Archives for November 2018

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The Taste of Lexington! Join the Fun!

By Laurie Atwater

Each holiday season the downtown retailers knock themselves out trying to find ways to entice customers away from shopping on the internet and back to the shops and restaurants of Lexington.  While each year sees an up-tick in foot traffic, nothing so far has recaptured the excitement of Lexington holiday shopping events of the past, when the sidewalks were jammed with shoppers, diners, friends and neighbors enjoying the lights and magic along Massachusetts Avenue.

Well, that’s about to change!

This year, if all goes as planned, things may change. The Lexington Mavens in partnership with Lexington’s Chamber of Commerce and the Lexington Retailers Association are introducing The Taste of Lexington, a downtown celebration of local shopping, dining and old-fashioned fun!

The brainchild of Patrice Cleaves and Delilah Atkinson, founders of the Lexington Mavens, the Taste of Lexington is set for December 6th in Lexington Center from 5-9:30 PM!

You haven’t heard of the Mavens? That’s okay. It’s a Facebook group of about 2,200 Lexington women. Patrice says, “We’ve created this vibrant community of women. Delilah and I each handpicked 60 individual influencers across town—they were connectors, and they care about the community beyond their own footprint which was a big thing for me. We asked them to come on board and help us develop the Mavens.” In a short period of time, The Mavens has become quite a force in the community

Patrice and Delilah envisioned the Facebook site as a junction box where all kinds of people can make connections in a protected space. According to Delilah, “What our members love about the Mavens is the ability to go online, get conversations go

 

ing, receive feedback or advice, and feel involved. The aim is not to be commercial — we don’t make money from the platform — and keep it authentic.  The heart of the group is all about community. Friendships have formed, events have happened that have helped people feel a part of our town.”

The Taste of Lexington event is a logical extension of the Mavens brand. Getting outside the digital space expands and reinforces membership by providing in-person events where members can socialize and share their stories and ideas and get to know each other. “The Taste of Lexington is also based on our founding principles of getting out into the community, getting involved and taking part.  We wanted to create an event that would bring people down to the Center so they can get to know what’s right on their doorstep,” Delilah says.

The women reached out to the Lexington Retailers and the Chamber of Commerce to maximize the success of the event. “We want to create a big event that supports and involves the community and businesses,” Patrice says. “We want to show businesses that we can turn out in large numbers.”

Delilah acknowledges that the retail community has been affected by the shift to online shopping. “The world of click and shop has taken over,” she says, “and as much as we all love the ease and instant gratification, there is something to say for the in-store, restaurant and service experience.”

Eric Michelson, co-owner of Michelson’s Shoe and President of the Lexington Retailers Association, has high hopes for the Taste of Lexington. “The holiday season is so important to the success of our local businesses that we are excited to partner with the Lexington Mavens to promote what Lexington has to offer.”

In the past, the responsibility of coordinating community holiday events has fallen squarely on the shoulders of the Retailers Association and the Chamber. The Retailers organize Trick or Treat and Discovery Day. During the busy holiday shopping season, they are happy to have the help of the Mavens! Eric says, “The Taste of Lexington is a true community event, with local businesses offering discounts and promotions; we hope people will join us and see just how many great shops and businesses are located right here in town.”

The Lexington Chamber of Commerce is also throwing its resources behind Taste of Lexington and enthusiastically embracing The Mavens and LRA as partners. Jim Shaw, Colonial Times publisher and Chairman of the Lexington Chamber of Commerce says, “We are delighted and appreciative that the Lexington Mavens have stepped up to help local businesses this holiday season, and the businesses have responded with significant offers and savings!  This event will bring hundreds of Lexington residents to the Center for an evening of shopping and dining. Many shops are participating and creating their own festive in-store activities.  The restaurant selections are incredible—Lexington has become quite a destination for dining out. People will not be  disappointed.” Shaw stresses that they have also included businesses from outside of the Center. “There will be ‘pop-up’ locations (that will host other Lexington Businesses) like the Historical Society’s Depot Building and TD Bank lobby.

