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Current Edition - 3/01/24
Previous Edition - 2/23/24
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Mcc maria mcduffie clark s24

MCC Hires New Director of Student Engagement for Equity

LOWELL: Middlesex Community College is excited to announce Maria McDuffie Clark as the new Director for Student
Engagement for Equity. Most recently the Assistant Director of Multicultural Affairs at the University of Massachusetts Lowell (UML), McDuffie Clark has a long history with Middlesex. Thrilled to return to MCC in their new role, McDuffie Clark’s main goal is to help all students feel a strong sense of belonging at the college.

“I’m looking forward to connecting with our students on a different level and getting them to where they want to be,” McDuffie Clark said. “Student engagement is as critical as academics. We want students to be able to practice a skillset, articulate what they’ve learned in the classroom, and share with others. It helps them be competitive in the workforce and makes their investment in education worth it.”

McDuffie Clark is interested in supporting students on an individual level. In their work at UML, they dove deeper into building communities for students within the Black, LatinX and LGBTQ+ populations, including looking at the types of services that are offered. With the Rising 360 program – which they are looking to bring to MCC – they focused on well-being across all interactions with students, such as one-to-one coaching, peer-led events and bonding opportunities, as well as orientation, cultural events and heritage months.

The Rising 360 program addresses students’ needs on a holistic level, ensuring they are healthy in their body, emotions and mental health, as well as in their academics, financials and career path. At MCC, McDuffie Clark will work with students on creating a well-rounded college experience related to their identity in multiple ways.

“We want students to know they belong here and deserve to be here,” they said. “How we work with faculty is important, as is Service-Learning and civic engagement,” McDuffie Clark said. “Every piece appeals to someone’s identity that they want to explore. We’re looking at what their passion is, what they value, and then are connecting them to people to get on the trajectory of where they want to be and how they want to contribute to their community. I see it as equity, getting to know people and addressing each of their needs starting where they’re at. Though we don’t all start at the same place, we show patience and intentionality.”

McDuffie Clark earned bachelor’s degrees in Sociology and Psychology from North Carolina State University. They moved to Lowell to pursue a master’s in Community Psychology at UML before starting their career at MCC working in Multicultural Affairs. After two years in the Americorp Vista program, McDuffie Clark made an initial return to Middlesex as the International Student Coordinator, helping students navigate complicated government systems while studying, having fun, and growing comfortable in a new culture.

As many MCC students transfer to UML, McDuffie Clark always felt connected to the community college, often helping transfer students adjust to the change, just as they had. When the new position opened up, a second return to MCC felt natural. Calling their experience within Lowell and higher education “magic,” McDuffie Clark looks forward to helping MCC in its mission of providing equity and access to education for all students. “Education opens doors and moves mountains,” they said. “Knowing more about each other makes for a better world. I’m grateful to be part of the MCC community on a day-to-day basis again. I did a lot of growing up here.”

Chelmsford Police Department Earns Re-Accreditation from Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission

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CHELMSFORD: Police Chief Colin Spence is proud to report that the Chelmsford Police Department earned re-accreditation from the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission (MPAC). The department was first accredited in 2012, and must renew its accreditation once every three years.

Accreditation is a self-initiated, lengthy and comprehensive evaluation process. Participating departments complete an internal self-review and an external assessment by MPAC experts. The process is a voluntary evaluation by which police departments strive to meet and maintain the top standards of law enforcement. It is considered the best measure for a police department to compare itself against the established best practices around the country and region.

Chelmsford Police were assessed by MPAC on 256 mandatory standards and 120 optional standards and met all mandatory standards and 79 of the optional standards.

MPAC Assessors visited the Chelmsford Police Department from October 31-November 2 to conduct their assessment. These carefully selected standards reflect critical areas of police management, operations and technical support activities. They cover areas such as Jurisdiction and Mutual Aid, Collection and Preservation of Evidence, Communications, Working Conditions, Crime Analysis, Community Involvement, Financial Management, Internal Affairs, Juvenile Operations, Patrol Administration, Public Information, Records, Training, Traffic, Drug Enforcement and Victim/Witness Assistance.

"We are proud to have earned re-accreditation from MPAC, which shows that the Chelmsford Police Department continues to meet the highest standards in law enforcement in Massachusetts," said Chief Spence. "I would like to thank all police department employees for their constant support of our department's important initiatives. I also want to thank Lt. Jason Hanscom and Administrative Assistant Melissa Nolan for leading our efforts to earn reaccreditation."

PHOTO: Chelmsford Police Chief Colin Spence holds a plaque signifying that the Chelmsford Police Department was once again accredited by the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission as members of the department and MPAC stand by. (Courtesy Chelmsford Police Department)
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MCC Professor Brings 40 Years of Experience to the Classroom

LOWELL/CHELMSFORD: With a 40-year career in law enforcement and private security, Kenneth Lavallee, of Chelmsford, is sharing his experiences with the next generation in the field. As an adjunct professor in Middlesex Community College’s Criminal & Social Justice program, he uses case studies, guest speakers and networking opportunities to elevate what his students are learning in the classroom.
“My lived experiences have led me to have a deep understanding of what people in the field go through,” Lavallee said. “When I add a specific story to the content in a lecture, I can see the students perk up and engage with what I’m saying. Something that is realistic and actually occurred makes them understand and appreciate the concept even more.”

At MCC, Lavallee enjoys working with students from various backgrounds, cultures and ages. His goal is to prepare them to work in law enforcement, corrections or the courts, as well as to hone empathy and communication skills, such as critical thinking and problem solving.

Inviting connections he has made throughout his career to speak in his classes, students have heard from a variety of current and former professionals who share their own stories. He has also had individuals come who he knows from working with the Lowell Community Opioid Outreach Program (Co-op) and UTEC, a Lowell-based at-risk youth organization.

“I’m focused on bringing the lessons I’ve learned from what’s happening across the state and country to students and making sure they understand,” Lavallee said. “I try to impress upon them the impact that the opioid epidemic and unrest that has occurred in the last few years will have on them for their entire careers.”

Reading true crime books in high school inspired his interest in the field, leading him to earn a bachelor’s degree from Northeastern University and a master’s from Boston University. The former Superintendent of the Lowell Police Department, Lavallee worked as a Security Specialist/Assistant Vice President at Enterprise Bank and is now a Senior Associate/Assessor at Parow Consulting & Associates in Chelmsford. A graduate of several institutes and member of associations across the state, Lavallee emphasizes the value of continuing education and staying up-to-date on trends in the field. He has taught in the Lowell, Medford, Plymouth and Reading Police Academies and is a former professor of UMass Lowell and Nashua Community College. Lavallee was drawn to Middlesex because of his connections in the city of Lowell and his wife Susan Lavallee is an MCC Nursing professor.

Lavallee advocates for students to earn their degree to help them get and advance in jobs. By crediting current police officers in the program for their police academy attendance, as well as offering MassReconnect for eligible students 25+ with no prior degree, he believes Middlesex makes getting an education that much more accessible.

“The people who attend MCC are going to find tremendous opportunity in the workforce,” Lavallee said. “There is great availability in the criminal justice system, and having a degree gives someone an edge up. MCC is very helpful to anybody pursuing a career in criminal justice.”
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Tyngsborough Police Department Welcomes New Officer

TYNGSBOROUGH: Chief Rich Howe is pleased to announce that the Tyngsborough Police Department is welcoming a new police officer from the Municipal Police Training Committee's Lynnfield Police Academy.

Officer Travis MacMurdo graduated with the 4th Recruit Officer Class at the Lynnfield Police Academy on January 4, and is now assigned to a 12-week field training program with Tyngsborough Police. He will patrol for 12 weeks under the supervision of a more senior officer before patrolling on his own.
Officer MacMurdo is a native of Tewksbury. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice from Saint Anselm College.

"Chief Howe and I are excited to have Officer MacMurdo join our department and we have no doubt he will have an immediate positive impact in our community," said Deputy Chief Shaun Woods.

Officer MacMurdo was one of 69 officers to graduate from the MPTC Lynnfield Police Academy's 4th ROC. Graduates successfully completed over 20 weeks of intensive, standardized training in all aspects of law enforcement and will now serve as full-time officers representing 31 police agencies across Massachusetts.
As part of the MPTC’s commitment to academic excellence and world-class police training, the Recruit Officer Course provides over 800 hours of course curriculum designed to prepare student officers for the safe and effective performance of their duties. In keeping with mandates established by the landmark 2020 police reform law, the MPTC curriculum includes de-escalation training based on new use-of-force policies and regulations. Student officers also receive uniform training based on best practices related to essential modern-day policing needs, including effective communication skills, victim-centered and trauma-informed incident response, missing persons and human trafficking investigations, mental health-related emergency response, active shooter and hostile event response, patrol duties, and officer safety and wellness.

Upon successful completion of the Academy, student officers have met all training requirements to be eligible for Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Commission certification.

Become a Certified EMT with Help from MCC’s Hands-on Program

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LOWELL: Middlesex Community College provides one of the fastest, easiest and most comprehensive paths to advancing in or starting a new career. As part of the Spring 2024 semester, MCC’s Business and Corporate & Community Education & Training divisions have teamed up to offer two Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) sections in partnership with Pridestar Trinity EMS.

