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Current Edition - 3/01/24
Previous Edition - 2/23/24
Emerson Health Wellness Winter Classes


Jenny jasmin lacay philippines

Atomic Artistry at Fitchburg Art Museum

FITCHBURG: Atomic Artistry, a juried exhibition at the intersection of art, science, and climate activism that features nuclear power in a positive light, goes up March 6-30 at Fitchburg Art Museum Community Gallery. Members and the public are invited to the opening reception is March 9, 2-4pm. Museum admission is free on March 5, noon-7pm.

Artists created interpretations of the benefits of the power of nuclear energy for the juried contest with cash prizes. Entries came from seven states and ten countries, including 12 from Massachusetts. Submissions were judged on artistic merit and how poignantly communicated the themes of safety, reliability, and being an earth-friendly solution that can be used to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and meet the world’s escalating energy demands. The winning artists received cash prizes.

On display are drawings, acrylic and watercolor paintings, sculptures, mixed media, digital prints and posters. They are opposite of the decades-long media representation of nuclear power in a dark, foreboding way. This exhibition bluntly contradicts the meta-narrative about atomic energy and posed a challenging project for artists. Nuclear power is a dependable, safe, and stable base of energy that provides New England and the nationwide electrical grids with 20% of its electricity, with zero CO2 emissions. The safety record of nuclear power plants is on par with wind and solar facilities.

Atomic Artistry is sponsored by Eco-Nuclear Solutions (a grassroots group of scientists and environmentalists based in Ayer), the Massachusetts Cultural Council, Fitchburg Art Museum and Generation Atomic. For information go to www.eco-nuclearsolutions.org

PHOTO: An Atomic Artistry submission from Jenny Jasmin Lacay of the Philippines

Shirley Transportation Action Committee Needs Input from Residents

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SHIRLEY: If you’re a Shirley resident - whether you drive, walk or ride the train – let the Shirley Transportation Action Committee (STAC) know what matters to you by completing a 5-minute survey. The survey closes on April 15 th , so don’t delay. Your input – and that of your neighbors – will enable STAC to focus its efforts on what matters most to Shirley residents - and the more input the better.
  • Vehicle speeds?
  • Large trucks?
  • Pedestrian safety?
  • Dangerous intersections?
  • Poor or missing signage?
  • Or something else?

To access the survey online, go to https://forms.gle/jLxeadTDmNmN2ja39. To fill out the survey in writing, pick up a printed copy at the Shirley Town Offices, Hazen Library or Senior Center.

Want to know more about STAC? In early 2022, a group of concerned Shirley residents began to discuss the local traffic increase and its negative impact on the Shirley community – including heavy truck traffic using Shirley roads as shortcuts. At the request of these residents, the Shirley Transportation Action Committee (STAC) was created by the Select Board to identify the transportation challenges in Shirley and recommend solutions. In order to reach its goals, STAC has utilized the granted-funded services of professional planners to augment the efforts of its members, all of whom are community residents.

After researching the current situation, STAC submitted its preliminary recommendations for improvements to the Select Board in early 2023. These improvements are especially important in the face of new and proposed truck terminals located on Shirley’s borders in Lunenburg and Lancaster. Feedback from residents via the survey will help STAC adjust its priorities as it moves toward implementation.

STAC’s recommendations, mission and goals can be viewed on the STAC page on the Town of Shirley website at www.shirley-ma.gov. Residents are also invited to attend a STAC meeting to ask questions, provide input and meet committee members in person.
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Reporter Ted Reinstein Visits Hazen Memorial Library

SHIRLEY: Stop by the Hazen Memorial Library, 3 Keady Way, on March 7 at 7pm for an engaging evening with popular Boston/WCVB Chronicle reporter Ted Reinstein. Reinstein will give a multimedia presentation on his latest book, “Before Brooklyn: The Unsung Heroes Who Helped Break Baseball’s Color Barrier.” Admission is free, light refreshments will be served. This program is funded by the Hazen Memorial Library Endowment Fund.

When Jack Roosevelt Robinson took the field for the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947, he made history by breaking Major League Baseball’s longtime ban on Black players.  His uniform number (42) is the only one permanently retired by all of Major League Baseball’s thirty teams. What’s less well-known— and largely lost to history—is that a small army of men, women, and institutions of many types fought for many long and bitter years prior to Robinson’s triumphant debut in Brooklyn. This hidden story includes former stars of the legendary Negro Leagues like Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson, Oscar Charleston, and “Cool Papa” Bell. It includes the founder of the Negro Leagues themselves, the inexhaustible and indomitable Rube Foster, whose own story is both inspiring and tragic. It includes the Black press whose publishers and courageous journalists like Robert Abbott, Sam Lacey, Ida B. Wells, and Willa Bea Harmon raised the consciousness of Americans both Black and white to the ugly, racist underside of the national pastime. The sweeping struggle extended to America’s railroads and its Pullman Porters, who risked their jobs to become the Black press’s most unlikely but vital ally, covertly distributing copies of African-American newspapers as they crisscrossed the country. The story crossed oceans amidst World War II, when fabled all-Black units like the 761st Tank Battalion smashed both Nazi strongholds and racist stereotypes. And it even played out at Boston’s own Fenway Park where an extraordinary collaboration between a Black reporter (Wendell Smith) and a white city councilor (Izzy Muchnick) would light the final fuse that brought the barrier down in Brooklyn a scant few months later.

These and more unsung heroes were true pioneers, battling the color barrier for sixty years before Brooklyn, while making a path possible for Jackie Robinson. It was a battle largely in the shadows. But like Rosa Parks on a Montgomery bus, or John Lewis on a bridge in Selma, it was a battle of dignity and defiance in a hard-won war for justice. And this is their story.
Some of what's happening at Groton Public Library...

Introduction to Opera with Daon Drisdom

GROTON: Learn the basics of opera from professional tenor and educator Daon Drisdom on March 7 from 7-9pm in the Groton Public Library's Sibley Hall. Drisdom will discuss a variety of composers' works as well as the techniques required for such unique singing.  For information and/or to register, visit gpl.assabetinteractive.com/calendar/groton-reads-introduction-to-opera-with-daon-drisdom.

