Monday, March 31, 2008

Is This The BIG NIGHT?

It's rainy and so tonight (and maybe even tomorrow night) could be the Big Night!
Every spring, when the conditions are right (rainy and 40+ degrees), mole salamander indigenous to New England unbury themselves from underground tunnels beneath rotten logs and dead leaves, where they live for most of the year, to travel to pools of water to lay their jelly-like eggs. In Framingham, that means a road closure to protect these amphibians (frogs, newts & salamanders) as these nocturnal creatures cross the entrance road to their favorite pond within the grounds of Garden in the Woods. Typically, this event occurs in late March or Early April. Experts are predicting it could happen tonight and/or tomorrow night, due to today's rains and somewhat warmer-than-normal spring weather predicted.
Photography clubs, nature bluffs, and families typically gather on this "Big Night" with rain gear, boots, flashlights, and cameras to witness these migrating creatures. The flashlights are very important. Each family member who heads out to see the migration needs one, so they can avoid stepping on the amphibians, which include spotted salamanders, red-spotted newts, wood frogs, and spring peppers.
For about a week after the Big Night, the salamanders stay at the vernal pool to watch over their eggs during daylight hours, but afterwards, they return their nocturnal nature.
Yesterday, as part of the Garden in the Wood's Children's & Family Program, a dozen children and their parents participated in a "Salamander Celebration."
They learned about salamanders and other migrating amphibians, witnessed a puppet shows, watched slides, took a nature hike to the vernal pool, planted sticks in the water so the salamanders could lay their eggs, viewed tadpoles in the water, and made clay amphibian creatures in their own vernal pools.
Below are a few photos from yesterday's event:

Garden in the Woods offers several children's and family programs throughout the year.
The next event is Sunday, April 13 from 6: 30 to 8:30 p.m. It is a Frog Moon Night Hike.
Event Description: "What strange quacks, trills, and peeps can be heard coming from ponds and bogs on a spring evening? Who is making all of that noise and why? Come to the Garden for a slide program about some amazing amphibian singers, practice some croaky calls, then walk through the woods to experience the sounds first hand. After a snack, the kids will enjoy some "froggy" crafts. "
Admission is $7 for members and $8 for non members. Cost is for each adult and child.
The program is limit to the first 24 people.
To register call 508-877-7630 or visit

Tomorrow Last Day to Win Tickets to Anne of Green Gables

Celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Anne of Green Gables with a performance on Sunday, April 6 at 2 p.m. as part of the Discovery Series at the UMass Lowell Center for the Arts in Lowell. The musical version of the 100-year-old classic novel is recommended for children age 5 and older.

Bay State Parent magazine is giving away 2 tickets to the Sunday show.
To enter, register your e-mail address for this blog's e-newsletter. (right side of page)
All e-mail addresses registered by tomorrow, April 1 by 6 p.m. will be eligible for the random drawing.

April Issue is Here!!!

WEEKEND PICK: April 5th Fashion Show Benefits Ellie Fund

Isis Maternity, New England's largest provider of prenatal and postpartum health education and wellness services, is welcoming spring with a grand fashion show displaying a full line of hip and chic maternity and nursing collections.
The Spring Fashion Show will benefit the Ellie Fund (, a non-profit organization that improves the health and welfare of women and families undergoing breast cancer treatment in Massachusetts. The event will be hosted by WCVB's Kelley Tuthill, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in December 2006 and she chose to share her journey through cancer surgery and treatment with the public through a series of video diaries and blogs.
(Tuthill was profiled in Bay State Parent magazine's award-winning Think Pink Guide in the October 2007 issue. Read her story at:
Isis Maternity will host the Fashion Show on Saturday, April 5 from 6 to 9 p.m. in its Needham center location at 110 Second Avenue. In addition to the runway show, there will be exciting raffle items including a Stokke Sleepi and Care Nursery Set and Cariboo Bassinet & Petunia Pickle Bottom Fawn Bedding.
Tickets for the event are $25 with $20 donated directly to the Ellie Fund. In addition, Isis Maternity will be donating all raffle proceeds and 10% of all sales for the night to the Ellie Fund.
To register, purchase tickets, or obtain more information about this event and other programs organized by Isis Maternity, call 781-429-1500 or visit the company's Web site at

About Isis Maternity: Isis Maternity has served more than 20,000 families in the Greater Boston Area through classes, products and private consultations that focus on prenatal, postpartum and early child development needs. Isis Maternity, founded in 2002, has close relationships with Boston's two largest obstetric programs - Brigham & Women's Hospital and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center - and has educated expecting parents delivering at every hospital in Eastern Massachusetts. Its centers, located in Brookline, Needham and Arlington, are staffed with experienced nurses, childbirth educators, lactation consultants, child development specialists, massage therapists and fitness experts. Isis Maternity operates a specialty retail store within its centers. The company's unique, one-stop combination of products and services led the Retailers Association of Massachusetts to award Isis Maternity "The Rookie of the Year" award in 2005. The company also operates the Isis Maternity Community Fund, which is supported by a portion of membership dues. The Fund is used to help families of all means access services that prepare them for parenting. The Fund also helps support Isis Maternity's community partners, local benefit auctions including school fundraisers and charitable activities. For more information on Isis Maternity, visit .

CoCo Key Water Resort Springs Into Charity Event Benefits Special Olympics

This week (March 30 through April 4) Coco Key Water Resort at the Sheraton Ferncroft/Boston is offering a special daily admission ticket of $30 per person. By purchasing one of these tickets, during the designated dates, 5% of gross ticket sales will be donated to Special Olympics, an organization that is dedicated to empowering individuals with intellectual disabilities to become physically fit, productive and respected members of society through sports training and competition.
To purchase tickets or to learn about other Coco Key Water Resort Spring Into Charity events visit:
The water resort is allowing a different charity to receive proceeds weekly throughout this month. These tickets when purchased are non-refundable.
Outside food and drink is prohibited in the water resort.

MOMS Club Event - April 2

The MOMS Club of Millbury-Sutton is holding a Park Day this Wednesday, April 2 at 9:30 a.m., weather permitting. Get some fresh air and meet new friends! Bring your strollers as we will have a special guest from StrollerFit to teach us new ways to stay active with our kids.
For more information on the event, e-mail or visit

Friday, March 28, 2008

RECALL: Plush Rockers by Tek Nek Toys Due to Fall Hazard

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Tek Nek Toys International of Texas, on March 27 announced a voluntary recall of about 122,000 Rock ‘N Ride Plush Rocker Toys. The base of the rocker can become unstable and allow the rocker to tip forward or backward, posing a fall hazard to children. Tek Nek Toys has received 35 reports of the rockers tipping over, including ten reports of injuries such as bumps, bruises and lacerations. This recall involves Rock ‘N Ride plush rocker toys sold in eight models: brown pony, pink pony, pink unicorn, deluxe pony, deluxe bull, lil’ penguin, lil’ propeller plane and Clifford big red rocker. The toys have molded plastic rocker bases and were sold for children at least 18 months old and up to 65 lbs. A button on the toy’s ear, hat or dash activates songs and phrases when pressed. Rockers included in this recall have a date code from July 26, 2007 through December 29, 2007. The date codes are printed on a sticker inside the battery compartment.
They were sold at Wal-Mart, Toys “R” Us, Kmart, Target, Atwoods, and Pamida stores nationwide and Internet retailers from September 2007 through March 2008 for about $30 and manufactured in China.
Consumers should immediately take the rocker toys away from young children and contact Tek Nek Toys for a free replacement base. For additional information, contact Tek Nek Toys toll-free at 888-686-2728 anytime, or visit

Newton South High Wins Mock Trial State Championship

For the first time ever, Newton South High School today was named state champion of the Massachusetts Bar Association's High School Mock Trial competition. The finals were held at Faneuil Hall in Boston.
Newton South advances to the National High School Mock Trial competition in Wilmington, Delaware in May. A portion of the trip will be funded by a donation from the MBA's philanthropic partner, the Massachusetts Bar Foundation.
"It's overwhelming. It was a lot of hard work," said Newton South senior Marty Loew of the win, adding that he plans to pursue business, not law, as a career.
Newton South and Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter School in South Hadley competed during a two-hour mock trial in Faneuil Hall's Great Hall. Newton South represented the defendant in a sexual harassment case, a fictitious computer gaming company, while Pioneer Valley represented the plaintiff, a high school student intern. Superior Court Justice Howard Whitehead presided with assistance from Superior Court Justice Barbara Dortch-Okara and District Court Justice Barbara Pearson.
Even though Newton South took the state championship, Whitehead said Pioneer Valley would have prevailed in a court of law on at least one of the two charges claimed in the lawsuit - gender discrimination due to a hostile work environment.
Both teams impressed the judges, who commended them on their skills.
"This is outstanding. I am really bowled over every time I see these performances," said Dortch-Okara. She told the students, "If you want to compare yourselves to some practicing attorneys, you can do that."
The Mock Trial Program began its 23rd year in January.
More than 100 high school teams from 16 regions across the state competed for three months in simulated courtroom situations where they assumed the roles of lawyers, defendants and witnesses in the hypothetical case.
"The MBA's Mock Trial Program has been hugely successful," MBA President David W. White Jr. said. "The goal has remained to provide each student a chance to grow as an individual - to grow as someone who is able to work with and support others, as an informed citizen who understands our legal system, and as future leaders, who will use those skills to improve the lives of others in their communities."
The Mock Trial Program is administered by the MBA, and made possible by the international law firm of Brown, Rudnick, Berlack, Israels LLP through its Center for the Public Interest in Boston, which has contributed $25,000 per year to the program since 1998.
For more information on the MBA Mock Trial Program or upcoming competitions, visit or contact Elizabeth O'Neil, director of Public and Community Services, at

Incorporated in 1911, the Massachusetts Bar Association is a non-profit organization that serves the legal profession and the public by promoting the administration of justice, legal education, professional excellence and respect for the law. The MBA represents a diverse group of attorneys, judges and legal professionals across the commonwealth.

