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.

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.

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."
Mini food pantry

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.

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.

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.

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.

Acton Pride Festival

By Jeff Vandegrift

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

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.

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

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.

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.

Open Table Fuel Up for Summer Program Provides Weekly Snack/Lunch Bags to Summer Campers

Free, safe, and private program for financially challenged families

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.

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.

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
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

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/

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.

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

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.
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Ernest Stonebraker Exhibit “Close to Home” Opens May 17

MAYNARD: 6 Bridges Gallery, 77 Main Street is pleased to present “Close to Home” by Ernest Stonebraker, paintings inspired by motifs close to the artist’s home in Stow.  This exhibit will be on view May 17 - June 24, with a reception on May 20 from 5-7pm.
Stonebraker says, “We love to travel and see awesome sights of nature such as the Grand Canyon or Yellowstone National Park, or the ancient castles in Europe. Vacations to see these wonders are all too short, as well as expensive. However, we are fortunate to live in an area where we are surrounded every day with beautiful things, both large and small. My wife Sherry and I live on Randall Road in Stow, MA, where just walking our dog Lucy takes us by beautiful things like vistas of the Stow Acres Country Club, and old stone walls, a remnant of the time when most of this land was farmland.”
He continues, “Neighboring towns are similarly blessed with the beauty of nature, especially in the autumn. One of my favorite places is the Lt. James Lincoln Williams Pond in the town of Harvard, where I enjoy water lilies and brilliantly colored autumn leaves. Look around and I think you’ll agree with me.”
Painter Ernest (Ernie) Stonebraker draws inspiration from what he observes first hand, often recording those views with a camera, then combining and simplifying those images into the final painting. He works in oil, acrylic, and watercolor in sizes as small as 6x6 inches up to 3x4 feet. He is a founding member of 6 Bridges Gallery.
For more information, please visit 6 Bridges online, on Facebook, or on Instagram.
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Danny’s Place Spring Celebration

ACTON: Join Danny’s Place on May 20 from 2-7pm at the NARA Park pavilion for their first annual Spring Celebration event featuring a fun-for-all-ages cornhole tournament. Play or spectate, and enjoy music (DJ sets, followed by a live performance from Red Van Jazz Band), and family-friendly activities (including an 80' bouncy obstacle course!). Food and beverage will be available for purchase from local sponsors: True West, El Huipil, and Westside Creamery.

Danny’s Place serves Acton and Boxborough youth, ages 8-18, by providing them with experiences to explore, create, and discover their happiest, healthiest selves - through inclusive community programming, social-emotional experiences, and supportive resources. Later this year, Danny’s Place will move into a larger space on Mass Ave in West Acton Village to expand to serve more young people in the community.

Come to this community-building event on May 20 to connect with neighbors and learn more about Danny’s Place. No cornhole experience is necessary to play. All ages and levels of ability are welcome to enter the tournament, or just come for the fun! For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit dannys-place.org/cornhole.
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Art Across Generations at YV Art Museum

ACTON: YV Art Museum administered by Contemporary Arts International (CAI), a non profit organization, announces the exhibition of a father and daughter in the main hall. Art Across Generations – Alex and Genie Belozersky presents the sculptures by Alex Belozersky and paintings by Genie Belozersky. It runs May 21- September 17. 

In the Video Room, there will be documentary films by Chen Bohan, a talented filmmaker  from Taiwan. The film explores the inspiration Chen found during his seven visits to our art  ground and showcases his earlier work. Over the years, many people have been curious how Yin  obtained this land; in Bohan's film, for the first time, the story is fully told. 

