Post image for ARHS Mascot Update: Nipmucs and other Native tribes object to use of “Thunderhawks”

Above: Algonquin is studying what symbol should replace the Tomahawks for their Athletics mascot on gym floors and uniforms. It’s unlikely to be an alternative version of T-Hawks. (image cropped from Mascot Study Group’s proposal recommending to retire the current mascot)

Earlier this week, I shared news on the effort to replace Algonquin Regional High School’s mascot. As I explained, there was public upset over a consultant’s advice to not use popular choices voted on by the public this summer.

At this point the Mascot Study Group still hasn’t voted. But the odds of the group selecting the most popular choice just became much slimmer. 

Publicly shared survey results showed that Thunderhawks and Hawks were the 1st and 2nd in the list of suggestions to replace the Tomahawks. A consultant had advised the group against choosing either due to strong associations with Native American culture. Though the study group would be considering his opinion, the advice was describes as “non-binding”.

Yesterday afternoon, Assistant Superintendent of Operations Kieth Lavoie emailed the community an update on the meeting the group held on Monday. In the message, he explained that the Study Group looked at whether or not use of “Thunderhawks” would be “cultural appropriation”. As part of that effort, the administration had reached out to Native Tribes.

The linked summary showed that the opinions from the majority of respondents who weighed in were against Algonquin using the term. One of the strongest objections was from the tribe closest by and most closely associated with Algonquin people from our area, the Nipmuc Nation.

Here are some of those highlights:

Brittney Walley, spokesperson for Nipmuc Chief Holley, responded:

I would like to reinforce the fact that Native American imagery is not appropriate for sports mascots. I would discourage the use of the term ‘Thunderhawk’ for at least, but not limited to, the following reasons:

  • Thunderbirds and beings are spiritually significant to local tribes with a historic presence.
  • Hawks are spiritually significant to local tribes with a historic presence, and although they are a part of nature, it is in my opinion not enough of a departure from cultural appropriation.
  • …Thunder Hawk is the name of not one, but two significant Native leaders. This would be the same as renaming the mascot with any Native leader, and would clearly be a continued use of Native imagery. In fact, usage of the term can lead to conflating more parts of Native history.

The objection from a spokesperson for the Narragansett Chief Sachem included, “Same penny, you’re just turning it over” and that choosing it “would be rewarding those who seek to maintain a painful history and culture”.  [click to keep reading…]


Sept 22 - New cases in NSBORO schools by week

Above: NSBORO updated new cases and potential in-school transmissions this week. (click to enlarge)

This week, the schools and state published updated data on Covid cases and testing. So, I’m sharing an update. [Note: The Town’s data from the Board of Health is updated on Mondays.]

Mass Dept of Public Health reported 31 new cases in two weeks.* The % of tests confirmed positive was 1.68% (higher than prior report). The Average Daily Incidence Rate per 100,000 was 22.9 (higher than prior period). You can take a look at the testing trends and the prevalence of cases in our region below:

Sept 18 - Southborough Testing and Positivity Rates Sept 23 - Southborough covid map

Yesterday, the Northborough-Southborough Public Schools posted an updated District Dashboard. It’s the second this week, since they are shifting to report on Thursdays.

9 new cases were reported in the prior 4 days (3 in Southborough K-8 classes and 2 in Algonquin). 

From Sept 19-22, Test & Stay rapid tests identified 3 positive cases from asymptomatic close contacts. 1 new case of “potential in-school transmissions” brings the total to 4 so far this month, 3 of them at Southborough’s Finn School. Click on images below for more details:
Sept 22 - New cases in NSBORO schools by week Sept 22 - Test & Stay in NSBORO schools

As of this week’s report – 8,601 Southborough residents had received shots (as of September 21st).

Sept 21 - Vaccinations-tableMy data extrapolated from 2019 census reports indicates 90% of residents old enough to be eligible for shots are fully vaccinated, and another 8% are partially vaxxed. (I used census data since the state’s population data was clearly outdated.)

More highlights by age group and gender are in charts the chart above right and graphs below. (They include vaccination progress charts that zoom in on summer months.):
Sept 21 - Residents vaccinated by ageSept 21 - Vaccination progress by age group - 1 dose or more Sept 21 - Vax progress by age group - 1 dose or more - starting summer 2021 Sept 21 - Fully Vaxxed progress by age group - starting summer 2021 Sept 21 - Fully Vaccination progress by age group

(For more details on those groups, plus race/ethnicity, click here.)

To find a clinic/location to recieve a Covid Vaccine click here. For Flu Vaccines, read about the Town’s Flu Clinic, here.

*The state’s report was based on tests taken in the 14 day period ending on the prior Saturday, September 18th.

**Population figures are just estimates. I use demographics extrapolated from 2019 census data since the state’s population data was clearly outdated.


