30 November 2011

New England Municipal Government News Headlines

Recent news stories related to municipal government in New England include these articles:

CT: Plans denied for two strip clubs in Bridgeport (Connecticut Post)

ME: RSU 1 ponders reaching overseas (The Times Record)

MA: Milford adopts new policy for damaged mailboxes (Milford Daily News)

NH: Portsmouth students to join Dover's Naval JROTC program (Portsmouth Herald)

RI: Woonsocket to turn lights back on (Woonsocket Call)

VT: Burlington's citywide speed limit falls from 30 mph to 25 mph today (Burlington Free Press)

Background information:

City of Bridgeport, CT

Regional School Unit 1, ME (Arrowsic, Bath, Phippsburg, West Bath, and Woolwich)

Student and Exchange Visitor Program

Town of Milford, MA

Dover, NH, School District

City of Dover, NH

Portsmouth, NH, School Department

City of Portsmouth, NH

City of Burlington, VT

National Cyber Security Alliance Working with U.S. Department of Education, NIST, and National Cybersecurity Education Council to Promote Formal Cyber Security Education Programs

The National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) recently announced that it has signed a memorandum of understanding with the U.S. Department of Education and the National Institute of Standards and Technology to formally institute and promote cyber security education programs in K-12 schools, higher education, and career and technical education environments nationwide.

This agreement paves the way for the continuation of the recently established public private partnership known as the National Cybersecurity Education Council to build a consensus on the future of cyber education in the United States. The multi-stakeholder effort is designed to bring together government, industry, nonprofit, academia, and other educational organizations to make recommendations and suggest guidelines on cyber education.  The collaboration is striving to include all parties participating in a working group to identify the cyber education needs of all young people and the foundational knowledge, skills, and competencies needed by government and industry to build a workforce that can protect America's digital assets.

Background information:

National Cyber Security Alliance

NIST: National Initiative Cybersecurity Education

NCSA: The 2011 State of K-12 Cyberethics, Cybersafety and Cybersecurity Curriculum in the United States

The White House: Cyberspace Policy Review: Assuring a Trusted and Resilient Information and Communications Infrastructure (2009)

Education World: eGuide Helps Educators, Parents Address Online Risks With Kids

Upcoming New England Christian Music Events

TK Ministries is sponsoring two upcoming presentations of Christ Is Christmas. These productions, which include live music, narration, and mime, are designed to look at what it would be like if Jesus was born today instead of 2000 years ago. 

On Sunday, 4 December, a presentation will be held at Holy Family Parish, 195 Walcott Street, Pawtucket, RI, from 6:00 PM to 8:30 PM. (non-perishable food items will be collected for the Holy Family Parish Food Kitchen.) 

On Sunday, 11 December, a presentation will be held at Hope Evangelical Church88 Hathaway Road, North Dartmouth, MA, from 6:00 PM to 8:30 PM. 

A free will offering will be taken to help fund future TK Ministries events.

Background information: 

TK Ministries (Troubadours of the King) 

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the many ways You call us to exercise a proper stewardship of the environment.

Pope Encourages Youth to Be Guardians of Life and Freedom

Over nine thousand Italian teenagers, members of the Sister Nature foundation promoted by the Franciscan community in Assisi, recently met with Pope Benedict XVI, who encouraged them to be the "true guardians of life and creation."

Media reports:

Catholic Online: The 'Green Pope' Calls the Young to be Guardians of Life and Freedom (29 NOV 11)

The Vatican/YouTube: Respect for man and nature are are one and the same (28 NOV 11)

Background information:

Message of of Pope Benedict XVI for the Celebration of the World Day of Peace, 1 January 2010: "If You Want to Cultivate Peace, protect creation"

USCCB: Seven Themes of Catholic Social Teaching

Reflection Starter from Thomas Carlyle

"Permanence, perseverance and persistence in spite of all obstacles, discouragement, and impossibilities: It is this, that in all things distinguishes the strong soul from the weak." - attributed to Thomas Carlyle

29 November 2011

This Week’s New England City & Town Weekly Dispatch

To access this week’s issue of New England City & Town Weekly Dispatch, please visit:

New England City & Town Weekly Dispatch - 29 November 2011

New England Municipal Government News Headlines

Recent news stories related to municipal government in New England include these articles:

CT: Town allocates $10K for library security cameras (Thompson Villager)

ME: Consultant shares park study details (The Times Record)

MA: Schools hire wraparound coordinators (Worcester Telegram & Gazette)

NH: Hudson opts to save money on new trash contract (Nashua Telegraph)

RI: Evacuation problems exposed at school (The Westerly Sun)

VT: Charlotte Selectboard pulls plug on solar panel proposal (Burlington Free Press)

Background information:

Town of Thompson, CT

Town of Topsham, ME

Worcester, MA, Public Schools

City of Worcester, MA

Town of Hudson, NH

Westerly, RI, Public Schools

Town of Westerly, RI

Town of Charlotte, VT

Noise and Other Environmental Concerns Being Raised Regarding Leaf Blowers

A recent CBS News Sunday Morning story examined a growing concern about the noise and other environmental effects of leaf blowers. A portion of the story included initiatives to restrict leaf blowers in Greenwich, CT..

To access this story, please visit:

CBS News: Sunday Morning: Battling loud leaf blowers (6 NOV 11)

Background information:

Wikipedia: Leaf blower

Greenwich Time: Greenwich weighs six-month ban on leaf blowers (9 APR 11)

Greenwich Time: Stakeholders spar over proposed leaf blowers ban (28 JUN 11)

Greenwich Citizens Against Leafblower Mania

Noise Pollution Clearinghouse

New York Times: When Virtues Collide: Quiet vs. Tidy (28 MAY 11)

New York Times: Leaf-Blower Laws Irk Landscapers (20 JUL 08)

Washington Post: A Growing Clamor Over Leaf Blowers (9 NOV 06)

Leaf-Blowers.com

"Move Your Mind Forward"

This "Today's Illustration" was recently offered by Pastor Tim Davis (pastor of Westside Bible Church, Victoria, British Columbia):

Move Your Mind Forward

"Whatever you dwell upon in your mind, you give power to. So of course it makes sense to focus on what you want rather than what you don't want. Yet there are many ways in which the things you don't want can sneak into your thinking.

"Worry and doubt focus your thinking on what you don't want. Rather than worrying about the bad things that might happen, direct your actions toward making positive things happen.

"Complaining can also get your mind sidetracked into thinking about what you don't want. What do you complain about? The things you don't like. Rather than complaining, take action. Action moves you toward what you do want.

"Anger is one more way to get your thinking negatively directed. Rather than getting angry about what you don't like, use that energy to give you determination for what you want to achieve.

"Keep your mind positively focused on the good things that life can offer. Those things will grow stronger and more abundant in your world."

- Author Unknown

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things. - Philippians 4:8

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the gift of restful sleep.

