Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Heart Rate Recovery Predicts... What?

An entire health assessment industry evolved out of one scientific journal article published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine in October 1999. The title was “Heart-Rate Recovery Immediately after Exercise as a Predictor of Mortality.” It was submitted by five people from the renowned Cleveland Clinic Foundation, and since then its publication has been cited by 1,145 science journal articles, meaning that it attracted and continues to attract a lot of attention. What, exactly, did it report, and how was that interpreted within and outside the medical community?

The value for the recovery of heart rate was defined as the decrease in the heart rate from peak exercise to one minute after exercise stopped. Why one minute? Standard exercise tests such as a treadmill test are used to assess cardiovascular health by gradually increase exercise intensity to a level of vigorous exercise, and then drop to a near-resting state, i.e., slow walking. What the researchers did was record for 2,428 middle-aged people how much their heart rate dropped at the end of one minute, and then followed their health for an average of six years. An abnormal value for the recovery of heart rate was arbitrarily defined as a reduction of 12 or fewer beats per minute (bpm) from the heart rate peak; 26 percent had recovery of less than or equal to 12 bpm, but in the follow-up period, these people accounted for 56 percent of the deaths. Incrementally, above a recovery of 15 or more bpm there was no improvement in reducing risk of death for higher values. Lastly, people who were more physically fit were less likely to have an abnormally low bpm recovery.

Smart watches provide many functions, including
heart rate and heart rate recovery at one minute.
These results led to an explosive popularity of the heart rate monitor industry, first as a device strapped around one’s chest, but evolving to wrist devices such as Apple Watch and recently to the Oura Ring. The newer devices send data to your phone, pad or personal computer. The concept behind all this heart rate fascination is a leapt-to conclusion that being more physically fit reduces risk of death (true), and that fitness can be assessed by heart rate recovery (maybe). The real question may be whether – if faced with a low heart rate recovery – to start exercising more, or make sure your will is up to date?

Exercise is associated with increased sympathetic and decreased parasympathetic nervous system activity, two components of the autonomic nervous system. The period of recovery after vigorous exercise is characterized by a combination of sympathetic signals decreasing and parasympathetic reactivation. To other than researchers in exercise physiology, one minute of recovery feels like the time it takes for fast breathing to slow and the sense of acute fatigue to temper. Which feels like a fitness measure that makes sense. HOWEVER, a research article published in 2018 assessed heart rate recovery (HRR) at 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50 seconds in 40,727 middle-aged adults who had no history of cardiovascular disease. Subjects were followed for an average of six years. Only HRR at 10 seconds remained predictive of both all-cause and coronary artery disease mortality. This fast timing suggests that renormalization of the autonomic nervous system signals is a better predictor of heart health than the slower stuff we subjectively feel: the slower breathing and lessening fatigue, associated with recovering from oxygen dept and lactic acid build-up.   

So, back to question of whether exercise can improve heart rate recovery and reduce risk of death. The answer appears to be the former. One study looked at people who had had a heart attack. Exercise training improved HRR, and increases greater than 12 bpm had better cardiac survival. In another, for people in cardiac rehabilitation who started with a HRR averaging less than 12 bpm, 41 percent raised their HRR above 12 and had reduced risk of death compared to those who did not. This still begs the question of what is going on in people who take up exercise but do not have an improvement in heart rate recovery. Is autonomic nervous system senescence irreversible?

The term “heart rate variability” (HRV) comes up in this research arena. The autonomic nervous system, drives heart rate higher in times of physical or emotional stressors and lower when stress is over. A larger range is described as having a high HRV. Neurodegenerative diseases that present as mild cognitive impairment, progressing to dementia, may include damage to the neural networks controlling the autonomic nervous system, and by doing so, lower HRV. High HRV is associated with better cardiovascular health, and interestingly, with sleep health, which is also dependent on the autonomic nervous system. A common denominator here is that exercise improves cardiovascular health and sleep quality, and some evidence that exercise is of benefit to people with mild cognitive impairment or dementia. From all this, it is possible that aging of the autonomic nervous system is a driving force behind diseases of aging.

How much exercise is enough? The consensus is that a large fraction of total health benefits is reached with 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise. The exercise should be a mix or aerobic and muscle building. More will make one stronger and faster, but that is a sports performance benefit, not a health benefit.   

