Hudson/Stow

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Current Edition - 09/30/22
Previous Edition - 09/23/22

HEADLINES

Apple pie sign with kate and judith

Fresh Baked Apple Pies at FPC

STOW: It’s time again for First Parish Church of Stow & Acton (FPC) to sell its homemade apple pies on Saturdays and Sundays through October 9. Sales will begin at 10am on Saturdays and at 11am on Sundays. Sales will close when the day’s pies are sold or at 1pm - whichever comes first. The apple pie stand is located at the front of the church grounds, at 353 Great Road, at the intersection of routes 117 and 62. For more information, call the church at (978) 897-8149 or visit www.fpc-stow-acton.org. Apples for the pies have been generously donated by Shelburne Farm of Stow.

FINANCIAL FOCUS: Should you Stick with Index-based Investments? 

September 21, 2022
 
You may have heard that you can simplify your investment strategy just by owning index-based or passive investments. But is this a good idea? You’ll want to consider the different aspects of this type of investment style. 
 
To begin with, an index-based investment is a vehicle such as a mutual fund or an exchange-traded fund (ETF) that mimics the performance of a market benchmark, or index — the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500, and so on. (An ETF is similar to a mutual fund in that it holds a variety of investments but differs in that it is traded like a common stock.) You can also invest in index funds that track the bond market. 
 
Index investing does offer some benefits. Most notably, it’s a buy-and-hold strategy, which is typically more effective than a market-timing approach, in which individuals try to buy investments when their prices are down and sell them when the prices rise. Attempts to time the market this way are usually futile because nobody can really predict when high and low points will be reached. Plus, the very act of constantly buying and selling investments can generate commissions and fees, which can lower your overall rate of return. Thus, index investing generally involves lower fees and is considered more tax efficient than a more active investing style. Also, when the financial markets are soaring, which happened for several years until this year’s downturn, index-based investments can certainly look pretty good — after all, when the major indexes go up, index funds will do the same.
 
Conversely, during a correction, when the market drops at least 10% from recent highs, or during a bear market, when prices fall 20% or more, index-based investments will likely follow the same downward path. 
 
And there are also other issues to consider with index-based investments. For one thing, if you’re investing with the objective of matching an index, you may be overlooking the key factors that should be driving your investment decisions — your goals and your risk tolerance. An index is a completely impersonal benchmark measuring the performance of a specific set of investments — but it can’t be a measuring stick of your own progress.
 
Furthermore, a single index, by definition, can’t be as diversified as the type of portfolio you might need to achieve your objectives. For example, the S&P 500 may track a lot of companies, but they’re predominantly large ones. And to achieve your objectives, you may need a portfolio consisting of large- and small-company stocks, bonds, government securities and other investments. (Keep in mind, though, that while diversification can give you more opportunities for success and can reduce the effects of volatility on your portfolio, it can’t guarantee profits or prevent all losses.)

Ultimately, diversifying across different types of investments that align with your risk tolerance and goals — regardless of whether they track an index — is the most important consideration for your investment portfolio. Use this idea as your guiding principle as you journey through the investment world. 
 
This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor: Marshall-Ben Tisdale,Westford, MA  - www.EdwardJones.com/Marshall-Ben-Tisdale, Edward Jones, Member SIPC
Edward Jones, its employees and financial advisors cannot provide tax or legal advice. You should consult your attorney or qualified tax advisor regarding your situation.

Assabet Valley Camera Club Program: Birds and Birds in Flight

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HUDSON/MARLBOROUGH: On October 5, the Assabet Valley Camera Club (AVCC) is pleased to host Jim DeLuco whose photographic career started more than fifty years ago after purchasing his first 35mm camera while stationed in Vietnam. Over the years Jim has been a member of both the Colonial and Gateway Camera Clubs and has received pictorial and nature awards from the New England Camera Club Council. The prior owner of DeLuco Photography which specialized in portraits, weddings and events, Jim now spends his leisure time photographing birds in Massachusetts and at Florida hotspots.

In addition to being called upon to judge at local camera clubs, Jim provides instructional classes to area photographers. DeLuco’s October 5th presentation will feature a large variety of bird photographs with special consideration given to the techniques needed for capturing their images including photographing birds in flight. Follow Jim on his Instagram at jamesfdeluco.

Due to Covid 19 all AVCC meetings are currently being held online. If you are interested in attending this program, contact AVCC at info@assabetvalleycc.com a few days prior to the meeting to request a link to the event. The club’s Zoom room opens at 7pm with a brief business meeting at 7:15pm. Jim’s presentation Birds and Birds in Flight will begin at 7:30pm.

Normally, AVCC meetings are held in the Great Room at the Hudson Senior Center, 29 Church Street. The first meeting of the month generally features a program designed to instruct and/or to entertain camera enthusiasts.  During the second monthly meeting, a competition of members’ digital images are judged and critiqued by qualified individuals. Assabet Valley Camera Club, affiliated with both the New England Camera Club Council (NECCC) and the Photographic Society of America (PSA), participates in interclub competitions on regional, national and international levels.

AVCC welcomes anyone interested in learning more about photography as a visual art and its practical application as a science.  Members benefit from the hands-on experiences, from the knowledge presented in programs, and from having their work critiqued. For more information check out the AVCC website at www.assabetvalleycc.com or contact Club President Elliot Mednick at (978) 293-5192.

Stow Cultural Council Accepting Applications for 2023 Events!

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STOW: Do you have a performance to share with our community? Do you like to share stories of the past or future or teach others to dance, read, write, or laugh? Are you an artist, musician, author, scientist, or do you have a great idea or event that will enrich and educate those around you? Let the Stow Cultural Council (SCC) support your event. Funded by the state of Massachusetts, the town of Stow, and private foundations, the Stow Cultural Council awards grants to projects that contribute culturally to Stow and surrounding communities. Previous grants have supported concerts, school field trips, theater, dance, music, and film.

The SCC is part of a network of 329 Local Cultural Councils (LCCs) serving all 351 cities and towns in the Commonwealth. The LCC Program is the largest grassroots cultural funding network in the nation, supporting thousands of community-based projects in the arts, sciences and humanities every year. The state legislature provides an annual appropriation to the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency, which then allocates funds to each community.

SCC encourages those who do apply, to consider a virtual option in your application to reach as many people as possible.  Applications are due online by October 17, 2022. For information, visit https://massculturalcouncil.org/communities/local-cultural-council-program.
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Free Covid-19 Home Test Kits Available

STOW: The Board of Health has free COVID-19 test kits available at the following locations:
 
  • Pompositticut Community Center (Pompo), 509 Great Road, 978-897-1880 (COA)
  • Stow Food Pantry, 509 Great Road, 978-897-4230
  • Board of Health office, Town Building, 380 Great Road, 978-897-4592
  • Randall Library, 19 Crescent Street, 978-897-8572

Test kits will also be available at the Flu Clinic on October 15 to be held at Pompo.

Please check with the location for their hours of operation. Questions? Contact the Board of Health at 978-897-4592 or health@stow-ma.gov
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“Open House” at New Conservation Land on September 25

BERLIN: All area residents are welcome to enjoy the new Horseshoe Pond Conservation Area in Berlin. The Town of Berlin and Sudbury Valley Trustees have collaborated to purchase this 100-acre property on the corner of Linden Street and Lyman Road and have opened it for public use. This beautiful natural area features a meadow, a small pond, and forest, and its trails connect to those in the adjacent Mount Pisgah Conservation Area.
 
Sudbury Valley Trustees (SVT) is a land trust that conserves natural areas and wildlife habitat in the region around the Sudbury, Assabet, and Concord Rivers. To encourage everyone to explore the Horseshoe Pond Conservation Area, SVT and the Town are hosting an “open house” at the property on September 25, from 2-4pm.
 
This is a wonderful opportunity to see the land for yourself. You can walk the trails at your own pace or enjoy a nature scavenger hunt with the younger members of your family. Naturalists will be on hand to pass out trail maps and answer questions in English, Spanish, and Portuguese.
 
“Many local residents have enjoyed the trails on this property for years, perhaps without realizing that it was privately owned land,” said Christa Collins, SVT Director of Land Protection. “Now that it is permanently protected, we want everyone to feel welcome to explore and enjoy this new conservation area.”

Collins did caution that parts of the trail can be a bit steep, but there are also flat sections that cut across a meadow.
“The trail also runs past a delightful pond in the woods,” she added. “If you are lucky, you might spot a great blue heron when you visit.”

There are no public bathrooms at the property, and visitors are advised to bring their own water. The parking area is located on Linden Street in Berlin, just west of the intersection with Lyman Road. More details are available at www.svtweb.org/nature.

