Take a Walk on the Warm Side

Exterior thermoscan done by Sagewell, Inc.

By Heather Aveson

One click of the curser and there it is – my home in all its fluorescent orange and blue glory. My house is one of the thousands in Lexington and Arlington that has been thermal scanned by Sagewell, Inc. as part of a Mass. Department of Energy Resources (DOER) program to encourage homeowners to take advantage of energy saving programs offered through mass save™.

Seeing where the leaks are is the first step in making your home, and mine, more energy efficient and comfortable during both the winter and summer. And it’s the first step in saving money through rebates, zero interest loans and “free stuff.”

Overall, I’m pretty happy with what I see. I bought this post-war cape three and half years ago. It’s reassuring to see all that blue on the walls, roof and door. But the windows are another matter. The bright yellow means there’s moderate heat loss in those areas. And I’d have to agree. It’s always drafty around the windows, even though they’re all double paned replacement windows. Hmm.

Next step, call Next Step Living for a free energy assessment. Next Step Living is a mass save™ participating Home Performance contractor. They will come in a do a no cost energy audit of your home. During the 2 – 3 hour audit areas of air leakage are identified, the furnace or boiler, water heater and gas range are safety tested, and recommendations are made for improvement. Two other really important things about the energy assessment – you get lots of free stuff to get you started saving money and, this is very important, it qualifies you for any of the rebates and incentives offered by mass save™. I’m going to repeat that because it’s really important. You must have an energy assessment done to qualify for the rebates or incentive programs offered by mass save™.

Energy Advisor Brian Fehlau is already at work when I show up for our appointment. He is taking outside dimensions of the house and making notes about the structure. We come inside and go over the assessment. Brian says it really covers three areas; a health and safety check, free stuff and opportunities to improve energy efficiency.

We go over my wish list. No there aren’t any programs that cover storm windows or leaky sliders. But, as we walk around Brian points out gaps between the molding and the windows that are letting cold air in. That’s an easy fix. Fill them with caulking and much of the draft should disappear.

There is rebate program that may help with boosting air conditioning to the second floor and save me money. Brian asks if I’ve ever thought about a heat pump. Not in New England I say. Having lived in the south I remember heat pumps as only moderately effective in extreme temperatures. Brian assures me that the technology has really improved and the pump works with the existing heating system during those really cold spells. Before the assessment is even over, Next Step Living has helped me set up an appointment with a climate control advisor to find out more about the possibility.

We walk around the house with an infrared thermal camera checking for wall insulation and heat loss. The walls look good. The crawl spaces along the roof line look good. Poking his head into the attic space Brian sees some loose and roll out fiberglass insulation. But there’s room for improvement. Air sealing the unheated attic space will cut down on heat loss, especially around the chimney. Open space around the chimney allows warm air to escape all the way from the basement up into attic. By air sealing around the chimney all that warm air will stay in the living space. And, it’s free. And by air sealing the attic it means the program will also provide sweeps on the bottom of all my exterior doors. For free.

Score two for savings.

In the basement Brian checks the efficiency of the boiler. 85%, not bad, but I make a note to call my oil provider for a cleaning and tune up. Brian checks the

Brian measure flue gasses on the boiler. Safety checks are one of the most important parts of an energy assessment.

draw of the flue and the carbon monoxide level around the burner. Flue gasses are 26, pretty good, anything over 100 fails. And the carbon monoxide is 00, just what he wants to see. Brian tells me these tests are probably the most important part of the assessment, and when he finds a problem, “because it’s a safety issue nothing else can get done until these issues are addressed.”

He also turns down the thermostat on my hot water heater. It’s been set at 144º and should really be around 120º.Savings.

From here we go into the attached garage, it’s under the chilly family room. Although previous owners sealed off the garage doors and added just a window and door, it’s still a cold space. Copper piping running through the space sends hot water into a secondary baseboard on the second floor. With no insulation the water in those pipes is cooling down pretty quickly, and because I rarely use those baseboards they could even freeze.