Mark says that during his peak bicycling years – more than 3,000 miles per year – he had handlebar devices measuring average and maximum speed, distance traveled and heart rate. In later years he took all that off, to spend more time looking around and less looking down.

 

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Writers on Writing - John McPhee

Five years ago, I submitted a column “Writers on Writing” which led with quotes from famous writers and closed with a bit of background on how I came to be a nonfiction writer. Two of the quotes: “We do not write because we want to; we write because we have to.” (Somerset Maugham) and “I'm not a very good writer, but I'm an excellent rewriter.” (James Michener)

And again: When I am asked "Why do you write?" I answer "It's a disease." I have heard the same answer for people in the restaurant or acting industries. These are professions rife with hardship, rejection and failure. The people who persevere are those who cannot imagine doing anything else.

Early on, I was also asked by an editor of this newspaper if my column should have a photo of me. I replied that my preference was “No.” And when asked why, I replied “Because it’s not about me.” That is perhaps half-true. Whether “I” appears in my columns (about once a year), what I choose to write about is directed by my curiosity, my knowledge and my skills. So, history – yes, nature – yes, science – yes, people – not so much. My style is my style: parenthetical asides, alliteration, long sentences and sentence fragments, high school reading level, etc. Thus, I am in my columns even when “I” is not.  

It helps tremendously to have as touchstones writers who have excelled in what John McPhee calls “Creative Nonfiction.” Writing nonfiction, I learned early, is a matter of bricks and mortar. The bricks are the facts and the mortar the story tying the facts together. The craft is in managing the right balance of the two. If you, reader, aspire to creative nonfiction, consider the books “The Nonfictionist's Guide: On Reading and Writing Creative Nonfiction” (2008) and “Writing Creative Nonfiction” (2001).

A dividing line – not an absolute requirement for being a creative nonfictionist – is whether the author is part of the story, meaning how much is “The…” and how much is “I…” Revisiting Annie Dillard, she is a LOT of “I.” Bill Bryson is a lot of “I.” Barry Lopez has some “I” is his writing, as does John McPhee. McPhee colors his work by incorporating his interactions with the people who live and work and play in the places he is writing about.

In contrast, as a biographer, Robert A. Caro, age 86, hews to a minimum of 1,000 words a day without an “I” ever being launched from his typewriter. It helps, I suppose, to choose to write about Lyndon B. Johnson after he was dead, as in no recounting interviews with the subject. Caro did, however, rent a house for three years in Texas Hill Country, where LBJ grew up and entered politics, the better to interview people who had known LBJ when he was young, and get a sense of Texas life. The first LBJ volume was published in 1982. That and the three published since then averaged more than 800 pages. As of late 2021 Caro was hundreds of pages into book five, now writing about President Johnson and the Vietnam War. He still hopes to visit Vietnam as part of his research. Writers who get too deep into researching their topics are said to be “Caro-esque.”

John McPhee (age 79 years)
Why McPhee in particular? Firstly, he is 90 years old and has been writing professionally for 70 years! Initially for Time magazine, then The New Yorker, from which his nonfiction has distilled into 32 books. Secondly, since 1974 he has been the Ferris Professor of Journalism at Princeton University (his alma mater), where every spring he teaches a course named “Creative Nonfiction” to a class limited to 16 students. His essays on teaching writing are gathered in a 2017 book “Draft No. 4: On the Writing Process.”  

One essay: “FRAME OF REFERENCE: To illuminate—or to irritate?” is worth revisiting now and then. In a piece of writing, its frame of reference are the things and people you choose to allude to in order to advance its comprehensibility. Write that someone has the frenetic energy of Tom Cruise doing his own stunts and you have leaned heavily on the readers’ awareness of the movie industry in general and Tom in particular [Cruise will be 60 in July. He does all his own stunts.] That’s fine, for now, but write that someone has the gravitas of Richard Burton and you likely lost readers on two counts: gravitas? Burton?? Only once in all my columns has an editor called me on vocabulary: “yclept.” My response was “Keep it – they can look it up.”

As for paragraph four: “touchstones.” Was context enough, or were you moved to look it up? I was familiar with its use as a metaphor, synonyms criterion, gauge or yardstick, but surprised to learn that the word also applies to an actual precious metals assaying tool.

