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.

FINANCIAL FOCUS: Prepare Yourself for a Long Retirement

August 29, 2022

We all want to live long lives. We all expect to live long lives. But are we financially prepared for this longevity?  Before we get to the issue of preparation, let’s look at a couple of interesting findings from a 2022 survey by Age Wave and Edward Jones:
 
  • The surveyed retirees said, on average, they expect to live to 89, and they said the ideal length of retirement is 29 years.
  • When asked if they want to live to 100, nearly 70% of the respondents said “yes.” The main reason for this desire for long life? To spend more years with their family and friends.

Of course, none of us can see into the future and know how long we’ll be around. But with advances in medical care and a greater awareness of healthy lifestyles, these aspirations have a real basis in reality.

However, if you’re going to enjoy a longer lifespan, and the extra years with your loved ones, you need to ensure your finances are also in good shape. How can you make this happen?  Here are some basic steps to follow:
 
  • Save and invest early and often. This may be the oldest piece of financial advice, but it’s still valid. The earlier you start saving and investing for your retirement, the greater your potential accumulation. Consider this: If you began saving just $5,000 per year at age 25, and earned a hypothetical 6.5% annual rate of return, and didn’t take any early withdrawals, you’d end up with $935,000 by the time you reached 65. But if you waited until 35 to start saving and investing, and you earned the same hypothetical 6.5% return – again with no early withdrawals – you’d only end up with $460,000. And if you didn’t start saving until 45, you’d end up with just over $200,000, again given the same 6.5% return. 
  • Be mindful of debt. You may not  want to be burdened with certain debts when you enter retirement. So, while you’re still working, try to reduce unwanted debts, particularly those that don’t offer the financial benefits of tax-deductible interest payments. The lower your debt load, the more you can save and invest for the future.
  • Keep reviewing your progress. It’s important to monitor the progress you need to make toward achieving your goal of a comfortable retirement. Over the short term, your investment balances may fluctuate, especially in volatile financial markets such as we’ve seen in the early part of this year. But you’ll get a clearer picture of your situation if you look at long-term results. For example, have your accounts grown over the past 10 years as much as you had planned? And going forward, do you think you’re in good shape, or will you need to make some changes to your investment strategy? Keep in mind that, if you’re 50 or older, you can make “catch-up” contributions to your IRA and 401(k) that allow you to exceed the regular limits. You may also want to adjust your investment mix as you near retirement to potentially lower your risk exposure.

Hopefully, you will enjoy many years of a healthy, happy retirement. And you can help support this vision by carefully considering your financial moves and making the ones that are right for you. 

This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor
Financial Advisor, Mandy Calouro, Chelmsford, MA
Edwardjones.com/Mandy-Calouro, Edward Jones, Member SIPC

Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition's Annual State-wide Against the Tide Multisport Virtual & In-person Events

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Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition (MBCC) is hosting its annual, statewide Against the Tide athletic fundraising events as both virtual and in-person events this summer.  
 
MBCC will hold its in-person Cape Cod Against the Tide event on August 13 at DCR’s Nickerson State Park in Brewster for the 23rd year. This event will feature a 1-mile recreational and competitive swim, a ½-mile recreational swim, 5K and 10K runs, a 3-mile walk, and a 1-mile USMS sanctioned swim.
 
Additionally, MBCC is offering participants the option to participate remotely in the Against the Tide August virtual event from August 6–13. The virtual event components include 1-mile recreational or competitive swims, a ½-mile recreational swim, 5K and 10K runs, and a 3-mile walk.
 
Registration for both the virtual and in-person options is $40 for an individual participant, and $100 for a family registration (up to 5 family members). Participants may register as an individual or as part of a team. Participants are encouraged to raise funds beyond the registration fees, as all proceeds support MBCC’s unique goal of breast cancer prevention. All participants will receive an event t-shirt. Prizes will be awarded for the top swim and run finishers of the in-person events. To learn more about all of the registration options or to make a pledge, please visit the MBCC website at www.mbcc.org/swim or call 508-246-3047.
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Stackmusic Trio & Guests Play Outdoor Rock/Pop Concert 

WESTFORD: The Parish Center for the Arts is excited to host Stackmusic Trio and special guests in an outdoor concert on 8/6 from 3-5pm on the Westford Town Common at 10 Lincoln Street. Tickets are available in advance at pcawestford.org or at the PCA Ticket Tent on the day of the show with a suggested donation of $15/person; $40/family; $10/seniors & under 12. BYO chair/blanket and 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).
 
