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Assabet Valley Camera Club: A Certain Slant of Light

HUDSON: On January 4, the Assabet Valley Camera Club (AVCC) is pleased to
host Suzanne Révy, photographer, writer and educator who earned a BFA from the Pratt Institute and an MFA from the New Hampshire Institute of Art, and previously worked as photography editor at U.S. News & World Report and Yankee Magazine. She has exhibited her work at museums and galleries throughout New England and in New York. Révy is an adjunct professor of photography at Clark University in Worcester.

A Certain Slant of Light began as a daily photographic ritual where Suzanne employed a mobile phone to keep her eyes open for light as it moved and changed throughout the day. As a photographer who primarily uses film in a methodical manner, the immediacy, speed and ease of phone photography offered a different avenue for practice and honing her vision on a daily basis. Capturing images at sunrise on a small pond allows Révy to witness seasonal changes in shifting light and weather. In her presentation, she will discuss how using the phone has enhanced her practice in film photography and will describe how her phone pictures have evolved over time.

Currently AVCC meetings are 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. Suzanne’s presentation will begin at 7:30pm.

Normally, AVCC meetings are held 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, visit www.assabetvalleycc.com.
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Or click HERE to take the survey.

If you would like to know more about the Green Advisory Committee contact GreenAdvisory@stow-ma.gov.  Additional information and meeting agendas and minutes can be found at www.stow-ma.gov/green-advisory-committee. Survey deadline extended to 12/31/22.
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FPC Holiday & Christmas Eve Services

STOW: Continuing its month of special holiday services, First Parish Church of Stow & Acton (FPC), Unitarian Universalist, will hold a Winter Solstice service on December 18 at 10am, and it will hold its traditional Christmas Eve services on December 24 at 4pm and 9pm. All services will be held both in person and online.

On December 18, FPC will forego its traditional “Mummers’ Play,” and instead the children and youth will share a new play, “Winter Wonder: The Solstice.” Scripted by FPC’s minister, the Rev. Dr. Cynthia L. Landrum, the play is about the meaning and beauty of the Solstice. It will feature a small “nod” to the Mumming tradition. Also participating will be Marissa Evans, Acting Director of Religious Education.

FPC’s 4pm Christmas Eve Family Service, geared towards children, will feature interactive moments, stories, and carols, finishing with the traditional candle-lighting and singing of “Silent Night.”  The 9pm Christmas Eve Candlelight Service, geared towards adults, will feature traditional carols and anthems, paired with readings and the age-old story of the birth of Jesus. Guest musicians will join the FPC Choir and FPC organist/pianist Sanghee Kim as they perform under the direction of FPC Music Director Brad Dumont. An extended prelude of Christmas music will begin at 8:45pm, and this service will also end with the traditional candle-lighting and singing of “Silent Night.”

There will be no service on December 25.

Masks are required in the sanctuary, with the exception of the balcony. To enter the virtual room, go to http://tinyurl.com/22-23fpc. FPC now has a closed captioning option in online services. If the Closed Captioning option is not turned on, you can use the button at the bottom of your screen to request that the host turn it on. To prevent disruptive intrusions, the virtual room will be locked about 15 minutes after the service begins.

FPC warmly welcomes gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people. Its facilities are wheelchair accessible. For more information, call (978) 897-8149 or visit www.fpc-stow-acton.org. The church is located at 353 Great Road, at the corner of routes 117 and 62.
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St. Stephen Church Delivers 31 Christmas Satchels to Seafarers

MARLBOROUGH: Waiting until Christmas to open presents delivered weeks in advance can be a challenge, but a group of seafarers vowed to do just that when 31 packages of warm winter clothing and other gifts donated by St. Stephen Lutheran Church arrived in New Haven, CT where merchant marines were in port for a day.

Most people may not think about the shipment of such things as rebar and scrap metal, or even how home heating oil and imported wood get to their final destination, or the sailors whose efforts are a vital part of the process. Seafarers from all over the world are an integral part of bringing these, and other products for New Englanders into New Haven, CT. Seafarers are often isolated and lonely, sometimes without the means to contact family frequently, or purchase needed items while in port. Typical contracts put most at sea for 10 months a year, and they remain a largely forgotten population at the holidays.

Seafarers International House serves this population, and the people of St. Stephen Lutheran Church, Marlborough, have responded for the past seven years by providing Christmas gifts of satchels filled with hand-knit hats and scarves, hooded sweatshirts, shirts, socks, cans of nuts and Christmas cards. This year, church members Melanie Whapham and Judy Kellogg of Marlborough traveled to New Haven to meet with Port Chaplain Ruth Setaro and deliver 31 satchels.

