Governor george s. boutwell's desk in his study at the historic boutwell house on main street. (photo by j. ofria)

Spring Open Houses at the Groton History Center

GROTON: This spring, the Groton History Center continues its tradition of Open Houses celebrating the town by bringing its history to life.  On March 18, the Center welcomes visitors to the elegantly restored Governor George S. Boutwell House, at 172 Main Street, to inaugurate the exhibit, “Groton Industries.” The show takes a penetrating look, augmented by antique photos, documents, and artifacts, at several of the town’s once-thriving mills and businesses. Enjoy the airy Italianate home built for Governor Boutwell and his family in 1851, and take pleasure in this exhibition which brings a lesser-known side of Groton into the light.

The Open House on April 15 will honor Earth Day and Earth Month with well-chosen artifacts from the GHC’s collections.

On May 20, enjoy a rare airing of antiques from the Carriage House, including the town’s mid-19th-century stagecoach, a horse-drawn hearse, Groton’s first fire engine, the Torrent, and the piece de resistance of the day, a Revolutionary War cannon, graciously loaned by Earl J. Carter, a longtime resident of the town and a former Boutwell House curator.

A Summer Solstice Garden Party on the afternoon of June 24 caps the spring season with a flourish of live music, a plein air reading by local writers, refreshments, and other celebratory touches.

As always, the GHC’s Open Houses are free and open to the public. All are welcome from 11am to 2pm. For additional information, or to make an appointment to visit the Boutwell House at another time, email, or call (978) 448-0092.  “Groton’s Industries” will remain on view through August.
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Cannon Theatre Proudly Presents "The Real Inspector Hound"

DEVENS: The Cannon Theatre is pleased to present The Real Inspector Hound, a fabulous British comedy, parodying the classic murder mysteries of Agatha Christie. This whodunnit, directed by Maren Caulfield (Harvard, MA), is so rich with dark comedy, you won’t want to miss it!

The Real Inspector Hound follows rival theatre critics, Birdboot and Moon, who are reviewing a performance at a London theatre. The top reviewer, Higgs, is nowhere to be found, leaving Moon to get tangled in the blurred lines of this play-within-a-play with his fellow critic. The body on stage turns out to be someone they know, and the two are quickly swept into investigating the murderous actions of an escaped madman. In the cast are Christopher Lockheardt (Groton, MA) as Moon; Andrew Harrington (Newton, MA) as Birdboot; Simon Jensen-Fellows (Acton, MA) as Simon; Chelsea Reyes (Ayer, MA) as Higgs; Kyla Begle (Pepperell, MA) as Felicity; Bob Amici (Berlin, MA) as Magnus; Erin Shine (Devens, MA) as Mrs. Drudge; Matter Foster (Tyngsboro, MA) as Inspector Hound; Carla Perrotta (Lexington, MA) as Cynthia.

Show times are March 17, 18, 24, 25, 31, and April 1 at 7:30pm, with matinees on March 26 and April 2 at 2pm at 28 Andrews Parkway. Tickets are available at, and are $25 for adults, and $20 for students/seniors.
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Groton Historical Commission Meeting to Discuss Prescott House Preservation

GROTON: Groton Historical Commission will have its next regular meeting on March 1 at 7pm in Groton Town Hall, First Floor Meeting Room. The first topic on the agenda will be Prescott House preservation. Prescott House is located at 170 Old Ayer Road and was originally built c. 1791 by Dr. Oliver Prescott, Jr., a prominent physician in Groton at that time. It is now part of a larger property owned by Groton Hill Music Center. The current owners have proposed that the historically significant house be demolished.  Groton Historical Commission would like to invite the public to join this meeting so the Commission can better understand how townspeople feel about this historic structure as the Commission considers possible options for its preservation. For more information, contact the Commission at

March at Lunenburg Library

LUNENBURG: March is filled with exciting activities and events at Lunenburg Public Library, 1023 Massachusetts Avenue.  Here's a few things in the pipeline...

Now running through March 31 is the Lunenburg School District K-12 Art Show! You'll be able to access the art show during the hours when the library is open for the entire month of March, so be sure to stop by the Community Room to see the student's artwork. And don't forget to stop by again for a drop-in Art Night on March 16 from 6-8pm where Lunenburg High School students will help you make some art of your very own!
Random Reads is back for another school year! Tweens & Teens in grades 5-8 and grades 9-12 are eligible! This monthly book subscription bag will include a handpicked library book (to read and return), a snack, an activity, and a gift (that is yours to keep)! Random Readers that submit a book review will be entered into a drawing for a gift card drawing (winners will be chosen in May). Registration for March before March 8. An active library account/card is required.
Visit the Library on the 2nd Thursday of every month (3/9) from 6-7pm for Family Game Night! Fun for all ages, there'll be various board and card games that you can play with family and friends! No registration needed.

The (Not So) Young Adult Book Club on March 12 from 11am-noon is for those adults who love reading YA books but teens are totally welcome! At the March meeting, discuss "The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein" by Kiersten White. Copies are available to check out. If you're interested in YA books and participating in this book club, please come to this first meeting even if you haven't read the book! This Club is open to interested readers of all genres of YA. Registration is suggested, but not required. *Please note that the main library will not be open during the book club meeting.* Planning ahead: the April meeting will take place on April 23.

First Bites is a book club where you don't have to read a book ahead of time to participate! Join Miss Debbie and Teen Librarian Susan on March 15 from 4-5pm as they read the first chapter out loud of a book that they have picked out. Then, discuss first impressions of the book. If anyone is interested in reading the rest, the library will have plenty of copies to be checked out. Each month will be a different book. This club is open to tweens & teens grades 5-7 (ages 10-13). Snacks will be provided.

On March 24 from 4-5pm, help make the world a more colorful place while also supporting local pollinators (bees & butterflies) by making seed bombs! Use a variety of seeds for native flowering plants (good to grow in Central Massachusetts; beneficial for our environment). Seed bombs are an easy way to help restore a healthy biodiversity in your neighborhood while also making it pretty! During the program, talk about the different seeds and see pictures of what the flowers look like. You'll get the chance to make plenty of seed bombs to bring home with you along with instructions on what to do next! Open to tweens and teens in grades 5-8 (ages 11-14),
Come to the Library after hours on March 24 from 6-9pm to play video games! One Up Games will provide a variety of consoles and games - including VR headsets! Open to tweens & teens in grades 5-12 (ages 11-18). Registration in advance is appreciated. Participants can also register at the door, so if you didn't sign up but still want to drop in.
You can register for programs online at, or via email

Traffic Pattern Change Coming in Shirley

SHIRLEY: Be advised - there will be a traffic pattern change beginning on March 6 in Shirley. School Street is currently a two-way street. From 7am-4pm, it becomes a one-way during school days. The one-way direction currently heads eastbound from Lancaster Road towards Harvard Road. The Selectboard took a vote on January 30 to reverse the direction and to alleviate traffic congestion on Lancaster Road. This will take vehicles off of Lancaster Road for school pick up and allow parents to pick up in front of Lura A. White on School Street. The school buses will now do pick-up in the back parking lot. School Street will become a one way heading westbound from Harvard Road to Lancaster Road from 9am until 4pm. This change will reverse the direction. Police officers will be there monitoring the progress to ensure a smooth transition.