The Stackmusic trio began as the duo of "Stack & Paul" with David "Stack" Stackhouse on vocals and acoustic guitar, and Paul Pampinella on guitars and vocals - two buddies who've been jamming together since they met at Berklee College of Music in the late 80s. They recently added Dave Sacco on percussion for a third dimension of rhythm and texture to form the trio now called "Stackmusic". Think Tom Petty, Bad Company, The Smashing Pumpkins, Foo Fighters, Sheryl Crow, etc. Their eclectic mix of rock and pop hits, with a few originals sprinkled in, are bound to make your next playlist!

By the way, the two Daves are from Westford - maybe you've seen their mugs at the local Market Basket! As an added treat for the proud dads and the audience, daughters Ava Stackhouse and Marissa Sacco add their voices to a few songs to make it an "awww... isn't that special" occasion for all!

RAIN DATE: In case of rain, the concert will be moved to the following day, Sunday, 8/7 3p-5p. An announcement will be made by noon on Saturday.
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Did You Know that Even Pens are Recyclable through TerraCycle?

LITTLETON/ACTON: Tossing out your old pens, mechanical pencils and glue sticks?  What about those old metal pots and pans?  Save them for the TerraCycle collection box at the Donelan’s supermarkets in both Littleton and Acton, or at the Reuben Hoar Library in Littleton. If you have a Littleton transfer station sticker, take a look for the yellow bin there!

The collection box is also a great place to recycle your empty plastic containers for deodorant or oral care!  In addition: air fresheners (cartridges and plugs), and cleaning product pumps and trigger spray heads, as well as cell phone cases are also recyclable.  Empty ink-jet and toner cartridges are always welcome!  Many other items too – please check out the website at https://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?  Email littletonma.recycles@gmail.com.

FINANCIAL FOCUS: Market decline offers buying opportunities

July 27, 2022

The financial markets have gotten off to a rocky start this year. What’s caused this volatility? And does it present opportunities for patient investors?

First of all, several factors are behind the market volatility, including the war in Ukraine, higher inflation, rising interest rates and the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, while these factors may be specific to the recent market decline, volatility itself is a common feature of the investment environment. In fact, history shows that corrections of 10% or more happen about every year, and declines of 15% or more have happened every other year, on average. Furthermore, while 2022 has thus far been challenging for investors, it was preceded by a long period of strong markets, with the S&P 500 averaging more than a 20% return over the past three years. 

Knowing the typical frequency of market volatility and reviewing the results of the past few years may make the current situation seem less shocking. But you don’t have to simply “ride out” the downturn – because a down market may give you the opportunity to buy more investment shares at good prices. Specifically, you can expand your holdings in companies that have good growth prospects due to strong management and products or services that provide sustainable competitive advantages. And this type of opportunity is important, because one of the keys to building wealth is to increase the number of shares you own in your various investments and hold them for the long term. While the market will always fluctuate, the long-term trend has been positive, particularly for well-diversified portfolios built with quality investments.       

Of course, while it is a good idea to boost your share ownership at favorable prices, you still want to be strategic about it, rather than just buying whatever seems to be the biggest bargain. In reviewing your existing portfolio, can you identify any gaps that could be filled with new investments? Are there opportunities to further diversify your holdings? By owning different types of stocks, bonds, government securities and other investments, you can help reduce the impact of volatility on your portfolio. (Keep in mind, though, that diversification can’t guarantee profits or prevent losses in declining markets.) Or, if your portfolio has become “unbalanced” in some way, you could also use this time to rebalance it back to its original long-term targets. You might also consider setting up a systematic investing program in which you invest the same amounts in the same investments on a regular basis, such as monthly. When prices go down, you’ll automatically buy more shares, and when prices rise, you’ll buy fewer shares. (However, systematic investing does not guarantee a profit or protect against loss and you’ll need to be willing to keep investing when share prices are declining.)
Before this year, average annual returns have been solid for about a decade, which makes it somewhat easy to forget about normal market volatility and may have led to overly optimistic performance expectations. So, it would not be surprising if your initial reaction to the current downturn is one of concern. But by viewing the current investment environment as a chance to add quality investments at attractive prices, you can help yourself develop a behavior that can serve you well throughout your life as an investor.

