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Current Edition - 9/22/23
Previous Edition - 09/15/22
Emerson Health Wellness Fall Classes


0923 non profit 2x2
Click HERE to vote for September's featured!

Congratulations to August's winner, Lovelane Special Needs Horseback Riding Program of Lincoln
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Run a Food Drive to Spread More Love, Less Hunger

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information, call (978) 929-6652; email; visit or visit them on Facebook at

Picky Eating in Toddlers with Pediatric O.T. Anna Knox

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

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

Businesses in Your Community


Land Stewards Clear Trail Blockages Following Recent Storms

by Kim Kastens

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

Danny’s Place New Space Reveal and Community Celebration

by Alisa Nicol

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

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

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

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

Commission on Disabilities Annual Picnic Returns

by Joan Burrows

ACTON: The Acton Commission on Disabilities (COD) held their picnic on September 10, and had both rain and shine... luckily mostly shine. There was a good turnout despite inclement weather reports and blocked off roads. Old connections were renewed and new ones were made. The need for additional and more effective supports for people with disabilities was discussed. The next COD meeting will be focused on finding solutions. The food was plentiful and varied and enjoyed by all. 
Senator Jamie Eldridge was there as he always is to support the commission, and most welcome. 
The highlight for “entertainment” and learning was the Kids on the Block Puppets. They are life-sized puppets, some disabled, and their friends, learning about disabilities. Our high schoolers are mostly pros now, having started learning and working with them last year. All are seniors now and we are hoping to find new volunteers. One, a ninth grader, joined us at the picnic and performed with only one one could tell! All it really takes, once you get used to their heavy heads, is caring and understanding. All people are more the same than different.
We used to have performances in our schools with members of the Commission using the puppets. The most informative was when the children asked questions, after the brief skit. It is a special learning opportunity, and important for children to be exposed at an early age, before prejudice sets in! We noted later, when using younger people as puppeteers, that they were learning by performing. Jr. high students are welcome too. Anyone interested in seeing the puppets or learning more, please call (978) 263 0843 and leave a message.

PHOTO: Acton-Boxborough High School students perform disability-related skits with “Kids on the Block” puppets. (
Franny Osman)

Acton “Main Street” Energy Efficiency Grant Program Launched

by Kj Herther

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Acton Water District Fall 2023 Water Main Flushing

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

Discolored water and periods of low pressure may be experienced on, or in the general vicinity of, any of the streets being flushed. We will place road signs in the vicinity prior to initiating flushing on any street. Areas outside of the flushing zone may also experience some of these conditions, although the program is designed to minimize widespread impacts.
Flushing will occur between the hours of 8am and 8pm Monday-Thursday. They will not be flushing on October 9 due to the Indigenous Peoples’ Day holiday. At any time during this period, customers may experience discolored water. It is advisable to draw and store some drinking water prior to flushing. Any customers experiencing discolored water should not launder light-colored clothing or run their dishwashers, as the minerals in the water may cause staining.

This process is necessary for improving water quality in our distribution system, exercising valves and hydrants, and to clean mineral deposits from the pipes to minimize future incidents of discolored water. For updates on areas being flushed, please refer to the Water District website at, or call (978) 263-9107. You may also follow them on
Twitter and Facebook @Actonwater.
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The Friends of the Acton Libraries To Host Used Book Sale

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

by Ronit Mazumdar 

ACTON: The 6th annual Acton Children’s Business Fair comes to Nara Park on October 7 this year, showcasing the entrepreneurial abilities of kids.  The annual event started up last fall after a hiatus during the pandemic.
At last year’s event, approximately 20 businesses and 50 children demonstrated not only their inventive talents but also their business prowess. Participants conceptualized a product or service, crafted a brand, devised a marketing strategy, and then operated their one-day market stall to attract customers. The kids managed everything, from setting up to sales to engaging with customers. Mathnasium brought the event to Acton, with sponsorship from Huntington Learning Center and the support of donors and volunteers. The event was free and accessible to everyone.
The upcoming event is part of a nationwide program of Children’s Business Fairs which began in Austin (TX) in 2007 and has expanded to nearly 500 towns and cities. The national organization seeks to help children understand that whether an entrepreneur is famous or whether they are "one of the thousands of unsung business owners across this country, these are the people who make sacrifices to innovate, create jobs and serve their communities”. 
The Children's Business Fair offers children aged 6-16 a chance to enhance their own entrepreneurial skills and lay the groundwork for future careers in business. Businesses that showed at last year’s fair were recognized based on various criteria, including "Greatest Business Potential," "Most Creative Idea," and "Most Impressive Presentation." In the past, a few businesses that had won these awards went on to showcase their products at local shops. The youngest participant last year was merely 6 years old. Together, the children amassed nearly $3000 in total revenue. 
If you would like to participate in this year’s fair, please contact the organizers at or go to
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Town of Acton to Offer Free Taxi Rides on Nights and Weekends thru Acton Rides Program

ACTON: Town Manager John Mangiaratti is pleased to share that the Town of Acton has partnered with Annex Transit and Rides by Joanne to offer the Acton Rides Program, which allows eligible residents to schedule taxi rides in town.

The Town's Acton Rides Program, which is a temporary, grant-funded pilot program that began on Friday, Sept. 1, allows participants to schedule free taxi rides during hours when the town's existing transportation services are not operating, such as evenings and weekends.

The program is intended to help individuals in need get rides to appointments and various locations across town. Some examples of rides residents may request include going to work, shopping (Target, Walmart, grocery stores, etc.), pharmacies, cultural and community events, farmer's markets, libraries, medical, dental and behavioral health appointments, banks, the post office, to and from the MBTA commuter rail, and children's services (childcare, Early Intervention, etc.).

Rides can be scheduled between 3 p.m. and 11 p.m. Monday-Friday and between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. All rides must begin or end in Acton and are capped at a maximum of 25 miles. At this time, rides will be limited to two rides per day, per eligible rider.