The entire community is invited to the first annual Taste of Lexington. Shops and restaurants are offering refreshments and significant discounts and promotional offers. There will be singing groups on the sidewalks and an incredible sense of holiday spirit up and down the avenue.

If Taste of Lexington is a success, it will be because of the enthusiasm and hard work of these three groups and their desire to make it an exciting evening to share the seasonal beauty of Lexington Center, support local businesses and have fun! Delilah says, “We don’t want Lexington to lose its charm, we want to help it come to life and get residents excited!”

 

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Notorious swindler Charles Ponzi once called Lexington his home

By Jim Shaw

The ghost of Charles Ponzi is alive and well and thrives in the greed of modern-day swindlers like Brad Bleidt and Bernard Madoff. And, for at least one Lexington resident who fell victim to Madoff’s $50 billion swindle, this is not an amusing story or a whimsical account of an interesting fellow who happened to live in Lexington. For this 85-year-old victim whom we have chosen not to identify, the pain is very real and his future is now uncertain

With the recent arrests of Massachusetts money manager and radio mogul Brad Bleidt and Wall Street billionaire Bernie Madoff, the “Ponzi scheme” has become the focus of national and international news coverage. It has also surfaced as dinnertime banter in homes across the country. But just who is Charles Ponzi, and why are people so fascinated with his story?

Here in Lexington, the name Ponzi holds a different connotation — neighbor. You see, the world’s most notorious swindler – Charles Ponzi – lived right here in Lexington in a beautiful estate on Slocum Road. At the height of his most infamous criminal enterprise, Ponzi called Lexington his hometown.

Ponzi first arrived in Boston by ship in 1903. He claimed to have only $2.50 when he first arrived. With no real luck securing gainful employment, Ponzi soon moved to Montreal, Quebec where he found work as an assistant teller at the newly opened Banco Zarossi. At the time, the bank was paying 6% interest on deposits, which was twice the average rate. This created a huge influx of new depositors. Soon, however, the bank’s real estate investments began to collapse causing economic chaos. In an effort to prevent a mass exodus of depositors, they began paying the interest with money from new deposits. Ponzi took notice of this and the seed was planted.

When the number new depositors drastically declined and they could no longer meet their obligations to existing depositors, the bank was shuttered and its owner fled to Mexico with much of the bank’s remaining cash.

Once again, penniless and unemployed, Ponzi went to visit one of the bank’s former clients. Finding no one there, Ponzi helped himself to the company’s checkbook and forged a check for over $400. He was caught and convicted and spent three years in a Quebec prison.

Ponzi returned to the US and quickly got caught up in an effort to bring illegal Italian immigrants into the country. He was convicted and spent two years in an Atlanta, Georgia prison.

After his release, Ponzi made his way back to Boston where he met and married Rose Gnecco. Ponzi made a lame attempt at honest employment, but his greed and the promise of great riches lured him towards what many consider to be the crime of the century.

One day while opening his mail, Ponzi happened across an International Reply Coupon (IRC). These coupons were intended to be sent overseas for the purpose of return postage. But Ponzi soon realized that there was a value differential. For instance, with the Italian post-war economy in a major decline, the cost of postage in Italy had decreased. So, theoretically, someone could buy IRC coupons in Italy and send them to the US where they could be sold for a higher value. Ponzi went to work and soon bragged that after all of his costs, he was realizing a profit of 400%.

Ponzi decided to bring in investors and promised them a 50% return within six months. His scheme immediately attracted hundreds of eager investors who blindly handed over tens of thousands of dollars. Overnight, Ponzi was a very wealthy man.

The Ponzi House

Ponzi was now part of high society and required all of the trappings of his great wealth. He lavished expensive gifts upon his wife and friends, and dined in the fanciest restaurants. The only thing left was a home appropriate to his stature. He settled on a beautiful estate on Slocum Road in Lexington.

I’m not certain if Ponzi had the home built or if it already existed, but the beautiful stucco mansion that was built in 1913 still stands today. For Ponzi, the home showcased his need to flaunt his new found success.