Birding, BLM & One Professor's COVID Adventure

GROTON: Harvard Professor and curator Dr. Scott Edwards talks about biking and birding across America in 2020 in "Birding, BLM & One Professor's COVID Adventure." Edwards started the journey to learn about the birds of America, but after George Floyd's murder, the trip evolved as he learned about our humanity. He is shown below traveling in Wyoming. The date of this event is March 17 at 7pm in the Lawrence Academy Media Center. As this is a rescheduled event, if you had previously registered, you are automatically registered for the new date. This is a free event, but registration is required. This talk is made possible through a generous grant from The Groton Commissioners of Trust Funds.  For more information, visit

Groton Conservation Trust Hosts March Full Moon Hike

GROTON: Join trustees Mark Gerath and Susan Hughes March 7 on an adventure by moonlight. Gather at 6:30pm at Williams Barn, 160 Chicopee Road (plenty of parking at The General Field) for a moderate hike of three miles for a loop from The General Field by the Nashua River. This is a clear sky event only, clouds and rain will cancel it out. Bring a headlamp! This is a free event but please register.  For more information, visit

New from the Congregational Church of Harvard

HARVARD: The Congregational Church of Harvard, UCC invites all to welcome both the Reverend Elaine Gaetani, the new Bridge Pastor, and the Lenten Season. As Bridge Pastor, the Reverend Gaetani will be leading worship and offering Pastoral care. Visit for an Ash Wednesday service on February 22 at 7pm, and/or each Sunday service to follow starting at 10am.   Heading into Lent, Palm Sunday, Easter and beyond with thankful hearts and a welcoming spirit, the Church is an open and affirming Congregation and would love to meet you or answer any questions you may have about their community! The church is located at 5 Still River Road (next to the General Store). Info: (978) 456-8788;
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Spring Sports Registrations Now Open for ASRSD

AYER/SHIRLEY: Ayer/Shirey Regional High School's spring sports registrations are now open! ASRSD will offer the following sports: HS Baseball (9-12), HS Softball (8-12), MS Baseball (6-8), MS Softball (6-8), Track & Field (7-12), Unified Track & Field (9-12), Boys' lacrosse with Lunenburg (9-12), Girls' lacrosse with Groton-Dunstable (9-12), Boys' volleyball (8-12), Girls' golf (9-12).

Competitions will begin at 3:30pm or 4pm depending on the day and sport. Practices will start no earlier than 2:45pm, though start times will be staggered throughout the afternoon. Practice schedules will be announced soon. Parents/Guardians need to provide transportation to/from all home events and to the school for buses to road events. Lacrosse is responsible for all transportation on their own. Golf may need to transport to practice in Lunenburg on occasion.

The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) mandates that sports on high school teams go to high school students first. If needed, schools may apply for a middle school waiver in certain programs. These waivers are only to ensure enough participants are needed to field teams.

User fees are $200 per student per year (family cap of $500) for HS athletes; $100 per year per student for MS students. Should you get cut, you would be reimbursed upon request. Once the regular season games start, user fees are non-refundable.

An up-to-date physical (within 13 months) must be on file with the nurse's office in order to participate. This is NON-NEGOTIABLE!   Dr. Godfrey will be at the high school for free physicals on March 1, 2023, at 9am. You MUST register with Mrs. Liddy, ASRHS school nurse.

Please register by March 14, 2023 at

GPD 3rd Student Police Academy Taking Applications

GROTON: The Groton Police Department is currently taking applications for the 3rd Student Police Academy Class! The Student Police Academy will run June 26 - June 29 from 8am-2pm at Middle School North. This camp is geared towards current middle school students. Student Cadets will join Sergeant Derrick Gemos, Officer Omar Connor, Officer Pete Breslin and Officer Rob Wayne for a fun-filled week. Topics covered will include:
- Evidence collection and crime scene processing
- CPR Certification
- K9 Demonstration
- Motor Unit Demonstration
- Motor Vehicle Law and Traffic Stops
- Team Building and Leadership Exercises
- Marching and Drill
- NEMLEC SWAT Demonstration
- Accident Reconstruction
- and more!

For more information, or to receive the application please contact Deputy Chief Rachael Bielecki, or (978) 448-5555.
To give the students the best possible experience the number of students who can attend will be limited. This is expected to fill up very quickly. The first 20 completed applications will be granted a spot in the academy. All applications will be emailed out at the same time later in the week. Prior students are not eligible to apply, but may volunteer to be a student helper.
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GPL Escape Room: Emoji Inequality

GROTON: Celebrate all the emojiis and "All the Feels" during Groton Public Library's Winter Reading program, February 22 from 6:30-7:30pm in Sibley Hall. There is turmoil in the emoji world. Some of the most commonly used emojis have gone missing! An obscure emoji has taken responsibility and has declared that there is an inequality in the use of emojis. This emoji, Dr. Kelvin Alkali, wants equal use of all emojis! He will destroy all of our beloved emojis if you do not stop him! Can you solve the clues to save the emojis in time, and earn a special treat?  This program is for grades 6-12.  For more information, visit or register directly at

Groton Reads and Gardens: New Perennials: A Love Story

GROTON: On February 21 from 7-8pm via Zoom, Groton Public Library will present "New Perennials: A Love Story,” a personal introduction to design principles of the New Perennial Movement—whose members inspired a world-changing shift toward naturalistic gardens. In the U.S., their influence can be seen in New York’s High Line, Chicago’s Lurie Garden, the Oudolf Meadow at Delaware Botanic Gardens, and Oudolf Garden Detroit. Deborah Chud’s 6 years of research on these gardens (and many others) led to her own, highly unusual New Perennial garden and the only known database of New Perennial plant combinations. Part 1 traces her discovery of the work of the New Perennial Movement’s preeminent designers, her research on their plant combinations, and her use of that research to create a garden in their style. Part 2 explores the historical context in which the New Perennial movement emerged. And Part 3 provides an introduction to the ideas underlying New Perennial gardens—particularly a new concept of structure and a special balance between coherence and contrast that approximates nature’s own. At the end of the talk, Deborah offers practical “dos & don’ts” for solving the problem of excessive contrast. For more information, visit, or register online at
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Trinity Chapel Invites Public to Meet State Senator John Cronin

SHIRLEY: Trinity Chapel, located at 184 Center Road, invites Shirley residents and all who are interested to a public forum with State Senator John Cronin on March 1 from 7:30-8:30pm. The snow date is March 8. At the forum, Cronin will discuss his background, his work since being elected to the Massachusetts Senate, and his vision for the future of his newly reconfigured district. He will also take questions and hear concerns from his constituents. For more information about the forum, contact Stephanie Hooper at; (978) 456-3188.

