Domestic Violence Roundtable Collects Valentine Donations for Families in Shelter

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SUDBURY:  Each February, the Sudbury-Wayland-Lincoln Domestic Violence Roundtable collects items for Valentine’s Day and fills gift bags for adults and children temporarily living in local domestic violence shelters and transitional housing programs: REACH Beyond Domestic Violence, The Second Step, and Voices Against Violence. The Valentine Bags are decorated by the children from Sudbury Extended Day.
 
Members of local communities are cordially invited to participate in this collection again this year. This is a great opportunity for civic organizations, workplaces, families, friends, and neighbors to contribute to the Roundtable collection and to help us make lives brighter for families affected by domestic violence. Small acts of kindness like the gift bags let families know they are supported in their decision to leave an abusive situation and brighten their day. These gestures are especially appreciated during the pandemic.
 
Some examples of needed items are gift cards for CVS, Target, Market Basket, Gas etc. For adults, teens and tweens some items could include full size bath products, socks, cosmetics, nail polish, hair products, journals, gloves/mittens, boxed candy, wash cloths, underwear and scarves. Items for children could include playing cards, educational materials, small toys, small stuffed animals, matchbox cars, underwear, socks and candy. No books, crayons, pencils or markers please.
 
In past years the Roundtable has provided as many as 80 bags for families in shelter and transitional housing. If you are interested in contributing to the Valentine’s Day collection and have questions, please contact the Roundtable at info@dvrt.org . Donations may be left in the collection basket provided at Sudbury Wine and Spirits in the Rugged Bear Plaza Road, 410 Boston Post Road, Sudbury. The 2023 collection will start on January 20 and end on February 3.
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ARC Comedy Night Benefit February 10th

HUDSON/MARLBOROUGH: The ARC is hosting the 12th Annual Comedy Night Benefit, featuring the area’s most  popular and talented comedians on February 10, at the Hudson Portuguese Club, 13 Port Street in Hudson. The event, being held in support of the Addiction Referral Center (ARC) of Marlborough, will include lots of laughs, food, and raffle prizes. The ARC has been serving the local community for fifty years, since 1972, and relies on  fundraising and donations to provide its services.  

Entertainers at the Comedy Night Benefit include popular comedians Amy Tee, Ryan Shea, and Bill Douglas. Boston comedian Dave Rattigan returns as host. These days he co-hosts two podcasts, the crime ‘n  grime-focused Crime Solvers Podcast and Real Stories by Real Cops. His CD has been  played on SiriusXM Radio, and he performed three times on the syndicated Steve  Katsos Show. He’s done commercials for Olympia Sports and iParty, and performed in  Dublin and Kilkenny, Ireland and in Boston with Irish comedians Ardal O’Hanlon and  Joe Rooney. He’s performed at the Hampton Beach Comedy Festival (NH), Boston  Comedy Festival, Women in Comedy Festival, and Salem Comedy and Spirits Festival,  and shared the stage with Bill Burr, Jeff Dunham, the Beach Boys, and more. 

Amy Tee is one of the busiest comedians on the New England comedy circuit today.  Whether performing in world famous comedy clubs, theaters, colleges, or at charity  events, her edgy but subtle approach turns her personal tribulations into non-stop  hilarity with mainstream and alternative audiences from Los Angeles to New York City  alike. As an official presenter for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Amy  Tee proudly uses her comedy act to serve as a mental wellness advocate. Mentioned in  Curve magazine as one of the "funniest lesbians in America," and identified as a rising  star by the Boston Globe, she is a regular performer at the Boston Comedy Festival and  also featured on Sirius XM Satellite Radio & LOGO television network. 

Ryan Shea is a Boston based comic that has been a regular in the Boston clubs for the past 11 years. He performs all over the east coast, and is a former comic in residence at the reputable Comedy Studio in Cambridge. In 2016 he was asked to perform for the troops and asked back in 2017. Shea is honest, outspoken, and introspective. He brings high energy and points of view for everyone to enjoy. 

Bill Douglas is a middle school science teacher by day. At night he’s still a middle school science teacher, but also travels around New England performing comedy. In  addition to New England, he’s performed at clubs in the Midwest and San Francisco. He  has shared the stage with headliners such as Jimmy Dunn, Paul Nardizzi, Carolyn  Plummer, and Paul D’Angelo. 

Doors open for the event at 6:30pm and the show begins at 7:30pm. Food is available  for purchase. Coffee and desserts are complimentary. For further information on  sponsorships, program ads, tickets or table reservations, call the ARC Office at (508) 485-4357. Tables ($250) and individual tickets ($25) should be purchased in advance at  the ARC. Chairing the event are Tracey Gustafson and Bob Landry.  

The Addiction Referral Center (ARC) ranks as one of the most respected and active  recovery service resources in Middlesex County. As a nonprofit organization, the ARC  provides individualized referral services, Recovery Coach appointments and daily peer support meetings at no cost to those seeking recovery from substance use disorder. To  donate to the ARC or sponsor the 12th Annual Comedy Night Benefit please call (508) 485-4357 or visit www.theaddictionreferralcenter.org/2023- comedy.
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WANTED: Treble Voice Singers

NATICK: The A Capella Singers, based in Natick, sings both accompanied and a cappella music.  They are currently welcoming prospective new members in all parts (Soprano I & II particularly, as well as Alto I & II) who have prior choral experience and/or can read music to join.  They will be holding open rehearsals at Fisk Memorial United Methodist Church, 106 Walnut Street on January 16 and 23 at 7pm.  
 
