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Did you know that horses have the right of way? The vast majority of motorists are probably unaware that this is a state law. From page 103 of the Massachusetts Drivers Manual (and most other states have similar laws):

“Animals and Horse-Drawn Vehicles

Always give the right-of-way to an animal that someone is leading, riding, or driving. Animals are easily scared by motor vehicles. When you get near an animal or horse-drawn vehicle, be careful and do the following:

* Stop if the animal or vehicle is coming toward you or is crossing your path. Allow the animal to pass.

* Slow down.

* If the animal or vehicle is traveling in the same direction as you, allow plenty of room for passing safely. Drive at a reasonable speed.

* Do not honk your horn or make a loud noise.

* If the animal you are passing looks scared, you must pull your vehicle to the side and stop.

* Proceed only when it is safe.

* You must stop if a rider or driver signals you to do so.

The law applies to horses, cows, and any other draft animals.

In rural areas, take extra care when passing hay rides. These are usually animal drawn and carry multiple passengers.”

At a recent meeting of the Pepperell Horse Owners Association, there was an extensive discussion of problems with motorists sharing the roads with horseback riders. Most drivers are considerate, but a number of PHOA members recounted frightening incidents of motorists or motorcycles speeding past riders and even behaving in ways that could end in tragedy for everyone concerned.

Keep in mind that the average riding horse weighs about 1,000 pounds. Horses do not have automatic transmissions or power brakes. A frightened horse can bolt, spin, or leap sideways in a split second.

We do not enjoy riding on the roads, but often we have no choice. Pepperell has many beautiful trails, but a certain amount of road riding may be necessary to get to a trailhead or to link one trail with another.

Also keep in mind that most riders now carry cell-phones and can take a photo of the license plate or vehicle of anyone who is creating a threatening situation for someone riding along the side of the road. It will only take a few seconds for you to slow down — please be courteous. No one wants to cause an accident.

Judy Lorimer

Pepperell

Loaves & Fishes will move food pantry for renovations

Loaves & Fishes in Devens will be undergoing renovations this summer in response to the growing regional need for food and support services. Significant changes to the floor plan as well as additional refrigeration/freezer capacity will allow us to more effectively, efficiently and safely serve our clients.

We will be closed Friday, June 22 and Wednesday, June 27 and will reopen on Friday, June 29 at our temporary location, the Lura A. White School, 34 Lancaster Road in Shirley. We are grateful to the administration of the Ayer Shirley Regional School District for providing us with this space which allows us to continue our mission of providing nutritious food to our neighbors in Ayer, Devens, Groton, Harvard, Littleton and Shirley.

We are also indebted to Maugel Architects, Inc. of Harvard, Goldsmith, Prest & Ringwall, Inc. of Ayer and Omni Properties, LLC of Concord for providing us with their professional skills, on a pro bono basis, during the past year. There are simply no words to express our sincere appreciation for their time, patience and commitment.

Please visit our website at www.loavesfishespantry.org for our summer calendar and to view regular project updates. Questions may be directed to (978)772-4627 x300 or by email to office@loavesfishespantry.org.

We are very excited about this project and we look forward to our grand reopening. As always, we thank you for your ongoing support.

Patricia A. Stern

Executive Director

Friends of Nashoba Valley Medical seek volunteers

Nashoba Valley Medical Center, located at 200 Old Ayer Road in Ayer, provides hospital and doctors care to the residents of surrounding towns. A group called Friends of NVMC helps to find and encourage volunteers to help at both the front desk and in the gift shop.

The gift shop, which is located on the first floor of the hospital, is currently looking for more volunteers to help.

The gift shop is open M-F, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.There are a variety of things for sale including clothes, scarves, jewelry, baby items, toys, cards, and candy.

When you are visiting the hospital, please stop by, and if you are interested in volunteering, please contact Terry McPartlan, Gift Shop Coordinator, at 978-302-5732 or email TerryMcP@aol.com.

Ellen Hargraves

Groton

Protest locking children in cages at U.S. border

No matter what your views on immigration are, separation of children from their parents should be horrifying to everyone. As a parent, I am horrified at the thought of having children forcibly separated from their mothers and fathers. How can anyone look at the pictures now surfacing on the news and turn a blind eye?

Who is verifying these children are 1. fed adequately; 2. receiving necessary medical care; 3. have proper hygiene facilities; 4. are safe from abuse by either the adult caretakers or other children?

Locking young kids in dog kennels is horrendous. Children are not stray dogs. They are innocent kids. Who is going to protect them when a tornado or hurricane destroys the tent city they are forced to live in?

I implore you to contact your people in Congress and demand action to put a stop to the directive that is immoral, inhumane and possibly criminal. Senators can be reached by mail, phone or online at www.senate.gov; for Representatives, go to www. house.gov. In addition, use social media and petition websites to mount a protest.

I thought I would never have to say this, but I am ashamed to be an American right now, and everyone in this country should be, too. If you do nothing to speak out, then you are as responsible for harming these children as our government is.

Sandra Cutler

Brookfield, VT

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