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Comforting toys, in-person theater, and a history lecture

Darius Noonan donated 40 stuffed dogs to the Stoneham Fire Department so they may be distributed to children firefighters encounter while responding to emergencies.
Darius Noonan donated 40 stuffed dogs to the Stoneham Fire Department so they may be distributed to children firefighters encounter while responding to emergencies.Stoneham Fire Department


The Stoneham Fire Department received a donation of 40 stuffed dogs from 9-year-old Wakefield resident Darius Noonan to distribute to children who have suffered from trauma. Trouble the Dog is a plush toy designed by Massachusetts artist Sheila Duncan in 2006 to help inspire children going through hardship. Darius’s gift was inspired by his own Trouble the Dog, which he received while he was in foster care before being adopted. “That was like his security blanket,” Darius’s father, Kevin Noonan, said in a statement. “Then one day we were just sitting around and he said ‘Mom and Dad, I want to be able to give other kids — if they’re having a bad day — one of these dogs.”


Essex Heritage presents Trails & Sails, a series of more than 150 events celebrating historic, cultural, and natural resources in Essex County. The 10-day series runs through Sunday, Sept. 26, with hikes, tours, lectures, and family-friendly activities. The full list of events is available at trailsandsails.org. “It is our mission to knit together the exceptional places of Essex County — the places that make this area like nowhere else — in a fun way that inspires residents and visitors to make connections between their lives and these places,” said Essex Heritage CEO Annie Harris.


The Umbrella Stage Company in Concord is preparing to resume in-person performances with “The Last Wide Open” by Audrey Cefaly. This production of the romantic play is directed by Nancy Curran Willis and will run Sept. 24 through Oct. 10. COVID-19 safety protocols for the performances will include limited capacity, enhanced cleaning, mandatory face masks, and mandatory proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test. Tickets start at $15 and are available at bit.ly/38W0Wze.

Open Table, a Concord and Maynard charity dedicated to fighting hunger, has announced the keynote speaker for its annual meeting. Katie Martin, executive director of the Foodshare Institute for Hunger Research & Solutions, will speak on Sept. 22 at 7 p.m. Martin’s career spans more than 25 years of anti-hunger work, including collaboration with food banks and pantries. The online meeting is open to the public, but requires advance registration at bit.ly/3DZ3hI5.



The first installment of the Weymouth History Lecture Series will take place Oct. 7 when author Mark Schneider gives a presentation on his book, “Colonial Weymouth: The Forgotten Second Settlement.” The talk begins at 7 p.m. in Room 138 on the main floor of the new Tufts Library at 46 Broad St. The series is sponsored by the Weymouth Historical Commission and the Weymouth Public Libraries. Registration is required at weymouth.assabetinteractive.com/calendar.

Diana Bravo can be reached at diana.bravo@globe.com.