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Party With A Purpose – Celebrating 30 Years

MARLBOROUGH/BOLTON: Kathleen Goneau, owner of The Goneau Group/KW Central MA and her real estate team are celebrating 30 years in business with a Party For A Purpose on November 30 from 5-7pm at The Apex Entertainment Center in Marlborough. The Goneau Group will be giving back, as is a November tradition, to the community by helping Kits For Kids (www.kitsforkids.org) create gift bags for teenagers filled with everyday needs, ie. toiletries, scarves/gloves, and gift cards ($10-$20) to local restaurants and retailers. If you’re interested in donating, you are welcome to drop off your donation at The Goneau Group’s office, 1084 Main Street, Bolton, or place an online order using this Amazon link: https://a.co/4aEcCGU.
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Feed A Neighbor Inc. Needs Volunteers & Donations

HUDSON: Feed A Neighbor, Inc. needs volunteers and food and monetary donations, especially for the upcoming holiday season, to assist those dealing with food insecurity and providing home-cooked meals for individuals and families. Donations can be made in person at Stevie’s Café & Catering in Hudson or by calling (978) 310-7051. Volunteers, over the age of six, can sign up with this link: https://bit.ly/FAN-Volunteer-Nov and participate in assembling meals at Stevie’s Café & Catering, 577 Main Street. Meal preparation and packaging will be happening the week of Thanksgiving. Community Groups/Companies are welcome to sign up. Community Service Hours will also be honored for high school students. For additional information, please visit www.feedaneighbor.org
 

Businesses in Your Community

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First United Methodist in Hudson Holding Festival of Trees Fundraiser

HUDSON: First United Methodist Church invites the public to participate in their 2022 Festival of Trees fundraiser. The entry fee is $25. Get a group of friends together, ask a civic organization or invite coworkers to decorate a tree to be placed in the Boys and Girls Club during the Hudson Holiday Stroll on December 3. Trees must be artificial and no taller than 8' or for mini tree entry 3' and decorated in any theme. Decorate your tree in the Boys and Girls Club gym, or bring it pre-decorated before 2pm December 3. Trees will then be auctioned off by silent auction during the Holiday Stroll. For more information and application visit   www.hudsonfumc.org  or call (978) 424-
3668.

FINANCIAL FOCUS: COLA is Sweet for Social Security Recipients

October 24, 2022
 
If you receive Social Security, you’ve probably already heard that your checks in 2023 will be bigger – considerably bigger, in fact. How can you make the best use of this extra money? Here’s what’s happening:

For 2023, there’s an 8.7% cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for Social Security benefits – the largest increase in 40 years. Also, the monthly Medicare Part B premiums are declining next year, to $164.90/month from $170.10/month, which will also modestly boost Social Security checks for those enrolled in Part B, as these premiums are automatically deducted.


Of course, the sizable COLA is due to the high inflation of 2022, as the Social Security Administration uses a formula based on increases in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W). So, it’s certainly possible that you will need some, or perhaps all, of your larger checks to pay for the increased cost of goods and services. But if your cash flow is already relatively strong, you might want to consider these suggestions for using your bigger checks:

Reduce withdrawals from your investment portfolio. When you’re retired, you will likely need to withdraw a certain amount from your portfolio each year to meet your expenses. A boost in your Social Security may enable you to withdraw less, at least for a year. This can be particularly advantageous when the markets are down, as you’d like to avoid, as much as possible, selling investments and withdrawing the money when investment prices are low. And the fewer investments you need to sell, the longer your portfolio may last during your retirement years.

Help build your cash reserves. When you’re retired, it’s a good idea to maintain about a year’s worth of the amount you’ll spend from your portfolio in cash, while also keeping three months’ of your spending needs in an emergency fund, with the money kept in a liquid, low-risk account. Your higher Social Security checks could help you build these cash reserves. (Also, it’s helpful to keep another three to five years’ worth of spending from your portfolio in short-term, fixed-income investments, which now, due to higher interest rates, offer better income opportunities.)

Contribute to a 529 plan. You could use some of your extra Social Security money to contribute to a tax-advantaged 529 education savings plan for your grandchildren or other family members. 

