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THE INFORMER

Toys for Tots and stargazing

NORTH

The Chelmsford Police Department invites the community to fill one of its cruisers with gifts to benefit Toys for Tots, and provide kids in need with gifts of their own this holiday season. Residents are asked to contribute new, unwrapped toys for children ages infant to 16. This year, the department hopes to collect and donate at least 3,000 toys. Please drop off donated toys on Saturday, Dec 5, starting at 9 a.m. at the Walmart on 66 Parkhurst Road.

Santa Claus is coming to Merrimac to meet with residents and take a socially distanced picture, thanks to the town’s police and fire departments, Santa Committee, and the Merrimac Fire Couplings. On Dec. 6 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., participants are invited to drive to the Merrimac police station at 2 Jana Way, where they will wait in their vehicles until it is their turn to take a photo. Santa will be 6 feet away from children, in the background, to allow for social distancing. Participants will be given a flyer to direct them to a Flickr address for photo access. Residents can also drop off letters to Santa -- they will receive a response from the man himself! Anyone with questions about the event is encouraged to email Merrimac Police at police@merrimacpolice.org.

WEST

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Spend an evening stargazing at Gore Place in Waltham. During an hour-long program on Dec. 4 and 18 p.m. at 8 p.m., led by an astronomy educator, you’ll learn how to identify stars, planets and constellations, as well as the historical importance of astronomy in the early 19th century. The program is designed for adults and children ages 6 and up. Dress for the weather and for walking outdoors! For visitors using mobility devices, please note that there is movement across uneven, grassy terrain. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for children 6-17 years old. Advance online tickets are required. Visit goreplace.org for more information.

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The Old Schwamb Mill in Arlington invites you to visit its exhibit “She Did It: Women Saving History,” which chronicles how Patricia C. Fitzmaurice, a foresighted community leader and historic preservation advocate, rallied friends and funds to purchase the 19th-century mill. Her commitment saved the mill from demolition in 1970; today, 50 years later, the community enjoys the mill as a living history museum. “She Did It” will be on display through Dec. 5. The Mill is open Tuesdays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. A $5 donation is suggested upon entering.