“At MCC, we believe that one of the most effective ways to learn is by practicing hands-on in relevant, real-world environments,” said Lisa Tuzzolo, MCC’s Senior Director of Corporate Education & Training. “We are thrilled to continue to collaborate with Pridestar and offer our students the opportunity to not only prepare for their certification exams, but get a strong understanding of what they will be doing upon entering their new profession.”

Taught by instructor David Green, MCC’s nine-credit EMT program prepares students with the theoretical and practical training needed to qualify for the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) cognitive exam and the Massachusetts Practical Skills exam.

“Due to our partnerships with local businesses and organizations, our students are exposed to what it is like to work in an industry early on, as well as to network with professionals in those fields,” said Judith Hogan, MCC’s Dean of Business, Legal Studies & Public Service. “This gives our students an advantage when they are searching for jobs, as MCC has a reputation with many of these employers for equipping our graduates with transferable knowledge and skills that translate well to their in-demand positions.”

One section runs 9am-1pm, and the other from 6-10pm, both on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Both sections will also be held from 8am-4pm on select Saturdays throughout the duration of the programs.
Held on-site at Pridestar, the programs will take place in Lowell at 229 Steadman Street. Students must hold a Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) certification at the healthcare provider level in order to be eligible.

Students registered for MCC’s Spring 2024 semester may be eligible for MassReconnect, including for the EMT program. With MassReconnect, Massachusetts residents who are 25+ and do not have a degree can earn an associate degree or certificate from MCC for free.

MCC’s Spring 2024 semester kicks off on January 22. For more information, visit www.middlesex.mass.edu/registration.

Lowell Police Unions Buy New Bike for Youth Whose Bike Was Stolen During Downtown Lowell Cleanup

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LOWELL: It was back in October when Lowell High School sophomore Nam Phan spent an afternoon helping with a cleanup in downtown Lowell, only to finish the cleanup and realize his electric bike had been stolen from where he left it locked up with a bike lock. Left with just the broken remains of his bike lock, Phan, who is in the ROTC at Lowell High, thought he was out of an expensive e-bike which was his primary means of getting to school, work, wrestling practice and home.

City Manager Tom Golden's office heard about the theft, and reached out to the Lowell Police Officer's Union and the Lowell Police Superior Officer's Union. The Unions, led by Lt. Aidan O'Donnell and Officer Timothy Roussell, decided to use union funds to buy Phan a new bike — of the exact same make and model that was stolen.

"Young people like Nam are an asset to our community," Officer Roussell said. "He's displayed a good attitude and a positive work ethic, and he was giving back to the community when he had something bad happen to him. We felt it was important to show him that good things happen to good people."

Recently, School Resource Officers from Lowell High School escorted Phan to Lowell Police Headquarters, where he was gifted the new bike and thanked for his work to help clean up the city.

"I was not expecting this," said Phan. "But these guys came out and did all this for me and I'm really grateful."
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LPD & Officer Sean A. Collier Memorial Fund Partner to Give Out Gift Cards

LOWELL: Superintendent Greg Hudon is pleased to report that the Lowell Police Department and the Officer Sean A. Collier Memorial Fund partnered last week to hand out gift cards to residents. Superintendent Hudon, Deputy Superintendent Frank Nobrega, Deputy Superintendent Stephen Gendreau, and several other officers teamed with Joe Rogers and Richard Sullivan of the Officer Sean A. Collier Memorial Fund to hand out $50 gift cards to create positive experiences for officers and to build relationships with residents.

The Officer Sean A. Collier Memorial Fund seeks to build on the legacy of Officer Collier to create connections between law enforcement and the communities they serve. The Fund donated 58 gift cards. Fifty cards were handed out to random residents outside of the Market Basket at Fletcher and Broadway streets in Lowell, while the remaining gift cards were handed out to guests at the Lowell Senior Center across the street.

Lowell Police and the Officer Sean A. Collier Memorial Fund initially planned to giveaway just a few gift cards that were leftover from a Christmas party hosted at the Lowell Police Boxing Gym, which is sponsored by the fund, but then an anonymous donor to the Collier Fund provided another $2,000 to buy 40 more gift cards for the distribution.

"This was a great opportunity to get out and spread some holiday spirit to those in the center of Lowell who could possibly use a little a help with their grocery bills," said Superintendent Hudon. "We are grateful to the Officer Sean A. Collier Memorial Fund for once again supporting our department and for once again helping us as we seek to create positive interactions and good relationships with Lowell residents."

The Officer Sean A Collier Memorial Fund is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization established in memory of MIT Police Officer Sean A. Collier, who was killed in the line of duty on April 18, 2013 in the aftermath of the attack on the Boston Marathon. The Fund hopes to carry on Sean’s deep personal and professional commitment to service, connection and support for others. The Fund awards grants to local public police departments and non-profit groups to support the development and implementation of community programs designed to build connections between law enforcement and the communities they serve. To learn more, visit: officercolliermemorialfund.org.

PHOTO: Officer Emaly Bouasri hands a $50 gift card to Market Basket to a woman outside the store at Fletcher and Broadway streets in Lowell on Thursday morning. At right is Police Superintendent Greg Hudon. (Courtesy Lowell Police Department)
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MCC’s Executive Director of Diversity, Equity & Belonging Awarded

LOWELL: Middlesex Community College’s new Executive Director of Diversity, Equity and Belonging Maria Isabel Gariepy was chosen by Amplify Latinx as a top 100 Latinx Leader in Massachusetts, championing and uplifting the Latino community.

“Ensuring that everyone feels like they belong at our institution and that they can be the best version of themselves is what I strive for in my personal and professional life, and what I want employees and students like to remember,” Gariepy said. “Now is an exciting and very important time to continue to be committed to and elevate equity work further and to weave it into all actions, planning, strategies and programming.”

Most recently, Gariepy was the Chief Diversity and Equity Office/Executive Director of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity at Worcester State University. At MCC, she looks forward to returning to a community college setting and focusing on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) work.

Born and raised in Barranquilla, Colombia, Gariepy received a bachelor’s degree in Finance and International Relations from San Martin University in Colombia and earned an MBA in Human Resource Management at Fitchburg State University. She started her career in finance, working in private industry before transitioning to human resources (HR) and higher education. For six years, she worked in HR, diversity, inclusion, compliance, investigations, training and reporting at Mount Wachusett Community College before moving to Worcester State.

Gariepy recently completed an Executive Leadership Institute program, as well as the Latino Board Fellowship with Latinos for Education. A certified Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) trainer, she serves as the Chair of the ACE Women’s Network Massachusetts chapter, and previously served as Vice President for the New England Association for Colombian Children (NEACOL).

At MCC, Gariepy will help ensure the principles and framework of racial equity are embedded into the work happening at the college and community. A resource to MCC employees, students and community members, she will also help lead the college’s Center for Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation (CTRHT). In her role, Gariepy hopes to provide candid conversation and conscious engagement throughout all departments, programs and initiatives at MCC. Maintaining an open-door policy for the
community, she strives to be a resource and help deliver tools, research and best practices with a racial equity lens and framework.

“Having a position that centers racial healing, inclusion, belonging and the experiences of those historically marginalized in higher education is a significant institutional commitment that highlights the impact and outcomes we would like to continue seeing around retention, enrollment, hiring, and sense of belonging,” Gariepy said. “Together, we can explore how we can continue to center equity and belonging within the work happening in all departments and levels of the institution.”
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Lowell Police Department and Target Partner for Heroes and Helpers Program

LOWELL: Superintendent Greg Hudon is pleased to report that the Lowell Police Department, the Greater Lowell Community Foundation and Target partnered for Heroes and Helpers, a program in which Target provides gift cards to youth from under-resourced areas who then go Christmas shopping while partnered with first responders.

Lowell Police volunteers and 25 city youth between ages 8 and 14 were partnered on Saturday morning at Target, 181 Plain St., in Lowell, while extra Target staff were on hand and provided drinks and snacks. Bullseye, the Target mascot, was also on hand to greet shoppers.

Target provided $2,500 in grant funding, via the Greater Lowell Community Foundation, to give 25 Lowell youth gift cards to go Christmas shopping. There were no restrictions on what kids could buy or whether they had to shop for themselves or friends and family.

Some shopped for toys for themselves and siblings, one bought a coat, among other items, and another bought mostly snacks. Police officers helped children make selections and reached items on the tops of shelves, conversing with kids as they shopped.

The Greater Lowell Community Foundation joined Lowell Police in applying to be part of the program, which Target runs at stores nationwide. Target has provided over $5 million in Heroes and Helpers grants nationwide since 2009 as part of an effort to support the building of positive relationships between youth and first responders in the community.

Lowell Police had 25 officers volunteer to be shoppers, with Patrol officers, School Resource Officers, Lowell Police Youth Services Officers and top police commanders all taking part.

"I want to thank Target and the Greater Lowell Community Foundation for their generosity in allowing us to continue our work to build positive relationships with Lowell youth," said Superintendent Greg Hudon. "As police officers, our interactions with members of the public can be difficult at times, but this was a great experience and a chance to share the Christmas spirit with youth from under-resourced neighborhoods."

Heroes & Helpers is a joint effort between Target, charity organizations and first responders. Local first responders (including police, fire or emergency medical service providers) partner with a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in their neighborhood and apply for a grant from Target. Once approved, grant recipients receive $2,500 in Target GiftCards to host a holiday shopping event with children living in under-resourced areas. Events are hosted virtually or in-store, with Target team members making sure the event feels extra special for the children.