This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor. Edward Jones, Member SIPC
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Rededication of the Grange Fountain at Littleton Depot

LITTLETON: At the October 2020 Special Town Meeting, the town of Littleton granted $9,500 in Community Preservation Funds and the Historical Society raised another $3,000 to restore the Grange Fountain at the Depot. To celebrate the strength of community and to give a big “thank you” to generous donors, the residents of Littleton, and David Erickson and his crew, there will be a short ceremony to rededicate the Grange Fountain to the Town of Littleton. The fountain was originally presented to the town in 1912 by Grange No. 188.  It has been lovingly restored by David Erickson of Erickson Antique Stoves. We will comment on the project, restoration, and historical life at the Depot. Meet on Saturday, July 30 at 1pm at the fountain in front of CK Bikes at 3 Taylor Street, parking behind the post office. Rain date: Sunday, July 31 at 1pm. Check Historical Society website, Facebook, or phone message 978-486-8202 for information.

FINANCIAL FOCUS: Strengthen Your ‘Three-legged Stool’ for Retirement

July 18, 2022

For many years, Americans provided for their retirement needs through three sources: employer-sponsored pension plans, Social Security income, and savings and investments accumulated through employer plans or individual accounts – the so-called “three-legged stool.” But today, that stool is shakier than it used to be. What can you do to strengthen it?

To begin with, all three legs of the stool are facing challenges. Let’s consider them:

• Employer pensions – A generation ago, workers employed in many companies could count on a set monthly pension income to help them through their retirement years. Today, pensions – also known as defined benefit plans – are mostly found in public sector employment, as most private-sector employers have replaced their pensions with 401(k) and similar plans. These plans can be quite effective at helping build resources for retirement, but they do place most of the responsibility for saving on the employee.

• Social Security – Social Security has come under financial pressure because the workers-to-retirees ratio has declined significantly, according to the Social Security Administration’s 2021 Board of Trustees Report. A number of proposals have been brought forward on how to improve the long-term financial security of the Social Security system.

• Personal savings and investments – In terms of building savings and investments for retirement, the picture is somewhat mixed. The national savings rate has increased in recent years, but more than half of American workers still say their retirement savings are not where they should be, according to a 2021 survey from Bankrate, a personal finance website. And the same survey found that just over half of investors with a 401(k) or IRA have taken early withdrawals – that is, they withdrew money before they retired. Furthermore, we may be waiting too long even to begin saving/investing for retirement. A survey from Age Wave and Edward Jones found that respondents began saving for retirement at an average age of 38, but the majority said they should have started saving a decade earlier.

You have options for improving some parts of your own three-legged stool. For example, no matter what happens to Social Security, you can still decide when to start taking payments. You can begin collecting benefits as early as 62, but your monthly checks will be larger if you wait until your “full” retirement age, which will likely be between 66 and 67. You can even delay taking benefits until they “max out” at age 70.

As for a pension, you can’t control what’s available to you through your employer, but you can create your own retirement income stream by contributing as much as you can afford to your 401(k) or other employer-sponsored plan and by increasing your contributions whenever your salary goes up. And you can also contribute to an IRA or other investment vehicle to further boost your retirement funds. Try to leave these accounts intact until you need them for retirement. This will be easier if you’ve built an emergency fund, with the money kept in a liquid, low-risk account, to pay for unexpected costs, such as those resulting from a major car or home repair.

The three-legged stool may not be as universal as it once was – but you can still construct a sturdy structure to support your retirement needs in the future.

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

18th Century Diseases: The Bloody Flux of 1775, Looking at the Little Picture 

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WESTFORD: In the late summer of 1775, a terrible epidemic struck Boston and much of New England. As the Revolutionary War heated up, and the siege of Boston reached its peak, both armies faced an invisible enemy. On Sunday July 31 at 1:30pm in Westford Museum, 2 Boston Road, Judy Cataldo will explain the disease that was known at the time as the bloody flux. Today, we might know it better by the name dysentery or shigella. The bloody flux was a diarrheal disease that took a terrible toll on the region’s children, but now it’s barely remembered, as it’s overshadowed by a smallpox outbreak of the same year.

We think of history in terms of the big picture of names and dates, of battles and facts. That big picture obscures our view of the little picture, the one that didn’t change the outcome of history but rather changed the people who were part of that history. The Bloody Flux in the late summer/early fall of 1775 didn’t change the outcome of the war but forever changed the lives of some people.

