Help For Families: Mental Health Challenges

UPDATE: All programs, due to the increase in active Delta Covid transmissions and illness on the rise in MA, will be be conducted only on Zoom.

Mental illness touches one in five people. It is likely a spouse, partner, child, sibling, parent or dear friend of yours may be living with a mental health condition. The National Alliance on Mental Illness, NAMI is offering a FREE 8 session family educational program called “Family to Family”. It is a designated evidenced-based program. The program is taught by NAMI trained family member volunteers who have been there - and includes presentations, discussion, and interactive exercises.

What will you gain? The class provides critical information and strategies for taking care of the person you love, and you’ll also find out – you are not alone! The group setting provides mutual support and shared positive impact – you will experience compassion and reinforcement from people who understand your situation. You can also help others through your own experiences.

You’ll learn about: The latest up-to-date information on mental health conditions and how they impact the brain. Current treatments: Medications - their therapeutic use and side effects, current treatments and therapies. Local mental health services and supports. Managing crisis, problem solving techniques and effective communication. The emotional impact of mental illness on the entire family. Taking care of yourself and managing your stress.

Two Programs are sponsored by NAMI Central Middlesex for fall 2021.  Thursdays via ZOOM, Sept 16 – Nov 4th, 6:30 – 9:00 PM. To register contact Steve at 978-621-3253, or Lindsay at 781-864-7003, Tuesdays IN PERSON in Littleton MA Oct 12th – Nov 30th, 6:30 – 9:00 PM. proof of vaccination is required. To register, contact Sara at 339-223-3146, or Phyllis at 978.973.3995,

Next Climate Talk from Sustainable Stow and Randall Library: Studying the Water Quality in Lake Boon

STOW: What can be done to protect Lake Boon in the face of various threats from a changing climate? Local citizen scientists with the help of environmental scientists. are working to answer this question. Their work is supported by a two-year grant from the Massachusetts Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness program, The water quality monitoring will provide a basis for recommendations to protect our local great pond, and potentially others at risk in Massachusetts. The sampling program is directed by Rebecca Longvall, conservation agent for the town of Bolton.
You can learn about their work at the next Sustainable Stow climate talk, hosted by Randall Library. Join in Wednesday, August 18 at 7pm on Zoom. You can request a Zoom link by contacting the library at The library will email the Zoom link out before the talk. This talk is the 4th in a series focusing on what we can do to address local impacts of climate change. You can watch past presentations online by searching for “Sustainable Stow” at

“Caring for Caregivers” Meetings; 1st & 3rd Mondays

HUDSON: On Mondays, August 2 and 16, from 11am to Noon, the First United Methodist Church at 34 Felton Street will hold “Caring for Caregivers” meetings in Lamson Hall on the first floor of the church.  The Church is handicap accessible via a motorized seat and safe distancing and mask-wearing practices are in place for these small gatherings.

In these current difficult times of isolation, caregiving for a loved one may have become more challenging. The church has recognized a yearning in the community for a place to gather, intended for those in the position of being a caregiver and who need to be with others going through difficult times caring for their loved ones. 
The purpose is to establish a safe, quiet setting for those who are feeling the weight that often accompanies caregiving.

Caregivers often feel alone/isolated and unique.  Meetings can’t solve problems or change a situation but they do offer support by encouraging each other to not feel weak or selfish or unloving because of our thoughts.  Sometimes you'll even find humor and laugh with each other.  This, too, is healing. Stop by to
talk about your concerns and feelings with those who know what you are going through.  Judgment-free zone; only attentive and compassionate.