Residents who are eligible to apply include:

- Adults aged 50 and up
- Individuals with limited driving ability due to a disability
- Individuals with a demonstrated financial need
- Active-duty military members or veterans

Children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

The program is provided on a first come, first served basis.Those who are interested can fill out an application. Completed applications can be sent electronically to, dropped off at or mailed to Town Hall, 472 Main Street, or the Human Services & Senior Center building, 30R Sudbury Road. Those who need assistance with the application or have questions regarding the program should contact the Transportation Office at (978) 929-6611 or email
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Upcoming Acton History Events

ACTON: Since its beginning, the Acton Historical Society has been documenting the history of education in our town.  Their newest exhibit, "Acton Schools, Past and Present" builds on the memories and research of local historians, teachers, and students (including Florence Merriam) to show how the schools have evolved as the town has grown and changed.  Selections from our extensive collection of items and photographs related to Acton's schools will be on display. The exhibit will premiere September 16 from 1-4pm at the Hosmer House Museum, 300 Main Street in Acton.
On September 21 at 7:30pm, noted historian Professor Robert Allison will speak at the Acton Town Hall. His topic will be "From Crown Tension to Tea Parties: The Role of Massachusetts in Shaping the Revolution." This will be the first of a series of lectures presented by the Acton 250 Committee. Dedicated to AHS' former librarian Pat Herdeg, this lecture has been made possible by a generous donation from two Acton Historical Society members.
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Exhibition of Children's Book Illustration in Maynard

MAYNARD: “Picture the Story,” an exhibition of art for and from children’s books, opens October 4 at the 6 Bridges Gallery, 77 Main Street in Maynard. The original artwork featured is from published or soon-to-be published children’s picture books, along with some personal pieces, and the published books will also be on display. The show will include work by Priscilla Alpaugh, illustrator of Space Mice; video game designer and award-winning illustrator Chris Beatrice; Sarah S. Brannen, illustrator of two dozen books including the ALA Sibert Honor book Summertime Sleepers and the multi-award-winning Feathers: Not Just For Flying; and Ioana Hobai, illustrator of A Whale of a Mistake and Lena’s Slippers. 
Viewers will also gain insight into how the artists create their work. Displays will give a glimpse into what goes into creating a children’s book, from manuscript to publication. Brannen and Hobai use traditional media, while Alpaugh uses a combination of traditional and digital and Beatrice’s work is exclusively digital. 
The exhibit will be on view October 4–November 11. It will also be hosted online at The artists will sign books at a reception on October 21, 3–5pm. Children and adults of all ages are welcome. 
For more information, please visit, and instagram.com6bridgesgallery/?hl=en.

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

Maynard Library Offers Cooking Clubs

MAYNARD: The Maynard Library, 77 Nason Street, hosts two monthly cooking clubs: Cookbook Club, which meets on Monday at noon and Spice Club, which meets Saturday at noon. For both clubs, you'll make a dish and bring it to the library to share with the group followed by a discussion of our experiences. All are welcome.

For Cookbook Club, participants choose and make a recipe from the selected cookbook - preferably one using fresh local produce - including a potluck lunch. Copies of the cookbook are available at the Circulation Desk. Enjoy the food, evaluate the cookbook, and talk about cooking, eating and shopping for ingredients. In the summer and fall, take advantage of all that the Maynard Farmer's Market and local farms have to offer.​ This month's meeting will be held September 18 at noon and the cookbook is "The Savory Baker" by America's Test Kitchen. For more info, visit

If you're bored with your cooking and want to try some new flavors, Spice Club is for you. Each month you can pick up a sample of a different spice at the library circulation desk and access a link to a variety of recipes featuring that spice. September's spice is sage and the group will meet on September 23 at noon. For more info, visit

The Maynard Farmers' Market runs Saturday, 9am-1pm in the Main Street parking lot at Mill and Main until September 30.

LWV/Acton Area Update 

ACTON: It's the start of a new Acton Area year for the League of Women Voters. now that's you're relaxed and recharged from the summer, are you ready to get involved in the coming year's bevy of activities? Here's an overview of what the Acton League has been up to:
  • At their Annual Meeting in June, the League celebrated the many accomplishments of 2022-2023, and honored long-time member Marilyn Peterson for her steadfast efforts on and in behalf of the League.
  • The Membership group continued to do tabling outreach at a variety of locations, including the first Acton Pride celebration at NARA, where over 100 visitors to the League's tent voted enthusiastically for their favorite ice cream.
  • In late June, several Acton Area members attended the biennial Massachusetts LWV Convention at Clark University in Worcester for a full day of activity, including the election of the new board of directors, approval of the program and priorities for the next two years, panelists, breakout sessions, and riveting keynote remarks by Harvard professor Danielle Allen.
Even during the slower-paced summer, the League submitted statements supporting proposed state legislation to assure dependable financing for local community-access television stations, which historically have relied on funding from local cable franchise fee revenue that has been shrinking due to the growing popularity of cable alternatives such as streaming services. In addition, some Acton Area members have been meeting to lay the groundwork for a year-long, comprehensive study of annual Town Meeting, including potential improvements and alternatives.
With the Fall months incoming, you can visit the Acton LWV on September 24 from 10am-1pm at the AB Farmers' Market.  Learn more about the League, voting, or just say 'hello!'  Or, if you're interested in lending a hand to help make democracy work, the League holds candidate forums and educational events, participates in studies and works on voter outreach. Whether you have one hour a year or one hour a week, there are ways for you to get involved.
For more information, visit

AWC to Visit Cape Ann Museum   

ACTON: On September 28, the Antiques and Museums group of the Acton Woman's Club will visit the Cape Ann Museum in Gloucester for its exhibit  Edward Hopper & Cape Ann: Illuminating an American Landscape, after which they will lunch at a restaurant near the ocean.  This major exhibition focuses on Hopper’s early works painted on a number of visits to Cape Ann at the start of his fame. It includes over 60 works and an unprecedented loan from the Whitney Museum of American Art, the major repository of Hopper’s work.

Other Acton Woman's Club Activity Groups include a Book Group [this month Rock, Paper, Scissors], Friday Mah Jong, First Wednesday Bridge and Saturday Wine & Dine. The Club welcomes any woman who lives or works in Acton or one of the surrounding towns. To join the Acton Woman's Club or for an invitation to attend one of its monthly lunches and programs at its lovely Acton Center home, call (978) 263-5275 or email to leave a message.