Alex Belozersky came to art relatively late in life, after several careers first in Russia, then in the  U.S. “What happened to me in my 40s and 50s may be compared with what the Apostles felt  when ‘They were filled with the Holy Ghost and began speaking in tongues they did not speak  before,’ he says. “Almost overnight, I, a professional pianist, transitioned from music to the visual arts.”  Alex began his artistic exploration with clay—as tactile and responsive as piano keys. He spent  two years at the Radcliffe College Ceramics studio in Cambridge, building non-functional ceramic vessels, sculptures, and tiles. The latter, shown in the spring of 1991 at Boston Design  Center, generated considerable interest due to their Russian medieval and Renaissance designs.  He then moved on to sculpting roofing paper, tin, sheet metal, bronze, and wire, learning in the  process what each material allows and inspires. His choice of imagery was, to a degree, dictated  by the medium. But childhood memories, European history, theater, literature, and mythology 
also served as sparks for his imagination. Alex’s philosophical studies, especially the writings of Carl Jung, have stimulated him to address the role of myths and dreams in modern life. Ancient  and modern mythology is represented in the culture as an elaborate interplay of archetypes, symbols, and interpretations. Belozersky has created a stage where these symbols come to life and  comment on our existence. Humor is feature of many of his works: “I think humor gives us a  chance to step aside from reality to have a better view of it, and keeps us from drowning in the  tragedy of life.”  Alex Belozersky, musician, philosopher, sculptor, and poet, was born in Russia and graduated  from Moscow Conservatory. He taught music and wrote for art magazines before emigrating to  the U.S. in 1980. 

Genie Belozersky, born in Boston, has been surrounded by art since childhood, including her  father’s work. Her parents especially favored folk art, but Genie found drawing and painting her  most satisfying way to express ideas, feelings, and reflections on the world. An avid museum  goer, she has been inspired by a wide range of artists and styles, with Surrealism in particular  resonating with her for its combination of fantasy and folklore.  Genie’s distinctive use of small, detailed, precisely drawn imagery emerged in her college years.  She favors drawing with pens and markers: their smoothness and crispness, the polished look  they yield and the freedom of working anywhere, give her maximum opportunity to develop her  pieces. The process of meticulously building up pictures through the aggregation of finely penned components is a form of meditation for Genie; it allows her to both process her emotions  and free herself from the churning mind. They are also, as is the case with her father, a whimsical  outlet for life’s challenges. “I enjoy the cartoonish forms, the juxtapositions of shapes, the  process of weaving my way across the page,” Genie says. “But I also welcome my viewers to  project their own perceptions and ideas on my work and take away the meaning that speaks to  them.”Genie received her B.A. from New England School of Art and Design. She has shown her  work at a number of galleries in the Boston area. 
CAI is open to visitors every day from 10am-6pm (summer schedule). Visitors are encouraged to call/text (617) 699-6401 to make appointment. Admission is $10 for adults; $5 for 65+ or under 16.
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Maynard Community Gardeners Seeking Plant Donations

MAYNARD: The Maynard Community Gardeners are just weeks away from their Annual Plant Sale, to be held May 20, 9am-12pm, in the parking lot of The Maynard Elks Lodge at 34 Powdermill Road. The club is looking for any excess or unwanted plants of any kind or quantity. Maybe you’re thinning a bed this spring. Maybe you planted something that you just don’t love, or that won’t work in your space. Maybe your neighbor is really tired of their forsythia bush and wants it gone. All those plants can find a new home! Bare root plants will be accepted for drop off or pickup. If you need assistance getting plants out of the ground, they can do that too! Please contact Digging Coordinator, Steve Smith at stevensmith@kw.com to coordinate a dig or the pick up of plants.

All the funds from the Plant Sale go directly to MCG’s efforts to maintain various gardens throughout the town, and educational programming for members and the greater community. Your plant donations are what make the Plant Sale possible!

The Friends of the Acton Libraries To Host Used Book Sale May 20-21

ACTON: The Friends of the Acton Libraries will hold a live and in person used book sale on May 20 at the Acton Memorial Library from 9am-4pm. Members of the Friends are invited to a preview of the sale on May 19 from 7-9pm. Sunday will be half price day for all, from 2-3:30 pm.

The Friends have been collecting and sorting a lot of books since the last sale. Now is your chance to come to stock up on good books in good condition for your summer reading. While not required, face coverings while inside at the sale are encouraged. Weather permitting, there will also be tables outside of the library for browsing and shopping, too.

Be sure your membership is up to date before the big Friends Used Book Sale so you can have first crack at the great selection of used books at the sale preview. If you aren’t yet a member, you can join on Friday night. But why wait? Go to the Friends of the Acton Libraries page on the Acton Memorial Library main page, print out the membership form, and mail it in. Or, bring it with you on Preview Friday night.