Jamie McAdams on "Cafeteria Catholics"

"I grew up Catholic.  I grew up proud of my faith.  I grew up ready to defend my faith.  I didn't know much about my faith growing up.  I didn't receive my first communion or reconciliation until I was in 7th grade.  Heck,  I wasn't confirmed until I was in my late twenties.  That didn't matter.  I identified myself as Catholic even though I probably couldn't tell you what that meant.   As such, I led a pretty secular life and did things that a person in my teens or twenties wanted to do. . . .

"I was ignorant about my faith and I lived that way.  But, if anyone would have asked me---I was Catholic--and PROUD OF IT!   Here is the deal though,  I don't think I ever spoke ill of the Catholic Church's teachings.   I've always trusted her teachings as truth even if I didn't always live by them or understand them.    I don't know what I would have done if someone would have questioned me about them. . . ."

In a recent commentary, Jamie McAdams reflected on "Cafeteria Catholics" and on the importance of educating oneself about the Church's teachings.

To access his complete post, please visit:

Roman Catholic Cop: Catholicism Is Not a Social Group (7 NOV 11)

Reflection Starter

"Simplify the problem until it goes away and then work backwards from your assumptions." - Source Unknown

28 November 2011

New England Municipal Government News Headlines

Recent news stories related to municipal government in New England include these articles:

CT: Report cards go online at KHS (Killingly Villager)

ME: Rules may slow charter schools (Kennebec Journal)

MA: Waste not - Energy Project at Southbridge Landfill (Worcester Telegram & Gazette)

NH: Preservation favored for historic Hollis building (Nashua Telegraph)

RI: Edgewood Highland sees Veterans Day in a new light (Cranston Herald)

VT: Citizens grill Bristol board on open gov't (Addison County Independent)

Background information:

Killingly, CT, Public Schools

Town of Killingly, CT

Maine Department of Education: Public Charter Schools in Maine

Maine School Management Association

Maine Association for Charter Schools

Town of Southbridge, MA

Casella Waste Systems

Cranston, RI, Public Schools Network

City of Cranston, RI

Town of Hollis, NH

MassBudget: Massachusetts Foundation Budget's Core Education Program Underfunded

The Massachusetts Education Reform Act of 1993 significantly overhauled the formula for providing state education aid to the K-12 school districts in the Commonwealth. These changes included the creation of the state's foundation budget, a calculation of adequate individual baseline spending amounts for every district. The foundation budget has been in place for almost two decades and has not been comprehensively reexamined. The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center (MassBudget), an independent nonprofit organization, recently reviewed the foundation budget and identified significant gaps between what the foundation budget says districts need for certain cost categories in Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 and what districts were actually spending.

Major findings included in the MassBudget report include:

  • the foundation budget understates core special education costs (including staffing in-district programs and paying tuitions for specialized out-of-district placements) by about $1.0 billion,
  • the foundation budget understates health insurance costs by $1.1 billion (partly because the foundation budget did not foresee the dramatic increase in health insurance costs nationwide),
  • school districts have not implemented the low-income student program envisioned in the original foundation budget,
  • most districts hire fewer regular education teachers than the foundation budget sets as an adequate baseline, and
  • inflation adjustments have not been fully implemented, causing the foundation budget to lag behind true cost growth.

To access this Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center report, please visit:

MassBudget: Cutting Class: Underfunding the Foundation Budget's Core Education Program (Executive Summary)

MassBudget: Cutting Class: Underfunding the Foundation Budget's Core Education Program (Full Report)

Media report:

Boston Globe: Schools’ costs top state estimates (27 NOV 11)

Background information:

Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center

Massachusetts Association of School Business Officials

Western Maine Bus Driver Encourages Education

The Sun Journal of Lewiston, ME, recently published a brief profile of Western Maine Transportation Services bus driver Lerry Holloman, who (although the article does not specifically state so) treats his bus driving employment as a ministry. Among his other words of encouragement for his passengers, Mr. Holloman strongly advocates the importance of education.

To access this Sun Journal article, please visit:

Sun Journal: Bus driver with bachelor's degree touts importance of education (28 NOV 11)

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the gift of time You have given each of us individually and for the opportunity to use this gift well.

Matthew Warner on the New Translation of the Mass

In a recent post, Matthew Warner offered a number of resources related to the new translations being used in the Mass. These resources include a couple of good video's from Life Teen.

To access Matt's post, please visit:

Fallible Blogma: Why is there a new translation of the Mass? (+ resources) (27 NOV 11)

Reflection Starter from Robert H. Smith

"The clock of life is wound but once, and no man has the power to tell just when the hands will stop, at late or early hour. Now is the only time you own. Live, love, toil with a will. Place no faith in time. For the clock may soon be still." - attributed to Robert H. Smith

27 November 2011

Upcoming Christian Music Event in Providence, RI

On Sunday, 4 December, the Gregorian Concert Choir and Festival Orchestra will perform a concert, “The Sounds of the Season,” to benefit the “Keep the Heat On Challenge" fund initiated by Bishop Thomas Tobin, Bishop of Providence, RI.

The concert will be held in the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, Fenner Street, Providence, RI, beginning at 3:00 PM. The "Keep the Heat On Challenge" fund has assists poor and low income families with utility expenses.

Tickets for the concert are $10.00 per person and may be purchased by calling the Cathedral office at (401) 331-2434. Tickets will also be available at the door on the day of the concert. A reception will follow in Cathedral Hall.

Background information: 

Gregorian Concert Choir

Small Business Saturday

In conjunction with the second annual Small Business Saturday, a number of communities and small businesses throughout this region and the rest of the nation strongly encouraged consumers to patronize small businesses to help support the local economy.

Media reports:

Boston Herald: Shoppers urged to think ‘small’ (27 NOV 11)

Burlington Free Press: Putting the spotlight on small retailers (27 NOV 11)

NECN: Small Business Saturday all about buying local (26 NOV 11)

NECN: Many shoppers pick independent retailers on Black Friday (25 NOV 11)

WTNH-TV: After turkey, go shopping on Saturday (22 NOV 11)

Related information/Resource:

The 3/50 Project

"On Jordan's Bank the Baptist's Cry" (J. S. Bach version)

As our Sunday celebration continues, I offer this presentation of the Johann Sebastian Bach version of "On Jordan's Bank the Baptist's Cry" (sung during an Advent Lessons & Carols service at Saint Paul's Episcopal Church, Gainesville, TX):

A Smile Starter from Pastor Tim Davis

Pastor Tim Davis recently offered this smile starter:

The Turkey Shot Out Of The Oven

The turkey shot out of the oven

and rocketed into the air,
it knocked every plate off the table
and partly demolished a chair.
It ricocheted into a corner and
burst with a deafening boom,
then splattered all over the kitchen,
completely obscuring the room.
It stuck to the walls and the windows,
it totally coated the floor,
there was turkey attached to the ceiling,
where there'd never been turkey before.
It blanketed every appliance,
it smeared every saucer and bowl,
there wasn't a way I could stop it,
that turkey was out of control.
I scraped and I scrubbed with displeasure,
and thought with chagrin as I mopped,
that I'd never again stuff a turkey
with popcorn that hadn't been popped.