PHOTO: Lowell Police Officer Allora Rudy helps a Lowell girl spend a $100 gift card from Target at the store on Plain Street on Saturday morning. Target provided gift cards to 25 youth from Lowell as part of the Heroes and Helpers program, meant to build trust and relationships between youth and police in under-resourced areas. (Courtesy Lowell Police Department)
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MCC Concludes “World of Music” with Lowell Chamber Orchestra

LOWELL: Middlesex Community College will end the Fall 2023 “A World of Music” concert series the same way it began – with a performance by the Lowell Chamber Orchestra (LCO). The concert will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, December 15 at MCC’s Richard and Nancy Donahue Family Academic Arts Center in Lowell.

“Performing in the Lowell Chamber Orchestra gives the musicians an opportunity to work with world-class musicians and composers, creating new and fresh interpretations of both old and new small-scale orchestral works,” said Dorothy Baker, principal cello of LCO. “The programming is fresh and exciting, and the group has created a sound that is all their own.”

The LCO will perform a variety of works from the late 19th century until the present century, including Verklärte Nacht by Arnold Schoenberg, Symphony No. 3 by American composer Charles Ives, Mayibuyé by South African composer Bongani Ndodana-Breen, and Aria Antigua by Spanish composer Joaquin Rodrigo.

“We are so fortunate to have the Lowell Chamber Orchestra in residence at MCC,” said Carmen Rodríguez-Peralta, MCC’s Chair of Music. “The LCO is a professional orchestra directed by my colleague Orlando Cela.”

All concerts are free and open to the public. MCC’s Academic Arts Center is located at 240 Central Street in Lowell. With parking not available on site, the nearest public parking facility is the Early Garage on 135 Middlesex St. For more information, visit www.middlesex.mass.edu/worldofmusic.
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Holiday Faire & Festival at Aldersgate UMC

CHELMSFORD: Aldersgate United Methodist Church hosts its annual Holiday Faire and Festival on December 1 and 2. The Fair offers a celebration of holiday cheer with delicious homemade food, beautiful wreaths and other greenery, crafts, jewelry, a silent auction, and much more. A children’s area will provide a fun and safe place for kids to make their own crafts while the grown-ups shop. Hours for the fair are Friday, 1-8pm, and Saturday, 10am-2pm. Bidding for the silent auction ends at noon on Saturday.

Aldersgate UMC is located at 242 Boston Road (Rt. 4). For more information about the fair, contact the church office at (978)256-9400 or aldersgatechelmsford@verizon.net, visit www.aldersgatechelmsford.com or find them on Facebook at facebook.com/aldersgateumc.chelms.

Free Rides and Tows to Those Who Have Too Much to Drink

CHELMSFORD: Chief Colin Spence is pleased to report that the Chelmsford Police Department, the Chelmsford Police Athletic League and Christopher's Towing are partnering to offer a free ride home with a free tow to anyone who has had too much to drink in Chelmsford this holiday season.

From now until January 1, anyone who has had too much to drink at an establishment in Chelmsford can call Chelmsford Police at (978) 256-2521, or Christopher's Towing at (978) 452-7433 to receive a free ride home and a complimentary tow to any location in the Merrimack Valley.

This is the eighth year that the program has been offered in an attempt to reduce impaired driving during the holiday season.
"Impaired driving doesn't just endanger the impaired driver. It endangers everyone on our roads, including families that travel for the holidays," said Chief Spence. "I am grateful to Christopher's Towing and the Chelmsford Police Athletic League for once again partnering with us an effort to keep our roadways safe this holiday season. I encourage anyone who has had too much to drink to be responsible and take advantage of this service."

No questions will be asked of those who take advantage of the service, which is available 24/7. Vehicles must be operable at the time they are towed to qualify for the service.

For each car that is towed as a result of this program, the Chelmsford Police Athletic League will donate $20 to a meaningful local cause.

Any local establishment that wants to put up a poster about the program should contact Officer Aiden Gillis at agillis@chelmsfordma.gov.
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MCC Theatre Department to Present Shakespeare Play

LOWELL: The Middlesex Community College theatre department is proud to present “As You Like It” as their Fall 2023 production. Written by William Shakespeare, the play will run November 30 thru December 3 at the Richard and Nancy Donahue and Family Academic Arts Center.

“Theatre is an incredibly healing art,” said Gabriella Navarrete, an MCC Performing Arts Theatre major from Tewksbury. “Having the space to perform and build my confidence and skills has helped me through many dark times in my life.”
Playing the character of Celia in MCC’s production, Navarrete enjoys the experience of learning and performing Shakespeare. In addition to having the chance to perform on stage with her friends, she appreciates playing a “rich and complex” character.

“It has been such a joy making discoveries and relating to characters that are hundreds of years old,” Navarrete said. “Shakespeare shows have a very unique process compared to more contemporary plays and there aren’t as many chances to do his work as there are to do contemporary plays.”

“As You Like It” centers on the heroine Rosalind who runs away with her cousin Celia and meets a variety of characters in the Forest of Arden. The Shakespeare comedy has had many adaptations, including for film, theatre and radio.

Curtain times for MCC’s production are 7pm Thursday thru Saturday, as well as 2 pm on Sunday. Tickets are $5 for MCC students, $10 for MCC employees, and $18 for general admission. MCC’s Academic Arts Center is located at 240 Central Street in Lowell. With parking not available on site, the nearest public parking facility is the Early Garage on 135 Middlesex Street. Visit www.middlesex.mass.edu/performingarts/ for more information and to purchase tickets.
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Annual Craft Show and Holiday Fair

NORTH CHELMSFORD: This year’s Craft Show and Holiday Fair is December 2 from 9am-3pm at 242 Main Street. Admission to the event and parking is free. Skip the craziness of the mall and come to our friendly, fun, festive fair to celebrate and shop! There will be 15 professional crafters and vendors offering unique, one-of-a-kind gifts in a joyous, stress free atmosphere!

Drop the kids at the Kids Winter Wonderland where they can play or do holiday themed crafts while you shop. There’s a FREE door prize every attendee can enter to win – a giant artisan craft basket loaded with holiday crafts and goodies. Hot, homemade breakfast and lunch are offered throughout the fair. Pick up a treat for your holiday table, decorate with our fresh holiday greenery, or score a Yankee Swap gift with our white elephant bargains!

For more details visit wcumc.us, call the church office at (978) 251-4834, or email the church at office@wcumc.us.

GLCF Honors Greater Lowell Award Recipients at Inclusive Cultural Economy Event

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LOWELL: The Greater Lowell Community Foundation (GLCF) recently hosted its annual Celebrate Giving at UTEC. The event focused on Creating an Inclusive Cultural Economy and featured a keynote by Michael J. Bobbitt, Executive Director, Mass Cultural Council (pictured). The event included awarding four 2023 GLCF honors: Business Philanthropy Partner Award, Steven Joncas Community Connector Award, and Bankers’ Volunteer Award for Lifetime Achievement and the GLCF Newell Flather Legacy Fund Grant Awards.

Juniper Networks, with a facility in Westford, received the 2023 GLCF Business Philanthropy Partner Award for their continued annual grants partnership that connects Juniper’s employees with local needs by awarding multiple grants through GLCF to Greater Lowell nonprofits. Marci Barnes, Site Lead for Juniper Networks’ New England Innovation Center (NEIC) accepted the award.

The 2023 Steven Joncas Community Connector Award recipient was Frank Carvalho of Tyngsboro. The award recognizes an individual or organization in our community that has advanced the power of philanthropy in Greater Lowell. Carvalho’s dedication to supporting community members in their dream to contribute to the city’s economy was highlighted with this award.
The 2023 Bankers’ Volunteer Award for Lifetime Achievement recipient was Ellen Andre of Chelmsford. The award recognizes an individual who is making a positive change in the Greater Lowell community. GLCF honored Andre for her volunteerism and exemplary efforts of improving the quality of life in Greater Lowell.

The second annual GLCF Newell Flather Legacy Fund Grant was awarded to two organizations: Angkor Dance Troupe for their Youth Program and Project Learn for their Book Nook initiative. The Newell Flather Legacy Fund was established by the Theodore Edson Parker Foundation in 2022 at GLCF to support nonprofit projects focused on the arts, immigrant, and refugee communities, and/or advancing equity and inclusion in the city of Lowell.

To learn more about the Greater Lowell Community Foundation visit www.glcfoundation.org.
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Chelmsford Art Society Presents Crissie Murphy

CHELMSFORD: The Chelmsford Art Society is delighted to present Crissie Murphy, a local artist who will discuss her work with the various branches of the military, as well as her other art experiences on November 8, 7pm at the Chelmsford Center for the Arts. Murphy was chosen to participate in the prestigious US Air Force Art Program. At the request of the Pentagon she has documented operations overseas and at home, she has been deployed to Haiti and Guantanamo Bay shortly after the earthquake to document relief efforts. A recent recipient of the ASAA Founder's Recognition Award for her work depicting Special Operations Forces, her paintings currently hang in the Pentagon, and are permanent additions to the USAF Collection. Plus featured in the Air Force 60th Anniversary Exhibition, the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, the National Museum of the USAF, US Coast Guard, and various other museums and galleries across the country. She recently won awards at both the North Shore Art Association and Whistler House Museum. For more information, visit
https://chelmsfordartsociety.com/crissie-murphy-november-8th.
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Fall Nature Gardening Tip: Leave Leaves Alone

As a rule in nature and gardening, keep leaves in place whenever possible. Leaving the leaves alone is a good way to support native pollinators and other insects and wildlife.  These valuable insects rely on the habitat fallen leaves provide, especially over the winter months.  Dead leaves also decompose creating compost that can improve soil structure and fertility. 
 