Contribute to charitable organizations. You might want to use some of your Social Security money to expand your charitable giving. Your generosity will help worthy groups and possibly bring you some tax benefits, too.

While it’s nice to have these possible options in 2023, you can’t count on future COLA increases being as large. The jump in inflation in 2022 was due to several unusual factors, including pandemic-related government spending, supply shortages and the Russian invasion of Ukraine. It’s quite possible, perhaps even likely, that inflation will subside in 2023, which, in turn, would mean a smaller COLA bump in 2024.

Nonetheless, while you might not want to include large annual COLA increases as part of your long-term financial strategy, you may well choose to take advantage, in some of the ways described above, of the bigger Social Security checks you’ll receive in 2023. When opportunity knocks, you may want to open the door. 

This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor Gerald Breen, Acton, MA - EdwardJones.com/Gerald-Breen
Edward Jones. Member SIPC.
Townofstow

Notice of Tax Classification Hearing

STOW: The Select Board will hold a public hearing on the issue of tax classification. The purpose of the hearing is to allow taxpayers the opportunity to present their views on whether or not Residential, Commercial, Industrial, Open Space, and Personal Property should be taxed with one rate for all property classes, or to use different tax rates for different property classes.

The hearing will include a presentation by the Board of Assessors outlining the options available under Chapter 40, Section 56 of the Massachusetts General Laws. At the conclusion of the public hearing the Select Board shall determine whether or not tax classification shall be applied for the Fiscal Year 2023 tax rate. Currently the Town taxes at a single tax rate for all property classes. All concerned taxpayers are encouraged to attend, either in person or via Zoom, to present their views orally or submit them in writing to the office.

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us06web.zoom.us/j/87310784202...
Meeting ID: 873 1078 4202
Passcode: 022139

If there are questions about the hearing, please contact the Assessors' Office at (978) 897-4597.
 
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Give Us Peace: Sounds of Stow Fall Concert

STOW/LITTLETON: Join the Sounds of Stow Chorus & Orchestra for the opening concert of their 44th season: “Dona Nobis Pacem: Four Visions,” on November 20 at 2pm. The concert, with full orchestra and outstanding soloists, will be held at a convenient and state-of-the-art venue, the Littleton High School at 56 King Street.

“Dona Nobis Pacem: Four Visions“ reprises Sounds of Stow’s 2003 response to 9/11 and is equally timely today. This most heartfelt of texts – a plea for peace – concludes the traditional mass setting, and the program compares and contrasts those final settings in four great works,
composed in different artistic eras and representing very different philosophical approaches to the text. Included are excerpts from Bach’s B-minor Mass, Haydn’s Harmoniemesse, Schubert’s Grand Mass In E-flat, and Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis. Soloists Logan Trotter, soprano; Deborah Rentz-Moore, mezzo; Jason Wang, tenor; and Mark Cleveland, baritone, are well-known in the Boston area and beyond.

Pianist Sonya Ovrutsky Fensome and the orchestra enhance the choral selections with César Franck’s “Symphonic Variations for Piano and Orchestra,” a seldom performed but beautiful and exciting work composed in 1885. Baritone Mark Cleveland, well-known for his renditions of
Bach, will be joined by Jeff Stewart (horn) in the Quoniam from Bach’s B-minor Mass. In the spirit of peace, and to honor the deep personal connection of the piano soloist, Sonya Ovrutsky Fensome, to Ukraine, Sounds of Stow has chosen to accept donations for World Central Kitchens, a nonprofit that is delivering meals to families in need all over Ukraine.
Generous members of the chorus have pledged to match half of their $3,000 goal, and they encourage our equally generous patrons, chorus, and orchestra members to contribute to this timely fundraising effort.

