Instead of Pipeline, Legislation To Protect Mass Conservation Lands From Pipeline

Editorial “Showing some signs of an energy answer” in Tuesday, April 28th’s Sentinel reads, in response to Governor Baker’s (Globe) reported likely moves to solve “our energy crisis.”, that the “Federal Regulatory Energy  Commission” (FERCed up the name of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) is “the immovable object that pipeline proponents and the environmental lobby face.”

In fact, FERC is norollingmarcht a federal gov’t entity, FERC is an outside company like the Federal Reserve set up by congress at the behest of the energy lobby so it is actually a farce of an immovable obstacle that the pipeline opponents face.

We do agree that a fair compromise would be in Governor Baker’s plan to expand the existing pipeline infrastructure in the eastern portion of the state rather than run any new pipeline through western and north central Mass ever. In fact, we call for legislation protecting the conservation lands of western and north central Massachusetts from ever being subject to a destructive threat  like the pipeline again.

Unitil Electric Rates Highest in State

The following graph from shows that Unitil’s electricity rates are 83% more costly than local munis (or municipal electric companies) like the ones in Ashburnham, Littleton and Groton. Unitil’s rates are 17% higher than National Grid’s in comparison to local muni rates.

This latest rate increase has catapulted Unitil to the number two spot in the nation (outside of Hawaii and Alaska) for electricity distribution rates.








According to Michael Hartwell, reporter for the Sentinel&Enterprise, Unitil territory has reached its limit in allowable solar energy into the grid. There is legislation focused on raising the amount of renewable energy into the grid currently making it’s way through the statehouse. Some local companies and residents are turning to batteries to store solar generated electricity not eligible for use in the grid under current law.







Mark Marquis Shirley Takes The Bull By The Horns

Mark Marquis and Lizzy Marquis played at the Bull Run in Shirley Saturday to an intimate and enthusiastic crowd of local fans and musicians. For more info on Mark’s upcoming gig schedule check out his Facebook page and for more on LIzzy’s upcoming gig schedule check out her Facebook page

Mark Marquis and daughter Lizzy play at the Bull Run in Shirley, MA on Saturday April 26, 2015.
Mark Marquis and daughter Lizzy play at the Bull Run in Shirley, MA on Saturday April 26, 2015.


Watch video here.

Meet Sports Columnist Dan Shaughnessy Monday, 4/27 at 7 p.m.

Come to Meet Dan Shaughnessy as the sports seasons change

Dan Shaughnessy, well-known sports columnist with the Boston Globe, has just come out with a very strong statement as the Boston Bruins’ hockey season ended in failure to make the playoffs this spring. And with the Red Sox opening their baseball season at home now, he will have plenty to talk and write about there.
Fort Devens Museum offers you an opportunity to get Shaughnessy’s comments and prognostications on Sports and views about being a sports writer at the Museum’s fundraising event on Monday, April 27, at the Devens Common Center starting at 7 p.m. Purchase a ticket at $30 and you get to see and talk with Dan Shaughnessy in person, and you also help keep this nonprofit Museum all about Camp Devens and Fort Devens growing.
Come also to join in the bidding for several worthy items at a silent auction – a week-end cottage get-away, a trifecta of fine wines, oil change and tire rotation at Gervais Ford in Ayer, and more. A cash bar and free hors d’oeuvres will be available. Enjoy piano renditions played by retired Army musician Vaughn Gibson.
Tickets are available on line at www/ or by mail or in person at the Museum, 94 Jackson Road, Suite 305, Devens, MA 01434. Or reserve your place by calling 978-772-1286.
The Devens Common Center is located at 31 Andrews Parkway, next to SpringHill Suites by Marriott, off Jackson Road.

Ayer-Shirley Lions’ Spaghetti Fundraiser

WHEN: April 29, 2015 from 5 – 7:30 pm

The Ayer-Shirley Lions’ Club will hold their annual “All You Can Eat Spaghetti Supper” at the Ayer Gun & Sportsmen Club, 255 Snake Hill Road, Ayer. Tickets are $10.00 adults, $6.00 children 10 and under, $6.00 seniors, $6.00 active military. Great raffle prizes for you to win! All members of the community are warmly invited to share in this event which benefits local children, charities and Massachusetts Eye Research. Learn more on their FaceBook Page…

FB Group Discussing Fitchburg Today, S&E Tomorrow!

In the past two weeks the Sentinel has run four stories based on the Facebook group Discussing Fitchburg starting with the Sunday Notebook two weeks ago and culminating with Friday’s front page headline story on a clean-up challenge that has been getting a lot of attention on the FB group of nearly 2100 members. It seems those overworked and underpaid locals of the giant Media News based in Denver,CO are making their work a bit easier by simply taking photos and quotes directly from  Facebook with neither requesting permission or disclosing in the articles that some quotes are coming directly from the group. Though this observation has been made several times by members of Discussing Fitchburg, the group seems resolved to glean the positive aspects of the Sentinel’s dubious reporting methods. The front page story spurned an interview on the popular WBUR radio station later in the day on Friday and the group may be becoming a stage for candidates in the upcoming mayoral election in Fitchburg, Representative Steve DiNatale is popularly known to be the front-runner in the race thus far but candidates Andrew Couture and Miguel Fleitas have been making their presence known through the popular Facebook group.