Georgia native and graduate from the New England Conservatory of Music, tenor Daon Drisdom is praised for his rich tone and compelling stage presence. His classical credits include performances in the baritone and tenor repertoires. Portrayal’s ranging from Papageno in Mozart’s The Magic Flute to Fritz in Mascagni’s L’amico Fritz are performances to his success. He continues to perform regularly with music organizations in Boston including Odyssey Opera & Boston Modern Opera Project (B.M.O.P.) and Boston Lyric Opera as a chorister.

Drisdom sang with the Boston Lyric Opera in the Pulitzer Prize winning opera Omar by Rhiannon Giddons and Michael Abels and is most recently Grammy nominated for his work as a chorister on the Odyssey Opera/B.M.O.P. recording of John Corigiliano and Mark Adamo’s The Lord of Cries. One of Drisdom’s musical passions is telling stories and giving life to words through song. Words that are the closest to his heart are art songs and spirituals in the black music repertoire. He finds joy in helping others understand the style and stories compromised in the black music repertory.

Drisdom has been a featured soloist with notable names such as John Bucchino and jazz trombonist Wycillfe Gordon, as part of Wycliffe Gordon and Friends for a holiday performance on Georgia Public Broadcasting Radio in 2016. He can be heard on Funmilayo Ngozi’s Unconstrained album as a background vocalist and as soloist on the track Faith. Drisdom also has made notable contributions with YouTube inspirational group Trey McLaughlin & the Sounds of Zamar.

His teaching credits include being Choral Director at the Jessye Norman School of the Arts in Augusta, Georgia and many years of private voice and piano teaching. In Massachusetts he served as Music Teacher at the John F. Kennedy School in Somerville Public Schools and is currently the Director of Choirs and Boston Latin Academy in Boston Public Schools. He is also a J. P. Hunsaker soloist at the First Parish in Milton.
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Nashoba Park Celebrates Resident Mabel Hansen’s Milestone 100th Birthday

AYER: Nashoba Park Assisted Living celebrated their newest centenarian, resident Mabel Hansen, on her 100th birthday on February 8th, 2024. This intergenerational celebration included everyone from fellow Nashoba Park residents and staff to elementary school students from all over the surrounding areas, giving everyone a chance to honor Mabel on her special day.

The party kicked off with a performance from accordion player and polka singer Dan Mackowiak, and Mabel was delighted with this showcase of her favorite European folk music. Mabel also received an outpouring of love and support from students from Page Hilltop Elementary and Florence Roche Elementary. They presented her with several birthday cards in addition to the ones she received from residents, bringing the total up to over 200! The students were excited to perform for Mabel as well, and showcased their gymnastics and singing talents for the birthday honoree.

Mabel also requested a golden layer cake with lemon icing and fresh strawberries. The dessert was the perfect way to cap off the birthday party, and Mabel was overjoyed.

Eco-Nuclear Solutions Presents Atomic Artistry

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FITCHBURG: Eco-Nuclear Solutions presents: Atomic Artistry: An exhibition at the intersection of art, science, and climate activism that features nuclear power in a positive light: a juried art competition in the Community Gallery of the Fitchburg Art Museum, March 6-30. The opening reception is March 9 from 2-4 pm. Artists were invited to create artistic interpretations of the benefits of the power of nuclear energy. Entries came from seven states and ten countries, including 12 from Massachusetts.

“The idea for a juried contest was for artists to design artwork that represents nuclear power in a positive light, which is a blunt contradiction to our meta-narrative about atomic energy” said Susan Tordella of Ayer, organizer of the event and a member of Eco-Nuclear Solutions, a grassroots nuclear power advocacy group of scientists and environmentalists. “It was a challenging invitation for the artists. We received creative drawings, paintings, sculptures, mixed media, digital prints and posters. For decades, nuclear power was presented through politics, marketing, and media in a dark foreboding way. Eco-Nuclear Solutions aims to provide the data, on which all science is based. Given our modern energy needs, nuclear power is a dependable, safe, and stable base of energy that provides New England and the nationwide electrical grids.” Tordella said.

Submissions were judged on artistic merit and how well they communicated the themes of safety, reliability, and being an earth-friendly solution that can be used to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and meet the world’s escalating energy demands. For information go to eco-nuclearsolutions.org or email susan.tordella@gmail.com.

Atomic Artistry is sponsored by Eco-Nuclear Solutions, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and Generation Atomic.

Rotary Offers Fantastic Youth Leadership Conference Opportunity for High School Sophomores

BOLTON: The Rotary Club of Nashoba Valley is actively searching for qualified candidates to attend this year’s Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) Conference to be held June 21-23, 2024, at Fitchburg State University. This annual leadership conference offers outstanding high school sophomores an opportunity to live, work and interact together in an atmosphere of friendly competition. It is a program designed to challenge the participants to utilize and improve their skills and accept the responsibilities of leadership. Best of all, there is no charge to students who participate! The Rotary Club of Nashoba Valley will sponsor four participants at this year’s conference.

Robert Johnson, local Committee Chairperson, said that participants would be selected from young women and men who have exhibited leadership abilities, and who are currently in their Sophomore year of high school. The Rotary Club of Nashoba Valley is now contacting high school principals, guidance counselors, youth organizations and other sources for nominations of conference participants.

Aimed at developing the leadership potential of young men and women, the conference will feature many thought-provoking events including interactive Leadership Labs, exciting guest speakers, and challenging mental and physical activities that will provide the participants with a chance to excel amongst and with their peers. Topics will include decision-making, critical thinking, communicating effectively, ethics, and public service.

Anyone interested in obtaining further information should visit www.ryla7910.org or contact Robert Johnson at johnson@itesafety.com or (978) 875-3143, or any other member of the Nashoba Valley Rotary Club.

