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A Passion For Community Meet Our Heart of Billerica Winners

The Leading Edge Annual Realtors Forum Sharpens Local Agents

Interior Fulfillment Seven Indoor Happenings Warm Your Mind, Body and Spirit




Details inside


$100 off Tuition PER MONTH for ENTIRE YEAR... WOW!! PLUS...Register by January 31, 2011 and we will waive your registration fee ($125 value)

Wishing you and your family a ha healthy, p ppy, r osper ou s New Year ! As the leading, independent business bank with deep roots in the community and strong local ties throughout this region, Enterprise Bank continues to fuel the local economy, consistently reinvesting resources in the communities we serve. Our Billerica teams are proud to actively champion the needs of the Billerica community, and to create opportunities for greater financial success. For more information on how Enterprise Bank can help you achieve your financial goals, come in and visit or call one of our branches today.

Ages 6 Weeks to 5 Years Including Before and After School Care State-of-the-Art Facilities • Dynamic, Fun Curriculum plus Computers • Our Early Reading Program Fun With Phonics® • Infant Care with Sanitary Systems to Protect Baby’s Health • Make Believe Boulevard® (A Miniature Main Street, USA) Also included in Tuition: Suddenly Science® • Marvelous Math® Talent Sprouts® • Music 4 Me® Dancing Feet® • Movin’ N Groovin’® Start to Art®

OPEN HOUSE Saturday, February 12, 10am to 2pm

BILLERICA 210 Treble Cove Road Billerica, MA 01821 978-667-5437

Margarita Kaliviotis

Joy Beaubien-Harmer

Branch Relationship Manager ,VP Billerica Branch 674 Boston Road 978-262-0123

Branch Relationship Manager, AVP North Billerica Branch 223 Boston Road 978-262-0100

A Certified SBA Lender Member FDIC Enrichment Programs may vary according to schedules and locations.


A publication of The Billerica Green, LLC PO Box 492 Billerica, MA 01821 © 2011, The Billerica Green unless otherwise specified. All Rights Reserved.


Publisher and Managing Editor Liana Measmer

February 2011

For news, columns, letters, or submissions email or call 978-808-2361 Art Direction Jeff Surette, Surette Creative Ad Design Colleen Sgroi, Sgroi Art Gallery Ryan Winters, Thought Machine Design Liana Measmer, Sales and Marketing Director Patricia Ortiz, Advertising Sales Executive To inquire about advertising, call 978-808-2361 or email For insert mailing services, call 978-808-2361 or email Deadline: The 10th of each month Cover Art and Illustration Colleen Sgroi, Sgroi Art Gallery Matthew Pippin, Pippin Illustration and Design Cover art is by Matthew Pippin. For info., contact the artist directly: or 978-663-5452 Out On The Town Calendar Event Coordinator Taryn Gillis To submit Calendar/Out on The Town events, email or complete the online calendar form at Deadline: The 10th of each month Staff Writers Nora Fiore Angie Orenstein Jarred Measmer

Julia Measmer Jacob Measmer


Guided by Character, Driven by Heart The Heart of Billerica Award Winners

Ten every day people and groups, who make life better for all of us just by living theirs, came to town hall to be honored for making a difference. Their stories will inspire you.

12 The Leading Edge

Sharper Skills Make Local Realtors Your Trusted Advisors

Local experts and officials report a positive trend mixed with a variety of resources at your finger tips to make for a strong spring Real Estate market.

16 Frosty Festivities

Local party spots for your child’s next cool birthday celebrations

Ice Cream Sundae, Manicure and Pedicure, and mini-golf parties make for original and fun bashes your child will enjoy.

22 Supporting our Future, Uniting our Community Billerica Scholarship Foundation Makes Fundraising Fun

There is still time to sign up for Team Trivia Night, one of the many events that the BSF hosts which bring the town together for a great cause.

Staff Photographers Gail and George Lucozzi, ASA Photographic Contributing Columnists Dave Gagliardi Krissy Whitehouse Attorney Jennifer O’Brien Anjali Wali Julie Kinscheck Brian Panarese Sonia Lacombe Contributing Writers Pat Zapert Wade Winters Karen West Aachal Gunda

Colleen Sgroi Billerica Historical Society Dr. Gina Aguayo Sandy Libby The Livseys Paul Abrego Kay Warren Norma Cavicchio Dianne Bone Jen Chubb

Subscriptions Non-Billerica Residents: 12 issues , $25 email mailing address to: or mail with check payable to The Billerica Green The Billerica Green, PO Box 492, Billerica, MA 01821 Back Issues $3 each, available at Sgroi Art Gallery 12 Andover Road, Billerica To order back issues, email mailing address to: Mail check for $4.50 (incl. S&H) payable to The Billerica Green The Billerica Green, PO Box 492, Billerica, MA 01821


In This Edition Ask Dr. Gina Voice of The Artist Media Beat The Power From Within Everyday Green Traveling Gourmets Kids’ Creative Connection Out On The Town


A Picture’s Worth a Thousand Words Photo Contest Who is THAT on page 11? Guess right and win a $25 gift card from The Newtowne Grille at 838 Boston Road Email your entries to by midnight on February 9, 2011. We’ll pick our winner and deliver your card by the weekend, just in time for VALENTINE’S DAY. (Employees of Newtowne Grille not eligible to enter)

Guess the Riddle... Win an iPod Nano!


Find this month’s riddle on page 4...

Find the answer in an ad. Email us the name of the ad and the page it is on. Email your entries to by midnight on Feb. 9, 2011 We’ll pick our winner and deliver the iPod over the weekend, in time for Valentine’s Day. (Billerica residents preferred, please) Printed on 50% post-consumer recycled paper. Keep the cycle going. Please recycle when you are done enjoying the Billerica Green.

2 / / February 2011

From The Publisher’s Desk For the Love of Our Town

is in yo orld ur w h r

Find out what 2011 brings to the value of your home with this changing market!

Call one of our Real Estate Professionals for a free market analysis.


Real Estate School Classes starting immediately Call for details!

scenes, my very patient office manager keeps this Publisher in check. And be on the lookout. You might meet some very skilled, motivated and dynamic women around town who will now become our Sales Force. Keep you posted. Congratulations to Jessica Feeley and Kim Caserta who won last edition’s iPods! This month’s Ipod is the Nano so check the table of contents for the riddle and the rules. Entries have to be in by midnight on Feb. 9th to be eligible. We want to extend our congrats to Ms. Jeanne Osborn of the Greater Lowell Chamber of Commerce who won our picture contest and a gift certificate to A1 Foto. This month’s photo contest prize is a gift card to The Newtowne Grille. Again, check the table of contents for the rules. Entries in by midnight on Feb. 9th get you your prize in time for Valentine’s Day. I want to thank all of you who extended your condolences to me and my family. On November 5, as the paper was being put on the printing press, my Mami (Spanish for Mom) and best friend lost her 11 month battle with cancer and passed away. My family and friends who knew this vibrant beautiful woman who was such an amazing positive force in my life miss her almost as much as I do. She was a staunch supporter of all I did and longed to see the Billerica Green prosper. We will not disappoint her. In her honor, we will be reassembling our American Cancer Society Relay for Life team to raise much needed money for cancer research and treatment. You will see their ads on our back page until June and will read stories of remembrance and survival in the months to come From all of us here , thank you for the opportunity to serve you and for your continued support. As usual, we welcome your feedback, good or bad. Tell us how we are doing so we can continue to make the Green the best it can be. Stay warm and keep reading, Billerica! Your Publisher and Editor, Liana

2nd, Billerica C.A.R.E.S.

ds an


Welcome back to snowy Billerica. I hope everyone is staying warm and remember: When shoveling, lift with your LEGS! All kidding aside, we called on Cupid this month and are sending you stories of love. Just not in the way you are used to. For starters, you will meet ten citizens, from Billerica and beyond, with an affinity for helping others. Hard working. Inspiring. Supportive. Energetic. Understanding. And with a passion for community. These folks are the Heart of Billerica and we thanked them by giving them an award. We will open up nominations again in June and will hold our second annual event in September. So stay tuned! Another hard working group in this town are the Realtors. With the economy turning more positively, these folks are here and at your service. Reports are showing a positive trend so this Spring Market may be the season for selling the house you’ve outgrown. Or buying the house of your dreams. Home ownership still remains a great investment. True New Englanders, we don’t let the weather slow us down. Check out all the upcoming events that will keep you busy, like the Camp Expo in preparation for summer. Or Team Trivia, where compadre is pitted against compadre in good natured fun. Plus, if you’re looking for that fresh new venue to plan a party for your kids, look no further that Billerica, where we boast frosty festive spots to celebrate. Thank you again to my talented team for all their hard work. Our writers are bright, our designers are innovative, our artists are visionaries, our calendar coordinator is organized and our Art Director brings it all together for your enjoyment. Media News gets us printed and out on time every month. Be sure to say hello to the students from the Merrimack Special Education Collaborative who deliver the Green to our more than 14 drop-off spots all around town. Behind the

“Celebrating Diversity” Day THIS IS A FREE PROGRAM



880 Boston Rd. Billerica, MA 01821

The Billerica CARES Committee Invites you to a special program as we celebrate diversity in the Town of Billerica. Join town officials, school administrators, religious groups and local business leaders.



DATE: 17TH OF FEBRUARY, 2011 VENUE: Billerica’s Town Hall (Buck Auditorium) REFRESHMENTS: 9 AM PROGRAM: 9:30 AM to 10: 30 AM


February 2011 / /3

Letters to the Editor Hi Liana, So happy the Billerica Green is back! Kim Caserta, Billerica Liana, So very glad you are back. My husband and I have missed your paper. We love the content and layout…it is a great town informational tool! Good luck and best wishes for your continued success. Diane and Wayne Thompson, Billerica

My grandparents, Thorvald and Eline Johansen, took out one of those mortgages in 1919, and they were still making payments in 1936. There are no pictures of the house before and after the roof reconstruction although I have pictures. Richard J. Nardini, Billerica

Liana, Thank you for continuing the support to our committee!! Susan St. Cyr Holiday Festival Committee

Dear Billerica Green, My daughter Emily, who has Down Syndrome, recently celebrated her 18th birthday. For several years she has been saying how much she has wanted to take a limousine ride. Unfortunately, like alot of families, we’ve been struggling financially and a limousine is something we haven’t been able to give her.  One of her birthday wishes this year, of course, was to have a limousine ride. We explained it was just too expensive. I had an idea to send out an email to the local limousine companies to see if any would be interested in donating the service so Emily could get her wish this year. I thought there may be a chance. I was more than surprised when within 45 minutes of sending the email, I was contacted by Ricky Figueroa from Harris Limousine in Lowell  saying that he and the owner, Jason Harris would be more than happy to make Emily’s wish come true.  We all kept it a surprise for her. I can’t tell you how excited she was when the limo arrived to take her to her birthday party.  Ricky arrived as the driver and took the time out to show Emily the inside of the limo and how to use everything like the radio. He picked her up an hour early and drove her all through town. She thought she was a real pop star. She rolled down the windows and was waving at everyone as Ricky honked the horn at people strolling the streets.  When she arrived at her party, even a few of her friends got a short ride and they are still talking about their first limo ride.  It was a very simple thing that Jason and Ricky did that day and I hope they realize how big it was in Emily’s eyes.  We very much would like to thank Jason Harris and Ricky Figueroa for their service. Debbie Rowland, Billerica

Dear Liana, I have enjoyed many past articles from Billerica Green about Billerica and hope the venture lasts for many more years. The most recent article called “If The Walls Could Talk, The Sexton House Tells a Billerica Story” had a topic that indirectly involved my grandparents. The article’s reference text was “At the time of her death, Clara’s will in probate showed seven mortgages in Billerica.”

Dear Liana, Thank you so much for your work in planning the recent Real Estate Round Table that was held at the Bennett. I have been a Real Estate Broker for the past 18 years and I find that the amount of new information that comes in daily can be a bit overwhelming. I found that the 3 hours I spent at the event priceless. All of the speakers were professionals and provided us with a wealth of information and fresh

Liana, Welcome Back!!!!! Brenda Fontannay, Billerica Hello: Glad to see the Billerica Green back! Sharla Hennessey, Billerica Hello Liana,  So glad to see you are back in business. I really enjoy each and every edition. Thanks for a great paper! Pauline Mazmanian, Billerica Dear Liana, We want to express our deepest condolences to you and your family upon the loss of your beautiful mother. I know she must have been an extraordinary woman because she raised the most amazing & beautiful daughter—you. Your children are heirs to a legacy of compassion, dedication, values and generosity and that in itself is a wonderful tribute to your mother. I just want to take a minute to let you know that your comeback holiday issue is getting a ton of attention and that already I have received two phone calls from Billerica residents who are offering to help us sort & pack later this month! Thank you for all you have done and for this great feature article about Honor Our Heroes. We will never forget you! Joan Proctor C21 Travis Realty, Inc.

ideas. Thank you so much for all your hard work. Barbara Bourdon Arakelian Real Estate Liana, Nuvera Fuel Cells and the Town of Billerica presented 13 community grants to local organizations in support of various 2011 activities. The grants are the result of a $20,000 community fund that Nuvera contributes to annually as part of a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) agreement. The following community organizations were awarded grants: The Billerica Boys and Girls Club, Career Launch Program; Yankee Doodle Homecoming Inc., Annual Event; Billerica Historical Society, Clara E. Sexton House Improvements; The Locke Middle

School, Before School Starts: The Store; Hajjar School Parent’s Association, Playground Slide; Billerica Lion’s Club, Fourth of July Celebration; Billerica Public Library, One Book, One Billerica Program; Friends of The Recreation Department, Billerica Skate Park; Billerica Garden Club, Farmer’s Market; Friends of The Billerica Council on Aging, Senior Citizen of the Year Event; Paul Grassia, Publishing ‘A Stroke of Luck’ Book; Billerica Community Alliance, Sweetheart Dinner Dance; and the Billerica Public Library Adult Book Club, Drive Up Book Drop. “Nuvera is proud to be able to give back to the community that has welcomed us warmly since our arrival in 2007,” commented Francesco Fragasso, Vice President of Finance at Nuvera Fuel Cells. “We are happy to offer our support to these organizations and look forward to continuing to grow our business in Billerica.” Nuvera Fuel Cells is a global leader in the development of fuel cell systems and fuel processors for both end users and OEMs. With offices located in the U.S. and Europe, Nuvera provides clean, safe, and efficient products for industrial vehicles and equipment in addition to furthering the development of power systems for automotive and transportation applications. Danielle Andre Marketing Communications Specialist Nuvera Fuel Cells

