November 2009 Archives

Dr. Patch Adams' Schedule in Concord

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Dr. Adams' following presentations will focus on:

"What Parents & Children Can Do, TOGETHER,
to Serve the Healing of Our Ailing Health CARE System"

PatchAdams.jpgAll events, with the exception of the student assemblies, are open to the public. There is no admission fee; contributions, as your fortunes allow, are gratefully received to support the "Good Doctor's" valiant labors.

  • Saturday, Dec. 5, 7:30 pm, Harvey Wheeler Center, West Concord
  • Sunday, Dec. 6, 9:00 am Trinity Episcopal Forum
  • Sunday afternoon, neighborhood meetings in Concord. Contact Angela Washburn for information:; 617-759-7959
  • Monday, Dec. 7: 3-5 pm Trustees' Room, Concord Free Public Library, RSVP
  • Monday, Concord-Carlisle High School student meetings, TBD
  • Monday, 7 pm Concord-Carlisle High School Cafeteria
  • Wednesday, Dec. 9, 9:58 - 11:03: Lincoln-Sudbury High School Student Assembly
  • Wednesday, 7:30 pm Lincoln-Sudbury High School Auditorium

(Check back on this blog as other events are still being arranged.)

Concord Carlisle Football Pep Rally Wednesday

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2071154.thb.jpgThe Concord-Carlisle Patriots varsity football team has gone undefeated in their division this year and will be playing Bedford, at home, on Thanksgiving Day. This game will determine if CC or Bedford will go on to the playoff game and then hopefully the Superbowl game.  The Patriots have not been in this position since 1978. That team did win and then went on to win the Superbowl game that year. 

So on Wednesday night at 6:00 p.m. in the gym at the high school there will be a pep rally for this year's football team.  The Pep Band and the cheerleaders will be there playing and performing.  The seniors from the football team, cheerleaders, and Pep band will be recognized and 15 members of the 1978 CC Superbowl team will also be recognized.  This will be a fun event!

This is a busy time of the year but it's hoped you can carve out (no pun intended) an hour on Wednesday night to cheer the team on.  All are welcome to attend, so please pass the word.

39200287.thb.jpgJoin the Cape Ann Fresh Catch's Community Supported Fishery winter season.  Enjoy local shrimp and fish while supporting Massachusetts's fishermen in developing a regional economic option.  Rather than source your fish from around the world get the freshest local fish caught within 24 hours and delivered to two locations in our area.

A win-win option that cuts down on our contribution to global warming by reducing the CO2 buildup that food transportation adds to the atmosphere.  Find the contract which includes detailed information on the winter share now being offered as well as a full list of delivery locations at the Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance website:  Scroll down and click on Winter Season 09/10 Contract.  Applications should be mailed in with a check and received by December 1st.

Pickup locations are varied, but they include Codman Farm in Lincoln, and Butterbrook Farm in Acton.

Local Drop-Off for Community Supported Fishery

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160482.thb.jpgBy Debbie Bier, Publisher and Editor of this blog

My household has recently completed 12 weeks of local pick-ups from the Gloucester Community Supported Fishery (CSF).  I can honestly say that before this, I have never eaten fish before.

Oh, I had eaten plenty of things that purported to be fish, some of which was from some pretty upscale seafood establishments.  But the stuff we received from the CSF was unlike anything else I've ever eaten. This stuff was ambrosial, delectable, fabulous... and just nothing short of remarkable tasting. Even cooked leftovers the next day tasted more wonderful than any other fish I've ever eaten.

And the scent! You know the saying: fish shouldn't smell fishy. The only thing these fish smelled of was ocean breezes and salt water. I had no idea this was possible!

To say it was fresh does not bring things to a fine enough point, because what truly fresh fish means was hitherto unknown to me. It's not just that these fish were out of the water often less than 24 hours -- which was amazing in and of itself -- but that they were delivered to subscribers largely whole.

160484.jpgThat minimal processing is what seems to have made much more difference than I could ever have imagined. During the processing, the exposure of the fish's flesh to air, moisture and bacteria seem to decay it amazingly fast.  Instead, I would cook whole or fillet (and sometimes skin) and cook a large fish -- which always arrived gutted -- within no more than an hour of that home processing.  Small fish came ungutted, and those I would gut, cook whole or fillet and cook just as quickly.

Even a first-rate fish store or restaurant must first fillet, skin, and/or cut its fish into serving pieces hours earlier than we did at home. It's not generally possible for them to process and cook their fish in what is basically the one fell-swoop that we did. What an amazing difference this made!

