Rev. Rebecca Lockwood Joins the Fold at Westford's FPCU

WESTFORD: Diversity and compassion are important issues for our newly settled minister, Rev. Rebecca Lockwood, at the First Parish Church United (FPCU).  Carrying on her family’s involvement in the ministry, Rev. Rebecca has used her unique background to bring a strong interest in linking church to community and welcoming all to the FPCU church.

Growing up in a loving blended family in Raymond, Maine, she gained 2 more brothers where they grew up “with a lot of love and some healthy annoyance”. During her pre-teen years, she was influenced by her ministerial family and summer camping experiences at a nearby UCC camp. She has two aunts, who were ordained United Church of Christ ministers and an uncle who was ordained as both a Presbyterian and UCC minister. Their professional experiences in both a California and Midwestern church gave her broader insights into her own personal spiritual explorations. When she was 12, her aunt even designed her a lovely pastoral embroidered stole, gently encouraging her into thinking about the ministry as a possible journey for her.

Another strong influence was her UCC camping experience for many years at the Camp Pilgrim Lodge in West Gardener, Maine. She spent all of her teen summers there, first as a camper, then a photographer, then a counselor. She remembers during those weeks, feeling “free”, and loving both the warm fellowship created by their close community working together in all areas and being surrounded by nature. Exploring nature brought her “closer to the Sacred”, and learning to kayak, canoe, having daily hikes, chapel and vespers, brought her close to her fellow campers and she felt those loving connections. Because of the strong foundation of the community, it was a place to hold challenging conversations around theology, purpose, and social justice issues.

After graduating from high school, she attended Hartwick College in Oneonta (NY), and majored in comparative religions. While there, her advisor, who was the last to be taught the ancient Indian Sanskrit language, had a strong interest in Buddhism, and encouraged her to explore and study more of the mystical Eastern religions. This eventually led to a closer study of Gnostic(mystical) Christianity with a focus on the Gnostic Gospels, non-canonized scripture. These ancient texts, like the Gospel of Thomas, widened her religious journey, and after research and exploration, led her back to looking at Christianity with a different perspective.

At this time, she also began to study creative art forms such as ceramics, embroidery, knitting, and watercolors. Using her hands and being creative “allows me to process life and offers a chance to play”. She wanted to bring that same joy to church life and worship.

Following her undergraduate studies, she enrolled in Andover Newton Seminary in MA and after 3 1/2 years, received her Master of Divinity. She then became an intern at the Hancock Congregational Church in Lexington, MA, and enjoyed their thoughtful, welcoming church that was so dynamic, she stayed an extra year.

Choosing a church to start her pastoral work, she knew she wanted to be an associate in “an open and affirming church that cared deeply about each member.” St. Peter’s United Church of Christ in Carmel, Indiana called to her, and after she accepted the call, became their Associate Minister of Missions and Education that focused on social justice. She really enjoyed their flourishing youth program open to 4th through 6th grades, and how it grew to include high school students with their storytelling matched to psalms. She was officially ordained there and served for over 5 years before deciding to relocate back to the East coast and New England.

Several factors influenced her decision to accept the FPCU call. Returning to New England was “in her bones” with its strong family ties, and the church’s strong outreach program appealed to her interest in being involved in a church that was an integral part of a community. She noted that the history of this church, organized in 1725, as well as the Strawberry and Greens Festivals, First Responders’ Dinner, refugee help, and continuing commitment to the Lowell Transitional Shelter were all reasons she came to this church.

Outside of her church duties, she also actively participates in the diversity programs in the Westford schools, Black Lives Matter, and the ecumenical Westford Interfaith Clergy group, and looks forward each year to their annual interfaith Thanksgiving service that draws many members. Skiing with her family, adopting a rescue dog named Stella, and enrolling in a ceramics course at the Pottery Mill in Lowell, she has brought her quiet energy, creativity, and openness to the FPCU church in Westford.

SAVE THE DATE! Annual Holiday Open House & Kitty Angels Weekend

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AMHERST, NH: SAVE THE DATE! Treasures Antiques, Collectables & MORE!, located at 106 Ponemah Road will be hosting their 31st Annual Holiday Open House and Kitty Angels Fundraising weekend on November 6 and 7. Festivities for the weekend will run both days from 10AM till 4PM and includes Holiday inspired shopping, raffles and entertainment.
The Open House event has been a mainstay in the community since its inception back in 1991. Kitty Angels, Inc. will be offering information on their organization, adoptions and donations. Representatives from the Amherst Animal Hospital, who has worked alongside Kitty Angels for decades and has cared for some of worst cases of critically ill or injured kitties, will also be on hand. There will be various, live musical entertainment provided by soloists, duos and bands, including Joey Peavey, Wildwood, North Sound Duo, Levi Maxwell, Jeff Damon, and The Grog Tones!
This Holiday and Fundraising event, is pet and kid friendly and will offer special sales for all, inside and out. There will again, be a petting zoo and horse and pony rides by Mapledell Farm of Townsend, MA. The weekend festivities will showcase artists and artisans, crafters, professionals, food vendors, featuring a live demonstration of oil painting and techniques by artist Eric Nickola, dba WolfpacStudios. Eric’s artwork will be on display and for sale. He also offers commission work. Artist Lori-Ellen Budenas of Respect the Wood!, a creator of abstract paintings, coasters, trivets and more, and Monica Gesualdo of Trading Faces – a face painting and body art artist will also be on site. Visit with Arty Mitchell at the ARUBACAT cat furniture truck. Some of the other longtime supporting vendors as well as several new vendors to the event will include: Mal’s Grill, with his Famous pulled pork tacos, Jerk Chicken Sandwiches and signature Mac & Cheese, etc., jewelry designers Freedom Jewelry, J. W. Young Studio, Heart’s Design Jewelry and Karen’s Pieces, Happy Cat Company LLC - Gourmet Granola and Maple Syrup, LuLaRoe, Vinyl Revival, Dusty Finds, The Spirit of Cacao, Anthony Acres, Puckerbrush Life, Color Street, Heavenly Goddess, Usborne Books, Fudge & Stuff, Tupperware, Custom Care Designs and many more.
Treasures will also be offering a number of fun and exciting raffles, with prizes donated by local and national businesses. Prizes will include a “Chain-sawed” wood carving done by Sara of NorthStar Sculptures, an ARUBACAT cat tree and other cat and dog related items, jewelry, specialty food packages, and an assortment of other fun and exciting prizes.
Kitty Angels, Inc., a no-kill cat shelter is made up of all unpaid volunteers and is dedicated to rescuing stray and abandoned cats and furnishing them with treatment for injuries or other health issues. These cats are then placed into life-long, loving “forever homes” with compatible owners. All necessary steps are taken to insure the wellbeing of the cats, including spaying and neutering and providing rabies, distemper and other necessary vaccinations. They are a non-profit, charitable corporation and all donations are fully tax-deductible with every penny of each donation going directly to the care of these cats.
Please join Treasures and Kitty Angels, in friendship and the spirit of sharing the Holidays. For more information, visit www.TreasuresNH.com and www.KittyAngels.org.