Weekend Pick: Hansel & Gretel Opera in Marblehead

The Boston Lyric Opera presents a kid-friendly version of Engelbert Humperdinck’s treat of an opera, Hansel and Gretel. The squirm-proof, one-hour, fully staged, English-language version features the Opera's orchestra and will be performed for families in Marblehead on Sunday.
In this classic fairy tale geared for children ages 6-12, a walk in the forest turns into a discovery of delights and frights. A gingerbread house tempts Hansel and Gretel’s taste buds, but behind those sugar-coated gumdrop walls lurks a witch! Hansel and Gretel must stick together to free the forest from a wicked spell. This production is a perfect way to introduce children to opera and is great for the whole family!

When: Sunday, March 30, at 1;30 p.m.
Where: Marblehead Veterans Middle School Performing Arts Center, 217 Pleasant St., Marblehead
Tickets: $18 for adults and $12 for children. Call Audience Services at 617-542-6772 or order online at

The Boston Lyric Opera offers a free downloadable study guide at which reinforces Massachusetts Learning Standards through a variety of fun opera activities and is ideal for parents, teachers, and children in grades 2-7.

Boston Lyric Opera is New England’s favorite opera company. Founded in 1976, BLO is recognized for its artistically excellent productions of a diverse repertoire that entertain and inspire audiences and feature emerging operatic talent. Its mainstage productions at the Citi Performing Arts CenterSM Shubert Theatre, live broadcasts on WGBH radio and traveling production of a fully staged, one-hour English version of a popular opera for school children and families reach some 200,000 people a year. Boston Lyric Opera’s programs are funded, in part, by a grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

eBridge Montessori School Is Expanding & Hosting Tours

A Montessori education empowers children to achieve academic excellence and become confident, independent, respectful, creative thinkers and happy life-long learners.

eBridge Montessori School in Westborough is expanding and taking applications for enrollment for the summer and fall 2008. An AMI recognized authentic Montessori school, eBridge Montessori serves children ages 2.9 to 6. Full day, half day, morning and after-school care, and summer program sessions are available. Please call for the monthly parent group tour and classroom observation at 508-366-9288.
There is a parent group tour on Monday, April 7 and Monday, May 5 at 3:30 p.m.

The school is located at 57 East Main Street, Suite 101, in Westborough. See more at the school's Web site at

WEEKEND PICK: See the World Series Trophies in Worcester on Sunday

What better way to kick-off baseball season (Red Sox home opener is April 8) than by heading down to the DCU Center Convention Center in Worcester for a FREE public viewing of the 2004 and 2007 World Series Trophies won by the Boston Red Sox!
After the World Series victory in 2004, the Red Sox shared the triumph with their fan base by taking the World Championship Trophy to different cities and towns throughout Red Sox Nation. The team continues the tradition after the win in 2007, bringing the two trophies to the DCU Center on Sunday, March 30. Viewing will take place in the Showcase Corner of the Convention Center from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Fans should enter Door #1 of the facility on Major Taylor Boulevard.
This is a free event and open to the public
Also joining the festivities will be Worcester's Sports Mascots including Finz from the Worcester Sharks, Surgeo from the New England Surge and Twister from the Worcester Tornadoes!

Warm2Kids Program To Premiere in Worcester Tomorrow

Tomorrow, March 28 at 3:30 p.m. a ribbon cutting ceremony will take place at the Boroughs Family Branch of the YMCA, opening the second installation of a WARM2Kids Technology and Learning Center in the Metrowest area.
The new learning center is sponsored by human resources company, Workscape, Inc. of Marlborough and will be open to all YMCA members. “The Workscape, Inc. Learning Center” has been generously donated in honor of the “dedicated and talented employees” of the company. WARM2Kids Learning Centers, are a community reinvestment project spear-headed by WARM2Kids President and CEO, M.L. Carr. The organization, in conjunction with local sponsors, donates computers and technology centers to youth organizations nationwide. The new center will provide top of the line equipment, advanced technology, expert approved resources dealing with 300(+) issues facing teens and families, celebrity role model interviews and social/emotional development programs to YMCA members through the WARM2Kids Web site

About YMCA of Central Massachusetts:
Founded in 1864, the YMCA of Central Massachusetts is a non-profit, community-based service organization committed to the healthy development of children, teens, adults, seniors and families. The purpose of the YMCA of Central Massachusetts is to develop the spirit, mind and body of all people, regardless of age, race and income, through programs and activities guided by and based upon Judeo-Christian principles. The YMCA of Central Massachusetts strengthens our community while serving, more than 27,000 men, women, boys and girls in 41 Central Massachusetts towns through three branches: the Central Community Branch in Worcester’s Main South neighborhood, the Greendale Family Branch in north Worcester, and the Boroughs Family Branch in Westborough, and through many off-site camps and program centers.

About WARM2Kids:
We’re All Role Models 2 Kids (WARM2Kids) is an online information resource and role model community. The goal of the organization is to eliminate “silent suffering” by providing teens and young adults with safe, reliable information about the issues that concern them. The WARM2Kids Learning Center Program provides free computer access to teens and the community. The program connects socially responsible companies and individuals with community and youth organizations to impact the social and emotional development of today’s youth through the use of the WARM2Kids website.

WEEKEND PICK: Dr. Robyn in the Lead Role of Bye Bye Birdie

This weekend March 28-29-30 (and also on April 4 & 5) check out Bay State Parent magazine Parenting 1-2-3 columnist Dr. Robyn Silverman in the lead role of Rose Alvarez in Randolph Theatre Community's production of Bye Bye Birdie.
Performances are Friday, March 28 at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, March 29 at 7:30 p.m., Sunday March 30 at 2 p.m., Friday, April 4 at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday April 5 at 7:30 p.m. at the Randolph High auditorium at 70 Memorial Drive.
For tickets and more details e-mail the Randolph Theatre Company at or call the Recreation Office at 781- 961-0936

Mock Trial Between Newton And South Hadley Takes Place Tomorrow

Teams from Newton & South Hadley teams will vie for the state championship of the Massachusetts Bar Association's 2008 High School Mock Trial Competition tomorrow morning.
The winning team will secure the state championship and advance to the national competition in Wilmington, Delaware in May.
Competing tomorrow, Friday, March 28 at 10 a.m. at Faneuil Hall in Boston is a team from Newton South High and a team from Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter Public School in South Hadley. A panel of three judges will preside.

Incorporated in 1911, the Massachusetts Bar Association is a non-profit organization that serves the legal profession and the public by promoting the administration of justice, legal education, professional excellence and respect for the law. The MBA represents a diverse group of attorneys, judges and legal professionals across the commonwealth.

WEEKEND PICK: 16th Annual American Baby Faire is This Weekend

For the 16th year, the American Baby Faire is returning to Boston, but this time it has a new home at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro.
This special event on Saturday, March 29 & Sunday, March 30, presented by Babies"R"Us, will introduce expectant parents and young families to more than 100 exhibits showcasing the latest in child care, parenting information and services, the newest products for infants and toddlers, exciting interactive children's exhibits and free product samples. There will be continuous live entertainment throughout the weekend as well as roving fairytale characters for children to meet. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days.
Enter your baby in the hourly Babies"R"Us Baby Derby races for the title of Boston's "fastest crawler." As many as 500 babies are expected to race throughout the two-day American Baby Faire event.
Please stop by the Bay State Parent booth for a copy of the April issue, a raffle, and more. (Thanks to everyone who entered our ticket giveaway. The winners were:

Daily admission tickets are $10 for adults and free for grandparents and children under age 12. A $3 admission discount coupon is available at area Babies"R"Us locations.
Parking is free.
For additional information visit

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Submit a Event for the Bay State Parent Calendar

The deadline for the May (print) issue is Monday, April 7 at 6 p.m.
To submit a listing visit:

Calendar listings that miss the print deadline are posted online at
and on the magazine's BLOG at
under "bonus calendar listings link," found on the right side of this blog.

