East Meets West – A Shadaj Baithak Event

Lexington nonprofit organization will present a cultural event co-sponsored by Lexington Community Education and Community Endowment of Lexington (www.lexingtonendowment.org).


Indian Classical Music Appreciation Workshops on Monday, Tuesday & Thursday, September 23, 24, 26 at 7:30 pm at Cary Library.

Please join us three nights this week for an informal and informational workshop on Indian classical music.
Monday, 09/23: Similarities and differences between Indian Classical Music and Jazz, with Phil Scarff
Tuesday, 09/24: Indian Classical Violin, with Tara Anand
Thursday, 09/26: Percussion in Indian Classical Music, with Amit Kavthekar


Friday, September 27,  8.00 pm :  Concert
Venue:  Scottish Rite Masonic Museum, 33 Marrett Rd., Lexington, MA 02420

Tickets:   www.shadaj.org  (Premium: $100,  Regular: $30)
FREE for Shadaj Members and Students (Only upon RSVP)
Upgrade available for Shadaj members to Premium seating ​

Become a SHADAJ Member :  http://shadaj.org/membership.html 


  • Admission will be handled on a first come first serve basis.  Members must RSVP to secure a seat.

About the Artists :​
Composer and performer, Pandit Shubhendra Rao is ranked amongst the key soloists of India who lived with his guru, Pandit Ravi Shankar in the Guru-Shishya Parampara for over 10 years, assisting him in concerts and compositions all over the world. He is an unmatched master at his instrument whose playing reminds the listener of the masters of yore transformed into today’s era.
Saskia Rao-De Haas (Cello)
Saskia Rao-de Haas is a brilliant cellist and composer from the Netherlands who is based in India. She has enriched North Indian classical music with her unique instrument, the Indian cello, and created a distinctive playing style with it. She studied with Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia as well as at top institutes in the West, CODARTS, and the University of Amsterdam. In addition to her prestigious status in India, Saskia is an accomplished Western
Aditya Kalyanpur, a child prodigy, is one of the leading young generation tabla players of the Panjab Gharana. A prime disciple of the legendary Ustad Allarakha and Ustad Zakir Hussin, Aditya has performed with all the leading artists all around the world in all major music festivals. Aditya is a talented tabla solo artist who is equally adept at accompanying, fusion music and have several albums to his credit.

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Lexington Family Reaches Out to Community; Searching for a Living Kidney Donor


Ranjana with a friend at her graduation from Mt. Holyoke. COURTESY PHOTO

A healthy person can become a ‘living donor’ by donating a kidney, or a part of the liver, lung, intestine, blood or bone marrow.
About 6,000 living donations occur each year. One in four donors are not biologically related to the recipient.


Lexington High School graduate Ranjana Sundaram is 23 years old and has end-stage-renal-disease. She is currently on dialysis and the waiting list for an urgent kidney transplant.

Ranjana was diagnosed over ten years ago with an autoimmune condition of the kidneys. Her young life has been filled with doctor visits, blood draws, hospitalizations, and procedures. Despite all these disruptions, Ranjana graduated from both Lexington High School and Mount Holyoke College.

The longer that Ranjana is on dialysis, the more it affects overall health. Ranjana has not responded to any treatment, and the condition is leading to complete kidney failure. Given her age, a kidney transplant is the best option for her, and a living donor transplant has the best outcomes for someone in her situation. Unfortunately, immediate family and extended family members and friends who have been tested, have not been a match.

She and her family are appealing to the community in hopes of finding a compatible donor.
Check out this link to learn more about Ranjana’s story: https://www.nkr.org/FSG594 and the process of being screened as a donor.

According to the Living Kidney Registry:
“You can make a difference by joining the ranks of over 50,000 living donors who have donated their kidneys to people facing kidney failure. Since 1954, when the first successful living donor transplant took place in Boston, living donors have been giving the gift of life and making a difference. This tradition has allowed thousands of people facing kidney failure to live longer, healthier lives, free from the challenging routine of dialysis. Donating a kidney not only helps the person who receives the kidney but also shortens the deceased donor wait list, helping others get a deceased donor kidney sooner. Also, all living donors are awarded points for their donation so if they ever need a kidney later in life, they will be given priority on the deceased donor list.”

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Community Strong


By Jeri Zeder


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Since the morning of April 19, 1775, when some 850 British troops confronted eighty-one militiamen-farmers and left eight dead and eleven wounded, the Lexington Common—the Battle Green—has been endowed with significance. A symbol of American freedom, it has drawn visits from dignitaries and presidents, and has elevated the people’s voices, as when hundreds of veterans and citizens were arrested there in a peaceful mass protest of the Vietnam War on Memorial Day of 1971.

