Recently in Daily Life in Concord Category

Hot Weather Advisory, Cooling Shelter Opening

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By Mark R. Cotreau, Fire Chief/Emergency Management Director, Town of Concord Fire Department

19080236.thb.jpgAs you are most likely aware, we are in for a few days of extremely hot weather conditions. Please see the below advisory issued by MEMA.  Additionally residents can access a cooling shelter as noted below:
In response to the extreme temperatures forecast for the next few days, the Harvey Wheeler Community Center will be open as a cooling center Thursday and Friday, 12 noon until 9pm. There are no age restrictions. Please feel free to stop by if you would like to escape the extreme temperatures forecast. If transportation is an issue, during business hours please call 978-318-3020 (the COA Office), or after hours please call 978-318-3400 (Public Safety Dispatch).
Please remember that the Concord Public Library -  Main Library and Fowler Branch - are also air conditioned and welcome the public. The Main Library and Fowler Branch summer hours vary somewhat, and are posted on the Library web site at 
Remember last winter when we all wished for warmer weather? 

With the extremely hot weather the Commonwealth is experiencing, the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) is advising people to be cautious and is offering some tips to help keep cool and safe.
"A few common sense measures can reduce heat-related problems, especially for the elderly, the very young and people with respiratory ailments, who are more susceptible to the effects of high temperatures," said MEMA Director Kurt Schwartz. "Here are some tips to follow to stay safe during this hot, humid weather."
·    Slow down, avoid strenuous activity.  Do not try to do too much on a hot day.
·    Wear lightweight, loose-fitting, light-colored clothing.  Light colors will reflect heat and sunlight and help maintain normal body temperature. Protect your face with a wide-brimmed hat.
·    Drink plenty of water regularly and often, even if you do not feel thirsty. Attempt to stay hydrated.
·    Limit intake of alcoholic beverages.  They can actually dehydrate your body.
·    Eat well-balanced, light, regular meals.  Avoid high protein foods that increase metabolic heat.
·    Stay indoors as much as possible.
·    If you do not have air conditioning, stay on your lowest floor, out of the sun.  Electric fans do not cool the air, but they do help evaporate perspiration, which cools your body.
·    Go to a place where you can get relief from the heat, such as air conditioned schools, libraries, theaters and other community facilities that may offer refuge during the warmest times of the day.
·    Check with your community for information about possible local 'cooling centers'. You may also want to call 2-1-1 for 'cooling center' information or go to <>
·    Cover windows that receive morning or afternoon sun with drapes, shades, awnings or louvers.  Outdoor awnings or louvers can reduce the heat that enters a home by up to 80%.
·    Avoid too much sunshine.  Sunburn slows the skin's ability to cool itself.  If you are outside, use sunscreen lotion with a high SPF (Sun Protection Factor) rating.
·    Never leave children or pets alone in a closed vehicle.
·    Check on family, friends and neighbors.
In normal weather, the body's internal thermostat produces perspiration that evaporates and cools the body.  However, in extreme heat and high humidity, evaporation is slowed and the body must work extra hard to maintain normal temperature, which may lead to heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.  If you believe you, or anyone you are with, is experiencing a heat-related medical emergency, promptly call 911, and if possible, move to a cooler place.
The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) is the state agency responsible for coordinating federal, state, local, voluntary and private resources during emergencies and disasters in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  MEMA provides leadership to: develop plans for effective response to all hazards, disasters or threats; train emergency personnel to protect the public; provide information to the citizenry; and assist individuals, families, businesses and communities to mitigate against, prepare for, and respond to and recover from emergencies, both natural and man made. For additional information about MEMA and Preparedness, go to Follow MEMA updates on Facebook and Twitter.
One of the best things about living in Concord is that you never know when you've going to stumble upon something wonderful -- something unexpected. 

That happened today when I went to Thoreau Farm to work in the kitchen garden there. My main order of business: hauling spoiled hay and composted manure to build up the beds where I've already harvested the main crop and want to prepare for over-wintering.  Buuuut...

The masses of cars parked there told me SOMETHING was going on at Gaining Ground, the organization that farms the 18 acres that had been originally attached to the Thoreau Birth House farm. It was their annual Harvest Festival! It was SUCH a gorgeous day, I couldn't help but wander back there. After all, the manure could always compost a little longer, right?

