< Back to front page Text size +

Fun ways to celebrate Halloween west of Boston

October 20, 2013 12:27 PM

On the one hand, there is the kitschy Halloween beloved by small children, with silly or clever costumes, jack-o’-lanterns, and mountains of candy. On the other hand, there is the haunted-house fun of a good scare — be it from a gory costume or a spooky noise.

While traditional house-to-house trick-or-treating may still be the best way to spend Halloween itself, there are also any number of ways to explore the other dimensions of the holiday -- whether your preference leans more toward a walk through a graveyard or a craft activity.

Here some of the many ways to celebrate Halloween in communities west of Boston this year.

-- Halloween Walk and Tour of the Old Burying Ground in Lexington takes place Saturday (Oct 26) at 6:30 p.m. and leaves from the Depot Building, 13 Depot Square. Admission is $10 for adults and $6 for children, with discounts for Lexington Historical Society members. For reservations, more information, call 781-862-1703 or go to

-- Frightful Friday at Gore Place, 52 Gore St., Waltham, in its final installment this week, has tours starting at 7 and 8:30 p.m. Admission is $15 adults, $10 for ages 5 through 12 and Gore Place members. Capacity is limited. For tickets, call 781-894-2798 or visit

-- Murder at the Masquerade takes place at Merchants Row in the Colonial Inn, 48 Monument Square, Concord, Oct. 30 at 7 p.m., with doors opening at 6:15. The ticket price, which includes a gourmet three-course dinner, is $69. For reservations, e-mail or call 978-371-2908, ext 544.

-- Spookapella, a concert by North Shore Acapella and guests, takes place Saturday Oct 26 cq/ts at the Center for Arts, 14 Summer St., Natick. The show begins at 8 p.m.; tickets are $22, or $20 for TCAN members. For tickets or information, call 508-647-0097 or go to

-- Halloween Open House at Dana Hall School of Music, 103 Grove St. in Wellesley, is next Sunday, (October 27)2-4 p.m. Admission is free, but reservations are encouraged; call 781-237-6542 or e-mail

-- Pumpkin Patch, a seasonal party held annually by the Sudbury Valley Trustees at Wolbach Farm on Wolbach Road in Sudbury, is scheduled for Saturday(Oct 26). Admission is free for SVT members; $2 per person for nonmembers, with a family maximum of $10. For more details, call 978-443-5588 or go online to

-- Decorate a Bag at Artbeat, 212A Mass Ave. in Arlington, Saturday (Oct 26)from noon to 7 p.m., and next Sunday (Oct 27) from noon to 5 p.m. Admission and supplies are free. For more information, call 781-646-2200 or go to

-- Halloween Family Day at the Spellman Museum of Stamps and Postal History, on the Regis College campus at 235 Wellesley St. in Weston, takes place Saturday (Oct 26)from noon to 4 p.m. For more information, call 781-768-8367 or go to

-- Welcome to Our [Halloween] Home at the Orchard House, 399 Lexington Road, Concord, offers a special after-hours tour Saturday scheduled for Saturday(Oct 26)from 4:45 to 5:45 p.m. Admission $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and college students, $8 for ages 6-17, and $4 for ages 2-6. A family rate for two adults and up to four youths for this event will be offered at $30. Space is limited; reservations can be made by calling 978-369-4118, ext. 106; for more information, go to

-- Tales of the Night at Massachusetts Audubon Society’s Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary, 208 South Great Road in Lincoln, takes place Thursday and Friday (Oct 24 and 25)from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Tickets may be purchased in advance for $11 before Wednesday, Oct. 23, or after that for $13. Call 781-259-2218 or go to

State provides $11.5m for affordable apartments in Dorchester, Hyde Park, Cambridge

September 5, 2013 05:54 PM

Two state agencies on Thursday announced loan closings aimed at creating, rehabilitating or preserving more than 1,500 affordable apartments in Boston, Cambridge, Chicopee, Lawrence, Mashpee, Springfield and Stow.

According to MassHousing and the state Department of Housing and Community Development, $11.5 million in state Affordable Housing Trust Fund financing will help facilitate housing projects that in some cases are part of neighborhood revitalization efforts.