The meetings are open to anyone who is a caregiver and may be feeling isolated by their particular situation.  Come to as few or as many of our meetings as you like.  You may come just to listen but over time, we hope you’ll feel free to speak.   There are no dues or fees to think about, just come and be with us for an hour or so.
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

Senator Eldridge secures $230,000 in FY22 Budget for Hudson

HUDSON: State Senator Jamie Eldridge (D-Acton) has secured $230,000 in the Fiscal Year (FY22) Senate Budget for the Town of Hudson to purchase the Hudson Armory in downtown Hudson. Governor Charlie Baker signed the $47.6 billion fiscal 2022 budget into law. A community’s downtown is a hub of economic and social development, and a healthy, thriving downtown is important to the long-term success of small towns and big cities alike,” said Eldridge. “Purchasing and repurposing the Hudson Armory into a community space will bring more life to the already rising Downtown. The $230,000 earmark that I secured will allow the town to purchase the Armory and begin the renovation process. I’m thankful for the cooperation of the State Senate, Senate President Karen Spilka, and Senate Ways and Means Committee Chairman Michael Rodrigues for their help in passing this earmark.”

"I was pleased to vote for the amendment as part of the reconciled state budget and I congratulate Senator Eldridge for securing these important funds. I look forward to working together on legislation, funding and state support to ensure Hudson Cultural Alliance's efforts to create an Arts Center at the Armory are successful,” said State Representative Kate Hogan (D-Stow).

The Hudson Armory is a state-owned building located in downtown Hudson. The Hudson Board of Selectmen recently approved a plan to purchase the building from the state for $230,000 in order to convert it into a community space. Senator Eldridge’s earmark will cover the full cost of the sale, allowing the fundraising efforts of residents to go directly towards renovating the building.

This project is the capstone of Hudson’s downtown revitalization and will serve as both the hub of Hudson’s Cultural District and an ideal jumping-off point for the newly renovated South Street, the proposed Riverwalk, and the shops and restaurants in and around Wood Square.
“Artists and performing groups in Hudson and the local area have expressed the need for performance, practice, and exhibit space. The Armory's location in Hudson's thriving downtown is ideal for such an arts center,” said Andy Horvitz, President of the Hudson Cultural Alliance. “We look forward to transforming the facility into a community asset serving all ages across a range of uses. This cultural development investment and the preservation of this historic building will pay economic and community dividends in Hudson and the region for generations to come.”

Joint Unitarian Universalist Sunday Service August 1

STOW: First Parish Church of Stow & Acton (FPC) will join several Unitarian Universalist churches at the 18th Annual Joint Summer Service. Rev. Jill Cowie, minister of the Harvard Unitarian Universalist Church, will lead worship on the theme “Healing from Broken to Whole Together.” This service will be held virtually on August 1 at 10am. All are welcome.

Seminarian Paloma Callo told her preaching class recently, “it is our witness to the cracks and shattered pieces that enables healing.” How do we find the courage to enter the pain? The compassion to help healing? How do we stay open to the grace of our wholeness in the midst of it all?

For more information about FPC’s virtual Sunday services, including information on how to access this joint service, visit Details about all upcoming summer services are listed on that page, including details about the subject of each service as well as how to access it. Additional information on the Aug. 1 service can be found at

Call for Participants: Yard & Craft Sale at First United Methodist Church

HUDSON: Call now to reserve your space, as the First United Methodist Church of Hudson invites everyone to their Annual Yard and Craft Sale to be held rain or shine, on Saturday, October 2 from 9am am to 2pm, in the church parking lot.  If the weather is un-cooperative, the fair will be held indoors in our very large Lamson Hall.  Mark your calendars and be prepared to find some terrific bargains and treasures and handcrafted items. For those interested in setting up for the sale, there is unlimited space available and the church has some 6’ tables that you can use, provided to the first responders.  (Metal folding chairs are available at no charge or bring your own).  The fee is $15. Start putting aside those items you no longer want but someone else would love to purchase!  For Crafters, this is your opportunity to sell your own unique, individual creations to all those pre-holiday shoppers the sale will attract. Also, they will be selling containers of delicious homemade chili and chicken salad.