- By Jack Prelutsky

Father Joseph Scordo, O.P. - Navy Chaplain

"'If the military doesn't have enough Catholic priests to serve as Chaplains, soldiers could go six months without Mass and the sacraments.' More than twenty years ago, Father Joseph Scordo, O.P., read this quote on a brochure he received in the mail. Those words inspired Father Scordo, who recalled his twenty years of service as a Chaplin in the U.S. Navy to the Student Brothers at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C. this past Friday. In his own words: 'It got me thinking; it got me praying.'"

A recent post in the blog, Dominican Daily, offered a brief sketch of Fr. Scordo's service as a military chaplain. To access this post, please visit:

Dominican Daily: A Dominican and a Navy Chaplain (23 NOV 11)

First Sunday of Advent

Today the Church celebrates the First Sunday of Advent. The assigned readings are Isaiah 63:16-17, 19, 64:2-7; 1 Corinthians 1:3-9; and Mark 13:33-37. The Responsorial Psalm is Psalm 80 (Psalm 80:2-3, 15-16, 18-19).

For one version of the Responsorial Psalm set to music, please visit:

YouTube: Responsorial Psalm - Psalm 80 Lord make us turn to You let us see Your face

Today's Gospel reading is as follows:

Jesus said to his disciples: "Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come. It is like a man traveling abroad. He leaves home and places his servants in charge, each with his own work, and orders the gatekeeper to be on the watch. Watch, therefore; you do not know when the Lord of the house is coming, whether in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or in the morning. May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to all: 'Watch!'"

Reflections on these readings:

Marcellino D’Ambrosio, Ph.D.: The Advent Season Reminds Us: You Snooze, You Lose!

Msgr. Charles Pope: Crying Out For the Savior – A Meditation on the Readings for the First Sunday of Advent (26 NOV 11)

The Deacon's Bench: Homily for November 27, 2011: 1st Sunday of Advent (26 NOV 11)

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Sundays Salesian: 1st Sunday of Advent ("Hopeful Anticipation!")

Dr. Scott Hahn: Watch For Him (November 27th, 2011 - First Sunday of Advent)

The Word Encountered: Postponement and Repentance (First Sunday of Advent B)

Dominican Daily: Word to Life: Sirius XM Radio: November 25, 2011

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the blessings of the holy season of Advent and for inviting us to actively participate in this period of preparation before Christmas.

Father John Riccardo on Knowing Jesus

"Fr. John Riccardo, a priest from Plymouth, Michigan, was invited to speak at Kensington Community Church, a local Non-denominational church.  He gives an awesome 30 minute sermon on the importance of knowing Jesus, rather than just knowing about Jesus.  We need to hear this, whether we're Catholic or Protestant"

In a recent post, Joe Heschmeyer provided a video of Father Riccardo's presentation.

To access this post, please visit:

Shameless Popery: Fr. John Riccardo's Amazing Sermon on Knowing Jesus (22 NOV 11)

Reflection Starter

"What if you woke up today with only the things you thanked God for yesterday?" - Source Unknown

(It is, however, currently making the rounds on Facebook and in a number of blogs.)

26 November 2011

Larry Hooper and Kenny Trimble: Mister Bass Man (from The Lawrence Welk Show)

A little treat from a 1963 presentation on The Lawrence Welk Show: Larry Hooper and Kenny Trimble sing "Mister Bass Man":

The Reading from Today's Morning Prayer

As we prepare for the holy season of Advent, the reading from today's morning prayer offers some guidance worth pondering, embracing, and living. This reading is from Romans 12:13-21:

Contribute to the needs of the holy ones, exercise hospitality. Bless those who persecute [you], bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Have the same regard for one another; do not be haughty but associate with the lowly; do not be wise in your own estimation. Do not repay anyone evil for evil; be concerned for what is noble in the sight of all.

If possible, on your part, live at peace with all. Beloved, do not look for revenge but leave room for the wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord." Rather, "if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head." Do not be conquered by evil but conquer evil with good.

Skowhegan, ME, Holiday Stroll

Communities throughout this region are sponsoring a variety of events related to Christmas, winter, and other aspects of the holiday season. One such celebration is the annual Holiday Stroll in Skowhegan, Maine. This three day event includes a variety of presentations, a parade, storytelling, wagon rides, live music., and merchant-sponsored activities,

Media report:

Morning Sentinel: Skowhegan seeks floats for parade (25 NOV 11)

Holiday Stroll Schedule:

Main Street Skowhegan: Holiday Stroll 2011 Guide

Background information:

Main Street Skowhegan

Town of Skowhegan

Wikipedia: Skowhegan, Maine

New England Municipal Government News Headlines

Recent news stories related to municipal government in New England include these articles:

CT: Stonington taxpayers notch win as advertisers pay for new high school scoreboard (The Day)

ME: Town seeks to leave school district, pay tuition instead to save money (Bangor Daily News)

MA: Monson selectmen unhappy with cost of debris removal from October snowstorm (Springfield Republican)

NH: Library circulation up 8.6 percent (Concord Monitor)

RI: Custodians call for cuts from the top (Cranston Herald)

VT: Dorset designates smoke-free zones on town properties (Bennington Banner)

Background information:

Town of Stonington, CT

Maine School Administrative District #32 (Ashland, Garfield Plantation, Masardis, Oxbow Plantation, and Portage Lake)

Town of Monson, MA

Concord, NH, Public Library

City of Concord, NH

City of Cranston, RI

Town of Dorset, VT

The Collaborative

Morristown, VT, Police Using On-officer Video Cameras

The Morristown, VT, Police Department has begun using on-officer video systems designed to show incidents from the point of view of the officer involved. The video cameras are worn by an officer, and the recordings, once triggered, may be used to document the interaction between the police officer and persons involved in an incident.

The Morristown department purchased Taser’s AXON (Autonomous eXtended On-Officer Network) system. There are, however, other systems available, such as Digital Ally’s First-Vu system.

Media report:

News & Citizen: MPD Brings Body Cameras On Line (17 NOV 11)

Background information:

Taser International

Taser International: AXON On-Officer Video System

Taser: Bitcurrent White Paper: Evidence in a Connected World

Bitcurrent

Police Magazine: TASER Announces Development of Officer-Worn Audio-Video Recording System (28 MAY 08)

Law Enforcement & Emergency Services Video Association

Morristown Police Department

Town of Morristown

Wikipedia: Morristown, Vermont

Sweetwaters (Burlington, VT) Hosts Annual Thanksgiving Day Coat Drive and Dinner

On Thanksgiving Day, as it has for the past two decades, Sweetwaters, a restaurant in Burlington, VT, provided a free Thanksgiving dinner to persons who could not afford one or who could not be with family or friends for the holiday. The restaurant also hosts a coat drive in conjunction with the dinner.