These are the types of fish we received: cod, pollack, haddock, cod, flounder, monkfish, cod, and whiting.  Oh, yes -- and also some cod.  It's worth reading in their newsletter ( how and why they choose the species they select for the day's catch.  We're very impressed that they seem to be careful to look at the entire ecosystem's health for their choices, which doesn't seem to be the norm. It's too complex to go into here, but it's worth reading.  

Now, is this CSF stuff for everyone? I'd say, quite decidedly: no. The first person we were supposed to split our share with was grossed out by the fish not arriving neatly pre-processed like it would from a fish store or supermarket. The second -- and final -- person we split our share with loved every bit of what she got and never, never complained of its rustic qualities. 

21768676.thb.jpgThere is also a learning curve involved. It took me maybe 3 deliveries to respectably get the hang of filleting.  And I didn't realize how much our knives needed sharpening until our first delivery -- if you do this, make sure you have really sharp knives first! 

There is also some time involved in the handling of the fish each week. By the 12th week I was able to get filleting and skinning and cleaning up after a 7-8 lb cod down to 20-25 minutes. But earlier on, it was much, much more time consuming!  But the time devoted was entirely worth it to us.  Just know to leave aside at least an hour the first time or two you do this.

And let me say something about the quantity of fish we received: it was A LOT.  In the end, 5 people ate very well for 2-3 days from the full share (I think they're now referring to this as a "double share"). This was amazing bounty -- at a very good price.  But a bit daunting sometimes!  However, we somehow managed to rise to the occasion and enjoyed every morsel.

Starting in early December, we'll start participating in another share, and we've chosen the option to have fish one week, shrimp the next.  For more info, see the Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance website:   We're thankful to ConcordCAN for helping us become aware of this program.

Editorial: Let Town Meeting Decide

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"We call it the 'Development' Department, not 'Planning' because they seem to be
 pro-development all the way." ... "The Planning Board is totally
on the side of the developers. Why do they get so much
more consideration than the rest of us?"

026_160.jpgWe hear this kind of thing ALL THE TIME.  No doubt there are good people serving on the Planning Board and working for the Concord Department of Planning and Land Management.  But the current internal politics does seem to make many of us wonder if the above sentiments aren't actually closer to the truth than we'd like.

After all: developers are an intent bunch good at working for what the want, while the rest of us are often too busy to be paying much attention.  So the Concord Magazine Blog is issuing a two-fold challenge to both the Planning Board and Department, AND to citizens.

1) To the Planning Board and Department: Here is an excellent opportunity to show clearly that you're not serving any one group's interests.  The proposed Formula Business Restriction Bylaw that is having its first public discussion at the Planning Board this Tuesday (11/24) at 7:30 PM is important for deciding the direction of West Concord for decades to come.

Don't push this Warrant Article aside. Instead, help facilitate a genuine, depthful, and many-months-long discussion, fact-finding and educational effort during which Town Meeting members become knowledgeable enough to make a truly informed decision at the 2010 annual Town Meeting.  Let the townspeople decide the fate of West Concord after a many-sided, fair examination of this planning tool.

65311552.jpg2) To the people of Concord: We need to pay attention here! A Formula Business Restriction Bylaw could be a powerful and effective tool to help keep West Concord the village that we love. Allow this to be shot down or gutted of all teeth, and we'll get exactly what it's clear we DO NOT WANT: the type, density, and ugliness of re-development that will render West Concord foreign.  Without such a restriction, rents could be driven so high that only large, standardized or formula businesses could afford them. If that happened, we would lose the very independent businesses and small-town feel we so value.

The people can get what we have expressed that we want, but we're going to have to pay attention, engage, and become educated.  Turn out for meetings, let your voice be heard. Organize support, demand a fair and open process, and bring others into the discussion.  Yes, it's going to mean devoting some time and energy.  But if we don't, we'll end up with whatever yields the most profit for developers.  

Dr. Patch Adams in Concord Dec 5-10

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"I've traveled far and wide in Concord." Henry David Thoreau

patch_colorful_smile.jpgPhysician and Founder of the Gesundheit Institute (, leading light in the field of Health CARE, an international folk hero and blessed clown, Patch has brought his commitment to healing to war zones, prisons, hospitals, classrooms, and orphanages around the world, as well to our medical schools and halls of Congress, near and far.  Patch's travels bring him to Concord for a week, where the "Good Doctor" will speak at different location in our town about what we can do together - young and older alike - to serve the healing of our health care system, as glimpsed in the movie, Patch Adams, starring Robin Williams.

For further information on Patch's visit, contact Stuart Weeks, Founder, The Center for American Studies at Concord, 978-406-1353;  Patch's schedule is still open for a few more presentations at different venues in town.

