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    Brookline to vote on proposed tax hikes

    Brookline voters will decide on a pair of proposed property tax increases when they cast their ballots Tuesday in the annual Town Election.

    One would help pay for a high school expansion and the other would raise more money for the town and schools.

    Town officials have proposed a $205.6 million expansion and renovation of Brookline High School, the bulk of which would be funded by voters if they approve a Proposition 2½ debt exclusion on the ballot. A separate override proposal asks voters to increase the property tax levy by more than $6.6 million to support the school and town budgets.


    So what if the only bird you can recognize is a robin. Grab your binoculars (or borrow a pair) and join Mass Audubon’s annual Bird-a-thon fund-raiser this weekend.

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    Teams of birders of all abilities will fan out across Massachusetts from 6 p.m. Friday to 6 p.m. Saturday in a contest to identify the most species statewide over a 24-hour period.

    While more than two dozen teams traipse through fields, forests, and salt marshes in hopes of spying an unusual feathered visitor, backyard enthusiasts can get into the act as well. “Bird-a-thon Boosters” can fund-raise for their favorite team, bird non-competitively, or simply rally support.

    Last year’s participants raised more than $230,000 in support of Mass Audubon’s mission to connect people and nature. To learn more, go to

    Birds aren’t the only ones singing this time of year. More than 250 musical acts ranging from Bollywood funk to clawhammer banjo to American space rock will gather in Somerville for the annual PorchFest on Saturday. (Raindate is Sunday.)


    The music begins in West Somerville (noon to 2 p.m.), picks up in central Somerville between Willow Avenue and Central Street (2 to 4 p.m.), and wraps up in East Somerville (4 to 6 p.m.). There’s also Porch-ioke for amateur warblers who would like to sing with a live band. The event is free and open to the public. Visit

    And what about the fairies? Francis William Bird Park in Walpole invites families to collect leaves, bark, sticks and other natural materials to make “fairy houses” and magic wands. Park at 135 Polley Lane and head to the playground on Friday from 3 to 4:30 p.m. The price is $5 for member families, $10 for nonmember families. For more information, call 508-668-6136 or e-mail

    Leslie Anderson can be reached at