Now, there are several accounts of just how much money Ponzi had amassed and how many investors fell victim to his scheme. One account says that Ponzi duped over 10,000 individuals for $9.5 million. Another account places the number of victims at 40,000 with over $15 million invested with Ponzi. A quick calculation at www.measuringworth.com indicates that $9.5 million in 1920 dollars is worth over $1.5 billion in GDP value (yes, that’s billion with a “B”) in 2009.

Nearly as fast as his meteoric rise in wealth and influence, came his precipitous downfall. You see, like any pyramid scheme – the basis of Ponzi’s big idea – success only thrives as long as there are new investors to pay back original investors. When the pool of new investors dried up, the jig was up for Ponzi.

In a story printed in the Boston Post in July of 1920, Ponzi’s character, and business acumen was called into question. Most of Ponzi’s early investors stuck with him because they had experienced tremendous profits. Ponzi was forced to hire a publicity person who eventually turned on him as well. The PR guy, William McMasters, quickly determined that Ponzi was a fraud and later stated, “The man is a financial idiot. He can hardly add…He sits with his feet on the desk smoking expensive cigars in a diamond holder and talking complete gibberish about postal coupons.”

Postal regulators soon raided Ponzi’s Boston office and found to their amazement that Ponzi actually had very few of the postal coupons that had fueled the frenzy of his multi-million dollar empire. It was all a complete fraud. Because Ponzi had used the U.S. Postal Service to communicate with his investors, he faced serious mail fraud charges. In all, he was charged with 86 counts of federal mail fraud in two separate indictments. In return for a lighter sentence, Ponzi pled guilty to one of the charges and served five years in prison. After about 3 years, he was released to face state charges for swindling investors. While awaiting trial, Ponzi jumped bail and fled to Florida where he was eventually captured and went on to serve another nine years in prison.

After his release, Ponzi was deported to Italy and eventually traveled to Brazil where he died in 1949 penniless and alone.

Wikipedia refers to Ponzi as “one of the greatest swindlers in American history.” I have a little trouble with that because I associate the word great with people who have had a profoundly positive impact on society. I’m happy that Wikipedia allows people to edit it’s content because I think I’ll go back and correct it so it more accurately reflects who Ponzi was: “one of the most notorious swindlers in American history.”

That would be more appropriate. And, I think our 85-year-old neighbor who was victimized by Bernie Madoff would agree.

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Life Class

By Jane Whitehead

Benjamin Zander. Courtesy photo.

 

BENJAMIN ZANDER
“Music and the Art of Possibility:
Transforming Your Life”
Wednesday, December 5
7:30 p.m.
Cary Memorial Hall
1605 Massachusetts Avenue, Lexington
The Cary Lecture Series is free and open to all.
carylectureseries.orgFor information about BPO and BPYO concerts, see: www.bostonphil.org

 

 

For over four decades, Benjamin Zander has been a notable contributor to Boston’s rich classical music scene, as founder and leader of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra and the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra.

As a guest conductor Zander has inspired orchestras from Scotland to St. Petersburg. His recordings of Beethoven and Mahler symphonies with the London Philharmonia Orchestra have garnered critics’ awards and Grammy nominations. “This account of the work heaps revelation on revelation,” writes music critic Paul Driver of Zander’s recently released recording of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, in London’s Sunday Times.

Zander’s appearance at Cary Hall will not involve an orchestra, though it will feature a piano. “It’ll be an evening of ‘possibility thinking’ and music making – a wonderful combination,” he said in a recent conversation.

After nearly 20 years on the podium, Zander has written, he had the life-changing realization that a conductor’s “true power derives from his ability to make other people powerful.” Once he understood that the core of his task was to “awaken possibility in other people,” he saw also that this insight had applications in places far from concert halls and practice rooms. So began his parallel career as an internationally sought-after inspirational speaker.

“I have had a double life – that of a musician and that of a speaker about leadership,” said Zander, who at age 79 still retains the accent of his native England despite having lived in the U.S. for most of his life. His message about creativity and leadership has reached from the boardrooms of Fortune 500 companies to the elite World Economic Forum in Davos, where he has appeared several times as a keynote speaker and been honored with the Crystal Award for Outstanding Contributions in the Arts and International Relations.