Projects receiving financing under the recent loan closings are Quincy Heights in Dorchester, Outing Park Apartments in Springfield, Cross Town Corners in Springfield, Chapman Arms Apartments in Cambridge, Georgetown Homes in Hyde Park, 108 Newbury St. in Lawrence, Pilot Grove Apartments in Stow, Ames Privilege Apartments in Chicopee, Wayne Franklin Apartments in Dorchester, and Great Cove in Mashpee.

M. Norton/SHNS

Heat wave likely killed Assabet River fish

July 26, 2013 01:33 PM

OARS, a non-profit group that monitors and protects the Assabet River, is blaming the recent heat wave for hundreds of dead fish found floating in the river on July 20.

OARS volunteers removing an invasive plant species “discovered the floating remains of hundreds, if not thousands, of fish in the Assabet River in Stow,” the group said in a statement.

So-called fish kills can occur because of pollutants, and also by high water temperature and a lack of oxygen in the water.

“After two days of much cooler weather (on July 22nd) we measured afternoon water temperatures still over 86°F in the area downstream of the fish kill," said OARS scientist Sue Flint. "Where the river is shallow and slow-moving, afternoon water temperatures can reach lethal conditions--93°F is lethal for almost all species of fish.”

If fish have no deep or shaded places to retreat from the heat fish kills like this occur. Narrower sections of the river are lined with trees that provide shade. Groundwater also contributes cool springs that provide a safe haven for fish during heat waves.

According to OARS, evidence of changing rainfall patterns and temperature tells us that these problems are going to become worse rather than better unless major efforts are made to improve the resilience of the region's rivers and streams. Last year was the hottest year in Massachusetts out of a 118-year record.

Over the past 64 years the intensity of rainfall has increased dramatically in New England, resulting in more floods but also less recharge of the cool and clean groundwater that feeds the rivers in the summer, OARS said.

“There are many things communities can do to improve the resilience of their rivers and streams,” said OARS Executive Director Alison Field-Juma in a statement. “Recharging stormwater into the ground will make a big difference, and reducing nutrient pollution through decentralized wastewater treatment with ground discharges will also help. This requires longer-term investment than we are used to making. Protecting floodplains and riverbanks from development is as important as ever.”

Those who wish to report a fish kill should contact OARS at (978) 369-3956 or, and to MassWildlife at (508) 450-5869.

Contact John Swinconeck at Follow @johnswinc on Twitter.

MetroWest 'Ambassador' workshops kick off Thursday in Marlborough, Framingham

May 29, 2013 11:26 AM
The MetroWest Visitors Bureau is looking to help train a few good ambassadors to help guide visitors to the MetroWest region.

Three workshops are designed for real estate agents, hotel personnel, residents looking for something new to do with the families and guests, human resources specialists and corporate recruiters, school admissions personnel, municipal employees, docents, ticket-sellers at cultural venues, retailers, among others.

The workshops will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at the Yawkey Special Olympics Training Center in Marlborough, and from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Historic Village Hall in Framingham.

A third workshop will be held June 1 from 10 a.m. to noon at the DoubleTree by Hilton Milford.

The workshops are part of the bureau's MORE MetroWest campaign that seeks to help define the region as an attractive area to visit and do business in.

"MetroWest is indeed a region with its own unique characteristics. It's not just a place to drive through on the turnpike between Boston and Worcester. But if you're going to market the region, you've got to know about the region," said the bureau's Executive Director Susan Nicholl.

In order to accomplish that, the workshops will help educate ambassadors on cultural or economic "jewels" in the region, said Nicholl, which can range from businesses such as Bose, to facilities such as the New England Sports Center, to wildlife sanctuaries and botanical gardens.

"There's so many people who work in an ambassador-type role," said MetroWest Visitors Bureau Executive Director Susan Nicholl. "If we can help by giving them more tools, then they can become more effective ambassadors."

Contact John Swinconeck at Follow @johnswinc on Twitter.

Foundation for MetroWest gives $85.5k to 39 area food pantries

January 8, 2013 01:48 PM

The Foundation for MetroWest announced last week that it has distributed $85,500 in grants from their MetroWest Hunger Relief Fund to 39 food pantries throughout the region.

The MetroWest Hunger Relief Fund was recently established to provide more resources to local food pantries and food support organizations.