Danny’s Place New Space Reveal & Cornhole Tournament Celebration

WEST ACTON: Danny’s Place is relocating to an expansive new space this fall - the former St. Elizabeth’s Church building - and invites community members to help mark this milestone on September 17. Following a brief ribbon-cutting ceremony at 543 Mass Avenue at 11am, visitors will be able to tour the programming rooms and speak with staff in its newly renovated two-floor space. The festivities will continue on the Gardner Field lawn with the first Danny’s Place all-ages cornhole tournament fundraiser, an event that will help support its free and low-cost youth
programming (check-in begins at 12pm, and bags fly at 12:30pm). In addition to cornhole, this fun afternoon will feature a DJ, activities for kids, and food and beverage options available for purchase from local sponsors True West and West Side Creamery.

Join in celebrating this vibrant community, learn more about Danny’s Place programs, and participate in this fun-for-all cornhole tournament (no bag-tossing experience necessary). For more information and to register for the tournament, visit

Maynard Police and Fire Departments Invite Residents to 'Until Help Arrives' FEMA Training

MAYNARD: Police Chief Michael Noble and Fire Chief Angela Lawless announce that the Maynard Police and Fire Departments will host a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) "Until Help Arrives" training class for community members. Training will be held on September 20 from 6-8:30pm, at the Maynard Fire station, 30 Sudbury Street, and is open to all residents and community members. Training is free and sign up is required.

Until Help Arrives teaches individuals key skills and techniques they can use to bridge the critical minutes between a crisis and the arrival of first responders. The course will cover five objectives: how to effectively communicate with 911 operators, protecting the injured from further harm, how to position the injured, how to stop life-threatening bleeding, and how to provide emotional support.

Community members who are interested in participating should register for training here.

Acton Boxborough Resource Center Powered by Acton Boxborough United Way

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by Alissa Nicol

ACTON: On September 6, a volunteer orientation was held at the newly opened Acton Boxborough Resource Center (ABRC), located in the regional school district’s Administration Building at 15 Charter Road. The space became available when the Carol Huebner Early Childhood Program moved to the new Boardwalk Campus last year. The ABRC was made possible by a partnership between the district and Acton Boxborough United Way (ABUW), and a $100,000 legislative earmark secured by Senator Jamie Eldridge. According to the district’s press release, the center “will connect Acton and Boxborough residents to local resources, striving to advance the district’s core values on wellness, equity, and engagement. The center will emphasize assisting families with language barriers, those joining the community from abroad, and families who would benefit from additional community-based services and supports beyond those offered in the schools.”

ABUW Executive Director Katie Neville, ABUW Board of Directors President Carol Buysse, and ABUW Volunteer Engagement Coordinator Maureen Ryan-Friend, led the tour and orientation for the new volunteers in attendance. The elementary school Registrar’s office has been relocated to the Resource Center so that staff and volunteers can provide assistance to families during the registration process. Current volunteers speak Portuguese, Spanish, Mandarin, Tamil, Hindi, and Ukrainian, and translation technology is available for these and other languages spoken by visitors. Using a Chrome Google Translate extension installed on the center’s laptop, websites for local support organizations like First Connections, Open Table, Household Goods,and others can be switched to the visitor’s native language. Neville reported that a FaceBook page is coming soon.

The Resource Center has backpacks and school supplies available for children, and a clothing closet called the AB Exchange. The closet is outfitted with fixtures from the Gould’s clothing store which closed recently, and features quality, gently-used children’s clothing and accessories in all sizes. There are toys to keep children occupied, and the Friends of Acton Libraries donated books so each child can take a book home to keep. A large conference room, currently being used to sort clothing, will eventually be set up for English Language Testing. This room will also potentially be the site of meetings and workshops offered by community organizations such as Women’s Money Matters and English at Large.

Volunteers are CORI checked (for criminal records) and sign a confidentiality agreement to comply with the federal FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) law. Additional volunteer greeters are needed. Staff are hoping volunteers will be able to work shifts 2-4 times a month. Those who are interested can reach out through the Volunteer Opportunities tab on the Resource Center page of the website. Anyone ages 14+ can volunteer, and a student internship will be introduced at a later date to add evening hours for the center.

Buysse emphasized that the Resource Center exists to serve all community  members, not only families with school age children or families new to Acton and Boxborough. Initially proposed to be named the AB Welcome Center, the team who brought the center to life wanted to ensure that all community members know they can access it at any time, even if they’ve lived here for years, even if they have no children or their children have grown. The ABRC provides information on housing, food security, jobs,  transportation, mental health, language learning opportunities, volunteering, town government, social connections, faith organizations, trails and other recreational opportunities, free resources (food, clothing, household goods), civic
engagement, cost-saving programs (legal, housing, childcare, medical, utilities, etc.), and more.

The ABUW staff offices are all being relocated to the Resource Center. The center is currently open Monday - Thursday from 9am-3pm. Staff hope to have a presence at the schools’ fall open houses and back-to-school nights. An Open House for the ABRC is scheduled for September 13 from 1-4pm, with a ribbon cutting at 3:30pm. Senator Eldridge
will be a special guest. Additionally, the center is hosting a Resource Fair in the adjacent Auditorium on October 2 from 4-7pm with food trucks on site.

PHOTO: ABUW Executive Director Katie Neville speaks with new volunteers Danielle Rosa, Luciana Hipolito, Elaine Freitas & Ezili Mayo-Joseph in the Acton Boxborough Resource Center. (Alissa Nicol)

Acton's Wetlands Still Protected

by Kim Kastens

ACTON: On August 29, 2023, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) weakened federal protections for wetlands by limiting which lands that are wet  qualify for protection under the Clean Water Act. The EPA's new rules respond to a Supreme Court determination in the case of landowners in Idaho who wanted to fill in a soggy area of their property prior to building a home. The new federal rules require that to qualify as a protected wetland, the connection between the land in question and a "relatively permanent" body of water such as a river must be clearer than was previously required.

In a phone interview, Acton's Conservation Agent, Mike Gendron, responded to questions about how these recent changes at the federal level will impact protection of wetlands here in Acton. "The good news," he began, "is that there will be no change in Acton." This is because the Acton Wetlands Bylaw specifically protects several categories of wetlands that are not protected in the federal law and may soon no longer be completely protected by Massachusetts state law. Gendron reports recent interest from other Massachusetts communities in using Acton's Bylaw as a model for establishing or strengthening their own wetlands bylaw.

The Acton Bylaw, established by Town Meeting vote in 2003, protects "wetlands, vernal pools, adjoining buffer zones, banks, lands subject to flooding and riverfront areas." Acton identifies "wetlands" based on plant species and soil characteristics, and doesn't require a connection to a larger body of water. Vernal pools are an example of a type of isolated, intermittent wetland that would not be protected under the federal definition. Vernal pools dry out for part of each year and thus provide critical breeding habitats, free of predatory fish, for many amphibian and invertebrate species. 

