Middlesex CC Names Sarah Alzate-Pérez 2023-2024 Student Trustee

LOWELL: Sarah Alzate-Pérez, from Bogotá, Colombia and now Lowell, has been named to the Middlesex Community College Board of Trustees for the 2023-2024 academic year as Student Trustee. In her role, the Fine and Performing Arts Theatre major hopes to advocate for her classmates and improve the overall student experience at Middlesex.

“I found the Student Trustee position to be exciting because it will allow me to be the voice of my peers,” Alzate-Pérez said. “I can represent their interests, concerns and perspectives in important decision-making processes. It also means the opportunity to continue growing and learning from my community, which has so lovingly welcomed and embraced me in the pursuit of my dreams.”

Calling the nomination “an incredible learning experience,” her goal is to develop leadership skills, serve her community, and network with stakeholders. Sharing MCC’s mission of promoting equity and inclusion throughout the college community, Alzate-Pérez hopes to maintain clear communication with her classmates.

Since arriving at MCC, Alzate-Pérez has been involved with the college community. Before starting classes, she attended a summer 2022 New York City Pride trip with the Success Scholars Program. Meeting classmates also in the program – in addition to having a mentor – helped her feel more comfortable attending activities and accessing opportunities throughout the college.

“Having access to a mentor through the program provided me with the ability to connect with the resources available to me, as well as provided me with opportunities for academic advancement,”
Alzate-Pérez said. “It gave me confidence in speaking a new language and it gave me enough support to be able to successfully adapt to my new life in the country.”

The support she received from the Success Scholars Program enhanced her personal growth. At the start of the Spring 2023 semester, she decided to become a mentor for the program to help other students adjust to college life. She also found support from MCC’s Links program, which offered an introduction to MCC and set her up to make a successful transition to college life.

In MCC’s Spring 2023 production of “RENT,” she was in the ensemble cast. She is also the president of the LatinX Force Club and part of the National Society for Leadership and Success.

“I participate in as many on-campus activities as possible, especially those offered by the Success Scholars Program and other clubs,” she said. “I was inspired by the network of connections and
support they provided for me upon my arrival.”

With a passion for performing, she hopes to continue her education and pursue a career in musical theatre after graduating from Middlesex. In the meantime, Alzate-Pérez is grateful for the opportunity to be MCC’s next Student Trustee and voice of the student body. “That trust means a lot to me,” she said. “I am committed to making our campus and the opportunities here more meaningful for everyone.”

Keep Kids Learning and Having Fun This Summer at Middlesex CC

LOWELL: In Middlesex Community College’s summer programs, kids 8 to 17 can dive into the world of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) in new and exciting ways. MCC’s College for Kids classes provide unique opportunities for students to explore their interests.

“This summer, MCC has a line-up of interactive STEM courses students will love, from veterinary science to aviation, all about science to introduction to coding, and Lego Mindstorms Robotics & Battlebots to Minecraft,” said Audrey Nahabedian, MCC’s Dean of Workforce Development. “These classes offer many hands-on opportunities that will keep students engaged, learning and having fun.”

In Introduction to Veterinary Science, students who love animals can learn more about working with animals for a career and gaining tips on how to care for small and large animals.

“There are hundreds of career paths the allow you to work with and for animals,” said Kimberly Febres, MCC College for Kids Instructor. “This camp will introduce careers such as animal trainers, veterinarians and everything in-between, including first aid for your dog and cat. Students will also enjoy a special visit from Millie the guinea pig!”

Co-sponsored by the Federal Aviation Administration, an Aviation course will introduce students to different careers and experts in the field. Students can learn about designing, building and testing their own model aircrafts and rockets.

Students who sign up for All About Science learn through experimenting. Topics including chemistry, biology, physics and animal science will teach students how science works in the real world. For students in the introduction and intermediate coding for teens classes, they will gain a better understanding of different programming languages. While the Lego Mindstorms Robotics & Battlebots class will teach students to work in teams to build, program and battle their own robots, MCC’s Minecraft class allows students to think critically about the way they approach the game.

College for Kids classes are taught by public school teachers and professionals who are experts in their fields. In addition to STEM classes, topics include cooking and baking, arts and crafts, photography and filmmaking, graphic and web design, writing, fashion design.

Programs are offered in Bedford and Lowell, featuring six weeks of full- and half-day programs from July 10-August 17, Monday-Thursday. Full-day programs run 9am-4pm, and half-day programs run 9am-noon or 1pm- 4pm. Students who take two half-day programs to make a full day can stay on campus for lunch in between the two sessions.

Students will also have a chance to be part of a production of “The Addams Family,” taught by MCC’s Performing Arts Chair Karen Oster. The theatre program will run at MCC’s Academic Arts Center in Lowell from 9am-5pm, Monday-Friday, July 24-August 12.

PHOTO: In MCC’s summer programs, kids 8-17 can dive into the world of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) in new and exciting ways. MCC’s College for Kids classes provide
unique opportunities for students to explore their interests.
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GLCF Announces New Fund to Support the LGBTQ Community at Annual Meeting

LOWELL: The Greater Lowell Community Foundation (GLCF) announced at its annual meeting on June 7 that it established a new field of interest fund to support the local lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender & queer (LGBTQ) community in Greater Lowell. While the foundation is comprised of more than 500 charitable funds dedicated to improving the quality of life in 21 neighboring cities and towns, this is the first GLCF fund specifically dedicated to nonprofits serving LGBTQ individuals. 

“For more than 25 years, the Greater Lowell Community Foundation has pooled and invested charitable donations from generous donors for the benefit of the local communities we serve,” said Jay Linnehan, GLCF President and CEO. “We are proud to launch this new field of interest fund to support the LGBTQ community. It’s our hope that for years to come it will continue to grow and assist members of this often over-looked and under-served community.”

Two pioneering Asian-American women, life-partners for more than 30 years, have started this new GLCF fund as a way to give back to the local LGBTQ community. Julie Chen, Chancellor of UMass Lowell, and her spouse, marketing executive Susu Wong, donated $25,000 to start the fund. 

“We have seen the great work that GLCF has done and wanted to support the foundation by opening our own fund,” explained Chen. “When we started considering what should be the focus of our fund, once we were made aware that an LGBTQ fund did not exist, we thought it was a great idea to support a group that is underserved.”

“We also wanted to plant a seed and hope others will come forward and contribute, too,” added Wong. GLCF’s board of directors unanimously voted in June to match the initial fund donation.

“Our field of interest funds encourage donor activism,” explained Jennifer Aradhya, GLCF’s Vice President of Marketing, Programs & Strategy. “Field of interest funds support specific areas of interest, such as the arts, environment or education, rather than an individual nonprofit organization. In this case, Julie and Susu wanted to focus their support on the LGBTQ community and create a fund that would serve the community in perpetuity.

“In the future, GLCF will award grants from this fund to support nonprofit organizations working to improve the quality of life for the LGBTQ community in Greater Lowell by providing legal, health, education, advocacy, or other high-demand services/program,” said Aradhya. “We work with our donors to help them increase the impact and outreach of their generosity through our variety of fund options that match their goals and interests.”

Chen and Wong are particularly focused on helping the LGBTQ community flourish in the GLCF service area, which includes Acton, Ashby, Ayer, Bedford, Billerica, Burlington, Carlisle, Chelmsford, Concord, Dracut, Dunstable, Groton, Lowell, Littleton, Pepperell, Shirley, Tewksbury, Townsend, Tyngsboro, Westford and Wilmington.  “We think it’s a good thing to help the LGBTQ community in Lowell and surrounding suburbs,” said Wong. “There is not always a lot of support for our community in this geographic area.

“It’s our hope that the LGBTQ community will become more visible. Ideally, as more people recognize that our community is out there, more people within the community will feel safe about identifying as LGBTQ.”

“There can be challenges for all ages -- whether it’s a youth whose family is not supportive of them coming out as LGBTQ, or a senior citizen whose kids are not supportive,” added Chen.  “Susu and I know how important it is to have an inclusive support network for the LGBTQ community.

“We didn’t want to prescribe too strictly how the fund could be used,” Chen stressed. “We’re open to innovative new ideas and can’t wait to see what comes.”

The Wilmington couple is active in academic, business and LGBTQ circles. Wong is CEO and founder of Tomo360, a marketing agency, which is a state-certified LGBT Business Enterprise. She helped launch the Massachusetts LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce, and is on the board of OUTbio Boston, the biotech industry’s largest LGBTQ professionals group. She is also co-founder of Women Accelerators, a grassroots organization that helps women advance their careers.

Chen is the UMass system’s first LGBTQ chancellor. A mechanical engineer who earned Ph.D., master’s and bachelor’s degrees from MIT, she is a recognized leader in research, STEM and economic development. Appointed UMass Lowell’s fourth chancellor in 2022, Chen previously served as UML’s vice chancellor for research & economic development. She joined the UML faculty in 1997; has been an advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion at the university; and has led efforts to support and elevate female faculty in STEM disciplines.