Stretch & Flex with Littleton EHS

LITTLETON: The EHS Invites you to Stretch and Flex is a workout class designed for all fitness levels. Littleton has been offering this class for upwards of 15 years and it has been instructed by the delightful Carol Wing for the last decade. Carol Wing is an AFAA certified instructor, ACSM certified personal trainer, and has been teaching fitness and working with seniors for over 20 years. Join in for a fun cardiovascular warmup and resistance work for the entire body using resistance bands and weights. All ages are welcome.

Meetings are Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11:15am for 55 minutes. Sign up by contacting the EHS Department  (978-540-2470) at the beginning of each
month. The fee is $3 per class. You can enroll in Tuesdays, Thursdays, or both for the month.

Class sizes have a limit of 20 people but offer an option to join virtually from home
via Zoom. Please dress in comfortable clothing and wear close-toed shoes (e.g., sneakers).

Everyone is encouraged to work at their own level and with what works for their body; there are options to customize the workout to your desired level of fitness. Stretch and Flex can help you to keep moving, increase balance, functional strength (making tasks of daily living much easier), and circulation. This fun class also provides a social outlet. Please talk to a doctor before starting an exercise regimen.

What's All This Talk About Heat Pumps?

WESTFORD: Does Heat Pump technology for heating AND cooling make sense for your home? Learn why you should invest in heat pump technology and how heat pumps will reduce your energy bills while lowering your home’s carbon footprint! Join Westford Climate Action for a free Webinar on Heat Pumps on Wednesday, October 13 @ 7pm.

Think of heat pump technology as air conditioners that also run in reverse.  Instead of only moving heat from inside to outside, they can also move it from outside to inside. In winter, today’s cold climate heat pumps can reliably extract heat from air that is 4ºF or even colder. In summer, they provide all the benefits of central AC in homes both with and without ducts.

The webinar will include: a presentation by Massachusetts’ HeatSmart Alliance, a speaker from Green Communities linking heat pumps to Massachusetts’ Net Zero Roadmap, and Westford residents sharing their experience with heat pumps in their homes. Learn about rebates. Q&A to follow. Register at WestfordClimateAction.org. The webinar will be recorded and can be accessed at WestfordClimateAction.org and WestfordCAT.com
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Fall Festival (formerly the Littleton Country Fair) to be Held October 16

LITTLETON: The Fall Festival (formerly the Littleton Country Fair) will be held outdoors on Saturday, October 16, 10am to 2pm at 19 Foster Street. The three big attractions are:
  • A huge yard sale with all kinds of gently used household items, sporting equipment, toys, kitchen items, some furniture, bric-a-brac and more;
  • A delicious selection of homemade jams, jellies and pickles;
  • Fashionable jewelry seeking new owners. Trash and Treasure  (on the grounds of the Littleton Historical Society).

Treat yourself to more homemade items – crafts, baked goods and soup for lunch. It’s all happening rain or shine outside First Church Unitarian, and at the Littleton Historical Society across the street. Note the new hours, 10 am to 2 pm. Arrive early for the best selections, and be sure and stop by at the end of the day for the $2/bag closeout sale at the yard sale.
Donations for the yard sale from the community will be accepted Friday, October 15 from 4-6 pm, and 8-10am October 16. All contributions are tax-deductible and will benefit First Church Unitarian and a Littleton non-profit. No televisions, car seats, computer monitors, books or CDs. Email questions to fair@fculittle.org.

Littleton Residents: The Elder & Human Services/Council on Aging "Loving Stitches" Group Needs Your Help!

LITTLETON: The Friends of the Council on Aging will be hosting a table with handmade items for sale at Littleton football games. The Friends asked Loving Stitches for help and Loving Stitches accepted the challenge! Time is short. Football season is here and help is needed! Will you also accept the challenge and make a hat, scarf, mittens, or something else to keep spectators warm? Ideal colors:  Littleton High School Tiger blue, gold, yellow, and/or white. Items can be dropped off at the EHS office, 33 Shattuck Street, 2nd floor (enter via the courtyard).

If you’d like to donate any other handmade items, we’d also be happy to accept them to be sold at the December Littleton Town Fair. Please label your donation for Loving Stitches:  Friends of COA project. The Friends of the COA raise funds to support elder resident activities.
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Indian Hill Music Announces New Name & New Home: Groton Hill Music Center

LITTLETON/GROTON: Indian Hill Music announced that it will now be known as Groton Hill Music Center, with the Fall 2022 opening of its stunning new home for music, currently under construction in Groton.

Indian Hill Music has boldly embraced the opportunity to create one of the most ambitious cultural projects in New England, returning to Groton, the North Central Massachusetts town where the non-profit was founded in 1985 by a handful of local musicians and music enthusiasts. Designed by award-winning Epstein Joslin Architects of Cambridge, MA, (Shalin Liu Performance Center, Rockport; Strathmore Music Center, Baltimore) Groton Hill Music Center is an architecturally exquisite 126,000-square-foot music education and performance venue. It houses a 1,000-seat concert hall with lawn seating for seasonal concerts, a 300-seat performance hall, multi-scaled rehearsal and teaching spaces, state-of-the-art acoustics designed by Threshold Acoustics of Chicago, and dynamic architecture. Additionally, two-thirds of the land on which the facility sits – formerly an apple orchard and a horse farm – is preserved as picturesque agricultural fields.

Groton Hill Music Center will become a gathering place for all to experience the highest quality music education, with private lessons, classes, ensembles, and supplemental learning programs for all ages and abilities; impactful outreach programs that share the transformative power of music throughout the community with a focus on the underserved; and world-class professional performances of all genres -- from jazz, global roots, folk, rock, country, and contemporary music to classical masterworks and chamber music. The building is designed to be a connected environment that creates opportunities for musicians, educators, students, and audience members to encounter, engage with, and inspire one another as a singular music community.

“We are anxiously anticipating the opening of this incredible new chapter for our organization, creating a vibrant musical hub that will be a treasured and valuable asset to the community,” said Lisa Fiorentino, CEO of Indian Hill Music. “Our organization has a strong history and significant ties to the 79 communities we currently serve throughout the region, with many enthusiastic supporters in Groton.”

Indian Hill Music will continue to use its current name until the new center opens next fall. The professional Orchestra of Indian Hill, led by acclaimed Artistic Director and Conductor Bruce Hangen, will complete its 47th season in Littleton, and looks forward to performing in its new world-class home, under a new name to be announced at a later date.
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EHS Isn’t Just for Seniors, They Can Help Littleton Residents With Childcare Money & the Mortgage

LITTLETON: EHS isn't just for Seniors.  They can help Littleton residents with childcare funds and mortgage assistance, too!