A passionate advocate for making classical music accessible to everyone, Zander has harnessed the power of the internet to reach a mass online audience. His 2008 TED talk on The Transformative Power of Classical Music, subtitled in 45 languages, has recorded over ten million views. The 20-minute presentation distills some of his major themes: that classical music is for everybody, that nobody is tone-deaf, and that music can give us access to otherwise inexpressible emotions.

“Everybody loves classical music – they just don’t know about it yet,” he tells the studio audience. He demonstrates the concept of “one-buttock playing,” by which he means physically moving with the flow of the music rather than sitting firmly planted on the piano stool. By extension, he says, this approach means “encouraging people to think and live outside the box and develop a more open-hearted way of being in relation to music, but also in relation to life.”

Zander has reached audiences across the world with the best-selling book, The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life, co-authored with his former wife, the psychotherapist Rosamund Stone Zander. Packed with stories from their different but complementary professional lives, the book outlines twelve practices geared to helping readers make a “total shift of posture, perceptions, beliefs and thought processes.”

Zander acknowledged that his Cary Hall talk comes at a challenging time in the life of the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra. A November 5 report in the Boston Globe outlined discord in the organization following the arrest of an artistic advisor in September 2018 and the more recent dismissal of an associate conductor.

On November 9, over 70 parents of the orchestra’s young players responded to the Globe Editor with a strong letter of support expressing confidence in Zander’s vision and the orchestra’s administration, and satisfaction with the organization’s careful and respectful handling of an “unfortunate situation.”

“I’m not saying I welcome the trouble we’re in,” said Zander, who is clearly shaken by recent events, “but here’s the question: how do you deal with it?  With despair and anger and fighting back, or do you create a new conversation?”

Any situation, however difficult, can be approached in the spirit of possibility, he said, and that means having the discipline to keep a constructive, creative frame of mind, using language with care and clarity, and being energized by love rather than fear.

In Lexington, Zander looks forward to engaging with an audience of people who “care about kids, care about education, care about music,” and to sharing insights from a long and extraordinary life full of challenges and still radiant with possibilities for communicating energy and joy.

An archive of Zander’s performances, lectures, writings and interpretation classes is available at:www.benjaminzander.org

 

 

 

 

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How Using ‘QPR’ Can Prevent Suicides Ask a Question and Save a Life

By David Susman Ph.D.

Originally published by Psychology Today

USED BY PERMISSION

 

Chances are you’re familiar with CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation), a well-established emergency procedure used to save lives when a person is in cardiac arrest. But have you ever heard of QPR? QPR stands for “Question, Persuade, Refer,” and it’s used to intervene to prevent suicide.

Recently I was given the opportunity to attend a comprehensive training program to learn about QPR. What’s really interesting about this approach is that you don’t have to be a mental health professional to use it. In fact, QPR is designed to train anyone how to offer hope and take action when they are concerned that someone may be at risk for suicide.

The term “gatekeeper” refers to anyone who may benefit from learning how to use QPR to intervene to stop a suicide. Gatekeepers are people who may be in a position to recognize warning signs of suicide and that someone is considering taking their own life.

Gatekeepers can include school and college personnel, clergy, law enforcement, correctional staff, work supervisors, community volunteers, health care providers, family, and friends. In other words, virtually everyone can benefit from learning QPR.

Over the past 20 years, more than 2,500 communities and organizations have implemented the QPR Gatekeeper training program. Over 8,500 instructors have been certified, who have delivered the QPR intervention to more than one million people throughout the US and several other countries.

Having worked with many persons who were at risk for suicide, I was already quite familiar with many of the statistics on this issue. Nonetheless, some of the facts and figures are staggering and bear repeating:

More deaths occur by suicide in the US each year than by homicide or automobile accidents.

In 2013, over 41,000 Americans took their own lives or about 113 per day.

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death and the second leading cause among ages 15-24.

For each death by suicide, about 25 people around them experience a major life disruption.

