Cary’s Cupids

Want to warm up a February weekend? For its one and only fundraiser of 2012, The Cary Memorial Library Foundation (CMLF) invites you to Cary’s Cupids. This fun and festive evening, with delectable desserts, dancing, and a Silent Auction offering unique prizes from hot air balloon rides and Red Sox tickets to original works of art, will take place at the library.flower painting

“With Valentine’s Day just around the corner,” says committee member Anne Lee, “the event is a perfect way for people to show their love for the library.” The Silent Auction’s range of over 60 items, services and gift certificates, is “guaranteed to offer something special for everyone,” says Lee, “and you can get a sneak peek at these offerings online at” Also, everyone’s a winner at the Giving Heart, an exciting game with over 50 prizes.

Creative, generous Lexington residents have enriched the Silent Auction with gifts ranging from paintings to yoga sessions. After training as a print-maker, Boston-born painter Amantha Tsaros was inspired by her move to Lexington in 2006 to experiment with bold floral and landscape paintings, and she has given a fine example, “Red and White,” to the auction.

Lexington Arts and Crafts Society (LACS) Member Betty Taylor has contributed an intricately stenciled box, using techniques adapted from nineteenth-century decoration, and featuring early colonial motifs like native foliage, vegetables and vines. To inspire others to follow Tsaros’ and Taylor’s example, LACS has given a gift certificate for membership in the Waltham Street-based society, that offers people of all levels of skill and experience to meet and create with fellow artists and crafters.

Lexington-based yoga teacher Samantha Brookes understands that starting yoga or returning after a long gap can be intimidating. So she’s offering three ninety-minute sessions in the privacy of the home of the lucky top bidder, where she’ll work with the winner and a friend, if the winner chooses to help her or him develop strength, flexibility and balance while relieving tension in mind and body. Among the vendors providing the evening’s liquid refreshments at wholesale prices is Daniel Kramer, Lexington High School Class of 1982, co-founder of the Element Brewing Company in Millers Falls, Mass. Kramer got his start in the beer industry as a cellarman at the Commonwealth Brewery in Boston between graduating high school and a stint in the Philippines with the Peace Corps.

On his return to the US, he went back to the brewery and worked his way up to the position of head brewer, where he says he learned “a real respect for recipes and production.” That knowledge of traditional methods formed the starting point for his experimental approach at Element, founded with two friends in 2009.

“We don’t brew traditional styles,” he says. “We’ll fuse two different styles together, or we’ll go completely out on our own and make up new flavors and styles.” Cary’s Cupids guests can judge Kramer’s success for themselves as they try Element’s signature brews, Dark Element, Extra Special Oak and Red Giant, at the cash bar where wine and soft drinks will also be available.

Toe-tapping music from DJ John Mansfield to encourage everyone out on to the dance-floor in Cary’s Commons will make the evening a great time to catch up with neighbors and friends after the holidays. And all proceeds will benefit the library and its collections.

CMLF thanks generous event sponsors The Crafty Yankee, The Higgins Group Realtors and Lexington Toyota, and the many individual and corporate donors to the Silent Auction and the Giving Heart.

Cary Library Foundation Presents:Illustration of Cary's cupids

Cary’s Cupids Saturday, February 11, 2012 at 7:30 pm Cary Library; Main Floor

Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door.
Tickets are available online at www.
and from the Cary Library Administration Offices (3rd floor), 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday-Friday,
and at Wales Copy, 1810 Mass. Ave.

For more information, call the Foundation office at 781-862-6288 x322

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Lexington Chefs Share Holiday Recipes

Todd Heberlein

Todd Heberlein will prepare more than 400 gallons of gravy, all hand whisked and over a 1,000 lbs. of Butternut squash, all mashed by hand, as well as stuffing, Brussel sprouts and other sides this Thanksgiving. And that’s before he even heads home from the kitchen at Wilson Farm to prepare dinner for his own family. So it’s a good thing he loves what he does.

Making Todd's Stuffing

His Wild Mushroom Stuffing recipe incorporates a lot of his favorites. “I love mushrooms. The mushrooms we’re using now may not be the same mushrooms I’d use in a couple of weeks, you want to use whatever mushrooms are best at the time your making it.  That’s part of the excitement for me – seeing what mushrooms will be available for the next batch and how it will alter the flavor. It never comes out the same twice when you use different mushrooms,” Todd says, “I also wanted to incorporate something still fresh off the our fields. Kale is perfect for Thanksgiving because it’s a late crop and it can stand up to be being baked”.

And then there’s the truffle butter. Todd has a particular love of truffle butter, so it finds its way into this recipe. “Puts it over the top,” he says with a twinkle in his eye, “you don’t have to include it, it’s a luxury, but come on Thanksgiving is only once a year. If not now, when?”

Todd also likes this recipe because it’s substantial enough to satisfy the vegetarians at the table. Combining egg, mascarpone, asiago cheese, and mushrooms creates something like a savory bread pudding. Baked in a casserole it can double as an entree.

“Usually at Thanksgiving I really only like to eat, turkey, stuffing, and gravy. That’s why I put so much love into my stuffing. It comprises about half of my plate,” he says. But for the other seventeen or so family members at his Thanksgiving table this year Todd will prepare a full feast. His wife Jennifer is a pastry chef, so while he takes care of dinner Jennifer will whip up the tasty desserts.

“I love Thanksgiving. So it’s no problem for me to go home and cook after being here. No difference between here and home, I take same care here that I do cooking for my family”.