The Friends of the Acton Libraries is a volunteer organization dedicated to funding the town's elementary, middle, and high school library budgets. They also provide support to the Acton Memorial Library and West Acton Citizens' Library for programming, museum passes and more. Additionally, The Friends present scholarships each year to deserving high school seniors. For more information, contact The Friends at friendsofactonlibraries@gmail.com, or find them on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
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Acton Garden Club Hosts Plant Sale

ACTON: On May 20, the Acton Garden Club will be holding its fabulous plant sale. The event will take place rain or shine from 9am-1pm at the Red House located at 468 Main Street across from the Acton common. Parking is available behind Town Hall or the Acton Center Fire Station. If you are looking to beautify your property here’s your chance to easily do so. The sale will include annuals, perennials, pollinators, native plants, a wide variety of locally grown flowers, trees, shrubs, vegetables, herbs, planted hanging baskets as well as a raffle with great prizes. This year they are also offering house plants. Credit cards accepted. Arrive early for the best selections, pick out those plants you have been wanting, buy something you haven’t grown before and then take them all home and get digging!

Presentation About the History of the Nashobah Praying Indians Held

By Alissa Nicol

On May 11, 45 people gathered at Acton Memorial Library for a presentation by local historian Daniel V. Boudillion on the history of the Nashobah Praying Indians. Boudillion recently published “The History of the Nashobah Praying Indians: Doings, Sufferings, Tragedy, and Triumph.” The event was sponsored by the Friends of Pine Hawk and the Acton Memorial Library. 

In 1654, the Nashobah Indian Plantation was established, one of 16 “Praying Villages” in Massachusetts in colonial times. It included essentially all of modern Littleton. These Native American settlements were established by John Eliot, a Puritan minister from Roxbury, for Indians willing to adopt English customs, including Christianity. During King Philip’s War, the Praying Indians were rounded up and imprisoned on Deer Island; many of them did not survive the winter. Survivors were released in 1677, and a few returned to the area, including Sarah Doublet. The land was sold to English settlers, and by 1714, it was in the hands of the English as the Town of Nashoba, and then re-incorporated as the Town of Littleton in 1715. A 500-acre tract of land was set aside for the surviving Nashobah. The Littleton portion of this acreage is now known as the Sarah Doublet Forest. A narrow sliver of the original Nashoba Praying Village lies in Acton. 

Boudillion presents the history of the Nashobah Praying Indians in the four chapters of his new book, including that of present day descendants of those who survived their imprisonment on Deer Island. The Friends of Pine Hawk and the Littleton Historical Society have organized several walks and lectures with both Boudillion and Strong Bear Medicine, a direct descendent of the Nashobah Praying Indians. Visit www.pinehawk.org and www.littletonhistoricalsociety.org  to learn more and sign up for the mailing lists.

Weigh in on What Should be in a New Acton Newspaper

By Kim Kastens

There is an effort afoot to launch a new, weekly, non-partisan, non-profit newspaper in Acton. This effort began with members of the Acton-area League of Women Voters (AALWV), who participated in a statewide LWV project on the decline of local journalism. They learned of research documenting that when local journalism declines or disappears in an area, civic engagement tends to decline, government tends to become less transparent and accountable, and the likelihood of corruption increases. The AALWV organized a well-attended community workshop at Town Hall on February 4, where we heard from leaders of newspapers in surrounding towns and began the process of brainstorming what a dream newspaper for Acton should look like. A follow up meeting on March 2 attracted a core group of Acton residents with diverse backgrounds and skill sets, eager to plunge in and make the new paper a reality.  

That group has been meeting regularly and working on multiple fronts simultaneously. One subgroup is exploring bylaws and business plan, another is working on fundraising, another on technical underpinnings, and others are exploring various local partners. Although the LWV kickstarted the effort, the ongoing effort is independent of the League, and is working towards becoming a 501(c)3 non-profit. If you would like to be kept informed about the progress of this effort, or would like to volunteer to help, please email clerk@actonnewspaper.org   A wide variety of skills are needed.  

In the meantime, the newspaper team has begun to practice generating Acton-relevant content for publication in the Acton-Maynard edition of Action Unlimited. That’s what you are reading now.  Thanks very much to Carol Toomey, publisher of The Action Unlimited, for welcoming our contributions and providing a temporary home for this fledgling effort.    