This is another easy, inexpensive fix. Enough foam pipe insulation tubing to insulate all the pipes costs me six dollars at Home Depot. And it takes about 15 minutes.

Score More savings.

Brian discovers that the ceiling of the garage, under the family room has no insulation. Taking care of that should make curling up on the couch much cozier. mass save™ will cover 75% of the cost of insulating the space.

BIG savings.

As we come to the end of the assessment Brian replaces one showerhead with a water saving head, I have programmable thermostats, but if you don’t they’ll be installed right at the assessment, absolutely free. Then we come to light bulbs. Full disclosure? I don’t like compact fluorescent light bulbs or CFL’s. I don’t like the color of the light, I don’t like the way they have to warm up and I don’t like the way they can buzz when you dim them. But I want to keep an open mind so we try them in the recessed kitchen lights. No, I still don’t like them. So Brian installs them outside and in storage areas where I don’t have to spend much time with them.

In my defense, I rarely use my electric dryer and my thermostat never goes above 66º. Call incandescent bulbs my energy vice.

We sit down and go over everything we saw. He prints out a report on the spot, complete with projected savings, recommendations and associated costs. For me the only improvement that would incur a cost is insulating the garage ceiling. The 75% rebate puts my cost at $189. Sign me up.

More savings. More comfort.

Overall, I’d say the energy assessment was a great success. Did I get everything on my wish list? No, but I learned a lot, found out how to solve several of the issues myself and have help making improvements I’d never touch on my own.

mass save™ rebates and incentives change from time to time. If you have an assessment and don’t get everything on your wish list, check back now and then at www.masssave.com for information on current programs.

I just did and found out there are substantial rebates on energy efficient pool pumps.

SCORE!

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Civil War Quilts~Pamela Weeks to Speak at Heritage Museum

Pamela Weeks

In both the North and the South, Civil War buffs are legion. This American tragedy, now being commemorated on its 150th Anniversary, has generated research on everything from specific battles and famous leaders to social institutions. For example, in June 1861 the United States Sanitary Commission came into existence to “improve sanitation, build large well-ventilated hospitals, and encourage women to join the newly created nursing corps.” Responding to the Sanitary Commission’s requests, civilians on the home front began making quilts to send to soldiers. Thousands of quilts were sewn, though only a few exist today.

This very human side of the conflict will be discussed on October 20, 2012, at the National Heritage Museum when quilt historian and author Pamela Weeks presents “Quilts for Civil War Soldiers: Stories from the Home Front and the Battlefield.” Her program will include an overview of “the origins of the U. S. Sanitary Commission at the beginning of the War, the roles women played on the home front and the battlefield, and … the stories of fourteen actual Civil War soldiers’ quilts.”

 Saturday, October 20, 2:00 p.m.

Quilts for Civil War Soldiers:  Stories from the Home Front and the Battlefield

National Heritage Museum

Weeks, now curator at the New England Quilt Museum in Lowell, had started making quilts during the Bicentennial in 1976, but she became a quilt historian in 1999, the day she started researching a quilt that her aunt had bought at a New Hampshire auction. Weeks had been seeking and collecting signature quilts that carried the names of her ancestors who had lived in New Hampshire for ten generations. Dated 1847, her newly-acquired quilt featured stars and signatures, including her relative Sarah A. Leavitt. It was made with silk and composed of individually self-bound blocks.

The unusual, though not unknown, method of quilt construction led Weeks to ask experts about this quilt-as-you-go sewing technique. She had noted that “each block was individually bound with pale blue silk and then the blocks were closely whip-stitched together on the back.” They appeared to be “elegant eleven-inch-square potholders” fashioned into a quilt. Well-known quilt experts such as Gerald Roy, Stephanie Hatch, and American Quilt Society appraiser Vivien Lee Sayre confirmed that this “block-by-block” method (the preferred description) was informally known as making “potholder” blocks. The experts suggested more research be done on the origins of Weeks’ quilt and on the heritage of the potholder style.