This being said, leaves need to be managed in yards to see the most benefit. Leaves shouldn't simply go unmanaged. If nothing is done, layers of fallen leaves can cause damage by blocking out light and smothering plants which can kill them. Often a little redistribution of the leaf layer to prevent a thick mat of leaves from forming is all that is needed to prevent this type of damage. Excessively thick layers of leaves (greater than 6 to 8 inches) may need to be reduced or removed. Whenever possible move them to mulched garden areas with fewer leaves or create a compost pile onsite to keep all that beneficial organic matter in your yard.
 
Mow-mulching the leaves on the lawn has many advantages, including reducing noise and greenhouse gases, and enhancing the health of your yard. The shredded/mulched leaf material  creates valuable compost, which enriches the topsoil. Leaf mulching also limits spreading dust and contaminants into the air and saves you time and money. The benefits of mulching the leaves into the lawn are numerous and scientifically proven.  Mulching:
  • is quieter and cleaner than leaf blowing;
  • reduces the need for fertilizer and avoids water pollution by reducing phosphorus and fertilizer leaching;
  • reduces the safety hazard of piled up or bagged leaves on the roadsides and saves taxpayer money for municipal leaf collection;
  • improves soil structure, water retention and percolation;
  • encourages the grass roots to penetrate more deeply, improving grass health; and
  • makes the lawn more resilient to weather events like drought and flooding.

Don't blow... mow! 
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Tyngsborough Celebrates Health and Safety Fair

TYNGSBOROUGH: Police Chief Richard Howe, Fire Chief Wes Russell, and Health Director Kerri Oun would like to share that the Tyngsborough Police, Fire and Health departments teamed up to offer the community a Health and Safety Fair recently.  The Fair, held at the Tyngsborough Elementary School, featured opportunities to touch public safety vehicles from Tyngsborough Police and Fire, as well as a chance to see the Massachusetts State Police Airwing, and the Northeastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council SWAT truck.

Numerous informational booths provided information to residents on health and safety issues, and the Massachusetts National Guard provided a large bouncy house and slide for children to enjoy. Families and residents were also able to meet and greet Tyngsborough's first responders, as well as mutual aid partners from around the region. The Health Department also provided free health check ups, flu shots, and opportunities to donate blood. Face painting, balloon animals, snacks, drinks, music, games and giveaways were also part of the event.

"I want to thank everyone who came out to our Health and Safety Day this year," said Police Chief Richard Howe. "We believe in being open and transparent with our community, and in building relationships, and this event was a great opportunity to let community members see our equipment, meet members of our public safety team, and get to know our department and all those we work with hand in hand."

PHOTO: The Massachusetts State Police Airwing participated in the Health and Safety Fair, landing one of their helicopters at the Tyngsborough Elementary School so residents could check it out. (Courtesy Tyngsborough Police)

Chelmsford Choice Prices Moving to Market Levels in November

by Chris Haley, Sustainability Manager, Chelmsford DPW

CHELMSFORD: Prices for Chelmsford Choice, Chelmsford’s electricity aggregation program, will move to market levels when the current contract with Constellation ends and a new, 24-month contract with Dynegy takes effect in November.

The electricity market and regulatory costs have changed since the Constellation contract was signed in 2020, and the new prices are rising to reflect current market conditions. The new Dynegy prices will be higher than current prices, but lower than National Grid’s 9-month winter residential price of 18.213 cents/kWh, which takes effect November 1. Because National Grid’s price will change in August 2024, savings from that date cannot be guaranteed.

Chelmsford Choice offers participants three options to choose from: Basic, Greener, and Greenest. The new prices for each option are as follows:
 
  • Basic option – 14.843 cents/kWh: This option includes no additional renewable electricity above the state minimum requirement. Most participants are enrolled in this option.
  • Greener option – 16.415 cents/kWh: This option includes an additional 40% renewable electricity from new renewable energy projects in our region (MA Class I RECs) above the state minimum requirement.
  • Greenest option – 17.849 cents/kWh: This option includes 100% renewable electricity from new renewable energy projects in our region (MA Class I RECs).

The new prices are designed to provide long-term stability and are fixed for 24 months from November 2023 to November 2025 meter reads.

Chelmsford Choice has a track record of providing measurable value to the community, including providing price protection during last winter’s volatile electricity market. To date, Chelmsford Choice has saved participants more than $24 million since the program’s launch in 2016.

It is important to note that, while the Town aims to provide prices that are competitive with National Grid, National Grid’s prices change, and their future prices are not known. As a result, future savings compared with National Grid cannot be guaranteed.

No action is required for current Chelmsford Choice participants. All active program participants will automatically be enrolled into the new Dynegy contract with their November 2023 meter read. The new program price will first appear on December 2023 National Grid electric bills, and the electricity supplier will be listed as “Dynegy– Chelmsford Choice.”

Participants will be enrolled in the same program option they have in the current Constellation contract. However, participants may choose a different program option or leave the program before the contract with Dynegy takes effect, and at any time in the future, with no penalty or fee.

Tax-exempt account holders will need to submit tax-exemption documentation to Dynegy to retain their tax-exempt status in the program. This documentation must be submitted to Dynegy even if it was submitted previously to National Grid and Constellation. Information about where to submit tax-exemption documentation is available at ChelmsfordChoice.com.

Chelmsford Choice is a group electricity purchasing program from the Town of Chelmsford for Chelmsford residents and businesses. Massachusetts state law allows cities and towns to choose the electricity supplier for their electricity customers rather than have the local electric utility, which is National Grid for Chelmsford, buy their electricity. Chelmsford Choice offers long-term pricing and consumer protections, such as the ability to leave the program at any time with no penalty or fees. Participating in the program changes the price that National Grid uses to calculate the Supply Services portion of participants’ electric bills. National Grid’s delivery charges are not impacted by participation in Chelmsford Choice. Additional terms and conditions apply to large commercial customers.

To enroll, make changes to enrollment, or get more information, participants are encouraged to visit the program website at ChelmsfordChoice.com or contact customer support with Chelmsford’s program consultants at 1-844-483-5004.
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Middlesex CC Announces New Dean of STEM

LOWELL: Middlesex Community College is excited to announce Dr. Marie Hronik-Tupaj as the new Dean of STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics). As a professor of engineering, Hronik-Tupaj has been at Middlesex for five years and strives to offer a student-centered, inclusive environment for all of her students.

“I like to provide a positive learning experience starting where students are at and supporting everyone in class,” Hronik-Tupaj said. “In the STEM division, our values are on teaching and working with students directly from their first class to next steps after graduation. We’re focused on helping students succeed and because of this, it’s so important to offer opportunities for them to connect with us, their classmates, and the community.”

In her new role, Hronik-Tupaj wants to build upon the educational workforce opportunities within MCC’s STEM division. This includes enhancing STEM-based Learn and Earn experiences and collaborating with industry partners on internship opportunities and curriculum development. With an interest in learning new technologies, she also hopes to create programs at MCC that support emerging trends, including robotics, artificial intelligence and environmental biology.

As the college received a grant to support women of color studying Information Technology (IT), Hronik-Tupaj is looking to increase enrollment, retention and high-paying job opportunities for this population. One way Hronik-Tupaj believes students who are interested in STEM – particularly women – can succeed is by finding a topic they enjoy, sticking with the program, and building connections with classmates and someone who has followed that path before them. “There are a lot more women in engineering and science than there were 30 to 40 years ago, which is encouraging,” she said. “The challenge still today is moving women into management and leadership roles in those fields, but we’re making progress.”

Hronik-Tupaj’s own journey into STEM was influenced by her father who was an electrical engineer. She found a passion for the subject in high school because she liked listening to inspiring science lectures and working on challenging problems. In college, she pursued engineering because she knew there were many high-paying jobs available in the Boston area. After graduating from Tufts University with a bachelor’s in electrical engineering, Hronik-Tupaj proceeded to work in high-tech. At the time, the biotechnology field was growing, so she returned to Tufts to earn a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering. She then decided to stay in higher education. While in college, Hronik-Tupaj benefitted from following the degree sheet and working with career services. Participating in internships helped build her resume, which helped her receive strong job offers after graduating. Now working at MCC, she believes in providing students with as much real-life application as possible, including in labs and activities outside of the classroom.

“In the STEM division, our focus will continue to be on creating a positive learning experience supporting students to reach their goals,” Hronik-Tupaj said.
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Internationally Acclaimed Band Performs for MCC’s ‘World of Music’

LOWELL: Middlesex Community College is excited to welcome the internationally acclaimed Ezekiel’s Wheels Klezmer Band as part of the Fall 2023 “A World of Music” concert series. The performance will take place at 3pm on October 22 at MCC’s Richard and Nancy Donahue Family Academic Arts Center in Lowell.
 
“Get ready for an incredible afternoon of lively music as Ezekiel's Wheels Klezmer Band takes the stage at Middlesex Community College,” said a spokesperson for the band. “This concert promises an unforgettable experience filled with klezmer music, Yiddish song and dance. Don't miss out on the chance to immerse yourself in the vibrant world of klezmer music with this award-winning band.”
 