The A Cappella Singers was formed in 1963 as part of the Natick Newcomer’s Club and consists of members from many towns and many walks of life, all with a common love of vocal music.  They are a dues-paying, non-profit organization. At this time, proof of vaccinations and masks are required to join. To find out the latest information, please visit www.facebook.com/acappellasingersnatick,  email info@theacappellasingers.org, or call (774) 231-1963 or (781) 444-5963.
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Special Ed Parent Group Fundraiser February 3

MARLBOROUGH: The Northborough Southborough Special Education Parent Advisory Council (NSPAC) is hosting a Mini Golf Fundraising Event on February 3, 4:30-6:30pm at Trombetta’s Farm, 655 Farm Road. Tee times begin at 4:30pm and continue every 15 minutes. Admission is $10/golfer, and families can purchase food, participate in a 50/50 raffle, and enjoy camaraderie with other families. Proceeds from this Fundraiser will go to NSPAC. NSPAC provides Northborough and Southborough district families with educational workshops, social activities, kid-centered activities, advocates on behalf of families with students on IEPs and 504s, delivers our district’s annual Go the Distance Awards ceremony and more. Please register online at www.signupgenius.com/go/30e0f4aabac23abf85-nspac1#. Families that cannot attend the Fundraiser but would still like to make a donation can do so at www.signupgenius.com/go/30e0f4aabac23abf85-nspac2#.

NSPAC is a volunteer-run, positive and solution oriented organization of parents of students ages 3-22 with special needs, medical challenges, and learning differences in the Northborough and Southborough School Districts. Meetings, speakers, and events of interest can be found on the website at www.nspac.org or follow NSPAC on Facebook.

Finding Your Mojo and Unleashing Your Soul: Developing Drive, Motivation and Joie de vivre with Rabbi Dr Wolf

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SUDBURY: All are invited to join Chabad of Sudbury for a lecture with Rabbi Dr Wolf, unusual exponent of ancient wisdoms and cutting-edge psychology. A lawyer and psychologist as well as an ordained Hasidic Rabbi, Dr Wolf is an internationally renowned speaker, and the celebrated author of the best-selling ‘Practical Kabbala’ (published by Random House). His works have been highly acclaimed by diverse world leaders such as Rabbi Lord Sir Jonathan Sacks obm, and the Dalai Lama.

Dr Wolf will be visiting Sudbury and lecturing on the theme of "Finding your Mojo & Unleashing your Soul" and sharing tools from Meditation and Kabbala on "Developing Drive, Motivation and Joie De Vivre". A great turnout is expected to hear this unusual speaker who sports an Australian accent while explaining the profound secrets of Kabbala while elucidating the latest psychological data on personality development. His lecture is being hosted January 25 at 7pm at the Chabad Center of Sudbury, 100 Horse Pond Road. Light refreshments will be served. The fee is $15 before January 24; $20 at the door or on January 25. RSVP online at www.chabadsudbury.com/wolf or by calling (978) 443-0110.

Evening Sponsorships are available.
Sponsors are invited to join a Cocktail Hour from 6pm and on with the Guest Speaker.
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Wildlife Tracks and Signs

WESTBOROUGH: Have you ever come across tracks in the snow or mud, and wondered what animal made them? Or thought about what other signs animals might leave of their presence? On January 22 from 1-3pm, bring the family and join the Westborough Community Land Trust on this walk, to learn how to tell what our local animals are doing in the wild when we’re not around! Led by certified wildlife tracker Debbie Gallagher, assisted by Janet Anderson. Free; no reservation required. Easy walk on woodland terrain, one small hill.Meet at the Mass Wildlife Field Headquarters, 1 Rabbit Hill Road (off North Drive). Take Milk Street to North Drive. and follow signs to the Mass Wildlife Headquarters.
 
Before heading out, check for cancellation at https://westboroughlandtrust.org/
For questions contact: events@westboroughlandtrust.org
Trail Map: https://westboroughcharm.org/guide/maps/map_FishWildlife.pdf
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LSCO Begins 50th season with Masters of the Classics Concert 

LINCOLN/SUDBURY: The Lincoln-Sudbury Civic Orchestra opens its 50th season on January 8, under the leadership of  its gifted new conductor Alfonso Piacentini in a program of the classical masters Wolfgang Amadeus  Mozart, Ludwig von Beethoven and Felix Mendelssohn. The concert begins at 3pm.  

Maestro Piacentini (pictured) joins the orchestra for its first concert under his baton. Piacentini was appointed conductor following the departure of another emerging conducting star Luca Antonucci who directed the orchestra for three years. Antonucci left to pursue Doctor of Musical Arts in conducting at the University of Michigan. 

Maynard resident and Lexington music educator Chris Brainard is the newly appointed concertmaster in her first appearance in this role.  

Pianist Marvin Wolfthal joins the orchestra as soloist for the last piano concerto penned by Mozart, his  27th concerto. This is Mr. Wolfthal’s second appearance with LSCO.  Wolfthal was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut,  where he studied piano with Murray and Loretta Dranoff. He studied composition  at Columbia University with Charles Wuorinen and Harvey Sollberger and piano  with Claudio Arrau and Rafael de Silva. He was a founder of the Columbia  Chamber Players, which performed classics of early Twentieth Century music and  gave several first New York performances of works by major composers, including  Pierre Boulez.

The program opens with the overture Fingals Cave, originally published as The Hebrides by  Mendelssohn. His inspiration came during a visit to the Scottish island of Staffa, where he saw the  Fingal’s sea cave.  The last concerto for piano and orchestra, #27 in B flat major was composed in the last months of  Mozart’s short and tragic life. Soloist Marvin Wolfthal will introduce the work with comments from the  stage about its context in Mozart’s waning months. A short intermission will be taken. The second half of the program is Beethoven’s Symphony #1 in C  major, a landmark symphony in the development of the classical symphony form.

Lincoln-Sudbury Civic Orchestra,
The community orchestra of Lincoln Sudbury Regional High School, will perform January 8 at 3:30pm at 390 Lincoln Road in Sudbury.  For more information, visit www.lscivicorchestra.org  or email lscivicorchestra@gmail.com.
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Action Holiday BINGO! Wrapping Up Soon

Have you been playing The Action's Winter BINGO! this season?  The game will be wrapping up soon, so be sure to dab your numbers, cross your fingers, and when you find yourself with a row completed horizontally, vertically or diagonally, copy or scan your cards and send them to "contest@actionunlimited.com" or 100-1 Domino Drive, Concord, MA 01742.  One winner will be drawn from all verified submissions.
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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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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.

First Parish of Sudbury Invites the Community to Celebrate the Season 

SUDBURY: First Parish of Sudbury invites the community to celebrate the season with them...
 