Free Money: Childcare Subsidy Program
Income eligible families may receive up to $5,000 per child toward care at a licensed program. The program is funded by the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development’s CDBG-CV grant program. The towns of Littleton, Acton, Boxborough, Maynard, and Westford have been awarded funds through a regional CARES ACT Community Development Block Grant Program to provide COVID-19-specific relief to local communities.

Funding expires December 31, 2021. The deadline is coming up; do not miss this opportunity! The application is only a few pages long and asks basic information about your contact information, child(ren)’s ages, and annual income. For the Childcare Subsidy Program guidelines and application, Littleton residents can go to:  www.littletonma.org/elder-and-human-services/pages/childcare-subsidy-program. Residents within the other participating communities should refer to their town’s website for information on how to apply.

Free Money: Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program
The Littleton Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program (LEMP) provides temporary emergency mortgage assistance to those who need help paying their mortgage. This program is for affordable deed restricted residents of Littleton. Eligible residents could receive up to $4,500. The short application asks for your contact information, housing situation, and income. To apply, go to:  www.littletonma.org/elder-and-human-services/pages/littleton-emergency-mortgage-assistance-program.
If you’ve ever dealt with someone making threats against you, been the subject of physical or verbal attacks, had rumors floated about you, or been purposely excluded from a group, then you know what it’s like to be bullied. During October, we recognize National Bullying Prevention Month and raise awareness and focus on bullying.

Bullying is any unwanted and aggressive behavior that involves a power imbalance, whether real or perceived. It’s typically behavior that is repeated again and again over a period of time.

Technology, with all the benefits it provides, also has made bullying easier and more widespread. Cyberbullying includes the distribution of mean or inappropriate email or text messages, the use of social media to post rumors or embarrassing photos, videos, messages, and even fake profiles.

For more information on ways to prevent, respond, or act against bullying, visit stopbullying.org, which is a special initiative from the Department of Health and Human Services.

If your child has been the victim of bullying and you’ve noticed a change in his or her mental health as a result, or if your child or someone you love is struggling with depression or thinking about suicide, get help now. In Massachusetts, every 5.28 days on an average a young person (ages 10-24) is lost to the silent epidemic of youth suicide.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-TALK (8255), is a free resource, available 24 hours a day for anyone who is in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. The Crisis Text Line is a free 24/7 text line where trained crisis counselors support individuals in crisis. Text “Jason” to 741741 to speak with a compassionate, trained Crisis Counselor. Confidential support 24/7, for free.

The Jason Foundation is another available resource.  The Jason Foundation is dedicated to the awareness and prevention of youth suicide through educational programs that equip youth, parents, educators, and the community with the tools and resources to identify and assist at-risk youth. One element of these tools and resources is free online training that anyone may utilize. Among the training modules available is one dedicated to the study of bullying and suicide. Visit jasonfoundation.com and click Training for more information. 

Nashoba Valley Technical High School Foundation presents...

Yard sale

Two Yard Sales in One September 25

LITTLETON: Rain or Shine, stop by on Saturday, September 25 for two spectacular Yard Sales at one location.
The first Yard Sale is to benefit the Friends of the Littleton Council On Aging and Senior Programs. There will be furniture castoffs that have been refurbished and reborn. These include: small tables, child and adult rockers, a large bench, a dry sink, and more. The artist who is doing this is Barbara McRae, retired President from the FLCOA. You must go to see what a little "make-up" can do!
The second Private Yard sale has household goods, furniture, clothes, etc. Also stop by for some seasonable goodies such as decor, wreaths, table top trees, fabric, ornaments, and so much more.
Parking is also available along Shattuck Street.

Littleton Cultural Council Grant Applications Available Now!

LITTLETON: It is fall. Schools are open. Apples are ripe on the trees. And the Massachusetts Cultural Council grant cycle has begun. The local council accepts applications from September 1 until October 15, 2021. Despite the pandemic and its challenges, the cycle is back to its early fall timeframe. 

Why culture when society has so many other needs? Because the arts nourish our souls just as food does our bodies. The Massachusetts Cultural Council provides nearly $29 million dollars in grants for the upcoming fiscal year. They have already distributed many millions of dollars to support the cultural community through the pandemic, since artists have been especially impacted by COVID. 

“Prior to the pandemic, arts nonprofits in the Commonwealth supported more than 73,000 full-time jobs, generating more than $2.2 billion in total spending, and bringing in nearly $100 million in state tax revenue. The Massachusetts arts and cultural industries generated over 25 billion dollars for the U.S. GDP in 2019 alone. There are nearly 310,000 people employed by the creative economy in New England, with nearly half employed in cultural institutions providing close to 150,000 creative economy jobs in Massachusetts.” For more information on these statistics and the positive impact on the Commonwealth, go to https://massculturalcouncil.org/

Your local council welcomes grant applications from artists of all varieties: theaters, musicians, writers, muralists, artists working in clay or oil paint or any other medium, dancers - you think it up and it will be considered.

Anyone is welcome to apply; you need not be a Littleton resident as long as there is local benefit to your project. Individual artists, non-profit organizations, photographers, community groups, schools, libraries, musical groups of all kinds--let’s hear your ideas. The Council is especially interested in projects that are related to the school population, or that have an ecologic focus, or that are public art within Littleton (Murals? Statues? Exhibits? Public performances?)

In an informal public poll the Council discovered that Littleton would enjoy a series of outdoor concerts, some hands-on art lessons like pottery or water color; or opportunities to learn about other cultures (henna? drumming?).  Given the uncertain times, you providing alternate (virtual) performance platforms is appreciated.

The application process is completely online. Go to www.mass-culture.org./Littleton to begin. Grant decisions will be made by the end of the year for events to take place over 18 months. 

Littleton Lyceum Announces First Program of the New Season

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LITTLETON: The Littleton Lyceum kicks off its new season with audience favorite New Black Eagle Jazz Band on October 1 at 7:30pm in Littleton High School’s Performing Arts Center, 56 King Street. Now in its 50th year, the band continues to delight with its infectious, soulful, and uplifting style of traditional New Orleans jazz. The New York Times noted that they are “…so far ahead of other traditional bands …there is scarcely a basis of comparison.”

Season tickets are available for $25, and single admissions may be purchased at the door for $8, $5 for seniors and students. Please note that face masks are mandatory at the performance. For more information, visit www.littletonlyceum.org.