The OED defines dysentery as a disease characterized by inflammation of the mucous membrane and glands of the large intestine, accompanied with griping pains, and mucous and bloody evacuations. It is believed the Bloody Flux was caused by shigella, a type of dysentery found in overcrowded conditions with poor sanitation such as refugee camps or in 1775, army camps.

“The Dysentery soon prevailed in the American Army & extended itself through the country. Although it prevailed most in the Town near camp, my Parish partook largely of this calamity. We buried about 50 persons in the course of the season. Some families were dreadfully bereaved. One in particular a Mr. Joseph Daniels buried an amiable wife & 6 very promising Children in about 6 weeks—we often buried 3 or 4 in a day. My time was wholly devoted to visiting the sick, attendance on the dying & the dead.”  Memoirs of the Rev. Samuel West, Pastor (1764 – 1788), First Parish, Needham Massachusetts

“Death has so long stalked among us that he is become much less terrible to me than he once was…Funerals are now so frequent that for a month past you meet as many dead folks as live ones in Boston streets, and we pass them with much less emotion and attention than we used to pass dead sheep and oxen in days of yore when such sights were to be seen in in our streets.”  Jonathan Sewell, Summer 1775

Judy Cataldo is an independent scholar and a volunteer with several local organizations, including Minuteman National Park, since 1974.  Judy has either attended or presented at every History Camp Boston but one, and she was scheduled to present this year in March, until our current circumstances forced a delay.  also a historical spinner and a reenactor with the Westford Colonial Minutemen. Suggested Donation $10 per person.
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Announces 2022 Scholarship Recipients

ACTON/WESTFORD: Discovery Museum announced today its first-ever Discovery Museum Scholarship recipients, four area high school students selected through a competitive application process that saw 158 applications from students in 56 towns throughout Massachusetts.

Launched this year for the Museum’s 40th anniversary, the Discovery Museum Scholarship recognizes high school students who embody the mission and values of the Museum. Scholarships of $1,000 each were awarded to:
 
  • Ajax Benander, Hudson, MA; Advanced Math and Science Academy Charter School
  • Myles Braverman, Westford, MA; Westford Academy
  • Sunithi Krishnan, Acton, MA; Acton-Boxborough Regional High School (and Discovery Museum Explorer)
  • Cara Murphy, Hudson, MA; Massachusetts Academy of Math and Science

“We created the Discovery Museum Scholarship to honor the millions of young people who have come through our doors over the past 40 years—so many of whom have gone on to inspire us,” said CEO Neil Gordon. “Ajax, Myles, Sunithi, and Cara each impressed the scholarship review committee with their achievements, community support activities, and plans to further their education. From their applications we learned a bit about how Discovery Museum impacted them while they were young and contributed to the paths they have chosen. We are very proud honor and support these impressive students on the next step in their educational journey.”
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Vacation Bible School Food Truck Party at CCoL

LITTLETON: The Congregational Church of Littleton invites children ages pre-K to grade 5 to get on a roll with God as a parade of Food Trucks rolls into CCoL for this summer's Vacation Bible School party at 330 King Street from August 15-19 from 9am to Noon. The Food Truck Party helps children build on the practice of using daily prayer to turn to God for their needs and also to serve as the hands of God in ensuring that the needs of others are met. The children move to the various stations each morning featuring Bible stories, crafts, music, science, assembly, recreation, decorating and reflection time.

The cost is $25 per person. Space is limited. Contact director Michelle
Rawlinson (ce_director-ccol@outlook.com) or stop by the church for applications. The church office is open Tuesday through Thursday from 10am to 3pm. Questions? Contact Michelle Rawlinson: ce_director-ccol@outlook.com.
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Promoting Clean Energy in our Buildings: What is Acton’s Path to Climate Action?

ACTON/WESTFORDWestford Climate Action hosts a free webinar on Wednesday, July 13 at 7pm with Acton Select Board Member Jim Snyder-Grant. Westford’s Clean Energy and Sustainability Committee has determined that nearly 60% of our greenhouse gas emissions come from our buildings.  Many towns in our Commonwealth have formed climate action and clean energy committees to move toward a carbon-free future. 

