Talbot Mills Dam in Billerica, and the Warner Pond dam in West Concord.  
 
Talbot Mills Dam on the Concord River in Billerica was first built in 1711 and rebuilt several times subsequently.  But now, the dam owner seeks to remove the dam. Since 2016, numerous studies, reports, and public meetings have considered the pros and cons.  On April 21, 2023, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service announced a $800,000 grant towards removing the Talbot Mills Dam, as part of the National Fish Passage program funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.  If the Talbot Mills Dam were removed, fish would be able to swim from the Atlantic Ocean up the Assabet River as far as the High Street Dam in Acton. 
 
Warner's Pond dam was built in 1857 to power a pail factory.  The pond behind the dam has been filling with sediment and is choked with aquatic invasive plants.  The Town of Concord commissioned a study to consider alternative ways to restore ecological health and recreational opportunities.  On May 23, 2023, three alternatives were presented and discussed at a community meeting:  Dredge part of the pond, remove the dam, and take no action.  Concord's consultants recommended dam removal.  If the Talbot Mill Dam and the Warner's Pond dam were both removed, migratory fish might be able to swim up Nashoba Brook as far as Ice House Pond at Concord Road and up Fort Pond Brook as far as the Erickson Dam at Main Street. 
 
US Fish & Wildlife Service Press Release:  https://www.fws.gov/project/talbot-mills-dam-removal-concord-river
 
Merrimack River Watershed Council Talbot Mills Dam Removal Project  https://merrimack.org/talbotmills/
 
Warner's Pond Information page: https://concordma.gov/1677/Warners-Pond-Information

PHOTO (Credit Ryan Hagerty/USFWS: A candy darter in the wild.
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Open Table Fuel Up for Summer Program Provides Weekly Snack/Lunch Bags to Summer Campers

Free, safe, and private program for financially challenged families

CONCORD/MAYNARD:
Open Table, the MetroWest charity dedicated to fighting hunger and building healthy communities, is bringing back Fuel Up for Summer, a weekly summer lunch bag program designed for local families who find it financially difficult to provide daily nutritious lunch and snacks for their children over the summer months. The summer program is free, safe and private for all participants. Parents can select a lunch, snack and drink each day for their child’s lunch box or bag. The lunch packs are always peanut free. No photo ID or proof of financial need is required.

Open table's weekly kid lunch and snack pack contains:
 
  • 3 lunches such as wrap sandwiches, veggies and dips, fruit salads and cheese, and pasta salads;
  • 3 individually portioned snack foods, such as granola bars, goldfish crackers, apples, raisins, and fruit cups.

Kids packs are available starting June 20 for pick up at Open table 33 Main Street, Maynard, Tuesdays: 3-6:30pm; Thursdays: 1-4:30pm. To guarantee availability, packs must be reserved in advance by Monday at noon for the week of pick up.
Online form: www.opentable.org/order-form, (978) 369-2275; orders@opentable.org.

“Kids’ summer programs may be free. And yet, many families still find it challenging to provide their children with healthy nutritious lunches,” said Alexandra DePalo, executive director, Open Table. “With most public school meal programs suspended for the summer, Open Table is filling the gap by providing free box lunches for kids to make sure that they get the most possible out of their summer experiences.”
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Iron Work Farm Begins 2023 Season of Open Houses

ACTON: On May 28, the Iron Work Farm begins the 2023 season of “4th Sunday” open houses at their two South Acton house museums - Jones Tavern and the 1707 Jones-Faulkner Homestead.

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, where our newest acquisition, a late 18th /early 19th-century Jones family “tall” clock, has just been installed in the parlor.