Enforcement of Acton's Wetlands Bylaw as well as the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act is in the hands of the volunteer Conservation Commission, supported by the staff Conservation Agent. If a property owner wants to build or discharge or excavate or dredge or cause any other alteration near a
wetland, the burden of proof is on the property owner to convince the Commission that the proposed activities will not harm the wetland's effectiveness for flood control, erosion control, wildlife habitat, water supply or any of the other "interests" specified in the Bylaw. Before they make their decision, the Commission makes a site walk on the property to examine the wetland and verify its boundaries. So if you happen to notice a small group of Acton residents traipsing through mud and brush, bending over to
examine plants and sample soil, and conferring over the location of small flags, you may have just spotted the Conservation Commission at work.

Drawing by Tom Tidman, former Acton Conservation Agent

East Acton Village Green Commemoration

by Alissa Nicol

ACTON: A crowd of about fifty people managed to attend the East Acton Village Green (EAVG) commemoration event on September 9, despite downed trees, closed roads, and power outages around town caused by Friday afternoon’s storm. Select Board Chair Jim Snyder-Grant welcomed those gathered and provided opening remarks, explaining that the pocket park honored three Acton “environmental foremothers”: Carol Holley, Mary Michelman, and Miki Williams. All three women passed away from cancer, but their invaluable contributions to Acton through their environmental stewardship and water protection are being carried on by others today.

Holley was an early member, and Clerk, of ACES (Acton Citizens for Environmental Safety) which subsequently merged with Green Acton. She was also Secretary for Acton’s Board of Health and a board member of the Acton Conservation Trust (ACT). Recognizing her outstanding work for ACT and other environmental organizations, the annual ACT Carol Holley Conservation Volunteer Award was established to honor Acton’s  environmental champions.

Holley’s partner, son, and daughter attended the commemoration. Michelman created and coordinated Acton’s Stream Teams in 1988. With grant funding from the Organization for the Assabet River (OAR) established in 1986 by a group of concerned citizens to help protect the river and its watershed, the Stream Teams conducted the first surveys of the Fort Pond and Nashoba brook systems, collecting data on salinity, turbidity, and other water quality factors, as well as mapping wildlife and vegetation of 25 miles of shoreline and conducting annual cleanups. OAR added the Sudbury and Concord Rivers to its mission in 2011, and is now known as OARS. An Acton stream that flows through the Acton Arboretum and under Minot Avenue is named for Michelman, “Mary’s Brook.” She also designed the “Protect Our Waters” signs, with assistance from retired Natural Resources Director Tom Tidman, which can be seen at stream crossings around Acton, and now all over the state.

Michelman’s husband Tom, now  remarried and living in Arlington, and her daughter, were present, as was Michelman’s brother and his wife, who drove down from Bolton, Vermont for the event. Tom Michelman recounted how Mary spent countless hours pouring over reports from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) about the WR Grace pollution and cleanup. During a meeting of the Green Acton Water Committee in June of last year, held at the park, former State Senator Pam Resor recalled that Michelman received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the EPA. She detected efforts to cut corners in the cleanup of the SuperFund site, and dedicated a lot of time to educating the public about what was in those reports. Williams also helped educate the public about the pollution of water at the WR Grace property. She served on the Service Committee of the Acton Area League of Women Voters, and on the School Committee.

Several of the EAVG park panels feature information about the Nashobah Praying Indians. Strong Bear Medicine, of the Natick-Ponkapoag Praying Indians, was present to perform a land blessing ceremony. Beginning with smudging, a rite of burning sacred herbs, around the circle of people, he then invoked the ancestors by placing sacred tobacco on the ground. He shared that “it really is an honor to be here.” He also noted that it is a miracle he is here today, that his ancestors survived Deer Isle, referring to the forced internment of Praying Indians on Deer Isle in the winter of 1675/1676 during King Philip’s War. Using a drum recently presented to him by the Friends of the Nashobah Praying Indians as a welcome home gift, Strong Bear Medicine performed a land entry song. Snyder-Grant mentioned that a great way to learn more about the original inhabitants of the area is to read author Dan Boudillion’s  recently published book, “The History of the Nashobah Praying Indians: Doings, Sufferings, Tragedy and Triumph.”
Project Manager Bettina Abe, recently retired assistant in Acton’s Conservation Department, acknowledged the dozens of people whose efforts and support made  the park a reality. The EAVG Planning Committee created a design for the park almost 20 years ago.  The construction
was put on hold until the section of the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail running past Ice House Pond was completed. Town staff submitted an application for Community Preservation Act funding to build the park. It was recommended by the Community Preservation Committee to Town Meeting in 2020, and the appropriation of funds was approved by Town Meeting members.
Additional funding, donations, and work was provided by the Friends of Bruce Freeman Rail Trail; volunteer gardeners and sign installers Linda Schymik and Cathy Fochtman; and Charlie and Jake Abraham, partner and son of Holley. Abe noted that Lynn Horsky designed the
educational panels here, as well as those at Ice House Pond, Morrison Farm, and Trail Through Time, and invited all those in attendance to visit those other Town properties that host these panels to learn more about their histories.

PHOTO: East Acton Village Green Commemoration. (Alissa Nicol)

Severe Weather in Acton

by John Gianetto and Franny Osman

ACTON: Severe thunderstorms moved through the Acton area Friday afternoon September 8, causing significant damage throughout the area, particularly Acton Center through West Acton, along with sections of Boxborough, Littleton, Stow and Maynard. The Acton police received numerous reports of trees fallen on homes and power lines in the Patriots Hill neighborhood outside Acton Center and in sections of West Acton. Cars were detoured in front of the Woman’s Club building at 502 Main St. and on Concord Road. In Boxborough, sections of  Burroughs  Road  were closed due to trees and lines down.

The Town of Acton kept residents informed through the Town and library websites, through social media, and through its texting and online newsflash or “Civicalerts” service ( They reported that as of 9pm Friday, more than 5,100 customers in Acton (or 49 percent) remained without power. More than fifty locations in Acton had power lines affected by falling trees and limbs, and a number of roads remained closed. Twelve houses were impacted by falling trees and limbs. There were no known injuries. The
Boston Globe reported Friday night that the storm had been a microburst, defined by the National Weather Service as “a localized column of sinking air (downdraft) within a thunderstorm…usually less than or equal to 2.5 miles in diameter.”