The quilt above is from the collection of the Mystic Seaport Museum, made in Portland, ME in 1864 by the Portland Ladies Soldiers Aid Society. Right: Detail of one of the quilt squares.

She discovered that this potholder technique is predominantly a New England style, frequently from Maine, and often used by groups to make community-project quilts. It was the easiest way for a club or church group to make a quilt because each contributor took the instructions, worked at home, and then returned the finished block. Though it might appear this was also a quick way to make a quilt, the reality is that many such quilts made for Civil War soldiers and other reasons, such as fundraising, presentation, or friendship, took as long as a year. The earliest known potholder quilt – dated 1837 – is in the collection of the Concord Museum; other may be seen at the Mystic Seaport Museum in Connecticut and at the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.

Her research showed Weeks that the potholder style was common during the years of the Civil War (1861-1865), as well as before and after. Noted historian Dr. Virginia Gunn estimated in 1985 that more than 250,000 quilts were made for Civil War soldiers – 125,000 were distributed by the Sanitary Commission during the war. Yet, with the impressive output, fewer than 20 quilts made for Civil War soldiers have survived today. Eleven of these were made by the potholder method. Most Civil War soldier’s quilts that have survived are inscribed with names and dates, which probably contributed to someone setting aside the cherished old quilt instead of pitching it into the trash.

In her book, Civil War Quilts (Schiffer Publishing Ltd, 2011), Weeks shares her research as she teams up with Don Beld whose interest in American history had led him to establish the Home of the Brave Quilt Project in 2004. This nationwide movement honors the fallen heroes of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars by creating handmade quilts to present to families, in an effort to show gratitude and provide a measure of comfort. Inspired by quilts made during the Civil War, Beld leads volunteer quilt-makers who construct hand-pieced quilt patterns and use 19th century reproduction fabrics almost exclusively. Their book tells the stories of selected Civil War quilts and the women who made them. Techniques and patterns for making reproduction quilts or information on participating in the Home of the Brave project blend to make this a unique tribute to the Civil War legacy.

 

Weeks’ free lecture at the National Heritage Museum is sponsored by Ruby W. Linn. Copies of Civil War Quilts by Pam Weeks and Don Beld will be available for purchase. Contact the Museum at 781-861-6559.

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Opening Day Schedule~The 300th

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
9:00am
Opening Ceremony and Pre-Show
Cary Hall and High School

Seating is reserved and tickets for the opening ceremony are sold out.

Tickets must be picked up between September 8 and 13. Please note your assigned seating location when you pick up your tickets.

If you were unable to get tickets, there is a waiting list at the Town Hall–please call the Town Clerk’s Office. If you have tickets that you are not intending to use, please consider turning them in. If you cannot make it to Town Hall to pick up your tickets, please call the Town Clerk’s Office for assistance.

Those without tickets can watch live coverage on LexMedia.

Participants in the Opening Ceremony are invited to parade in a procession to the Country Fair.

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8:00am – 10:00am
Country Fair Blue Ribbon Contest
Hastings Park

Entry forms due on August 31st. Go to the website to print out your entry form.

Participants may enter special categories to compete for ribbons. See details right.

All entries must be delivered to Hastings Park between 8 and 10 AM on September 22nd.

Blue Ribbon Contest Details

 

Are you an up and coming chef? Do you like to experiment in the kitchen? If so, this is your event! To celebrate the 300th anniversary of Lexington, Lexington’s Country Fair will be holding a Blue Ribbon cooking contest on Saturday, September 22nd, at Hastings Park. Children and adults are invited to participate. Food categories include Family Favorite Corn Dish, Quick Breads, and Jams and Jellies. You can enter a homemade jam or jelly, family corn dish, or quick bread in the food contest.

Cooking not your thing? Test your green thumb by competing for the widest sunflower head, tastiest tomato, or oddest vegetable in the garden contest.

If you are 17 and under, you are also eligible for the special youth categories. You can enter chocolate chip cookies, a container garden and more. Do you cook, bake or grow plants? This is your time to shine!

Registration deadline is August 31st.

Go to the website to print out your entry form.