At the 1707 Jones-Faulkner Homestead, 5 High Street, 3-5pm, they have joined Freedom’s Way Heritage Association’s “Hidden Treasures” month by highlighting the Massachusetts Bay Tercentenary sign that has stood by the road since 1930. One of three signs in Acton commemorating the 300th anniversary of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, this one contains some curious errors. See if you can find them! And while at the house, say hello to members of the Nashoba Valley Weavers’ Guild, who will be demonstrating one of our former “Hidden Treasures”, the old “barn frame” loom. Parking is available on-site or nearby.
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“Discovery After Dark” 21+ Party Returns to Discovery Museum

ACTON: Discovery Museum's “Discovery After Dark,” a 21+ event held outdoors and indoors at the Museum, returns July 13, 6:30-9:30pm, in the Discovery Woods and Treehouse, as well as in the Museum itself (177 Main Street). It’s grown-up time at the Museum! Enjoy live Caribbean steelpan music from PanNeubean Steel, drinks, Caribbean American street food from the Fresh Food Generation food truck, ice cream from Juniper Farms, and FUN. Advance tickets required. General Admission pricing June 1-July 13 (or until sold out): $55 per person; $300 for a Party Pack (Group of 6). For tickets and information, visit https://bit.ly/DiscoveryDark2023.
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Theatre With a Twist Offers Summer Camp

ACTON: Theatre with a Twist is a renowned local theatre with a long history of providing high-quality performance training and experiences to Acton and the surrounding communities. They offer a fun, safe and engaging Summer Camp for students aged 7-12 that runs Monday-Friday from 9-4pm (with extended hours available). This year's sessions include: Session 1: July 3-14 | Session 2: July 17-28 | Session 3: July 31-August 11, each running two weeks.  All are staffed by professionals and paraprofessionals in theater, music, dance, communication, education and special education. 
 
During each session, students work towards a final performance. This unique theatre experience provides campers with exposure to drama, dance, music, improv, art, and more, in a new and meaningful way. Students get involved in all aspects of the performance. They act, sing, and dance, along with helping to prepare the sets, costumes, and props used in the big show. Parents, friends, and community members are invited to attend and watch our students shine on stage!
 
If you would like to provide a special summer camp experience for your child this summer, visit theatrewithatwist.org to register.
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Acton Select Board Liaisons for 2023

ACTON: Every board and committee in Acton has a Select Board liaison. For 2023, here are the Select Board members and their committee assignments. The Select Board generally meets on the first and third Mondays of the month, although that schedule changes depending on holidays. Select Board meetings are held in Room 204 of Town Hall and you can attend either in person or remotely. You can find more information about the Select Board, including when and how to attend or watch their meetings, on the Town of Acton website. 

Jim SnyderGrant, Chair
Acton Leadership Group 
Comp. Community Plan (Acton 2020)
Commission on Disabilities
Green Advisory Board
Minuteman Regional School Dist.
Planning Board
Senior Tax Relief/Taxation Aid Comm
Sidewalk /Transportation Advisory Comm
Volunteer Coordinating Committee

Fran Arsenault, Vice-chair
Acton Community Housing Corp.
Acton Housing Authority
Acton TV
Agricultural Commission
Board of Appeals
Board of Assessors
Cable Advisory Committee
Economic Development Committee
Historical Commission
Historic District Commission
Human Services Committee

Dean Charter, Clerk
250 Committee
Acton Concord Emergency Comm Ctr. BOD
Community Preservation Committee
Conservation Commission
Council on Aging
DPW Facility Study Committee
Design Review Board
Dog Park Committee
Kelley's Corner Steering Committee

Alissa Nicol, Member
Acton Memorial Library Trustees
Acton Nursing Service Advisory Comm
Acton Water District
AB Cultural Council
Board of Health
Cemetery Commission
Health Insurance Trust
Land Stewardship Committee
MAGIC/MAPC
Water Resources Advisory Committee
West Acton Citizens’ Library Trustees

David Martin, Member
53 River St Master Plan Comm
Acton Leadership Group 
AB Reg. Dist. School Building Comm
AB Reg. Dist. School Committee
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Commission
Finance Committee
Open Space Committee
Recreation Commission
 
Submitted by Miriam Lezak
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Town of Acton Seeks Logo for 250th Anniversary of the American Revolution