RECALL: Maine Company Recalls Water Bottles Due To Lead Paint Violation

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Downeat Concepts Inc. of Yarmouth, Maine, yesterday announced a voluntary recall of 18,000 Backyard and Beyond Metal Water Bottles. Surface paint on the metal water bottles contains excessive levels of lead, violating the federal lead paint standard. Incidents/Injuries: None reported. Backyard and Beyond brand water bottles with model numbers 67402, 67404, 67442, 67444, 67742, 60442, 67744, 67746, 67748 and 60448 printed on the hang tag. The metal water bottles have a black plastic sip-top and were sold in green, pink or blue with assorted animal or insect graphics on the exterior. They were sold at major retailers, gift shops, convenience stores, mass merchandise and drug stores nationwide from February 2006 through February 2008 for about $8 and manufacturered in China.
Consumers should immediately take the recalled water bottles away from children and return it to the store where purchased for a refund. For additional information, contact Downeast Concepts at 800-343-2424 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, or visit or e-mail the firm at

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

CONTEST: Win 2 Tickets to See Anne of Green Gables in Lowell on April 6

Celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Anne of Green Gables with a performance on Sunday, April 6 at 2 p.m. as part of the Discovery Series at the UMass Lowell Center for the Arts in Lowell. The musical version of the 100-year-old classic novel is recommended for children age 5 and older.

Bay State Parent magazine is giving away 2 tickets to the Sunday show. To enter, register your e-mail address for this blog's e-newsletter. (right side of page) All e-mail addresses registered by Tuesday, April 1 by 6 p.m. will be eligible for the random drawing.

The winning tickets can be picked up at the Lowell box office the day of the performance..

ABOUT THE SHOW: This new musical adaptation of Anne of Green Gables premiered Off-Broadway in 2007 to critical acclaim and sold-out audiences. The story opens as plainspoken farmer Matthew Cuthbert waits expectantly at the train station for an orphan boy he and his sister Marilla plan to adopt to help out on their farm. However, no boy steps off the train - only a girl with bright red hair and all her worldly possessions in a carpet bag. Her name is Anne Shirley. Never having had a real home, Anne is determined to stay with the Cuthberts at Green Gables, the little house they share. Through the years with her best friend Diana and her sometime-rival Gilbert Blythe, she turns the entire community upside-down with her irrepressible scope for imagination. Anne of Green Gables is an enchanting musical about love, family and the true meaning of home. 2008 marks the 100th anniversary of the publication of the beloved novel Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery. First published in Boston, the book has been translated into 36 languages and sold more than 50 million copies. It has launched at least 10 movies and television shows, including the popular 1985 PBS series "Anne of Green Gables" and its 1987 sequel, both of which continue to run to this day. It spawned a 1979 Japanese anime series, "Akage no An" ("Red-haired Anne"), that has reached cult proportions throughout the East and Europe. As part of the 100th anniversary celebration, the Canadian government will issue new stamps and a 25-cent coin commemorating Anne. Now 100 years old, Anne of Green Gables continues to captivate young audiences everywhere.

ORDER TICKETS: This performance is made possible through the generous sponsorship of Mary Jo Leahey and will take place at Durgin Hall, 35 Wilder Street, on the UMass Lowell South Campus. The theater is convenient to free parking and is handicap accessible. Tickets are $12. $10 tickets for groups of 10 or more are available when purchased in advance. Tickets may be purchased by phone with Visa or Mastercard by calling the Box Office at 978-934-4444 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Monday through Friday, or by visiting the Web site at where directions to the concert hall and to parking may be found.

American Baby Faire CONTEST WINNERS

The following readers of Bay State Parent magazine are the 20 winners of 2 free tickets to this weekend's American Baby Faire Boston event at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro on Saturday & Sunday.

Tickets were mailed to:
Jen D'Intinosanto of Clinton
Cristin Murphy of Worcester
Jen Leider of Fitchburg
Jackie Seemung of Marlboro
Megan Evans of Ashburnham
Christine Gaudreau of Leominster
Viviana Alzate of Worcester
Judy Kkittler Zmijak of Lancaster
Leslie Genova of Melrose
Jennie Mayhew of Foxboro
Betsy Nazar of Mansfield
Lisa Nguyen of Worcester
Constance Talley of Charlton
Amy J. Frank of Warwick, R.I.
Jennifer Fitzgerald of Gardner

Gwyneth Marini of Attleboro
Melanie Brothers of Charlton
Deb Burwick of Worcester
Amy Whitehead-Pleaux of Worcester
Stacey Briggs of Maynard
Lisa Sherman of Brockton

For more info about the show visit,

Visit and this blog at
for more exclusive contests!

Bay State Parent Magazine was Designated a 2008 Parents' Choice Approved Award Winner

Bay State Parent magazine was designated a "2008 Parents' Choice Approved" award winner in a national magazine contest, sponsored by the Parents Choice Foundation last week.
The non-profit Parents' Choice Foundation honors magazines that are entertaining, edifying, and that pass on accurate information to parents and/or children.

The judges wrote: "Regular features in this free Massachusetts regional parenting publication include Family Calendar of Events, Fun, Educational Activities, Family Health, and Adoption Insights. Articles are written for parents, by parents and professionals. Supported by family friendly advertisers."

Submitted for the award was an editorial statement and the August, September, October, & November 2007 issues. Entry required a submission of four consecutive issues.
Writers who contributed an article to one or more of the winning issues:
Alyson Aiello, Dr. Kerri Augusto, Amy Benoit, Robin Burke, Rose Cafasso, Leslie Castillo, Michelle Xiarhos Curran, Antoinette Donovan, Lynn Jolicoeur, Jennifer Lefferts, Kate M. Jackson, Jane Mackay, Sue Lovejoy, Jennifer Luccarelli, Sarah MacDonald, Marguerite Paolino, Susan Scully Petroni, Elizabeth C. Regan, Donna Roberson, Dr. Robyn Silverman, Susan Spencer, Tim Sullivan, Carrie Wattu, & Donna White.
Thanks for helping us win yet another national award!

Other 2008 winners that received the same designation include: "Sports Illustrated for Kids, Sesame Street Magazine, Highlights magazine," and a few others.
Previous winners have included Adoptive Families, Family Fun and Ranger Rick magazines.

In the 2008 Parents' Choice Magazine Awards numerous families and teachers pour over many publications, page-by-page, carefully considering the content and appraising the appeal of the publications. Deliberations and final selections were conducted by an esteemed panel of judges.
The magazine awards have been given out annually since 1995. The foundation, established in 1978, also reviews books, toys, music, television, software, video games, Web sites, and magazines for children and/or families of all achievements and backgrounds.

Friday, March 21, 2008

35th Annual New England Adoption Conference Scheduled for Saturday, April 5th

Many adoptive and pre-adoptive parents seek out the wide array of workshops at the annual New England Adoption Conference. And, as always, the 35th conference will have plenty to interest them, whether their children are tots or teens.
At this year's April 5 conference, however, there will be more workshops and information aimed at other groups affected by adoption, too.
"We're trying to reach out more and more to the other triad members - birth families and adopted people," said Nancy Harper, who is in her first year as executive director of the Adoption Community of New England, which sponsors the conference. Both groups will be part of panel discussions, for example. "We're hearing from birth families that they'd like to hear from and see adoptees at the workshops and vice versa."
The four workshop periods during the day-long conference feature adoption experts and advocates from across the country.
This year, more than 20 of the workshops will provide prospective adoptive parents with credit toward the new 10 hours of training mandated by the U.S. Government's Hague Treaty on Intercountry Adoptions. Some of the qualifying workshops include "Medical Issues in Intercountry Adoption," "Birth Families in Intercountry Adoption Do Matter," "Grief and Loss Behaviors in Adopted Children," and "Complex Neurodevelopmental Profiles."
Harper anticipates the conference will attract more than the usual number of attendees because of the convenience of the Hague-qualified workshops.
While many of the presenters will be returning from past years, the conference will also feature many new workshops.
"Adoption has influence through one's whole life, whether for an adopted person, a birth parent, an adoptive family or an extended family. It has a long-lasting impact, and this conference is for all those touched by adoption. We definitely have something for everyone," she said.

The 35th Annual New England Adoption Conference will be held
on Saturday, April 5, at Westborough's Mill Pond School on Old Hickory Path.

Check-in begins at 8 a.m., with a cash breakfast bar.

Keynote speaker Jayne Schooler will be featured after an 8:30 a.m. Adoption Community of New England Annual Meeting.

Workshops will run through 4:30 p.m.

The bookstore will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Again, there will be a vendor area. Stop by the Bay State Parent booth.

Registration can be done online through April 2.
The cost is $150 (ACONE members pay $90).
To register, visit Adoption Community of New England's Web site,
Walk-in registration will be permitted on April 5th as space permits.

