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Crosstown Currents

Hoopla builds for Blackstone Valley Education Hub

By Rod Lee

The long road to establishing a satellite campus of Quinsigamond Community College in the Blackstone Valley has seen its share of twists and turns; seemingly getting no closer to its destination.

Now, however, a new plan—an alternate route—is in place. Not for an extension of QCC in the region per se but rather for a “Blackstone Valley Education Hub” the mission of which will be essentially the same as before. Which is to address a growing need for workforce development in “The Birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution.”

Weldon’s have ice cream business down Cold Stone

By Rod Lee

Paul and Karen Weldon, owners of the Cold Stone Creamery store at the Shoppes at Blackstone Valley, sometimes find it hard to believe this is their fourteenth year in business.

The Weldon’s are among the original tenants of the complex, which sprawls atop a hill bordering the Worcester Providence Turnpike (Rt. 146) in Millbury.

They occupy Suite 420.

As enthusiastic about the enterprise now as they were in November of 2004, the Weldon’s took time Valentine’s Day afternoon to recall how it all began.

 They never tire of telling the story.

Passion for food is hallmark of Sully’s Dog Shack

By Rod Lee

Situated across the street from McGee Toyota and just down the road from Nichols College—in Dudley—Sully’s Dog Shack is deceptively unpretentious.

But the small restaurant packs a big wallop.

“The Home of the Passion Dog” is the first clue anyone would need that Sully’s is all about the food. Owned and operated by John Sullivan, a retired telephone-company worker, and his wife Laurie, a realtor, Sully’s boasts a menu that any aficionado of fare that excites would appreciate.

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.