Presidents Day at Fruitlands

HARVARD: Celebrate Presidents Day at Fruitlands! On February 19 from 11am-4pm, bring your friends and family to enjoy the brisk, fresh air, the roaring fire pits, trails and some hot cocoa. If the Snow Wizards provide the "good stuff," bring your own sleds and fly down the Fruitlands hill. If the snow isn't covering the hill, why not go for a winter hike through the woods and pastures? Admission is free.  Fruitlands Museum is located at 102 Prospect Hill Road. For more information, visit thetrustees.org/fruitlands.

Former Ayer Community Hospital Nurse Granted Lifetime Achievement Award

AYER: Marcia Sullivan was recently presented with a special Lifetime Achievement Award from Nashoba Park, the Assisted Living community she calls home. Marcia’s family, friends, fellow residents, and staff gathered to celebrate her remarkable personal and professional accomplishments.

Marcia already had a special connection to Nashoba Park prior to moving there. The Assisted Living residence is a renovation of the former Ayer Community Memorial Hospital, where Marcia was not only born, but worked for years as a nurse! Marcia has two sisters, Linda and Carol, who have also resided at Nashoba Park. After attending Ayer High School, Marcia went on to earn her Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) degree at Lynn School of Nursing, followed by her RN degree from Middlesex Community College. She dedicated her nursing career to giving back to her hometown of Ayer, and practiced at the Ayer Community Hospital and the Nashoba Community Hospital.

Marcia and her husband, Frederick (Fred) Sullivan, met in Bedford, MA and have been married for 36 years. She is now a loving mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, as the couple share six children, ten grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. As they raised their children in Shirley, Marcia and Fred became motor coach, or RV, enthusiasts. They even owned multiple coaches of different sizes, and they loved traveling all over the country in these motorhomes. Marcia remained an avid motor coach aficionado throughout her life, becoming involved in the Family Motor Coach Association. And as a 25-year Shirley resident, she joined the Friends of Shirley Seniors to enrich the lives of advocate for the needs of local seniors. Now at Nashoba Park, Marcia loves puzzles and brings out her competitive spirit for a good game of Scrabble.

At the Lifetime Achievement Award ceremony, the Nashoba Park community, along with Marcia’s family, was inspired by the incredible way in which she gave back to her towns of residence through her nursing career and volunteer work. Marcia and her family members were brought to tears by the heartfelt acknowledgement of her dedication to the Nashoba Park and greater Ayer community. Musician Liam Foley was the entertainer for the event, and Nashoba Park Executive Director Julie Bagdonas and EnrichedLIFE Director Stefanie Lurvey presented Marcia with the award and applauded the warmth and kindness she brings to the community.

Nashoba Park Assisted Living, a Volunteers of America Massachusetts Senior Community, is a historic renovation of the former Ayer Community Hospital and offers local seniors service-enriched assisted living. Learn more online at www.NashobaPark.com.

Ayer Annual Town Election May 14th, 2024

AYER: The Ayer Annual Town Election will be held in the Great Hall at Ayer Town Hall on May 14, 2024 from 7-8pm. Nomination papers are now available in the Town Clerk’s office for those wishing to run for a Town Office. Nomination papers can be obtained during regular Town Hall business hours. The last day to request Nomination Papers is March 22 at 12pm. The last day to return completed Nomination Papers is March 26 at 5pm.
The following Offices will appear on the ballot:
  • Assessor - (1) 3-year term
  • Board of Health - (1) 3-year term
  • Commissioner of Trust Funds - (1) 3-year term
  • Constable - (1) 3-year term
  • Library Trustee - (1) 3-year term
  • Park Commissioner - (1) 3-year term
  • Planning Board - (1) 3-year term
  • Regional School District Committee - (1) 3-year term
  • Select Board - (1) 3-year term

If you have any questions, please contact the Town Clerk’s office by calling (978) 772-8220 x153 or by emailing clerk@ayer.ma.us. For more information online, visit ayer.ma.us/elections.
Samuel green 1906  president of the groton historical society (aka groton history center) from 1894 to 1917. (photo courtesy of the ghc archives.)

GHC Looks at Past Presidents in February Open House

GROTON: The Groton History Center launches its first Open House of the New Year on February 17, with an exhibit honoring its past presidents. Many are those whose names spring off the page, remembered for their defining roles in the Groton History Center’s trajectory. First among them, the visionary co-founders of the Historical Society, Governor George S. Boutwell’s daughter, Georgianna Boutwell, and Dr. Samuel Abbot Green. Ms. Boutwell (active on the Board) bequeathed the family home to the society on her death in 1933. Dr. Green—historian, surgeon, and author of the Groton Historical Series— served as the Society’s first and longest running president (from 1894 to 1917). Later, Virginia May (president from 1944 to 1946) who, as Selectwoman in the 1960s, spearheaded the creation of the Groton Historical District Commission to protect the spirit of the older buildings and neighborhoods in town. Isabel Beal, Town Diarist, president from 1994 to 1997, and for thirty-five years the Society’s Curator. Irene Buck (from 1998-2001), whose foresight helped redefine the Society’s mission as a treasury of the past and a museum for the future.

Learn about these extraordinary individuals, enjoy an exhibit of antique photographs from Groton’s early years, and relish the elegant, light-filled 1851 Boutwell House, at 172 Main Street - its furnishings, wealth of historical reference points and charm. The Open House runs from 11am-2pm at The Boutwell House, 172 Main Street. The Open House and all GHC programs are free and open to the public thanks to the Groton Commissioners of Trust Funds, grants, corporate and private donations. For more information visit grotonhistory.org, facebook.com/grotonhistory, or call (978) 448-0092.
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Shirley Dems Set Caucus Date

SHIRLEY: On February 28 at 6:30pm, Shirley Democrats will convene via Zoom to elect three delegates and three alternates to represent Shirley at the 2024 State Democratic Convention on June 1, 2024. Registration of attendees will open at 6:30pm and close at 7pm. This will be a virtual meeting. For the Zoom link to the meeting, email ShirleyDTC@yahoo.com.