Post image for Weekend at a Glance: Read to a Dog, “College List” Webinar, History Hike, and Art on Trails closing ceremony/Poetry Walk

Above: Two special walks are part of this weekend’s highlights in Southborough. (images from eventbrite and Art on the Trails website and photo gallery)

Here are highlights of what’s happening around town this weekend:

Saturday, September 25, 2021

  • Read to a Dog Outside (11:00 am – 12:00 pm) @ Southborough Library Lawn: Children preferably ages 5 and up with some reading ability will read to a certified therapy dog. The event is limited and requires pre-registration (in the Children’s Room). In case of inclement weather, this will be held over zoom.
  • College bound webinar: College List (7:30 – 8:30 pm) @ zoom: Iridium Tutor is offering free webinars for college bound students creating and finalizing a list of colleges. College students from Brown University will offer their insight. Register to learn factors to consider when choosing colleges. Presentations will be followed by a Q&A period. For details, see dedicated post.
  • Guided History Hike on Future Trail (1:00 pm) @ Fayville Park: Join the Trails Committee and Mass DCR for a guided 3 mile hike on a future section of the Boroughs Loop/Aqueduct Trail (a.k.a Peninsula Trail). Learn about the history of the reservoir and the property. Registration is requested. For details, see dedicated post.

Sunday, September 26, 2021

  • Art on the Trails Closing Poetry Walk (3:00 – 5:00 pm) @ Beals Preserve: Closing Reception with Poetry Reading. The closing ceremony for the 2021 Art on the Trails exhibit will feature Poets reading their work along the trail in response to art installations. For more on Art on the Trails see dedicated post. [Note: If you can’t make the ceremony, and haven’t hit the trail yet, you’ll want to fit that in earlier this weekend. The exhibit is open dawn to dusk.]


Post image for Learn to play <em>spooky songs</em> on the Ukulele – free program for tweens and teens

Above: By this time next month, teens and tweens may be strumming “The Monster Mash”, courtesy of the Library. (image edited from pic posted to flickr by richardclyborne)

The Southborough Library is bringing back a popular program from the spring, with a seasonal twist.  They are offering a series of virtual ukulele lessons for tweens and teens. This time, participants will enjoy learning to play a few Halloween themed songs.

Southboough Library circulating ukuleles funded by SEFYou don’t need to own your own instrument to join the fun. A grant* funded several ukeleles for the Library to lend out. (Although, those who have their own are also welcome to join.)

The Library promotes the ukulele as an instrument that is fun and easy to play. After a short lesson, participants should be able to play a few songs. No experience necessary.

Patrons ages 8-18 are invited to join instructor Julie Stepanek over zoom for weekly group lessons in October. Stepanek will demonstrate the fundamentals, teaching how to tune, strum and read chords.

The free sessions will take place on Wednesdays from 4:00 – 5:30 pm, October 6-27. Registration is required by October 1st.

To borrow a ukulele, sign up through Recreation’s website here. If you have your own instrument and just need the zoom link, email Library Director Ryan Donovan at

This program is supported by The Friends of the Southborough Library.

*The grant was provided by the former Southborough Education Foundation. Since then, the non-profit was merged into the Southborough Community Fund.


Post image for Two evenings with “ONE” author, Southborough’s Jennifer De Leon – next week

Above: Events promoted as part of a “ONE” read initiative, featuring a Southborough author’s essays, are coming up next week. (images from author’s website, including photo by Alonso Nichols, and press release)

This summer, I shared MetroWest Readers Fest’s plans to feature a Southborough author’s work for their regional, community-wide read (ONE). They reached back out to remind readers that events promoted as part of ONE are coming up next week.

MetroWest Readers Fest eventsThe book is “White Space: Essays on Culture, Race, & Writing” by Jennifer DeLeon:

Sometime in her twenties, Jennifer De Leon asked herself, “What would you do if you just gave yourself permission?” While her parents had fled Guatemala over three decades earlier when the country was in the grips of genocide and civil war, she hadn’t been back since she was a child. She gave herself permission to return—to relearn the Spanish that she had forgotten, unpack her family’s history, and begin to make her own way.

Alternately honest, funny, and visceral, this powerful collection follows De Leon as she comes of age as a Guatemalan-American woman and learns to navigate the space between two worlds. Never rich or white enough for her posh college, she finds herself equally adrift in her first weeks in her parents’ home country. During the years to follow, she would return to Guatemala again and again, meet ex-guerrillera and genocide survivors, get married in the old cobblestoned capital of Antigua, and teach her newborn son about his roots.

The upcoming events are hybrid, allowing participants to attend in person or over zoom. The event descriptions refer to De Leon’s previously published the YA novel “Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From”. (That isn’t the ONE selection, but may be how some attendees will be more familiar with her.)