On March 24, 2019, the Battle Green was again an inspiration and a witness to history when Adhan, the Muslim call to evening prayer, was chanted there for the very first time.

It began with heartbreak. On March 15, 2019, at around Friday prayer time, the Al Noor Mosque and the Linwood Mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, were attacked by a man in his late 20s wielding automatic weapons. He cited as his influences white supremacist ideology and President Trump. The shootings would ultimately take the lives of at least fifty worshippers and leave behind unquantifiable trauma.
Here in Lexington, the response was swift. Within a week, nearly a dozen separate community organizations stepped forward, and on Lexington’s most evocative spot, offered a public vigil to envelope their Muslim neighbors with love. The vigil, “Remembering #Christchurch: Lexington Stands With Our Muslim Neighbors,” would ultimately bring together some 600 families and individuals, showing what is possible when a town is blessed with a rainbow of dynamic community groups that advocate not only for their own members, but for the greater good of all.

Ravish Kumar, president of Indian Americans of Lexington (IAL), explained why his group participated. “IAL stands for humanity,” he said. The vigil, he said, “makes a clear statement that this community has a strong sense of diversity and will not be shaken by such events.”

Sara Cuthbertson, chair of the PTA/PTO Presidents Council, which seeks to foster a welcoming school community for all families, said, “We are lucky to have so many community resources in Lexington, and at times when groups in our community are hurting, it’s important that we use all resources available to us to support our neighbors.”

Valerie Overton, co-chair of LexPride, said, “Working toward inclusion and equality for all peoples is one of our core values. In addition, LGBT+ identities cross all faiths, races, ethnicities, abilities, ages, and other traits. So, in co-sponsoring the vigil, we were standing with our family and friends.”

“All of us need to understand people of all religions and backgrounds, and at the end of the day, they are people, right? We all have the same needs, to be part of everything, to be happy. We are just like you. We are you.”
Tahir Chaudhry, a representative from the Muslim community to LICA

Peter Lee, a past president and current executive committee member of the Chinese American Association of Lexington (CAAL), said, “In our thirty-six-year history, CAAL has always been an organization promoting diversity, education, awareness, and inclusion. We’ve always tried to play a prominent role in town, bridging the gap between Lexington and a growing Chinese community. As such, we were more than happy to lend our support to the community vigil and, of course, the larger cause.” (See sidebar for the complete list of organizations and businesses that came together to support the vigil.)
At the center of all the planning were two groups with broad reach—the Lexington Interfaith Clergy Association (LICA) and Lexington Says #Enough.

LICA has promoted interfaith solidarity in Lexington since the 1970’s. Its most recent act was to mobilize the town’s faith communities in providing significant financial support to Lexington’s Jewish synagogues, which unexpectedly needed to increase their security budgets following the white-supremacist Tree of Life synagogue shootings in Pittsburg, in October 2018.

Lexington Says #Enough is a grassroots gun violence-prevention organization founded by students in the aftermath of the February 14, 2018, Parkland, Florida, school shooting. Lexington Says #Enough has a close relationship with First Parish Church—the group is one of the church’s six community partners—so it was easy for Ragini Pathak and her son Devesh, co-leaders of Lexington Says #Enough, and LICA’s Rev. Anne Mason, the minister of First Parish, to start talking about a joint response to the New Zealand shootings. Things grew from there, as additional members of LICA, including leaders from Lexington’s Muslim community, and Lexington Says #Enough began meeting together.

This was a departure for LICA. “I think this was the first time that LICA had ever planned a vigil with other groups,” Mason says. Following the violent August 12, 2017, neo-Nazi march in Charlottesville, Virginia, LICA held a vigil at Hancock Church on August 20, 2017. As it happened, on that same day, there was a secular gathering organized by others at Emery Park in Lexington Center. “We noticed that some people chose one event or the other,” says Jessie Steigerwald, a member of Lexington Says #Enough. “This was definitely on my mind as we sat together with LICA leaders: wouldn’t it be nice for the community if we all were in one spot, sharing the same sense and showing even more support.”

