Archives for July 2012

Our Chance to Dance!

Lexington’s 300th Celebration: Our Chance to Dance!

Can you picture putting on dancing shoes, heading to the high school, hearing music floating down the halls and joining your neighbors in an 18th century dance? Lexington will be able to do just that during the 300th Anniversary celebration starting this September. The 300th Committee is busy planning three community dances, two at LHS and one at Cary Hall. Community members helping on the 300th Anniversary were able to test run this idea during an April 29th “Meet, Greet & Dance,” a volunteer appreciation evening. At this event, Lexingtonians danced to the music of Eric Eid-Reiner’s band as Andy Taylor-Blenis called and taught 21st century people an array of 18th century dances. Delighted with the results, the Committee is enthusiastically letting people know that everyone will have a turn during the 300th Anniversary. Save the following dates for your 2012-2013 calendar – it’s your turn to dance!

Meet & Greet Dance

Dance Revolution 300

Dance Revolution 300 is first in the dance line-up and will take place Saturday, September 22, 2012. Look forward to live music, an amazing DJ, and dance instruction. Starting at 6:30 p.m. at Lexington High School, Lexington residents of all ages are invited to dance the night away. The first part of the evening will feature dance instructors leading New England style folk dances familiar to our colonial era ancestors, as well as the waltz and swing dancing of the 19th and 20th centuries. Kathleen Lenihan, co-chair of the event, anticipates a big crowd. “This is such a wonderful opportunity for all of Lexington to come together to celebrate our tercentennial. With dances from the earliest part of our history through today, there is something for everyone.” At 8:00 pm the DJ will take over, and will play a variety of music – everything from Elvis and the Beatles to Lady Gaga and Katy Perry. In addition to dancing, LexFun will have a craft table with activities just right for preschoolers. There will be a refreshment area with a variety of food and beverages for hungry dancers staffed with volunteers from our PTAs and LexFUN. “The great thing about this dance is that you don’t have to be a ‘pro’ to participate. The instructor-led dances are easy and there’s nothing like dancing to live music. And if you can’t make it until the later part of the evening, everyone can dance to DJ-led tunes,” says Kamala Soparkar, co-chair of the event. Dance Revolution 300 will be a night to remember.

300th Anniversary Ball

Joyce Murphy, Chair of the Gala Ball, is excited to confirm Cary Hall as the venue for Saturday November 17, 2012. This is a new date and was changed to secure historic Cary Hall for the special occasion. In addition to being a fun and very festive evening, the Ball will also be an important fundraiser, helping raise money to keep other 300th events affordable. Everyone is looking forward to developing the details for this special night. Some people are already talking about what they want to wear! Contact Joyce Murphy to get involved with the planning.

Dance Around the World

Co-Chairs Melanie Lin and Geetha Padaki are already lining up participatory multi-cultural dances for their March 16, 2013 event. Invitations have been sent to various groups in town who can lend a hand with instruction. Our town can look forward to learning about the cultural dances that Lexington families treasure. The aim for the dance will be to have all participants up and learning new steps on the dance floor.

As we reach Lexington’s 300th Anniversary of Incorporation, it truly is our chance to dance!

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300th Artist Outreach Project

Attention artists!

Various creative avenues are available, all leading towards Lexington’s 300th Celebration! Whether you want to work independently or with a group, on a small or large project, with definite creative guidelines or something uniquely your own, we are seeking your talents. We are also reaching out to other artists including, but not limited to: painters, jewelers, weavers, printers, photographers…

Lexington’s Anniversary’s theme is: Celebrating 300 Years – We are Lexington

This theme was selected because the 300th aims to feature Lexington Then & Now, the different people who have contributed to and been part of Lexington over 300 years, the many different types of industry in Lexington (from farming to technology). We are all Lexington.

Message from the 300th Artist Outreach Project

Creative arts and artists have been an important part of Lexington’s community for 300 years. In 1713 artistic inclinations came through in a variety of ways: poke-weed dyed fabrics, embroidery, clothing, silversmithing, woodworking…. In the 1800s, photography introduced a new formal portrait medium which developed to less formal candids by the turn of the century to the innovative digital photography of today.

Today, Lexington is, in fact, bursting with creative arts.

As we celebrate the 300th, we want to showcase the many artists who are currently part of our community while also documenting and celebrating the artists who have expressed their creativity in Lexington for 300 years.

