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Down to the Lake in [Tiny] Ships

Posted July 5, 2006 03:44 PM


A shady bank of Rosemary Lake became a maritime battleground yesterday for nine skippers from the Needham-based Minuteman Model Yacht Club, who gathered for a noontime regatta during the July 4 festivities.

Hal Robinson, 70, examined the black carbon fiber hull of his U.S. 1 meter yacht, tightening the mesh and polyester sails before floating it into competition. Despite their toy-like appearance, the boats can cost up to $1,500 and miniature yachters take their sport seriously, abiding by the same rules established by the International Sailing Federation.

The wind whorled in all directions, churning the lake waters into choppy waves. Commodore Cliff Martin, who said the club has members that range in age from 12 to 95, yelled out the course the sailboats were required to take around the brightly-colored buoys positioned throughout the lake: Green! Orange! Red!

The race began. The fleet of ships ripped through the waters toward the first buoy. From the bank, the scene looked like a Fitz Hugh Lane painting -- except for the skippers, who manned the boats from the bank with radio transmitters, whose dials and switches moved the rudders and sails like string-less marionettes.

“You guys are just sitting there. I’m going in!” said Robinson, charging his boat through the fleet and risking a 360-degree penalty circle for making contact with another craft. The gamble paid off, and he safely cruised through the other boats.

As a thunderstorm crept up, the race ended without a winner. Putting aside their competitive intensity, the skippers left to celebrate the regatta at their traditional clubhouse: Dunkin’ Donuts in Town Centre.

-- Lauren K. Meade

Weather to Celebrate

Posted July 5, 2006 10:35 AM


Yesterday's intermittent afternoon rainstorms were a soggy annoyance for people trying to enjoy the July 4th festivities at Albemarle Park, but they brought smiles to the faces of Newton firefighters.

Unlike Boston, Newton doesn't shoot its fireworks over water, and in past years, embers from the spectacular exploding shells caused small brush and tree fires in the adjacent Avery Wood and the section of upper Newtonville surrounding the park. A Fessenden Street home was even threatened a few years back when dry leaves trapped in a rain gutter caught fire.

Yesterday's rainstorms lasted just long enough to thoroughly wet down the falling ember zone, Lieutenant Alan Leone said, but not long enough to force a postponement of the display. That would have required the department to pay a fire safety monitor overtime to babysit the hundreds of pounds of highly-explosive shells 24/7 until they were actually fired, he said.

"It worked out pretty well," Leone said.

Unless you were forced to eat a waterlogged turkey-on-rye with a side of watered-down potato salad for dinner, that is.

Deluge and dough

Posted July 4, 2006 03:41 PM


Two of the most intriguing questions that arose during the daytime portion of Newton's Independence Day festivities:

1. Would it rain? And 2. Who, exactly, is Tish the Dough Lady?

The second question came up yesterday, when Tish's impossible-to-miss, hot pink fried dough stand appeared at Albemarle Park in anticipation of the all-day Open Air Market and Amusement Rides event. I decided I had to meet her.

Turns out, I would have had an equal chance of going to McDonald's and meeting Ronald.

Tish, you see, is something of a fried dough magnate. As her daughter, Trish, explained to me, the Salisbury-based Saucier family actually has about 37 brightly-colored stands hawking fried dough, cotton candy, candy apples and other sinful carbohydrates to henpecked parents on any given weekend.

This weekend, the 62-year-old Tish was actually in Bath, Me. at the Heritage Days Festival. So I had to ask Trish my burning question: Ever eat your own fried dough anymore?

"Uh, no," the 37-year-old replied with a laugh.

The answer to the first question came at about 2 p.m., when the skies opened up and soaked the dozens of picnic blankets put out in advance of the 6 p.m. concert by the Zaitchik Brothers. The storm passed after about an hour, and the weather radar actaully looked pretty good for the evening.

Boomtown and July Fourth

Posted July 4, 2006 12:35 PM


Natick has its gala annual July 4th parade every year, but one of everyone's favorite sights is Rex Trailer riding on horseback down North Main Street singing ``Boomtown''

Despite temperatures in the high 80s today, Rex was smiling and waving, wearing full cowboy regalia, hat, and a long-sleeved fringed shirt. (Rex was a little before my time, but just about every man in the crowd older than 45 was singing along with him.)

Marching in Rex's wake was Natick native and state Rep. David Linsky and Wellesley's state Rep. Alice Peisch (accompanied by her daughter, also named Alice)

As usual, thousands of spectators lined the route for one of the region's most elaborate July Fourth parades, which showcases scores of local community groups, dance teams, marching bands, police and fire brigades. And, not to be forgotten, the Lawn Chair Drill Team from Framingham, whose members perform sitting on lawn chairs...

Da Vinci Code Controversy

Posted June 7, 2006 03:11 PM

Thought you'd heard the end of the controversy over ``The Da Vinci Code?'' Not even close. And this time, it's not the Catholic Church that's outraged.

A group from First Baptist Church in Sudbury will host a lecture next Friday, June 16, at 7 p.m. at Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School to put their own spin on the blockbuster book and film.

Read more about it in GlobeWest's debut religion column ``Matters of Faith'' tomorrow...

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