Archives for August 2011

Annual Walk to Benefit The Children’s Room

Annual Walk to Benefit The Children’s Room

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Arlington Town Hall

1:00 pm

Join our inspiring fall fundraiser and largest community event of the year!

We will walk our 3 miles – RAIN OR SHINE!!

SUPPORT THE CHILDREN’S ROOM – REGISTER TODAY!

Honor the memory of a loved one, and help keep this essential program in place to support grieving children and teens after the death of a close family member.

To register for the walk, visit firstgiving.com/childrensroom, or visit childrensroom.org and be connected through our walk page. Registration is $20 for adults and $10 for children under 13. Registration includes t-shirt, entertainment, and refreshments. As in the past, we will include names of those we walk in memory of on the back of the t-shirt. The deadline for submission of names is 9/20/11.

CREATE A PERSONAL FUNDRAISING PAGE!

To help us reach our fundraising goal, we encourage all registrants to create a personalized fundraising page – it is easy to do and is a great way to spread the word about the mission of The Children’s Room. Once established, your page can easily be forwarded to family friends and colleagues – maximizing fundraising opportunities. Utilizing facebook and social media is a great way to expand your outreach and reach your fundraising target.

SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

With the support of sponsors, 100% of money raised at the Memories Walk will directly support essential programs at The Children’s Room. We have a variety of levels of sponsorship and look forward to expanding our network of corporate and organizational support. Sponsorship information is available on our website, childrensroom.org.

MATCHING GIFT OPPORTUNITIES

Matching Gifts are a great way to make donations go further. As a walker or donor, explore whether you, a family member or friend is employed at a company that offers matching gift benefits.

For information or questions about Memories Walk 2011, contact tricia@childrensroom.org

We are truly appreciative of your support, and look forward to walking with you on October 2nd!

The Children’s Room, Caring support for grieving children, teens & families

1210 Massachusetts Avenue, Arlington, MA 02476 781/641-4741

childrensroom.org

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Greek Festival

ST. NICHOLAS CHURCH BRINGS A TASTE OF GREECE TO LEXINGTON

September, 16 -18

St.Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church

17 Meriam St.

A Taste of Greece makes a return to Lexington next month, when the parishioners of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church celebrates their biennial three-day food and cultural festival, on the church grounds.

Festival times are Friday and Saturday, 11:30 a.m. – 10 p.m., and Sunday, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. The festival menu will offer a wide range of freshly made Greek appetizers, meals, a la carte choices, and home made pastries, for lunch and dinner. Special menu dinners will be served on Friday and Saturday nights, including roast lamb, and meals will be available for take out. A discount is being offered to active military personnel.

 There will be live Greek music both Friday and Saturday evenings, which attendees can enjoy outside under tents, as well as Greek folk dance performances, children’s activities and church tours.

To view the full menu and more information, visit www.stnicholaslex.org.

 

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What Is Community?

“What Does Community Mean: 

How Can We Find It Together?”

September 27

We go through our busy days focused on what gets our attention and interest – our work, health, parents, children, community.  We have all chosen to live in Lexington, a town that has a vibrant and caring community.  But, does this “community” give us what we need?  And, what do we contribute to the “community” to make it successful?

A “Community Conversation,” Tuesday evening, September 27, will provide an opportunity for the people of Lexington to share our thoughts about what constitutes a great community and suggestions of how we can work together to achieve it.  All are welcome and there is no admission charge. 

The evening will be facilitated by Deborah Brown, Lexington Town Moderator, and sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Lexington; Cary Memorial Library; Lexington’s Council on Aging, Recreation Committee, and Human Services and Recreation Departments; and Lexington Stand for Children.

 

Coffee will be available at 6:45 p.m. with the program beginning promptly at 7:00 p.m. in Keilty Hall at St. Brigid’s Church, 2001 Massachusetts Avenue.  For more information or to carpool, email lwv.lexington@gmail.com or call 781-861-6069.

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Skating Team Skate & Dress Sale

Sunday, September 11

10am – 3pm

Hayden Skating Rink

Don’t miss out! Even though it’s hot outside, winter will be here soon enough.

Do you have skate dresses…that fit? Are you ready for group skate lessons? Will you and your friends be able to go skating together?

If not we have a great opportunity for you to buy “gently used” figure skates and dresses at the Annual Skate and Dress Consignment Sale which will take place at Hayden Skating Rink, Lexington on September 11, 10am-3pm.

If you are looking to clean out your closets and maybe make a little cash, bring your gently used skate clothing and figure skates (sorry no hockey skates or equipment) to Hayden Skating Rink on Wednesday September 7 or Friday September 9 6:30-9:30pm (sorry no items accepted on the sale day). 