The visitors had the opportunity to meet some of the seafarers. “A crew from the COSMOS was in port for the day, leaving for India,” Melanie said. “These merchant marines will be the best color coordinated sailors on the seas.” The hand knit items matched wonderfully with the purchased sweatshirts and shirts, she noted.  Chaplain Setaro said the sailors were very grateful for the packages. “They were so excited to get these gifts and promised they would wait until Christmas to open them.”

The need for additional warm, hand knit hats continues, and less than 2 weeks after an announcement in church, 30 more hand-knit hats had been donated.
Seafarers International House is an ecumenical mission of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America to seafarers and sojourners, as well as people who are distressed, disadvantaged, and displaced. For more information, check out https:/www.sihnyc.org.

Seven Lutheran chaplains support the Seafarers Port Mission. When requested, they will board merchant marine ships to provide pastoral care and counseling. During the holidays, chaplains distribute the packages to ships that port in New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, Philadelphia and southern New England that will be out at sea for Christmas.

For more information about the church, visit www.saintstephenlutheran.com  or the church’s Facebook page. Saint Stephen is a member of the New England Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (www.elca.org). The church is a Reconciling in Christ congregation, inviting people of every gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, ability, marital status, or class. Parishioners come from Marlborough, Hudson, Berlin, Northborough, Southborough, Westborough, Shrewsbury, Sudbury, Stow, and Bolton.
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Parker School Opens 2023-24 Enrollment Season

DEVENS: Francis W. Parker Charter Essential School announced the enrollment season for the 2023-2024 academic year is now open. Parker is a free public charter school open by lottery to students entering grades 7, 8 and 9. Applications can be submitted online at www.parker.school/apply until February 1, 2023. The lottery will be held on February 7, 2023 at 4pm. All application, lottery, and enrollment regulations, as outlined in the enrollment policy will be followed.

In addition, Parker has limited openings in grades 7 and 9 for mid-year entry during the current (2022-23) school year. There are no openings in grade 8 for the 2022-23 school year at this time. Applications for the current school year can be submitted online and will be accepted until January 4, 2023. If more applications are received than there are available spaces, a lottery will be drawn on January 12, 2023 at 4pm. Enrollment offers will be made with an intended start date of the first day of second semester (January 24, 2023).

Parker Charter School educates 400 students in grades 7-12 from more than 40 towns in Massachusetts. Founded in 1995, Parker is committed to the principles of progressive education—inclusive community, low student-teacher ratio, project-based learning, and promotion based on mastery of core intellectual skills. Learn more at www.theparkerschool.org. Sign up for an information session at www.parker.school/infosession.

FINANCIAL FOCUS: What to Know about Sustainable Investing

December 6, 2022
 
You may have heard about “sustainable investing.”  But if you're not familiar with it, you may have some questions: What does it involve? Is it right for me? Can I follow a sustainable investing strategy and still get the portfolio performance I need to reach my goals?

Sustainable investing can be defined in different ways, with different terminologies. However, one way to look at a sustainable approach is by thinking of it as investing in a socially conscious way which may involve two broad categories: environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing and values-based investing.

As its name suggests, ESG investing incorporates a broad range of environmental, social and governance risks and opportunities, along with traditional financial measures, when making investment decisions. This approach may have a neutral impact on performance because it maintains a focus on managing risk, traditional fundamental analysis and diversification. Here's a quick look at the ESG elements:

    • Environmental – Companies  may work to reduce carbon emissions, invest in renewable energy, decrease pollution and conserve water resources.
    • Social – A business  may promote gender and pay equality within its workforce, and maintain positive labor relations and safe working conditions for employees.
    • Governance – Companies distinguished by good governance may institute strong ethics policies, provide transparent financial reporting and set policies to ensure it has an independent, objective board of directors.

You can pursue an ESG investing approach through individual stocks, mutual funds or exchange-traded funds (ETFs), which hold a variety of investments similar to mutual funds, but are generally passively managed – that is, they do little or no trading. As an ESG investor, you don't necessarily have to sacrifice performance because ESG investments generally fare about as well as the wider investment universe. Some investments may even gain from the ESG approach. For example, a company that invests in renewable energy may benefit from the move away from fossil fuel sources.