“Twenty percent of all grants requested through our discretionary grant program this year were for food support,” said Judy Salerno, executive director of the foundation. “This was a significant increase from previous years, and it showcases just how prevalent the issue of hunger is in our MetroWest region.”

Organizations that received funds include:

  • Acton Community Supper
  • Ashland Emergency Fund
  • Open Table, Inc., Concord
  • Dedham Food Pantry
  • Jewish Family Services, Framingham
  • United Way of Tri-Co Curtis Family Supper, Framingham
  • United Way of Tri-Co Pearl Street Café, Framingham
  • St. Bridget’s Food Pantry, Framingham
  • Lucy & Joe’s Food Pantry, Framingham
  • Hope Worldwide, Framingham
  • Holliston Pantry Shelf
  • Project Just Because, Hopkinton
  • Hudson Community Food Pantry
  • Lexington Interfaith Food Pantry
  • City of Marlborough Heat & Eat
  • Open Table, Inc., Maynard
  • Maynard Food Pantry
  • Medfield Food Cupboard
  • Medway Food Pantry
  • Medway Village Food Pantry
  • Daily Bread Food Pantry, Milford
  • Salvation Army, Milford
  • Millis Ecumenical Food Pantry
  • Natick Service Council
  • A Place to Turn, Natick
  • Needham Community Council
  • United Perishes of Southborough Food Pantry
  • Stow Food Pantry
  • Sudbury Community Food Pantry
  • Walpole Community Food Pantry
  • Salvation Army, Waltham
  • Middlesex Human Services Bristol Lodge, Waltham
  • Grandma’s Pantry, Waltham
  • J.F. & C.S. Family Table, Waltham
  • Sacred Heart Church Food Pantry, Waltham
  • Celebration International Food Pantry, Wayland
  • Wellesley Food Pantry
  • Westborough Food Pantry
  • Westwood Council on Aging
The foundation’s English Family Fund has continually provided community leadership on this issue. This year, their efforts were joined by other foundation donors and fundholders in helping local families by giving to the hunger relief fund. The foundation also recently awarded $173,500 to 26 area nonprofit organizations as part of their 2012 discretionary grant program. This year, the foundation distributed approximately $1 million throughout the region, and more than $7.5 million since its inception in 1995. Foundation for MetroWest promotes philanthropy in the region, helps donors maximize the impact of their local giving, serves as a resource for local nonprofit organizations, and enhances the quality of life for all of our citizens.

For more information, please visit the foundation's website.

Follow us on Twitter: @yourtownnatick, @jaclynreiss

Jaclyn Reiss can be reached at

St. Luke's free community suppers

October 31, 2012 11:39 AM

The following was submitted by St. Luke's Episcopal Church:

St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Hudson will be hosting "Community Suppers" on November 11 and 25 from 5 to 6 p.m.

The meals will be Chef Choice. There is always something for vegetarians and we keep dietary restrictions in mind.

Please join us. St. Luke's is located at the rotary in Hudson. Additional parking is available behind the fire station.

For more information, please visit

tags community , dinner , food

Voters' guide for state legislative districts west of Boston

October 29, 2012 10:00 AM

Want to learn about who's running for state representative and state senator in your district? Here's our voters' guide to the candidates facing off in this year's general election on Nov. 6.


Bristol and Norfolk (Medfield): James E. Timilty (D-Walpole, incumbent), Jeffrey Robert Bailey (R-Attleboro)
Click here for the Globe's coverage.

1st Middlesex (Dunstable, Groton, Pepperell): Eileen M. Donoghue (D-Lowell, incumbent), James J. Buba (R-Lowell)
Click here for the Globe's coverage.

3rd Middlesex (Bedford, Carlisle, Concord, Lincoln, Lexington, Sudbury, Waltham, Weston): Michael J. Barrett (D-Lexington), Sandi Martinez (R-Chelmsford)
Click here for the Globe's coverage.

4th Middlesex (Arlington, Lexington): Kenneth J. Donnelly (D-Arlington, incumbent), Gerry C. Dembrowski (R-Woburn)
Click here for the Globe's coverage.