On Saturday morning, the Town reported that two thousand Eversource customers were without power. On Saturday night there were still more than one thousand without power, and Eversource had sixty crews working in town.

On Sunday, there were still forty Eversource crews in town, and Acton’s Department of Public Works crews were clearing debris from roadways.

The Town announced that the Transfer Station would be open for storm debris disposal only, on Sunday and Monday September 10 and 11. On Saturday, Acton Memorial Library ran on a backup
generator and with limited service, and the Acton Citizen’s Library was open.
On September 10, Acton was affected by another thunderstorm. Traffic was backed up in Kelley’s Corner and West Acton due to flooded roads and closed railroad crossings.

PHOTO: A car crushed by a fallen tree on Pearl St. in West Acton, Friday Sept. 8. (Zeus Kerravala)
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Discovery Museum presents
Discovery Gala: Make the Connection

ACTON: Discovery Museum will host its annual 21+ fundraising event, Discovery Gala: Make the Connection, on September 30, 2023, at the Discovery Museum. Supporters are invited to “wear your jeans and bring your curiosity” for a grown-ups only evening of creative cocktails, playful cuisine, and abundant fun. Proceeds will support access programs for families and schools that make the Museum welcoming and accessible to everyone.
Nearly 57,000 people were served through the Museum’s access programs in 2022, 28% of the total served. Money raised will fund programs such as free events for families experiencing autism, sensory challenges, or hearing or vision loss, free memberships for families served by our community partners, and in-class Traveling Science Workshop programs to schools in underserved communities.
This year’s gala will highlight the Museum’s focus on the future of childhood while serving today’s kids in collaboration with regional community partner organizations. The on-site-solar-powered Gala will have a uniquely low environmental impact, and Discovery Museum will purchase carbon credits to offset the vehicle emissions of all guests, vendors, and staff.
The event will run from 6-9pm. The Museum is located at 177 Main Street. Tickets start at $125 per person and are available online at

Water Chestnut Pull at Ice House Pond

ACTON: Have you visited Ice House Pond in the Town of Acton recently? Did you notice the large growing patch of green leaves surrounding the pond? Those are the notorious aquatic invaders known as Water Chestnut (Trapa natans) and each nut can produce 10-15 plants with each plant producing up to 20 seeds! This invasive species is spreading rapidly in Ice House Pond and threatening native species and recreational users!

The Water Chestnut nightmare has begun for Ice House Pond but it is not too late to defend from these invaders! Acton Conservation is partnering with OARS to coordinate a Water Chestnut pull on September 23 from 9am–12pm. Help fight back against this invasive species and take back Ice House Pond! If you are interested in volunteering, we are looking for Ice House Pond defenders ages 14+! There will be some boats available for use, as well as life vests generously provided by Paddle Boston! If you have your own kayak or canoe, you are encouraged to bring it! (And a life vest!)

Help is needed both in the water and on land! If you are passionate about your local environment and want to make a difference, this opportunity is for you! If you are a high school student and interested in earning your community service hours through action-driven conservation this is for you! Please sign up by visiting the link:

Please bring:
  • Water (Stay hydrated!)
  • Bug Spray
  • Sunblock
  • Hat
  • Work gloves
  • Water shoes/old shoes
  • Old clothes (they will be permanently dirty!)

All Volunteers will be required to fill out a wavier! This link provides access to the waver: Waivers will also be available on site! If you have any questions please email or call Acton Conservation at (978) 929-6634.

Asian Music Concert at NARA Park

Review by Kaiping Fu

ACTON: On a rainbow-kissed Saturday evening after a summer rain, June 24, the Town of Acton hosted a splendid Asian  music concert at NARA Park, part of the Town’s summer concert series. Asian families from the community and other residents, including children and grandparents, gathered on the grassy grounds to savor an outdoor, high-quality musical event. The scene was adorned with delicious food and balloons for the children to play with.

The program was a dazzling array of performances, featuring the following highlights:
Seven girls from Angel Dance School danced on stage like seven white lotuses in bloom. The dance "Blessings of the Grassland" primarily featured Mongolian dance, while also incorporating elements of modern dance and ballet. The choreography alternated between classical elegance and exuberant boldness, captivating the live audience and immersing them in the performance.

Musicians put an ancient Chinese poem to music with the traditional Chinese instrument, the pipa, which has a history of over 2000 years in China, and flute and violin.  The melodic tones resonated with the poem from the Song Dynasty, over a thousand years ago, capturing its gentle and flowing essence. Young children recited the poem, completing the mesmerizing presentation.

The Japanese band Microjam, composed of musicians David Fiuczynski, Hidemi Akaiwa, Anderson Mirafzali, Noah Benson, and Jonathon Birch from the United States, Canada, and Japan, delivered a distinctive performance. Microjam's original compositions blend traditional Zen melodies from Japan with jazz music, creating a fascinating musical experience. The three songs they played ignited the atmosphere, prompting the crowd to dance along with the music.

The Town of Acton received financial and organizing help from the Acton-Boxborough Cultural Council, local small businesses, the Acton Chinese American Civil Society, and other volunteers. 

Select Board Discusses West Acton Citizens Library

by Tom Beals

ACTON: Governance issues concerning the West Acton Citizens Library (WACL) were discussed at length at the August 21, 2023 Acton Select Board Meeting. WACL governance had been considered at earlier Select Board meetings and at the May 1, 2023 Town Meeting, where Warrant Article 11 (“Amend General Bylaws – Board of Trustees of the West Acton Citizens’ Library”) was postponed indefinitely after lengthy debate.

Select Board member Alissa Nicol, the Select Board liaison to the Trustees of the WACL and to the Trustees of the Acton Memorial Library, shared with the Board an extensive listing of WACL roles, duties and activities. The roles of the town, and of each library’s trustees, were considered. Founding documents and town records from 1962 and earlier were cited. Ms. Nicol described various governance policies at comparable neighboring libraries. A document from an independent legal counsel was mentioned, and described as possibly being incorrect on several points.