To spread the word about this initiative, to build enthusiasm, and to get a better sense of what people would like to see in an Acton paper, the newspaper team is setting up a series of “affinity group” meetings with various groups and constituencies  who share a common interest that they would like to see reflected in the new paper. These meetings are a chance for townspeople to learn about the vision and status of the new paper, and contribute their ideas about what should be in the paper. So far, there have been two such meetings: one at the Senior Center, and one with Climate and Housing Justice for Acton.  A third meeting, focusing on coverage of nature and the environment, is scheduled for Saturday, May 20, 10:30-11:30, at the Acton Memorial Library 2nd floor conference room.  

The team is offering affinity group meetings in two formats: free-standing, hour-long discussions around a theme or topic, or 20-30 minute discussions inserted into the agenda of an organization’s regularly scheduled meeting. The meetings can be by zoom, or in person. If you have an idea for a theme or topic for such a meeting, or you would like to have such a discussion in an Acton-based organization that you belong to, please reach out to the newspaper affinity group team, by emailing kimkastens@chayes.org

Acton Sculptor’s Boston Women’s Memorial is Celebrated

Submitted by Franny Osman

ACTON: Acton sculptor Meredith Bergmann’s Boston Women’s Memorial was honored on May 7 at Emmanuel Church in Boston on its 20th anniversary. The Memorial, on Commonwealth Avenue in the Back Bay, is an approachable and touchable statuary tribute to Massachusetts leaders Abigail Adams, Lucy Stone, and Phyllis Wheatley. Bergmann spoke about the creation of the Memorial, and showed images of its design and sculpting. The event included world premier compositions by female composers of color, Inés Velasco, Virginia Melika M. Fitzhugh, and Emily Lau, inspired by writings of Adams, Stone, and Wheatley. Excerpts from the writings are inscribed in granite next to the statues at the Memorial. Abigail Adams’ letter to her husband John Adams, the second president of the United States, reads:

“Remember the Ladies and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands.”

Abolitionist and suffragette Lucy Stone’s words read:

“Let women’s sphere be bounded only by her capacity.”

Phyllis Wheatley’s book “Poems on Various Subjects Religious and Moral” was the first book published by an African writer in America. Wheatley was born in West Africa and sold into slavery from the ship Phillis in colonial Boston. Her poem, “Imagination! Who can sing thy force?” is quoted on the stone on which she appears to lean as she writes with a feather pen. The celebration was produced by The Boston Women’s Heritage Trail, Suffrage100MA, and Public Historian Susan Wilson. Wilson introduced the large audience to the scores of statues of male heroes in Boston and told the story of some school children on a field trip who asked “Where are the women?”

Cappella Clausura, a professional ensemble that performs music created by women and often previously unheard, performed the songs written for the event as well as other pieces by women composers, and ended with a singalong to the energetic “March of the Women” by Ethel Smyth, a feminist anthem of women’s suffrage.

After the event at Emmanuel Church, Bergmann walked with a crowd to the Women’s Memorial. She cleaned leaf debris out of small crevices and placed flowers in the statues’ hands. Bergmann moved to Acton two years ago with her husband, Michael, and son, Dan. In her renovated barn studio, she is creating a sculpture of Ruth Bader Ginsburg for the New York State House, and a bronze gateway with figures of over twenty historic women, for the Town of Lexington.

Town of Acton Announces Recipients of the 2023 Joseph A. Lalli Merit Award

ACTON: Town Manager John S. Mangiaratti and Fire Chief Robert Hart are pleased to announce that the Town of Acton has honored two employees with the Joseph A. Lalli Merit Award for 2023 in recognition of their outstanding contributions to the community.

Acton Memorial Library Office Manager Mary Katis was selected as the Municipal Employee of the Year. Katis was honored for providing leadership and support during several transitions in the library administration over the last year.

Acton Fire Department Firefighter Paramedic Josh Ramos was selected as the Public Safety Employee of the Year. Firefighter Ramos was off-duty when he noticed a fire at a senior housing complex in Maynard on March 22, and voluntarily entered the building to help ensure all residents were evacuating.

Lalli, an Acton resident, businessman, and philanthropist, was a strong supporter of public service. He wished to leave a legacy by acknowledging a public safety employee and municipal employee each year for outstanding performance and extraordinary contributions. The Award is supported and funded by the Steinberg-Lalli Charitable Foundation.

