Westford/Littleton

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Current Edition - 12/02/22
Previous Edition - 11/25/22

HEADLINES

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The Neighborhood Supper – Donations Requested

LITTLETON: Each Tuesday evening from 5:30–6:30pm anywhere from 60 to over 70 people gather for a free nutritious hot meal at the Congregational Church of Littleton. Any and all from Littleton and surrounding communities are welcome. These meals are provided through volunteer assistance from the five Littleton churches who take turns each Tuesday to host these suppers. Participating churches include the Congregational Church of Littleton, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Blessed Trinity Parish, the First Church Unitarian, and the First Baptist Church. The volunteers coordinate services to complete a variety of necessary tasks such as meal planning, food preparation, set up and clean-up.

In addition, the Neighborhood Supper is governed by a Board of Directors made up of members from each of the churches in town. The board's responsibilities include setting policies, bill paying, license renewal, and additional issues that may come up.

The Neighborhood Supper has been in existence since 1991and is paid for by monetary donations made out to the Neighborhood Supper. It is currently in need of donations. Please think about contributing to the Neighborhood Supper. Checks may be made out to the Neighborhood Supper and sent to P.O. Box 112, Littleton, MA 01460. Note that the Neighborhood Supper is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, so donations are tax deductible.
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Supporting Someone with a Mental Health Condition?

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

FINANCIAL FOCUS: Protect Financial Accounts From “Cyberthieves”

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

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

This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor Preston Carbone, Westford, MA  - EdwardJones.com/Preston-Carbone, Edward Jones, Member SIPC
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A Gift of Your Time is the Greenest Gift

WESTFORD: The holiday giving season is here.  And though we’ve moved on from the brunt of the pandemic, goods are still in short supply.  There are fewer choices, things take longer to get here – we have to “order early!”
 
What if you could give a gift that doesn’t have to be ordered online?  Or picked off a warehouse shelf somewhere? Or one that might just be a little kinder to our Mother Earth? How about giving of your time, or as some have put it, giving “experiences”?  There are so many benefits!  You’d be spending time with those you care about.  And you may be helping someone check a task off their to-do list that’s been festering there forever.
 
Here are some ideas:
 
  • A chilly New England fall weather makes a trip to a museum a good option.  Your local library may have discount passes.  At the J.V. Fletcher Library, the most popular passes are to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and the Discovery Museum in Acton.  For those, book ahead!  Or choose to visit historic houses with the History New England Pass.  Or go to the zoo with the Zoo New England Pass.  Give an outing to a museum or zoo this holiday season to someone you love.
  • We’re all procrastinators.  And we have angst over our to-do lists with closets that need to be cleaned out, or rooms that need re-painting.  Give someone a hand!  How great would your “giftee” feel if you offered to help them with a project, so they could finally get it done?  An afternoon spent organizing and a trip to Goodwill with boxes of items for others to enjoy.  Or a day painting a room – one rolling, one trim-painting – it goes so much faster with two.  It’s a win-win!
  • There are lots of other places to treat someone - a movie, a concert, a play.  And it’s all enhanced by the gift of your time.

This holiday season, avoid the supply chain and shipping issues.  Give a gift of yourself and your time instead.
 
Green gifting ideas composed by Kris Erickson of the Westford Recycling Commission.
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Parish Center for the Arts Hosts Holiday Concerts

WESTFORD: The Parish Center for the Arts at 10 Lincoln Street on Westford Common is hosting a holiday season full of concerts.
 
  • December 9: Mixtape A Cappella takes their audiences on a musical journey that spans multiple artists, genres, and decades. With songs by the Beatles, Billy Joel, Amy Winehouse, Shakira, and more.
  • December 10: Winter Solstice Mini-Fest featuring Grammy-nominated bluegrass mandolinist Matt Flinner and Low Lily. This collaboration celebrates the Winter Solstice with energetic bluegrass instrumentals alongside impeccably arranged songs. Between them, the musicians play mandolins, guitars, fiddle, banjo, double bass, and sing in three and four part vocal harmonies. Flinner's style and compositional ability have established him as one of the most accomplished and musically diverse mandolinists in the world. Chosen as Falcon Ridge Folk Festival’s “Most Wanted Band” of 2016, Low Lily plays acoustic music that is deeply rooted in tradition yet sounds refreshingly contemporary. They have garnered two #1 songs on international folk radio and two Independent Music Award wins.
  • December 17: Music from A Charlie Brown Christmas by the Aidan Scrimgeour jazz trio. A family set at 4:30 is followed by an extended evening set at 7:30. This joyful PCA holiday tradition has delighted audiences of all ages for the past three years. Originally from Salem and trained at New England Conservatory, the versatile Aidan Scrimgeour performs regularly with a variety of groups in New York. His projects include Pumpkin Bread, a Boston-based acoustic band, which has been featured on "A Celtic Sojourn" on WGBH, and Lissy & the Jacks, a Brooklyn-based honky-tonk group currently working on their first album of old country classics and original songs.

Advance tickets and details available online at pcawestford.org.

Businesses in Your Community

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Blue Christmas Service at the United Methodist Church

WESTFORD: Does the Christmas season bring feelings of sadness and loneliness to you? In the midst of bright Christmas lights, holiday decorations, glittery gifts, and joyful caroling, you might not feel the happiness that others feel. You might be experiencing loss of a loved one, divorce, unemployment, homelessness, miscarriage, estrangement, loneliness, addiction, illness, or depression. Perhaps you hurt because of the pain and violence in the world around you.
 