Chen and Wong - who were married in 2006 - have been open about their committed relationship for years. However, Chen’s new position as UML chancellor has put them in a brighter spotlight. “We were out before,” said Chen, “but not as out, I guess. The difference is now people know about me being LGBTQ before they know me.

“However, I think it’s important for people to see there are so many different types of identity that make up a person - and a leader,” she said.

Chen is especially energized by the opportunity to influence future generations. “When I talk with students, they are excited to know the head of their university is a woman, and that there is an LGBTQ person in this role. They have told me it gives them inspiration.”

Wong is also keeping an eye on the future. “One reason we have set up this fund is because we know if we’re not active and supportive of our rights, things can go backwards again,” she said.

“Over the years, we have gained a lot of rights. But if we get complacent, we can lose ground. You have to stay vigilant,” said Wong. “Julie and I will help jumpstart this fund. This GLCF fund is a good opportunity for other people to jump in and donate to help promote positive change in our communities. After all, it takes a community to build the momentum.”

For further information about donating to the Greater Lowell Community Foundation LGBTQ Fund, visit

PHOTO: At the GLCF Annual Meeting on June 7 featuring Attorney General Andrea Campbell, the Foundation announced the establishment of the Greater Lowell Community Foundation LGBTQ Fund. From l-r: GLCF’s president and CEO Jay Linnehan, GLCF’s VP of Marketing, Programs & Strategy Jennifer Aradhya, Attorney General Andrea Campbell, GLCF Board Chair Chet Szablak and Greater Lowell Community Foundation LGBTQ Fund founders Susu Wong, Tomo360 owner and her spouse, Julie Chen, Chancellor of UMass Lowell.
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NVTHS Craft Fair Seeks Vendors

WESTFORD: The Nashoba Valley Technical High School Foundation's 11th Annual Craft Fair will be held November 18 from 10am-3pm (set up 8am-9:30am) at NVTHS, 100 Littleton Road (Rt. 110). Register now for this well-attended event - only 100 spots available! Vendor fees are $75, which includes an 8' spot and 2 chairs. Bring your own table or display. Click HERE for more information and to complete the online registration/payment. Any questions, email

Greater Lowell Technical High School Students Work Together to Create Little Free Libraries in Sending Communities

TYNGSBOROUGH: Superintendent Jill Davis is pleased to announce that students from several different pathways at Greater Lowell Technical High School teamed up to build, paint and install nine Little Free Libraries in the school's four sending communities.

Little Free Library is a non-profit organization based in Minnesota whose mission is to be a catalyst for building community, inspiring readers and expanding book access for all through a global network of volunteer-led Little Free Libraries.

Reading teacher Kara Tansey-Theall first learned of the Little Free Library movement during a trip to California in 2022, and returned to GLTHS with a mission to purchase two kits that incoming ninth-graders could build.

One of those libraries built by ninth-graders last year was placed in front of the home of Design and Visual Communication instructor Sonia Dickson.

"That summer, I was able to experience the joy of stewardship," said Dickson. "I met many families from my neighborhood and they were excited and happy about having the little library as a place to bring their children to get them excited about books."

This year, Dickson began working with Tasney-Theall and other faculty members to have an interdisciplinary team of students build even more libraries from scratch using all donated materials.

The project began with a survey of faculty and staff at GLTHS to see who would be willing to be a steward for a Free Little Library, and nine members of faculty and staff signed up to host a library. Those staff members are Tara Sarmento, Megan Sun, Azar Zanelotti, Michael Stack, Jennie Flood, Sarah Samaros, Andrea Ramirez, Carol Fine, and Lauren Chenelle and Lynn Jablonski.

Carpentry students built the wood frames of the libraries, which have cedar shingles, magnetic doors and two shelves for books. Painting and Design students painted each library colors chosen by stewards, and Design and Visual Communications students created artworks for each of the nine libraries, which were selected by stewards via a "Little Free Art Show" that was held at the school.

Over 1,000 books for the libraries were collected via a book drive held through English classrooms at the school.

The libraries were completed and installed in May, and a grand-opening was held on Tuesday, May 30, at the Little Free Library at 915 Varnum Ave. in Lowell. Each of the libraries is registered with Little Free Library, and includes a small plaque noting that the library was built and installed by GLTHS students.

Other Little Free Libraries built by GLTHS students are located at:
  • 94 Berkeley Ave., Lowell
  • 376 Butman Road, Lowell
  • 66 Jefferson Road, Dracut
  • 329 W. Meadow Road, Lowell
  • 116 Coburn Road, Tyngsboro
  • 915 Varnum Ave., Lowell
  • 50 Malwood Ave., Dracut
  • 38 Laplume Ave., Lowell
  • 240 Thorndike St., Dunstable
  • 126 7th Ave., Lowell
"It is our hope that the Little Free Libraries provide more children and adults in our communities with easy access to books and this encourages reading and learning," said Superintendent Davis.

PHOTO: From left, GLTHS Reading Teacher Kara Tansey-Theall, Steward Sarah Samaros, Isabel Morales, project leader Sonia Dickson, and Madeline Agyapong, stand with a Little Free Library at 915 Varnum Ave., in Lowell. (Courtesy Greater Lowell Technical High School)
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Exciting Changes in Chelmsford Recycling & Waste Services Beginning July 1st

CHELMSFORD: The Town of Chelmsford has signed a 5-year agreement with E.L. Harvey & Sons of Westborough to service its Waste and Recycle services. Along with this new agreement comes new and exciting service changes:
  • Recycle Services are now weekly! No more red and blue weeks.
  • Removed leaf and brush drop-off events.
  • Overflow recycle containers behind Town Offices will be removed.
  • Added 5 curbside Leaf and Brush drop off days. First pick up is July 29, 2023.
  • Residents can purchase 96, 64 and 35 gallon recycle bins from E.L. Harvey.

These are high quality rolling carts at a reduced cost:
  • 96 Gallon Recycle Only Bin: $90
  • 64 Gallon Trash or Recycle Bin: $80
  • 35 Gallon Trash or Recycle Bin: $70

Look for more detailed information in the 2023-2024 Annual Recycle Guide that will be mailed to your household in June 2023. If you haven’t already, please download the “Chelmsford Recycle” app!

Keep Kids Learning and Having Fun This Summer at Middlesex CC

LOWELL/BEDFORD: This summer at Middlesex Community College, kids 8 to 17 can participate in interactive and engaging summer programs. College for Kids classes provide unique opportunities for young students to explore careers, learn new skills, meet new friends and boost self-confidence.

“It’s so important for kids to explore and learn a variety of subjects throughout the year and summer is no different,” said Audrey Nahabedian, MCC’s Dean of Workforce Development. “At Middlesex, we have experience working with students of all ages. As these courses are not
traditionally taught in school, kids will gain new skills and get early exposure to fields they would not get otherwise.”

College for Kids classes are taught by public school teachers and professionals who are expert in their fields. Topics include cooking and baking, arts and crafts, photography and filmmaking,
graphic and web design, writing, fashion design, and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

Programs are offered in Bedford and Lowell, featuring six weeks of full- and half-day programs from July 10-August 17, Monday thru Thursday. Full-day programs run 9am-4pm and half-day programs run 9am-noon or 1pm-4pm. Students who take two half-day programs to make a full day can stay on campus for lunch in between the two sessions.

Students will also have a chance to be part of a production of “The Addams Family,” taught by MCC’s Performing Arts Chair Karen Oster. The theatre program will run at MCC’s Academic Arts Center in Lowell from 9am-5pm, Monday thru Friday, July 24-August 12.

“With College for Kids, maintain a semblance of normalcy and routine for your children while allowing them to have fun and enjoy their break,” Nahabedian said.

PHOTO: College for Kids provide unique opportunities for young students to explore careers, learn new skills, meet new friends and boost self-confidence.
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Greater Lowell Community Foundation Awards $190K in Community Grants

LOWELL: The Greater Lowell Community Foundation (GLCF) awarded $190,000 in grants to 19 local nonprofits within funding focus areas of: Children’s Services, Elder Services, and Racial Equity and Inclusion. The focus areas collectively work toward creating a better quality of life for Greater Lowell residents and supporting local nonprofits.

These grant awards are part of a competitive grant process in which nonprofit organizations apply for funds, and independent committees review the proposals and select awardees. The GLCF Discretionary Grants is one of several competitive grant programs offered through the foundation each year. 

“As we embark on our 26th year of improving the quality of life in Greater Lowell, GLCF awarded 19 grants to support the important work of our local nonprofits. The 2023 grants highlight some great collaborations between nonprofit partners, something the foundation has worked hard to encourage,” said GLCF President and CEO Jay Linnehan. “These grants were made possible by generous donations from our community and strategic investments.”
Among the grantees was the Lowell Plan, who received a grant to support its Board Diversity Initiative. “The Board Diversity Initiative is a new collaborative effort of the Lowell Plan, the Lowell Alliance, the Coalition for a Better Acre (CBA), and the Greater Lowell Chamber of Commerce (GLCC). With the help of the GLCF’s Discretionary Grant, we aim to build a culture of inclusion among Lowell’s nonprofit boards and support diverse leaders seeking opportunities to serve their community,” said Allison Lamey, executive director of Lowell Plan/LDFC. “We greatly appreciate GLCF’s support of this new initiative and commitment to advancing DEI initiatives in the community.”