First United Methodist Church is located at 34 Felton Street, just off the rotary over the top of the hill, in Hudson.  More information is available at 978-562-2932 or
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Stow Bike for the Woods, August 29

STOW: The 20th annual Stow Bike for the Woods is taking place August 29, 2021. This is a family-friendly road-bike ride supports the Stow Conservation Trust. Registration starts at 8:30an, ride at 9am. The ride starts at Stow Shopping Center, 113 Great Road. You can register for the ride and get more information at 

There will be food and drink including fresh peaches, cider donuts, and the famous mid-ride lemonade stand. Go 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 $1500 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 Action, Carver Hill Orchard of Stow, Honey Pot Hill Orchards of Stow, Trader Joe’s of Acton, and Starbucks of Acton.
Photo by Greg Toxel
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Stow Building Permits Now Available ONLINE

STOW: The Town of Stow is pleased to announce that Stow residents and contractors are now able to obtain building permits online.Effective immediately, residents can now click here to visit the online permitting page, or click the “Online Permitting & Fees" button on the Building Department page of the official website

The town’s permitting software, PermitLink, is user-friendly and can be accessed online 24 hours a day, and it should greatly simplify and streamline the permitting process for our residents. All homeowners who have not hired a contractor for a building project may choose to utilize this service by creating a personal account, using an email address and a unique password. Supporting documents can be uploaded and attached as needed.  A resident’s account can be used to obtain any building permit for their property. Residents who wish to continue to submit paper permit applications will still be able to do so.

This exciting new resource will not only make the permitting process easier but also to support a greener, paper-free option. Launching the online permitting site encourages residents to file permits electronically in order to minimize social contact while we continue to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

Currently the Town of Stow cannot accept payment through the online permitting site, but is working to make that option available in the very near future. In the meantime, once someone has applied for a permit and it has been accepted, they may mail or drop off the correct permit fee and the permit will be emailed back once finalized. There is a drop box at the Town Building, 380 Great Road, at the front entrance.

Traffic Detour Notice

HUDSON/STOW: MassDOT has announced that Gleasondale Road from Sudbury Road to Marlboro Road will be closed overnight on Thursday, July 15 to allow Hudson Light & Power to relocate utilities on the bridge before we start full construction. Timing: 10pm on Thursday, July 15 to 6am on Friday, July 16. During the closure, the detour route depicted here will be in effect.

Recent Graduate and First Generation Student, Hudson's Marissa Crue Got Her Start at MCC

HUDSON: For recent 2021 Middlesex Community College graduate Marissa Crue of Hudson, her time at the college was “life-changing.” The first generation student was unsure of her path after graduating from high school. Her time at Middlesex offered a foundation for learning, building connections and developing a more solid direction for her future.

“MCC was the stepping stone I needed in order to discover both my passions and my love of learning,” she said. “I am most grateful for all the wonderful opportunities MCC provided for me along my journey, and I am certain I can take what I have learned here and apply it in all avenues of my life.”

As a Liberal Arts and Sciences major, Crue had the opportunity to explore different subjects by taking a range of courses – from Latin American History and Literature to Forensic Science. While this flexibility of course requirements has prepared her for her transfer to Amherst College, the knowledge and skills she learned in her classes will “continue to benefit me throughout my life. It was through this exploration that I discovered the academic areas I am most passionate about,” Crue said. “MCC has provided me with a foundational experience I needed to be a successful student going forward.”

In her Honors English 102 course with MCC Professor of English Jonathan Bennett, Crue developed her perspective of the world. From reading and engaging in conversations in class, she was inspired by all that she could learn. Bennett also helped her in writing her college essay to Amherst, and continues to offer support to help her achieve her goals. Because of the pandemic, the college shifted courses and student support services to online platforms for much of 2020 and 2021. While Crue feels MCC made an effective transition to online learning – and still felt connected to her professors and classmates – she also took advantage of the circumstances to grow into a more independent learner. A member of MCC’s honor society Phi Theta Kappa and the Commonwealth Honors Program, Crue thrived in her studies. Keeping busy throughout her time, she worked as an Embedded Writing Tutor, Blackboard Ambassador, Orientation Leader and Food Pantry Student Assistant, and participated in MCC’s TRIO Program for Student Success and Diversity Summit. 