We have spent some time brainstorming about creative arts fundraisers to benefit the 300th Anniversary events. One of our criteria was that any project should equally serve to promote artists and the arts. We will photograph all work in connection with our projects, and include these in the 300th Anniversary Image Collection which will be compiled and archived at the Cary Library and Lexington Historical Society.

Message from the 300th Quilting and Textile Steering Committee

We have spent some time generating ways for quilt and textile artists to participate in this exciting Artist Outreach Project:

 The 300th Pillow Project

 Raffle Quilt Projects

 Town Quilt / Wall Hanging Art Quilt

 300th Fashion Show – Garment & Accessory Contributions

Please look through these and let us know if you would like to participate!

The 300th Pillow Project – A defined project you can work on independently

Picture this: you arrive at Lexington’s Country Fair on September 22, 2012 and discover a beautiful arrangement of colorful and artistic pillows for sale. Each pillow is different. One features the Minuteman, another is a beautiful log-cabin pattern. There is one of the Old Res, another shows a bicyclist near Depot Square. Anyone is able to take home one of these beautiful pillows for a reasonable price (between $30 – $50). The purchaser knows her/his money was used to defray costs of the 300th Events. The artist is proud to have contributed. This is the 300th Pillow Project.

Pillows can feature any concept you consider tied to Lexington or inspired by the 300th Anniversary. Please use a 16” pillow form to stuff your pillow. Pillows can be sewn shut or have a zippered opening. More information is on the 300th Pillow Project Handout.

Raffle Quilt Project – Work together or with a group to make a quilt for our raffle

Consider donating a quilt to the 300th Celebration Raffle fundraiser to support Lexington’s Anniversary celebration events. A wide variety of quilts are welcome whether traditional or contemporary. Lap quilts or bed quilts are welcome.

To coordinate the raffle we will need to know if you are planning to contribute. Please let us know by Valentine’s Day 2012 if you are planning to participate. All quilts must be completed by June 1, 2012 to allow us time to order tickets and publicize the quilts.

Town Quilt / Wall Hanging Art Quilt

If there is enough interest we would love to bring people together to create a special quilt to donate to the town. Designed as a collaborative project, the 300th Quilt & Textile Steering Committee will oversee this project. Some ideas that have been suggested: using fabrics representative of different historical fabric fads, using fabric signed by current residents of Lexington, picture quilt of town buildings. Please talk to a member of the 300th Quilting & Textile Steering Committee if you are interested in participating in this project.

Note on Colors: Theme colors used in 300th Anniversary Logos, Pins and Shirts feature red, yellow and blue. Not everything made for this event needs to have those colors but we thought you would like to know colors you are likely to see in decorations at 300th Events.

Breeches, Bloomers and Bellbottoms: Oh My!

Message from the 300th Fashion Show

On Saturday October 27, 2012 we will hold a 300 year fashion show called Breeches, Bloomers and Bellbottoms: Oh My! Volunteer models are stepping forward to represent different parts of our community. Each model will help depict Lexington life in a different time period ranging from 1713 – 2013. We need lots of people to help sew appropriate garments. In addition, we are actively seeking contributions (or loans) of vintage pieces. If you own vintage pieces, please let us know! Sewing projects range from simple to complex. All levels of experience are welcome. Contact Tanya Morrisett or Jessie Steigerwald

Contact Tanya Morrisett: tmorrisett@gmail.com

Contact Jessie Steigerwald: jess@shininghours.com or (781) 861-7190

Handbags, Purses, Wallets, Satchels: Oh My!

Artist Outreach Fundraiser for the 300th in Coordination with the Fashion Show We are reaching out to artists to create one-of-a kind handbags, purses, wallets, satchels and other accessories which will be available for purchase at the Fashion Show. All proceeds to defray costs of 300th Events.

Contact Corinne Steigerwald: cls9@netzero.net or (781) 861-7190

Independent Projects – If you would like to quilt, knit or otherwise create something that doesn’t fit into the avenues described above, don’t worry; we have room for you!

Donations: During the 300th events, there will be opportunities for the sale of donated and/or crafted items. All proceeds will be used in support of Lexington’s Anniversary festivities. Our intention is that we have many items available as keepsake mementoes for events planned.

Vendors: If you are interested in selling your art, please contact Fay Backert for information about the Country Fair which will take place on September 22, 2012. Booths will be available.