Marian Morash is the daughter of a professional chef, but she didn’t catch the bug until her husband Russ began a TV show with a relatively unknown cookbook author, named Julia Child. “The show was live and so they would have a raw chicken, a chicken ready to cook and a cooked chicken on the set. Russ would bring home a half cooked chicken with all the directions. I’d call friends and say, ‘we’re having this or that tonight. Come on over’ “, Marian recalls. All she had to do was add vegetables to complete the meal.

Again her husband helped out. Russ Morash began the classic gardening show, The Victory Garden, in the mid seventies. The success of the show got Marian in the kitchen coming up with recipes to share with the growing number of viewers – and gardeners. “The first few years they didn’t have recipes, the viewers would write in and say, ‘I grew all these leeks, now what do I do with them?’, so I’d come up with recipes for them to use on the show,” says Marian.

Marian Morash

One of her family’s favorite recipes came from that period. Marian developed the recipe using her favorite squash, Waltham Butternut, developed right around the corner at the University of Massachusetts Waltham Field Station and a nod to her mother and a family tradition. “You can make this soup without the chestnuts but I use them for both enrichment and nostalgia,” she says, “They add a rich earthy flavor and remind me of past holidays. My mother always made brussel sprouts with chestnuts for Thanksgiving and roasted chestnuts on Christmas when they’re readily available. They are a seasonal treat.”

Although the Morash family usually gathers on Nantucket for the holiday, they’ll be spending it closer to home this year. The turkey will be roasted in the oven unlike on Nantucket where “Russ fries one outside. You know it’s the men go out and kick the tires and fry the turkey and the women stay inside cooking the vegetables,” laughs Marian.

She hasn’t done the soup in a while but it’s back on the menu this year to the raves of the whole family.

Marian’s Tip of the Day:

Make your gravy ahead of time. Buy necks, wings, legs, whatever is available. Make a turkey stock and prepare your gravy. You can freeze it until the holiday. On Thanksgiving just add drippings from the turkey and you’re ready to serve.


Helen Chen with Ben Huang of LexMedia

Helen Chen comes alive as she cooks. She is animated and laughs easily. Watching her is like enjoying a ballet. Her movements are fluid; she is at home behind the wok. But she doesn’t consider herself a chef. “I’m more of a home cook,” she says, “That’s what I do in my classes, I teach people to cook at home.”

This year Helen will be cooking dinner at the home of her goddaughter who is expecting a baby the week before the holiday. “My husband, Keith, is an expert with the weber grill and he’s been in charge of the turkey for years. He smokes it so it has a fabulous taste and comes out with this wonderfully dark golden skin. I handle all the sides.”

Helen's Fried Rice Stuffing

One of the sides she’ll make comes from her mother, the renowned Chinese Chef Joyce Chen. Oyster Sauce Fried Rice started out as a stuffing, but now that the turkey has moved to the grill and the family clamors for leftovers, Helen prepares it as a side dish.

“My mother developed this fried rice to use as a stuffing for our Thanksgiving turkey.  The giblets and oyster sauce give a wonderful savory flavor to the big bird. It’s tasty enough to stand-alone and is even better the next day when the flavors have mellowed and blended. It warms up beautifully in the microwave.”

Helen says her goddaughter is partial to brussel sprouts. “I’ll par boil them and then add an asian flair by stir frying them with bacon. I prefer to stir fry, rather than boil. It maintains a lot more of the flavor,â”Helen says.

If you’d like to find out more about cooking with a wok, how to find a great wok or Chinese home cooking, visit

Helen’s Tip on cooking Brussel Sprouts:

Cut a crosshatch in the stem end of the sprout before cooking. The brussel sprout will cook more evenly.


Lynne Wilson

Lynne Wilson began creating recipes out of necessity. In a season heavy on eggplant her husband, Alan Wilson, came to her for help. She came up with some creative eggplant recipes that had people who had never tried eggplant cooking it up. “It worked so well that it wasn’t long before I was asked to do the same for carrots and spinach,” Lynne notes in The Wilson Farm Country Cookbook, “Soon I had a new job – creating and supplying recipes for our customers.”

Wilson Farm customers and employees were Lynne’s best critics. New recipes were taste tested by the employees and Lynne was found on the farm every week sampling her new creations to customers

That’s how her Squash Cake became a favorite. “One time a little girl about eight years old came back for seconds and then brought her mother over to get the recipe because it was the ‘best cake’ she had ever had,” Lynne remembers, “I don’t know if it’s the best cake I’ve ever made but everybody makes pumpkin pie or squash pie for Thanksgiving. I like this because it’s something different.”

I made this cake myself the other day. I’m not sure I could wait until dessert on Thanksgiving to enjoy it. Just the smell when you take it out of the oven is hypnotic. I’m thinking I’ll enjoy as a late morning treat with that second cup of coffee while preparing the meal for later in the afternoon. If anyone else wants to wait until after dinner, I admire their will power.


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Bowman & Bridge Renovation EXPLAINER

Download as a PDF

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is an explainer supplied to The Colonial Times by the Yes for Our Schools Campaign.


What You Should Know about the Bridge, Bowman, and Estabrook Projects

It’s looking like the Town is going to be asking voters to approve a debt exclusion in an election this January. The debt exclusion will fund renovations at Bridge and Bowman elementary schools, and construction of a new Estabrook School building. Here’s a quick run-down of the issues:

Why build a new Estabrook School now?

The Estabrook School building is contaminated with Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs), which are substances that are known to cause cancer. The air quality has been brought under control for the time being. The federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is requiring Lexington to remove these hazardous materials, but is allowing the Town time (three years) to construct a new school.

