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Updated About Town: Coordinating Efforts

One group at a time.

Congratulations to the LABBB Collaborative High School students who graduate tonight. I'll have the full story -- and pictures -- in Monday's About Town.

LABBB is an acronymn for the collaborative efforts of Lexington, Arlington, Bedford, Belmont and Burlington.

Our children with special needs attend this award-winning school. My son graduated from LABBB years ago. It's a proud moment for parents -- and the students.

Posted at 5:45 a.m. this morning ...

Fred Johnson and Deb Jackson were talking last month.

They imagined gathering the heads of town committees, boards or groups and putting them around a table (or three very long tables).

Once there, what if they could tell each other when they were holding upcoming events – and maybe coordinate those dates to prevent overshadowing another musical event, festival, fair or party?

Like everyone else in town, Fred, president of the Lexington Symphony and a member of the Lexington Center Committee and Deb Jackson, executive director of Lexington Education Foundation, have lived in Lexington long enough to see what happens when things aren’t coordinated.

For example, weeks ago a classic car show, a soiree at the and another party on Emery Park were held simultaneously. It did bring people to each celebration, but it also distracted and detracted from each event. When all was said and done, one wondered if each attraction might have garnered more people if there was a little coordination. 

That’s why Fred and Deb invited representatives from every corner of Lexington to sit large meeting room yesterday.

Imagine going to the symphony without giving up a fundraiser for the Lexington Education Foundation or an art show the Library?

What an amazing idea! Getting about two dozen leaders around those tables yesterday was even more impressive.

Yes, Fred said the same attempt was made 10 years ago and never made it off the ground. Cyberspace is now familiar territory and the timing is perfect. This could work -- and very well, too.

Everyone was ready, willing and had upcoming dates for the oversized white and oh-so-empty paper calendars that covered two of the walls in the large meeting room.

The Board of Selectmen's Administrative Assistant Lynne Pease explained how to submit calendar listings to the town’s website.

Tourism Committee Chair Dawn McKenna said her committee checks the town calendar and links it to the tourism site.

Lexington Patch Editor Patrick Ball talked about the Patch calendar its editor. The site allows submissions for all events, and Patrick offered to email submission instructions to everyone after the meeting.

Jim Shaw from Colonial Times Magazine, an online and print publication, said he checks the town calendar too and would do whatever he could to help.

Coordinating various occasions is essential – and something we’d all appreciate.  

Maybe the town site, the local newspaper and magazine and Patch can help make that happen.

When I left Deb, pen in hand, she was scribbling dates on the calendar.  

Jerry Michelson from the Retailer's Association, Carol Ann Brockett from   the , Susan Rockwell from the society and the 300th Anniversary Celebration Committee and a host of other groups leaders helped her fill more than a few dates. 

Go ahead and list your event on the town website, but remember, Patch offers the calendar to everyone and creates links to schools, offices, committees and boards whether it’s in an article, a calendar listing or just part of a notice.

I’m sure Jim Shaw will do the same and I’m betting the local paper will, too.

In fact, why not submit it to all three valuable venues? You’re always going to have people who religiously check the town website. Some read Patch twice a day. There are others who wait for the Thursday paper – or go to its site.

Why not all three? Before I left, Deb said that after the calendars were filled she’d make a master and send it to the committees, boards, symphony and school representatives and anyone else holding a town event. 

What are your thoughts on this innovative idea? Will this prevent overlap and help plan your life better. Let us know your opinion in the comments.

Pat Costello June 16, 2011 at 01:20 PM
The Community Calendar on the Town website is the ideal because it has a larger range of time for planning than the local papers or Patch. Notice that the Symphony puts their whole season on the CC right at the beginning.

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