Westford Rotary Invites Residents to Trex Plastic Bag Challenge

WESTFORD: The Westford Rotary Club is collecting plastic bags and wraps to participate in the Recycling Challenge by TREX. The collection goal is 500 pounds.  From September 13 thru November 14,  PLEASE USE WESTFORD ROTARY TREX BOXES ONLY at:
· Roudenbush Community Center, 65 Main St. (side door).
· Brookside Convenience Store, 64 Brookside Rd. (inside store).
· Cameron Senior Center, 20 Pleasant St. (front porch).
Items to collect for the Bags to Benches Challenge include:
- Single use plastic grocery bags
- Bread bags
- Plastic overwrap for toilet paper, napkins, paper towels & diapers
- Plastic overwrap on bulk items in cases (ex: water bottles, snacks)
- Plastic retail bags (with hard plastic & string handles removed)
- Clean, dry plastic food storage bags (ex: Ziploc bags)
- Polyethylene film labeled #2 or #4
- Stretch wrap
- Produce bags
- Dry cleaning bags
- Newspaper sleeves & bags
- Plastic cereal box liners
- Plastic shipping envelopes, bubble wrap & air pillows (deflate, remove labels)
Trex Outdoor Furniture will turn the collected plastic into a bench that will be placed locally. Westford saves money by keeping plastics out of the trash.

PCA Gallery Reopens with “Sense of Magic”
New Paintings Embody Hopes & Dreams for a Better World

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WESTFORD: Introducing a solo show of new paintings, “Sense of Magic” by artist Liz LaManche at the Parish Center for the Arts, 10 Lincoln Street, September 11 through October 28. An Opening reception will be September 19 from noon-4pm.

“Each one is a spell, or a meditation” explains artist LaManche. “These paintings are about meditating on my true desires- for spiritual growth, for the world. We create reality by focusing our thoughts and intentions. In this series of recent work I'm visualizing our hopes and dreams, and creating symbolic representations- visually informed by street art, graphic design, blackwork tattooing, and the painting medium at hand. Having one of these will strengthen that clear vision and blessing in your life. Many are also inscribed on the back with a “devotion”- other things the holder of the work can do to make that thing come about. Each is a talisman of a positive outcome.”

The paintings marry a background in alternative spirituality with a lifetime's study of iconography: “I've had a lifelong fascination with the way humans use visual symbols to focus their intentions, speaking to the conscious and unconscious mind, to create reality. This has been true since the earliest cave paintings (which we now think may have been created by women)- through many systems from indigenous and Wiccan “magic” to propaganda posters, and including the common human practice of tattooing- where ordinary people use personally relevant graphics to create physical symbolic reminders of things they value or wish for (often closeness to a loved one or group, protection, personal goals.) By holding our goals in mind, we begin the magic of creating a new and better world.”

Liz LaManche is a Westford resident with studio presence in Lowell and Somerville. Find current and past work, or contact the artist, at Earthsign.com

The Gallery is open to the public Sundays from noon to 2pm, and can also be viewed while the Parish Center is open for events and meetings. Their schedule is available at https://westford.org/pca/.

Pandemic precautions: masks required, doors and windows will remain open.

Registration Open for 13th Annual Littleton Road Race!

UPDATE: Volunteers are needed before the race to help with registration as well as with the Fay Park and race course set up. Course marshals are needed to help direct the runners during the race. During and after the race volunteers help at the finish line and with the post-race refreshments. Student volunteers may be able to use this for their community service requirements. More information on our volunteer needs can be found at our volunteer registration website - https://app.racereach.com/event/lrrto/volunteer. For more information contact Marc Saucier at Marc@Saucier.org.

Calling all runners and walkers to the 13th annual Littleton Road Race to be held on Sunday, September 19  at Fay Park (20 Foster St., Littleton).  Registration is open and information is available at www.LittletonRoadRace.org.  Registration may be completed online or by mail.

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 and maintenance to the Littleton track and field facility.

The first event, starting at 2pm, is a 1-mile fun run that is open to all ages.  The second event, starting at 2:30 pm, 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.  The 5K course is closed to traffic and 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 Get Off My Lawn. All 1-mile finishers receive a medal, and the top male and female finishers in seven age categories receive prizes in the 5K race.  

Pre-race registration fees are $35 for the 5K with a race tech shirt, $10 for the 1-mile without shirt, and $15 for the 1-mile with shirt.  Shirts are guaranteed for registrations received by September 7th.

Be a fraud fighter!
If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam.

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Did you know that someone’s identity gets stolen every two seconds?  The AARP Fraud Watch Network provides you with tips and resources to help you spot and avoid identity theft and fraud so you can protect yourself and your family.  AARP's watchdog alerts will keep you up to date on con artists’ latest tricks.  It’s free of charge for everyone:  AARP members, non-members, and people of all ages.

SCAM ALERT #1: AARP Impostor Scams
One of the most effective things that criminals can do to gain your confidence is impersonate an organization that you do business with and trust. Sadly, no one is immune from this - not even AARP. Recently, the AARP Fraud Watch Network Helpline has been receiving calls about a scam involving phone calls from someone claiming to be with "AARP Security Systems" (or something similar sounding). The first question they ask is whether you own your home and then they hang up. Rule of thumb...Don’t engage with anyone claiming to be from AARP Security Systems, and if you get a call like this, call the AARP Fraud Watch Network Helpline at 1-877-908-3360, or reporting it on zour scam map (www.aarp.org/scammap). Anytime you are directed to pay a debt or other obligation with a gift card, it is a scam.

SCAM ALERT #2:  “Smishing”
As more of us catch on to scam calls to our smartphones and block them or don’t answer them, scammers have taken to texting. “Smishing” is the term of art: SMS + phishing. Just as scammers phish by casting a wide net with email, so they do with smishing. The same things that we suggest in order to avoid phishing attacks apply to smishing.  But texts live in this space of immediacy – scammers know we are likely to respond much faster to a text than an email. To thwart their efforts, take a pause and consider the message. Is this really my bank, or Amazon, or PayPal, or the IRS texting me? Don’t click links – access the company or agency in a way you know to be safe and see if there’s an issue. Otherwise, don’t engage.

SCAM ALERT #3: Grandparent Scams
Criminals know that fear is the best motivator, and nothing drives fear more than a loved one in trouble. This is why scams targeting grandparents seem never to go away. If someone calls claiming to be your grandchild, or some authority calling about your grandchild who is in trouble or danger, it’s most likely a scam. It’s certainly a scam if the caller directs you to send money fast to resolve the problem. Your best move is to hang up and call your grandchild or reach out to family who would know his or her whereabouts.

SCAM ALERT #4: Utility Scams
Utility scams heat up as the temperatures rise (and when they fall), so much so that the Federal Trade Commission ranks utility impostors among the top reported scams. In this one, you typically get a call, email or text saying your account is past due and you must pay immediately, or they will cut off your power.  Another tactic is the “utility” claiming you overpaid your bill, and they request your bank account information to issue a refund. Utility scammers can also show up at your door after a power outage or severe storm offering to get your power back on for a fee. Utility companies typically don’t do business this way. Any unusual communication from your utility should raise a flag. Disengage and contact your provider at a number you know to be legitimate (off of a recent statement, for example). Chances are you’ll learn that there is no problem to address.

Be a fraud fighter!  If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam. Report scams to local law enforcement. Contact the AARP Fraud Watch Network at www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork for more information on fraud prevention.