17 Massachusetts Teachers Honored

BOSTON - 17 Massachusetts teachers who have received awards for their excellence in the classroom were recognized at a Statehouse ceremony yesterday.
The 17 teachers include the state's five finalists for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, two 2007 Massachusetts Milken Educators, and the 10 recipients of the 2007 Awards for Excellence in Teaching Students with Asperger Syndrome.
"These teachers stand out in our state because they don't just teach, they commit themselves to providing each and every student with the best education possible," said Acting Education Commissioner Jeffrey Nellhaus. "Their work in the classroom, their devotion to their students and their commitment to excellence helps our students learn and sets an example for other teachers to follow."
Acting Commissioner Nellhaus was joined by state Representative Patricia Haddad, co-chair of the Joint Committee on Education, to honor the following recipients.
"As a former teacher, I know that educators across the state our their heart and soul into their work and their students," said Rep. Haddad. "Too often that extra effort goes unrecognized. It's a wonderful moment when we can all pause and honor those special, inspirational, and outstanding teachers like those we are here to recognize today."
The three awards and the individuals honored were:
Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics & Science Teaching
The Presidential Awards Program was established in 1983 by The White House and is sponsored by the National Science Foundation. The program identifies outstanding mathematics and science teachers in each state.
This year's Massachusetts finalists are:
Science Finalists
Matthew Anthes,Washburn, Parkway Academy of Technology and Health, Boston
Janet Duffy, Hingham High School, Hingham
Kathleen Shea, Nipmuc Regional High School, Upton
Mathematics Finalists
Catherine Cabral, Somerset High School, Somerset
Sean Walker, Memorial Middle School, Fitchburg

2007 Massachusetts Milken Award Winners
The Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award was established in 1983 by brothers Lowell and Michael Milken. Recipients each receive a check for $25,000, a trip to Los Angeles for a conference and awards ceremony, and membership in the network of previous Milken winners. This was the 11th year that Massachusetts participated in the program. This year's recipients are:
Anne Clark, Curriculum and Special Education Coordinator, English Language Arts Teacher, Boston Arts Academy, Boston
Matthew Dugan, Science Teacher, Madison Park Technical Vocational High, Boston
2007 Awards for Excellence in Teaching Students with Asperger's Syndrome
The Watertown-based Asperger's Association of New England sponsors the Awards for Excellence in Teaching Students with Asperger's Syndrome. The Association's mission is to foster awareness, respect, acceptance and support of individuals with Asperger's Syndrome and their families. This year's recipients are:
Michelle Dextraze, 6th Grade Aide, Freeman-Centennial Middle School, Norfolk
Laurie DiBella, Teaching Assistant, Mitchell Elementary School, Needham
Midge Foley, Teacher, Early Learning Center, Jamaica Plain
Maura Forcier, Kindergarten Teacher, Heath School, Chestnut Hill
Patrice Glancy, Teacher, Jackson/Mann Elementary School, Allston
Amy Gordon, ASD Consultant, Marshfield Public Schools, Marshfield
Marissa Gumas, Math Teacher, Blake Middle School, Medfield
Barbara Newkirk, Resource Teacher, Lexington High School, Lexington
Jaclyn Quesnel, Guidance Counselor, Lura A. White School, Shirley
Arlene Shainker, Inclusion Specialist, Northborough/Southborough Public Schools, Northborough

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Governor Declares Today Fresh Air Fund Day

In honor of The Fresh Air Fund’s 132nd summer of serving children, Governor Deval Patrick has proclaimed today, March 20, “FRESH AIR FUND DAY” throughout the state of Massachusetts.
This summer, thousands of inner-city boys and girls will escape the hot, noisy streets of New York City to enjoy the simple pleasures of summertime fun in the country through free Fresh Air Fund experiences.
Families who participate in The Fund’s Friendly Town program open their hearts and homes to New York City children for two weeks or more in the summer.
“By sharing their homes with New York City children, our host families tell us that they gain a new appreciation for their own communities and form relationships that last a lifetime,” says Jenny Morgenthau, Executive Director of The Fresh Air Fund. “This year, we are looking for new host families in and around the Blackstone Valley area to celebrate our 132nd summer of giving youngsters a summertime break from the sometimes dangerous city streets.”
First-time Fresh Air visitors are 6-12 years old. Reinvited youngsters can participate in the Friendly Town program through age 18. Volunteers simply want to share what they have with city children and introduce them to the joys of suburban or country life. Families find hosting so rewarding that over 65% of all Fresh Air children are invited to visit host families year after year. Fresh Air hosts range from young families to grandparents, and there is no age-limit. All it takes is the willingness to open your heart and home to a New York City child.

The Fresh Air Fund, an independent, not-for-profit organization, has provided free summer vacations to more than 1.7 million inner-city children since 1877. For more information about becoming a Fresh Air volunteer, please call Elaine Melinski at 508-278-3652, or The Fresh Air Fund at 800-367-0003. Visit our Web site at

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Zula Patrol Coming to Theatres on Saturday, March 29

On Saturday, March 29 at 10 a.m. several Massachusetts theatres for one show on one day will show the The Zula Patrol: Animal Adventures in Space!. This adventure will take children ages 3 to 8 on an exciting and fun-filled animated ride through the universe - and teach them about metamorphosis and life cycles along the way. Five never-before-seen episodes from the acclaimed public television series will premiere in this in-theatre special event, which will include sing-a-longs that enhance children's participation and interest in exploring science, math and astronomy.
The Zula Patrol: Animal Adventures in Space! features five brand-new missions. Kids will follow the Zula Patrollers on their ecological adventures as they search for stolen frog eggs, help restore life in the canyon on Zula, solve the mystery of the missing honey, and tunnel through the dirt with their new worm boot camp comrades to save their little ecosystem. And along the way they will discover a little something about the importance of the plants and animals in our environment.
Tickets for this special one-time-only event are available at presenting theatre box offices and online at

For a complete list of presenting theatre locations and prices, please visit the Web site (theatres are subject to change).
This exclusive event will be presented in the following theatres:

* Blackstone Valley, Route 145 & 122A, in Millbury

* Lowell Showcase Cinemas, 32 Reiss Ave, in Lowell

* Randolph Showcase Cinemas, 73 Mazzeo Dr., in Randolph

* Revere Showcase Cinemas, 565 Squire Rd, in Revere

* Cape Cod Mall 12, 793 Iyannough Rd, in Hyannis

* Fenway 13, 201 Brookline Ave, in Boston

* Independence Mall 14, 101 Independence Mall Way, in Kingston

ABOUT ZULA PATROL: Featuring a group of animated aliens who travel the Galaxies, exploring and discovering all about science, math and astronomy, The Zula Patrol debuted on public television in fall 2005 to resoundingly positive reviews. The series, which also reinforces themes of tolerance and non-violence, has been heralded by The New York Times as Sesame Street in outer space. Season Three of the award-winning series is scheduled to premiere in summer 2008, treating young viewers to 26 new scientific adventures with their space traveling pals Bula, Zeeter, Multo, Gorga, Wizzy and Wigg. The show is produced by Zula USA, LLC and was created by Dr. Deborah Manchester. "'Metamorphosis' and 'habitats' may not be typical topics for a Saturday morning cartoon event but 'The Zula Patrol' engages kids to learn more about their universe in a fun and exciting way that both they and their parents will truly enjoy," said Dan Diamond, vice president of NCM Fathom. "NCM Fathom is excited to partner with Zula USA to bring this entertaining and educational event to big screens nationwide."

"The Zula Patrol" will premiere on DVD later this month when two titles - The Zula Patrol: Explore Space!" and The Zula Patrol: Explore Weather! - become available exclusively at Borders and www.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Meet Peter Cottontail in West Boylston on March 22

The Firefighters Association and the Wives Club have opted this year to invite the children to the fire station on Worcester Street to meet Peter Cottontail on March 22from 10 a.m. to noon in West Boylston to have their pictures taken with him instead of having their usual Easter Egg Hunt.
Along with the pictures there will be egg and spoon races, guess the amount of jelly beans in a jar, and toss the (plastic) egg into the fireman’s boot.
Refreshments such as popcorn, donuts and juice will be provided.

7 Ways to Make Summer Camp Affordable for Families

While it’s hard to put a price tag on their children’s learning and growth, parents certainly have their family budgets to think about when considering camp.
The good news is that there is a camp program to fit nearly every budget.
With a little research, parents can find ways they may not have thought of to make camp affordable. Not only can a parent look for camps within a certain price range, they may also reduce certain costs by asking some key questions. Here are seven ways to find the right camp at the right price.
Research camps according to cost. At the American Camp Association’s (ACA) family-dedicated Web site,, families can use the Find A Camp database to search for camps within their price range. Using the database, they can identify camps according to a number of variables, including cost. The database also allows parents to search by location, special needs, special activities, length of session, and age, and they can search multiple variables at one time. Fees to attend camp vary, and parents may be surprised to learn that among ACA-Accredited® camps, fees can be as low as less than $100 per week for some camps. If a parent is looking to estimate costs, it’s helpful to know that day camp fees in New England range from no fee to $500 per week, with a median weekly fee of $193. For resident camps in New England, fees range from no fee to more than $1,000 per week, with the median being $780 per week. Sliding fee scales are sometimes used.
Ask camps what financial assistance is available. Ninety percent of camps offer some sort of financial assistance to families, usually in the form of "camperships." Camperships can cover a portion or all of the camp enrollment fees. The camp may not offer this option up front, so parents do need to ask if assistance is available. Although camperships are usually awarded based on need, parents should not automatically assume that their income level doesn’t qualify — they should ask the question! For this kind of assistance, it’s important to keep in mind that it’s vital to apply early.
Check to see if the camp offers special discounts. Camps offer discounts for situations such as early registration, full-season enrollment, or multiple enrollments from one family. This is another case of making sure that families ask the question. Parents may find that they’re entitled to a reduced rate!
Be sure to find out the camp's refund policy. Refund policies vary greatly from camp to camp. Some will give a total refund prior to a certain date, while others will refund in the case of illness only. Other camps do not offer refunds, so parents should be certain of their chosen camp’s policy before they enroll their child and send money. Most camps will ask for a small nonrefundable deposit at the time of application, which may or may not go toward the cost of camp fees.
In planning a budget for camp, determine what's included in the enrollment fee. Day camps will typically include transportation as part of their fee. Resident camps may offer limited transportation, such as a van ride from a major local train station. Other fees to ask about are ones for special programs and trips, special equipment that is required, organization memberships, and amenities such as laundry service and the camp canteen.
Day camp can be tax-free. The Internal Revenue Service allows an income tax credit of dependent care expenses, which may apply to qualifying day camp expenses as well. The amount of the credit is based on adjusted gross income and applies only to federal taxes. Parents can visit the IRS's Web site for more information about the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit.
A Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account allows parents to be reimbursed on a pre-tax basis for child care or adult dependent care expenses that are necessary to allow parents to work, look for work, or attend school full time while they are caring for qualified dependents. In certain circumstances, day camp expenses, including transportation by a care provider, may be considered dependent care services.
See the FSA Feds Web site for more information.
With so many options to choose from, and with careful planning, a camp experience for virtually every child is possible, no matter what a family’s budget may be.
Contact Jane Rulon at 765.349.3317 or to interview an ACA spokesperson for more information on different types of camps and how to select a camp.