Senator Cronin was first elected to serve the Worcester-Middlesex (W&M) District in the Massachusetts Senate in 2020. Due to recent redistricting, he now represents the communities of Ashby, Clinton, Fitchburg, Groton, Lancaster, Leominster, Lunenburg, Shirley, Townsend, and Westford.  Senator Cronin is a graduate of West Point, a former U.S. Army Infantry Officer, and a combat veteran with multiple deployments to Afghanistan. Prior to his election to the Senate, he served as a veterans advocate at the Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School.

Winter Fest 2023 in Harvard

HARVARD: The Harvard Lions and Fruitlands Museum present Winter Fest 2023 on February 25 from 11am-4pm at Fruitlands Museum. A fun filled family event with activities for everyone from a 5K Race, Human Sled Dog Pull, Skillet Toss, Apple Cannons, People's Choice (Chili & Mac & Cheese Contests), Scavenger Hunt, Sun Catchers Contest, Snowman's Glen, Art Galleries, Nature Trails, Human Foosball, Magic Field, Hot Chocolate Bar, Vendors, Lions Food Tent and Wassail the Orchard.

For more information, visit, or tickets can be found online at Winter Fest is included in The Trustees Membership, or non-Member admission is $5.
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Find Out about Affordable, Reliable, Clean 21st Century Nuclear Energy

The climate crisis is no longer hypothetical. It has arrived. The fastest way to de-carbonize the planet and reduce use of fossil fuels is to incorporate more nuclear energy into the regional power grid. Energy educators are offering free public talks to groups of all kinds – schools, libraries, religious communities, as well as civic, service and environmental organizations in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, southern New Hampshire and Maine and northeastern Connecticut. 

Learn about modern safety procedures, the science and enormous power of uranium and thorium as a 21st century solution to meet the escalating world demand for electricity. Examine the fears underlying discussions of nuclear operations, waste and safety. Find out how modern nuclear reactors feed regional power grids with clean energy 24/7, and how other countries are developing this dense low-carbon energy source. Explore Eco-Nuclear Solutions, a non-partisan, volunteer, grassroots group of scientists, educators and environmentalists at To reserve a date to explore the potential of nuclear power, contact

The one-hour presentation is an introduction to nuclear energy and how it benefits the planet and the world’s people. Access to reliable affordable electricity is a gateway out of poverty, which typically leads to lower birth rates. Nuclear power is experiencing a renaissance as one of the most reliable, affordable and zero-carbon sources of electricity that requires minimal land. It is the only electricity generating technology that sequesters  and/or safely disposes of all byproducts which, along with its demonstrated reliability, makes it a rockstar to provide energy, the lifeblood of the world. The Seabrook, NH and Millstone, CT, nuclear plants provide 20% of electricity to the New England grid. Scientists and activists will share data, stories, slides and videos about the world’s drive for reliable, affordable and clean energy.

The team includes: David Butz, a self-educated living encyclopedia of nuclear energy, past, present and future; Carolyn McCreary, Ph.D, who served two terms on the Ayer Select Board and led the town to become a Green Community; Dale Levandier, Ph.D., a chemist with knowledge of nuclear physics; and other scientists and environmental activists.
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Toe Jam Puppet Band Winter Show

HARVARD: On February 8 from 2-2:45pm at the Harvard Public Library, enjoy the Toe Jam Puppet Band, a fun family band for kids and their parents, too! Toe Jam Puppet Band’s unique musical performances are very interactive and theatrical. Audience members of all ages are encouraged to sing and dance along with Toe Jam as they entertain with a unique combination of original songs and interactive storytelling. Get ready for a Car Wash, watch out for the Flying Laundry and be prepared to laugh with glee, Toe Jam style! Have a great time laughing together with your family and friends! Registration is required! Attendance is limited to 100 total attendees. Register online at
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Transfer Station Delayed Opening Saturday, February 4, 2023

AYER: The Ayer Transfer Station will be CLOSED UNTIL 11:30am on Saturday, February 4 due to the extreme cold temperatures and wind chills. The Transfer Station will be open from 11:30am until 3pm on the fourth, but will resume its normal operating hours of 7am to 3pm on Sunday, February 5.

1/31/23: Frozen Water Pipe Advisory

AYER: Ayer is expected to experience a hard cold snap over the next few of days.  The DPW Water Division would like to warn you about the common occurrence of frozen water pipes in this type of weather and make sure you keep the name and number of your plumber handy throughout the winter.
Of course protecting against frozen pipes before the cold hits is best. However, if your pipes do freeze after the meter (inside your home/business) and you experience no water conditions, it may be best to call a licensed plumber.  If the water freezes before the meter or at the meter Ayer DPW Water Division may be able to help.

Tips for Preventing Frozen Pipes
  • If pipes run through cabinets or vanities, open the doors to let warm air flow in.
  • Keep water moving through the pipes by allowing a small trickle of water to run.  The cost of the extra water is typically lower than the cost of repairing a broken pipe.

Tips for Thawing Frozen Pipes
If you can locate the frozen section of pipe you can try to thaw it yourself. However, be sure to take the following precautions to protect yourself and your property.
  • DO make sure you know the location of your master water shut-off valve
The frozen pipe may already be broken and, when the water is thawed, it will leak.  In this case, you will need to shut off the water in your home or business until the leaky pipe is fixed.
  • DO use a hair dryer or hot air blower
Open the faucet first.  Start by warming the pipe as close to the faucet as possible, working towards the coldest section of the pipe.  Water running through the pipe will help to melt the ice in the pipe.
  • DO place a warm towel or rag around the pipe
Pour hot water over the cloth.  Repeat several times until the pipe is not frozen.
  • Do NOT use a torch with an open flame

You risk setting your property on fire.  In addition, overheating one area can cause the pipe to burst.  Open flames in homes present a serious fire danger, as well as a severe risk of exposure to lethal carbon monoxide.

For more information and tips on how to prevent water pipes from freezing, please call the  DPW Office at (978) 772-8240 during regular business hours or email

GLCF Seeks Request for Proposals for 2023 Discretionary Grant Cycles

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LOWELL: The Greater Lowell Community Foundation will open its 2023 Discretionary Grant Cycles on February 1 and is seeking requests for proposals from nonprofit organizations. The Foundation will award $200,000 through the Discretionary Grant Cycle. Nonprofit organizations serving the communities of Acton, Ashby, Ayer, Bedford, Billerica, Burlington, Carlisle, Chelmsford, Concord, Dracut, Dunstable, Groton, Littleton, Lowell, Pepperell, Shirley, Tewksbury, Townsend, Tyngsboro, Westford, and Wilmington are invited to apply.