Municipal Employee of the Year
Office Manager Katis has lived in Acton since 1997, when she moved to town with her husband George and their daughter Alexandra. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration from Northeastern University. Katis volunteered extensively at the Acton Co-op Preschool and Douglas School. She began her work at the library in 2001, after noticing a job posting for an administrative assistant on the front door.  While her job was initially just one day per week and every other Sunday, Katis has grown into her role and has now worked for four library directors and assistant directors.

Library Director Maria Palacio, who nominated Katis, wrote that Katis is well-respected by both library and Town Hall staff, and often serves as a conduit among town departments due to her established relationships. "When we think of leaders and leadership, we often think of people who head teams or departments, but we can have leaders that don’t supervise people and yet make a big difference in their organizations," Library Director Palacio wrote. "An example of this kind of leadership can be found in Mary Katis."

When both the library director and assistant director resigned last year to pursue other opportunities, Katis took on additional responsibilities to ensure the library continued to function smoothly. She also served on the search committees for a new director and assistant director, and helped the new director and assistant director transition to their new positions.

"In her own quiet, classy and tactful way, Mary filled in the gaps when the former library director and assistant director resigned just weeks apart," Director Palacio wrote. "It was Mary who worked closely with our Town Manager, Trustees and others to ensure operations in the library were running smoothly despite the challenges at the time. Mary co-chaired the director search committee along with our Town Manager and Trustees and worked hard to convey to all stakeholders the importance of finding someone who could lead and stabilize the Acton Memorial Library as it transitioned to new leadership," Director Palacio wrote.

In her free time, Katis enjoys trips to Cape Cod, jumping waves on her jet ski, traveling, and visiting with friends.

Public Safety Employee of the Year
Firefighter Paramedic Ramos has worked for the Acton Fire Department since October 2021, when he joined the department after working at the Lexington Fire Department. He is the father of two young children, and also serves on the Advanced Life Support Oversight Committee, in the Training Division, and as a mentor to newer paramedics.

"I believe Joshua Ramos has led by example on what a public safety employee should be," Fire Chief Robert Hart wrote in his nomination.

On March 22, Ramos was off-duty at his home when he noticed a fire across the street at an elderly housing complex.

"Josh, without a second thought, ran across the street and managed to get a number of residents out of the home before the fire was eventually put out by the Maynard Fire Department," Chief Hart wrote in the nomination.

Firefighter Ramos remained at the scene to assist his colleagues from Maynard with other fire operations.

Ramos is often heard saying that all he wants to do is serve the community. He is a strong patient advocate, and works hard to connect patients to multiple town services because he wants every patient to receive all of the assistance they require.

"I am proud of the men and women of the Acton Fire Department who go above and beyond each and every day," said Chief Hart. "Joshua Ramos sets a tremendous example."

From left, Acton Memorial Library Office Manager Mary Katis, Town Manager John S. Mangiaratti, and Acton Fire Department Firefighter Paramedic Josh Ramos. Katis & Ramos were named Acton's Municipal Employee of the Year & Public Safety Employee of the year respectively. (Courtesy the Town of Acton)

Concord Players Recognizes RJ Grey Junior High Student’s Essay on "Little Women"

Submitted by Franny Osman & Tracy Wall

ACTON/CONCORD: Every ten years, the Concord Players produces Louisa May Alcott’s 'Little Women.' This year, for the first time, they put on the musical version, based on the 2005 Broadway musical. To accompany the show, which closes May 13, there was a Birthday Bash kick-off in November, a film festival in February, and a Tea in March.

In addition, to try to engage some younger members of the community, the Players hosted an essay contest. They asked 6th-12th graders from schools in the Metrowest area to answer a question about a deeper aspect of Little Women. Two winners were chosen and one, Aaron Wang, is from Acton. Aaron is a 7th grader at the RJ Grey Junior High School. The title of his essay was “Breaking the Gender Mould: How Jo March in Little Women Challenges and Defies Female Stereotyping”.

As the play’s producers presented Wang with his award, they said his essay rose to the top of an impressive group of entries, and they commented on his mature writing style and the historical evidence he gave to support his claim. Wang’s essay and the other winning essay are available to read at www.concordplayers.org. The website quotes Wang: “It is quite an empowering feeling when you can break gender stereotypes and be unique from others, and that's what I like most about this novel and its characteristics of Jo.”