Check out the advertisers inside the March issue of Bay State Parent magazine in this month's camp guide at or visit

About ACA: The American Camp Association® (ACA) works to preserve, promote, and enhance the camp experience for children and adults. ACA-Accredited® camp programs ensure that children are provided with a diversity of educational and developmentally challenging learning opportunities. There are over 2,400 ACA-accredited camps that meet up to 300 health and safety standards. For more information, visit

Monday, March 17, 2008

Four Children Have Died From Influenza This Month

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health today confirmed the state’s fourth pediatric death associated with influenza. A 12 year-old girl from Webster in Worcester County died on March 16 from complications of influenza.
Health officials also confirmed that a 15-year old boy from Newton died March 14 from influenza-related pneumonia. Families in Newton were notified about the death late Friday afternoon via an e-mail message from school officials.
Health officials last week announced the state’s first confirmed pediatric death associated with flu involving a six year-old child from Suffolk County. The child, who died March 2, suffered from a number of health problems that likely contributed to complications from the flu. The second case, which was recently reported to the state's health department, involved a 14-year old child from Middlesex County who died on March 1. This child also had a number of health problems that likely contributed to complications from the flu.
Individuals with chronic health conditions are at high risk of bad outcomes from influenza, and children often bear a significant burden from influenza disease.
“This has been a very difficult flu season for the residents of Massachusetts,” said Dr. Alfred DeMaria, the Department of Public Health's Director of Communicable Disease Control. “While flu-related deaths of children are rare, tragically they do occur. These deaths are a reminder that flu is a serious illness that can result in severe consequences for children, particularly those with underlying medical problems.”
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, a federal panel that advises the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on vaccine issues, recently voted to expand the recommended ages for the annual influenza vaccination to include all children from six months through 18 years of age. The previous recommendation was to vaccinate children from six months through age 5.
This year’s flu shot was not the best match for some of the flu strains circulating this year, however, health officials say that problems with the vaccine this season should not prevent people from getting vaccinated against the flu in the future. The vaccine usually offers some protection, even if it is not 100 percent effective. The shot can also be helpful in preventing serious complications from the flu, particularly for people with high-risk medical conditions.
Flu activity in Massachusetts continues to drop from widespread to regional activity and appears to have peaked in our state the week of February 17.
However, reports of flu activity remain high and are expected to circulate into April in this part of the country.
Health officials are reminding Massachusetts residents that steps can be taken to reduce the spread of influenza, including:
* Getting vaccinated. If you want to prevent the flu, a flu shot is still the best protection against getting the illness. You can still get a flu shot, even though the influenza season seems to be winding down in Massachusetts. Although this year's influenza vaccine was not as effective as health officials hoped, immunization is the best protection against getting the flu. Next year's vaccine will protect against three new strains of flu based on this year's flu viruses.
* Staying at home when sick to avoid spreading illness to co-workers or friends.
* Practicing good “cough etiquette” or coughing into your elbow or a tissue and not into your hands.
* Frequent hand washing with soap and warm water. Alcohol-based hand sanitizer can also be used when water is not available.

For more information on influenza, or for a copy of the state's publication Flu: What you can do. Caring for people at home, visit, or call 617-983- 6800.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Leapin" Lizards! Annie Turns 30!

One of America’s most beloved musical, ANNIE, is back in a 30th anniversary tour, giving a whole new generation the chance to experience this classic musical about never giving up hope. The timeless tale of Little Orphan Annie returns to Boston’s Citi Performing Arts Center Wang Theatre for a one-week engagement, playing March 25 - 30
The original Broadway production of Annie won seven 1977 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Book and Score. It ran for 2,377 performances, and has subsequently been produced all over the world. The original production is one of the top 20 longest running shows in Broadway history, and Annie continues to be one of the most successful musicals ever.
Boasting one of Broadway’s most memorable scores, including “It’s the Hard-Knock Life,” “Easy Street,” “N.Y.C.” and the ever optimistic “Tomorrow,” you can bet your bottom dollar that this show will bring a smile to your face and the faces of your family.
ANNIE plays at the Citi Performing Arts Center Wang Theatre Tuesday, March 25 through Sunday, March 30. Performances are Tuesday through Saturday evening at 7:30 P.M.; Sunday at 7 P.M.M; with matinees Saturday at 2 P.M. and Sunday at 1 P.M.
Tickets are priced at $28-$72 --- all prices include a $3 facility-education-public programming fee per ticket.
Tickets for Annie are on sale at the Citi Performing Arts Center Box Office, online at, or by calling 800-447-7400. Discounted tickets are available for groups of 20 or more by calling Citi Performing Arts Center Group Sales at 617-532-1116.

PHOTO: Maybe” - Amanda Balon and Annalisa DiBernardo in the national tour of Annie, coming to the Citi Performing Arts Center Wang Theatre March 25-30. Photography by Phil Martin

Friday, March 14, 2008

Coco Key Resort reopens to public tomorrow

The following is a press release from one of the magazine's advertisers Coco Key Water Resort:

"Coco Key Water Resort at the Sheraton Ferncroft will re-open exclusively to hotel guests on Friday, March 14th and resume full-operations on Saturday, March 15 at 10 a.m.
After working closely with the local officials, we are pleased to have received their endorsement to re-open the water resort.
Our daily testing and monitoring will now be rigorous and frequent; a state-of-the-art UV system has also been acquired and new policies regarding age requirements are being instituted for the spa.
Lastly, we will be working diligently to educate our Guests and the public that showering before and after using the facilities will keep the resort environment safe and clean.
On behalf of the CoCo Key team we look forward to having you visit the resort and enjoy a piece of Key West here in Massachusetts! "

WEEKEND PICK: Celebrate the Irish & St. Patrick's Day at a Parade

Monday is St. Patrick's Day.

Celebrate a little earlier by attending one of the three parades on Sunday:

* Abington St. Patrick's Day Parade. 1 p.m.

For more information call 781-878-1570 or visit

* 13th Annual Parade. Gates Middle School, First Parish Rd., Scituate. 1 p.m. Parade proceeds down First Parish Rd. to Front St., Scituate Harbor. Then it turns right onto Jericho Rd., ending at the Town Pier. Scituate is nicknamed the Irish Riviera, since many Irish politicians like James Michael Curley and the Kennedys liked to vacation there in summer.

* 107th Annual St. Patrick's Day Parade. Begins at Broadway T-stop and ends at Andre Square, South Boston. 1 p.m. Colorful floats, music, and good cheer celebrate the city's Irish heritage in Boston's most Irish neighborhood jutting into Boston Harbor.

For more info, call 617-635-3911.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


Diego, the star of the live action theatre show Go Diego Go Live! The Great Jaguar Rescue will be in Braintree and Burlington tomorrow and Saturday.
Diego will be signing autographs, giving away cool stuff from his jungle adventures, and telling you all about his 5 performances at Boston's Opera House on April 5-6. Stop by, say hola, and don't forget your camera!

* Tomorrow, Friday, March 14 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. see Diego at the Borders store on Grossman Drive in Braintree.

* On Saturday, March 15 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. see Diego at the food court at the Burlington Mall. (Contact the mall for more information.)

Diego will also be making appearances next weekend around Massachusetts, too.
See him at:

* Borders on Route 114 in Peabody on Friday, March 21 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

* Cambridgeside Galleria from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 22

* New England Aquarium in Boston from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 22 (Admission to the Aquarium is required to see Diego.)
The Opera House is hosting the show Go Diego Go Live! The Great Jaguar Rescue on Saturday, April 5 at 11.a.m., 2 p.m., and 5 p.m. and Sunday, April 6 at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Tickets are still available by visiting or calling 617-931-2787

WEEKEND PICK: U2 in 3-D at the Aquarium

Celebrate St. Patrick's Day this weekend with, in my opinion, the greatest Irish band ever - U2.

Better than the front row, even better than backstage, this incredible IMAX film, at the New England Aquarium in Boston, puts viewers onstage with Bono and the rest of the band during U2’s Vertigo tour. The audience rocks out alongside U2 to all of the classic songs, including “Beautiful Day,” “Sunday, Bloody Sunday,” “Vertigo” and “With or Without You.”

Produced by National Geographic and filmed from a series of live concerts throughout South America, the film’s amazingly realistic 3D technology puts the audience face-to-face with the band as drum sticks, guitars and even the crowd appear close enough to touch.