How can local boards, committees and residents codify this work so that future projects meet clean energy benchmarks and goals? The webinar will include the presentation by Jim Snyder-Grant followed by a Q&A. Register at WestfordClimateAction. The webinar will be recorded and can be accessed at: WestfordClimateAction.org  
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Littleton Appleman Triathlon Dedicated to Al and Geri McConnell

LITTLETON: On Sunday, July 17, from 8am to noon, the Rotary Club of Littleton will be hosting the 18th Annual Littleton Appleman Triathlon. The Appleman is a fundraiser that supports the Littleton Rotary Club's many community and international charitable projects, including the local Scout troops, Sleep in Heavenly Peace, Loaves & Fishes, the Friends of the Reuben Hoar Library, the 4H  Club, Rise Against Hunger, and many more non-profit organizations.  100% of the net proceeds go to non-profits such as these.

The Appleman Triathlon is a sprint event involving the completion of three sequential endurance races: a 1/2-mile swim, 10-mile bike and 3-mile run. Competitors range from casual teams from families and businesses to dedicated individuals who compete in multiple events nationally and, in some cases, worldwide.  While top finishers in each age and gender-specific class are recognized, the goal of most competitors is to improve their personal best times.  Race timing and logistics is handled by NET (New England Timing), a well-known local producer of multisport competitions with over 15 years of race production experience.  The race is sanctioned by USA Triathlon, the national sanctioning body for triathlons in the USA and sponsor of the USA Olympic Triathlon Team.

Over the years people have been honored, those who have made this event a success by dedicating the Appleman Triathlon to them.  This year the Appleman will be dedicated to two long-time members of the Rotary Club of Littleton, Al and Gerry McConnell.  Al was one of the Club's original members and was active in the Club throughout his lifetime.  His wife Gerry, who accompanied him to most weekly meetings, was such a valuable asset to the Club that we made her an honorary member!  Even after Al passed away in May, Gerry continued to be part of the Littleton Club.

For details about the race, to register to participate, or to volunteer at the Appleman, go to https://www.trisignup.com/Race/Events/MA/Littleton/ApplemanTriathlonDuathlonAquaBike.

The Littleton Rotary Club is a service club made up of men and women from the Littleton area.  The club is a member of Rotary International, one of over 34,000 clubs with over 1.2 million members, worldwide.  Rotary is dedicated to “Service Above Self” and provides volunteers and financial support to each community, each country and the world.

If you would like to learn more about Rotary, please contact Club President Glen Hall at ghall@badgerfuneral.com.
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Four Convenient Drop-off Points to Recycle Your Hard-to-Recycle Plastics

LITTLETON: There are now collection bins open for everyone to drop by and use in Littleton!  They're at the Donelan’s supermarkets in both Littleton and Acton (wooden boxes), and also at the Reuben Hoar Library in Littleton (green bin).   If you have a Littleton transfer station sticker, take a look for the yellow bin!
 
You may recycle (reasonably empty and dry):
 
  • Oral care product containers & manual toothbrushes (no electric toothbrush heads)
  • Plastic Deodorant containers (no aerosols)
  • air freshener and cleaning pumps, trigger sprays, cartridges (no aerosols)
  • Old pens, markers, and mechanical pencils
  • Empty ink-jet and toner cartridges
  • Metal-based cookware, bakeware, and cutlery
  • And so much more – see url or QR code below
 
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 website: https://tinyurl.com/littletonmarecycles, or email littletonma.recycles@gmail.com. 

Small Business Helps the Environment by Converting Newspaper and Corrugated Cardboard into Cellulose Insulation

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LITTLETON: Massachusetts consumers and businesses - Don’t throw your newspaper or corrugated cardboard away!  Dolphin Insulation, Inc., located at the rear of the Mill Building, 410 Great Road, is launching a new program, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Littleton, to recycle your newspapers and corrugated boxes.  These items will be utilized in the manufacture of high-performance cellulose insulation for all types of buildings.
 
Cellulose is a truly green product. The fiber that is used to manufacture newsprint and corrugated material is wood fiber, which makes excellent insulation.

When the cold is kept out and the heat is kept in during the winter months, the cost of heating is reduced; conversely, in the summer when the heat is kept out, air conditioning costs are  lowered.  Homeowners, apartment and condo owners, and businesses can all benefit by saving money on their utility bills, while eliminating the pollutants emitted when newsprint and corrugated cardboard are not recycled.  In addition, the cost of needlessly disposing of newsprint and corrugated cardboard is now being eliminated.

Bring your newspaper and corrugated cardboard to the large container truck located at Dolphin Insulation.  Drop-off times and dates will be posted on Dolphin’s Facebook page,  @DolphinInsulationInc.  There are only a few restrictions on what can be used to manufacture the insulation: Do not include any glossy or color inserts or magazines, and donate only clean, dry corrugated cardboard - NO PIZZA BOXES, because they will contaminate a whole trailer load of newsprint.