Registered and pre-registered Democrats in Shirley, 16 years old by February 15, 2024, may vote and be elected as delegates or alternates during the caucus. Youth (age 16 to 35), people with disabilities, people of color, and members of the LGBTQ+ community not elected as delegates or alternates, are encouraged to apply to be ‘add-on delegates’ at the caucus or by visiting massdems.org/convention.

The 2024 Massachusetts Democratic Endorsing Convention will be held on June 1, 2024, at the DCU Arena in Worcester, to formally endorse a candidate for President of the United States and for U.S. Senate.
For information, email ShirleyDTC@yahoo.com or visit @DTCShirley on Facebook, or bit.ly/ShirleyDems.
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Cyber Warfare Program at Fort Devens Museum

DEVENS: Stop by the Fort Devens Museum on February 17 at 1pm as they kick off their 2024 program schedule. With Cyber the 5th Domain of Warfare and the reality of "future war" playing out today in Ukraine, Gabriel Landowski will highlight some key points for consideration as it dovetails into the alleged "6th Domain" that is the private sector. The Museum is located on the 3rd floor at 94 Jackson Road, and is wheelchair accessible. The museum is open 10am-3pm on this day, and admission to both the museum and the program is free of charge. This event is supported by the Harvard Cultural Council.

Gabriel Landowski is a current Army Reserve Cyber Operations Officer and a Google | Mandiant Managed Defense Consultant with more than a combined decade of experience dedicated to the field. His views and opinions are his own and do not represent the US government/military, Mandiant, or Google.

Annual Winter Fest February 24

HARVARD: The Harvard Lions and Fruitlands Museum are co-hosting the annual Winter Fest on February 24 from 11am-4pm at Fruitlands Museum, 102 Prospect Hill Road. Activities commence with a 5K Road Race. After the race will be a fun-filled day with a Skillet toss, Human Dog Sled Pull, Chili and Mac & Cheese People’s Choice contest, a Fairy Meadow, Nature Walk, Apple Cannons, fire pits, Snowman’s Glen, children’s activities, candle making and snow permitting sledding. There will also be an Ice Suncatcher contest, Icicle contest, Knitted Hat contest and a Paper Snowflake contest.   The Harvard Lions food tent will be serving hot food and drinks. There will be vendors selling maple syrup, hot sauce and alpaca clothing. At 3pm, “Wassail the Fruit Trees” to ensure a bountiful harvest for all of the local orchards. Admission is $5 per person; kids under 6 are free. All proceeds go directly to support charitable organizations as well as families and organizations in need. For more information and to register to participate, go to harvardlions.com.

Hazard Mitigation Planning Public Survey

AYER: The Town of Ayer needs your feedback on updating our Hazard Mitigation Plan (HMP).  A natural hazard is defined as “an event of physical condition that has the potential to cause fatalities, injuries, property/infrastructure damage, agricultural loss, damage to the environment or interruption of business.  Please help in identifying these risks by participating in a short survey.  Paper copies are also available in the Select Board’s Office at Town Hall, or you can access the survey online at surveymonkey.com/r/AyerHMP2023.

Celebrate Valentine's Day with Harvard Council on Aging

HARVARD: For more than a decade, Tony Funches graced stages around the world as the lead singer of the legendary Hall of Fame music group The Platters, performing classic hits such as 'Only You,' 'Smoke Gets In Your Eyes,’ 'The Great Pretender,' and many more. His voice has a variety and range that provided The Platters with a singing style that was uniquely their own. Celebrate Valentine's Day with Funches and the Harvard Council on Aging with a special show on February 14 at 1pm at 16 Lancaster County Road. Tony will perform not only the songs of the Platters but many other timeless songs from the 50s, 60s, and Motown, including from artists such as The Drifters, Nat King Cole, The Temptations and more! Marvel at the vocal range of this incredible singer, and enjoy his stage personality, style, and charismatic smile. Call (978) 456-4120 to sign up for this FREE event.

Celebratory Services at First Parish Bolton

BOLTON: On February 4 at 10am, the First Parish of Bolton will be celebrating Scouts Sunday, inviting all Boy Scouts of America members (Cub Scouts, Scouts BSA, Venturing, SeaScouts and Exploring) to partake wearing their Class A uniforms. This is an opportunity for Scouts to publicly demonstrate the 12th point of the Scout Law: A Scout is Reverent.  All are welcome to attend this special Sunday service and enjoy Coffee Hour with the congregation afterwards.

On February 11 at 10am the First Parish of Bolton, 673 Main Street, invites all to their celebration of Mardi Gras featuring a jazz band led by First Parish’s Minister of Music, Dr. Alexander Lane. Swing, sway and dance to traditional Mardi Gras music, then the service will end with bead throwing. The Reverends Ginger Bove and Bea Manning, will offer a reflection on the combination of joy and impending hardship reflected in the Mardi Gras celebration as well as the Biblical references found in “When the Saints Come Marching In”.  All are welcome to this upbeat and festive service and a special Coffee Hour that follows.

Any questions, please call (978) 779-6427 or email admin@firstparishofbolton.org.

Ballot Drop Box Installed in Shirley

SHIRLEY: The Town of Shirley now has a Ballot Drop Box specifically for completed Vote by Mail Ballots being returned to the Town Clerk as well as Vote by Mail Ballot request forms or card.  It is hung on the wall next to the front door of the Town Office Building at 7 Keady Way.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Bill Oelfke, Town Clerk, at (978) 425-2600 x1 or clerk@shirley-ma.gov.
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PACE Holds Bi-monthly Meeting

AYER: People of Ayer Concerned About the Environment will be hosting its next bi-monthly meeting through Zoom on February 6 at 7pm. Please join us, and help keep PACE!  There are several interesting projects that need support!
  • Most exciting is the recent award of $62K that PACE will use to select a local project to address surface water cleanup or protection in support of the Clean Water Act.  A new committee is forming to determine how to best use this money - and new members are needed!  Please consider joining us to share your energy and ideas!
  • We will also discuss the next Restoration Advisory Meeting (RAB) with the Army, which is later in the week on February 8 at 6:30pm (remote). The Army is in the process of making important decisions on the future remediation of Shepley's Hill Landfill, which abuts Ayer. Did you know there are still high levels of arsenic in the groundwater, affiliated with complex issues created by the landfill?  A Focused Feasibility Study will determine which of the six solutions will work best- and public input is an important part!  To join the RAB meeting, send an email request to FormerFortDevensRAB@arcadis.com.
  • Finally, the work on Ayer's involvement with the PFAS Health study continues.  Participants recently received their test results - what's next? 