Liana, At the Billerica Partners for Education Board of Director’s November meeting, the 2010-2011 Classroom Innovative Grants were approved as recommended by the Grants Committee and its Chair, Tony Garas. Other members included Kim Burns of Middlesex Community College, Joy Beaubien-Harmer of Enterprise Bank, Cheryl Fuccillo of Ditson Elementary and Sara Bairos of BMHS. The total grants awarded were $18,790. Over 52 grant proposals were presented with 34 proposals accepted. These grants are about budget type items and are for innovative ideas for the teachers to instruct with the costs borne by the Partners for Education. The BPE has provided over $179,000 in grants over the years. Large scale grants were awarded to Kerri-Ann O’Donnell, BMHS; Carla Fitzgerald, Marshall Middle; Marion DePierro and Amy Weinrich of Locke Middle; Megan Keough & Deb Daigle and Jane Milanes of Ditson Elementary and Kayla Schnell of Dutile Elementary. Small scale grants were awarded to BMHS, Locke Middle, Kennedy, Dutile, Hajjar, and Vining Elementary Schools along with High School Food Service. The Billerica Partners of Education raise fund from their Annual Fights for Education Night and the Electuary Talent Shows. Added recently is the Electuary Spelling Bee and the Middle Schools Talent Show. All funds raised at these events go to fund the Grant programs. Bernie Hoar The Partners For Education To The Editor, I have had the pleasure and honor of serving as Chair of the Billerica Democratic Town Committee for the past three years. I have decided not to seek re-election as Chair at this year’s Annual Meeting on February 14th. I want to thank my fellow officers and all those who supported me during my tenure, especially those who worked on the Annual Family Outing. Since both Vice-chair Mike Rea and myself will be in Florida for both the Caucus and Annual Meeting, I have assigned Treasurer Shawn Hanegan as Acting Chair along with the assistance of Secretary Ellen Sargent. As a Life member of the Committee, I will remain active and give my full support to the new officers for 2011. Bernie Hoar Chair, Billerica DTC

4 / / February 2011

Sunshine, Seniors and Smiles All in One

Ask Dr. Gina

By Liana Measmer

Holiday time can be a lonely time if you aren’t sharing it with loved ones. More so for a senior citizen, who may have lost a spouse or whose family lives far away. That’s why a group of local women set out to offer some holiday cheer to local seniors who were alone this season. Marie Morrison, Jo Leary, Patricia Coye, Arlene Mazmanian, and Cynthia McCormack got together to create the ‘Sunshine Gals’, a group devoted to do just that. Bring sunshine to others. Along with volunteers Linda Parks, Cheryl Coye, and Bill Foley, this group launched their first event and hosted a Christmas Eve lunch for 67 senior citizens that warmed their hearts. “We hope to host something like this two or three times a year,” said McCormack. For guest Lucille MacKinnon, this event was enjoyable. A widow for 25 years, MacKinnon knows all too well what it’s like to spend Christmas Eve by herself. Although she leads an active life and enjoys spending her time at the Senior Center, she finds her circle of friends doesn’t always include other couples, the folks she spent the most time with before. “It’s not easy,” said MacKinnon. By going to the Christmas Eve dinner, MacKinnon got to share this holiday with other people she knew, folks who were alone too. She especially liked the home cooked meal, the DJ and the little cookie tins each guest received as a gift. “It was such a nice thing right before Christmas,” said MacKinnon. Back in October, the planning began. The group decided on the Lodge of the Elks as a venue and a full turkey dinner with all the ‘fixins’ on the menu. The group wanted to thank the generous individuals, businesses and groups, like the Lions Club, DJ Curtis Knight, The Emblem Club, and the Elks, who donated money and services. The group of volunteers gathered a list of seniors and sent out 75 invitations for dinner. The end result was 67 attendees. Although the dinner was scheduled to start at noon, folks excitedly began arriving at 10:30 am. Once seated, they began enjoying the moist roasted turkey, creamy mashed potatoes and cooked veggies with cranberry sauce, all topped by Morrison’s secret ‘world famous’ gravy. (Rumor has it that the gravy is ‘secret’ because no one’s quite sure how to make it again!) When asked why they gave up their holiday, the answer was clear. “We are all fortunate,” said Morrison. Once dinner ended, DJ Curtis Knight gave everyone sheets of sing along songs and Santa himself made an appearance, stopping at each table to say ‘hello’. “They all loved him,” said McCormack. By 2:30 pm, after desserts and coffee and a lot of smiles and laughter, the crowd said their good-byes. The volunteers, in their red aprons, kicked off their shoes and relaxed while DJ Curtis Knight continued playing holiday favorites. A great success, the group reflected over their day and recalled their purpose. Giving and selflessness. “That’s what holidays are about-Others,” said Mazmanian.

Improve Your Health, Make a Friend

By Dr. Gina Aguayo, Ph. D.

Another year is upon us and with it have come many new opportunities to enhance our lives and well being. One way to improve your well being this year is to increase the number of friendships/positive relationships in your life or develop new ones, if you are lacking in this area. This sounds like an easy task to accomplish; however, it very often is not. Perhaps the many barriers people may encounter make this task seem too difficult to achieve. One common obstacle people bump into is not knowing where to meet new people. Another is figuring out how to shift acquaintances into close and lasting friends. One more impediment can be feeling uncomfortable with new people or situations. All of these sticking points can be overcome with some planning and a determination. To overcome the possibility that meeting new people is difficult because your life does not give you opportunities to do this naturally, plan for it. Do you go to the same lunch place every day? Make small talk with the people working there. They will begin to remember you (and the way you like your sandwich) which could lead to a more in-depth conversation. Do you take a walk everyday for exercise? Find a walking group and join them instead of hoofing it alone. Use the internet: Facebook,, craigslist. You need to do some searching, but the payoff could be great! If you are one of those people with a ton of acquaintances but no real friends, you are ahead of the game. All these relationships need is a little nurturing to become full fledged friendships. If you normally interact with these people via technology (facebook, email, text) ask them if they would like to meet for coffee or lunch and converse in person. Find out when you would be able to schedule a mutually interesting activity like a movie or attending a sporting event. Time together, in person, makes the relationship stronger and eventually become a true friendship. Some people have a very difficult time being in new situations and/or interacting with new people. The best way to minimize these feelings is to set the environment up such that it is as familiar and comfortable for you as possible. If you are meeting someone new, meet him/ her at the café in your favorite bookstore. If you are going to your first tennis lesson, bring along someone you know and you can both benefit from the instruction. Another reason to keep at it is that the more often you engage in a behavior that causes you some distress the less of an affect it has on you. Remember, as difficult as this may sound, it is for you. Spending some time focused on your well being is important and enhancing your social connections at the same time is the bonus! Gina M. Aguayo, Ph.D. is co-owner and Director of the Billerica Counseling Center and has been a practicing Psychologist for 10 years. If you have questions that you would like Dr. Gina to answer, please email her at

Guess the Riddle... Win an iPod Nano! The Riddle is:

Music for me moves my dancin’ feet, And when I draw, I get a start to art. Math and Science and Phonics too, Oh Boy! Don’t these just make me so smart? Which ad am I? Email us the the Ad and which page it’s on... See details on Page 1. Good Luck!

February 2011 / /5

One Heart to Serve Many By Karen West

If home is where the heart is, and charity begins at home, then charity begins at Cor Unum. If Cor Unum is a foreign concept to you, consider yourself lucky. The Cor Unum Meal Center (literal translation is ‘One Heart’) is a not-for-profit meal center located in South Lawrence, one of the poorest cities in the United States and the poorest in Massachusetts. Its purpose is to provide nutritious meals in a safe environment to anyone in need. More than 200,000 meals are served annually, 365 days of the year. Hunger does not take a holiday and neither does Cor Unum. It’s Christmas Eve, and like many of you, I am spending time sharing laughs with close friends. However, this particular Christmas Eve has brought us to Cor Unum to volunteer as servers and bus staff. Outside it’s a mere 31 degrees and the winds are gusting to 20 mph. The dinner guests have started to arrive, patiently waiting at the door. After receiving our staff aprons and a 20-minute briefing, I am thankful for the restaurant experience that I did have. Just my years working in the home office helped me to better maneuver throughout the dining room and kitchen. Though there were some hiccups along the way, the experience was one that was both rewarding and eye-opening. My friend, Dawn, and I paired up to serve three-course meals along with a selection of beverages to singles, couples, families, and unsupervised teens. As the night progressed, I realized that some of the volunteers were also those in need, as they sat down for their own hot meal. Mostly everyone was pleasant and, as some guests concluded their meals and left, they extended us a “Merry Christmas”. One gentleman wearing a reflector jacket even thanked me for sharing my Christmas Eve with him. Another man kissed the hands of several of the lady volunteers. Undoubtedly, I will remember some of the faces – like a very polite little boy in the blue and white striped shirt, the older man with the ponytail, and the young man with the kind face and soft eyes. “You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give,” are words by Kahlil Gibran, novelist and poet. I believe that giving both is important. To find out more about the center, visit or call (978) 688-8900.

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Guided by Character, Driven by Heart Contributed By Staff Reports

Those who live by their hearts do the right thing every day because it’s the right thing to do. This is the vibrant color of their hearts called character. Ten remarkable everyday people recently received the Heart of Billerica Award as a thank you making a difference to others and their community. This new annual award, created by The Billerica Green, recognizes the everyday person who makes life better by simply living theirs. No town leaders or heads of organizations are considered, since those folks, who also do plenty, get recognition more often. Once announced in June, The Billerica Green Selection Committee received numerous nominations. On the evening of the award, more than 150 people, including Selectmen Bob Correnti, Mike Rosa, and Marc Lombardo; State Representative Bill Greene; and Town Manager John Curran, came to the Buck Auditorium to applaud those who may not have otherwise been honored. The town and state officials presented each recipient with a proclamation and the Billerica Green awarded them a plaque recounting the Story of the Starfish (Check it out on page 7). “The Billerica Green has been in business just over one year and, as a celebration, we wanted to thank the town by recognizing these unsung heroes,” said Publisher and Managing Editor Liana Measmer. “We wanted those of you who quietly make a difference, one simple act at a time, to be appreciated.” Council on Aging (COA) Director Donna Popkin was on hand to help introduce the TILL Wheelchair Dance group, Dances with Wheels. This group got their start by performing at the COA

and went onto to raise over $2000 for the Billerica Scholarship Foundation in their ‘Smell The Roses’ show. The scholarship is for a special needs student planning to attend college. This ensemble believes it’s their responsibility to be contributing members of society. “I want to say congratulations and keep on dancing,” said Popkin. Playground Coordinator, Sandy Libby, a driving force behind the ‘Take 5’ litter pick-up program, was emotional when she described Andy Brant. Although head injured, Brant keeps Billerica streets clean by picking up every piece of debris on Boston Road, between Sal’s Pizza and the Town Common. “I find it comforting to see Andy’s face around town,” said Libby. “Andy takes it to a new level.” Courtney Finn received her parents’, Laureen and Brian Goguen, award on their behalf. In March 2008, the Goguens hosted a Belizean woman and her three year old daughter who was in need of medical care at MGH in Boston. Without hesitation, this family took them into their home and for five weeks, they also opened their wallet, car door, refrigerator and heart to this mother and child. “They took this family in with grace and love,” said Finn. “This town is better to have them in it.” Neelam Wali took the microphone next to honor her friend Jo Leary. Leary visits elderly senior citizens, ensuring they have food, are healthy and safe and keep their doctor’s appointments. She’s spent numerous hours helping one of the town’s ‘gems’, Ms. Mary Pasho, who recently passed away at 90 years old.

“She is a lady who cares, gives, goes out of her way to help seniors and is funny when she is doing it,” said Wali. “ We need people like her.” Lisa Marie Noke Kearney understands the heartache of a special needs child. Her son, Ryan, was diagnosed at 18 months old with autism. Autism inhibits a person’s ability to communicate, respond to surroundings and form relationships. As a mom, Noke Kearney had to reprogram her expectations and chose to channel her grief and gratitude positively. She is active in autism organizations like Advocates for Autism of MASS (AFAM) which provide family support and lobby for state and federal funding. She specifically thanked Representative Greene who has supported her efforts and the cause for autism. “I have enjoyed working with your office,” said Noke-Kearney. “You’re fantastic.” Katie McCarthy, a Realtor at Burns and Egan Realty Group, nominated co-owner Bill Egan. She pointed out this local resident, who has raised his children and grandchildren here, shows his pride through his contributions and personal achievements, with one being a Little League coach for 40 years. “He’s a guy who has a great heart and truly makes me proud to be born and raised in Billerica,” said McCarthy. Egan humbly thanked his family and friends, explaining he never coached a problem child, attributing this success to the need for patience. “I was lucky enough to coach,” said Egan. “I’m so fortunate.” With a push in Billerica to explore homeschooling, parents choosing this path are always seeking enrichment activities for their children. Billerica Homeschooling Association co-founder, Jen Croce, wanted homeschoolers to participate in the town wide art show so she approached local artist, Colleen Sgroi to inquire how. Sgroi advised Croce but then took it one step further. Sgroi established art classes for homeschooled children in order to offer them enhanced curriculums. “I believe Colleen embodies the spirit that the Heart of Billerica award was designed to recognize,” said Croce. Our veterans are self-sacrificing, devoted, and committed. Kathleen Vogan, Secretary of the Planning Board and the Solomon Post VFW, nominated Jim Brennan for exuding these qualities. Brennan, past Commander and current board member of the VFW Solomon Post, spent a lot of time planning the Solomon Brothers Memorial, located at the intersection of Boston Road and Pollard Street. With his creative imagination, Brennan made his dream a reality in 2008. The walkway of the memorial is made of bricks that are dedicated to loved ones and Brennan The Story of The Starfish has now decided to donate bricks for every veteran we have lost from A man was walking along the beach Billerica. where the sand was littered with “I wanted to ensure it will be starfish. The tide had gone out and maintained when I’m gone,” said they were all dying, unable to get back to the Brennan. ocean. In the distance, the man saw a boy bendChandrakant Patel is described ing over, picking up starfish one at a time and as an unsung hero who quietly tossing them back into the surf. The man watched makes a difference. From Februintently and then approached the boy. ary to April, five days a week, Patel “What are you doing?” asked the man. “There gives of his time and expertise free are thousands of them. Too many for you to ever of charge to those needing tax asmake a difference.” sistance. In 2010 alone, he successfully prepared over 200 returns. The boy bent, picked up a starfish,tossed it into He was nominated by Billerica the water and smiled at his elder. Public Library Assistant Librarian “It made a difference to that one.” Priscilla Vaughn, and when he took the microphone, he ‘thanked’ the US Senate for such a complex piece of legislation. “For most people, what constitutes a hero is open to personal interpretation,” said Vaughn. “To many community residents, Mr. Patel is a hero.” Wrapping up the evening was a daughter paying tribute to her parents. Jennifer Bourdeau honored her parents, Donna and Roy Schafer, who coached Little League and Basketball for their children, having since gone on to coach these sports for their grandchildren. Now, they are also involved in the Little League Challenger League for special needs athletes. The Schafers explained their children and grandchildren are their pride and joy. Donna explained when the announcement arrived in the mail, she almost threw it out, thinking it was a political election postcard. When she read it again, she ran to tell her husband the news. “You’re not going to believe what she did this time,” said Donna never expecting something like this. Before leaving, the Board of Selectmen, Representative Bill Greene and his aide, Ellen Rawlings, DJ Todd Dellaporta, the Heart of Billerica Selection Committee, Susan Akers from the Town Manager’s office, Dan Vitale of town electrical services, and Mr. Herrick who set up the auditorium were thanked. “To those who nominated and those who received awards, it is you who really are the Heart of Billerica,” said Measmer.