ACTON: Hear Ye, Hear Ye!  Announcing call for logo submissions commemorating the 250th anniversary of the commencement of the American Revolution:

• Logo can be black and white or color but must be able to be reproduced in one color.
• Submissions must be digitally submitted. They can be a photo of your logo. If you possess digital design skills, we would prefer either a vector graphic or be
300 dpi or greater.
• Logo must incorporate all of the the words, “Acton” “250” and “Revolution”
but they may appear in any manner on the logo.
• Logo may incorporate any imagery.
• Chosen logo will become town property and may be used on merchandising related to the upcoming events.
• Submissions must be received by 5pm on June 9th.

Please See Town Website for Submission Forms. acton-ma.gov/
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Laugh For Your Health: Now In Person! 

ACTON: Acton Senior Center has started up it's weekly "Laugh for Your Health" program every Thursday from 11am to noon.  This program is open to out-of-town seniors for free. Laughter can really be one of the best medicines! In this interactive program, you will learn how to generate your own hearty laughter without the need for jokes - just seated and standing laughter exercises, combined with deep, relaxing belly, or “yoga breaths.” This practice is called Laughter Yoga, but there are no mats or yoga poses. Many health benefits are derived from this practice including: increased energy and alertness, mood elevation, stress relief, positive connections with others, and boosting the immune system. See how you can laugh your way to joy and well-being!

Also happening weekly at the Acton CoA are:

Hot Topics Discussion Group - Wednesdays, 10:30-11:30am. Open to all seniors/free, this group meets weekly to discuss major current events issues. The group will be facilitated by Sal Lopes, but each participant will be encouraged to take on a “hot topic” of personal interest and lead the discussion for that meeting. The group will meet in the Senior Center dining room where coffee is available. Please sign up with the CoA to indicate your interest.

Chess Lessons with Ken LeBow -
Thursdays, 1:00-3:30pm. Open to out-of-town seniors/free. Acton resident Ken Lebow is returning to in-person lessons! The class is best for people with some chess experience who know how the pieces move and the concepts of check and checkmate. You will play games and get feedback. Chess sets supplied by the CoA. If you are a true beginner, Ken is happy to meet with you at the Senior Center to teach you the basics. Chess is a great way to exercise your brain—studies show playing can improve memory, boost concentration skills, & increase creativity.

For more information on these or any CoA programs at the Acton Senior Center, call
(978) 929-6652; email seniorcenter@actonma.gov, visit www.actoncoa.com, or find them on Facebook.
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Summer in Acton is Going to SIZZLE!

SOUTH ACTON: The Acton Recreation Department is very excited to announce the great summer lineup of events and programs now available for registration.  We have easy online registration at  www.actonrec.com.  Acton Recreation events and programs are offered to Acton residents and non-residents and include a variety of options for all ages. They offer arts and crafts, soccer, NARA Summer Camp, Camp Hill Top, Amazing Athletes, coding camps, and much more!  Classes are being added continually, so visit their site frequently and follow the NARA Park Facebook page.
 
Events planned at NARA Park this summer include: Heartless, New England’s Premier Tribute to Heart on June 9 at 8pm; Acton Pride weekend with a Drag Show ($) on June 16 at 8pm and Festival (free) on June 17 from Noon-3pm; Chinese Music and Dance Night (free) on June 26 from 6-8pm; Elton John Tribute Yellow Brick Road ($) on July 21 at 8pm; The Breakers-The Country’s Premier Tribute to Tom Petty ($) and the Heartbreakers on July 28 at 8pm; The Little Mermen-NYC’s Ultimate Disney Tribute ($) on August 4 at 6pm; Hollywood Nights-The Bob Seger Experience ($) on August 11 at 8pm; Kids Concert Night featuring Mr. Vic (free) on August 23 at 6:30pm; and Tusk-The World’s #1 Tribute to Fleetwood Mac ($) August 25 at 8pm. Details on all these events and online ticket information can be found by visiting: www.actonrec.com.
 