If this Christmas brings feelings of hurt, sadness, or loneliness, attend the Blue Christmas Service presented by UMCW’s Stephen Ministers. This meaningful service will include live music from our Bell Choir and Adult Choir. It will be held at the United Methodist Church of Westford, 10 Church Street on December 11, at 7pm. Please consider bringing a friend going through a difficult time. This service will offer solace to those struggling or grieving this Christmas season. All are welcome!
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Don’t Miss the Tree Lighting on Littleton Common

LITTLETON: Everyone is invited to Littleton’s Tree Lighting on the Common coming up on December 4 at 4:15pm. The Tree Lighting on the Common is co-sponsored by the Littleton Rotary Club and the Littleton Electric Light and Water Departments. Members of the Littleton High School Band will warm up the crowd with holiday songs and then Members of the Nashoba Valley Chorale will lead young and old in a sing along. The Littleton Rotary Club will provide complementary hot cider and donuts to all attendees along with stuffed toys for kids who can answer holiday trivia questions. This annual holiday tradition is attended by hundreds of Littleton residents, young and old.

The Rotary Club will also provide ornaments that can be personalized and hung on the beautiful spruce tree in the center of the common. Santa will arrive on Littleton Fire Department’s Ladder One at 5:15pm, and will throw the giant switch to illuminate the thousands of lights on the many trees on the common. He’ll then meet with all of the children before returning to the North Pole to get ready for his Christmas Eve travels.

The Littleton Rotary Club and Littleton Electric Light and Water Departments provide the Tree Lighting on the Common as a gift to the town along with the help of the Littleton Highway Department, Police Department, Fire Department, Nashoba Valley Chorale, Littleton High School Band, Santa’s helpers, Mr. and Mrs. Ed Franzek and many Littleton Rotarians. The Littleton Rotary Club meets every Wednesday at 7:15am in the cafeteria at 1 Monarch Drive. If you would like to be a guest and learn more about Rotary, please contact Club President Roger Hartley at rhartley48@gmail.com or call (978) 490-4273.

PHOTO: Santa will once again arrive via the Littleton Fire Department and meet with the all the children.
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Community Christmas Chorus Presents Concert

WESTFORD: Community Christmas Chorus will present its annual concert to benefit the Westford Food Pantry on December 4 at 7pm, at First Parish Church United, 48 Main Street. Founded in 2006, the chorus includes singers from several towns in the area. The chorus director, René A. Minalga-Rheault, is also the director of the Paul Madore Chorale and the all-women’s
ensemble, Calliope, both in Salem, as well as the music director of Trinity Lutheran Church, Chelmsford.

The program will include “Christmas Day,” by English composer Gustav Holst, “Ecce Novum,” by Norwegian composer Ola Gjielo, and songs from several American composers: “Song for Snow,” by Florence Price, “Before the Marvel of this Night,” by Carl Schalk, and “Glow,” by Eric Whitacre. An audience carol-sing-a-long will also be included in the program.

The suggested donation for admission is $5 per person; $15 maximum per family,
plus 2 non-perishable items for the food pantry. A list of items especially needed by the pantry can be found on its website. All money donated at the door goes to the food pantry. For further information, please call Jeanne Masterman at (978) 692-8416.
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Everyone’s Going to the Littleton Holiday Bazaar!

LITTLETON: The Littleton Holiday Bazaar, hosted by Littleton Rotary Club, will be filling the Littleton Middle School gym at 55 Russell Street on December 4 from 9am-3pm! This is a fun and exciting way to kick off the holiday season, find some great stocking stuffers, meet old friends, enter some raffles and get into the holiday spirit!

The Littleton High School band will entertain with songs of the season. SANTA and MRS. CLAUS arrive at 10am and will sit for photos with all good girls and boys. Numerous civic and charitable groups in and around Littleton will be on hand: SANTA, Littleton Rotary Club, Sleep In Heavenly Peace, Littleton Conservation Trust, COA Knitters, Littleton Classes of 2022, 2023, 2025, Friends of the Library, Littleton Park & Rec, Girl Scout Troop 66292, Littleton Community Farm, Good Shepherd Sheep Club, Health Care Committee, Historical Society, SEAPAC, GSA, DEI, National Honor Society, Littleton Education Fund, Humanitarian Club, Environmental Club, French Club, FABL/Music Boosters, Parent Teacher Association, Littleton Scholarship Trust, Robotics, Baptist Church, Congregational Church, St. Anne's Church, Boy Scout Troops #19, #20, #21, American Legion, VFW, VFW Friends, Garden Club, See A New Sun, Littleton Athletic Booster Association, Littleton High School Band and Snack Bar.

Arrive early, enjoy lunch with friends or family and stick around for the raffles!

The Littleton Rotary Club meets every Wednesday at 7:15am in the dining room at 1 Monarch Drive, off Taylor Street. If you would like to be a guest and learn more about Rotary, please contact Club President Lehel Reeves at lehel.reeves@mac.com or call (978) 430-3305.
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Winter Solstice at the PCA featuring Matt Flinner and Low Lily

WESTFORD: On December 10, award-winning American roots band Low Lily with Grammy nominated bluegrass mandolinist Matt Flinner come to the PCA at Westford Common! This collaboration celebrates the Winter Solstice with energetic bluegrass instrumentals alongside impeccably arranged songs. Between them, the musicians play mandolins, guitars, fiddle, banjo, double bass, and sing in three and four part vocal harmonies. For details and tickets, visit www.pcawestford.org.
 
Grammy-nominated mandolinist Matt Flinner has made a career out of playing acoustic music in new ways. Whether it's with his own Matt Flinner Trio or with Phillips, Grier and Flinner, the Frank Vignola Quartet, Darrell Scott, Steve Martin, Robbie Fulks, the Ying Quartet, Leftover Salmon or the Modern Mandolin Quartet, Flinner's style and compositional ability have established him as one of the most accomplished and musically diverse mandolinists in the world.
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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
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Be Thankful for Our Planet: Recycle Event the Small Things Where You Can!

