Mass Cultural Council – Ayer Community Input Survey – Deadline June 30, 2023

AYER: The Ayer Cultural Council is collecting opinions from Ayer Residents to help them set future funding priorities.  Please take a moment to print out the Input Survey and return to the Ayer Select Board Office at Town Hall by June 30, 2023.  Surveys are also available at the Ayer Select Board Office at Town Hall; the Ayer Senior Center; and the Ayer Library. Click here to download the survey.
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Devens Regional Household Hazardous Products Collection Center

DEVENS: Did you know? The Devens Regional Household Hazardous Products Collection Center at 9 Cook Street is open to residents, employees, and pre-qualified small businesses of Stow and member towns. The Center is open on the first Wednesday and the following Saturday from 9am-1pm, March to December. The next dates are June 7 and 10. For the Devens HHW website, visit https://devenshhw.com.

Member Towns: Ashby-Ayer-Bolton-Clinton-Devens-Groton-Harvard-Lancaster-Littleton-Lunenburg-Pepperell-Shirley-Stow-Townsend. Open to residents, employees, and pre-qualified small businesses.

Please note: The Stow Board of Health office no longer accepts batteries and products containing mercury (such as fluorescent bulbs and thermometers). The office will still be providing the sharps disposal program.
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MA PFAS & Your Health Study in Ayer - Why Wait?

AYER: New lawn signs are going up soon to let Ayer current and former residents know that they can sign up for the PFAS health study this spring and summer!  No need to take your kids out of school - and kids are especially needed! This is a one-time blood and urine test for any PFAS (Forever) chemicals that may be in your body. YOU WILL GET THE RESULTS of your PFAS, as well as a full panel of other blood chemistry that you can share with your doctor.  Adults also get up to $50 in a choice of gift cards, children under 18 get up to $75.

Please help scientists learn about any health impacts from PFAS expsoures ~ be a part of this really important study!  To learn more or to sign up go to http://bit.ly/ma-pfas or call (978) 212-9733.  (This is a Hudson, MA number). It’s quick and simple!
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Mosquito Control

AYER: Central Massachusetts Mosquito Control Project personnel will be in the Ayer community to respond to residents' concerns about mosquitoes in the area on May 30, June 5, 12, 20 and 26. Any of the above dates are tentative especially May 30-June 1, and all dates are subject to change due to weather conditions, mosquito populations, mosquito virus activity and/or special event spraying. This program will shut down when cool night time temperatures become predominant in the area.
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Celebrate 250 Years with the First Parish Meeting House

SHIRLEY: The First Parish Meeting House is celebrating its 250th birthday in 2023. The meetinghouse was not always located where it is now and it did not always look like it does today. Since 1773, it has been located on the historic Shirley Common, and its doors are open to the people of Shirley for town meetings, worship and community celebrations. There are many upcoming events at the Meeting House including:

6/25, 1pm: Music on the Porch - Summertime Jazz Band
7/15, 7pm: The Old Peabody Pew by Kate Douglas Wiggin, a staged reading performed by ShirleyArts!
7/22, 7pm: Tedesco Duo
7/23, 1pm: Music on the Porch - Nancy Beaudette

... and more in the months that follow.

To learn about the history of this special building, stop by for a visit to see a pictorial display and exhibit of artifacts at the Historical Society’s museum building at 182 Center Road.  For more information, visit www.shirleymeetinghouse.org.
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NRWA Eco-Adventure Summer Survival Fun Week 

GROTON: The Nashua River Watershed Association (NRWA) invites 11 to 14 year olds from all communities to participate in their Summer Survival Fun Week, a four-day program running from July 10-14, 9am-3pm each day. Venture into the woods, fields, and hills of Groton hiking, tracking, and building shelters. Spend a full day canoeing on the Squannacook River. During these adventures, participants will learn outdoor survival skills, study local plant and animal life, and engage in team building games. All activities are guided by NRWA’s professional educators and naturalists, including River Classroom Director Stacey Chilcoat. This program is based at the NRWA River Resource Center, 592 Main Street (Rt. 119). The fee for this 4-day program is $300 for NRWA members and $330 for non-members.  Pre-registration is required; limited spaces available. Register at www.NashuaRiverWatershed.org, under Upcoming Programs. For more information, please call (978) 448-0299, or email registration@NashuaRiverWatershed.org.
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Ayer+Devens 2033 Study & Report Committee: Expressions of Interest to Serve

AYER: The Town of Ayer, through the Ayer Select Board and the Office of the Ayer Town Manager, are pleased to notify the residents of Ayer of this noteworthy opportunity for local civic service as an appointed member of the “Ayer+Devens 2033 Study & Report Committee”. The Town of Ayer seeks and requests “Expressions of Interest to Serve” on the Committee from Ayer residents. The appointee/s term of service and Committee meeting schedule will be determined through the Committee establishment process. The production of the “Study” and final “Joint Report” will likely require a process in excess of 2-3 years. The process will afford the opportunity for a smooth succession of new committee members being appointed, if needed, as the “Study & Report” process advances to completion.
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Volunteer Still Sought for Invasive Water Chestnut Pull from Grove Pond

AYER: After only four pull sessions, groups of hard-working volunteers have pulled a total of 64 laundry baskets full of these invasive beasts! I calculated that to be 28,800 plants!  (My neurotic side had me count 2 separate baskets: 446 in one, 450 in the other! Do the math!)  And there are more, MANY more!  The plants are young, making their removal super easy!  People of Ayer Concerned with the Environment (PACE) invites you to sign up for as many dates as you can this June, July and probably August, too!  We can provide canoes, life jackets, paddles, and paddling instructions, if needed. All we need is YOU!  For more information and to sign up, please go to tinyurl.com/23AyerPULL. Hope to see you there!
- Laurie Nehring, President, PACE

Grant support gratefully provided by Nashua River Wild & Scenic Stewardship Council.