Ezekiel’s Wheels Klezmer Band brings passion, virtuosity and contagious energy to every performance. The Wheels improvise with the intimacy of chamber music and the intensity of a rowdy dance band. Their engaging contemporary interpretation of Jewish music is irresistible to audiences.
 
“We are looking forward to presenting Ezekiel’s Wheels Klezmer Band,” said Carmen Rodríguez-Peralta, MCC’s Chair of Music. “They are an exciting group that audiences love!”
 
In partnership with the Lowell City of Learning Festival, MCC’s “World of Music” will also host Literature through Music by MCC faculty members at 11am on October 14 at the Academic Arts Center.
Other performances for “A World of Music” this semester include an Online Saturday Arts Concert featuring MCC faculty and alumni at 4 p.m. on November 11; a Student Recital at 12:30pm on December 4 at MCC’s Bedford Campus Concert Hall; and a concert by the LCO at 7:30pm on December 9 at MCC’s Academic Arts Center. All concerts are free and open to the public. For more information, visit www.middlesex.mass.edu/worldofmusic.

MCC to Host Second Annual Lowell Asian American Film Festival

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LOWELL: Middlesex Community College is proud to present the second annual Lowell Asian American Film Festival (LAAFF), starting on October 20. Over three days, Middlesex will screen seven Asian American-directed films from across the country in celebration of art, culture and diversity. Held at MCC’s Richard and Nancy Donahue and Family Academic Arts Center, the entirety of the festival will be free.

“MCC is thrilled to once again sponsor and host the second annual Lowell Asian American Film Festival at our Academic Arts Center,” said Virak Uy, MCC’s Director of Asian American Student Achievement Program. “The festival has a mission of empowering Asian Americans through film and bringing Asian American films to the public with the hope of inspiring future generations of filmmakers. The weekend will provide an opportunity to bring the community together and celebrate diverse voices, experiences and entertainment that represent one of the college’s largest population of students.”

The 2023 LAAFF is sponsored by MCC and funded by an ARPA grant from the City of Lowell. An Opening Reception will kick off the event on October 20 with an opening reception, followed by a 7pm screening of “Elvis of Cambodia” with a Q& A with director Chris Parkhurst.

Events on October 21 will start at 12:30pm with a screening of an MCC student film “Sunday” and a Q&A with the directors. At 1:30pm, there will be a screening of “One O’Clock” with a Q&A by director Vibol S. Sungkriem. Following a 2:30pm screening of “Skin Can Breathe,” there will be a screening of “Dealing with Dad” at 4pm and a Q&A with director Tom Huang.
After a Closing Reception at noon on October 22, there will be a 1:30pm screening of “The Next Generation of Asian American Art.” At 2pm, there will be a screening of “Chinatown Rising” with a Zoom Q& A by directors Harry and Josh Chuck. The final screening of the weekend will be “Vincent Who?” at 5pm, followed by a Zoom Q&A.

For more information, email laaff@middlesex.mass.edu. Visit www.middlesex.mass.edu/laaff/ to reserve a free seat or email laaff@middlesex.mass.edu for more information.
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Food Pantry Boxes for Charitable Organizations Available

LITTLETON: Mattias Lacroix is a Boy Scout from Troop 20 in Littleton working on his Eagle Scout project. He has constructed four food pantry boxes and will provide, install and stock a box for you at no charge as a public service. A food pantry box is a wooden box about 2’ by 2’ by 1½’ that sits on a post, kind of like a mailbox, and stores non-perishable food. People who are in need of food can come and take some, and people who have a little extra food can come and put food in the box. (Think “little free library” for books). If you are an organization within an hour’s drive of Littleton that would like Mattias to install a food pantry box for you this fall, please reach out. You just have to pick a spot, call Digsafe to check it, and maintain the box’s food supply if it gets low. Mattias will also hold a food drive so you aren’t just getting an empty box. If you are interested or have any questions please email mattias.lacroix@theparkerschool.org.

Greater Lowell Community Foundation Announces New Refugee and Immigrant Resettlement Fund

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LOWELL: The Greater Lowell Community Foundation (GLCF) announced the establishment of the Refugee and Immigrant Resettlement Fund. This fund provides funding to support the efforts of Greater Lowell organizations to help ensure those in need are welcomed and connected with housing, employment, transportation, food, acculturation, and other related assistance.

On August 8, 2023, Governor Maura T. Healey declared a state of emergency due to rapidly rising numbers of migrant families arriving in Massachusetts who need shelter and services, and the severe lack of availability of those resources. With the influx of new refugees and immigrants arriving in Greater Lowell, GLCF is leading an effort to provide support to local nonprofits charged with these resettlements.

“Organizations serving refugees and immigrants are facing increased financial pressures due to decreases in federal assistance and there's a growing need for supporting these members of our community,” said Jay Linnehan, GLCF’s President and CEO. “In times of humanitarian need, GLCF gives where it is most needed in Greater Lowell.”
Donations to the GLCF Refugee and Immigrant Resettlement Fund can be made online at www.glcfoundation.org or by mail to the GLCF Refugee and Immigrant Resettlement Fund c/o GLCF, 100 Merrimack Street, Suite 202, Lowell, MA 01852.
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MCC to Host Award-winning Writer as Part of Visiting Writers Series

LOWELL: Middlesex Community College will host award-winning writer John Fulton as part of the college’s Visiting Writers Series at 12:30pm on October 3 in the Richard and Nancy Donahue and Family Academic Arts Center Recital Hall in Lowell.
 
“The teaching of reading and writing fiction is more essential than ever in this divisive and divided moment since this discipline teaches us not only the skills and techniques for understanding our world but also how to imagine and empathize with those who may be different from us,” Fulton said. “As a teacher and writer, I value helping students learn how to find their own voices. Just as importantly, I encourage them to imagine the world as seen through perspectives not their own.”

A professor and director of the MFA program at UMass Boston, Fulton has published four books of fiction, including the newly released “The Flounder and other stories” (Blackwater Press, 2023) – a Poets & Writers Page One New and Noteworthy Book selection. He has also written “The Animal Girl” (LSU Press, 2007), a Story Prize Notable Book; “Retribution” (Picador USA, 2001), which won the Southern Review Short Fiction Prize; and the novel “More Than Enough” (Picador USA, 2022), a Barnes and Noble’s Discover Great New Writers selection and the Salt Lake City Tribune Best Adult Novel for the West for 2002. Fulton’s short fiction has been awarded a Pushcart Prize and has been published in many literary magazines and journals, including Missouri Review, The Sun, Zoetrope, and Ploughshares. He has received grants and fellowships from the New York Writers Institute, Sewanee Writers’ Conference, the Vermont Studio Center, and the Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs.
 
MCC Visiting Writers Series is co-sponsored by the Creative Writing Program and the Office of Student Engagement.
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PCA Continues Arts in the Loft Classes

WESTFORD: In week 3 of the Parish Center for the Arts' "Arts in the Loft" classes, instructor Deb O'Connell will be taking on Modified Contour Line Drawings with her 13-21 age group (9/25), and Still Life Drawing with her 8-12 after school group (9/26).

Modified Contour Line Drawings is at 6:30pm on October 2. The amount of time spent looking at the object as you draw will be a focal point along with considering the role of the negative space between objects. Students will be given a choice later in class to continue working exclusively with this practice or to select a drawing for further development with pattern and design. This is a one-week session for $25.

In Still Life Drawing at 3pm on October 3, students will use colored pencil, pastel or oil pastel. Look to artists Paul Cezanne & Vincent van Gogh for inspiration - either a bowl of seasonal fruit or a flower in a vase. Media preferences will be chosen by students to complete their work with color & shading. This is a one-week session for $20.

PCA's Arts in the Loft program is ten weeks collectively, but students can pick and choose which sessions they'd like to participate in. Then, on November 27 there will be a special exhibit in the Main Hall showcasing student artwork from the class (optional). For more information, visit https://parisharts.square.site/arts-in-the-loft.
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Lowell Police Department Hosts Third-Annual Youth Outreach Day

LOWELL: Superintendent Greg Hudon is pleased to report that the Lowell Police Department hosted its third annual Lowell Police Youth Outreach Day recently with support from law enforcement and community partners.

Forming positive relationships with community members, especially youth, is a high priority for the Lowell Police Department as the department seeks to build trust with the public. Youth Outreach Day is a fun-filled day of games and activities that are meant to help police and community members connect.

The Lowell Fire Department, the Northeastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council, Massachusetts State Police, National Park Police, Dracut Police, UMass Lowell Police and the Middlesex Sheriff's Office all had vehicles available for children and adults to check out. A video game truck was on hand, and police offered free pizza, drinks and ice cream to all in attendance.

Grant funding from the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security's Shannon Community Safety Initiative was used to provide inflatable carnival games. The Lowell Police Superior and Patrol Officer's Unions provided raffle baskets, and the Greater Lowell Health Alliance donated backpacks full of school supplies.

"I want to thank all of our law enforcement and community partners who helped us once again make Youth Outreach Day a success," said Superintendent Hudon. "The Lowell Police Department takes our responsibility to build trust with community members very seriously, and events like this help our officers connect with the community in a fun, and positive way."