ACTON/LITTLETON: Thanksgiving may soon be over, but it’s never too late to be grateful for this planet, and for us to reduce our impact on it.  Whether that means driving less, weather-proofing our homes, or using less plastic, all of us want to have a clean planet and fresh air to breathe. There are small things that you probably toss in the trash – lip balm tubes, pens and  markers that don’t work any more, an old manual toothbrush –these items are actually recyclable through TerraCycle!  Please check the website https://tinyurl.com/littletonmarecycles to find out what other surprising items you can recycle right here in the Acton/ Littleton area, and then bring them to the wooden TerraCycle bin at the Acton or Littleton Donelan’s grocery store.  If you have a Littleton transfer sticker, there’s a yellow bin there, too, and a green one in the lower floor of the Reuben Hoar Library.

And THANK YOU for your help in keeping our blue-dot planet just a little more clean!

Terracycle gives points for each item which translate into cash for non-profits such as 4-H, schools, and libraries.  This recycling stream helps fund the Acton C.R.A.F.T. 4-H club’s community service activities. Still have questions?  Email littletonma.recycles@gmail.com
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Give Us Peace: Sounds of Stow Fall Concert

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

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

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

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

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.

Holiday Open House and Kitty Angels Fundraising Weekend November 5 & 6

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AMHERST, NH: Mark your calendars! Treasures Antiques, Collectables & MORE!, located at 106 Ponemah Road will be hosting their 32nd Annual Holiday Open House and Kitty Angels Fundraising weekend on November 5 and 6. Festivities for the weekend will run both days from 10am-4pm and include Holiday inspired shopping, raffles and entertainment. This annual event has been a mainstay in the community since 1991 and features Kitty Angels, Inc. along with several live musical entertainers, including: Wildwood, Jeff Damon, North Sound Duo, Jensing and Sunset Rhythm!

This Holiday and Fundraiser event is pet and kid friendly and will offer special sales for all, inside and out. B’s Grumman Grub offers a unique array of hot and cold food, as well as several beverages. A petting zoo with horse and pony rides will be provided by Mapledell Farms of Townsend. and Trading Faces, LLC, a face painting, body art and airbrushing professional with their remarkable “Transformation Station.” The weekend will also showcase some artists and artisans, crafters, professionals and specialty food vendors. Look for artist Lori-Ellen Budenas of Respect the Wood!, a creator of abstract paintings, coasters, trivets and more, Baboosic Lake Gourds, Heart’s Design Jewelry, Happy Cat Creations, Vinyl Revival, Dusty Finds, SoGo Metal Art, Anthony Acres, Damsel in Defense, Color Street, Baby Snuggz, Heavenly Goddess, Fudge & Stuff, Fiber Art by Eve Huston, Custom Care Designs, Gubbies Boutique and many more.

Treasures will also be offering a number of fun and exciting raffles, with prizes donated by local and national businesses. These prizes will include a Hotel get-a-way weekend at Homewood Suites by Hilton/Nashua, a “Chain-sawed” green frog carving, created by Sara of NorthStar Sculptures/Chainsaw Chix, an ARUBACAT cat tree and other cat and dog related items, jewelry, specialty food packages, and an assortment of other fun and exciting prizes.

Kitty Angels, Inc., a no-kill cat shelter is made up of all unpaid volunteers and is dedicated to rescuing stray and abandoned cats and furnishing them with treatment for injuries or other health issues. These cats are then placed into life-long, loving “forever homes” with compatible owners. All necessary steps are taken to ensure the wellbeing of the cats, including spaying and neutering and providing rabies, distemper and other necessary vaccinations. They are a non-profit, charitable corporation and all donations are fully tax-deductible with every penny of each donation going directly to the care of these cats.

Please join Treasures and Kitty Angels, in friendship and the spirit of giving and sharing the Holidays. For more information, visit www.TreasuresNH.com and www.KittyAngels.org.
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Westford League of Women Voters Hosts Civic Social with Superintendant Christopher Chew

WESTFORD: Have questions for WPS Superintendent Dr. Chris Chew? Now’s your chance on November 16 at 7:30 pm via Zoom.. The League of Women Voters of Westford is hosting its next Civic Social via Zoom. The event is an opportunity to have a conversation with Dr. Chew and hear his plans for Westford schools. This is Dr. Chew’s ninth year in the Westford Public School system, and his second as superintendent. He was originally hired as principal for the Stony Brook Middle School, where he worked for seven years. Civic Socials are the League’s informal monthly get-togethers, open to all, where people can learn what’s happening in and around town and about what the League is doing. Email info@lwv.westford.org to get a link to the Zoom meeting.

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.
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Westford Museum & Historical Society present Westford 100 Years Ago

WESTFORD: The Westford Museum and Historical Society presents Westford 100 years ago: A Close up look at the Glass Plate Negative in the Hildreth Collection. On November 9 from 7-8:30pm at Westford Museum (2 Boston Road), take a moment to look back at some of the events and sights from around Westford 100 years ago! Program donation is $10. For information, visit www.musuem.westford.org.

In the early decades of the 20th century Charles L. Hildreth photographed the people and places of Westford and beyond, primarily on 4×5″ glass plates.  Over 900 of these glass plates have been recently digitally restored, by Dan Lacroix, an amateur photographer. Dan created a specialized lightbox to photograph the glass negatives, allowing us to fully observe and appreciate the remarkable detail that large format photography is able to capture today.
 
Charles Lewis Hildreth (1879-1968) a local lawyer and served as Town Clerk from 1915 to 1966. Thanks to the meticulous documentation of Charles L. Hildreth, who served as Westford’s town clerk for 52 years, most of the images had been labeled and dated. “The paper envelopes [the slides were in] were frayed but information was still written there,” Day said.  The Charles L. Hildreth collection of glass plate negatives, is on permanent loan to the Westford Historical Society by the Paul MacMillan family.