Winter Holiday Multigenerational Service
 - December 18, 10am

In-person or online
, join Rev. Kathleen Hepler for a Winter Holiday  Multigenerational Service. Sing holiday songs…hear some stories….listen to a choir of many ages. Be together for a time of celebration.

Christmas Eve Candle Lighting Service 

December 24,
 7pm   

In-person or online, join welcoming Christmas Eve with a community candle lighting in the silent night. Featuring traditional carols. The dark nurtures the seed of our need for more love in the world. The light is the birth of love in our own hearts. 
All ages are welcome!

Sharing Holiday Stories and Cocoa

Sunday, December 25, 10am

Gather in person in the First Parish Brackett Room for hot cocoa and holiday treats. Bring a holiday story to share if you would like. Rev. Kathleen Hepler and others will lead our sharing. Relax in front of the fire together!
 
First Parish of Sudbury, located at 327 Concord Road is a diverse and welcoming community of spiritual seekers who strive to learn together and support one another as they celebrate life’s important moments and serve the larger community. The First Parish was founded in 1640, and the congregation worships in the historic meetinghouse that was built in 1685.
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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.

Foundation for MetroWest Welcome’s High School Students to Apply for Spring Youth in Philanthropy Program

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NATICK: The Foundation for MetroWest invites high school students living or learning in the region to apply to their Youth in Philanthropy (YIP) program’s spring session. YIP students will meet in-person one evening a week, January through May 2023, to learn about the needs of the MetroWest community, how the local nonprofit ecosystem addresses those needs, and how they can make a difference.

YIP students connect with nonprofit professionals, evaluate grant applications from organizations supporting MetroWest youth, and award two $5,000 grants. The Foundation will run two programs in spring 2023. YIP Wellesley, supported by the Community Fund for Wellesley, serves students who live or learn in Wellesley and will meet at the Foundation’s office in Natick, just over the Wellesley town line. YIP Sudbury, supported and hosted by the Sudbury Foundation, serves students who live or learn in any of the towns and cities served by the Foundation. Interested students can learn more or apply at www.yipmetrowest.org. Participation in this experiential leadership development program  is free of charge. The Foundation welcomes questions at yip@foundationformetrowest.org or (508) 647-2260. The priority deadline for application is December 19. Following the priority deadline, admission is rolling based on capacity.

The Foundation for MetroWest improves the quality of life in 30+ MetroWest communities by providing financial and educational resources to local nonprofit organizations, sharing essential data about our region to inform decision making, and partnering with donors to help guide and align their giving with the areas of greatest need in the community. foundationmw.org
 

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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Northborough Kicks Off the Holidays with the Annual Tree Lighting

NORTHBOROUGH: The Northborough Community Affairs Committee is pleased to present Northborough Annual Tree Lighting on December 3 at 4:30pm on the corner of Blake and Main Streets.  This year's celebration will include the lighting of the tree, an acknowledgment of the town Menorah (which will be lit during Hanukkah) and a performance by the Northborough 5th Grade Unified Chorus. During the event, hot cocoa, cookies, pizza and candy canes will be passed out while supplies last. 

This annual lighting of the tree began in 1968 in honor of the memory of Neil Ellsworth, an Army private first class, who was killed in Vietnam in 1967 at the age of 19. He will be honored during the event. 

There will also be a toy collection for Toys for Tots and a food collection for the Northborough Food Pantry taking place. For more information about the Northborough Community Affairs Committee, visit www.northborough cac.weebly.com or find them on Facebook @nobocac. 
 
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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

Domestic Violence Roundtable Invites You to Support Holiday Drives for Families Affected by Abuse

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SUDBURYEach year the Sudbury-Wayland-Lincoln Domestic Violence Roundtable sponsors a family for the holidays, and each year they invite local communities to become involved in making the holidays brighter for families affected by domestic violence. Families in shelter for the holidays face a sad and difficult time as they are separated from family and friends and are hiding from their abusers. These agencies also serve families living in our local communities.

The Covid pandemic continues to be difficult for everyone, but it has been especially difficult for families affected by abuse. Just covering everyday expenses is a challenge. With the help of our local communities, these families can have happy holidays.

There are a number of ways that you can help. Sponsoring a family can be a wonderful way for you and your family to do something together to help others. You can also involve extended family, neighbors, and friends. Or perhaps your colleagues at work, your book club, scout troop, civic organization, or club would like to organize a collection. Your participation in a holiday drive can help relieve the stress and depression that overcome shelter families at this time of year. The support that comes from the community at this time of year reinforces their decisions to seek safety and end violence in their lives. Each gift, each donation, each good holiday wish has a positive effect on their self-esteem and boosts their spirits. And it lifts the spirits of the donors, too.

Three local agencies offer services and programs for families affected by domestic violence. All of these programs conduct a Holiday Drive.  For further information about how you might help, please contact:

REACH Beyond Domestic Violence
Maria Duffy, Asst. Director of Development, mduffy@reachma.org   (781) 891-0724 X109, Deadline: November 29

The Second Step Gift Card Drive
Michaela Estes mestes@thesecondstep.org
(617) 467-5334. Deadline: December 15

Voices Against Violence
Simone Williams, simonew@smoc.org
(508) 820-0834.
Deadline: December 15

Holiday drives start early so that agencies have time to process donations. In some cases, gift cards are being collected so families can shop and wrap their presents. Please call or email now to see how you can help.
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NACC Presents 51st Annual Christmas Concert

NORTHBOROUGH: The Northborough Area Community Chorus (NACC) will present their 51st Annual Christmas Concert on December 4 at 2pm at Algonquin Regional High School's auditorium. They will be performing a variety of Christmas music, sure to put some joy in your step and start the holiday season off right!Special guest appearances by the Saint Mary's Children's Choir of Shrewsbury and good 'ol Saint Nick from the North Pole! Tickets are $5 and may be purchased at the door For more information please visit www.nacc.net, @northboroughareacommunitychorus on Facebook, or email nacc.sings@gmail.com.  You can also call Marie Spence, Chorus President at (571) 331-0214.
Thanksgiving

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

17 Massachusetts High Schools to Compete on Season 14 of GBH’s High School Quiz Show

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Highest-scoring teams from High School Quiz Show’s Super Sunday qualifying event advance to the televised and streamed academic competition, premiering February 4 on GBH 2 and YouTube

High School Quiz Show®, GBH’s televised academic tournament for Massachusetts high schools, has revealed the 17 teams that will compete for the Season 14 State Championship title. The qualifying schools received the highest scores at High School Quiz Show’s Super Sunday event on November 6, where 65 schools from across the Commonwealth took a written quiz at GBH’s studios in Brighton. On the bracket are four first–time competitors as well as defending Season 13 champion, North Quincy High School.