No motions or votes concerning the library were made by the Board. Select Board member David Martin noted in conclusion that the evening’s deliberations were the first comprehensive examination of governance issues relating to the library, as earlier Select Board considerations dealt with specific issues such as Trustee roles. Select Board Chair Jim Snyder-Grant noted that the WACL is open and serving the public, despite the contention at higher levels.

Other agenda items included the Select Board preview of the Acton 250 logo; a climate action plan update by Sustainability Director Andrea Becerra and two summer sustainability fellows; and noting the return to the area of descendants of the Nashoba Praying Indians.
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First Connections Offers Fall Play Groups

ACTON: First Connections has two free playgroups with openings for Fall. Groups are open to residents of Acton, Bedford, Boxboro, Carlisle, Concord, Harvard, Lincoln, Littleton, Maynard, Sudbury and Westford. Our Fall session will run from the week of September 11 to the week of December 11. Our playgroups are funded by a grant from the Mass. Dept of Early Education and Care and led by our Early Childhood Teacher. Caregivers and children attend the groups together.

Me, You, We Playgroup for Ages 3-5 is based on a Boston Children's Museum curriculum where children practice social-emotional skills such as taking turns, using words to negotiate conflict, and labeling feelings. Families receive at-home learning materials. Younger siblings welcome. Meets outdoors (weather permitting) at Boxborough Library. Thursdays, 10:30-11:30am.
Language & Literacy Playgroup for Multilingual Families for Ages 1 1/2-5 is for families who speak a language other than or in addition to English as part of their daily life. This group will help foster a love of books in your child and share tips for how to make the most of your shared reading at home. In addition to free play, there will be circle time and activities related to each week's story. Infant siblings in carriers welcome. Held at First Connections in Acton. Wednesdays, 10-11am.

If you are interested in either of these groups, email Linda to register:

Acton Community Chorus Invites New Members

ACTONJoin the growing Acton Community Chorus for their 40th season! The first two rehearsals, starting on September 11, are open to all, no auditions required. Music selections for their winter concert will explore the role singing plays in our lives, celebrating where they've been as a chorus and looking to the future. The central piece on the program, Songs My Heart Has Taught Me, is a Bob Chilcott's 2021 movement, exploring themes of inclusivity, identity, and unity.  Through David Dickau's arrangement, embrace the famous Shakespeare poem from Twelfth Night, “If Music Be the Food of Love,” and "Sing On"! The winter concert will be held in January 2024 with a spring concert to follow in May/June. Join a friendly group of people who are doing what they love- blending the voices of our communities. They meet 7:30-9:15pm each Monday night at the Faith Evangelical Free Church, 54 Hosmer Street. For more details go to
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Congregation Beth Elohim Religious School Registration Open

ACTONCongregation Beth Elohim, in Acton has opened registration for our religious school which begins September 10, 2023. Congregation Beth Elohim offers an exciting learning environment for students in kindergarten thru 10th grade. Students connect with other Jewish children in Acton and surrounding communities while learning about Jewish holidays, Torah, and Hebrew with knowledgeable, caring teachers.

All grades meet Sundays throughout the school year; our 3rd-6th grade students meet an additional day during the week after school (4:15-6:15pm with an option for before school programming starting at 3:15) to learn Hebrew and Jewish values through fun electives like board game making, stop motion animation, art, making a musical and more! 
In addition, this year there will be a monthly class for 2-year-olds thru Pre-K with their grown-ups on Sundays from 10-11:30am.

School begins September 10. To see details, including registration, visit  For questions, please email Beth Goldstein at
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Indonesian Puppetry at the Acton Woman's Club

ACTON: On September 13, the Acton Woman's Club starts its season off with new President Paula Walsh at the helm and Indonesian Puppets as its program treat. At 11:30am, members will enjoy a light luncheon at the 1870 Acton Center Clubhouse, followed by a short business meeting. At 1pm, special guest Ron Beck will display and discuss  handmade marionette style puppets from Indonesia.  Ron has assembled one of the largest collections of Wayang in America outside of a museum.  Some of his puppets are 150 years old. Ron will tell the history of Wayang and its main story types, based on several cultures.  The work of a master puppeteer whom Ron visited at his workshop may be seen a

Besides its monthly meetings and programs, Club activities include a Book Group, a Museum and Antiquities group, a Mahjongg group, a Bridge Group and a Wine and Dine group. The Book group will meet on September 11th at 10:30 at the Clubhouse to discuss Rock, Paper, Scissors by Alice Feeney.  The AWC's famous Pie Sale is scheduled for October 14.

To inquire about membership in the Acton Woman's Club, leave a message on the house voicemail (978) 263-5275 or email  New members are welcome.  More information about the Club may be found at
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Acton Commission on Disability Hosts Picnic at Nara Park

ACTON: The Acton Commission on Disabilities will be hosting a picnic on September 10, 11am-2pm, rain or shine, at Nara Park. Everyone with any type of disability and their friends, family members, and carers are welcome to come. There will be free food and entertainment, including fun activities for kids. There will be wheelchair van transportation for those who can't get themselves there. Celebrating the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act and just have a really good time. The picnic will be close to the entrance to Nara Park, where the snack bar is. There's a roofed area with plenty of picnic tables, so we can hold the picnic even if it rains. Nara Park is at 25 Ledge Rock Way.

If you're planning on going, Please RSVP to Leslie Johnson, at or (978) 618-1812 to say how many people will be in your party.
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A few Spots Remain for Fall Dance Lessons!

ACTON: There is still time for a few more pre-teens to register for Fall Ballroom Dance at the Acton Woman's Club. Lessons for grades 4-8 start September 8.  New instructor, Carole Ann Baer danced with the world champion BYU Ballroom Dance Team while in college. She continued teaching ballroom dance at both the Fred Astaire and Arthur Murray dance studios in Salt Lake City, Boston and Worcester. She has been a dance instructor at Brandeis University for over 25 years. Her love of dance and love of people show in her classes.  All youngsters are welcome and made to feel comfortable. For more info and sign up:
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Options for Great Road Sewers Discussed

by Kim Kastens

ACTONAt their August 16, 2023 meeting, Acton’s Water Resources Advisory Committee (WRAC) discussed and critiqued the July 2023 draft of the Great Road Wastewater Solutions report.  The report was commissioned by the town and prepared by environmental engineering firm Wright-Pierce for the purpose of providing "a technical basis upon which to make wastewater and water resource management decisions necessary for the expansion of the Town’s wastewater and water infrastructure for the future development and redevelopment of the Great Road Corridor." The scope of the study spans Great Road (Rt 2A) from the Concord town line to Rt 27. 