Businesses in Your Community

Town of Stow Receives $1M State Grant for Repairs at Lake Boon Dam

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STOW: The Select Board and Town Administrator Denise Dembkoski are pleased to announce that the Town of Stow has received a $1 million state grant to support critically needed repairs to the Lake Boon Dam. The Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs is providing the grant through its Dam and Seawall Repair or Replacement Program, which will assist the first phase of a three-phase, $3.2 million project.

The Dam controls Lake Boon, encompassing the Towns of Stow and Hudson, and supports a stretch of Barton Road. The Dam has been considered “structurally deficient” since a 2012 inspection. Emergency repairs were required in 2021 due to advanced deterioration.  A dam failure would significantly impact the Stow community and towns downstream. A failure would require evacuations of the neighborhood, and severely limit the ability of the Stow Fire Department to draw water from the lake and adjacent fire ponds.

“Lake Boon is a town gem. The structural integrity of the Dam, and ability to control water levels, is critical to maintaining a healthy lake,” Select Board Chair Megan Birch-McMichael said. “By bringing the Dam up to modern standards, we are protecting this resource for future generations and securing the ability of our first responders to reach the Lake Boon community.”

“The state has been a strong supporter of the Town’s long-term plan to become climate resilient, so we are grateful for this grant funding,” Town Administration Dembkoski said. “I also would like to thank Superintendent of Streets Steve Nadeau for his work in obtaining this grant for the Town.”

2022-23 Worship Season Begins with Water Communion Ingathering Service

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HUDSON/MARLBOROUGH: The Unitarian Church of Marlborough and Hudson (UCMH) this year marks the 50th anniversary of the first worship season after the Marlborough and Hudson congregations officially merged in 1972. In keeping with the September Worship Theme of “Belonging,” Rev. Alice Anacheka-Nasemann and the worship committee have prepared a delightful Water Communion Ingathering service featuring steel pan drum performer Jefferey Clayton.  The service will be held IN PERSON in their beautiful, historic sanctuary at 80 Main Street in Downtown Hudson, and will be led by Rev. Alice Anacheka-Nasemann on September 11 at 10:30am. Everyone is welcome to participate regardless of faith, religion, or spiritual affiliation, including atheists. Additional information, including the most recent COVID-19 guidelines and links to services, is available at www.ucmh.org   

“We’ve put together a joy-filled, uplifting, family worship service for our members and friends to celebrate our coming together after the summer months,” said Rev. Alice. “We invite everyone to bring water from a source that you visited this summer, or find sacred, and together we will create a meaningful water communion ceremony.”

The Unitarian Church of Marlborough and Hudson is devoted to love, peace, positivity, and inclusion.  In addition to Sunday services, UCMH offers inspiring and cultural activities for personal growth and development throughout the year. Further information is available online at ucmh.org, the Unitarian Church of Marlborough and Hudson’s Facebook page, or by calling the church office at (978) 562-9180.
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Michele Fronk Schuckel Provides Tips on Combating Weeds

HUDSON: Tired of weeds? You’re not alone. They’re a frustrating and time-consuming part of garden and lawn maintenance. Yet, Hudson Garden Club (HGC) has solutions! Join HGC and Certified Master Gardener Michele Fronk Schuckel for her informative program “Weed ID: What Weeds are Saying and How to Listen for Healthier Gardens” on September 19 at 7pm at Hudson Senior Center, 29 Church Street.

There are specific reasons weeds grow and prosper in gardens and lawns. Rather than constantly dispensing herbicides, weeding, and laying mulch, Schuckel reveals how to treat the soil and select the best plants to prevent weeds from growing where you don’t want them. In addition to being founder of and principal designer at Natural Selections Garden Design, Schuckel is a prominent gardening lecturer, a psychiatric nurse, and a successful wellness coach.

Doors open at 6:40pm, parking is free, masks are optional, and complimentary refreshments are served following the presentation. A $5 per person donation is kindly requested from non-garden club members. For more information, contact Cindy Provencher at (978) 618-3467.

The Hudson Garden Club can be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/hudsongardenclub.

FINANCIAL FOCUS: Look Closely at Open Enrollment Choices

September 6, 2022

Once again, it’s the season for football games and back-to-school activities. And if you work for a medium-size or large employer, it will soon be open enrollment season – the time of year when you can review your employee benefits and make changes as needed. What areas should you focus on?

Actually, it’s a good idea to pay close attention to all your benefits. Some of the offerings may have changed from last year — and you might have experienced changes in your own life, too, which might lead you to look for something different from your existing benefits package.

You may want to start with your health insurance. If you’re satisfied with your coverage, and it’s essentially the same as it’s been, you may well want to stick with what you have. However, many employers are increasingly offering high-deductible health plans, which, as the name suggests, could entail more out-of-pocket costs for you. But high-deductible plans may also offer something of benefit: the ability to contribute to a health savings account (HSA). Your HSA contributions are made with pre-tax dollars, so they can reduce your taxable income for the year. Also, your earnings grow tax-free, and your withdrawals are tax-free, provided the money is used for qualified medical expenses. (Withdrawals taken before age 65 that aren’t used for qualified medical expenses are taxable and subject to a 20% penalty; once you reach 65, the penalty no longer applies, although withdrawals are still taxable as income if not used for a qualified expense.)

Your next benefit to consider: Life insurance. Your employer may offer a group life insurance plan, but you’ll want to evaluate whether it’s sufficient for your needs, especially if you’ve experienced changes in your personal situation over the past year, such as getting married or adding a new child. There’s no magic formula for how much life insurance you need — you’ll need to consider a variety of factors, such as your income, family size, mortgage and so on — but it may be necessary to supplement your employer’s coverage with a private policy.

Your employer may also offer disability insurance as a benefit. Some employers’ disability policies are fairly limited, covering only short periods of time, so you may want to consider a private policy. 

Beyond the various insurance policies your employer may offer, you’ll also want to closely look at your 401(k) or similar retirement plan. Typically, you can make changes to your 401(k) throughout the year, but it’s important to make sure your investment selections and contribution amounts are still aligned with your risk tolerance and goals. Also, are you contributing enough to earn your employer’s match, if one is offered? And if you’ve already receiving the match, can you still afford to put in more to your plan if such a move makes sense for you? 

Your employee benefits package can be a valuable part of your overall financial strategy. So, as open enrollment season proceeds, take a close look at what you already have, what’s being offered, and what changes you need to make. It will be time well spent.

This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor 
Financial Advisor, Alan Bell, Littleton, MA
Edwardjones.com/Alan-Bell
Edward Jones, Member SIPC

Edward Jones, its employees and financial advisors cannot provide tax or legal advice. You should consult your attorney or qualified tax advisor regarding your situation.
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YSAP & MAP 5k for Prevention

HUDSON: The Hudson Youth Substance Abuse Prevention (YSAP) and Marlborough Alliance for Prevention (MAP) is hosting a 5k run, walk, roll and stroll for prevention! The goal of this event is to help raise funds and awareness for programs such as YSAP and MAP that are dedicated to education and support related to substance use. 

In 2015, Hudson’s YSAP group was created to reduce and prevent youth substance use and addiction in Hudson. Through community engagement, YSAP has continued to put their efforts into participating in community events, collecting data, hosting Narcan trainings, and so much more. Similarly to YSAP, MAP also envisions a community empowered by accessible resources and supports that can help to live a healthy lifestyle and motivate good decision making related to substance use. YSAP and MAP plan to join forces and together, host a family fun event for a cause so near and dear to the heart of many.

Lauren Antonelli, former Regional Youth Substance Abuse Program Coordinator and current Director of Public and Community Health in Hudson stated that the main goals of the event are to “Raise awareness around substance use, raise awareness for coalitions like YSAP and MAP and to raise funds for the cause.” 

The event has made an emphasis on being accessible for all. “We wanted this to be community building event” said Antonelli. “That’s also why we wanted this to be for all ability levels. We want everyone in the community to come out and feel welcomed to join.”  

The future of coalitions such as YSAP and MAP depend on events like these. The idea of merging both education awareness and fundraising together are important to continue bringing substance use [among youth] to the spotlight while helping to create more opportunities for change. “We are hopeful that we can continue to do events like these and even bring back our annual dodgeball tournament” shared Antonelli, referring to the dodgeball tournament last held by YSAP in the spring of 2019. 

“YSAP is always looking for new members, especially youth” said Antonelli. “It’s important for the youth in our communities to have a role in this and share their experiences and ideas for preventing substance use among their own peers.” If you are interested in joining YSAP, please contact the Hudson Health Department for more information.

Town of Stow Receives $1.1M State Grant to Support Stow Acres North Course Purchase

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STOW: The Select Board and Town Administrator Denise Dembkoski are pleased to announce that the Town of Stow has received a two-year, $1.1 million state grant toward acquiring a portion of the Stow Acres Country Club. Grant recipients were recognized recently at a ceremony in Williamsburg by Governor Charlie Baker and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito.