February 2011 / /7

Andy Brant: Keeping Billerica Streets Clean

TILL Wheelchair Dancers: Inspiring Others to Soar

By Liana Measmer

By Liana Measmer

“Perhaps it’s good to have a beautiful mind, but an even greater gift is to have a beautiful heart.” – John Nash

“Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.” -Sir James Barrie

Andy Brant never thought his life would change forever in a split second. Following a serious car accident, Brant was in a coma for nine months, requiring multiple surgeries with no assurance he would walk again. Brant went on to beat the odds and move out on his own. The pain of life post head trauma lead him to vacillating between sobriety and drinking before moving into the Twelve Step Education Program, a sober house in Billerica, ten years ago. He is proud of his 10 + years of sobriety. “This is a great house,” said Brant. Since he now lives with an impaired right side, riding a bike is an easier mode of getting around. On Boston Road a few years ago, Brant noticed a significant amount of litter. Knowing a fall off his bicycle could be dangerous, Brant decided to help the town and pick up the trash all along Route 3A. Initially, he thought to protect those who may be handicapped or elderly but today he proudly does this for everyone. “I’m a volunteer and I don’t want to see anyone get hurt,” said Brant. “I like to help out.” Every morning at 7 am, Brant dons rubber gloves, grabs a plastic bag and starts picking. He starts at his residence and finishes two hours later at the town common. Brant appreciates a beep or a wave, which feels like a thank you. Twelve Step House Director Phil Molonson said Brant has more energy than anyone in the house and demonstrates a really great work ethic. “I wish we had 50 guys like him here,” complimented Molonson. Brant wants to encourage others to get involved by not throwing trash out their car window. “If people got involved, we’d live in a very clean community,” said Brant.

The superstars that grace the halls of Toward Independent Living (TILL) on Boston Road love living by the code: bring smiles to others. This day program has been assisting individuals with special needs build skills while involving them in community opportunities to serve others. One such group is the Dances with Wheels team consisting of Allison Hill, Lisa Roy, Heather March and Dennis Fryar. These four adults, under the guidance and direction TILL Staff, don’t allow the confines of their wheelchairs stop them from performing. “We don’t care what your disability is,” said TILL Site Supervisor, Doug Townsend. “You can still dance.” Dances with Wheels started in 2006 intended to introduce new sensory therapies through music since there was not much opportunity for those in wheelchairs to dance. What has evolved over time is a group which has performed about 50 times throughout Massachusetts since its inception to over 3,000 people, bringing smiles, joy and hope to anyone who watches in amazement. “No one had ever thought what the impact of wheelchair dancing would be to those who do not get the opportunity to do so,” said Townsend. “These individuals are pioneers in what they do.” Each dancer brings something unique to the table. Allison Hill is the voice for the group. She instills hope in those who hear her since she believes the group shows others they CAN. “They don’t see our wheelchairs,” said Hill. “They see us as people.” Lisa Roy is the light of this circle, with her beautiful contagious smile. Roy is a performer who dances alone because she can maneuver her motorized wheelchair well. She wants people to feel good. “People’s faces light up,” said Roy. “This gives them meaning. They can get up and try it.” continued on page 14

8 / / February 2011

Jim Brennan: Remembering Our Fallen Heroes

Bill Egan: A Heart for Good Sportsmanship

The Goguens: Good Neighbors Know No Borders

Jo Leary: Champion for Homebound Seniors

By Nora Fiore

By Angie Orenstein

By Angie Orenstein

By Angie Orenstein

“Each one of us has a fire in our heart for something. It’s our goal in life to find it and to keep it lit.” – Mary Lou Retton

“If people like you, they’ll give you a hand. But if they trust you, they’ll give you their heart. And heart to heart, we can face anything together.” – Steve Goodier

“The heart is the happiest when it beats for others.” – God’s Little Instruction Book

“The best and most beautiful things in this world cannot be seen or even heard, but must be felt with the heart.” – Helen Keller (1880-1968)

Jim Brennan believes in honor and pride. He is responsible for the Solomon Brother’s Memorial on the corner of Route 3A and Pollard Street, by the 7-11 convenience store. Brennan was the commander of the VFW Solomon Post and this cause had been near and dear to his heart. Brennan, who is a veteran, comes from a military family with a father who was a WWI & WWII veteran as well as eight of 14 siblings serving in the military. “I wanted to honor the Solomon brothers for their heroic sacrifice to our country,” said Brennan. Brennan got the idea in 2000 and flew with it. He designed the memorial himself, then set out to fund it. Brennan held weekly raffles to raise money but that was only the beginning. He then approached the planning board to get an easement since 7-11 owned part of the land. Once that was all set, Boy Scout Troop 55 and some Eagle scouts helped put up the fence, dig the walk, and lay the bricks. Jim is now accepting Billerica resident’s names to engrave on the bricks as a fundraiser for maintenance of this space. “Jim worked tirelessly to get the memorial built,” said Bob Solomon, a member of the Solomon family. The memorial honors Robert Wesley Solomon , a Naval veteran and Albert Solomon, an Army veteran. Both were lost at war. Robert’s twin David Solomon, also a veteran, is Brennan’s friend. “I’m proud of Jim and all of the hard work that went into it,” said Bob. “The memorial came out beautifully and we’re honored by it.”

After forty years of coaching Billerica Little League, one would think he was ready to throw in the towel, but every year Bill Egan tells his wife – “just one more year!” In the 1950s, Bill played Little League on Pollard Field and four decades ago, his childhood friend, Phil Hajjar, asked him to coach The Red Sox. Bill still coaches this team for 9 to 12 year olds today. Bill told Hajjar he just wanted to work with the kids but the dedicated coach eventually became more involved, serving in such capacities as league president, publicity director, and currently, head of the scholarship committee. Bill and his wife have three sons, two daughters, and 14 grandchildren, 11 of whom play sports. After 37 years of working at Raytheon, Bill retired in 2004 and opened a real estate business – Burns & Egan – with his daughter, Kelly. Keith Farrow, President of the Billerica Little League, was not surprised Bill was given a Heart of Billerica Award. He called this gentleman one of the better teachers of the game. “He’s about preparing the kids for the ups and downs of not just baseball but also life,” said Farrow. “He’s all about giving back to the community and the kids.” Bill said he’s proud he’s never argued with an umpire or raised his voice to a player. Bill likes watching the difference in his team from the beginning of the season to the end. He tells them never be afraid to fail, do their best and never give up. “My message to everyone is to get involved, with sports, senior citizens,” said Bill. “No matter what you put into it, you’re going to get it back many times over.”

Imagine taking complete strangers into your home, becoming family to them for several weeks, and helping them with all their needs. That’s what Brian and Laureen Goguen did for a woman from Belize and her threeyear-old daughter who required life saving open heart surgery at Mass General Hospital. “This is just one example of their generosity,” said their daughter, Courtney Finn, who pointed out her parents have often hosted exchange students and other people in need. “They do everything for everybody. They really deserve this.” When you ask Brian about his hospitality, he just shakes his head and says it was nothing. That it’s other Rotary Club members who deserve recognition and not him. Brian, a financial advisor and CPA, is a lifelong resident of Billerica and for about 15 years has been a member of The Rotary Club. This organization sponsors numerous humanitarian projects such as Gift of Life – a program addressing the medical needs of children and, for those taking part in Gift of Life, all medical expenses are paid for by Rotary International. More of the other programs Rotary sponsors are listed on The country of Belize, formerly known as British Honduras, is the only Central American country where English is the official language. This, said Brian, made it easier for them to communicate. During their weeks together, Jaada and Martha became a part of the Goguen family, meeting friends, having meals together, watching television, and travelling into Boston for doctor appointments and for the surgery. Jaada is now home in Belize with her mother, is happy, healthy and slated to live a full normal life since the hole in her heart has been repaired.

When Neelam Wali first met Jo Leary six years ago at the Billerica Senior Center, Jo was dressed in a lively costume, providing entertainment and making people laugh. Neelam noticed her right away. “She made those people feel wonderful,” said Wali, owner of Printing and Graphics Services and member of many non-profit groups in town. Leary still stops in at the senior center but she now spends more of her time visiting several homebound senior citizens in Billerica. She will drive them to medical appointments, take them shopping, bring them food, and mainly be a listening ear for elderly people who do not get out very much. A Billerica resident for 30 years, Leary, who has a dazzling smile and elegant British accent, grew up in England where she often tagged along with her mother to visit aging friends. Her mother, recently passed away at 90 years old. “It’s kind of a way of life, visiting elderly people,” said Leary. “It’s something you just do , like getting up and getting dressed in the morning.” Leary said it’s vital for seniors to be able to sit and talk with someone who will listen so they can get things off their chest. Just a short visit can mean a lot, she said. “She is very humble and does not do this for personal gain,” said Wali, who nominated Leary for The Heart of Billerica Award. “In the back of her mind always is how she can help people.”

February 2011 / /9

Lisa Marie Noke-Kearney: Advocate Giving Voice to Autism

Chandrakant Patel: Tax Help with a Smile

Roy and Donna Schafer: Generations of Team Spirit

Colleen Sgroi: Opening Doors for Homeschooler’s Art

By Nora Fiore

By Angie Orenstein

By Nora Fiore

By Nora Fiore [Liana Measmer contributed to this article]

“Do your work with your whole heart, and you will succeed - there’s so little competition.” – Elbert Hubbard

“It is essential to our well-being, and to our lives, that we play and enjoy life. Every single day do something that makes your heart sing.” – Marcia Wieder

“Great beauty and great riches are really of no great use; a right heart exceeds all.” – Benjamin Franklin

“There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.” – John Andrew Holmes, Jr. To look at Lisa Marie Noke- Kearney, the first thing you notice is her welcoming smile. A smile that has been extended to numerous families who seek the very thing she lobbies for every day. Autism Advocacy. Noke- Kearney comes to her role with a lot of experience. Mom to Ryan, an autistic eleven year old who resides in a residential school through Melmark, she has overcome numerous challenges in raising him. Autism is a disorder inhibiting a person’s ability to communicate, respond to surroundings and form relationships. Changed forever by Autism, Noke-Kearney channeled her energies positively and got active with many organizations. Among the many hats she wears, Noke-Kearney is active in the National Alliance Autism Research Organization (NAAR), is a board member of The Special Needs Advocacy Network as well as presently working as an educational advocate. Noke -Kearney also belongs to the Advocates for Autism of Mass. (AFAM) where she is the co-chair of the Government Affairs Committee. Here she works collaboratively in preparing for the annual “Autism Awareness Day” event, which takes place at the State House every April. Legislators come to this event and meet families who have an autistic child, learn about the challenges these families face and hear what they can do to help them. “You never look at things the same way,” said Noke-Kearney. “If I can help someone else, it’s all I want to do.” Noke-Kearney is happy to report that continued on page 24

Chandrakant Patel, according to Billerica Public Library’s Assistant Librarian Priscilla Vaughn, is one of Billerica’s unsung heroes. Patel prefers to make a difference behind the scenes and has done so since 2004 when he began volunteering in tax preparation. He has been a fixture in the Billerica Public Library five days a week from February until April, helping people prepare and file their taxes. Patel, a native of India, came to this country with his family and was an engineer before moving here. To keep his mind active, he enrolled in a tax preparation course offered through the AARP. “America has one of the most complicated tax codes in the world,” said Patel. “This results in many well educated people missing out on important tax credits.” Since Patel is a volunteer, he doesn’t accept money, although once when offered to him, he asked that the person make a donation to AARP instead. It didn’t take long to understand what he did was so much more than just taxes. He has realized how happy his service makes people since completing their taxes can be a daunting task. “One of the best responses I heard was: ‘Oh Mr. Patel, you make this so painless,’” Patel chuckled. Vaughn described Patel as pleasant, confident and competent in what he does, calling him a ‘breath of fresh air’. She asked him why he volunteers his time and his response was simple. “The community has given so much to me and my family,” explained Patel. “It’s time to give a little back.”

Over soothing cups of hot coffee at McDonalds on a crisp Tuesday morning, Roy and Donna Schafer talk cheerfully of coaching children’s sports teams in Billerica for the past three decades. Beginning in 1978, by coaching their sons’ Little League and basketball teams, and continuing to do the same for their grandchildren, the Schafer’s main focus now is on Billerica’s Little League Challenger Division, a program for mentally and physically disabled youth. Jenn Bourdeau, the Schafer’s daughter who nominated them for A Heart of Billerica Award, also helps out with the Challenger teams. “There’s no pressure, no stress and everyone hits a home run ,” said Bourdeau, about the Challenger League. “There’s more team spirit, less competition, and more hugs. People are just happy to be there.” The Schafers moved to Billerica in 1969, had three children, and now nine grandchildren. Both began coaching for their kids’ teams when their oldest turned eight, and Roy also worked as a volunteer for his daughter’s school drama club. Roy took the role of coach and Donna was the assistant coach at a time when women were rarely involved with sports. The Challenger League consists of six teams with a total of 66 players with a wide range of disabilities. They are between the ages of five to their early twenties, said Phil Doiron, Director of the Challenger Division. Eileen and Gary Cole’s son, Brian, age 17, has Down’s Syndrome and has played on the Schafers’ team since the Challenger League began. continued on page 24

Colleen Sgroi is a well known artist in the Billerica community. You encounter bits and pieces of her everywhere around town. In the library, on the front of the Enterprise Bank on Route 3A, in several businesses where her work is displayed, and in her newspaper columns. That is exactly why Jen Croce nominated her. Croce is part of a homeschooling group that wanted their children to participate in the town wide art show. She approached Sgroi about how to achieve this since Sgroi served as a chairperson for the Billerica Arts Council. “Colleen was the catalyst that set up the homeschoolers in the Billerica art show,” said Jen. “I was amazed at how quickly she got it done.” Sgroi has always been generous with her art work as well, always willing to give a donation to a good cause. In the past, she has given her time working with the Billerica Historical Society and the Yankee Doodle Committee. She is wrapping up a project with the children at the Kennedy school involving 6x6 tiles. Each grade picked a positive word, then each child drew what that word meant to them. The tiles are being scanned and made into banners which will hang in the school. The children will be surrounded by their work and positive words. “I want people to know how giving Colleen is,” said Croce. “She puts some of herself in everything she does and is truly inspirational.”

Photo: Ginny Penrose

10 / / February 2011

The Art of Generosity

Everyday Green

The Elks Build Stronger Communities By Liana Measmer

When you think about the Lodge of the Elks, often social events come to mind. Hall rentals for town events and personal functions. However, they are so much more than that. You only have to see them on the back of a fire engine, dressed in character and visiting our pediatric nursing home or local life care center to know behind all the fur and garb beat hearts committed to service. “People don’t realize we are charitable and fraternal first,” said Ray Mahoney, Elks member. The Elks are a fraternal order with nearly a million members and a 141-year history. With a network of more than 2,000 lodges in communities all over the country, this organization has established programs through a generous charitable foundation that each year gives millions in scholarships as well as sponsor events that engage all ages. “All through the year, we’re out raising money,” said Michael Canfield, District Deputy. Their Americanism committee sponsors an essay contest for children in grades 5-8 to give school children the opportunity to express their views on America and what being a patriotic citizen means. The yearly Elks Hoop Shoot Free Throw Program is open to all boys and girls ages 8 through 13. The Elks Drug Awareness Program distributes literature and organizes events to make children and their parents aware of the dangers posed by alcohol, tobacco and illegal drugs. The Veterans Service Commission has patriotically served those Elks who have fought in the military. And, through several grant components, the Elks National Foundation will invest up to $2.3 million to help Elks make their communities better. Their generosity is evident everywhere in Billerica. Through Billerica’s Lodge #2071, donations have been made to help organizations like the Boys and Girls Club. When the new club building was being built, the Elks made a sizeable donation to aid in the capital campaign. “We really appreciated their support,” said Executive Director Ray Nagy. “We consider them to be a partner with us and the other youth organizations in town in making life better for the kids in Billerica.” Strong supporters of scouting, our local Elks have helped local Boy Scout Troop 30 on more than one occasion. From providing meeting space, to use of the main hall, to aiding in gear storage and donating money to the troop every year supporting Eagle Ceremonies, Troop 30 was completely grateful to receive their help. “I cannot imagine an organization that could be more supportive to a boy scout troop than the Elks,” said Troop 30 Secretary Fred Liberatore. “We are so fortunate to be one of the Elks philanthropic recipients and cannot thank them enough for their long term, continuous, and generous support.” In Billerica, the Elks believe in growing children’s mind. That is why they give every third grader in the town their own dictionary. For many, this is the first time they ever owned one. Students at the Parker School recently sent ‘Thank You’ notes expressing gratitude for the spelling help their dictionary provides and the fact they now can access words with ease. One little girl wrote: “I feel real happy because I know every word in the world.” For more info on these and other Elks programs, call the lodge at (978) 667-5351 or the office at (978) 667-2283.