Construction Notification - Third Street Water & Drainage Improvements

AYER: The Ayer Department of Public Works (DPW) and its Contractor, CHB Excavating, will be replacing underground water and drainage infrastructure on Third Street. Work is planned to start as soon as May 30 and is anticipated to be complete by the end of this summer. The project includes replacement of water mains, hydrants, valves, drainage pipe, and catch basins. Water services for homes on Third Street will be replaced from the new water main to the home’s property line.
Homes on Third Street will be connected to a temporary above-ground water main during the duration of water main replacement. The temporary water main will be installed just off the edge of the road. The temporary water main will be buried in shallow trenches or installed at grade and covered for a proper ramp across driveways.

Temporary interruptions of water service may be required. DPW will deliver notices to any effected residence at least 48 hours prior to any planned interruption of water service. Third Street will remain open to local traffic and to public safety vehicles. Trenches will be temporarily covered with steel plates and repaved at minimum once per week. Ayer DPW plans to resurface Third Street (full width and length) in 2024.

Work hours are limited to 7am-4pm, Monday-Friday. Ayer DPW will be on site inspecting the work. If you have questions, please call DPW at (978) 772-8240 (7:30am-3:30pm) or email mhernon@ayer.ma.us.

West Main Street Project Final Paving on Wednesday, May 24, 2023

AYER: IMPORTANT NOTICE:The West Main Street Infrastructure Project (West Ayer Village) is nearing completion. Final paving is scheduled for May 24 (weather permitting). The Contractor will pave top course on West Main Street from Sculley Road to the Verbeck Gate. In order to complete this work within a day, work will begin at 5am. Initially, the contractor will mill the approaches for a clean connection of the top course asphalt. Followed by top course paving. No detours are planned but there will be delays. Seek alternate routes. Police details will be onsite to direct traffic and detour signage is in place.

The Lost Towns of the Swift River Valley:  Author Historian Elena Palladino Tells Their Stories

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WEST GROTON: At its completion, in 1946, the Quabbin Reservoir, built to serve Greater Boston’s growing population, was hailed an engineering marvel. The solution to Boston’s water shortage looked seamless. But what of the cost in human terms? Writer-historian Elena Palladino explores this complex question in her book, Lost Towns of the Swift River Valley: Drowned by the Quabbin (The History Press, 2022). To make way for the reservoir, she explains, in 1939, the Swift River Valley towns of Enfield, Dana, Greenwich, and Prescott were drowned under 412 billion gallons of water. More than 2,000 people lost their homes, their livelihoods, their communities, and the very ground under their feet. The dead too were relocated: 7,500 former residents were exhumed and reinterred on higher, dryer ground.  The Swift River itself was shut off.

Join Elena Palladino for the stories behind the story of the Quabbin Reservoir, as seen through the eyes of three prominent Swift River Valley residents, and spanning the years between 1840 and 1960. Palladino will share some of the many vivid stories of these lost towns on June 4, from 2-4pm at the Groton (Senior) Center, 163 West Main Street (Route 225). Hosted by the Groton History Center, all are cordially invited to attend free of charge, thanks to the Groton Commissioners of Trust Funds. Donations are welcome.

Elena Palladino, who works in higher education in Western Massachusetts, lives in the house built by Marion Smith, one of the three key figures in the book. History, it seems, keeps spiraling through our lives.  
Signed copies of The Lost Towns of the Swift River Valley will be available to purchase after the talk. 
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Postal Worker Food Drive a Huge Success

DEVENS: Thanks to the generosity of area communities, over 25,000 pounds of food was donated to the Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry during the annual Postal Worker Food Drive on May 13th! It was a major effort between Post Masters, letter carriers, Pantry volunteers and of course many generous donors. On behalf of everyone at Loaves & Fishes and most importantly our neighbors who visit the Pantry for help, our heartfelt thanks. You have truly made a difference!
Patricia A. Stern, Executive Director

Annual ShirleyFest Returns June 3


ShirleyFest is the annual community event on Shirley Center Common and this year it will be held on June 3 from 11am-5pm. Thanks to funding from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the day will start with a concert by the Ayer-Shirley High School Jazz Band and end with a concert by the Nashoba Valley Concert Band. In between will be a variety of local rock and folk groups, dance groups, and a magic show.

For the shoppers, a variety of craftspeople will bring their creations. Local organizations will have information booths and raffles. There will be plenty of food tables from hamburgers, sausages, chicken and salads to slushies and pies for dessert. For the kids, there will be the dunk tank, the egg toss, free craft activities, and an insect petting zoo.

Bring your picnic blanket and lawn chairs and stay all day. GPS 41 Brown Road. Free admission and plenty of free parking.  Visit ShirleyFest online and follow them on Facebook. For questions, email email@shirleyarts.info.

Author Caitlin Macy Visits with the Prescott Center

GROTON: Presented by the Prescott Community Center, Caitlin Macy, the recipient of the O. Henry Award for short stories of exceptional merit, will discuss her writing process of creating novels, short stories, fiction, and memoir at Prescott Community Center on May 22 from 7-8:30pm via Zoom. She will then share her thoughts about starting—and finishing!—a manuscript and books that influence her. Finally, growing up in Groton in the ’70s and ’80s, she will talk about how living in Groton was a boon for her writing. Admission is $20.  This event is for ages 14+. Visit https://prescottscc.org/product/guest-author-caitlin-macy to register.

Jim Infantino with Jesse Flack at notloB Parlour Concerts    

HARVARD: notloB's first concert was Sometymes Why, presented June 2, 2007 at the Loring-Greenough House in Jamaica Plain. 16 years to the day and 212 concerts later, it will be celebrating its 16th anniversary on June 2, 2023 with notloB veteran Jim Infantino, “songwriter, novelist, nerd” supported by Jesse Flack, who, together, comprise half of Jim's Big Ego – “the greatest band in the history of recorded music”. Doors open at 7pm for the 7:30pm concert at Fivesparks, 7 Fairbank Street, Harvard.  Admission is by free-will offering, $25 suggested for adults, $15-$20 for teens and seniors $15-20; $10 for children. 100% of patron donations go to the artist. For reservations visit http://notlobmusic.eventbrite.com.