For further information, Covid protocol, tickets, and to make donations, please visit www.soundsofstow.org or email info@soundsofstow.org. Sounds of Stow is a non-profit 501c3 organization, supported in part by the Massachusetts Cultural Council as administered by the local cultural councils of Stow, Acton-Boxborough, Bolton, and Hudson.
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112-Year-Old, Shuttered Armory in Hudson Opening Up Doors - Virtually for Donors

HUDSON: On November 9 from noon- 2pm, the Hudson Armory Project will host a film crew to Live-Stream the first public tour of The Hudson Armory in decades and celebrate its military history for Veteran’s Day. Stories will be shared gathered by those who served at the site spanning the early 1900s to more recent history. The event will host a $50,000 big-check presentation from Senator Jamie Eldridge and Representative Kate Hogan who will address the viewers. Retired members of the MA National Guard and several veteran’s organizations will be in attendance to share in the rich history and celebration. The livestream is open to anyone who donates $35+ to the Hudson Armory Project.  The donation will reserve your spot to experience military history, honor veterans, and shape the future of arts and culture in Hudson and Metrowest.

To learn more and reserve your spot visit HudsonArmoryProject.org/livestream. Several giveaways will occur throughout the event including gift cards to local businesses and 10 coveted tickets to the Bettencourt Clan’s Turkey Jam  November 27 (Nuno Bettencourt of the band Extreme).
 
The Hudson Armory building, a historic, castle-inspired National Guard Armory, has captivated Metrowest for over a century, but has been off limits to the public for decades.  After the National Guard moved out, the building was used by police and fire services.  The Division of Capital Assets and Management gave the Town of Hudson the opportunity of a lifetime—to buy the building from the state or risk having the state sell the building at public auction to the highest bidder.  Through the hard work of the community, Senator Eldridge and Representative Kate Hogan, the town acquired the building and signed a lease with the Hudson Cultural Alliance (HCA), a non-profit organization, whose mission is to transform the historic building into a preeminent cultural destination for the Metrowest region.
 
The town of Hudson leased the building to the HCA at the end of August, 2022.  The building is not yet available to host the public in person due to required safety renovations, but in response to the thousands who asked for it, the Hudson Armory Project is hosting this virtual sneak peek.
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Habitat for Humanity North Central Massachusetts Hosts 3rd Annual Author Event

BOLTON: Join Habitat for Humanity North Central Massachusetts for their third annual author event on December 4 from 6-8pm at the First Parish of Bolton, 673 Main Street. Local author and minister Liz Magill will lead a discussion of relational ministries and transforming service projects based on her book "Five Loaves, Two Fish, Twelve Volunteers: Growing a Relational Food Ministry." The event is free. Contact diana@ncmhabitat.org to reserve your spot.

FINANCIAL FOCUS: Avoid Becoming a ‘Burden’ on Grown Children

October 24, 2022
 
Here’s an interesting statistic: Some 72% of retirees say one of their biggest fears is becoming a burden on their families, according to a 2021 survey by Age Wave and Edward Jones. Both before and during retirement, what steps can you take to avoid burdening your loved ones in the future? Here are a few suggestions:
 
  • Build your retirement savings. The greater your financial resources, the less likely it becomes that you’d ever have to count on your grown children for financial support. You may have access to a 401(k) or similar retirement plan at work, so take advantage of it. Even with an employer-sponsored plan, you also may be eligible to contribute to an IRA. In addition to offering a variety of investment options, a 401(k) and IRA provide potential tax advantages. And once you do retire, be careful about how much you withdraw each year from your retirement plans and other investments.
  • Plan for health care costs. Once you are retired, health care costs will be a significant expense. You may have Medicare, but you'll also want to consider your need for supplemental health insurance to cover traditional medical costs. And you’ll want to consider another potential health-related expense: long-term care. You may never need the services of a home health aide or a stay in a nursing home, but no one can predict the future.
Medicare does not cover most costs for long-term care, which can be quite high. In 2021, the annual national median cost for a private room in a nursing home was over $108,000, while the median cost for a full-time home health aide was nearly $62,000, according to a survey by Genworth, an insurance company. You may want to consult with a financial professional on strategies for protecting yourself from these costs.
 