A bit more on writers writing about writing: Supposedly, Ernest Hemingway said “The first draft of anything is s___.” And mythology has it that Hemingway, challenged to tell a story in six words, came back with "For sale: baby shoes, never worn." True or not, it has spawned an entire industry of six-word stories. One of my favorites: “Alzheimer’s: meeting new people every day.”

Mark mentioned that in addition to 12 years of toiling for the Beacon-Villager, from 1978-80 he had a weekly column for the Azalea City News (Mobile, AL), writing restaurant reviews, recipe columns and health articles.  

Monday, December 27, 2021

Riboflavin, aka Vitamin B2

About the most exciting thing one can say about riboflavin is that if your take too much of it, your urine will take on a bright yellow/orange tint. Other than that, riboflavin is present in a lot of foods, more so in animal-sourced than plant-sourced, and that in the United States, deficiency is rare. Circa 1941, analysis of wheat flour confirmed that the process of making white flour destroyed approximately 85 percent of riboflavin so in the United States a fortification program was begun that added riboflavin – and other B vitamins – to white flour. As of 2021, 56 countries require food fortification of wheat flour or corn flour. An additional 16 countries have a voluntary fortification program. For example, the government of India recommends 4.0 mg/kg for "maida" (white flour) and for "atta" (whole wheat) flour.

As to what riboflavin does, it is a precursor to the creation of two coenzymes. Enzymes are proteins – strings of amino acids coded for by DNA and manufactured by RNA. In humans, there are some 70-80 enzymes that need the riboflavin coenzymes to function. Riboflavin is recycled in these processes, so the dietary amount needed to replace what is lost to daily urine output is remarkably small – on the order of 1.5 milligrams per day. One chicken egg provides about 0.2 mg, a glass of milk about 0.4 mg. There are no known adverse effects from consuming large quantities because absorption has an upper limit, and what is absorbed in excess of needs is quickly excreted in urine.

No known health benefits can be attributed to consuming amounts in excess of what is needed to prevent deficiency. In many countries, a chemical compound is either naturally occurring in food or a drug, with strict regulations concerning the latter. However, in the United States, passage of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA) allowed for the existence of a middle category, dietary supplements, that could be manufactured and marketed as long as there is clear evidence that these products are safe and some scientific evidence in support of a purported health benefit.

Basically, in the U.S., this means that a company cannot sell a drug until the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves, but can sell a dietary supplement until the FDA or Federal Trade Commission says to stop.

The FDA restricts label health claims to specific wording referred to as a Structure:Function claim. S:F wording is limited to phrasing such as “Supports…” or “Promotes…” or “Helps…” One example from a riboflavin product label reads “Promotes Healthier Blood, Nervous System and Helps Boost Energy and Metabolism.” Is this manner, riboflavin is sold in doses as high at 400 mg despite the fact that deficiency is avoided by consuming 1.5 mg/day. Dietary supplement labels are also required to include a black-line outlined statement concerning the S:F claims: “These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.” Despite these restrictions, the supplement business in the United States exceeds $35 billion per year. The products range from the mundane (multi-vitamin/mineral complex) to the exotic (powdered deer antler velvet).

Riboflavin chemical structure, 
with the ribose portion in green
and the flacvin in yellow.
The name ‘riboflavin’ comes from being a ribose sugar attached to the part of the molecule which imparts the yellow color, “flavus” being Latin for yellow. The earliest reported identification, predating any concept of vitamins as essential nutrients, was in 1897. Alexander Wynter Blyth isolated a water-soluble component of cows' milk whey that fluoresced yellow-green when exposed to light.

In 1935, researchers reported that a yellow-fluorescing compound extracted from yeast restored normal growth when fed to rats. The compound was briefly referred to as "Vitamin G" before a consensus was reached for “riboflavin” and also “Vitamin B2.”  Richard Kuhn was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1938 for his work on riblflavin. A year later it was confirmed that riboflavin is essential for human health through a clinical trial in which women fed a diet low in riboflavin developed stomatitis and other signs of deficiency, all of which were reversed when treated with synthetic riboflavin. As confirmation, the symptoms returned when the supplements were stopped.

