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Staff Writer

PEPPERELL — The Senior Center is becoming a place to go July and August Thursday nights now that a LeClair Elder Service grant has allowed the Council on Aging to extend hours of operation to 8:30 p.m.

That’s something that has been discussed for more than a year at budget-setting times but it wasn’t until the $350 grant was received that the fledgling Summer Sampler program could begin.

It started at 5 p.m. July 5 with about 30 seniors playing the easy-to-learn card game Hand and Foot in the main function room and another 10 or so seated beginning at 6 p.m. in the darkened lounge to watch the movie “The Devil Wears Pravda.”

“We started small to see how it goes,” council director Sharon Mercurio said, pleased with the turnout. “It doesn’t cost much and everyone seems to be having a good time.”

The scheduled movie July 12 is “Night at the Museum,” followed on future Thursdays with ‘Freedom Writers,’ and ‘Mr. and Mrs. Smith.’

Card-playing and movies continue as Donna Lynch begins teaching the art of one-stroke painting in a three-week decorative painting class July 12 (fee $20 for seniors, $35 for others) from 6 to 8 p.m. Beginners will create beautiful, simple paintings using shading methods through one stroke of the paint brush. Participants may sign up at the Senior Center.

Nashoba Publishing photographer John Love will teach digital photography free of charge July 12 and 19 at 7 p.m. Participants should bring their own cameras.

Chair massage becomes available starting July 19 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. given by licensed massage therapist Jose Dudley. Fee is $7 for a 10-minute massage. Please call for an appointment.

Yoga classes will be added July 26 and continue each Thursday through the end of August beginning at 7 p.m. No sign-up is necessary but a $2 donation per class is requested. Participants should wear comfortable clothes and bring a mat or towel for floor work.

“I thought why not try for the grant,” Mercurio said. “I’m excited about this. We’ll give it a shot and see how it goes.”

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