Grant funding from the Greater Lowell Community Foundation’s 2023 Discretionary Grants Program includes the following strategic funding categories:
  • Racial Equity and Inclusion (details below) - The Foundation will award multiple grants of up to $15,000 that focus on racial equity and inclusion. The grant funding should focus on one or more of the following goals:
    • Increase understanding of our community’s challenges with racial equity and race relations
    • Provide access to stories and diverse perspectives on the lived experience of racial inequity in Greater Lowell
    • Strengthen relationships among Greater Lowell residents, particularly across racial and ethnic groups
    •  Increase awareness of resources and best practices related to advancing racial equity
  • Leclair Elder Services - The Foundation will award five grants at $7,000 each to organizations that support services to seniors (55 years+) in our service area.
  • Children’s Services - This year, thanks to the generosity of our donors, GLCF will award seven grants at $7,500 each to projects that support services for children. The Foundation welcomes proposals that improve the quality of life for children and young adults (birth to age 22.)
Grant applications must be submitted by noon on March 3, 2023. Grant recipients will be announced in May. More information is available online at

For more information about the grant process, contact Sharon, GLCF Grants Coordinator with any questions at

PHOTO: Clarendon Early Education Services received a 2022 Discretionary Children’s Grant to support their Comfort Kits for Foster Kids.
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Pepperell Council on Aging Experiences Brain Healthy Cooking

PEPPERELL: Recently, Pepperell Council on Aging members heard a presentation on Brain Healthy Cooking from Nashoba Park Assisted Living. They had the opportunity to learn about the benefits of healthy, mindful food choices that boost cognitive and physical health.  Paul Fuller, Community Relations Specialist at Nashoba Park, presented “Boost Your Brain Health by Eating Well,” an educational program that introduces individuals to the Mediterranean diet, a way of cooking and eating that promotes holistic health for the brain and body.

Participants learned about some recent major scientific studies connecting adherence to the Mediterranean diet with several impressive health benefits including delayed or prevented cognitive decline, some key nutritional guidelines, as well as some tips for how to cook “brain healthy” at home. The audience left with both full minds and stomachs, as the Nashoba Park team served a homemade brain-healthy turkey and wild rice stew, which was packed with healthy herbs and spices, such as thyme, rosemary and bay leaves. The lunch was an incredible way for attendees to gain inspiration for future Brain Healthy Cooking endeavors!

Brain Healthy Cooking is an award-winning nutrition program that brings meals inspired by the Mediterranean diet to Nashoba Park and their sister Senior Living Residences (SLR) communities. Residents enjoy fresh, taste-tested, and brain-healthy menu options every day that incorporate ingredients like dark leafy greens, whole grains, lean meats, fish, seafood, and flavorful herbs and spices.  For more information on the program or to view a collection of recipes, visit

Women’s Business Network (WBN) Hosts “Your Favorite Influencer”

HARVARD: The Women’s Business Network meets February 9 at 7:15pm at St. Theresa’s Church (Holy Trinity Parish), 15 Still River Road. The event begins with networking, followed by brief announcements and introductions where each attendee gets to introduce herself and her business. The program will be “Your Favorite Influencer” facilitated by Terri Courtemarche of Scouter Design. Attendees are encouraged to share information about a person who has influenced their business practice.

WBN is a local, volunteer run networking group of women in small businesses, professional practices, non-profits, and the arts who meet monthly for mutual support, education & networking. Referrals are shared, but usually out of the context of the meeting. Guests welcome. Contact Deb Oliva at for more information. 


Rotary Club of Groton/Pepperell Donation Allows for New Equipment & More

GROTON: Groton Fire Department would like to thank the Rotary Club of Groton/Pepperell for their generous donation. It is through donations like this that allow them to purchase new equipment and provide trainings that are not necessarily within the budget. If you would like to make a donation, you can make checks payable to Groton Fire Dept Gifts Account, 45 Farmers Row, Groton, MA 01450.
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LUK, Inc. Invites You to the 10th Annual Kids at Heart Mentoring Gala

FITCHBURG: This year, LUK’s Kids at Heart Mentoring Gala will be back in-person on February 9 from 5:30-10pm at Great Wolf Lodge. Enjoy live and silent auctions, balloon pops, live music, entertainment, and dancing! 

LUK has offered mentoring for 20 years. “We are looking forward to the 10th Annual Kids at Heart Mentoring Gala. This will be the first chance in two years we are coming together in person to celebrate the positive effects of mentoring,” said Hilary Amedy, LUK’s Mentoring Program Coordinator. “The connections that mentors make with their mentees are more important now than ever. Join us in celebrating LUK’s mentors and mentees. Hear from former mentee/mentor matches about their experiences and their stories. Become part of the LUK Mentoring journey!”

LUK, Inc. is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the safety, health, and well-being of youth, families, and adults in Central Massachusetts. As a community based organization, LUK’s mission is to challenge and inspire youth, adults, and families to realize their unique potential through community-based prevention, intervention, education, and support services. 

Tickets are $100 and include entertainment and a catered dinner of your choice. If you are unable to attend, but would like to support this cause, you can bid on silent auction items online or make a donation. Visit to purchase tickets, view auction items, and begin bidding. For more information, visit or email

Bike Camp for Children with Special Needs – Registration Open

CONCORD/GROTON: Emerson Health’s Center for Rehabilitative and Sports Therapies is hosting its 6th annual camp for children and adults with special needs during April school vacation week - April 17-21, 2023. The camp is open to those who are at least eight years old, have a special need, and are able to walk without an assistive device. Trained counselors and spotters work individually with campers to teach them how to ride a conventional bike.

The iCan Bike camp will be held at the hockey rink at Lawrence Academy, 26 Powder House Road, Groton. Participants must be able to attend the same 75 minute daily session during each of the five days of camp. Parents and/or caregivers are required to stay during their camper's 75-minute session where they can observe in the spectator area. For more information and to register, please visit:, or call (978) 589-6774, or email

The camp is run by iCan Shine, a national non-profit organization that teaches individuals with special needs to ride a conventional two-wheel bicycle through its iCan Bike program. Trained professionals, including pediatric physical therapists from Emerson Health, work closely with each camper using adapted bike equipment, to help them meet their goals of biking independently. With 75 minutes of daily instruction over five consecutive days, more than 80% of campers learn to bike independently by the end of camp, and nearly all campers make great progress towards biking on their own. 

“Riding a bike is one of the most exciting developmental milestones - it gives people a wonderful outlet for exercise and freedom and is an activity that families can enjoy together,” said Mary Evans, PT, pediatric therapist, Emerson Health. “We are excited to offer the bike camp to give people individualized instruction and the skills necessary to ride a bike on their own. We know the campers will make tremendous progress this year, as we have seen with hundreds of campers in prior years.”