The restaurant is celebrating its thirtieth anniversary this year.

To access a Burlington Free Press article about the dinner and coat drive, please visit:

Burlington Free Press: Diners thankful for Sweetwaters tradition (25 NOV 11)

Burlington Free Press: Sunday Jobs: Helping feed and clothe the neediest is a job's sweet reward (20 NOV 11)

Background information:

Sweetwaters

Facebook: Sweetwaters

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for little treats You send our way throughout the day, whether it be a natural scene, a friendly word, an unexpected food treat, or whatever the case may be.

Msgr. Pope on the Role of Gratitude in Our Lives

"One of the dangers in presenting New Testament moral teaching is that the preacher or teacher risks reducing the Gospel to a moralism. In other words the moral truth that is proclaimed is reduced merely to another rule that I am supposed to keep out of my own flesh power. This is an incorrect notion since, for a Christian, the moral life is not achieved, it is received. The moral life is not an imposition, it is a gift from God.

"In the Gospel chosen for the American Holiday of Thanksgiving we have the familiar story of the ten lepers who are healed by Jesus and only one returns to thank Him. This fact of the ingratitude of the other nine prompts an irritable response by Jesus who more than suggests that they should also have returned to give thanks. . . . Where the Gospel, the Transformative Good News exists, is to receive from God a deeply grateful heart so that we do not merely say thank you, but we are actually and deeply moved with gratitude."

In a recent commentary, Monsignor Charles Pope (pastor of Holy Comforter-Saint Cyprian Parish, Washington, DC) reflected on gratitude and the place it should have in our lives.

To access Msgr. Pope's complete post, please visit:

Msgr. Charles Pope: To Give Thanks Is Itself A Grace – A Thought on Thanksgiving (23 NOV 11)

Reflection Starter from Saint Macarius

"When a farmer prepares to till the soil he must put on clothing and use tools that are suitable. So Christ, our heavenly king, came to till the soil of mankind devastated by sin. He assumed a body and, using the cross as his ploughshare, cultivated the barren soul of man. He removed the thorns and thistles which are the evil spirits and pulled up the weeds of sin. Into the fire he cast the straw of wickedness. And when he had ploughed the soul with the wood of the cross, he planted in it a most lovely garden of the Spirit, that could produce for its Lord and God the sweetest and most pleasant fruit of every kind." - attributed to Saint Macarius, bishop

25 November 2011

Communities Selected to Receive free Smart Growth Technical Assistance

Smart Growth America recently announced that fifteen communities, including Eastport, ME, and the Northern Maine Development Commission, have been selected to receive free smart growth technical assistance.

Each community will receive a 1- or 2-day training session with a smart growth expert on the issue of their choice. This technical assistance was made possible through a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities program.

Smart Growth America advises that, while the received nearly 90 applications from 34 states plus the District of Columbia for this technical assistance, the fifteen communities selected exhibited the strongest interest in and need for smart growth tools and clearly demonstrated a commitment from local business, community, and political leaders to implement local smart growth solution.

Background information:

Smart Growth America

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities Program

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: Smart Growth

New England Municipal Government News Headlines

Recent news stories related to municipal government in New England include these articles:

CT: In Hartford Schools' Marketing Campaign, A Softer, 'Positive' Approach (Hartford Courant)

ME: Cape Elizabeth loosens alcohol restriction at Fort Williams Park (The Forecaster)

MA: New Bedford lands $3M rail settlement (Standard-Times)

NH: Pennichuck school opens food, clothing pantry (Nashua Telegraph)

RI: Tiverton Council, Town Administrator Regulate Press Contact With Town Officials (Sakonnet Times)

VT: VLCT backing City in suit with sheriff’s department (St. Albans Messenger)

Background information:

Hartford, CT, Public Schools

City of Hartford, CT

Town of Cape Elizabeth, ME

City of New Bedford, MA

Nashua, NH, School District

City of Nashua, NH

Town of Tiverton, RI

Vermont League of Cities and Towns

City of St. Albans, VT

Town of St. Albans, VT

Quinebaug Volunteer Fire Department (Thompson, CT) Offers Thanksgiving Meal

Many of us are aware of church communities and other social service organizations that provide Thanksgiving dinners to those in the community. The focus may be on those in need and/or it may be on providing an opportunity to gather for a meal so that one does not need to be alone on the holiday.

One organization that provided such a meal yesterday was the Quinebaug Volunteer Fire Department in Thompson, CT. The department served over 100 people at the fire station (Dessert treats were provided by the Quinebaug Veterans of Foreign Wars post [Post 10088, Thompson Memorial Post] and the Quinebaug Seventh-day Adventist Church.)

Media report:

Norwich Bulletin: Thompson fire department's turkey dinner a family affair (25 NOV 11)

Background information:

Quinebaug Volunteer Fire Department

Facebook: Quinebaug Volunteer Fire Department

Quinebaug Seventh-day Adventist Church

Town of Thompson

Wikipedia: Thompson, Connecticut

Coverage of the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade

I love parades. I am not able to watch them as much as I like, but I occasionally am able to see one. I periodically catch a broadcast of one on television as well.

Before we headed to my brother's house for the family Thanksgiving celebration, I caught portions of the Macy's Thanksgiving parade on television. I watched a portion of the CBS coverage and a portion of the NBC coverage. My compliments to NBC. CBS gave some good shots of the parade, but this was interspersed with interviews with various celebrities. While these were interesting in their own way, the parade continued to pass by while the interview was going on. NBC,on the other hand, focused on the parade itself. Well done, NBC.

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for yesterday's opportunity to offer gratitude to You in a special way through participation in Holy Mass and for the opportunity to participate in family gatherings. It was truly a blessed day.

Father Barron on the New Translation for the Mass

"In just a few days, Catholics in this country will notice a rather significant change when they come to Mass. Commencing the First Sunday of Advent, the Church will be using a new translation of the Roman Missal. I would like to emphasize, at the outset, that this in no way represents a return to "the old Mass," for the Latin texts that provide the basis for the new translation were all approved after Vatican II. So why the change?  What had come increasingly to bother a number of bishops, priests and liturgists over the years was that the translation of the liturgical texts, which was made in some haste in the late '60s of the last century, was not sufficiently faithful to the Latin and was, at least in some instances, informed by questionable theological assumptions."

In a recent commentary, Father Robert Barron (founder of the Word on Fire ministry) offered some thoughts on the new translation for the Mass.

To access Father Barron's complete essay, please visit:

National Catholic Register: Father Robert Barron: Why the New Missal Will Be Good for the Mass (23 NOV 11)

Background information:

USCCB: The Roman Missal, Third Edition: Frequently Asked Questions

A Reminder about President Lincoln's Thanksgiving Day Proclamation

"Most of us have heard or read at least part of Abraham Lincoln's Thanksgiving proclamation at some point. But even those who have heard it many times can overlook two important aspects of this important document."