“I felt that the abundant support systems and groups throughout the college helped me feel like a part of a larger, strong community,” Crue said. “Aside from feeling proud, I am sad that I will be leaving a community that has brought so much good into my life.”

Her decision to start at Middlesex came after visiting the Lowell campus her senior year of high school. Crue needed a starting point, and Middlesex was the best option to establish her college career while saving money on tuition. Sensing the positive experiences that awaited her at Middlesex, Crue soon realized the impact the community and college would have on her.

“MCC is a place where you will find your people and be provided the opportunity to explore your interests,” she said. “If you are unsure about attending college, MCC is a great starting place.”

AARP Massachusetts Fraud Watch Update: July 2021

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Did you know that someone’s identity gets stolen every two seconds?  The AARP Fraud Watch Network provides you with tips and resources to help you spot and avoid identity theft and fraud so you can protect yourself and your family.  Our watchdog alerts will keep you up to date on con artists’ latest tricks.  It’s free of charge for everyone:  AARP members, non-members, and people of all ages.  Be a fraud fighter!  If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam. Report scams to local law enforcement. Contact the AARP Fraud Watch Network at for more information on fraud prevention.

Warm weather is here which means door-to-door sales crews are here, too. But what they’re selling isn’t always legit. Be cautious anytime a stranger comes knocking, especially if the visitor is trying to sell you goods or services. Be wary of contractors who say they stopped by because they just happened to be in the neighborhood. The good ones are usually too busy to roam around in search of work. Also be on guard for high pressure tactics to make a quick decision for a steep discount, and requests for payment upfront. Your best bet is to proactively seek out services if you need them, versus reacting to an unexpected sales pitch. It’s always okay to explain you don’t do business at your front door (or to not answer when strangers knock).

Many scams originate right at your fingertips through your computer or smartphone. The good news is the way to block them is also within your grasp. Here are three tips to keep your devices safe from criminals. Make sure your devices’ operating systems are up to date; you should be able to set an auto-update feature that downloads the latest software when available. Next, make sure to change the password on your Wi-Fi router so it’s different from the password it came with. If you have a lot of devices connected to it, they could be vulnerable if the router is compromised. Lastly, a password manager is a great way to create unique and hard-to-guess passwords for all of your online accounts and apps.

America is open for business again and millions of people are traveling, or planning to. One thing you may run into is sticker shock – especially with rental cars. The lack of travel in 2020 led rental companies to sell a lot of their inventory of cars. Now that demand has spiked, supply is tight and prices are high.
Unfortunately, criminals are paying attention and posting fake rental car deals at rock bottom prices online. While everyone loves a good deal, doing business with an entity you aren’t familiar with could be risky. Whatever your travel needs, stick to reputable websites with proven track records. If you do find a deal with an unfamiliar provider, do your research: look up the company name with “scam” or “complaint” and see what appears, and check out reviews.

Who doesn’t love something for free? But beware, that “free trial offer” might mean months of payments that you didn’t know you signed up for and will have a hard time canceling. These types of sales tactics are called negative options – a customer signs up for a free trial and unwittingly accepts a subscription – sometimes for a questionable product – often by not seeing a pre-checked box in the very tiny print. When it comes to free trials, research before you enroll. Fully understand the terms and conditions by reading the fine print. Keep a close eye on your credit and debit card statements so you spot unexpected charges right away. Contact your bank or credit card company to address the issue; calling the company you inadvertently signed up for a subscription with will likely get you nowhere.