Sponsors of this year’s bike camp are: The Auxiliary of Emerson Health, Lawrence Academy, Spring Hill Suites, Hilton Garden Inn Devens, Bay State Apparel, Cataldo Gift and Garden Shop, Goodale’s Bike store of Nashua, and The Bike Connector of Lowell.
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Ayer Rental Assistance Program Now Accepting Applications

AYER: Eligible household may receive monthly rental assistance of $500 per month for one year through this program.  A total of 5 grants are available.  Please call the Office of Community and Economic Development (978) 772-8220 x142 or email for more information or follow this link to the application and program guidelines: Applications are due by February 15, 2023

Local Students Named to Dean's List at Fitchburg State

FITCHBURG: Fitchburg State University President Richard S. Lapidus has announced the students who qualified for inclusion on the Dean’s List for the Fall 2022 semester. A student is placed on the Dean’s List for the semester if an average grade of 3.20 or better is attained, and the student is attending the university full time.  Congratulations to:

Acton / Boxborough / Maynard
Catherine Abrams
Yilver A. Aguilera

Zainabu A. Bosungmeh 
Joseph D. Ditavi
Abderrahmane Garchali 

Ryan B. Kidder 
Carl W. Lindberg
Kyle J. Lindfors

Jonah T. Sallese 
Zachary J. St John 
Ayer / Shirley / Groton / Harvard / Devens
Chassity P. Boo 
Kaitlyn M. Bremer 
Jonathan W. Bremer 
Hailey G. Burke 
Savannah D. Caldbeck
Matthew J. Carey 
Andrew T. Esielionis
Emily J. Hanson 
Kayla A. Holland 
Curtis J. Holmes
Kabriana T. Kien 
Ryleigh A. Levensailor 
Brady W. Madigan 
Deven J. Muldoon 
Eli Norton 
Mishayla S. Silver
Megan R. Strout
Mark K. Terhune 
Danielle M. Varner 
Jing Wang
Stephen T. Wells

Chelmsford / North Chelmsford
David E. Kelley 
McKenna G. Moore 
Sara Najm 
Karen A. O'Rourke
Seth E. Rigby

Concord / Carlisle / Bedford
David P. Eisenberg 
Shujiao Liu

Hudson / Stow
Brian K. Boland 
Emily Cristobal 
Molly J. Flanagan
Isaiah French

Emily G. Hallsworth 
Nicholas D. Solimine 
Cameron J. Sousa
Dale A. Sousa 
Courtney M. Walsh

Marlborough / Sudbury
Julia M. Barnes 
Ava E. Hannon 
Kaleigh A. Morales 
Nickolai Voskanian

Westford / Littleton 
Vincent A. Colavita 
Erick K. Gakuo 
Benjamin R. Golash 
Kyanah Long 
Nathan S. Martin 
Edith Masembe 
Adam E. Quinlan 
Alyssa K. Ramirez 
Asha L. Speller 
Benjamin G. Stormwind
Meaghan J. Walsh

Additionally, Fitchburg State University President Richard S. Lapidus has announced the names of students included on the President’s List for the Fall 2022 semester. The President’s List honors students for consistently high academic achievement. A student is named to the list after achieving a 3.75 average in each of three successive semesters.  Congratulations to:

Acton / Boxborough / Maynard
Owen C. Thayer
Chelmsford / North Chelmsford
Alyssa J. Fields
Emily F. Klein 
Sophia A. Piper

Learn more at

ParentChild+ Program now Available Locally

ACTON: ParentChild+ is a FREE home visiting program for families with young children to help parents prepare their child for preschool or kindergarten. First Connections recently received a grant to provide this program to families living in Acton, Bedford, Boxboro, Carlisle, Concord, Harvard, Lincoln, Littleton, Maynard, Sudbury and Westford. An Early Learning Specialist will visit your home twice per week with fun and engaging early learning experiences, including a high-quality book or toy that you can keep. Specialists model reading, conversations and play activities designed to promote language development, pre-literacy skills, and school readiness. Children can enter the program when they are 18-36 months old and participate for 46 weeks, excluding summer and holiday breaks. Families who lack transportation or the financial ability to attend playgroups or preschool will be prioritized to receive this service. Families whose children are watched by family members while they work are eligible, but children enrolled in preschool or child care outside of the home would not be eligible. This program has a 40-year track record of supporting early childhood success. Anyone interested in participating in this program can contact First Connections by emailing or calling/texting Debbie at (978) 505-4429.  

Cannon Theatre Proudly Presents "Seussical, the Musical"

DEVENS: Horton the Elephant, the Cat in the Hat and all of your favorite Dr. Seuss characters spring to life onstage; The Cannon Theatre is pleased to announce Seussical, the Musical! Directed by Tara Tremblett, with music direction by Diane Guenard, this dramatic homage to all things Dr. Seuss transports audiences from the Jungle of Nool to the Circus McGurkus. The mischievous Cat in the Hat narrates the story of Horton the Elephant, who discovers a speck of dust containing tiny people called the Whos. Horton must protect the Whos from a world of naysayers and various perils, and he must also guard an abandoned egg that’s been left in his care by the irresponsible Mayzie La Bird. Although Horton faces ridicule, danger, and a even a court trial, the intrepid Gertrude McFuzz never loses faith in him. The powers of friendship, loyalty, family and community are challenged and ultimately emerge triumphant!

In the cast are: The Cat in the Hat: Kiki Bean (Littleton); Jojo: Audrey Viera (Westford); Horton the Elephant: Julia Peckham (Fitchburg); Gertrude McFuzz: Hannah Abbinanti (Littleton); Sour Kangaroo: Scarlett Desisto (Leominster); Mayzie La Bird: Caroline Nash (Littleton); General Schmitz: Sarah Littlewood (Templeton); Mr Mayor: Ben Sielian (Westford); Mrs. Mayor: Charlotte Nash (Littleton); Young Kangaroo: Maia Lasante (Ayer); Yertle the Turtle: Rosie Habashian (Groton); The Grinch: Ronin McAlevy (Leominster); Bird girls: Kaylee Isble (Lunenburg), Madison Price (Fitchburg), Megan Lopez-Barrera (Leominster), Callie Seager (Groton); Wickersham Brothers: Claire Nash (Littleton), Ronin McAlevey (Leominster), Myka Lewis (Marlborough); Whos/Cadets: Tessa Myers (Ayer), Millie Myers (Ayer), Lilah Faiella (Littleton), Asher Lewis (Marlborough) & ​Rosie Habeshian (Groton).

Show times are January 27, 28, February 3 and 4 at 7pm, with matinees on January 29, February 4 and 5 at 2pm. Tickets are available at, and are $25 for adults, $20 for students/seniors, and $15 for children aged 10 and under. The actors will be performing on stage without masks. The Cannon Theatre appreciates the cooperation of their audience members in helping to keep these performers healthy. Please visit for up-to-date Covid Safety Protocols.