The grant by the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs’ Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness Program will assist the Town in shaping protection and development of the North Course in alignment with community priorities.

Club owners approached the Town about purchasing the 115-acre North Course in 2020, entering a public-private partnership to draft a creative development and preservation plan. A working group held numerous public meetings. The group also received vital stakeholder feedback during a community forum. The project garnered significant support from town boards and committees, community groups, and the town’s representatives at the State House.
The Town reached agreement to purchase a section of the North Course in September 2021. Town Meeting appropriated $2.5 million in Community Preservation Act funding at the October 2021 Special Town Meeting. The Stow Conservation Trust is fundraising to provide the final $100,000 needed for the closing, which is expected in December.
About 32 acres of the North Course parcel will be developed into smaller single-family, village-style homes, designed to limit the impact on the environment and maximize affordability. The remaining acreage will be set aside for public conservation and recreation, with a short-term lease for continuing golf on nine holes.

The first year of the grant will assist in the purchase. The second year supports development of a Climate Resilient Master Plan for the area, including 32 adjacent acres.

The plan will provide the blueprint for wetland restoration, increase in flood storage capacity, removal of golf elements, planting of trees/shrubs and riparian buffers, increasing landscape diversity and complexity, wildlife habitat enhancement, design of trails, and state-of-the-art “green” public recreation amenities. Climate resilient park facilities incorporating nature-based solutions will offer healthy outdoor recreation options, and provide shade and water-focused recreation to mitigate impacts from extreme heat.

“We are grateful to the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs for this funding, We will be able to add needed housing stock while protecting one of our most valuable assets,” Select Board Chair Megan Birch-McMichael said. “This grant is one more result of a public-private partnership that we hope serves as a model for the entire state.”

“Thank you to all of our community stakeholders who worked tirelessly on this project and helped us shape our vision with vital feedback,” Town Administrator Dembkoski said. “I would especially like to thank Conservation Director Kathy Sferra, whose tremendous effort on our application was key in acquiring this grant.”

Learn more about the Stow Acres project here.

PHOTO: Town Administrator Denise Dembkoski, Governor Charlie Baker, Conservation Director Kathy Sferra, and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, at Tuesday's event in Williamsburg.

FINANCIAL FOCUS: Prepare Yourself for a Long Retirement

August 29, 2022

We all want to live long lives. We all expect to live long lives. But are we financially prepared for this longevity?  Before we get to the issue of preparation, let’s look at a couple of interesting findings from a 2022 survey by Age Wave and Edward Jones:
 
  • The surveyed retirees said, on average, they expect to live to 89, and they said the ideal length of retirement is 29 years.
  • When asked if they want to live to 100, nearly 70% of the respondents said “yes.” The main reason for this desire for long life? To spend more years with their family and friends.

Of course, none of us can see into the future and know how long we’ll be around. But with advances in medical care and a greater awareness of healthy lifestyles, these aspirations have a real basis in reality.

However, if you’re going to enjoy a longer lifespan, and the extra years with your loved ones, you need to ensure your finances are also in good shape. How can you make this happen?  Here are some basic steps to follow:
 
  • Save and invest early and often. This may be the oldest piece of financial advice, but it’s still valid. The earlier you start saving and investing for your retirement, the greater your potential accumulation. Consider this: If you began saving just $5,000 per year at age 25, and earned a hypothetical 6.5% annual rate of return, and didn’t take any early withdrawals, you’d end up with $935,000 by the time you reached 65. But if you waited until 35 to start saving and investing, and you earned the same hypothetical 6.5% return – again with no early withdrawals – you’d only end up with $460,000. And if you didn’t start saving until 45, you’d end up with just over $200,000, again given the same 6.5% return. 
  • Be mindful of debt. You may not  want to be burdened with certain debts when you enter retirement. So, while you’re still working, try to reduce unwanted debts, particularly those that don’t offer the financial benefits of tax-deductible interest payments. The lower your debt load, the more you can save and invest for the future.
  • Keep reviewing your progress. It’s important to monitor the progress you need to make toward achieving your goal of a comfortable retirement. Over the short term, your investment balances may fluctuate, especially in volatile financial markets such as we’ve seen in the early part of this year. But you’ll get a clearer picture of your situation if you look at long-term results. For example, have your accounts grown over the past 10 years as much as you had planned? And going forward, do you think you’re in good shape, or will you need to make some changes to your investment strategy? Keep in mind that, if you’re 50 or older, you can make “catch-up” contributions to your IRA and 401(k) that allow you to exceed the regular limits. You may also want to adjust your investment mix as you near retirement to potentially lower your risk exposure.

Hopefully, you will enjoy many years of a healthy, happy retirement. And you can help support this vision by carefully considering your financial moves and making the ones that are right for you. 

This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor
Financial Advisor, Mandy Calouro, Chelmsford, MA
Edwardjones.com/Mandy-Calouro, Edward Jones, Member SIPC

Hudson Cultural Council Seeks Funding Proposals
Proposals for Community-Oriented Arts, Humanities, and Science Programs due October 17th

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HUDSON: The Hudson Cultural Council is seeking online applications from organizations, schools, and individuals for grants to support community-oriented arts, humanities, and science programs. If you have a great idea for bringing culturally enriching programming to Hudson and need funding to make it a reality, you are welcome to apply for a grant. The online application window will be open from September 1-October 17.

The Hudson Cultural Council is part of a network of 329 Local Cultural Councils serving all 351 cities and towns in the Commonwealth. The state legislature provides an annual appropriation to the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency, which then allocates funds to each community. Application forms and more information about the Local Cultural Council Program will be available online www.mass-culture.org/lcc_public.aspx  in September. 

HCC awards grants to private and public/municipal organizations, and individuals for cultural projects that benefit the Hudson community. The Council is responsible for making the final decisions on how to best serve the cultural needs of Hudson in selecting grant recipients and the amount of each grant.
Priority is given to programs which take place inside the town of Hudson and to those serving Hudson residents as well as Hudson-based organizations and institutions. Some of this past year’s direct grant recipients include Howie Newman’s Baseball Show at the Hudson Senior Center, Hudson Division of Recreation Summer Concert Series, Hudson Public Library Children’s Room STEAM Program, and Assabet Valley Chamber of Commerce’s Market Music

Check out the council’s website www.hudsonculturalcouncil.org or Facebook page www.facebook.com/HudsonCulturalCouncil/ for updates and more information on the application process. For the upcoming grant cycle, the Hudson Cultural Council will use a direct grant payment system.
The Hudson Cultural Council is composed of volunteers appointed by the Town of Hudson Select Board. To contact the HCC directly with questions, or to become a HCC member, please email hudsonculturalcouncil@gmail.com.
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Sounds of Stow Chorus Invites Singers to Take Part in 44th Season

STOW: The Sounds of Stow Chorus and Orchestra and Barbara Jones, Artistic Director, invite all interested singers and potential new members to join one - or all three - Open Rehearsals on August 29, September 5 and September 12. The Sounds of Stow Chorus and Orchestra is a welcoming community of musicians committed to preparing and performing exceptional music to enrich their lives and those of their audiences.

Rehearsals are held at the First Parish Church's Fellowship Hall, 353 Main Street. Open Rehearsals will begin at 7pm to allow time for registration and welcoming new singers, with subsequent rehearsals running from 7:15pm to 9:30pm.

This season of music will feature exceptional music and performances in three unique locations! Singers hail from 40+ towns in the Metrowest area and beyond, and membership is open to anyone who can match pitch, learn the music, and blend with the other voices. Artistic Director Barbara Jones promotes principles of good singing and serious musicianship at weekly rehearsals that are lively, challenging, and always fun.

For further information, visit www.soundsofstow.org or email info@soundsofstow.org.
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River Clean-up Volunteers Needed!

ACTON: OARS needs volunteers to help spread out across the Sudbury, Assabet and Concord river watershed to clean up rivers, streams, ponds and trails! This year marks the 36th Annual River Clean-up which will be hybrid and take place September 16 thru 18. Every year OARS relies on the support of volunteers and local businesses to keep our rivers clean. Local business owners are also encouraged to reach out and find out how company teams can get involved in this year’s clean-up. Visit www.oars3rivers.org to find out how to join in!

OARS is a nonprofit, science-based organization whose mission is to protect, improve and preserve the Assabet, Sudbury and Concord River watersheds for all people and wildlife. The watershed includes: Acton, Ashland, Bedford, Berlin, Boxboro, Billerica, Carlisle, Concord, Framingham, Hopkinton, Hudson, Lincoln, Maynard, Marlboro, Northborough, Lowell, Saxonville, Stow, Southborough, Sudbury, Tewksbury, Wayland and Westborough.
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Fresh Start Furniture Bank Seeks Donated Items and Volunteers

HUDSON: Fresh Start Furniture Bank is seeking donations of your gently used furniture, household goods and linens. Are you moving or downsizing?  If you've been cleaning out your home or the home of a loved one and are looking for a good home for things you no longer need, please consider donating your items to us!  Your donations help those in need. 