Boston U2 fans are especially lucky: They can see the film on the same screen that The Edge watched it when he previewed the film - the New England Aquarium’s Simons IMAX Theatre.

"U2 3D” will not be released on DVD or shown on TV, so fans have a limited opportunity to relive the Vertigo tour.

Showtimes are:

Saturday, March 15 & Sunday, March 16 at 4:10, 6 , and 8 p.m., as well as Monday, St. Patrick's Day at 5:10 and 7:10 p.m.

Special pricing is in effect for this special presentation. To get tickets or for more information, visit

State's Health Department Bans Jewelry With Lead & Establishes New Regulations

Massachusetts Department of Health press release issued yesterday:
In an effort to protect children’s health, the Department of Public Health announced new regulations banning the manufacture, transport or sale of children’s jewelry containing dangerous levels of lead. Under the new regulation, the sale of children’s leaded jewelry would be banned in all venues in Massachusetts, including Internet and catalogue sales.
The regulations were approved at the monthly meeting of the Public Health Council the body that approves public health regulations in Massachusetts. The regulations will go into effect in June 2008 to give industry time to come into compliance and to allow for a 30-day comment period on a guidance document outlining laboratory testing methods and compliance requirements.
“Because high levels of lead in toy jewelry can present long-term health consequences for children, we think this new regulation will go a long to way to protect the health of children in the Commonwealth,” said Health Commissioner John Auerbach.
Over the past three years, the Department collected and tested jewelry samples from vending machines, children’s toy sections of retail stores, and jewelry counters in stores across the Commonwealth. Although the percent of children’s jewelry samples containing lead has decreased from samples collected in 2004, more than one in 10 samples collected in 2007 had sufficiently high lead levels that present serious health concerns to young children.
The Council expressed strong support for the regulations, which were first proposed last September. The Council approval comes following two public hearings that were held in Framingham and Boston in November 2007.
“Despite numerous voluntary recalls of these products issued by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission over the past few years, children’s jewelry sold in Massachusetts continues to have dangerous levels of lead,” said Suzanne Condon, Director, Bureau of Environmental Health.
The Lead Poisoning Prevention Program’s primary objective is to protect children from residential lead paint exposure through education, outreach and remediation of lead hazards.
Massachusetts law requires that every child be screened for lead at ages one, two and three and again at age four if they live in one of 14 communities determined to be a high-risk community for lead poisoning. The Massachusetts Lead Law bans toys, eating or drinking utensils with a coating of paint, enamel or glaze with a lead content of 600 ppm (parts per million) or greater, but the law does not apply to lead in metallic form.

The new regulations will define children’s leaded jewelry as:
* jewelry marketed to or intended for use by children under 14 years of age,
* jewelry that contains a concentration of lead that either is more than 600 ppm total lead content as determined by the U.S. screening test for total lead analysis or similar methods subject to the approval of DPH, or
* jewelry that would expose a child to greater than 15 ug (micrograms) of lead per day over a chronic exposure period.

The regulation will apply to:
* Children’s leaded jewelry manufactured, shipped or sold at retail or wholesale, indoors or outdoors, over the Internet or through catalogs. This includes, but is not limited to,
* jewelry sold in vending machines, toy stores or toy displays, toy departments or toy sections, or
* jewelry that may use images or otherwise be designed or packaged to be especially attractive to children.

Enforcement plan:
* Spot checks will be conducted across the state to ensure compliance.
* Violators will be subject to the penalties described in M.G.L. Chapter 94B: Hazardous Substances, including up to $5,000 fine or imprisonment and a product embargo.

Future plan:
Later this year, The Massachusetts Department of Public Health will explore developing additional regulations to protect children from lead found in other products besides jewelry.
Discussion groups will be held for both industry and advocacy groups to determine the products that pose the greatest public health threat to children.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

WEEKEND PICK: Plantapalooza at the New England Flower Show

This Friday, March 14, check out Plantapalooza: The Children's Festival & Educator's Night at the New England Spring Flower Show at the Bayside Expo Center in Boston.
The event features animal visitors, hands-on crafts, gardening activities, music, and storytelling. The show is open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Admission is $20 adults, $10 children ages 4-12. Children under age 4 are free. Parking is $12 per car. For additional information visit

Saturday, March 15: Diabetes EXPO

Don’t miss the American Diabetes Association’s Diabetes EXPO Saturday, March 15 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Seaport World Trade Center in Boston.
The Diabetes EXPO is everything you need to know about diabetes under one roof including exhibits featuring the latest products & services, questions answered by medical professionals, exciting lectures, cooking demonstrations, bilingual materials, speakers, FREE health screenings, entertainment and lots more!!
Admission is free.
For more information call 1-800-DIABETES or visit

FREE Baby Faire Tickets -- Just fill out a survey!

Bay State Parent magazine is giving away free sets of tickets to the American Baby Faire's Boston stop at Gillette Stadium on March 29-30.

The next 10 people who fill out the survey at will receive 2 FREE tickets, worth $20.

Don't forget stop by the Bay State Parent magazine booth & this year parking is FREE!!!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

St. Patrick's Day & Easter craft & Storytime in Millbury: March 14

The MOMS Club of Millbury/Sutton will be hosting an afternoon of seasonal stories and crafts at The Millbury Library, on Friday, March 14, from 2 to 5 p.m.
For more information about this event or the MOMS (Moms Offering Moms Support) Club, e-mail or visit

Coco Key Water Park Still Closed

Here is a press release issued by the water park this week:

Coco Key Water Resort will remain closed through Friday, March 14.
CoCo Key is using these few days for necessary annual maintenance and we expect to open shortly.
We're anxious to re-open and help you and your family have a splashin' good time in a slice of tropical paradise right here in New England.
Guests with existing water resort reservations may cancel for a full-refund or re-book for a new date and time.
To process your change or cancellation contact the following:- For Hotel Room please call: 978-777-2500 ext 6060

Thank you for your patience and we apologize for any inconvenience.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Support Group: Are You Raising a Child With a Challenging Emotional or Behavioral Issue?

The G.B. Wells Center is introducing a new support group for caregivers (parents, grandparents, foster parents, guardians) raising a child with emotional, behavioral or mental health issues. Meetings are free. Meetinsg are planned for Tuesdays from 7 to 8 p.m. in room 107 at the 29 Pine St site in Southbridge.
All parents, grandparents, foster parents, other relatives, guardians and caregivers are welcome.
The group provides:
* An opportunity to talk about frustrations and successes
* A group to help “trouble shoot” challenges
* A clinician to help with facilitation and answer questions
* Light refreshments
* Occasional guest speakers to discuss topics of interest
* If parents have specific questions or topics these can be explored.

For more information contact Elizabeth Swenson or the GB Wells Center at 508-765-9167

Friday, March 7, 2008

The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley!

I caught the opening night performance of this new show at the Colonial Theatre tonight. The 75-minute performance (no intermission) completely entertained the children in the audience, who laughed hysterically at the letter carrier and clapped their hands and tapped their feet to the musical numbers.
I wasn't as impressed with the costume design. (Don't expect Lion King type tricks -- you can tell Stanley is not flat -- but the children in the audience, ranging from age 3-10, didn't seem to care!)
Below are a few photos from tonight's performance.
If you child is a fan of the book, the stage production is worth the money!

Tickets are still available for tomorrow and Sunday's shows. There is a special 5 p.m. show tomorrow (Saturday) for Girl Scouts, too!

Broadway Across America-Boston presents the Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley at the Colonial Theatre on Saturday at 11 a.m., 2 and 5 p.m. and 11 a .m. and 2 p.m. shows on Sunday. Tickets are $15-$40 and can be purchased at the Colonial Theatre Box Office at 106 Bolyston Street, through and through Ticketmaster outlets.

GIRL SCOUTS: On Saturday March 8th at 5 p.m. Broadway Across America-Boston is hosting Massachusetts' Girl Scouts for a special performance of The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley. This night includes the chance to earn a Flat Stanley Girl Scout Badge, a night of theater with Girl Scouts from around the area, and a post show discussion with the Flat Stanely actors! Visit for more information. Girl Scouts will receive discounted tickets to the show -- $11.25 for balcony and $21.25 mezzanine seats.

Click here for the special badge requirements:

Easter Coloring Contest at Belkin Family Lookout Farm

Belkin Family Lookout Farm to Host
Easter Coloring Contest & Pictures with Easter Bunny

WHAT: The Easter Bunny will make a special stop at Belkin Family Lookout Farm on the day before Easter to judge a children’s coloring contest and pose for pictures.

Parents and kids can download the Easter coloring page from the Belkin Family Lookout Farm website at Entries must be dropped off at the Farm Market by Saturday, March 22nd. The winner will be chosen by the Easter bunny at 2 p.m. The winner will receive a free birthday party valued at $400! Second prize is 4 day passes to the farm.

WHEN: Saturday, March 22nd

WHERE: Belkin Family Lookout Farm
The Farm Market & Garden Center
89 Pleasant St., South Natick, MA 01760

Belkin Family Lookout Farm has been in operation since 1651, and is one of the oldest continuously working farms in the United States. Lookout Farm grows a variety of fruit and organic vegetables, creating the most nutritious and tasty produce possible. Joan and Steve Belkin purchased the 180-acre farm in 2005, and their family is dedicated to continuing 350 years of farm tradition for future generations

CONTEST: Win 2 Free Tickets to the American Baby Faire in Boston at Gillette Stadium on March 29-30

The first 20 people to fill out the survey at the link below will win 2 free tickets to the Boston stop of the American Baby Faire at Gillette Stadium on Saturday, March 29 and Sunday, March 30. Tickets are valued at $10 each. There is FREE parking at the event.