The Cannon Theatre’s youth programs are funded in part by a grant from the Community Foundation for North Central Massachusetts. Several cast members’ program tuition was covered by generous funding from the Local Cultural Councils of Acton-Boxborough, Ayer, Groton, Harvard, Littleton, Lunenburg, Townsend, and Shirley - local agencies which are supported by Mass Cultural Council, a state agency.

Winter Warfare at Fort Devens Museum

DEVENS:  Former Army Officer Mark Deuger will give a presentation on Winter Warfare at 1pm on January 21 at the Fort Devens Museum. Deuger served in the Infantry and Special Forces in Alaska, Massachusetts (Fort Devens), and Colorado, among other assignments. He participated in a wide range of training in arctic and mountain environments including the Norwegian Winter Warfare School. This presentation will include information from his own training as well as practical winter survival skills.

The Fort Devens Museum is located at 94 Jackson Road on the third floor and is wheelchair accessible. The museum is open on January 21 from 10am-3pm.  This event is free and open to the public. More information is available at

FY23 3rd Quarter Real Estate / Personal Property Tax bills are due February 1, 2023 

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AYER: FY23 Third and Fourth Quarter Real Estate/Personal Property Tax bills have been mailed. Third quarter bills are due by February 1, 2023. Cash, check and credit/debit card payments accepted at the counter during Town Hall hours, (Monday, Wednesday, Friday 8am–4pm; Tuesday 8am–6pm; Friday 8am-2pm).
For your after-hours convenience, a secure Tax Collector drop box is located outside the Columbia Street entrance to Town Hall for checks only. Make checks payable to the “Town of Ayer.”

You can search for and pay your bill online using UNIPAY. Payments are accepted by e-check, debit card or credit card. You can find the Online Payments link on the Town website.  Select Online Payments, Collector.

Do you use the Bill Pay function with your Bank? The PO Box address for payments has changed. Remit Payments to: Town of Ayer, MA, Department 1100, PO Box 986535, Boston, MA 02298-6535. Make sure to update this address or it may result in delinquent payments.
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Join a Book Club at the Lunenburg Library in 2023!

LUNENBURG: If your New Year’s resolution includes reading more books, meeting new people, and expanding your literary horizons, consider joining one of our Library run book clubs to fulfill them all! Starting in 2023, the Lunenburg Library will host several monthly book clubs and discussion groups for various ages and reading interests.
Adults interested in a weekday morning book club are welcome to join our new "100 Books Bucket List" Book Club meeting on January 3 at 11am. The inspiration for this book club is a "100 Books Bucket List" scratch-off poster hanging in our Library entryway. The poster will be used to choose our next title every month by drawing a number and scratching off that space to reveal our read. Titles range from epic classics, to short stories, and modern masterpieces both fiction and nonfiction. For January: Square #17: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. No registration is required, and participation can vary month-to-month. Can’t make this one? This Club meets on the first Tuesday of each month at 11am in the Library conference room.
Avid readers of young adult materials are encouraged to join our “(Not So) Young Adult Book Club” which launches on January 8 at 11am! The “(Not So) Young Adult Book Club” is for those adults who love reading YA books (you know who you are) but teens are totally welcome to join us too! At this meeting, we'll be discussing The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, copies are available at the library. If you're interested in YA books and participating in this book club, please come to this first meeting even if you haven't read the book! Registration is suggested so we can plan, but not required. You are more than welcome to come to book club even if you did not sign up in advance.
And finally, our new tween book club – “First Bites Book Club” for kids in grades 5-7 (ages 10-13) will kick off on January 18 at 4pm. First Bites is a book club where you don't have to read a book ahead of time to participate! Snacks will be provided, so please register ahead of time to ensure we have enough supplies. Join Miss Debbie and Teen Librarian Susan as they read the first chapter of a middle grade book out loud. Then everyone can discuss their first impressions of the book and what they think the book is about. If anyone is interested in reading more, the library will have plenty of copies on hand for you to take home. Each month will be a different book and different snacks.
Keep up-to-date with the latest book club meetings, and other exciting Library programs available for all ages, online at
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Action Holiday BINGO! Wrapping Up Soon

Have you been playing The Action's Winter BINGO! this season?  The game will be wrapping up soon, so be sure to dab your numbers, cross your fingers, and when you find yourself with a row completed horizontally, vertically or diagonally, copy or scan your cards and send them to "" or 100-1 Domino Drive, Concord, MA 01742.  One winner will be drawn from all verified submissions.

December Holiday Vacation Week Activities at Lunenburg Public Library

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LUNENBURG: Here are a few things to consider to help pass vacation time during the holiday break at Lunenburg Public Library!

December 27, LEGO Challenge, 6-7pm
Calling all Lego builders! Visit the Story Craft Room to spend an hour building with Legos! There will be a Lego challenge for you to do with a variety of random Legos, or you can just build! At the end of the hour, your creation will be put on display in the library for everyone to see and admire! This month, LPL is going to apply STEM principles to a  holiday activity for kids - LEGO Santa Sleigh! All ages welcome. Registration is required: 

December 28, “ All About Bears” Program with Mass Audubon, 11am
This is a special Storytime event for kids Ages 4-10. The program includes a story, natural history presentation, craft and a game. Registration is required: 

December 29, Family Crafternoon - TWO Sessions: 1:30 & 2:30pm
Make a new family craft activity for all ages building a no-sew rice filled sock snowman! Bring your creativity to assemble your own unique snow buddy... and this one will never melt once winter ends! There'll be lots of colors, embellishments, and styles to pick from in this family craft activity. All materials will be provided. You just have the fun!  Recommended for ages 5+ with adult assistance. Registration is required:
1:30 registration -
2:30 registration -

For more information, visit

Ayer Cultural Council Announces 2023 Grant Recipients

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AYER: The Ayer Cultural Council (ACC) is pleased to announce the recipients of their 2023 Grant funds. The largest grassroots cultural funding network in the nation, the Massachusetts Cultural Council’s Local Cultural Council (LCC) Program enriches the cultural life of all cities and towns in the state. Led by municipally appointed volunteers, LCCs award over $4 million every year, supporting 6,000 cultural programs that include everything from field trips to lectures, festivals, and dance performances. Through State authorized funding, as well as locally raised funds, the Ayer Cultural Council this year was able to offer over $10,000 in funds to local artists, performers, schools and other organizations.  Included in the 2023 recipients are:

- Ayer Library (Summer Reading 2023);
- ASRHS Drama Club;
- Davis Bates III (Thanksgiving Harvest );
- Marcos Valles (Rockabye Beats);
- Harvard Town Band Holiday Concert;
- Devens Historical Museum (Project Summertime);
- Clear Path for Veterans New England (Ukulele & Guitar Lessons);
- Discovery Museum (Open Door Connections);
- Virginia Thurston Healing Garden (Visual Arts Therapy);
- Sandra Regan ("WOW" Handmade Greeting Cards);
- Cannon Theatre (Youth Tuition Support);
- Yin Peet (2023 CAI Stone Carving Symposium);
- Ann-Marie LaBollita (Printmaking with Plants & Stencils);
- Lisa Kempskie (American Originals);
- IridESSENCE Community Health Collaborative (Ageless Grace);
- Johnny Appleseed Trail Association (Cultural Component Enhancements);
- Groton Hill Music (Bach's Lunch Concert Series);
- Nashoba Valley Chorale (Wake Up, My Spirit);
- Fitchburg Art Museum (87th Regional Exhibition of Art & Craft);
- Acton Community Chorus (Snow Angel Concert);
- Robert Zammarchi (Rainbow Dance Party!);
- Sizer Foundation (Studs Turkel's "Working");
- Francis Hart (The "Me" Decade Review); and
- Maitreyee Chakraborty (Melodic Times).