Dan Lacroix and Marilyn Day will highlight the finer, generally unseen details within a selection of Westford images, shedding light on life in our town over a century ago. Lacroix has been a member of the Westford Historical Society’s Board of Directors since 2000.  He has a great interest in all things 18th century, but also in photography, which led to his desire to digitally archive this priceless collection of Westford photographs. Day is a Westford Author and Historian. She is a former director of the Westford Museum and is currently a member of the Westford Historical Society’s Board of Directors.
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Magic Wand Workshop with Stephanie Beach at Roudenbush

WESTFORD: Parents, are you ready to give your child the secrets to magic? Magician Stephanie Beach will be conducting a magic workshop for grades 3-5 beginning November 9 and running for six weeks at Roudenbush Community Center. This complete Orange Wand Workshop (1 of 4 workshops) will entertain and teach your child the gift of magic, working with other children and sharing their new art. Your child will receive:
 
  • 8 Well Crafted, Kid-Sized, Magic Tricks;
  • 8 Magic Folders;
  • A keycard giving them on-line access to all 24 tricks and 8 videos;
  • A special light weight bag to hold all their goodies; and
  • A Certificate and Wand at end of workshop, 

Your child will be taught by professional magician Stephanie Beach (stephaniebeachmagic.com).  As your child’s Magic Instructor, Beach will demonstrate and teach the 8 traits of a great magician like: Respect, Prepared, Creative and Giving.  At the end of the workshops, YOUR child will know how to be perform as a Magician!
 

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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Trick or Trash in Littleton!

LITTLETONPlease join the community in recycling the unthinkable - candy wrappers!  Just in time for Halloween, there are boxes around Littleton specifically for recycling candy wrappers - at Donelan's Supermarket as you exit the store, Reuben Hoar Library lobby, and the Town Hall.  Thank you for helping reduce trash in the community!
 
In addition, Donelan’s has a wooden bin next to the “Trick or Trash” container, in which you can recycle items through TerraCycle such as:
 
  • Oral care product containers & manual toothbrushes (no electric toothbrush heads);
  • Plastic Deodorant containers (no aerosols);
  • Air freshener & cleaning pumps, trigger sprays, cartridges (no aerosols);
  • Old pens, markers & mechanical pencils;
  • Empty ink-jet & toner cartridges;
  • Metal-based cookware, bakeware & cutlery;
  • And so much more (See tinyurl.com/littletonmarecycles).
 
TerraCycle gives points for each item which translate into cash for non-profits such as 4-H, the Littleton schools, and the library.  Still have questions?  Reference the web site https://tinyurl.com/littletonmarecycles, or email littletonma.recycles@gmail.com.
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PCA Welcomes Mixed Media Artist Jean Winslow

WESTFORD: The Parish Center for the Arts welcomes mixed media artist Jean Winslow as the November 2022 Artist of the Month. Winslow’s art incorporates disparate materials into cohesive wholes, defying the eye to discern where one medium emerges while another recedes. She is an artist and creative arts therapist who is active in the greater Lowell area, enhancing the creative community through her art, activism and groups like SoulCollage © that nurture the mind and soul. Her dual paths as artist and healer merge in her work, allowing the deep wells of personal and ancient resources to find meaning and resolution through the creative and healing processes. She has shown widely in galleries in the greater Boston and north of Boston area. Jean works in paint, collage, printmaking and most recently sculptural assemblages, combining materials in whimsical and innovative ways.

Winslow's exhibition will run from November 1 through 27 with an artist reception on November 5 from 2-4 pm. In addition, the Gallery will be open each Sunday during November from noon until 2pm. Meet Jean Winslow and share her creative journey as you connect to her evocative images each in your own way For each of us there are stories yet to be told and old stories looking for new endings!  For more information, visit https://pcawestford.square.site.

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

October 17 Special Town Meeting
Your Vote Can Shape the Future!

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WESTFORD: Westford Climate Action  encourages voters to attend Special Town Meeting on October 17 at 7pm in the Westford Academy gym, 30 Patten Road. 
Voters at the Meeting will be voting on several articles that reflect the town’s commitment to promote clean energy and reduce fossil fuel use. Your presence and support can make these sustainable plans reality.

Proposals to fund two town buildings include fossil-free plans. Warrant Articles 5 would replace the old Center fire station with a new community building at 51 Main Street. The new design is fossil-fuel free. There will be a backup natural gas generator. Article 6 would expand and renovate the J.V. Fletcher Library. The Library Building Expansion Project designers understand and accept the Annual Town Meeting Resolution for net-zero and sustainability, and the goals for the Expansion Project are to be energy efficient, all electric and net-zero ready. 
In addition, Article 4  authorizes the purchase of hybrid and full-electric vehicles.  

For details on Special Town Meeting and the warrant, go to westfordma.gov/891
Construction funding for the two buildings will be voted on both at this Town Meeting AND on Westford’s local ballot on Tuesday, November 8. Come and learn more about both at this Town Meeting. 
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Nashoba Players Close 45th Season with Musical “Spelling Bee”

WESTFORD, MA: The Nashoba Players are spelling out serious comedy in their upcoming Fall musical, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, with music & lyrics by William Finn, a book by Rachel Sheinkin, conceived by Rebecca Feldman, and with additional material by Jay Reiss. Performances run October 21, 22, 28 and 29 at 7:30pm in the The Parish Center for the Arts (PCA), 10 Lincoln Street. Tickets are $27.75 per person for advance online reservations (includes a $1.75/pp convenience fee); $30 per person at the door (cash & checks only). Cabaret seating available.  For ticket reservations and information, please visit www.nashobaplayers.org.

In The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, an eclectic group of six adolescents, all played by adults, vie for the spelling championship of a lifetime. While candidly disclosing hilarious and touching stories from their home lives, the tweens spell their way through a series of words, hoping never to hear the soul-crushing, pout-inducing, life un-affirming “ding” of the bell that signals a spelling mistake. Multiple spellers enter; one speller leaves! (At least the losers get a juice box.) A riotous ride, complete with audience participation, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is one of the funniest musicals ever written.