To enter visit:

Saturday morning, March 8:
5 winners already -- 15 more 2-pack of tickets still available!!!


Thursday, March 6, 2008

Touchstone Community School Names New Head of School

The Board of Trustees of Touchstone Community School, a progressive, independent preschool-through-middle school in Grafton, announced that it has hired Donald H. Grace to be its next head of school, beginning July 1. Grace will succeed Steven J. Danenberg, who plans to retire in June after three years as head.
Grace currently serves as head of school at The Park School of Buffalo in Snyder, NY, a Pre-K-through-12 progressive day school. He has a total of 35 years of experience in a variety of schools including leading the Hammonasset School in Madison, CT, the Glen Urquhart School in Beverly Farms, McLean School of Maryland in Potomac, MD, and Chapel Hill-Chauncy Hall School in Waltham.
Grace holds a B.A. from Harvard College, an M.A.T. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, a C.A.S. from Fairfield University and has undertaken graduate work in early childhood education at Wheelock College.
Susan E.W. Spencer, chair of Touchstone’s Board of Trustees, said in a recent letter to parents, “Don received universally positive feedback from all with whom he met at Touchstone, including parents, faculty, administrative staff, students, trustees, and members of the Search Committee. The Transition Committee and trustees found Don’s 25 years of experience leading progressive schools of various sizes, his work with Mel Levine and the All Kinds of Minds national institute, and his publications, including articles in Independent School Magazine, to be an ideal match for Touchstone.”
Grace and his wife Catherine O’Neill Grace, an author and editor, plan to relocate to the Grafton area during the summer. Among other titles, Ms. O’Neill-Grace has published two children’s books with Plimoth Plantation. Grace grew up in Athol, and is excited about returning to Central Massachusetts.

Touchstone Community School is a non-profit, progressive, independent school with a 26-year history of providing outstanding education for children ages 4 through 14, serving Grafton and surrounding communities. The school is committed to educating the whole child, weaving together the social, emotional, intellectual, physical, ethical and creative aspects of a child’s growth and development.

6-Year-Old Suffolk County Girl Dies of the Flu

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health today announced today the state’s first pediatric death associated with influenza.
The 6-year-old child was a resident of Suffolk County. Health officials did not release what community she resided in.
Health officials said the child, who died last weekend, suffered from a number of health problems that likely contributed to complications from the flu.
Individuals with chronic health conditions are at high risk of bad outcomes from influenza, and children often bear a significant burden from influenza disease.
“This is a tragic reminder of how serious the flu can be for some people,” said Dr. Susan Lett, Medical Director of DPH’s Immunization Program. “Fortunately, pediatric deaths resulting from influenza complications are rare in Massachusetts.”
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, a federal panel that advises the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on vaccine issues, recently voted to expand the recommended ages for the annual influenza vaccination to include all children from six months through 18 years of age. The previous recommendation was to vaccinate children from six months through five years of age.
Last week, flu activity in Massachusetts dropped from widespread to regional activity and appears to have peaked in our state the week of February 17. However, flu activity remains high and is expected to circulate into April in this part of the country.
“While this year’s flu shot was not the best match for some of the flu strains circulating this year, that should not prevent people from getting vaccinated against the flu,” Dr. Lett said. “The vaccine usually offers some protection, even if it is not 100 percent effective - preventing against complications, particularly for people with high risk medical conditions.”
Health officials are reminding Massachusetts residents that steps can be taken to reduce the spread of influenza, including;
*Getting vaccinated. If you haven’t received a flu vaccination this year it is not too late to get one -- particularly for people at high risk of complications from the flu, including children and the elderly.
*Staying at home when sick to avoid spreading illness to co-workers or friends.
* Practicing good “cough etiquette” or coughing into your elbow or a tissue and not into your hands.
* Frequent hand washing with soap and warm water. Alcohol-based hand sanitizer can also be used when water is not available.
For more information on influenza, or for a copy of the state's department of health's publication Flu: What you can do. Caring for people at home, visit, or call 617-983- 6800.

March 15: Casting Call for Local Furniture Company in Braintree

Bernie & Phyl’s Furniture will be holding an open casting call for children to audition to appear in a series of television commercials that will begin airing in April.
Children ages 12 and younger are invited to the Braintree store at 180 Wood Road on Saturday, March 15 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to be filmed singing the retailer’s trademark jingle: “Bernie and Phyl’s, quality, comfort and price, that’s nice!”
Filming will take place on a first-come, first serve basis.
Families who come with their child/children to audition will receive a $50 gift certificate for their participation.
10 children will be selected to appear in the first commercial.
“We’re looking to build on our new and highly successful advertising campaign that has featured everyday people singing our jingle,” said Bernie Rubin, co-founder of Bernie & Phyl’s Furniture. “It’s become part of the popular culture, and since kids know and love the song, this seemed like a fun way to extend the ad campaign.”
Bernie & Phyl’s plans to hold more auditions in the coming year and will announce dates as they become available. For more information about the Braintree or future auditions, visit

Based in Norton, Bernie & Phyl’s Furniture is the largest privately owned furniture retailer in Massachusetts. The family run business has five stores in New England: Braintree; Nashua, NH; Raynham; Saugus, and Westboro. Bernie & Phyl’s Furniture received the prestigious Better Business Bureau Local Torch Award for Excellence, in 2007 and 2004, which is given to companies that embody the highest ethical standards. In 2002, the company was named “Retailer of the Year” by the National Home Furnishings Association, which is the highest honor in the retail home furnishings industry. The company ranks 69 among the Top 100 furniture stores in the country according to Furniture/Today magazine.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The Middle School Mystery

Listen up, mommies and daddies! For years you’ve been perfecting this parenting thing, getting in the groove with cool stuff to do to entertain and hopefully enlighten your offspring. You’ve scoured the magazines and events calendars for ways to occupy their idle time, but not too much because of course you know that idle time is important to their developing creativity and self-sufficiency. You finally feel confident in your role as a wise and nurturing parent.

And then, Ka-Blam! Suddenly they’re adolescents and the rules change. On the positive side, you don’t have to go to any more Disney movies. But on the down side… well, what do you do when they’re too old for the children’s museum and too young to get a job? The middle school mystery has been looming ever larger in our family this year, particularly over school vacations. An eighth-grader and a fifth-grader just don’t want to do kids activities any more – especially the eighth-grader.

Early adolescence is a conundrum, perhaps best summed up in the title of Anthony Wolf’s classic guide to parenting teens, “Get Out of my Life, but First Could You Drive Me and Cheryl to the Mall?” Community recreation departments and cultural organizations have largely ceded this age group to the schools. But not every child wants to or has the opportunity to be in a club or on a team. Middle schoolers crave their peers’ companionship, but it’s hard to find space for them to connect with each other while still being connected, even if less intensely, with the adults in their lives.

So it’s time to sit back and enjoy exploring this new territory. The middle school years are a wonderful time to watch your children develop as individuals. Sometimes that means just letting them figure out for themselves what to do with their free time.

You still have several years before your kids give you the pink slip as parent-in-chief. But your job will change, and it might not be a bad time to start adapting your repertoire. Time to start taking the kids to PG-13 movies that you want to see; to invite kids into your activities and interests; to reclaim a bit of your own life! They might not want to come along, but that’s OK too: You don’t need to get a sitter anymore.

March 8: American Girl Fashion Show & Tea

The Freedom Trail Foundation is hosting its second annual and largest-in-the-country American Girl Fashion Show & Tea this Saturday, March 8 at the new Renaissance Waterfront Hotel, Boston.
Over 1,400 little girls and their adult guests will enjoy American Girl historical and contemporary fashions for girls and their dolls, party favors, and door prizes. Boston's First Lady Mrs. Angela Menino will serve as Honorary Chairperson of the event. Proceeds from the show will benefit the Freedom Trail Scholars program.
The Fashion Show & Tea features 60 Boston Ballet students who model historic and contemporary clothes while guests, and their dolls, enjoy an elegant tea.
Maya Ritter, film star from the movie Molly, An American Girl on the Home Front will be there all day to meet and pose for pictures with the girls.
Barnes & Noble will opened a “bookshop Boutique” offering a wide selection and the latest editions of American Girl books and accessories.
American Girl souvenirs and specialty items available only at fashion shows are on sale, also in the Boutique.
There is a gift for every girl at both of the two seatings for the show at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Reservations are required. There are limited tickets still available.
“These American Girl Fashion Shows are offered all over the country,” said Mimi La Camera, president of the Freedom Trail Foundation, “but the Freedom Trail Foundation’s show is the only one that offers an elegant tea and such a large shopping boutique. In cities where there is no American Girl Place, this is a great chance to have an American Girl experience close to home. The response has been fabulous, and we expect to be able to fund our innovative Freedom Trail Scholars education program for low performing schools where we ‘take the Revolution to school’ through in-school teaching performances of important historic events.”