West Concord Master Plan Public Information Forum

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The Future of West Concord: Your Input Needed!!

21408738.thb.jpgAttend preview and presentation of the West Concord Task Force's Master Plan recommendations for enhancements to the Village center including:

    • Transportation network and circulation
    • Streetscape and parking
    • Parks, open space, and trails
    • New development and redevelopment

Harvey Wheeler Community Center, Thurs., Nov. 19th 7-8:30PM*

* 7-7:30 Public preview (recommended)
* 7:30-8:30 Presentation and discussion

More information at: Town Website ( / "Links for Residents" / "West Concord Village Master Plan / Project Materials" and

Food for Thought on Nov. 20

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litblogo.jpg"Life in the Balance: Food for Thought," will be held on Friday, November 20, 7pm, at the Trinitarian Congregational Church, 54 Walden St., Concord. This forum will explore food issues and discuss ways to effect change at home, in our towns, regionally and nationally.

The featured speaker is Brian Donahue (American Environmental Studies, Brandeis University), along with Willow Blish (Slow Food Boston), Jim Catterton (Concord Agriculture Committee), Jen Hashley (Tufts University New Entry Sustainable Farming Project and Pete & Jen's Backyard Birds), and Charlotte Vallaeys (Farm & Food Policy Analyst, Cornucopia Institute). "Food for Thought" is free and open to all.
The Life in the Balance series is co-sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Concord-Carlisle, ConcordCAN (Concord Climate Action Network), Carlisle Climate Action and Concord-Carlisle Adult & Community Education. For more information, visit, email or call 978-369-3842.

Friends of the Library Holiday Booksale

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libext.jpegGently used books in good condition, suitable for giving. Cook books, travel, garden, fiction, children's, holiday, poetry, sci fi, mystery, DVDs, CDs.  These are the crème de la crème of the library's donated books in pristine condition and suitable for gifts. Festive decorations in the library lobby and very careful sorting and display make this an enjoyable shopping experience. And you purchases benefit the library. Bargain prices, beautiful books!

Friday and Saturday, December 4 & 5, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Sunday, December 6, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. 129 Main Street,

Photo: The original facade of the Concord Free Public Library.


November Greenhouse Update

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sweettatergiant.jpgWe're just about at our one-year mark of the solar greenhouse in our backyard. I've not updated about this project for a while. Part of the reason is that I've been just so darned busy (some of which I will explain here very, very soon)...

Another reason I've not posted much about it is that after we had so much loss from late blight (and so EARLY it was!), the gloss was off the apple, so to speak.  It was not the most joyous summer gardening season.

However -- there is still plenty going on and we plan on going through the entire fall and winter with crops in the ground providing us with food! Which re-invigorates and energizes me.

We have 4 beds outdoors under floating row cover. More like BLOWING row cover.  It's hard to keep that stuff pinned down yet able to be opened for harvesting. But things are going just beautifully under the cover, which is rated to give about 6 degrees F and -- quite importantly -- some wind protection.

We have many different things growing splendidly outdoors under cover.  From memory (and I'll miss a few) they include: arugula, 2 types of bok choy, tatsoi, 2 types of turnips, broccoli raab, red mustard, 4 types of kale (Chinese, curly Siberian, red Russian, Tuscan), chard, napa-type cabbage, green and savoy heading cabbages, collards, mibuna, mixed chicories, beets, red choy sum, parsley, chives.  We are eating daily from these beds.

grapeplanting.jpgWe closed up the greenhouse in mid-October when we had the first frosts. Inside, we had a touch of frost for the first time a few night ago -- I think that night it was 25F or so.  But only the nasturtiums got nipped (an outer row), and it wasn't a fully killing frost for them.  I have a variety of pepper plants (!) doing fine, and a few summer herbs and flowers, too.  Eggplants, cucumbers and basil couldn't deal with the lower temps and got moldy and sad; I took them out a couple of weeks ago. We seem to be running a month behind the first frost of mid-October.

I only just added row cover inside the greenhouse in a couple of areas last night, and then only where we still have the tender summer plants.   Also inside I have in addition to ALL the types I have outside, some leaf and semi-heading lettuces (could probably have them outside, too), miner's lettuce, sage, carrots, beets, leeks, scallions, 2 types of peas, red cabbage, red chard, and an additional type of chard whose frost tolerance is unknown to me.  We have regularly been eating from these beds, too.

I have every spot in the greenhouse beds planted; I will seed some things today that I had meant to seed a couple of weeks ago; they will go into the spots the summer plants will vacate -- though I have no idea how much longer these warm-ones will be doing well enough to keep in place.