Be a Part of Littleton History

LITTLETON: Would you like to be part of history? The Littleton Historical Society is looking for submissions from Town residents telling personal tales of living in Littleton during the pandemic. It is hoped this will, years from now, prove to be valuable firsthand information of our local trials and tribulationsduring the past year and a half, and something to which future generations may refer in order to better understand this time in history. You may be burned out by the pandemic, but it is important for people to jot down miscellaneous recollections or write a fuller view of how the pandemic changed our day-to-day lives. If interested, contact Andrew Bowers, atbowers@juno.com, or visit www.littletonhistoricalsociety.org— to find more information on this project.
Also on the website, if you prefer, there is a questionnaire you can answer about your pandemic experiences. Selections from this survey may be published on the Littleton Historical Society website over the next year.
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OARS Annual River Cleanup

It's OARS 35th Annual River Cleanup September 17-19. Join staff and volunteers as they spread out across the Sudbury, Assabet and Concord River Watershed to clean up our rivers, streams, ponds and trails. This year, to accommodate the comfort and needs of volunteers, there are two options.

Team Up Clean Up: During the weekend, gather family and friends for a walk or a paddle near or along the river, stream or pond. Pick up what trash and recycling you can and send OARS photos of your group cleaning up! People love to see what trash is no longer in our rivers.

Cleanup Day: Saturday, September 18, from 9am–noon. A team of volunteers will tackle sites in needing a larger group effort in towns including Framingham, Westborough, Hudson, Maynard, Concord and Billerica. The morning of hard work will be followed by a celebration with pizza. Registration is required. Details and registration information is available at www.oars3rivers.org

OARS is the watershed organization working to protect, improve, and preserve the Assabet, Sudbury, and Concord Rivers, their tributaries and watersheds for the purposes of public recreation, water supply, and wildlife habitat. 
9 11 day that changed the world

Westford Remembering 9/11: 20 Years Later

WESTFORD: A new Westford Museum exhibit recognizing the 20th Anniversary of September 11, 2001, opens for a limited engagement Sundays through September 26th 2-4 pm. The exhibit tells the story of 9/11 through artifacts, personal stories, and pictorial history of how Westford has recognized that fateful day. Portions of this exhibit have been provided by The 9/11 Memorial and Museum. The poster exhibition was developed by the 9/11 Memorial & Museum and has been made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Democracy Demands Wisdom. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this exhibition do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for Humanities.

Westford's Dana Porter Wins Earth Machine Composter

WESTFORD: Earlier this summer, Westford Climate Action staffed a table at the Farmers’ Market on Westford Common. Many people stopped to discuss how to lower their carbon footprint in their home, car, trash and yard. Learn more at westfordclimateaction.org  The winner of the Earth Machine composter is Dana Porter who has lived in Westford for 25 years. He says, “I am happy to have this Earth Machine, because it will be my second composter. I never seem to get to the point where the compost is ‘all done’ so this way I can turn this summer’s material over, cover it with leaves, and begin a new batch in this machine over the winter and spring!” To kitchen waste, Dana adds leaves, newspaper, egg cartons, empty paper roll tubes, and even the “shredded paper bits” that Westford recycling does not allow. Thank you to the Westford Recycling Commission for generously providing the Earth Machine composter using funds from a state grant.

Pick Your Own Flowers at Littleton Community Farm!

LITTLETON: Pick Your Own Flowers at Littleton Community Farm! $10 a PYO Quart; $15 a Bouquet. Cash and credit cards accepted. Hours: Sunday 11am-4pm; Tuesday 3pm-6pm; Thursday 3pm-6pm. Littleton Community Farm’s mission is to reduce food insecurity in our area, provide farm-based education, become a model for responsible land and soil stewardship, and be a place for community connection. We aim to inspire through hands-on exposure to agriculture and growing for the entire community. For more information: www.littletoncommunityfarm.org.

Electronics & More Collection - September 25, 2021

WESTFORD: There will be an Electronics & More Collectionon September 25, 2021 from9 am–1pm at Westford Highway Garage, 28 North Street. This event will feature the successful traffic flow redesigned for the November 2020 event featuring 50% greater throughput with 3 drop-off stations. This is a fee-based collection FOR WESTFORD RESIDENTS ONLY. Westford utilizes the services of Northeast Material Handling of Ayer. CASH OR CHECK ONLY (checks must be made out to “Northeast Material Handling, Inc”). The Town of Westford receives no proceeds from this event.
For traffic safety reasons, entry to the access road off of North Street will not be allowed until 8:45 AM. Residents arriving prior to 8:45 will be turned away. **Important Covid-19 protocol: Residents are required to stay in their vehicles and wear masks. The Northeast Materials' staff will take the items from the vehicle for them and collect fees from the driver’s side window.
*** NOT ALL TOY PLASTICS ACCEPTED*** For a list of acceptable Items: some free and some chargeable, visit www.westfordma.gov/recycling. If you have any questions about what is acceptable, please feel free to call 978-772-4545 or email: Francine@liquidatedstuff.com.

NAMI Offers 9-Week "Family to Family" Mental Health Educational Program

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

: Does a “Loved One” have Mental Health concerns? Mental health conditions touch one in five people, so it is likely a spouse, partner, child, parent, sibling or dear friend of yours may be living with a mental health condition. The National Alliance on Mental Illness, NAMI, is offering an eight week free family educational program called “Family to Family”. It is a designated evidence-based program taught by trained NAMI family member volunteers who have been there. Curriculum includes presentations, discussions, videos and interactive exercises.                                                                                

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

You’ll learn about: Latest up-to-date information on mental health conditions and how they affect the brain ~ Current treatments; medications – their side effects and evidenced-based treatments and therapies ~ Local mental health services and supports ~ Managing crisis, solve problems and communicate effectively ~ The impact of mental illness on the entire family ~ Taking care of yourself and managing your stress. 

The program will be held IN-PERSON starting October 12 and November 30 from 6:30 -9PM. Proof of vaccination is required. To register contact Sara at 339-223-3146 or doddsara25@gmail.com  or Phyllis at 978-973-3995, Phyllis.terrey100@gmail.com. Additional course offerings and info at www.namimass.org.

Nashoba Valley Neighbors Club Hosts Annual Open House to Welcome New Members

Celebrating more than 50 years of community building, the Nashoba Valley Neighbors Club will host its’ Annual Open House to welcome new members, reconnect with established members, and to introduce an exciting line-up of events and activities for the 2021-2022 membership year.  The Open House is being held from 5pm to 7pm on September 12 at The Red Raven Gastropub in Acton, MA.  Club members and guests interested in learning more about the Club are invited to this affair for neighborly conversation and enjoyment of complimentary, notably distinctive appetizers and a cash bar.

The Nashoba Valley Neighbors Club is excited to invite community members to join us in a variety of activities including Adventure Group, Game Night, Men’s Night Out, Ladies’ Night Out, Book Group, Wine Tasting, Lunch Bunch, dining in and out events, and special events to start and finish the membership year.  

