Post image for Events this week: Assabet Showcase, Journey to the Stars, Santa Day and holiday fundraisers and celebrations

Above: This week’s highlights include a special virtual event for all ages, exploring the cosmos. This weekend, Southborough’s traditional holiday celebrations and fundraisers are back in person.

Here are highlights of what’s happening around town this week.

Monday, November 29, 2021

  • QiGong for seniors (11:15 am) @ Southborough Senior Center: Pre-registration required. For details on weekly class, see newsletter.
  • Youth Writing Club (3:30 -4:30 pm) @ zoom: The Southborough Library is hosting this virtual creative writing club for ages 10-18. The zoom sessions are a fun and supportive space to get creative and build skills with peers. For details, see dedicated post.

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

  • Strength Training Class for seniors (8:30 am) @ zoom: Pre-registration required. For details on semi-weekly class, see newsletter.
  • Advanced Tai Chi for seniors (9:45 am) @ zoom: Pre-registration required. For details on semi-weekly class, see newsletter.
  • Preschool Story Time (10:30 – 11:15 am) @ Southborough Library Children’s Room: Join Miss Kim for stories and craft based on a weekly theme. No registration required.
  • Senior Songsters (11:00 am) @ Southborough Senior Center: Weekly rehearsal for the singing group open to all area seniors regardless of singing ability. For details, see related post..
  • Bridge (12:30 pm) @ Southborough Senior Center: A weekly card group, welcoming new participants. For details, contact the Senior Center at 508-229-4453.
  • Knitting Club (1:00 pm) @ Southborough Senior Center: Knitters, welcoming new members. For details, contact the Senior Center at 508-229-4453.
  • Tuesday Tech Time (4:00 – 5:00 pm) @ Southborough Library Teen Room: Need help with technology? Library staff and teen volunteers will make every effort to assist you. Bring questions about ebooks and electronic resources. This is a drop in event; no registrations necessary. Sessions are limited to no more than 1 hour.

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

  • Young Scientist STEM Beginnings (10:30 – 11:30 am) @ zoom: This is a free, weekly virtual series for children, ages 3-6 to learn STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) concepts through hands-on activities, story time and simple experiments. This is provided by the YMCA of Central MA but hosted by the Southborough Library. To register, email Kim Ivers at kivers@southboroughma.com or call 508-485-5031.
  • Assabet Showcase/Admissions Night (6:00 – 8:30 pm) @ Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School, 215 Fitchburg St, Marlborough: Event for prospective students and parents. For details, see dedicated post.

Thursday, December 2, 2021 

  • Strength Training Class for seniors (8:30 am) @ Southborough Senior Center: Pre-registration required. For details on semi-weekly class, see newsletter.
  • Advanced Tai Chi for seniors (9:45 am) @ zoom: Pre-registration required. For details on semi-weekly class, see newsletter.
  • Mah Jongg (10:00 am) @ Southborough Senior Center: The weekly program would love new players to join. Feel free to stop by to watch or talk to one of the players to see if you would be interested. For details, contact the Senior Center at 508-229-4453.
  • Trottier early dismissal (10:55 am) @ Trottier Middle School: Half day for 6-8th graders to allow Parent-Teacher conferences.
  • Baby/Toddler Storytime (11:00 – 11:45 am) @ Southborough Library Children’s Room: This story time is for children age 0-2 years and their parents or caregivers. Each session will include puppets, stories, and music. No registration required.
  • Chair Yoga for seniors (1:00 pm) @ Southborough Senior Center: Pre-registration required. For details on weekly class, see newsletter.
  • EcoTarium: A Journey to the Stars! (4:00 – 5:30 pm) @ zoom: Southborough Library is hosting this virtual program presented by the EcoTarium and sponsored by T-Mobile®. The program for all ages takes you on a tour of the solar system, explore planets, stars, and nebulae, to probe the outer limits of the universe, and discover what’s in the night sky. Click here to register.