Fresh Start is a volunteer-run, non-profit in Hudson that provides furniture, linens and housewares free of charge to qualified Massachusetts residents in need, as they transition to new housing.  They provide almost everything they need in one trip, thanks to your donations.  They typically help 10-15 families per week and need your donations to keep up their stock.  
 
The following are just some of the items currently needed:  
 
  • FURNITURE - sofas, dining tables, sets of kitchen/dining chairs, coffee tables, TV stands, full and queen beds; 
  • HOUSEWARES - basic appliances (toasters, microwaves, etc.), pots and pans, drinking glasses, lamps;
  • LINENS - sheet sets, blankets and comforters, kitchen towels/oven mitts/placemats and towels

In addition, they maintain an Amazon wish list for anyone interested in buying new items to help the cause. Items accepted are in good, clean condition only.  All donations are tax deductible.

Please visit www.freshstartfurniturebank.org for a list of items they accept, or find them on Facebook for their latest needs.  Additionally, they would be grateful for new packing materials (bubble wrap, etc.) or cash donations to help offset operating costs.  Businesses take note:  we can put those boxes that reams of copy paper come in to good use!

Household goods and linens can be dropped off at 16 Brent Drive in Hudson during business hours only: Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9am-12pm, and Saturdays from 8:30am-12:30pm.  Furniture donations are accepted on Saturday mornings from 8:30-10:30am, no appointment necessary.  Limited pick-ups can be arranged for larger donations.
 
 

Volunteers are always needed to load, unload, sort, clean, stock and distribute items. If you can help out for as little as three hours a month, please call (508) 485-2080, or through the website contact form. Teens welcome!
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Family-Friendly Assabet Craft Beer & Food Truck Festival

STOW: Looking for something a little different to do during the upcoming Labor
Day weekend? How about enjoying an outdoor event that is sure to be fun for the entire family while also supporting social outreach in our local community? On September 3, from noon until 4pm, the Assabet Craft Beer & Food Truck Festival will take place on the grounds of the First Parish Church of Stow & Acton (FPC) at 353 Great Road. It’s the first ever festival of its kind to take place in Stow and will feature face painting, corn hole, and a whole series of creative kids’ games available in a dedicated children’s play area.

This event is the brainchild of four craft beer enthusiasts and FPC members who wanted to create a fundraiser for the church that would celebrate its engagement in the local community as well as highlight its involvement in a diverse variety of social justice causes.

“First Parish is a community and family focused congregation,” says Dave Sansone, one of the principal organizers. “We hope through hosting this festival we can introduce Millennials and Gen Xers with families to our church so that they can enjoy a fun-filled day of festivity that also benefits a host of worthy causes, from seeking racial justice and helping the oppressed to protecting our environment and promoting peace.”

Participating in the Festival will be three prominent local craft breweries: Amory’s Tomb Brewing of Maynard, Bull Spit Brewing of Lancaster and Maynard, and Sterling Street Brewery of Clinton. Wine and cider will also be available from Bull Spit Brewing.

"Just 40 years ago, there were only eight microbreweries in the entire  country," says Neil Saunders, another festival organizer. "Now the U.S. has over 9,000 small and independent craft breweries.
Massachusetts alone now has over 200 microbreweries and brewpubs. And we're really excited that quite a few of them are right here in this area and that several will be at our festival."

Three food trucks will be on hand to satisfy the appetites of all those attending: Kith & Kin of Hudson will offer burgers and subs; Smokin’ Food Truck 51 of Worcester will provide BBQ specialties; and Lala’s of Somerville will serve Neapolitan-ish pizza. For dessert, there is New City Microcreamery of Hudson and its ice cream confections. All these food vendors will sell soda and soft drinks, and coffee and bottled water can also be purchased.

"This area has some excellent craft brewers and food vendors. We're happy to have the opportunity to introduce them to folks in the community who might not be aware of them," says Margaret Tucker, another festival organizer. "And we're also happy to give those folks a much-needed chance to enjoy socializing outdoors."

General admission to the festival is through a $5-10 donation per person, with all proceeds going directly to FPC to support its work in the community, but entry is free for children under 13. Drink tickets are $5 each for a 10-ounce cup of beer or cider or a 6-ounce cup of wine. The event will proceed rain or shine. For more information, contact craftbeerfest@fpc-stow-acton.org.
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Board of Health Mandatory Non-Essential Outdoor Water Use Ban

STOW: Whereas the Town of Stow is in an area of the State declared to be in Level 3 – Critical Drought,
Whereas the State Guidance on Non-Essential Outdoor Water-Use restriction is to ban all non-essential outdoor water use,
Whereas Stow residents and businesses derive their potable water from private and public water supply wells which access groundwater,
Whereas wetlands and streams have shown stress from the current drought condition,
Whereas a supply of potable water is necessary for the promotion of public health of the residents of Stow,

The Stow Board of Health, acting under 105CMR400.220 (b) Emergency Procedures, hereby prohibits non-essential outdoor water use at all times.  This ban shall be effective August 22, 2022 and the Board of Health will monitor the drought level and shall review the ban from time to time.

Examples of nonessential outdoor water uses include, but is not limited to:
 
  • Irrigation of public and private lawns via sprinklers or automatic irrigation systems;
  • Washing of vehicles, other than by means of a commercial car wash, except as necessary for public safety or operator safety; and
  • Washing of exterior building surfaces, parking lots, driveways or sidewalks, except as necessary to apply paint, preservatives, stucco, pavement or cement.

The following uses are permitted:
 
  • Watering of personal gardens by means of a hand-held hose/watering can is allowed after 7:00PM until 7:00AM; and
  • To meet the core functions of a business or commercial activity.
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Symphony Pro Musica Invites Players to Audition for Upcoming Season

HUDSON/BOLTON: Based in Hudson and now celebrating its 40th year, Symphony Pro Musica is a high-level, ambitious volunteer community orchestra serving MetroWest and Central Massachusetts conducted by Mark Churchill, and it is seeking players for the upcoming season!

Rehearsals are held on Wednesday nights at Hudson High School, 7:15-10pm.  Occasional Thursday dress rehearsals and sectional rehearsals on Monday evenings are held.  Auditions will be held on August 29 in Bolton, or by arrangement.  Players should prepare two contrasting solo works and three to four excerpts of their choice.
Current openings include:
 
 
  • Strings, especially 1st violins and cellos, but all are welcome to audition.
  • Oboe.  One section player and one English horn for concert II.
  • Contra bassoon
  • Clarinet 3/bass clarinet
  • Principal horn and two to three section horns for Mahler 5 only.
  • Timpani
  • Percussion

All instruments are very welcome as subs and/or for waitlists.  If interested, please email SPM Executive Director Mark Ford at spmoffice@symphonypromusica.org

Concerts on November 5/6, February 4/5, March 25/26 and May 20/21. Repertoire for the season includes Mahler, Symphony No. 5; Brahms/Schoenberg Piano Quartet No. 1; Borodin, Symphony No. 2; Mendelssohn, Symphony No. 3 and features soloists cellist Thomas Mesa (Jessie Montgomery world premiere), violinist Maria Ioudenich (Beethoven Concerto), and Benjamin Hochman (Bartók Piano Concerto No. 3., and other shorter works.  Visit www.symphonypromusica.org for more information.

PHOTO CREDIT: Andy Weigl
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Stow Bike for the Woods

STOW: The 21st annual Stow Bike for the Woods is taking place Sunday, August 28. This is a family-friendly road-bike ride supports the Stow Conservation Trust. Registration starts at 8:30am, ride at 9am. The ride starts at the Stow Shopping Center, 113 Great Road. You can register for the ride and get more information at http://bikeforthewoods.org.  There will be food and drink including fresh peaches, cider donuts, and our famous mid-ride lemonade stand. Come for the scenery, return for the great snacks!
 
Choose from a variety of ride lengths including 5, 14, 37, and a 65-mile metric century. All ages and abilities are welcome. The routes are well marked and cue sheets are provided. The routes take you by many of the conservation properties in the area. See up close why Stow and surrounding towns are considered biking nirvana by those in the know. The Stow Conservation Trust aims to preserve open space for future generations. All proceeds from the ride go to the Trust. Last year the ride raised over $2000 for this worthy cause.
 
Food, drink, and support for the ride are provided by Bagels Plus of Acton, Pedal Power of Acton, Emma’s Cafe in Stow, Idylwilde Farms of Acton, Carver Hill Orchard of Stow, Honey Pot Hill Orchards of Stow, Trader Joe’s of Acton and Starbucks of Acton.
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Stow Open Space and Recreation Plan Survey - Please Participate!