Firearms remain the leading method for suicide, followed by poisoning and suffocation.

More Vietnam War veterans have subsequently died by suicide than were killed in the conflict itself.

Currently, it’s estimated that 22 veterans die by suicide each day.

It’s also important to understand that about 90% of people in a suicidal crisis will give some kind of warning to those around them. Warning signs can include previous suicide attempts, alcohol and drug abuse, statements revealing or suggesting a desire to die, sudden behavior changes, depression, giving away personal belongings, and purchasing a gun or stockpiling pills.

Although we can’t predict suicide for any one individual, we can prevent a suicide if someone reveals their plans and we can intervene quickly and effectively. This is where QPR comes into play.

The QPR approach has three steps:

Q = Question

If you believe someone is considering suicide, ask them directly “Are you thinking about suicide or wanting to kill yourself?” Don’t say “Do you want to hurt yourself?” as self-harm can be non-lethal and it’s not the same as wanting to die. Also remember that if you ask someone if they want to kill themselves, this does NOT drive them toward that action. That’s a myth that’s not accurate. Don’t be afraid to ask the question.

2) P = Persuade

Persuade the person to allow you to assist them in getting help right now. Say “Will you go with me to get help?” or “Will you let me assist you to get help?” Another option can be to enlist their promise not to kill themselves until you’ve arranged help for them. If persuasion doesn’t work, call a local mental health center, crisis hotline or emergency services.

3) R = Refer

Refer the person to an appropriate resource for assistance. It’s ideal if you can personally escort them to see a health care professional. Next best would be to assist in making arrangements for help and getting their agreement to follow through on this plan. Less preferable is to provide referral resources and have them seek one of the options on their own.

An excellent crisis intervention resource in the US is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. To access the lifeline, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255). This same number also connects military personnel to the Veterans Crisis Line, a hotline providing confidential help to veterans or service members and their families.

In the QPR training, it was stated that if, as a result of learning QPR, just one person uses the approach, and that person saves one single life, then the training will have been worth it, and then some!

So, what can you do to make a difference? Attend a QPR training, particularly if you fit one of the “gatekeeper” categories or you believe you may come into contact with people who may be considering suicide.

Just as CPR prepares you for stepping in to assist with a cardiac emergency, QPR will give you the skills and knowledge to intervene to possibly prevent a suicide. Remember: if you ask the question, you may just save a life.

 

David Susman, Ph.D.

About the Author:
David Susman, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist, mental health advocate, and Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Kentucky.

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Using Technology for Senior Programming

By Hemali Shah- Senior Services Coordinator

Technology is changing the way we interact with the world and the way the world interacts with us. The biggest impact we have noticed is the role of technology in the lives of our seniors.

Technology is enabling the baby boomers to age in place safely and live in their homes longer. Programs such as life alert bracelets, which detect falls and call 911 with a push of a button, to various applications that track medication management have empowered aging adults to remain independent. There are applications for caregivers to keep track of doctor’s appointments, home health workers’ schedules, and family member tasks. The uses of technology are endless.

The biggest role technology plays in the lives of seniors is preventing isolation. Online education, chat, e-mail and increased phone availability have now made it possible for older adults to stay connected within their community and actively seek out activities that will ensure their overall well-being. The ease of using devices such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops has made it increasingly easy to stay connected with family members across the country and the world. PEW Research Center has found that over 34% of Americans ages 65 and older use social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter to stay connected to loved ones. We also live in a time where we can connect live with our loved ones through Skype, Facetime, WhatsApp Video Calls, and many other applications that lessen the feeling of isolation and loneliness.

Lexington Senior Services Department is teaching and assisting our Lexington seniors to properly use the technology available to them. One of our most popular programs involves Lexington High School students, who facilitate a technology drop-in program as well as a monthly presentation on a popular topic. The high school students help one-on-one during the technology drop-in time to troubleshoot devices, set-up emails, reset passwords, and help navigate couponing sites. The monthly presentations focus on a specific technology topic, such as how to video chat or how to upload photos to Facebook. Both of these programs provide an opportunity for our seniors to connect to Lexington teens and learn something new.