In a reflection written yesterday (Thanksgiving Day), Edwin Feulner, president of the Heritage Foundation, reminds his readers of two important points (often overlooked) about the Thanksgiving Day proclamation issued by President Lincoln on 3 October 1863. The Civil War was raging at the time, and it was still much too early to know if the Union would succeed in staying together or if the Confederate States would succeed in withdrawing from the Union. Yet, despite this crisis, President Lincoln reminded the people of the United States that the nation was truly blessed in many ways, and,consequently, he called upon Americans to offer "a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens."

To access Mr. Feulner's complete post, please visit:

Morning Bell: A Day of ‘Public Thanksgiving and Prayer’ (24 NOV 11)

To access President Lincoln's proclamation, please visit:

National Park Service: Abraham Lincoln: "Blessings of Fruitful Fields

Reflection Starter from G. K. Chesterton

"When it comes to life, the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude." - G. K. Chesterton

24 November 2011

Hillsong: "Thank You, Lord"

As our celebration of Thanksgiving continues, I offer this Hillsong version of "Thank You, Lord":


Grace Magazine Profiles New London,CT, Elementary School Principal

A recent article in Grace (a magazine for women published by The Day of New London, CT) profiled Jaye Wilson, principal of Winthrop Elementary School in New London. In additional to Ms. Wilson's background, including how she got into the fields of teaching and school administration, the article offered some aspect's of her teaching and administrative philosophies.

To access this article, please visit:

The Day: Grace: New London principal sees school as a ‘second home' (19 OCT 2011)

Background information:

Winthrop Elementary School

New London Public Schools

City of New London

Wikipedia: New London, Connecticut

Thanksgiving Day

As we in the United States celebrate Thanksgiving Day, the Church offers these readings: Sirach 50:22-24 ("And now, bless the God of all, who has done wondrous things on earth", 1 Corinthians 1:3-9, and Luke 17:11-19. The Responsorial Psalm offered is Psalm 145 (Psalm 145:2-11).

The Gospel reading is as follows:

As Jesus continued his journey to Jerusalem, he traveled through Samaria and Galilee. As he was entering a village, ten persons with leprosy met him. They stood at a distance from him and raised their voices, saying, "Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!" And when he saw them, he said, "Go show yourselves to the priests."

As they were going they were cleansed. And one of them, realizing he had been healed, returned, glorifying God in a loud voice; and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. He was a Samaritan. Jesus said in reply, "Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine? Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?" Then he said to him, "Stand up and go; your faith has saved you."

Thnak You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for all your many blessings and graces.

Thank you for being You.

Thank you for creating this universe and for all that makes it what it is, for the way everything fits together so well.

Thank you for creating life in all its wonderful forms.

Thank you for creating us humans.

Thank you for not abandoning us when we fell away from You by sin.

Thank you for Your promise of a Redeemer.

Thank you for the wonderful way You fulfilled this promise - through Jesus.

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for coming into this world in such a marvelous way.

Thank you for becoming one of us.

Thank you for Your teaching and Your example during Your public life.

Thank you for instituting the sacraments.

Thank you for establishing Your Church.

Thank you for so many wonderful popes, bishops, priests, deacons, consecrated men and women religious, and dedicated lay people.

Thank you for the way You guided the Scriptures to be developed.

Thank you for Your mercy, Your love, Your patience, Your kindness, Your justice.

Thank you for sending the Holy Spirit with His gifts and inspirations.

Thank you for being an active participant in my life and in the lives of each of Your people.

Thank you for Your angels and for all You do through them.

Thank you for Your gift of guardian angels.

Thank you for the the many people You have placed in my life - family members, friends, co-workers, and so many people in such a variety of ways, whether momentarily or for an extended period of time.

Thank you for music and the many ways You use music, no matter which genre, to touch our hearts in times of joy, of sorrow, and of any other condition. Thank you for the many ways in which You inspire us to sing Your praise through music.

Thank you for good literature in all its many forms.

Thank you for good food and for such a variety of it.

Thank you for the awesome beauty of Your world.

Thank you for the gift of creativity You have given Your people and for the many ways You guide us and encourage us to continue Your work of creation.

Thank you for opportunities You have placed before me, whether I was aware of them of not.

Thank you for the many ways You have sent Your guidance - via Scripture, meditation, homilies, spiritual reading, written or spoken words from others - and so many other ways - whether I was aware of it or not, whether I paid attention or not.

Thank you for the milieu in which You have placed me.

Thank you for Your kind and loving Providence.

Thank you for all Your many blessings and graces - whether I am aware of them or not, whether any of Your people are aware of them or not.

Thanksgiving Reflection from Deacon Greg Kandra

"A lot of us know the story.

"It was the autumn of 1621. In Plymouth, Massachusetts, after a rich harvest, the men, women and children who had survived the first year in the New World gathered for a feast to offer thanks.

"One of the pilgrims wrote at the time: 'By the goodness of God, we are so far from want.'"

Deacon Greg Kandra recently re-offered a reflection on Thanksgiving and on being grateful during challenging times.

To access his reflection, please visit:

The Deacon's Bench: "By the goodness of God, we are so far from want" (23 NOV 11)

Reflection Starter from E. P. Powell

"Thanksgiving Day is a jewel, to set in the hearts of honest men; but be careful that you do not take the day, and leave out the gratitude." - Rev. Edward Payson Powell

23 November 2011

New England Municipal Government News Headlines

Recent news stories related to municipal government in New England include these articles:

CT: Groton told not to rush closing middle school (The Day)

ME: Two Eastport residents sue city in attempt to block sale of The Boat School (Bangor Daily News)

MA: Firm hired to design better bicycle lanes in Arlington Center (Boston Globe)

NH: Unions would have much to say about police department changes (Portsmouth Herald)

RI: School use fees were ignored under former superintendent (Valley Breeze)

VT: Pownal man wants road maintained or closed (Bennington Banner)

Background information:

Groton, CT, Public Schools

Town of Groton, CT

City of Eastport, ME

Town of Arlington, MA

Portsmouth, NH, Police Department

City of Portsmouth, NH

Town of Cumberland, RI

Town of Pownal, VT

Energy Funding to Assist Rhode Island High School Renewable Energy Survey

A grant from the Rhode Island Renewable Energy Fund will fund a Bryant University Chafee Center for International Business initiative designed to assist 53 Rhode Island public high schools and career technical centers determine which renewable energy technologies can be installed at their facilities and how much energy would be generated.

Media report:

Bryant University News Blog: Bryant initiative helping R.I. public high schools develop plans to achieve net-zero energy (18 NOV 11)

Providence Business News: R.I. schools to be reviewed for green improvements (21 NOV 11)

Background information:

Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation: Renewable Energy Fund

Bryant University: John H. Chafee Center for International Business

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord for those who open their hearts to listen to and accept your Good News.