Contact Fay Backert: backert@comcast.net or (781) 652-8011

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300th Celebration Launches Website

Lexington is planning its 300th birthday party — a nine-month celebration beginning Sept. 21. What’s happening and why the celebration is all told in the celebration’s new website www.lexington300.org.

“The website is a place where Lexingtonians and the world at large can learn about Lexington’s 300th,” Cheryl Meadow, webmaster, explained. “We want it to be a site that entertains as well as informs.”

“The website is also a dynamic location where all Lexingtonians can become involved — either as readers or contributors, or both,” Meadow said. “We hope everyone participates.”

Lexington was incorporated as a town in March 1713. In celebration, the 300th committee is planning events beginning with a gala ball Sept. 21 and opening ceremonies, a town-wide picnic, country fair and dances through the ages Sept. 22. Events continue through Memorial Day 2013 focusing on both Lexington’s past and its present.

“We are finding wonderful images of the town’s history, including the 200th anniversary celebration in the library’s Worthen Collection. Take a peek. The pictures are a fascinating look at Lexington’s past and we’re excited to share them. And of course, we are also including photographs of present-day Lexington people and places.

Keeping with the 300th theme of “We are Lexington,” everyone is encouraged to submit brief essays of their favorite Lexington memories as well as past and current photographs, to be posted on the site. Eventually it will be a place to share a favorite video moment although this portion of the website is not ready yet.

An example of a memorable moment is from Sue Schiffer, long-time resident, community volunteer and current Co-President of the Lexington Education Foundation (LEF): “I feel fortunate to live in a town where education is held in high esteem. One of my favorite Lexington memories is the first time I attended an LEF Grantee Reception and heard the excitement in the voices of the grant recipients.” (LEF funds a competitive grants program for Lexington educators, through donations from area residents and businesses.) “It’s a powerful experience hearing the grantees share their plans for implementing their grants in the public schools and witnessing their dedication to their profession and to the children of Lexington.”

Each week, the website will be updated with a new “Image of the Week” as well as rotating feature articles. Regular website contributors include Dick Kollen who writes about what happened this week during Lexington’s past. Polly Kienle focuses on Lexington history. Town Clerk Donna Hooper dips into the town’s achives for her contributions. Van Seasholes writes about notable Lexingtonians of the past 75 years. Shelby Kashket’s pieces look at current Lexington business and technology. Susan Rockwell, chair of the 300th committee, takes a humorous look at the town’s history. Jessie Steigerwald and Tanya Morrisett, the 300th events co-chairs, highlight the celebration events in their contributions. Mary Gillespie tells of her favorite places to go in Lexington for adults, while Jane Hundley will explore favorite places for kids.

“Along with the feature articles, calendar of events, and memories and images from the town’s residents, the website will also chronicle all the events over the nine month celebration, Meadow says. “It will become a repository of the 300th celebration that will become a resource for future historians.”

Cheryl gratefully acknowledges the foundation that Harry Forsdick laid for the website and appreciates his continued support as it develops.

If you want to volunteer to assist on the website or on a special event, you can sign up on the Volunteers page of the website. Eventually it will be the location for reserving free tickets for certain 300th events.

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Countdown to the 300th Opening Events!

The 300th Anniversary Committee and the 300th Events Team have officially begun the countdown to the September 22, 2012 Opening Events. Make sure this date is on your calendar because you will not want to miss these unique community events. Organizers are hard at work throughout the summer, making sure the nine-month celebration will have a smooth start in the fall. A Community Scavenger Hunt began in July and people are welcome to join in at any time. Lauren Kennedy, the Scavenger Hunt’s designer, notes that two new clues are posted each week at www.lexington300.org. If you have been traveling, don’t worry! The clues remain on the website and you can join in the fun at any time. Margaret Counts-Klebe, 300th Publicity Chair told us, “The Scavenger Hunt is a fun way for residents to learn about the Town and its history this summer. You can really feel the excitement building as we head towards September.”

Events Co-Chairs Tanya Morrisett and Jessie Steigerwald explain that the Events Team suggested a full day of offerings for September 22’s Opening Day to enable as many people as possible to connect to the 300th Anniversary on the first official day of the celebration. “We anticipated a huge turnout and we wanted to have events running from morning until night,” says Morrisett, “our community is so vibrant, we know that even busy people will want to take some time on Opening Day to attend one of the events.” Steigerwald adds, “Scheduling different events throughout the day will make it easier for people to select the event that works best for them. We think the Country Fair, which runs from 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., will be a great opportunity for the town to gather and celebrate.”