The Concord Players trace their history to 1857 and the Concord Dramatic Union, which Louisa May Alcott and her sister, Anna helped to found. In 1872, the Union became the Concord Dramatic Club and, ultimately, in 1919, the Concord Players. In 1932, in celebration of Louisa May Alcott's 100th birthday, the Concord Players could do no less than perform a dramatized version of the novel. The show was such a success that they vowed to perform the play every ten years and – with the exception of 1942, because of WWII – they have.

ALICE Training Available for Local Businesses & Organizations

Submitted by Alissa Nicol

ACTON: Detective Luke Penney, a School Resource Officer (SRO) with the Acton Police Department of Youth and Family Services Division, is a certified ALICE instructor. ALICE is an active shooter preparedness program - the acronym stands for Alert, Lock-Down, Inform, Counter, Evacuate. Detectives with the SRO program have supported the district’s schools with ALICE training and drills, but have also conducted training for other Acton organizations and businesses - Detective Penney for 6 years, and, before him, Detective Keith Campbell.

In addition to schools, recent mass shootings in the U.S. have occurred in offices, hospitals, houses of worship, grocery stores, movie theaters, concert venues and nightclubs. The ALICE program helps staff and management develop tools and strategies they can use in an active shooter situation, and can also include an assessment of a building’s security along with recommendations to improve it. Several Acton businesses have participated. Roche Brothers supermarket, Congregation Beth Elohim, the Discovery Museum, the Haartz Corporation, and the Infant/Toddler Children’s Center are just a handful that have taken advantage of this free 45-minute training.

According to KinderCare Center Director Kate Boldebook, “Detective Penney’s ALICE
presentation was beneficial for staff as well as a relief in knowing what to do in case of an armed intruder event.”

If you would like a visit with one of Acton’s officers to train your staff in ALICE, email psfpoliceyouthservices@actonma.gov.

The Bruce Freeman Rail Trail - An Introduction & Invitation

Submitted by Tom Beals

ACTON: I recently rode the newly expanded Bruce Freeman Rail Trail from its north end in Chelmsford to its south end almost at the Sudbury border. I was familiar with the trail from Acton northwards; the extension south into Concord is a welcome addition. If you have never been on the trail, I hope to convince you to visit.

The rail trail is not just for bikes! Users are diverse - seniors, families with strollers and small children, bigger kids just learning to ride a bike, roller-skaters and inline-skaters, scooters and adult tricycles. A variety of bikes - new bike designs with great fat ‘beach buggy’ tires; custom artistic bikes with years of design built on; the occasional bike gymnast spinning wheelies in place, like a break-dancer, on the back wheel. And of course the ‘serious’ bikers, as if training for the Tour de France - sometimes solo, sometimes pairs or groups - jockeying for position, staying in the lead rider’s slipstream or breaking out to take the lead.

Given that variety of users, are there issues with safety? Generally, no; the trail canaccommodate many users, and traffic tends to be sparse. Because it is a rail trail, sightlines are long; and because trains avoided hills, the trail is flat except for overpasses. Adult trail users generally follow public road customs such as keeping right except when passing. With the variety of users described, passing - that is, overtaking slower-moving traffic - is common. If you hear “On your left” this means someone is behind you, and intends to pass by “on your left”. It is not uncommon to see pedestrians with earbuds or headphones, oblivious to spoken warnings, and so one passes there as safely as possible. Acton police sometimes ride the trail, and emergency rescue vehicles can access the trail if need be.

Construction of the railroad embankment split and divided local ecologies, and for the amateur naturalist the trail offers hints of the past and shows the present stages of adaptation. Most areas have adapted beautifully, with prolific growth. Other areas are adapting, with trees too recently dead to have yet decayed, snags leaning over still water. The skunk cabbage foliage is luxuriant now in some areas; its growth pattern tells us about its favored area’s ecology. For the amateur anthropologist as well, the human-built environment can be seen adapting to the trail and its traffic, as old technology recycles into rust.

Parking areas and trail access points are reasonably well described on the following
  • brucefreemanrailtrail.org/
  • traillink.com/trail/bruce-freeman-rail-trail/

PHOTO: Turtles sun themselves on a log at Acton’s NARA Park. By Tom Beals.