The report begins by estimating the amount of wastewater that is produced by the parcels along this corridor, plus the amount of additional wastewater that could be produced if some undeveloped parcels were developed and other parcels shifted to more water-intensive uses.  The report then explores two main options for handling the anticipated volume of wastewater: (1) connecting to the town's existing sewer network for treatment by the Middle Fort Pond Brook Wastewater Treatment plant (MFPB WWTP) in South Acton and (2) creating a new, decentralized wastewater treatment plant specifically to handle wastewater from the Great Road corridor. 

There are two potential routes for connecting to the existing sewer network (see map).  The eastern potential route (estimated cost, $46 million) goes along Wetherbee Street, School Street, and Parker Street. The western potential route (estimated cost, $53 million) travels along Brook Street and then along Rt 27.  These costs do not include upgrading the MFPB WWTF or providing additional effluent disposal capacity.

Six potential sites were initially identified for a decentralized treatment plant and associated infiltration beds,  Of these, the only areas with enough acreage of suitable soil were Morrison Farm on Concord Road, an area along Wetherbee Street, and an area within the WR Grace Superfund Site.   

The WRAC meeting opened with public comments.  The public comments were all in opposition to the use of Morrison Farm or the Wetherbee Road area for waste water disposal.  Individuals associated with the Acton Conservation Trust and the town Land Steward Committee praised the value of these open spaces for wildlife habitat, organic gardening, and conservation. 

Following public comments, the five WRAC members raised a wide range of additional issues, spanning hydrology, technology, and cost/benefit.  They raised the possibility that waste water disposal on the W.R.Grace site could alter the groundwater flow in a way that might interfere with the Superfund remediation process. They noted that the western route down to the existing sewer network would likely require many of the parcels along the way to install grinder pumps rather than gravity feed sewer lines, and such systems are expensive and prone to failure.  They questioned the economic benefits relative to the magnitude of the investment and asked for further documentation of the actual or expressed need for sewering from existing or potential property owners along the corridor. 

WRAC is scheduled to finalize their written comments on the Great Road Wastewater Solutions report at their meeting of August 22.  After that, the report is expected to come before the Sewer Commission, which, in Acton, is the Select Board. Watch the Select Board meeting notices for your next chance to offer public comment on this report. 

Concord Select Board Votes to Terminate Participation with Acton for a Regional Emergency Communications Center

By Tom Beals

ACTON: The Concord Select Board voted unanimously to terminate the May 2021 Regional Emergency Communications Center (RECC) district agreement with Acton at their August 7, 2023 meeting. Discussion at the Concord Select Board meeting recognized that personnel changes in Concord since the 2021 agreement have resulted in a changed consensus regarding the RECC. Concord Select Board representatives discussed their reactions to the July 24, 2023 Acton Select Board discussion of the RECC, and Concord's police and fire chiefs presented their views on the issue. The discussion closed with unanimous agreement by the Board on the following motion: "Move that the Board, having determined that participation in the Acton-Concord regional emergency communications center is no longer in the best interests of the town; the town Manager is directed to take all necessary actions in consultation with Town Counsel to terminate the regional 911 emergency communications district agreement with the town of Acton dated May 27, 2021."

Bikes Ready for Rental on the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail

By Franny Osman

Acton’s Planning and Sustainability departments hosted a launch of the new Bike Share Program last Friday, August 11, at the East Acton Village Green, a small park abutting the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail on Concord Rd.
The program is a partnership of Acton and Concord, with two stations in Acton—at Brook St. and Great Rd., and at Concord Ave. and Great Rd.—and two in Concord—in West Concord and in Concord Center near the Visitor Center.
A stream of visitors looked over the pre-owned bikes that had been purchased for the program with $5000 startup funds. The funds were associated with the Sustainability Policy voted in at Town Meeting in 2020, according to Sustainability Director Andrea Becerra. Staff had ridden the bikes over from the Concord Department of Public Works last week. Riders rent the bikes for $2 per hour through a phone app called Koloni.
Bike issues such as a malfunction of the lock’s battery, a rider going out of range, or a bike abandoned elsewhere–not at a station–result in an email alert to Town staff for repair or bike retrieval.
Refreshments were provided by the Town of Acton and by Frolic and Detour of Nagog Park, who created sandwiches of smoked salmon on slices of crisp potato.
Assistant Planners Nora Masler and Kaila Sauer, Sustainability Director Andrea Becerra, Land Stewardship Coordinator Ian Bergmann, and Sustainability Fellow Hannah Arledge all attended the event.  Members of the Friends of the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail, including Judy Perrin and Barbara Pike, also joined.  Select Board members David Martin and Alissa Nicol were present, and Martin gave remarks on behalf of the Board. He thanked the public for attending, and the staff for bringing the bike share program to the community. He said the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail connects Acton to Lowell and now to Sudbury, and will eventually end in Framingham.
The bikes rented through the Bike Share are standard two-wheelers. Trikes and other adaptive bikes can be rented through the Recreation Department at NARA Park.
Select Board member David Martin uses the QR code technology to sign up for the Bike Share.

Photo credit: Alissa Nicol.

Plant-based Potluck Dinner at NARA

By Jude Aronstein

ACTON: On August 9, under the large pavilion at NARA park on a lovely cool evening, over 40 people gathered for a free potluck dinner to celebrate plant-based meals. The event, hosted by Energize Acton (a collaboration between Town and Acton Climate Coalition), Acton Memorial Library, and the Acton Sustainability Office, was the latest of the summer’s Climate Cafes, most of which were conducted at Acton Memorial Library. Climate Cafes’ focus is on energy savings and the climate. Topics have included solar panels, electric vehicles, heating and cooling with heat pumps, and incentives from the State and Federal government to help businesses and residents make choices towards a healthier climate and environment. 

Karen Root-Watkins, the event organizer, welcomed everyone and folks quickly began to peruse the two tables filled with over two dozen homemade plant-based dishes, including rice, quinoa, sweet potato quesadillas, chickpeas, zucchini, tomatoes, watermelon salad, zucchini, eggplant, lentils, kale, and beets. The event promotion made it clear that they were not saying that people should give up all meat; rather, they were saying that vegetable dishes are delicious and also good for the environment.