For more information about the recycling project, contact Littleton Rotarian Chris Alphen at chris@dolphin-insulation.com, or call the company at 978-266-1122.
Westford

Westford Holds Annual Town Meeting

WESTFORD: What are you doing on Saturday? Witness democracy in action!

Town Meeting is the legislative branch of Westford’s government, and all registered voters may attend, speak, and vote at the open Town Meeting. If you are registered to vote in Westford, you can -- and should -- participate. This year’s Annual Town Meeting is on Saturday, June 11, at 9am on Trustees Field at Westford Academy, 30 Patten Road. There are 19 articles on this year’s warrant. If the meeting is not finished on Saturday, Town Meeting will be adjourned and resumed on Sunday. (The rain date is Sunday, June 12, same time and place.)

Want to know more before you go? Westford residents should have received a copy of the Westford Finance Committee’s 2022 Report and Recommendations. Residents can access the report here: FY2018 Town of Westford Budget (westfordma.gov).

In addition, the League of Women Voters of Westford recently held a Town Meeting Preview,. The preview covers all 19 articles, with additional information provided by various town employees and town board members. Residents can view the recording here: Home - WestfordCAT
Residents can also find more information on the Town Moderator’s website. Moderator Angela Harkness and League member Anita Tonakarn-Nguyen have created a series of videos designed to explain the Town Meeting process. Residents can find the videos – and frequently asked questions -- here: Town Moderator | Westford, MA (westfordma.gov)

Still have questions? Go to the town’s website at News Flash • Westford, MA • CivicEngage (westfordma.gov)  or check out the League of Women Voters of Westford website at Westford League of Women Voters | Empowering Voters. Defending Democracy.

PCA Art Gallery Artist of the Month Features “Animals and Nature” by Oksana Zotkina Peura & Cynthia Harris

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WESTFORD: The PCA Gallery is excited to announce a joint Art exhibit during the month of June. The exhibit will open on June 2 with an artist’s reception on June 5  from 12-2:30pm. In addition to the normal Sunday noon to 2pm gallery hours, it will also be open for viewing during the Westford 46th Annual Strawberry ‘N’ Arts Festival on June 18, 10am-3pm.
 
Oksana Zotkina Peura conveys her fascination with the animal world and nature in general and feels fortunate to have been living in New England for the past 20+ years where she is inspired by beautiful landscapes and open skies.  Her passion is to meet other artists in a plein air environment. Oksana writes: “For most of my studio works: I either start the painting on site and continue working later, or complete a small painting for future reference in addition to photos I take. If I can't paint on site - I do sketching and note-taking to help me remember the colors and the overall mood of the place and time. Sketching is usually done in pencil or a ballpoint pen. Oil is my favorite paint medium, but I also work in acrylic medium and did several mural projects in Acrylic paint on a large scale.”

Cynthia Harris considers art to be a form of communication through emotions; something that cannot be put into words may be expressed through drawing, painting, sculpting, etc. The visual language fills the gap where words are inadequate.  Her work in scratchboard, oil and acrylic media, reflect her passion for nature’s inspiration found in the flora and fauna of different earth ecosystems. Capturing the essence of the subject in her paintings, she hopes to raise awareness of endangered species.  For more information about her artwork contact Cynthia at cjharris5@hotmail.com.
 
The Parish Center for the Arts is located at 10 Lincoln Street.  For more information, visit www.westford.org/pca.

Spring into Summer Reading at the Friends of the J.V. Fletcher Library Book Sale

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WESTFORD: The Friends of the J.V. Fletcher Library Inc. is so excited to return to its 3-day book sale events. They will be holding a book sale on Saturday, June 4 from 10am to 5pm and Sunday, June 5 from 2pm to 4pm in the meeting room of the J.V. Fletcher Library at 50 Main Street.  Sunday’s sale will be a $5 bag sale. All materials will be offered at half price.

There will be a preview sale for Friends members only on Friday, June 3 from 6:30pm to 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. Credit card payments, checks and cash accepted.

The Library is 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.

