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Crosstown Currents

Giving disadvantaged youth the right Connections

By Rod Lee

With offices in Acton, Grafton, Harvard, Newton Centre (at the Jewish Community Center), now Oxford (on Millbury Boulevard, as of January), Pepperell and Wellesley, the “Connections PT Team” could have said “we’re doing our part” just by its extensive work helping patients rehabilitate their bodies from ailments and injuries.

At 22 years, Booklovers’ Gourmet has much to celebrate

By Rod Lee

It is a Wednesday in late February with a touch of spring in the air. Debra Horan is talking about the milestone she has reached with twenty-two years in business as owner of Booklovers’ Gourmet on East Main St. in Webster.

  A celebration to mark Booklovers’ Gourmet’s latest anniversary and to thank the public for its ongoing support will take place all day Saturday, March 4th with special discounts, giveaways and raffles from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. There will of course be birthday cake as well.

New CrossFit gym in Hopedale ʽlifts’ members’ lives

By Rod Lee

One might say that the CrossFit Final Duel “box” on Rosenfeld Drive in Hopedale is where the rubber meets the road.

Rubber weights crashing with a resounding thud onto rubber mats near the end of a WOD (“workout of the day”) run by Owner Donna Lombard would be music to the ears of CrossFit Founder Greg Glassman, were he to pay a visit and see about a dozen of his disciples taking part in the hour-long program—a high-intensity combination of strength and conditioning, aerobics, calisthenics and Olympic weightlifting.

Bluegrass Jam helps Willow Brook hit the right notes

By Rod Lee

The “Bluegrass Jam” for which Willow Brook Restaurant on Hastings St. (Rt. 16) in Mendon is justly celebrated began to happen within a year or so of the establishment’s opening in November of 2009 and is still going as strong as a Bill Monroe or Hank Williams tune that lingers on the ears.

But don’t think for a minute that there is anything one-dimensional about the Hackenson family’s Tuesday-through-Sunday operation (the restaurant is closed on Mondays).

A new year, a fresh look for bankHometown

By Rod Lee

Few individuals, few entities are turning the leaf on a new year quite as excitedly as Webster-based bankHometown, formerly Hometown Bank.

A fixture in South County for well over a century, bankHometown is roaring into 2017 with what President/CEO Michael D. Hewitt describes as “a new, fresh and modern logo and brand.” The revamp, assuring that bankHometown’s future will be “brighter than ever,” resulted from a “strategic partnership” formed through the merger of the holding companies of Hometown Bank and Easthampton Savings Bank in September of 2015.

Trendzʽingʼ in the right direction for 2017

By Rod Lee

It is hard to imagine 2017 starting much better than it has, business-wise, for Tracy DeRienzo of Trendz Consignment Boutique on Providence Road in Northbridge.

There is her second-place showing to New To You in Holden for “Best Clothing” and “Best Consignment” in the T&G’s annual contest; this, coupled with a first as “Best Consignment Boutique” in the recent Readers Choice Awards.

“It’s an honor even to be a finalist” in those kind of customer-appreciation competitions, Ms. DeRienzo said.

Charitable giving comes naturally to MCU

By Rod Lee

One doesn’t have to look far to find evidence of Millbury Federal Credit Union’s extensive work on behalf of charitable organizations and community activities.

MCU’s participation in Millbury and Sutton’s recent Chain of Lights festivities is just the latest example.

Sandra E. “Sandy” Piscitelli, executive assistance to MCU President/CEO Joseph F. Barbato Jr., notes that “MCU employees participate in such other charitable opportunities as the Greenway Challenge, Grafton Celebrates the Holidays and the ACS Relay for Life, to name just a few.”

Shop Small 01588 thinks big, is a huge hit

By Rod Lee

Picture seasonably ideal late-November weather and Church Street in Whitinsville bustling with activity.

Picture people spinning the prize wheel in the lobby of UniBank in a bid for such giveaways as a canvas carrying bag or a piggy bank.

Picture one shopper at The Maker’s Waypost asking a companion as they perused merchandise “where for lunch, Thai or The Valley Café?”