Friday, December 3, 2021  [click to keep reading…]

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Post image for St. Mark’s Church’s annual Christmas Bazaar – Saturday

I have another event to promote for Southborough’s jam packed first Saturday in December –  St. Mark’s Episcopal Church’s annual Christmas Bazaar.

It’s a quick hop from downtown. So there’s plenty of time to check it out before or after Santa lands. It’s also a great place to grab lunch or a snack while you’re running around that day. The event will run from from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm at the Parish Hall (map).

Proceeds from the fundraiser will benefit their Youth Group Annual Mission Trip and the Southborough Food Pantry Fuel Assistance Program.

Admission to the annual bazaar is free. The church promotes:

COME TO THE BAZAAR!: Please join us this holiday season for our annual signature fundraising event! The fantastic Bazaar will feature tasty baked goods, gifts for the holidays, a silent auction, raffles of fabulous gift baskets, and an extensive White Elephant sale.

Our wonderful cooks will be serving delicious luncheon fare from the Kitchen Café. And there will be fun games and activities for the kids! You can always find a special treat at the Christmas Bazaar!

Lunch will be sold from 11:00 am – 1:30 pm.

They’re also holding the traditional Bargain Box Bag Sale:

ALSO stop in at the Bargain Box for the end of season Bag Sale – $5 per bag. The Bargain Box is a quality consignment clothing shop located for over 70 years on the lower level at St. Mark’s Church parish hall.

This year, they are requiring all volunteers and visitors to wear masks at the event:

food can be enjoyed at tables outside, windows will be open, and we encourage distancing and use of sanitizers.

For more information, 508-481-1917 or info@stmarkssouthborough.com.

(image from St. Mark’s Episcopal Church website)

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Post image for Artist Studio grand opening – Saturday evening

Above: A downtown gallery is being opened by four Southborough artists. (images from Facebook)

This Saturday, the public is invited to celebrate a new business is opening downtown. Apothecary Artists Studios and Gallery is promoting “Southborough’s First Downtown Art Gallery & Studios”.

For now, the gallery will showcase four artists:

Apothecary Artists flyerPatrick Steele, Catherine Weber, Chelsea Bradway, and Emily Van Nort, under one roof at 1 Boston Rd

Eventually they hope to hold special events that include other artists and to offer classes.

The gallery’s opening is scheduled for Saturday, December 4th from 5:00 – 7:00 pm:

Come join us for nibbles and libations! We will have art for sale and plenty of laughs. Come raise a glass to bringing more Art to Southborough!

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Post image for Small Business Saturday: Support Southborough business owners

Above: Making an effort to shop local small businesses doesn’t have to be just one day per year. Southborough vendors and shops are selling all kinds of goods and services. (scroll to bottom for image credits**)

Every year, I encourage readers to support Small Business Saturday by shopping local. (Although, there’s no real reason you have to wait until tomorrow!)

During these tough economic times, it’s more important than ever to support local businesses. So, I’m also updating the linked list under the Town Directory/Resources menu so you can easily find it all season/year.

For holiday shoppers, categories below include businesses you can buy products from. They also include services that you can buy gift certificates to for friends and family members.

In case, you need a reminder why shopping local is so important:*

  • Local businesses provide local jobs,
  • Local businesses stock up on local produce and buy local services,
  • Local businesses support our local charities and our local community (sports teams etc.),
  • Local businesses reinvest in our local economy.

Below, I’ve broken up my Directory this year into the following categories:

  • Bakers/Confectioners/Food manufacturers
  • Boutiques/Gift Shops/Markets/Retail Stores – Stores in town
  • Classes/Workshops
  • Fitness Studios/Gyms/Wellness
  • Online sales by Resident Artisans and Entrepreneurs 
  • Photography
  • Restaurants/Coffee Shops
  • Salons/Spas

[click to keep reading…]

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Post image for Holiday Weekend at A Glance: Gobble Wobble, Green Friday Hike, Firefighter Tree Sales, and Town holiday hours

Above: This week includes the Thanksgiving Day Gobble Wobble. But it’s also worth noting that plenty of Town services will have limited hours. (Photo of Town Hall by Susan Fitzgerald)

I’m signing off for a Thanksgiving break. I’ve scheduled my my annual Shop Local reminder to pop up on Friday with an updated list of Southborough businesses. (I’ve already updated the directory page. You can see that here.)