“Jim's Big Ego's secret to awesomeness is singer, songwriter, and all around super-genius, Jim Infantino. Armed with the innate ability to create songs that are more brilliant than all others in history, Infantino gives the band the gift of greatness.” Or so says its own publicity. Infantino grew up in the Manhattan of the 70s and 80s where he met Dave Van Ronk. He studied Philosophy moved to Boston to become a songwriter and busker. After playing the local coffeehouses and touring with Ellis Paul, Jon Svetkey & Brian Doser under the name End Construction Productions, as well as two separate tours with Chris Chander and Dar Williams, he formed a band called Jim’s Big Ego. He has 7 albums with his band and 2 solo recordings. His songs have been featured on the Doctor Demento Show, and NPR. In 2012, after years of touring with his band, Jim got the inspiration for a story too large to fit into song and began writing his debut novel. He is currently working on a new book, and two new sets of recordings to be released later this year.
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Shirley Dems Set Caucus Date

SHIRLEY: On June 10 at 10am, Shirley Democrats will convene at the Hazen Memorial Library, 3 Keady Way, to elect two delegates and one alternate to represent Shirley at the 2023 State Democratic Convention. Registration of attendees will open at 10am and close at 10:45am.  This will be a hybrid meeting, both in-person and virtual. For the Zoom link to the meeting, email ShirleyDTC@yahoo.com.
Registered and pre-registered Democrats in Shirley, 16 years old by April 27, 2023, may vote and be elected as delegates or alternates during the caucus. Youth (age 16 to 35), people with disabilities, people of color, and members of the LGBTQ+ community not elected as delegates or alternates, are encouraged to apply to be ‘add-on delegates’ at the caucus or by visiting massdems.org/convention.

The 2023 Convention will be a hybrid convention, with in-person proceedings taking place alongside virtual participation options. The Convention will be held on September 23, 2023, at the Tsongas Convention Center in Lowell, to adopt a Party Agenda and/or Platform by a majority vote of Convention delegates present and voting based upon the recommendation, subject to amendments, of the Party Agenda or Platform Committee.
For more information, email ShirleyDTC@yahoo.com or visit @DTCShirley on Facebook and Twitter, or bit.ly/ShirleyDems.
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Water Chestnut Pull Campaign at Grove Pond 

AYER: The Water Chestnut Pull in Ayer has a successful start! Says Laurie Nehring, President of PACE, "I don't think I'm exaggerating when I share that last Saturday was THE BEST DAY EVER for pulling the sprouted water chestnuts from Grove Pond!  With our team of 13 people, including two children and one HS Senior, and several "65+" Seniors, we managed to FILL 16 (that's SIXTEEN!!) baskets!  Each basket may have contained 4 to 500 plants- this is a tremendous impact on their removal!"
That GOLDEN WINDOW is HERE!  The plants are still small, and pull up very easily.  If you can help any part of the next three weeks, sign up!  Together, you can make a huge difference on tackling this horrible invasive! The next dates are:
  • Sat. May 20; 9:30am -12:30pm
  • Tue. May 23: 9:30am - 12:30pm
  • Th.  May 25; 4-6:30pm
  • Sat. May 27; 3:30-6:30pm 

More info and signup at  tinyurl.com/23AyerPULL.

Nashoba Park Holds Food Drive for Stone Soup Kitchen

AYER: Nashoba Park Assisted Living recently held a successful food drive for Stone Soup Kitchen Ministries. Residents, families and associates enjoyed coming together to collect donations for a good cause. Nashoba Park has held a food drive each year for the Stone Soup Kitchen since 2021. Learn more at www.NashobaPark.com.
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Revolutionary War Cannon on View at the GHC’s Open House      

The 1,200-pound Revolutionary War cannon on view at the Groton History Center’s May 20 Open House brings our rebel colonial roots to life in a novel and exciting way.

GROTON: In May 1775, a militia led by Groton’s Asa Lawrence seized the cannon from the HMS Diana, mired in Chelsea Creek, and used it against the British at the Battle of Bunker Hill. Through a circuitous route, the cannon wound up at Mathias Farnsworth’s farm in Groton, where it rusticated (in various places around town) for the next 200 years before its whereabouts came to light in 1972.  The details are richer and more colorful.

Stop by the Boutwell House, at 172 Main Street on May 20, from 11am-2pm to see the cannon and learn about its remarkable role in the colonists’ fight for liberty.
Well worth its weight in historical importance, and brought to a high polish by Groton resident Earl Carter’s meticulous restoration, the cannon is a featured attraction in the month-long series of events, Hidden Treasures: A Festival of Nature, Culture & History, designated by the Freedom’s Way National Heritage Area.

As an added attraction, visitors are welcome to step inside the Boutwell House for a tour or a self-guided stroll through this elegant 1851 Italianate home of Governor Boutwell and his family. The GHC’s current display of Early Groton Industries (including photographs, documents, and memorabilia) remains on display. These events are free and open to all. For more information visit www.grotonhistory.org/programsfacebook.com/grotonhistory/https://freedomsway.org/hidden-treasures/; or call (978) 448-0092.
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“Reading” Camp Devens Panoramic Photos

DEVENS: Long before panorama was an option on modern smartphone camera apps, the panoramic photograph was a popular way to capture large groups of people, city streets, or sprawling landscapes. It was during the early 20th century that these photographs saw their heyday. During World War I, it became standard practice to take panoramic photographs of military units. These long Army photographs documented soldiers stateside and overseas, from 20,000-plus men in a Division photo to 150 men in a Company photo. Often, buildings, equipment, and vehicles are visible either in the background or prominently on display.