STOW: Help to develop the next Open Space and Recreation Plan for Stow! The Stow Conservation Department and Stow Recreation Department are currently beginning the process of updating the Stow Open Space and Recreation Plan.  The Plan helps guide the town’s priorities and is updated every 5 to 10 years.  As part of community outreach for the Plan Update, Stow residents are asked to take a short survey on conservation and recreation issues.  Initial input on future uses for the North Course of Stow Acres is sought (and there will be a much more extensive public outreach effort next year).
 
The survey is available in two ways:
 
  • An electronic version of the survey is available at: https://tinyurl.com/StowOSRPSurvey.
  • Paper copies of the survey can be found at the Council on Aging, Randall Library, and in the cabinet outside of Town Building.  Completed surveys may be mailed or dropped off to the Conservation Commission office at Town Building, 380 Great Road, 2nd Floor, Stow, MA 01775. 

All responses are due by September 15, 2022.
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Nashoba Symphonic Band Announces 2022-2023 Season

BOLTON: The Nashoba Symphonic Band is pleased to announce its concert schedule for the 2022-2023 season. All concerts will take place in the auditorium of Nashoba Regional High School, Route 117 (12 Green Road GPS), about a mile west of the center of town. Admission is free and open to the public. The theme for the season is “Joy in Form,” exploring the ways in which various elements are combined to create a complete musical work.
 
  • October 30, 3pm - “Brilliant Expositions!” includes Festive Overture by Dmitri Shostakovitch, Suite from Candide, Clare Grundman's setting of music from the Broadway show by Leonard Bernstein, and the glorious Symphony No.3 by Vittorio Giannini.
  • February 4, 2023, 2pm - “Unexpected Developments!” features Variations for Wind Band by Ralph Vaughan Williams with Arthur Fracknpohl's Celebration Overture and the Fantasies on a Theme by Haydn by Norman Dello-Joio, plus marches by Kenneth J. Alford and Leon Jessel.
  • May 7, 2023, 3pm “Fiendish Finales!” includes a complete performance of Robert W. Smith's Symphony No.1 The Divine Comedy, based on the writings of Dante: Inferno, Purgatorio, Ascension, and Paradiso. The work is aptly framed by the Rakoczy March from Berlioz's Damnation of Faust, and March “Gloria” by Frank Hoyt Losey.
  • June 15, 2023, 7:30pm - “Fitting Codas!” features classics of concert band repertoire, including Symphonic Dance No.3 “Fiesta” by Clifton Williams, Pines of the Appian Way by Ottorino Respighi, and selections from the musical, Man of LaMancha, as well as music performed by graduating members of the Nashoba Symphonic Band.


The Nashoba Symphonic Band welcomes new players at the beginning of each season and at the rehearsal following each concert. There are no auditions, but adult membership is limited to a certain number within each section. Students (grade 8 and above) are required to present a recommendation from their school music director or private instructor. The band currently has openings for section clarinets and trumpets, 2 trombones, 1 tuba and percussion. Rehearsals of Nashoba Symphonic Band are held on Thursdays from 7-9 p.m. on the stage of the Nashoba Regional High School. Those wishing to become members, or needing further information should contact the conductor/music director, David Bailey at baileydavidwayne@gmail.com OR Joe McCarthy, Nashoba Regional High School Instrumental Director at jmccarthy@nrsd.net.
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Fall Election/Voting Info: In Person, Early Voting & Vote by Mail

STOW: PLEASE NOTE:  September 6th Primary Ballots have been mailed BUT the Special Town Election ballots are still being printed.  Town Ballots will be mailed as soon as they are received.  See ballot updates at TRACK MY BALLOT LINK 

OPPORTUNITIES TO VOTE - FALL 2022 ELECTIONS, SEPT 6th PRIMARY & SEPT 6th SPECIAL TOWN ELECTION
1. In Person on Election Day: No Application Needed
    Center School, 403 Great Road
    September 6: 7am-8pm
2. In Person Early Voting: No Application Needed
    Stow Town Building, 380 Great Road
    Aug 27: 9am-3pm & Aug 29-Sept 2:  8:30am-4pm
3. Vote By Mail: Application Required
Application must be completed and received by the Town Clerk’s Office no later than August 29 at 5pm to have a ballot mailed to you.

* Preferred/quickest way to return voted ballots: Drop off in the blue Ballot/Election Mailbox at the Town Building, 380 Great Road

TRACK MY BALLOT LINK 

The State mailed every registered voter a postcard application.  If you did not receive one, you may download an application here:  Vote By Mail Application

REMINDER when returning a VOTE BY MAIL APPLICATION / POSTCARD: If you are registered Unenrolled (aka Independent), you MUST choose a ballot (Democratic or Republican). This will not enroll you in a party – you will remain Unenrolled / Independent. If you are unenrolled & do not choose a ballot – you will not receive one.

NOVEMBER 8th State Election
1. In Person on Election Day: No Application Needed
    Center School, 403 Great Road
    November 8: 7am-8pm
2. In Person Early Voting: No Application Needed
    Stow Town Building, 380 Great Road
    Oct 22 - Nov 4 (days & times tbd)
3. Vote By Mail: Application Required
Application must be completed and received by the Town Clerk’s Office no later than November 1 at 5pm to have a ballot mailed to you.

Sounds of Stow Announces an Exhilarating & Innovative 44th Season

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STOW: The Sounds of Stow Chorus & Orchestra is excited to announce their new season, featuring performances in two new, state-of-the-art facilities.

The season begins with “Dona Nobis Pacem: Four Visions,” repeating the group’s 2003 response to 9/11 and is equally timely today.  This most heartfelt of texts concludes the traditional Mass setting, and the program will compare and contrast those final settings in four great works, composed in different artistic eras and representing very different philosophical approaches to the text.  The program consists of excerpts from Johann Sebastian Bach’s B-minor Mass, Joseph Haydn’s Harmoniemesse, Franz Schubert’s Grand Mass in E-flat, and Ludwig van Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis. Also featured is outstanding pianist Sonya Ovrutsky Fensome, who will present Cesar Franck’s Symphonic Variations for piano and orchestra. The concert will be on November 20 at the Littleton High School auditorium.

On April 2, 2023, Sounds of Stow will return to Hale Middle School in Stow, with a concert entitled “Joyous Voices – Winsome Winds.” The orchestra opens the program with one of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s most delightful compositions, the Sinfonia Concertante for Four Winds, followed by the joyous, innovative Harmoniemesse, Joseph Haydn’s final choral work. What better way to welcome Spring and raise your spirits after the long, dark winter days!

Rounding out the season, Sounds of Stow will join other choral groups for “Voices Rising,” a special event on May 20, 2023, at the new performance space opening this season in Groton.  Formerly Indian Hill Music, the stunning new Groton Hill Music Center offers a truly world-class performance space.  The program includes works by Antonin Dvorak, Mozart, Johannes Brahms, and a new, appealing work by Peter Boyer, On Music’s Wings.  

This thrilling season of music will be great fun for musicians and audience members alike. Please mark your calendars for some afternoons of magnificent music, all of which will feature outstanding soloists from the Boston area. New singers are always invited to join the chorus. Please visit www.soundsofstow.org for details.

Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition's Annual State-wide Against the Tide Multisport Virtual & In-person Events

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Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition (MBCC) is hosting its annual, statewide Against the Tide athletic fundraising events as both virtual and in-person events this summer.  
 
MBCC will hold its in-person Cape Cod Against the Tide event on August 13 at DCR’s Nickerson State Park in Brewster for the 23rd year. This event will feature a 1-mile recreational and competitive swim, a ½-mile recreational swim, 5K and 10K runs, a 3-mile walk, and a 1-mile USMS sanctioned swim.
 
Additionally, MBCC is offering participants the option to participate remotely in the Against the Tide August virtual event from August 6–13. The virtual event components include 1-mile recreational or competitive swims, a ½-mile recreational swim, 5K and 10K runs, and a 3-mile walk.
 
Registration for both the virtual and in-person options is $40 for an individual participant, and $100 for a family registration (up to 5 family members). Participants may register as an individual or as part of a team. Participants are encouraged to raise funds beyond the registration fees, as all proceeds support MBCC’s unique goal of breast cancer prevention. All participants will receive an event t-shirt. Prizes will be awarded for the top swim and run finishers of the in-person events. To learn more about all of the registration options or to make a pledge, please visit the MBCC website at www.mbcc.org/swim or call 508-246-3047.
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Stow Reach Significant Drought Conditions

STOW: UPDATE: Level 3 - Critical Drought Status reached. The state declared that the region is now in a Level 3 -- Critical Drought.  See www.mass.gov/info-details/drought-status. Residents in Stow are urged to do their part to conserve water at all times of day.
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With 90% of Massachusetts experiencing drought conditions, Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Beth Card declared a Level 2-Signficant Drought for Middlesex County.