Merrimack Repertory Theatre, which received previous Racial Equity grant funding in 2022, was funded for an additional year for Amplifying Asian American Pacific Islander Theatre Artists. “With GLCF’s support, we continue to build on our community engagement efforts with Alaudin Ullah’s DISHWASHER DREAMS,” said Courtney Sale, Executive Artistic Director, Merrimack Repertory Theatre. “Alaudin’s ongoing dedication to creating stories and characters that counter, challenge, and correct the misperception of South Asians and Muslims shows up in all his writing. We know this work will resonate deeply with our community, and we could not deliver this impact without GLCF’s commitment.” 

“Thanks to the GLCF’s Discretionary Grant Fund, Lowell Leaders in Stewardship (LLIS) is bringing nature-based environmental education to youth in Lowell,” said Scott McCue, Regional Director for Mass Audubon. “These funds will introduce local children and teens to wildlife, allow for hands-on nature explorations and learning, and help participants understand the impacts of climate change. Participating youth also explore opportunities to make positive impacts in their own community and beyond. We proudly run this program in partnership with Lowell Parks & Conservation Trust and deeply appreciate GLCF’s support.”

“At Gaining Ground, we fundamentally believe that equitable access to healthy food is a human right,” said Jennifer Johnson, Gaining Ground’s Executive Director. “Generous Greater Lowell Community Foundation support will fund a new partnership with UTEC’s Madd Love Meals program. UTEC youth will use Gaining Ground produce to create delicious and nutritious meals for community members experiencing food insecurity. It’s a ‘win-win-win’ initiative, and we are so grateful to partner with GLCF and UTEC in this important work.” 
2023 Discretionary Grants include:

Children’s Services:
  • Gaining Ground (Concord) for Pairing Farm-Fresh Food with Skills Development to Address Local Food Insecurity – a partnership with UTEC - $7,500
  • Lowell Community Charter Public School for Playground Renovation for 815 pre-k - grade 8 Children - $7,500
  • Lowell Community Health Center for Enhancing a Welcoming Environment at the LHS School Based Health Center - $7,500
  • Mass Audubon for Lowell Leaders (Pictured) in Stewardship - $7,500
  • Project Home Again (Andover) for Bed Bundles for Children in Lowell - $7,500
  • Rise Above Foundation (Northbridge) for Activities for Lowell Area Youth in Foster Care - $7,500
  • Seven Hills Extended Care (Groton) for Seven Hills Pediatric Center - Partnered Sports and Games Occupational Therapy Group - $7,500 

Leclair Elder Services:
  • Groton Hill Music for Senior Engagement, Enrichment, and Solace Through Music - $7,000
  • Habitat for Humanity of Greater Lowell (Westford) for Seniors Living Safely at Home - $7,000
  • Merrimack Valley Food Bank for Mobile Pantry - $7,000
  • Open Table (Maynard) for Addressing Food Insecurity in Seniors via Pantry, Mobile & Meal Programs - $7,000
  • VNA Care Network for Removing Barriers to Health - $7,000
Racial Equity & Inclusion:
  • The Center for Hope and Healing for Supporting Trauma and Restorative Justice in Lowell Community Through Circle Keeper Training - $15,000
  • Discovery Museum (Acton) for Inspiring Civic Engagement through Public Art and Artist Stories - $15,000
  • Latinx Community Center for Empowerment (LCCE) for the Lowell Latinx Archive - $15,000
  • Lowell Plan for Board Diversity Initiative - $12,500
  • Merrimack Repertory Theatre (MRT) for Amplifying Asian American Pacific Islander Theatre Artists: DISHWASHER DREAMS - $15,000
  • Northern Middlesex Council of Governments for At Home in Greater Lowell: Regional Housing Strategy Plan for 2024-2035 - $15,000
  • One Can Help (Newton) for Providing missing and urgently needed resources to at-risk and foster children in Greater Lowell - $15,000
For more information on the Greater Lowell Community Foundation, visit

Chelmsford Police Department Welcomes Two New Officers

CHELMSFORD: Chief James Spinney is pleased to announce that two new officers have joined the Chelmsford Police Department after graduating from the Municipal Police Training Committee's Lynnfield Police Academy.

Patrol Officer Andrew Robinson is a lifelong Chelmsford resident and 2016 graduate of Chelmsford High School. He has a bachelor's degree in managerial economics from UMass Amherst, and is the son of retired Chelmsford firefighter John Robinson.

Patrol Officer Alexander Freker is a Chelmsford resident and 2014 graduate of Chelmsford High School. He has a bachelor's degree in criminology from Framingham State University, and is the son of Andrew Freker, a Deputy Superintendent at the Middlesex Sheriff's Office.

Both officers will now take part in a 12-week Field Training Program, patrolling the community under the supervision of a more senior officer.

"I'm pleased to welcome Patrol Officer Robinson and Patrol Officer Freker to our department," said Chief Spinney. "I am sure that both of these men will accomplish great things in our community."

PHOTO: Patrol Officer Andrew Robinson and Patrol Officer Alexander Freker have joined the Chelmsford Police Department after graduating from the Municipal Police Training Committee's Lynnfield Police Academy. (Courtesy Chelmsford Police Department)

Country Lane Garden Club Hosts Annual Plant Sale

CHELMSFORD: The Country Lane Garden Club will host its annual plant sale on May 13 at the Unitarian Church, 2 Westford Street in Chelmsford Center from 8:30am to noon.  There will be perennials, including unusual varieties of blooming and foliage plants and ground covers, shrubs, herbs, vegetables, including the ever popular mini cherry tomato,  peonies from Sunny Meadow Farm, annuals – geraniums, petunias, hanging baskets, house plants and items suitable for Mother’s Day gifts. Most of the plant inventory is dug from Club members’ gardens and many of the members will be on hand to give advice. There is free parking. Cash and checks accepted.

The Club will be celebrating its 50th Anniversary in 2024 and is the only Club in Chelmsford to hold a plant sale. The money raised supports programming, the maintenance of the pollinator garden and planters at the Adams Library and is given back to the community as donations. The Club is open to anyone who wants to learn about gardening at any level of expertise. It meets eight times a year, on the second Monday evening of the month. For further information visit their Facebook Page or contact

CCB Presents Joint Springtime Performance

CHELMSFORD: The Chelmsford Community Band will present a joint springtime performance of the concert band and the jazz ensemble on May 7 at 2pm in the Chelmsford Senior Center.  The musical program focuses on lesser-known pieces of widely-known composers like John Williams and Leroy Anderson, and promises to be a fun outing for the whole family.  The spring basket raffle is an annual favorite with amazing prizes donated by the musicians and local businesses, and the baked goods table promises to be fully laden with handmade sweets.

The CCB is a registered non-profit and admission to the concert is free, but donations are gratefully accepted to help support expenses like the band’s rehearsal space and sheet music purchases.  Suggested donations at the door are $10 for children and seniors and $20 for others.

Having recently celebrated its golden anniversary, the Chelmsford Community Band has a 60-piece Concert Band and a 20-piece Jazz Ensemble made of dedicated volunteer musicians with a proud tradition of bringing live musical performances to this community since 1972.  They are supported by multiple Mass Cultural Council grants, including one for Cultural Sector Recovery.  Their upcoming performances include a 4pm slot at the Boston Festival of Bands on Saturday, June 10, and a full roster of Tuesday night summer performances at the Chelmsford Town Common.  Follow them on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, and find them online.
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Rummage Sale at Aldersgate UMC

CHELMSFORD: Aldersgate United Methodist Church will host its popular rummage sale on May 5, from 3-8pm and May 6 from 9am-noon. Clothes, books, toys, household goods, and more will be available for purchase. (Computers, TVs and other electronics, large furniture, and exercise equipment will not be sold.) All proceeds from the sale go toward Aldersgate's outreach ministries. Aldersgate UMC is located at 242 Boston Road (Rt. 4). For more information, contact the church office at (978)256-9400 or, or visit or
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Prospective Member Open House at Congregation Shalom

CHELMSFORD: All interested are invited to drop in for a prospective member open house on April 30 between 10am-12pm at Congregation Shalom, 87 Richardson Road, for informal discussion with Rabbi Shoshana Perry, education director Deborah Morrissey, and others in the Congregation Shalom community. Learn about the individualized pledge system for dues and the numerous activities offered by the Temple for members of all ages and interests.

Congregation Shalom is a dynamic, welcoming Reform synagogue with membership from over 20 Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire cities and towns. It offers a variety of services for Shabbat, holidays, and life cycle events, an engaging religious school from preschool through high school, adult and family education, social action programs, social events, and so much more. All age groups and families find friendship and connection along with opportunities for learning, spiritual growth, and pursuing tikkun olam (repairing the world). Most importantly, Congregation Shalom is a caring community that supports its members in all stages of their lives.