Mark’s day job, until he retired, was providing expert scientist advice to dietary supplement, sports nutrition and medical nutrition companies wanting to make health claims.

 

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Maynard’s Many Food Co-operatives

Assabet CO-OP has
reached its funding goal
Maynard’s various histories/futures name nine co-operative associations or societies. The oldest was Riverside, the newest Assabet Co-op Market. The longest duration and largest was the United Co-operative Society. A Department of Labor report for 1947 mentioned that United was one of the top ten co-ops in the country for membership and annual sales. More than half the households in Maynard were members.

The backstory of co-operatives began in 1844 when a group of 28 weavers in Rochdale, England, organized the Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers, “…and opened their first store, with a small stock of flour, oatmeal, butter and sugar.” They soon added tea, tobacco and candles. Their guidelines formed the basis for the principles on which co-operatives around the world continue to operate. The Rochdale Pioneers became highly successful, with 1,400 members by 1855 and 5,560 members by 1870, able to shop at many stores.

There had been earlier attempts to establish co-operatives that were basically buyer’s clubs, which by pooling their purchases were able to buy at wholesale prices and sell to members at below retail prices. The Rochdale Pioneers innovated by adding profit-sharing to members based on a percentage of the cost of the goods the members purchased, i.e., a patronage dividend. The seven Rochdale Principles: Open membership, Democratic control, Distribution of surplus money, Limited interest on capital, Political and religious neutrality, No buying on credit, and Promotion via education.

Here in Maynard, Riverside was started in 1875 by English and Scottish immigrants. Many of them may have been familiar with the co-operative movement in Great Britain. Riverside began as a chapter in an American movement, the “Order of the Sovereigns of Industry.” This was an urban workers organization modelled on the Grange – a farmers’ organization formally known as the “Order of Patrons of Husbandry.” ‘Sovereigns’ was in effect a buyers’ club. Nationally, the Sovereigns organization faltered under financial mismanagement, but in 1878 the local chapter reformed itself as the Riverside Co-Operative Association, incorporating Rochdale principles.

Shares were $5 each (equivalent to about $125 in today’s dollars), members limited to 60 shares. The total capital investment was $1,500. Per the by-laws, regardless of how many shares owned, each shareholder had one vote. The operation started in the basement of the Darling Block building, moved to the Riverside Block (later Gruber Bros Furniture), and then in 1882 built its own building at the southwest corner of Summer and Nason. The building was a four-story wooden edifice, with the store entrance on Nason Street. The other floors were rented out.

By 1909, Riverside had more than 600 member families. In addition to quality of goods and competitive prices, members were paid a yearly cash refund ranging from 2 to 10 percent based on how good a year the co-op was having. Additionally, shares earned five percent interest. A decline started with the recession of 1920, compounded by cost of repair after a fire, same year. In 1929 the store business was sold to the store manager while the co-op continued to own the building. A large fire in January 1936 led to dissolution of the Association and sale of the site to Knights of Columbus, which had been a long-time tenant. Proceeds were divided amongst the remaining shareholders.

Riverside CO-OP 1920. Courtesy Maynard Historical Society
Contributing factors to the end of Riverside were that the children of the founders were moving up the socio-economic ladder at same time as immigration from England and Scotland was declining. A front-page newspaper article from 1913 had noted that prior to 1900 the town was mostly English origin, but expansion of the mill under new ownership had doubled the town’s population by bringing in large numbers of immigrants from Finland, Poland, Lithuania and Italy.

Of the smaller and shorter-lived efforts, Suomalainen Osuuskauppa was started 1899 by Finnish immigrants. Capitalized at only $800, it lasted a year before dissolving and selling its store to a private owner. The Maynard Co-operative Milk Association was formed in 1914. Three years later it become the diary operations of Kaleva Co-operative Association. Finnish members of the milk co-op who had not wanted to affiliate with the socialist/communist/atheist Kaleva had previously split off and formed the First National Association in late 1915. It owned and operated out of a building on the west corner of Main and River Streets until its demise in 1941. The International Co-operative Association was started in 1911 by immigrants from Poland, and lasted 20 years. It began in a building near the Methodist Church, later moved to space in the Masonic Building (100 Main Street). Membership numbered 200 to 400 over the years. First National and International failed in part because of extending credit to members during the Great Depression. The Historical Society has a share certificate for the proposed Russian Co-operative Association, dated 1917. The group did not reach its capitalization goal, instead operating briefly as a store co-owned by six Russian men.