On May 20 at 1pm the Fort Devens Museum will present “Reading Camp Devens Panoramic Photographs.” Drawing from an extensive collections of pictures, “zoom in” to see the details captured by the photographer and understand what these elements tell us. A sign in the background announces a camp quarantine.  A too-tight coat straining at the buttons suggests the camp supply had run out of commonly-issued sizes.  Chevrons on the left uniform sleeve indicate overseas service. Outdated Spanish-American War rifles in the hands of each soldier show us how American industry initially could not meet wartime production needs.

The Fort Devens Museum is located at 94 Jackson Road, on the third floor, and is wheelchair accessible. The museum is open from 10am-3pm.  This event is free and open to the public. More information at www.fortdevensmuseum.org.
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Wonderful Weather, Super Sponsors & Passionate Participants at Loaves & Fishes

DEVENS: Friends at Loaves & Fishes Food Pantry recently held their SPRING INTO ACTION 5K on May 7. The event was a great success with over 90 participants, 22 event sponsors and many volunteers helping to raise approximately $25,000 to support neighbors who are struggling
to make ends meet. That’s going to buy a lot of food to fill their shelves!  Many thanks to all!
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Grove Pond Needs You!

AYER: Calling all individuals, groups and anyone else interested in the health of Grove Pond. People of Ayer Concerned about the Environment (PACE) is once again coordinating a Water Chestnut PULL Campaign to hand-pull these invasive plants from Grove Pond from canoes or kayaks.  Dates are available throughout May and June.
  • There is a job for everyone, in boats and on shore. 
  • Some canoes will be available for loan. 
  • Anyone age 10+ can help. (Kids under 16 need adult supervision.) 
  • Once trained, you can go out on your own any time. 
  • Groups are encouraged to schedule a PULL TOGETHER event for your organization. 

Individual sign up for training & pulling:  tinyurl.com/23AyerPULL
Group sign up and questions:  PACEayer@gmail.com
More info on water chestnuts:  tinyurl.com/DCRwaterchestnuts
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Cannon Theatre Presents "Phantom"

DEVENS: The Cannon Theatre is delighted to present Yeston and Kopit’s "Phantom," directed by Shawn Cannon. An exquisite adaptation of Gaston Leroux’s, The Phantom of the Opera, Phantom tells the timeless tale of a disfigured musical genius, Erik, and his alluring muse, Christine. Set in 1890s France, this musical affair unfolds deep in the catacombs of the Paris Opera House, where Erik finds salvation in Christine’s breathtaking voice. Those who know Andrew Lloyd Webber’s piece will be familiar with the story, however Kopit takes the audience on a deeper dive into the Phantom’s past, and coupled with operetta style music from Yeston, this version is sure to blow you away. Show times are May 12, 13, 19, 20, 26, and 27 at 7:30pm, with matinees on May 21 and 28 at 2pm. Tickets are available at www.thecannontheatre.org - $25 for adults; $20 for students/seniors.
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NRWA Leads Free Spring Birding Walk

PEPPERELL: Early May heralds the beginning of the ‘high season’ of spring migration, when many species of neo-tropical migrant birds including warblers, vireos, orioles, flycatchers, swallows, and others start to arrive in Massachusetts. To see some of these migrants and learn more about birds of our region, the public is invited to attend the Nashua River Watershed Association’s free “Spring Birding Walk” on May 7 from 7:30-9:30am at Heald Orchard in Pepperell. The walk, led by NRWA Environmental Education Director Stacey Chilcoat, is designed for adults and families with children ages 12 and up. No previous birding experience is necessary.

Heald Orchard is an 80-acre property owned by the town of Pepperell, and a former working apple orchard. The property includes orchard, pond, and forest ecosystems providing habitat for a wide variety of birds. Attendees should dress appropriately for a field walk including sturdy shoes and should consider mosquito/tick bite protection. If available, also bring binoculars and a field guide. For the comfort of all, no dogs are allowed.

This walk is free and open to the public. Space is limited; pre-registration is required. Directions will be provided to registrants. Pre-register at www.NashuaRiverWatershed.org, under Upcoming Programs. For questions, email registration@NashuaRiverWatershed.org.
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Ayer Water Quality Report is Now Available Online

AYER: The Town of Ayer Department of Public Works - Water Division is proud to present our 2022 Water Quality Report. This report provides an overview of the water quality supplied to the Town in 2022 and information on how we manage and protect the water resources. In an effort to be more environmentally responsible, they are no longer printing and mailing reports, but they have been made available on the Town Website and at Town Hall, the Library, and the DPW office. If you would like a hard copy mailed to you, call the DPW at (978) 772-8240

Stay in the loop!  For more information about your Drinking Water System, visit the Water Division website. Also, be sure to subscribe to the Town alert system to receive emails with the latest news and updates. Follow this link to the subscription page.

Construction Notification Pleasant Street Drainage Improvements

AYER: The Ayer Department of Public Works (DPW) and its Contractor, CHB Excavating, will be replacing approximately 400 feet of underground drainage piping on Pleasant Street. Work will begin as soon as Monday, May 8th (weather permitting) and is anticipated to last two weeks.This project will replace aging drainage infrastructure that has reached the end of its useful life.The road will remain open to the local residents and public safety vehicles. Please be mindful of construction activity during the course of this project.The Ayer DPW appreciates your cooperation during this important infrastructure project. If you have any questions, please call the Ayer DPW at (978) 772-8240 (7:30am-3:30pm) or email mhernon@ayer.ma.us.

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Ayer, Boxborough, Littleton, and Westford Police to Share Co-Response Clinician

AYER: Ayer Police Chief Brian Gill, Boxborough Police Chief John Szewczyk, Littleton Police Chief Matthew Pinard, and Westford Police Chief Mark Chambers are pleased to announce that their police departments will share a new co-response mental health clinician to help improve police services to those suffering from mental health crises and substance use disorder. Co-response clinician Susan Lemere, who has a masters degree from Smith College, and who is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, will be available to respond with police to calls for service involving mental health or substance use disorder issues to provide on site counseling and services, as well as follow up care and resources for community-based support.