You set the price of your items and receive 65% of the sale price. Hayden Synchronized Skating Teams receives 35% .

Pick up your money for sold items (and any unsold items) on September 11, 4pm-7pm at Hayden Skating Rink.

If you have any questions email hsstskatesale@gmail.com.

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Volley For Molly

THE TEENAGER WHO WILL FOREVER MAKE A DIFFERENCE

Third Annual “Volley for Molly” Tournament to raise money for Ovarian Cancer

Ovations for the Cure of Ovarian Cancer, a national organization dedicated to research, patient support programs and raising awareness of ovarian cancer, has rejoined forces for a third year with Lexington High School for “Volley for Molly,” a high school volleyball tournament fundraiser during September in memory of their former student, Molly Eisenberg. Molly passed away in October 2009 from ovarian cancer at age 19, although her spirit lives on through this event.

Volley for Molly is 4-9:30 p.m. Friday; Sept. 30, 2011 at the Ralph Lord Gymnasium at Lexington High School, 251 Waltham St., Lexington, MA. Tickets are $5 for students and $8 for adults. Tickets can also be purchased at the door on the night of the event. Sponsorship opportunities are still available. For more information please visit www.ovationsforthecure.org or www.volleyformolly.org.

In 2009 and in recognition of National Ovarian Cancer Awareness month, Lexington High School hosted Volley for Molly in honor of their friend and star player Molly Eisenberg. Led by her previous volleyball coach, Jane Bergin, who remains volleyball coach at the school, this event raised almost $15,000 for ovarian cancer research, awareness and patient programs. Molly was able to view that first event, which drew more than 1,000 people, through a live internet feed. In 2010, a year after Molly passed away, the event raised an overwhelming $24,000.

Molly’s story is both tragic and inspiring. One week into college, Molly was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Though she had numerous surgeries and chemotherapy treatments, she lost her courageous battle on October 21, 2009. In her online guestbook found at www.ovationsforthecureorg, former Massachusetts state representative Stephen Doran describes a loss felt by many:

“The world lost a most extraordinary young woman today,” Doran said. “Molly died the way she lived, with spirit and energy and humor and grace, and in so doing, taught us many important lessons about life, about family and friends, about community and caring, about sports and sportsmanship, about giving, and caring, and sharing, and about the importance of looking out for one another. And about never giving up. She has left a permanent legacy.

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Amazing Grace

Gracie Watson Remembered on page 21 of this month's paper. Gracie (left) Pictured on Patriots Day this past April with longtime Lexington Visitor’s Center volunteers Bob Beckwith and Hope Place. (Photo by Jim Shaw)

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“Eddie” the Ice Cream Man

Congressman Markey is pictured second from the left with another "Colonial Maid" driver as part of Hood's "Beatle Bar" promotion for the Jimmy Fund.

By Heather Aveson  |  Political lessons come in all flavors. For Congressman Ed Markey, his first taste of civic engagement came right here in Lexington behind the wheel of a neighborhood ice cream truck. Paraphrasing the folk song of the same era, “If he had a bell he’d ring it in the morning, he’d ring it in the evening, all over this town.”

Summer 1965 found Ed Markey, a graduate of Malden Catholic High School, looking forward to entering Boston College in the fall. With tuition bills to pay he found his way to the driver’s seat of a Hood Ice Cream truck. Markey remembers his truck the way others think of their first GTO. “It was a sparkling white truck, The Colonial Maid.” It took a substantial investment for a young man, he was responsible for the $12 a day rent, buying his own ice cream and paying for insurance.

Markey quickly made the investment pay off. As “Eddie the Ice Cream Man” he traveled the streets of town announcing his approach with the iconic tinkle of his truck’s bell. He got to know the kids and parents along his route and built a loyal following.

Then it happened. Just as the British tried to silence the colonists in 1775, a long forgotten town statute threatened to silence Markey’s bell. “I’d been doing business street by street. One day the Lexington Police stopped me and escorted me and my truck to the station.” Eddie the Ice Cream Man was in violation of a 1798 town ordinance which Markey can still recall word for word. “The sale of any victuals by any hawker or vendor by means of ringing a bell within the confines of Lexington is prohibited.”

 An ice cream truck without its bell? Why, you may as well take the apple out of apple pie. “It would be very difficult to sell ice cream without my bell,” says Markey. Silenced, he hit the streets one more time. Like Paul Revere he spread the warning to the parents and children along his route “the ice cream truck isn’t coming! the ice cream truck isn’t coming.”