Worldwide Christian Numbers

"According to the annual 'Status of global mission' report produced ​​in 2011, the Catholic Church has one billion and 160 million faithful around the world, with 34,000 new people joining every day. The figures from the study, released by the agency Analisis Digirtal, say that there are two billion people in the world today, out of a total of approximately seven billion, who have never received the Gospel's message.  Another two billion and 680 million listen to it sometimes, or are vaguely aware of it, but they are not Christians."

In a recent post, Marco Tosatti offered some statistics from the mentioned Analisis Digirtal report.

To access this post, please visit: 

Vatican Insider: San Pietro e Dintorni: 34 thousand Catholics more each day (21 NOV 11)

Reflection Starter from Henry Ward Beecher

"The unthankful heart . . . discovers no mercies; but let the thankful heart sweep through the day and, as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings!" - Henry Ward Beecher

22 November 2011

New England Municipal Government News Headlines

Recent news stories related to municipal government in New England include these articles:

CT: Lighting plan for Staples field wins P&Z approval (Connecticut Post)

ME: American students test badly, but learn innovation to build a stronger economy (Bangor Daily News)

MA: Rethinking automobile’s role in city (Boston Globe)

NH: Aging bus fleet driving increase in maintenance costs (Conway Daily Sun)

RI: Council aims to put brakes on longer runway (Warwick Beacon)

VT: BCRC project to map possible future flooding areas (Bennington Banner)

Background information:

Town of Westport, CT

Maine Principals' Association

Newton, MA, Transportation Advisory Committee

City of Newton, MA

School Administrative Unit No. 9, NH (Conway, Bartlett and Jackson School Districts)

Town of Conway, NH

City of Warwick, RI

Rhode Island Airport Corporation (T. F. Green Airport)

Bennington County, VT, Regional Commission

This Week’s New England City & Town Weekly Dispatch

To access this week’s issue of New England City & Town Weekly Dispatch, please visit:

New England City & Town Weekly Dispatch - 22 November 2011

Portsmouth, NH, Celebrates LEED-certified Water Treatment Plant

Portsmouth, NH, recently celebrated the completion of one of the first LEED-certified water treatment plants in New England.

Media report:

Portsmouth Herald: City celebrates new modern and sustainable water plant (20 NOV 11)

Background information:

U.S. Green Building Council: LEED

Wikipedia: Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design

Portsmouth Department of Public Works

City of Portsmouth, NH

Wikipedia: Portsmouth, New Hampshire

Benjamin Britten's "Hymn to St. Cecilia"

As the Church celebrates the memory of Saint Cecilia today, I offer this version of the Philharmonic Chorus of Madison (Wisconsin) singing Benjamin Britten's "Hymn to St. Cecilia":


Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the gift of music, especially for music in our liturgical celebrations.

Msgr. Pope on Being Faithful in Little Things

"What is a little thing, is (just) a little thing. But to be faithful in a little thing is a great thing." (attributed to Saint Augustine)

In a recent commentary, Monsignor Charles Pope (pastor of Holy Comforter-Saint Cyprian Parish, Washington, DC) reflected on the importance of being faithful in little things - in our liturgical celebrations, in our relationships, in every aspect of our lives.

To access Msgr. Pope's complete post, please visit:

Msgr. Charles Pope: Somtimes It’s the Little Things that are the Greatest Things – A Meditation on a Quote From St Augustine (20 AUG 11)

Reflection Starter from Martin Luther King, Jr.

"If a man is called to be a streetsweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great streetsweeper who did his job well." - attributed to Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

21 November 2011

New England Municipal Government News Headlines

Recent news stories related to municipal government in New England include these articles:

CT: Greenwich Library releases results of community survey (Greenwich Time)

ME: Farmer caught between local and state laws (Portland Press Herald)

MA: Local police chiefs help officers battle demons (Cape Cod Times)

NH: Merrimack board OKs Jehovah’s Witnesses’ church proposal (Nashua Telegraph)

RI: Pawtucket’s newest building is its most inefficient (Valley Breeze)

VT: Calendar revision cuts SVSU vacation days (Bennington Banner)

Background information:

Greenwich, CT, Libraries

Town of Greenwich, CT

Town of Blue Hill, ME

Massachusetts Municipal Police Training Committee

Town of Merrimack, NH

City of Pawtucket, RI

Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union

National Farm-City Week

This week, the week of 18-24 November, is National Farm-City Week. It is a time designed to remind urban, suburban, and rural residents of their interdependence and of those working in agriculture to supply “markets and families with fresh, healthy food.”

Presidential proclamation:

Presidential Proclamation - National Farm-City Week, 2011

Background information:

National Farm-City Council

Facebook: National Farm-City Council

American Farm Bureau Federation

Keep Local Farms

Connecticut Department of Agriculture

Buy CT Grown

Maine Department of Agriculture

Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources

New Hampshire Department of Agriculture, Markets & Food

Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management: Division of Agriculture

Farm Fresh Rhode Island

Vermont Agency of Agriculture

Presidential Proclamation -- Thanksgiving Day, 2011

Presidential Proclamation -- Thanksgiving Day, 2011

THANKSGIVING DAY, 2011

- - - - - - -

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION 

One of our Nation's oldest and most cherished traditions, Thanksgiving Day brings us closer to our loved ones and invites us to reflect on the blessings that enrich our lives.  The observance recalls the celebration of an autumn harvest centuries ago, when the Wampanoag tribe joined the Pilgrims at Plymouth Colony to share in the fruits of a bountiful season.  The feast honored the Wampanoag for generously extending their knowledge of local game and agriculture to the Pilgrims, and today we renew our gratitude to all American Indians and Alaska Natives.  We take this time to remember the ways that the First Americans have enriched our Nation's heritage, from their generosity centuries ago to the everyday contributions they make to all facets of American life.  As we come together with friends, family, and neighbors to celebrate, let us set aside our daily concerns and give thanks for the providence bestowed upon us.

Though our traditions have evolved, the spirit of grace and humility at the heart of Thanksgiving has persisted through every chapter of our story.  When President George Washington proclaimed our country's first Thanksgiving, he praised a generous and knowing God for shepherding our young Republic through its uncertain beginnings.  Decades later, President Abraham Lincoln looked to the divine to protect those who had known the worst of civil war, and to restore the Nation "to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility, and union."

In times of adversity and times of plenty, we have lifted our hearts by giving humble thanks for the blessings we have received and for those who bring meaning to our lives.  Today, let us offer gratitude to our men and women in uniform for their many sacrifices, and keep in our thoughts the families who save an empty seat at the table for a loved one stationed in harm's way.  And as members of our American family make do with less, let us rededicate ourselves to our friends and fellow citizens in need of a helping hand.

As we gather in our communities and in our homes, around the table or near the hearth, we give thanks to each other and to God for the many kindnesses and comforts that grace our lives.  Let us pause to recount the simple gifts that sustain us, and resolve to pay them forward in the year to come.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim Thursday, November 24, 2011, as a National Day of Thanksgiving.  I encourage the people of the United States to come together - whether in our homes, places of worship, community centers, or any place of fellowship for friends and neighbors - to give thanks for all we have received in the past year, to express appreciation to those whose lives enrich our own, and to share our bounty with others.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this sixteenth day of November, in the year of our Lord two thousand eleven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-sixth.