The addition of Lemere as a co-response clinician is an expansion of the COIN jail diversion program, of which the Ayer, Boxborough, Littleton and Westford departments are members. COIN, a program of Family Continuity, has been working in the community to support residents in getting mental health, substance use disorder, and community-based supports since 2016. This expansion will allow a clinician to respond to 911 calls at the time of crisis to offer more immediate support when needed.

Lemere has worked as a co-responder in Vermont, where she worked with the Montpelier and Barre City Police Departments, as well as Washington County Mental Health Services.

"I believe strongly in the co-response model and look forward to collaborating with police here to serve the community," Lemere said.

"We are very fortunate to have a co-response clinician of Susan’s high quality working with us and enhancing the services we have available through our partnership with the COIN program," said Chief Chambers. "We owe it to our residents to take advantage of these opportunities to provide additional support to those experiencing a mental health or substance misuse crisis."

“When we can provide proper services for an individual experiencing a mental health crisis thereby keeping that individual out of the courts because of an arrest, then we are doing our job promoting the guardian mindset in policing, as opposed to the warrior mindset”, said Boxborough Police Chief John Szewczyk. “What set Susan apart from other candidates was not only her fine work history and impressive educational qualifications, but her empathy and compassion. We are looking forward to having someone of Susan’s caliber become part of the Boxborough community and welcome her to town.”

“This is just one more step we are taking to ensure we are doing our part in assisting with those in need of assistance with mental health needs," said Chief Pinard. "The challenge of our nation's mental health crisis has been thrust upon us, and we are working to meet that challenge with professionalism and compassion."

“Working with Susan as our shared co-response clinician will be a progressive step forward in providing much needed services to those experiencing mental health crisis and/or substance use disorder," said Chief Gill. "It is our hope that by triaging crises in the field with Susan and using the follow-up referral services through our COIN program, we will be able to better serve those in need in our communities.”

Visit Harvard's Unique Boutique

HARVARD: The “Unique Boutique” is a store located in the lower level of the Congregational Church in the center of Harvard.  This store is the place to find gently used and often one of a kind items at a bargain price!  There is dishware, glass items, lamps, jewelry, puzzles, small frames, wall art, and some other collectible items.  They do not have clothing or furniture.  All items have been donated by people who are downsizing, moving, or just in need of a change in decor or style, and the proceeds are all for outreach programs and charitable organizations.

The Unique Boutique is made possible by volunteers, and anyone who can spare a little time to give, and have fun at the same time. Currently the shop is open 10:30am to 1:30pm every Wednesday.  Drop in to visit and see what treasures are in store. Use the side door with the “Unique Boutique” sign over the door.
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Conserve Water in Ayer

AYER: The Ayer DPW is dedicated to providing a reliable water supply today and protecting that supply for the future.  In order to safeguard the Town’s drinking water resources, the State requires Water Conservation measures beginning May 1 thru September 30 of each year.  The Town is asking everyone to conserve water and comply with the following Outdoor Water Use Restrictions:
  • Mandatory – no outside water use between 9am-5pm;
  • Mandatory - Odd / Even Outside Water Restriction (even numbered street address water on even numbered dates and odd numbered addresses on odd numbered dates);
  • Voluntary - curb outside water use and conserve water as much as possible;
  • Voluntary  - no outside water use on Sundays.

The Ayer DPW will be monitoring outside water use and will be enforcing the mandatory water restrictions, including ticketing / fines / water shut-off for violations. Do the right thing and help us conserve our water supply!

Info: Kimberly Abraham, Water and Sewer Superintendent - (978) 774-8240 – kabraham@ayer.ma.us

Ants on a Log at Lawrence Library

PEPPERELL: On May 20 from 10:30-11:30am, Lawrence Library in Pepperell will be hosting a Tasty Treats for Kids workshop creating yummy "Ants on a Log!" Recommended for pre-k and higher, visit the children's room to listen to a story about ants and then make the delicious snack to enjoy. Space is limited and registration is required. Can't make it?  An ingredient list can be provided upon request so you can make this treat at home. lawrencelibrary.org

“How Much is Communism Controlling our Country?” 

HARVARD: The Harvard Republican Town Committee presents Special Guest Speaker Jennifer Zhang, Founder and Principal of the Winchester School of Chinese Culture. On May 10 at 7pm, Zhang will be sharing her story, explaining what life in Communist China was like and why she escaped after the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989 to live in the USA. Zhang explores the dangers presented by communism, the methods they use and the level of control this ideology currently has in our country.  There will be a question and answer session following the talk.  This event will be held at The Congregational Church of Harvard, 5 Still River Road. All are welcome: Republicans, Unenrolled and curious Democrats.

Ayer/Devens Pocket Forest Planting Day

AYER: The Ayer/Devens Pocket Forest team invites you to attend join them this April 29 for their Pocket Forest Planting Day. They will be working in two shifts (2 hours each), one at 10am and one at 1pm. The site is located across East Main Street from the Ayer Library. Each session will start with instructions, and then proceed to preparing the ground and planting. No experience is required, and you need not stay the entire time. Learn more about the project and dig into forest planting!  You will have the opportunity to take part in the initiation of the pocket forest and in the years to come watch it grow and take pride in having helped establish it.  All are welcome. Drinks, snacks, and free tree seedlings (limited supply) will be available. For more information, please visit https://climateresilient.wixsite.com/ayerdevens.

Silly Games Start this Weekend at PCC

GROTON: Children of all ages love to be silly and have fun, especially the youngest of us! Starting this weekend at Groton's Prescott Community Center, children ages 3-5 can play games like Builders & Bulldozers, where children either build or bulldoze cones set up around the gym; Bowling for Noodles, like real bowling but with pool noodles; and Kooky Relays. Children practice working together, sharing with others and learn methods for problem-solving and conflict resolution.  This program will run for six Saturdays, April 29-June 17 (No session 5/27 & 6/3), from 9:30-10:30am. Register online at

Vendors Sought for Townsend Historical Society Arts & Craft Fair

TOWNSEND: Calling all artisans and crafters! The 42nd Townsend Arts and Craft Fair will be on September 16 from 9am-4pm; September 17 from 10am-4pm on the town common. They are looking for vendors from North-Central Massachusetts and beyond to create a marketplace of artists, artisans, and crafters. By participating in this fall favorite, your work is featured among an atmosphere of traditional music, good food and plenty of fun. Proceeds support the 501(c)3 non-profit Townsend Historical Society and its mission of preserving our local history.