Following two seasons of remote production, High School Quiz Show’s fourteenth season brings its battle of the brains back to in-person competition. Emmy award-winning television and radio personality Billy Costa will host the tapings at GBH studios in Brighton in January 2023. Teams of four students will go head-to-head in the fast-paced bracketed tournament, with winners advancing round by round until the final championship showdown. Season 14 of High School Quiz Show will premiere on GBH 2 and High School Quiz Show’s YouTube channel on February 4 at 6pm. 

“After a successful Super Sunday, we are eager to welcome these 17 schools from across Massachusetts back to GBH for an annual academic showdown,” said GBH Executive Producer Hillary Wells. “High School Quiz Show remains a cherished showcase for the academic rigor, integrity and perseverance embodied by high school students from all corners of the state. We look forward to welcoming fans, families, friends and community members back to our audience as we challenge the Season 14 cohort to show off their smarts.” 

The 15 teams with the highest scores from Super Sunday automatically qualified for a dedicated spot on the competition bracket. The 16th and final spot on the High School Quiz Show bracket will be determined during the season premiere Wild Cardmatch. Two teams representing high-scoring schools that have not previously been on the show or haven’t competed in five or more years will compete for the final spot. This year, those teams are Concord-Carlisle High School and Melrose High School, both of whom are first-time competitors.

North Quincy High School will return to defend its title of Season 13 State Champion. Joining them are Season 5 champion Acton-Boxborough Regional High School; Seasons 7 and 8 champions, Lexington High School; Season 9 champion, Andover High School; and Seasons 10 and 11 champions, Boston Latin School. Four schools will make their High School Quiz Show debuts, including the two Wild Card teams, Concord-Carlisle High School and Melrose High School, in addition to the Commonwealth School and Saint Joseph Prep Boston. 

The full list of teams competing for the title of Season 14 High School Quiz Show State Champion is as follows:
 
  • Acton-Boxborough Regional High School
  • Andover High School
  • Boston Latin School
  • Brookline High School
  • Buckingham Browne & Nichols School (Cambridge)
  • Commonwealth School (Boston)
  • Concord-Carlisle High School
  • Hingham High School
  • Lexington High School
  • Mansfield High School
  • Melrose High School
  • Needham High School
  • North Quincy High School
  • Phillips Academy (Andover)
  • Saint Joseph Prep Boston
  • Shrewsbury High School
  • South High Community School (Worcester) 

High School Quiz Show is endorsed by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education and the Massachusetts PTA. Major funding for High School Quiz Show is provided by Safety Insurance. Additional funding is provided by the Museum of Science, Massachusetts Teachers Association, Xfinity, UMass Amherst, Eastern Bank and Subaru of New England.

For more information, visit  highschoolquizshow.org and follow the show on  YouTubeFacebook,Twitter and Instagram.
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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.

Party With A Purpose is a family-friendly event and all are encouraged to come and volunteer with The Goneau Group, Kits For Kids and many other local community service organizations as we collaborate and celebrate together at this special gift-giving event.

Town of Northborough Scholarship Fund Needs Community’s Support

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NORTHBOROUGH: November is Scholarship Awareness Month. The cost of post-secondary education has skyrocketed. The availability of scholarships to high school seniors is important so they can meet their educational goals.

The Northborough Scholarship Committee was established by the Northborough Board of Selectmen in 2001. It is currently comprised of six volunteer members, who are appointed to three-year terms by the Board of Selectmen. The goal of the Committee is to recognize high school senior students, who reside in
Northborough, and provide them with some financial assistance for their post-secondary education. The Committee is asking the community to help support the academic journeys of Northborough high school seniors. The Scholarship Fund does not receive any money from the town budget; it relies solely on the generosity of the community. The scholarship awards are based on available funds.

In 2022, a total of $1,800 in scholarship funds was awarded to five recipients in the Class of 2023: Brianna Boeckeler, Aislin Campbell, Erik Lin, Paulina Paradise, and Jason Subat. Consideration is given to the student's academic standing, financial need, employment and community service experiences, school/extracurricular activities, letter of recommendation, and
essay.

There are three easy ways to contribute to the Scholarship Fund:
  • Donate online at www.town.northborough.ma.us/scholarship-committee.
  • Donate by check. Mail or use the drop off box in the front of town hall: Town of Northborough -Scholarship Committee, 63 Main Street, Northborough, MA 01532.
  • Add your donation to your tax payment. The portion of the property tax bill, which you return with your payment, gives you the option to voluntarily donate to local funds, including the Scholarship Fund. Indicate the amount you would like to add to your tax payment.
Visit www.town.northborough.ma.us/scholarship-committee for additional information, or email questions to northboroughscholarships@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.
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Toys for Tots site at MOOYAH Burgers

NORTHBOROUGH: MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes located at 10010 Shops Way has once again partnered with the Marine Corps League, 144 Worcester Detachment in Worcester to be an official Toys for Tots collection site this holiday season. New, unwrapped toy donations can be dropped off during normal business hours of 11am-9pm through December 18. Toys should be non-violent and in the original packaging for ages 0-16 years old. Gift cards for older children are encouraged. All donations will be distributed locally throughout Worcester County.
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Assabet Valey Mastersingsers Invitation for New Choristers

SHREWSBURY: Interested vocalists and potential members of Assabet Valley Mastersingers will be welcomed at an open rehearsal on November 28. Rehearsal time for this rehearsal and all regular Monday practices to follow will be from 7:30-9:45pm at the First Congregational Church of Shrewsbury, 19 Church Road. Get a sense of how regular rehearsals are run as well as a sense of the group itself. AVM offers a choral experience in a community of welcoming, inclusive, respectful, collegial and talented vocalists who value high artistic standards.