At the moment, despite the cloudy day we're having today, the greenhouse is 20 degrees warmer than outdoors -- and there's no wind.  The heat in the earth after a few nice days plus the warmth of the (low) sunlight all allow it to be in the mid-60's indoors. And it's humid and fragrant from earth and growing things! Quite delightful.  

7235_309984960625_573905625_9453533_2379188_n.jpgWe had a class here on Saturday from the Audubon Society and Concord-Carlisle Adult Ed on Suburban Backyard Farming, and it was over 80 degrees (even with some ventilation open) in the greenhouse!  It was a great demonstration of what just a little plastic protection and temperature buffering from the earth will do for you.

Photos from top: Our largest sweet potato, planting grape vines in newly made lasagna garden beds (both ©2009 Don Stevenson), snow on the floating row cover on some obscenely early October date (©2009 Rich Stevenson)

Happy 120, New England Deaconess!

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Though in Concord "only" for 96 years, New England Deaconess is celebrating its 120th year of existence. Do you know how this organization, first in Boston, end up in Concord in the first place, and how it has played a vital role in the well being of our community for nearly a century? From the current plus an earlier iteration of the New England Deaconess website:

nursey.jpg"It was 1910 when Charles W. Emerson, a nephew of Ralph Waldo Emerson, brought his ailing wife from Concord to the Deaconess Hospital in Boston. The care and attention his wife received so impressed Emerson, that he donated both land and money to build a cottage hospital in Concord to be run by the Deaconesses. Emerson's vision and resources, combined with the free care and nursing expertise of the Deaconesses, provided the citizens of Concord and the surrounding areas with an alternative to Boston health care.

"Later, when it became evident that a residence for the aging Deaconess family was needed, Emerson came to their aid by generously donating the land upon which he had intended to build a home with his wife. This residence, completed in 1913, eventually came to be known as the Deaconess Home."

"At this same time, Emerson learned that Mrs. Foucar, who lived across the street from the hospital site, wanted to make a generous donation for a home for the aging. Emerson was excited about the prospect of working with Mrs. Foucar and her daughter, to create a great center for human welfare comprised of both a hospital and a home for the aging in Concord.

"In 1911, the Deaconess Cottage Hospital in Concord opened, and N.E.D.A. ran it until 1924 when it was turned over to the citizens of Concord and renamed Emerson Hospital.  In November 1913, the Home for Aged Methodist Women, now Deaconess House, formally opened next door on what is now our Concord campus."

Veteran's Day Flag Retirement Ceremony

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Yes, we burn the American flag in Concord.  But don't think it's out of protest or disrespect -- in fact, it's just the opposite.  Our flag burning is actually an act of respect: we retire worn flags with dignity and honor.  We do this every year on Veteran's day to thousands of flags, a ceremony that involves the involvement from every facet of our community.

Beautiful photos by Concordian Rich Stevenson of this year's ceremony are below. (click on any to see a larger view in a separate window). 

Photos: ©2009 Rich Stevenson, Local Color Images, all rights reserved.

"The American Landscape"

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51mWGqjooaL._SS400_.jpgBy Court Booth, Director of Concord-Carlisle Regional Public Schools Adult & Community Education,, (978) 318-1540

Thursday, November 12, 7:30 PM
Thoreau School, West Concord
A free program open to all

You are invited. It's unlikely that your view of the planet and the human role in climate change will be unchanged.

"The American Landscape" is a special presentation by Alex MacLean at the Thoreau School, 29 Prairie Street, West Concord. All ages are invited to this free program at 7:30 PM.

Alex is a pilot and photographer who has flown over much of the United States documenting the landscape. His remarkable photos demonstrate the extent to which the human ecosystem and our economic and social well being are dependent upon our wise use of land and its resources. His powerful and descriptive images provide clues to understanding the relationship between the natural and constructed environments.

Electrial Outage Planned

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The Concord Municipal Light Plant has a scheduled electric power outage beginning at 10:00 pm on Thursday, November 12th and running through 5:00 am in Friday, November 13th.
The outage will affect businesses and residents on Walden Street and may affect some businesses at the corner of Main Street, if their power comes from the Walden Street circuits.  The outage is necessary so the Light Plant can convert circuits that are underground and add protective equipment upgrades.  Streetlights on Walden Street and in the parking lot off of Walden Street will also be affected.
Please contact CMLP at 978-318-3116 if you have any questions.

Upcoming Concord Library Events

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Thumbnail image for slowind.pngSlowind Concert

Saturday, November 14, 7:30 p.m. Concord Free Public Library, 129 Main Street

Slowind (pictured above) is a wind quintet made up of soloists of the Slovene Philharmonic, an orchestra with a rich musical tradition since its beginnings more than 300 years ago in Ljubljana, Slovenia. In its long history, the orchestra's conductors have included Gustav Mahler, Fritz Reiner and Carlos Kleiber.