Why not simply remove the PCBs from the existing building?

To rid Estabrook of all PCBs will require the removal of every floor tile, every exterior wall, and the entire ceiling, leaving only steel beams, the roof deck, and the concrete floor. Rebuilding the facility would be financially tantamount to replacing the entire building and Lexington would bear 100% of the costs. Moreover, having nowhere else to go, Estabrook’s students will have to be reassigned to the other five elementary schools, causing overcrowded conditions until the completion of the new school.

If Lexington instead constructs a new building, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts will subsidize approximately 32% of the costs of the project. That’s because the Massachusetts State Building Authority (MSBA) has accepted that the Estabrook situation is an emergency for which state funds are available. If Lexington decides to remove the PCBs rather than replace the building, the building won’t address current education needs, and the project is unlikely to qualify for state funding.

Besides being the fiscally prudent choice, another benefit to rebuilding rather than renovating Estabrook is that students will be able to stay in the old building while the new one is being built. There will be no need to reassign Estabrook students, and overcrowding at the other elementary schools will be avoided.

Okay, so it looks like the Estabrook situation is an emergency that needs to be addressed now. But wasn’t the plan all along to replace the building? And why is that?

Yes, under the 10-year master plan for Lexington’s elementary school buildings, Estabrook was identified as needing replacement.

Built in 1961 as an “open concept” school, the original Estabrook School design melded the progressive educational and architectural concepts of its day. Over the decades, however, the design has led to fractured and inadequate space needs that undermine communication, collaboration, flexible grouping, and teaming all critical features of 21st Century education models. In addition, the building is overcrowded and lacks a cafeteria and a real gymnasium. Children eat lunch in the hallway. The gym is so small; it functions more as a playroom.

The new plans will relieve overcrowding by enlarging the school’s capacity from 450 to 540 students, and by providing adequate art and music space, a properly sized gym, modern technology, a cafeteria, and a performance stage. Classrooms and instructional spaces will be designed and situated to support better teaching and learning. The plans will also provide for better security. The entire building and its systems will be clean, modern, up-to-date, and efficient.

Why should Bridge and Bowman be renovated now?

The Bowman and Bridge buildings are 45 years old. They are burdened by mechanical, environmental, and safety systems that have reached end of life expectancy and by lack of space: children participating in small group instruction and music programs are often taught in the hallways, and conference areas are inadequate. It is not possible to monitor visitor access to the building, given the current location of the main entrances.

The buildings themselves, however, are still structurally sound, and their usefulness can be extended for an additional 20-25 years. To extend the life of the buildings, mechanical and environmental systems must be replaced, upgrades must be made to better serve today’s educational programming, and safety and security improvements must be attended to.

Why can’t we build new schools for the Bridge and Bowman communities?

The state has severely limited reimbursing school districts for construction costs. In the past, the state covered up to 59% of the costs of building a new school. Given the significant demand for state funds by other communities, Bridge and Bowman are not eligible for any state reimbursement. If Lexington chooses to build two new schools, the cost would total approximately $75 million, with none of the cost reimbursed. In contrast, the cost of renovating two new schools will total approximately $22.7 million.

What are the plans for renovating Bowman and Bridge?

The plans for each school will extend the life of the buildings by 20-25 years, upgrade safety and security, relieve overcrowding, better support educational programs, reduce noise, and improve indoor air quality with the following:

  • Four additional classroom/instructional spaces at each school
  • Additional small educational space at each school
  • Administrative space at entrances to enhance security
  • New high-efficiency hot water boilers
  • New HEPA-filtered HVAC systems with energy recovery
  • New electrical service, lighting, and controls
  • New sprinkler system
  • New fire alarm system
  • New IT infrastructure, phones, PA systems, and time systems
  • Full compliance with access code

What will happen if we don’t renovate Bridge and Bowman and replace Estabrook?

Failure to undertake these needed projects will leave Bridge and Bowman to deteriorate and vulnerable to system failures and expensive remediation. The buildings will continue to lack important security and safety features and will inadequately support the education program. In addition, underground oil tanks are susceptible to leaks, unit ventilators are noisy and inefficient, there are no fire suppression systems, and the buildings lack universal accessibility.

In the case of Estabrook, EPA will still require the removal of all PCBs at great expense to Lexington with no state or federal reimbursement. In addition, the educational spaces in a new Estabrook School will be vastly superior to the current school an advantage that will be lost if the current building is not replaced.

How much will all this cost?

The Town is still finalizing the figures, but the Bowman/Bridge project is likely to cost about $22.7 million and will extend the life of the buildings up to 25 years. If Lexington were to replace, rather than renovate, both buildings, the total cost to Lexington would be approximately $75 million.

The cost of rebuilding Estabrook is estimated to be $37.5 million. The state will cover approximately 33% of the cost.

When will construction begin?

Both projects will go forward with minimal disruption to the schools.

For Bridge and Bowman: Preliminary work will begin during April vacation of 2012. Portions of the work will be done after school hours during the 2012 and 2013 school years. The bulk of the renovations will take place in summers of 2012 and 2013. The entire project will be completed in November 2013.

For Estabrook: It is anticipated that site work will be conducted during the summer of 2012 to establish new parking areas and circulation patterns for the construction phase. Construction would then begin during the fall or early winter of 2012 and be completed in the summer of 2014.

How will these projects be financed?

These projects require capital expenditures that will be financed through debt exclusion.

What is a debt exclusion?

Briefly, a debt exclusion is a temporary increase in property taxes to help a town to finance infrequent but necessary capital expenditures, such as the renovation of school buildings or other municipal facilities. It’s sort of like a family taking out a mortgage to buy a house.