BARACK OBAMA

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for Your hand as You guide us and help us through life. Thank you for Your constant encouragement to continue to hold You hand, despite whatever else is happening in our lives.

The Power of the Hail Mary

In a recent essay, writer Stephen Ray offers the conversion story of a Protestant boy who got into the habit of praying a daily Hail Mary and eventually converted to the Catholic faith and later became a priest.

To access this post, please visit:

Defenders of the Catholic Faith: A True Story: The “Hail Mary” is a Powerful Prayer (19 NOV 11)

Reflection Starter from Saint Francis de Sales

"In the course of this our earthly pilgrimage, the Lord leads us in His ways; either He gives us His hand to have us walk with Him or He carries us in the arms of His Divine Providence." - Saint Francis de Sales

20 November 2011

"Crown Him with Many Crowns"

As our celebration of Christ the King continues, I offer "Crown Him with Many Crowns":

Marcel LeJeune Looks at Some Reasons Why Young Christians Leave the Faith

In a recent commentary, evangelist Marcel LeJeune offered some thoughts on a recent research project that examined why young Christians leave Christianity.

To access his post, please visit:

Aggie Catholics: Why Young Christians Leave the Faith (10 OCT 11)

Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ The King

Today the Church celebrates the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ The King. The assigned readings are Ezekiel 34:11-12, 15-17; 1 Corinthians 15:20-26, 28; and Matthew 25:31-46. The Responsorial Psalm is Psalm 23(Psalm 23:1-3, 5-6).


Christ in Judgment, from Art in the Christian Tradition,
a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN.

For one version of the Responsorial Psalm set to music, please visit:

YouTube: Psalm 23: Shepherd Me, O God (Haugen)

The Gospel reading is as follows:

Jesus said to his disciples: "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne, and all the nations will be assembled before him. And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the king will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.'

"Then the righteous will answer him and say, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?' And the king will say to them in reply, 'Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of the least brothers of mine, you did for me.'

"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.'

"Then they will answer and say, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?' He will answer them, 'Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.' And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."

Reflections on these readings:

Marcellino D’Ambrosio, Ph.D.: Feast of Christ the King: Last Judgment & Sins of Omission

Oblates of St. Francis de Sales: Sundays Salesian: Christ the King (November 20, 2011)

Msgr. Charles Pope: One of the Strangest Kings You’ve Ever Met. A Meditation on the Feast of Christ the King (19 NOV 11)

Dr. Scott Hahn: When the End Comes (November 20th, 2011 - Solemnity of Christ the King)

The Lectionary: Disciples: Willing to suffer for the sake of the Gospel (17 NOV 11)

The Word Embodied: The Gospel Realm (Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ The King A)

Thoughts from the Early Church: Commentary: Hippolytus (Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ The King A)

Dominican Daily: Sirius XM Radio: November 18, 2011 (Word to Life)

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for grace that inspires spiritual questions and for the guidance of the Holy Spirit in helping us discern the answers - and also for Your continued grace when we don't "get it" right away.

Mark Shea Responds to Questions from Potential Convert

In a recent answer to a reader of his blog, writer Mark Shea offered some thoughts about Catholic culture vis-à-vis Evangelical culture and about personal prayer life. The reader is contemplating coming into full communion with the Catholic faith.

To access the reader's questions and Mark's response, please visit:

NCRegister: Mark Shea: Some Questions from a Person Pondering Conversion (18 NOV 11)

Reflection Starter from Father Thomas Augustine Judge

"God has given us so much that we seem to think we can afford to be independent of Him. We know we cannot." - Father Thomas Augustine Judge

19 November 2011

A Burl Ives Afternoon

This afternoon was a Burl Ives afternoon. While accomplishing a number of tasks, I listened to a number of his ballads and other songs (three audiotapes worth, both sides).

One of the songs was "Grandfather's Clock," and "it just so happens" that there is a version of it on YouTube:

Christ The King and the Missionary Cenacle Apostolate

Tomorrow the Church celebrates the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ The King - one of my favorite feast days.

This, I suspect, has its roots in my high school and college years, when I was an active member of the Missionary Cenacle Apostolate. Christ the King was one of the two major celebrations of the MCA (the other being Pentecost). On each of these feast days, MCA members and other members of the Missionary Cenacle Family would head to the Shrine of Saint Joseph in Stirling, New Jersey, for a day of various activities, culminating in the offering of Holy Mass. Although the memories are a bit hazy, I still treasure these experiences.

Unfortunately (from my point of view), there are no longer any MCA groups in New England. Usually the cenacles (as the local groups are called) were under the wing of one of the Cenacle local religious communities. In years past, there were communities of the Missionary Servants of the Most Blessed Trinity (the order of sisters) in Southington, CT, and in Norwood and Hyannis, MA. However, these communities are no longer here.

 I do believe, though, that the MCA spirit is still within each of us who were active in the MCA while it was in the region. May the seeds that were planted and nurtured during this time (and the seeds that continue to be planted and nurtured) bear much fruit.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Unlike many lay groups associated with religious orders, the Missionary Cenacle Apostolate was established first, and the religious orders grew out of its ministry.  It was founded by Father Thomas Augustine Judge, a Vincentian priest who was born in Boston. In the spirit of Vatican Council II (but decades before it was convened), he saw the importance of lay persons being witnesses for Christ in the workplace and wherever they were.

For a reflection on being an MCA missionary, please visit:

Pat Regan, MCA: A Reflection on the MCA Vocation

Profile Sketch: School Resource Officer

A recent Morning Sentinel article profiled Officer Ronald McGowen, recently assigned as the School Resource Officer in Winslow, Maine. As the article profiled Officer McGowen, it offered a good sketch of the duties of a school resource officer in smaller communities.

To access this Morning Sentinel article, please visit:

Morning Sentinel: Three Winslow police officers take on new roles (12 NOV 11)

Background information:

Winslow Police Department

Kennebec Valley Consolidated Schools (Vassalboro, Waterville, and Winslow) (Alternative Organizational Structure 92)

Town of Winslow

Wikipedia: Winslow, Maine

New England Municipal Government News Headlines

Recent news stories related to municipal government in New England include these articles:

CT: Seymour fined for OSHA violations (Connecticut Post)

ME: Landlords rail against safety inspection fees (The Times Record)

MA: Parents of troubled adults face dilemmas (Boston Globe)

NH: In lean times, smaller police departments lean on Conway (Conway Daily Sun)

RI: Council agrees it could use some financial advice (Warwick Beacon)

VT: Rethinking the Circ: Task force recommends smaller steps to ease traffic congestion (Burlington Free Press)

Background information:

Town of Seymour, CT

Connecticut Department of Labor: Division of Occupational Safety and Health

Town of Brunswick, ME

Conway, NH, Police Department

Town of Conway, NH

City of Warwick, RI

Chittenden County, VT, Metropolitan Planning Organization

Film Chronicles Revival of Wampanoag Language

We Still Live Here - Âs Nutayuneân, a film recently presented as part of the PBS "Independent Lens" series, chronicles the efforts to revive the Wampanoag language, considered to be the the first time a language with no native speakers has been revived in the U.S.