As for the largest and longest lasting - “Kaleva” refers to an ancient, mythological, Finnish ruler known from a 19th century work of epic poetry and story-telling compiled by folklorist researcher Elias Lonnrot. The work, “The Kalevala,” is regarded as the national epic of Finland, instrumental in fostering a sense of Finnish national identity that culminated in the Finnish declaration of independence from Russian rule in 1917. Locally, immigrants had formed the Finnish Workingmen’s Socialist Society in 1903, from whom the 187 founders of the co-operative were drawn.

According to a book, “The Finnish Imprint,” a delegation of Finnish immigrants had initially approached the Riverside Co-operative Association with the idea of becoming members. Because many of the recent immigrants did not speak English, they asked that the co-operative hire Finnish store clerks. This suggestion was rebuffed, with a reply that if they did not like the service they received, they should start their own store. They did. The business was initially capitalized at $1,600 from sale of 320 shares at $5 per share. The initial location was a rented storefront at 56 Main Street. By 1912 the co-operative had bought the entire two-story building, soon after added a bakery operation, a dairy with home delivery, and a restaurant on the second floor, serving meals to hundreds of workers living in neighboring boarding houses.

Maynard was not the only home to a Finnish-organized co-operative. Fitchburg has the Into Co-operative and Quincy the Turva Co-operative. In 1919, Maynard and these and others merged to create the United Co-operative Society of New England. This was short-lived due to financial and political disagreements, the end result being that Maynard’s Kaleva group reorganized as the United Co-operative Society of Maynard.

United CO-OP fuel oil tanks
United’s by-laws had added an eighth principle to the previously describe Rochdale seven – Continuous expansion. Over the initial 50 years membership grew from 184 to 2,960 members as coal and firewood (1924), fuel oil (1933) and ice (1934) delivery were added. In addition to the Main Street store, a branch store was opened on the northeast corner of Waltham and Powdermill Roads (1926), superseded by moving the branch store operations to a new building at the northwest corner of the same intersection (1936). This remained active until it was sold to Murphy and Snyder printers in 1957. Next door, now the Seven-Eleven/Dunkin store, was an automobile gas and service station (1934). A credit union was added in 1948.

A report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor at that time stated that the United Co-operative Society of Maynard was one of the ten largest in the country, calculated either by number of members or annual sales, and was also one of the ten oldest. More than half the households in Maynard belonged to United. At its peak, the co-operative had more than 50 full-time employees, with medical benefits and life insurance – unusual for that era. 

United survived the competition from an A&P supermarket operating on Nason Street (in the building now housing The Outdoor Store), but the presence of Victory Supermarket on Powder Mill Road, combined with the freedom to shop elsewhere provided by increasing car ownership, put pressure on the co-operative. In June 1973 that was a near-unanimous vote to dissolve. United's By-laws had an interesting clause: On the occasion of dissolution, the assets would be used to pay the purchase value of the outstanding shares. Any surplus would go to the Co-operative League of the United States rather than to members.

And now, there is an effort underway to launch Assabet Co-op Market: “Our mission is to support the regional food system; strengthen the local economy; promote the well-being of our members, our community, and the environment; and be a center of community activity.”

The planned location of the Assabet CO-OP Market, Maynard, MA
The beginnings date to February 2012, when a small group of people met to discuss forming a co-op. The cost of membership was set at $200. To date, more than 1,700 people have joined. The co-op has achieved its capitalization goal of $2,000,000 in the form of interest-paying owner investment, which in combination with traditional bank financing will be sufficient to lease space at Victory Plaza, 86 Powder Mill Road, Maynard, and then convert it into a store with approximately 6,000-square-feet of retail space (with free parking).  Once launched, Assabet Co-op Market intends to make a point of sourcing food from local farms. And if all goes as planned, Maynard will once again be a co-operative town, 145 years after the start of the first.

On December 14, at 7:00 p.m., the Maynard Public Library will present a Zoomed talk titled: “Maynard’s Many Co-operatives.” Register at https://www.maynardpubliclibrary.org/may150.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Maynard's Bridges Revisited

Florida Road bridge closed for replacement construction on December 13, 2021.