Report from Acton Town Meeting, May, 2023

Submitted by Marion Maxwell

May 1 TOWN MEETING may be seen at www.youtube.com/watch?v=9j0ehYeSa9I.
Final status of all articles is at: www.acton-

556 registered voters signed in.
  • Article 4 passed - Town Operating Budget for $37,382,147.
  • Article 5 passed - Town Capital - Public Works, Public Safety and Public Celebrations for $375,000.
  • Article 6 passed -Town Capital, Infrastructure, Design and Construction for $1,435,000.
  • Article 7 passed - ABRSD Assessment for $71,669,758.
  • Article 8 passed - Minuteman Regional School District Assessment for $2,912,974.
  • Article 10 passed - 549 Main Street (Conant Property) Conservation Restriction Appropriation from CPA funds of $1,030,000.
  • Article 11 Postponed Indefinitely re West Acton Citizens Library Board of Trustees Bylaw. New Trustees were voted in: Annie Channon (3 yrs.); Monica Burke (2 yrs.), Annette Lochrie (1 yr.).

May 2 TOWN MEETING may be seen at

383 registered voters signed in. Meeting ended around 12:15am Wednesday.
  • Article 14 Postponed Indefinitely - Disposition of 13 School St. (parking lot).
  • Article 15 passed - Zoning for Firearm Businesses.
  • Article 16 passed - Amend Groundwater Zoning Bylaw.
  • [Articles 17-33 were on the Consent Agenda. All passed.]
  • Article 34 passed - Home Rule Petition to Change Minimum Voting Age to 16 for Town Elections.
  • Article 35 passed - Home Rule Petition for Ranked Choice Voting.
  • Article 36 passed - Non-Binding Resolution – Economic Development Committee.
  • Articles 37-46 were brought by Citizens Petitions and were all non-binding resolutions:
  • Article 37 passed - Sewer Commission Analysis
  • Article 38 passed - Anti-bias Training
  • Article 39 passed - Code of Conduct
  • Article 40 passed - Reduce Transfer Station Sticker Prices
  • Article 41 passed - Composting Facilities at Apartment Buildings
  • Article 42 failed - Slow Increase of New Single Family Homes
  • Article 43 failed - Reduce Size of New Single Family Homes
  • Article 44 passed - Stop Odd Shaped Lots
  • Article 45 approved as amended - Renters’ Access to Confidential Health
  • Department Inspections.
  • Article 46 passed - Kelley’s Corner Improvement Initiative Update.

Discovery Museum Joins Blue Star Museums to Expand Free Admission for Active Duty Military Families this Summer

Free admission for up to six people with an active duty military ID between Armed Forces Day & Labor Day
ACTON: Discovery Museum has joined museums nationwide in the Blue Star Museums initiative, a program that provides free admission to currently-serving U.S. military personnel and their families this summer. The 2023 program will begin on Armed Forces Day, May 20, and end on Labor Day, September 4, 2023.

“We’re proud to participate with Blue Star Museums each summer and expand our yearlong Active Duty Military Discount to include up to six family members,” said Discovery Museum CEO Neil Gordon. “It’s one small way to show our gratitude for the service and commitment of our active duty military and the sacrifice of their families.” For the rest of the year, the Museum offers free admission for up to four active duty military family members.

“We thank the 2023 Blue Star Museums who invite military personnel and their families to experience the many wonders they have to offer, whether it’s a glimpse into the past, an encounter with awe-inspiring art, or a moment of discovery,” said Maria Rosario Jackson, PhD, chair of the National Endowment for the Arts. “Participating museums help to enrich the lives of military families and build meaningful connections between our nation’s military and their local community.”

Blue Star Museums include children’s museums, art, science, and history museums, zoos, gardens, lighthouses, and more, and hail from all 50 states, District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The current list of participating museums will continue to develop over the summer as organizations are welcome to register to be a Blue Star Museum throughout the summer. Find the list of participating museums at www.arts.gov/initiatives/blue-star-museums.
Hope at bat

ABRHS Baseball to Host Hope at Bat Fundraiser to Support American Cancer Society

ACTON/BOXBOROUGH: For the second time post-Covid, the ABRHS Baseball Boosters Program is holding their cancer fundraising event now called "Hope at Bat" (formerly 'Coaches vs. Cancer'). The event will be held May 12 beginning at 5:30pm with concessions and entertainment, including special guests to sing the National Anthem and throw out a ceremonial first pitch. The Junior Varsity game will begin at 5:30pm and the Varsity game will begin at 6pm - both games are against Newton South, who will also be participating in Hope at Bat.

