Archive for the ‘Burlington’ Category

Bedford MA – Seniors Cultivate Earth-Friendly Values

I am always looking for stories about communities.  Many times people are looking to move into a community and these stories help them decide if the community is the right fit for their family.  Bedford lies next to the towns of Lexington, Burlington, and Concord.

This is a great story in the Boston Globe by correspondent Nancy Shoehet West who talks about a wonderful senior community – Carleton Willard that sits on the grounds of a former farm.  You can read the full piece at http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2012/05/13/bedford_seniors_demonstrate_that_the_environmental_movement_isnt_only_for_the_young/?page=1

Among the approximately 350 residents in their 70s, 80s, and beyond living at the continuing care retirement community of Carleton-Willard Village in Bedford, suggestions from their adult children are a frequent topic of conversation.

But resident Peggy McKibben  may command a little bit more attention than some of her peers when she passes along wisdom from her son, especially if the topic is sustainability or conservation. She is the mother of renowned environmental activist and writer Bill McKibben, author of numerous books including “The End of Nature,”“Enough,” and most recently “Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet.”

Bill McKibben is also the founder of 350.org, an international initiative to raise awareness about climate change and reduce carbon emissions to slow the rate of global warming.

A few months ago, when Peggy McKibben read about an event that 350.org was planning for May 5 called “Connect the Dots,” with projects and rallies scheduled worldwide, she knew that several of her friends at Carleton-Willard Village would want to participate with her.

“The idea behind ‘Connect the Dots’ is to map out the world using red dots to show the dramatic damage caused by catastrophic events related to climate change, such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and tsunamis, and using green dots to show the ways in which people are practicing sustainable living,” Peggy McKibben explained.

It wasn’t the first time that a group from the retirement community had undertaken an environmental initiative.

In October 2010, when 350.org promoted its first major climate impact awareness day, residents at Carleton-Willard established the center’s composting program, which is still thriving today.

McKibben sent out an e-mail to gauge interest in “Connect the Dots,” and then held called a meeting.

Several who showed up were enthusiastic gardeners. Carleton-Willard already offers residents and staff access to individual garden plots. The group came up with an idea: What if they joined together in a gardening project, one that could eventually provide food for their own community?

After a little bit more discussion, the concept solidified: The group would plant cherry tomatoes, with the goal of serving their harvest in the Carleton-Willard dining halls later this summer.

Carleton-Willard staff responded enthusiastically: chief executive Barbara Doyle applauded the idea, and the buildings and grounds workers said they would help with tilling and other jobs requiring heavy lifting.

Those who assembled for the meeting were quick to find ways they could pitch in. Mary Waters Shepley offered her own garden plot for the project, and found a collection of tomato hoops they could use. Esther Braun,  the informal overseer of Carleton-Willard’s composting program, said she would ensure the garden would have an ample supply of enriched soil from her project.

“We all consider ourselves environmentalists, and we’re all very committed to making Carleton-Willard be as much of a community as possible,” McKibben said. “We also thought it was going to be a fun thing to do together.”Continued…

Five Communities Join Forces – The Middlesex 3 Coalition

This story was carried in today’s Boston Globe http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2012/05/10/bedford_signs_on_to_rte_3_pitch/ as Bedford becaomes the 5th community to join in on this venture to market these communities along Route 3.  With so much competition in the marketplace to attract businesses this is one way to strengthen economic development in the area

An effort by five area communities to jointly market their combined stretch of Route 3 to prospective businesses is picking up speed.

The partnering municipalities — Bedford, Billerica, Burlington, Chelmsford, and Lowell — have devised a brand name – Middlesex 3  — for their shared highway corridor, along with a logo.

The communities recently formed a nonprofit – The Middlesex 3 Coalition  – to spearhead the initiative, and have begun recruiting businesses and other groups to join them.

“We expect this thing will grow,” said Billerica town manager John C. Curran,  noting that a website for the coalition is coming and that the communities in the next several months will be discussing the hiring of a director for the group.

The effort grew out of discussions among Bedford, Billerica, and Burlington officials five years ago about marketing their shared region. At the suggestion of state officials, the talks were expanded to include Chelmsford and Lowell. The state then funded a study and the results, presented in 2010,  formed the basis of the current initiative.

Curran said a common push to promote that section of Route 3 would benefit all five communities.

“One of the struggles we have is that when you hear about Route 3, a lot of people think of the South Shore,” he said. “This is Middlesex County, that whole Merrimack Valley area. So we’ve gone through this whole exercise to determine what’s the best way to identify the area. Ultimately, what we came up with was Middlesex 3.”

The logo, a rendering of a map of the five communities with a roadway running through it, was designed by a Shawsheen Valley Regional Technical High School student, Shelby Rivers of Billerica.

“The mission is to promote the region as an area for economic development,” Curran said.