Proposition 2 ½, the Massachusetts law that limits how much a town can raise property taxes annually, governs debt exclusions. If a debt exclusion would raise property taxes beyond Proposition 2 ½ limits, the town must hold an election asking voters to approve it. When voters approve a debt exclusion, the resulting tax increases remain in effect until the town pays back its debt.

What is the difference between a debt exclusion and an override?

An override permanently raises taxes to pay for a town’s operating budget.

A debt exclusion temporarily raises taxes to pay for necessary capital expenditures that are not part of the regular operating budget.

When will the debt exclusion election for these building projects take place?

The debt exclusion vote will take place in January 2012.

What will be the impact of the debt exclusion on my taxes?

Beginning in fiscal year 2014, the median property owner in Lexington ($599,000 home value) will see a tax increase of approximately $288 per year, to decline in future years.

What should I do if I want to support these projects?

You can support the plans by voting YES for the debt exclusion in January 2012.

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Book Signing with Lexington Author


Join author Deborah Swiss at nourish Restaurant on Sunday,

November 6th at 3pm for a Fistula Surgery

Benefit and Book Discussion & Signing by Deborah J. Swiss, author of

THE TIN TICKET, The Heroic Journey of Australia’s Convict Women.

Suggested Donation: $10.00.  Complimentary Hors D’oeuvres.

Reservations Recommended: 508-641-0878

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Safe Routes to School at Bowman School

A ribbon-cutting ceremony at Bowman Elementary School officially unveiled several infrastructure projects funded and completed by MassDOT using a $455,000 grant from the federal Safe Routes to School program. MassDOT Director Ned Codd spoke at the event.

As a Safe Routes partner, Bowman Elementary is provided with education and encouragement activities to increase bicycling and walking activity amongst its students. Schools that partner with MassDOT to offer these are also eligible for federal funding to build infrastructure projects specifically targeted at helping children get to school safely and conveniently. Safe Routes to School is federally-funded and administered by the MassRIDES travel options program on behalf of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.

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Lexingtonians Visit Antony, France

By Laurie Atwater

Two years ago we had so much fun meeting our sister-city visitors from Antony, France here in Lexington.  It was such a rewarding experience!  When we heard that a group of Lexingtonians were planning to go again for the 25th anniversary of the Antony’s Wine & Cheese Faire, we really wanted to make it happen.  Running a small business does lend itself to much vacation time, but we adjusted our schedule and headed off to France for a whirlwind visit that was extraordinaire!

Antony is a suburb outside Paris with roots going back to the medieval ages.  It lies just seven miles outside the city and is accessible by the RER (France equivalent of the commuter rail here in Boston connecting the city with the suburbs). Just before we leave, we run into Bud Frawley at the Post Office in Lexington center and we discover that Bud and Shirley are on the same flight! Phew, they help us find the RER and get into Antony.

Bud and Shirley have a long history with our sister-city.  In 1996, they made a trip to Antony, stayed with Antonians and biked in the Loire Valley. The informal relationship continued when a group of Antonians visited Lexington for an autumn foliage tour.

I am told that the official relationship between Lexington and Antony began as an academic exchange and was organized by Karen Girondel who was a French teacher in the Lexington middle schools. When Madame Girondel moved to the high school she brought the program with her. Every year for the past 20 years between 15 and 20 Lexington High School students have participated in the French Exchange program with our sister school, Lycee Descartes in Antony.

In 1998, Antony extended an official invitation to Lexington to attend the 1999 Antony Wine & Cheese Festival when Antonians would dedicate a monument in Antony to be called the Place de Lexington.  A large contingent of Lexingtonians traveled to Antony for this very special occasion including a group of re-enactors from the Lexington Minute Man Company.  Shirley and Bud Frawley have such fond memories of that visit when the Minute Men marched in the Antony parade and actually shot off their muskets much to the surprise of the locals!

In 2008, two Lexingtonians, John Patrick of the Lexington tourism committee and Anthony Galaitsis a member of the Lexington Antony Sister City Association traveled to Antony to once again reinvigorate the relationship. They met with Antony Mayor Jean-Yvesnant and Adjoint-Mayor Marie-Louise Marlet as well as many members of Antony civic government to organize events for 2009 and 2010.

Over forty Lexingtonians visited Antony in 2009 and after a long year of fundraising, Lexington was able to provide a festive trip for forty Antony visitors for the 2010 Patriots Day parade and a week of activities, meals and hospitality with little expense to them. It was during that 2010 visit that Jim and I came to really appreciate the richness of the sister-city relationship.  The Antony contingent attended the Lexington Symphony April 19th concert as guests of Elsa Sullivan and the Lexington Symphony performed the Marseillaise in their honor.

Lexington organizations continue their outreach to Antony. Fred Johnson, President of the Lexington Symphony and several symphony supporters including Elsa Sullivan, Christina and George Gamota and Sandy Gasbarro were also on this recent trip. Fred had a special mission in mind. He was able to meet with Isabelle Rolland, Adjunct Mayor for Culture, Xavier Roy, Cultural Services Aide, Guy Borderieux, Director of the Antony Conservatory of Music and Anny Leon, Deputy Mayor for Associations to discuss a possible exchange program between Lexington Symphony musicians and Antony musicians.

Fred was more than thrilled with the outcome of the meeting. Antony has no orchestra comparable to ours,he said. “We agreed that it would be best to explore a collaboration of modest scale at first” perhaps 6-8 players from each town to make up a chamber group of 12-16. The musicians might be hosted in each others homes during their visits. In the past there have been exchanges between artists and artisans in Lexington and Antony; musicians would add a new and exciting dimension to the exchange.