Cleaning Green Welcome to Everyday Green. For me, “being green” is a way of life. It helps me keep myself and my family healthy, save money, and feel like I’m really making a difference in the world. It’s my belief that even very modest changes in how we live can make a significant impact. So, I bring to you Everyday Green in hopes of helping you make each day a little greener. What better way to get a fresh start on this New Year than by trading in your expensive, smelly, chemical-laden cleaning products for cheap, non-toxic, earthfriendly solutions you can make right at home. With a few simple items, like vinegar, baking soda, and peroxide, you can get your house just as clean as with traditional cleaning products. You’ll save money on cleaning supplies, keep the plastic bottles they come in out of our landfills, and avoid harsh chemicals that can cause eye, skin, and respiratory irritations. The two workhorses of the green cleaning arsenal are distilled white vinegar and 3% hydrogen peroxide. You can clean and disinfect most of your house with these two easy-to-find and inexpensive products. Thanks to its acidity, distilled white vinegar is effective at killing most mold, bacteria, and viruses. Put full strength vinegar in a spray bottle to create an all-purpose cleaner you can use on glass, mirrors, doorknobs, sinks, appliances, and countertops (just avoid using it on marble). Mix a cup of vinegar with a gallon of water to clean vinyl and linoleum floors. In place of harsh bathroom cleaning products use

By Sonia Lacombe undiluted vinegar on bathtubs and showers (add a little baking soda for extra scrubbing power). Hydrogen peroxide (the 3% solution available at pharmacies and grocery stores) is a nontoxic antibacterial that kills viruses, mold, and mildew. It is an all-natural alternative to chlorine bleach. Anything you typically clean with bleach can be cleaned with peroxide. This includes countertops, sinks, cutting boards, baths, toilets, and garbage pails. Just spray it on, allow the bubbles to subside (peroxide needs time to disinfect) and wipe. In laundry, bleach can be substituted with one cup of hydrogen peroxide. You can also soak items, like toothbrushes, sponges, retainers, and loofahs, in hydrogen peroxide to disinfect them. Using vinegar and peroxide together (spray vinegar first, then peroxide) creates a one-two punch that is as effective as bleach at killing bacteria like E. coli and Salmonella, but is safe enough to use on produce without so much as an aftertaste. As for wood furniture, the best way to dust is with nothing more than a damp cloth. Commercial wood polishes can contain harsh chemicals and leave a very hardto-remove residue. For an all-natural polish mix two parts olive oil with one part lemon juice and apply it using a soft cloth. Use these cleaning solutions with rags you make out of old towels and t-shirts (saving money on paper towels and reducing waste) and you’re ready to clean green in 2011!

As is tradition for a Selectman who does not return to the bench due to loss of an election or retirement, State Representative Marc Lombardo was honored on Jan. 3rd by the remaining members of the board with his retirement rocking chair. Here Lombardo is seen with his two young children, Guytano and Angelina.

February 2011 / /11

A Picture’s Worth a Thousand Words Photo Contest

838 Boston Road

Billerica, MA 01821

(978) 667- 0021



Congratulations to our A1 Foto Gift Certificate winner last month, Jeanne Osborn, President and CEO of the Greater Lowell Chamber of Commerce! She guessed the man behind the makeup: Tony Lucacio of Merrimack Valley Insurance was a VERY convincing Gene Simmons from the group KISS. Thanks for playing!

your entire food bill with this coupon.

This month, we want to know:

WHO is this behind those glasses? Email us this person’s name (not the character they are portraying). Guess right and win a $25 gift card from The Newtowne Grille at 838 Boston Road. (Billerica residents’ entries preferred, please. Employees of Newtowne Grille not eligible to enter.) Email your entries to by midnight on Feb. 9th. We’ll pick our winner and deliver your card by the weekend, Road Billerica, just in time838 forBoston VALENTINE’S DAY! MA 01821

20% will be taken off your entire food bill and does not include alcohol or tax. Does not include take-out. Limit one coupon per family. Cannot be combied with other promotions. Coupon expires 3/1/11

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your entire food bill with this coupon. 20% will be taken off your entire food bill and does not include alcohol or tax. Does not include take-out. Limit one coupon per family. Cannot be combied with other promotions. Coupon expires 3/1/11

Visit our website at On Dec. 10, the COA chose their 12 raffle winners, in time for the holidays. The COA raffle is a major fundraiser for the senior center that funds various programs. Town and State officials were on hand to honor Representative Bill Greene’s retirement as well Fred Kenyon’s, who has sat on the Friends of the COA Board for many years. Greene was described as a hands-on advocate and asset who isn’t afraid to dig into the issues. In addition to the ten third prize $50 winners, the COA announced that Heather Lowe won the $2000 grand prize and Bob Lage won the second place $300 prize.

978-663-3450 199 Boston Road Billerica, MA 01862

978-663-3450 199 Boston Road Billerica, MA 01862

New members only. Valid only at participating clubs. Free week may be exchanged for a special first visit discount. Not valid with any other offer. © 2011 Curves International, Inc. Zumba®, Zumba Fitness®, and the Zumba Fitness logos are registered trademarks of Zumba Fitness, LLC. Used with permission.

12 / / February 2011

What better way to bring in the New Year than to plan for the future. Starting school. Getting hired for a new job. Buying or selling your home. With January reports about New England coming from the Federal Housing Finance Agency stating ‘prices have leveled off and are showing a little more strength in this part of the country,’ this Spring Market may be the time to buy. The Northeast Association of Realtors, representing 1,200 Realtors in the region

Town Manager John Curran assured Realtors he understood how difficult their jobs were currently and explained the town was working to reflect real market value, both in residential and commercial properties, especially when setting tax rates. “We’re working to keep values of homes stable, if not going up,” said Curran. “We’re encouraging commercial property and are aware of economic development.” With latest MLS PIN statistics over the last six months placing Billerica median

FHA also works with approved condos and one to four family homes too. “It’s easier to get approved,” said Popson. Attorney James Haroutunian discussed the new Homestead Law, stressing there is no need to refile a homestead on a refinance. He also went on to explain the differences between short sales and short sale flips. He reiterated that short sales are not necessarily short, explaining some have taken working with lenders over two years to complete. “Strong negotiation on the front end allows for resale on the back end,” said Haroutunian. Short sales occur when the loan on a property is greater than what the property can be sold for. In many short sales, the clock is ticking. Foreclosure may be imminent and the individual doing the short sale negotiating needs to be mindful of this time frame. Certified Insurance Counselor Tony Lucacio stressed the need to help buyers become well informed and make smart decisions when it comes to homeowner’s insurance. Lucacio encouraged Realtors to reinforce to their clients the need to read as well as understand their commitment letter. Buyers should contact their insurance agent early, since certain processes like credit checks on premiums and assessing older, multifamily, or commercial properties may take longer. Lucacio explained, especially on commercial properties, subsidized and student rentals would delay the underwriting process. Lucacio went on to discuss condominiums and condexes, and the issues they posed. Again, he restated the importance of the paperwork involved, driving home the need for complete sets of condo documents which include by-laws, master deeds, and declarations of trust.

“We’ve had such a major influx of these buildings,” said Lucacio. Lastly, Economic Development Coordinator Stephanie Cronin offered exciting commercial growth news. EMD Serono, located on Middlesex Turnpike, is planning to hire 200 scientists who are hoping to find the cure for cancer. Nova Biomedical is looking to move to Billerica and may be hiring as many as 100 people.

The Leading Edge: Sharper Skills Make Local Realtors Your Trusted Advisors By Liana Measmer

and newly headquartered in Westford ( ), reported all real estate is local, so the trends in your region will garner the most current and accurate information. Just don’t do it alone. Buying a home is no small matter. Besides being the largest financial transaction you may make, it’s probably also the most complex. There are a lot of good reasons to work with a qualified real estate professional. At the Second Annual Billerica Green Real Estate Round Table on Jan. 6, six local experts and officials met with Realtors from around town to present them with information they could use to hone their expertise, empower their clients and earn consumer confidence. “ Today’s buyers and sellers have so much information at their fingertips via the web, but they lack the insight, knowledge and perspective,” said Tom Courtney, NEAR President. “It’s our job to help them with that.” So, what makes a strong and credible Realtor you can put your trust in? Suggests the National Association of Realtors, those who support ‘responsible home ownership’. These Realtors understand your specific needs, research properties, accompany you in viewing those properties, advise you in formulating your offer, and provide a list of qualified vendors for other services you may need.

prices on home sales in the mid $320’s, Courtney commented it is a good time to buy and sell. He pointed out the market is favorable to first time buyers and there is a ready supply of mortgage money at historically low interest rates. “We can see that prices that were declining are stabilizing, and that the average days on the market are down dramatically from the peak,” said Courtney. Tom Popson, Mortgage Consultant for MetLife Home Loans, reminded Realtors of the value and availability of FHA mortgages and VA loans. A VA loan is guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs against loss to the lender, and made through a private lender. (HUD homes may be purchased with a VA loan.) FHA loans are insured against loss by the Federal Housing Administration, which is a part of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Such financing allows for a lower down payment, as little as 3.5 percent, than required by most lenders. FHA loans also offer flexible credit requirements, allowing credit scores as low as 620 with exact minimums set by lenders.

Also, Cronin reported that she is looking at the Center and Boston Road and considering façade improvement programs, by reaching out to bring in more restaurants. She passed out a handout of business resources and offered to put any Realtors’ commercial listings on the town’s website, explaining the 10 percent abandoned building deduction incentive allows businesses to take a 10 percent deduction on all their expenses. “A business who starts out here and grows here is most likely to stay here,” said Cronin.

February 2011 / /13

Traveling Gourmets By Sherry and John Livsey

Milano’s Take Out: Alternative to Expensive Date Nights

If you are anything like we are lately, the idea of a romantic evening out without the kids is like a dream from your past life. Our budget and schedule are such that having a babysitter over while we go off to some fancy restaurant is just about impossible. That is why our latest celebration was take-out and a movie at home. We put the kids in front of a movie with their dinner. Meanwhile, a lovely dinner in the dining room with candles and wine was our “getaway” for the night. We ordered from Milano House of Pizza because they deliver and their menu has a great variety. They have a kids menu, which is helpful for us as one of our kids does not like pizza. One of the kids got an individual pizza and the other had the chicken tenders and fries. They were both very happy with their dinner and movie selection of “Despicable Me” for the next 95 minutes which happens to be the right amount of time to enjoy a relaxing dinner and polish off a bottle of wine. Once the kids were settled in, we took off to enjoy our “date” in the dining room. John had the fried scallop dinner with French fries and salad. I ordered the ravioli with chicken cutlet which also came with salad. The scallops were light, tender and delicious. For delivered seafood, we both thought the dinner was perfectly cooked and still quite hot. It’s difficult to get fried take out that stays crisp and dry, but we were both impressed with the quality of our food. My dinner was perfect for a cold winter night. The chicken cutlet was thick and juicy, layered with sauce and cheese then baked to golden deliciousness. I enjoyed the sweet flavor of the tomato sauce over the ravioli and the cutlet very much. The portions are very generous for the price; we could have shared one dinner but were happy to have the leftovers to enjoy for lunch. As much as we enjoy eating as a family and hearing about everyone’s day, it’s also nice to sit down as a couple and complete a sentence without interruption from time to time! The kids enjoyed the rare treat of eating in front of the TV and we enjoyed the treat of not cooking dinner, doing dishes, and collapsing in exhaustion from our long, busy day. Once the kids were settled into bed, we watched “Date Night” (how appropriate) while sipping a chocolate martini for dessert. Where else can you have a romantic dinner and movie for under $50 in your pajamas? Sometimes, there really is no place like home!

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14 / / February 2011

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By Wade Winters

Q: Do you have any thoughts on some of the new functional training equipment on the market—things like TRX bands? A: Generally speaking, I’m a fan of TRX bands and other pieces of functional training equipment. Things like TRX, the ViPR, and the Rip-Core FX are taking the fitness industry by storm, and for good reason. They’re new, innovative, and fun to use. But best of all, they’re functional, which means that using them allows you to mimic traditional daily activities, thereby improving movement, balance, coordination, and strength all at the same time. That’s pretty cool! The only real concern here is that people may not know how to use these pieces of equipment properly, which could potentially result in injury. There’s definitely a learning curve with these products, so it’s best to watch the experts first. I also strongly recommend working with a trainer until you’re completely comfortable with the training methodology. As always, the goal is to educate yourself so you can get the most out of whatever training you decide to do! Q: Several friends are using websites to track their nutrition and fitness, and they’re trying to get me to do the same. Do you think these health and wellness websites are worth the time, money, and effort? A: Ultimately, it depends on the individual. However, research has proven that consistent monitoring and added accountability can pay off in the long run when you’re looking to make lifestyle changes. This can come in many forms, but one of the most popular these days is certainly through the use of websites. They can be a great tool as you try to change your behaviors, and may be just what you need to maintain your motivation. There are a number of options out there, from basic nutrition or fitness tracking sites to others that offer a wide variety of capabilities in all areas of health and wellness. I have to admit that I’m biased when it comes to this discussion. Anytime Fitness has created one of the most progressive, comprehensive, and fun websites to use if you’re looking to facilitate your own health and wellness. It’s called Anytime Health ( The site has a diet tracker, an activity tracker, a workout planner that uses over 300 high-definition videos, as well as a robust community with a Q&A section, support groups, a contest page, and a site blog. And these features are just the tip of the iceberg. If you get a chance, check it out. About the author: Wade Winters is the owner at Anytime Fitness in Billerica, MA and an NASM Certified Personal Trainer. To submit a question for future articles, please contact the author at

TILL Wheelchair Dancers: Inspiring Others to Soar continued from page 7 Dennis Fryar, the only male in this squad, brings sweetness to the gang with an easy going smile and ready greeting. Heather March, who has previous dance experience, is the grace that brings awe. When March dances with her arms extended and her head tossed back, she looks like she is flying. Now, Dances with Wheels have become Entrepreneurs with Wheels. This group, along with performing artistically, are learning independent living skills through candy sales. The Candy Central program, designed for everyone attending TILL , teaches these adults functional objectives they carry into life. The group places boxes filled with candy to sell on store fronts’ and companies’ counters. Once the candy has been sold, TILL returns, refills and pick up the proceeds. Ten percent of the money collected goes to charity, like a local food pantry. The rest of the money helps support Dances with Wheels and community activities the group participates in. For more information on how to help, call TILL at (978) 663-5094 or email Townsend at

