"It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas?!?"

Well, thankfully not quite yet! But it IS beginning to look a lot like rehearsal time once more for our annual Groton Community Christmas Concert.

We are looking for new choir members, both adult and children, from Groton and surrounding towns. Anyone is welcome, and there are no auditions. Founded in 1974, and directed every year since by Edie Tompkins, this year marks the 44th performance of these delightful community concerts.

The choirs rehearse every Sunday evening beginning Sept. 24 in space generously donated by Lawrence Academy.

Senior Choir rehearsal: Sundays from 7 to 9 p.m., for adults of all ages including high school students.

Treble Choir rehearsal: Sundays from 4:30 to 6:15 p.m., for boys and girls in third through eighth grades.

Rehearsals continue every Sunday from Sept. 24 through Dec. 3.

There will be three performances at the Union Congregational Church, 218 Main Street in Groton: Dec. 10 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 11 at 7:30 p.m.

For more information, please contact Kristen von Campe, kristen@von-campe.com or 508-561-8037.

Ursula Flury


Sawyer: Shirley needs better financial stability

My name is Bryan Sawyer and I am a candidate for the Town of Shirley Board of Selectmen. I previously provided a brief introduction of myself, and basic insight on my thoughts and objectives for the Town of Shirley.


I would now like to offer a more in depth view on my intentions as a candidate for selectman and how I plan to accomplish them.

One of my main objectives as a selectman would be to continue to work towards attaining financial stability for the town. Though the town has made a significant effort to becoming financially stable, there is still progress to be made. As a selectman, my intent would be to maintain all current services, address areas of concern within the town, and demonstrate financial responsibility, while continuing to improve our financial position. I would plan on further developing and implementing strategic plans involving capital, or areas the town would like to address or expand upon in the future. In doing so, our town would be afforded the security of financial stability while making a conscious effort in assisting in its progress.

Additionally, I intend to demonstrate both open communication and transparency as a selectman. I have always valued the opinion of others in in all areas of my life and believe it is necessary to convey information to others to ensure they are properly informed. Furthermore, I have had the benefit of developing a mutually professional relationship with many town officials, employees, board members, and volunteers in the past. I expect to continue to maintain such a relationship as a selectman. In actively communicating and continuing professional relationships, I am hoping to address the issue of filling vacant positions within town. Operating a successful town is a difficult task, even for a small well cared for community. Much of the work is done by the input of dedicated residents that volunteer to serve in various capacities. Filling those vacancies can dilute the work load, provide a healthy balance of diverse views, and help the town identify and achieve its goals from a broader base of residents.

Finally, I feel I would be able to contribute a reasonable, sound approach to any issues or circumstances that may arise. The town has recently been tested with difficult decisions and has made some challenging choices. In doing so, some of those decisions were met with both support and opposition. Regardless of a particular stance on any of the numerous issues, I am looking to help the town move forward. I have no intention of revisiting issues of the past. I am eager to be given the opportunity to work in a professional manner with all current town officials, employees, board members and volunteers to allow the town to progress and attain its objectives.

I look forward to meeting many of you in the upcoming months prior to the election on Nov. 7. If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me at SawyerforSelectman@gmail.com or look for campaign updates on my Facebook page: Bryan Sawyer for Selectman of Shirley.

Bryan Sawyer


Ayer Cultural Council seeks funding proposals

The Ayer Cultural Council (ACC) has set an Oct. 16 postmark deadline for organizations, schools and individuals to apply for grants that support cultural activities in the community: arts, humanities, and science programs. To apply online and view the ACC guidelines, go to http://www.mass-culture.org/Ayer

Priority will be given to community wide events such as concerts & festivals; programs that serve families, youth, seniors and low-income population segments; local artists and cultural organizations; arts education in the schools & youth arts programs outside of school; and programs that support nature and science. Specific guidelines and criteria can be found online at https://www.mass-culture.org/Ayer.

Volunteers Needed: If you are an Ayer resident, with a passion for the arts, please consider joining the ACC. If we drop below our current minimum membership requirements, the state will take control of our council and determine which grants are awarded funds. To be a part of this year's grant decision-making process, contact chair Sheila Schwabe at 610-316-0919 or sschwabe@ayer.ma.us.

Sheila Schwabe


Political parties evolve despite labels

Political parties are labeled by "We The People." In 1866, when the first Civil Rights Bill was enacted, African-Americans voted Republican -- The Party of Lincoln. Record numbers of African-Americans voted and record numbers of Republicans were elected to federal, state and local offices.

Beginning in 1877, those numbers showed a decline that persisted until the mid-20th century.

In 1932, Franklin D. Roosevelt's election precipitated a change in the identity of the Democratic Party. It was said that FDR betrayed his economic class because of his strong advocacy for the "common man."

The 1948 National Convention of the Democratic Party precipitated the "Dixiecrats."

At the Cow Palace Convention, (Republican National Party) in 1964, states rights were the "order of the day," not the "common man."

Thus, both parties, Republican and Democrat, have undergone a change in their political identities through a change of their constituents.

Lest we forget, it was the Democratic Party that sent an African-American to the White House and both parties, Republican and Democrat, placed a monument to the work of an African-American Baptist preacher (Martin Luther King Jr.) on the Washington Mall.

Clifton E. Reed, historian

Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc.