Prospect hill community orchard photo by chp

State and Local Partners Team Up to Conserve Prospect Hill Community Orchard

HARVARD: A collaboration of local government and nonprofit organizations has set an ambitious goal to permanently protect 70 acres of Prospect Hill Community Orchard. Rising 500 feet above the surrounding countryside on Prospect Hill Road, the orchard has long been part of the agricultural fabric of the region. Its current owner is Community Harvest Project (CHP), a nonprofit farm that grows and donates fruits and vegetables to area food banks. CHP also creates a sense of community by recruiting hundreds of volunteers each year to harvest and sort the produce for distribution.

To fund an endowment that will ensure the future of this mission, CHP has agreed to sell an Agricultural Preservation Restriction (APR) on the property to the Massachusetts Department of Agriculture (MDAR) and the Town of Harvard for $2.5 million. The APR, which will become part of the deed, will prohibit development of the orchard and will require all future owners to use the land for agriculture. MDAR has committed $1.239 million to the purchase of the APR, while the Town of Harvard will contribute at least $300,000.

The project is receiving fundraising support from Harvard Conservation Trust (HCT) and Sudbury Valley Trustees (SVT), two nonprofit land trusts that conserve natural areas and farmland in the region. CHP is also applying for grants to offset part of the purchase price. An anonymous donor has provided a big boost to the fundraising campaign by agreeing to contribute $125,000 if the project team can raise $375,000.

“SVT is delighted to be part of the effort to protect this orchard,” said Christa Collins, SVT’s Director of Land Protection. “In addition to saving a source of locally grown produce, we will plug a hole in an important corridor of conservation lands and wildlife habitat.”

Michael Morton, President of HCT added, “The Harvard Conservation Trust is excited and committed to protect this historic orchard in our town that has been in operation for over 100 years. It’s a critical property known for its prime agricultural soils, ecological significance, and proximity to adjacent open space, wetlands, and streams.”

Prospect Hill Community Orchard sits amid several large conservation areas, including the Town of Harvard’s Dean’s Hill Conservation Land, the Fruitlands Museum owned by The Trustees of Reservations, and the Oxbow National Wildlife Refuge that reaches into Ayer and Shirley. Left unprotected, the orchard could eventually be developed for commercial and residential use, which would encroach on the ecological properties of the surrounding lands. Permanent protection of the orchard, however, will allow wildlife to more easily roam between these lands in search of nesting habitat and food.

"Community Harvest Project is thrilled to work with so many great local partners to ensure this land is protected in perpetuity,” said Tori Buerschaper, Executive Director of CHP. “Protecting this land provides habitat; green space for the community; local volunteer, leadership, and team-building opportunities; and a consistent supply of fresh produce to the hunger relief network."

Buerschaper noted that in 2021, 1,031 volunteers served 3,041 hours at the orchard. The orchard donated 189,000 pounds of apples and peaches to 23 organizations spread across Harvard, Acton, Ayer, Clinton, Devens, and Townsend.

Hikers also should be pleased to learn that CHP plans to grant a permanent easement for a trail that will run alongside the orchard property and connect to a trail network on adjacent lands.
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Nahum Gardner Hazard: An Illustrated Presentation at Shirley Museum

SHIRLEY: Imagine being a poor family living in Shirley in 1839. Imagine a widow had four young children to raise on her own. Imagine a man offered to apprentice her nine-year-old son to work in a tavern and receive an education. Imagine that weeks later the truth was found that the boy was taken south and sold as a slave. In 2019, Jeannie Bartovics researched and wrote the story of Nahum Gardner Hazard, the boy who was kidnapped from his home in Shirley.  Bartovics was to share her research at the Shirley Historical Society in 2020, but the program was cancelled due to the pandemic. Since that time, Jeannie passed away, but her husband gave permission for the Museum to present her research on Sunday, January 16 at 2pm. The illustrated lecture will be presented at the Museum, 182 Center Road, and also live streamed via zoom. Masks are required for all Museum visitors. Email mail@shirleyhistory.org if you wish to participate via zoom.
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2022 Annual Town Census/Street Listing Delayed

AYER: The 2022 Annual Town Census/Street Listing will have a delay in mailing due to the Reprecincting process.
There are 3 major components to the process:
 
  •     Phase 1 - LEDRC (Local Election Districts Review Commission) approval for new maps based on 2020 Federal Census data.  (Complete)
  • Phase 2 – Updating the Town’s VRIS (Voter Registration Information System) street addresses with the 2020 blocks and tracts, as designated by the Federal Census. (In Progress)
  • Phase 3 – Updating precincts in VRIS to match the Town’s newly approved maps. (Scheduled for January 2021)

The decision to delay mailing the 2022 Census was to avoid confusion for voters. When the State has completed the updated information in the VRIS, the updated information on the census will provide the changes in precincts.  To mail the 2022 Census with expired information would potentially confuse  voters. The delay in receiving your 2022 Census will not impact anyone’s voter registration status.

Once the updates are completed, the 2022 Census will be mailed, available on the Town of Ayer website, and available in the Town Clerk’s office. If you have any questions, please feel free to call the Town Clerk’s office at 978-772-8220 ext. 153 or email at clerk@ayer.ma.us.
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Harvard Lions 31th Annual Citrus Sale Benefits Local Charities

HARVARD: The Harvard Lions are selling fresh oranges and grapefruit direct from Florida – picked just days before delivery to Harvard. Treat your family to great fruit while at the same time benefiting Lions charities and families in need! They offer Royal Ruby Red grapefruit - Sweet, thin-skinned and seedless, the flavor is reminiscent of refreshing red grapes and sweet nectarines, and Valencia oranges -- Delicate texture with sweet juice that quenches your thirst. Perfect for hand eating, sectioning, juicing or even freezing. Both are available in 20 lb. boxes for $35 each as well a ‘mixed’ 20 lb. box available for $35.

You can pre-order online and have the fruit delivered to your home (in Harvard and adjacent towns of Ayer, Boxborough, Devens, Lancaster, Littleton, Shirley and Stow) by a Harvard Lion starting March 19. No need to be home for this “curbside drop off”. Boxes will also be sold on a ‘cash and carry’ basis at the Harvard Town Center weekends of March 19 and 26 (Saturdays March 19 & 26 Hours 8 AM -3 PM) and Sundays (March 20 & 27 Hours 10 AM – 2 PM). Also being offered are a number of fruit gift boxes that can be ordered online and shipped anywhere in the continental United States. This offers an option to send a gift to others while supporting our local charities.

To order online go to www.harvardlions.org. Any questions, please email harvardlionsfruitsale@gmail.com.
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StageWorks Presents Cinderella; Auditions January 11 & 13

LEOMINSTER: StageWorks is proud to announce their first large musical of the season, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s beloved Cinderella, with music by Richard Rodgers and a book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II. It is based upon the fairy tale Cinderella, particularly the French version Cendrillon, ou la petite pantoufle de verre ("Cinderella, or The Little Glass Slipper"), by Charles Perrault. The story concerns a young woman forced into a life of servitude by her cruel stepmother and self-centered stepsisters, who dreams of a better life. With the help of her fairy godmother, Cinderella is transformed into a princess and finds her prince. 

Auditions will be held on Tuesday, January 11 and Thursday, January 13 at 6:30pm at Leominster City Hall, 25 Main Street.  Parking is adjacent to City Hall and please come in the back entrance which is all the way at the end of the lot with a ramp.  The production fee is $40 per person with a maximum cap of $100 per family.  The production is open to all ages 5 and up.  They are particularly looking for a chorus of children as well.

All actors must be fully vaccinated. No exceptions (unless the child is too young to receive it). Upon arrival, please be masked and prepared to show proof of vaccination. You may unmask once onstage for your audition.  The staff is fully vaccinated.   Those auditioning for lead roles, prepare a song from the show.  If you are seeking an ensemble role, prepare any song you wish from a musical theater repertoire (no pop music). Singing accompanied by the music director is highly recommended.  Prepare no more than 32 bars of your song.  Children auditioning can prepare a song that they are comfortable singing.  All roles are open.

Rehearsals are tentatively scheduled for Sunday afternoons/evenings and Tuesday and Thursday evenings.  Rehearsals on Sundays will typically begin at 1:30pm and the weekday rehearsals will run 6:30pm to 9:30pm.  A detailed rehearsal schedule will be issued month to month.  Weekday rehearsals, unless noted, take place at Leominster City Hall.  Sundays will be in an alternate location in Leominster.  All rehearsals for children that occur on weeknights will be held at the beginning on the evening so that they can be dismissed by 8pm.

Performances run April 29 and 30 at 7:30pm, April 30 at 2pm and May 1 at 3pm at Saint Anna School in Leominster. 
For more information, visit www.stageworksarts.org or email info@stageworksarts.org.
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Take Part in a Play, Have Fun & Stay Safe at ShirleyArts!

SHIRLEY: Take part in a play, have fun, stay safe. ShirleyArts! will be holding auditions for a VIRTUAL comedy called How to Survive Being in a Shakespeare Play by Don Zolidis on January 4 and 6 from 6-9pm. Appointments are required for these Zoom auditions.

This program is for ages 12 through adult. All roles are open to any gender for this comedy (loosely) based on the works of William Shakespeare. There are 9 scenes requiring at least 12 actors to play several parts, but there are a total of 45 roles in the show! That means that everyone gets to take part.

Farcical scene titles include: “Listen to the Magic Ladies” featuring Julius Caesar, MacBeth, and 3 witches. “Listen to the Regular Ladies, Too”, featuring Ophelia, Hamlet, and Gertrude. “Get a Proper Amount of Sleep in a Place Where no one Will Murder You”, featuring Lady MacBeth, Ghost, Nurse. “Avoid Snakes”, featuring Cleopatra and The Asp.

Participation fee: $10 for non-members; $9 for members After you register you will receive pages from the script to look over before your audition. NO memorization needed.  Rehearsals will be held via Zoom on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. You will receive a schedule for your specific rehearsal and recording nights.

For more information, contact director Meredith Marcinkewicz at mmarcinkewicz@shirleyarts.info.

Commonwealth of Massachusetts Winter Advisory Regarding Face Coverings

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This Advisory has been updated as of December 21,  2021.

COVID-19 vaccines and vaccine boosters are highly effective at protecting against serious illness, hospitalization and death and every individual who is eligible and works, studies or resides in Massachusetts is strongly urged to get vaccinated and boosted. The Department of Public Health urges all eligible residents to get vaccinated against COVID-19 because vaccination provides the most effective protection from severe illness associated with COVID-19.

In response to the spread of the Delta variant and the emerging Omicron variant, the Department of Public Health now advises that all residents, regardless of vaccination status, wear a mask or face covering when indoors (and not in your own home). The DPH particularly urges this recommendation if you have a weakened immune system, or if you are at increased risk for severe disease because of your age or an underlying medical condition, or if someone in your household has a weakened immune system, is at increased risk for severe disease, or is unvaccinated.

Your primary care physician can advise you whether you are at increased risk.  Information from the Centers for Disease Control regarding the conditions that may put you at increased risk can be found at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/people-with-medical-conditions.html.

All people in Massachusetts (regardless of vaccination status) are required to continue wearing face coverings in certain settings, including transportation and health care facilities.  Please see www.mass.gov/maskrules for a complete list of venues where face coverings have remained mandatory since May 29, 2021.

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s current mask requirement and Policy on Vaccination Rate Threshold issued on September 27th, 2021 is not impacted by this advisory.  As a result of the most comprehensive and robust school testing program in the country, with 99% of public, collaborative and charter districts enrolled, Massachusetts elementary and secondary schools remain open and safe for children and youth to engage in learning, with over 325,000 school days saved. Only schools who can demonstrate they have high vaccination rates of over 80% of all individuals vaccinated are able to remove masks for vaccinated individuals upon a written attestation.
For individuals who are not fully vaccinated, it is especially important that you wear a face covering or mask any time you are indoors and not in your own home to reduce the chance that you may spread COVID-19 to other people. People who show no symptoms of illness may still be able to spread COVID-19.

An individual is fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose in a two-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine. However, if a fully vaccinated individual becomes symptomatic, they should be tested and wear a mask until receiving test results.
When you wear a face covering or cloth mask, it should:
 
  • Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face,
  • Be secured with ties or ear loops,
  • Include multiple layers of fabric,
  • Allow for breathing without restriction, and
  • Be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape.

For more information, please refer to the CDC at: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vaccinated-guidance.html

Public Notification - Kiddie Junction Playground at Pirone Park CLOSED to the Public December 10, 2021

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AYER: Kiddie Junction Playground at Pirone Park was constructed in 1989 using standard techniques and materials for that time. As part of the Town’s plan to remediate and replace the playground structure, on December 7, 2021, the Town of Ayer’s Licensed Site Professional (LSP) notified MassDEP of arsenic contamination at the Kiddie Junction Playground.  At that time, the Town of Ayer was informed by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) that the Kiddie Junction Playground is to be closed due to the presence of arsenic in the playground structure which was a common wood treatment for playgrounds of this period.  MassDEP approved the Town’s plan to close the playground and to fence off the area.
As of December 10, 2021, the Kiddie Junction Playground has been closed and a perimeter fence has been installed.

The Town has been informed that the likelihood of health implications due to exposure to these common materials is believed to be very low.  If you are concerned, you should contact your primary health care provider.

The Ayer Parks Commission is currently working on a proposed plan to replace the Kiddie Junction Playground with an estimated timeline for construction to proceed in July 2022. For more information, please contact the Ayer Parks Commission at (978) 796-5915.

‘Blue Christmas’ Vigil of Hope & Healing at UCC/Groton

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GROTON: On December 21, Union Congregational Church of Groton is hosting a community-wide ‘Blue Christmas’ service for all who find the holidays emotionally difficult. This
special gathering will take place at 7pm in the church’s sanctuary. All people are welcome.

“The past twenty months have been incredibly difficult for so many people,” says Rev. Corey Sanderson. “This church wanted to do something for the wider community that would help ease the burdens of grief and loss that people are carrying. This is our gift to the people of
Groton and the surrounding towns.”

The evening will be quiet and contemplative in tone, with times of prayer, silence, poetry, and music. There will be readings from scripture, hymns to sing, and the opportunity to come forward to light a candle in honor or memory of a loved one or situation.

“What makes Blue Christmas so meaningful,” says Rev. Sanderson, “is that it helps us name the loss and grief, but it won’t let us stay there. It lifts us up and points us up ahead to the hope and healing that are central in the Christmas story.”

People often feel pressured to ‘put on a happy face’ for the holidays. These social pressures devalue the real hurt we are experiencing. ‘Blue Christmas’ creates a safe space to honor losses and grief, even as we are reminded that brighter days are now upon us.

“No matter who you are, what you believe, or even if you don’t believe at all, you are welcome here,” says Rev. Sanderson. “Make this a night of self-care. In the endless stress and busyness of the holiday, just come and receive and find a measure of peace.”

CDC guidelines will be followed and masks are recommended. An RSVP is not required, but appreciated: unioncc@uccgroton.org or 978-448-2091 Union Congregational Church is located at 218 Main Street.  Visit them online at www.uccgroton.org and on Facebook.
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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?  They would like to set up a collection of Christmas trees and snowmen along the walkway, and thought it might be a fun activity for families and individuals of Ayer 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 can choose between a tree or snowman.  When you pick up your cutout you will also need to fill out a brief form with contact info. 
  • There are a limited supply, so once cutouts are gone, they will discontinue distributing them. Reserve your cutout ASAP to guarantee you will get one. Participants must return their decorated cutouts by December 15.  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, then repainted to be reused next year.  Those wishing to keep their snowman or tree may do so by letting them know prior to their being taken down.

Join the fun!  If you have any questions, feel free to call Jeff Thomas at the Parks Department office at 978-758-4827.
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MBTA Fitchburg Line Schedule Changes

AYER: Since the work schedule changes, the planned diversion of the Fitchburg Line on 12/6/21 is changed to 12/13/21.  Bus shuttles will replace normal train service all day between Wachusett and Littleton/495 on Monday, December 13. Normal train service will operate on Monday, Dec 6th. 
 
A dedicated bus schedule will be in place during the duration of the outage. Shuttle schedule. Normal weekday train service will resume on Tuesday, December 14. 
 
As a reminder, during the ongoing PTC/ATC (Positive Train Control/ Automatic Train Control) implementation project, bus shuttles replace train service at weekends between Wachusett and Littleton/495 through the end of winter 2021-2022. Visit MBTA.com/PTC for more information on how this project will improve commuter rail safety and travel. 
 
Fitchburg Line Shuttle details:
 
The shuttle schedule will correspond with the train schedule at Littleton/ 495 in order to minimize the disruption to passengers’ journeys. Please see the attached document or visit www.mbta.com/schedules/CR-Fitchburg/timetable to view the schedules. 
 
The shuttles will pick up and drop off passengers as follows:
 
  • Wachusett: in the parking lot in front of the station
  • Fitchburg: in Bay 1 of the Intermodal Transportation Center
  • North Leominster: on the ground level of the parking garage by the stairwell
  • Shirley: at Phoenix St. by the crosswalk
  • Ayer: inside the parking/ drop-off loop
  • Littleton/495: in the parking lot in front of the station
 
For more information about these service changes, please see http://mbta.com/fbgwork.

UPDATE:
Since the PTC work was completed early,  the planned diversion/busing between Wachusett and Littleton/495 on the Fitchburg Line on Monday December 13th has been cancelled.  Normal train service will run on Monday, December 13th. As a reminder, during the ongoing PTC/ATC (Positive Train Control/ Automatic Train Control) implementation project, bus shuttles replace train service on weekends between Wachusett and Littleton/495 through the end of winter 2021-2022. For more information about these service changes, please see http://mbta.com/fbgwork

Nashoba Park Resident Celebrates Lifetime Achievement Award

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AYER: Sabrina Rice, a resident of Ayer for more than 50 years, recently received the
Lifetime Achievement Award from Nashoba Park Assisted Living Community, recognizing her special achievements and life experiences.

Born in Chicago, IL, Sabrina moved to Ayer at age six with her parents. Growing up, she enjoyed playing basketball and softball through different organizations in Ayer, and she loved participating in several Special Olympics events throughout Massachusetts. Sabrina attended
Ayer High School, and for several years she worked at Wendy’s, where she made many close friends. When she was younger, Sabrina Rice used to ride her bike all over the town of Ayer. Because of this, she can tell you the fastest way to get to any place in town. She lives by the
motto “Try new things, and always be friendly.”

Sabrina is most proud of all the friends she has made, especially all her new friends since moving to Nashoba Park. She also remains actively involved in artistic programs.

Kimberly Gagnon, Executive Director of Nashoba Park, explained the significance of the Lifetime Achievement Award, “We recognize that every single person in our community has a rich and meaningful story to tell. It’s important to us to make sure residents and associates at
Nashoba Park know the life story and accomplishments of the people they are seeing every day.”

Nashoba Park is a Volunteers of America Massachusetts non-profit Assisted Living community. For more information about Nashoba Park, visit www.NashobaPark.com.
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The Glue Factory LiveStream Concert at Healing Garden

HARVARD: The Glue Factory will be performing a livestream concert on Sunday, December 5 at 3pm to benefit cancer services provided by The Healing Garden Cancer Support Center. The Glue Factory plays folk-rock and lesser-known classic rock and blues in an Americana style. They have fun finding and playing well-crafted songs that appeal to audiences of all ages. It’s the kind of music that has been played on front porches and around kitchen tables and has stood the test of time.

Registration is open to the public, free of charge, with a suggested donation of $10. See website for more details and to register. www.healinggardensupport.org. Questions about the concert may be directed to Volunteer Concert Coordinator, Michele Abroff at concertcoordinator1@healinggardensupport.org  

The Virginia Thurston Healing Garden, located at 145 Bolton Road, is an educational nonprofit organization dedicated to providing integrative cancer care through therapeutic services, educational programs, and a healing environment for all people with a cancer diagnosis. Philanthropic support is a critical lifeline in helping to ensure The Healing Garden can continue to provide the necessary services to all of their clients, regardless of their ability to pay. For more information, visit their website or call (978) 456-3532.
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St. Andrew’s Offers 20th Annual Nativities Display from Around the World

AYER: St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church will host its annual “In A Manger” event on Saturday, December 4, 10am to 5pm, and on Sunday, December 5, Noon to 4pm.  Begun in 2001 with 75 nativity scenes and after taking a year off due to the pandemic, we are thrilled once again to bring a stellar display with over 350 creches from around the world.  Founder Carolyn Smith is committed to providing this opportunity to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the commercial holiday season to wonder and marvel at how the birth of Jesus is depicted in different cultures through varied artistic expressions. This event is free and open to the public.  Homemade cookies and hot apple cider will be available to visitors of this exhibition.  Please wear a mask. St. Andrew’s is located at 7 Faulkner Street in Ayer. For more information, please visit the St. Andrew’s website at www.standrewsayer.org.

Domestic Violence Roundtable Invites You to Support Holiday Drives for Families Affected by Abuse

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Each year the Sudbury-Wayland-Lincoln Domestic Violence Roundtable sponsors a family for the holidays, and each year we invite our local communities to become involved in making the holidays brighter for families affected by domestic violence. Families in shelter for the holidays face a sad and difficult time as they are separated from family and friends and are hiding from their abusers.

The Covid 19 pandemic has been difficult for everyone, but it has been especially difficult for families affected by abuse. With the help of our local communities, these families can have happy holidays. There are a number of ways that you can help. Sponsoring a family can be a wonderful way for you and your family to do something together to help others. You can also involve extended family, neighbors, and friends. Or perhaps your colleagues at work, your book club, scout troop, civic organization, or club would like to organize a collection. Your participation in a holiday drive can help relieve the stress and depression that overcome shelter families at this time of year. The support that comes from the community at this time of year reinforces their decisions to seek safety and end violence in their lives. Each gift, each donation, each good holiday wish has a positive effect on their self-esteem and boosts their spirits.

Three local agencies offer services and programs for families affected by domestic violence. All of these programs conduct a Holiday Drive. For further information about how you might help, please contact:
 

Holiday drives start early so that agencies have time to process donations. In some cases, gift cards are being collected so families can shop and wrap their presents. Call now to see how you can help.
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Harvard Lions Club Offers Something New for the Holidays

HARVARD: The Harvard Lions Club is offering something new this year! They are complementing their spring citrus sale with a fall fruit sale in time for holiday giving. The online only Fall Fruit Sale is now available. Gift boxes can be shipped anywhere in the continental United States. Place your order by December 12 for Christmas delivery.
 
Celebrate the holidays with delectable gourmet fruit boxes. The perfect assortment of gifts surely can satisfy every taste. Apples, pears, mandarin and navel oranges are freshly picked a few days before shipment. Send a box to your family and friends to show you are thinking about them. At the same time support your local charitable organizations. Go to www.HarvardLions.org to place your order and support the Harvard Lions!
 
For those who want to extend their holiday giving, consider a donation to Loaves and Fishes in Devens. Gift boxes are welcome at Loaves and Fishes, Attn: Tim Last, Food Coordinator, 234 Barnum Road, Devens, MA  01434.
 
Any questions, please email HarvardLionsFruitSale@gmail.com.
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ShirleyArts Present "You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown"

SHIRLEY: For the first time in 22 months, ShirleyArts! will present a public performance on the stage at the Ayer Shirley Middle School - the wonderful family-friendly musical "You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown." Performances will be at 7:30pm on Friday, November 12 and Saturday, November 13, plus an extra matinee performance at 2pm on Saturday.  Seating in the auditorium will be spaced out and audience members will need to wear masks while they are in the building. Tickets may be charged in advance using paypal at www.shirleyarts.info or purchased by cash or check in the school lobby on the day of the show.
 
Joe Kandra of Littleton stars as the ever hopeful Charlie Brown, with Christine Guertin of Lunenburg as his antagonist, Lucy Van Pelt.  Snoopy is played both on and off the doghouse by Laurie Marcinkewicz of Fitchburg. Austin Walker of Orth Reading will be playing his toy piano in his role as Schroeder. Heather Pruiksma of Ayer hangs on tightly to her blanket as she sings and dances the role of Linus. Emily Lambert of Lowell appears as the energetic, feisty Sally Brown. Even Woodstock appears in this production, being played by Sophie Houle of Leominster. Director and producer for the show, which had to be postponed from March of 2020, is Meredith Marcinkewicz with Music Director Betsy Fiedler.
 
“Happiness” is the most famous song from this show and the members of ShirleyArts! are very, very happy to be back doing what makes them happy.

Parish Jazz Band at The Healing Garden

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HARVARD: The Parish Jazz Band will be performing a virtual livestream concert to benefit the Virginia Thurston Healing Garden on Sunday, November 14 at 3pm. The Band, established in 2004, is affiliated with the First Parish Church of Stow and Acton, and for more than 15 years has contributed to the local jazz scene. The PJB plays music from the Great American Songbook (Ellington, Carmichael, Arlen, Gershwin, Rodgers, Porter), bebop (Parker, Coltrane, Davis, Gillespie), and Latin jazz (Jobim, Palmieri). Currently, the Band is seven people, four men, and three women, including saxophone, trombone, trumpet, bass, drums, guitar, and vocals.

Registration is open to the public, free of charge, with suggested donation of $10. Visit www.healinggardensupport.org for more details and/or to register. Questions about the concert may be directed to concertcoordinator1@healinggardensupport.org.

The Virginia Thurston Healing Garden, located at 145 Bolton Road, is an educational nonprofit organization dedicated to providing integrative cancer care through therapeutic services, educational programs, and a healing environment for all people with a cancer diagnosis. Philanthropic support is a critical lifeline in helping to ensure The Healing Garden can continue to provide the necessary services to all of their clients, regardless of their ability to pay. For more information, call (978) 456-3532.
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Groton Woman's Club Hosts 15th Annual Greens Sale

GROTON: The Groton Woman’s Club will hold their Fifteenth Annual Greens Sale on Saturday, December 4 2021 from 9am to 1pm (Snow Date - Sunday, December 5) at Williams Barn, 160 Chicopee Row.  Among things available will be traditional holiday wreaths, boxwood trees, centerpieces, swags and kissing balls, along with a beautiful quilt raffle, ornaments and fabulous Holiday Cookies. Proceeds from this sale go toward scholarships for students at Groton-Dunstable Regional High School, Nashoba Valley Technical High School and Francis W. Parker Charter School and other charitable organizations. Pre-ordering is available.  For further information:  Call Nancy at (978) 448-3181 or Tracey at (978) 448-2245. Special orders due by 11/19/2021.

Ayer Fair Boasts a Family-friendly Activities, Gifts, Raffle & Guest Readers

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AYER: On November 6, the Friends of the Ayer Library and Ayer Cultural Council are offering up a special Holiday Treasure Trove with shopping galore and extra fun, family-friendly treats! Stroll thru aisles and aisles of holiday gifts and stocking stuffers! Some of the scheduled vendors include Board + Beauty, Cathy's Succulent Dish Gardens, Falltown Furniture & Woodworks, Four Seasons Designs, Friends by Design, Hearts for Paws, James Spinelli Jewelry, Jennifer's Handmade Soap, Maryanne's Beads and Bling, Bright Eyes Pet Portraits, Clay Rapt Art, PeachLab Mini Boutique, Rylie Doo’s, Seatonesque Creations, Signs & Snippets, Singe Confectionery, Triple Rescue Plan, Tastefully Simple, Thirty One Gifts and Windsong Craft Studio. The Ayer Holiday Treasure Trove event will take place in the Great Hall at Town Hall on Main Street on November 6 from noon to 5pm. Kick off your holiday celebrations with a fun event supporting two Town-supporting agencies!

Browse The Friends of the Ayer Library book, CD and DVD sale. There'll be like-new to new titles for all ages in all categories to peruse and buy. The Ayer Cultural Council will also be on hand selling their community favorite “Ayer Calendars,” featuring beautiful local photography and tidbits from Ayer residents to flip through monthly.

There is also be other fun planned, such as kids’ crafts with ArtsNashoba, as well as Guest Readers in the “Book Nook” every 1/2 hour!  Sit and listen to some favorites read by ASRSD Superintendent Adam Renda, Senator Jamie Eldridge (pictured), Fire Chief Tim Johnson, Library Board of Trustees President Sharon Slarsky, Police Chief Brian Gill, State Representative Sheila Harrington, Ayer Library Director Tim Silva and Author J. Anthony Garreffi.
Please consider bringing a broken/used/previously played with toy (1 per child) for 100% recycling. Working with charitable mission partner Terracycle-Hasbro, you can give your well-loved toys and games a second life by recycling them. It helps out Santa, the Elves, AND the planet!

Feeling lucky?  There will also be a wealth of raffle items to shoot for, all containing items donated from Town businesses and friends including Mrs. Cooper’s Cookies, Buffalo Wild Wings and Ayer Auto Parts, plus a plethora of local eatery gift cards and bonus prizes.  There will also be an autographed complete set of author Garreffi’s “Santa” series!  Tickets will be $1 each; or six for $5.

The Ayer Holiday Treasure Trove event will take place in the Great Hall at Town Hall on Main Street in Ayer on November 6 from noon to 5pm. For more information, contact jgovang@ayer.ma.us or friendsoftheayerlibrary@gmail.com.
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James Webb Telescope Talk with Aldrich Astronomical Society

LUNENBURG: The James Webb Space Telescope will be the largest, most powerful and complex space telescope ever built and launched into space. This telescope is an orbiting infrared observatory that will complement and extend the legacy of earlier space-based telescopes to push the boundaries of human knowledge even further, to the formation of the first galaxies and the horizons of other worlds. Webb will be the premier observatory of the next decade. It will study every phase in the history of our Universe.
 
The Aldrich Astronomical Society, Incorporated has been approved by NASA to provide educational programs about the upcoming launch and capabilities of the James Webb Space Telescope. They will also provide updates on the Aldrich Library Telescope program. This event will take place on November 4 at 6:30PM. Registration is required (this event is open to kids, teens, and adults!), sign up here: https://tinyurl.com/2u5tfz32 or by visiting the Lunenburg Public Library Events page at www.lunenburglibrary.org.
 
This program will feature: space artifacts, telescopes, binoculars, displays, free handouts, and chances for kids to win space-themed prizes! Make sure to check out the Cosmic Canvas Astrophotography Exhibit while you're in house!
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Tweens & Teens Cooking Program at Lunenburg Library

LUNENBURG: Tweens & Teens - Do you enjoy good food? Like to cook? Join the Lunenburg Public Library for their series of cooking classes with Alyssa, a Registered Dietitian with Hannaford's Supermarket! Classes will be held virtually from 4:30-5:30pm on Tuesdays, November 2, 9 & 16. Alyssa will walk through how to prepare delicious and healthy dishes that are perfect for the season. Weekly recipes and lists of needed ingredients will be supplied by the library so that you will be prepared to fully participate in each class. Registration is necessary and the age requirement is 10-14 (grades 4-8). Please note that each class has a separate registration. Register for 1, 2, or all of them! There must be adult supervision for these classes as students will be using cooking utensils and a stove for preparing their recipes. The good news? The goal for each class is to prepare a dish for that night's dinner! Register by visiting the Events page at www.lunenburglibrary.org, or by emailing Susan at selbag@cwmars.org.
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Harvard Resident Featured in Theatre III's Fall Production

WEST ACTON: Harvard resident Maren Caulfield appears as Wilma in Theatre III of West Acton's fall production, Lovers and Other Strangers, by Joseph Bologna and Renee Taylor. Performances run November 5, 6, 12 & 13 at 8pm; November 7 at 2pm at 250 Central Street. Tickets are $22; seniors/students/groups of seven or more $19. For more information, visit www.theatre3.org.
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notloB Parlour Concerts Presents Noah y Maurizio's Acoustic Nomads

HARVARD: Noah y Maurizio, who last performed at Fivesparks in February, 2020, performed under the notloB Parlour Concert banner at Arts at the Armory in various ensembles pre-COVID, while they were students at Berklee College of Music. Noah y Maurizio's Acoustic Nomads comes out of the vibrant musical environments of the Berklee College of Music and the Acoustic Music Seminar at the Savannah Music Festival.  The members of the group are widely recognized as emerging artists in the acoustic music scene, but come from varied musical backgrounds - Traditional and Contemporary, Appalachian and Venezuelan, Brazilian and Jazz influences combine to give Noah y Maurizio's Acoustic Nomads a vibrant sound and broad appeal. November 20, 7:30-9:30pm at Fivesparks, 7 Fairbank Street. Suggested donation $15 under 18 and seniors, $20+ adults. 100% to the artists. Reservations strongly suggested - https://tinyurl.com/9ne59mn9
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Gothic Fiction Book Club for Teens & Twentysomethings

LUNENBURG: Teen and twentysomething fans of gothic fiction are invited to join the newest book club at the Lunenburg Library! On November 2 at 6:30pm, join Teen Services Librarian Susan and Adult Services Librarian Lydia for this hybrid discussion either in-person at the Library or on Zoom (your choice!) the first Tuesday of every month. Registration is open on the event calendar and is required for every meeting. Open to interested readers of all types of gothic works! Register by visiting the Events page on the Lunenburg Public Library's website, lunenburglibrary.org, or by emailing Susan at selbag@cwmars.org.
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Closing Weekend at "Sense of Place"

GROTON: October 30 and 31 mark the end of a two-month exhibition of 25 artists of the Nashoba Valley. The works of "Sense of Place" are exhibited in two main locations - Groton History Center's Boutwell House and The Groton Inn - and two accessory locations - Groton Public Library and Old Frog Pond Farm in Harvard. Please visit grotonhistory.org/art to see the hours specific to all locations. Additionally, the final day will celebrate the launch of the 64-page hardcover book of "Sense of Place" featuring photographs of all the works, a statement about the artists' inspiration, and short artist bios. Pick up pre-ordered books or purchase on site ($70 plus tax).  Email info@grotonhistory.org for more information. 
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Pre-lien Notification for Water & Sewer Customers

AYER: Every fall the Ayer Department of Public Works removes past due balances of water and sewer charges that are six months old or older from the accounts at the D.P.W. and the delinquent amount is added to the resident’s third quarter real estate tax bill.  If this applies to you, please make every effort to pay your past due water and/or sewer bill prior to November 19 to avoid this lien process, the fee associated with it and the potential interruption of your water service. If you have questions or need additional information, please contact the Public Works office at 978-772-8240.
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Ghostology 101 with the Agawam Paranormal Society

LUNENBURG: Stop by the Lunenburg Public Library on Thursday, October 21 at 6:30pm to kick off Halloween with stories of ghost hunting in Massachusetts! This is an all ages program designed to both entertain and educate people to the world of the paranormal and to paranormal investigations. The Agawam Paranormal Society will take you through a basic introduction of the paranormal world and will cover terminology, equipment, technical issues, evidence review (things like video, photos, and EVP), types of hauntings, and types of apparitions. They'll also talk about the do's and don'ts of investigations. Registration is required (this event is open to kids, teens & adults!) Use https://tinyurl.com/zxfwvzwd to sign up. Or go to the Library's website at  lunenburglibrary.org.

Agawam Paranormal started back in December 2007 when Rob Goff started to put a team together. The team has investigated residential and commercial locations all over the state!  Visit www.agawamparanormal.com for more information.
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Visit the Alpacas at St. Andrew's Autumn Fair

AYER: The Alpacas from Harvard  Alpaca  Ranch will be the featured guests at St. Andrew's Autumn Festival on Saturday, November 6 from 10am to 2pm. Meet these amazing gentle animals on the lawn at 7 Falkner Street.  While you're there, enjoy free Hot Chocolate while getting a jump start on your Holiday shopping.  A variety of Artisans and Crafters will be on hand with completely unique gift ideas.Try your luck in our raffle and enjoy some of St. Andrew's famous beef stew (or take some to go) while stocking on up Cookies by the pound; Pies & Baked goods.  Pre-order your Holidays Pies for pickup the week of Thanksgiving.
 
There are just a few tables left if any new Artists/Crafters would like to join this year. Contact pmayes@standrewsayer.org or visit www.standrewsayer.org for information.

Alpaca Visit to Nashoba Park

AYER: Harvard Alpaca Ranch in Harvard recently brought a visitor to Nashoba Park Assisted Living! The ranch offers alpaca-assisted therapeutic activities, and on this particular visit they brought Sir Erik, a registered Pet Partners therapy alpaca. Residents were delighted to be able to see him up close and pet him on this beautiful autumn day.

Residents pictured are Dottie Bambini, Richard Chagnon, and Nancy Snay.

Nashoba Park Assisted Living is a project of the nonprofit Volunteers of America Massachusetts, which has supported local seniors with specialized services for over 75 years and continues to fulfill its mission today within its three senior communities – Nashoba Park and its “sister communities” Concord Park in West Concord and Forestdale Park in Malden. These residences, rooted in their communities, have a stellar reputation among residents, their families and local eldercare professionals for the quality of their care and services, innovative programs and building amenities.
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Nashoba Symphonic Band Opens New Season

BOLTON/WORCESTER: Nashoba Symphonic Band, under the direction of music director and conductor David Wayne Bailey, invites the public to join them for four concerts during the 2021-22 season, each of which celebrates a Special Moment!

NSB is a traditional full symphonic band committed to high-quality, audience-friendly performances of the standard band repertoire, film and stage scores, and popular and march selections. Musicians from almost 30 towns in Central Massachusetts and beyond will perform at Nashoba Regional High School auditorium on Saturday, October 30 at 3pm, at Mechanic's Hall in Worcester on Saturday, February 5 at 2pm, at Nashoba on Sunday, May 1 at 3pm, and wrap up the season at Nashoba on Thursday, June 16 at 7:30pm. All performances are free and open to the public. At this time masks are required.

The ensemble will open the season with “An American Moment,” celebrating the musical roots of this great country. The journey will lead from pieces based on music from colonial times, “Chester” and “When Jesus Wept” by William Schuman, through a vigorous set of “Variations on American” by Charles Ives and conclude with Robert Russell Bennett's classic, “Suite of Old American Dances.” Topping things off will be Sousa's classic, “The Stars and Stripes Forever.”

“A Moment of Celebration!” will take place on Saturday, February 5 at 2pm. At Mechanics Hall in Worcester, celebrating NSB's Fifth Anniversary (a year late!). Featured soloist for the concert will be organist, Gavin Klein. Highlights of the concert include Bach's “Fantasia in G-Major,” The Polka and Fugue from “Schwanda the Bagpiper” by Jaromir Weinberger, Persichetti's “Psalm for Band,” and the glorious Finale from the Saint-Saens “Organ Symphony,” as well as marches by Sousa and Goldman.

Sunday, May 1 at 3pm at Nashoba will bring a “Symphonic Moment,” celebrating the symphonic band 'sound.' The program will feature the area premiere of William Grant Still's fabulous “Afro-American Symphony in A-flat,” and the stirring “Hymn for the Innocent” by Massachusetts native, Julie Giroux. Also on the program will be music by Persichetti and Copland.

The season concludes on Thursday, June 16 at 7:30pm at Nashoba with a concert aptly named “A Senior Moment,” celebrating the graduating class of 2022. The program includes the “E-flat Suite” of Gustav Holst and “Crown Imperial” by William Walton, as well as music featuring the graduating seniors.

Nashoba Symphonic Band welcomes new wind, brass and percussion players of all ages with experience at the intermediate or advanced high school level – no matter how long ago that experience might have been. No auditions are necessary. Students grade eight and above are encouraged to join with a recommendation from their high school music director or private music teacher. For more information on joining, contact David Bailey at baileydavidwayne@gmail.com.
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Singer/Songwriter Hooly J. Chan Part of the 2021 Garden Concert Series to Benefit the Virginia Thurston Healing Garden Cancer Support Center

HARVARD: Hooly J. Chan, Singer-Songwriter will perform on Sunday, October 17 at 3pm as part of the 2021 Garden Concert Series to benefit the Virginia Thurston Healing Garden Cancer Support Center. Chan is an accomplished singer, songwriter and musician based in New Bedford and has released two albums. Listening to Hooly’s music is a way to release, heal, imagine, story tell, laugh, and create social change. Registration is open to the public, free of charge, with suggested donation of $10. Visit www.healinggardensupport.org for more details and to register. Questions about the concert may be directed to  Volunteer Concert Coordinator, Michele Abroff at concertcoordinator1@healinggardensupport.org  

The Virginia Thurston Healing Garden, located at 145 Bolton Road, is an educational nonprofit organization dedicated to providing integrative cancer care through therapeutic services, educational programs, and a healing environment for all people with a cancer diagnosis. Philanthropic support is a critical lifeline in helping to ensure The Healing Garden can continue to provide the necessary services to all of their clients, regardless of their ability to pay. For more information see website or call (978) 456-3532.
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Second Quarter Real Estate and Personal Property Taxes are due November 1, 2021

AYER: Ayer's Second quarter Real Estate and Personal Property bills are coming due 11/01/2021. Did you know that you can now  pay tax bills online by going to www.ayer.ma.us and selecting Online Payments located in the Citizen Action Center? If paying Real Estate or Personal Property Bills you can look up your bills by selecting  “To search for your bill – click here”. You can view a copy of the actual bill mailed to you by selecting Continue and then View Bill.  The fee to pay a bill using e-check is $.50.  This is less than a postage stamp and you get an instant receipt. Please email TAX@ayer.ma.us with any questions or concerns.

SAVE THE DATE! Annual Holiday Open House & Kitty Angels Weekend

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AMHERST, NH: SAVE THE DATE! Treasures Antiques, Collectables & MORE!, located at 106 Ponemah Road will be hosting their 31st Annual Holiday Open House and Kitty Angels Fundraising weekend on November 6 and 7. Festivities for the weekend will run both days from 10AM till 4PM and includes Holiday inspired shopping, raffles and entertainment.
 
The Open House event has been a mainstay in the community since its inception back in 1991. Kitty Angels, Inc. will be offering information on their organization, adoptions and donations. Representatives from the Amherst Animal Hospital, who has worked alongside Kitty Angels for decades and has cared for some of worst cases of critically ill or injured kitties, will also be on hand. There will be various, live musical entertainment provided by soloists, duos and bands, including Joey Peavey, Wildwood, North Sound Duo, Levi Maxwell, Jeff Damon, and The Grog Tones!
 
This Holiday and Fundraising event, is pet and kid friendly and will offer special sales for all, inside and out. There will again, be a petting zoo and horse and pony rides by Mapledell Farm of Townsend, MA. The weekend festivities will showcase artists and artisans, crafters, professionals, food vendors, featuring a live demonstration of oil painting and techniques by artist Eric Nickola, dba WolfpacStudios. Eric’s artwork will be on display and for sale. He also offers commission work. Artist Lori-Ellen Budenas of Respect the Wood!, a creator of abstract paintings, coasters, trivets and more, and Monica Gesualdo of Trading Faces – a face painting and body art artist will also be on site. Visit with Arty Mitchell at the ARUBACAT cat furniture truck. Some of the other longtime supporting vendors as well as several new vendors to the event will include: Mal’s Grill, with his Famous pulled pork tacos, Jerk Chicken Sandwiches and signature Mac & Cheese, etc., jewelry designers Freedom Jewelry, J. W. Young Studio, Heart’s Design Jewelry and Karen’s Pieces, Happy Cat Company LLC - Gourmet Granola and Maple Syrup, LuLaRoe, Vinyl Revival, Dusty Finds, The Spirit of Cacao, Anthony Acres, Puckerbrush Life, Color Street, Heavenly Goddess, Usborne Books, Fudge & Stuff, Tupperware, Custom Care Designs and many more.
 
Treasures will also be offering a number of fun and exciting raffles, with prizes donated by local and national businesses. Prizes will include a “Chain-sawed” wood carving done by Sara of NorthStar Sculptures, an ARUBACAT cat tree and other cat and dog related items, jewelry, specialty food packages, and an assortment of other fun and exciting prizes.
 
Kitty Angels, Inc., a no-kill cat shelter is made up of all unpaid volunteers and is dedicated to rescuing stray and abandoned cats and furnishing them with treatment for injuries or other health issues. These cats are then placed into life-long, loving “forever homes” with compatible owners. All necessary steps are taken to insure the wellbeing of the cats, including spaying and neutering and providing rabies, distemper and other necessary vaccinations. They are a non-profit, charitable corporation and all donations are fully tax-deductible with every penny of each donation going directly to the care of these cats.
Please join Treasures and Kitty Angels, in friendship and the spirit of sharing the Holidays. For more information, visit www.TreasuresNH.com and www.KittyAngels.org.
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Recycle Your Reusables October 23

SHIRLEY: Recycle Your Reusables, the area’s largest recycling and reuse event, will be held on Saturday, October 23, from 9:30am-1pm at the Ayer-Shirley Regional Middle School, 1 Hospital Road in Shirley MA. This event is held by the Ayer Recycling Committee, and sponsored by the towns of Ayer, Shirley, Littleton, Groton, Lunenburg and Townsend. RYR is free and open to everyone, without residence restrictions, though it is requested that you bring a donation of unexpired canned goods or new, unwrapped Christmas Gifts appropriate for children aged birth to 14 years to Urban Missionaries of Our Lady of Hope (one of this year's vendors), in lieu of an admission fee.
 
Adults and teens ages 14+ are needed to help staff this community event. Teens may be able to earn credit towards their school's community service requirement. For more information about volunteering, participating vendors and the items they'll be accepting, visit http://recycleyourreusables.wordpress.com or the Ayer Recycling Committee page on Facebook, or email AyerRecycles@ayer.ma.us.
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Breast Cancer Awareness Month Healing Garden Art Fundraiser

HARVARD: In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Ann Marie Hershberger, artist and Bolton resident, is donating proceeds from the sale of her artwork to The Virginia Thurston Healing Garden Cancer Support Center, a nonprofit cancer support center located in Harvard, Mass. New art will be posted daily on her website, Facebook, and Instagram accounts, Monday-Friday through October 29th. All are 5x7” oil paintings of local landscapes and images evoking the beauty of the fall season in New England. You can view and purchase her artwork at https:// www.annhershberger.com/. (Restrictions apply, see website for details.)

Proceeds benefit The Virginia Thurston Healing Garden Support Center,
an educational nonprofit organization dedicated to providing integrative cancer care through therapeutic services, educational programs, and a healing environment for all adults with a cancer diagnosis. www.healinggardensupport.org or call 978-456-3532.
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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? Visit Fort Devens Museum on October 16 and join in one (or all!) miniature war games 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 come and 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 a French & Indian War skirmish, The Naval Battle of Georges Bank (USN squares off with a British Squadron), A Clash in 1870 (German forces vs. Napoleon III), Tiger Hunt (US Infantry vs German tank), and Epic Armageddon (science fiction). 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. This event is free and open to the public. Come to 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 at www.fortdevensmuseum.org.
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MBTA Bus Shuttles to Replace Normal Train Service

AYER: During the ongoing PTC/ATC (Positive Train Control/Automatic Train Control) implementation project, bus shuttles replace train service on weekends between Wachusett and Littleton/495 through the end of winter 2021-2022. In addition to the regular weekend diversion, on October 25 and 26, bus shuttles will replace normal train service between Wachusett and Littleton/495 all day. A dedicated bus schedule will be in place during the duration of the outage. Starting from October 11th, a new Commuter Rail schedule will be in place. The changes are minimal, but please visit www.mbta.com/schedules/commuter-rail for more information.

The Fitchburg Line Shuttle will correspond with the train schedule at Littleton/495 in order to minimize the disruption to passengers’ journeys. Please visit www.mbta.com/schedules/CR-Fitchburg/timetable to view the schedules.

The shuttles will pick up and drop off passengers as follows:
 
  • Wachusett: in the parking lot in front of the station
  • Fitchburg: in Bay 1 of the Intermodal Transportation Center
  • North Leominster: on the ground level of the parking garage by the stairwell
  • Shirley: at Phoenix St. by the crosswalk
  • Ayer: inside the parking/ drop-off loop
  • Littleton/495: in the parking lot in front of the station

For more information about these service changes, please visit http://mbta.com/fbgwork.
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Fall Hydrant Flushing Begins Week of October 4, 2021

AYER: The Town of Ayer Department of Public Works - Water Division will begin their semi-annual Hydrant Flushing Program the week of October 4.  The flushing will take place on weekdays between the hours of 3pm and 9pm.  During this time you may experience reduced water pressure and some discoloration of your waterm which should subside within 24 hours.  If you are still experiencing problems after this 24 hour period, please call 978-772-8240. 

The Towns’ flushing program is considered mandatory maintenance and will be conducted as efficiently as possible. This maintenance program allows the DPW to continue to provide the residents with water that is as aesthetically appealing as possible.

Harvard Flea Market: Biggest Outdoor Flea Market Northwest of Boston

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HARVARD: The League of Women Voters of Harvard and the Harvard Schools Trust are pleased to announce the 49th Annual Harvard Flea Market, to be held on Saturday, October 9, from 9am to 4pm.  Over 160 booths will be on the grounds of the Bromfield School. (Rain date October 10). Admission is $3 per person for adults and seniors; $1 per child ages 6-12 and; and $5 for early birds (7am to 9am).

Thousands are expected to attend. Bargain hunters will descend upon Harvard to attend the largest one-day outdoor flea market northwest of Boston. Shoppers come with bags and carts in tow to visit over 160 booths filled with antiques and collectibles – toys, games, jewelry and vintage clothing, seasonal décor, artwork and paintings, pottery and glassware, and so much more.

The flea market boasts a popular food court area with both traditional favorites and ethnic cuisines including Thai food and specialty desserts.  The Harvard Lions Club serves up hamburgers, cheeseburgers, chicken strips, meatball subs, veggie burgers, hotdogs, fries, breakfast sandwiches, funnel cakes and fresh squeezed lemonade and drinks. The Congregational Church of Harvard will hold its Apple Festival “Pies on the Common,” selling homemade apples pies fresh from local ovens.   

There will be parking and restrooms available with handicap access. Please do not block private driveways - parking restrictions will be strictly enforced, including ticketing and towing. Emergency staff will be onsite to assist with any medical emergencies. The Harvard Flea Market gate keepers will accept cash only (no checks or credit/debit cards) for admission. Some booth vendors may accept credit card payments via Square® or other apps.  Most accept cash only.   Dogs are permitted at the flea market provided they are on a leash and their owners pick up after them.

PLEASE NOTE: To ensure the safety of our staff, vendors, and guests, the Harvard Flea Market, in consultation with the Harvard Board of Health and per CDC advisories, has established the following guidelines:
 
  • If you are feeling unwell, stay home or find someone to take your place.
  • Safe physical distancing is expected to be maintained while selling, shopping, and waiting in lines.
  • Unvaccinated vendors and guests are asked to wear masks.
  • Vaccinated vendors and guests are encouraged to wear masks, unless local guidelines are revised.
  • Free adult and child masks will be available at each entrance.
  • Vendors are encouraged to have hand sanitizer available at their booths.
 
For more information on the flea market, including directions, and booth availability, visit www.harvardfleamarket.com. To learn whether the flea market has been postponed a day due to inclement weather, call the Harvard Schools Trust message line at 978-456-5085.
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Indian Hill Music Announces New Name & New Home: Groton Hill Music Center

LITTLETON/GROTON: Indian Hill Music announced that it will now be known as Groton Hill Music Center, with the Fall 2022 opening of its stunning new home for music, currently under construction in Groton.

Indian Hill Music has boldly embraced the opportunity to create one of the most ambitious cultural projects in New England, returning to Groton, the North Central Massachusetts town where the non-profit was founded in 1985 by a handful of local musicians and music enthusiasts. Designed by award-winning Epstein Joslin Architects of Cambridge, MA, (Shalin Liu Performance Center, Rockport; Strathmore Music Center, Baltimore) Groton Hill Music Center is an architecturally exquisite 126,000-square-foot music education and performance venue. It houses a 1,000-seat concert hall with lawn seating for seasonal concerts, a 300-seat performance hall, multi-scaled rehearsal and teaching spaces, state-of-the-art acoustics designed by Threshold Acoustics of Chicago, and dynamic architecture. Additionally, two-thirds of the land on which the facility sits – formerly an apple orchard and a horse farm – is preserved as picturesque agricultural fields.

Groton Hill Music Center will become a gathering place for all to experience the highest quality music education, with private lessons, classes, ensembles, and supplemental learning programs for all ages and abilities; impactful outreach programs that share the transformative power of music throughout the community with a focus on the underserved; and world-class professional performances of all genres -- from jazz, global roots, folk, rock, country, and contemporary music to classical masterworks and chamber music. The building is designed to be a connected environment that creates opportunities for musicians, educators, students, and audience members to encounter, engage with, and inspire one another as a singular music community.

“We are anxiously anticipating the opening of this incredible new chapter for our organization, creating a vibrant musical hub that will be a treasured and valuable asset to the community,” said Lisa Fiorentino, CEO of Indian Hill Music. “Our organization has a strong history and significant ties to the 79 communities we currently serve throughout the region, with many enthusiastic supporters in Groton.”

Indian Hill Music will continue to use its current name until the new center opens next fall. The professional Orchestra of Indian Hill, led by acclaimed Artistic Director and Conductor Bruce Hangen, will complete its 47th season in Littleton, and looks forward to performing in its new world-class home, under a new name to be announced at a later date.
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If you’ve ever dealt with someone making threats against you, been the subject of physical or verbal attacks, had rumors floated about you, or been purposely excluded from a group, then you know what it’s like to be bullied. During October, we recognize National Bullying Prevention Month and raise awareness and focus on bullying.

Bullying is any unwanted and aggressive behavior that involves a power imbalance, whether real or perceived. It’s typically behavior that is repeated again and again over a period of time.

Technology, with all the benefits it provides, also has made bullying easier and more widespread. Cyberbullying includes the distribution of mean or inappropriate email or text messages, the use of social media to post rumors or embarrassing photos, videos, messages, and even fake profiles.

For more information on ways to prevent, respond, or act against bullying, visit stopbullying.org, which is a special initiative from the Department of Health and Human Services.

If your child has been the victim of bullying and you’ve noticed a change in his or her mental health as a result, or if your child or someone you love is struggling with depression or thinking about suicide, get help now. In Massachusetts, every 5.28 days on an average a young person (ages 10-24) is lost to the silent epidemic of youth suicide.
 
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-TALK (8255), is a free resource, available 24 hours a day for anyone who is in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. The Crisis Text Line is a free 24/7 text line where trained crisis counselors support individuals in crisis. Text “Jason” to 741741 to speak with a compassionate, trained Crisis Counselor. Confidential support 24/7, for free.

The Jason Foundation is another available resource.  The Jason Foundation is dedicated to the awareness and prevention of youth suicide through educational programs that equip youth, parents, educators, and the community with the tools and resources to identify and assist at-risk youth. One element of these tools and resources is free online training that anyone may utilize. Among the training modules available is one dedicated to the study of bullying and suicide. Visit jasonfoundation.com and click Training for more information. 

Townsend Historical Society Hosts Fall Open House

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TOWNSEND: The Townsend Historical Society warmly welcomes you to visit for a daylong celebration of their revolutionary history. On Saturday, October 2 from 9am – 5pm, history will come alive at the Reed Homestead with tours, hearth cooking, and craft demonstrations. Docents will lead you through our Federal era dwelling, which is well known for its Rufus Porter murals. There will be a number of farm animals on site for your enjoyment. Volunteer reenactors will setup camp, perform military drills and musket firings throughout the day. Civilians of the same period will be demonstrating period crafts such as candle dipping, writing, toys and games. Last, you’ll be offered a rare glimpse into cooking on the hearth and beehive oven as our chefs prepare a demonstration of a noontime meal in the house’s kitchen. This daylong celebration is for you and your family.
 
Admission is by donation but you are encouraged to join the Townsend Historical Society if you like what you see. Experience history hands on. This event is rain or shine, so plan accordingly. Walk-ins welcome but signup is encouraged in advance via Eventbrite (https://tinyurl.com/jcxb3x6w). Masks are required for indoor tours and demonstrations. For any questions, please call 978-597-2106, email info@townsendhistoricalsociety.org or visit www.townsendhistoricalsociety.org.
 
This program is supported in part by a grant from the Townsend Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.
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Ayer DPW Paving Ongoing

AYER: The Ayer DPW is in the process of paving High Street from Holmes Street to Winthrop Avenue. The work includes new asphalt sidewalks and curb and repaving the street. Work sequence will be:
 
- Remove existing sidewalks
- Remove existing pavement and regrade (Reclaim)
- Install binder course pavement
- Install curbing
- Construct sidewalks and ramps
- Final paving
 
The Ayer DPW will also be paving Groton Shirley Road beginning on September 22. The work includes reclaiming and regrading the roadway, installing drainage swales on the south side in select areas, repaving, and installing traffic calming (removable speed tables and signage, speed feedback signs, and line painting). Work sequence will be:
 
- Remove existing pavement and regrade (reclaim)
- Install binder course pavement
- Construct stormwater swale
- Install curbing
- Final paving
- Install traffic calming
 
These projects are anticipated to take several weeks. Seek alternative routes. Police details will be onsite to direct traffic. During construction, there will be varying road conditions. Please travel with caution.
 
If you have any questions, please contact the Department of Public Works at 978-772-8240.
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Friends of the Bolton Public Library to Hold Book Sale

BOLTON: The Friends of the Bolton Public Library will hold their semiannual book sale on Saturday, October 16 from 9:30am – 4pm. (Rain date is October 23) at the Houghton Building, 697 Main Street. There are over 10,000 books sorted and “not picked over.” Games, puzzles, CDs and DVDs. The book sale is the Friends' largest fundraiser. Proceeds from the sale support programs, events, museum passes, and their online newsletter Wowbrary.

Please Note: Masks are required.
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Finance Committee Vacancy Announcement

AYER: The Ayer Finance Committee currently has two open positions. One has been held by Matthew Selby, who is seeking re-appointment for a three-year term to expire on June 30, 2024.  The other opening is a result of a member’s resignation as they moved out of town. This second position is a one-year appointment, expiring June 30, 2022.

Information about the Finance Committee can be found online at www.ayer.ma.us/finance-committee.  Ayer resident voters, who wish to be considered, should present their letter of interest and resumes by Wednesday, September 22, 2021, to the Town Moderator. Email these to joconor@ayer.ma.us who will provide them to the selection committee.

Candidates for the Finance Committee will be interviewed by a five-member selection committee composed of a member of the Select Board, Finance Committee, Ayer Regional School Committee, Ayer Finance Department, and a member of the public appointed by the Moderator.
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POW/MIA Candlelight Ceremony at Townsend Common

TOWNSEND: In observance of National POW/MIA Recognition Day on September 17, Townsend VFW Post #6538 and its Auxiliary will conduct a Candlelight POW/MIA Ceremony on the Townsend Common at 6:30pm. The day is an opportunity to honor prisoners of war and those who went missing in action, from all branches of the nation’s armed services. Friday’s vigil will especially pay tribute to 39 Massachusetts residents who are still unaccounted for in Southeast Asia following the Vietnam War.
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Chess Tactics for all Ages Virtual Event

LUNENBURG: Now that you've had the chance to learn the basics, it's time to take your chess game to the next level! Chess Tactics for all Ages, running September 28 from 6:30-7:30pm, is a virtual program will help you improve your chess game by introducing you to various chess tactics that are useful in winning. They'll form a way for you to get ahead of your opponent and have a better understanding of the game. Participants should already be familiar with how the pieces move. This online class is open to adults, teens, and children ages 8 and up! Chess really is a fun activity for the whole family!

This event is virtual and will take place on Zoom. Registration is required.Register by visiting the Events page on the Lunenburg Public Library's websiteat lunenburglibrary.org, or by emailing Susan at selbag@cwmars.org.
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Shirley Historical Society Offers Shaker Tours

SHIRLEY: There was a community of believers known as Shakers who worshipped, worked and lived together in Shirley from 1793–1908. Shakers were known for their strong faith, the high quality of their seeds and the fine workmanship on their buildings and crafts. They were appreciated for their kindness and generosity to all, regardless of age, color, or background.
 
The State of Massachusetts now owns the former Shirley Shaker property and several of the old Shaker buildings are used by the Department of Corrections.
The Shirley Historical Society is periodically allowed to take visitors on tours of the site and to teach people about Shaker life and the Shirley community. This fall, the tours will be held on Sundays, October 3, 10, and 24 at 12:30pm. The two-hour tour begins with a brief illustrated lecture on the history of the Shakers and the Shirley Village. Visitors then go inside three Shaker buildings and travel by prison van to various locations around the property.
 
Reservations must be made in advance for a cost of $15 per person; $10 for Historical Society members. Pay by cash or check, in person at the Museum at 182 Center Road, mail a check to P.O. Box 217, Shirley, MA 01464, or charge it by Paypal on www.shirleyhistory.org.
 
Additional tours may be arranged for groups of eight or more.
Resident paula morris

Beautiful People Creating Beautiful Things; Art Classes at Nashoba Park

AYER: Residents of Nashoba Park recently participated in a step-by-step painting class to make beautiful sunflowers! At Nashoba Park, their multifaceted EnrichedLIFE Program offers a wide array of social and wellness activities to give residents something to look forward to each day. Art classes are a very popular choice among the residents!
 
Nashoba Park Assisted Living is a project of the nonprofit Volunteers of America Massachusetts, which has supported local seniors with specialized services for over 75 years and continues to fulfill its mission today within its three senior communities – Nashoba Park and its “sister communities” Concord Park in West Concord and Forestdale Park in Malden. These residences, rooted in their communities, have a stellar reputation among residents, their families and local eldercare professionals for the quality of their care and services, innovative programs and building amenities.
 
PHOTO: Residents Paula Morris, Eileen Hamel & Shirley Rice.