1st Middlesex and Norfolk (Brookline, Newton, Wellesley): Cynthia Stone Creem (D-Newton, incumbent)

2nd Middlesex and Norfolk (Ashland, Framingham, Franklin, Holliston, Hopkinton, Medway, Natick): Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland, incumbent)

Middlesex and Worcester (Acton, Ayer, Berlin, Bolton, Boxborough, Harvard, Hudson, Littleton, Marlborough, Maynard, Northborough, Shirley, Southborough, Stow, Sudbury, Westborough): James B. Eldridge (D-Acton, incumbent), Dean J. Cavaretta (R-Stow)
Click here for the Globe's coverage.

Norfolk, Bristol, and Middlesex (Franklin, Millis, Natick, Needham, Norfolk, Plainville, Sherborn, Wayland, Wellesley, Wrentham): Richard J. Ross (R-Wrentham, incumbent)

2nd Suffolk and Middlesex (Belmont, Watertown): William N. Brownsberger (D-Belmont, incumbent), Steven W. Aylward (R-Watertown)
Click here for the Globe's coverage.

1st Worcester (Boylston, Northborough): Harriette L. Chandler (D-Worcester, incumbent)

2nd Worcester (Shrewsbury, Upton): Michael O. Moore (D-Millbury, incumbent), Stephen R. Simonian (R-Auburn)
Click here for the Globe's coverage.

Worcester and Norfolk (Bellingham, Milford): Richard T. Moore (D-Uxbridge, incumbent)


1st Middlesex (Ayer, Dunstable, Groton, Pepperell): Sheila C. Harrington (R-Groton, incumbent)

2nd Middlesex (Littleton): James Arciero (D-Westford, incumbent), Valerie A. Wormell (R-Westford)
Click here for the Globe's coverage.

3rd Middlesex (Bolton, Hudson, Maynard, Stow): Kate Hogan (D-Stow, incumbent), Chuck S. Kuniewich, Jr. (R-Hudson)
Click here for the Globe's coverage.

4th Middlesex (Marlborough, Northborough, Westborough): Danielle Gregoire (D-Marlborough), Steven L. Levy (R-Marlborough, incumbent)
Click here for the Globe's coverage.

5th Middlesex (Millis, Natick, Sherborn): David Paul Linsky (D-Natick, incumbent), William J. Callahan (R-Natick)
Click here for the Globe's coverage.

6th Middlesex (Framingham): Chris Walsh (D-Framingham, incumbent)

7th Middlesex (Ashland, Framingham): Tom Sannicandro (D-Ashland, incumbent), Jon Andrew Fetherston (R-Ashland)
Click here for the Globe's coverage.

8th Middlesex (Holliston, Hopkinton, Southborough, Westborough): Carolyn C. Dykema (D-Holliston, incumbent), Martin A. Lamb (R-Holliston)
Click here for the Globe's coverage.

9th Middlesex (Lincoln, Waltham): Thomas M. Stanley (D-Waltham, incumbent)

10th Middlesex (Newton, Waltham, Watertown): John J. Lawn, Jr. (D-Watertown, incumbent), Francis Xavier Stanton, III (R-Waltham)
Click here for the Globe's coverage.

11th Middlesex (Newton): Kay S. Kahn (D-Newton, incumbent), Greer Tan Swiston (R-Newton)
Click here for the Globe's coverage.

12th Middlesex (Newton): Ruth S. Balser (D-Newton, incumbent)

13th Middlesex (Framingham, Marlborough, Sudbury, Wayland): Thomas P. Conroy (D-Wayland, incumbent)

14th Middlesex (Acton, Carlisle, Concord): Cory Atkins (D-Concord, incumbent), Michael J. Benn (R-Concord)
Click here for the Globe's coverage.

15th Middlesex (Lexington): Jay R. Kaufman (D-Lexington, incumbent)

21st Middlesex (Bedford): Ken Gordon (D-Bedford), Walter Zenkin (R-Burlington)
Click here for the Globe's coverage.

23rd Middlesex (Arlington): Sean Garballey (D-Arlington, incumbent), Joseph J. Monju (R-Arlington)

24th Middlesex (Arlington, Belmont): David M. Rogers (D-Cambridge), Tommasina Anne Olson (R-Belmont), James F. Gammill (Open Innovative Government-Belmont)
Click here for the Globe's coverage.