The Country Fair will open to fairgoers at 11:00 a.m. Fay Backert, Country Fair Chair, notes that the Tercentennial tent will include a performance space and bandstand. Fairgoers may compete in special Blue Ribbon contests; categories include food and gardening challenges. Check the 300th website for more details about the contests. Residents will have the opportunity to share their favorite Lexington memories at a special place in the main tent, and other parts of the tent will have demonstrations, including traditional fiber arts and textile try-it stations. Teams will be able to sign up for the Race Through Time, an exciting adventure through town with fun prizes! The 300th Fiber Arts Committee is organizing volunteers who will demonstrate a host of traditional and contemporary artisan skills, from embroidery to stitching, quilting to rug braiding. In addition, individuals have created beautiful accessories and elegant pillows. These will all be available for sale, with all proceeds to help pay for the 300th Anniversary community events. Beautiful quilts will also be raffled at this event!

The Country Fair on September 22nd will be an event to remember!

Earlier in the morning, the formal Opening Ceremony begins at Lexington High School and Cary Hall. The program begins at 9:30 a.m. at both locations, with a pre-show at 9:00 a.m. Tickets were snapped up very quickly, and Town Hall has a wait list in case anyone decides they are not able to attend. Lexmedia will tape and broadcast the Opening Ceremony which will include performances by the LHS Wind Ensemble, special readings, and a surprise song from the LexFun Preschool Chorus. For more information, visit the website. The Opening Ceremony team was delighted that tickets were in such high demand, but they wished more people could be accommodated. “We planned the dual locations from the start, as we did anticipate strong interest. We wish more could attend, but we are glad we can provide more seats than if we had held the ceremony in only one location.”

As a special transition, the 300th Anniversary Committee is coordinating an outdoor ceremony to coincide with the All Town Photograph. Details will be on the website, but the ceremony is likely to begin just before noon. Planners hope that people will visit the Country Fair to find delicious picnic lunch foods and then join neighbors and friends at the track area for live music and some community surprises. Participants from the morning program will parade over to join in the fun. Several special Country Fair contests are scheduled to begin just after the All Town Picnic Lunch.

Jim Shaw, Publisher of the Colonial Times Magazine was up in the air on June 18th and got this fabulous shot of the Lexington High School Track. A local pilot donated his time and his plane to the 300th cause of the 300th Committee. The committee hopes to get as many residents as possible together for this "All Town Photo". The phot will be taken on September 22nd on Center Field at the High School. It will coincide with the opening Day ceremonies and is expected to go off at about 12:15 PM. (Photo by Jim Shaw)

Later in the evening, Kamala Soparkar and Kathleen Lenihan are Co-Chairing “Dance Revolution 300”, the culmination of the Opening Day Events, at Lexington High School. Lenihan says, “This intergenerational event that celebrates 300 years of dance and will be a great way to close out the day.” The evening begins at 6:30 p.m. at the High School with dance instructors who will teach New England-style, Colonial-era folk dances as well as waltz and swing dancing. At 8:00 p.m., the DJ takes over, playing everything from Elvis and the Beatles to Maroon 5 and Katy Perry. LexFun will have a craft table for preschoolers and both the school PTAs and LexFun volunteers will staff a refreshment table. Wear comfy shoes because you’ll be dancing the night away!

For those interested in volunteering for any Opening Day Event, for the October 27th Fashion Revue or any future 300th Event, please visit the website.

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Minuteman High School Students Earn Medals at State Skills USA Competition

By Judy Bass  |

Congratulations to all students from Minuteman High School in Lexington who competed at the SkillsUSA State Leadership and Skills Conference, featuring championships and state officer elections, in Marlboro, Mass., from April 26 to 28, 2012. More than one-third of the Minuteman students attending brought home medals from the competition.

SkillsUSA is a national organization for vocational students that sponsors competitions in dozens of technical areas at the local, district, state and national levels.

Bronze medalists include: James Cardillo (Peabody) for Residential Construction Wiring; Michael Dasaro (Arlington) for Occupational Safety & Health; Nicholas Frotten (Medford) for Employment Application Process; Breanna Harfst (Woburn) for Job Interview; and Gabrielle Fitzgerald-Leger (Waltham), Eric Gulbicki (North Reading), and Kelsey Wakelin (Arlington) for Career Pathways Showcase in Agriculture Food, and Natural Resources.