Now, let's move on to values-based investing. When you follow a values-based approach, you can focus on specific themes where you may choose to include or exclude certain types of investments that align with your personal values.

So, you could refrain from investing in segments of the market, such as tobacco or firearms, or in companies that engage in certain business practices, such as animal testing. On the other hand, you could actively seek out investments that align with your values. For instance, if you’re interested in climate change, you could invest in a mutual fund or ETF that contains companies in the solar or clean energy industries.

One potential limitation of values-based investing is that it may decrease the diversification of your portfolio and lead to materially lower returns due to narrowly focused investments, prioritization of non-financial goals and too many exclusions.

Ultimately, if you choose to include a sustainable investing approach, you will want – as you do in any investing scenario – to choose those investments that are suitable for your goals, risk tolerance and time horizon.

If sustainable investing interests you, give it some thought – you may find it rewarding to match your money with your beliefs.

This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor Mandy Calouro, Chelmsford, MA.
EdwardJones.com/Mandy-Colouro - Edward Jones, Member SIPC
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Let Troop 1 Stow Haul Away Your Christmas Tree

STOW: Let Troop 1 Stow haul away your Christmas tree.  Reservation deadline is January 4.  Tree picks will start on December 12. To make make your reservation please pay the $15 online at troop1stow.net or mail in a check payable to Troop 1 Stow at P.O. Box 75.  If you have any questions, please call (978) 212-9175 or by email wreath@troop1stow.net. Stow residents only, please.
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Need Help? The Stow Food Pantry is There for You

STOW: The Stow Food Pantry is holding their next Food pantries on December 3,  4 and 16 from 9 am–12pm, by appointment only. The Pantry will continue to work very hard during this time of uncertainty to serve any in need of services. They will keep our community safe by following CDC guidelines for COVID-19. No referrals required. No financial questions asked. If you are unable to make it to the Pantry, please contact them and they can probably work something out. If you need help, please call (978) 897-4230 or email stowfoodp@gmail.com.
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Quinn Middle School delivers classic fairy tales with Law and Order: Fairy Tale Unit

HUDSON: In the fairy tale criminal justice system, the characters from fairy tales and nursery rhymes are represented by two separate yet equally ridiculous groups: the fairy tale police who investigate fairy tale crime, and the fairy tale district attorneys who prosecute the fairy tale offenders. Quinn drama students will present their stories in this witty and imaginative play! Shows are scheduled for December 1 & 2 at 7pm at Quinn Middle School, located at 201 Manning Street. Tickets are $5 at the door.
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Supporting Someone with a Mental Health Condition?

The Family to Family course from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) could prove helpful to you. This is a free, evidence-based, weekly, eight-session virtual course for family members and friends of individuals living with mental health conditions. Topics include understanding the symptoms of mental health conditions, learning about treatments and therapies, practicing communication and problem-solving skills, creating a positive team approach, and self-care. Importantly, the course offers family members the invaluable opportunity of open conversation and mutual support in a stigma-free environment. The class is taught by NAMI trained family members from the local NAMI Central Middlesex affiliate. The course will meet Mondays via Zoom, starting January 16, 6-8:30pm.  Registration is required. Go to namicentralmiddlesex.org/educational-courses for additional information, the registration link, and more course offerings. To converse with one of the teachers, contact Patti at pjsardella56@gmail.com; (978) 621-1065 or Lindsay at linzbfar@gmail.com; (781) 864-7003.

FINANCIAL FOCUS: Protect Financial Accounts From “Cyberthieves”

November 29, 2022
 
Cybercrime is booming. In 2021, the FBI reported that cybercriminals scammed nearly $7 billion from Americans — a figure slightly higher than the gross domestic product (GDP) of Switzerland for that year, according to research organization World Economics. How can you protect yourself from cyberthieves? Here are some suggestions that can help:
 