The Wampanoags are from Southeastern Massachusetts. Their ancestors are the Native Americans who ensured the survival of the Pilgrims in New England.

Media report:

Cape Cod Times: Film captures Wampanoag tribe's effort to revive lost language (13 NOV 11)

Background information:

Makepeace Productions: We Still Live Here

YouTube: We Still Live Here: Âs Nutayuneân (trailer)

PBS: Independent Lens

PBS: Independent Lens: We Still Live Here - Âs Nutayuneân

YouTube: Independent Lens | We Still Live Here - Âs Nutayuneân | Video Extra | PBS

Native American Tribes of Massachusetts

Center for Public Education on Pre-K and Kindergarten

What’s the best early childhood combination communities can provide? A recent Center for Public Education report, “Starting Out Right,” examines the effect of various combinations of pre-k and kindergarten on third grade reading skills – which are considered to be a key predictor of future academic success.

The Center for Public Education is an initiative of the National School Boards Association.

To access this report, please visit:

Center for Public Education: Starting out right: pre-k and kindergarten: full report

Background information:

Center for Public Education

National School Boards Association

Greater Bridgeport Youth Orchestras Celebrates Fifty Years

The Greater Bridgeport Youth Orchestras, based in Fairfield, CT, is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary. This organization includes five performing ensembles: the Principal Orchestra, the Symphony Orchestra, the Concert Orchestra, the String Orchestra, and the Wind Ensemble. Its current conductor is Christopher Hissey.

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for bubbling brooks and streams - each one with its own special beauty.

Frank Weathers on Sharing One's Faith

In a recent post in which he uses a conversation between C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien as an example, Frank Weathers reflects on how one can be a witness for Christ.

To access his complete post, please visit:

Why I Am Catholic: Because Tolkien and Lewis Took A Walk After Dinner (13 NOV 11)

Upcoming New England Christian Music Event

"An Afternoon of Sacred Music on the Feast of Christ our Sovereign King" will be presented on Sunday, 20 November beginning at 3:00 PM at Saint Timothy's Church, 1799 Warwick Avenue, Warwick, RI.

The event features the choirs of Blessed John Paul II Parish, Pawtucket; Holy Name of Jesus Church, Providence; and Saint Timothy Church, Warwick.

Free will donations are requested, and they are to be used for Thanksgiving Grocery Cards.

Diane Medved on Using Language to Reflect Emotions

"As he left the elevator, he turned to all who remained and announced, 'Sorry you all had to hear that, but hey, profanity is a young man's poetry!' He'd apparently been ranting in foul language among maybe 10 people enclosed in our confined space. Profanity as poetry?"

In a recent commentary, Diane Medved offered a thoughtful reflection on the use of language to reflect emotions.

To access her complete post, please visit: 

Searching for Bright Light: "Profanity: a Young Man's Poetry"? (16 NOV 11)

Reflection Starter from Pope Paul VI

"Time is a gift from God; it is a question posed by God's love to our free and fateful answer. We must be sparing of time in order to use it well in the intense activity of our life of work, love, and suffering. Idleness or boredom has no place in the life of a Christian." - Pope Paul VI

18 November 2011

APHA Center for School, Health and Education Launches Website to Help Prevent School Dropouts

The American Public Health Association’s new Center for School, Health and Education has launched a website designed to advance the Center’s mission of improving health, well-being and educational success of all students. The website includes a library of articles as well as research on social and health barriers to graduation to help inform policymakers, educators, and the community about the public health issues that contribute to the national dropout rate.

This website may be accessed at:

http://www.schoolbasedhealthcare.org/

APHA advises that data show that students who receive health and social support are more likely to stay in school and get better grades. APHA is also aware of a number of studies reflecting that students who use school-based health centers have better grades and attendance compared to students who do not use centers. School-based health centers may impact the dropout rate by creating school-wide policies and programs that address a wide range of social and health barriers, including those that ensure healthier food in the cafeteria, address depression and prevent suicide, prevent teen pregnancy, prevent bullying, reduce school violence, and support a student’s ability to thrive in the classroom.

The Center for School, Health and Education, established within APHA as part of a two-year grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, is striving to build on the success of the School-Based Health Care Policy Program, a six-year initiative that generated significant changes in policy at the local, state, and federal levels to stabilize and grow school-based health care. The Center is now working to expand the role of school-based health centers across the country, protect federal funding for them, and ensure that reauthorization of federal education policy includes comprehensive student health and wellness measures.

Background information:

American Public Health Association

New England Municipal Government News Headlines

Recent news stories related to municipal government in New England include these articles:

CT: Exterior school bus cameras draw immediate results in capturing reckless drivers (New Britain Herald)

ME: Scarborough rejects ban on fireworks (The Forecaster)

MA: Election signs gone from Worcester yard, but legal battle remains (Worcester Telegram & Gazette)

NH: School Board questions lack of consultation for iPads purchases for Hollis/Brookline High School guidance counselors (Nashua Telegraph)

RI: Wood Boilers A Hot Topic (Sakonnet Times)

VT: Bristol chairman silences a citizen (Addison County Independent)

Background information:

City of New Britain, CT

Town of Scarborough, ME

City of Worcester, MA

New Hampshire School Administrative Unit #41, Hollis/Brookline

Town of Tiverton, RI

Thank You, Lord

Thank you, Lord, for the little opportunities You present to us each day.

Fr. Scott Hurd on the Value of Little Things

". . . The sociologist who created [The Journal of Mundane Behavior] did so because he was concerned that his professional colleagues virtually ignored the study of the everyday behavior that fills most people's lives.

"The same might be said of many people's attitudes about the practice of religion. They give much attention to what they think are the 'big issues', while they write off the seemingly small, trivial, and routine things as being insignificant or unimportant. Jesus, however, suggests otherwise. In today's gospel parable, servants were praised and blessed precisely because they had been faithful in 'small matters.' In other words, Jesus stresses that when it comes to our journey of faith, it's the little things that can mean a lot. Small, unnoticed acts of faith, kindness, service and generosity, and fidelity to our daily routines and duties, are essential for our spiritual growth and are important in the eyes of our Lord. Yet this is a truth that is tempting to forget, immersed as we are in a culture which esteems public recognition and the grand gesture."

In a recent reflection on last Sunday's Gospel reading (Matthew 25:14-30), Father Scott Hurd (Executive Director of the Archdiocese of Washington Office of the Permanent Diaconate) writes about "the love that Jesus calls us to when he tells us to be faithful in small matters."

To access Father Hurd's complete post, please visit:

Fr. Scott Hurd: Little Things Mean a Lot (13 NOV 11)