Applications, are now available and can be accessed online at www.townsendhistoricalsociety.org/artsandcraftfair. Applications are screened to make sure all work is handmade. The application fee is $75 for one or both days. Vendor spots are 10'x 15'. The deadline for consideration is August 28. For information, contact the Townsend Historical Society at (978) 597-2106, email townsendhistoricalsociety@yahoo.com, townsendartsandcraftfair@yahoo.com or visit them on Facebook and online at townsendhistoricalsociety.org.

Ayer Residents Needed for Senior Center/ Community Center Building Committee

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AYER: Application Deadline:  April 28, 2023

The Ayer Select Board has formed a Public Building Committee charged with the development of a proposed Senior/ Community Center to be located on a portion of Pirone Park.  The Building Committee is charged with the oversight and further development of the Pirone Park site location for the project; oversight of the conceptual plan development to include extensive public outreach and participation in the conceptual design; identify and secure funding for the design of the project to include Town Meeting approval; oversee the final design of the project; develop and administer the construction budget for the project to include Town Meeting approval; oversee the construction of the project; and provide periodic public updates to the Select Board.  The Building Committee will be subject to all provisions of the Open Meeting Law (hold publicly posted meetings) and in accordance with the provisions of the Public Records law (maintain and issue meeting minutes).

The composition of the Building Committee will be nine (9) members appointed by the Select Board to include one member of the Council on Aging; the COA/Senior Center Director; one Parks Commissioner; the Parks Director; one member of the Planning Board; the DPW Director; and three (3) Ayer Residents.

Ayer Residents that are interested in serving on this Public Building Committee should submit a letter of intent to the Assistant Town Manager at atm@ayer.ma.us or to 1 Main Street, Ayer, MA 01432 by the deadline of April 28, 2023.  Applicants will be interviewed and appointed by the Select Board at a Select Board Meeting on May 2, 2023 at 6pm.  For more information, please contact the Town Manager’s Office at (978) 772-8220 x100 or by e-mail at atm@ayer.ma.us

Be in "Moana Jr." at Groton Hill Music

GROTON: Groton Hill Music will be presenting "Moana Jr," featuring young people ages 9-16, August 14-25.  Be a part of this challenging two-week musical production program.  Learn from their experienced and engaging faculty, polish your performance skills, and make new friends and memories to last a lifetime. Learn more and register: https://grotonhill.org/school/summer/moana-jr.https://prescottscc.org/product/silly-games-for-ages-3-5.

Ayer Library Book Group Reads "Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood"

AYER: On May 6 from 10-11:15am, join the Ayer Library Book Group reading Marjane Satrapi's "Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood," a graphic memoir that recounts Satrapi's experience of growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution of 1979 and the Iran-Iraq War. The book is an autobiography and a coming-of-age tale that depicts the violent and oppressive events that shaped Satrapi's identity and worldview. Originally published in France in four volumes and later translated into English in two, "Persepolis" was also adapted into an animated movie in 2007  Registration is required at ayerlibrary.assabetinteractive.com/calendar/book-group-persepolis.
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Senior Day at Fruitlands Museum

HARVARD: Seniors enjoy free admission to Fruitlands Museum, 102 Prospect Hill Road, from 10am-4pm on May 17, 2023. The complimentary admission will provide access to the Art Gallery, Fruitlands Farmhouse, Shaker Gallery, Wayside Gallery and the Grounds. Looking to dive deeper into the stories of their historic structures? Register in advance for one of their “Visions of Utopia” guided tours. Tour capacity is limited and advanced registration is highly recommended for this offering.

The Hyve at the Fruitlands Cafe will be offering their Spring Cafe Menu. Cafe tables will be available first come, first serve. And of course, the grounds are open for picnicking!

Special programs include:
  • 10am: Guided Nature Hike
  • 10:30am: “Visions of Utopia” Tour
  • 12pm & 2pm: Gallery Talk
  • 3pm: “Visions of Utopia” Tour

Throughout the day – Plein Air Pastels – An Invitation to Draw the Fruitland Landscape. Currently on view in the Art Gallery is Rachel Hayes: Transcending Space, featuring recent works by Oklahoma-based artist Rachel Hayes. Blurring the realms of craft, sculpture, architecture, and land art, Hayes creates large-scale textile installations that respond to their natural and man-made environments. Transcending Space features several of her large, color-block fabric hangings alongside a new body of work that combines dried flower bouquets with patches of vibrant fabric. Supplemented by an outdoor installation on Fruitlands’ hillside, opening in June of 2023, the exhibition showcases the range and evolution of Hayes’s practice, while enlivening and transforming Fruitlands’ spaces.

Also on view is Wind from the Hills. Drawn from Fruitlands Museum’s permanent collection, the artworks in this exhibition are inspired by select poems from founder, Clara Endicott Sears’ 1935 anthology “Wind from the Hills and Other Poems.” The galleries feature folk art, Shaker textiles, Indigenous artworks, and nineteenth century landscape paintings revealing the complexities of Sears’ artistic interests while reviving her words through highlights of the collection.