The central organizers hoped to create a space for sharing grief, condemning violence, and cultivating understanding. “I think that people are frustrated with all the violence we see around us again and again, and with the fact that our country is exporting that violence in the mind of the person who did that attack in New Zealand. There is nothing worse than that,” said Tahir Chaudhry, a representative from the Muslim community to LICA. “All of us need to understand people of all religions and backgrounds, and at the end of the day, they are people, right? We all have the same needs, to be part of everything, to be happy. We are just like you. We are you.”

Clockwise from top: Devesh Pathak and Emily Weinberg of Lexington Says #Enough, Reverend Anne Mason from First Parish, Reverend Andrew Golthor from Church of Our Redeemer, Amber Iqbal and LHS Student Ariya Adeena Syed and Lexington Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Julie Hackett

A decision was made to seek a permit from the Board of Selectmen to hold a community vigil on the Battle Green. While the Battle Green is listed with the National Park Service as a National Historic Landmark, it is the Selectmen of Lexington who regulate its use.

On Friday morning, March 22, 2019, the Board convened a special meeting to consider the permit request. As the hearing was scheduled unexpectedly and on short notice, two Selectmen were out of town. The proponents of the request—Ragini Pathak, Steigerwald, and Amber Iqbal, a leader from the Muslim community—told the Board that about 300 people were expected to attend. Also speaking in support of the vigil were LICA representatives Tahir Chaudhry and Anne Mason, and LexPride’s Valerie Overton. Following their presentation, Selectman Chair Suzie Barry polled her colleagues.

“The Battle Green represents a location in town where the community as a whole can come and share their mourning and their concerns. So, I am supportive of this,” said Selectman Joe Pato.
Selectman Doug Lucente concurred. “This is an important response to a very tragic event, and it is a good opportunity for the town to come together and have everyone feel equal. We are all Lexington citizens, and that is the most important thing, so I am supporting this,” he said.

“Lexington has taken a strong stand since 2017, when we signed our inclusivity proclamation, that we truly welcome all, and I think it is important that we live that,” said Barry. She then called for a vote. All three Selectmen present voted to issue the permit, and the vigil went forward.

Turnout was double of what was expected. The Boston Globe captured the scene that Sunday: “As the sun went down behind First Parish Church…, people of all faiths gathered on the historic Battle Green to remember the 50 people slain in the recent shooting massacre at two mosques in New Zealand. Women wore hijabs, the traditional Muslim head covering, and some Jewish men wore a yarmulke. Others held rosary beads, a symbol of Catholic worship. Nearby, prayer rugs for each person killed in the mass shooting at the mosques were placed on grass still brown from winter.”

The vigil’s distinguishing moment was the gathering of members of the Muslim community to worship in the presence of their fellow townspeople. When Imam Faisal Khan of the Islamic Center of Boston in Wayland ascended the podium and approached the mic, he did not hold back. In a voice warm and sonorous, he chanted the traditional Adhan, and the Muslim call to evening prayer rang across the Lexington Battle Green. It felt like peace and sorrow and affirmation, all at once. Dozens of Muslim men, women, and children took off their shoes and knelt on a tarp for their evening prayers, openly inviting their neighbors as witnesses.

Amber Iqbal, a teacher of Koran and Islamic Studies, explained. “We Muslims are supposed to pray five times a day, and whenever it is time for prayer, we try to find a little corner in the parking lot or we try to find a changing room to quickly go and pray inside there, but we haven’t really been bold enough to pray openly in public spaces because we are always shy about how people are going to perceive it,” she said. The New Zealand shooter, Iqbal said, “tried to destroy a community that was just trying to find peace and love and just trying to worship God. What was the hatred about?” Iqbal continued, “We wanted to show the entire community in Lexington and surrounding cities and towns what Muslims actually do when we go to the mosque, what the shooter was scared about.”

“The message I took away from the vigil is that we all live here as one people, and have an equal right to the blessings of life in our community,” said Selectman Mark Sandeen.
“The vigil was a reflection of who we are,” said Selectman Jill Hai. “As a community, we honor each other, our differences and commonalities.”

Following the vigil, people crossed the Green to First Parish Church just to meet and talk. They were greeted at the door by members of Lexington’s Muslim community (there is no mosque in Lexington) and the inviting aromas of chai tea and samosas.

Lexington High School student Devesh Pathak, a co-founder and co-leader of Lexington Says #Enough, attended both the vigil and the church reception. “We came out stronger after this event,” he said. Asked why that is important, he paused thoughtfully. “A stronger community,” he said finally, “is one that is more receptive to the needs of others in it. It is better to have more people who want to support one another in a moment of need.”