 
“As the state continues to experience dry conditions, and with little rainfall expected in the immediate forecast, it is important that we all implement water conservation practices to reduce stress on our local water supply systems and our natural habitats,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Beth Card.
 
Private wells, local streams, wetlands, vernal pools, and other water-dependent habitats are impacted by drought conditions while water quality in ponds can deteriorate due to lowering of levels and stagnation.
 
While Stow has no municipal water supply and most residents have their own private well, it is important that while your well “feels” private, we need to remember we all draw from the same aquifer, which is now being stressed due to the lack of rain. While the Town of Stow cannot require restricted use of water for irrigation of lawns and gardens, it is highly encouraged in order to assure we all continue to have an adequate water supply throughout the summer.
 
Individuals including residents utilizing a private well, are asked to take the following actions:
 
- Minimize overall water use;
- Limit outdoor watering to hand-held hoses or watering cans, to be used only after 5pm or before 9am.
 
Taking water conservation steps now will help to ensure essential needs, such as drinking water and fire protection, are being met, habitats have enough water to support their natural functions, and to sustain the Commonwealth’s water supplies in the long-term.
If you should experience a well failure, please notify the Board of Health, as the state is collecting the information to identify particular areas of concern. Current status of drought levels may be monitored at www.mass.gov/info-details/drought-status#current-drought-status- and are updated weekly.

Town Beach Closed Until Further Notice Due to Algae Bloom

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STOW: 7/29/22 Update: PLEASE NOTE: The Town Beach will remain closed at least through the weekend. Signs of bacteria still exist. An update will be provided when we get the "all clear" to reopen.

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT FROM THE LAKE BOON ASSOCIATION: Due to a dense brown-black algae bloom accumulated at the town beach, it has been closed to swimming. An unofficial Blue-Green rapid test this noon showed that cyanotoxins are likely present in that area. The Stow Board of Health will be doing further testing. Be on the lookout for and avoid algae blooms in your area of the lake if considering swimming. This especially applies to young children and dogs, which are very likely to ingest water and could get very sick. See and save the attached Massachusetts Dept of Public Health bulletin for more information.

There are likely to be more algae blooms this year with the high temperatures and drought conditions. If you see a bloom in your area please take a photo and email it along with notes on the date, time, location, extent, approx wind speed/direction, etc. to grayscale@earthlink.net. The Lake Boon Association will attempt to keep Boonies informed of changing conditions. The LBA cannot say when or where it is safe to swim. It can only help enable individuals to make better informed decisions.

If you have neighbors who are not on-line for these notices, please make them aware of the potential hazards going forward.

Remember that the long term solution to reducing the frequency of algae blooms is to reduce phosphorus entering the lake from fertilizers, poorly maintained septic systems, pet waste, dish washing and car washing detergents, etc.

Check out the Lake Boon Association on line at www.lakeboon.org. or www.facebook.com/lakeboonstow.

FINANCIAL FOCUS: Market decline offers buying opportunities

July 27, 2022

The financial markets have gotten off to a rocky start this year. What’s caused this volatility? And does it present opportunities for patient investors?

First of all, several factors are behind the market volatility, including the war in Ukraine, higher inflation, rising interest rates and the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, while these factors may be specific to the recent market decline, volatility itself is a common feature of the investment environment. In fact, history shows that corrections of 10% or more happen about every year, and declines of 15% or more have happened every other year, on average. Furthermore, while 2022 has thus far been challenging for investors, it was preceded by a long period of strong markets, with the S&P 500 averaging more than a 20% return over the past three years. 

Knowing the typical frequency of market volatility and reviewing the results of the past few years may make the current situation seem less shocking. But you don’t have to simply “ride out” the downturn – because a down market may give you the opportunity to buy more investment shares at good prices. Specifically, you can expand your holdings in companies that have good growth prospects due to strong management and products or services that provide sustainable competitive advantages. And this type of opportunity is important, because one of the keys to building wealth is to increase the number of shares you own in your various investments and hold them for the long term. While the market will always fluctuate, the long-term trend has been positive, particularly for well-diversified portfolios built with quality investments.       

Of course, while it is a good idea to boost your share ownership at favorable prices, you still want to be strategic about it, rather than just buying whatever seems to be the biggest bargain. In reviewing your existing portfolio, can you identify any gaps that could be filled with new investments? Are there opportunities to further diversify your holdings? By owning different types of stocks, bonds, government securities and other investments, you can help reduce the impact of volatility on your portfolio. (Keep in mind, though, that diversification can’t guarantee profits or prevent losses in declining markets.) Or, if your portfolio has become “unbalanced” in some way, you could also use this time to rebalance it back to its original long-term targets. You might also consider setting up a systematic investing program in which you invest the same amounts in the same investments on a regular basis, such as monthly. When prices go down, you’ll automatically buy more shares, and when prices rise, you’ll buy fewer shares. (However, systematic investing does not guarantee a profit or protect against loss and you’ll need to be willing to keep investing when share prices are declining.)
Before this year, average annual returns have been solid for about a decade, which makes it somewhat easy to forget about normal market volatility and may have led to overly optimistic performance expectations. So, it would not be surprising if your initial reaction to the current downturn is one of concern. But by viewing the current investment environment as a chance to add quality investments at attractive prices, you can help yourself develop a behavior that can serve you well throughout your life as an investor.

This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor. Edward Jones, Member SIPC
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High School Musical 2 JR Arrives at Hudson High

HUDSON: Looking to beat the heat and head inside for a fantastically fun show? Then look no further! There are Friday, July 29 and Saturday, July 30 7pm performances of 'High School Musical 2, Jr edition,' showing at the Paul 'Skip' Johnson Auditorium at Hudson High School, 69 Brigham Street. A lighthearted tale of teens working summer jobs at a golf course, while frequently breaking into song and dance, this show is full of friendship, young love, and humor. All the kids are looking to make money for different reasons, but their bonds are tested as loyalties and competing efforts present challenges. Troy, Gabriella, Sharpay, and the gang triumph happily in the end after an exciting season at the club! Whether you love every one of the High School Musical movies and will be singing along, or have never heard of the 'HSM' magic, those young and young at heart will leave laughing and with a head full of catchy tunes!

Tickets are $12 for adults; $10 for students, children and seniors, and will be sold at the door. Rivers Edge Arts Alliance and the Summer Performing Arts Collaborative are thrilled to partner in bringing this production to the stage. 

FINANCIAL FOCUS: Strengthen Your ‘Three-legged Stool’ for Retirement

July 18, 2022

For many years, Americans provided for their retirement needs through three sources: employer-sponsored pension plans, Social Security income, and savings and investments accumulated through employer plans or individual accounts – the so-called “three-legged stool.” But today, that stool is shakier than it used to be. What can you do to strengthen it?

To begin with, all three legs of the stool are facing challenges. Let’s consider them:

• Employer pensions – A generation ago, workers employed in many companies could count on a set monthly pension income to help them through their retirement years. Today, pensions – also known as defined benefit plans – are mostly found in public sector employment, as most private-sector employers have replaced their pensions with 401(k) and similar plans. These plans can be quite effective at helping build resources for retirement, but they do place most of the responsibility for saving on the employee.

• Social Security – Social Security has come under financial pressure because the workers-to-retirees ratio has declined significantly, according to the Social Security Administration’s 2021 Board of Trustees Report. A number of proposals have been brought forward on how to improve the long-term financial security of the Social Security system.

• Personal savings and investments – In terms of building savings and investments for retirement, the picture is somewhat mixed. The national savings rate has increased in recent years, but more than half of American workers still say their retirement savings are not where they should be, according to a 2021 survey from Bankrate, a personal finance website. And the same survey found that just over half of investors with a 401(k) or IRA have taken early withdrawals – that is, they withdrew money before they retired. Furthermore, we may be waiting too long even to begin saving/investing for retirement. A survey from Age Wave and Edward Jones found that respondents began saving for retirement at an average age of 38, but the majority said they should have started saving a decade earlier.

You have options for improving some parts of your own three-legged stool. For example, no matter what happens to Social Security, you can still decide when to start taking payments. You can begin collecting benefits as early as 62, but your monthly checks will be larger if you wait until your “full” retirement age, which will likely be between 66 and 67. You can even delay taking benefits until they “max out” at age 70.

As for a pension, you can’t control what’s available to you through your employer, but you can create your own retirement income stream by contributing as much as you can afford to your 401(k) or other employer-sponsored plan and by increasing your contributions whenever your salary goes up. And you can also contribute to an IRA or other investment vehicle to further boost your retirement funds. Try to leave these accounts intact until you need them for retirement. This will be easier if you’ve built an emergency fund, with the money kept in a liquid, low-risk account, to pay for unexpected costs, such as those resulting from a major car or home repair.

