Regional Briefs

Wonders and Smiles, open house at Applewild

Applewild School is offering its third annual "Wonders and Smiles" programs for ages 3 -5. Parents and children are invited to enjoy stories, crafts and activities at 2:15 P.M. in the Marshall Library, 98 Prospect St., Fitchburg. The dates for the series will be on Thursdays, Jan. 23, Feb. 6 and 20, and March 6 and 27. Everyone is welcome. Come for one or come for all!

For prospective parents interested in Applewild's K-8 program and those interested in the Child Development Center at Applewild for ages 3 and 4, there will be an Open House on Saturday, Jan. 25, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Current Applewild students will be leading tours and teachers and administrators will be on hand to greet visitors. Applewild is an independent coeducational day school with an outstanding K-8 program serving families in central MA and southern NH for over 50 years. The school offers financial aid, merit scholarships and bus transportation.

More information at www.applewild.org or call 978-342-6053. The admission office also schedules daily tours.

Coming up at Oxbow

Walks

On the second and fourth Mondays in January and February, 2014, Susan Fly and Donna Mackie, will lead walks on the Oxbow National Wildlife Refuge. Gather at 10 a.m. in the parking lot at the end of Still River Depot Road in Harvard for a two-hour leisurely walk while looking for birds and other creature signs along the way. Susan and Donna are experienced trackers. Please, dress warmly and wear sturdy boots with good traction for the possibly slippery trails. Bringing a drink and a snack is recommended.

Phone 978-779-2259 before setting out. In case of snow, the parking lot might not be plowed due to the Sequester.

The refuge is open for cross country skiing and snowshoeing. However, due to the Sequester, the parking lot might not be plowed. And remember that dogs are not allowed on National Wildlife Refuges.

Explore on the third Thursday

Starting Thursday, Jan. 16, at 9:30 a.m., come out and explore land on the third Thursday of the month with Bolton Conservation Commissioner Janet Pesaturo. Janet is an experienced tracker, birder and forager, and recently earned her master's in conservation biology. Currently, she blogs about all of these interests at OurOneAcreFarm.com. Each walk will begin at 9:30 and last 2-3 hours. The walks will be done at a leisurely pace, in good and fair weather, but canceled in heavy rain/snow. Wear shoes/boots that provide ankle support and traction or snowshoes if conditions are suitable. Please do not bring pets along for these walks. The walks will take place at the Oxbow Refuge. Meet in the parking lot at the end of Still River Depot Road in Harvard (located off Route 110). The parking lot is past the railroad tracks, and to the right.

This walk is co-sponsored by the Friends of the Oxbow NWR, the Harvard Conservation Trust and the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Pre-registration is not required but if you have questions or want to let us know you are coming please contact the Bolton Conservation Office at 978-779-3304 or concom@townofbolton.com. If we cancel a walk, we will post it on the Bolton Conservation Commission's web page http:/www.townofbolton.com/Pages/index.

Smart Start registration events at MWCC

GARDNER - Mount Wachusett Community College is hosting a series of advising and registration events to provide new and prospective students with an opportunity to streamline the enrollment process in preparation for the upcoming spring semester.

During the Smart Start Registration events, newly accepted and prospective students who have completed their college placement test will receive academic advising, assistance with course selection and information about financial aid and academic technologies. MWCC offers more than 45 degree and certificate programs that prepare students directly for the workforce or for transfer to a public or private college or university for a bachelor's degree. 

Sessions will take place on the Gardner campus on Jan. 6, 7, 8, 14 and 15 at 1 p.m., and Jan. 9 at 4 p.m. Sessions will also take place on Jan. 8 and Jan. 15 at 10 a.m. at the Leominster campus; and Jan. 16 at 1 p.m. at MWCC's Devens campus.

For more information or to register for a Smart Start event, contact the Office of Admissions at 978-630-9110 or admissions@mwcc.edu. Students may register online for a Smart Start event at mwcc.edu/smartstart.

Devens ice rink is open

The Devens ice rink at Rogers Field is now open. The rink does not have specific hours, so skate at your own risk. The State Police will monitor nighttime ice use, and rental skates and bathrooms are not available. Skaters can use hockey sticks and pucks only if there are no other recreational skaters on the ice. The rink will close and reopen often due to weather conditions, so be sure to check the Devens Recreation Facebook page or email Recreation Manager Kim Walsh at kwalsh@massdevelopment.com.

Pre-foreclosure clinics slated for January

The HomeOwnership Center of North Central Massachusetts is hosting a pre-foreclosure clinic Jan. 15 and 30 at the Twin Cities CDC office.

The HomeOwnership Center staff will help homeowners evaluate pre-foreclosure options at no cost, which include: refinancing your mortgage, modification of your existing mortgage, a repayment plan, short sale and deed-in-lieu.

To register for the Jan. 15, 10 a.m., or the Jan. 30, 5:30 p.m. class, please email info@homesncm.org or call the HomeOwnership Center at 888-978-6261. Twin Cities CDC is located at 470 Main St.

FRIDAY, JAN. 10

Special Good Morning Breakfast: 6:45 a.m. The North Central Mass. Chamber of Commerce and welcome sponsor, Workers' Credit Union, will host guest speaker Charlie Baker, 2014 candidate for governor at DoubleTree Hotel in Leominster.