PHOTO: School Resource Officer Erica Torres smiles as she shows two kids how the sirens in her police cruiser work. (Courtesy Lowell Police Department)
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Lowell Author Publishes Coloring Book

LOWELL: Be brought into a story as you color your way through an adventure in"Peterson Rabbit and Friends Coloring Book," a new book by Claudio Madeira, which has been released by Dorrance Publishing Co., Inc. Peterson Rabbit and Friends Coloring Book tells the story of a young rabbit from Blackwood Forest and his many friends and inspires children and adults alike to laugh and have fun coloring the silly and unique characters.Peterson Rabbit and Friends Coloring Book is a 30-page paperback, available online at https://bookstore.dorrancepublishing.com/peterson-rabbit-and-friends-coloring-book/.

Claudio Madeira is a family-oriented person. He loves to laugh and make other people laugh. Madiera has always worked hard to achieve his goals, including the creation and publication of Peterson Rabbit and Friends Coloring Book.
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Run a Food Drive to Spread More Love, Less Hunger

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

TYNGSBOROUGH: Police Chief Richard Howe, Fire Chief Wes Russell, and Health Director Kerri Oun would like to invite the community to the Tyngsborough Health and Safety Fair, September 30 from 11am-2pm, for a day of fun and educational activities at Tyngsborough Elementary School, 205 Westford Road.

The Tyngsborough Police and Fire Departments and Board of Health are joining forces this year to turn Public Safety Day into the Tyngsborough Health and Safety Fair, with opportunities to meet and get to know first responders while also learning valuable lessons about health and wellness. There will be a touch-a-truck opportunity, with vehicles from Tyngsborough Police and Fire, the Northeastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council, Massachusetts State Police and the Massachusetts National Guard on hand. There will also be face-painting, balloon animals, snacks and drinks, as well as music, games, and giveaways. The Board of Health will provide free health check ups, and even opportunities to donate blood or get a flu shot. There will also be plenty of educational handouts to help residents learn about fire prevention, first aid and emergency preparedness.

"We have expanded Public Safety Day to include the Board of Health this year, and as a result we will have significantly more activities and information on hand for residents," said Chief Howe. "I encourage all community members to stop by the Tyngsborough Elementary School for a fun and educational day meeting first responders and public servants from Tyngsborough."

More information about this event is available via their Facebook event page: www.facebook.com/events/218857647506780.
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MCC to Host Constitution Day Event on Free Speech & Racial Justice

LOWELL: Led by the Office of Civic & Service-Learning, Middlesex Community College helps spark students’ interest in their constitutional rights, voting and other issues. Middlesex will host a Constitution Day event on September 19 with a presentation from Traci Griffith, Racial Justice Program Coordinator at the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts. The presentation and Q&A will take place from 11am-1pm in-person in the Lowell Cowan Center Cafeteria or on Zoom. Email Bowes at bowesk@middlesex.mass.edu for more information and to RSVP.

MCC Paralegal Studies student Oriana Lara, of Lawrence, is looking forward to attending this year’s Constitution Day event to learn more about how others interpret what constitution means to them. In going to these events, Lara can combine classroom learning with real-life issues.

“As I continue to navigate the legal system, I want to participate in more events that will educate me and provide me with the knowledge to help others who are in the shadows,” Lara said. “It is easy to govern a country with people who are ignored in the decisions being made on ‘their
behalf.’”

During the event, Griffith will discuss first amendment rights and the impact recent SCOTUS decisions will have on the future. Bringing Griffith to campus is the result of previous successful panels enjoyed by the community, according Kelly Bowes, MCC’s Coordinator of Civic & Service-Learning.

“As a community, MCC has been grappling with a number of discussion topics, including free speech, racial justice and the recent SCOTUS decisions, and Traci’s expertise and experience will be welcomed by our campus community as we learn from her and from each other,” Bowes said. “It’s the perfect event to kick off our year of civic learning and  engagement, that will culminate in a historic presidential election next fall.”

A lawyer, journalist, academic and advocate, Griffith most recently served as an Associate Professor in the Communications Department at Simmons University and previously was Chair of Media Studies at St. Michael’s College in Vermont. Her areas of research focus have included First Amendment law and ethics, as well as Race and Gender representation in media. Griffith is a former correspondent and national editor for the Associated Press and holds a JD from Notre Dame, M.S. in Journalism from Florida A&M, and BA in Political Science from DePaul. Her most recent work includes a well-received four-part series with New England News Collaborative on racism in New England.

During the past eight years, Griffith served on the Executive Committee of the National ACLU Board of Directors, and served as the National Board Secretary. Before joining the National ACLU Board as the Vermont representative in 2014, she served the Vermont board as its Vice-President and as a member of the Executive and Nominating Committees.
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Hosts Artist Social

CHELMSFORD: The Chelmsford Art Society is excited to host their creative Artist Social on September 28, from 7-9pm at the Chelmsford Center for the Arts. All area artists - from Chelmsford and all surrounding towns - are invited to informally enjoy sharing their artistic visions, have refreshments, and network with friendly faces. Professional artists, as well as newcomers, students, and amateur artists are welcome to “Meet and Mingle” during this evening. Participants do not need to just live in Chelmsford. The calendar of talented monthly live art demonstrations, as well as the advantages of entering artwork into the Winter/Summer Art Shows, and the huge July 4 Art Exhibit will be presented at that time. For more information, visit chelmsfordartsociety.com.

Greater Lowell Community Foundation Awards Grant to Bridge Club of Greater Lowell

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LOWELL: The Greater Lowell Community Foundation (GLCF) has awarded a $30,000 grant to the Bridge Club of Greater Lowell to support transportation for their Veterans Reintegration Program.

“This grant has allowed the Bridge Club to remove a key barrier, the lack of transportation, to the assist their veteran clients,” said GLCF president and CEO Jay Linnehan. “Transportation should not be an obstacle to a path to a better future.”

The Bridge Club of Greater Lowell's Veterans Reintegration Program is made possible by a recent grant awarded by Dept. of Labor. This 3-year grant targets reentry initiatives such as housing and employment opportunities for veterans returning from or facing incarceration.

“This grant funding from GLCF solves a transportation problem our veteran community encounter,” said Bob Cox, executive director at Bridge Club of Greater Lowell. “The problem stems from the fact that the Veteran’s court in Framingham is the sole location for the entirety of Middlesex County leaving veterans from across the county with a logistical hurdle to overcome that frequently jeopardizes his/her ability to appear on a scheduled court date.”

Veterans Treatment Courts are specialized courts that provide alternatives to punishments for veterans suffering from PTSD, other mental health issues, or brain injury. These courts seek to divert those with mental health issues and homelessness from the traditional justice system and to give them treatment and tools for rehabilitation and readjustment. Veterans Treatment Courts are hybrid Drug and Mental Health Courts that serve veterans struggling with addiction, serious mental illness and/or co-occurring disorders. They promote sobriety, recovery, and stability through a coordinated response that involves cooperation and collaboration with the traditional partners found in Drug and Mental Health Courts, with the addition of the VA, volunteer veteran mentors, and veterans and Veterans' family support organizations. Usually, Veterans Courts hear cases involving misdemeanor charges other than those involving sexual offenses or violent crimes. A veteran's participation in treatment court is always voluntary. Veterans who choose to participate are assessed by a mental health professional and their treatment needs are determined.

“The Bridge Back Initiative, a collaborative partnership between the Bridge Club, the Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office and the Middlesex County Sherriff’s Office, supports previously incarcerated and court-involved individuals in the Greater Lowell area by connecting them to employment opportunities, addiction and recovery resources, housing and other direct services,” said District Attorney Marian T. Ryan. “This grant moves this community closer to the goal of reducing recidivism and homelessness.”

PHOTO: )L-R) GLCF president and CEO Jay Linnehan with Bridge Club of Greater Lowell board member and Executive Director of Community Teamwork Karen Frederick and Bob Cox, executive director at Bridge Club of Greater Lowell.

MCC Kicks Off “World of Music” with Lowell Chamber Orchestra

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LOWELL/BEDFORD: Middlesex Community College will kick off the Fall 2023 “A World of Music” concert series with a performance by the Lowell Chamber Orchestra (LCO) at 7:30pm on September 16 at MCC’s Richard and Nancy Donahue Family Academic Arts Center in Lowell.

“We are delighted to be opening the fall season with the Lowell Chamber Orchestra,” said Carmen Rodríguez-Peralta, MCC’s Chair of Music. “Our Fall ‘World of Music’ concert series will feature a wonderful variety of music, including orchestral music, faculty performances, lecture recitals, an exciting Klezmer Band, and an online concert in collaboration with Dracut Arts. There’s something for everyone!

The LCO, conducted by MCC faculty member Orlando Cela, will present a concert featuring miniature symphonies. Works by Yoko Nakatani, Brittney Benton, Vincent Persichetti, and Arnold Schoenberg will be performed. Other performances at the Academic Arts Center this semester include Literature through Music at 11am on October 14; Ezekiel’s Wheels Klezmer Band at 3pm on
October 22; and a second performance by the Lowell Chamber Orchestra at 7:30pm on December 9.

“A World of Music” will also hold performances at MCC’s Concert Hall on the Bedford Campus, including Guitar Music of South African Composer David Hewitt at 11am on October 3 and a Student Recital at 12:30pm on December 4. There will also be an Online Saturday Arts Concert featuring MCC faculty and an alum at 4pm on November 11.

