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Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops televised a holiday special last Saturday evening from Symphony Hall. The show was filled with Christmas music and Santa too!

The end of the show included a sing-a-long from the audience and a youth choir from Worcester. I am sure some of you saw it. It reinforced my belief that Christmas music is ageless and it delights the soul every year. Maybe one of the attractions is that we only hear it once a year. Did you ever notice most of the songs, if not all of them, were written many years ago: “White Christmas,” “Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer,” “Jingle Bells,” and the list goes on.

There are some who want to take “Christmas” out of the holiday season, I say “never!” Are there any atheists in the foxholes in Iraq? I agree with Mayor Tom Menino that Jesus didn’t showcase his piety or “tell us to go around talking up God.” I do believe that Jesus is the way to salvation and we should not exclude Him from our everyday life.

Will Ayer be next?

Our real estate firm subscribes to North New England Real Estate Journal and their recent edition — Dec. 2 through 8, ran a story announcing the John B. Sullivan Jr. Corp. recently commenced the construction of a new 83,000-square-foot medical office building for Merrimack Valley Hospital in Haverhill, Mass., just a short jaunt down Route 495.

Hudson Connery Jr., president and CEO of Essent Healthcare of Nashville, Tenn., was quoted as saying, “We hope to make this new physician office space the hospital in the region to serve Haverhill and the surrounding communities.”

We all know who Essent Healthcare of Nashville, Tenn. is: Owner of the Nashoba Valley Medical Center in Ayer. Nationally, Essent Healthcare is owner of five community hospitals that hire more than 3000 employees. Two of these hospitals are in Massachusetts, one in Haverhill and one in Ayer.

There has been much talk and rumors in the last two years that Essent has plans to build a new medical facility at its present site.

In my opinion, there is intense competition in the medical delivery system, just read the papers on a daily basis, including this chain of weeklies.

I won’t start naming the competition, but it seems apparent that in order for Nashoba Valley Medical Center to continue to compete in the marketplace, its facilities must grow to attract new physicians and maintain its present quality of medical staff.

The Nashoba Valley is doing well both residentially and commercially and we certainly have to include Devens. The hospital, physicians and nurses represent the cornerstone of the social economic and medical well-being of the Valley.

Let’s hope the next news story about an expanded medical facility will focus on Ayer.

New chief in Hollis, N.H.

Russell Ux, son of George and Joan Ux of Pepperell will be the new police chief in Hollis, N.H., this coming July. Russell presently serves as a lieutenant on the Hollis, N.H. police force and he spans 20 years with the department, starting at the young age of 18. Russell has grown into a very seasoned police officer and was sought out by the Hollis hierarchy to serve as their new chief. Russell is married, has three children and lives in Nashua, N.H.

I have known Russell’s parents for many years and they are extremely proud of Russell’s achievement. You might say Russell is a “chip off the old block,” as George has been involved in law enforcement for many years and presently serves as Pepperell’s Emergency Management Director. Russell’s mother, Joan, more than a few years ago, worked as the office manager for the local newspaper, Times — Free Press and also spent many years at Murray Printing in Westford. Joan is now retired and spends many hours volunteering at the Pepperell Senior Center. Russell also has two brothers, Kenny and Alan, both accomplished and responsible young adults!

Fifth grandchild

At the 4 p.m. mass last Saturday, Patrick McNabb came in with his first born little baby girl, Anne Madelaine. Her mother Kasia, Catherine in Polish, was unable to be there. Patrick’s mother and father, John and Cathy McNabb, came in and couldn’t wait to sit next to their fifth grandchild. Patrick was quite a pitcher in high school and lives on Pleasant Street in Pepperell with his family.

Christmas musings

The homes in the area look very festive with all their lights and decorations.

Doug “Base” Howarth and his wife Heidi’s house at the corner of Townsend and Elm Street (across from the town hall), looks very good as the property always does. I believe this is the first year Base went the decorative route.

Our neighbors Phyliss and Dennis Lang went the extra mile this year and we enjoy looking across the field at night.

Don’t forget St. Jude

Frank J. Hartnett Sr. is the president of the Fort Devens Historical Museum. He can be reached at (fax) 978-448-1450.