  • Watch out for “phishing” attempts. You may receive emails that appear to be from a legitimate firm, requesting information your financial institution would never request online — confirmation of an account number, password, Social Security number, credit card number and so on. These notes can look official, often incorporating a firm’s logo, so pay close attention to what’s being asked of you.
  • Think twice before clicking or downloading. If you are suspicious about a communication, don’t click on a link or download an attachment — instead, go to your financial firm’s website or use their app to verify they sent the information or request.
  • Become adept with passwords. Use a different password for each of your accounts and change your passwords regularly. Of course, maintaining multiple passwords can be confusing, so you might want to consider using password management software, which generates passwords, stores them in an encrypted database and locks them behind a master password — which is the only one you’ll need to remember.
  • Use your own devices. Try to avoid using public computers or devices that aren’t yours to access your financial accounts. If you do use another computer, clear your browsing history after you log out of your account.
  • Be cautious about using Wi-Fi when traveling. When you’re on the road, you may want to use public hotspots, such as wireless networks in airports and hotels. But many people don’t realize that these hotspots reduce their security settings to make access easier, which, in turn, makes it easier for cyberthieves to intercept your information. In fact, some hackers even build their own public hotspots to draw in internet-seekers in an effort to commit theft. So, if at all possible, wait until you can access a trusted, encrypted network before engaging in any communications or activity involving your financial accounts.
  • Don’t give up control of your computer. Under no circumstances should you provide remote access to your computer to a stranger who contacts you, possibly with an offer to help “disinfect” your computer. If you do think your device has an issue with malicious software, contact a legitimate technician for assistance.
  • Know whom you’re calling for help. If you need assistance from, say, a customer service area of a financial institution, make sure you know the phone number is accurate and legitimate — possibly one from a billing or confirmation statement. Some people have been scammed by Googling “support” numbers that belonged to fraudsters who asked for sensitive information.
  • Review all correspondence with your financial services provider. Keep a close eye on your account activity and statements. If you see mistakes or unauthorized activity in your account, contact your financial institution immediately.

Advanced technology has brought many benefits, but also many more opportunities for financial crimes. By taking the above steps, and others that may be needed, you can go a long way toward defending yourself against persistent and clever cyberthieves.

This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor Preston Carbone, Westford, MA  - EdwardJones.com/Preston-Carbone, Edward Jones, Member SIPC
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Join the Sounds of Stow Chorus and Orchestra!

STOW: The Sounds of Stow Chorus and Orchestra invite all interested singers to join Open Rehearsals on December 5 and 12. The Chorus and Orchestra are a welcoming community of musicians committed to preparing and performing exceptional music to enrich our lives and those of 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 7:15 to 9:30pm.

For their spring concert on April 2, The Sounds of Stow will return to Hale Middle School in Stow with a concert entitled “Joyous Voices – Winsome Winds,” which includes Haydn’s Harmoniemesse and Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante for Four
Winds. Rounding out the season, they have been invited to join several local choral groups for “Voices Rising,” a special event on May 20, in the spectacular new  Groton Hill Music in Groton, accompanied by the Vista Philharmonic Orchestra.

Choristers 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.

Sounds of Stow is 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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Town Survey for Climate Action Plan

STOW: The Stow Select Board has chartered the Green Advisory Committee with developing a Climate Action Plan for the town.  They need your input to understand how residents view climate change and what actions you have taken or plan to take.  The survey should take less than 10 minutes to complete and we are accepting responses until December 17. Please click HERE to take the survey.

If you would like to know more about the Green Advisory Committee contact them at GreenAdvisory@stow-ma.gov.  Additional information and meeting agendas and minutes can be found at www.stow-ma.gov/green-advisory-committee.

Stow Police Department to Host Opioid Awareness Panel and Free Narcan Training

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STOW: Chief Michael Sallese is pleased to announce that the Stow Police Department is hosting an Opioid Awareness Panel and Narcan Training, December 6, from 6:30-8pm at Pompositticut Community Center, 509 Great Road.

An Opioid Awareness Panel featuring Chief Sallese; Jackie Morris, executive director of Alyssa's Place, a peer recovery and resource center; and Billy Parks, a recovery coach from Advocates, will discuss the opioid epidemic. There were six fatal drug overdoses in Stow between 2016 and 2021. There were 300 overdose deaths in Middlesex County in 2020, and 360 in 2021. There have been 3,140 overdose deaths in the county since 2010, according to data from Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

“We feel that opioids and Narcan usage are important issues for people to not only be aware of, but also educated on," said Chief Sallese. "We also want to make sure people are aware of all the area resources available to them, including our police department. Opioids can impact any family, and we want all residents to know that support is available from the community."

Medical professionals will be on hand to provide free Narcan training to interested community members and to speak about the importance of the overdose-reversing drug.

Narcan, an opioid antagonist, can quickly reverse the effects of a potentially fatal painkiller or heroin overdose by binding to opioid receptors and reversing or blocking the effects of other opioids, quickly restoring normal breathing. Narcan is not dangerous if administered to a person who is not overdosing and it has no potential for abuse.