February 2011 / /15

Hands on the wheel and iZUP: New texting software stops the temptation By Liana Measmer

You’re driving along and your cell phone goes off. It’s a new text message. What is the automatic response? Pick it up and return the text, of course. As many know, since October 2010, if you do it, you are breaking the law. Massachusetts joined the nationwide push last fall to limit distracted driving with a no texting law that has violators facing fines as high as $500 for repeat offenses. According to the Boston Herald in the fall of 2010, there were 6,000 deaths in the US last year from distracted driving with 400 crashes in 2008 in MA alone from cell phone use. Tony Lucacio, Owner of Merrimack Valley Insurance Agency (MVINS) knows all too well the consequences of distracted driving from texting or cell phone use. With an estimated increase of 15%-20% more claims filed for cars being hit from behind, Lucacio wants to keep drivers safe. “Young drivers are constantly texting,” said Lucacio. “And professionals want to be in contact all day long.” MVINS has partnered with Plymouth Rock Assurance Corp. to offer discounts on the new texting software ‘iZUP’. An acronym for ‘Eyes Up’, this mobile application helps drivers avoid distractions on their mobile phones. When downloaded to a mobile devices, iZUP holds text messages, emails and calls if you are driving faster than 5 mph. iZUP will allow unlimited access to 911 and a list of authorized or emergency numbers. “It’s taking away the temptation while you are driving,” said Dan Ross, CEO of Illume, the Newton, MA based company that created the iZUP software. Lucacio pointed out that his most interested customers are parents who want it for their children. He pointed out they even worry if their child is a passenger, since it is common for the driver to encourage them to text from the next seat over. “Because of peer pressure, they may not tell them no,” said Lucacio. Lucacio offered a few tips for safety on the road. First, be aware of drivers around you. Those using hand held devices while driving can be easy to spot. If they are drifting on the main roads, driving at slow speeds on the highway, have repeated acceleration and deceleration patterns, swerve or coast onto the rumble strip, or bump you from behind, chances are they are texting. “Use common sense,” said Lucacio to those drivers. “Put the phone down.” Of course, reprogramming may take time. Lucacio recommended safely pulling over to take a call or text. He suggested driving defensively and letting those pass you who seem distracted behind the wheel. When asked how one would handle withdrawal, Lucacio reassured the driver that after a period of time of not using the phone in the car, the driver would get along fine. Since, really, what did we do before cell phones? “If you can’t put it down, consider the software,” said Lucacio. “I think it will help you.” iZUP is relatively inexpensive at $4.95/month and $49.95/year for individuals or $9.95/month and $79.95/year for the family plan. However, Plymouth Rock customers in MA can enjoy a 25% discount on a 12 month iZUP subscription through their special savings pass program. This applies on services that are continued without interruption. Contact Merrimack Valley Insurance Agency at 978-667-2541 or visit for more details. “This is you taking responsibility for yourself,” said Lucacio.

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16 / / February 2011

Frosty Festivities Choose one of these unique spots for your child’s next cool celebration By Liana Measmer

There are lots of directions to go when planning a child’s birthday party. Hosting at home and inviting lots of guests is a classic option. Although you won’t need to go out anywhere, it does require tidying up beforehand as well as some food prep. Once all the joyful mayhem has ceased, it will often leave the host with a certain mess to clean. The next time you are looking for a fun locale to host a birthday bash, look no further than your own backyard. Well, not literally ‘your backyard’. Billerica! The New Glacial Frontier: Ice Cream Bakeries Ice cream is not just for summertime anymore. This popular warm weather delight is just as delectable in the chilly winter months as when the sun is heating up the sky. And Piece Ah Cake Owner Gina Fernandez takes it to the next level. “People gravitate toward ice cream in the winter after dinner,” said Fernandez. Fernandez creates dessert masterpieces by combining baked goods with ice cream. Fernandez can make ice cream filled cookies, ice cream filled cupcakes, and ice cream filled cannoli’s. Her popular sellers are mini Whoopee Pies, Death by Chocolate ice cream pie, and Peanut Butter ice cream cake. You name it; she does it. “Baked goods and ice cream products are interchangeable,” said Fernandez. For those looking to take home their celebration, call ahead and order your custom Feb. 22nd, 23rd and 24th, made cake. “Make-Your-Own-Sundaes” However, for During normal business hours those looking www. for a fun venue, Fernandez offers a “Build-Your-Own-Sundae” party. She needs minimally 24 hours’ notice and she books parties on the hour. There is also TV and Wi-Fi available in the shop. For two hours, you can reserve the shop at 737 Boston Road to enjoy with your guests. You get a small sundae cup with your choice of ice cream and a standard assortment of toppings. Additional toppings are available too. An eight inch single layer cake, candle and a drink are also included. “It’s nice,” said Fernandez. “You can go in, do it and be done.” In addition to parties, Fernandez has hosted school groups and scout troops. Recently, Brownie troop 62059 came in to work on their ‘Make it and Eat it’ badge, building colorful ice cream filled cupcakes. Second graders from the Hajjar, Kennedy, and Parker Elementary Schools devoured their creations as fast as they made them.

Our town boasts special venues with original activities for a variety of tastes. Build your own sundaes with your choice of ice cream at Piece Ah Cake (there are more than 25 flavors to choose from). Get a bunch of girls together and all get birthday manicures or pedicures at Pro-Nails. Take in 18 holes of Black Light indoor mini-golf or reign supreme as Air Hockey Master at Putt-A-Round. The possibilities are endless!

“We chose it because it’s fun,” said troop leader, Michelle Chaffee. On Feb. School Vacation week, running the 22nd, 23rd and 24th, Fernandez will host a full week of “Make-YourOwn-Sundaes” during normal business hours. Winter Hours are Mon.-Sat. 12-6 pm and Sun. 12-5. For more info, call 978-362-11232 or visit her website at www. pieceahcake. Handy Decor: Colorful Nail Parties for Girls What do you get when you put 10 girls together into one nail salon for a “Manicure” Birthday Party? Ten really well behaved girls. “They love to be pampered,” said Kimberly Duong, Manager at Pro Nails at 700 Boston Road (Towne Plaza). Started five years ago, this innovative party idea really took off for parents looking to offer something special to their birthday girls. For just $5 per child, each girl can have her nails filed, buffed and polished. This also includes one painted design per hand and, with more than 500 colors to choose from, the color combinations get pretty interesting. When more than 10 children are booked, the birthday girl is free. “For some girls, this is the first time they’ve had their nails done,” said Duong. So, what if it’s summer and the young ladies want to show off their toes? No problem! They can pick a Pedicure Birthday Party instead for the same $5 price per child. Parents should call one to two weeks in advance to block out a couple of hours. Parents are welcome to bring their own goodie bags and gifts; however, the girls don’t usually dive into cake so as not to smudge their glossy fingertips. To plan your pretty party today, call 978-262-0001.

Take the Time to Play Together In an era when technology is all around us, all day long, Putt-A-Round owner, Steve Lynch, wants to offer you an alternative. Put down the cell phone and step inside. As a party venue, February School Vacation week Putt-a-Round at Hours: Mon.-Thurs. 11 am-8 pm 265 Boston Road (down the street Fri. 3:30-8 pm. For more info. from McDonald’s) Call 781-484-7444 is pure fun. Featuring an 18 hole indoor pro-am mini golf course, with challenging holes and lots of obstacles to test and entertain golfers of all abilities. Regardless of the weather, it’s always temperature controlled and comfortable inside. “It’s a safe family friendly environment,” said Lynch.. In addition to golf, Lynch also has 3D virtual reality movie shows and an indoor gemstone mining area where the whole family can enjoy panning for treasures and fossils. Lynch’s Black Light Golf starting at 5 pm daily is a nominal $5 S for unlimited rounds of B golf, with a glow-stick bracelet included to enhance their experience. o The facility can “ accommodate groups of l up to 30 people and a birthday package includes unlimited q golf and unlimited movies for $7 per person. Foos ball, air M hockey and table games are always free to use. o For $3 more, everyone can pan for gems, keeping all c the treasures they discover in a two-pound gem bag . If the p group is hungry, large cheese pizzas at $10/pizza are availablet and come complete with paper products, while families are welcome to provide their own beverages and snacks. It’s T simple. No planning or clean up. Just show up and enjoy! c Putt-A-Round regular hours are Mon.-Thurs. 3-6 pm, f Fri. 3-7 pm, Sat. 11 am-7 pm, and Sun. 12-7 pm. For $5 you can play unlimited golf as well as enjoy free foos ball, air hockey and table games. During February School Vacation week, hours are Mon.-Thurs. 11 am-8 pm and Fri. 3:308 pm. For more information, call 781-484-7444 today.


Simple. Fun. Indoors. Don’t let our chilly New England weather stop you. Come on out and party this winter, and you’ll watch everyone’s smiles grow.

February 2011 / /17

The Power From Within

My Guardian Angel Returned Home Gone so fast. One minute she was here and now she is gone. As I sit here, I’m listening to Josh Groban’s ‘Ave Maria’. Mami loved Josh Groban. She had a bunch of his cd’s. That was why I played this for her as she was leaving this earth. As her spirit was lifting above us and she was floating out of her human form to join her ‘Papa’. Her ‘Mama’. Her ‘Abuela’. And her ‘Hermano’. Her entire nuclear family reunited in the greater cosmos beyond our reach. Ave Maria will give me the lump in the back of my throat from now on. Walking through Mami’s passing was an experience that will be burned onto my gray matter until I join her once more for our glass of champagne and dance in heaven together. It was odd, never having been through this but I knew the exact moment she was passing. It wasn’t some sudden thing. Very slow and gradual. When all that was left was the outer shell, and not even the shell she would have wanted anyone to remember because she did not look like her (except in her lovely eyes), we then waited for the rest to follow. I was infinitely grateful to be at her side. Like so many have read in the past, I have never known a more unconditional love than that of my Mami for me. She came to the US with me and forty pounds of clothing, escaping a communist regime and seeking medical care for her infant. A now single mother in the 1960’s in a strange country and not knowing the language,

By Liana Measmer, LSW

she made it. She went to school, she found us a home, she got a job, she brought her parents from Cuba. She went on to one day become a successful business woman with two Master’s Degrees. She gave everything so we could have a life. May I someday become such a selfless soul for my children. Although she left us too soon, I believe that where God closes a door somewhere he opens a window. I can stay stuck, waiting for relationships with people who choose not to have one with me. Or I can rejoice in the new relationships that are blossoming as we carry on Mami’s legacy. My stepfather. My Cuban cousins. My stepsister. I’m so fortunate to be in their presence, have them share our fleeting moments together and have the chance to love them. As I contemplate Valentine’s Day, the day the calendar calls the ‘Day of Love’, I recall that every day gives me new opportunities and new hope for love. Love of self. Love of family and friends. Love of community and country. I know you are there, Mami, looking over us all and loving us. And we remember you and miss you. Now and always. Besides being the owner of The Billerica Green, Liana Measmer is a Licensed Social Worker, A Billerica resident and mom to three amazing children.

Are you a dog owner? Are you impacted by dogs locally? Do you feel there is a need? WE NEED YOUR HELP! Please fill out our online survey at and come to our meetings. We meet at 7pm on the second Thursday of each month at the BATV studios to plan the what, where, and when of making a town dog park a reality. 2011 Meeting Dates June 9 October 13 February 10 March 10 OFF IN JULY November 10 December 8 April 14 August 11 May 12 September 8

For more info,find us on Facebook under Billerica Dog Park. Email questions to

Our Prom Event is coming!

By Liana Measmer • Your items will be on the racks for 60 days. If they don’t sell, please come back to pick up what you want returned. Otherwise, your items will be donated to the Salvation Army for you. Martorana is planning a prom event on Saturday, March 19 from 10 am-4 pm where she will showcase all her gowns. She is now accepting gently used prom gowns for consignment for this event. Call 978663-7700 to schedule your appointment today.

To get into the black, you need to get into the Green. Packages designed to help your business grow. Email ad inquiries to or call 978-808-2361.

In the fall of 2009, a group of residents met to discuss the need for a dog park. In February 2010, The Recreation Commission appointed the Dog Park Committee in charge of obtaining additional information through research. We are a committee of 5 and welcome YOU to come to our meetings.

DATE: Saturday March 19, 2011 TIME: 10-4

Saavy Consignor’s Tips get Your Stuff Sold

• Ensure your items are clean. Items that are soiled won’t sell. • Bring in the most up to date items from the current season. Buyers want to take their items home and wear them now. Plus, out of date clothing won’t do as well. • Rips, stains and missing buttons are not things purchasers will ‘take care of later’. • Undergarments are accepted ONLY with the tags still on. Otherwise, throw those out. • To be seen right away, make an appointment to bring your items into the store.

There are 2200 registered dogs in Billerica. The Billerica Dog Park Committee wants to find a safe place for them to go.

Consignors Needed

Another Gal’s Treasures: When you clean out a closet, instead of giving it all away, consider consignment. “Consignment shop” is an American English term for second-hand stores that offer quality used goods at a lower cost than new. Many offer new items as well. In the context of sale, the consignee (the seller) pays the consignor (the person who owns the item) a portion of the proceeds from the sale when the item actually sells. Tammy Martorana, Owner of Trendy Turnaround clothing boutique works with consignors every day and recommends the following:

Calling All Dog Owners!

If you have any prom gowns or accessories you would like to consign or donate for this event please contact us. Find us on the web:

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By Liana Measmer If Judy Pancoast had been nominated in her 20’s instead of at this stage of her life, she is sure she would not be as appreciative and retrospective of all she has accomplished. Thus, she would not look forward to attending the Grammy awards in California in February. Living in Goffstown with her husband and two children but originally from Maine, Pancoast has seen it all. Literally. Here Grammy nominated CD, “Weird Things are Everywhere,” is a trip across the US, exploring oddities in each state and making literary connections along the way. “I’m trying to encourage kids to learn about US Geography and Children’s Literature,” said Pancoast. Pancoast’s Billerica connection is to Family First Night where she has been a regular performer at the event for the last three years. Pancoast’s light and quirky style has crowds of children of all ages on their feet and dancing each time she comes on stage.

Pancoast’s desire to perform came a t young age, when pancoast started performing at 15 years old. She went on to sing in piano bars and was even in a rock band with friends in college. “It’s what I’ve always loved,” said Pancoast. In her 20’s, Pancoast was a DJ for a country music station in Maine. Married, hse nad her husband started their family. Pancoast stayed home with her children but never lost the desire to perform. She became involved with ‘Community Auditions’ through Channel 5 and won them all over and over and over again. Pancoast later wnet back to school to first earn a Bachelor of arts degree and then a Masters of Education. She went on to become a

full time children’s musician. Pancoast recalls having seen the Grammy Awards back in 1971 and watching her then favorite band, The Carpenters, accept their award. Pancoast believed some day it would be her. In 2004, Pancoast tried to be nominated for a Grammy but didn’t win a nomination.

