Trains and Legomania Return to Wenham Museum

Ever since he was a little kid Jonathan Dallas liked making cities. Dallas, who is now a member of the New England Lego Users Group (NELUG), remembers discovering the joy of laying out a model train and adding the details to make it more real.

One of NELUG’s almost two-dozen members, Dallas will be helping set up the Lego Train Exhibit at the Wenham Museum. The exhibit and Legopalooza are part of the Lego-themed events that the toy museum will be hosting again this winter during school vacation from February 15th to the 19th.

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10 Years of Coffee and Social Justice

Ipswich, MA—Umesh Bhuju, 43, is a community man. As he sits in his café, Zumi’s Espresso and Ice Cream, he greets customers by name as they walk in.

“In 10 years of business our biggest success is being able to connect with the community,” said Bhuju.

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Fashion Event Raises Money for Women’s Homes

Salem, MA— Jeff Gibley, 55, is no stranger to fashion shows. So when a friend asked him to participate in “The Art of Dressing Fashion Show” hosted by the Brookhouse Home for Women and the Woman’s Friend Society, he quickly offered the tuxedos from his shop J. Gibley Tuxedos in Peabody, MA.

“I never really heard of it (the Brookhouse Home) before this,” said Gibley. “I believe the show is going to be well attended.”

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Walking to Change Abuse in Salem

Salem, MA—Judy Currier, 66, still remembers when her 29-year old cousin Kim was beaten to death by her husband. Nine months after that horrific event, Currier and her family members formed a team to attend Healing Abuse Working for Change’s fundraising walk in memory of her cousin.

“We walk as a family,” said Currier. “We do it as a way to stay connected to Kim.”

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Lowell Gardens Together

Lowell, MA – Suzanne Frechette, 51, volunteered with the Coalition for a Better Acre a year before she was offered a job with them as deputy director.

On behalf of volunteer week, Frechette will join dozens from the community and from the Coalition for a Better Acre for its first “Sowing the Seeds of Community Garden Build Out Day” on Saturday, April 27. The event will take place in four garden sites in Lowell, MA. The organization is teaming up with three others to turn four vacant lots into community gardens.

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What Charity Can Learn from Journalism

Sociologists are damned with the burden of knowing all the troubles of the world. In his book Culture Making Andy Crouch describes journalists as the poor cousins of sociologists. Both study the mechanisms of culture, and both are damned.

As a sociology major who has aspirations in journalism, I suppose this makes me doubly damned. But I am also learning how culture allows me to understand what needs to be fixed. And my generation is one that wants to right the wrongs of the past; the increasing numbers of non-profit start-ups reflect that.

We want to help those starving babies in Africa that our mothers told us would appreciate the Brussels sprouts left on our plates, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Hunger is bad and should be something we want to disappear. The passion and urgency we have approaching these problems is inspiring, but I’m afraid we’re doing it wrong.

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U Mass Lowell Students feed Lowell and the Web

When looking for a place to take his date for dinner, Aldo Beqiraj, 22, U-Mass Lowell senior and Salem native, quickly became overwhelmed by all the websites he had to visit to get the restaurant’s information.

“I was on Groupon and I bought a deal there and I found a cool place,” said Beqiraj. “I had to go on Yelp and look at reviews for that place, and then I had to go to to make the reservations and then I had to go to All Menu to look at the menu. Then I realized that I didn’t want to go there anymore so the whole process started over.”

The frustration inspired Beqiraj to create a website that had all the services in one place, and the idea for the Grab a Bite website ( was born.  And while Beqiraj searched for a way to get his idea off the ground, Jennifer Ho, 24, another UMass Lowell senior and Lowell resident, was securing plans for her business.

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