Be a fraud fighter!  If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam. Report scams to local law enforcement. For help from AARP, call 1-877-908-3360 or visit the AARP Fraud Watch Network at

Hudson to Elect Delegates to Democratic State Convention

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HUDSON: Registered Democrats in Hudson will hold a caucus on July 14, 2021 at Avidia Bank Community Room, 17 Pope Street, to elect Delegates and Alternates to the 2021 Massachusetts Democratic State Convention. The caucus will take place in-person following health guidelines with an option to participate virtually. Democrats who wish to participate virtually may register at
This year’s state convention will be held on September 25th in Lowell, where Democrats from across the state will come together to adopt a Party platform, discuss Party business and celebrate our successes as we prepare for upcoming elections. The event will take place in-line with all federal, state and local health guidelines and will include a virtual option for participation.
The caucus is open to all registered and pre-registered Democrats in Hudson. Pre-registered Democrats who are 16 by June 15, 2021 will be allowed to participate and run as a Delegate or Alternate. Hudson can elect 9 Delegates and 4 Alternates to the Convention. Youth, minorities, people with disabilities, and LGBTQ+ individuals who are not elected as a Delegate or Alternate may apply to be an Add-on Delegate at the caucus or at by August 6, 2021.

First Federated Church of Hudson Welcomes Back Annual Craft Fair; Participants Invited

HUDSON: The First Federated Church of Hudson, 200 Central Street, is welcoming back their Annual Craft Fair on October 30, 2021 from 9am to 3pm.  All kinds of crafters are welcome to participate. Table are $25; $30 with electricity. Please call the church at 978-562-9207 for more information or to reserve your space.  You can also visit the Church online at and on Facebook.

DONORS URGENTLY NEEDED: Red Cross Still Facing Severe Blood Shortage

The American Red Cross continues to experience a severe blood shortage that is negatively affecting blood product availability across the country. Donors of all blood types – especially type O and those giving platelets – are urged to make an appointment to give now and help ensure hospital shelves are stocked with blood products over the Fourth of July holiday and beyond.

Right now, the Red Cross is working around the clock to provide blood products to hospitals responding to an unusually high number of traumas and emergency room visits, as well as overdoses and resulting transplants. As a result of the blood shortage, some hospitals are being forced to slow the pace of elective surgeries until the blood supply stabilizes, delaying crucial patient care. 

In addition, while summer is traditionally a time when blood donations decline, this year is particularly challenging as many Americans receive their vaccinations and resume summer activities after more than a year of limited interactions and travel, leading to lower donor turnout. The need for blood doesn’t take a holiday break − patients still depend on lifesaving transfusions.

Donors are needed now to prevent further delays to patient care. Schedule an appointment to give blood now by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device.

As a thank-you, all those who come to give July 1-6 will receive a Red Cross embroidered hat by mail,* while supplies last. And, donors who come to give July 7-31 will receive a $10 Gift Card by email, plus a chance to win gas for a year (a $5,000 value). (Terms and conditions apply; visit 
In most cases, those who have received a COVID-19 vaccine can donate. However, knowing the name of the manufacturer of the vaccine they received is important in determining donation eligibility.
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FPC Begins Lay-led Summer Services

STOW: Sunday, June 20, marks the beginning of lay-led summer services at First Parish Church of Stow & Acton, Unitarian Universalist (FPC). In the shadow of the one-year anniversary of George Floyd’s murder, members of the Racial Justice Task Force will reflect on what the past year has brought us and taught us during this service, entitled “A Long and Winding Road: The Ongoing Quest for Racial Justice.” The service will begin at 10am.
For more information about each individual service, call 978-897-8149 or visit Details about all upcoming summer services are listed on that page, including details about both the subject of each service and how to access it. To prevent disruptive intrusions, the virtual room will be locked about 15 minutes after a service begins. FPC apologizes for any inconvenience this causes.

