Stow Independent... Online
March 28, 2012
The “Retiring” Laura Spear
By Ann Needle
Not everyone knows Stow resident Laura Spear personally— but many
around Stow have seen, heard, or benefited from the work of this
retiring Selectman. Of course, “retiring” takes on another meaning for
Spear, who will be stepping down from the Board of Selectman in May
after a three-year term. “I prefer to think of it as a sabbatical from
public office,” she smiled.
Before joining the Selectmen, Spear served on the Planning Board,
giving her a total of about 10 years as a town official. Looking back
at her years as a public persona, Spear spoke of how perhaps the most
memorable moment was voting in favor of the new Center construction her
first year on the job.
“Now we have three additional
capital projects the town needs to decide upon. That’s a big one the
town is facing” she sighed.
also stressed, “A vote of confidence is we have superb fiscal
management. We are the envy of our neighbors. The fact that out average
tax bill actually went down last year was unbelievable.”
Still, Spear lamented the current lack of volunteers around Stow,
reflected in this year’s scaled-down Springfest and open positions on
several town boards. It appears that Spear’s position will be filled in
what is shaping up to be a contested race for her seat.
Spear, in the meantime, appears to be making it as easy as possible for
her replacement. “I make it a habit to document the process before I
hand it over,” Spear noted of any position she has held. “It’s for them
to spin on and add their own best practices.”
Regardless of who follows Spear’s footsteps, she stressed, “It’s time
for others to step up. One of the reasons it’s time to take a
sabbatical – and that’s what it is – is it benefits the town, to bring
in new ideas and fresh opinions.”
Time for the Rotary
Spear will by no means be idle, turning her energies to the many other
activities she juggles along with her marketing business. The list of
Spear’s past and present roles includes Girl Scout troop leader;
producer of the Hale Middle School play; badge counselor for Boy Scout
Troop 1 Stow; officer and board member for the Nashoba Regional High
School Endowment Fund; and host to an international exchange student
for a school year.
Spear has been known to
combine roles almost effortlessly. She was once observed on a New
Hampshire lake dock, supervising her GS troop — laptop powered up, and
work getting checked off the to-do list.
In a classic understatement, Spear remarked, “I guess I have community service in my DNA.”
Spear called her latest venture, as a founding member of the Rotary
Club of Nashoba Valley, “A way for me to continue to live up to my
values of service.”
As the first service club to be founded in the
area in more than a decade, the Nashoba Valley branch of Rotary
International was started last year, but has already reached the
required number of members, Spear explained. That means the Club will
be granted its coveted charter from Rotary, which will be celebrated in
April, she said.
Founded to serve the Nashoba
school district area of Stow, Bolton, and Lancaster, the Nashoba Valley
Rotary also draws its members from such nearby towns as Concord,
Hudson, and Littleton said Spear.
For Spear, the
attraction of the Rotary is its focus on both local and international
community projects. But, as a fledgling chapter, Nashoba Valley Rotary
kept its projects local this first year, Spear added.
One of Nashoba Valley Rotary’s biggest alliances is with the Domestic
Violence Services Network, something that Spear pointed out is also a
devoted cause of Stow Police Chief Bill Bosworth. Spear explained that
those coming to the DVSN for help are discreetly matched with a
volunteer, who can direct these abused spouses to the assistance they
There also are smaller causes that come up
around the community. In typical small-world, Stow fashion, the group
recently collected supplies for Girl Scout Troop 72521’s Comfort and
Care Workshop (see the accompanying story).
meetings offer up a different speaker, usually from non-profits, that
bring a new perspective to members, Spear said. These speakers have
included Stow’s Cole Gibson, who talked about her mission trip to the
Dominican Republic with fellow high schoolers.
Potential members interested in attending a weekly breakfast meeting
can check the Club’s calendar at www.nashobarotary.org, or e-mail Bob
Johnson at email@example.com.
“There’s an image that this is an older-generation organization,” Spear
laughed. “But it’s interesting — people who meet us say this is such a
youthful and dynamic group.”
With many irons
still in the fire, it doesn’t appear that Spear will be retiring
too far from the public spotlight.