Preparation will begin for the concert—Coronation Celebration—with orchestra and soloists on March 26, 2023 featuring Coronation Mass by Mozart, and Coronation Anthems by Handel. Arrive early so that you can meet the Membership chair, Deb Wallace, and section leaders, and get music for rehearsal.

The Assabet Valley Mastersingers chorus, directed by founder Dr. Robert P. Eaton, has gained a reputation for musical excellence and unusual programming. AVM believes individuals perform best when working together in a supportive, encouraging, and non-competitive environment. For more information, visit Sing with Us! www.avmsingers.org/sing-with-us!

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.

Classical Guitar Concert: Old and New—Featuring Father & Daughter Guitarists Klondike & Mei Yin Steadman

Fps classical guitar 11.19.22
SUDBURY:  Join First Parish of Sudbury for an evening of Classical Guitar: Old and New, November 19 at 7pm. Father and daughter guitarists Klondike and Mei Yin Steadman will perform a concert of classical music from the Baroque to the present day. Mei Yin will perform traditional favorites by the likes of Telemann, Scarlatti, and Rossini while Klondike will be premiering newly commissioned works by award-winning composers Ruth Myers Sacks and Trevor Weston. Tickets are $20 per person at the door. Free parking is available onsite and behind Sudbury Town Hall.

Mei Yin Steadman was born in Austin, TX, in 2005. Growing up in her parents’ music school, Orpheus Academy of Music, seeing kids taking music lessons every day, she expressed her desire to learn to play music as soon as she could talk. She started Musicianship classes at age four, guitar at age five with her dad, and piano at age six with her mom. She continues to play both instruments but now studies guitar with Professor Adam Holzman. She has excelled particularly at guitar, winning solo prizes at the Southern Guitar Competition, Texas Guitar Competition, the Asian American Competition, The Texas Guitar Conference, and the Houston Classical Guitar Festival and with the Orpheus Guitar Quartet at the Southern Guitar Competition and the Brownsville Guitar Ensemble Festival. She has performed on the radio for KUT’s Eklektikos with host John Aielli, on television for KXAN, and at Carnegie Hall for the 15th-anniversary concert of Orpheus Academy of Music.

Dr. Klondike Steadman is a pioneering guitarist, entrepreneur, educator, and author. He has taught at the University of Texas Butler School of Music, and served on the faculty of Southwestern University and the Classical Minds Guitar Festival. As the co-founder and director of Orpheus Academy of Music with his wife, Wendy Kuo, he has built one of the most successful music programs for kids in the country. He is the author of The Complete Guitar and The Complete Guitar For the Older Beginner, which is used by many private teachers and as the textbook for guitar classes at colleges and universities across the US. 

First Parish of Sudbury is located at 327 Concord Road. For more information, please call (978) 443-2043 or email office@fpsudbury.org.
 

Alfonso Piacentini to Lead Lincoln Sudbury Civic Orchestra in its 50th Anniversary Year

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LINCOLN/SUDBURY: Alfonso Piacentini has been appointed conductor of Lincoln Sudbury Civic Orchestra, a community orchestra resident at the Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School. Piacentini, a charismatic, young conductor and percussionist, graduated from the Boston Conservatory at Berklee with a Master of Music in conducting in May, 2022. He also serves under Benjamin Zander as an Assistant Conductor of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra and its youth orchestra.  

Growing up in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Piacentini’s mother signed him up for drum lessons at a young age as a place to channel some of his abundant energy. That, combined with the influence of his grandfather’s love of classical music started him on his musical journey. He recalls spending hours with his grandfather listening to the Carnegie Library of Classical Music, a set of LPs, and sharing in his love for the music and the personalities of the conductors.

As an adolescent, heavy metal drummers influenced Piacentini’s rock band playing. However, over time, and with help from some strong mentors, he found his talent and interest in classical music.  He attended a specialized music school in junior high and in tenth grade entered the Puerto Rico Conservatory of Music. 

Piacentini continued his studies in orchestral percussion as an undergraduate at the Conservatory school where, during his junior and senior years, he discovered his love of conducting. The conductor of the school’s concert band, who was also the Associate Conductor of the Puerto Rico Symphony, was looking for an apprentice. Piacentini started taking his classes, increasing his passion for conducting and building a strong relationship with his mentor. Over the summer, he bought scores and parts to two pieces he wanted to conduct and meticulously studied them. Back at university the next semester, he led the concert band in one of the pieces and got the apprenticeship. “I was so nervous the first time I conducted in a concert,” Alfonso recalled, “I forgot to bring out my score and baton when I came on stage!” 

Upon completion of his studies at the Conservatory in Puerto Rico, Piacentini moved to New York City and spent a year as a server in a fine dining restaurant. Living his life without playing and conducting became unbearable. He knew he was destined to make classical music his career. He has since discovered, thanks to one of his mentors, “Once you fully devote yourself, focus on it and commit, things start happening.”

And happen they did:  Piacentini entered the Boston Conservatory as a graduate conducting student, and immediately began as musical assistant to Benjamin Zander at the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra.   After completing his masters at the Boston Conservatory in May, Piacentini applied for the opportunity to conduct the Lincoln Sudbury Civic Orchestra. “I’m excited to be leading a group that comes together for the fun of making music,” said Alfonso. “When we get things right, nail a passage, we know we have sculpted it into a beautiful thing.”

Managing Director William Nicholson is excited to have Piacentini at the podium: "When I first spoke to Alfonso, I knew he'd be a great fit. His high level of energy and his dedication to the music are a perfect combination for the community orchestra. After just a few rehearsals, it's clear we made the right choice."