This most recent trip to Antony celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Antony Wine and Cheese Fair.  A small group of Lexingtonians made the trip. John Patrick who also serves on the Lexington Tourism Committee helped to coordinate the trip and did a great job pulling it all together.  Tony Galaitsis and his wife Kitty continued their warm relationship with the group as did Kerry and Jan Brandin, Sylvie Desaveines and Kevin McGuire and Bill and Maureen Poole to name a few.

Antony’s wine and cheese fair is a well-organized marriage between business and tourism that really works for the city. People come from all around to enjoy the city center, sample the most delicious wines and cheeses and have fun.

On our first full day in Antony, Bud and Shirley Frawley kindly offer to escort us up from the wine and cheese festival to the Place de Lexington where we find the monument to the Lexington/Antony sister city relationship. Located in the middle of a busy thoroughfare, the obelisk is surrounded by gorgeous plantings and flanked by a park and bicycle path.  As we are enjoying the view I detect a rumbling beneath my feet and Bud laughs as he explains that the train is actually underneath our feet!

It was a gorgeous day (uncharacteristically hot for autumn) and the wine and cheese festival was in full swing. Huge speakers broadcast the conversations of a roving master of ceremonies with a wireless mike.  Of course he stopped to interview Mrs. Elsa Sullivan who was definitely the Grand Dame of the fair! Elsa, a Francophile of the first order once again made the trip (I don’t know exactly what number trip this was, but it;s been more than a few for Elsa) and she took it all in with the vigor of someone half her age! She is truly an inspiration.

The festival takes over Antony’s old city which is distinguished by cobblestone streets and crowned by a beautiful church. The charm of the entire affair cannot be oversold vintners sampling wine, huge rounds of aromatic cheese piled high, customers tasting, buying and strolling about with their children enjoying the weather it was a perfect day!  At one point we were called over by a young mom watching her two daughters.  She had heard us speaking English and just wanted to chat. Originally from Britain, she married a Frenchman and now resides just outside of Antony. She told us how much she loves living in the area and how much her girls love the schools.  Along the way we watch a chef prepare a delicious topping for toasty rounds of buttery French bread, lunch at a Lebanese restaurant and finally wind up at the most perfect gallery for coffee.

After the hummus and lamb luncheon, we make our way with Sandy Gasbarro, Fred Johnson and Antony city council member Anny Leon, to her friends studio and gallery where she hospitably brews coffee and treats us to chocolate. We are surrounded by huge canvasses of wild horses, generous breasts and round bottoms!  It’s all so so French!  As it turns out, the art studio is also a music studio!  Downstairs after hours it’s an impromptu jazz club.  Anny’s artist friend is also a musician and Anny is a huge jazz fan. We descend the steps and Fred Johnson sits down at the keyboard and begins to tickle the ivories!  Who knew?  It seems France brings out the inner artiste in us all and we learn that Fred paid his way through college playing the piano!

Antony pulled out the stops the next night when we enjoyed the company of sister-city mayors honored visitors from Collegno, Italy. Collegno and Antony were celebrating 50 years as sister cities! Antony is twinned with 10 cities throughout the world. The mayor from Reinickendorf, Germany was also in attendance and we all joined together for a wonderful dinner and exchange of gifts.

At our table we were pleased to share dinner with several Antony residents as well as a colorful couple from Collegno who were professional ballroom dancers!  Antony Mayor Jean-Yvesnant and Deputy Mayor Marie Louise Marlet extended the friendship and the hospitality of Antony in spectacular fashion.  I sat beside Armelle Cottenceau, an Antony official who came to dinner equipped with a French/English dictionary. We had a delightful time as she tolerated my poor French and we looked up words in the dictionary. Just a small indication of how much the Antony people are willing to go out of their way to welcome you and have a good time.

Immediately following the dinner Antony lit up the night with fireworks and music to celebrate Wine and Cheese Festival.  It was a spectacular night summery and clear. Residents of Antony were out in force including throngs of young people mixing in and enjoying the festivities.

The lasting impressions we have of Antony, will stay with us always, but most striking is the open and welcoming nature of the people. Approaching our final day, one of the Antony’s incredible volunteers, Helene Hua heard that we wanted to go into Paris to do a little sightseeing.  She and her friend Evelyn Tricot offered to escort us in to Paris on the RER and help us to navigate the Metro so that we can see the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triumph and walk the Champs-Elysees!  Helene and Evelyn rearranged their day so that they could help us out!  This is the hospitality and friendship that makes the sister-city relationship so special.

With these two women to navigate the Paris Metro, we didn’t miss a thing!  Helene even took us to her favorite rooftop where we could practically reach out and touch the Paris Opera House.  We dodged the gypsies at the Eiffel Tower, went to the top of the Arc de Triumph and even had time for a quick sandwich on the Champs Elysees!  Oh, and a little shopping too!  As we rode down the escalator from the roof at Printemps, we couldn’t believe it when we saw a whole display of goods bearing the name LEXINGTON!  From hats to pillows, the brand used Lexington to define a kind of rustic American style.

All of that and we still made it back to the hotel in Antony just in time to pick up our luggage and head into the airport.  We were exhausted, but it was well worth it.  That final day with two irrepressible women made our trip complete!

If you would like to become a part of the Lexington/Antony Sister City Association visit The next visit to Lexington is scheduled for 2013.