Visit the Club’s website at www.nashobavalleyneighbors.org for more information on this and other events, as well as information on how to become a member of the Nashoba Valley Neighbors.

The Nashoba Valley Neighbors Club is a non-profit social organization open to new and established residents from its communities.  Celebrating their 50th Anniversary in 2015, they were originally known as the Welcome Wagon Newcomers Club of Acton. More recently, they have been known as the Acton-Boxborough Newcomers & Neighbors Club.  Discovering that established residents in our surrounding communities are also looking to explore new interests and to make connections with new friends, they became the Nashoba Valley Neighbors Club in 2014.

Dangerous Heat Advisory Continues!

The National Weather Service (NWS) is forecasting a potential period of prolonged oppressive heat through Friday (8/13) in most of the Commonwealth. During this period, daytime temperature highs will be 90-99 degrees. Heat index (Apparent Temperature) values will be 95-110 degrees. Scattered showers/thunderstorms are possible in the afternoons, with the potential for a few strong to severe thunderstorms late Thursday. There is a low probability that the heat wave could continue through Saturday.
Impacts/ Potential Impacts:
- Very hot temperatures with moderate humidity. Little relief at night especially in urban population centers.
- Potential of heat related issues to at risk population and those doing higher levels of outdoor physical activities.
- Damaging straight line winds and localized street flooding are possible on Thursday in areas where severe thunderstorms occur.
Preparedness and Safety Information:
- Safety and preparedness tips for extreme heat: www.mass.gov/mema/heat
- Never leave children or pets alone in a closed vehicle. Even with the windows cracked open, interior temperatures can rise almost 20°F within 10 minutes.
- Check with your local officials to find locations of cooling centers near you.
- Know the symptoms of and watch out for heat-related illnesses like heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. Call 9-1-1 to report emergencies.
- Be a good neighbor. Check on family, friends, and neighbors, especially the elderly, those who live alone, those with medical conditions, those who may need additional assistance, and those who may not have air conditioning.
Power outage preparedness and safety information: www.mass.gov/info-details/power-outage-safety-tips
Preparedness and safety tips for thunderstorms and lightning:
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Join the Maynard Folds Virtual Origami Exhibition Contest

MAYNARD: Be an origami museum exhibitor in The Origami Museum, founded and led by artist and teacher, Lisa B. Corfman.  Corfman announces Maynard Folds, a virtual origami exhibition contest – come exhibit in the upcoming Origami Museum Community Gallery. The origami museum welcomes EVERYONE to submit from children and adults, and from novices to experts to be in the spotlight.

Entries can be anything you can do, neatly folded, nicely presented (with fitting paper used, etc.), without cutting, gluing, or drawing on the model.  Just share something you are happy with for fame in the origami museum’s online gallery.  Don’t fret, just enjoy and do your best.  Origami can be simple, fun, or even amazing.  A personal note with questions, comments or concern is always welcome.

All contestants who submit will exhibit within the origami museum website, receive a certificate of participation, have a mention on Instagram and Facebook and receive a selection of origami paper.  Awards for one top child and one adult winner features a certificate of honor, a solo Instagram and Facebook post and an online membership to OrigamiUSA.

There are three jurors and the just listed prizes.  Jurors are Ruthanne Bessman, Susan Dugan and Lisa B. Corfman.  Bessman is a long-term curator of origami exhibitions and contests.  Dugan is a 40-year veteran of origami and is a photography professor.  Corfman makes, sells, teaches, and showcases origami inspired art and she is bringing this opportunity to you!

There are the two categories for origami model submissions: under 18 and adults.  Eligible contestants are within a 20-mile radius from Maynard, whether home, work, or school.  Here are the towns in this eligible catchment area:

Acton | Ashland | Arlington| Ayer | Bedford | Belmont | Berlin | Billerica | Bolton | Boxborough | Boylston | Carlisle | Chelmsford | Clinton | Concord | Devens |Dover | Framingham | Groton | Hanscom AFB| Harvard | Hudson | Lancaster | Lexington | Lincoln | Littleton | Marlborough | Maynard | Natick | Northborough | Sherborn | Shirley | South Lancaster | Southborough | Sterling | Still River | Stow | Sudbury | Waltham | Watertown | Wayland | Wellesley | Westford | Weston

The juried contest is sponsored by the Maynard Cultural Council and OrigamiUSA.  The goal is to increase folds!

Find out more at: https://origamimuseum.org/opportunities/. Maynard Folds information, statement about the jurors, and the application can be found there.

Help For Families: Mental Health Challenges

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

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

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

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

Two Programs are sponsored by NAMI Central Middlesex for fall 2021.  Thursdays via ZOOM, Sept 16 – Nov 4th, 6:30 – 9:00 PM. To register contact Steve at 978-621-3253, shadden@hadlorgroup.com or Lindsay at 781-864-7003, linzbfar@gmail.com. Tuesdays IN PERSON in Littleton MA Oct 12th – Nov 30th, 6:30 – 9:00 PM. proof of vaccination is required. To register, contact Sara at 339-223-3146, doddsara25@gmail.com or Phyllis at 978.973.3995, phyllis.terrey100@gmail.com.
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Westford Historical presents Outdoor Pop-up Museum: Spinning

WESTFORDJoin Westford Spinners, a group of fiber fanatics, for an afternoon of show and tell. Learn how to use a spinning wheel and a drop spindle for twisting wool fibers into yarn. Explore the history of colonial spinning to the development of the Abbot Worsted Mills in Westford. Includes children’s craft and Storytime Suggested donation $5 per person/$10 per family. More information at www.museum.westford.org.
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Go Green!

WESTFORD: Go Green! Visit the Westford Climate Action table on Tuesday, August 10, 2:30-6:30pm on the Westford Town Common. Learn about the town's residential and business aggregate electrical contract to save money and support renewable electricity. Enter a drawing to win an Earth Machine composter. Take a "test ride" in an all electric or a hybrid car. Recycling Guides and Healthy Home checklists will also be available.
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Free Pantry at Littleton First Baptist Church

LITTLETON: Littleton First Baptist Church now has a free pantry for anyone who needs some help. The pantry has non-perishable food items and personal hygiene items.  The pantry is located on the King Street side of the building in the parking lot.  If anyone would like, donations are always welcome.  Call 978-486-4660 and leave a message.

Are You an Appleman?

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LITTLETON: Coming up on Sunday, July 25, more than 150 athletes from near and far will be competing In Littleton’s 17th Annual Appleman Triathlon.  Swimming ½ mile, biking 10 miles, and running 5 miles – who are these crazy people and why are they doing it?

The WHO part is interesting: There are Appleman veterans, who have completed the three-part race in the past.  Some are experienced triathletes who are new to the Appleman; some are new to the triathlon world, but enjoy the challenge of a multi-sport event.  Some are Littleton residents.  Some are seasoned triathlon racers who have participated in triathlons all over the country and, in some cases, all over the world! The racers represent a wide age span, from high school students to senior citizens. Reaching a personal best is a big incentive for many of the participants, young and old.