Let Me Call You Sweetheart

Community Alliance Celebrates 50th Anniversaries By Pat Zapert, Executive Director, Billerica Community Alliance

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at these convenient locations: The Library, Boys and Girls Club, No. Billerica Commuter Rail Station, GE Sensing Cafeteria, Town Hall, The Recreation Department, The Council on Aging, Pro-Fitness, BATV, Realty World Advantage, Batian Peak, Euro Deli/Fill N’ Chill, Woods Real Estate

For seven years, The Billerica Community Alliance has been hosting an event which is truly rewarding for our local senior citizens. On Thurs., Feb.10 at 4 pm at the Billerica Lodge of Elks, couples who have been married for 50, 60 and, in some cases, 70 years plus will be guests to our Sweetheart Dance. Last year, seventy five couples participated in this event and we are anticipating an even larger crowd this year. Our goal is to celebrate the commitment that these local couples have shown. The afternoon festivities includes a full sit-down dinner, live music, corsages, boutonnieres, commemorative photographs and transportation for those who need it. All of this is provided at no cost to those who attend. In addition to the dinner and dancing, couples receive a blessing from local clergy and a commemorative 4 x 6 photo. For those ‘young’ couples attending for the first time, our State Representative and the Board of Selectmen award proclamations celebrating the occasion, and in the course of the evening, there is a moving group renewal of vows. It is important to note that this event could not occur without

the tremendous support we receive from local businesses and organizations, either via a financial contribution or a service donation. Most notable this year is the Community Fund Grant which was sponsored by Nuvera Fuel Cells, as well as a significant contribution from FLIR Systems. Eighteen local businesses or organizations have also sponsored either a full table of 10 guests, a half-table or an individual couple. Those sponsors include American Dream Homes, Billerica Access TV, Billerica COA Reiki Clinic, Billerica Lions, Billerica Sons of Italy, Brightview Concord River, Cabot Corporation, Enterprise Bank, Fred Ciampa CPA, Friends of the Billerica COA, Dr. Scott Goldberg, Guardian Angels Senior Services, Life Care Center of the Merrimack Valley, LPL Financial, Marshall’s Auto Body / CARSTAR, Northern Bank & Trust, O’Connor True Value Hardware and Parent, McLaughlin & Nangle. Lastly, our service contributors ensured we had centerpieces, corsages, linens, music and transportation. Our donors include Courtyard by Marriott, Billerica Crossings, the Billerica Garden Club, Sweeney Funeral Home, Woods Real Estate and Century Bank of Burlington. So, here’s to romance…Enjoy!

February 2011 / /19

Editor’s Take: Up and Running with RCS Computer Solutions By Liana Measmer

It takes a lot to run a newspaper. Besides planning content, handling sales, managing staff, there’s the writing. And the writing. And the writing. And the writing. The tool of my trade, beside my pen and notepad, is my computer. We do the entire newspaper on computers these days and as the world gets more and more technologically advanced (at least everyone on my team is), I needed to keep up. I’ve been living on borrowed time. Well, working on a 10 year old computer built by someone else and a refurb laptop that was a gift, both full of problems. When the time came to take the plunge, I was clueless as to what to get. I’ve been working with Ron Couming of RCS Computer Solutions for a few months now. He’s helped me get my scanner working as well as advised me about the need for downloading computer updates. He did the research for me based on my needs and even accompanied me in the store so I didn’t end up with more machine or more software than I would need. I came home with a new Dell Inspirion desktop and laptop. Once back at the office, he got the machines up and running, worked on setting up the network, moved my files from my external hard drive and spent time with me explaining the importance of keeping my computer clean and protected against viruses. Ron’s been professional and quick to respond. When things weren’t working and I called for help, he was patient over the phone talking me through different solutions. In the end, when we couldn’t figure it out, he stopped by the office to take a look and resolve the problem. If you need tech help, call RCS Computer Solutions at 978-606-5432 or email

Winter Vacation Studio February 21-25 for ages 5-8 and 8-13 Acting, Comedy, Movement, Improvisation, Rehearsal & Performance Comedy Night February 25 at 8pm: Improvisation Troupes in FridayFunnies The Three Singing Princesses February 26 at 12pm & 2pm Family Friendly 380 Cambridge St (Rt 3A) Burlington Atlantis 978-667-0550

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Wishing Local Soldier Luck Overseas By Liana Measmer For 22 year old Tony Wentworth, going to Basic Training and his deployment to Afghanistan is easy. He’s ready and wants to go. For his mom, Heather Peterson, it’s not so easy. “I’m very proud and very scared,” said Peterson. “I’m relying on a lot of prayer.” Wentworth’s family recently hosted a good-bye party for him at the Billerica Irish American Club where more than 80 people came to wish him luck. Although units are more stable and established in the middle east at this time, dangers still exist. Peterson was pleased and relieved that Wentworth’s recruiter worked within the guidelines of their ‘buddy program’, matching Wentworth with his good friend, Kurtis Tanguay who will also be deployed at the same time and to the same place in Afghanistan with Wentworth. Wentworth and Tanguay aspire to become police officers someday and understand that enlisting is the means to get there. Military life is not foreign to this family. Peterson grew up like a ‘military brat’, moving around bit since her father Edmund Wentworth was in the Navy. She and her son lived with her father for some time and Wentworth looked up to his grandfather. “My dad is Tony’s hero,” said Peterson. “They are very close.” Wentworth ships out on Jan. 25 to Basic Training in Ft. Benning, Georgia for 14 weeks. In June, he will be in the 182nd HHC Division Infantry for the Army National Guard. He and Tanguay expect to be assigned to base security. “I’ve always thought about the military,” said Wentworth. Wentworth will be home for a few weeks before heading to the middle east. When asked what she would say as she hugged him good-bye, Peterson replied,” I’ll just tell him I love him and I’ll be here when he gets back.”

616 Middlesex Turnpike St. PO Box 845 Pat rick Nuttings Lake ’s D ay P Thu Billerica, MA 01865 rsda arty y D , Cor Office 978-663-3900 ned oors op March 17 B e Fax 978-663-3083 and eef and n at 11 th a S m C Hot a Dog ndwich abbage Upcoming Events s Av Din e s AL n a Mus ic S ilable f L DAY ers t o a r r Iris Irish Set Dancing h S ting a the K I For rish Br tep Da t 1pm ids Tues. Evenings e n mor e in ad - Cof cers 7-10 pm fo, C fee -T all 9 Call: 978-663-3900 78-6 ea 63-3 Super Bowl Party 900 Feb. 6th Pub opens at 1pm

Host your birthday or shower in our comfortable pub room Our large hall is available for weddings and anniversaries Ask us about our complete packages Call 978-663-3900 Mon-Fri 10 am-2 pm for info on room rentals Pub open Mon-Fri at 2 pm and Sun. at noon

20 / / February 2011

Out On The Town Atlantis Playmakers 380 Cambridge St (Rt 3A) Burlington 978-667-0550 Atlantis Winter Vacation Studio February 21-25 for ages 5-8 and 8-13 Acting, Comedy, Movement, Improvisation, Rehearsal & Performance! Comedy Night February 25 at 8pm Improv Troupes Plan B and Stranger than Fiction The Three Singing Princesses February 26 at 12:00pm & 2:00pm Join us for a magical, musical tale, suitable for all ages

Billerica Cat Care Coalition Cat and Kitten Adoption Event Especially for Pets, 444 Great Rd, Acton, Ma Feb 13, 2011 from 12:00pm to 3:00PM Come meet BCCC’s adoptable cats and kittens. For more information go to our website:

Billerica Council on Aging 25 Concord Rd. Billerica 978-671-0916 Income Tax Preparation Help: Help for Billerica seniors over age 60 to complete uncomplicated Income Tax forms. Please call the front desk to make an appointment. Weight Loss Challenge: starts Tuesday, February 1 at 11:00 a.m. for six weeks. Senator Donnelly Office Hours: Wednesday, February 2 from 9:30 to 10:30 Women and Heart Disease Lecture: Monday, February 7 at 10:00 a.m. Women Heart Association’s Heart Attack Symptoms: An Action Plan for Women will be presented. Continental breakfast provided. Please sign up at front desk. Valentine’s Craft: Monday, February 7 at 1:00 p.m.  Please bring a tea cup, favorite mug or small vase and $2 for materials. Silk flowers provided. Please sign up at front desk. Meet Billerica Town Officials: Wednesday, February 9 at Noon. Participate in a neighborhood meeting to discuss your concerns about town services with John Curran, Town Manager, and Department Heads. Free SHINE Appointments (Serving the Health Information Needs of Elders) February 9 & 23 “Shifting Gears” Safe Driver Workshop: Wednesday, February 9 at 10:00 a.m (Snow date is February 16):  A free, hour-long program for drivers aged 55 and older designed to educate and encourage elder drivers to be the best driver possible. 

COA Golf Conditioning Program: Starting Wednesday, February 9 through March 16 from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. or 1:45 to 2:45 p.m.: Enhance your playing and improve your game. Registration is $10 and limited to 12 people. Please sign up at the front desk. Visiting Angel Home Care Agency: Thursday, February 10 at 10:00 a.m. “What is Home Care” Wii Bowling Tournament: Wednesday, February 16 at 2:30 p.m. Free Hearing Screenings: Wednesday, February 16 from 9:00 to 11:30 a.m.: Hearing screenings and cleanings/ checks of your hearing aids. Book Club: Tuesday, February 22 at 12:30 p.m.   “What I Enjoy Reading” discussion. History Lecture: February 24 at 10:00 a.m.: “Arlington National Cemetery” presented by Paul Hogman.

Billerica Elks Third Annual Valentine’s Comedy Night 14 Webb Brook Road, Billerica MA Saturday February 12, 2011 7:00pm - Midnight Featuring Comedian Patty Ross & Friend with Music by DJ Joe Coombs Tickets $15 per person or Table of ten $150. Bring your own munchies. For tickets call: Stephanie Garrity Joyce 978-761-8987, Deb Bowser 603233-0910 or Donna Leonardo 978-973-9009

Billerica Homeschooling Association 978-362-2188 Game Social February 7 1:30-3:00pm at Kessler Karate Studio, contact Nicky Eng at for more info/RSVP. Boston Museum of Science Trip February 11 10:00-3:00, contact Jen Croce at for more info/RSVP. Valentine Make and Take craft February 12 11:00-12:00 meet to do the Billerica Library sponsored Valentine Make and Take craft, contact Jen Croce at for more info. Billerica Library Social February 18 10:0011:30am, contact Jen Croce at for more info. Roller Skating February 18 4:00-6:30pm at Roller Kingdom in Tyngsboro, contact Jen Croce at for more info.

Billerica Public Library 15 Concord Rd. Billerica 978 671-0948 Brownie Contest February 10 We will find out who makes the best brownies

in town!! For rules and instructions, please go to If you still have questions, please call 978-671-0949, ext. 4. Robin O’Herin acoustic blues & gospel musician February 24, 7:00 PM, She plays bottleneck and fingerstyle guitar and mountain dulcimer. There’s also a hint of Appalachian mountain music in her repertoire. Join us to hear an exceptional vocalist and guitar player!

Billerica Recreation Department 248 Boston Rd. 978-671-0921 The Recreation Department’s Winter Brochure is currently available (with registrations being accepted) on the Billerica Town website: www. Changes, cancellations and new programs will be posted on the official Billerica Recreation Home pages. Summer Camp Expo Sunday, February 13, 1:00-4:00 PM Elks Club, Webb Brook Road Meet representatives from various youth summer camps and programs. Learn what makes each of these a special place for youth each summer. Ask the questions that will help you decide which option is best for your child. FREE Wackmaster Ice Fishing Derby Sunday, February 13 7:00 AM - 2:00 PM (depending on ice conditions!) 4 Beaconcrest Ct., Nuttings Lake (Last house on the lake.) Bring a $10 Cash Donation or Outdoor/Sports related Prize of same value. Bring Your Own Food and Drinks!! Grill and charcoal provided. Baitfish will be available on site for a minimal charge. Bring a clean bait bucket. Tip-ups available or bring extras. RSVP: 978-987-3487. Beginning Blues Guitar Thursday, February 24 7:00-8:30 PM 248 Boston Rd., Billerica Ages 12 and older, $25.00 pp (Registration due by Feb. 17) This workshop will help you learn how to improvise solos in a basic blues progression and jam with other guitarists! Guitarists must have at least one year of guitar playing experience. Bring an acoustic or electric guitar w/amp. Learn more at: christhesongwriter.wordpress. com. The Friends of Billerica Recreation sells discounted tickets to the 2011 Boston Flower Show and local movie theaters as well as discounted lift tickets to local ski areas

Billerica Recreation Department Memorial Benches Contact Sandy Libby 978-671-0921 Support the development of Lampson Field playground area. Bench includes an engraved

rock, plantings and a tree. $500 each, dedication in Spring 2011. Deadline for submittal is March 1, 2011. Now is your chance to memorialize an area!

Billerica Spelling Bee Billerica Memorial High Auditorium 617-512-8465 Sat., February 5 9:00am-4:30pm Check Website for Details. Spellers arrive 15 minutes before competition. For Info contact@ Powered by The Partners for Education.

Learn to Bollywood Dance 98 George P. Hassett Drive Medford 781 395-0402 Learn to Dance January 13 - February 17; 6:30 - 7:30 pm Discover the vibrancy of Bollywood dance as you learn a fun, energetic routine. Throughout the six weeks, you will explore the subtleties of this popular Indian cinema dance form and will learn how to use your hips, hands, and eyes to enhance the festive movements while performing a fun choreography. $84 Member; $94 Non-Member Bollywood Fitness Class (drop-in!): January 15 - March 5; 11:00 am - 12:00 pm In this Bollywood focused fitness class you will experience an energizing workout and learn a new routine each week as we explore the diverse high-energy dance forms of India. Garba, Fusion, Bollywood, and Bhangra will be taught through authentic choreography to the lively beats of the best of Bollywood films. *No class February 12, 2011. $96 Member, $106 Non-member. Drop-in rate: $15 per class.

Burlington Church of Christ 344 Cambridge St., Burlington 781-272-6430 Bible Class for all ages Sundays at 9:15 AM Worship Sundays at 10:45 AM Free Kids’ Movie Night, Second Friday of the month 6:00-8:00 PM ages 3-12. Additional weekly Bible studies, contact church office for details

Chelmsford Lodge Giant Meat Raffle Chelmsford Lodge of Elks 300 Littleton Rd., Chelmsford Saturday January 29, 2010 2:00-4:00PM Meat raffle,Three Ten foot tables full of meat to raffle off! Two Special Raffles! Prime Rib, Roast, Pork Loins,

Smoked Shoulder, Spiral Hams, Turkeys, Chicken Breast, Chops, Burgers, Sausage, Ostrich Steaks, Buffalo Meat , Breakfast and more!!! FREE ADMISSION, Open to the Public! Come on down to the Elks lodge and join us for fun and laughs as you compete to win the meat. For more information Contact : Dot Balestrieri, 978-930-0599 or

February School Vacation Frosty Festivities February 21–25 Make Your Own Sundaes February 22, 23, 24 Piece Ah Cake, 737 Boston Road Normal Business Hours For info, or call 978-362-1123 Putt-A-Round Indoor Mini Golf 265 Boston Road (In the back) February 21-24: 11 am-3 pm February 25: 3:30-8 pm For info, call 781-484-7444

The Learning Experience 210 Treble Cove Raod Billerica, MA 01821 OPEN HOUSE! Saturday, February 12, 10 am to 2 pm For More Info, call 978-667-5437

Merrimack Repertory Theatre’s 2011 Season Merrimack Repertory Theatre 132 Warren Street Lowell, MA Phone: (978) 654-7595 Box Office: (978) 654-4MRT Web: Email: The Exceptionals by Bob Clyman, February 10 – March 6 Two Jews Walk Into A War by Seth Rozin, March 17 – April 10 A Picasso by Jeffrey Hatcher April 21 – May 15

Middlesex Canal Association The Visitor Center is on Faulkner St. in North Billerica 978-670-2740 MCA Winter Meeting Sunday Feb 13, 2011, 2 PM: Professor Chad Montrie will describe Industry and Environment on the Lower Concord River, 1790-1890 The Lower Concord River, a winding two-mile stretch of waterway that courses through Lowell. During the nineteenth century, it not only hosted various mills, factories and tanneries, all of which used the river for power and waste disposal, and for a short time, transportation. This presentation

February 2011 / /21

Woods Real Estate 700 Boston Road, Billerica MA, 01821 Towne Plaza 978-262-9665

will examine both uses, seemingly at odds, and discuss how they were and were not reconciled.