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Community Conversation Sparks Great Ideas

By Laurie Atwater |    I would say it was very successful in view of the level of enthusiasm of the attendees. They seemed to feel comfortable expressing their personal opinions even though they might have been sitting with people whom they did not know. In reading the feedback from each table it is clear that while there are many issues people talked about, there were some overriding themes which continued to be mentioned at almost every table. I found that both surprising and striking.  Nancy Adler, League member and event organizer


I felt like the event was a huge success and was really impressed not only with the diversity of the participants in terms of age and background, but also with the caliber of the ideas that were generated. My perception of life in Lexington has been driven in large part by my own experiences and by my interactions with people my own age. Hearing from the others at my table gave me fascinating new perspectives on living in Lexington.  Noah Kaufman, TM Member, Precinct 8

We were very pleased with the turnout. We had an almost full-capacity crowd and people from different age groups and interests participated. Our table facilitators were a diverse group as well, including two high school juniors, town staff, a member of the clergy, and a variety of other Lexington residents. Pam Hoffman, event organizer


The wonderful thing about the Community Conversation is that it brought to everyone’s attention that many people have been feeling the need to create more of a sense of community. The purpose of a community center is to increase the sense of community, so the conversation gave us a lot of information that will help us in our work.  Laura Hussong, Chair of the Community Center Task Force


It was a true community happening; the event brought together volunteers across many organizations in Lexington as well as participants from town groups including the Town Manager Carl Valente, Senior Services Director Charlotte Rogers, Recreation Director Karen Simmons, Selectmen Norm Cohen, Hank Manz, George Burnell and Peter Kelley, Planning Board Chairman Wendy Manz, 20/20 Chair and assistant to the town manager Candy McLaughlin, School Committee members Jessie Steigerwald and Margaret Coppe, Town Meeting Members Association chair Nancy Ronchetti and many more. It was great to see such an outpouring of support for community by community members.

So was it attended by the usual suspects you know, the core group that typically attends these events? Well, yes and no. We are happy to say that those tremendous citizens did turn out, and they are typically 40 plus, but there were also some new faces and some young faces. In fact I ran into Brenda Prusak who attended the event a couple of days later and she was delighted to see “an entirely different group of people than I usually see.”

Brenda group was facilitated by Noah Kaufman, Jay Kaufman’s son, a member of town meeting from Precinct 8 and a young attorney with Foley Hoag LLP. Noah was joined by several other young Lexingtonians David Atkins and Adam Hoffman who are both students at LHS. It was good to see these young people getting involved!

Event co-organizer and League member Peg Enders was thrilled with the turnout and the cooperative spirit that developed while planning the forum, “Every one of the volunteers worked really well together,” she said.

Indeed the event had a great vibe. The room was bright and colorful and the greeters were warm and personable. It was very well organized. From the color coded tables (the brainchild of Pat Romeo Gilbert) to the coffee and snacks (organized by Susan LaPointe and donated in part by the Minuteman High School Culinary Arts Department), the evening facilitated by Town Moderator Deborah Brown, went off without a hitch and maintained a civil and friendly atmosphere throughout just as the organizers hoped it would.

There were over a hundred attendees randomly assigned to working groups of about ten at a table. The goal: address two questions: 1) How can our community be more helpful and supportive to me? 2) How can I become more engaged in our community?

Peg Bradley of the Lexington league of Women Voters opened the session inviting participants to “imagine and dream a little about what could be.” After opening remarks the groups got down to work and the room began to buzz with conversation. Each table was staffed with a facilitator and a scribe. Scribes kept track of the comments and were charged with reporting out to the larger group at the end of thirty minutes.

At the break I chatted with Meredith Applegate, a young mother and co-president of LexFUN. Getting out in the evening for a community event is not easy for her as a mom of two young kids. Meredith wouldn’t have made it if her husband hadn’t been available to watch the kids. As an active participant in LexFUN, Meredith has concerns about meeting space in town. Though the group meets at Cary Library they have no central place to store their materials.

Deb Rourke, lifelong Lexington resident and former LEF co-president says, “It’s nice to be in a room with so many who care about the town. There’s lots of people here that I don’t know! It’s really any example of what makes Lexington special. Lots of people come out because they feel a responsibility to make the community even better.”

At another table high school student David Atkins comments: “Kids can do more, but were not often asked.” He says he “enjoys politics” and is “interested in getting more involved in the community.” (see page 45 for a short interview with David).

It needs to be said that none of the results from this event can be statistically projected as a valid representation of the feelings or concerns of the entire population of Lexington; the sample was not controlled for age, ethnicity, or income. However, each table was comprised of random groups which cut down on agenda-driven discussions and encouraged a mix within the whole. So, though it was not a scientific study, it is instructive to use these opportunities to direct further research and study down the road. Responses have been recorded and will be supplied to town committees and agencies.

So lets delve into some of the details. From Tai Chi on the Green to block parties, the suggestions ran the gamut for creating ways for people to connect. Here’s a sampling.

One common theme was the need for an intergenerational gathering space:

“A community center that includes a senior center, but not limited to seniors.”

“A community center for seniors and teens—pool tables, ping-pong, foosball. Used to be on at the Hancock Church.”

Another consistent thread was the need for better community-wide communication:

“Develop consistent two-way communications between high school and town.”

“Make police kiosk by CVS a community bulletin board.”

“Better communication about town services/events. A better website and central resource site.”

People also addressed concerns about traffic and transportation:

“Transportation: more locations for LexPress, more busses.

“Improved infrastructure so that transportation is more available to people who need it.

