To me, it was a thunderclap. Years ago, when I was in Congress, we were in the midst of a tense, contentious debate.

Experiencing all of this cool weather motivates me to take off very soon, so I’ll join other snowbirds and head south. Oh, we’ll have a merry old time just clucking and honking all the way.

My wallet contains over a dozen “get-the-tenth-cup-free” cards for coffee shops as far as Plymouth, Sturbridge, Meredith, Kennebunkport.

HANOVER, N.H. — Al Foley, who taught history in these parts for decades and still is remembered in song and lore, was one of the great up-country raconteurs of his time. He died in 1978, but I met him once and, like so many others marinated in the folklore of this rugged state, I knew by hea…

At the close of the Constitutional convention of 1787, someone asked Ben Franklin, “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a Republic or a Monarchy?”

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‘Tis the season of the disappearing Day of Gratitude. Halloween now overshadows mid-fall. Thanksgiving is just a long weekend from work even as Christmas wraps our malls in mind-numbing Muzak and excessive displays. Before that, Halloween claims our fancy, turning a serious Latin commemorati…

The state’s transportation system is literally riddled with challenges: potholed roads, inadequate public transit service, soul-crushing traffic congestion, and tailpipe pollution that both causes asthma and heart disease and is the state’s largest source of greenhouse gas emissions.

Representative democracy is based on a simple premise. It’s that ordinary citizens can make satisfactory judgments on complex public policy and political issues — or at least grasp them well enough to decide who should be dealing with them. 

November makes me anxious. This year’s holidays are approaching with a particularly lean and nervous look, like coyotes dressed as reindeer and ready for a tussle. Nothing feels right.

Editor’s note: This is one in a continuing series of guest opinions about fostering environmental stewardship. The series is coordinated by ACES, the Alliance of Climate and Environmental Stewards.

My lack of common sense: Every day, I’m thankful that I wasn’t thinking straight back in 1984 when I got engaged to someone I had only known for a month. I’m also grateful that my husband, David, was suffering from a similar lack of good sense when he proposed to a near stranger.

As we enter the season where words like “giving” and “gratitude” tend to be overused, I invite you to think more deeply about the phrases you’re seeing everywhere, from marketing campaigns and emails to the promotion of holiday paper plates and scented candles.

On Oct. 22, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled in Commonwealth v. Carlos Viera that child sexual assault cases in which force is not used do not qualify for prosecutors to file for a dangerousness hearing for pretrial detention. Viera is a Lawrence police officer who allegedly me…

If you live in non-metro or rural America, you’ve been left behind by the economic boom cycle that came after the Great Recession. You also endured a more severe recession than people who live in bigger cities.

Britain Prime Minister Boris Johnson likes to compare himself to Sir Winston Churchill, the great leader who preserved his nation through the truly terrible, highest-stakes early challenges of World War II.

One of the not-so-small gifts of living in a representative democracy is that you can’t accomplish things alone. Whether you’re trying to get a stop sign put up on a dangerous corner or to change U.S. policy on greenhouse gas emissions, you have to reach out to others.

If I had three wishes, one might be to have been a fly on the wall during the hashing out of what a republic needed in a working constitution, how far reaching it needed to be, how to decide that and form the tenets on which it would be based in a way that would last.

Besides the conundrum of Great Britain’s extended exit or Brexit from the European Union, they manage almost daily to come up with harebrained happenings that certify our colonists’ belief that breaking away from the “Mother Country” was the right decision.

If subtropical storm Melissa had been like a professionally refereed prize fight between two evenly matched boxers. If she had taken her time slowly wearing down her opponent to win by a judge’s decision. Then the bombogenesis storm that followed was like being sucker punched in a dark alley.

Yogi Berra once famously gave this puzzling advice to a college graduating class, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” The quip became lore, along with other Yogi-isms attributed to the legendary baseball player.

October will never be the same. It is, after all, a season of change: Summer’s green turns to myriad colors, and we complain not.

 Editor’s note: This is one in a continuing series of guest opinions about fostering environmental stewardship. The series is coordinated by ACES, the Alliance of Climate and Environmental Stewards.

I understand that I am going out on a limb in writing this essay, but sometimes a limb provides a good perspective on thorny subjects.


Six months after Hurricane Katrina, I flew to New Orleans to see the first Mardi Gras after the storm. I discovered that the iconic parade was not the bawdy spectacle depicted in the media, but a family event that started near the hidden bayous of Audubon Park.

Though she will not appear on the $20 bill this year, Harriet Tubman will be on the big screen everywhere next month — including the 99-seat, mom-and-pop arts cinema near you.

Truth has always been the first casualty in every war ever fought. One would think that today's near-instantaneous communications had largely closed the gap between truth and fiction, but this is not always the case.

Throughout the summer, I noticed flocks of egrets flying over my house at dusk. I mentioned this to a neighbor who told me they were on their way to a hidden rookery. But you could just see it from the top of a neighboring hill.

Editor’s note: This is one in a continuing series of guest opinions about fostering environmental stewardship. The series is coordinated by ACES, the Alliance of Climate and Environmental Stewards. 

With Bernie Sanders’ heart attack, perhaps precipitated by the stress of campaigning with unabated revolutionary fervor, coupled with head-snapping contradictory pronouncements from spinmeister Rudy Giuliani, some found themselves wondering if millennial ageism is warranted.

What is the future of democracy in the United States? Recent news and commentary contain such words as “absolutism” and “autocracy,” and make comparisons between the present day and 1930s Germany.

Over the years, it has become a yearly destination for my little golf group – Ellinwood Country Club in Athol.

The official story of Lyme Disease started near the mouth of the Connecticut River and the deer-filled Roger Tory Peterson National Wildlife Refuge in the leafy village of Old Lyme, Connecticut.

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This Week's Circulars


Newburyport - Judith B. Woods, 83, a resident of Newburyport, Mass., died peacefully Friday evening November 29, 2019, at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. She was born in Biddeford, Maine, on December 27, 1935, to the late Maynard and Dorothy R. Bowley. She was raised and educated i…

Salisbury, MA - William H. "Smokey" Greenwood Jr., age 87, of Salisbury, died Friday evening, November 29, 2019, at Beth Israel Hospital, after a period of declining health. Born in Biddeford, Maine, February 10, 1932, he was the son of the late William H. and Marguerite E. (Wheelock) Greenw…