Acton Recreation doesn’t just offer programs and host events, they oversee all of the operations at NARA, Town fields and playgrounds.  Applications for fields and facilities use are now being accepted; popular dates fill fast!  You can visit the Recreation Department of the Town website and click on fields and facilities toolbar to obtain the application/inquiry form.  Please allow three business days for turn-around.
 
If you haven’t been to the most prestigious park around, visit NARA Park at 25 Ledge Rock Way in North Acton off Rt. 27/Main Street.  It is a wonderful place to take your family out to enjoy a beautiful spring day at the playground, play some volleyball, walk the 1 mile perimeter path, kick a ball  around on the field, sit on the beach, access to the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail, and so much more. 
 
Right now is the best time to get your 2023 NARA Beach Seasonal Pass.  It’s Early Bird time through June 16. NARA Beach officially opens on May 27 operating through August 25.  Seasonal membership can be completed online at actonrec.com.
 
Have you planned your child’s summer yet?  NARA Summer Camp is a safe, fun and affordable licensed summer day camp offered for children grades Pre-K to grade 8.  NARA Summer Camp starts June 20 and offers weekly sessions that run Monday through Friday until August 25.  Each session includes activities that accompaniment the weekly theme.  For details or questions about our summer camp, please call (978) 929-6640 x0 or email recreation@acton-ma.gov.  You can easily register online at www.actonrec.com. Returning for the second year is Camp Hill Top. Camp operations have been expanded to include an indoor/outdoor camp at the Recreation Center for grades Pre-K to 3rd and CIT’s ages 14-15.  Registrations are filling fast, so don’t delay and secure your plans today. 
 
The Recreation Department office is located at 50 Audubon Drive (off High Street) and open weekdays from 8am-5pm excluding holidays.  In addition, a new Recreation office is available from mid-May through October at the new Sports Plaza at NARA (71 Quarry Road).  The Sports Plaza is also home to NARA Summer Camp operations and a new snack bar.
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Benchmark Senior Living at Robbins Brook Assisted Living Community Named One of the Country’s Best by U.S. News & World Report for Second Straight Year

Resident & Family Member Feedback Earns Acton Senior Assisted Living Community 2022-2023 Best Assisted Living Excellence Award

ACTON: Benchmark Senior Living at Robbins Brook, an assisted living and Mind & Memory Care community, has ranked among the best assisted living with memory care communities in Massachusetts and the entire U.S. for the second straight year. In U.S. News & World Report’s second annual Best Senior Living ratings published today, the community was selected following a comprehensive resident and family member survey. Robbins Brook is the only senior living community in the greater Acton area to have earned this prestigious award.

Robbins Brook earned “Best” status by achieving the highest possible rating for assisted living. Respondents gave the community high marks in critical areas, such as overall value, management and staff, resident enrichment, dining and food, safety, transportation, maintenance, housekeeping and location.

Forty Benchmark communities throughout the Northeast received a total of 53 U.S. News awards for the second straight year.
“We are honored and humbled that our residents and their families, once again, recognized the hard work, compassion, and dedication of our 6,000-plus associates. It’s their shared purpose of transforming lives through human connection that earned Benchmark these U.S. News & World Report awards and continues to separate Benchmark communities from other senior living companies,” said Tom Grape, founder, chairman and CEO of Benchmark.

Robbins Brook’s care and experiences spans independent assisted living to specialized memory care assisted living for those who would benefit from a safer, engaging environment, chef-prepared meals, supportive living services, transportation and assistance with daily activities, such as getting dressed and medication management. Residents enjoy connecting over programs and amenities offered in many common spaces including a bistro, demonstration kitchen, recreation room, library, hair salon, private dining room and outdoor courtyards with seasonal dining and walking paths.