This event is open to the public, and residents of other communities are welcome.
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Friends of Maynard Seniors Community Bag Sale

MAYNARD/STOW: Friends of Maynard Seniors has been selected as the benefiting nonprofit for the give back where it counts community bag sale at Shaws. For the month of December 2022 the Friends of Maynard Seniors will receive a $1 donation from each purchase of the $3 reusable give back where it counts bag sold at Shaws 155 Great Road in Stow. These bags are great to carry groceries as well as other items. Why not get several to give as gifts? Your donation to the Friends of Maynard Seniors is a wonderful gift to help senior citizens where needed.

FINANCIAL FOCUS: Time for New Year’s Financial Resolutions

November 22, 2022
 
It’s that time of year when many of us promise ourselves we’ll go to the gym more, or learn a new language, or take up a musical instrument, or any number of other worthy goals. But this year, when making New Year’s resolutions, why not also consider some financial ones? Here are a few to consider:

Don’t let inflation derail your investment strategy. As you know, inflation was the big financial story of 2022, hitting a 40-year high. And while it may moderate somewhat this year, it will likely still be higher than what we experienced the past decade or so. Even so, it’s a good idea to try not to let today’s inflation harm your investment strategy for the future. That happened last year: More than half of American workers either reduced their contributions to their 401(k)s and other retirement plans or stopped contributing completely during the third quarter of 2022, according to a survey by Allianz Life Insurance of North America. Of course, focusing on your cash flow needs today is certainly understandable, but are there other ways you can free up some money, such as possibly lowering your spending, so you can continue contributing to your retirement accounts? It’s worth the effort because you could spend two or three decades as a retiree.

Control your debts. Inflation can also be a factor in debt management. For example, your credit card debt could rise due to rising prices and variable credit card interest rate increases. By paying your bill each month, you can avoid the effects of rising interest rates. If you do carry a balance, you might be able to transfer it to a lower-rate card, depending on your credit score. And if you’re carrying multiple credit cards, you might benefit by getting a fixed-rate debt consolidation loan. In any case, the lower your debt payments, the more you can invest for your long-term goals.

Review your investment portfolio. At least once a year, you should review your investment portfolio to determine if it’s still appropriate for your goals, risk tolerance and time horizon. But be careful not to make changes just because you feel your recent performance is not what it should have been. When the financial markets are down, as was the case for most of 2022, even quality investments, such as stocks of companies with solid business fundamentals and strong prospects, can see declines in value. But if these investments are still suitable for your portfolio, you may want to keep them. 

 • Prepare for the unexpected. If you encountered a large unexpected expense, such as the need for a major home repair, how would you pay for it? If you didn’t have the money readily available, you might be forced to dip into your long-term investments or retirement accounts. To prevent this, you should build an emergency fund containing three to six months’ worth of living expenses — or a year’s worth, if you’re retired — with the money kept in a low-risk, liquid account. 

These  resolutions can be useful — so try to put them to work in 2023.

This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor James Normington, AAMS, Westford, MA - EdwardJones.com/James-Normington. Edward Jones, Member SIPC

Assabet Valley Camera Club Program: Tips for Winter Landscape Photography

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HUDSON: On December 7, the Assabet Valley Camera Club (AVCC) is pleased to host David Long, travel and landscape photographer. A resident of Central Massachusetts, Dave travels extensively throughout New England capturing its beauty across the seasons. He is a member of the Boston Camera Club and has won numerous awards within this club as well as having earned several Image-of-the-Year awards from the New England Camera Club Council. David’s images have been published in the Boston Globe, The Down East Magazine and other notable New England publications.

Dave has been teaching landscape photography for the last eleven years throughout New England. He has gained a following through his workshops, tours, and e-books on Self-Guided Photo Tours. Dave makes frequent appearances on photography pod casts, does camera club
presentations, publishes photo blogs and has a large social media community. See his work at www.davelongphoto.com and follow him on  www.instagram.com/davidlong3653 .

Currently AVCC meetings are 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. David’s presentation Tips for Winter Landscape Photography will begin at 7:30pm.