Learn more about Congregation Shalom, with space to ask questions reflecting your own needs. Children are welcome and light refreshments will be served. For more information, email, call (978) 251-8091, or visit
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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 April 29 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 our members and their families. 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. 
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 11:30 a.m.  For more information, visit
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Prospective Member Open House at Congregation Shalom

CHELMSFORD: All interested are invited to drop in for a prospective member open house on April 30 between 10am-12pm at Congregation Shalom, 87 Richardson Road in Chelmsford, for informal discussion with Rabbi Shoshana Perry, education director Deborah Morrissey, and others in the Congregation Shalom community. Learn about the individualized pledge system for dues and the numerous activities offered by the Temple for members of all ages and interests. 
Congregation Shalom is a dynamic, welcoming Reform synagogue with membership from over 20 Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire cities and towns. It offers a variety of services for Shabbat, holidays, and life cycle events, an engaging religious school from preschool through high school, adult and family education, social action programs, social events, and so much more. All age groups and families find friendship and connection  along with opportunities for learning, spiritual growth, and pursuing tikkun olam (repairing the world). Most importantly, Congregation Shalom is a caring community that supports its members in all stages of their lives.
Learn more about Congregation Shalom, with space to ask questions reflecting your own needs. Children are welcome, and light refreshments will be served. For more information, please email or call the Temple office at (978) 251-8091.

Chelmsford Historical Society Hosts Annual Meeting & Dinner

CHELMSFORD: Join the Chelmsford Historical Society’s Annual Meeting and Dinner on May 6 at 5:30-8pm. The highlight of the evening will include the presentation of the Guardian Award, an award given each year by the Society to a person or organization best exemplifying Chelmsford’s motto "Let the Children Guard What the Sires Have Won." This year the award will be presented to Christian Zouzas for his restoration and repurposing of Liberty Hall in South Chelmsford as a residence, and the restoration of the Fiske House in Chelmsford center.

To begin this special night, enjoy dinner catered by Mr. Jack’s Catering in the Ralph Parlee Agricultural Center at the Barrett-Byam Homestead, 40 Byam Road. The menu will be salad, a selection of Italian entrees, and dessert. Non-alcoholic beverages are included. If you would like an alcoholic beverage, like a favorite bottle of wine, please bring it with you.

Seating is limited so please send your name, phone number, number of people attending, and check payable at $25/person to the Chelmsford Historical Society by May 1. Tickets can be picked up at the door of the event. Mail to: Chelmsford Historical Society, c/o Jerry Sullivan, 14 McIntosh Road, Chelmsford, MA 01824. For more information, get answers to questions, or place your reservation, email, or call (978) 256-2311.

Businesses in Your Community


Tyngsborough Police Department Promotes Two Officers to Sergeant

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

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

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

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

PHOTO: Sgt. Nick Silva & Sgt. Chuck Rubino after being sworn in to their new ranks.
(Courtesy Tyngsborough Police Department)

Bopha Malone Appointed Executive Director of Girls Inc. of Greater Lowell 

At its March Board meeting, the Girls Incorporated of Greater Lowell (GIGL) board unanimously appointed Bopha Malone, a Girls Inc. alum, to lead the 107-year-old, girls-only youth-serving organization.  Malone is stepping into the role of GIGL executive director after serving as the organization’s interim executive director since September 2022. 

“Bopha’s deep connection to Girls Inc. and the Greater Lowell community is unsurpassed,” said Jennifer Aradhya, president of the GIGL Board. “She demonstrated her leadership abilities as Interim Director and the  Board of Directors and I are confident that as the Executive Director, Bopha will take bold new steps to advance  the organization.” 

Malone immigrated to the U.S. at eight and credits caring  mentors for helping her get to where she is today. She joined Girls Inc. of Lynn at age 15 and worked as a Peer Leader, educating youth about racism, homophobia, and the dangers of tobacco use and gun violence, among other issues. 

“As a first-generation Cambodian American, Girls Inc. played a tremendous role in my life growing up and was instrumental in helping me become the woman I am today, “said Malone. “I am honored to have the opportunity to continue to inspire the next generation of girls to be strong, smart, and bold as executive director for Girls Inc. of Greater  

Additionally, Malone is actively involved with several nonprofit organizations. She is a trustee of Middlesex Community College, Tufts Medicine (Lowell General Hospital), International Institute of New England, Women Work ing Wonders, Merrimack Repertory Theatre and is a member of the Bedford MA Rotary Club and Communities  for Restorative Justice. She lives in Bedford with her husband and two children and is a member of the Bedford  Select Board.

Girls Inc. of Greater Lowell began changing the lives of girls and young women more than 100 years ago in 1917. Their comprehensive approach to whole girl development equips girls to navigate gender, economic,  and social barriers and grow up healthy, educated, and independent. For more information, visit

Lowell Police Department Expanding Lowell Police Youth Services with Addition of Officer Emmanuel Antonetty

LOWELL: Acting Lowell Police Superintendent Barry Golner is pleased to report that the Lowell Police Youth Services Program (LPYS) is expanding, adding Officer Emmanuel Antonetty as a dedicated officer working with the program.

Meanwhile, LPYS has met with the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Lowell, and intends to begin sending officers to the club to interact with and mentor hundreds of students who participate in programming there.

Officer Antonetty grew up in foster care in Lowell and for years as a teenager hated school and would spend time with gang members out on the street. It wasn't until Antonetty began going to Ramalho's West End Gym that he found a refuge, positive influences, and place to focus on improving his lifestyle.

Joining the gym and meeting mentors was a lifechanging event for Antonetty, who now wants to help other young people find the kind of focus and caring adults that changed his life.

"I grew up angry and mad at the world. I grew up getting in trouble, but besides that I had many positive role models who made all the efforts to help me out," said Antonetty, who added that the help made a difference. "I want the youth in the City of Lowell and surrounding area to know: It does not matter what background you have, I want to be able to help out in any way and make sure everyone succeeds and pursues whatever dream they chase. As a police officer in Lowell Police Youth Services, I believe I can accomplish exactly that."

Officer Antonetty has served with Lowell Police for five years. He boxed in the Golden Gloves. He is working toward a Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice from Anna Maria College, where he is also taking a class in sign language to help him communicate with those with hearing challenges.

Antonetty is also deeply interested in computers and art, and wants to use his interest in those subjects to connect with youth over more than just sports.

"We're looking for the right people to be able to fit in and have a connection with the kids," said Acting Superintendent Golner. "This isn't only about sports. Not all youth will connect with police through sports. Manny has a myriad of talents and interests and a great personality that enables him to connect with almost anyone."

One of Officer Antonetty's duties will be stopping by the Boys & Girls Club on occasion to interact with students, build relationships, and provide a positive role model.

Lowell Police leaders are hoping to expand their relationship with the Boys & Girls Club over the coming months.

"We are very proud of Lowell Police Youth Services and excited to announce this expansion. LPYS is one of the most modern and beneficial initiatives that we have ever undertaken here at Lowell PD," said Acting Superintendent Golner. "These programs have reached city youth from every neighborhood and section of the city. Every class and program that we offer is free, and parents and guardians can rest assured that the coaches, volunteers, mentors and assistants have all been thoroughly vetted to ensure they will create a healthy, safe and fun environment for children."

The Lowell Police Youth Services Program seeks to create opportunities for all city youth to participate in free after-school activities, athletics, and other ventures that emphasize health and wellness, while also experiencing positive interactions with police officers. The Lowell Police Youth Services Program is open to partnering with all community stakeholders. For more information, visit or email To make a donation to the Lowell Police Youth Services Program via the Greater Lowell Community Foundation, click here. To follow the Lowell Police Youth Services Program on Instagram, click here.

PHOTO: Officer Emmanuel Antonetty smiles while playing corn hole with youths and a Lowell Police cadet at Lowell Police Youth Outreach Day in 2022. (Courtesy Lowell Police Department)

Equity and the Rule of Law: A Conversation with Attorney General Andrea Joy Campbell

LOWELL: Open to all community members, the Greater Lowell Community Foundation is set to host its annual meeting on June 7 at 5pm. The event, being held at UMass Lowell Inn and Conference Center, 50 Warren Street, will highlight Equity and the Rule of Law: A Conversation with Attorney General Andrea Joy Campbell.

On January 18, 2023, Andrea Joy Campbell was sworn in to be the 45th Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, pledging to build economic prosperity and stability for all residents, prioritize the mental health and well-being of children, stop cycles of incarceration and violence and ensure the people across the state have access to the AG’s Office regardless of their zip code, language or ability.

Andrea served as legal counsel to Governor Deval Patrick, working to improve our education and transportation systems and move forward an agenda of equity across the state.

In 2015, Andrea successfully ran for the Boston City Council becoming the first woman to represent District 4 on the Council. Her first piece of legislation was the Community Preservation Act, which still generates over $20 million annually for new affordable housing, historical preservation, and parks and open space. In 2018, she was unanimously elected City Council President – the first Black woman to hold the title.