United Methodist Church of Westford Pentecost and Reconciling Church Service

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WESTFORD: United Methodist Church of Westford, 10 Church Street, will be celebrating Pentecost Sunday and becoming a Reconciling Church within the Reconciling Ministries Network during their 9:30am worship service on June 5. In November 2021, UMCW affiliated with the Reconciling Ministries Network (RMN), an advocacy group focused on advancing justice and inclusion for all LGBTQ people. Its mission: to “equip and mobilize United Methodists of all sexual orientations and gender identities to resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves.” UMCW is proud of its affiliation and is now finally able to celebrate, having delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

ALL ARE WELCOME to join in celebrating Pentecost and Christ’s love for ALL with live music and a special message from guest speaker Reverend John Holt. The church is handicap accessible. Masks are optional, but please bring a mask with you to wear while singing. (Masks and social distancing are required for those who choose to sit in our balcony area.) “The Ark” for infants and young children is open and staffed during the service. For more information, visit
www.umcw.org.

Littleton Historical Society Open House

LITTLETON: After over twenty years, Ann Himmelberger has retired her position on the Board of Directors. Please join LHS in celebrating Ann and all the wonderful things she has done for the Littleton Historical Society. Drop in for some light refreshments and to wish Ann well as she enjoys a much deserved retirement. Gift presentation at 2:30pm. Currently, in the exhibit room is an exhibit of Gertrude F. Sanderson, Littleton native and painter. Call 978-486-8202 or email Littleton.HistSociety@verizon.net for more info.
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Littleton Dancer Transports Audience to India at Samāgata 

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LITTLETON/ANDOVER: With Covid rates in our area rising once again, are you hankering for a safe way to experience other cultures around the world? If so, venture out to Andover to see Littleton resident and Odissi performer, Priya Bangal, perform in Samāgata, an evening of classical Indian dance solos by three artists in three distinct styles of Indian classical dance - Mohiniyattam, Bharatanatyam and Odissi. Samāgata will be presented at Andover Town House (Old Town Hall) at 20 Main St, Andover on Saturday, June 11 at 7:30pm. The venue is accessible for people who use mobility devices. Tickets are free. Pre-register to reserve seating: https://tinyurl.com/samagata.

The dances will be presented by three accomplished dance artists from the Greater Boston area, Soumya Rajaram (Bharatanatyam), Sapna Govindan (Mohiniyattam), and Priya Bangal (Odissi). 
Odissi is a form that I admire greatly. I might have learned it if I hadn’t fallen in love with Mohiniyattam!” effuses Sapna Govindan, one of the other soloists in Samāgata. In the Indian tradition, music, poetry, dance, painting, sculpture, literature, legend and myth are all inseparably linked in a vast tapestry of art and aesthetics. For a dancer, immersion in her practice involves an awareness of these subtle yet vital connections to reveal 'rasa' - the ultimate aesthetic essence of her work. Her audience is then, not merely a spectator, but a co-creator of this shared experience beyond the self, beyond the here and now. Samāgata is a coming together - of the dance and dancer, of the artist and the audience, and of three different dance forms from the Indian tradition. 

Samāgata is a first of its kind performance in Andover and has received generous support from the town and the community. It is supported in part by the Andover Cultural Council, a local agency supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency and by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ New England Dance Fund, with generous support from the Aliad Fund at the Boston Foundation. Samāgata is also supported by the Andover Commission of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Andover TV recently featured an interview with the dancers in a show called "There is something about Andover - May 2022". It will be held in the historic building of the Old Town Hall, which is situated on Main Street in downtown Andover, in a vibrant cultural and business district. 

On June 2 at 7pm The Andover Center for History and Culture will host the artists of Samāgata for a pre-performance interactive conversation and demonstration. Admission is free, though RSVP is requested as seating is limited. Those interested may visit www.andoverhistoryandculture.org for registration. This interactive session will discuss dance history, insight into the forms and serve as a glimpse into the main performance at the Andover Town House. More information is available at https://andoverhistoryandculture.org.
 
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Michelle Willson & the Evil Gal Festival Orchestra at PCA

WESTFORD: Parish Center for the Arts at 10 Lincoln Street, continues its Blues Series with Michelle Willson and the Evil Gal Festival Orchestra on Saturday, May 21 at 8pm. Michelle's Evil Gal Festive Orchestra include renowned musicians Michelle Willson (vocals), Zac Casher (drums), Mike Mele (guitar), Shinichi Otsu (keys), and Scott Shetler (sax, clarinet, mandolin).