Gaining Ground grows organic vegetables and fruit with the help of hundreds of community volunteers and donates all of this fresh food to area meal programs and food pantries. They raise and distribute approximately 20,000 pounds of produce each growing season. They were celebrating a fantastic year's work with volunteers, community members and recipients alike. There was live music, activities for kids, a delicious vegetarian lunch buffet, high spirits, beautiful flowers, and lots of mingling. Below are some photos from the day (click on any image to launch a larger version in a pop-up window).


Photos: ©2010 Deborah Bier

Tornado Watch Thru 8 PM

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By Mark Cotreau, Concord Emergency Management Director, Concord Fire Chief

19892166.thb.jpgThe National Weather Service has issued a Tornado Watch for our area until  8 pm.  Developing showers and thunderstorms to our west may become severe as they move through this afternoon.

Keep in mind some storms will contain damaging wind gusts over 50 mph, frequent lightning, heavy rain, and small to medium sized hail.  An isolated tornado is possible.

The threat will begin to subside by this evening.

Listen to NPR's Story About Concord's NPO Tax Story

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Our Board of Selectmen requesting that Concord's non-profit organizations voluntarily pay toward the property taxes they would owe if they were not non-profits is the centerpiece of a story on this issue on National Public Radio.

The text on this page is expanded upon if you click "Listen": (obviously, this story was begun before April's Town Meeting because the selectman interviewed is now retired from office).

Summer Peak Electrical Reduction: How Did We Do?

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weekofjuly27.jpgThis is the first week that the Concord Municipal Light Plant (CMLP) used its email notification system to ask Concord electric users to reduce usage of power for certain short periods of time in anticipation of decreasing the "summer peak hour".  Concord Blog readers know that the way the system works, that a portion of our electric rate is related to the demand during that magical "peak hour" (see here for more info). 

CMLP asked us to reduce our usage between 2 and 5 PM this past Wednesday and Thursday.  Wednesday's request came with two days notification; Thursday notification came that morning.  Yesterday, we received the below from CMLP. It refers to the chart at top (click on it to see it in larger form).                                                                                                                                                                                             Good Afternoon,
We thought you might be interested in feedback on what impact the CMLP-CAP Group had on peak demands this week.  The graph below shows the hourly demands from 10AM - 10PM each day through yesterday.
You'll recall the power outage we had last Tuesday around 2:30 pm in the West Concord area which is evidenced by the resultant dip in demand as shown on the graph.  We are working on better ways to reduce load!
On Monday (blue line) we did not request that customers reduce peak energy use but we did on Wednesday and Thursday and thus a load comparison can be made between them.  While there are many variables involved (temperature, humidity, business operations, vacations etc.) the biggest variable, outside temperature, was fairly consistently in the low to mid 80s all week.
So it's interesting to note that on Wednesday we were able to stay below the Monday peak.  Thursday we did not do as well but there were probably other factors impacting the outcome.  As more and more folks participate the impact should be more noticeable.
We plan on offering these comparisons from time to time and hope you find them of interest.  Thanks again for participating and have a great weekend.
Anyone wishing to receive these announcement directly should use the email address Simply send the email as the Subject and Body can be blank. Google Groups will automatically send an email requesting a verification of the request. This has been set up as a one way email system so members can only receive emails from this site.
From Jimi Two Feathers, member of the West Concord Task Force.

Now that Article 38: West Concord Interim Planning Overlay District has passed at Town Meeting, and hiring a consultant to complete a Master Plan for West Concord Village is nearing completion, the WCTF would like to inform those who are interested of our next steps.

We will hold a public forum on design guidelines on Tuesday, June 16th at 7:00pm at the Thoreau Elementary School Auditorium. Design guidelines are being developed jointly by the West Concord Task Force, the Planning Board, and the Planning Department. We would like as much public feedback on the draft as possible before finalizing the document.

A draft and explanation of The Design Guidelines may be viewed at or at our page on the town website at

The next West Concord Task Force meeting will be held on Wednesday, May 27th at the Concord Municipal Light Plant located at 1175 Elm St. at 7.30 p.m.  (To access the building at this hour enter through the side entrance). 

We welcome your feedback at our public forum or if you prefer, send feedback to the town's Planning Department: or Marcia Rasmussen, Director of Planning, 141 Keyes Road, First Floor, Concord, MA 01742.

What's "Novel" About this Flu?

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We asked Concord's Health Director, Brent Reagor what was meant by "novel"  in reference to this as novel H1N1 influenza.  Here's what he said.