Preventive Health Care Dwarkamai Vidyapeeth, Suite 9, 267 Boston Rd. Billerica, 978-276-9724 January 22 to March 26, 2011 10:00 to 11:00am. A 10 week free course taught by Mr. Kanayo Lala. The course topics will include, fundamentals of being disease free, improving immune system, natural foods as an alternate for the modern medicines (i.e. living without medicines), discussing books available, media marketing pressures and fighting them, the science behind Indian practices.



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Realty World Advantage 880 Boston Road, Billerica 978-667-1848 Advantage Real Estate School Courses February 7: Day Course – Monday-Thursday 9:00am-3:00pm (4 days) February 8: Night Course – Tuesday &Thursday 6:00pm-9:00pm (4 weeks)

TOPS Chapter #253 meeting Billerica Town Hall Tuesdays 5:00 TO 7:00PM Taking Off Pounds Sensibly meetings start with weigh-in times 5:00-6:00pm, meeting 6:007:00pm. Contact for more information. Now is the time to become healthy!

Yankee Doodle Homecoming Weekend February 9 at 7:00pm in Town Hall Room 110 monthly meeting. The theme this year is “Yankee Doodle Community Time Capsule” and the dates have been confirmed as September 16 through 18. We are still looking for 2 board members. The logo contest will be in March, run by the Arts Council. Watch for more details. Please contact us through the website with questions and suggestions.

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22 / / February 2011

Supporting our Future, Uniting our Community Scholarship Foundation Makes Fundraising Fun By Liana Measmer If you’re building a floral centerpiece, hanging up the town calendar, testing your trivia skills, or filling holiday bags with gift cards, you‘re sending a student to college. You just may not realize it. The Billerica Scholarship Foundation (BSF), in their efforts to raise funds which provide scholarships for Billerica students residing within town limits, has been hosting well attended events for 16 years that bring our community together. This volunteer organization, established in 1988 and made up of local leaders, parents and business owners, is an affiliate of Scholarship America (SA), the national scholarship organization which has made post-secondary education possible for more than 1.7 million students across the country. BSF last year awarded $140,000 in scholarships to area students. This got the attention of SA and they awarded BSF New England Chapter of the Year for 2010. Taking a break from the holiday bustle, eager and crafty folks arrived at the Lodge of the Elks on December 14 to fill peppermint stick striped bowls with red and white carnations, candy canes and candles. What they left with was centerpieces for their holiday table and memories of a good time. For 12 years, Floral Night has attracted crowds of mothers, sons, and daughters of all ages both in Dec. and in the Spring. “They are beautiful,” said Pat Annunziata, Floral Night Committee Chair. “You would think they were done by the florist.” Coming soon, on February 11 is the 16th Annual Team Trivia Night, also at the Lodge of the Elks. This year’s theme is Mardi Gras and proves to be another sell out. For 16 years, this rowdy event combines tricky trivia questions with a theme and participants are encouraged to join in the merriment. Original costumes, creative team titles and appetizing snacks fill

the Elks while foursomes feverishly compete for the coveted designation of Trivia Champions of the Year. “It’s the most fun of all our events,” said Foundation Chair Maureen Sullivan. New in 2011, this year’s Champions will have a scholarship named for their team and that scholarship will be awarded to a Billerica student in June. Last year’s Team Trivia raised $11,000 for scholarships. Returning Trivia Master, Kim Conway, will test each team’s skills with queries of minutiae and memorabilia. When asked what teams could expect for questions this year, no one was divulging. “No Tips!” said Mickey Ouellette, Committee member. “It’s a great family night.” Another way BSF is bringing awareness to the community is through their participation in the Red Cross Blood Drive on March 3 at Town Hall from 2–7 pm. This drive will piggyback on the same day as the BMHS National Honor Society is hosting a blood drive at the high school from 8a m-1 pm. These drives are part of the High School Heroes program, started by Bob’s Discount Furniture, to get students more involved in blood drives. As many donations that a high school gets are credited back to them toward scholarships. Last year, BSF won third place and awarded two $500 scholarships as a result. The hope is 16 and 17 year olds will give blood and become lifetime donors. “This is a constant need,” said Sullivan. For info on these and other BSF programs (‘Class of ‘ change jars, matching grant info, calendars, and ‘Scrips’ gift cards), visit their website at

2011 TEAM TRIVIA CHALLENGE FEBRUARY 11, 7pm Lodge of The Elks 14 Webb Brook Road

Mardi Gras Theme

Teams of Four People Allowed Only Download Registration Form from Mail checks for $125, payable to Billerica Scholarship Foundation: Nancy Brewster, 32 Russet Road, Billerica, MA 01821. Anyone with questions should call 978-790-3009 or email Deadline for registrations is February 4.

Within Your Reach:

Greater Lowell Chamber Gives Businesses a Hand By Liana Measmer The business climate changes like the weather sometimes, and as a business, you have to be able to face any storms that come your way. Dealing with issues like employee health benefits, funding and financing, and taxes are not topics you have to stand out in the cold about alone. Come inside on Wed., Feb. 23 to the Billerica Public Library at 15 Concord Rd. to attend the Billerica Business Round Table hosted by the Greater Lowell Chamber of Commerce. The Greater Lowell Chamber, as part of their mission to create a healthy and

competitive environment where businesses can grow and prosper, does so through promoting, networking and advocating for businesses in the Greater Lowell area. Billerica is one town serviced by them, as is Dracut, Lowell, Chelmsford, Tewksbury, Tyngsboro, Westford and other communities. “A lot of businesses don’t know what is out there,” said Karon Bergeron, Vice President of The Lowell Chamber. This free event will feature speakers providing valuable information to help

you navigate the path to business growth that you are on. Hear how to address the rising costs of health care. Learn how to keep solid staff by offering them benefits versus just paying additional salary. Discover what grants may be available to you and your business. And find out how the new 2011 tax laws will be affecting local businesses. “We really want to help grow and promote business in Billerica,” said Bergeron. Scheduled to speak are Steve Mallette from New England Medical Insur-

ance Agency, Mike Epsztein from Express Employment Professionals, Stacey Renna from the Career Center of Lowell, and Ray Anstiss Jr. from Anstiss and Co. P.C. To get additional information about times and reserve your place at this event, call The Greater Lowell Chamber of Commerce at 978-459-8154. Or visit their web site at today.

February 2011 / /23

Keeping Four Legged Friends Safe This Winter By Jennifer Chubb

Protecting your beloved pet in the cold winter months is important if you follow some valuable safety tips. When there is snow on the ground, wipe your dog’s feet (and tummy for the little ones) after walking. They may have picked up ice-melting chemicals, which can irritate and burn their pads. Some of these products are poisonous if ingested by pets. You may want to try dog boots, which will protect your dog’s feet from sharp pieces of ice as well as ice-melting products. Be on the lookout for antifreeze, which often leaks from cars into puddles on the ground or in the garage. Antifreeze is attractive to pets because it tastes sweet but most brands are very poisonous and may be fatal. Signs of exposure include vomiting, lack of coordination, seizures and thirst. Contact your veterinarian immediately if your pet ingests even a small amount of antifreeze, Consider purchasing pet-safe antifreeze. If your dog stays outside in cold weather, they will need a warm, dry place away from the cold and wet. Provide them with a doghouse raised up off the ground at least a few inches, and equipped with a door flap to keep out drafts. Also, make sure the doghouse always has dry bedding (straw is a good insulator). The shelter should be just big enough for the dog to stand, lie down and turn around – if it is too large it will not maintain their body heat. Please remember though, that all dogs should be brought indoors when the weather drops down into freezing temperatures and there is a wind chill. Dogs can freeze to death or get frostbite on ears,

tail and paws when it is extremely cold. Also keep in mind that dogs are social animals and you are their family – they want to be with you, so please don’t leave them out in the cold too long. If your dog spends time in a fenced yard, watch your fence line to make sure that the snow doesn’t pile up so high that the dog can jump the fence or walk out of the yard. Make sure that fresh water is available both indoors and outdoors. If you live in a very cold climate, use plastic instead of metal bowls and buckets. Your pet’s tongue may stick to metal, and he could injure himself trying to pull away. Check regularly to ensure outdoor water is not frozen. Check the condition of your pet’s coat. Mats sometimes appear in winter and interfere with the coat’s ability to keep your pet warm. Think about the amount of exercise your pet gets in the winter months. If your pet is less active, they may need less food. But, if your dog plays out in the cold a lot, they may be burning extra calories and need more food to produce the body heat they need. Lastly, use caution when you start your car in the cold winter months. If animals are left outside, they may climb under the car hood for protection from the cold. Before you climb into your car, honk your horn, slap the hood or open it for a quick look around. Taking a moment can make the difference in keeping your pet alive. Jennifer Chubb owns and operates Peace of Mind Personalized Pet Care Solutions. For more info, check out her website at or call 978-835-2269

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Walk and Rock for Change: Bringing hunger awareness to Billerica By Liana Measmer

It was convincing. On Dec. 16, when you looked at Lyndon Byers after a day of walking from New Hampshire to Massachusetts, one may believe he’s homeless. Scruffy with red cheeks, the former Boston Bruin’s daunting frame seemed somewhat humbled in his knitted hat and layered warm clothing. He described being ‘homeless’ for three days while he walked for hunger awareness. Byers or better known as “LB” at WAAF, sits shoulder to shoulder in the mornings with Greg Hill of WAAF and has been participating in ‘Walk and Rock for Change” for 13 years. Started by Hill, or “Hill Man” as he is known by his morning radio show listeners, this fundraising walk over three days raises awareness and funds for hunger and homelessness. “It’s a great opportunity to help,” said Byers. WAAF 97.7/107.3 FM has hosted the Walk and Rock for Change since 1993. For three days, Byers and co-host ‘Spaz’ walk through a total of 22 cities in Massachusetts and New Hampshire to raise money to help fight hunger. One of Byers’ stops along the way this year was Billerica’s Newtowne Grille at 838 Boston Road, where he warmed up with local hospitality. CoOwner Mike Tolopulous and his staff hosted Byers last year as well with additional fundraising at the restaurant that evening. Byers

was appreciative of Newtowne Grille’s help. “We raised 20 percent more than we would have on our own,” said Byers. All proceeds raised from the event benefit The Greater Boston Food Bank, the Worcester County Food Bank, and the New Hampshire Food Bank.  During the threeday event WAAF raises hunger awareness on-air, featuring a “pay-to-play” marathon.  Listeners can call in to request songs; if the song is unusual, it costs more to play it on air.  Additionally, listeners can make

donations to Byers and Spaz along the walk routes. “I love the idea,” said Byers. “All I have to do is walk.” Pushing a stroller with a glass jar full of coins, Byers’ walk started in Manchester, NH. From there, he walked through Bedford, Merrimack, and Nashua, NH and into MA. He hit Tyngsborough, Chelmsford, Billerica, Burlington, Woburn, Winchester, and Arlington. Then rounded the corner in Cambridge and finally ended up in Boston.

Billerica Counseling Center, LLP The Family Counseling Center 572 Boston Road Suite 14 Billerica MA 01821 978-330-5932 ‘Spaz’ started in Worcester, MA, and walked through Shrewsbury, Northborough, Westborough, Southborough, Framingham, Natick, Wellesley and Chestnut Hill, also ending in Brighton. “We’ve been successful,” said Byers. “In 17 years, we’ve raised over $1 million.” The Greater Boston Food Bank distributes approximately 30 million pounds of food and grocery products annually to more than 600 hunger-relief agencies in a dedicated partnership to end hunger in eastern Massachusetts. The Food Bank serves 83,000 people each week. For more information about The Greater Boston Food Bank, visit or call 617-4275200.

24 / / February 2011

Voice of the Artist


olks were bringing in the New Year in style at the Billerica Irish America Club. The Choe Family from Billerica brought their friends, the Kim families to try Irish dancing and Irish fare (top). Carol and Jack Bertolucci shared smiles with Bill and Dottie Graham when they weren’ tearing up the dance floor (bottom). In addition to dinner and party favors, guests enjoyed the sounds of the Noel Henry Band from Plymouth, MA.

Creating Ways to Say “I Love You”

By Colleen Sgroi

When giving gifts to those I love, I start by thinking about the person I am giving the gift to and the massage I want to convey. Sometimes the perfect gift with the perfect message comes across my path in a way that whispers “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” - Paulo Coelho. One such gift came to me this past holiday season. I started giving my daughter, Johanna, heart stones a few years ago on her birthday. She lives in New York and I wanted a way to both stay connected to her but also to find a creative way to simply say “I love you“. I wrote to her every day for a month in a journal I created just for her, then on her birthday I gave her the journal and one heart stone, telling her I would continue sending these heart shaped stones when she least expected it, as a way of staying connected. She loved this idea so much she began to search for heart stones herself, telling me that someday she is going to make a mosaic out of them. We both began to have fun with this and sometimes exchange text phone photos showing our latest finds. In August, while on vacation on Lopez Island, WA, I found a special heart that would later be the ultimate gift of saying “I love you”. Lopez Island beaches are mostly covered in stones. So while on the island this summer I began my search. I told the group I was with that heart stones are all around us and all we have to do is look. Sure enough within five minutes, they began to find the heart shaped stones. I told them how my children and I use to search for sea glass when we lived by the beach in Plymouth, MA. Within a minute of telling them this story, I saw a piece of glass sticking up between some rocks. What I uncovered made me gasp and had the rest of the group running over to see what I had found. It was the only piece of sea glass I have ever found that was shaped like a heart. We took a picture and sent it off to my daughter with the text “Look what I found!” I began searching the internet for a sea glass artist, wondering if I could make it into a necklace for my daughter. Then on my birthday, in September, I received a pair of sea glass earrings hand made by a sea glass artist from my daughter Johanna. I was amazed how we were on the same page of love. Within the next month, I found an amazing sea glass artist, Sonja Grondstra, at the Pop Gallery on Main Street in Gloucester, MA. When I told her my story, she said to send her the heart and she would try her best to get it to me for Christmas. On Christmas day, it was so satisfying to receive a call from my daughter in New York, saying how she cried when she saw the sea glass heart transformed into a work of art from a heart of love. She said,” It is my favorite, favorite all time necklace! Thanks Mom, I love it!” Colleen Sgroi is owner of Colleen Sgroi Gallery & Art Classes at 12 Andover Road in Billerica Center. 978-667-1009 and

Roy and Donna Schafer: Generations of Team Spirit

Lisa Marie Noke-Kearney: Advocate Giving Voice to Autism

continued from page 9

continued from page 9

“The Schafers are unbelievable coaches, amazing and dedicated people,” said Cole. “The kids love them and they are a very important part of the kids’ lives.” Since the league began, Roy and Donna have been there to coach the kids, every Sunday from April to June at Pollard Field. They have 13 players plus their buddies, typically-developed kids paired up with the special needs players, on their team, The Red Sox. “I work very closely with The Schafers. They are very humble people,” said Doiron. “It’s a family thing; their whole family comes to help.” Roy does quite a bit of travelling for his job as a field technician but he’s home for every game, said Donna. Two years ago he had bypass surgery but was back to coaching two months later. “It’s just a love of children,” said Donna. “It doesn’t matter their differences.”