Directed by Ryan Solero (of Wakefield), the cast features Andrew Costello (Wakefield), Gordon Ellis (Waltham), JulieAnn Govang (Ayer), Annemarie LaTulip (Billerica), Diane and Kenny Meehan (Chelmsford), Taejasvi Narayan (Andover), Lara Simpson (Watertown), Andrew Swansburg (Groton)… not to mention a variety of special guest spellers each night to be announced!

The Nashoba Players, Westford’s Community Theatre Company in residence at The Parish Center for the Arts, will present The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee October 21, 22, 28 and 29 at 7:30pm (doors open at 7:00pm). The PCA is located at 10 Lincoln Street, across the Common from the J.V. Fletcher Library. Tickets are $27.75 per person for advance online reservations (includes a $1.75/pp convenience fee); $30 per person at the door (cash & checks only). Cabaret seating with tables available.  For ticket reservations and information, please visit www.nashobaplayers.org.
 
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The Gospel Connection with Suzanne Buell in Concert

WESTFORD: The Gospel Connection with Suzanne Buell and her 7-piece band will debut at Parish Center for the Arts on November 5 at 8pm. Join Suzanne and her extraordinary group of singers and musicians in this most recent evolution of her journey through traditional spirituals and stirring gospel music. Not only does Suzanne explore the roots of the traditional spiritual and historic gospel that defined the Civil Rights movement, but also the musical connections that inspire contemporary artists. You'll be moved to dance and sing along to music by Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Mavis Staples, Aretha Franklin, Ruthie Foster, Tom Jones, Mike Farris, Marc Cohn, Bob Dylan, and so many more.

This will be a
journey through traditional spirituals and stirring gospel music that will move you to get up and dance. Tickets are available in advance at  pcawestford.org for $25 general public; $21 for PCA members/seniors; and also available at the door (cash/credit). There will be candlelit cafe-style seating and attendees are encouraged to BYO snacks/drinks. Free Street Parking available along Lincoln St., at the former fire station parking lot on the right, and across the street in JV Fletcher library parking lot (in rear of library).
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Fun for the Whole Family, the Country Fair Returns to Littleton

LITTLETON: The Country Fair  at First Church Unitarian, 10 Foster Street is back on  October 15 from 10am-2pm with their famous gigantic yard sale and fantastic homemade jams, jellies and pickles. New this year are FREE fun family activities – nature crafts, story time, face painting and a scavenger hunt. People of all ages can find something to take home at the big selection of gently used jewelry and books. Most activities are outdoors on the lawn of the Historical Society in Littleton. Free entertainment to be offered inside the church, including the famous UU Ukes.

The supreme yard sale offers a huge variety of used household items, sporting equipment, toys, kitchen items, some vintage and mid-century furniture, bric-a-brac and more. Arrive early for the best selections. Find fashionable barely-worn jewelry and once-read books at bargain prices. Delicious scones and coffee will be sold at the Country Café, followed by a new lunch menu of hot dogs, vegan dogs, and meat and vegan chili. Go for the SUUper Dog -- a wiener wrapped up with meat or vegan chili, cheese, corn chips and jalapenos!

Please note the new hours, 10am-2pm. The rain date is October 22. Donations from the community for the yard sale will be accepted October 14 from 4-6pm and 8-10am on October 16. No televisions, car seats, computer monitors, books or CDs. All contributions are tax-deductible and will benefit First Church Unitarian, with 10% going to a Littleton non-profit.Email questions to fair@fculittle.org.

The PCA Art Gallery’s 2022-2023 Season Opens with “Love that Dirty Water”

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WESTFORD: The Westford Parish Center for the Arts is pleased to welcome street photographer Ed Wojtaszek as the October Artist of the Month. The exhibition, “Love That Dirty Water”, is a selection of photos from his collection of street photos, and will be at the PCA from October 9-30. There will be an artist’s reception on October 9 from noon-3pm. Ed will also be at the gallery each Sunday from noon until 2pm through the end of the exhibit.

Since retirement from engineering management in 2010, Ed lists his occupations as photographer, bicycle tourist, world tourist, blogger, vlogger, writer, and part time retail sales associate. Photography is central to many of Ed’s activities and, as a street photographer, his camera is almost aways with him to capture nuances of life. Ed Wojtaszek is a member of the Photographic Society of America, the Jaffrey Civic Center, the Arts League of Lowell,and the Chelmsford Art Society. “Love That Dirty Water” was selected by the curator for exhibit at Boston City Hall in April through May 2022. That showing was a reprise of shows at the Jaffrey Civic Center in early 2022 and at the Arts League of Lowell 2021. The Photographic Society of America published his article “Street Photography” in the August 2021 issue ofPSA Journal. Previously, he was a featured artist in the online Literary Orphans magazine, Issue 28, February, 2017. The Arts League of Lowell awarded his prints first place and honorable mention in the Exposed 2017: Shadow Play exhibition.

Ed’s blog and portfolio can be found at https://edeksphotos.com and social media @edeksphotos.

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

October 3, 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor Alan Bell, Edward Jones, Member SIPC.
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Nashobah Praying Indians: A Living People, A Living Landscape

LITTLETON: We live and walk on sacred ground.  Littleton, with a part of Acton and Boxborough, was originally the Praying Indian Village of Nashobah, a place of spirit and vision.  On October 7 at 8pm at the Reuben Hoar Library Sturtz Meeting Room (lower level), join Strong Bear Medicine of the Nashobah Praying Indians and local historian Daniel V. Boudillion as they discuss the Nashobah people, their spirit, their journey of survival, the village at Fort Pond, and the sacred landscape of ceremonial stone structures – prayers in stone – that are all around us. There is no charge for this event. Call (978) 486-8202 for info.

Strong Bear Medicine will talk about his native land and shares his culture.  The brother of Chief Caring Hands of the Natick-Ponkapoag Praying Indians, he is a well-known speaker, Native dancer, performer and craftsman.  Daniel V. Boudillion is a lifelong Littleton resident.  He is a historical writer with a focus on Nashobah-Littleton 1654-1720 and is a ceremonial stone landscape researcher. 