The silver medalist was sophomore Graham Fortier-Dube (Lexington), who won in Computer Programming.

The following 10 Gold medalists from will represent Team Massachusetts as the best in their career field at the National SkillsUSA Competition from June 23 to 28, 2012 in Kansas City, Mo.: Patrick Boisvert (Arlington) for Post-Grad Plumbing; Michael Bowe (Bolton) and Annie Viggh (Boxborough) for Web Design; Dylan Caples (Lexington), Peter Kelly (Arlington), and Lindsay McGrail (Framingham) for Career Pathways Showcase in Engineering, Science, Technology, and Math; Dan Dangora (Medford) and John Lessard (Medford) for Mobile Robotics; Ryan Gleason (Bolton) for Action Skills; and Christine Hamilton (Stow) for Sustainability Solutions.

Shannon Cain (Arlington) was also selected to serve as a National Voting Delegate.

Finally, for the fourth year running, a Minuteman student has been elected to serve as a State Officer. Congratulations to Lisa Willms (Arlington), who was elected to serve as a 2012-2013 Massachusetts State Officer. Rounding out the list of 13 Minuteman students going to Nationals is Anthony Senesi (Arlington), will also be representing Team Massachusetts as a current Massachusetts SkillsUSA State Officer.

Congratulations to all participants, and a huge thank you to the advisors who made all of this possible: Mr. Rafter, Mr. St. George, Mr. Blank, Mr. King, Mr. Boisvert, Ms. Griffin, and Ms. Withrow.

 

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Rotary Awards Record Number of Scholarships

The Rotary Club of Lexington awarded a record number of scholarships this year to deserving members of the Class of 2012 from from Lexington High School, Minuteman High School and Lexington Christian Academy. The club is proud to provide charitable support to the local community as part of its overall commitment to service. A total of $27,000 was awarded to these students pictured below who attended the awards luncheon at Waxy O’Conner’s.

With cost of college and other post-secondary programs escalating, scholarships help students to deal with the high cost of tuition, room and board, and ever-increasing fees. The Rotary Scholarships Program recognizes students’ leadership skills, academic achievement and commitment to community service. Lexington High School Recipients: Joseph Higgins, Leah Buckley, Michelle Batrio, Raymond Stebbins, Elaine Choi, Malik Alfred, Keaghan Adley, Danny Paul Godwin, Connor Zanin, Colleen Hughes, Lillian Hochman, Victoria Kendall, Alicia Russo, Ronald Beaulieu, Hannah Brown, Emme Hede Brierley, Isabella Brandao, Steve (Sung Kyung) Jung, Bronwen Stern. Lexington Christian Academy recipients: John Rosa, Jr., Allana Matthews, Sophie Damas, Kevin Klein, Sam Doran. Minuteman Regional High School recipients: Pierre Chanliau, Dylan Caples, Anna Parsons.

 

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Love like Libby’s

Ana Flaster

By Ana Hebra Flaster

She still pees the same. Everyone asks Libby about this when they hear she donated one of her healthy kidneys in order to improve her dying husband’s odds of receiving one himself. Libby tries to reassure them. She wants the world to know: if your loved one ever faces a years-long wait on an organ donation list, you can speed things along by becoming a donor. “They’re amazed when I tell them: I don’t need to pee any more or any less than before, and the whole thing was easier than recovering from labor.”

But of course, “the whole thing” was never easy, not by a long shot. The “whole thing” was a six-year slog through a medical system that at times seemed to be killing her husband in order to save him. In the first four years of treatments, Libby watched her husband go from a burly 260 pound 40 year-old man to a 125 pound dying one, even though he never once saw himself that way.

Skip’s problems began with an odd ache in his feet, which a podiatrist diagnosed in 2002 as plantar fasciitis. Orthotics didn’t help, and after a year a new problem appeared: pin prick sized spots on his legs that sometimes grew to the size of quarters, but always hurt, “like someone stabbing him with a fork,” recalls Libby. A dermatologist treated him for vasculitis, but another year went by and things only got worse. By 2004, a new dermatologist ran tests that detected protein in Skip’s urine. His kidneys were in trouble.