In addition to downloading the Blue Ribbon Contest forms and requirements, you can obtain entry forms and make payment at the Town Clerk’s office, 1625 Massachusetts, Ave., Lexington, between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

 

For more information, contact the Blue Ribbon Contest Committee. There is a $5 fee per entry to help cover fair costs.

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11:00am – 4:00pm
All-Town Country Fair and Picnic
Hastings Park

Visit the tercentennial tent featuring games and activities from the past three hundred years, craft booths and more. (Shuttle bus transportation will be provided to the Country Fair from satellite parking lots around town. Please check www.lexington300.org for the location of a parking lot near you.)

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11:00am – 4:00pm
Complete the 300th Scavenger Hunt
Country Fair, Hospitality Tent

If you have been participating in the ongoing Scavenger Hunt (see website for details), visit the hospitality tent on 9/22 to receive the last clue and complete the hunt! All participants will be rewarded.

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11:45am
Outdoor Opening Celebration
Center Track

If you were not able to get tickets for the indoor Opening Ceremony, join us for a public ceremony at the Country Fair and All-Town Picnic.

12:00 pm (Tentative)

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All-Town Photo
Center Track, Lexington High School

Those who wish to participate in the all-town photo should gather at the Center Track at noon on 9/22.

12:30 pm – 3:30pm

Race Through Time

Start Line at Track

Teams will compete in a race through town.

Teams must pre-register and spaces are limited. Go to the website to register a team or to register as an individual.

See the website for information on available spaces.

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6:30pm – 10:00pm
Dance Revolution 300
Lexington High School

Join us at a community dance, all ages welcome! The beginning of the evening will feature live music with instructor-led folk dancing, waltzes, and swing (6:30-8pm). Then Saigel Entertainment takes over with a DJ (8-10pm) playing everything from Elvis and the Beatles to Katy Perry and Lady Gaga. Suggested donation of $3 per person.

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Honoring our Fallen Heroes – Memorial Day 2012

Alma Hart remembering her son PFC John D. Hart who was killed in Iraq in 2003

Several hundred people gathered to watch as the annual Memorial Day Parade made its way from the Olde Burial Ground on to the Lexington Battle Green for the 2012 Memorial Day celebration in Lexington. The day’s events began with wreath laying ceremonies at the Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial located at the Fire Department headquarters Lexington, and at the Westview Cemetery on Bedford Street. The parade participants gathered at the old School Administration Building (The White House) where they proceeded to the Munroe Cemetery for a reading of General Logan’s Orders which established Memorial Day, and the Gettysburg Address. The a visit to the grave of Thomas Cosgrove, a Medal of Honor recipient from the Civil War. The parade then proceeded to the Hodgdon Memorial at the Lexington Police Department and to the war memorial in front of Cary Hall. Wreaths were placed at both memorials. The group then marched down Massachusetts Avenue to the WWII Memorial located next to the Lexington Visitors Center where they placed wreaths there and at the memorial for the Minute Men who fought on the Lexington Green in the early morning hours of April 19th, 1775.

 

 

The parade then moved along to the Olde Burial Ground where the Minute Men paid tribute to Captain John Parker and placed a wreath at his grave.

Once gathered on the Lexington Green, the celebration was called to order by Suzie Barry, chair of the Lexington Town Celebrations Committee. Both the American Flag and the Vietnam/MIA flags were raised as those in attendance saluted or stood with hands over hearts. The most poignant moment came as Suzie introduced Alma Hart of Bedford. Alma spoke eloquently about her experience as a mother who has lost a son at war. her son, PFC. John D. Hart was killed in action on October 18, 2003 during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Her comments were moving, and her courage and determination to celebrate her son’s sacrifice was nothing less than extraordinary.

 

Remarks by Alma Hart on the Lexington Green, Memorial Day 2012

Memorial Day 2012

Today we celebrate Memorial Day. We celebrate it! On this one day, we Americans set aside politics and commerce, and take time to reflect on all that was lost by the brave men and women who died in the service of our country.