Three Questions: An Evening With Author Jennifer De Leon
Tuesday, September 28th 7:00 – 9:00 pm at Ashland High School (and over zoom)

What does “three questions” refer to? Come join us on the 28th and find out! (Hint: You’ll understand if you read Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From, but reading is definitely not a pre-requisite!)

For more details or to register, click here.

ONE Big Community Read: A Conversation with Jennifer De Leon
Thursday, September 30th 7:00 – 9:00 pm at Goodnow Library in Sudbury (and over zoom)

Whether or not you’ve read White Space, we enthusiastically invite you to a lively evening. Come hear Jenn discuss her family and her upbringing, her writing life, and what “White Space” means. If you’d like a head start, feel free to check out the Resources section of the MetroWest Readers Fest website for discussion questions and articles about and by Jenn. Attendees will have ample opportunity to ask questions, share thoughts or just listen.

For more details or to register for the in-person event, click here. To attend via zoom, click here.


On the market this week in Southborough

by beth on September 23, 2021

Post image for On the market this week in Southborough

Above: This home at 90 Sears Road went on the market this week for $899,000 (MLS photo)

Here’s what went on and off the market this week. Thanks to Gail DuBois (email) of Keller Williams for supplying the town’s new listing information for the week.*

New on the market

Sale pending

  • 1 Rockpoint Road (map) – 7 room, 3 bed 2f 0h bath Ranch – 19 days on the Market, Listed at $575,000
  • 236 Parkerville Road (map) – 2 unit, 10 room, 5 bed, 2f 0h bath Antique, Farmhouse – 79 days on the Market, Listed at $649,900
  • 10 Valley Road (map) – 8 room, 3 bed 2f 1h bath Colonial, Garrison – 42 days on the Market, Listed at $724,900
  • 40 Meeting House Lane, Unit 40 (map) – 9 room, 2 bed 3f 1h bath Townhouse – 3 days on the Market, Listed at $749,000
  • 15 Lyman Street (map) – 18 room, 4 bed, 2f 1h bath Shingle – 20 days on the Market, Listed at $820,000
  • 8 Latisquama Road (map) – 8 room, 3 bed 2f 2h bath Colonial, Victorian, Antique – 41 days on the Market, Listed at $839,000


  • 11 Clifford Road (map) – 8 room, 3 bed 2f 0h bath Colonial, Farmhouse – 16 days on the Market, Listed at $675,000, Sold at $674,051
  • 2 Andrews Way (map) – 10 room, 4 bed, 3f 0h bath Colonial – 22 days on the Market, Listed at $1,099,000, Sold at $1,099,000

*Listings for the week are based on data pulled from MLS on Thursday mornings.


Youth Basketball: Register now for Travel (and Town)

September 23, 2021 03:15:22 PM
Thumbnail image for Youth Basketball: Register now for Travel (and Town)

The time for town ballers to sign up is now, especially players looking to make a travel team.

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Poetry Walk marks closing of Art on the Trails – Sunday

September 23, 2021 02:35:35 PM
Thumbnail image for Poetry Walk marks closing of Art on the Trails – Sunday

To mark the end of the Art on the Trails exhibit, a Poetry Walk is planned for this weekend.

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News roundup: Town pursuing grant funds and revisiting Trails Committee charge; St. Mark’s dorm financing; and Halloran CR approved

September 23, 2021 12:42:04 PM
Thumbnail image for News roundup: Town pursuing grant funds and revisiting Trails Committee charge; St. Mark’s dorm financing; and Halloran CR approved

I’m rounding up a number of stories covered elsewhere that I have yet to share.

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Obituary: Viola M. (Bigelow) Laptewicz, 99

September 23, 2021 11:00:19 AM

Viola (Bigelow) Laptewicz, 99, of Shrewsbury and formerly a longtime resident of Southborough passed away on September 15, at Shrewsbury Nursing Home after a period of declining health.

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Obituary: Richard ‘Dick’ Houston, 86

September 23, 2021 10:31:38 AM

Richard ‘Dick’ Houston, 86, of Southborough, passed away on Friday evening, September 17, 2021 after being suddenly stricken ill at home.

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Heritage Day Parade back on; Sign up to march

September 23, 2021 09:34:21 AM
Thumbnail image for Heritage Day Parade back on; Sign up to march

Community groups are invited to sign up to march in the annual Heritage Day Parade!

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“The Savvy Consumer” at the Library

September 23, 2021 07:30:42 AM
Thumbnail image for “The Savvy Consumer” at the Library

The Southborough Library is inviting the public to join them on the Lawn for a “Community Conversation” about “The Savvy Consumer”

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NSPAC Playground Meetup – October 3

September 22, 2021 03:20:23 PM
Thumbnail image for NSPAC Playground Meetup – October 3

The Northborough Southborough Special Education Parent Advisory Council (NSPAC) has announced “its first family social event”.

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