Each team will take this game to honor the lives lost to cancer, celebrate survivors, and support the caregivers who so selflessly help others.  We aim to raise awareness of those living with cancer, caring for those with cancer, and working to advance treatments and cures for the disease, as well as raise money for the American Cancer Society. For more information or to donate, click HERE or
contact krychlik@mac.com.
Action unlimited

Ready, Set, Move! Join VBS this Summer

ACTON: Get ready, get set, and move this summer! Mt. Calvary Church is offering a fun one-week Vacation Bible School (VBS) program August 7–11, 9am-noon daily. Children age 3 through entering Grade 5 in the fall of 2023 are invited to participate. Participants will play games, make crafts, sing, and dance as they learn to follow Jesus. Space is limited. Registration details along with more information can be found at www.mtcalvaryacton.org/vbs. Questions – call the church at 978-263-5156. Mt. Calvary Church is located at 472 Massachusetts Avenue. Parking (including handicap) is available behind the church, off Prospect Street.

Chef Ben Elliott of Concord’s Salt Box Kitchen Wins Open Table’s Chopped for Charity Competition

CONCORD/MAYNARD: Open Table, the MetroWest charity dedicated to fighting hunger and building healthy communities, today announced that chef Ben Elliott of Concord’s Salt Box Kitchen, was the winner of the cooking competition at its recent Chopped for Charity Gala, which took place on April 28 at Nashawtuc Country Club in Concord. More than 250 people took part in the event, which raised $190,000 for Open Table and its programs.

Chef Ben Elliot won the competition by impressing judges with his ability to fully cook chicken thighs using a small burner in a small amount of time to create braised chicken thighs in a black garlic & mushroom agrodolce sauce with fresh ricotta crostini topped with peas, lemon zest, pistachios, and mint. Chef Kelcy Scolnik won the audience voting with her black garlic ricotta gnocchi in roasted mushroom and basil brown butter sauce, and a spring pea salad with shallot mustard vinaigrette. Chef Matt Kenah busted out the creativity with a ricotta, chopped pea, black garlic, and ‘za’atar spice donut in a yogurt sauce with peas and mint and a composed salad with roasted peas, shaved mushrooms, and chopped bacon, which he topped with toasted almonds in the “28 seconds” he had to spare.

The judging panel included Tiziana Dearing, host of Radio Boston on WBUR; Andy Husbands, the award-winning chef, author and pitmaster behind The Smoke Shop BBQ, Boston’s acclaimed barbecue restaurants; Peter Malloy, executive chef at Nashawtuc Country Club; and Marc Herdegen who won the fourth judging position in an auction prior to the start of the competition. The evening’s master of ceremonies was Joe Gatto, a private chef, culinary instructor, author and host of the cutting-edge cooking show From Scratch.

Jill Block and Wade Rubenstein and, in memoriam, community leader Debra Stark of Debra’s Natural Gourmet, were honored at the event. Local dignitaries in attendance included State Senator Jamie Eldridge and State Representative Kate Hogan.

“Open Table’s supporters came out in force for this year’s Chopped for Charity Gala,” said Alexandra DePalo, executive director, Open Table. “With 250 in-person attendees and an overflow crowd watching online, the event surpassed our fundraising goal and will provide much needed resources to meet the growing demand we are seeing. We are fortunate to have such a strong, supportive coalition of people willing contribute to our mission to end hunger in our local community.”

AB United Way "United We Run" for Mental Health

WEST ACTON: On May 13 starting at 10am will be the Acton-Boxborough United Way "United We Run" for Mental Health.  Moving together to move our community forward! All are welcome at this family-friendly run/walk event to support Acton-Boxborough United Way's mental health initiatives. Let's come together as a community (rain or shine!) and enjoy the power of connection.

Yankee Timing will be there to provide professional race timing to all participants, and medals will be awarded to the top finishers in each age group. But don’t let that intimidate you — you can go at any pace… run or walk, stroll with neighbors, or mingle with new friends. It’s all about having fun together!

Get the kids involved in giving back to the community with a One-Mile Fun Run! They'll be cheered along the route with bubbles and noisemakers. Free frisbees for all participants. Prizes for the fastest and most spirited!

Fabulous run t-shirts for the first 250 registered. Sign-up before April 15th to ensure you receive your preferred size. Register at https://runsignup.com/Race/MA/Acton/ABUW5K.