Another way we use technology is through our local cable company, Lex Media. In the last year, we have videotaped our more popular senior programs, such as our Older Wiser Life Long Learner (OWLL) classes and the Economic and Finance Series. Both of these programs can be found on demand at the Lex Media website for viewing after the program has taken place live. Our seniors are able to participate in programs, make-up missed classes, and continue to learn by having access to new programs made available on demand.

Lastly, we have started offering live and interactive virtual programming as part of our ongoing senior programming. Interactive virtual programming is our way of connecting to individuals, museums, non-profit organizations, and schools across the country and the world to enhance our cultural knowledge. During the program, we connect live on video chat with a staff member of the partner organization to learn about a specific topic. For example, we connected with a private school in Ghana, Africa where we learned from the students about African culture, history, and food. The African students were able to ask our Lexington seniors questions about American culture and aging in America. Technology makes it easy to speak with people across the globe without leaving the comfort of your home and community.

Our goal at the Lexington Senior Services Department is to help our seniors live longer by being active participants. Whether they choose to be active by coming to the Lexington Community Center or watching the programs from their home if they are homebound, we strive to offer something for every audience. For more information, check out our newsletter, The Sage, online or pick up a copy at the Lexington Community Center. You can also like us on Facebook!

TO REACH US:

Phone: 781-698-4840

Online: Lexington Senior Services https://www.lexingtonma.gov/human-services/senior-services

Lexington Human Services Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lexingtonhumanservices/

 

Senior Matters columns are presented to the Lexington community through a collaboration with the Lexington Human Services Department Council on Aging. Information provided in these columns is general in nature and not intended to substitute for individualized professional advice. Please see a professional for any concerns you may have about this topic or any others in a Senior Matters column. LEXINGTON COMMUNITY CENTER 39 Marrett Road, Lexington, MA 02421.

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How Safe is Lexington?

Q: How safe is Lexington? I keep thinking about the gas explosions in Lawrence and wonder if that could happen here.

A: Natural gas is inherently dangerous. Gas explosions in Lawrence, Andover, and North Andover killed a young man and cut off heat and hot water to 10,000 families. That catastrophe forced 1,800 families from their homes, many into tent cities as temperatures dropped to freezing. Families are now being told they may have to wait till March before their heating systems are fully repaired.

In 2005, a Lexington house on Hancock Avenue exploded when gas workers mistakenly connected a high-pressure gas line to a low-pressure line. Luckily the residents escaped just before the explosion destroyed the house. But the force of that high-pressure gas raced through the town’s pipes – forcing the evacuation of 1,800 homes and shut down natural gas service for many residents.

Q: Should we be concerned here in Lexington?

A: In 2014, Mothers Out Front alerted us that Lexington had 92 unrepaired gas leaks. By 2015, that number had risen to 112 unrepaired gas leaks, with the oldest over 25 years old. At the same time, a Harvard / Boston University study found that 2.7% of all the natural gas used in the Boston area is leaking into the air and those leaks are costing natural gas customers $90 million a year.

Those researchers found that just 7% of the leak sites are responsible for ~50% of the natural gas emissions by volume. And we discovered that Lexington had some of the biggest super-emitters in the Boston area! This isn’t all that surprising as Lexington has a lot of high pressure, leak-prone, bare steel pipe that was put in the ground in the 50s and 60s.

Q: What can we do about improving our safety?

A: Lexington’s Board of Selectmen, with the support of Rep. Jay Kaufman, Sen. Mike Barrett, and the late Sen. Ken Donnelly convened a public hearing in May 2016 to call for action to address this growing problem.

In response, Lexington’s Town Engineer, John Livsey, hosted a meeting with National Grid technical and field personnel, the gas leaks researchers who had documented the location of gas leaks, and Sustainable Lexington. The team identified 15 super-emitter leaks.  We were able to send repair crews to fix 12 of them. Those efforts resulted in 6 leaks being fully repaired, 5 leaks partially fixed, and 1 location where the leak was actually made worse.