The musicians -Ales Kacjan, flute; Matej Sarc, oboe; Jurij Jenko, clarinet; Metod Tomac, french horn; Paolo Calligaris, bassoon--will perform works by Darius Milhuad, Vinko Globocar, Paul Hindemith, and Gyõrgy Ligeti.

Music From the Library is free, advance reservations required at or 978-318-3301. Sponsored by the Friends of the Concord Free Public Library.

Thursday Author: Historian Speaks at the Library

Karl Jacoby, author of Shadows at Dawn: A Borderland Massacre and the Violence of History. Jacoby, aprofessor at Brown University, will discuss his examination of US/Mexico border issues during the 19th century. Thursday, November 19, 2009, 7:30 p.m.

Free. Main Library, 129 Main Street, Concord. For more information, Sponsored by the Friends of the Concord Free Public Library.

Editorial: Why Preserve Our History?

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rivcanoe.jpgWe have been asked: why does it matter to correct the history about the preservation of the West Concord Depot (as we did yesterday). It's nice, but does it really matter?

Certainly, many Concordians have been among the nation-wide leaders when it comes to preserving our history. It's simply mind-boggling to think of the visionaries who came before us who knew that both the "great" and the every-day things would be of real interest and value in the future. 

For example, how did someone like William Munroe know that by founding the Special Collections of the Concord Free Public Library -- dedicated to both the obviously important documents AND the ephemera of daily Concord life -- Concord would maintain itself as a center of research because of the richness of its major-university-level primary source material? How did Munroe have the vision to do this?  It simply stuns us! 

Connected in the River of History
But there is something far deeper than research-fodder in our efforts to preserve, know and understand our past.  While pondering this, we happened to run into two wonderful quotes this week that we feel illuminate the wholly human aspects of full and vivid history-keeping.

rivhorizon.jpgFirst, from Kurt Vonnegut's novel Breakfast of Champions, a book populated by humans filled with anguish, disconnection, desperation and despair, the one character who stands out as fully different is mentioned only briefly. But the richness and connectedness of his world is apparent.

At the wheel of the ambulance was Eddie Key, a young black man who was a direct descendant of Francis Scott Key, the white American patriot who wrote the National Anthem. Eddie knew he was descended from Key. He could name more than six hundred of his ancestors, and had at least an anecdote about each. They were Africans, Indians and white men...

Eddie Knew knew so much about his ancestry because the black part of his family had done what so many African families still do in Africa, which was to have one member of each generation whose duty it was to memorize the history of the family so far... As he sat in the front of the disaster vehicle, looking out through the windshield, he had the feeling that he himself was a vehicle, and that his eyes were windshields through which his progenitors could look, if they wished to...

Eddie Key's familiarity with a teeming past made life much more interesting to him than it was to [the main characters in the book], or to almost any white person in Midland City that day... Eddie Key was afloat in a river of people who were flowing from here to there in time. [The others] were just pebbles at rest.

And Eddie Key, because he knew so much by heart, was able to have deep nourishing feelings [about others]...

rivtrees.jpgA Gift to Ourselves and the Community
In the second quote, from a Native American children's book called The Raven and the Sun:  Echoing Our Ancestors, comes the human importance of history: "Each time a story is shared, whether spoken, written, dreamed or remembered - it is a gift - from those who came before to those who carry on in their footsteps.  Listen to the story of your elders and those in your family and community."

Having a full and rich knowledge of our history nourishes us, as it nourishes our community, too. It connects us to events, places and to one another.  A community unaware of its history -- or harboring narrow or false notions about it -- is just a pebble at rest, not afloat in the river of  life. Even if the facts are not ones we prefer, we can celebrate that we have been brave enough to openly know and speak them.

We know that history is generally written by the conquerors, not the conquered. However, the Concord Magazine Blog has for nearly 12 years been a voice of the Concord stories-not-otherwise-heard, and tales of those not in power. The fuller story of the West Concord Depot was not recently publicly repeated until it was told here yesterday, not because it was unknown to all -- there are some we know who have known the facts -- but because it was for some reason politically or personally inconvenient to acknowledge.

Why would that be? Well, who can truly say? We won't speculate or try to characterize the motivations of those who try to edit Concord history.  We can only say that it's important that we recognize all that transpired in the cause of West Concord historic preservation.  We are tremendously proud of and congratulate all who have thus served.

Photos: Fairhaven Bay along the Sudbury River. ©2009 Rich Stevenson of Local Color Images

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