All concerts are free and open to the public. MCC’s Academic Arts Center is located at 240 Central Street in Lowell. With parking not available on site, the nearest public parking facility is the Early Garage on 135 Middlesex Street.
For more information, visit www.middlesex.mass.edu/worldofmusic.
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Chelmsford Mothers' Club Kids’ Consignment Sale

CHELMSFORD: The Spring Chelmsford Mothers' Club Kids Consignment Sale will be held at Greater Visions Children’s Center, 180 Old Westford Road on September 23 from 9am-1pm. Thousands of gently used items suitable for children from infancy to elementary will be for sale at a fraction of retail cost. At the sale you'll find clothes and shoes, costumes, accessories, toys, books and more! The sale is a sustainable and affordable way for families to update their childrens wardrobes, fill their toy chests and nurseries, while raising funds to reduce the cost of events for members and their families. The Entry fee is $2 cash or 1 non perishable food item per adult. With limited space, no strollers are allowed and please leave children at home. Shoppers are asked to bring their own shopping bags. Cash and major credit cards accepted. Half-price sale begins at 11:30am.  For more information, visit www.kidstagsale.com.
 
For over 15 years, the Chelmsford Mothers’ Club has held spring and fall pop-up tag sales. In addition, many items that are not sold during the sale will be donated to Central Food Ministry and Thom Anne Sullivan Center.
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CHELMPEX 2023 September 23

CHELMSFORD: Chelmsford Stamp Club will be holding their annual stamp show, CHELMPEX 2023, on September 23 from 9am-3pm at Trinity Lutheran Church 170 Old Westford Road. There will be multiple dealers, Fish Bowl, door prizes & more. For collectors of US & World Wide postage stamps, Postal History, Postal Stationery & First Day Covers, supplies & ephemera. Free admission & free parking. For additional information, contact Linda Gilmore at (978) 256-2256 or linda.gilmore47@gmail.com.

GLCF to Host Annual Celebrate Giving Event with Focus on Creating an Inclusive Cultural Economy

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LOWELL: On October 25, 2023, the Greater Lowell Community Foundation (GLCF) will host its annual Celebrate Giving at UTEC in Lowell. The event will focus on Creating an Inclusive Cultural Economy and will highlight our related work in the community, including Mosaic Lowell, a fiscally sponsored program of GLCF and other creative partners.

This year’s event will feature a keynote by Michael J. Bobbitt, Executive Director (pictured), Mass Cultural Council. Michael J. Bobbitt is a theater director, choreographer, and playwright who has dedicated his professional career to arts leadership. He joined Mass Cultural Council as Executive Director in February 2021, and is the highest-ranking cultural official in Massachusetts state government. Upon joining the Agency, he was invited to serve on the Board of Directors for the New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) and the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies’ (NASAA). As Executive Director Michael has led Mass Cultural Council through the development of its first-ever Racial Equity Plan; worked with staff, Council Members, and cultural sector advocates to secure and distribute a historic $60.1M in state pandemic relief funding; and overseen the drafting and adoption of the Agency’s FY24-FY26 strategic plan.

The event will also include awarding three 2023 GLCF honors: Business Philanthropy Partner Award, Steven Joncas Community Connector Award, and Bankers’ Volunteer Award for Lifetime Achievement.

“This year’s Celebrate Giving will highlight creating an inclusive cultural economy and explore how using collective influence, voice, and support can move the progress forward,” said Jay Linnehan, Greater Lowell Community Foundation President and CEO. “We believe that philanthropy is something everyone can and should engage in, as fundamentally, philanthropy is about civic engagement – there are so many ways to get involved.”

Celebrate Giving reception will begin at 5pm and the program will begin at 6pm. Tickets are $100 each and need to be reserved by October 18 at www.glcfoundation.org.
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Water Safety Reminders

According to the American Red Cross, 10 people die each day from unintentional drowning, and on average two of those deaths are children under age 14. Additionally, drowning is the leading cause of death for children and adults with autism spectrum disorder. To ensure everyone’s safety in the water this summer, the Hudson Fire Department would like to remind residents of the following safety tips for kayakers, paddlers and recreational boaters courtesy of the American Canoe Association:
 
  • Always wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket when boating or fishing, even if you don’t intend to enter the water.
  • Children under the age of 12 must always wear a life jacket in a public body of water.
  • Be a competent swimmer with the ability to handle oneself underwater, moving water, surf or current. Keep the craft under control. Do not enter a rapid unless you are reasonably sure you can navigate it or swim the entire rapid in case you capsize.
  • Keep a lookout for hazards and avoid them. Watch for fog, especially on coastal waters.
  • Know your physical limitations.
  • Group members need to constantly assess the behavior of others in their group.

For those swimming in the ocean, lakes, ponds or pools, the Hudson Fire Department also provides the following safety tips from the American Red Cross:
 
  • Never leave children unattended while they are near or in a body of water, and make sure they have an adult to accompany them into the water. Young or inexperienced swimmers should always wear a life jacket or inflatable arm floats.
  • Never swim alone; swim with lifeguards and/or water watchers present. Even if lifeguards are present, you (or another responsible adult) should stay with your children.
  • If a child is missing, always check the body of water that they were near or swimming in first.
  • Understand and adjust for the unique risks of the water environment you are in, such as river currents, ocean rip current, underwater hazards including vegetation and animals, and more.
  • Don’t use alcohol or drugs (including certain prescription medications) before or during swimming or diving, or while supervising swimmers.
  • Recognize the signs of someone in trouble and shout for help. A swimmer needs immediate help if they:
    • Are not making forward progress in the water.
    • Are vertical in the water but unable to move or tread water.
    • Are motionless and face down in the water.
  • If someone is drowning or experiencing an emergency in the water:
    • Rescue and remove the person from the water (without putting yourself in danger).
    • Ask someone to call emergency medical services (EMS). If alone, give 2 minutes of care, then call EMS.
    • Begin CPR.
    • Use an AED if available and transfer care to advanced life support.
  • Take a CPR course for adults and children to be prepared if an emergency occurs. Update skills regularly.
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GLCF’s Women Working Wonders (WWW) Fund Awards Six Grants Totaling $60,000

LOWELL: The Women Working Wonders (WWW) Fund, a permanently endowed fund of the Greater Lowell Community Foundation, has announced the recipients of $60,000 in grants to support local nonprofit programs that empower women and girls in the community.
 
“Women Working Wonders is proud to support these six outstanding organizations in their work to effect positive change in the lives of women and girls in Greater Lowell,” said Marcia Cassidy, Women Working Wonders board president. “Every year the need grows for funding of programs to support women and girls, and every year Women Working Wonders answers that call.”   
 
Recipients of the 2023 WWW grants (each for $10,000): 
  • Boys & Girls Club of Greater Lowell for “Within Reach" to empower the girls served at Boys & Girls Club of Greater Lowell to develop aspirational goals
  • Challenge Unlimited for Equine Assisted Therapeutic Programs for Female First Responders
  • Community Teamwork for Financial Foundations for Women
  • Greater Lowell Health Alliance for It Takes a Village: The Breastfeeding-Friendly Communities Project
  • International Institute of New England for IINE-Lowell Family Literacy Class – English and Empowerment for Refugee Women
  • Mill City Grows for Merrimack Valley Growers' Aid to provide access to land, training, and technical assistance to growers who identify as women
 
Women Working Wonders, an all-volunteer group of women dedicated to effecting positive change, provides annual grants in three key areas: assisting women in transition, providing leadership development in girls and women, and/or contributing to the beautification of the environment to benefit women and girls. Founded in 2004 by a small group of women coming together to form a collective giving organization that focused on women’s issues, the fund has made more than $370,000 in grants to organizations supporting women and girls in the Greater Lowell area. 
 
One of the 2023 grant recipients, Mill City Grows, received funding for their Merrimack Valley Growers' Aid project. This program will provide access to land, training, and technical assistance to 12 growers who identify as women.


"To ensure that people have food to eat, we need to make sure that farmers have land and tools to grow that food. We are excited to provide training, support, and land access to BIPOC women farmers who are providing food for our community," said Jessica Wilson, executive director, Mill City Grows.
 
The Women Working Wonders Fund’s Power of the Purse 2023 event, which raises funds to support the annual grants, is scheduled for October 19. For information about WWW Fund and the upcoming event, visit www.womenworkingwondersfund.com.

PHOTO: Mill City Grows received a $10,000 Women Working Wonders Fund grant for their Merrimack Valley Growers' Aid. This program will provide access to land, training, and technical assistance to 12 growers who identify as women. Taking a break from constructing a high tunnel for winter growing for local farmers. An example of technical assistance provided through the Merrimack Valley Growers Aid Program. From left to right, K Cardenas, Seona Ban Ngufor, Gabriella Batista, Grace McKay, Randy Violette, and Brian Mariano.

Tyngsborough Police School Resource Officer Bethany Bonczar Publishes Book About Life with Comfort Dog George

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TYNGSBOROUGH: Chief Richard Howe is pleased to report that School Resource Officer Bethany Bonczar has written a children's book called "Curious about George" about her work with George, the Tyngsborough Police Department's comfort dog. Bonczar, who has served as an SRO since 2018, wrote the book over the past year while collaborating with Tyngsborough Public Schools Special Education Teacher Tayla Makevich, who created original illustrations for the book.

"George has been a visitor in her classroom since he was a puppy and she has seen first hand the type of positive effect that he has had," said Officer Bonczar. "I first approached her about the idea for George's book and she was immediately on board bringing her talent and creativity to really bring this book to life."

George, a 4-year-old beagle/boxer mix, serves as both a comfort dog for Tyngsborough Community members, and as a search and rescue dog that is trained to help track people.

