News, schools, and views from a uniquely Lowell perspective

Ted Kennedy and me

I first met Senator Ted Kennedy at a National Schools Board Association (NSBA) meeting in Washington years ago where he was the featured speaker. Before the meeting, those of us from the Bay State got a private audience with the Senator. We numbered about 20 folks from the Commonwealth, and I’ll never forget the sheepish grin on his face when he walked into the room and softly asked, “Massachusetts?” We nodded enthusiastically and clustered around him to shake his hand, make eye contact, and share a few words. Later, we were escorted into a huge auditorium where the front rows had been reserved for us. We had the best seats in the house as Senator Edward M. Kennedy entered behind us to thunderous applause and a standing ovation. I was proud to be from Massachusetts, to sit at the front of that huge auditorium with my colleagues and know that our Senator was a national champion for public schoolchildren. The cheers and adoration from thousands of school committee members from across the country felt like a personal accomplishment: he’s our Senator, he belongs to us!

A few years later, I got it in my head that I wanted Senator Kennedy to visit Lowell and see firsthand the good work being done in our schools. Federal resources for education had steadily declined under the Bush administration, No Child Left Behind was under-funded and over-mandated, and we needed help. I was a Lowell delegate at the upcoming Massachusetts more »

posted in Education, In the News, National issues | 0 Comments

I took the summer off

I know. I haven’t been blogging. There is a difference between my living life and my writing life, and although I probably create posts/stories in my mind daily, I have not taken the time this summer to put fingers to keypad and share those thoughts with the universe. We needed some quality family time this summer and we took it—with out-of-state destination weddings, family reunions, and weeks and weeks at the beach. We celebrated our health, the blessings of each other, and sunshine wherever we found it. But that’s over now. School starts next week, the campaign trail is heating up, and I’m back! So, dear readers, if you are still there (or not), I am writing again.

posted in Just for Fun | 3 Comments


The Bruce Freeman Rail Trail will officially open this Saturday! I don’t know about you, but I didn’t think I’d live to see the day. We finally have a local bike trail! Of course, this stretch, 6.8 miles from Lowell to Westford, is only Phase 1, and it took 25 years from the original vision of Chelmsford state Rep Bruce Freeman, now deceased, to the ribbon-cutting ceremony this Saturday. In the Boston Globe today, you can read about the original vision as well as the obstacles (mostly funding) that have slowed the trail’s progress. On Saturday, you can join the hardworking, dedicated Friends of the Bruce Freeman Trail at 10 am at the Chelmsford Old Town Hall to celebrate this long-awaited occasion. Here’s the offical announcement from Friends’ President Richard Williamson:

On Saturday, August 29, after more than 24 years of planning, working, and waiting, the 6.8-mile section of the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail from Cross Point Towers in Lowell to Route 225 in Westford will officially open! This is the first completed section of the 25-mile rail trail that is planned to extend southward through Acton, Concord and Sudbury into Framingham. The MassHighway ribbon-cutting ceremony will begin at 10:00 am at Old Town Hall in Chelmsford Center, followed by a gala celebration sponsored by the Friends of the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail on the Chelmsford Town Common with music, balloons, and refreshments.

The 6.8 miles of trail will be open, with activities suitable for children and adults scheduled from the ribbon cutting to 2:00 pm. Join the activities by using any non-motorized form of transportation, and enjoy this new trail. A barbeque with hot dogs, hamburgers, and soft drinks, for $1 each, will be available at Agway on Maple Road in Chelmsford from 11:00 am until 2:00 pm

Rain or shine, folks! Hope to see you there!

posted in Uncategorized | 0 Comments

Looking for peaches

I was planning to head downtown bright and early tomorrow morning to check out the Lowell Farmers’ market, but I’m glad I checked the City Manager’s blog where I found out that it runs from 2:00-6:00 on Fridays. That will be too late for me, so I guess I’ll be stopping at Parlee Farms later in the day. The Manager also posted a helpful link on finding farmers’ markets elsewhere in the area. I haven’t had a really good peach yet this year, so I’m on a mission!

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What’s up with Dylan?

Friends went to Boarding House Park last night to see the Wallflowers. It was a stellar night for an outdoor concert, and the opening act, Wild Light, a New Hampshire foursome were engaging and likeable. Jakob Dylan could learn something from their easygoing manner as, according to our friends, he “seemed incapable of any positive repartee with the audience.” For example, he commented that Lowell seemed “a little rough.” He said he could see that the city was trying to improve, but apparently his delicate sensibilities were offended while going out to dinner. (Where could he have gone – the restaurant wasn’t mentioned). So, fine, he didn’t see a lot to like about Lowell; he’s entitled to his opinion, but other negative comments were forthcoming – a reprimand to one of his tech crew doing something offstage, scoffing at someone in the audience for taking flash photographs (“are you making a coffee-table book?”). It all added up to an impression for our friends that “he doesn’t have very good manners.” (I guess the apple doesn’t fall very far from the tree!) That said, they reported that the music was great – the drummer was fun to watch and they all exhibited great musicianship.

posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

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