Please see facebook.com/PACEayer for the link or email PACEAyer@gmail.com.  Hope to see you there!
~ Laurie Nehring, President of PACE
GROTON: Residents of RiverCourt Residences in Groton welcomed Mike Leo to host an interactive music performance where they could play and sing along!

Dinosaurs with the Dinoman! at Harvard Library

HARVARD: On January 24 at 12:30pm, Grades K-6 (preschoolers may attend with their older siblings) will follow dinosaur tracks lead right to the Harvard Library! But have no fear, Dinoman is here! With magic, merry mayhem, and magnificent props, you will be taken on a trip throughout the Mesozoic era. How do we know dinosaurs were here? What is a fossil? How are they made? This program is fun and informative for all ages: we will learn about the age of the earth, how it is divided into eras, how fossils are formed, dinosaur behavior, and the newest finds. And did we mention that there will be life-size inflatable dinosaurs on stage?  Register online at www.eventkeeper.com/code/events.cfm?curOrg=HARVARD#7432147.

A New Presentation with NRWA Educator Gaynor Bigelbach

SHIRLEY: On February 26 at 9:30am, enjoy a new presentation with NRWA Educator Gaynor Bigelbach - Wild & Scenic River Stories: Otters, Beavers, Mink and Muskrats.  This is a free interpretive presentation about the behavior and physical adaptations of four semi-aquatic mammals, the otter, beaver, mink and muskrat, who depend on our nationally recognized Wilde & Scenic Rivers, the Nashua, the Squannacook & the Nissitissit.

This free public program will take place at the Shirley Senior Center, and is funded through the generous support of the Nashua, Squannacook, and Nissitissit River Wild & Scenic Stewardship Council.
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Tom Denney Nature Camp Registration is Open!

BOLTON: Registration is open for this summer's Tom Denney Nature Camp. The camp is for students entering Kindergarten through High School. Activities include swimming, games in the fields and woods, arts and crafts, songs, tracking, hiking, campfires to roast hot dogs and marshmallows, building shelters, Animal Adventures, Predator and Prey, The Amazing Race & more.

Campers entering grades 6-9 in the Eco Adventures program will play kayaking games on the pond, laser tag in the woods, nighttime activities on Thursday and dinner and s'mores, water guns, an adventure hike, team building activities & more.

Counselors-in-Training must be entering 9th grade or above and attend Orientation June 26-28 and then choose two weeks or more to be at camp.

Campers from all towns are welcome! There are six weekly sessions that run July 1-August 9, Monday-Friday, 9am-3pm. Before/after care is available! For more information or to register, visit tomdenneynaturecamp.org, or to connect directly with a camp rep, email questions to bcttdnc@gmail.com (best means of communication) or call (978) 429-3004 (voice mail).
AYER: Residents of Nashoba Park Assisted Living in Ayer enjoyed ringing in the new year! Pictured are Residents Roger Saquet, Mary Bishop and Terry Landry, Resident Richard Parker, Resident Marie Leonard and Residents Dorothy Murphy and Dottie Farmer.
Judith kalaora as christa mcauliffe al conant photography

CHALLENGER: Soaring With Christa McAuliffe Experience at Groton Center

GROTON: History At Play, LLC (HAP) has garnered nationwide acclaim for their Immersive Living History Experiences, chronicling the lives of legendary figures who changed society. Their performances have received accolades from journalists, actors, and historians alike and have earned statewide and national recognition. The acclaimed solo performance, “CHALLENGER: Soaring with Christa McAuliffe,” will be performed on January 27 from 2-4pm at the Groton (Senior) Center, 163 West Main Street. This one-time-only, unforgettable, free event is sponsored by the Groton History Center, with thanks to the Groton Commissioners of Trust Funds, as well as corporate and private donations. The performance runs approximately 80 minutes, followed by real-time audience Q&A. Suitable for all ages. For more information, see grotonhistory.org, email, info@grotonhistory.org, or call (978) 448-0092.

This production features HAP Founder and Artistic Direct Judith Kalaora (pictured) as the educational pioneer and internationally recognized Teacher in Space. Kalaora renews McAuliffe’s legacy in this multimedia immersive performance experience. It pays homage to the United States’ Teacher in Space Program and the crew of the NASA 51-L shuttle mission. The production received honors from the Massachusetts Senate and House of Representatives, and is produced with the approval of both the McAuliffe and Corrigan Families.  

History At Play, LLC was founded in 2010 by Artistic Director Judith Kalaora to create Immersive Living History Experiences that chronicle the lives of influential and often forgotten figures. Kalaora is a professional educator, published author, and award-winning living historian. After graduating from Syracuse University, she completed the Globe Education Program at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre of London, England. Kalaora is a four-time winner of the Bob Jolly Charitable Trust Grant; the recipient of the 2019 Dr. Bobby Gilmer Moss Lectureship Series Award, conferred by the National Society for the Sons of the American Revolution; and the 2021 recipient of the Daughters of the American Revolution Women in the Arts Award.
Pr only the concert hall at groton hill front view raw credit robert benson

Blue Note Quintet to Perform at Groton Hill Music Center

GROTON: The Concert Hall at Groton Hill welcomes the Blue Note Quintet on February 21 at 8pm as part of the 2024 North American Tour in celebration of Blue Note Records' 85th Anniversary. Tickets are $41-$61 plus fees at grotonhill.org/tickets, or by calling the Box Office at (978) 486-9524. Groton Hill Music Center is located 122 Old Ayer Road. Parking is free.