Robbins Brook’s award-winning Mind & Memory Care program offers carefully created living environments and unique opportunities for those with Alzheimer’s and dementia to find joy in each new day. Residents are supported by 24/7 care providers who have been hired for heart and educated in memory loss, communication and empathy. Neighborhoods provide the comforts of home and have unique features that help those with memory impairment stay connected to who and what matters most to them. Thoughtful touches, visual cues and purposeful amenities further promote familiarity and wellness.

“Our team is committed to keeping our residents connected to who and what matters most through outstanding care and experiences,” said Stephen Johnson, executive director of Robbins Brook. “Exceeding expectations every day is what we strive for so it’s incredibly exciting to have our dedication recognized by an industry leader like U.S. News.”

For more than 30 years, U.S. News has served the American public as an unbiased arbiter of quality across a variety of important choices. Whether picking a college, selecting a hospital or moving to a nursing home, consumers go to U.S. News to research and make consequential life decisions.

“For the second consecutive year, U.S. News is providing in-depth information to help potential residents and their loved ones find the best place to help meet their needs,” said Sumita Singh, senior vice president and general manager of Healthcare at U.S. News. “Communities that are highly rated excel in making residents feel safe, well cared for and highly satisfied by the services provided.”

For more information about Benchmark Senior Living at Robbins Brook, click here or go to its U.S. News profile at https://health.usnews.com/best-senior-living/benchmark-senior-living-at-robbins-brook-1542
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The Taste in Motion Returns to Maynard Center

MAYNARD: You’re invited to a fantastic around the town sampling experience in Maynard’s town center on May 21 from 2-5pm, with all proceeds benefitting the Maynard Education Foundation (MEF)! Sample dishes from your favorite local restaurants, enjoy live entertainment by local celebrity Jae Mannion and enter to win fabulous raffle prizes, all while strolling Main Street and Nason Street. Eateries that do not have brick and mortar locations in Maynard center will set up a tent at the parking lot in the Mill and Main parking lot, across from 155 Main Street.  Visit www.maynardeducation.org for the latest list of participating restaurants.
 
Purchase your event wristbands in advance for adults $25; children $10 (ages 2-12), children under age 2 free by going to www.maynardeducation.org .  Wristbands will also be available at the event for $30 (adult) and $15 (children ages 2-12) at the Maynard Education Foundation (MEF) tent in the Mill & Main parking lot (across from 155 Main Street, Maynard). Then, with a map in hand, explore our local eateries, checking out their menus, meeting the dedicated owners & staff.  Vote on your favorites to show your support.
 
The Taste in Motion is a rain or shine event.  All funds raised will go towards the grant programs that support Maynard Public Schools. Tickets are considered a donation and are non-refundable. Join your friends and neighbors for this fun community event in support of the Maynard Education Foundation!
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Public Art Exhibit, Reception & Radio Appearance

MAYNARD: All are invited to Tzfat In Maynard Art Exhibition live at the Maynard Public Library!  The hope is to create a dialog through art, so we can shake hands and live the golden rule with a few more acts of loving-kindness.  The exhibit is running through May 31, with a reception May 18, 6-8:30am. RSVP at https://jewishhope.org/tzfat-everywhere, or for more information, contact Lisa B. Corfman with questions at Lisa@JewishHope.org.
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Acton Food Pantry Chef Challenge is Back!

ACTON: The Acton Food Pantry serves over 300 families per week! With the need for food assistance in our community continuing to grow, the AFP is excited to announce the return of the Chef Challenge, their main annual fundraiser, to be held June 11 at the Westford Regency. Doors open at 6:30pm for Premium Ticketholders (includes exclusive wine/beer/cider tastings); 7:30pm for Regular Ticketholders. Watch as local chefs compete to see who can create the most fabulous dishes from groceries inspired by Pantry foods. Participate in the silent and live auctions, all made possible by local individuals, businesses, and organizations and enjoy live music provided by The Cellar Dwellers Blues Band. The Chef Challenge is a volunteer-run event with all proceeds supporting AFP programs. Tickets and information about auction donations are available at chefchallenge.org.