  • Create necessary legal documents. If something were to happen to you, and you didn’t have the appropriate legal documents in place, your loved ones could be placed in a bind, both financially and emotionally. That’s why it’s a good idea to create documents such as a durable financial power of attorney, which lets you name someone to manage your finances if you became incapacitated, and a durable power of attorney for health care, which allows someone to make medical decisions on your behalf if you can’t make them yourself. You’ll want to work with a legal professional to develop the documents appropriate for your needs.
  • Evaluate your housing needs. As you enter retirement, you may want to evaluate your living situation. Could you downsize to a smaller home, or perhaps a condominium or apartment? Not only might you save money with such a move, but you could also end up relieving your grown children of the responsibilities and hassles involved in clearing out and selling your home should you become unable to do so yourself during the later years of your retirement.

By taking these measures, along with others, you can go a long way toward maintaining your independence and putting yourself in a place where you won’t burden your grown children.  And that’s a good  place to be.

This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor Alan Bell, AAMS ® - (978) 486-1059. Edward Jones, Member SIPC
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Stow Scout Holiday Wreath Sale

STOW: The holidays are coming and they'll be here before you know it!  In the spirit of being prepared, Troop 1 Stow Scouts will be running their annual wreath sale from now through Wednesday, November 9.  The proceeds help Stow continue one of its finest youth programs, and are used for equipment purchases, camping trips and the many troop activities.  The holiday wreaths are beautiful natural evergreens, all with a red bow and available in 2 sizes:
 
  • Standard wreaths (fits standard size door), undecorated ($21), or decorated ($25);
  • Large  (40" outside diameter), undecorated ($60); and
  • Sponsor a veteran cemetery wreath ($17) to be placed in the stow cemeteries by volunteers.
 
The scouts will NOT be going door to door so order NOW and your wreath will be DELIVERED right to your home! You can order your wreaths online at  www.troop1stow.net or by mailing a check to Troop 1 Stow, PO Box 75, Stow, MA 01775.
 
Your wreaths will start to be delivered during the Thanksgiving week.  If you have any questions, please contact us by phone at (978) 212-9175 or by email at wreath@troop1stow.net.

Pamela Means Presents “The Power of the Protest Song: Our Shared History & Present Day”

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STOW: Singer/songwriter/guitarist Pamela Means will present a concert of original
and iconic cover protest songs highlighting their power of expression, mobilization, and unification. Part-performance and part-presentation, this family-friendly public event explores the origin stories and lineages of protest songs, how their meanings and effects continue to transform through time and space, and how they have inspired--and continue to inspire-- movements and cultural shifts within the realms of racial and social justice. Means will also share her own experiences with becoming an artist and using her voice. A curated rotating assortment of original songs and select, recognizable covers are integrated into the presentation as a powerful demonstration of how grounding, unifying, and mobilizing protest songs can be. There will be a post-show Q&A.

The concert will be held in Fellowship Hall at First Parish Church of Stow & Acton (FPC) on Saturday, October 29. Doors open at 7pm and the concert begins at 7:30pm. Masks are optional. Admission is free and donations are welcome. FPC is located at 353 Great Road, at the intersection of routes 117 and 62. Its facilities are wheelchair accessible.

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Stow Cultural Council, a local agency that is supported by the Mass Cultural Council.
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Nashoba Symphonic Band Opens Season

BOLTON: The Nashoba Symphonic Band will present its first concert of the 2022-23 season on Sunday, October 30 at 3pm in the auditorium of the Nashoba Regional High School, Route 117. With the theme “Brilliant Expositions,” the concert is the first in the season's “Joy in Form” series, exploring the ways various parts are combined to form a musical whole. The concert includes the brilliant Festive Overture by Dmitri Shostakovitch and Candide Suite, a set of songs from Leonard Bernstein's Broadway musical, adapted for concert band by veteran arranger, Clare Grundman. The program's featured number is the Symphony No.3 for Band by Vittorio Giannini. This four-movement piece is one of the first major works composed for the symphonic band medium. The concert will conclude with Karl King's rousing circus tune, Broadway One-Step.
 
Nashoba Symphonic Band, under the direction of David Wayne Bailey, is a program of the Nashoba Regional High School Friends of Music, and grateful for the support of its followers and fans. For more information, visit them at https://nashobamusic.wordpress.com/nashoba-symphonic-band or on Facebook.