On Friday evening Fitchburg Police pulled over quite a few motorists in an organized effort to help the community realize the appropriate right of ways on Fitchburg’s Main Street. Discussing Fitchburg was full of posts and comments regarding the concerted police effort. Maybe we can expect to see appropriate credit given  to the owners of photos and comments in Sentinel coverage about the police effort tomorrow.

Honoring “Earth Day”

I visited the pond’s edge today to see what I could see. What I found was not so pleasant. First thing I noticed was the dead sunfish. Four of them. Five minutes of picking through the weeds and water produced this pile of trash.


Could this have been the cause of the fish’ demise? Or did they die at the hands of fishermen eager to catch something loftier than a lowly sunfish? Various wildlife frequents our pond. This year there has been an unusually high number of ducks.

So what does one do with a handful of pondplastic and the thought of ducks? Create a FieryTrashDuck, of course.


Please make it a point this Earth Day – April 22, 2015 – to pick up any trash in your surroundings. Think about why you have to do this. Make a commitment to produce less yourself. Then follow through on that commitment. Every Day. For the rest of your life.

“If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. … We need not wait to see what others do.” ~ Mahatma Ghandi

In other words, be the change you wish to see in the world…

Make EVERY DAY EARTH DAY – to infinity and beyond…

Senator Jen Flanagan Holds Fundraiser at Chocksett Inn

Senator Flanagan held a fundraiser at the Chocksett Inn in Sterling this evening, Tuesday, April 14th 2015. The Messenger was able to catch up with our state senator after the event to ask her a couple off-the-cuff questions about local politics.

In response to a question concerning her thoughts on Representative DiNatale being Fitchburg’s new mayor-elect later this year, Jen said he’s got to win the election first and “It will be great for him.”

As to the question posed in the Sentinel’s Sunday Notebook this past weekend regarding former Gardner Rep. Rich Bastien potentially taking the seat that DiNatale will leave behind in the assembly, Senator Flanagan responded “I have no opinion on that.”

Senator Flanagan happened to mention the signature error that landed herself as a write-in for the Democrat primary last November. Concerning campaigning, Flanagan gracefully came off with some plainly inspirational words, “You gotta get people involved. You have to find out what the people and local families are concerned about, it has to be about the issues. When I ran as a write-in for the primary, it worked because everyone got involved.” When reminded that “everyone” in local politics amounts to 15% of the general population at best, in fact, in some communities voter turn-out barely reaches between the equivalent of 12 to 13% of the total population regularly, Senator Flanagan repeated that campaigns must be about the issues, what local families are concerned with, such as a drug problem that’s being “swept under the rug”.

Donations to the committee to elect Jen Flanagan may be made at


Free acoustic show on Saturday, April 18th by a longtime band from Hollis, NH from 7 to 9 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

PEPPERELL, MA – The Ballou Brothers have accumulated a few fans over the past 4 decades of music-makin’ and their venues range from festivals and bars to nightclubs and gatherings, large and
But in all those years since the Hollis, NH natives picked up their guitars and started strumming, they have played in libraries only a handful of times. It’s not their typical kind of show, but band member Dave Ballou explained that the Lawrence Library has an unexpectedly wonderful space for acoustic shows in its art gallery when used as a listening room. Their harmony-filled show takes place Saturday, April 18th. Light refreshments sponsored by the Friends of the Library and Starbucks of Nashua.

“The Ballou Brothers are known for guitar rock,” he said, adding that they write their own music and offer a show comprised largely of original music. “But we have a quiet side, when we play our acoustic sets, and not too many people know about it.”

He cites the library’s history and architectural interest as reasons for the venue being one of his “We all really enjoy playing for people in a space where they can just sit and listen and we can all share the experience of the music,” he said. “You can’t have that in a crowded bar.”

The band is comprised, as you might expect, by three Ballou Brothers who are joined by “two Gary’s,” two musicians who have been writing and recording music with the band for a long time. The band is currently working on their fourth studio album titled Barn Burner.

Lawrence Library is located at 15 Main Street, Pepperell MA 01463 978-433-0330

Cannibidiol (CBD) Available at Rebel Smoke, Leominster

Rebel Smoke began selling its own Cannibidiol, a hemp extract, this past Friday April 10th, 2015 and The Messenger just happened to be on-hand to be the very first customer of the new locally made product.
Owners and Leominster residents Jen and Bill Sheldon began Rebel Smoke (next to Dutch Kitchen) in Fitchburg a few years back and very recently opened a second store in Leominster right next to the Luxury Box. The driving entrepreneurial force behind the business and the new CBD product, Bill Sheldon, gets his CBD from an FDA approved lab that sends it off to a third party for quality standard testing.
Rebel Smoke’s CBD is under the brand name Poppa Shelly’s Tincture & Vapor. Poppa Shelly is a nickname that stuck after opening for business according to Bill’s son Liam Sheldon.

Liam Sheldon prepares a vape tank for us with his father's homemade CBD.
Liam Sheldon prepares a vape tank for use with his father’s homemade CBD.

The CBD is all natural and edible and is designed to give the medicinal effects of Marijuana while not subjecting the consumer to the psychoactive or stimulant effect of Mary Jane.

Priced at $35 per 15ml bottle, Poppa Shelly’s is competitive with other CBD brands purchasable online, some of which are made in China and derided by many as “snake oil” for allegedly dubious extraction methods.

The bottle has a historic look that’s consistent with the interior decor of both stores (and Bill’s personal style) and reads “A Remedy For What Ails You”

The old-timey look of Poppa Shelly's Tincture bottle.
The old-timey look of Poppa Shelly’s Tincture bottle.