The three-legged stool may not be as universal as it once was – but you can still construct a sturdy structure to support your retirement needs in the future.

This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor. Edward Jones, Member SIPC

Community Greening Initiative Blooms on Franklin Street: New England Botanic Garden and WooServes Student Volunteers Beautify Downtown Worcester 

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BOYLSTON: With the help of New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill, a group of local students recently kicked off a summer of community service by transforming a downtown Worcester street median into a beautiful pollinator haven.  The students were part of WooServes Summer Youth Service Institute, a United Way of Central Massachusetts program that engages young people aged 13-17 in volunteer projects to address community needs in health, food insecurity, youth education, access to outdoor recreation, and more. Over six-weeks, students connect with their peers and learn the power they have as young people to make a difference in the community. They also gain valuable insight into local nonprofits working to build a vibrant and healthy Central Massachusetts region.

Twenty-eight WooServes participants, representing all Worcester Public High Schools, Nativity School of Worcester, Abby Kelley Charter Public School, Shrewsbury High School, and Millbury High School, joined members of the New England Botanic Garden team on Franklin Street in Worcester, near the YWCA. Garden staff provided guidance and all the tools needed to plant over 60 plants in the 3,000 square foot median. Many of the plants, like vibrant red coneflowers (Echinacea ‘Sombrero Sangrita’) were selected by Garden horticulturists to support pollinator biodiversity in the city. While students were digging holes and pulling invasive weeds, bees dusted with pollen could already be seen visiting the new flowers.

“Urban environments are part of complex ecosystems, and the presence of plants is essential to everyone’s well-being,” said Grace Elton, CEO of New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill. In cities, trees provide shade that can lessen the harmful effects of heat waves. Plants also improve stormwater management and promote biodiverse habitat. 

“New England Botanic Garden is a beautiful place to escape into nature, but it’s also an organization committed to initiatives that bring people and plants together to solve environmental issues,” Elton continued. “We’re proud to partner with the United Way to create opportunities for young people to learn, to give back to the community, and to be inspired by the difference they can make.”

“Volunteering is something that’s always been really important to me,” said Alia Haytham of Shrewsbury. “The feeling you get when you’re helping, and you get to see someone smile—that’s a big part of who I am and who I want to be. I want to make people smile.” This is Haytham’s second year participating in the program.

“The United Way is excited to engage local teens this summer through our WooServes Summer Youth Service Institute. It helps build the next generation of philanthropists and civically engaged leaders,” said Emily McCann, Vice President of Community Engagement at United Way of Central Massachusetts. “Partnering with community agencies like the New England Botanic Garden helps to enrich the WooServes program experience through hands-on volunteer service projects.”

While 2022 marks New England Botanic Garden’s first time coordinating the WooServes kick-off project, the Garden collaborates annually with local organizations to establish and steward plants in Worcester where they are needed most. Currently, the Garden is planting the Lincoln Street rotary and working with Main South CDC to install sidewalk planters in a program known as Planters for People. Throughout the summer and fall, Garden staff will continue to care for the new plants at the Franklin Street median. Flowers will bloom for the community and for pollinators for weeks to come.

To learn more about the New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill and its community greening initiatives, contact Liz Nye at lnye@nebg.org or visit https://nebg.org/.  
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Announces 2022 Scholarship Recipients

ACTON: Discovery Museum announced today its first-ever Discovery Museum Scholarship recipients, four area high school students selected through a competitive application process that saw 158 applications from students in 56 towns throughout Massachusetts.

Launched this year for the Museum’s 40th anniversary, the Discovery Museum Scholarship recognizes high school students who embody the mission and values of the Museum. Scholarships of $1,000 each were awarded to:
 
  • Ajax Benander, Hudson, MA; Advanced Math and Science Academy Charter School
  • Myles Braverman, Westford, MA; Westford Academy
  • Sunithi Krishnan, Acton, MA; Acton-Boxborough Regional High School (and Discovery Museum Explorer)
  • Cara Murphy, Hudson, MA; Massachusetts Academy of Math and Science

“We created the Discovery Museum Scholarship to honor the millions of young people who have come through our doors over the past 40 years—so many of whom have gone on to inspire us,” said CEO Neil Gordon. “Ajax, Myles, Sunithi, and Cara each impressed the scholarship review committee with their achievements, community support activities, and plans to further their education. From their applications we learned a bit about how Discovery Museum impacted them while they were young and contributed to the paths they have chosen. We are very proud honor and support these impressive students on the next step in their educational journey.”
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FPC Hosts Annual Summer Jazz Service

STOW: The July 10 Sunday service at First Parish Church of Stow and Acton (FPC), Unitarian Universalist, will be led by its own Parish Jazz Band. Once again, the band will offer a summer worship service filled with the joy of jazz music. This service draws scores of listeners every year and indeed, is one of FPC’s most popular lay-led Sunday mornings.

This year’s service features music by Thelonious Monk, Antônio Carlos Jobim, Horace Silver, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, George Shearing, and a beautiful hymn by Ralph Vaughan Williams. The homily will be delivered by the band’s pianist and newest member, Stephen Warnick, who will speak on the theme of “Attention.”

The service will take place in FPC’s Fellowship Hall at 10am. All are welcome! To get to Fellowship Hall, go through the main entrance (not the sanctuary entrance) and take a right. Attendees must socially distance and wear a mask that covers both mouth and nose.

FPC warmly welcomes gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people. The church is located at 353 Great Road (at the intersection of routes 117 and 62) and is wheelchair accessible. For more information, contact the church office at 978-897-8149 or visit www.fpc-stow-acton.org.
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Registrations Open for Spark Studios Vacation Bible School

BOLTON: Registration is now OPEN for Spark Studios Vacation Bible School!  Held at Trinity Church Congregational, 14 Wattaquadock Hill Road, VBS will be held this summer from August 1-5, from 9am-12pm. Vacation Bible School is a free program including Music, Craft, Snack, Recreation, and Bible Learning offered to children in PK - 8th Grade.  This year, children will learn how God designed people with the power to follow His plan.  To register online or print a registration form, go to www.TrinityBolton.org.
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Special Town Election in Stow

STOW: There will be a Special Town Election on September 6 for the Select Board in Stow. Nomination papers are available.  Commitment is a 3-year term
(unexpired term ending in 2024). Call or email the Town Clerk if you want to run for Select Board, 978-897-5034;  townclerk@stow-ma.gov.

DEADLINES
July 15: deadline to take out nomination papers
July 19 at 5pm: deadline to return nomination papers
August 4: deadline to withdraw nomination
August 17: deadline for Voter Registration


Candidates must be a registered voter in Stow.  To check your voter status, visit www.sec.state.ma.us/VoterRegistrationSearch/MyVoterRegStatus.aspx.  To register to vote, visit  www.sec.state.ma.us/OVR.

Interested in running for office? Check the board’s webpage to read the latest minutes and a description of the responsibilities and membership. Contact the department staff person or a current board member if you have questions about the position, time commitment, etc.
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$50,000 Secured in FY23 Budget for Hudson Cultural Alliance
Funds will support non-profit seeking to transform Hudson Armory into a community performing arts center

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HUDSON: State Senator Jamie Eldridge (D-Acton) has secured $50,000 in the FY23 Senate Budget for the Hudson Cultural Alliance, which hopes to transform the Hudson Armory into a performing arts center in downtown Hudson. Last week, the Massachusetts State Senate passed a $49.78 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23).  The budget makes significant, critical investments in education, healthcare, housing and community support to meet the on-the-ground challenges brought on by the global pandemic and ongoing financial uncertainty.

Currently, the town of Hudson is negotiating with the state to purchase the Hudson Armory, through a $230,000 earmark that Senator Eldridge secured last year in the Senate FY22 budget.
“These critical funds will provide yet another boost to the Hudson Cultural Alliance, and the town of Hudson, to achieve an exciting vision for the Hudson Armory,” stated State Senator Jamie Eldridge. “This project has the potential to be an exciting cultural arts and economic development collaboration among state government, local government and the nonprofit sector.” 

Numerous studies show that the arts create a “ripple effect”, by creating fun, vibrant neighborhoods that attract and retain residents and businesses while spurring economic development. The Hudson Cultural Alliance believes that the Hudson Armory Project will create its own “Ripple Effect” by bringing together families, artists, performers, and local businesses to share their stories, culture, and experiences,” stated Tom Desmond, president of the Hudson Cultural Alliance. “Senator Eldridge’s support continues to be critical to the success of this project and is greatly appreciated.”

