Duck house floats again in Acton neighborhood
A DUCKY ADDITION: Larry Smith said he will always appreciate having been welcomed “like part of a big family’’ when he and his fiancé, Karen Drake, moved into the Minuteman Ridge neighborhood in Acton last December.
In an effort to give back, he resolved to replace the local pond’s aging duck house, which sank during heavy spring rains.
According to Smith, the original floating duck house was built by Minuteman Ridge’s late developer, Porter Jenks, in the mid-1960s. In 1981, resident Chet Paradise constructed a replacement.
Smith, a real estate developer, asked MIT-educated architect Gene Hayes of Tampa to draw up plans for a new duck house. Smith said it took his team, with neighbors Gie Lee and Larry Eacott pitching in, more than 200 hours over a three-month period to construct the 4-foot-long, 4-foot-wide, and 3-foot-high saltbox Colonial.
The deluxe structure, made of marine-grade plywood and weighing roughly 600 pounds, features a sun deck, four rooms for nesting, a chimney, plexiglass windows, cedar roof shingles, and clapboard siding fashioned from 1,200 tongue depressors.
According to Smith, the house is intended to protect the four Pekin ducks that live year-round at the pond from the elements and predators.
Dozens of neighborhood families attended the duck house’s unveiling last month, an event that included a “quirky quack parade,’’ and a silly hat and wig contest for the youngsters.
“It’s nice to see a duck house here again,’’ Smith said. “I hope it lasts a long, long time.’’
SAVING GREYHOUNDS: In 1983, Louise Coleman heard from a friend about a greyhound that needed to be adopted. She and her son fell in love with 5-year-old Boston Boy, a loving and mellow dog who had been retired from racing at Wonderland Greyhound Park in Revere. They took him home to their apartment in Harvard Square.
That wasn’t the end of the story, however. Boston Boy’s former trainer called to ask whether Coleman, who now lives in Sherborn, would like to adopt another greyhound. Then he called again. And again.
“It was obvious,’’ she recalled, “that many greyhounds needed homes.’’
The need hasn’t slowed since Coleman founded Greyhound Friends Inc. on Mother’s Day in 1983, she said.
Reflecting the ongoing situation, her Hopkinton-based organization is hosting the International Greyhound Welfare Conference, which continues today from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Greyhound Friends headquarters, 167 Saddle Hill Road.
The event, cosponsored by the American-European Greyhound Alliance (founded by Coleman and Marion Fitzgibbon of Limerick, Ireland, in 1995), attracts greyhound and animal welfare advocates worldwide to discuss medical advancements, political lobbying, and fund-raising efforts for greyhounds and two related breeds, known as lurchers, and Spanish Galgos dogs.
Coleman owns four greyhounds and a basset hound-beagle mix. Boston Boy, whom Coleman calls the “founding dog’’ of Greyhound Friends, lived to age 14, she said.
“Many people believe that all these greyhounds are taken care of, since there is no longer greyhound racing in New England, but nothing could be further from the truth,’’ she said, noting that rescue dogs are being sent from tracks in Florida, West Virginia, Alabama, and overseas. “This is a pivotal time for greyhound welfare.’’
For more information on today’s public session, visit www.greyhound.org.
CHILDREN WITH AUTISM: The Discovery Museums of Acton will host a free Especially for Me evening for families with children on the autism spectrum Saturday from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.
The event will offer access to the hands-on exhibits at both the Children’s Discovery Museum and Science Discovery Museum, which are on the same campus at 177 Main St. in Acton.
Especially for Me is part of the organization’s Open Door Connections effort to expand access for those with financial, geographic, developmental, or cultural barriers. It is sponsored by Autism Alliance of MetroWest and Autism Resource Center of Central Massachusetts, a program of Franklin-based HMEA Inc., with additional support by the Foundation for MetroWest,
YOUTHS ON STAGE: Local teens will perform in two productions by the Boston Children’s Theatre Summer Studio 4 taking turns Thursday through next Sunday on the stage at Governor’s Academy, 1 Elm St. in the Byfield section of Newbury.
Carly Grayson of Westborough has the lead role of Wendla in “Spring Awakening’’ (which contains adult content). Joining her in the cast are Alex Aroyan of Belmont; Jessica Campbell of Bolton; and Brookline residents David Kaim and Sophia Pekowsky, with Arlington resident Rob Ruciniski serving as music director. Performances will take place Thursday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 8 p.m.; and next Sunday at 2 p.m.
The cast of “Little Women’’ includes Felix Teich of Brookline, Nolan Murphy of Sherborn, and Alex Levy of Newton’s Waban section. Performances are Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m., and next Sunday at 8 p.m.
Summer Studio 4 students range in age from 14 to 19. This summer, they include 10 students from Germany who are studying musical theater with their American counterparts.
For tickets, call 617-424-6634, ext. 222, or visit www.bostonchildrenstheatre.org.
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