Globe West People

Walking for a cure

Lita Judge, seen working on a drawing for her children’s book, “Yellowstone Moran,’’ will visit Newton on Saturday. Lita Judge, seen working on a drawing for her children’s book, “Yellowstone Moran,’’ will visit Newton on Saturday.
By Cindy Cantrell
August 30, 2009

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Last month, 7-year-old Kira Corning and her 5-year-old sister, Kitana, raised $15.50 from a lemonade stand in their Dover neighborhood. Instead of spending the money, however, they donated it to the group that is participating in the 26.2-mile Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk on Sept. 13 in Kira’s name.

Since 2007, Kira’s Kruisers has grown to more than 100 members in eight states. This year, according to Renee Corning, the group is on track to raise $60,000 for patients like her daughter who are undergoing treatment through the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s Jimmy Fund Clinic.

According to Renee, Kira appears to be a typical, healthy second-grader though she has three inoperable brain tumors classified as pediatric low-grade astrocytomas. Despite vision and balance problems, she continues to make it her mission to cheer up the other patients she encounters at chemotherapy sessions.

“Kira is a firecracker. She’s very outgoing and entertaining, breaking into songs and dances for the other kids at the clinic,’’ Renee said. “She doesn’t see herself as sick, so she’s always thinking of ways to help other people.’’

In a continuing effort to do their part, Kira and Kitana are organizing a second lemonade stand - this time, with baked goods - on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in front of a friend’s home at 80 Main St. in Dover. For more information about the Jimmy Fund Walk, go to

KID POWER: While she was growing up, Lita Judge of Peterborough, N.H., spent several weeks each year camping around Yellowstone National Park. While her parents photographed wildlife, she sketched in her journal and imagined the path of young artist Thomas Moran, who used paintings to document his exploration of the Yellowstone region in 1871.

Judge tells his story in her new book, “Yellowstone Moran,’’ which is being released Thursday by Viking. An accomplished painter whose work has been exhibited nationwide, Judge created her own illustrations by reading Moran’s journals and painting at the same locations he visited.

Judge, who has written eight children’s books, will visit Newtonville Books on Sept. 12 at 10:30 a.m. with Pepperell resident Annette LeBlanc Cate, who wrote “The Magic Rabbit.’’ Judge will read from “Yellowstone Moran’’ and an earlier book, “Pennies for Elephants,’’ based on the true story of the shared effort of thousands of children to earn money to purchase the first elephants for Boston’s Franklin Park Zoo in 1914.

A common theme in Judge’s books is the ability of children to accomplish the unexpected - something about which she has personal experience. A native of Alaska, Judge volunteered as a teenager for a dinosaur dig for two summers in Canada.

“Don’t say no to your dreams,’’ Judge said.

For more information, call Newtonville Books at 617-244-6619 or go to

OPEN COMEDY MIQUE: In his stand-up comedy, India native Raj Sivaraman introduces a fresh perspective on Asian politics, cricket, American holidays, and the award-winning movie “Slumdog Millionaire’’ - which, for the record, he did not like. He makes fun of television news and wonders why his ethnicity is continually confused for Mexican.

“I try to educate the West about the funny aspects of the East without being patronizing in either direction,’’ said Sivaraman, who lives in Cambridge.

On Wednesday, Sivaraman will headline the season-opening performance of the Amazing Open Comedy Mique at Framingham’s Amazing Things Arts Center. Other local performers lined up for the show, which starts at 7:30 p.m., include Susan Cleveland and Libby Franck of Framingham, Marc Bridge of Westborough, Jonathan Shecter of Natick, Anthony Scibelli of Malden, and Kevin Anglin of Winchester. The co-hosts are Debbie Rittner of Natick and Dave Hornfischer of Framingham.

The Amazing Open Comedy Mique will return on Sept. 30 and Nov. 4. Admission is $6, or $5 for Amazing Things members.

For more information, call 508-405-ARTS or go to

ART IN 3-D: Artist Arlene Fins of Acton has worked as a graphic artist and illustrator, but believes that sculpture provides the most complete experience for a viewer.

“You can walk around a sculpture and see millions of viewpoints,’’ she said.

A member of the New England Sculptors Association, Fins is one of 35 artists whose work is on exhibit at the State Transportation Building in downtown Boston. The show features 46 sculptures in stone, bronze, metal, wood, and clay.

Fins has two sculptures on display, both bronze pieces about 22 inches tall. “Summer Study’’ is a young wrestler wearing jeans and flip-flops, and “As You Were’’ is a female soldier standing in a ready but relaxed position. Fins is joined by local artists including Melanie Zibit of Lexington, Greg Spitzer of Carlisle, and Walter Phillips of Arlington.

The show is part of the New England Sculptors Association’s efforts to promote public interest in sculpture. It runs through Sept. 18 on the second floor of the Transportation Building, 10 Park Plaza, at Tremont and Stuart streets. For more information, go to

WHO’S WHAT WHERE: Eighteen-year-old drummer Mark Ward, a graduate of Newton North High School who lives in Dorchester, is one of 11 youths from urban areas nationwide who have earned a four-year scholarship to Berklee College of Music. The scholarship recipients, who have all participated in the Berklee City Music tutorial and mentoring program, are from Boston, Seattle, Memphis, New Orleans, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C.

Cindy Cantrell can be reached at