Known to blues lovers around the world as "Evil Gal" and acknowledged by aficionados of Jazz and Blues as a passionate and gifted performer, bandleader and songwriter, Michelle Willson has recorded and released 4 critically acclaimed albums for Rounder/ Bullseye Records. Before signing with Rounder, Michelle's group won a prestigious W.C. Handy award for best unsigned blues act as a result of their win at the Blues Foundation's International Blues competition and Michelle was later nominated for a (best female blues vocal) Handy alongside Etta James and Koko Taylor. For over 3 years, Michelle hosted 2 weekly programs, "Voices of Jazz" and "Jazz n' Blue" on one of the few remaining NPR music stations, WICN, in Worcester, MA. Learn more about this powerhouse vocalist and her band at - https://www.evilgal.com/music

Tickets are $25 General Admission; $21 PCA members/seniors, and available online https://westford.org/pca/events/michelle-wilson-and-the-evil-gal-festival-orchestra, or at door (cash/credit). Doors open at 7:30pm.  This event is BYOB (drinks and appetizers) with cafe-style candlelit table seating. Attendees must be vaccinated. Masks optional.
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PCA Art Gallery Welcomes  Mixed Media Artist Dan Roche as the May Artist of the Month

WESTFORD: The PCA Artist of the Month Gallery is pleased to welcome Lowell artist Dan Roche with an exhibit of his multi-media works.  Dan is a local artist who works in mixed media materials using metal leaf, pigment and resin on a wood base.  His subjects span the topics of aerial, geologic and oceanic art and abstracts.  He is a graduate of the Mass College of Art and Design in Painting and Sculpture and has been featured locally and  internationally in collections and exhibits, both as a solo artist and in group exhibits.  Upon graduation from the Mass College of Art, he was awarded the prestigious BERGER AWARD for painting.  Don’t miss this unique collection of multi-media art at the Parish Center for the Arts in May.  

The exhibition dates are from May 1 through 31. The Gallery will be open Sundays noon-2PM for viewing or by special appointment.  An artist’s reception will be held on May 8 from noon-3pm.  Roche can be contacted at drdr537@gmail.com.
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League of Women Voters’ Civic Social Features Access To Town Meeting Committee Progress Report

WESTFORD: Access to Town Meeting Committee Chair Diane Wood will present the committee’s research and recommendations at the League of Women Voters’ virtual Civic Social on Wednesday, May 18, at 7:30pm. Email info@lwv.westford.org to get the link to join the meeting.

Last September, the Westford Select Board appointed a committee of 11 residents to investigate and recommend actions the Town could take to increase attendance at Town Meeting. Recently, the Access To Town Meeting (ATM) Committee presented their recommendations to the Select Board. Residents have an opportunity to learn more about those recommendations – and the process the ATM went through at the May 18 session.

The ATM’s recommendations fall into several categories: make meetings shorter, more efficient, and predictable; mitigate common barriers to attendance; optimize general town communications; educate residents about Town Meeting; and longer-term recommendations. The ATM Committee solicited input from town residents through a Westford Community Survey – which yielded more than 800 responses – as well as input from a questionnaire from more than 40 other towns conducted through the MA Moderators’ Association. In addition, the ATM conducted in-depth interviews with a number of town officials.

Town Moderator Angela Harkness along with town leadership are currently reviewing the dozens of recommendations made by the ATM Committee with plans for implementation. Join the LWV of Westford on May 18 to learn more. For more information, check out the committee’s webpage, Access to Town Meeting Committee (westfordma.gov/1436)

Traveling Back Down Route  110 with Geoff Hall & Bob Spinozzi
(Video Premiere)

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WESTFORD: In 2011, Westford resident Geoff Hall, and Littleton resident Bob Spinozzi chronicled how businesses sprouted through the years along the Route 110 stretch from Littleton to Chelmsford. Eleven years later, Geoff and Bob teamed up again in a 2022 documentary of the further development and history of Littleton Road.

From a Westfit Club, a tennis and racquet Ball Club at 4 Littleton Road  to Kimball Farm, a great place for summer fun, your hosts Geoff Hall and Bob Spinozzi take you on a journey to discover how the farms of Westford’s Route 110 (Littleton Road) developed into the office and retail corridor that it is today. Enjoy the history, development and stories of the people who lived and worked along this four-mile stretch Sunday, May 15 from 1:30pm-3pm at the Westford Museum, 2 Boston Road.

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, they strive to expand and enrich understanding of how our town continues to evolve. They foster an environment of teaching and learning that strengthens our sense of community. They 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, visit www.museum.westford.org.