A number of people walking by joined in the festive event. One person in attendance was overheard saying, “We should do this every week”. 

At the potluck there were additional presentations by residents. Adam Parker cooked a delicious quick tempeh dish on an environmentally safer portable induction cooktop. (Induction cook kits are available to borrow from the Acton Memorial Library.) Ram Prakash conducted a presentation of composting and of an anaerobic process he developed which involves bio enzymes. 

The Boston Area Gleaners had an information table explaining their work growing and distributing food at the former Stonefield Farm in South Acton. Gleaners harvest and pack food donated from local farms for communities across the region. Through their distribution program, they deliver fresh food to a network of local food pantries, food banks, and meal programs, and provide trucking support to partner non-profits and farms in need of resources. 

Visit to learn more about future events and explore resources to help you with your carbon saving future.

Trek to the Transfer Station

By Alissa Nicol

ACTON: Five families braved the rain to attend Acton’s Transfer Station Field Trip on August 7, organized by the Acton Memorial Library (AML), Department of Public Works (DPW), and the Sustainability Office. Robert Carter, AML Children’s Librarian, and Sustainability Office Fellows Lauren West and Hannah Arledge joined DPW staff for the program.
Corey York, DPW Director, welcomed the small crowd of about 16, noting that they were standing on the site of Acton’s former landfill located on Route 2. York pointed to the tree line around the perimeter of the Transfer Station as the boundary of the landfill that was capped in the mid 1980s. He also noted that the solar array installed on top of a portion of the capped landfill, combined with the panels on the roof of the Public Works Facility on Forest Road, produces close to all the energy required for every municipal building in town, exclusive of the school buildings. Annual groundwater monitoring for pollutants is done by a consultant, and results are shared with the MA Department of Environmental Protection (MA DEP) as required for all capped landfills in the Commonwealth. Methane gas monitoring also takes place.

DPW staff Joe Borey and Kevin Beaudoin explained, along with York, the operations of the recycling and trash services. The facility’s main aim is to operate as sustainably as possible. The costs of recycling, and the items accepted, vary a great deal over time. Recycling is very much a market-driven endeavor. York explained that, “Years ago, we made money on cardboard.” The fact that the cost of shipping has gone up three to four times post-Covid, and shipping duration has also increased, further complicates the process.

Working with Green Acton, a non-profit environmental advocacy organization, the Town implemented the PAYT (Pay As You Throw ) program in 2015, and since then has seen the volume of trash cut in half as users are incentivized to recycle or compost more of their household waste. The main containers at the Recycling Center are for co-mingled recyclables: glass jars and bottles, aluminum cans and plastic bottles together, and paper and cardboard together. With the initial separation done by residents, the product is more valuable, allowing the facility to accept more recyclables. Residents can find detailed information on what to recycle and how to prepare the materials, on the Transfer Station website and on large signs located around the site.

There are several other drop-off areas for other recyclable materials. Staff have found a vendor who will repurpose rigid plastic such as storage bins and large toys. There is a lightbulb collection area, and the cost of bulb recycling is covered by the revenue generated. Mattresses (residents pay a small additional fee) are picked up and delivered to a warehouse in Lawrence, although the company is based in Lowell. The mattresses are stripped down to the raw materials by young adults, who benefit from this work by learning a trade. Appliances such as refrigerators and air-conditioners, also dropped off for a small fee, are repurposed following the removal of the freon in the units. On the day of the field trip, a truck on-site was engaged in that task. Electronics are also accepted - TVs, computer monitors, mice, keyboards, scanners/printers, phones, cordless phones, tablets, VCRs, and more. A fully verified recycling company based in New Hampshire picks up the items in an eighteen-wheeler truck. The electronics are stripped down to the components, including metal and wires, for resale. The Cell Phones for Soldiers program, carried out by Acton’s Veteran Services Office, is a way to recycle cell phones that are reprogrammed for military personnel use.

Through most of the year, the DPW hosts a monthly event for styrofoam collection. Although it is difficult to find an end product for styrofoam, the hard packing styrofoam that “snaps” is able to be repurposed. Staff estimate that at these events, a forty cubic yard container is filled in 3 hours. The next scheduled event is this Saturday, August 19; a Transfer Station sticker is required for participation. According to staff, the most valuable commodity is metal scrap, previously sold at a high point of $240/ ton, then the price plummeted to $40/ton, but the metal is now fetching $180/ton.

Other large areas of the facility are set aside for yard waste (leaves and grass) and brush. These organic materials are turned into compost at the stockyard near NARA park, a three-year process. When the composting process is complete, this nutrient-rich soil conditioner is available for residents (with a sticker) to haul away in bins, buckets and barrels.

A highlight of the Transfer Station is the Swap Shop, open seasonally and staffed by volunteers. Residents can leave and take clean and usable household items such as dishes, lamps, picture frames, holiday decor, small working appliances, toys, games, lawn chairs, office supplies, infant equipment, sports equipment, and luggage.

Typically, food waste is the heaviest component of household trash. Keeping it out of the trash is the best way to keep the Town’s costs for waste disposal down. Black Earth Compost company uses a high-temperature, commercial process. They pick up residents’ food waste from large barrels lined up in front of the trash bay windows. The company also provides private pick up for those who use curbside haulers. The Transfer Station is generating enough revenue from its recycling program to offset the cost of the food waste program. York noted that “MA DEP is pushing for food waste elimination,” so it is possible that including food waste in residential or commercial trash will be prohibited in the future. 

What cannot be composted or recycled, including styrofoam used in food packaging, and alkaline batteries, is trucked to a facility in North Andover to be incinerated, where the resulting ash is put in a landfill there. Like the Acton landfill of old, the North Andover site is running out of space for the ash. Rechargeable and lithium batteries are collected in a bucket by the office near the entrance, bagged, and shipped out for recycling.

Following the informational program, DPW staff led the small crowd down the hill where a container transport and dump truck were parked. Children and adults alike were delighted to have a chance to climb up into the cabs of these giant vehicles.

The DPW is currently working with the Sustainability Office to explore the feasibility of curbside hauling. Until then, the Transfer Station, with its low price-point PAYT program for trash, and a myriad of recycling options, is the best price in town. One of the most beneficial things residents can do to ensure the trip to the Transfer Station goes smoothly for themselves, other users, and staff, is to organize and separate their household waste ahead of time, and pay close attention to the posted signs with instructions for what goes where.