The Senate’s FY23 Budget is available on the Massachusetts legislature’s website, by clicking here. Now that the Senate and Massachusetts House of Representatives have passed their respective budget proposals, both branches will now work together, form a conference committee and reconcile differences.
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Fresh Start Furniture Bank Seeks Donated Items and Volunteers

HUDSON: Fresh Start Furniture Bank is seeking donations of your gently used furniture, household goods and linens. If you've been cleaning out your home or the home of a loved one and are looking for a good home for things you no longer need, please consider donating your items to this volunteer-run non-profit that provides furniture, linens and housewares free of charge to qualified Massachusetts residents in need, as they transition to new housing.  They provide almost everything someone needs in one trip, thanks to your donations, typically helping 10-15 families per week.  
 
The Bank is currently critically low on almost everything, particularly the following: 
 
  • FURNITURE - sofas, upholstered chairs, small dining tables, sets of kitchen/dining chairs, coffee tables, TV stands, full and queen beds; 
  • HOUSEWARES - kitchenware (cooking utensils, basic appliances - toasters, microwaves, etc. - mixing bowls, casseroles, colanders, cookie sheets), lamps; and 
  • LINENS - sheet sets, blankets and comforters, kitchen towels/oven mitts/placemats and hand towels.  In addition, we maintain an Amazon wish list for anyone interested in buying new items to help the cause.
 
Items are accepted in good, clean condition only.  All donations are tax deductible.  Please visit www.freshstartfurniturebank.org for a list of items accepted, or visit them on Facebook for their latest needs.

Additionally, The Bank would be grateful for new packing materials (bubble wrap, etc.) or cash donations to help offset operating costs.  Businesses take note:  they can put those boxes that reams of copy paper come in to good use!


Household goods and linens can be dropped off at 16 Brent Drive during our business hours only: Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9am-12pm, and Saturdays from 8:30am-12:30pm.  Furniture donations are accepted on Saturday mornings from 8:30-10:30am, no appointment necessary.  Limited pick-ups can be arranged for larger donations.
 
 

Also, typical for this time of year, many volunteers are away for extended periods of time.  They can always use new volunteers to load, unload, sort, clean, stock and distribute these items. If you can help out for as little as three hours a month, please call (508) 485-2080, or contact them via the form on their website.  Teens welcome!
Flower communion sunday at fpc stow

FPC Flower Communion Sunday

STOW: On Sunday, June 12, First Parish Church of Stow and Acton (FPC), Unitarian Universalist, will celebrate diversity with its annual Flower Communion Sunday, a service that was created by Norbert Čapek (1870-1942), who founded the Unitarian Church in Czechoslovakia. Each person brings a cut flower or two to place in a communal basket. The resulting bouquet symbolizes the diversity of those present, including the many blessings, gifts and talents each brings to the community. At the end of the service, each person takes a different flower home to remind them to be grateful for all we receive from others in our community.

Čapek introduced the Flower Communion Sunday service to his church on June 4, 1923. Čapek sought a symbolic ritual that would bind people more closely together. So he turned to the native beauty of the Czechoslovakian countryside for elements of a communion that would be genuine
to them. All are welcome as FPC continues this 95-year-old international tradition.

The service will take place both in person and virtually at 10am, and will be followed with a bring-your-own-lunch picnic gathering outdoors. In-person attendees must socially distance and wear a mask that covers both mouth and nose. A link to the virtual room will be posted at http://fpc-stow-acton.org/services. To prevent disruptive intrusions, the virtual room will be locked about 15 minutes after the service begins.

FPC is located at 353 Great Road (at the intersection of routes 117 and 62) and is
wheelchair accessible. For more information, contact the church office at 978-897-8149 or visit
www.fpc-stow-acton.org.

Minuteman High School's Students of the Term Announced for Term 3

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LEXINGTON: Minuteman High School recently recognized four students from Stow, Arlington, Lexington, and Needham with the Student of the Term Award. The award is based on nominations from teachers and celebrates both academic achievement and good citizenship. One student is awarded per grade. Assistant Principal Brian Tildsley surprised the students, presenting them their awards in class. Later in the week the winners received a certificate and a free lunch with the staff members who nominated them in The District Restaurant at Minuteman.
 
The Students of the Term for Term 3 are:
 
Danieliz Calderon of Needham, a senior in the Culinary Arts and Hospitality program. “Danieliz prevailed against many obstacles she faced during the COVID-19 pandemic and has demonstrated exceptional progress,” said Anita Currier, culinary arts teacher. “We admire her fortitude and courage. We are immensely proud of her accomplishments and commitment to success.” During her participation in the student Top Chef competition, Calderon received The Superintendent’s Special Award for her shrimp taco dish.
 
Jamie Lehoux of Lexington, a junior in the Metal Fabrication and Welding program. “I have seen tremendous growth from Jamie in welding and academics,” said Denise D’Ambrosia, teacher’s aide. “She is always pushing herself to be a better welder, including by working with more difficult metals such as aluminum. She is constantly involved with new projects and is always willing to learn and take feedback.” Lehoux participated in the SkillsUSA Districts competition in February.
 
Nick Krain of Arlington, a sophomore in the Automotive Technology program. “Nick has excellent attendance, is very conscientious, and is always prepared for shop,” said Don Melanson, automotive teacher. “I consider him one of the top students. He’s an excellent example for others.”
 
Robert Emken of Stow, a freshman in the Programming and Web Development program. “Robert is very conscientious, always having his homework done and coming [in] for extra help when need be,” said Connie Maynard, Spanish teacher. “He always works hard… It’s great to see.”
 
Minuteman is an award-winning regional career and technical high school and continuing education institution that integrates robust academic and technical learning. As an accredited member of the New England Association of Schools & Colleges (NEASC), Minuteman challenges all students to aspire to their full potential, accelerate their learning, and achieve success in the 21st-century global community. Located in Lexington in a new state-of-the-art facility, Minuteman’s member towns are Acton, Arlington Bolton, Concord, Dover, Lancaster, Lexington, Needham, and Stow.
 
PHOTO: The students (from left, front row) are Robert Emken of Stow, Jamie Lehoux of Lexington, Danieliz Calderon of Needham, and Nick Krain of Arlington. Back row: English as a Second Language teacher Daniela Das, Spanish teacher Connie Maynard, Principal George Clement, Culinary Arts teacher Martin McElhinney, and Automotive teacher Don Melanson.
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First Parish Church of Stow and Acton Annual Plant Sale

STOW: First Parish Church of Stow and Acton will hold its annual plant sale on May 21, from 9:30-11:30am. Choose from a selection of perennials, ground cover, herbs, annuals, shrubs, small trees, and garden-related items. The sale will take place rain or shine in the church parking lot at 353 Great Road (at the intersection of routes 117 and 62, next to the Randall Library). Proceeds benefit the church. For more information call 978-897-8149 or visit www.fpc-stow-acton.org.
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Climate Education and Action Summit Set for May 21

HUDSON: What can we do here and now in Metrowest to affect climate change? That question and others will be addressed at a Climate Education and Action Summit on Saturday, May 21 from 3-5pm. The event will be at the 21 Church Street, the location of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metrowest - the Argeo R. Cellucci, Jr. Clubhouse. To register, visit www.saintstephenlutheran.com/micahcenter.html. For more information email micahcenter@saintstephenlutheran.com.

This free, family-friendly event is designed for middle school age students through adults from any area town and is sponsored by the Micah Center for Social Justice and Green Hudson. Green Hudson will lead an environmental education session which will answer questions such
as “What causes climate change?”, “What is the evidence that climate change is happening?” and “How does climate change affect life on Earth?” Summit leaders are Brian White and Per Gyllstrom.

Climate science, climate change myths, risks associated with continuing to use fossil fuels, the impact of climate change on the habitat we depend on to sustain life, and how the modern electrical grid incorporates renewable energy will be discussed. In addition, Brian and Per will give an overview of careers in renewable energy and climate adaptation. This interactive exchange will focus on what Metrowest communities can do now to impact global climate change - in our homes, schools, transportation, policy, local government, and through advocacy
and education.

Activities will include a hands-on experiment, and an Eco Challenge with
environmentally-friendly prizes, and, keeping true to the theme, snacks will be offered on compostable dishware with minimum packaging.

Brian White, founder and president of Green Hudson, and a director of the Hudson Land Trust, has been involved in social and environmental causes since high school. He grew up in Carbondale, PA, the location of the first deep vein anthracite coal mine, and grew up observing the harm that fossil fuels have visited on some of the most beautiful land in our country. Brian and his family have
lived in Hudson since 2005. He works for Bose Corp in Framingham and currently leads the consumer electronic advance development group.

Dr. Per O. Gyllstrom is a senior software architecture and strategy advisor at Enel X North America Inc. He works with Enel X senior management to drive and guide the current and future development of Enel’s energy applications and platforms. At Green Hudson, Per is focusing ongreen energy initiatives.

Green Hudson is a citizen group that seeks to help the town become more
environmentally friendly and conscious, through outreach, education, and direct action.

The Micah Center brings forth social topics for education, awareness and to promote
meaningful discussion that could lead to meaningful change.