The Blue Note Quintet—an all-star collective comprised of Blue Note recording artists pianist and musical director Gerald Clayton, alto saxophonist Immanuel Wilkins, vibraphonist Joel Ross, and drummer Kendrick Scott, as well as bassist Matt Brewer—will embark on an extensive North American tour next month in celebration of Blue Note’s 85th Anniversary. The 35-date tour kicks off January 18 and brings the band across the entirety of the U.S. with shows in Detroit (Majestic Theater, Jan. 19), Los Angeles (Lodge Room, Feb. 4), Chicago (Symphony Center, Feb. 16), New York (Symphony Space, Feb. 23), and more.

“Blue Note has been such a wonderful home for the community, for incredible musicians, for creativity, for all these years,” says Clayton. “You can’t help but think about all those masters, all those heroes that you’ve grown up listening to. To get a chance to pay tribute and try to carry some of that essence forward is truly just an honor.”

Blue Note Recordswas founded on January 6, 1939 when a German-Jewish immigrant and passionate Jazz fan named Alfred Lion produced his first recording session in New York City. The label has gone on to represent The Finest In Jazz, tracing the entire history of the music from Hot Jazz, Boogie Woogie, and Swing, through Bebop, Hard Bop, Post-Bop, Soul Jazz, Avant-Garde, and Fusion, and—after being relaunched by Bruce Lundvall in 1984—has remained the leading label dedicated to documenting today’s vibrant and creatively thriving Jazz scene under the leadership of current President Don Was, who took the helm in 2012.

Groton Hill Music Center is the region’s premier nonprofit destination for music education, performance, and community engagement. Set on a stunning 126,000 square foot landscape, its two world-class performance spaces – the 300-seat Meadow Hall and the 1000-seat grand Concert Hall – host musical luminaries in multiple genres, as well as the organization’s own professional symphony orchestra, the Vista Philharmonic Orchestra. Groton Hill’s warm, welcoming environment encourages students and visitors to make meaningful connections through vibrant music experiences designed to educate, energize, and enrich our communities.

Ethel Bolton Pens Shirley Story

SHIRLEY: In 1935, local historian Ethel Bolton wrote her story of moving to Shirley, renovating her house, raising her children, and becoming part of the community. She also wrote about the family that once owned the property, the chapel she helped organize, and the Shakers who once lived nearby. Bolton’s illustrated book has now been published and is on sale at the Shirley Historical Society Museum, 182 Center Road with the softcover version only $20. The hardcover will available for $30. (Shirley Historical Society members receive a 10% discount on all gift shop items.)

Funding support for this project has come from the Mass Cultural Council through the Shirley Cultural Council plus Freedom's Way National Heritage Area.
The Shirley Historical Society Museum is open Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays from 10am-1pm. Email mail@shirleyhistory.org with any questions.
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Nashoba Park Hosts Annual Holiday Party

AYER: Nashoba Park hosted their annual Holiday Party for residents, family, friends, and staff. The Assisted Living community embraced the holiday spirit with live music and wonderful food prepared by Nashoba Park’s own culinary team. All who attended cherished the warmth and joy of the time spent with loved ones. Learn more at NashobaPark.com.

PHOTO: Resident Care Associate Kerry Jumper, Resident Care Director Kathy Davidson, and Resident Care Associate Stephanie Conley
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Local Ayer Chef Honored at Company-Wide Chef Cook Off

AYER: Chef James Pijewski, Director of Dining Experience at Nashoba Park Assisted Living, stood out at Senior Living Residences’ (SLR) Annual Top Chef Cook Off for his incredible dishes and adherence to SLR’s Mediterranean-inspired Brain Healthy Cooking program.
Senior Living Residences is the management company for Nashoba Park and hosts a Top Chef Cookoff each year. At the event, chefs from each SLR community compete against one another and are judged on a variety of criteria. This year, each chef centered their dishes around the traditional cuisines of a country from SLR’s Grab Your Passport armchair travel program.

Chef James won the “Adherence to Brain Healthy Cooking” award for his outstanding Greece-inspired plates. The meal featured roasted vegetables, seafood risotto, and apple spice cake for dessert. His cooking impressed the judges and the rest of the crowd with amazing flavors and the intention behind dishes that were both delicious and nutritious. The Nashoba Park community is very proud of Chef James’ accomplishment! To learn more about Nashoba Park, visit NashobaPark.com.
AYER: What better way to get in the holiday spirit than doing some festive decorating? Pictured are Nashoba Park residents Barbara Levy, Francesca Raczkowski, and Roberta Chevrette pitching in on the trimming of the community Christmas tree!

Ayer Santa Parade from Pirone Park to Page Hilltop

AYER: See Santa riding on an Ayer fire truck, escorted by the Ayer Police Department!  Santa's parade will leave Pirone Park and head towards East Main Street.  At East Main, the Parade will turn left and head over the East Main Street Bridge, taking a right onto Washington Street until he reaches the ASRSD parking lot where he will turn in to finish his trip.
Walter forest receiving a veterans award and gift

Nashoba Park Honors Seven Resident Veterans

AYER: Nashoba Park celebrated Veterans’ Day by honoring their seven resident veterans with a beautiful ceremony. Residents and staff gathered to hear a heartfelt tribute to the veterans’ bravery and sacrifice in their service to the United States. The veterans received custom baseball caps adorned with each individual’s military branch, the war they served in, and the phrase “Proud to be a Vet”. Along with these gifts, Nashoba Park honored these residents with special “Veteran’s Awards” and the attendees celebrated their incredible legacies. Afterwards, the community came together for refreshments, marking the day as one to remember for the inspirational courage and wisdom of the veterans. You can learn more about Nashoba Park at www.NashobaPark.com.

PHOTO: Resident Walter Forest receives a Veterans Award and gift from Nashoba Park.