Read to Luna the Dog Live! at the Concord Free Public Library

CONCORD: The Concord Free Public Library invites children to Read to Luna the Dog on the Main Library lawn the second Friday of each month beginning in June between 11:30am-12:30pm. Luna is a certified therapy dog through Pets & People Foundation, Inc. Did you know that reading to dogs boosts reading skills and emotional and social skills for children? This event is for children ages 5+. Children are invited to register for their own individual 15 minute session with Luna. Register in advance by visiting the library's events calendar online at
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June is PTSD Awareness Month

June is PTSD Awareness Month. Though most often associated with veterans who experienced atrocities of war, anyone, including children and teens, can suffer with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Children typically recover quickly from stressful events, but when it comes to severe stress, especially serious injuries, the death of a close family member or friend, sexual assault, living through a disaster, or witnessing a violent act such as a school shooting, children can often suffer the long-term effects of PTSD.
The National Center for PTSD estimates that 7-8% of people will experience PTSD during their lives. Worse yet, over 65% of children who are exposed to a traumatic event will, at some point, attempt to take their own lives.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, the symptoms of PTSD are different for young children than those of older teens and adults. Children younger than 6 will often wet the bed, forget how or refuse to talk, act out the traumatic event during routine play, or become unusually clingy with a parent or other adult. Research shows that depression rates increase after a trauma and tend to be especially high among children with PTSD. If your child or someone you love is struggling with depression or thinking about suicide, get help now. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-TALK (8255), is a free resource, available 24 hours a day for anyone who is in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. The Crisis Text Line is a free 24/7 text line where trained crisis counselors support individuals in crisis. Text “Jason” to 741741 to speak with a compassionate, trained Crisis Counselor. Confidential support 24/7, for free.

The Jason Foundation is another available resource.  The Jason Foundation is dedicated to the awareness and prevention of youth suicide through educational programs that equip youth, parents, educators, and the community with the tools and resources to identify and assist at-risk youth. Many times, a young person will exhibit clear warnings signs prior to an attempt. By knowing the warning signs, and knowing how to help, you could save a life.  Visit The Jason Foundation’s website to learn more about youth suicide, the warning signs, and how you can help make a difference.  The Jason Foundation has never charged a school, community, or individual for the use of their programs or resources.
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Emerson Hospital & IMPACT Melanoma Team Up to Protect the Public

CONCORD: Emerson Hospital and IMPACT Melanoma, a national non-profit organization dedicated to reducing the incidence of melanoma, have teamed for the third consecutive year to protect residents from skin cancer. The organizations have deployed touchless, automatic sunscreen dispensers at 16 high-traffic locations, including parks and recreation facilities, beaches, rail trails, and athletic fields throughout Concord and the greater area. The dispensers provide complementary sunscreen throughout Acton (at The Discovery Museum), Bedford, Chelmsford, Concord, Harvard, Hudson, Maynard and Westford. Jen Melanson, Community Service Coordinator for the town of Chelmsford, reported after the 2020 season, “The program was so well received, we had positive feedback on social media and from citizens who were very excited and appreciative. We are grateful to Emerson Hospital for providing the dispensers and are excited to support the program again this year.”
“We are pleased to work with Emerson Hospital on this invaluable initiative for the third year,” said Deb Girard, IMPACT’s Executive Director. “It is imperative to educate communities at all levels – residents, government, employees, and visitors – to create a broad sense of sun-safe practices aimed at healthier lifestyle choices for our skin. With this initiative in motion, we can achieve exactly that with the fleet of free sunscreen dispensers, and educational messaging. We are excited and hope that neighboring towns take notice. Together we can make a great IMPACT and practice of safe skin.”
Emerson Hospital is sponsoring bright yellow sunscreen dispensers that are filled with SPF 30 sunscreen. The dispensers are monitored regularly and replenished as needed, ensuring that everyone in the area who needs sunscreen has easy access to it. SPF 30 or higher sunscreen is rated and recommended for use by children ages six-months and up, and adults. All sunscreen ingredients are safe and approved by the FDA.
To learn more about the importance of sunscreen and where the complimentary sunscreen dispensers are located, please visit