"The CDC, WHO and DPH are all referring to this H1N1 as a "novel" virus as to it's genetic lineage and the fact that it appeared outside of the usual N. Hemisphere flu season."

There -- curiosity satisfied!

Two Cases of Novel H1N1 Influenza Confirmed in Concord

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Submitted by Brent L. Reagor RS, Public Health Director, Concord's Public Health Department.

Late Tuesday evening, May 12, 2009, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health notified the Concord Health Department that testing of two unrelated Concord residents had confirmed they were both infected with novel H1N1 influenza, previously referred to as "swine flu". Upon developing symptoms, both residents followed the current Massachusetts Department of Public Health and US Centers for Disease Control recommendations and voluntarily isolated themselves at home to prevent transmission of the virus.

Both individuals have recovered fully and neither required hospitalization. It is important to remember that regular seasonal influenza sickens 14,000 people annually in Massachusetts, and approximately 800 Massachusetts residents die from complications related to normal seasonal influenza. At this time, the Health Department is confident that the public health is fully protected, and no additional activities beyond the current level of local response are necessary.

The Health Department, in concert with Town leadership, the Concord Fire Department, and Emerson Hospital have been continuously monitoring the developments surrounding novel H1N1 influenza since April 24th, when reports began surfacing of cases outside of Mexico. At this time the Health Department recommends that Concord residents:

1) Continue to monitor the situation and listen for updates from local officials. Information is available at the Town's website, or through the Massachusetts "2-1-1" information line.

2) Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.

3) Practice good "cough etiquette" by coughing or sneezing into a tissue, or into your elbow instead of into your hands. Throw away tissues after use.

4) Try to avoid close contact with sick people.

5) If you get sick, stay home from work or school, consult with your family physician, and limit contact with others to avoid infecting them. Symptoms of influenza include: fever, body aches, runny nose, sore throat, nausea, or vomiting or diarrhea.

6) If you or a family member develops flu-like symptoms, please contact your family physician. The individual with flu-like symptoms should remain home from work or school until they have been symptom-free for 24 hours.

7) Now is a good opportunity to take stock of your family's disaster preparedness. More information is available at the Town's website.

Concord's leadership team will continue to monitor this developing situation as part of our overall coordinated response. Up-to -date guidance and information will be posted on the Town website as necessary. Anyone with additional questions should contact the Concord Health Department at (978) 318-3275.

Photo: Image of our state flower, the mayflower, courtesy of

We Received a Lemonade Award!

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The Lemonade Award is for sites which show great attitude and/or gratitude, and the Concord Magazine Blog has just received it! We trust that it is because we have great amounts of both qualities...

We are grateful (ha! there's the theme!) to Rob Robillard of A Concord Carpenter Comments for giving us this award -- we are honored.

Here are the "rules" for this award that we found online.  You can be certain that we'll follow them -- but only if we feel like it and if they make sense!

Rules for the award:
1. Put the logo on your blog or post.
2. Nominate at least 10 blogs, which show great Attitude and/or Gratitude!
3. Be sure to link to your nominees within your post.
4. Let them know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
5. Nominate your favorites and link to this post.

We don't know 10 blogs we'd give this award to... heck, we don't even FOLLOW 10 blogs, but we'll do what we can. Therefore, we pass along this award to the following:

Skippy's Vegetable Garden - because that dog sure can garden and makes no "bones" about it. He is just a water-logged stick's throw over in Belmont. His human has a marvelous eye as a photographer -- full of gratitude.
Rock Piles - Concordian Peter Waksman, who has written for the Concord Magazine, is such an out-of-the-box thinker -- you will not look at our woods and fields the same again once you follow his adventures.
Skywriter - because she's so darned sassy... but in an ever-grateful way!
Hot Flashbacks, Cool Insights - our sister (and mentor) in punning.

May we all discover new ways to recognize the lemonade -- sometimes already within the lemons life sends us, just waiting to be revealed...

The MBTA Wants Our Input

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The MBTA is holding a series of meetings we've only just found out about.  The most local one will be in Waltham tomorrow night, May 13.  Others around eastern Mass are listed here:

This meeting will cover their future draft plans, which they describe as a plan defining the 25-year vision of public transportation in eastern Mass.  Details where to meet and who to contact are here:

Of course, this impacts our community because the train runs through Concord, with depots at both West Concord and Concord. The tracks also cross our public roads in a variety of places.  Also, effects on commuter traffic are of great concern to us. We would welcome a report from anyone who attends.

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