The Cannon Theatre Presents "Miracle on 34th Street Radio Play"

DEVENS: The Cannon Theatre (28 Andrews Parkway) is pleased to present their popular Radio Play adaptation of A Christmas Carol. Celebrate your holidays with this all-time favorite classic story. A last-minute replacement Santa for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade claims to be the real Kris Kringle, and the belief of a little girl brings love, happiness, and the heart of the holiday spirit to all. Be part of the studio audience in a 1940s radio sound stage, as the cast tells this beloved story through song and amazing live sound effects in this radio play from the original 1947 Lux Radio Broadcast. In the cast are local actors Maren Caulfied, Kiki Bean, Joe Kandra, Matt Foster, John Lynch, Aydan Bahe, Shawn Cannon and Meredith Jones. For anyone who has a difficult time getting into the true spirit of the holiday, Miracle on 34th Street is the show to see. You will want to bring the entire family! Shows are December 8 at 7:30pm, December 9 at 2pm and 7:30pm, and December 10 at 2pm. Tickets are $25 for adults; $20 for seniors/students, and are available at www.TheCannonTheatre.org.

The Cannon Theatre is honored to be collecting donations for local community superstar charity Stone Soup Kitchen. Stone Soup Kitchen helps alleviate food insecurity and hunger, while bringing marginalized and lonely people together into community with others for food, fellowship, and friendship. Their services include a food pantry, public potluck dinners, and community building activities, which provide many other types of opportunities for people from all parts of our community to come together for this relationship building. There is never a charge for any of their programs, and they do not collect any ID, income, residency, or other information, ever. You can make a cash donation to Stone Soup Kitchen when you come to see our live radio show and/or bring non-perishable/non-expired food items to the theater.

A Christmas Carol: The (One-Man) Radio Show

DUNSTABLE: Dunstable Theater Collaborative (DTC) presents its 4th annual Christmas Carol Radio Show starring Jon Swift! There will be two performances only - December 2 and 3 at 2:30pm at Dunstable Town Hall, 511 Main Street.

It's Christmas Eve, and with the actors snowed in and unable to make it to the studios of WXMS for the live radio performance of A Christmas Carol, the sound effects person decides to take the audience through the classic tale himself. In an impressive and amusing feat, this telling is performed as a 1940s radio play with one person providing all of the characters' voices and sound effects. This rollicking, creative adaptation of Dickens' classic work is sure to warm the hearts of even the chilliest audience members.

DTC is proud to be part of Dunstable's Journey and Jinglefest on December 2, and have an exciting gift for you - both performances will be "Donation Only" shows! You can pay whatever you think is fair for a ticket, or just come and see the show for free!

Tickets are Going Faster Than You Can Say SCROOGE!

GROTON: New Life Fine Arts presents "Ebenezer Scrooge: A Christmas Carol" this December. It's a spiritually uplifting adaptation of the Charles Dickens classic, with performances beginning December 8 at the Groton Dunstable Performing Arts Center. Tickets are on sale now for matinee and evening performances starting on December 8. Evening performances: December 8, 9, 15, and 16 at 7:30pm; December 9, 10, 16 and 17 @ 2:30pm. Admission is $25 for general admission; $23 for 18 and under, and 65 and older; Groups of 10 people or more are $20. Reserve your tickets today at www.newlifefinearts.org/tickets!

Pirone Park Perimeter Path Holiday Decorations

AYER: Would you like to help the Ayer Parks Department decorate the perimeter path at Pirone Park this holiday season?  A collection of Christmas trees and snowmen will be set up along the walkway, and Ayer families are welcome to jump in.  Here’s how it works:
  • The Parks Department will be making plywood cutouts of Christmas trees and snowmen, about 4’ tall and 2’ wide, for people to decorate.
  • Participants can decorate their cutout any way they like, with the proviso that they use materials and techniques that will allow them to stand out in harsh conditions for a month or more.
Those wishing to participate can contact the Parks Department via email at parks@ayer.ma.us to reserve a cutout and set up a time to pick it up (only one cutout per family please). The cost to participate will be $20 and you choose between a tree or snowman. You can either pay online or give the $20 when you pick up your cutout. Those who participated last year and still have their trees/snowmen can use them again if you like, but you will still need to contact the Parks Department to let us know you will be dropping it off.

Cutouts are in limited supply, so once they run out, they run out. Reserve yours ASAP to guarantee you will get one. Participants must return their decorated cutouts by December 1. The Parks Department will set up the decorated trees and snowmen once they are returned.

The decorations will remain up through the school holiday break, then be taken down some time after that. Those wishing to reuse their cutouts for next year can pick them up after January 8.
If you have any questions, feel free to call Jeff Thomas at the Parks Department office at (978) 796-5915.

Cozy Crafts and Cocoa-ology!

HARVARD: Stop by Fruitlands between 11:30am and 3:30pm Saturdays and Sundays for crafts and hot cocoa! From December 9-31, make your own hot cocoa with lots of mix-ins - sprinkles, whipped cream, marshmallows, candy canes... white chocolate, milk chocolate, dark chocolate! Then, curl up with your hot cocoa to do a craft activity or read a book. Throughout the month, you can also make beautiful holiday cards out of recycled materials for friends, family and loved ones. Tickets are $5/person and FREE for Trustees members. Tickets cover general admission including access to hiking trails, our art gallery, and craft activities. Hot chocolate is $3.  The Fruitlands Museum is located at 102 Prospect Hill Road.

Ayer Police Department Holiday Toy Drive

AYER: The Ayer PD Holiday Toy Drive is back for it’s 23rd year!! Help them collect new toys for families in Ayer who may be struggling this year. Last year, they were able to collect enough toys to brighten the eyes of approximately 82 Ayer children!!!  Along with collection boxes at the Police Department, Town Hall and Library, The APD will be hosting "Fill-A-Cruiser" events on 2 consecutive Saturdays between 10am-2pm at the Police Station on December 9 and December 16.
If you need a little help this year for your family, download a Toy Request Form at www.ayer.ma.us/police-department/files/toy-request-form and turn it in here to the PD no later than Saturday, December 16.
Dancing among the guests at a ball capping the gilded age weekend in 2022. (courtesy of footwork   frolick)

Footwork & Frolick Society Performing at the GHC’s Holiday Open House

GROTON: The Footwork & Frolick Society of Groton, whose mission is, in part, to bring the romance of 18th- and 19th-century New England entertainments to life, will show off Civil War-era dances at the Groton History Center’s Holiday Open House. Join the party at the historic Boutwell House at 172 Main Street, and launch the spirit of the solstice season on December 2 from 11am-2pm. Enjoy holiday décor, hot cider, and sweet refreshments in an elegant setting while watching hoop skirts sway to the light-stepping music of the once popular Quadrille and waltzes.