Enter a nephrologist, a hematologist, a cardiologist—all strategizing as the still-unknown illness progressed from major organ to major organ. After three courses of chemotherapy and several weekly courses of plasma pharesis, Skip’s kidneys finally failed. He went on dialysis, continued with plasma pharesis and then a stem cell transplant. Everything aimed at keeping him alive long enough and then well enough to have a shot at a new kidney.

Each doctor’s visit, diagnosis, medicine and dose, side effect and improvement appears in Libby’s neat handwriting in the notebook she shows me as we talk about those years. She points to one page where she wrote the name of one of the chemo drugs Skip took. “That was a bad—a really, really bad drug,” Libby says, and her blue eyes turn away from mine for a moment. She stares into the distance and shakes her head. The notebook is still open; her finger starts to tap hard over the name of the bad, bad drug that almost killed Skip.

We’re outside a Lexington Starbucks on a clear spring afternoon, a soft breeze moves through Libby’s blonde hair as she picks up her story again. I’m struck by the strength that emanates from her soft voice as she calmly describes the unimaginable pain of those years, of planning her husband’s eulogy, of wondering how she’d find a suit that would fit his skeletal frame for the burial, of agreeing to Skip’s request for the black Ford F150 pickup he’d been eyeing, thinking to herself, “how can I deny this man anything.” She almost whispers the story, as if telling a secret from a past life.

The family’s many friends helped, of course, with lasagna dinners, interpreting medical-ese at appointments, driving Skip to and from dialysis sessions—but it’s clear that Libby shouldered most of the burden in those years. She drove Skip in the early mornings to his dialysis appointments, went to her day job, stopped by the hospital in the afternoon to see Skip, went to her second job and came home at ten to tend to the couple’s three sons, laundry, lunches for the next day, maybe a late-night stint with homework.

Mostly, though, Libby was Skip’s unflappable wingman. She shrugs off my comment about her strength. “Oh, no. Skip was my rock. He never doubted he’d recover. He saved me.” But it was Libby who asked the toughest questions at Skip’s appointments, so much so that one of them referred to her as a “bulldog.” He meant it to sting, and it did, but Libby had bigger problems to solve. Sometimes she needed to search for elusive doctors in the hospital cafeteria till she found them, took them to Skip’s bedside, and got him the attention he needed. She cajoled the doctors into signing off on a stem cell transplant that some were reluctant to approve on their own, knowing Skip’s survival odds were dismal. Her argument to them: He’s going to die anyway; this is his only chance. If Dr. X, signs off, would you? On one particularly bleak day, when Skip was in critical condition in an upstairs ward, she waited by the hospital’s main entrance, knowing the doctor they’d been waiting for all day was likely to use it at the end of his day. When she saw him coming, she stood up. “Where do you think you’re going?” she asked. She reminded him about all her calls and messages, of how sick her husband was, and, slowly, the doctor turned around and changed course. He examined Skip, approved more treatments then left for the day. The next morning he took himself off the case. “At least Skip got what he needed from him. That’s all I cared about,” Libby says.

By late 2007, Skip was healthy enough to go on the kidney transplant list although the wait could be years; one family member was a match but was later medically disqualified. Then, at a support group meeting, Libby heard a wife describe how she’d successfully donated a kidney to “a pool” and it sped up her husband’s wait on the transplant list. Libby immediately began working with NEPKE, New England Paired Kidney Exchange. In May 2008 Libby donated one of her healthy kidneys. A month later, on Father’s Day, the hospital called with the news: they had a donor match for Skip.

The jubilation in the house erupted in tears and whoops of joy. Their oldest son heard the shouts and ran into the house, sure something was wrong. When Libby told him the news, he fell to his knees and wept. Ironically, Skip was so focused on a T.V. golf broadcast that he asked if the hospital needed him to go right away. “YES,” Libby cried. “NOW!”

Libby’s smile lights up the air around her as she remembers that final miracle in the story. Then she tells me about the chair, a green Lazy Boy Barcalounger that Skip practically lived in all those years of his illness. “Jimmy had to write an essay in school—sophomore year, I think. He wrote about the first time he fell in love. Guess what he wrote about? How much he loved that green chair because it held and comforted his father when he was sick.”

That’s one kind of love, of a caring son for an ailing father. Another is a love like Libby’s. A love that never stopped fighting for a solution and, in this case, found a way to save a life.

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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Living the e-Life

Helpful information regarding your Electronic life- all the computers, smartphones, tablets, home entertainment and internet tools you rely on to be productive and entertained.