Many of you standing here today are also remembering a friend or a loved one. Please, for just a moment, raise your hand and be recognized.

Often, in the early morning, lying in my bed, I become aware of a longing to see John again. As I awaken, I remember that he is dead. On those mornings, I stop to look at the photos from his childhood hanging in the hallway. Many mornings, I see my husband stop to look at those same photos.

Being here on Lexington Green brings back so many memories: like the first time we brought our towheaded tykes to see the Patriots Day Re-enactments. It was pouring rain and 40 degrees in the predawn gloom as we trudged here in our brand new raincoats and boots. As the sun came up the Minutemen took their positions while the Red Coats approached through the mist. I remember the drums, the shouting, the gunfire. As you know the fight only lasted a few minutes, but 5 year old John never forgot it.

Many times we have brought visiting family here and stopped to read the sign on Jonathan Harrington’s house. It says that mortally wounded that day, he crawled home and died at his wife’s feet. Imagine that. What would the Harringtons think if they could look around at us today and know that we remember him for a day when all seemed lost?

One year we brought John’s Cub Scout Den and watched them swarm a couple of Colonials who showed them how to load and fire the guns. My boy never out grew wanting to be a soldier. The events of 911 the year he graduated Bedford High only strengthened his resolve. Preparing for boot camp the summer of 2002, he ran along Battle Road once a week with his backpack loaded with books for weight. We were so proud of him. When the country called he answered like the militia on the Green.

October 18, 2003 John had just turned 20. He was the machine gunner in an unarmored Humvee at the rear of a three vehicle convoy ambushed on a lonely road at night. My fair haired, broad shouldered boy stood up and fired his weapon to defend his injured buddies. When he ran out of bullets he was shot in the neck at close range and killed.

Bedford also lost a marine in Iraq. Lance Corporal Travis Desiato was 19 November 15, 2004 when he kicked in a door in Fallujah and found himself outgunned by a group of fanatics who had built a bunker inside the building. His Marines fought several hours to recover him, and in the end to bring his body home.

It would be wrong to hide the costs of war. It has become too easy to send another man’s son to war. The courage to act is the final tribute to those who came before us and a lasting legacy for those who come after us.

In 1910, Theodore Roosevelt spoke at the Sorbonne in Paris about Citizenship in a Republic. He said, “It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat. “

We buried our child as a young soldier in Arlington National Cemetery on a gentle slope of green lawn. Following the hearse into the cemetery I was moved by the visitors who stopped on the sidewalks to pay their respects. They stood there, holding their hands over their hearts watching the flag draped casket go by. Earlier that morning I had put a note in that casket promising John I would think of him every day. And I have.

Two years ago the Massachusetts Military Heroes Fund began a new tradition. Last week hundreds of volunteers planted 33,000 flags on Boston Common to honor our Massachusetts Fallen from the Civil War to today. If you haven’t had a chance to see them in person, take a minute to look at the pictures. Breath taking and heartbreaking, each flag represents a life well lived and tragically cut short. I look at that field and remember the beauty of a child’s smile and a young man’s dreams.

Our flag flies over Lexington Green every day and it never sets. Whenever you see Old Glory waving in the breeze, remember the grit, determination and sacrifice of our forebears. Memorial Day is not about men and women who gave their lives willingly. No, they loved life with all its joys and challenges. They were willing to risk all, their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor for a cause and an outcome yet uncertain. Some fell in the fight and some remained standing. On Memorial Day we celebrate the fallen: the Desiatos, the Harts, the Harringtons and all the others who dared greatly in military service to our country.

A poem by John Maxwell Edmonds in World War I became popular as an epitaph:

We died and never knew,

But, well or ill,

Freedom, we died for you

Went the day well?

Those who fall in war do not know how it ends. How it ends is up to us. I am honored to be asked to speak here today.

Thank you.

Alma Hart

 

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Healthcare Hero

By Heather Aveson

Jonathan Gruber“Holy Health Care Batman! It’s Jonathan Gruber and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act!” OK, it doesn’t have quite the punch of the Dynamic Duo’s usual comic book repartee. But, mild mannered economist Jonathan Gruber has used his amazing powers to create a Health Reform comic book that seeks truth and justice for the new program.