SUNDAY, JAN. 11

Breakfast: 8-11 a.m., Ayer Sportsman's Club, 255 Snake Hill Road, Ayer. Public welcome. French toast, specials, pancakes, eggs, free juice and coffee. Proceeds benefit children's programs. Room rentals also available. Call 978-772-9748.

Monty Tech practical nursing program hold open house: Monty Tech's Practical Nursing program will hold an open house from 9 a.m. to noon, in the school's cafeteria. Those interested in jump-starting a career in nursing are urged to find out more about the 10-month, hands-on practical nursing curriculum. Faculty, Financial aid is available, and the G.I. Bill is accepted. Information about the current bachelor's degree bridge program with Fitchburg and Worcester state universities will be available. For information, call 978-345-9200, ext. 5220. Snow date is Saturday, Jan. 25. Monty Tech is located at 1050 Westminster St., Route 2A, at the Fitchburg-Westminster line.

Youth Choir 'Informance': 11 a.m. Come to a free Demo-Performance of 'Cantori Scolari' -- our youth choir for ages 8 to grade 12 at Indian Hill Music School, 36 King Street (Route 495/Exit 30), Littleton. Learn about the program, meet the director, ask questions, register for next term. FREE. Learn more at 978-486-9524 or www.indianhillmusic.org.

NRWA Kitchen Science Advanced: Science Saturday for 7- to 11-year-olds: Kitchen Science in December was so popular that the Nashua River Watershed Association will offer a second Kitchen Science program, "Kitchen Science Advanced," from 12:30- 2:30 p.m., at the NRWA River Resource Center, 592 Main St. (Route 119) in Groton. This workshop will include new experiments and give young scientists an opportunity to develop their own investigation which will be written up as a real experiment and published! And our final creation will be an edible one...dirt pudding with gummy worms (wheat, dairy and nut free options). Be sure to wear old clothes! The program will be run by Mary Marro, NRWA environmental education director. Cost: $20 for NRWA members; $25 for nonmembers. For siblings who wish to attend, pay full price for the first child, half-price for the second. Pre-registration is required. To pre-register, please contact Mary Marro at 978-448-0299 or email MaryM@NashuaRiverWatershed.org.

FRIDAY, JAN. 17

Images of multiculturalism film and discussion series: 7 p.m., Littleton First Church Unitarian. The film "CRASH" will be shown in the vestry at First Church Unitarian, 19 Foster St., Littleton (across from the fire station). The film will be followed by a lively discussion and refreshments. All are welcome. This film series explores the lives and experiences of the other and expands our awareness of our neighbors as well as nearby and often marginalized individuals and groups.

SUNDAY, JAN. 26

Country Day School Open House: 1-3 p.m. Country Day School is a private, independent Catholic school serving students from pre-kindergarten to eighth-grade. We would love to be part of your child's academic, social and spiritual development. Come see if Country Day School is a good fit for your family. Tour our classrooms and talk one-on-one with our teachers and administrators. Stop by at our open house or call 978-448-5646 for a private tour. www.cdsholyunion.org.

KofC Youth Free Throw Championship: All boys and girls ages 10 to 14 are invited to participate in the local level of competition for the 2014 Knights of Columbus Free Throw Championship from 1-4 p.m. at the Peter Twomey Youth Center, located behind the Groton-Dunstable Regional Middle School North. The event is free, and entry forms will be available at the door. The Knights of Columbus Free Throw Championship is sponsored annually with winners progressing through local, district and state competition. International champions are announced by the K of C international headquarters based on scores from the state-level competitions. All boys and girls 10 to 14 years old are eligible to participate and will compete in respective age divisions. All contestants on the local level are recognized for their participation in the event. This is the 11th straight year that the Groton Knights have hosted this event. In all but one of these years, the local council has had at least one winner make it all the way to the state finals, with two of these participants being crowned State Free Throw champions.

FRIDAY, JAN. 31

Cross-industry job fair: 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Devens Common Center, Andrews Parkway, Devens. North Central Career Center and Career Center of Greater Lowell will be offering a workshop prior to the job fair, "Preparing for a Job Fair." These workshops are free to attend with pre-registration. Job seekers can register by calling Leominster Career Center at 978-534-1481 or Lowell Career Center at 978-970-3340. Job seekers will meet representatives from a diverse blend of local businesses, government contractors and federal agencies. There is no fee for job seekers to attend. Applicants should bring at least 10 copies of their resume and be dressed ready to interview.

Religious services

St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, 7 Faulkner St., Ayer, 978-772-2615, www/standrewsayer.org

Sundays:

Holy Eucharist Rte I, 8 a.m.; Holy Eucharist Rte II 10 a.m.

Nursery, 9:45 a.m. to end of service; Christian education, 9:45 a.m.

Children and teen groups in the Parish Hall. Classes join the adults in worship at the peace.

Thursdays:

Holy Eucharist Rte II with prayer and healing at noon; choir rehearsals, 7 p.m.

Priest in residence: The Rev. Joyce Scherer-Hook.