And then there were the simple ideas to increase opportunities for people to socialize:

“More community-wide events (like) Halloween and Discovery Day”

“If everyone went home and organized a block party, it would change one sense of community.”

“More playgrounds.”

“Neighborhood potluck dinner.”

Many of the frequently discussed issues in town also arose: the limited selection of businesses in the center and the resulting lack of vibrancy was noted which I found interesting when coupled with the observation that the most successful community-wide events cited were Discover Day and Halloween which are both conducted downtown and sponsored by the Lexington Retailers Association. People love to be in the center and appreciate the efforts of the center businesses.

So, there you have it. Many of your neighbors turned out to talk about the community. Do you have ideas? At the very least maybe it would be worth it to reach out to a neighbor, introduce yourself to someone new, join a club or check out one of the great activities sponsored by LexFUN (see page 29), the Historical Society (see page 35) or the Lexington Symphony (see page 17) to name a few organizations and activities in town.

From my perspective the big takeaway of the evening was a sense of disconnection and isolation people are longing for a deeper connections within their lives and with the greater community and there is great frustration about how to find it. Whether a high school student in the bubble of LHS, a new parent, an empty nester, a senior citizen or from a different cultural background, all expressed a need to know more about what is going on in town, have more opportunities to participate and meet new people, find more informal ways to socialize with neighbors and more ways to create connection in their lives through their evolving life stages. How can we make that a little easier in Lexington? Maybe we can start by adopting some of these simple suggestions from the forum: Be more neighborly. Help people who are having a hard time. Care.

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Pistols and Petticoats

Above is an example of a family donation being archived by the Lexington Historical Society. Betty (Currier) Barclay passed away in July. She was a lifelong resident of Lexington. Her family opened the first store and filling station (pictured above) at Countryside in East Lexington. Her photos and documents were donated to the Historical Society and will be stored in a “family box.”

By Jeri Zeder

In 1735, Captain Joseph Bowman of Lexington, Massachusetts, was assessed taxes on the following: two orchards, one slave,four oxen, eight cows, two horses, ten sheep, and one pig.

That’s according to the meticulously hand-written pages made by Captain Bowman’s contemporaries 276 years ago. Made delicate by time,these documents rest within archival boxes, catalogued, shelved, and preserved in a climate-controlled vault at Cary Hall. There, they await “eternal life” in the form of digital scanning, along with tens of thousands of other pages that document Lexington history.

Down the road, at the freshly renovated Munroe Tavern, is a blue-striped, British army-issue wool blanket left behind by retreating redcoats fleeing the April battles of 1775. The Lexington Historical Society claims that it is one of only a handful of such blankets extant in the U.S. None have been found in England. This rare object is now carefully catalogued, researchable, and available for viewing in a glass exhibit case at the Tavern.

Over at Cary Memorial Library, four rooms are dedicated to local history resources: genealogy records, books from the colonial and revolutionary war period, collections containing the history of other towns and states, and the celebrated Worthen Collection (mid-19th to mid-20th centuries), now fully catalogued and cross-indexed, with portions of it digitally available at the Library’s website. The treasures of Lexington’s history – needlework samplers, petticoats, pistols, and goblets; 18th century letters, deeds, and sermons; ledgers of female voters and of soldiers who fought in the Civil War; historic maps, etchings, ticket stubs, photographs, books, and more – are held primarily by three public-spirited groups: the Town of Lexington, the Lexington Historical Society, and Cary Memorial Library. In recent years, these institutions have stepped up their archiving and curating activities, thanks to grants from the Community Preservation Act, the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners, and elsewhere. Today, more than ever before, anyone who’s interested can discover and see these items by looking online, making a phone call, or paying a visit to Lexington.Digitizing, both ongoing and planned,will make these collection seven more accessible.

Case in point: The Edwin B. Worthen Virtual Exhibit.After five years of planning, work, and a $20,000 grant from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners, the virtual exhibit finally went live on the Library’s website in early September. Almost immediately, the Library began receiving inquiries. “The reference desk got a call from a guy in Texas who had found the virtual exhibit online and looked through it and said, ‘I’m going to be traveling next month to visit my parents. I’d like to stop in,’ ” says Linda Carroll, the Library’s local history librarian. Now that the Worthen Collection is digitally searchable, it can be used for tracing genealogies,or exploring the development of neighborhoods, or for anything else that researchers dream up. “I hope it will be used to its fullest potential,” says Carroll.

Preservation efforts at Town Hall are aimed at saving and restoring materials that date as far back as the 1600s, and opening them up to the world on the Internet. “It is our heritage. We have to preserve it,” says Nasrin Rohani, the Town’s part-time archivist. The work is largely funded by CPA funds, about $600,000 over the past four years. The more that gets preserved, indexed, and digitized, the richer the record becomes. “As we continue with this project, the information we gather and preserve becomes more and more meaningful,” says Town Clerk Donna Hooper.