It’s called, Health Care Reform: What It Is, Why It’s Necessary, How It Works. “Education was my main interest in doing the book. My job is to explain, not convince. I just want to get readers educated. There’s a substantial upward inclination when people understand what it really is,” says Gruber.

And that’s no easy task when you’re talking about a 1,900 page government document. That’s the amazing part of Gruber’s super hero powers – his ability to distill the main points down to a 150 comic book complete with two headed crocodiles, health care Goliaths and yes, a glasses wearing, tie toting Gruber as narrator. How did he prioritize which elements to include in such a minimalist tome? Gruber wasn’t overwhelmed by the task. “When I sat down to write the book I had already been giving speeches on the subject for years. It was really a matter of finally writing down my thoughts.”

Jonathan Gruber is an Economics Professor at MIT and has been involved in health care economics for decades so he’d already done a lot of thinking on the subject. He was one of the chief architects of the Massachusetts health care reform law, officially titled ‘An Act Providing Access to Affordable, Quality,

Accountable Health Care’, signed by Governor Mitt Romney in 2006. He was also tapped by the Obama administration and congress to advise them on the ‘Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’ signed by President Obama in 2010. Between being a sought after speaker on and proponent of healthcare reform, Dr. Gruber faces many audiences. He says they tend to fall into three categories – those who are favorably inclined, those on the right who think it represents increased government intrusion, and those on the left who wanted the bill to go further. “What I’m able to do is discuss it without getting defensive or angry. I just want to get them educated,” he explains, “The two biggest misconceptions about the plan are that it creates more government intrusion, that it’s socialized medicine. But it actually expands the private health insurance industry. The second problem is not understanding why we need the mandate. The mandate makes the whole thing work, it doesn’t affect most people and there’s an exemption for those who just can’t afford it.” Don’t count Gruber among those who think the act didn’t go far enough. He’s pleased by how much they were able to include. The professor in him says, “If I had to grade the act, I’d give it a 90% for coverage and 130% for cost control.

It went way further than we thought possible.” That doesn’t mean he considers it perfect. But as the comic book points out, “you have to walk before you can run.” Here in Massachusetts we’re already way out ahead in Health Care Reform. Since the Federal act is built on the Massachusetts reform foundation most of the federal reform elements are already in place here, including the mandate and the health insurance exchange. All states are required to have exchanges by 2014. So what will be the affect of the Federal Act on us here? According to Gruber, not much as far as health care goes. What we will see is a financial uptick. “This bill is a financial windfall for Massachusetts thanks to John Kerry’s hard work,” says Gruber. When Massachusetts passed health care reform half the cost was paid for by the state.

The federal government paid the other half. Under the new plan the federal government will pick up the entire bill. That means Massachusetts will have more money available. “The big question is: How do we use that money?” Gruber says the state has choices, “The low income state programs are more generous than those in the federal plan. Do we continue to fund better coverage for low income people or do we use the money in other places?” For Gruber it’s not just a hypothetical question. He’s on the board of ‘The Health Connector’ here in Massachusetts, which oversees implementation of the reforms. It’s a question they’ll have to answer in conjunction with the legislature as the federal is implemented over the next few years.

For now mild mannered economist Jonathan Gruber continues his fight for truth and justice when it comes to the Health Care Reform Act. He’s on the road with his comic book entertaining and educating audiences. He makes no apologies for the enthusiasm cartoon Jonathan Gruber expresses in the comic book. “This is a book with an opinion. But it’s an opinion based in fact, not in polemics.” That kind of fact-based enthusiasm could help a lot of us understand say, the Federal Budget. Would Gruber ever consider doing a comic book based on the budget? Well, probably not the budget. “I think what makes it work is the timing. It’s such a lively debate right now. Maybe it’s a format that works for other programs as well – maybe Medicare or Social Security,” he considers.