 
Co-Sponsored by Friends of Pine Hawk and the Littleton Historical Society. The Reuben Hoar Library is located at 35 Shattuck Street.

The Westford Museum and Historical Society presents "How to Navigate the 1950 Census & Find Your Ancestors" with Bob Oliphant

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WESTFORD: On October 12, 7pm at Westford Museum, 2 Boston Road, Westford Town Historian and Genealogist, Bob Oliphant will share tips, tactics, and techniques in finding you and your ancestors in the newly published 1950 Census. Followed by a Q&A. Suggested Program Donation: $10 per person.

Taken every 10 years since 1790, the United States census provides a snapshot of the nation’s population.  It is a “must use” resource for American genealogists.  Because of a 72-year restriction on access to the records, the most recent census year currently available is 1950.

On April 1, 2022, the 1950 Census was released to the public, and users can access it for free through the dedicated website at 1950census.archives.gov.  The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has partially indexed and is providing free online access to images of the 1950 Census population schedules for U.S. states and territories along with enumeration district maps.  Learn how to access these tools to find your ancestors. 

Robert “Bob” Oliphant is a local historian of Westford, but he was not always on that path. Originally from Oberlin, Ohio, he attended Case Western Reserve Univ. where he majored in metallurgy and materials science. While in college he discovered his passion for genealogy and local history. After graduating from college, he worked for eight years in Fort Worth, Texas, and moved to Westford in 1977, where he and his wife, Bonnie, raised three sons. Since then, Oliphant has served on the Westford Historical Commission, the board of the Westford Museum and Historical Society, the Parkerville Schoolhouse Committee, and the Records and Archives Management Committee. In 2010 he published a history book on Westford, The Westford Gazetteer. He also does research and writes articles for the Westford Historical Society, and wrote the “Museum Musings” column in the Westford Eagle, from 2008 until the paper folded in 2022. He currently records The Westford Wardsman Podcast posted weekly on the Westford Museum and Historical Society website, as well as on youtube.com. He is dedicated to studying Westford history and serving the town in doing so.

The mission of the Westford Historical Society is to promote the understanding and appreciation of Westford’s unique history to the community. By providing programming that features aspects of the daily lives, activities and achievements of Westford residents, we strive to expand and enrich understanding of how our town continues to evolve. We foster an environment of teaching and learning that strengthens our sense of community. We will collect, preserve and exhibit documents, photographs, objects and sites historically significant to Westford, and encourage outside efforts to do the same.
 
For more information about this topic, please contact Linda Greene by calling (978) 692-5550, or e-mail Linda  at director@museum.westford.org.

The Friends of the J.V. Fletcher Library Host Book Sale

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WESTFORD: The Friends of the J.V. Fletcher Library Inc. will be holding a book sale on October 22 from 10am-5pm and October 23 from 2-4pm in the meeting room of the J.V. Fletcher Library at 50 Main Street.  Sunday’s sale will be a $5 bag sale. There will be a preview sale for Friends members only on October 21 from 6:30-9pm.  Memberships will be available at the door.  Please note that scanners may not be used on Friday but are welcome on Saturday and Sunday. The sale will include thousands of books plus CDs, audio books, blue-ray discs, and DVDs. We accept credit card payments in addition to checks and cash.

The Friends are looking for more books for this sale. Please consider donating your unwanted books, audio books, CDs, DVDs, or Blu-ray materials to the Friends for the direct benefit of the library and the community of Westford.  These materials can be dropped off at the left-hand door just inside the library’s rear entrance.  If the library is closed, just drop your donations in the collection box that is located near the back door of the library. Tax deduction forms are available at the library’s main desk.  The Friends of the J.V.
Fletcher Library appreciate your support. 100% of the proceeds from all book sales directly benefit our library unlike other organizations collecting book donations that do not donate 100% of their proceeds. Approximately 95% of the books offered at these sales are donated by Westford residents.
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Stackmusic Trio at P.C.A.

WESTFORD: The Parish Center for the Arts is excited to host the Stackmusic Trio on October 1 at 7:30pm, featuring David "Stack" Stackhouse on vocals and acoustic guitar, Paul Pampinella on guitars and vocals, and Dave Sacco on percussion, playing an eclectic mix of rock and pop hits stripped from your favorite playlist (e.g., Tom Petty, Foo Fighters, Sheryl Crow, etc), plus a few originals. It began with Stack & Paul, who met at Berklee College of Music in the late 80s, and whose other projects together led to tours spanning three continents, including appearances on VH-1, America’s Got Talent, with The Boston Pops, and singing our National Anthem for the Patriots, Celtics, Red Sox, and the NFL Hall of Fame. Nowadays they’re local family guys (Stack and Dave live in Westford, MA, and Paul is from Shirley, MA) playing with a chemistry and comfort that comes from a lifetime of jamming on stage!

Tickets are available in advance at pcawestford.org - Ticket prices are $15/person; $40/family; $12/members, seniors, and 18 & under. Attendees are permitted to bring their own food and beverages. Free Street Parking is available along Lincoln Street, at the former fire station parking lot on the right, and across the street in JV Fletcher library parking lot (in rear of library).

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

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

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

Learn about Town Meeting at the Next League of Women Voters’ Civic Social

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WESTFORD: Of the 351 cities and towns in Massachusetts, most of the towns – like Westford – are governed by open Town Meeting. All registered voters may attend, speak, and vote at these meetings. But if you’ve never been, Town Meetings can be a little intimidating. That’s where Town Meeting mentors come in. Join the League of Women Voters of Westford via Zoom on September 21 at 7:30pm for the League’s first Civic Social of the season. Town Moderator Angela Harkness will discuss Town Meeting mentors and their role in making these events more accessible. Town Meeting mentors were in place at the Town Meeting in June and will again be available at the upcoming Special Town Meeting scheduled for October 17. Register to attend the Civic Social via Zoom here: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZIkfuCpqT0uGtTiR20IDfwi49jaiaaMmH8U

What is a Town Meeting mentor?  Town Meeting mentors are available to answer any procedural questions attendees may have during a meeting. Mentors realize that not everyone is comfortable approaching and speaking into a microphone to address a public audience. Mentors remain on the sidelines during the meeting, answer questions about issues related to items on the agenda, and help residents clarify questions they may want to pose to the Town Moderator.  The format of the evening will be informal. Angela will make a short presentation about Town Meeting generally and will be happy to answer any questions about Annual or Special Town Meeting.