Catherine Dignam and her husband James Sabino, of Groton, two of the six founding members of the Footwork & Frolick Society, bring years of experience in contemporary ballroom and vintage dances to the newly formed group. The couple has performed here and abroad, traveling to Denmark for the International Dance Institute, and to France for the annual Fête Gallante at Versailles. Other members, all with professional day jobs, bring a variety of skills to the Society, not least costume design. “Women wore a lot of undergarments in those days,” observes Catherine Dignam (Society co-director), whose sewing skills, along with those of her husband (Treasurer of the Society) have grown exponentially in recent years.
All costumes are hand stitched and embroidered where it shows. A sewing machine comes in handy for hidden seams and tucks.

As important as recreating vintage dances and pastimes are to the Society, its overriding mission involves deepening community engagement, enhancing sense of place, and opening up the iconic ballroom to people historically excluded for reasons of race and disabilities.

All are welcome free to the GHC’s Holiday Open House, thanks to the generosity of the Groton Commissioners of Trust Funds as well as public and private donations. For more information, visit info@grotonhistory.org, grotonhistory@facebook.com, or call (978) 5121-0092.  For Footwork & Frolick, www.footworkandfrolick.org.
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Ft. Devens Museum’s Annual Miniature Game Day

DEVENS: Have you ever wondered if you could rewrite history? Go back in time and change the whole direction of a war? Engage in science fiction battles? Come to Fort Devens Museum on November 18, and join one (or all!) miniature wargames depicting different battles from world history and fantasy and see how your careful moves might affect the outcomes. The games will be held from 10am-3pm and players of all ages are welcome to join in throughout the day. There is absolutely no experience necessary, just try the games out and have fun!

There will be different games being played concurrently, many with handcrafted soldiers and detailed battleground terrain.  The games include an Acadian skirmish, Battle of the River Plate, Death on the Martian Plains (science fiction), The Leeward Line: Battle of Trafalgar, and The Battle of Kasserine. It’s a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in both historical military events and today’s realm of miniature gaming. 

The Fort Devens Museum is located at 94 Jackson Road, on the third floor, and is wheelchair accessible. The museum is open on November 18 from 10am-3pm. This event is free and open to the public. See what Camp Devens and Fort Devens were all about, meet others interested in military and local history, and enjoy and join in some miniature wargaming. More information and game rules and details at www.fortdevensmuseum.org.
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North Worcester County Symphony Orchestra presents A Symphonic Christmas Carol

FITCHBURG: Ring in the holiday season with what will be the most unique holiday concert of the year as the North Worcester County Symphony Orchestra (NWSCO), under the direction of Jared Bloch presents A Symphonic Christmas Carol on December 8 and 9 at 7:30pm in the Weston Auditorium, located on the campus of Fitchburg State University, 354 North Street. Based on the theme of Charles Dickens, the program will feature music from Christmas past, present and future. Tickets are $30 for VIP seating; $25 for adults; $20 for seniors; and $15 for students, and are available online at www.nwcsorchestra.org. Parking is available in the front of the building and in adjacent lots.

Joining the NWSCO will be the Fitchburg State University Concert Choir, Chamber Choir, and Concert Band under the group’s newly formed partnership with the University, their first combined performance. Also performing will be the Westford Chorus, the Nashoba Valley Chorale (pictured), and the Greater Gardner Community Choir with special guest, the rock band Perfect Alibi. Together, more than 250 musicians will be on stage performing in what is sure to be an epic concert event.

“Live music is one of the most emotional things to experience,” according to NWCSO president Michael Hoffmann. “What better way to spread holiday joy than to be a part of a vibrant audience, sitting on the edge of their seat, in awe of the performance.”

The concert features some great classics including the “Dance of the Tumblers” by Tchaikovsky, “And the Glory of the Lord,” “For Unto Us A Child Is Born” and the “Hallelujah Chorus” from Handel’s Messiah, “The Concert Suite” from The Polar Express, “A Christmas Festival” and “Sleigh Ride” (be sure to join the sing-a-long)! The music of Christmas Yet to Come will feature the “Wizards of Winter,” “Dream of the Fireflies on a Christmas Night,” “A Mad Russian’s Christmas” and “Christmas Eve/Sarajevo,” all music from the iconic Trans Siberian Orchestra.

Sisters-in-Law Receive Lifetime Achievement Awards from Nashoba Park

AYER: Barbara Johnson and Anita Forest were recently presented with Lifetime Achievement Awards from Nashoba Park, the Assisted Living Community they call home. Family, friends, residents, and staff gathered to celebrate the incredible talents and beautiful friendship of these sisters-in-law.

Barbara grew up in Fitchburg and attended St. Bernard’s High School before beginning her career at Foster Grant. She truly shines in the creative sphere, and has honed her talents in music. Barbara loves to perform in front of crowds and shares that music brings joy for her and those around her. Her talents also extend to needlepoint, crochet and macrame and has made wonderful gifts for her beloved nieces and nephews. She has found a wonderful community of friends at Nashoba Park, including a special bond with Anita.

Born and raised in Leominster, Anita attended St. Bernard’s High School, where she met Barbara as well as her future husband, Bob. The couple wed in 1953 and raised three sons together in Lunenburg, where they enjoyed attending church with their boys and taught them to be upstanding citizens. While in Lunenburg, Anita immersed herself in gardening and grew a variety of flowers and plants that became the highlight of her neighborhood. The couple also hosted many holiday barbecues for family and friends. Today, Anita has six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. She continues to pursue her hobbies at Nashoba Park, often participating in flower arrangement workshops.

Anita and Barbara are both grateful to be able to continue their decades-long friendship as members of the Nashoba Park community, where they have both continued to do what they love while staying engaged with their peers, families, friends and staff.