The following groups made possible Lexington’s community response to the mosque shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Lexington Says #ENOUGH
Lexington Interfaith Clergy Association (LICA)
First Parish Church

Indian Americans of Lexington (IAL)
Association of Black Citizens of Lexington (ABCL)
Chinese American Association of Lexington (CAAL)
The Lexington Academy and MBMM
Korean American Organization of Lexington
Arlington Human Rights Commission

Lexington’s PTA/PTO President Council (PPC)
In-kind Donors
Holi Indian Restaurant and Bar
Royal India Bistro
Virsa de Punjab
Neillios Gourmet Kitchen and Deli
Wilson Farm

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HelpAroundTown Wins Governor’s Award

Caption Governor Charlie Baker, Reem Yared, and Eileen Connors, co-chair of the Governor’s Council on Aging.

By E. Ashley Rooney


In 2011, Reem Yared founded HelpAroundTown to generate work and create entry-level work opportunities by facilitating jobs between neighbors. In the process, she built a trusted local marketplace for youth and adults. The firm grew quickly from its launch town of Lexington, MA to 175 cities and towns in Massachusetts.

This past December, HelpAroundTown won one of five cash awards from In Good Company: The 2018 Optimal Aging Challenge, a global competition designed to identify breakthrough solutions to social isolation and loneliness among older adults. The competition was sponsored by Governor Charlie Baker’s Council to Address Aging in MA, along with MIT AgeLab, GE HealthCare and Benchmark Senior Living. Each sponsor picked one winner. HelpAroundTown was selected by the Governor’s Council on Aging in MA and was introduced by the Council co-chair, Eileen Connors.

Reem Yared said, “The challenge goal was to leverage technology and community resources to decrease loneliness and isolation among MA Seniors – an important component of seniors’ well-being. Governor Baker set a goal of Massachusetts becoming the most age-friendly state in the nation and he was there for the award ceremony, supportive, engaged, and asking questions.” Baker’s administration formed the Commonwealth’s first Governor’s Council to Address Aging in MA to analyze ways for the state to improve public and private means for supporting and engaging with older adults.

HelpAroundTown received this award because it “is a personalized, localized community marketplace that connects neighbors organically, by facilitating transactions between people who need help and neighbors looking for flexible work. HelpAroundTown believes that some people have what other people need, and that by connecting them, we can strengthen community ties and create intergenerational bonds.”

The five winners received an initial cash prize of $5,000 USD each and could have an opportunity to work with Challenge sponsors to mature their solution. “The challenge of social isolation and loneliness in an aging society is made more difficult by the diversity of causes,” says MIT AgeLab Director and Founder, Joseph Coughlin, Ph.D.  “The success of this challenge was the identification of innovative solutions that blended high tech as well as human touch.”

By 2035, nearly a quarter of Massachusetts’s residents will be at least 65 years old. Today’s seniors tend to be more isolated than 20 years ago, with 29% estimated to be socially isolated. According to AARP, prolonged isolation has a mortality effect equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

“We’re thrilled that HelpAroundTown was recognized as a tool to “help seniors connect to their communities, stay healthy in their later years, and continue to lead meaningful lives.”” said Yared.
“It’s wonderful to see help go both ways. Retirees often help young families with after-school child-care, home repairs or tutoring. Students help shovel snow, move a couch, or set up a new phone. We need each other and we all have something valuable to offer. HelpAroundTown finds the neighbors who can help.”


Help Around Town, Inc.
P.O. Box 546
Lexington, MA 02420
founder@helparoundtown.com 781-325-TOWN (781-325-8696)

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The Weirdos Return

Jane Sutton

How a middle-school musical in Utah brought Lexington author Jane Sutton’s most popular book to a new generation.


By Jane Whitehead

“I write because I can’t be a rock star,” says Lexington-based children’s author Jane Sutton, laughing. But a musical adventure in a small town in Utah in January 2018 gave her a taste of star treatment and prompted her to publish a new version of her award-winning novel, Me and the Weirdos.

Sutton’s books include seven picture books, three middle-grade novels, and one YA novel. Back in 1981, she wrote Me and the Weirdos, the story of Cindy Krinkle, a little girl who is embarrassed by her family. (Her mother does cartwheels, her father rides to work on a bike with an umbrella while singing operatic arias, and her sister has a pet sea urchin.) The book, originally published by Houghton Mifflin, was an ALA-CBC Children’s Choice, won the Utah Children’s Book Award and sold over 90,000 copies.