“Parents and children were upset. Lincoln Cole was the Chairman of The Board of Selectmen at that time, and at their next meeting a couple of dozen kids and parents showed up and filled the back of the room.”

With such a ringing endorsement from the citizenry, the selectmen agreed to change the law and created an exception. Eddie the Ice Cream man and his Colonial Maid were back in business ringing the bell freely and delivering frozen treats to the citizens of Lexington.

Ed Markey spent four summers on the Colonial Maid and his earnings paid his way through Boston College. With a daughter entering her senior year at BC this fall, I wondered aloud if an ice cream truck route might be the answer to this year’s tuition question. Congressman Markey dashed my dreams acknowledging it would be just about impossible to make that happen today.

Although he didn’t see it then, those days on the truck and in a steamy summer selectmen’s meeting room, would set a tone for his life “connecting with his constituency and fighting for their rights. Beginning with something as simple as ice cream, Ed Markey has always been a champion of the people. And, some of those who fought the first good fight with him still reach out to him. “When I march in the Patriot’s Day Parade I have former ice cream customers, now adults with their own kids, who run out into the street and say, “Eddie the Ice Cream Man do you remember me? And you know, a lot of times I do”

When he talks about those days, you can almost hear Congressman Markey return to Eddie the Ice Cream Man. You can feel the warm summer days, hear the bell ringing, and see the idealistic young statesman when he responds to a question about his favorite ice cream treat from the old days. “That’s tough because you really become a connoisseur of ice cream. It depends on the time of day. In the middle of a 95-degree day there’s nothing more refreshing than a orange juice stick. But you can’t really beat a Strawberry Shortcake or Chocolate Eclair either.”

The ice cream truck may be long gone, but the lessons learned by an idealistic young entrepreneur paved the way for a long and distinguished career in the United States Congress. And, how appropriate is it that included in the many communities Congressman Ed Markey represents, is the Town of Lexington.

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Off the Blotter

By Chief Mark Corr  |  Lexington Police Department “Off the Blotter” is an opportunity for the Lexington Police Department to share what is happening here in Lexington and in your neighborhood. The door bell rings, you answer it, and a young man starts his sales pitch. He introduces himself and seeks to capture your attention. The door-to-door sales person is a readily recognized American entrepreneur. These young men and women are willing to accept hundreds of refusals to make a few sales. This is a tough way to make a living and common during difficult economic times. Unfortunately, for all of the very good sales people there are a few who are antagonistic, combative or engaged in scams. Lexington allows Hawkers and Peddlers and this includes door to door sales.

Individuals and/or groups must have a permit with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and then must check-in with the Lexington Police Department. Typically, we identify who and where the solicitors will be working. We review works hours, identify individuals who should not be soliciting, and issue a Lexington permit. Residents are invited to contact the Police Department if they have any concerns or complaints about solicitors at 781-862-1212, ext. 0 for dispatch. If a solicitor is assaultive or refuses to leave your property, call 9-1-1. Not all people who come to your door are solicitors. Religious organizations, charitable or political groups are not bound by the laws governing solicitors. It is their right to canvass neighborhoods to speak about their organization or beliefs. These groups are encouraged to contact the Police Department so we are familiar with their locations.

The worst case scenario is the scam artist who solicits business at your door. They notice that your house needs painting, the roof needs repair or the driveway needs sealing. They offer you a “bargain” price because they are in the neighborhood and have some time to fill. They will target older residents and ask for cash or immediate payment. Please call the Police Department immediately. Many of these scam artists are well known to the police and we welcome the opportunity to meet them face to face. If you are uncomfortable with a sales person at your door, practice apolite refusal. “I know you are working hard but I do not do business at my front door. Thank you for understanding.” Smile and close the door.

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Light and Hope

Ana Hebra Flaster

 We’re big recyclers in our house; our shattered, lopsided bins prove it. We keep the thermostat up in the summer and down in winter. When Masspirg sends the nation’s youth to our door, I listen and usually sign the petition they’re peddling. I conserve and protect natural resources whenever possible. But the new push to use energy-efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs is bumming me out big time.

 I have these corkscrew-shaped bulbs in most of our fixtures, thanks to the free MassSave energy audit we had here last winter. The bulbs cast a sad blue light that my mother says reminds her of communist Cuba. All I know is that when my loved ones sit under these lights, thoughts of jaundice and vitamin D deficiency float through my mind. To make matters worse, the bulbs don’t work well on dimmer switches or when a room is cold.

 The new bulbs mean well. They save electricity and think green thoughts, but too often they don’t work well on dimmers, or when a room is cold, and just flicker with good intentions while you feel around the inside of your sock drawer in the dark.