Visiting with kids? Be sure to stop in at the Family Learning Center at the Fruitlands Farmhouse for craft activity, historic games, and more! Looking for outdoor family fun? Consider a special pass to the Fruitlands Fairy Forest, which includes Grounds Admission as well as a digital DIY activity kit for some enchanted woodland fun for all ages.
Cooking class for teens

Tweens & Teens Virtual Cooking Program Thursdays at LPL

LUNENBURG: Hey Tweens & Teens! Do you enjoy good food? Like to cook? Join the Lunenburg Public Library when they host cooking classes with Brittany Wujek, RD LD, a Registered Dietitian with Hannaford's Supermarket! Classes will be held virtually each week on Thursdays from 4:30-5:30pm from May 4-25 (no class on May 11)... from your own kitchen! Each week has its own registration, you can sign up for one, a couple, or all of them! The theme for this cooking series is: "Cooking the Rainbow!" Brittany will walk through how to prepare delicious and healthy dishes full of colorful veggies! 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. You'll receive an email from Teen Librarian Susan once kits are ready to be picked up! Open to tweens & teens in grades 4-8 (ages 10-14). Registration is required. To register, visit lunenburglibrary.org, or email Susan at selbag@cwmars.org.

Random Reads Returns for Another School Year

LUNENBURG: Random Reads is back for another school year at Lunenburg Public Library! Tweens & Teens in grades 5-8 and grades 9-12 can sign up! 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 May is open now! Sign up before May 8. An active library account/card is required to register. To register, head to the first of each month on the Lunenburg Public Library's event calendar online at lunenburglibrary.org, or by emailing Susan at selbag@cwmars.org.

Pepperell Police Chief David Scott to Retire

PEPPERELL: Police Chief David Scott has announced that he will retire on July 1 after over 30 years of service to the town. In choosing July 1 as his last shift, Chief Scott will retire on the day of Pepperell’s annual Independence Day celebration, a much beloved tradition in town.

Chief Scott has served Pepperell since August of 1989, when he joined the Pepperell Auxiliary Police Department. After graduating from college in 1993, Scott became a Pepperell Reserve Police Officer and shortly thereafter was hired as a full-time officer by Police Chief Alan Davis.

He worked through the ranks from sergeant in 1999 and lieutenant in 2005 before being named chief in 2010. He also served as the department's D.A.R.E. officer.

“D.A.R.E. was possibly the most difficult day-to-day work assignment I ever took on," Chief Scott admitted. "I quickly gained a new respect for teachers and everyone else involved in public education! We built a great relationship between the police and the schools. I knew almost every kid in town and they knew me, and that was a great feeling as I rose up the ranks and eventually became chief. Those relationships have been extremely important over the years."

As a patrol officer and supervisor, "we had a lot of fun back then – helping people and arresting bad guys,” Chief Scott recalled “The officers I supervised were great. Having good patrol officers sure can make a sergeant look good."

However, it was about that time that Chief Scott started to realize that most of the “bad guys” that they were arresting were suffering from mental health or substance abuse issues, or both.

While returning to college for his master's degree, Chief Scott learned of a program in Memphis, Tennessee where mental health clinicians were being paired with police officers responding to calls to get individuals help, instead of arresting them.

“It became a goal of mine that seemed impossible due to the small size and seemingly constant financial struggles of our town,” he said.

After becoming chief, Scott saw more and more police departments partnering with clinicians as the opioid crisis raged throughout the country. The Massachusetts Department of Mental Health began offering grant money for these police/clinician partnerships. In 2016, Chief Scott received a grant to share a clinician amongst ten area small towns. The program has grown, and earlier this year, Scott’s goal was achieved as a mental health clinician began riding in Pepperell’s cruisers.

“It’s been a lot of work. Getting all 10 towns on the same page continues to be time-consuming, but it’s been worth it," he said. "The program has helped a lot of people over the years and I would expect the numbers to increase with the addition of the clinician being at calls."
Chief Scott has had a regional impact with one of his other passions, school safety. He serves as the Control Chief of the Northeastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council’s School Threat Assessment and Response System (NEMLEC STARS) team, which serves over 60 cities and towns in Middlesex and Essex counties. He’s been on the team since 2015 and leading it since 2018, and NEMLEC STARS has become one of the go-to national models for preventing, planning for and responding to threats and violence in schools.

"What an amazing, intelligent, dedicated group of people," Scott said of the STARS program and its members drawn from police, fire, EMS and public school leaders regionwide. "I've learned so much from them, and they amaze me every day."
Chief Scott recently received multiple awards, including the Massachusetts Partnerships for Youth’s Patrick Schettini award for his work in school safety and the National Alliance for Mental Illness (Massachusetts Chapter) Award for Excellence in Crisis Response for his work helping those who suffer from mental health and/or substance use disorders.

He also received the Hector Pelletier award for supporting the Jimmy Fund, which unfortunately came after his March 2021 stage four colon cancer diagnosis.

“Pepperell has always supported public safety in general, but their support for me personally since my diagnosis has been overwhelming," Chief Scott said, "and I thank everyone for that.”

Ever humble, Chief Scott attributes a large part of his success to others.

"We have a great group of people here at PPD. Some police chiefs’ stress levels go through the roof with internal issues alone. Although I’ve had a few over the years, overall I’ve been lucky. Less time spent on internal issues has allowed me to spend more time focused on the community."

Reflecting on his career, Chief Scott added these parting words: "We all look back on our initial employment interviews where everyone says 'we just want to help people' in policing. For me, that was true throughout my career, and I think I accomplished that."

PHOTO: Police Chief David Scott will retire July 1 after 30 years of dedicated service. (Courtesy Pepperell Police Department)

Tyngsborough Police Department Promotes Two Officers to Sergeant

TYNGSBOROUGH: Chief Richard Howe is pleased to report that the Tyngsborough Police Department promoted two officers to sergeant on Thursday. Officers Chuck Rubino and Nick Silva were both sworn in by Town Clerk Joanne Shifres at Tyngsborough Town Hall, and will assume their new duties immediately.

Sgt. Rubino has been a full-time officer with Tyngsborough Police since 2000, working in the firearms training unit, as a field training officer, and on the motorcycle unit.