FINANCIAL FOCUS: Here’s Your ‘Recession Survival’ Checklist

October 17, 2022

It’s unfortunate, but recessions are a fairly normal part of the economic landscape. When a recession occurs, how might you be affected? The answer depends on your individual situation, but regardless of your circumstances, you might want to consider the items in this recession survival checklist:
 
  • Assess your income stability. If your employment remains steady, you may not have to do anything different during a recession. But if you think your income could be threatened or disrupted, you might want to consider joining the “gig economy” or looking for freelance or consulting opportunities.
  • Review your spending. Look for ways to trim your spending, such as canceling subscription services you don’t use, eating out less often, and so on.
  • Pay down your debts. Try to reduce your debts, especially those with high interest rates. 
  • Plan your emergency fund. If you haven’t already built one, try to create an emergency fund containing three to six months’ worth of living expenses, with the money kept in a liquid account. 
  • Review your protection plan. If your health or life insurance is tied to your work, a change in your employment status could jeopardize this coverage. Review all your options for replacing these types of protection. Also, look for ways to lower premiums on home or auto insurance, without significantly sacrificing coverage, to free up money that could be used for health/life insurance. 
  • Keep your long-term goals in mind. Even if you adjust your portfolio during times of volatility, don’t lose sight of your long-term goals. Trying to “outsmart” the market with short-term strategies can often lead to missteps and missed opportunities.  
  • Don’t stop investing. If you can afford it, try to continue investing. Coming out of a recession, stock prices tend to bottom out and then rebound, so if you had headed to the investment “sidelines,” you would have missed the opportunity to benefit from a market rally.  
  • Revisit your performance expectations. During a bear market, you will constantly be reminded of the decline of a particular market index, such as the S&P 500 or the Dow Jones Industrial Average. But instead of focusing on these short-term numbers, look instead at the long-term performance of your portfolio to determine if you’re still on track toward meeting your goals. 
  • Assess your risk tolerance. If you find yourself worrying excessively about declines in your investment statements, you may want to reevaluate your tolerance for risk. One’s risk tolerance can change over time — and it’s important you feel comfortable with the amount of risk you take when investing. 
  • Keep diversifying. Diversification is always important for investors — by having a mix of stocks, mutual funds and bonds, you can reduce the impact of market volatility on your portfolio. To cite one example: Higher-quality bonds, such as Treasuries, often move in the opposite direction of stocks, so the presence of these bonds in your portfolio, if appropriate for your goals, can be valuable when market conditions are worsening. (Keep in mind, though, that diversification cannot guarantee profits or protect against all losses in a declining market.) 

A recession accompanied by a bear market is not pleasant. But by taking the appropriate steps, you can boost your chances of getting through a difficult period and staying on track toward your important financial goals. 

This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor Mandy Calouro, Chelmsford, MA  - EdwardJones.com/Mandy-Calouro, Edward Jones, Member SIPC
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SFCOA Invites All to Their HOLLY Day

STOW: Stow Friends of the Council on Aging (SFCOA) invite families and friends of all ages for a fun event to get everyone in the holiday spirit - HOLLY Day, Saturday, November 5, 9am-3pm at Pompositticut Community Center, 509 Great Road.  There'll be:
 
  • Handmade Gifts
  • NEW This Year: Collectible Items: Longaberger Baskets, Hess Trucks in Original Boxes.
  • Collectible Holiday Barbies in original boxes from the 90’s. Great time to add to your collection.
  • Mitten Tree: Handmade Mittens created by volunteers.
  • Bake Table
  • FREE: Coffee, Tea and Hot Cocoa. Tables and chairs will be available for those of you who would like to relax and connect with family, friends and neighbors.
  • Raffle: Handmade Quilt lovingly created by the ladies in the COA Quilt Group. Tickets go on sale at 9am and winner will be announced between 2:30–3pm.

Admission is FREE! Parking is FREE and the building is wheelchair accessible. For more Info, visit https://stowfriendsofthecoa.com/holiday-fair-2.

The Mission of the Stow Friends of the Council on Aging is to support and expand the work of the Council on Aging. All proceeds from the Holly Day Sale go to Stow Friends of the Council of Aging.