The Ayer Cultural Council (ACC) is a group of town-appointed volunteers who seek to expand the cultural experiences for the residents of Ayer. It is their belief that these programs support a growing and vibrant town, fostering a strong sense of community among residents while making the town appealing to newcomers. Cultural Council Grants are reviewed and issued each Fall.  For information about the Council, you can visit them online via the Town website, on Facebook (ayermalcc), or at  You can also email

Fitchburg State University Holds 126th Commencement Exercises, Winter Ceremony

FITCHBURG: Fitchburg State University held the winter ceremony of its 126th commencement exercises on December 16. President Richard S. Lapidus gave the commencement address at the ceremony, where undergraduate and graduate degrees were conferred. The graduating class included students from 30 states and four countries. Lapidus highlighted stories of perseverance from the graduating class and encouraged the graduates to continue to show resilience and courage as they chart their future paths.
Student speakers also addressed the graduates and guests. Graduate Student Leadership Award recipient Spencer Fuller, a member of the Northborough Police Department, completed his Master of Science degree in criminal justice. He also completed his Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice at Fitchburg State as part of the university’s five-year police program, whose graduates receive certification to work in municipal police departments in Massachusetts and other New England states. Fuller was nominated for the award by university faculty, who described his leadership skills as a mentor and role model to younger students.
“You can truly find success in your life when you start to see the people around you succeeding and you start finding happiness in their success,” said Fuller, who cited Fitchburg State Police Academy Director Lisa Lane MCarty as a key mentor. “She displays all the qualities that make someone a great leader: selfless acts for the benefit of others. She puts other people above herself, in order to help these people succeed.”
The undergraduate valedictorian was Helen “Hallie” Dyer of Westwood, who completed her Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice, also through the university’s police program. Dyer, who had a perfect 4.0 grade point average, described the challenges of the undergraduates who navigated the disruptions of the COVID pandemic during their studies.
“In the months of being isolated from that community to which I had become connected, I realized just how much all my new relationships meant to me,” Dyer said. “I realized while getting through some of the most challenging transitions in my education that I am not in a vacuum; the support of my friends and family is what allowed me to be as resilient as I was. When we returned to campus, that same sense of community remained, and I made a decision that I didn’t want to forget how important it was. I realized that growth is not just academic achievement; it’s community, it’s grace under pressure, it’s overcoming adversity when challenges arise.” 
View the ceremony, filmed by Fitchburg Access Television, on the university’s YouTube page at
FSU Graduation List - Summer 2022

- Nicole  Florio, BS - Nursing, RN to BS
- Pramila  Rao, BS - Nursing, RN to BS

- Mark  J. Rodriquenz, MED Curriculum & Teaching

- James H. Briere, BS Communications Media
- Christopher  T. Ersing, MBA Business Administration
- Nicholas  D. Rand, MED Curriculum & Teaching

- Kevin  Yarkosky, MED Curriculum & Teaching

- Samantha  L. Cutler, MED Curriculum & Teaching

- Lisa  Nogueira-Fei, BS Nursing, RN to BS

- Yeoun  S. Kim, BS Nursing, RN to BS
- Meghan  R. O’Neil, BS Biology
Peer mentor and principal

Parker School Opens 2023-24 Enrollment Season

DEVENS: Francis W. Parker Charter Essential School announced the enrollment season for the 2023-2024 academic year is now open. Parker is a free public charter school open by lottery to students entering grades 7, 8 and 9. Applications can be submitted online at until February 1, 2023. The lottery will be held on February 7, 2023 at 4pm. All application, lottery, and enrollment regulations, as outlined in the enrollment policy will be followed.

In addition, Parker has limited openings in grades 7 and 9 for mid-year entry during the current (2022-23) school year. There are no openings in grade 8 for the 2022-23 school year at this time. Applications for the current school year can be submitted online and will be accepted until January 4, 2023. If more applications are received than there are available spaces, a lottery will be drawn on January 12, 2023 at 4pm. Enrollment offers will be made with an intended start date of the first day of second semester (January 24, 2023).

Parker Charter School educates 400 students in grades 7-12 from more than 40 towns in Massachusetts. Founded in 1995, Parker is committed to the principles of progressive education—inclusive community, low student-teacher ratio, project-based learning, and promotion based on mastery of core intellectual skills. Learn more at Sign up for an information session at

Transfer Station Holiday Schedule

AYER: The following is the Ayer Transfer Station's holiday hours schedule:

  • Saturday, December 24th, 7-11am
  • Sunday, December 25th, CLOSED
New Years
  • Saturday, December 31st, 7-11am
  • Sunday, January 1st, CLOSED

Please dispose of your wrapping paper in Town of Ayer trash bags. Christmas trees can be disposed of at the Transfer Station on regular days of operation (Ayer residents with valid vehicle stickers only.)

Polar Express Storytime at LPL

LUNENBURG: On December 20 at 6pm, Lunenburg Public Library's Children’s Librarian Debbie Laffond is inviting one of Santa’s favorite elves to share the holiday classic "The Polar Express" by Chris Van Allsburg with children of all ages and their families. Everyone is invited to don their pj’s, bring along a favorite stuffed animal friend or blanket and get comfortable in the Children’s Area as the story is read. Registration required at

Seasonal Wreaths at Nashoba Park

AYER: Residents of Nashoba Park got in the holiday spirit with some beautiful personalized wreaths for their apartment doors! Residents pictured engaging in this activity are Kathy Aborn, Richard Parker, Mary Bishop, and Dorothy Murphy.

FINANCIAL FOCUS: What to Know about Sustainable Investing

December 6, 2022
You may have heard about “sustainable investing.”  But if you're not familiar with it, you may have some questions: What does it involve? Is it right for me? Can I follow a sustainable investing strategy and still get the portfolio performance I need to reach my goals?

Sustainable investing can be defined in different ways, with different terminologies. However, one way to look at a sustainable approach is by thinking of it as investing in a socially conscious way which may involve two broad categories: environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing and values-based investing.