By Charlie Hoover  |   Senior e-Life Technologist at Geek Housecalls, Inc.

The Colonial Times is starting a new column this month focused on improving your everyday life via technology; aka your “e-Life.” -Geek Housecalls is ready to help you setup, repair or learn about all the computers, smartphones, tablets, gaming systems, net connected TVs & appliances, software, apps, WiFi and Internet access you rely on to be productive and entertained.

What is e-Life?

e-Life is a term used to describe how all of your technology related devices combine into one personalized ecosystem. More and more companies are releasing devices that work together with other technology devices. For example: Updating your calendar on your phone and having it appear on your computer, or using your iPad to control your entire home automation system.

The promises of e-Life are compelling.

For example: Smoothly running computers, kept up-to-date and virus free, with all key data safely backed up for peace of mind. Changing an appointment or contact on one device automatically updates it across all of your laptops, desktops, smartphones and tablets. Cutting the cable cord and enjoying inexpensive Internet-based entertainment on the TV in your living room. Lastly, the ability to control appliances in your home, even when you are not there.

The reality of e-Life is often problematic.

These e-Life systems are often on the cutting edge, so keeping them trouble-free is challenging and time consuming. Furthermore, the technology systems rely on multiple vendors who blame each other when something goes wrong. When your smartphone doesn’t sync to your computer, for example, it is so easy for the phone maker to blame the computer manufacturer who can just as easily blame the cloud service provider, etc. You get the idea, especially if you have been stuck in this black hole at some point.

So, how does e-Life apply to me?

We utilize technology in almost every aspect of our daily lives; for personal life, family life, home entertainment, hobbies, interests, sports, education, staying in touch, business, and so on. Your e-Life is the conscious realization that technology should work with you seamlessly and in a beneficial way as you move across your daily roles. Since technology is such an integral part in each aspect of our lives, we need to be certain that we are using it to our best advantage. There may be some untapped resources in your electronic life that once revealed and learned, will be an extraordinary improvement to your daily life.

What is this column going to discuss?

This monthly column is going to be in a Question-and-Answer format. We will pick our favorite questions to answer during each month, based on feedback from our readers. We will cover any topics that will help individuals and families improve their e-Life. For example: questions about the best iPhone, iPad and Android applications for various everyday activities (the best photo-sharing apps or financial management apps); how to cope with a cyber bully; how to increase security on your technology devices, and a lot about cloud computing.

Next Steps:

Ask Geek Housecalls any question about your e-Life: from questions about the best phone applications for everyday tasks, to troubleshooting a slow computer. Ask your e-Life questions here and we’ll choose the most prevalent topics to be addressed in our monthly column. Email your questions to elife@geekhousecalls.com (add “e-Life Column Question” in the subject-line) or via Twitter @GeekHousecalls.

 

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Protecting The American Dream of Home Ownership

Judy Moore

When I first became a REALTOR® over 26 years ago, I remember hearing the phrase “If real estate is your profession then politics is your business.” It didn’t mean anything to me then, if anything, it was a tad confusing….my plan was to put buyers and sellers together, sell houses and everyone would be happy. Right? Over the years I learned that there is a lot that needs to happen behind the scenes in order to get to that point where sellers and buyers can conclude a transaction at the closing table. And that’s where the politics came in. As I became more involved in leadership at the local, state and national levels of the REALTOR® Association, I learned that there are constant obstacles that need to be overcome to protect The American Dream of home ownership, the most recent being the financial crises and it’s after effects.

Many economists state that housing is a major piece of the economic recovery and that is why over 13,000 REALTORS® from across the country recently held a rally at the foot of the Washington Monument to protect the American Dream, to let Congress know that we support legislation that protects home ownership. We also held meetings with our members of Congress to review specific legislation and issues that we feel need to be addressed to keep the slow economic recovery moving along in the right direction. Why does home ownership matter to you, our community and the economy? Housing accounts for more than 15% of the gross domestic product. Additionally, six of the last eight recessions have ended as a result of hearty housing markets with war spending ending the other two. The National Association of Realtors® estimates that each home sale contributes about sixty thousand dollars to the GDP and that one job is created for every two home sales. Additionally, research shows that there are many positive social benefits of home ownership to a community that include higher academic achievement, more cohesive communities, better connected family units, improved health and safety and an overall stronger local economy. It’s also interesting to note that in the last few years research shows that the consumer’s perspective on home ownership has shifted psychologically from financial to more emotional in nature. Buyers have become more practical by seeking a home they can comfortably afford, that is a truer reflection of who they are as opposed to stretching themselves financially to obtain a larger home.