For countless hours over the past several years, Elaine Doran, the Archivist and Collections Manager at the Lexington Historical Society, has been moving item by item through the Society’s collections of 12,000 documents, books, papers, and objects stored at the Hancock-Clarke House. She has been cataloging them into searchable databases, triaging their conservation and preservation, and fielding inquiries from researchers. Some of the collections will be available through the Internet, but, unlike the Library and the Town Hall, the Historical Society is a private organization, with significant portions of its collections restricted by copyright or the wishes of donors. But, even though much of the developing databases will be off-line, they still will be a boon to researchers, who can take advantage of them by calling or visiting the Society. The Society is currently seeking funding for the conservation and digitization of about 600 documents. “We own these things, but they are our town’s history,” says Doran. “If we don’t preserve them, everyone loses.”Among the researchers who will be poking through these collections for the first time in their newly preserved formats are the students of Lexington High School teacher Matt Gardner. In his course, “Honors Field Research,” students write research papers on local history using the resources at Town Hall, Cary Memorial Library, the Lexington Historical Society, and at special private collections around town. The course is the brainchild of LHS teacher Richard Kollen, who developed it and taught it for many years before he retired. Gardner resurrected the course last year. Students write on such topics as the Follen Church Society, the history of Five Fields, and the rivalry between the East and Center Villages. Their completed papers are available for reading at the Library. “Community support for this class is so high,” says Gardner. “We are fortunate that these resources are so close to the High School.”

So close to the High School, and so close to us all.


Jeri Zeder lives in Lexington’s historic East Village.

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Victorian Obsessions Cary Friends Lecture Series

 By Jane Whitehead    |    Why are Victorian novels so long? Why do the works of Charles Dickens still enthrall us, over 140 years after his death? What’s the connection between a rare Amazonian water lily, a great northern English estate, and London’s Great Exhibition in 1851?

These and many other questions will be answered in a richly-illustrated lecture series on Charles Dickens and Victorian Society, given by 19th century scholar, author and editor Tatiana Holway, of Winchester. Sponsored by the Friends of Cary Memorial Library, the lectures will take place in the Lower Level Meeting Room at 7:00 p.m. on October 11, October 18, November 1 and November 8.

Holway’s fascination with the Victorians started when she was studying for her PhD at Columbia University, she said in a recent telephone interview.

Her publications on Dickens include a 2005 Barnes and Noble Classics edition of Bleak House, with a new introduction and notes, and she has become the go-to Dickens expert for PBS. Her commentaries accompanying recent Masterpiece Theater productions, including Little Dorrit and The Old Curiosity Shop, can be seen on the PBS website, at

The Victorian era, said Holway, was a time of “continuing, enormous change,” and Victorian novels are in many ways “a kind of index of the scale and rapidity of change.” They’re also great stories, she said, and we still relate to them “because so much of what we think of as modern is in many ways Victorian.”

Holway’s first lecture will bring to life the cultural, social and economic world that gave rise to Vanity Fair, David Copperfield, Middlemarch, and so many other hefty 19th century novels that remain popular today. Her second will focus on Charles Dickens himself, on how his contemporaries saw him, and ways in which his life and art still resonate with us today.

The bud is closed during the day. In the late afternoon a pinapple-like perfume signals the appearance of the magnificent blossom.

The two November lectures will give a behind-the-scenes look at Holway’s adventures in English historical archives, while researching her latest book, slated for publication by Oxford University Press in Fall 2012. The story, she said, is the “crazy but true” tale of the discovery of a huge Amazonian water lily in British Guiana, in 1837, and how it inspired the landscape gardener and architect Joseph Paxton to design what was then the world’s largest building, the Crystal Palace.

Paxton, the head gardener at Chatsworth, the Duke of Devonshire’s estate in Derbyshire, received a cutting of the Victoria Regia water lily in the year of its discovery. In spite of the chilly climate in England’s mountainous northern Peak District, he succeeded in propagating the plant in a heated pool, and within three months its leaves were almost 12 feet wide. A contemporary print shows his little daughter Annie sitting on one of the vast leaves.

All Victoria amazonicas are night blooming. Their leaves can stretch to seven feet and look like giant skillets.

Too large to fit into any existing greenhouse, the giant plant gave Paxton the idea for a new design of conservatory, using a combination of radiating ribs connected with flexible cross-ribs. His experiments in glass-house design at Chatsworth were the foundation for the Crystal Palace, the vast cast-iron and glass construction he designed to house London’s Great Exhibition in 1851. “Nature was the engineer,” he said of this pioneering building.

Holway followed the trail of the water lily and the architect to Chatsworth and Kew Gardens, shivering in cold, drafty libraries, puzzling out connections between explorers and noblemen, between the Victorian craze for botany and new methods of industrial production. Cary Library audiences will be among the first to hear some of her surprising discoveries.


Friends of Cary Memorial Library, Inc. is a non-profit dedicated to supplementing and enhancing library services. The Friends act as advocates for the library and its users, and belong to a state-wide Friends library service organization lobbying government for support, i.e. MFOL (Massachusetts Friends Of Libraries)


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Symphony Launches New Season

Pictured after the concert at the home of Christina and George Gamota at a reception for members of the Lexington Symphony Concert Fund Partners.

The 2011/2012 season of the Lexington Symphony began on Saturday, September 17th with a magnificent presentation of the works of Claude Debussy and Gustav Holst. As usual, the orchestra rose to the challenge of these intricate and robust symphonic masterpieces. The evening’s performance began with three movements from Debussy’s Nocturnes (1897-1899). The movements were exciting and engaging. The three movements — Nuages, Fêtes and Sirènes — showcased the orchestra’s ability to switch from slow and melodic to powerful and energetic. Every ounce of Music Director Jonathan McFee’s energy could be felt as he conducted his orchestra to full capacity. From the violins, violas and cellos in the string sections, and the piccolos, flutes and oboes in the in the wind section, to the powerful sounds of the brass and percussion, the Lexington Symphony was nothing short of spectacular. Similarly, The Symphony’s presentation of Gustav Holst’s 7-movement orchestral suite “The Planets” was flawless. Both pieces featured the voices of the New World Chorale.

To learn more about the Lexington Symphony, please visit there website at


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