Stow Charter Review Committee Feedback Form

Stow
STOW: The Stow Charter Review Committee is in the process of a ten-year review of our Town Charter. The Charter is the overarching  governance document that sets the legal framework for Stow's town government.  It differs from Bylaws which are more specific and address subject areas in more detail. They are seeking recommendations from boards, committees, departments and members of the public on desired changes to the Town Charter.  All changes will need to be approved by Town Meeting and subsequently by voters at a town election.

Please complete one feedback form for each proposed change, indicating the wording that you would like to see changed and the rationale for the change.  Once suggested changes are compiled, they will hold one or more public meetings to get comments on proposed changes. The submittal period for feedback forms will end on November 15, 2022.  Earlier submittals are encouraged. You may submit electronically or obtain and complete a paper form from the Stow Town Building, Library, or Community Center and return it to Charter Review Committee, Stow Town Building, 380 Great Road, Stow MA 01775.  Please note that all proposed changes are public records. Anonymous submittals will not be accepted.

A copy of the current Town Charter is posted on the Town's website at: www.stow-ma.gov/sites/g/files/vyhlif1286/f/uploads/charteramendmay06_0.pdf.  You will need this as a reference document when completing this feedback form.  The form can be found at www.tinyurl.com/StowCharterReview (or click on the link above).
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Friday Game Nights at First United Methodist Church

HUDSON: It’s here! It's Game Night!  Fridays, beginning October 7 from 6-9pm, visit The First United Methodist Church for fun and friends. It's a fun and free night of gaming (no gambling!) with family, friends, or soon to be both! Card games and board games will be available. The list of games will increase as will the players.

With the cost of everything on the rise, entertainment seems to take a backseat to essentials. The need to have companionship and fun is what we want to achieve. So consider an escape from the routine and enjoy some wonderful people and experiences. All levels of experience are welcome and encouraged! Have a game you want to learn or teach to others, bring it!  There will be a variety of games that will expand as the need of the players wants.  Currently available to play are cards, cribbage, Scrabble, Rummikub, backgammon, trivial pursuit, Pictionary, and others.  

Can’t make it at the start, go when you are able! Refreshments will be available!
For more information, call (978) 562-2932  or visit www.hudsonfumc@gmail.com.

Stow Author Publishes Children’s Book
Learn How to Protect the Loons and How Majestic They Can Be

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STOW: Hear the Loons Calling, a new book by Barbara Hunley Hill, has been released by Dorrance Publishing Co., Inc. It is an educational, heartwarming story of a loving family who tries to protect one of the planet's many endangered species. Learn about the majestic loon, and what you can do to protect them.
 
The Dennison family loves to watch the loons who nest on the lake near their home in Maine. When the family of loons are threatened by boaters and fishermen who share the lake with nature, what can they do?
 
A love of art starts early with a fascination of color, shapes, motion, light and making things with various materials. Barbara had all the plus a musical, artistic Mother, who encourages creativity. By high school in Baltimore, she was teaching swimming and dance at beautiful Camp Lochearn on Lake Fairlee in Vermont, where she heard and saw her first Loon. After college, she drew 3 dimensional views of engines for manuals of the J63, B52 and the Nautilus submarine. When that job went to computers, she became an art teacher and cadette Girl Scout Leader in the Catskill Mountains of New York, then Massachusetts. Her two lovable busy children and her love of the outdoors inspired the children's books she has written and illustrated over the years. While writing this book, she met Rawson Wood, head of the Loon Foundation, who wrote the forward.

Hear the Loons Calling is a 28-page paperback, ISBN #978-1-6393-7016-0.
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School Building Project Forum #4

BOLTON: On October 11 at 6pm, the architects from Kaestle Boos Associates will present to the residents of Bolton, Lancaster, and Stow the preliminary design options for the Nashoba Regional High School building project. Members of the community will have an opportunity to ask questions about the design options and provide feedback to the School Building Committee. Please see the attached flyer for details on this Public Forum, which will be held in the auditorium of the Nashoba Regional High School. To participate remotely, please use this link: www.youtube.com/watch?v=1CZSFloESzA
 
The School Building Committee will convene on October 18 to recommend a preferred design to the Nashoba Regional School Committee. The School Committee will convene on Wednesday, October 19th to deliberate a vote on the preferred option which will be submitted to the Massachusetts School Building Authority no later than October 27, 2022.
 