Founded in 1973 as a community orchestra for high school musicians to work with adult musicians of Lincoln and Sudbury, LSCO begins its 50th year in operation. The orchestra has two concerts planned for their 50th anniversary year featuring works by Mendelssohn, Beethoven, and Mozart.  The group is always looking for new players. Interested amateur musicians are welcome to join the orchestra should visit https://lscivicorchestra.org for more information, or email lscivicorchestra@gmail.com.
Feed the northeast

St. Stephen Church Members Collect for Food Pantry

MARLBOROUGH: Challenged to collect 500 items for their local food pantry during the month of October, the people of St. Stephen Lutheran Church met and exceeded the goal, amassing 663 cans and packages donated to the Hudson Community Food Pantry. Their efforts had an additional benefit: as one of the first 100 participants to meet the “Feed the Northeast” goal of the Thrivent Northeast Member Network, St. Stephen was rewarded with a $500 donation from Thrivent to the food pantry. Frank Dutt of Hudson was the team leader who spear-headed the church project.

Thrivent is a not-for-profit financial services organization headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Appleton, Wisconsin, and founded by Lutherans. Thrivent clients are part of regional member networks that sponsor generosity programs, financial workshops and social
events. HCFP is a non-profit organization serving residents of Hudson, Berlin, and Bolton who struggle with food insecurity.

For more information about St. Stephen Lutheran Church, visit www.saintstephenlutheran.com or the church’s Facebook page. Parishioners come from Marlborough, Hudson, Berlin,
Northborough, Southborough, Westborough, Shrewsbury, Sudbury, Stow, and Bolton.

PHOTO: Flanking the 663 collected cans and boxes of food, from left, front row: Alissa and Theo Walters, Leo and Lena Mileski. Back row, Pastor Greg Mileski, Beth Warner, Shay Warner, Jan Conlin, Ann Weston and Doug Kellogg.
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Micah Center Volunteers Generate 205 Letters

MARLBOROUGH: There could be an increase of new local voters at the polls, thanks to an initiative of the Marlborough-based Micah Center for Social Justice. To encourage more people to cast a ballot, the Center sponsored a campaign to send hand-written letters to area people eligible to vote.

Penning their notes at home or at a recent gathering at the home of Jan and Beth Conlin, volunteers generated an impressive 205 missives. Each letter had a personalized note from the writer indicating why they believed it was important to vote. The reasons were as varied as the baker’s dozen of volunteers. Deb Roberts, Micah Center chair, recalls these statements: “Voting is powerful;” “Everyone is important and we must vote to share our vision of the country;” “My vote is a way to create a better future for all of us, with good jobs, good healthcare, and safe communities;” and “I feel that it's extra important to speak up, particularly when our country is faced with challenges.”

In addition to Deb Roberts, Jan and Beth Conlin, letter writers included Bev Broz and Anita Phelan (pictured), Marlea Dutt, Beth Garner, Peg Harbert, Judy Kellogg, Pam Narahara, Jim and Joni Schalkhauser and Melanie Whapham.
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First Parish of Sudbury Voices of Color Book Club

SUDBURY:  The First Parish of Sudbury Book Club, led by Rev. Kathleen Hepler, invites the community to their Voices of Color Book Discussions. All books on the list are written by people of color with distinctive voices. Join in for an exploration in decentering whiteness from the discourse. The first session will take place on November 13, discussing This Here Flesh: Spirituality, Liberation, and the Stories That Make Us by Cole Arthur Riley. This is a series of essays on topics like dignity, rage, and joy. Subsequent books include This Here Flesh by Cole Arthur Riley; On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean WongThe Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates;  and Beloved by Toni Morrison.
 
Seven sessions are scheduled for Sunday evenings from 7-8:30pm. Between November and February 2023. The first and last session will be held at First Parish of Sudbury, 327 Concord Road, in-person. All other sessions will be held on Zoom. Join one—a few—or all sessions! See all discussion dates and register at fpsudbury.org/voices-of-color-bookgroup-22/Contact (978) 443-2043 or office@fpsudbury.org for further information.

Sudbury Select Board Schedules Virtual Forums For Residents To Interact With Town Manager Finalists

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SUDBURY: The Town of Sudbury is pleased to announce that two virtual community forums will be held on November 7 and 9 to offer residents and employees the opportunity to interact with the finalists for the position of Sudbury’s next Town Manager.

“We are very interested in having community members engage with the Town Manager finalists,” said Charles Russo, Chair of the Sudbury Select Board. “We value the input of all of our residents and employees in the Town Manager selection process.”

The Town has contracted with the consulting firm Community Paradigm Associates to assist in the search process. Bernard Lynch, Principal of the firm, will facilitate the two virtual forums. The Town Manager finalists will be available for approximately one hour each during the virtual forums with the individual finalists scheduled to participate on either November 7 or 9 at 6:30pm.  To remotely participate in the community forum, join via Zoom at URL: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83035620119
Dial-in: Dial-in number: (978) 639-3366 or (470) 250-9358
Meeting ID: 830 3562 0119

For more information, please contact the Sudbury Town Manager’s Office at (978) 639-3381.
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Assabet Valley Mastersingers Present Celebrate Peace

SHREWSBURY: The Assabet Valley Mastersingers will present Celebrate Peace, a collection of four pieces of work entitled Dona Nobis Pacem from four different composers, on November 20 at 3:30pm in the Robert R. Jay Performing Center at St. John’s High School, 378 Main Street. Dr. Robert P. Eaton, Founder and Artistic Director, will conduct soloists Soprano Mary Johnston Letellier and Baritone Philip Lima, along with the orchestra and ensemble.

The traditional Dona Nobis Pacem, often attributed to Palestrina or Mozart, is a short prayer for peace from the Agnus Dei of the Latin Mass. In the round for three parts, it is sung twice in every line. The melody has been passed orally. Keane Southard’s setting is a short unaccompanied work written in 2014. The composer indicates the primary themes evolved over the several years and only upon completion did he realize that the opening and closing sections are in the form of a canon as is the traditional. Latvian composer, Pietris Vasks, incorporates elements of Latvian folk music into a contemporary idiom. The emotional content of his setting is reflected in his masterful use of color and texture which holds our attention on this one single phrase, Dona Nobis Pacem, for 12 minutes. R. Vaughan Williams had witnessed war in France 1914-1918. This powerful work, his setting of Dona Nobis Pacem, vividly proclaims the harshness and cruelty of war, the intense and somber burial of a father and son, the anguished cry for peace, and a final message of good will and peace toward men. Dona Nobis Pacem. Give Us Peace.