In the meantime, here’s a reminder of what’s happening and what’s closed over the next few days.

Town Hours for the holiday

  • Closed early today (Wednesday) and staying closed through the entire weekend:
    • Southborough public schools
    • Southborough Senior Center
    • Town House and other Town Departments
  • Southborough Library – Regular hours today (Wednesday through 9:00 pm). Closed Thursday through the entire weekend.
  • Transfer Station – Regular hours today. Closed Thursday and Friday. Reopens on Saturday.

Event Highlights

Thursday, November 25

  • Gobble Wobble (7:30 am) @ Trottier Middle School, 49 Parkerville Road: The annual 5K run and 2 mile walk fundraiser for Friends of Southborough Recreation takes off at 8:30 am. For more details, see dedicated post.
  • ARHS Football  (10:00 am) @ Westborough High School: The annual Thanksgiving Day rivalry matchup is an away game for Algonquin this year. It’s the last game of the season, and the first time the schools have faced each other this year. I’d expect Gonk to win the Mewhiney-Walsh Trophy for the third straight year. (They go in with a 7-3 record vs the Rangers 1-9 season.)

Friday, November 26, 2021

  • Green Friday Hike (10:00 am) @ Chestnut Hill Farm: Join us the day after Thanksgiving for a hike led by a Trustees ranger and naturalist to learn how different types of plants and animals cope with the universal changes the land undergoes as the seasons evolve. The campfire will be going and there will be hot cocoa and s’mores. Pre-registration (and fee) required. For details, see dedicated post.
  • Southborough Firefighters Association Tree Sale (5:00 – 9:00 pm) @ behind the Public Safety Building: The annual christmas tree sale. For details, see dedicated post.

Saturday, November 27 – Sunday, November 28, 2021

  • Southborough Firefighters Association Tree Sale (5:00 – 9:00 pm) @ behind the Public Safety Building: The annual christmas tree sale. For details, see dedicated post.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

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Community Advocate staff covered a discussion in a recent Select Board meeting and several topics from recent school committee meetings that I haven’t had a chance to cover. Here are highlights and links. 

For the first story, I’m adding some context that wasn’t included in the weekly paper’s article.

Chestnut Hill Road residents’ request

Chestnut Hill residents want portions of road closed to traffic

Earlier this month, I wrote about the discussion scheduled between Chestnut Hill Road residents and the Select Board on the petition to close the one way section of the road. I haven’t had time to write a follow up story, but the CA did. 

The bottom line is that the Board wasn’t convinced to take action but is willing to consider the request. First, residents need to address the Fire chief’s concerns and assess how much resolving the issues would cost:

If portions of the road are closed to through traffic, [Fire Chief Steven Achilles] said the fire department would require an appropriate-sized cul-de-sac or turnaround for fire apparatus at the point of closure on both ends.

At the meeting, the fire chief noted that fire trucks must have the ability to turn around on dead-end roads.

“It’s not practical to back down to Main Street,” he added.

Beals mentioned there is a parking lot across from where he lives as a potential spot to turn. If roadway improvements are made, rather than the closure, it would only result in more speeding vehicles, he said.

Braccio questioned where fire apparatus would turn when the parking lot has cars in it.

Select Board member Martin Healey said he is against the proposal and that residents had not made a “compelling case” about the need for a closure.

Beals and other residents said that the road is dangerous for pedestrians, children getting off school buses, bicyclists and people walking dogs as well as individuals pushing baby carriages. In addition, vehicles sometimes drive the wrong way down the road—creating a hazard for other cars.

Beals said the board should “welcome the opportunity to avoid serious accidents and prevent collisions from happening.”

Resident Brian Dugdale noted that finding an engineering solution for the turnaround was doable. (read more)

Worth adding that wasn’t in the story. . .This summer, the Select Board discussed a similar potential plan for Northborough Road – a road closed to throughway vehicle traffic but open to passive recreation.