Over the years, the Appleman has become known for a shared sense of community involvement – The Rotary Club is helped by the Littleton Police, Fire, Highway and Park & Recreation departments, hundreds of volunteers, numerous sponsors and, of course, Littleton residents who support the triathletes all the way, cheering on the participants, ringing cowbells, and handing out water along the bike and run portions of the course.

Many Littleton businesses are Triathlon sponsors, contributing financially and by in-kind donations of food, water, and equipment needed along the route. (For a list of our sponsors, visit https://portal.clubrunner.ca/3691.) Why do all these people spend their time and effort on the Appleman Triathlon?  Because the Rotary Club donates every dollar raised above and beyond the race expenses to charitable and civic programs that help people locally, nationally, and internationally.

The Appleman Triathlon wouldn’t be possible without the help of more than 100 volunteers, all of whom donate their time and effort to make sure the racers are safe and comfortable.  Some of these helpers are Rotarians, some are members of the Littleton Rotary Club’s Rotary Community Corps (a group of non-Rotarians who have signed up to be on call whenever a volunteer is needed anywhere in town), and many are simply Littleton residents who recognize the value of the work the Rotary Club does and are happy to help out with this important fundraiser.

To sign up to participate in the Triathlon or to volunteer for set-up on Saturday afternoon, July 24, or before, during, or after the race on Sunday, July 25, please go to www.Applemantriathlon.com.  If you’re interested in becoming a member of the Littleton Rotary Club or of the Rotary Community Corps, visit the Littleton Rotary Club’s website at  https://portal.clubrunner.ca/3691.

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 Littleton Rotary Club President Lehel Reeves at 978-430-3305 or email lehel.reeves@mac.com.
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Calling all Crafters

LITTLETON: Calling all crafters and product representatives.  Littleton First Baptist Church will be holding it's annual fall fair on Saturday, November 20, 2021 from 9-3.  All craftspeople and product representatives are invited to join in.  If interested, please rsvp to Anne Lee at charlieandannelee@gmail.com.

Greater Lowell Community Foundation Elects Three to Board of Directors

LOWELL: At the Greater Lowell Community Foundation Virtual Annual Meeting on June 8th, the Board of Directors approved the election of three local business and community leaders to the board. These newly elected directors represent business, housing, and the technology sector. The new board members will each serve a three-year term. Joining the board of directors are:

- Stephanie Cronin of Dunstable, Executive Director of Middlesex 3: Stephanie Cronin is the Executive Director of the Middlesex 3 Coalition, a regional economic development organization (www.middlesex3.com), which fosters business development and job growth and retention along the Route 3 corridor. In addition, Stephanie currently serves on the MCC Foundation Board of Directors, MassHire Greater Lowell Workforce Board, FORGE Northeast Massachusetts Advisory Council, Burlington Area Chamber of Commerce, and Hanscom Air Force Civic Leader Program.
 - Daniel Donahue of Lowell, of Gavin and Sullivan: Daniel Donahue earned his associate’s degree in Architectural Engineering Technology from Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1984. That same year he worked for the National Park Service in the North Atlantic Regional Office as an architectural, mechanical, and electrical draftsman. In 1985 he joined Gavin & Sullivan Architects, Inc. (formerly William J. Gavin Associates) as an architectural designer/draftsman and has remained with the company ever since.
- Diana Nguyen of Westford, Project Manager at MilliporeSigma: Diana Nguyen is currently Project Manager at MilliporeSigma in Burlington, MA. In this position, Nguyen provides critical support to the Integrated Supply Chain Operations leadership team, manages strategic projects, and develops a global talent pipeline of aspiring and curious leaders. Nguyen has been with MilliporeSigma since April 2017. Prior to joining the organization, she worked as  a Project Manager and participated in the Global Organizational Leadership Development Program at Avery Dennison. Nguyen is a Lowell High School graduate, and received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Management and Psychological Science from Worcester Polytechnic Institute and is pursuing a Global Executive Master of Business Administration degree from the Rotman and SDA Bocconi schools.

“I am pleased that such wonderful community leaders have accepted to serve on our board of directors. These individuals bring with them a wealth of experience and diverse perspectives,” said Jay Linnehan, GLCF’s President & CEO. “We are excited to welcome the talent, expertise, and energy of Stephanie, Daniel, and Diana to further GLCF’s mission.”

Established in 1997, the Greater Lowell Community Foundation (GLCF) is a philanthropic organization comprised of more than 390 funds dedicated to improving the quality of life in 21 neighboring cities and towns. With financial assets of more than $50 million, GLCF annually awards grants and scholarships to hundreds of worthy nonprofits and students. It is powered by the winning combination of donor-directed giving, personal attention from Foundation staff, and an in-depth understanding of local needs. The generosity of our donors has enabled the Community Foundation to award more than $25 million to the Greater Lowell community. To learn more, visit: www.glcfoundation.org.

AARP Massachusetts Fraud Watch Update: July 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

TREX Bag & Wrap Collection Temporarily Suspended

WESTFORD: IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT - Westford's plastic bags and wraps collection has been suspended until September 1. Please wait until September 1 to deposit your plastic bags and wraps in the Westford Rotary TREX collection boxes at the four locations around town. No pickups will be made during July and August.

Westford Historical Society & Westford Remembers Cordially Invite You to New Sculpture Dedication

WESTFORD: Westford Historical Society and Westford Remembers would like to cordially invite the public to the dedication of David P. Christiana's newest sculpture, the Revolutionary War Memorial Drum, on July 7 at 6:30pm at the Westford Museum, 2 Boston Road, followed by an Artist Reception.

Local Artist and Westford Firefighter, David P. Christiana has created this memorial monument to recognize the 280 men that represented Westford during the Revolutionary War including Col. John Robinson, who assisted with the command of the troops at the North Bridge, April 19, 1775, and served under George Washington, during the siege of Boston.

Join the Westford Historical Society and Westford Remembers as they dedicate this monument to the heroic service of our Westford ancestors. Please RSVP with Linda Greene, Museum Director by July 5th  at Director@museum.westford.org or 978-692-5550. 
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Westford's Olivia Dunn Receives Prestigious P.E.O. STAR Scholarship

WESTFORD: Olivia Dunn, a 2021 graduate of Westford Academy, was selected to receive a $2,500 STAR Scholarship from the P.E.O. Sisterhood. She was recommended by P.E.O. Chapter AI of Chelmsford, whose members congratulate Olivia for this honor. The STAR Scholarship award will be presented to Olivia on July 13, 2021 at the Westford Farmer’s Market on the common near the bandstand at 5:30pm.