The event is free, but registration is required as seating is limited.  For more information, visit
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Chelmsford Annual Town Wide Cleanup

CHELMSFORD: Earth Day is Saturday, April 22nd this year so... celebrate all week! Join the Chelmsford’s Annual Town Wide Cleanup by helping to pick up litter along roads, in neighborhoods, parks and recreation areas. Volunteers are urged to wear bright-colored clothing and avoid stepping into the street while working. Together we can keep our community a clean and litter-free place to live, work, and play. Sign-up at DPW, 9 Alpha Road or register online at  You can pick up yellow bags at DPW between April 10-21 from 7:30am-4pm.

Plan your Cleanup for the week of April 17th.  Please place your yellow bags at your home curbside and they will be picked up with your regular trash until April 28.  And feel free to brag and boast about your contribution! Send before and after photos to For more information, contact Chris Haley, Sustainability Manager at (978) 250-5203 or
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Solidarity Lowell and Local Groups Submit Petition for Better Treatment of Unhoused Persons

LOWELL: Solidarity Lowell submitted a petition to the City Council on April 4 asking for better treatment of unhoused persons in response to camp sweeps. The petition requested changes to Lowell’s Unhoused Persons Liaison Protocol, to be considered at the Lowell City Council meeting on April 11.

In light of recent events, aspects of the City of Lowell’s practices towards unhoused individuals have come under fire from a broad array of service providers, activists, community leaders, and residents (housed and unhoused), and the purpose of this petition is to outline the critical first steps toward successful reintegration of our unhoused community. The intent of this petition is to invite the City to focus on the interactions which are already taking place under the existing policy, and incorporate changes that will advance the City’s goals in a manner consistent with its values.

After witnessing one wintertime “sweep” of a homeless encampment, Brad Buitenhuys, Executive Director of the Lowell Litter Krewe, observed, “We do not have the services in place to get everyone out of the cold if they choose. And until those services are in place, we are putting lives at risk,” (with these sweeps). Materials being used to sustain life have been thrown into dumpsters; important documents destroyed and lost; traumatized people rousted from the only homes they were able to obtain for themselves, and left to wander the streets. These actions are inconsistent with the values of a city that has put considerable resources into providing shelter and other services to help fight homelessness. By providing basic services to people without a place to live, adopting policies that respect the dignity and needs of unhoused people, and pursuing a collaborative approach with providers and unhoused people themselves, the city can more effectively address the needs and quality of life concerns of housed and unhoused Lowellians alike. Lowell should not conduct inhumane and ineffective actions just because no one came up with a better idea."

The requests represent a set of standards that incorporate input from a broad and knowledgeable coalition of Lowell activists, providers, and leaders, as well as best practices from other communities, offered in the spirit of cooperation as an awakened community strives to do better in the midst of the housing crisis. Organizations and individuals are invited to view and sign the petition prior to the City Council meeting on April 11, 2023, available at

Solidarity Lowell is a volunteer-based group of community members of Greater Lowell working toward social justice by defending the human rights, dignity, and equality of all persons against hate and discrimination. Learn more at, or visit them on Facebook. Inquiries should be directed to Chris Offerman of the Solidarity Lowell Coordinating Committee, at (978) 808-9809.
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Lowell Police Department Unveils New Autism Awareness Cruiser

LOWELL: Acting Lowell Police Superintendent Barry Golner is pleased to share that the Lowell Police Department added an autism awareness cruiser to its fleet of traffic enforcement vehicles.

The new cruiser was prepared in-house by Fleet Manager Kyriakoulis Tsouprakos, who placed decals from an outside vendor on an existing cruiser.

The cruiser was prepared using funds from the Sustained Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP), which uses funds received from motor vehicle enforcement to increase the visibility of traffic safety patrols and reduce crashes and dangerous driving by reminding drivers that police are on patrol.

In addition to being used for high-visibility traffic enforcement patrols, the autism awareness cruiser will also be sent to local parades and community events.

Lowell Police have long worked to raise awareness of Autism Spectrum Disorders, and have recognized World Autism Acceptance Day each year on April 2 since 2017.

It was in 2017 that former Lowell resident Cyndy Muchine, now of Littleton, reached out to Lowell Police and asked the department to help "light it up blue" in honor of World Autism Acceptance Day.

Each year since then Lowell Police have had officers activate their cruisers' blue lights on April 2 to help raise awareness of Autism Spectrum Disorders. A similar recognition was held this year as well.

PHOTO: A specially designed Lowell Police logo meant to raise awareness and acceptance of those with Autism Spectrum Disorders on the side of a new Lowell Police Traffic Enforcement Cruiser.
(Courtesy Lowell Police Department)
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CCCA Holds Summer Shorts Auditions

CHELMSFORD: Exciting news! The Playground at the Chelmsford Center for the Arts (CCCA) is doing Summer Shorts - 16 plays, 2 nights, 10 different directors - but they need ACTORS!  Stop by April 25 and 26 at 6pm to the CCCA, 1A North Road, or if you are tech savvy, visit or scan the QR code herein for a play synopsis and character descriptions!
"The Playground" is a community theatre founded by the CCA to engage all ages in theater production and performance. The Playground produces 2-3 shows per year, workshops for teens and adults, theater classes, and monthly social events.
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Become an Adult ESOL or Basic Literacy Tutor!

LOWELL: Have you been looking for a great volunteer opportunity? If you would like to make a difference in the life of an adult with limited English or basic literacy skills, Literacy Volunteers of Massachusetts at Lowell's Pollard Memorial Library offers free, confidential, one-on-one or small group tutoring on a flexible schedule to adults in the greater Lowell area. You do not need prior teaching experience or knowledge of another language. All you need is an open mind, a desire to help an adult improve their skills, and the ability to meet with your student for 2 hours per week! In-person, remote, and hybrid tutoring options are available. Before being matched with a student you also will be required to successfully complete an 18-hour tutor training.  
Tuesday, March 28, 6:30-8 pm 
Tuesday, April 11, 6:30-8 pm
To RSVP to one of the above sessions, or find out more about our program, please contact Literacy Director Sarah Miller at, Literacy Assistant Mary  Hartmann at, or call us at (978) 674-1541. 
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Free Meditation Workshop at CPL

CHELMSFORD: Aldersgate United Methodist Church invites you to the following worship services and special events during Holy Week, April 2-9:
  • Palm Sunday: April 2 – Worship services at 8:30am & 10:45am. Pancake breakfast hosted by Boy Scout Troop 81 from 8-11am. Suggested donations of $10/$8 appreciated.
  • Maundy Thursday: April 6, 7:30pm – Worship service of Tenebrae & Holy Communion.
  • Eggs-tra! Eggs-stra!: April 8, 10-11:30am – Fun activities for children including crafts, a movie about the first Easter, and an “egg-citing” Easter egg hunt (held indoors in case of inclement weather).
  • Easter: April 9 – Worship services at 8:30am & 10:45am. Full-course breakfast served from 7:30-10:30am. Vegan and gluten-free options available.

Aldersgate UMC is located at 242 Boston Road (Rt. 4). For more information, contact the church office at (978) 256-9400 or, or visit

Free Meditation Workshop at CPL

CHELMSFORD: A free Sahaja Yoga meditation workshop will take place April 2 at 3pm in the Chelmsford Public Library, 25 Boston Road (McCarthy Meeting Room). An ancient solution to modern problems, Sahaja Yoga nourishes the roots of our mental, physical and emotional systems through an experience called Self-Realization (kundalini awakening) that can occur within each human being. This awakening allows entry into a new state of thoughtless awareness where all fatigue, fears and anxieties spontaneously drop out. As a seed sewn in the Mother Earth sprouts without any effort, Sahaja Yoga is a natural, living experience of awakening ones innate energy. In this workshop participants will have the opportunity to enjoy a guided meditation, chat with seasoned Sahaja Yoga practitioners, receive resoures for continued practice at home and, most importantly, feel the peace within. Sahaja Yoga is always offered free of charge and no physical efforts are required. As explained by Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi, the founder of Sahaja Yoga, "Sahaja Yoga is different from other yogas because it begins with Self-Realization." For more information visit or email

Rotary Club of Nashoba Valley Awards Scholarships to Local Students for Upcoming (RYLA) Conference in June

The Rotary Club of Nashoba Valley announced that it has awarded scholarships to this year’s Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) Conference to be held in June. The lucky scholarship winners are Nevaeh Duplessis, Vincenzo Porfino, Riley Dinjian and Madison Oxnard.

Robert Johnson, local Committee Chairperson, said that the chosen students will be among the more than 150 Massachusetts high school sophomores who will attend the RYLA Conference. Aimed at developing the leadership potential of young men and women, the conference will feature many thought-provoking events including interactive Leadership Labs, exciting guest speakers, and challenging mental and physical activities that will provide the participants with a chance to excel amongst and with their peers. Topics will include decision-making, critical thinking, communicating effectively, ethics, and public service. To be chosen, the candidates needed to qualify by showing leadership potential and good citizenship characteristics and showing a strong desire to attend and benefit from the conference. Additionally, in their individual interviews, they needed to stand out from the other applicants.

Congratulations from the Rotary Club of Nashoba Valley to this year’s scholarship winners and their families! Anyone interested in obtaining further information should visit or contact
Robert Johnson at, (978) 875-3143 or any other member of the Nashoba Valley Rotary Club.