In discussing the potential closing of Chestnut Hill Road, residents and officials seemed to assume that Northborough Road’s culvert will be repaired and the road reopened as an alternate route. The pass through road has been closed off since late spring when the culvert was determined to be unsafe for vehicles to continue using.

Chestnut Hill Road residents submitted a petition in September (that was started in May) to turn a section of their road into a paved passive recreation area. A month prior, Public Works Superintendent Karen Galligan presented to the Board the concept of converting Northborough Road into a paved passive recreation area.

In August, Galligan posited that money could be saved on repairs to the deteriorated culvert by converting it into a stream bed, creating two dead end roads. Select Board members voiced support for the concept. The idea was floated of creating a footbridge instead of one to support cars and trucks. The Board asked Karen to flesh out what the cost difference would be between a full repair and the alternative. There’s no record of that being updated in public meetings since.

An Article to fund work on Northborough Road was proposed to be included on the Special Town Meeting Warrant earlier this fall. Updated details apparently weren’t available at the time of Select Board discussions and it eventually fell off the list. The concept wasn’t raised during the November 3rd discussion of Chestnut Hill Road.

In the Board’s November 16th meeting, Town Administrator Mark Purple told the Board that State Senator Jamie Eldrige earmarked $70K of the state’s ARPA funds to be used for the culvert repairs. That wasn’t included yet in the House version. Since then, state congress failed to reconcile the House and Senate versions before their long recess. (Even if the earmark makes it into the version that ultimately passes, earmarked funds don’t always translate to actual funding.)

School Updates

The following stories all relate to Southborough schools and/or Algonquin.

Northborough/Southborough school official recommends no flexible masking before Jan. 15

Despite Algonquin being one of a handful of schools with the 80% vaccination rate qualifying it to opt out of face masks, the district’s Director of Wellness Mary Ellen Duggan is advocating to keep students masked through the holidays. She recommends reevaluating the situation two weeks after December break, when the state’s mask mandate may end:  [click to keep reading…]

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Girl Scout sing-along and toy drive – December 3

November 24, 2021 08:30:52 AM
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The Girl Scouts will hold their traditional holiday sing-along a week from Friday.

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Weekly Covid Update

November 23, 2021 07:34:16 PM

An update on Covid cases in town and schools, and related news.

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Southborough Firefighters collecting for Project Just Because

November 23, 2021 04:23:50 PM
Thumbnail image for Southborough Firefighters collecting for Project Just Because

The Southborough Firefighter Department asked me to advertise it’s annual holiday gift collection drive.

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Prospective students families invited to Assabet’s Showcase – December 1

November 23, 2021 02:55:19 PM
Thumbnail image for Prospective students families invited to Assabet’s Showcase – December 1

Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School is holding a “Showcase” for prospective students and parents.

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Southborough cares about autism: Special soap, an inspired picture book, and NECC’s annual Gala

November 23, 2021 12:37:15 PM
Thumbnail image for Southborough cares about autism: Special soap, an inspired picture book, and NECC’s annual Gala

I’m rounding up a few stories related to efforts to support the autistic community.

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Volunteer to help decide how to spend $3M in Town ARPA funds

November 23, 2021 09:02:35 AM

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the Town’s decision to create an ARPA Committee. The Select Board is charging a seven member committee with making recommendations on how to spend American Rescue Plan Act funds. The Town is eligible for reimbursements up to $3,051,241. Some restrictions apply to how ARPA funds can be used. […]

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Save the Dates for Christmas/Holiday fun in 2021

November 22, 2021 05:00:46 PM
Thumbnail image for Save the Dates for Christmas/Holiday fun in 2021

Southborough’s Christmas celebrations are coming soon. Here’s a list of save the dates.

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SFA’s Christmas tree sales start this Saturday

November 22, 2021 03:08:34 PM
Thumbnail image for SFA’s Christmas tree sales start this Saturday

Starting this weekend, the annual Southborough Firefighter Association’s Christmas tree sales start up. It’s a tradition that dates back over 50 years.

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