It is important that the residents of our three towns appear and participate in this process of selecting a design option. You can help that effort by forwarding this notice to friends and neighbors who live in our towns.
 
More information about the project can be found on the Nashoba Building Project's website.  If you have questions for the School Building Committee, please submit them using this Google form.

FINANCIAL FOCUS : How Should You Pay for Short-term Financial Goals?

October 3, 2022

As you go through life, you will likely have long- and short-term financial goals. But how will your strategies for meeting your long-term goals differ from those needed for your short-term ones?

If you’re like most people, your biggest long-term goal is achieving a comfortable retirement. And for this goal, a common strategy is putting away money in tax-advantaged retirement vehicles, such as your 401(k) and IRA.

So, how should you go about preparing for shorter-term goals, such as a family vacation, home renovation, wedding or major purchase?

For starters, determine what your goal is, how much you can spend on it and when you’ll need the money. Even if you can’t pinpoint a precise amount, you can develop a good estimate. Of course, the sooner you start this process, the better off you’ll be, because you’ll have more time to save.

Your next decision involves the manner in which you save for your short-term goal. Specifically, what savings or investment vehicles should you use? The answer will be different for everyone, but you need to make sure that your investments align with your risk tolerance and time horizon. And you’ll want to ensure, as much as possible, that a certain amount of money is available for you at the specific time you’ll need it.

If you aren’t able to save enough to reach a short-term goal, you have other options — you can borrow what you need, or you can potentially sell investments to cover the cost. How can you decide which choice is best?

To help make up your mind, you’ll first want to consider some of the most common borrowing options: credit cards, home equity loans, personal loans and margin loans. (A margin loan lets you borrow against the value of investments you already own). How might each of these loans fit into your overall financial strategy? Will the repayment schedule work with your cash flow and budget?

You’ll then want to compare the costs and benefits of borrowing, in whatever form, against selling investments. For example, if you can borrow at a lower interest rate compared to the return you think you can get from your investments, borrowing might be a reasonable choice. You’ll also need to consider other factors, such as your credit score, taxes, fees associated with selling investments and time needed to repay debts. If, for instance, selling investments will trigger a large amount of taxes, borrowing might be preferable. You’ll also want to consider whether there’s a penalty or high costs associated with selling investments. In addition, if you have a long time horizon for a loan, you may want to sell investments to avoid paying interest for a longer period of time, and thus driving up the overall cost of borrowing.          Finally, keep in mind that you may have built an investment mix designed to align with your goals and risk tolerance. If you were to sell any of these investments to meet short-term needs, you would want to consider the need to rebalance your portfolio to maintain your desired asset allocation.
As you can see, there’s a lot to think about when it comes to paying for short-term goals. But by carefully evaluating your options, you can make the choices that are right for your needs.

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

Create Knock-your-socks-off Fall Landscaping

HUDSON: Who doesn’t love a beautiful yard in autumn? As a matter of fact, the fall is a prime time to try new things in your yard. Gardener extraordinaire Jana Milbocker presents “Fall Scaping” on October 17 at 7pm at Hudson Senior Center, 29 Church Street. Be the envy of your neighbors! Milbocker is principal of Enchanted Gardens, a garden designer, a lecturer, and the author of three garden tourist guides. Listen as she unveils strategies for enhancing fall landscapes with plants that bear vibrant blooms, lush foliage, and extraordinary seed heads. Discover flowers, trees, vines, and shrubs that create visual interest through color and texture.

The event is sponsored by Hudson Garden Club. Doors open at 6:40pm, masks are optional, parking is free, and complimentary refreshments are served after the presentation. A $5 per person donation from non-garden club members is requested. For more information, contact Cindy Provencher at (978) 618-3467. The Hudson Garden Club can be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/hudsongardenclub.
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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.

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.
Stow

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.
Spm at mechanics hall 2022 andy weigl

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.
Stow

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.
Nsbatmechanicshall

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.
Stow

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.
- - - - -

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

Lake boon and assabet photo
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