But it turns out we can have good lighting and save our planet, too. There’s a new efficient version of the standard 100 watt bulb that sheds the same kind of warm light, dims, and fires up in the cold just like the classic one—although it costs about $1.50 more.  Two web sites offer great details about energy efficient lighting options: LUMENNow.org and energysavers.gov. You see? There’s hope.

I’m trying to shine a light on hope wherever I go these days. I found bottomless wells of the stuff last Saturday at the Pan Mass Challenge cycling fundraiser in Bourne, Mass. After losing our beautiful vibrant friend, Wendy, to cancer last November, my husband joined hers in this ride to benefit cancer research and patients. Everywhere I looked that hot afternoon, I saw hope. The rider who ignored his missing leg and just peddled on with his fancy prosthetic device past the finishing line. Behind him came a pair of tandem riders, a man in front, a thin, obviously ill woman, on the second seat, both smiling and waving to us as we cheered. I saw a sweaty happy rider look around as she glided toward the finish line. She glanced at the crowd of supporters ringing bells and waving signs of gratitude at her, at the mob of riders ahead who had just stopped under the finish line banner, then she looked up at the banner itself and lost it. Her hand flew up to cover her mouth, her head sagged down, and she wept. I looked away for a moment; so much emotion in a stranger seemed too private a thing to see. As I wiped my own eyes I wondered whom or what she’d thought of at that moment. When I turned back she was smiling again and waving to us all, her eyes brimming with light and hope.

 

 

Ana Hebra Flaster is a freelance writer and Lexington resident. Ana’s work has been featured on NPR and the Boston Globe.

 

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Mo’s Ice Cream!

By Heather Aveson  |  It’s as timeless as running through the sprinkler, catching fireflies and lazing the day away in a hammock.

The Ice cream truck is an all-American icon. Here in Lexington, the ice cream truck has reached super-star proportions, known simply as Mo’s. Young and old, we all know Mo.

Muhammad Shuheiber, is the legal name behind the smiling man handing out frozen treats by the pool, baseball games and town events. He started out as Mohammad. “I’ve been called Mo all my life, I wanted to be something different,” he says. So he changed his name to Muhammad. But, Mo stuck with him and it seems it always will.

Getting a Start

Mo first came to the US in 1986 from his family’s farm in Jordan. “I came looking for a good education. Our dad worked so hard in his life. The farm our dad left us wasn’t enough. It was a hard life.” he recalls. Mo brought that work ethic with him to Boston. He attended both Salem State and Bunker Hill Community College. Working all the time to support himself and to pay for his education. He made pizzas at the well-known Captain Nemo’s in Kenmore Square, then at the Prudential Center’s Ground Round, he worked his way up from cook to Kitchen Manager/Trainer. “In 1993 they closed to remodel – they offered me to go to another place or get laid off. Because my education was important to me I couldn’t travel, so I got laid off.” he remembers.

That got Mo thinking about working for himself. He bought an old post office van and started selling ice cream out of the back. From the right hand driver side to the empty back lacking any freezers it wasn’t the ideal truck, but Mo made it work. Every day started early picking up blocks of dry ice in Everett to fill coolers and then buying and stocking ice cream treats before heading out onto the streets.

Mo with his famous Sundae Cup

In the spring of 1994 Mo was finishing up classes and driving the truck. It turned out to be the perfect situation. “I had classes two days a week and I took the truck to college. After class I opened it up for all my classmates. They loved it.” Mo remembers with his signature smile.

Mo loved it too. So after graduating with a degree in Computer Information Science, he stuck with it and he’s never looked back. “I graduated, I loved it, I loved the kids.”

Mo’s first full time route was in Burlington. Lexington had been without an ice cream for a while and a local baseball coach he knew thought Mo could change that. So, he spent Memorial Day weekend in town 11 years ago and loved it, so did his customers. “People signed a petition during the weekend. They took the petition to the town and it was approved. I’ve been here every since.”

Kids of All Ages

But just what makes Mo’s ice cream so special? In a word, Mo. As we talk outside the pool, Jasinda Priest and Natalie Maglio, both entering 8th grade here in Lexington approach the truck. Mo greets them by name and as he reaches into the freezer I ask them about the draw of Mo’s truck. Natalie’s been visiting Mo since 2nd grade. “Mo’s pretty awesome and that makes everything taste better.” Jasinda adds, “I think after the pool everybody wants ice cream.” Within a few minutes, Jaime Lehoux, age 6, and her mom find their way to the truck. Jaime and Mo greet each other like the old friends they are. He asks about her family and her swim lessons. Today, Jaime is going with the watermelon ice and she tells me, “It tastes better here because it comes from Mo.” And how long have they been friends? “I always know Mo.”