Olivia was a summer intern at the Westford Museum, a member of the Westford Academy Museum Club, student-lead on the Westford Academy Theater Arts Board and Advertising Manager of the Westford Teen Arts Council.  During two years as Captain of the Westford Academy soccer team, she organized a fundraiser that raised over $700 for uniforms and equipment and was voted MVP by her teammates.  Olivia inspired her teammates to participate in the National Brain Tumor Society’s annual Boston walk for which the team raised over $100k. Olivia is an overcomer with a positive attitude who actively looks for ways to help others. She has vision for her future.  She loves working with people and would like to be an engineering manager.  She was to intern with a family friend at Lego when COVID-19 hit.  She looks forward to pursuing this avenue once the pandemic is over.  She will be attending Worcester Polytechnic Institute in the fall.

The P.E.O. STAR Scholarship was established in 2009 to provide scholarships for exceptional high school senior women to attend an accredited post-secondary educational institution in the U.S. or Canada in the next academic year. The competitive STAR Scholarship is for women who exhibit excellence in leadership, academics, extracurricular activities, community service and potential for future success.

P.E.O. (Philanthropic Educational Organization) has been celebrating women helping women reach for the stars for more than 150 years. Since its inception in 1869, the nonprofit organization has helped more than 116,000* women pursue educational goals by providing over $383 million* in grants, scholarships, awards and loans. The Sisterhood also owns and supports Cottey College. Through membership, the P.E.O. Sisterhood has brought together more than a half a million women in the United States and Canada who are passionate about helping women advance through education, while supporting and motivating them. In addition to the educational philanthropies, the P.E.O. Sisterhood provides a framework of support and community for all members. What started with a bond of friendship among seven women in Mount Pleasant, Iowa, is now one of the oldest women’s organizations in North America with close to 6,000 chapters. To learn more about P.E.O. and its powerful educational philanthropies and to see stories of women who have benefited from these programs, visit peointernational.org.

DONORS URGENTLY NEEDED: Red Cross Still Facing Severe Blood Shortage

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

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

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

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

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

Eagle Scout Court of Honor Ceremony Held for Westford's Noah Bernstein

WESTFORD: State Rep. James Arciero recently attended the inaugural Eagle Scout Court of Honor Ceremony for Noah Bernstein of Westford Boy Scout Troop 195. To achieve the rank of Eagle, a scout must earn at least 21 merit badges in several different subjects ranging from first aid to nuclear science. It is the highest award conferred in scouting.

Additionally, Eagle Scout candidates must plan and complete an extensive Eagle Scout project which consists of the coordination of materials, manpower, and the cooperation of many individuals to achieve the objective of the project. Such projects benefit community groups or civic organizations and represent service to society as well as a demonstration of the leadership required to be an Eagle Scout. For his Eagle project, Noah renovated and improved a neglected kayak and canoe launch on River Street in Westford. The project consisted of building and installing a 30-foot-long boardwalk over a muddy section of the path, clearing and leveling the trail, forming a new parking area, as well as laying wood chips along the trail and parking area.

As part of the ceremony, Arciero, who is also an Eagle Scout, presented Noah with official a citation from the Massachusetts House of Representatives to mark the auspicious occasion.
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The Cannon Theatre Announces Summer Theater Program for Kids/Teens

LITTLETON: The Cannon Theatre is delighted to get back into in-person theater and creative fun this August with their summer program for kids and teens. This program, developed for youth aged 8-18 years, is an introduction to theater through acting, singing, dancing, teamwork, and pitching in backstage to make the magic all come together! 
As the Cannon Theatre is still in the process of establishing their new post-pandemic theater space, the program will be held in the air conditioned comfort of The First Baptist Church of Littleton, near the common: 461 King Street.

The program is scheduled for weekdays, August 9-12 and August 16-19, 11:00 am to 4:00pm. The program culminates in two performances on Thursday, August 19, at 4:00pm and at 7:00pm, and one performance on Friday, August 20, at 7:00pm. 

Join The Cannon Theatre this summer as they blast back to the 1960s! This summer’s show, “The Groovy GoGos” takes us back to the days of auditioning for the coolest Hollywood show around! Will they make it on the show? Can they get through the jealousies of their rival group? Through drama AND comedy, a group of teens try to make it BIG! Lots of beehive hairdos, rock & roll, dancing, AND fun, fun, fun!

Tuition is $450 per child (family discounts available) and includes one ticket for a family audience member. The Cannon Theatre is pleased to have scholarship funding available for those in need of financial assistance. Massachusetts COVID safety guidance, at the time of the program, will be followed.

For more information, or to register, go to www.thecannontheatre.org. Send your questions to scannon@thecannontheatre.org, or call 978-448-2108. Registration deadline is July 24.

Coming Up at Littleton's Reuben Hoar Library

LITTLETON: Appointments are no longer required to enter the Reuben Hoar Library, Littleton, MA. While inside the library you're advised to wear a mask if you have not been vaccinated. Children under 12 must wear a mask at all times. Curbside pickup is still available.
The Library will be closed on Monday, July 5 for the Independence Day holiday. Events from June 20-July 3 include:
Monday, June 21 - Tails & Tales!
Sign-ups for the Summer Reading Program have begun. Visit the Children’s Room to receive your reading log which will help you track your reading for the summer. The reading will begin on June 28, and the program will end on Saturday, August 14.
Teen Craft: Flower Crowns!
Kick your summer off with a beautiful flower crown! Sign up online and pick up everything you need to make your crown whenever you want. Kits will be available for pick up June 21 through 26. For students in grades 6-12. Online registration required: www.littletonlibrary.org.
Wednesday, June 30, 7pm, Third Wednesday Book Club
Meeting on the last Wednesday this month, reading This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger. Copies are available at the Library. If the weather is good, the meeting will be held outside, otherwise in the Small Meeting Room. For more information or questions please contact Julie at jfredericksen@littletonlibrary.org.
Friday, July 2, 10am, Outdoor Toddler Storytime with Miss Jennifer
Join Miss Jennifer for Outdoor Toddler Storytime! This program is best for children ages 18 months - 3 years. Bring a blanket or chair(s) with you! In the event of bad weather, the meeting will be in the Couper Room downstairs. Online registration required: www.littletonlibrary.org.
For questions about these or any other events, please contact the library at info@littletonlibrary.org, 978-540-2600 or online at www.littletonlibrary.org.

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

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

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

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, the symptoms of PTSD are different for young children than those of older teens and adults. Children younger than 6 will often wet the bed, forget how or refuse to talk, act out the traumatic event during routine play, or become unusually clingy with a parent or other adult.

Research shows that depression rates increase after a trauma and tend to be especially high among children with PTSD. If your child or someone you love is struggling with depression or thinking about suicide, get help now. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-TALK (8255), is a free resource, available 24 hours a day for anyone who is in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. The Crisis Text Line is a free 24/7 text line where trained crisis counselors support individuals in crisis. Text “Jason” to 741741 to speak with a compassionate, trained Crisis Counselor. Confidential support 24/7, for free.

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

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