"People in the community have always been 'curious about George' and rightly so," said Officer Bonczar. "George is not your traditional police K-9 but is an important resource for the Tyngsborough Police Department. He has a different look, different purpose, and a much different story, all of which we wanted to share."

Officer Bonczar, who has never written a book before, took on the project because she wanted to provide a glimpse into the work that she does with George, and to show people a different side of law enforcement.

Working with George enabled Bonczar to meet and connect with students of all ages and backgrounds. George helps to calm and relax students who have experienced stressful situations at school or at home, and helps to reach students even when traditional means of outreach fail.

"We hope that this book provides a glimpse into what George does and will remind people to not judge a book by its cover," said Officer Bonczar. "It doesn't matter what you look like or where you come from, you can accomplish whatever you set your mind to, just as George has!"

In addition to drawing attention to George's work with the police department, Bonczar also hopes that book sales will provide a funding source to maintain a robust SRO program in Tyngsborough, with proceeds from the book all going toward maintaining the program for years to come.

"Officer Bonczar took on this amazing project last year and has created a wonderful children's book that will help her and George continue connecting with Tyngsborough students while also supporting our SRO programming," said Chief Howe. "I congratulate Officer Bonczar on a job extremely well done, and invite the entire community to check out 'Curious About George.'"

Anyone interested in buying a copy of "Curious About George," or anyone who is interested in setting up a visit with George, can call the Tyngsborough Police Department at (978) 649-7504, or email Officer Bonczar at bbonczar@tyngsboroughma.gov.
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Girls Inc. Launches New STEM Program for ‘23-24 School Year

LOWELL: Girls Inc. of Greater Lowell will launch its newest program on August 31 for the upcoming 2023-24 school year. The Thinking SMART program focuses on STEM learning (science, technology, engineering, and math) and leadership development in order to make stable, well-paid jobs in STEM fields an attainable option for young women in Lowell. Thinking SMART is free for all Lowell-area families, and is currently accepting applications for rising 7th graders to join its inaugural cohort.

After having provided STEM outreach programs in Lowell schools over the past several years, Girls Inc. is proud to be able to host the Thinking SMART program in its own downtown center, located at 220 Worthen Street. In fact, Girls Inc. is currently wrapping up a multi-year capital campaign and is in the process of expanding its facilities with construction on a neighboring property.

A well-known gender disparity among STEM graduates and professionals is behind the desire to create more opportunities in the field for young women. The Thinking SMART program involves connecting girls and young women with professional role models in these careers in order to provide exposure to relatable role models. “We know that there’s a need to create more opportunities for women in STEM, and there’s also a need to create more opportunities for young women, especially women of color, here in Lowell. Thinking SMART aims to not only help correct some of the gender disparity in STEM, but do so by creating paths for our girls here in Lowell to pursue their dreams and interests.” says Bopha Malone, Executive Director of Girls Inc. of Greater Lowell and alumna of Girls Inc. of Lynn. “The connections I made through Girls Inc. led me to where I am today, and we’ve designed this program to help create those kinds of opportunities for the next generation of Girls Inc. members.”

According to Thinking SMART Program Coordinator Jon Tuttle, “Thinking SMART is designed to help girls grow into confident, curious, and competent young women. By providing high-quality science learning, leadership development, social support, and help with academic and career planning, Thinking SMART equips girls with the tools they need to blaze their own trails in life.”

In order to meet this ambitious goal, the program involves long-term support for girls as they grow. Starting with an after-school program for 7th and 8th graders, Thinking SMART transitions to summer camps as girls enter the 9th and 10th grades, and culminates in paid STEM internships for 11th and 12th grade girls.

“This long-term commitment,” says Tuttle, “ allows girls the time and space to grow intellectually, socially, and personally. It also allows us to meet their evolving needs as they navigate a critical time in their lives. A 7th grader might need help on their homework, while a 12th grader might need guidance in applying for financial aid for college. Every step along the way is equally critical in making possible a career that can provide young women with personal fulfillment and financial independence.”

About Girls Inc.: Girls Inc. of Greater Lowell is a youth-serving non-profit organization founded in 1917. As it has evolved and grown over the years, Girls Inc. remains focused on inspiring all girls to be strong, smart, and bold. So far in 2023, the organization has served over 200 Lowell girls in pursuit of that mission.
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Tyngsborough Police Department Welcomes Two New Officers

TYNGSBOROUGH: Chief Richard D. Howe is pleased to report that the Tyngsborough Police Department swore in two new officers in a ceremony before the Board of Selectmen this week.

Officer Bryan Carter graduated from the Northern Essex Community College Police Academy, where he was class president, earlier this year, and recently completed his 12-week field training program with the Tyngsborough Police Department.

Officer Carter grew up in Hudson, and graduated from Hudson High School in 2013. He earned a Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice with a minor in Psychology in 2020 from University of Massachusetts Boston, where he was also a four-year member of the university's hockey team.

Officer Ryan McLean graduated in June from the National Guard Massachusetts Police Training Council Police Academy, where he was awarded the Academic Achievement Award.

McLean attended the academy as a self-sponsored cadet, showing his commitment to law enforcement by paying his way through the academy before being hired by a police department. He was hired by Tyngsborough Police earlier this month.

McLean holds a Bachelor's degree and also serves in the Massachusetts National Guard.

McLean is currently undergoing his 12-week Field Training Program.

"I have no doubt you will successful if you remain professional, and focus on ideals such as integrity, teamwork and accountability for your actions on- and off-duty. You alone are responsible for your actions so you must avoid anything that will tarnish the badge you've been entrusted with," Chief Howe told both officers. "Do not forget how you started your career with focus, energy and the desire to serve. Do not lose this fire, as it is an essential ingredient for you to serve with distinction, and will be a direct reflection on how you're viewed by the public that we serve."

PHOTO: From left, Officer Ryan McLean and Officer Bryan Carter after both men were sworn in. (Courtesy Tyngsborough Police Department)
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Chelmsford’s Franklin Radgowski is an Advocate for Friends & Neighbors with Disabilities

CHELMSFORD: When Franklin Radgowski saw that the entrance to his church was not accessible to people with disabilities, he took action—not only for himself, but also for his neighbor’s son. The 42-year-old Radgowski, who likes to be called Frankie, uses a wheelchair and so does his friend’s young son.

“My friend is in a wheelchair and (before the ramp was there) his Dad was lifting him up and down the stairs. I was also using the stairs with a 200-pound wheelchair. We used a portable ramp over the stairs and I rode up and down the stairs which I don’t think is safe,” Frankie said recalling the situation in 2022. He called it “an accident waiting to happen.” But once Frankie started speaking up about how the church needed an ADA-accessible ramp, he said, church leaders listened. “The process began right away once I brought it to their attention,” he said. “The squeaky wheel gets the oil.”

"Securing the church ramp is just one example of how Frankie continues to make a difference in the lives of others," said Christopher Starnes of The Edinburg Center in Bedford, a nonprofit agency that serves persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities, mental health conditions, co-occurring disorders, autism and brain injuries. Frankie has cerebral palsy. “[Frankie] has a history of advocacy work for his community in Chelmsford,” said Starnes, who met Frankie through Edinburg’s Meaningful Whole Life (MWL) program—Edinburg’s new twist on traditional day services for people with disabilities. Frankie lives at a group home operated by Edinburg, and takes part in MWL during the day. Starnes is a counselor assigned to Frankie as his “champion,” helping him work towards his personal goals.

Frankie has lived with his housemates at the Edinburg house in Chelmsford for over three years. During that time, he has become a member of the Chelmsford Commission for Disabilities. Recently, he went to a Town Meeting and spoke against building a hauling site for trucks, at Mill Street and Turnpike Road, which is near another group home. He and his neighbors successfully stopped the initiative.

“Just by nature, he is an advocate,” said Lori Harrington, team lead for the Meaningful Whole Life Team program at The Edinburg Center. “He is happy at this group home; it is a small family for him. He is friendly and outgoing.”

“I like that I have 24/7 care, I get to go out in the community and hang around cool people. I just like to mingle and be [myself] and interact with people,” Frankie said. “Let the world know, ‘I’m Frankie and this is my disability.’”

Harrington, who has been helping Frankie assemble his autobiography, believes his outgoing, get-it-done approach has set a great example for other residents at the group home. “We talk about speaking up for yourself. You deserve to be heard as much as anyone,” she said. “We encourage people to see themselves as a wonderful person.”

When asked about his civic involvement, Frankie admits he has always been “the kind of person who likes to get involved,” adding, “I’m just advocating for people that can’t do it themselves,” he said. His advocacy work is also aimed at creating greater understanding and respect from the public regarding people with disabilities. Even as he encourages people to advocate for themselves, he also recognizes that people need to come together to help one another. “It’s not difficult,” he said. “People don’t take the time… Think if that was you, how would that make you feel? That’s what I always tell people. Think about how you would feel if you were in that person’s position.”

During Disability Awareness Month in March, Frankie was a guest speaker at The Edinburg Center’s main office in Bedford. “I talked about my disability and my book and what I had done for the church and I feel really happy for myself,” he said.

Having successfully secured the new ramp at his church, Frankie is setting his sights on helping Chelmsford improve its ADA-accessible sidewalks and crossings. “People rely on [me] to do that. At the end of the day, I feel really good when I do something like this. I like making a big difference for anybody that is in need of help,” Frankie said.