Home ownership continues to be the American Dream but it is under siege.

Some of the critical issues we are addressing with Congress pertain to preserving the Mortgage Interest Deduction, mortgage affordability, expediting the short sale process and secondary mortgage market reform. This is why I was in DC in May and why I continue to work with The National Association of Realtors® and Congress. Preserving home ownership is important to our future and the stability of our economy. So that saying I heard long ago turned out to be true after all. Yes, my primary focus is to put buyers and sellers together and sell real estate but “real estate is my profession and politics is my business” because I wholeheartedly believe in the American Dream of Home ownership. For those who might be interested, The National Association of Realtors® has a comprehensive web site for the public where you can pick up handy house related tips and ideas and keep track of issues affecting homeowners at www.houselogic.com.

Judy Moore CBR, CDPE, GRI, PMN, SRES Certified Residential Specialist
2012-2013 NAR RPAC Trustee
2012 NAR Major Investor Council
2009-2012 NAR Executive Committee
2008 Region 1 NAR Vice President
2004 Massachusetts State President
The Higgins Group Realtors

Direct: 781-264-2661
Email: judy@judymoore.com
Web: www.judymoore.com

 

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Lexington Fire Department and Lexington Lodge of Elks Install Smoke Alarms

Firefighter Paramedic Shawn Ormiston Installs a smoke dectector.

The Fire Department with support from the Lexington Lodge of Elks #2204 installed smoke alarms in several homes of seniors living in Lexington at no cost to them this past Saturday. “Funding for the program was received by a grant of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks of the U.S. designed to have local Lodges impact the community they serve,” stated Christopher Cavanaugh, President of the Lexington Lodge.

This pilot program supplied new battery-operated smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors to seniors. Lt. Tremblay, Fire Prevention Inspector along with Charlotte Rodgers, Director of Human Services coordinated the program each deemed it a success. “In almost all the homes visited this Saturday smoke alarms were either missing batteries, incorrect type or out-of-date or installed incorrectly,” said Lt. Tremblay. “Members of the fire department S.A.F.E fire safety educators team helped to install the detectors,” Lt Tremblay went on to say.

Having a properly operating and maintained smoke alarm in your home reduces the chancing of being injured or dying in a fire by nearly 90% – however nearly half the homes in the United States do not have smoke alarms or they are not properly maintained (missing or dead batteries for example). National statistics have shown older adults have a much higher risk of being injured or dying in a fire.

All residents are encouraged to look around your home and make sure you have smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors located on each level of your home. Press the test button either with your finger or the end of a mop handle to see if it sounds at least monthly. Change the batteries in the smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors annually. A good reminder is when we change our clocks in the spring or fall.

If you’re a resident over the age of 60 and would like to be part of this program, we encourage you to call Gwen Jefferson, at the Senior Center 781-861-0194 to sign up.


Senior Center Summer Trips

Maine Lobster Bake
Thursday, June 21
9AM – 5:30PM
$62

We will stop at the Nubble Light and York Village before we go to Foster’s for an authentic Lobster Bake. After our meal, choice of lobster or chicken, there will be time to walk to the beach to view the Annual Sand Sculpture show.


Tall Ships 2012

Tuesday, July 3
8:30AM – 5PM
$62

On arrival in Boston, we will board the Provincetown Cruise vessel for a one and one-half hour narrated Harbor Cruise to view the world’s largest and grandest sailing ships. After the harbor sail, we will go to Quincy Market to have lunch (on your own) and browse the shops before heading home.


Tanglewood Overnight

Sun, Mon., July 29-30
Sun., 8AM – Mon., 5-5:30PM
$345-double; $385 single

Emanuel Ax will be the featured pianist at the Sunday afternoon performance of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, when he plays Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No.3. Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 is the other feature on the program. The overnight stay at the William’s Inn in Williamstown includes a complete dinner and breakfast. On Monday, we will visit the Clark Art Museum, noted for its Impressionist collection. Lunch on your own at the museum.

Park at the Lexington High School, Worthen Rd. Lot. Deposit of $25 required; balance due July 2.
If you have questions, please contact Phyllis Rand at the Senior Center at 781-861-0194.

 

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