The Special Town Meeting on October 17 at 7pm at Westford Academy is an ideal opportunity for residents who may not have previously attended a meeting to get acclimated to the process. It will likely be much shorter than an Annual Town Meeting, with fewer issues to address. This is also an opportunity for everyone to learn more about how Town Meeting works.

The League of Women Voters of Westford welcomes anyone interested in becoming a Town Meeting mentor – or anyone who wants to learn more about the mechanics of Town Meeting -- to attend the Civic Social. Additional training will be provided for mentor volunteers prior to the Town Meeting. No one needs to be an expert, but the LWV has a wealth of information for those who want to serve in that capacity. The LWV will also host a Special Town Meeting Preview on October 6, so that residents can be informed prior to the Special Town Meeting. For more details, go to Westford League of Women Voters | Empowering Voters. Defending Democracy or Town Moderator | Westford, MA (westfordma.gov).

The addition of Town Meeting mentors was suggested by the Access To Town Meeting Committee. For more information about the ATM Committee, go to
Access to Town Meeting (ATM) Committee | Westford, MA (westfordma.gov).
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Notice to Residents: 14th Annual Littleton Road Race

LITTLETON: The Fourteenth Annual Littleton Road Race will be held on September 18. Expect portions of the roads along the course to be closed from 1:45-3:45pm.  The 1-mile race begins at 2pm going from Fay Park down Foster Street to Mill Road and then back to Fay Park. The 5K race will start at 2:30pm. The course begins at Fay Park, goes south on Foster Street to Tahattawan Rd., follows Tahattawan Rd. to Harwood Avenue, continuing to Foster Street, and returning to Fay Park. The Littleton Police will open portions of the course as they become clear of runners.  It is expected that all runners will finish by approximately 3:45pm. If you are not running the race, please consider coming out to the curb and cheering the participants on as they travel past your home! Info: www.littletonroadrace.org.
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Rotary's Appleman Trianthlon 2022 a Big Winner!

LITTLETON: The Rotary Club of Littleton’s Appleman Triathlon was a spectacular success.  They raised over $30,000! Everyone who participated - including racers, volunteers, sponsors, and members of the Rotary Club – was a winner.  There were 292 entrants, supported by more than 125 volunteers and a lot of happy spectators.  Team Hoyt returned to continue the tradition of Dick Hoyt and his son Rick.  They had the pleasure of introducing family members of Al and Geri McConnell, former Littleton Rotarians and local heroes, to whom this year’s race was dedicated.

The Littleton Rotary wishes to thank their many sponsors for their generous donations, both financial and in-kind:

Platinum Sponsor: Workers Credit Union. 
Gold Sponsors:  Acton Toyota of Littleton, Badger Littleton & Groton Funeral Homes, Middlesex Savings Bank, Sanctuary Medicinals, The Point, The Littleton Police Association (Local #204), and the Vincent Couper Trust. 
Silver Sponsors: Acton Refrigeration, Inc., the Burroughs Fund, CK Bikes, Cowley Associates Real Estate, Dunkin’, Edward Jones Financial, Gore Foundation, Gould Law Offices, Harland Electric, Idylwyld Farms, Kimball Farm, Main Street Bank, Miller Automotive, Perkins & Ancil Law Offices, Seal Harbor Companies, and Small Water System Services (SWSS).
Bronze Sponsors:  Alpha Graphics, Digital Credit Union, Dolphin Insulation, Donelan’s Supermarkets, Enterprise Bank, Great Road Farm and Garden, Great Road Liquors, Walter Fey, CPA, the Littleton Fire Department, the Littleton Highway Department, Littleton Parks & Recreation, Ratta Corporation, Tavern in the Square, and WheelsTV.

With sponsor support, each entrant into the Appleman received a “swag bag” full of useful items, every finisher received a medal, and every person who won first, second or third place in their race category took home a beautiful etched bottle of maple syrup.  After entrants crossed the finish line they were treated to fresh apples and watermelon.

The Appleman Triathlon is the Rotary Club of Littleton’s largest annual fundraiser.  100% of the net proceeds raised allow the Club to provide much needed goods and services to help individuals and non-profit organizations during difficult times.  Club members and the members of the Rotary Club of Littleton’s Community Corps (RCC) will always look after the most vulnerable in our communities.

If you want to help, join The Rotary Club of Littleton. They're seeking men and women who have an hour a week to meet, help identify potential recipients of our funds, review new and on-going projects, and meet guest speakers from myriad non-profits.  To join the Club, or learn more, contact Roger Hartley, membership chairman, at rhartley42@gmail.com.  Or just drop in at any of our regular weekly meetings, which start with coffee at 7:15am and continue from 7:30-8:30am every Wednesday at Stevie’s Café in the rear of 1 Monarch Drive (off Taylor Street).
 
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Calling all Artists for the 21st Annual Westford Regional Art Event!

WESTFORD: Share your talent with friends and neighbors by submitting your artwork for this annual celebration of art held at the Parish Center for the Arts (PCA). Gala receptions for adult and children kick off the event on September 23 and 24. The art will be on exhibit through regular PCA gallery hours on October 2.

The show is judged by professional artists and is open to adults, young adults, and children. Entry categories have been expanded to nine, and include Computer-generated art, Drawing, Fiber art, Mixed media (collage, etc.), Opaque paint (oil, acrylic, etc.), Photography, Printmaking (engraving, etching, etc.), Pastel, Transparent paint (watercolor etc.), and  Sculpture. Both amateur and professional artists are welcome to participate. In 2019, the WRAE featured over 400 artists exhibiting over 500 works of art.