AFAM’s Insurance Committee was instrumental in passing the ARICA bill. ARICA stands for Act Relative to Insurance Coverage for Autism and states that health insurance carriers on and after Jan.1, 2011 will provide benefits for the diagnosis and treatment of Autism. She is especially thankful to former State Representative Bill Greene who has been a staunch supporter of Autism legislature and has met with her numerous times. “He has been a wonderful supporter and I am grateful for his interest, connections and always listening to what families like myself face,” said Noke-Kearney. Beyond April, Noke-Kearney is working on a 13.1 mile half marathon fundraising benefit with Autism Speaks, planned for June 2011. For more information about Autism Advocacy, visit AFAM’s website at

February 2011 / /25

Enjoy A Slice of Summer at the Camp Expo By Liana Measmer

Pull back your curtain and look outside. Makes you wish for warmer weather, doesn’t it? The good news is you can come in from the cold to the Recreation Department Summer Camp Expo and start planning for when our climate gets steamy again. Scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 13 from 1-4 pm, the Expo will be held at the Lodge of the Elks, 14 Webb Brook Road. This event, although aimed at families, is free and open to the public. “Most people look to get into camp early,” said Peggy Hannon-Rizza, Recreation Department Director. “This is a great opportunity to do this.” This year, fifty camp organizations and companies have been invited. These include YMCA, Tech camps, Private camps, the Boys and Girls Club Camp, the Sheriff ’s camp, and Scout camps. Camp representatives will provide information and be available to answer questions. Families will also have the opportunity to sign up early and beat the summer scramble for structured activities. Whether you utilize camp as summer child care or you want to get your youngster off the couch and outside, there will be a variety of choices available. To expand options, amusement parks, youth organizations, and museums have also been invited along with national and state parks. “We want to have recreation opportunities,” said Hannon-Rizza. “Especially those who offer summer programs.” Last year’s Expo had well-known local camps on hand like the Middlesex Sheriff ’s Office Youth Camp, Flip City Gymnastics Camp and the Recreation Department’s Superstars camp. Local youth sports organizations like Pop Warner Football and Billerica Girls Softball were present as well since they offer programming during the summer months. For traditional day camps, the YMCA from Lowell and from Lawrence were present alongside up and coming activities like the R/C Flyers and Billerica Jr. High Football. For something completely different, UMass Lowell’s Future Engineers Design Camp was on hand with wacky inventions and innovative games. Associate Director Michael Penta excitedly explained how this camp was all about teaching problem solving skills in their smaller classroom setting. Scholarships are available and additional information can be found at “This gets them into science so they can apply it,” said Penta. All of these groups have been invited to return and a large turnout is expected. For more information on camps or other Recreation Department programs, call 978-671-0921. The Recreation Department is located at 248 Boston Road, Billerica, MA 01821and their office hours are from 8:30 am – 4:00 pm. Or visit them online at to download the 2011 Winter Recreation Programs and Events.

Media Beat

Pre-Production Planning: Keeping Creativity In Check

by Paul Abrego

Hello Billerica, it’s good to be back here in the Billerica Green bringing you more insight into the world of media technology. Previous installments focused on video composition and camera techniques to make great videos. My next few articles will focus on coming up with the basic steps to get your videos from your camera and into the world for others to enjoy. In this month’s piece, I’ll address the need for planning about what you want to shoot before you shoot. One of the pitfalls many amateur videographers fall into is a lack of initial planning or what’s known as pre-production. Without pre-production planning, many videos even tend to fizzle out before being completed due to mismanagement of time, energy and resources. If you know the answers to all of the who, what, where and when questions involving your shoot, you’ll undoubtedly save time, aggravation and perhaps even some money. Take into account the many factors before your creativity runs amok and leaves the entire project in jeopardy. Questions you should always ask yourself before beginning to shoot your video are: WHO? Know who your audience is. It sounds simple but many producers lose focus on their target audience. For instance, if you’re shooting a piece directed at children, you don’t want to use overtly heady or adult language or themes that would be confusing to a child. To counter that, write a script beforehand with your target audience in mind. If it’s meant to be enjoyed by all ask yourself: “Would it be appropriate for all and will everyone understand this”? WHAT is your piece about? This is actually a harder question to answer simply because it can’t always be answered. Can you put into one sentence what your video is about? If you can’t, chances are neither will your audience. Try to keep focus on a main subject and stick to it. WHERE? This can be tricky one because it involves locations, laws and access. Do you want to shoot in a public place or on private property? You may need to get permission beforehand. Also, what time is this place open? There’s no bigger letdown than getting a crew together for a shoot and not being granted access to a location due to poor pre-production. Plus, it makes you look really bad. WHEN? This takes into account the timeliness of your shoot and the time you may need to make your video. Ask yourself if you have enough time to shoot and edit a project if the subject matter is time-sensitive. This often comes into play when people want to make Holiday videos or to create one for an upcoming event. If there’s an inevitable clock counting down the time to get from camera to DVD, make sure that clock won’t run out on you. Believe me, there can be many, many unforeseen and time-consuming setbacks when making a quality video, so make sure you have plenty of time allotted to finish what you started. Well, thanks again for reading my column. Next time I’ll be comparing and contrasting various editing software available to amateur video consumers. Paul Abrego is the Technical Coordinator of BATV and can be reached with any video related questions at or at BATV 978-663-2284

26 / / February 2011

Kids Creative Connection WINTER Wonderland On December 3rd, The Kennedy School hosted chart rising Billerica singing sensation Ria Eaton, The Boston Children’s Choir, and Marshall Middle School Chorus students on the BMHS stage to perform holiday favorites and welcome the season in style.


















































The Kids’ Creative Connection wants your stuff! We’re always on the lookout for creativity. Have a poem you’ve written and would like to share? Maybe a photo you took? A drawing, or a painting you’ve done? We’d love to see it! Send your submissions to and you could be featured in the Kids’ Creative Connection!

Join the fun!

February 2011 / /27

Fishing Tips with Jarred

Let’s Talk About It With Julia

Jake’s Green Corner

Safety On The Ice

Junior Journalist

Recycled Crafts

This time I will be explaining safety on the ice for any lake pond or river.

I’m trying something new. I’m going to try to be a reporter and interview interesting people every month. This month I interviewed the Editor of The Billerica Green, My Mom. Q: How much work does it take to run a newspaper? A: A LOT! A lot of planning. A lot of writing. A lot of meeting people. It takes a lot of energy. Q: How did you get inspired to do a newspaper? A: I always liked to write and I started writing for other newspapers three years ago. Since Billerica didn’t have this kind of newspaper, it seemed like a good idea. Q: What would you like to see happen with your newspaper? A: I would like to see it grow into other towns. But for now, I want it to represent the best of Billerica. Next month I will interview an interesting person from my school. Bye-Bye!

Since I was staying inside because of the snow, I went through our recycling bin to come up with fun ideas for cardboard and paper and bottles. With an egg carton, you can make a school bus. Use the top of the carton to draw wheels and windows. Cut out a milk jug and hang it outside for a bird feeder. If you are bored, line up your empty water bottles and use a ball for bowling. And make paper hats out of newspapers. I heard BATV had kids’ art hanging up that was recycled. I recommend visiting to check it out.

Rule #1: Two inches of ice can support 200 pounds, so you really have to know what things weigh first. Rule #2: Measure the thickness every 150 feet with an auger. Rule #3: Do NOT go on the ice early in the season or late in the season. Rule #4: Do not wear cotton. Cotton will become soggy when wet. Rule#5: Always go on the ice with a partner. Rule#6: Do not wear clothing that restricts your movements too much or heavy clothes that sink. Hopefully, these tips will help you be safe on the ice so you will have a happy, safe and warm season.


By Aachal Gunda Friends we’ll be forever You’re very clever

I like you the way you are I’ll miss you if you go far We play and run It’s very fun

Our friendship will bend

But it will last till the end

Ahoy, It’s Captain Jake Recycle! Arrrggghh!!!!

3 J’s Corner

28 / / February 2011

Comfort Food Classics:

Norma and Dianne’s Recipes Warm You This Winter When you are snowed in, nothing hits the spot like those comfort foods we love. Those filling and heated favorites that satisfy your hunger, fill your belly and keep you toasty all over. Norma Cavicchio and Dianne Bone of BATV’s ‘Cooking with Norma and Dianne’ recommend some savory pleasers that will have your family coming back for seconds.

1-2-3 CHILI A crockpot is a main implement for anyone who enjoys slow cooked fare. Here is a simple recipe of a well-known spicy meal. 3 tbsp. chili powder 3 tbsp. ketchup 3 tbsp. mustard 3 tbsp. A-1 sauce

Directions: Put everything into your crock pot. Cook on low all day. Enjoy!

CORN MUFFINS Dianne Bone Fresh out of the oven, steamy and with melted butter, corn muffins are great as a standalone or enjoyable when dipped into soups or stews. Ingredients: 3/4 cup corn meal 1 cup flour 3/4 cup milk 1 tsp. baking powder

Run Your Classifieds Here! Do you have items for Sale? Help Wanted? A Lost Pet? Babysitting or Plowing Services? Let EVERYONE know! It’s $30 per ad for 50 words or less. It runs for one month. To boldface your header, add $5. Email your text or questions to advertising@thebillericagreen. com. Deadline by the 10th of each month. Mail your ad and check payable to ‘The Billerica Green’: The Billerica Green, PO Box 492, Billerica, MA 01821. 978-808-2361. Help Wanted

Dianne Bone

Ingredients: 1 pound fried hamburger 1 small onion, chopped and sautéed 2 quart jars tomatoes 2 cans store-bought kidney beans

TBG Classifieds in The Billerica Green

1 tsp. baking soda 1 egg 2 tbsp. butter (or margarine) melted ½ cup sugar

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter into medium mixing bowl. Let cool slightly, then beat in egg. Add dry ingredients all at once, then gradually add milk. Mix until well blended. Pour into greased muffin tins or loaf pan and bake about 20 minutes until golden brown. (Loaf pan may take longer). Serve with butter if desired.

GRAHAM CRACKER TORTE Norma Cavicchio If you love cream and you love chocolate, this high stacker will certainly make your mouth water. Ingredients: One box of graham crackers One pint of heavy cream One pint of whipping cream ½ cup (approximately) Hersey’s Chocolate Syrup Directions: First open the box of graham crackers and unwrap all of them. Have a large plate or platter ready. Whip the creams together in a large bowl until it’s quite stiff. Add the chocolate syrup – just squirt it from the bottle. Fold and whisk by hand so as not to reduce the volume of the cream. When the chocolate is incorporated the color should be a very light brown. Now slather some on the plate and lay the first layer of crackers. Use at least four crackers to shape a square. Then put more cream on top.  Cross pile the second layer and put more cream on top.  Cross piling the layers of crackers as you build will prevent the torte from collapsing as it gets higher. When you’ve used all the crackers, cover the outside of the torte completely with the remaining cream. At this point if you like, you can decorate with anything – a little of the syrup, jimmies, candies, etc. Then place it in the refrigerator overnight. Note: You must use real cream and you must make it at least 12 hours before serving.

Part-Time Business. For Full Time Moms. Join a successful team! No Selling, Inventory or Deliveries. Free Training and Website. RISK FREE. Visit: www. Full Time Machinist Needed. Ability to work independently with Prototrack millers and lathes. Master cam and machining center experience required. Small shop environment. Benefits include medical, vacation, sick time and holiday pay. Please fax cover letter and resume to 978-667-9093. $5,000+ A MONTH, NOT REAL ESTATE. Home business, no mandatory monthly product buys. Provable payouts, free training material. 370+ products and services. Please contact Regional Director, Ronald Couming at 978-606-5432. Seeking part time petcare professional. Mature experienced dog and animal lover for hours between 11 am to 3 pm. Available occasional nights and weekends. A few assignments per week to start. Most assignments in the Lowell/ Tewksbury area. Qualifications: Min. 6 mos. commitment. Reliable transportation, cell and e-mail. Must be bondable and insurable. Background check will be done. Respectful of other’s property. Willing and able to work in rain, snow or

shine. Position starts ASAP. Send cover letter and resume to 978-835-2269. Now Hiring Teachers !!!! Teachers at brand NEW The Learning Experience Child Development Center, Billerica. Qualified teachers and floaters needed for infants, toddlers and preschool. Please send your cover letter and resume to Advertising Sales Rep. Must be motivated and reliable. Small base salary + commission. Training included. Flexible hours. Increased income potential. Sell more, make more. Email resume to . 978808-2361.

Freelance Journalist/Writer: Meet interesting people and write on a variety of topics. Competitive pay based on word count. Will train. Email resume to . 978-8082361.

Lost Dog Still Missing: Named Leroy. Lost since Sept. 12 in the Kennedy School vicinity. White Wire Fox Terrier. Curly coat with black/brown markings. Lost tags in escape but has collar. Last seen Sept. Andover/Allen Rd. area. Family misses him. Info call 978-670-6434.

When you need a hand with your visual image. W hether it’s a new logo, brochure, ad for the local paper or a full-color national magazine, direct-mail campaign, new website, packaging for your product, new signage for your office, product photo retouching, or any other kind of visual communication, I can make you look your best. With over 30 years experience in all phases of graphic design and advertising, I possess the skills to make you shine, and offer the kind of service that makes make you feel like a star.

logos brochures packaging web sites advertising signage

Surette Creative Graphic Design, Advertising, Visual Wizardry 978.667.0706

February 2011 / /29

No one misses a Full Page Ad! Advertise here TODAY! Why not let this month be YOURS? Bringing all four corners of our community together at your doorstep, The Billerica Green, Billerica’s Premier Monthly News Magazine, explores the town’s very soul. Engaging human interest stories, intelligent commentary, relevant historical features. Our uniquely positive perspective has been embraced enthusiastically by all its residents, making us the Go-To source on living in Billerica.

17,000 Mailboxes. 40,0000 Residents. 2,600 Businesses. CONTACT US TODAY !! Ask about our Complete Marketing Packages designed to help your business grow. Email ad inquiries to or call 978-808-2361.

Get on

track to ďƒžght cancer Start a Relay For Life Team! American Cancer Society

Relay For Life of Billerica June 4-5, 2010 Lampson Recreation Complex 19 Campbell Road, Billerica Our community is joining together to celebrate survivors and caregivers, remember loved ones, and fight back against cancer at Relay For Life. During Relay teams take turns walking around a track overnight while raising funds for the American Cancer Society to help people stay well, get well, find cures, and fight back. Special activities, ceremonies and entertainment make it a fun and moving experience for everyone. For more details contact Rebecca Harnois at your American Cancer Society at 781-314-2678 or visit

TBG Feb 2011  
TBG Feb 2011  

The Billerica Green, BIllerica's Monthly News Magazine, is now doing electronic subscriptions!