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Preventing tragedies

By Cindy Cantrell
October 16, 2011

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With Wayland still reeling from the murder of 18-year-old Lauren Astley last summer, allegedly at the hands of her 18-year-old boyfriend, the Walden Forum is hosting a program exploring how to prevent similar tragedies in the future.

“Preventing Dating Abuse and Promoting Healthy Relationships: A Whole Community Approach to Supporting Youth’’ takes place Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. in the First Parish in Wayland meetinghouse, at routes 20 and 27, and will feature three specialists in the field.

They are Emily Rothman, a researcher in Boston University’s School of Public Health and a visiting scientist at the Harvard Injury Control Research Center; Casey Corcoran, director of the Start Strong initiative by the Boston Public Health Commission; and Joanne Patterson, director of education and prevention programs at REACH Beyond Domestic Violence and founder of Peers Against Violence.

Topics will include the prevalence and causes of dating abuse; innovations in prevention; and ongoing prevention efforts by local organizations and communities.

For more information about the program, e-mail or visit

PATH TO HEALING: After his wife, Joanie, suffered a traumatic brain injury in a fall while jogging, Acton resident Larry Kerpelman wrote a book about their experience.

In “Pieces Missing: A Family’s Journey of Recovery from Traumatic Brain Injury,’’ Kerpelman recounts his wife’s accident, emergency surgery and two hospitalizations, and ultimately her successful efforts to recover her speech, memory, confidence, and joy of life.

This month, Kerpelman will be discussing his book at two free events, including today during the Acton Historical Society’s 2 p.m. meeting at the South Acton Congregational Church, 35 School St.

And as part of the Concord Festival of Authors, he will join fellow memoir writers Dixie Coskie of Upton and former Brookline resident Janet Cromer in a panel discussion, “Life After Brain Injury: Havoc, Hope, and Healing,’’ scheduled for 7 p.m. Oct. 24 at Emerson Hospital, 133 Old Road to Nine Acre Corner in Concord.

Kerpelman said the traumatic brain injuries suffered by broadcast journalist Bob Woodruff and US Representative Gabrielle Giffords has led to greater public understanding of the condition and its complexities.

“I am gratified that the public is becoming more aware of this problem,’’ he said, “and I hope my book explains what it means to suffer this devastating injury, what it takes to try to recover lost capacities, and what role family, friends, and community can play in the journey of recovery.’’

For more information, visit

HELP WITH ALLERGIES: The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America’s New England chapter is sponsoring a free program for young adults with food allergies Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the Bowles Conference Room at Newton-Wellesley Hospital, 2014 Washington St. in Newton.

The speakers are Children’s Hospital Boston psychologist Jennifer LeBovidge, who specializes in helping people of all ages with food allergies, and Dr. Michael Pistiner, a Newton resident who is an allergist with Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates.

Topics will include setting up a household and kitchen; rooming with people who don’t have allergies; dating and socializing; workplace issues; managing anxiety; communicating effectively about allergies; and other social, emotional, and practical issues of living independently with food allergies.

The event is designed for ages 18 to 30. To register, call 781-444-7778 or e-mail

WHITE CANE AWARENESS: The Newton Free Library, 330 Homer St., will host a White Cane Safety Day Tuesday at 7 p.m. Tuesday in conjunction with the Carroll Center for the Blind in Newton.

The program to promote public awareness of the significance of the white cane will be led by Waltham resident Heather Platt and Ed Christopher, certified orientation and mobility specialists at the Carroll Center. Their presentation will include a brief history of the white cane; what the law requires of motorists; and the experiences of Carroll Center students.

For more information, call the library at 617- 796-1360.

WHO’S WHAT WHERE: Rabbi Scott Slarskey of Brighton has been promoted to upper school principal at the Solomon Schechter Day School of Greater Boston. Slarskey, who is in his sixth year at the coeducational school on Wells Avenue in Newton, had been serving as the upper school’s religious leader.

Natick resident Ruth Armstrong is the new pastry chef at Avita of Needham, an assisted-living facility for Alzheimer’s patients. Armstrong was the founder and longtime owner of Sweet Rue’s, a bakery on Great Plain Avenue in Needham. She is studying to become a registered dietician.

Cindy Cantrell can be reached at