Information and tickets can be obtained online at www.AVMsingers.org or at the venue the afternoon of the concert. The price is $25; $20 for seniors and students. AVM will follow all public health guidelines provided by Federal, state, and local health departments and those of concert venues.

AVM Programs are supported in part by grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and the Cultural Councils of Ashland, Boylston, Grafton, Marlborough, Northborough, Shrewsbury, Southborough, West Boylston and Westborough. AVM is also supported in part by grants from the Avidia Charitable Foundation; from Southborough Community Fund, a fund of the Foundation for MetroWest.
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NPT Hires Director of Public Programs, Bess Paupeck

FRAMINGHAM: Native Plant Trust, the nation’s first plant conservation organization and the only one solely focused on New England’s native plants, announces the hire of Bess Paupeck, as Director of Public Programs. In her role at Native Plant Trust, Bess oversees a department offering approximately 200 programs per year throughout New England, ranging from events, courses, workshops, field trips and a range of other programs that focus on botany, plant conservation, ecological horticulture and gardening.  The department also oversees the native plant certificate programs, which includes in-person and online courses as well as webinar offerings.

“We are delighted Bess has joined our staff at Native Plant Trust, where she will be instrumental in building exciting new opportunities for education and engagement throughout the region,” commented Debbi Edelstein, Executive Director. “Bess’s vision, deep experience in community and programming, passion for engaging learners at all levels and building partnerships will enable us to share our expertise in New England’s native plants with many more audiences.”

“I am very excited to join the team at Native Plant Trust,” noted Paupeck. “I have worked as a program producer, exhibition designer and curator in the art-science space at museums and universities, and am excited for this opportunity to bring this perspective to an organization focused on environmental issues. Since joining Native Plant Trust, I've been inspired by the dedication, passion, and deep knowledge of my colleagues for the science, conservation, and promotion of native plants.”

Prior to joining Native Plant Trust, Paupeck served in roles at Harvard University, the MIT Museum, the Boston Museum of Science, the Somerville Arts Council and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. She received a BA in American Studies/Fine Art/Art History from George Washington University, an MA in Public Humanities from Brown University, a Certificate in Non-Profit Management from Harvard University, and a Graduate Certificate in Museum Studies from Tufts University.

For more information about Public Programs at Native Plant Trust, please visit www.NativePlantTrust.org.

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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Native Plant Trust announces Need for Seed: A Strategy for The Northeast

FRAMINGHAM: Native Plant Trust, the nation’s first plant conservation organization and the only one solely focused on New England’s native plants, opens registration for Need for Seed: A Strategy for the Northeast, a live virtual symposium November 2 and 3 from 10am- 3pm. This two-day symposium focuses on establishing a groundbreaking network of native seed users and producers in New England, including government agencies and non-governmental organizations. Speakers will share success factors in establishing a native seed network and discuss strategy, logistics, and tasks, from seed collection and storage to the uses of seed in restoration and nursery cultivation. Registration is free thanks to support from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; to register please visit www.NativePlantTrust.org.
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Musical Duo to Offer Family Concert

MARLBOROUGH: On Sunday, November 13, there will be music and more at St. Stephen Lutheran Church, 537 Bolton Street, as the inaugural “Performance at St. Stephen” takes place with a concert by Pastor Ed and Ruth Voosen. The presenters predict a “casual and relaxing” afternoon for the whole family, offering mostly familiar folk songs, show tunes, country favorites, and possibly a sing-along to engage the audience.

The Voosens bring not only their voices — he is a baritone and she is a soprano — but also a variety of instruments, from flute to banjo to traditional guitar to a 12-string guitar, as well as interesting history. This versatile couple has been making beautiful music together for decades. Ed and Ruth met at Wagner College, each coming in with a love of music, and married two years later.

— As a member of the band, The Capitals, as a teen, Ed appeared twice on TV on the Ted Mack Amateur Hour.
— Ruth played the flute in bands and orchestras including All State Band, and sang first soprano in the Wagner College Choir.
— Ed founded and directed the Pinecrest Folk Choir, which recorded two albums and toured the eastern U.S. Ruth sang in the choir.
— Together, they have gone on more than 100 cruises, with Pastor Ed as the Protestant chaplain. During those trips, Ruth enjoys playing hymns on flute with Ed on guitar. In addition to the cruises, the Voosens have organized and led trips to Israel, Scandinavia, and Germany.

Ed Voosen was educated at Princeton University and the New York Theological Seminary. Ordained by the Lutheran Church, he served congregations in Brooklyn, NY and Auburn, MA, and retired in 2010. Ruth earned a BS in nursing at Wagner College and is a registered nurse. She has worked in a psychiatric unit in Brooklyn, has been a college health nurse at Worcester Polytechnic Institute and served as a nursery school teacher. The Voosens have three children and seven grandchildren.

Some of the audience will undoubtedly be engaged by the pre concert activity — the
afternoon program begins at 3pm with an Ice Cream Buffet. There is no fee for the concert, but donations are welcome. A free will offering will be taken to help fund St. Stephen teens who will attend the 2024 ELCA Youth Gathering in New Orleans.

For information about St. Stephen Lutheran 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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Christa Collins Retires After 20 Years at SVT
Dedicated Conservationist Receives Commendation from Massachusetts House of Representatives

SUDBURY: Christa Collins, Director of Land Protection at Sudbury Valley Trustees (SVT) since 2008, retired earlier this month after 20 years with the nonprofit conservation organization. A well-respected member of the Massachusetts conservation community, Collins played a role in the protection of more than 3,100 acres across 88 properties during her time at SVT. She was integral to the conservation of some of the region’s most expansive and well-known landscapes, including the 218-acre Mainstone Farm in Wayland, the 300-acre Nobscot Scout Reservation in Sudbury, the 90-acre Sweetwilliam Farm and Whitney Conservation Area in Upton, and most recently, the 100-acre Horseshoe Pond on Mount Pisgah in Berlin.