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, www.assabetvalleycc.com.
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First United Methodist Church of Hudson Hosts “Annual Christmas Country Fair”

HUDSON: All are invited to First United Methodist Church of Hudson's Annual Christmas Country Fair, to be held downstairs in Lamson Hall from 9am to 2pm on December 3.  Explore:

- A Unique Silent Auction; with a variety of gifts and gift certificates from area merchants, for giving or enjoying;
- Their FAMOUS THEMED GIFT BASKETS to bid on; for all ages;
- Country Store; with CABOT cheddar cheese, Bob’s baked beans, candy and more!;
- The Claus’ Homemade Baked Goods Tables;
- Mrs. Claus’ Bling;
- Red Elephant Table; gently used Christmas items;
- OUT OF SANTA’S WORKSHOP; Crafts and Knitting Projects that will make you smile and help you stay warm;
- United Methodist Women’s Table; grab their Cookbook with famous recipes;
- Claus’ Café from 11am to 2pm; Homemade Corn Chowder, Sue’s Famous Chili, Hot Dogs and Chili Dogs;
- SANTA CLAUS HIMSELF 11:30am to 12:30pm.
- And don’t forget the Festival of Trees Silent Auction at the Hudson Boys/Girl’s Club during the Holiday Stroll at 2pm.

Everyone is invited to get into the holiday spirit, so tell your friends and neighbors. First United Methodist Church is located over the hill, just off the Hudson Rotary at 34 Felton Street. More information is available at (978) 562-2932 or at www.hudsonfumc@gmail.com.

FINANCIAL FOCUS: When Should You Adjust Your Investment Mix?

November 15, 2022
 
There are no shortcuts to investment success – you need to establish a long-term strategy and stick with it. This means that you’ll want to create an investment mix based on your goals, risk tolerance and time horizon – and then regularly review this mix to ensure it’s still meeting your needs. In fact, investing for the long term doesn’t necessarily mean you should lock your investments in forever. Throughout your life, you'll likely need to make some changes.

Of course, everyone’s situation is different and there’s no prescribed formula of when and how you should adjust your investments. But some possibilities may be worth considering. For example, a few years before you retire, you may want to re-evaluate your risk exposure and consider moving part of your portfolio into a more risk-averse position. When you were decades away from retiring, you may have felt more comfortable with a more aggressive positioning because you had time to “bounce back” from any market downturns. But as you near retirement, it may make sense to lower your risk level. And as part of a move toward a reduced-risk approach, you also may want to evaluate the “cash” positions in your portfolio. When the market has gone through a decline, as has been the case in 2022, you may not want to tap into your portfolio to meet short-term and emergency needs, so having sufficient cash on hand is important. Keep in mind, though, that having too much cash on the “sidelines” may affect your ability to reach your long-term goals.

Even if you decide to adopt a more risk-averse investment position before you retire, though, you may still benefit from some growth-oriented investments in your portfolio to help you keep ahead of – or at least keep pace with – inflation. As you know, inflation has surged in 2022, but even when it’s been relatively mild, it can still erode your purchasing power significantly over time.

Changes in your own goals or circumstances may also lead you to modify your investment mix. You might decide to retire earlier or  later than you originally planned. You might even change your plans for the type of retirement you want, choosing to work part-time for a few years. Your family situation may change – perhaps you have another child for whom you’d like to save and invest for college. Any of these events could lead you to review your portfolio to find new opportunities or to adjust your risk level – or both.

You might wonder if you should also consider changing your investment mix in response to external forces, such as higher interest rates or the rise in inflation this year. It’s certainly true that these types of events can affect parts of your portfolio, but it may not be advisable to react by shuffling your investment mix. In the first place, nobody can really predict how long these forces will keep their momentum – it’s quite possible, for instance, that inflation will have subsided noticeably within a year. But more importantly, you should make investment moves based on the factors we’ve already discussed: your goals, risk tolerance, time horizon and individual circumstances.

By reviewing your portfolio regularly, possibly with the assistance of a financial professional, you can help ensure that your investment mix will always be appropriate for your needs and goals.

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

Reminder - Stow Charter Review Committee Feedback Form Deadline: 11/18/22

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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, we will hold one or more public meetings to get comments on proposed changes before deciding which changes to recommend. 
 
The submittal period for feedback forms will end on November 18.  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.
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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
 
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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.
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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.
Apple pie sign with kate and judith

Fresh Baked Apple Pies at FPC

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

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

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

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

Assabet Valley Camera Club Program: Birds and Birds in Flight

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

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

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

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

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

Stow Cultural Council Accepting Applications for 2023 Events!

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

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

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

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

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

Please check with the location for their hours of operation. Questions? Contact the Board of Health at 978-897-4592 or health@stow-ma.gov
Svt horseshoe pond trail

“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.”