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Grafton News Transitions to New Ownership


The Grafton News, a fixture in the Grafton community for the last 53 years, recently transitioned to new ownership.

Founder Charles N. Bolack has sold his interest in the weekly newspaper and its website to editor and publisher Donald E. Clark, graphic designer Wendy L. Watkins and website developer Cynthia M. Bissell, all residents of Grafton.

Bolack will continue to write “Up and Down the Highways,” the weekly column he has penned since 1958 when the newspaper was founded. He will also continue to be listed as “publisher emeritus” in the newspaper’s masthead.

Clark was named editor of the Grafton News in 2003 and publisher in January 2011. He started with the newspaper in 2002. He has been involved in journalism, newspapers, publishing, and graphic design for many years. Clark holds an associate’s degree from Worcester Junior College and a bachelor of arts in English from Worcester State College (now University).

Watkins has been the newspaper’s graphic designer for the past four years. Born in Montreal, she has a degree in commercial art from Dawson College. She was formerly an art director for Phillips-Magnavox in Canada

Bissell started, the online version of the Grafton News, in 2009. A registered nurse, she began creating web sites professionally in 1998 and has received several awards and citations for her work on the development of specialized medical and disability-related Internet resources.

“Charlie started the Grafton News as a way to help foster the civic, cultural and economic life of the area, just as it says on our masthead,” said Clark. “Although we may explore new ways to do it, there’s no reason we should change that philosophy.”

View article as it appeared in The Grafton News


Flat Stanley

Flat Stanley

Flat Stanley was written in 1964 by Jeff Brown (illustrated by Tomi Ungerer). It is the first in a series of books about Stanley Lambchop who became flat after a bulletin board fell on him. He discovered that being flat could be fun. He could fit into a large envelope and travel easily (and cheaply) by mail!

In the mid-1990’s a 3rd grade teacher in Canada decided to use the Flat Stanley story as a teaching tool to facilitate letter-writing for his students. The students would make paper Flat Stanleys and then take Stanley with them and document the places they went in a journal. The students would then mail Stanley and the journal to others, who were asked to treat Stanley as a guest, add to his journal and then return him to the student.

The focus of the project was literacy, but students also learned about the different places that Stanley had visited. Many Stanley’s were returned with photos and interesting information about the places he visited. His travels could also be tracked on maps for a lesson in Geography.

This project soon caught on in many other schools across several different countries and now thousands of school children are doing Flat Stanley projects. Several variations on the original idea have also developed over the years. Some projects are quite elaborate, such as this excellent video showing Stanley’s adventures in Hollywood.

Stanley has also visited many exotic places and met many famous people in his travels. He is sort of like the traveling gnome, except the focus with Stanley is educational.

Flat Stanley Skydiving
Flat Stanley visits the President

This summer Eric’s class did a Flat Stanley project in which Stanley spent part of summer vacation with the students. The kids were asked to take photos of the places they visited with Stanley to share with the class. This turned out to be a fun project for the whole family.

Here are some of the places Eric took Stanley:

Stanley at the Nelson Park Ice Cream Social, Worcester, MA
Stanley at Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada
Stanley at WaterFire, Providence, RI
Stanley at the Concert on the Common, Grafton, MA
Stanley at the Kennedy Library and Museum, Boston, MA

More Photos of Eric and Stanley’s summer travels on Flickr: Flat Stanley Set

The students were also asked to make two Flat Stanleys to send to friends or relatives in other states, so that the students could learn about different states. Eric sent Stanley to Aunt Phyllis in Florida and to Aunt Joyce in New York.

The Official Flat Stanley’s Website