Chelmsford Police Participating in Sigma Tactical Wellness Program to Reduce Injury from Heart Disease

CHELMSFORD: Chief James Spinney reports that the Chelmsford Police Department is participating in the Sigma Tactical Wellness program, aimed at reducing injuries from a leading threat to police officers — heart disease.

Thanks to generous funding from the Town of Chelmsford and the American Rescue Plan Act, the Chelmsford Police Department is the first police department in Massachusetts to offer 61 officers an opportunity to participate in Sigma Tactical Wellness's program, designed to detect potentially deadly heart conditions in police before routine medical screenings would catch them.

Studies have shown that police officers have a life expectancy of approximately 22 years less than average community members, and heart disease is among the leading causes of line of duty deaths.

While police officers must pass physical fitness tests during the police academy and work to remain healthy afterward, repeatedly responding to high stress situations throughout a career can take a major toll on heart health.

Sigma Tactical Wellness offers a program for public safety personnel that tests for early markers of coronary issues that traditional medical insurance would not cover, and which typical municipal testing regimes do not include.

Tests include active electrocardiogram with physician interpretation and evaluation, cardio metabolic stress tests, advanced lipid panels including cardiac inflammatory biomarker analysis, and carotid intima-media thickness ultrasound. Additionally, the program provides consultations with clinicians and exercise physiologists, as well as an in-depth nutritional analysis based on individual results of cardio metabolic testing.

"Through this aggressive and cutting-edge technology, the rates of heart attack, obesity and other metabolic illness can be drastically reduced, if not eliminated," according to Sigma Tactical Wellness. "Not only does Sigma’s program help to decrease the prevalence of heart disease among law enforcement officers and increase the life expectancy of LEOs, but it can work to bring down departmental healthcare costs."

Chelmsford Police Lt. Gary Hannagan first learned of the program while attending the Northwestern University Police Command and Staff School, where he met Sigma's CEO and Founder Dr. Benjamin Stone. Lt. Hannagan then worked with Chief Spinney and the Town of Chelmsford to get the program funded.

"I have always been passionate about officer wellness in my role within the Chelmsford Police Department," said Lt. Hannagan. "I want to strive to build a culture that puts emphasis on the people who take care of people, and I'm grateful that Chief Spinney and the town both supported this effort."

"Any police department's most valuable resource is it's employees, and I'm grateful that the Town of Chelmsford supported our efforts to be the first police department in Massachusetts to work with Sigma Tactical Wellness," said Chief Spinney. "This program could save lives, save healthcare costs, and will ensure our officers all have a better chance at a happy and healthy future."

To learn more about Sigma Tactical Wellness, visit:

SAVE THE DATE: "The Power of Angels" 2023 Kitty Angels Fundraiser May 6 & 7

AMHERST, NH: Plans are coming together for another fabulous fundraiser for Kitty Angels, Inc., so mark your calendars! This year’s event will take place on May 6 & 7, from 9am-5pm at Treasures Antiques and Collectables, 106 Ponemah Road (Route 122). Yes, pets are always welcome! The kitties and vendors have taken the necessary precautions and are excited to have you get out of the house and come visit with them for some fabulous finds, great “free” entertainment and most important of all, to help Kitty Angels!

Look for all your favorite vendors, including artist Eric Nickola, dba WolfpacStudios, Artist
Lori-Ellen Budenas of Respect the Wood, Monica Gesualdo of Trading Faces, Food Vendor B’s Grumman Grub, Heart’s Design Jewelry. Forever Clean Soaps, Gabe’s Creations, LAB House, Shire Enduring Creations, Dubz Dyes, Morel Woodworking, Baby Snuggz, SoGo Metal Art, Happy Cat Creations, Vinyl Revival, Dusty Finds, Blueberry Cove Creations, Damsel In Defense, Willey’s Whirleys, Baboosic Lake Gourds, Anthony Acres, Color Street, Paws & Spas, Lynda’s Felted Critters, Custom Care Designs, Fiber Art by Eve Huston, Cam’s Shop, Amherst Animal Hospital and so many more. The bands and soloists for the event, consist of keyboardist/band member Joey Peavey, Side Effects, Jensing, North Sound Duo, Jeff Damon, Sunset Rhythm and Wildwood.

Featured throughout the fundraising weekend and into the month of June, is an electrifying raffle of numerous and diverse prizes, all generously donated by local and national businesses, professional sports teams, private individuals and some of the awesome on-site vendors.

Kitty Angels, Inc. is the sole beneficiary of this event. They are a no-kill cat shelter and are made up of all unpaid volunteers, dedicated to rescuing stray and abandoned cats and kittens, furnishing them with treatment for injuries or other health issues and then placing them into new forever homes with compatible owners. They are a non-profit, 501(C)3 charitable corporation where all donations are fully tax-deductible and every penny of every donation is used in the caring of cats. Consider adopting a new life-long forever-friend!

Interested in becoming a vendor at the event? Contact Sherry or Rick Tobin, at (603) 672-2535.  
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Chelmsford Art Society Presents Brooke Lambert Demonstration

CHELMSFORD: The Chelmsford Art Society is pleased to present Brooke Lambert, an
outstanding printmaker and artist who will be demonstrating her medium of collagraph printing at the CCA on March 15 at 7pm. She will explain her unique process of creating embossed paper prints from low relief inked plates, that invoke the textures of the sea and other natural environments. While she currently works out of Studios 447 at Western Avenue Studios in Lowell, she has also exhibits her work in New York and New England galleries. In addition to her exhibitions, she currently teaches adult classes and workshops in MA, NH, and Maine. For more information, visit

Got Too Much Stuff? Need to Downsize?


• Are your closets, cupboards and other storage areas overflowing with stuff?
• Is it difficult to use your kitchen or bathroom utility areas?
• Do you struggle with letting things go?
• Do more items come into the home than go out?
• Do you want to declutter but are overwhelmed on where to begin?

If you can answer ‘yes’ to one or more of these questions, then this free, 15-week, in person Buried in Treasures (BIT) Workshop may be for you. This is a relaxed, non-judgmental program that teaches you how to build insight, skills and strategies to help declutter, get organized and reduce acquiring. The program addresses all clutter levels from just a few messy areas, to excessive collecting, to hoarding tendencies/disorder. It'll be held every Tuesday afternoon starting March 14, 2-3:30pm, in person at Chelmsford Public Library.

This program is open to all Massachusetts residents.  The class size is limited to 10 students (18 yrs +) and 2 facilitators. Registration is required. Please call or email Taryn Angel with any questions or to register at (978) 250-5241 or

Meet Agatha Christie & Dolley Madison at CCoA

CHELMSFORD: On March 9 at 12:30pm in Room B07 of the Chelmsford Senior Center, take a tour of Agatha Christie's London courtesy of Beeyonder, a virtual tour company. Follow a slideshow through Christie's "The Mousetrap," "Death On The Nile," "Hercule Poirot," "The Mirror Crack'd," and "Miss Marple" – all of these from Dame Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie, one of the twentieth century's most prolific writers, best known for her crime fiction and whodunnits. This presentation will focus on her time in London, looking at the places she lived, worked and studied, and where she wrote many of her most popular works of fiction.

On March 24, in honor of Women's History Month, enjoy tea and cookies at 12:30pm, followed by a live performance at 1pm in the hall. Mrs. Dolley Madison herself will reveal truths about “America’s Forgotten War” and its influence on the evolution of our country. Gain a behind-the-scenes look at the War of 1812, as Dolley shares secrets she learned from eavesdropping on her husband, President Madison and his advisors! This performance brings The War of 1812 out of obscurity and ofers audiences insight into its associated catastrophes, heroics and legacy.

The Chelmsford Senior Center is located at 75 Groton Road in North Chelmsford.  For more information or to register for these programs, call (978) 251-0533 or email

Compost Bins and Rain Barrels for Sale for Chelmsford Residents

CHELMSFORD: Are you interested in being more sustainable at you home? The Town of Chelmsford has partnered with EnviroWorld to offer its residents FreeGarden Compost Bins for $25 and FreeGarden Rain Barrels for $70. The 11 cubic ft. capacity Compost Bin is a single-unit main body construction with easy assembly and durability in extreme weather. The 55-gallon Capacity Rain collection system comes with brass standard size spigot, extension hose and no base required. Its sleek flat back square design fits naturally in any location around your home. You can pre-order online at with debit or credit cards by March 17. Orders will be available for pick up on March 25 from 9am-1pm, at the side entrance of DPW, 9 Alpha Road.

CHS Students Named Lions Pride/Rotary Students of the Month

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CHELMSFORD: Six Chelmsford High School seniors were recently named Lions Pride/Rotary Student of the Month recipients for the month of February. Seniors David Barber and Diana Snider were named from Emerson House while Narissa AlDayaa and Isabella Mirasolo were honored from Hawthorne House, and Jonah Abraham and Malena Lombardo from Whittier House.

Sponsored by the Chelmsford Rotary Club for more than 30 years, the Student of the Month program recognizes outstanding students from each of CHS’s three academic houses – Emerson House, Hawthorne House, and Whittier House – for their achievements in and out of the classroom.