Online registration is now open through September 18. If you do not have internet access, you may register by phone at 978-692-6333. For more details, logistics and the full list of requirements visit www.pcawestford.org/wrae.

The PCA is a non-profit, volunteer-driven organization located at 10 Lincoln Street. The WRAE is an annual event and a cornerstone of their mission.
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The Littleton Road Race: Sunday September 18, 2022

LITTLETON: Calling all runners and walkers to the 14th annual Littleton Road Race to be held on Sunday, September 18 at Fay Park, 26 Foster Street.  Registration is open and information is available at www.LittletonRoadRace.org.  Online registration is available until September 17.  Race day registration will be available starting at noon. 

Over 400 runners and walkers are expected to once again make their way over Littleton’s scenic roads in this community event to benefit the Littleton Road Race & Track Organization.  Proceeds from this race will support updates to the Littleton track and field facility, as well as promote the sport of track and field in Littleton.

The first event, starting at 2pm, is a 1-mile fun run that is open to all ages.  The second event, starting at 2:30pm, is a 5K (3.1 miles) race that is open to both runners and walkers. The event is USATF sanctioned and certified and has professional, computerized finish line timing for both races.  Both courses are closed to traffic. The 5K course has mile markers, timed splits, and a water station on the course.  A complimentary bag check is available at the park.

The event is fun for the whole family and includes post-race refreshments for the runners, live music by Littleton band PowerSurge, food trucks, and children’s activities at scenic Fay Park. All 1-mile finishers receive a ribbon, and the top three male and female finishers in seven age categories receive medals in the 5K race.  

Pre-race day registration costs for the 5K is $35 ($40 on race day) and $10 for the 1 Mile Fun Run ($15 on race day).  Those registered by September 4 will get a free t-shirt.

FINANCIAL FOCUS: Look Closely at Open Enrollment Choices

September 6, 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Edward Jones, its employees and financial advisors cannot provide tax or legal advice. You should consult your attorney or qualified tax advisor regarding your situation.
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LIRA Invites Retirees to Fall Semester Classes

LOWELL: The Learning in Retirement Association (LIRA) invites all retirees to join their Fall semester classes (some live, Zoom or hybrid.) A sample of offered Fall classes;  1. Talk by Jonathan Lemire (Politico, MSNBC, AP) on his new book “THE BIG LIE”;  2. Lighthouses & the People Who Kept Them;  3. Unlocking the Hidden History of DNA;  4. Hands on Art Class;  5. The Election of 2022 – A shift in power?;  6. The Most Influential Characters of Literature;  7. Tour of the new Lowell Justice Center;  8. Articles of Confederation – Stronger than a Rope of Sand;  9. UMass Rist Center for Sustainability & Energy research overview; 10. New Refugees & Immigrants in Lowell; 11. America & the Global Economy; 12. Native Americans in Colonial New England; 13. Professor led Tour of the Oak Hill Conservation; 14. Critical Issues in K-12 Public Schools; 15. Great Decisions discussion group as well as Book and Film discussion groups.
 
Additional classes, detailed descriptions, schedules, and information to join LIRA www.UML.edu/LIRA/  Classes begin Sept 12. Yearly membership fee is only $125 or $200/couple. You can take as many classes as you wish. For questions email LIRA@uml.edu.
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Support Westford Historical Society at “Wild Woman of Westford” Fundraiser

WESTFORD: The Westford Historical Society will be hosting the Wild Women of Westford on August 26 at 7:30pm at the Westford Museum, 2 Boston Road on Women’s Equality Day.

Every woman has a story to tell and gifts to share with the world. Since 1971 Women’s Equality Day, which is celebrated every August 26, commemorates the passage of women’s suffrage in the U.S. and reminds us of the hurdles overcome by all heroic women.

To honor this day, the Westford Historical Society would like to remember the heroic women of Westford’s past, who despite the many difficulties, followed their own path through life.
 
  • With assistance from the museum’s Westford Women Dolls collection, through the voices of our program presenters, you’ll be able to hear how the lives of our “Wild Women of Westford”; Sally Carver, Olive Prescott, May Balch and Marian Winnek have made a difference in our town and world today.
  • Enjoy samplings of wines from Aaronap Cellars paired with chocolates and cheeses from Lowell Culinary Collaborative.  (Please request if you would prefer non-alcoholic beverages)
  • Join in recognizing Penny Lacroix, Former Director of the Westford Museum and a present day “Wild” Westford Woman who has dedicated over 13 years to preserving our town’s history.

$45; $30 WHS Members. Purchase tickets at www.museum.wesford.org/events or scan QR code. Tickets must be purchased in advance, no tickets at the door.

Sponsored by Middlesex Saving Bank
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Littleton Lyceum Announces 2022-23 Season

LITTLETON: The Littleton Lyceum has an exciting lineup of affordable, quality entertainment in store for the 2022-2023 season. On September 16, they open with renowned fiddler Hanneke Cassel, accompanied by multi-instrumentalist Keith Murphy, playing in a cosmopolitan style drawing on Irish, Scottish, and American traditions.

Back by popular demand, the Tanglewood Marionettes will present “The Fairy Circus” on October 21. Perfect for the whole family!

On January 20, 2023, best-selling author Eric Jay Dolin will discuss the role of privateers during the American Revolution, the topic of his latest book.

The final show of the season on April 28 is the wildly popular a cappella group Five O’Clock Shadow, presenting energetic and upbeat renditions of rock and pop covers, as well as original songs. This program is sponsored by the Rotary Club of Littleton.

Admission is just $25 for an entire family for all four programs. All shows are at 7:30pm in Littleton High School’s Performing Arts Center at 56 King Street. For more information, visit www.littletonlyceum.org or find them on Facebook.