As its name suggests, ESG investing incorporates a broad range of environmental, social and governance risks and opportunities, along with traditional financial measures, when making investment decisions. This approach may have a neutral impact on performance because it maintains a focus on managing risk, traditional fundamental analysis and diversification. Here's a quick look at the ESG elements:

    • Environmental – Companies  may work to reduce carbon emissions, invest in renewable energy, decrease pollution and conserve water resources.
    • Social – A business  may promote gender and pay equality within its workforce, and maintain positive labor relations and safe working conditions for employees.
    • Governance – Companies distinguished by good governance may institute strong ethics policies, provide transparent financial reporting and set policies to ensure it has an independent, objective board of directors.

You can pursue an ESG investing approach through individual stocks, mutual funds or exchange-traded funds (ETFs), which hold a variety of investments similar to mutual funds, but are generally passively managed – that is, they do little or no trading. As an ESG investor, you don't necessarily have to sacrifice performance because ESG investments generally fare about as well as the wider investment universe. Some investments may even gain from the ESG approach. For example, a company that invests in renewable energy may benefit from the move away from fossil fuel sources.

Now, let's move on to values-based investing. When you follow a values-based approach, you can focus on specific themes where you may choose to include or exclude certain types of investments that align with your personal values.

So, you could refrain from investing in segments of the market, such as tobacco or firearms, or in companies that engage in certain business practices, such as animal testing. On the other hand, you could actively seek out investments that align with your values. For instance, if you’re interested in climate change, you could invest in a mutual fund or ETF that contains companies in the solar or clean energy industries.

One potential limitation of values-based investing is that it may decrease the diversification of your portfolio and lead to materially lower returns due to narrowly focused investments, prioritization of non-financial goals and too many exclusions.

Ultimately, if you choose to include a sustainable investing approach, you will want – as you do in any investing scenario – to choose those investments that are suitable for your goals, risk tolerance and time horizon.

If sustainable investing interests you, give it some thought – you may find it rewarding to match your money with your beliefs.

This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor Mandy Calouro, Chelmsford, MA. - Edward Jones, Member SIPC
Blue christmas 2021

‘Blue Christmas’ Vigil of Hope and Healing

GROTON: Union Congregational Church of Groton is hosting a community-wide ‘Blue Christmas’ service for all who find the holidays emotionally difficult. This special worship service will take place on December 18 at 6pm in the church’s sanctuary. This community event is open to all, whether you belong to this church, a different church, or no church at all.  
“The past few years have been difficult for so many people,” says Rev. Corey Sanderson. “The people of this church wanted to do something for the wider community to help ease some of the burdens that people are carrying. This night 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, music from our Handbell Choir, 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 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 hurts we are experiencing. ‘Blue Christmas’ creates a safe space to honor our losses and grief, even as we are reminded that brighter days are now upon us.  The final weeks of December have the longest nights of the year, but from this point on the nights will be getting shorter and the days will be getting brighter. Light, hope, community, prayer, and healing belong to us all. 
“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.”    

Union Congregational Church is located at 218 Main Street. They can be found on the web at and on Facebook.

The Cannon Theatre Proudly Presents "It's a Wonderul Life: A Radio Play"

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DEVENS: The Cannon Theatre is pleased to announce their holiday show, a 1940's radio show interpretation of It’s a Wonderful Life, in celebration of the 75th anniversary of this timeless classic. Directed by Shawn Cannon, this live radio play is based on the beloved holiday movie, with a clever twist thrown in: the story is staged as a radio broadcast, with you as the live studio audience! Actors portray numerous characters, a live quartet sings holiday tunes, and fun sound effects are created onstage by three creative Foley artists.

It’s a Wonderful Life is about the life of George Bailey, a generous and well-meaning man who has become too downcast and tired to continue living. It will take help from a lovable angel, Clarence, to show George what life would be like if he wasn’t born for George to have a change of heart and understand the true spirit of the holidays.

In the spirit of the holiday season, The Cannon Theatre will be collecting donations for Stone Soup Kitchen, a local charity based in Ayer that feeds anyone who needs a hot meal, pantry supplies, or some loving community support. Cash donations are most appreciated, but nonperishable, not-expired food items will also be accepted at the theater.

Show times are December 9 and 10 at 7:30pm, with matinees on December 10and 11 at 2pm. Tickets are available at, and are $25 for adults, and $20 for students/seniors.

FINANCIAL FOCUS: Protect Financial Accounts From “Cyberthieves”

November 29, 2022
Cybercrime is booming. In 2021, the FBI reported that cybercriminals scammed nearly $7 billion from Americans — a figure slightly higher than the gross domestic product (GDP) of Switzerland for that year, according to research organization World Economics. How can you protect yourself from cyberthieves? Here are some suggestions that can help:
  • Watch out for “phishing” attempts. You may receive emails that appear to be from a legitimate firm, requesting information your financial institution would never request online — confirmation of an account number, password, Social Security number, credit card number and so on. These notes can look official, often incorporating a firm’s logo, so pay close attention to what’s being asked of you.
  • Think twice before clicking or downloading. If you are suspicious about a communication, don’t click on a link or download an attachment — instead, go to your financial firm’s website or use their app to verify they sent the information or request.
  • Become adept with passwords. Use a different password for each of your accounts and change your passwords regularly. Of course, maintaining multiple passwords can be confusing, so you might want to consider using password management software, which generates passwords, stores them in an encrypted database and locks them behind a master password — which is the only one you’ll need to remember.
  • Use your own devices. Try to avoid using public computers or devices that aren’t yours to access your financial accounts. If you do use another computer, clear your browsing history after you log out of your account.
  • Be cautious about using Wi-Fi when traveling. When you’re on the road, you may want to use public hotspots, such as wireless networks in airports and hotels. But many people don’t realize that these hotspots reduce their security settings to make access easier, which, in turn, makes it easier for cyberthieves to intercept your information. In fact, some hackers even build their own public hotspots to draw in internet-seekers in an effort to commit theft. So, if at all possible, wait until you can access a trusted, encrypted network before engaging in any communications or activity involving your financial accounts.
  • Don’t give up control of your computer. Under no circumstances should you provide remote access to your computer to a stranger who contacts you, possibly with an offer to help “disinfect” your computer. If you do think your device has an issue with malicious software, contact a legitimate technician for assistance.
  • Know whom you’re calling for help. If you need assistance from, say, a customer service area of a financial institution, make sure you know the phone number is accurate and legitimate — possibly one from a billing or confirmation statement. Some people have been scammed by Googling “support” numbers that belonged to fraudsters who asked for sensitive information.
  • Review all correspondence with your financial services provider. Keep a close eye on your account activity and statements. If you see mistakes or unauthorized activity in your account, contact your financial institution immediately.

Advanced technology has brought many benefits, but also many more opportunities for financial crimes. By taking the above steps, and others that may be needed, you can go a long way toward defending yourself against persistent and clever cyberthieves.

This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor Preston Carbone, Westford, MA  -, Edward Jones, Member SIPC