The Maynard Historical Society had in its collection a photograph of a wooden bridge across the Assabet River at Florida Road. The road was barely more than a cart path, and the caption with the photograph mentioned that wooden bridges at that site were repeatedly washed away by floods. A decision was made in 1914 to construct a rebar-reinforced concrete bridge, the first of its type in Maynard. The Town approved a budget of $6,500. The bridge was completed in 1915 for $6,011.  It is state bridge #M-10-006.

Even taking into account dollar inflation, that was a remarkable reasonable price. The current project to replace that bridge is budgeted at $3,362,437. Time-to-completion is estimated at two years, during which time the road will be closed to through traffic. As to why the bridge needs to be replaced, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) has deemed it “Structurally Deficient” for years. Rebar-reinforced concrete was an extremely popular bridge construction material at the beginnings of the twentieth century. Concrete bridges have an expected safe lifespan of 50-70 years, depending on traffic burden and exposure to the elements (weather and road salt). This bridge is 106 years old. At the time the Florida Road bridge was constructed, there was no expectation for truck traffic, as immediately south, the road passed through a narrow, one-lane-wide underpass under the railroad. Hence, the bridge’s narrow lanes and poor sightlines were not considered unsafe, as bridge traffic speeds were expected to be slow and limited to horse-drawn vehicles and the automobiles of that era, but now make the bridge tagged as Functionally Obsolete in addition to Structurally Deficient.

Crumbling concrete an exposed rebar at base
of the 106-year-old Florida Road bridge
Florida Road is not the only bridge in the United States that is overdue for replacement. From a 2017 report, the U.S. has more then 600,000 bridges, of which 40 percent were more than 50 years old and 9.1 percent were Structurally Deficient (improved to 7.5 percent as of 2021). The estimated cost of remedying the nation’s backlog of bridge rehabilitation exceeds $100 billion.   

The MassDOT project to replace bridge #M-10-006 began in 2017 with a notice to proceed, traffic counts and confirmation of the state of deterioration. In places above and below the road surface, concrete had broken away, exposing steel rebar, which was rusting. Surveying was conducted in 2018. A preliminary design was presented to the town in February 2020. The existing bridge has 9-foot lanes, low curbs and 5.5-foot wide sidewalks; full width 30 feet. The new bridge will have a full width of 41 feet to accommodate 10-foot lanes, 4-foot paved shoulders to serve as bicycles lanes and 5.5-foot wide sidewalks. Much like the Waltham bridge replacement, this will be a concrete deck resting on steel beams. The additional width will all be on the downstream side. A recent walk through the site saw that about 40 trees on both sides marked for removal, some exceeding a foot in diameter, one-third of all the trees appearing to be dead.   

Sewer pipe under the existing Florida Road bridge (Click to enlarge)
One question of interest only to a few adventuresome people is the extent of vertical space under the bridge. With just the right river depth, it has been possible in the past to put kayaks and canoes into the river just downstream of the Ben Smith Dam, to pass through Maynard, crossing under six bridges. One of the proposal diagrams shows a 9-foot clearance between normal low water and the bottom of the steel beams. However, the diagram also shows water and sewer pipes suspended below the bridge, same as those exist at present. Successful passage would require water levels deep enough to float a boat, yet not so high as to make those pipes into head bangers.      

Foot-depth markers on wall
below John's Cleaners
Are any other of Maynard’s bridges deemed Structurally Deficient? Three reinforced concrete bridges date to 1922: Route 117/Great Road (also known as the Ben Smith bridge), Main Street and Walnut Street. These spans over the Assabet River were originally bridged in 1816, 1849 and 1865, respectively. The original bridge at Route 117 appears to have been a two-arch stone and mortar bridge that stood until the 1922 replacement. Main and Walnut were replaced by steel bridges in 1872 and then concrete fifty years later. Of the three bridges that are nearing their 100th anniversary, the Main Street bridge is officially Structurally Deficient, marking it as Maynard’s next bridge project. The other two still pass annual inspections. Maynard’s six other bridges range in age from 4 years (Rail Trail) to 84 years (Mill Street).    

Mark painted the foot-depth markers on the riverwall below John’s Cleaners.