For more information about Chelmsford Schools, please visit

LIRA Invites Retirees to Join Spring Semester

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LOWELL: The Learning in Retirement Association (LIRA) invites all retirees to join their Spring semester classes (some live, Zoom or hybrid. A sampling of offered Spring classes includes:
1. The U.S. Constitution, based on material from the National Constitution Center.
2. Our Immune System & how it works.
3. Groton Hill Music Center, tour this new incredible teaching and performance facility.
4. Police Reform, presented by Ed Cronin - Former MA Police Chief & International Police advisor & author.
5. What, Why & How of EV’s; benefits, brands, selection resources and rebates/incentives.
6. Waste Management Recycling Center tour, 2 billion pounds in, sorted & sold.
7. Heroes & Legends: The Most Influential Characters of Literature
8. The Peloponnesian War, UML Assistant Professor Jane Sancinito covers the lead up to the messy end.
9. The Old Manse Tour, built 1770 overlooking the North Bridge.

10. Critical Issues in K-12 Public Schools. Curriculum, national models of school effectiveness & more.
11. That THINK You Do, Author Joseph
Carrabis shares 60 ways to be happy.
12. Exploring the Universe, an overview of the Universe, Our Solar System, Stars & Citizen science projects.
13. The Politics of the United Kingdom, UML Emeritus Professor John Wooding; politics, history, culture, parties & the UK constitution.
14. A Greek Odyssey, historical & current context of its history, photos & experiences as a Fulbright Fellow.
15. A Three-Week Course on Frankenstein by UML Professor Bridget Marshall
16. Searching the Exoplanetary Atmospheres for Clues by UML Professor Emeritus Bob Gamache
15. Great Decisions discussion group topics; Energy Geopolitics, War Crimes, China & the US, Economic Warfare.
16. Book discussion group; The Age of Innocence, The Revolutionary, Clara, and the Sun.
17. Film discussion group; Dances with Wolves, Chariots of Fire, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.
18. 150 years of Bridal Fashion – tour at the Nashua Historical Society.
19. UML South Campus Art tour; paintings, sculpture, mosaics & the artist who made them.

Detailed descriptions, schedules, and information to join LIRA Some classes begin March 6. Half year membership fee is only $75; $125/couple. You can take as many classes as you wish. For questions, email

Ash Wednesday Worship Service & More at Aldersgate UMC

CHELMSFORD: To begin observing the Lenten season, there will be an Ash Wednesday worship service at Aldersgate United Methodist Church on February 22 at 7:30pm. The service will include participants from Aldersgate UMC and West Chelmsford United Methodist Church. All are welcome to attend. The service will also be livestreamed on Aldersgate’s YouTube channel and recorded for later viewing.
Also, starting March 1, Aldersgate will offer a weekly series of soup suppers followed by worship services based on the theme of forgiveness. Suppers begin at 6pm, with worship services are at 7pm.
Aldersgate UMC is located at 242 Boston Road (Rt. 4). For more information, contact the church office at (978) 256-9400 or, or visit and
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Find Out about Affordable, Reliable, Clean 21st Century Nuclear Energy

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

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

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

The team includes: David Butz, a self-educated living encyclopedia of nuclear energy, past, present and future; Carolyn McCreary, Ph.D, who served two terms on the Ayer Select Board and led the town to become a Green Community; Dale Levandier, Ph.D., a chemist with knowledge of nuclear physics; and other scientists and environmental activists.
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Theater Lovers Invited to Join Volunteer Usher Team

LOWELL: If you enjoy live plays with professional actors, become a volunteer usher at the Merrimack Repertory Theater. It's an opportunity to meet great people, see great shows for free, receive complimentary ticket vouchers, and be invited to seasonal parties for volunteers and special events at the theater.

Volunteers must be 16 and older, willing to usher at least two performances of their choice of the many day and evening times, and to wear black and white. Enjoy top quality live theater close to home with free parking.  Interested people are invited to usher once to try it out. Learn more at Contact John Dyson, house manager for more information, All people in the theater are required to wear masks to protect the actors.

Upcoming plays include Letters from home, How High the Moon: The Music of Ella Fitzgerald, and Red Riding Hood. The MRT proudly employs equity actors and offers a mix of drama, comedy and plays featuring music and singing. The theater is adjacent to the Lowell Memorial Auditorium on Merrimack Street in downtown Lowell. 

GLCF Seeks Request for Proposals for 2023 Discretionary Grant Cycles

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

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

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

PHOTO: Clarendon Early Education Services received a 2022 Discretionary Children’s Grant to support their Comfort Kits for Foster Kids.
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16 Adults Complete Carpentry, Welding, Robotics Evening Courses at Minuteman Technical Institute

Programs Are Tuition-Free for Many Students Thanks to Funding from Massachusetts Workforce Skills Cabinet Grants
LEXINGTON: Sixteen adults of a variety of ages and backgrounds were recently celebrated for completing programs in carpentry, welding, and robotics at Minuteman Technical Institute. The 15-week programs were tuition-free for most students thanks to Career Technical Initiative grant funding from the Massachusetts Workforce Skills Cabinet and the Northeast Advanced Manufacturing Consortium.
The Minuteman Regional Technical School District has received more than $3 million since 2020 in grants from the Workforce Skills Cabinet, which support high school and adult career technical education programming. The funds are used to help students, including those from under-represented backgrounds, work in career trades where there is a high demand for skilled workers.
The adult students and their families attended a “Signing Day” ceremony to celebrate their completion of the fall 2022 evening programs in carpentry (pre-apprentice), welding, and robotic technician. Many students brought their families as they signed ceremonial letters of commitment to build careers in their fields of study.
“Our incredible adult students are seeking rewarding careers in high-demand trades to build their futures for decades to come,” said Dr. Kathleen A. Dawson, Superintendent of the Minuteman Regional Technical School District. “From single moms pursuing carpentry to military veterans learning high-tech robotic skills, we welcome students from all backgrounds to help them reach their dreams. In the process, we are educating highly skilled professionals for our regional economy in trades where there are critical shortages of skilled workers.”

“Our adult students are truly committed and dedicated.” said Dr. Nancy Houle, Executive Director of Minuteman Technical Institute. “They often work full time jobs and take their courses in the evenings. We congratulate and celebrate these students for their accomplishments and for contributing to the growth of our regional economy.”

Carpentry (Pre-Apprentice) Program

The following students completed the Carpentry Pre-Apprentice program, which was hosted in collaboration with the North Atlantic States Carpenters Training Fund. They each earned the following industry-recognized credentials: OSHA-10 Safety, Hot Work, Fall Protection, Mobile Elevated Work Platform (MEWP), Scaffold Use Certification.
  • Alexa Cipkas of Norfolk
  • Nicole Crane of Saugus
  • Stephen Foley of Norwood
  • Kateri Gerald-Burns of Boston
  • Seikha Kim of Lowell
  • Lina Lopez of Revere
  • Nathan Oun of Dracut

The following students completed the Robotic Technician program. They each earned the following industry-recognized credentials: OSHA-10 Safety and Hot Work.
  • Raul Gonzalez of Lowell
  • Benjamin Judge of Malden
  • John Ko of Chelmsford
  • Michael Keating of Burlington
  • David Pardey of Millis

The following students completed the Welding program. They each earned the following industry-recognized credentials: American Welding Society (AWS) D1.1-Sheilded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW)-S.S, AWS-D1.1-Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW)-5.18, AWS D1.1-SMAW-Structural, Hot Work, and OSHA-30 Construction Safety.
  • Paul Damon of Chelmsford
  • Jacob Malkasian of Northbridge
  • Jacob Stuczynski of Northbridge
  • Luke Nichols of Woburn

PHOTO: Front row L-R: Instructors Garrett Rice and Tom Akers of the North Atlantic States Carpenters Training Fund;

Middle row: Students Lina Lopez of Revere, Nicole Crane of Saugus, Alexa Cipkas of Norfolk, Nathan Oun of Dracut, and Kateri Gerald-Burns of Boston;

Back row: Dennis Lassige, Regional Manager for North Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters; Stephen Foley of Norwood; Seikha Kim of Lowell; Chris Clifford, career counselor for MassHire South/West; Kevin Kelly, regional manager for Local Union 339; and Eric Martinez, recruitment officer for North Atlantic States Carpenters Training Fund.
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Chelmsford Cultural Council Awards 22 Grants

CHELMSFORD: The Chelmsford Cultural Council has announced its grant awards for fiscal year 2023. Twenty-two grants were approved, totaling $19,942 in funding. The Chelmsford chapter is part of a network of 329 local cultural councils serving all 351 cities and towns in the Commonwealth. Consisting of municipally appointed volunteers serving two three-year terms, cultural councils support community-based projects in the arts, sciences and humanities every year with funds allocated by the Massachusetts Cultural Council.
Members of the Chelmsford Cultural Council who were in attendance to vote on the 32 applications included co-chair Doug Sparks, co-chair Barbara Reilly, treasurer Elaine D’Alessandro, clerk Cindy Cantrell, Subroto Mukherjee and TJ Beary.
“This is one of the most important committees in Chelmsford, as it provides grant money from the state to our artistic neighbors,” Reilly said. “This money helps to keep the arts alive in our area.”
The grant recipients for 2023 are as follows:

· Cara Bean: $500 for “Draw Your Story”
· Carlisle Community Chorus: $700 for Carlisle Community Chorus concerts
· Chelmsford Art Society: $2,250 for “Chelmsford Art Society Trifecta Art Shows”
· Chelmsford Center for the Arts: $3,250 for “Re-Mix: Teen Mixed Media Art & Storytelling”
· Chelmsford Community Band: $2,160 for summer concert series
· Chinese Family Network: $1,000 to use Lego bricks to teach math, science and arts
· Clear Path for Veterans New England: $617 for “Arts from the Hearts”
· Kimberley Connors: $350 for local Native American archaeology
· Discovery Museum: $300 for “Open Door Connections”
· Rhonda M. Frazio: $600 for “Dyeing to Wear It”
· Jeyanthi R. Ghatraju: $1,000 for “Navarasa (Nine Emotions) in Shakespearean Work”
· Francis Hart: $350 for “A Cultural and Historical Reflection of the 1960s Through the Music of The Beatles”
· Michael Lopez: $900 for VitalSaenz 2023 fall production
· Massachusetts Educational Theater: $750 for the Massachusetts High School Drama Festival
· Marilyn Morales: $850 for “Always Remember”
· MUSIC $600 for “Hip Hop Chair Dance for Seniors”
· MUSIC $580 for “I Am Autistic, I Am Fantastic”
· The Delvena Theatre Company: $635 for “Meet Julia Child!”
· The Vision for Innovation Academy: $800 for “Celebrate Cambodian Heritage Through Dance”
· Westford Chamber Players: $200 for “Learning Diversity Through Music”
· Westford Chorus: $1,000 for “Winter Concert: All About Love”
· Matt York: $550 for “The Highwaymen Songs & Stories”
For more information, visit
PHOTO: CCC members (L to R): Subroto Mukherjee, treasurer Elaine D’Alessandro, clerk Cindy Cantrell, TJ Beary, Roberta Witts, co-chair Barbara Reilly & co-chair Doug Sparks.

Local Students Named to Dean's List at Fitchburg State

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

Acton / Boxborough / Maynard
Catherine Abrams
Yilver A. Aguilera

Zainabu A. Bosungmeh 
Joseph D. Ditavi
Abderrahmane Garchali 

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

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

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

Concord / Carlisle / Bedford
David P. Eisenberg 
Shujiao Liu

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

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

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

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

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

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

Learn more at
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Local Partners Address Youth Food Insecurity with In-School Food Pantries 

LOWELL: Recognizing the growing issue of food insecurity among local children and youth, the Greater Lowell Community Foundation (GLCF) has partnered with Catie’s Closet and the Merrimack Valley Food Bank (MVFB) to establish five school-based food pantries, known as Mill Markets, in Lowell Public Schools.

GLCF’s Youth Food Insecurity Initiative was launched in 2021 and expanded on a pilot food pantry set up at Lowell High School in 2017 by a group of LHS students. These new, GLCF-supported Mill Markets are well-organized and stocked with culturally appropriate foods that appeal to students. They are located at Lowell High School (B House), Bartlett Community Partnership School, Freshman Academy at LHS, Frederic T. Greenhalge Elementary School, and Joseph G. Pyne Arts Magnet School. “After conducting a regional survey about youth food insecurity, and examining the barriers that can prevent kids and teens from accessing nutritious food, the Foundation learned that a lot of need could be alleviated by establishing and maintaining in-school food pantries,” explained Jay Linnehan, GLCF President and CEO.  “So, we turned to two of our trusted local nonprofit partners -- Catie’s Closet and Merrimack Valley Food Bank -- to help implement our vision of bringing healthy, shelf-stable food directly to youth in their schools.”

Enlisting the assistance of MVFB and Catie’s Closet made sense, as both nonprofits are already addressing the needs of low-income students in the Lowell schools. Through Operation Nourish, Merrimack Valley Food Bank supplies food for 1,200 students a month in Greater Lowell and Lawrence. And Catie’s Closet provides clothing and toiletries to students through its in-school Closets, which are set up like retail stores, where students can “shop” for items, free of charge. “When GLCF first approached me about establishing Mill Markets, I said, ‘Whatever you do, it needs to be in the schools,’ ” explained Mickey Cockrell, CEO and co-founder of the highly successful Catie’s Closets. “These kids have no means of transportation to visit a regular food pantry and then get the food home. We have based our Closets in school settings, and are located in all Lowell schools,” she added.  “We want kids to run toward the school to solve these problems.”

Another suggestion Cockrell made was to make sure older students can select which food items they want to eat. “I think giving teens the agency to choose is essential,” said Cockrell, who has an extensive background in retail sales. “That has been key to the success of Catie’s Closet: The kids get to select -- and try on -- the clothes they want to wear. And I imagined it would be key for youth food pantries, too.”

Armed with these suggestions, GLCF elected to add Mill Markets to already-established Catie’s Closets in the five schools, explained Jennifer Aradhya, GLCF’s Vice President of Marketing, Programs & Strategy. “Mickey and Catie’s Closet supplied the food-storage cabinets, signage and staffing for the new Mill Markets,” said Aradhya. “And, based on the Catie’s Closet model, students can access the food pantries confidentially.”

GLCF turned to Merrimack Valley Food Bank (MVFB) to provide nonperishable food for its Mill Markets. The Foundation has also provided funding to support a part-time MVFB employee assigned to keep the pantries well stocked, according to Aradhya. The collaboration has proved so successful that more in-school food pantries are being established, added Aradhya. In early 2023, a new Mill Market will open at Henry J. Robinson Middle School, thanks to a recently announced $25,000 GLCF grant in honor of the Foundation’s 25th Anniversary. GLCF has also contributed funding to support food pantries at Lincoln Elementary School and Leblanc Therapeutic Day School.

“Mill Markets are basically mini-food pantries,” explained Roberta Emerson, Program Director of MVFB’s Operation Nourish. “They sit right next to, or are located inside, a Catie’s Closet, so students can make one stop and get everything they need. For example, if a student needs a sweatshirt or deodorant, they can visit the Catie’s Closet in their school. Then a staff member might say, ‘Check out our new Mill Market over here. You might see some food you’d like to prepare for your family tonight.’ ”

“We do our best to provide familiar foods to the Mill Markets,” said Debbie Callery, MVFB’s Executive Director. “Each school gives us a list of what their students prefer. Staples like macaroni & cheese, and pasta are popular, as well as tuna, peanut butter, and shelf-stable milk – plus different varieties of dried beans and rice. “Kids can go to Mill Markets whenever they want – and as many times as they want,” stressed Callery. “There’s no registration or application. They could be grabbing something for dinner that night or just picking up a snack. After-school snacks are especially popular with student athletes headed to practice.”

GLCF’s partnership approach aligns with the Lowell Public Schools’ Community Schools Strategy, according to Lauren Campion, Director of LPS’ Student Resource Center. “Basically, this strategy means we are intentionally integrating community partnerships into our schools to meet the wrap-around needs of our students and their families,” she said.  “These strategic partnerships support learning and the academic success of our students.”

All 28 Lowell public schools, at all grade levels, serve free breakfast and lunch, explained Campion. “Mill Market food pantries very much complement the food service we already provide through district funding,” she added. School administrators with Mill Markets in their facilities, agree. “Having the food pantry here at school is amazing,” said Monica Melo Ernest, Community School Manager at Greenhalge Elementary School, which serves students from pre-K through 4th grade. “According to my data, we've already had about 134 families access the Mill Market at some point this year. We have 62 families that consistently use it -- and we’re adding families.”

Solangel Polanco, Community School Manager at Bartlett Community Partnership School (pre-K-8) is equally enthusiastic. “The location of the Mill Market here at Bartlett is within the same space as our Catie’s Closet, which works well, because students might need to visit both places. “We are definitely seeing an increase in students receiving food. Last year, we were providing weekly bags of food to 25 elementary students (who are too young to shop for themselves). This year, we are up to 46. And the kids seem to like the food -- especially the microwave-ready soups and snacks.”

To learn more about GLCF, visit:
Se asians book

“Making Films on a Micro Budget” with Chelmsford Art Society

CHELMSFORD: The Chelmsford Art Society is delighted to present a unique program “Making Films on a Micro Budget”, on January 21 at 2pm at the Chelmsford Public Library. While this exciting program is open to the public, it is also aimed at indie filmmakers, on a tight budget, who are exploring films with an alternative vision of the world. For more information about this program, visit and

The main speaker is Jim Higgins, who has published several photography books, and short/medium length films with his company, The Flying Orb Productions. This film company was founded in 2005 in Lowell with James and two principal dancers from the Angkor Dance Troupe. One major focus of this indie film company deals with the legacy of America’s war in Southeast Asia, especially on Cambodians, and other refugees.