29th Middlesex (Watertown): Jonathan Hecht (D-Watertown, incumbent)

37th Middlesex (Boxborough, Harvard, Shirley): Jennifer E. Benson (D-Lunenberg, incumbent)

9th Norfolk (Medfield, Millis, Norfolk, Plainville, Wrentham): Daniel B. Winslow (R-Norfolk, incumbent)

10th Norfolk (Franklin, Medway): Jeffrey N. Roy (D-Franklin), Richard A. Eustis (R-Medway)

13th Norfolk (Dover, Needham, Medfield): Denise C. Garlick (D-Needham, incumbent)

14th Norfolk (Wayland, Wellesely, Weston): Alice Hanlon Peisch (D-Wellesley, incumbent)

15th Norfolk (Brookline): Frank Israel Smizik (D-Brookline, incumbent)

10th Suffolk (Brookline): Edward F. Coppinger (D-West Roxbury, incumbent)

15th Suffolk (Brookline): Jeffrey Sanchez (D-Jamaica Plain, incumbent)

18th Suffolk (Brookline): Michael J. Moran (D-Brighton, incumbent)

8th Worcester (Bellingham): Robert J. Dubois (D-Blackstone), Kevin J. Kuros (R-Uxbridge, incumbent)
Click here for the Globe's coverage.

9th Worcester (Upton): George N. Peterson, Jr. (R-Grafton, incumbent)

10th Worcester (Medway, Milford): John V. Fernandes (D-Milford, incumbent)

11th Worcester (Shrewsbury, Westborough): Matthew A. Beaton (R-Shrewsbury, incumbent)

12th Worcester (Berlin, Boylston, Northborough): Harold P. Naughton, Jr. (D-Clinton, incumbent)

OARS calls on Framingham, Metrowest residents for river cleanup

September 11, 2012 02:22 PM

oars cleanup.jpg

OARS website

Volunteers from last year's annual cleanup work to pick up trash around local rivers.

OARS, a local nonprofit organization that seeks to protect the Assabet, Sudbury and Concord Rivers, will holds its 26th annual river cleanup day this Saturday.

This year, cleanup sites will be in Acton, Concord, Framingham, Hudson, Marlborough, Maynard, Northborough, Stow, Sudbury, Wayland, and Westborough, and will take place from 9 a.m. to noon.

The cleanup will be followed with pizza, event organizers said.

To signup, contact the OARS office at 978-369-3956 or email

If an attendee can bring a canoe or can help with transporting a canoe, please let the organization know.

Volunteers should wear long pants and shoes that can get wet and dirty, and bring work gloves.

Last year, high water still remaining from Tropical Storm Irene limited in-river activity during the annual cleanup, but over 130 volunteers still managed to haul tires, bicycles, TVs, and bed frames from the three rivers, according to the organization.

The cleanup takes place rain or shine.

Follow us on Twitter: @yourframingham, @jaclynreiss

Jaclyn Reiss can be reached at

Boston-area residents try to reach family, friends in India amid crippling blackout

July 31, 2012 02:57 PM

A Boston-area man is among those trying to reach family and friends in India, where half the country’s population – about 620 million people – were left without electricity Tuesday in the world's largest blackout.

Nihar Nanda, president of the Orissa Society of New England, said he has been unable to reach his sister, who lives in New Delhi with her family.

Since he learned of the outage, he has also tried unsuccessfully to reach several friends in the affected areas.

“I am concerned,” he said in a brief phone interview Tuesday afternoon. “It was really bad there from what I heard on the radio. Everything shut down.”

Nanda, a resident of Acton, said he last lived in India about 25 years ago.

“We never had this kind of outages that lasted days together,” he said.

Tuesday’s outage affected about twice the population of the United States, or about 10 percent of people in the world.

It came one day after a similar power failure left about 370 million people in India without electricity.

Even the smaller outage on Monday affected nearly four times as many people as were impacted in the world’s next largest blackout, which occurred in Indonesia in 2005, according to reports by the Associated Press.

The massive blackouts have raised serious concerns about outdated infrastructure coupled with a large appetite for energy consumption in the world’s second most populous country.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.

E-mail Matt Rocheleau at
For the latest updates about your community, follow some of our local neighborhood, city and town Twitter accounts, here.

About Your Town