Mothers Out Front has sent new data based on utility reports, showing the number of unrepaired leaks in Lexington has grown from 112 to 149, and that those leaks are now costing Lexington gas customers $550K a year. We are falling behind the power curve.

Q: What should we do next?

A: Lexington’s Board of Selectmen, with the support of Rep. Jay Kaufman, Sen. Mike Barrett, and Sen. Cindy Friedman will be holding a new public hearing on Tuesday, November 27th in Battin Hall at the Cary Memorial Building starting at 7PM to listen to your concerns about gas leaks and natural gas safety, to hear recommendations from gas leak experts, and to call for action to address this growing problem. Please come to the hearing!

Hastings School with Solar Canopies

Q: I understand that our two newest schools have been designed to be all-electric schools and will not be using natural gas for heating. How will that work? 

A: Yes, Hastings School and the Lexington Children’s Place pre-school buildings are both expected to be net zero buildings. Both will produce more than 100% of all the energy they need on an annual basis from the sun, without using any fossil fuels.

Hastings School will use a heat pump to move heat from the ground into the building during the winter months and then cool the building by pumping heat out of the building during the summer months back into the ground. Ground source heat pumps can deliver up to 5 kWh of heat for every 1 kWh of electricity used to run the heat pump. That means the total amount of energy needed to run the building will be dramatically lower than traditional buildings. In fact, the design team expects that Hastings School will use less than half the energy of a conventionally designed school.

We’ll be installing solar panels on both the rooftops and in the parking lots. In a relatively new twist, we’ll also be adding energy storage batteries to help lower our electricity costs. We’d expect to pay $250,000 a year for the energy needed to run Hastings School without the solar. But the solar + storage energy system combined with the ground source heat pump will produce all the building’s energy from sunshine, plus generate about $150,000 a year in new revenue.

We’ll have a healthy, zero emissions school that generates $400,000 a year in net positive cash flow for the Town, just from Hastings. What’s not to love about that?

 

Mark Sandeen is the chair
of the Sustainable Lexington Committee

Sustainable Lexington is a Town committee appointed by the Board of Selectmen to enhance Lexington’s long-term sustainability and resilience in response to environmental resource and energy challenges. Work includes the following: Recommend sustainability goals, priorities for implementation, and implementing programs, monitor and measure effectiveness of sustainability programs undertaken by the town, and educate and raise awareness among Lexington residents regarding Lexington’s sustainability and resilience.

 

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Adopt Your Catch Basin

Keeping catchbasins clear is important for the safety of  motorists and property

Catch basins are stormwater inlets that filter out debris such as leaves, sticks, branches, and litter. They are typically located next to street curbs or in the rear yards of residential areas. It is important to maintain catch basins to prevent stormwater blockages and minimize the number of pollutants entering storm drains.

Stormwater usually discharges directly into streams, wetlands, and conservation areas. Clogged catch basins can also cause water to pond along streets and in yards. This flooding can be a nuisance to motorists and homeowners. Stormwater drainage systems are typically designed to remove water from a developed area as quickly as possible during a storm. Clearing off snow, leaves, pine needles, mud and any other debris on and around the drain grates will allow water to enter the storm system freely.

How can you adopt your catch basin?

Remove debris from grates – the grates of catch basins can become clogged with litter, sticks, branches, leaves, or snow especially in the spring, fall, and winter. Regularly inspect the grate and remove debris will prevent hazardous conditions. Encourage neighbors to adopt the catch basins in front of their homes, and keep them free of debris.
Ensure regular cleaning – catch basins should be cleaned out before the storage area is half full.

Once this level is reached, debris begins to wash into drain lines, streams, wetlands, and conservation areas. Cleaning these storage areas, under the grates and below the street or yard level, should be performed by the Town of Lexington or a private contractor. Having a clean catch basin is of primary importance during the spring, fall, and winter seasons for our community.

We thank you in advance for all your help and continued support. For more information see the Town’s website at: https://www.lexingtonma.gov/highways-equipment-drains or call DPW at 781-274-8300.

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