Jonathan Gruber on his book:
Health Care Reform: What It is, Why It’s Necessary, How It Works

Cary Library, Wednesday, February 15 at 7pm. The event is free


 


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Happy Birthday Lexington!

The 300th Committe

<p>The 300 th Committe- Bottom to Top, Left to Right: Sue Rockwell,Chair, Jessie Steigerwald, Mary Gillespie, Donna Hooper, Tanya Morrisett, Van Seasholes, Dick Kollen and Jane Hundley. Photo by David Tabeling</p>

After meeting with Jessie Steigerwald, Tanya Morrisett and Martha Wood of Lexington’s 300th Committee Opening Ceremony Team, I can say one thing: It’s going to be BIG! The planning for this event has been going on for over two years and things are really beginning to take shape.

What is a fi tting celebration to honor Lexington’s 300 years between 1713 and 2013? That was the task assigned to the 300th Committee by the Selectmen over two years ago. Susan Rockwell bravely accepted the role of chairman of the 300th Committee which has multiplied and divided into various event committees to handle this ambitious task. “One thing we decided early on,” says Jessie

Steigerwald events co-chair, “was that this was too big for just one weekend—a 9 month celebration for Lexington was a mandatory!” Both Martha Wood and Tanya Morrisett agree. “Because we really want it to be inclusive,” Tanya says , “We want to include everyone—to make people feel good about their town.” The official slogan for the event is: Celebrating 300 Years – We are Lexington. The committee decided on four anchor events beginning with the Opening Ceremonies scheduled for September 22nd 2012. The Opening Ceremony Team plans to make this a truly exciting event that can hopefully accommodate all who want to participate. Enlisting the help of Florence DelSanto and LexMedia, they will host the ceremonies in two locations and simulcast the activities via a live feed between Cary Hall and Lexington High School! This very ambitious feat has never been tackled in Lexington. “It will be a first!” Steigerwald chuckles. “Florence says she loves live television!”

The 300th celebration will be chock-full of firsts. We are finding,” Jessie says, “that people are really excited about this and they want to get involved.” One of our biggest goals is bringing people together. Cross pollinating between groups is so important!” Through their travels around town soliciting interest and spreading the word, they have been surprised by how many people in different groups don’t know each other. “It’s been our great pleasure

to get people together,” says Morrisett. “We’ve ended up with lots of great people and great ideas.”

The Opening Ceremony will be an opportunity the town to welcome all citizens to participate in the 300th activities and to showcase as Tanya says, “all that Lexington has to offer.”

“The event will not be a boring speech-driven event,” says Wood. It will be dynamic and represent all of the wonderful people who live in Lexington.”

The opening ceremony will be presented by Eric Michelson, Martha Wood, Tom Fenn and Barbara Manfredi and will feature performers young and old from the L.H. S. Wind Ensemble directed by Jeff Leonard, to Marilyn Abel’s Singalong Chorus. Oh, and LexFUN will have lots of kids on had to sing Happy Birthday to the town (there may even be a cake). Expect a huge slideshow of Lexington’s favorite people, places and things, poetry, dance and song! “After it’s over we will have a procession from Cary Hall to the High School where we will join together for refreshments,”says Morrisett.“The opening ceremony is like a big advertisement for the nine months of celebration to come,” adds Steigerwald. And prepare for lots of fun surprises. After refreshments, all are welcome to pour onto the high school field where a plane will be circling to take an all-town aerial photograph. How cool is that? “It was Dawn McKenna’s idea,” Jessie says. “We love it!”

How much can one day hold? Well, after the ceremony and the flyover there will be an old Thyme Country Fair and Picnic at Hastings Park! Fay Backert will be pulling it all together. With the theme Meet Me At The Fair, it’s sure to be a family friendly event complete with field games for the kids, two stages of music and dance and plenty of competition. Contests are in the planning stages but may include prize quilts, pies, pumpkins and technology. Nothing is sacred. One committee member suggested a category for failed attempts like her own not-jelly that never quite jelled! Everything Lexington Then & Now will guide the choices.