Sgt. Silva has been a full-time officer with Tyngsborough Police since 2019, working with the Northeastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council's Regional Response Team, as the police department's armorer, a member of the Honor Guard, and as a field training officer.

"Both of these new sergeants are extremely well trained and professional, and I look forward to seeing both men show the leadership they are capable of in their new supervisory roles," said Chief Howe. "Please join me in congratulating Sgt. Rubino and Sgt. Silva on two well-earned promotions."

PHOTO: Sgt. Nick Silva & Sgt. Chuck Rubino after being sworn in to their new ranks.
(Courtesy Tyngsborough Police Department)
Residents at Nashoba Park Assisted Living, a Volunteers of America Massachusetts senior community, recently celebrated the first day of Spring with a fun flower pot painting and planting activity. They're very excited to see how they turn out!

PICTURED: Sabrina Rice, Paula Morris, Dorothy Murphy & Dottie Bambini
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Nashoba Symphonic Band Plays "Carmina Burana"

BOLTON: The Nashoba Symphonic Band, under the direction of David Bailey will present its Spring Concert on May 7 at 3pm in the auditorium of Nashoba Regional High School, Route 117. Admission is free. The featured work on the program is a suite from Carl Orff's "Carmina Burana," scored for large concert band, piano and percussion by John Krance. Carmina Burana has become a staple of the choral-orchestral repertoire and its music has pervaded many film scores and television commercials. Nearly everyone will recognize the opening chorus, O Fortuna, praising the moody Goddess of Fortune, whose wheel of fate rolls unpredictably over mankind. The rest of the music is divided into four sections: In Springtime, On the Green, In the Tavern, and CourtlyLove. To complete the cycle, the music turns first to Blanchefleur and Helen, then to a complete version of the opening chorus, O Fortuna; thus reminding us that the wheel of life keeps turning- yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Other works on the concert include a suite from Charles Mackerras's Pineapple Poll, a musical whirlwind based on themes from Gilbert and Sullivan, as well as O Cool Is the Valley, a poem for band, by Vincent Persichetti. Now in its seventh full season, the Nashoba Symphonic Band is a program of the Nashoba Regional High School Friends of Music

The NSB is supported in part by grants from Ashby. Bolton, Leominster, Lunenberg, and Stow Cultural Councils, local agencies supported by the MA Cultural Council, a state agency.

Addiction 101 Seminar May 4

AYER: There will be a great informative conversation regarding addiction in an Addiction 101 Seminar on May 4 at Stone Soup Kitchen, 41 Littleton Road. Learn about the physiology and the role that genetics and trauma play. It's time we begin to understand the why and then we can work more effectively on treatment and prevention.  Guest speaker is Tara Rivera, MBA, Treatment Advocate, Adjunct Professor of Addiction Studies. Rivera comes with a wealth of both personal and professional experience and knowledge.
Scan the QR code herein for more information, or email Stone Soup Ministries at stonesoupkitchenministries@gmail.com. Registration is appreciate but it is NOT required.
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Save the Date: Groton Garden Club Annual Plant Sale

GROTON: Spring is here!!! This year, the Groton Garden Club has scheduled its much-anticipated Annual Plant Sale for May 13 from 9am-noon at Legion Common, 75 Hollis Street. This is a great opportunity to add to your garden with a wonderful variety of well-proven perennials that have grown in members gardens. Featuring native plants, herbs, perennials and shrubs, as well as books, birdhouses, decorative pots, and more. Plants that are best suited for shady areas, partial shade, partial sun and full sunny spots in your garden will be available. Club members will be on-site to assist in answering your questions or helping with your selections. Only cash or checks will be accepted at the Sale. For more information on the club website  at www.grotongardenclub.org.

Janis Bresnahan Run for Education 2023 Announced

AYER: ATTN: Runners, Walkers and Tot Trotters! It has been announced that the Janis Bresnahan Run for Education will be held on May 21. The race will include the 5K competitive race, 2K Fun Run, 2 Mile walk and many more family fun events including kid activities, inflatable games, music and BBQ. This event will be held at the Ayer Shirley Regional High School on Washington Street. Registration is now open.  For more information, visit www.janisbresnahanforeducation.com.
Ayer library

Ayer Library Keeps You Busy During Vacation Week

AYER: Wondering what to do during School Vacation Week? The Ayer Library has got you covered! Check out the fantastic collection of passes that provide free or discounted admission to a wealth of museums and other properties and then reserve yours today at  https://ayerlibrary.org/museum-passes/. Anyone holding an Ayer Library card in good standing is eligible to reserve a pass.
Among the passes available: discounted tickets for places kids love like Animal Adventures and the Discovery Museum; free or discounted access to over 250 Trustees, Mass Audubon properties and Massachusetts state parks; the many collections  that comprise the Harvard Museums of Science and Culture and so many more.
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SVT Announces Spring Programs

Area residents are invited to attend one of the many nature-themed programs hosted by Sudbury Valley Trustees (SVT). The nonprofit conservation group recently posted its Spring 2023 Program Calendar on its website, along with complete details and registration information.  Highlights include a Senior Walks in Acton, Wayland, and Sudbury (various dates in April and May); Unlock Your Inner Food Gardener (May 6); Spring Wildflower Walks in Berlin and Sudbury (May 13); a Plant Identification and Natural History Walk in Harvard (May 14); and a Full Moon Walk in Wayland (June 2). Space is limited and registration is required.

In honor of Earth Day, SVT will lead a History Hike Up Tippling Rock in Sudbury on April 22, at 9am. Plus, a special webinar on April 20 will explore how backyard gardens can contribute to climate change resilience.

SVT also offers volunteer opportunities for those interested in caring for local conservation lands. Upcoming projects include building a boardwalk across wetlands in Sudbury, creating a new hiking trail in Berlin, and pulling non-native invasive plants from conservation areas in several towns. New volunteers are also invited to attend the Spring Volunteer Orientation Session over Zoom on April 26 at 7pm.

Complete information about SVT programs and volunteer projects is available at www.svtweb.org/calendar.