“The book brought me loads of fan letters from children, and from adults who said it was their favorite book, and made them feel being different was OK,” says Sutton. But Me and the Weirdos has been out of print for decades, so in 2017 she was surprised to receive a “long, sweet email, very polite and respectful,” from two high school seniors in Blanding, Utah, Eva Perkins, and Ashley Berrett, asking her permission to turn the book into a musical, Me and the Krinkles.

As a child, Perkins had read Me and the Weirdos, a favorite of her mother’s, and thought the story would translate well into a musical. She and Berrett wrote to Sutton, not at all sure that she would reply, and “screamed with excitement” when they received her positive response.

“I, of course, said yes,” says Sutton, “and asked to look at the script.” The script and lyrics impressed her with their professionalism and smart changes to make the plot more workable on stage, with a middle-school cast. As they exchanged drafts and comments, Sutton learned that the pair held scholarships in music and drama, and had appeared in and directed other productions.

Braving the flight from Boston to Salt Lake City – in January – followed by a five and half hour drive to Blanding (population 4000), Sutton and her husband, science writer and educator Alan Ticotsky, attended the premiere performance of Me and the Krinkles on January 22, 2018, at San Juan High School.

“We were blown away by the professionalism and wonderfulness of the play, as well as the warm welcome from Eva’s and Ashley’s families and the whole town,” says Sutton. From the motel to the visitor center to the museum, Sutton was feted as “the author” from out of town, and she and Al enjoyed private tours of local natural wonders, including a visit to Bears Ears National Monument with a Navajo guide.

The excited middle school cast asked Sutton to sign everything from programs and posters to phone cases and a plaster cast. Searching online for the original book, they were disappointed only to find second-hand copies at high prices. So Sutton came home with a mission to bring Me and the Weirdos back into circulation.

For years, Sutton has taught a sold-out class on “Writing Children’s Books” for Lexington Community Education. Now she turned for advice to long-time students who have become successful authors and illustrators, Josh Funk and Doreen Buchinski. “You should just get it out there,” said software engineer and prize-winning author Funk.

In the interests of quick turnaround, controlling the editorial process, and the freedom to choose her own illustrator, Sutton decided to self-publish the book using the Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) platform. She invited graphic designer and illustrator Buchinski to design the new edition and provide new illustrations, and the two started work in April 2018.

Illustrator Doreen Buchinski with the new edition of Me and the Weirdos.

Buchinski enjoyed turning Sutton’s “rich descriptions” into graphite and wash drawings, and designed a new cover using her niece as the body-model for the heroine. But even as an experienced graphic designer, she found online self-publishing challenging. Unlike working with a printer with whom you have a personal relationship, with KDP “you don’t always get to talk to a person,” says Buchinski, so glitches that would be quickly solved in a traditional setting sometimes led to frustrating email chains.

“I’d always be finding things I wanted to change,” says Sutton, a self-described perfectionist. But by September, she had “revised, tweaked and pared” the text to her satisfaction, and by October the new edition was available in paperback and on Kindle. Sutton dedicated it to Eva Perkins and Ashley Berrett, in recognition of the creative partnership between two Mormon teenagers from Utah and a Jewish grandmother from Boston, an unlikely collaboration that’s real-life proof of the message of both book and musical, that “it’s perfectly fine to be different!”

The new paperback edition of Me and the Weirdos is available from independent booksellers and online. For more information, see www.jane-sutton.com

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Life Class

By Jane Whitehead

Benjamin Zander. Courtesy photo.


“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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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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Ray Ciccolo: Living Legacy

New MA Auto Dealers Hall of Fame inducts only living member


Ray Ciccolo, President and Founder of Village Automotive Group, is the only living nominee inducted into the 2018 Massachusetts Auto Dealers Hall of Fame, chosen by members of the MA State Automotive Dealers Association (MSADA).

The longtime Lexington resident is one of five in the Hall of Fame’s inaugural class, alongside Paul Balise, Ernie Boch, Sr., Herb Connolly and Alvan Fuller. Active in all sectors of the automotive world as well as other philanthropic, business and artistic endeavors, these leaders left their mark on New England’s automotive industry over the last century. The inductees were formally recognized in a ceremony early this month at the Chatham Bars Inn on Cape Cod.

“It’s an honor to be recognized alongside such esteemed leaders who have played a vital role in shaping the automotive industry in Massachusetts,” Ciccolo said. He owns Village Automotive Group – one of the largest automobile dealers in the state – which includes the oldest and largest Volvo dealer in New England. Boston Volvo Cars recently relocated to a state-of-the-art showroom in a newly-renovated historic 1925 Allston building that once housed the likes of New Balance and International Harvester.