A particular goal is to build on the progress the area already has seen in attracting life science and emerging technology companies, Curran said, citing as examples EMD Serono and E Inc. Corp.,  which have facilities in Billerica.

The region has much to offer prospective companies, Curran said.

“The whole Merrimack Valley area that encompasses these five communities is rich with diverse labor resources,” Curran said. “You’ve got high-end professionals in this area, and also other types of labor, such as the medium-level technicians that many life science companies are looking for, and just the general labor force as well.”

The region is also home to the University of Massachusetts Lowell, Middlesex Community College, and Shawsheen, all three of which have programs teaching the skills that employers are seeking, Curran said.

Bedford town manager Richard Reed  said that a regional marketing approach makes sense because “companies that are coming to Massachusetts are thinking about the state and the region . . . where they want to be. I don’t think they are looking at it specifically as this community or that community.”

He said where they choose to locate within a region depends on the availability of sites.

But at least one local official is uneasy about the regional effort.

Burlington Selectman Ralph Patuto  said that its location on the Middlesex Turnpike, Route 3, and Route 128 makes Burlington the most attractive community to developers of the five involved in the initiative.

“We are a highly visible area. My concern is if this is really going to be beneficial to Burlington to be with a group that we are competing with,” Patuto said. “As far as I’m concerned, we are the economic engine out of that group of cities and towns.

“How do you sit down in a room with competitors and draw up common goals and objectives,” he asked, when all five communities are concerned about their own tax and job bases?

Curran said joining forces to market the region does not mean the communities will cease to compete for a particular business. “Each one of the communities hopes they are going to pick them,” he said of companies seeking a location. “But at the end of the day, they are not going to pick any of us if we don’t try to attract them to the region.”

“It’s really a great message to send to the business community that you have communities in the corridor coming together and putting on this type of effort going forward to provide jobs and other opportunities in this region,” said Chelmsford town manager Paul E. Cohen.

Bernard Lynch,  Lowell city manager, also sees promise in the coalition. “This initiative reflects both the increased collaborative spirit among the communities along the Route 3 corridor as well as our collective recognition that our economies are highly integrated with one another already,” he said in a prepared statement.

New business can also translate into more people buying homes and strengthening the home market as well. 

Joan Parcewski, Realtor & Notary             Woods Real Estate  Joan@WoodsRE.com     www.JoanParcewski.com/                                                                                            

GRI (Graduate Real Estate Institute, CBR (Certified Buyers Representative), SFR (Short Sale & Foreclosure Resource), LMC (Loss Mitigation Certified), CDPE (Certified Distressed Property Expert), CIAS (Certified Investor Agent Specialist), SRES (Senior Real Estate Specialist), GREEN

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Toastmasters Provides Service in Your Community

When you move into a community you look for ways to get involved – a local Lions Club, a Rotary Club, your children’s PTO, a sports team, town meeting member, or perhaps a member of Toastmasters.  Why would you join Toastmasters?  Aren’t they all about giving speeches?

According to the Toastmasters International website www.toastmasters.org, Toastmasters create a benefit in communities by hosting the following types of programs:

  • Youth Leadership– public speaking training for junior and high school students.  This helps the students prepare for college and their careers where they may be called on to do a variety of things, including speaking before an audience of theirs peers or others.
  • Speechcraft – a short course in public speaking for adults in business, education, industry and government.  Have you ever had your boss come to you and tell you that you have to do a presentation in front of your peers about a project you are working on?  Or perhaps you are a leader in the community and need to get up in frot of town meeting to explain why a warrant has been presented for their consideration?  What do you do>
  • Speakers Bureau – to help other nonprofit organizations and community and government groups tell their stories to the community.  These groups are always looking for speakers who can inspire audiences in a specific field or topic. 
  • Gavel Clubs – bringing Toastmasters training to prisons and other institutions. Part of  retraing of prisoners is giving them a sense of self worth and the ability to present themselves in a positive fashion.  These clubs are an incredible resource for them.
  • Success/Leadership and Success/Communication presentations – educational modules in a how-to format on topics such as conducting productive meetings, effective listening, parliamentary procedure, evaluation, creative thinking, leadership, management and training.  Be ir a town moderator, an officer in a club, the owner of a business these are all topics that we share in needing to make ourselves better.

Toastmasters Clubs are a great venue to meet other people, to network, and learn about the community in which you live, all while improving yourself.  What better investment in yourself (personally and professionally)?   In and around Billerica are several Toastmasters Clubs, each reaching out to a different audience. 

I belong to Last Word Toastmasters http://lastwordtoastmasters.com/  They meet the 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month at 6:30pm (for networking) and 7pm (for meeting), generally at the Burlington Public Library  22 Sears Street Burlington MA.  And tell them you saw it here. 

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