Young or old, the sound of an ice cream truck’s bell reaches kids of all ages. On this day, Mo has a date at the Lexington Health Care Center on Lowell St. Dana Nichols is the Director of Nursing. For several years she’s been bringing Mo’s Ice Cream to the Center for family days, staff appreciation celebrations and resident visits. “I have to tell you, you’ll never meet anyone like Mo. When you have dementia, you might forget me, or you, but you never forget the sound of the ice cream truck. Mo touches them, he talks to them, he reminisces with them. It’s a really special day for them when Mo’s here.”

Family

While Mo was busy building a business, both he and his family back in Jordan were beginning to wonder about the rest of his life. “I was 35. I needed a wife. I wanted a house and a family. I couldn’t do that working for someone else. I did this in the summer and drove a cab in the winter.” So on a visit home in 1996 his family arranged for him to meet a young woman from his village. The families had known each other for years and Mohammad met his wife.

They left Jordan as a newly married couple in August of 1996 and returned to the Boston area. Their first child was born the next June. Even with a new grandchild to show off, he and his wife stayed in the US while she studied for her citizenship exam, which Mo recounts with great pride, she passed easily.

By the time they returned to Jordan for the first time, they brought four grandchildren with them. Their families were ecstatic. “They thought it was the best thing ever.”

Life continued for the family living in Malden with a growing family and Mo working the truck in the summer and driving a taxi in the winter. But after September 11, things changed. “My wife was wearing a veil and when she took the kids to the park she felt fingers pointing at her, she felt discomfort. So she started going to a different park,” Mo says. The experience was a blow to the family. “We’re talking about US citizens here.”

A year later, Mo brought his family back to Jordan to live. He built them a house near the farm he grew up on so they’d be close to friends and relatives. Mo visits for extended periods at the end of the summer and during the heart of the winter. “They miss the beauty of this country. We don’t have this in Jordan. My oldest son is 15 now. Next year, he’ll probably come here and go to high school.”

All the Bells and Whistles

Mo gives me a tour of his current truck. You could say it’s the Cadillac of Ice Cream Trucks. A long way from packing dry ice into coolers, the freezers are fitted with cold plates, which provide three inches of insulation using stainless steel walls filled with coolant piping. Just plug the truck in overnight and the plates stay cold throughout the hottest summer day. The truck also has a pizza oven, a coffee maker and hot dog steamer. But don’t expect an expanded menu any time soon. “I’ll never use those. It’s too hot to keep anything cooking in here.” Mo says shaking his head.

Inside the three icy freezers are the classic ice cream novelties of my childhood, the King Cone, Creamsicle, and Ice Cream sandwich. But tastes change and Mo keeps up with the times. “Every year there are different themes and cartoons. You keep up with the cartoons and listen to what the kids want.” But there are some treats that Mo won’t carry. “The Star Wars, look at it, it has too much coloring in it.” Imagine an ice cream on a stick that’s mostly Darth Vader’s black helmet. Why would you even do that to ice cream? Then there are the ones Mo just can’t understand and can’t imagine anyone wanting. “How can you sell an ice cream called Frozen Toes? In the shape of a foot? I would never carry that. Who do you think would be licking on toes?” I’ve got to agree with him.

So what are his top sellers? Well, there’s a reason they call them classics. Mo says it’s King Cones for the adults, and Italian Ice for everyone with the Bomb Pop coming in a close second. Mo’s favorite? Well it’s another classic. “Mo’s Sunday Special” – a purist’s dream. A few scoops of vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce, whipped cream, complete with cherry and for that final touch “colored jimmies”. Take my word for it, delish!

Hazy Days of Summer Yes, Lazy No

He may not have to pick up and pack dry ice, but the days still start early and end late for Mo. During the summer months he’ll be at the pool by 8:30am and stay there until early evening when he moves around to the different ball fields or outdoor concerts, returning to the pool by 8:15 to catch his crowd as they leave on hot summer nights. Wait a minute, what about a day off? “My day off is when it rains or the pool closes because of thunder and lightning. It’s a short time during the summer. I have to make the most of it. So I get here by 8:30 and don’t leave until 9pm.” Time off will come when the pool closes and the chill in the air overcomes the desire for frozen treats. Then Mo will say good-bye to the children of Lexington and head home for a visit with his own children.

The long summer hours and time away from family is worth it. He gets so much pleasure from the kids he sees everyday and in return he plants childhood memories that can last a lifetime. And the lesson he teaches is universal.

“I know I’m not going to get rich, but I’m not alone. I’m making a living for my seven kids. I came to this country  “if you really want to work, you can work and you can make it.”

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