SVT honored Collins at its Annual Meeting recently, when Executive Director Lisa Vernegaard highlighted many of her successes. State Representative Carmine A. Gentile was also on hand to present Ms. Collins with a commendation from the Massachusetts House of Representatives. After the meeting, Vernegaard was effusive in her praise of her former colleague. “To a person, everyone I’ve spoken with has said what a pleasure it was to work with Christa,” she said. “Her knowledge, dedication, and persistence, along with a great sense of humor, combined to make her a respected and successful partner in conservation projects throughout the region. Her impact will be felt for decades to come, as future generations will be able to explore the same beautiful natural areas that we enjoy today.”

Ever dedicated to conservation, Collins will continue to serve the region as a board member for the Massachusetts Land Trust Coalition.
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Westborough Community Land Trust 25th Anniversary Hike 

WESTBOROUGH: Westborough Community Land Trust (WCLT)'s first organized hike was at the Bowman West property. On November 6 from 1-3pm, re-create that walk, with commentary about the history of Bowman West, the early days of WCLT, and the work that has been done at that property and our other trails in the past 25 years. WCLT founding member Tim Buckalew will be the walk leader. Meet at Bowman Conservation Area on Bowman Street. Free; no reservation required. For questions, contact events@westboroughlandtrust.org.
Map: https://westboroughcharm.org/guide/maps/bowmanwest_trail_map.pdf.

 
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Five Centuries of Classical Music Organ Concert at UCM

HUDSON: Organist and Music Director Robin Jubenville will perform an hour-long concert of classical organ music spanning five centuries on November 5 at 4pm in the Sanctuary at the Unitarian Church of Marlborough and Hudson (UCMH), located at 80 Main Street. The concert is free and open to the public, with donations gratefully accepted.

The organ at UCMH was built in 1891 by Geo. Ryder as his Opus 161 and presented to the church by Joseph S. Bradley, Edmund M. Stowe and Russell B. Lewis in 1892. This event marks the first public concert on this historic organ in more than 50 years. “Performing a public organ concert has been my dream for years,” said Ms. Jubenville. “I’m thrilled that it’s finally going to happen.” Ms. Jubenville has been playing organ since childhood.

To attend, register online at RobinJubenville.eventbrite.com and reserve your free tickets! For more information please contact the church office at (978) 562-9180 or via email at administrator@ucmh.org

First Parish to Host Trunk or Treat So Others Can Eat

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SUDBURY: First Parish of Sudbury invites all children ages 10 and under to wear their costumes and take part in the Fantastic & Fun 1st Annual Trunk or Treat So Others Can Eat on October 30, from 11:30am to 12:30pm in the First Parish parking lot, 327 Concord Road. Collect candy, play games, and have lots of Ghoulish Fun!!
 Please bring a non-perishable food item to donate to our collection for the Sudbury Community Food Pantry. The event will take place in the First Parish parking lot (and inside if the weather is inclement). For information, please contact Michelle Cote at redirector@fpsudbury.org.

First Parish of Sudbury (fpsdudbury.org), located in the center of history Sudbury, is a diverse and welcoming community of spiritual seekers who strive to learn together and support one another as they celebrate life’s important moments and serve the larger community. The First Parish was founded in 1640, and the congregation worships in the historic meetinghouse that was built in 1685.
 

Northborough's 3rd Annual Jack-O-Lantern Contest and Stroll 

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NORTHBOROUGH: Back by popular demand, the Northborough Community Affairs Committee is excited to announce the 2022 Jack-O-Lantern Contest and Stroll during Halloween weekend. Jack-o-lanterns provided by Northborough residents will be on display at the Town Common starting Friday, October 28 and will stay lit through the weekend for all ages to enjoy. 

Residents can sign-up now to participate and members of the community will be able to vote for their favorite creative designs.  The Committee is accepting up to 100 entries this year. Entry is free, although registrants are asked to make a suggested donation to the  Northborough Food Pantry to participate.   The pictures of the jack-o-lanterns will be posted on the Committee's website and Northborough  residents will be able to vote for their 3 favorite entries until Halloween night. The three winners will each receive a prize from a local business. The Community Affairs Committee hopes that all interested Northborough residents, both children and adults, enter this fun Halloween event! 
 
For more information on this event, visit  https://northboroughcac.weebly.com/jack-o-lantern-stroll.html.

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

Native Plant Trust to Screen Documentary Mardi and the Whites

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FRAMINGHAM: Native Plant Trust, the nation’s first plant conservation organization and the only one solely focused on New England’s native plants, is pleased to announce that it will screen the documentary Mardi & the Whites on Saturday, October 15, at 3:30pm at Garden in the Woods, 180 Hemenway Road. A film made and directed by Paula Champagne, featuring Dorchester resident Mardi Fuller, Mardi & the Whites chronicles the deep relationship that outdoorswoman Mardi Fuller has built with New Hampshire’s White Mountains, which has also been complicated by the overwhelmingly white hiking and outdoors community. 

Mardi says that she is “thrilled to share my experiences as a Black outdoorswoman with this audience, at such an iconic local garden venue, and in partnership with Native Plant Trust, an organization committed to land stewardship and community education. My hope is that my story will shed light on patterns of exclusion in outdoor institutions and lead audience members to consider ways they might participate in the movement to improve access to nature for marginalized groups. I’m looking forward to a meaningful conversation and I know I will be inspired by the setting.”

The screening will be followed by a conversation and reception with Mardi, and attendees are welcome to arrive early at Garden in the Woods and enjoy a stroll through the garden before the program. To register for this event, please visit www.NativePlantTrust.org.
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Marlborough Author Publishes Paranormal Novel

MARLBOROUGH: The Witch and the Priest of Lies, a new 362-page book by John Baldwin Large, has been released by Dorrance Publishing Co., Inc. In a quiet, old New England town, a Native American holy site becomes the home for a satanic ritual. But when things go horribly wrong, worshippers are butchered, and an inexplicable horror is unleashed on the town.  High school psychologist Julie Bernard witnesses the whole event in her dreams. Unsure of what she saw and even more confused as to why she witnessed it, Julie is thrown into an ancient struggle between good and evil. As she works to uncover the truth about the night’s events, she uncovers more secrets about the town and her own life than she could have possibly imagined.
 
John Baldwin Large is a professional musician and singer/songwriter with the band Emily Rising. He also serves as a chaplain. Large lives in Massachusetts with his wife and their two cats.