“In 1963, our original Volvo showroom was bare-bones and simple. Just as 21st century Volvos have transformed from solid and boxy to sleek and stylish, so has their flagship showroom in Boston,” Ciccolo said. “While our home has changed, you can still expect the same family-owned dealership and service.”

Even with this new honor, Ciccolo has no intention of slowing down. “We’ve changed over the years, but our goal has remained steadfast – to provide our customers with an overwhelmingly exceptional customer service experience.”

In addition to automotive dominance in the marketplace, Ciccolo is actively involved in developing residential and commercial properties, as well as expanding green initiatives at his dealerships in an effort to become more environmentally conscious. The new Boston Volvo dealership in Allston is equipped with high-efficiency windows, fixtures and lighting, sustainable building products and a complete solar-array on the roof. “As one of the oldest Volvo dealers in America, we have a lot to live up to,” he added.

Ciccolo holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Suffolk University and a Masters from Northeastern University. He completed the Owner and Presidents Management Program at Harvard Business School.  Ciccolo and his wife Grace have been married for over 50 years and have three daughters and seven grandchildren. The couple happily resides in Lexington, MA.

About Village Automotive Group:

Owned by Ray Ciccolo, Village Automotive Group is a leading Massachusetts automobile dealer group serving the Greater Boston Area. Comprising six locations and selling five quality brands, its respected group of dealerships has maintained a solid and growing presence in New England for 60 years.  It serves the drivers of Boston, Danvers, Norwell, and Newton MA – and beyond.  Village Automotive Group has maintained a steady reputation for excellence in customer service and in selling quality new and used Honda, Hyundai, Volvo, Audi and Porsche cars, trucks and SUVs. Its dealerships include Boston Volvo Cars in Allston/Brighton, Honda Village of Newton, Audi Norwell, Porsche Norwell, Volvo Village of Danvers in MA and Hyundai Village of Danvers.

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Gallery Twist Opens “Illumination”

Gallery Twist’s winter exhibition plays upon the theme Illumination. All art illuminates in some way, right?! So the art in this show features over 50 New England artists and more than 200 pieces representing an array of styles and subject matter to appeal to a wide audience. And yes, there will be lights and candles. Gallery Twist’s website offers a glimpse of what to expect from the event, which runs from December 1 through January 1, 2018.

The show coincides with the time of year when light features in many faith-based and non-faith based events. “We are all ready for a little extra warmth and light in our lives this winter,” enthused Gillian Ross, co-owner of Gallery Twist. “On the one hand we have an oil painting that captures the warmth and tranquility of an evening sunset across Walden Pond, and on the other a colorful abstract piece that illuminates in a more conceptual way. And everything in between!”

Visitors often comment on the gallery’s unique style of displaying artwork. For some, it draws them back to every show. “I’ve never been to something like this before. This is more than just a gallery. It’s an ‘art experience’. Such a treat.” And another: “The beautiful setting combined with the way the gallery is curated makes this a magical experience.”

The show comes at just the right time for the shopping season. The gift of art is a great way to mark special occasions or connections, bring new life and ambiance to a room, and provide lasting memories.

“Purchasing art is a personal endeavor”, explained John Ross, co-owner of the gallery. “Some people know exactly what they want when they see it and others like to ponder. We want to give people space to make that decision. We are confident that visitors will find the piece they are looking for at an affordable price. Of course, if they’ve just come to enjoy the show – that’s fine too!”


About Gallery Twist
A cross between an art gallery and a pop-up show, each year Gallery Twist (formerly Gallery Blink) hosts five shows that typically hang for four weeks. Set in a 150-year-old Victorian residential home in the historical district in Lexington, Mass. the gallery provides visitors with a perfect setting to imagine art in their own home or workspace. Artwork is displayed on two floors of the home including the large foyer, living room, library, dining room, a double bridal staircase and upstairs hall. Art is offered at a variety of price points. The gallery’s website also offers a means of viewing and purchasing art.
Gillian Ross is the creative force behind Gallery Twist. She has extensive experience curating art exhibitions.  For the past seven years, she has been Gallery Director of Grace Chapel’s Art Gallery in Lexington, a role in which she continues to serve. A printmaker and painter, Ross was also an artist member of Depot Square Gallery, which operated in Lexington Center for 28 years.

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