When the sun goes down, everyone is invited to put on their dancing shoes and join in a town wide dance. There will be something for everyone from colonial dances to ballroom/swing and rock ‘n roll. Multi-generational and lots of fun. “One of our guiding principles throughout this planning has been civility,” says Steigerwalt. “We want the events to be gracious, welcoming, mannerly and traditional in a way that could seem old- fashioned, but could serve as a model for Lexington going forward.”

Another signature event is the 300th Fashion Show to be performed on Saturday October 27, 2012 at 7PM. Chaired by Tanya Morrisett, Jessie Steigerwald and Kim Coburn, this creative presentation is designed as a musical revue of what Lexington wore through the ages. They are calling it Breeches, Bloomers & Bellbottoms Oh My! A Musical Fashion Revue and it is drawing lots of interest! So far they have recruited 40 Lexington teachers, all of the town department heads, Paul Ash, Chief Coor, Thelma Goldberg and many more surprise performers for this musical/drama/ fashion show depicting life inLexington.

Set in Dick Kollen’s classroom, the performance will bring each era to life through song and dance with plenty of laughs. They still need plenty of volunteers to perform, hunt for costumes and accessories and sew says Tanya Morisett! “It’s going to be lots of fun,” Steigerwald says. “We want to see nice dance numbers with lots of cute pink dresses and poodle skirts! This show has brought out the best in everybody!” In the lobby before and after the show a fundraiser called Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Fashion will a Wearable Art & Accessories Boutique.

Wow, can anything top this lineup! In the spring the 300th Incorporation Weekend is scheduled for March 16th and 17th.Betty Gau and Jill Hai are the team leaders for this event which will showcase a variety of different activities in Lexington. Currently planned: a town-wide show of student work at LHS, a History of Lexington Panel & Discussion at Clarke, a panel featuring Lexington Field & Garden Club Activities at Cary Library and a panel discussion of Technology in Lexington at LHS or Cary. This weekend will culminate in a 300th Year Multi-Cultural Community Dance at 6:30 p.m. LHS. This dance is designed to be a sharing experience between the different cultural communities in Lexington where Lexingtonians can learn the dances of their neighbors and make new friends.

The 300th will be celebrated throughout Patriot’s Day weekend and featured prominently in the 300th Anniversary Patriots’ Day Parade on Sunday April 14. It is rumored that Bev Kelley has been recruited for the important job of designing a special 300th float!

Opening Ceremony

<p>Opening Ceremony Hosts (from left) Martha Wood, Eric Michelson and Barbara Manfredi. Missing from the photo is Tom Fenn. Photo by Jim Shaw.</p>

Finally, the 300th Anniversary Closing Events will be held on Memorial Day Weekend May25 – 27, 2013. Plan to stay around Lexington for this very special weekend beginning with the annual Discovery Day celebration, an Old Time Baseball Double-Header at LHS on Sunday. On Monday start out at the Morning Parade and take part in the special Monument Dedication & Sealing of the Lexington 300th Time Capsule. Attend the formal Closing Ceremonies and enjoy an evening of music, celebration and a slide-show of images capturing highlights from the nine-month celebration.

“Our goal is to bring everyone together,” says Steigerwald. “At the end of this 9 month celebration we want everyone to know more people and feel a little more invested in the community.”

In the meantime, the committee would like to extend an invitation to everyone in Lexington to get involved. They need volunteers! Go to the brand new website designed by Harry Forsdick and edited by Cheryl Meadow for more information. The website will be a resource for volunteers and a dynamic source of information about Lexington. “It will continue to grow,” says Martha Wood. They plan to have regular blogging and Lexingtonians are encouraged to submit pictures and memories online and to check volunteer opportunities. They can also submit suggestions for the contents of Lexington’s time capsule. Through the generous donation of fifty-year Lexington resident Stan Abkowitz, Lexington will have a titanium time capsule to store treasures for the future. In the meantime, the committees will continue to develop their events and their “connection building” as we move quickly toward the launch of this grand celebration!

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