Independent Thoughts: Health director hopeful about safe Halloween

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Halloween has a few things going for it in terms of being a pandemic activity. Many trick-or-treaters already are wearing masks, and they’re outside.

The primary concern is contact with residents giving out treats. So Hopkinton health director Shaun McAuliffe is encouraging people to minimize contact — anything that brings people within a few feet of each other.

McAuliffe said he intends to “promote a standard Halloween with slight modifications.” Among the guidelines: Participating homes should illuminate their driveway, front porch or side porch. Candy should be placed on a porch or small table. Residents should remain inside, behind their storm door (at least 6 feet away). Children should only travel with nuclear family members, and families should stay distanced from each other. And of course everyone should wear face coverings, use sanitizer and thoroughly wash their hands when they return home.

“Obviously if you are sick, under quarantine or isolation, you should stay home and not participate,” McAuliffe added. “Inside, private parties are strongly discouraged.”

Hopkinton Community Partnership is hosting its trunk-or-treat event, called Dress Up and Drive Thru, at Faith Community Church on Oct. 24 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. The organization worked with McAuliffe to make some modifications so that the event is in compliance with the gathering orders.

According to organizer Heather Smith, as of Oct. 7 about 25 people had committed to participate by decorating their vehicle’s trunk. Attendees will drive through the assembled trunks in the church parking lot while a DJ plays Halloween music. At the end, children will receive a bag of candy. Admission is $20 per vehicle.

Check the Hopkinton Community Partnership Facebook page for more information, or email heathersmith09@verizon.net.

Last year’s event, held outside Marty’s, drew about 40 cars and 250 children and raised close to $3,000, Smith said.

Proceeds from this year’s event are targeted for Hopkinton schools. “We’ve been trying to raise money for the schools, supporting the teachers with any supplies they need,” Smith said.

The organization also is sponsoring a “Boo Bag” fundraiser, in which people order a goodie bag ($7 for one, $10 for two) to be delivered to someone’s house.

Meanwhile, the annual Wicked Run to $5K at the Hopkinton Center for the Arts will be virtual. Organizers added a live component with the addition of a scavenger hunt.

Hikers warned to be wary of hunters

Fall deer hunting season has started, and the Hopkinton Trails Club reminds hikers/walkers to be careful when in the woods.

Hikers should be aware of which areas are open for hunting and when (there is no hunting on Sundays), and avoid the prime hunting times of dawn and dusk. It’s also recommended to wear blaze orange clothing — at minimum a hat.

Trails Club member John Ritz called particular attention to the trails in the Town Forest/Cameron Woods off Winter Street, which are heavily used and open for hunting.

“Some of those trails continue into land owned by Russ Phipps, who graciously allows responsible access but is closing his trails during hunting season this year,” Ritz noted.

Bow and arrow season began Oct. 5 and runs through Nov. 28. Shotgun season is Nov. 30-Dec. 12, and muzzleloaders can be used Dec. 14-31.

Ritz said there is no official map listing hunting areas, although one is in the works, and “in most cases there will be signs” at the trails.

In the meantime, some information can be found at hopkintontrailsclub.com and mass.gov/hunting-regulations.

Veterans Breakfast makes return

The monthly Veterans Breakfast returned Oct. 2 with a gathering at the Town Common. The event, organized by Senior Center director Amy Beck, had been on hiatus during the pandemic.

Master of ceremonies Hank Allessio, who handles outreach and provides updates on fellow veterans — as well as military historical information and sports trivia — was recognized for his volunteer work. State Rep. Carolyn Dykema was among those who spoke.

In addition to bringing together local veterans to share stories and maintain their camaraderie, the event is a display of generosity, as often times someone steps up to cover the costs of the breakfast as a tribute to the veterans or in memory of a loved one or friend.

Wright honored by Mass. Realtors

Congratulations to Bill Wright, one of the broker/owners of RE/MAX Executive Realty, who recently was named winner of the 2020 Massachusetts Association of Realtors Good Neighbor Award. The Good Neighbor Award recognizes one Realtor in the state for his or her community activism.

Among his many charitable/volunteer endeavors, Wright was instrumental in founding the RE/MAX Executive Realty Charitable Foundation in 2009 and has been on the board since its inception. With a stated goal of improving the lives of people in need in the general area by providing financial or service-based assistance, the foundation has provided grants totaling over $200,000 to local families in need, including many in Hopkinton.

“I can’t think of any person more deserving of the Good Neighbor Award than Bill Wright,” said Massachusetts Association of Realtors CEO Theresa Hatton. “His service to his community and his passion to help others are unmatched, including his work with the RE/MAX Charitable Foundation raising over $200,000 on behalf of families in need.”

Said Wright: “I am honored and humbled to receive the Good Neighbor Award. This award represents not just my efforts, but the efforts of so many other amazing volunteers who have worked together to accomplish our vision of ‘Neighbors helping neighbors.’ ”

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