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Crosstown Currents

Merchants primed for fall, Halloween and the holidays

By Rod Lee

Sharen Doray thought for several seconds, wondering how to respond to a question about “what’s new with your business” when it is fairly obvious that at Ladybug Florist there is not a whole lot to add to “it is flowers for all sorts of occasions.”

Then, realizing that the inquirer wanted something to go with a story he was writing in advance of Halloween, Thanksgiving and the start of the holiday gift-buying frenzy, she pointed to an arrangement sitting nearby and said “that’s for the funeral of Officer Lee.”

Lisa Jane’s a different breed of hair salon

By Rod Lee

Wall art—scenes from London, Paris and Italy—are the first clue that Lisa Jane’s is not a typical hair salon. The framed pictures are a reflection of Owner Lisa Desjarlais Amaral’s love of travel; as a flute or piccolo in her hands would be evidence of her longtime involvement in the Blackstone Valley Community Band—if those instruments were also on display.

No June swoon for busy South County attractions

By Rod Lee

It must be June. Evidence of this is everywhere, from the concrete bird baths, animal statuary, gazing globes, fire pits and bird feeders on display at Robbins Garden Center in Oxford to the imminent start of the Yuengling Summer Concert Series at Indian Ranch in Webster to the strawberries, rhubarb, tomatoes, cucumbers and greens that are now available with the opening of Charlton Orchards’ 2017 season.

As VSO, Fletcher is keeper of the flame in Mendon and Upton

By Rod Lee

Not all persons who hold the position of veterans’ services officer (VSO) are created equal. Some take their duties more seriously than others.

A visit with Robin L. Fletcher, VSO for the towns of Mendon and Upton, confirms that he is that rare individual who will go beyond in assisting and advising vets and their dependents in their attempts to obtain benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and other agencies.

Lake Manchaug campground: Another day in paradise

By Rod Lee

Bill Staruk with his quaint sense of humor and a smile on his face says “I like to think people are coming here to see me, but it’s the lake.”

He understands the compulsion. Lake Manchaug Camping LLC, as the family’s property on Oak St. in Douglas is known, sits astride one of the most picturesque bodies of water in New England.

Technology leading the way at Homefield CU

By Rod Lee

If anything is a constant in the financial-services industry, it is change. Nowhere is this more evident than at Homefield Credit Union.

Formerly Grafton Suburban Credit Union, the Homefield name was adopted two years ago as a better representation of the institution’s expanding reach in Worcester and Middlesex counties. As of this month, President and CEO Lloyd L. Hamm Jr. said, Homefield boasts over 12,000 members and over $144 million in assets (as opposed to $112 million when he arrived).

Dudley Selectman Fox — two decades of service

By Rod Lee

In deciding not to run for re-election this year, Dudley Selectman Peter Fox can look back on two decades of service to an adopted hometown for which he has deep affection.

Dudley residents are no doubt familiar with Mr. Fox’s contributions as a member of a board that he considers to be an “excellent” steward of the municipality’s well-being (“we don’t always agree, but we respect one another,” he says).