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Mother & Son Library Tour

Jennifer and Colin White will be appearing at libraries throughout MetroWest in March. They will be reading from Coolhead Luke and Other Stories, a children’s book of humorous poetry illustrated by Colin when he was 10, and written by his mother, Jennifer. Colin is currently a seventh grader at Grafton Middle School.
Come meet the author and illustrator, hear and see some funny poems and illustrations and enjoy finding out how mom and son had the idea to publish a book together!
Autographed books will be available for purchase as well.
This event is ideal for children aged 7-12. There will be free gifts for all who attend!

The dates for the readings are as follows:
* Westborough Public Library: Saturday, March 8th at 10:30 a.m.
* Southborough Public Library: Saturday, March 15th at 11 a.m.

* Shrewsbury Public Library: Monday, March 17th at 2:30 p.m.

These library readings are made possible by grants awarded by the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Call 508-839-8838 for additional details.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Bay State Parent wins 16 National Awards!

Bay State Parent magazine won 16 awards at the national Parenting Publications of America (PPA) Conference this past weekend in Little Rock, Arkansas.
The magazine won more PPA awards than another parenting publication in Massachusetts, including a bronze award for best parenting publication in the medium circulation category.
The judges wrote: "This publication is full of nicely reported and written local stories full of local real people and experts. The design is consistent and organized, and it is easy to navigate through the publication."
I'm extremely proud that we took first and second place for best special section within a publication for our Think Pink Guide and our Dreams Do Come True 12th Annual Arts Guide, respectively.
And I was thrilled to hear what the judges had to say about the magazine's reporting: "The sheer volume of content in this magazine is impressive, but its writers and editors also take the time to make every page, story and listing exude authority and provide useful information. Monthly themes give each issue a personality all its own."
Thus far in 2008, the magazine has won 26 national and regional awards.
In fact, Bay State Parent has won more than 100 awards since changing our name to Bay State Parent from Today's Parent four years ago. We truly are Massachusetts' Premier Magazine for Families.

Below is a rundown of our 16 awards & what the judges had to say (I'd apologize for the length of this blog entry, but I'm NOT sorry we did so well.) I'm very proud to be editor of Bay State Parent and extremely proud of our entire staff and all the freelance writers & photographers of the work they do to produce a high-quality publication month in and month out!


* Original Cover Photo on Newsprint
Silver: October 2007 - photography by Patrick O'Connor, designed by creative director Paula Monette Ethier
"The photograph of the woman, obviously a cancer survivor, and the child fits the lead story perfectly. The smiles and the hug are endearing. The colors also fit the subject matter. This is tastefully executed."

* Original Interior Photography
Gold: “Timely Fashions,” August 2007 back-to-school fashion spread. Photographed by Nancy MacDonald and designed by Paula Monette Ethier
"This is a creative and unique way to illustrate a back to school fashion story. The images are fun, quirky and anachronistic. They are given tremendous display space both in size and quantity. "

* Best Special Section Within a Publication
Gold: "12th Annual Arts Guide, September 2007" Paula Monette Ethier
"A fabulous guide that is sure to attract more than just parents. The stories are interesting and entertaining. The guide has lovely photography and a classic design style. Surely it’s a must-read for every parent and child. "


* Cover Lines
Gold: Cover lines written by editor Susan Scully Petroni (Submitted issues: April & August 2007)
Judges: "There's so much to like about these covers, including the large number of well-written cover blurbs. The August cover has a line for "Goldilocks Parents," and the April line: "Shut up about your perfect kid" sealed the deal for this magazine to win first place. The publication doesn't take itself too seriously, and that allows the editors to have more freedom with humor."

*Calendar of Events
Silver: Calendar editor Carrie Wattu & editor Susan Scully Petroni (Submitted issues: April & October 2007)
Judges: "In addition to thorough listings, this calendar includes several useful side lists, such as editor's picks, free museum dates, weekly story hours, and events just for moms."

* Child Development & Parenting Issues Column
Gold: Pondering Parenting by Kerri Augusto (Submitted columns: January & April 2007)
Judges: "The writer uses and effective personal examples to instantly connect with readers, lures them in with her compassionate interpretations of behavior and then provides sound, authoritative advice."

* Family Fun Column
Gold: Day Trip Destination (Submitted columns: August & December 2007)
Carrie Wattu & Rose Cafasso
Judges: "This column offers honest, interesting and well-written assessments of unique venues in the Baystate area. Just reading about the writers' experiences is entertaining enough. Families that decide to follow through with their own visits know exactly what to expect."

* Humor Column
Silver: Pondering Parenting by Kerri Augusto (Submitted columns: July & October 2007)
"Is it possible to write with authority while at the same time tendering information in a humorous and interesting way? The answer is a definite "yes" when reading this author's columns, whose voice is simultaneously credible and whimsical."

* Profile
Silver: Meet The Real-Life Emily Elizabeth (September 2007)
Elizabeth C. Regan
Judges: "This article is a story within a story. Clifford, The Big Red Dog, is a favorite of many people, but very few people know the story behind the scenes. The writer does a good job of profiling the real-life Emily and demonstrating what it was like for her to live with a fictional character."

* Service Feature
Silver: Talking To Your Child About A Loved One’s Breast Cancer (October 2007)
Carrie Wattu
Judges: "Talking to children about illness, particularly when the illness is potentially life-threatening, requires all the communication skills a parent can muster. Wattu offers a wealth of information for building those skills and handling this difficult task. Clearly organized and comprehensive. "

* Special Series
Silver: Fitting In While Standing Out (September, October, & November 2007)
Dr. Robyn Silverman’s Parenting 1-2-3
Judges: "Timely and informative, these columns contain the ideal mix of fact and narrative."

* Special Series
Bronze: The Truth About Miscarriage (March & April 2007)
Marguerite Paolino
Judges: "Informative, yet entertaining. A strong voice throughout helps carry the reader through the piece."

* Special Section Within A Publication
Gold: Think Pink Guide (October 2007)
Susan Scully Petroni, Michelle Xiarhos Curran, Carrie Wattu, Jane Mackay, Jennifer Lefferts, Alyson Aiello, & Elizabeth C. Regan,
Judges: "This section presents an interesting and unusual approach to a parenting guide. A concentration of articles about breast cancer and its effect on not just the health victims but also on their children offers a refreshing change of pace from how to prevent Internet stalking. More importantly, the articles give concise and understanding advice on how to help children cope and understand the change in the family’s situation. "

* Special Section Within A Publication
Silver: Dream Do Come True 12th Annual Arts Guide (September 2007)
Susan Scully Petroni, Michelle Xiarhos Curran, Robin Burke, Carrie Wattu, Leslie Castillo, Sue Lovejoy & Elizabeth C. Regan
Judges: "What fun – a look at performing arts through the eyes of moms, dads and teens who want to have some fun and provide some entertainment. The articles are interesting and strike the right tone between information and entertainment."

* Overall Reporting
Bronze: (Submitted issues: March, September, & October 2007 )
Susan Scully Petroni, Alyson Aiello, Kerri Augusto, Amy Benoit, Robin Burke, Rosemary Cafasso, Lindsay Crone, Michelle Xiarhos Curran, Antoinette Donovan, Jon Grayzel, Marta Kowalczyk, Jennifer Lefferts, Sue Lovejoy, Jane Mackay, Maria Marien, Marguerite Paolino, Elizabeth C. Regan, Robyn Silverman, Donna White
Judges: "The sheer volume of content in this magazine is impressive, but its writers and editors also take the time to make every page, story and listing exude authority and provide useful information. Monthly themes give each issue a personality all its own."

* Overall General Excellence
Bronze: (Submitted issues: September, October, & November 2007)
Susan Scully Petroni, Alyson Aiello, Kerri Augusto, Amy Benoit, Robin Burke, Rosemary Cafasso, Lindsay Crone, Michelle Xiarhos Curran, Antoinette Donovan, Jon Grayzel, Kate M Jackson, Jennifer Lefferts, Sue Lovejoy, Jennifer Lucarelli, Sarah MacDonald, Jane Mackay, Marguerite Paolino, Elizabeth C. Regan, Donna Roberson, Robyn Silverman, & Donna White
Designers & Photographers: Paula Monette Ethier, Stephanie Renaud, Brittany Durgin, Jimmy Leblanc, Chrissa Marcos, Portrait Simple Studios, Patrick O’Connor, & Nancy MacDonald,
Judges: "This publication is full of nicely reported and written local stories full of local real people and experts. The design is consistent and organized, and it is easy to navigate through the publication. "

Parenting Publications of America (PPA) gave out more than 400 awards to 78 parenting publications in the United States, Canada, & Australia.
PPA's Editorial & Design Awards Competition recognizes excellence in journalism, photography, and design achieved by publishers, editors, writers, and designers at member publications. Professor Daryl Moen of the University of Missouri's School of Journalism coordinated the annual contest. A panel of judges reviewed 1,249 entries this year (up 5% from last year) to choose the winners in each category. All judges have had significant professional journalism experience.
"The strong increase in the number of entries reflects a publishing niche which continues to prosper," said Professor Moen. "Writing entries, ranging from feature writing to the columns, remains the core strength of the contest. In addition, much of the design is becoming more professional and sophisticated. For the magazines, editors and designers are doing a much better job matching the words to strong visuals and selling the content."