News Briefs

March 1, 2018
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CORRECTION

In the Feb. 22 edition of the Boston Sun, the story titled, “Rats Rule the Day: BBAC Allows Changes to Stem Rat Infestation in Back Alleyway” incorrectly stated that the application for 288 Commonwealth Ave., was approved entirely, but only the rooftop vents were approved and the extension of the pavers was denied by the Back Bay Architectural Commission.

STREET SWEEPING STARTS MARCH 1

The time has come to move the car.

Street Sweeping in the South End begins on March 1 for the year, meaning that one must pay attention to the signs or risk being towed. The City begins sweeping in the South End, North End and Beacon Hill every March 1. Other neighborhoods begin later in the spring.

WHISPERS OF A RACE FOR STATE REP SEAT

Talk has been heating up about a potential spirited race in the 9th Suffolk House seat, which is currently held by State Rep. Byron Rushing.

There have been no official names thrown in yet, but all signs point to what could be a very capable challenger mounting what could be a very competitive race for the seat.

Rep. Rushing has held the seat for many decades, and is now in the leadership of the House.

HUNTINGTON THEATRE USE RESTRICTION

The Boston City Council passed an order approving the City of Boston to accept the right to enforce a use restriction to ensure that the Huntington Theatre continues to be used as a theatre or similar cultural use for years to come, at the hearing on Wednesday, Feb. 28.

Councilor Kim Janey noted that it will protect the theatre for 100 years and add additional cultural space and a new accessible entrance to the theatre. The overall project will have 400 residential units along with retail and restaurant space.

The project will also include added cultural space and give donations to nearby parks and sidewalk improvements. The overall project, once built, will generate $2 million in property taxes for the city.

MASSPORT AIRPORT CAC UPDATE

The bill giving the South End a permanent seat on the Massport Community Advisory Council (CAC) has passed through the State House.

Rep. Aaron Michelwitz and his staff advise that the bill giving the South End a permanent seat on the Passport CAC move forward. It is now being considered by the State Senate.

The CAC is the body that advises Massport and the State on all matters related to Massport operations. With Senate passage and the Governor’s signature, the South End will have a formal permanent voice on Logan airport operations.

CLOSURES ON MASS AVE BRIDGE

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) has announced that it will close Massachusetts Avenue north and southbound in the vicinity of the bridge over Commonwealth Ave. from 7 a.m. on Saturday, March 10, to 7 p.m. on Sunday, March 11. The Commonwealth Avenue bypass under the bridge will also be closed to traffic.

The closure is necessary to allow crews to safely and effectively conduct preparation activities and remove asbestos material that is contained within the existing bridge structure and was not visible until construction began. This material is located within the structure and is only accessible while construction operations are ongoing. Appropriate containment measures that meet safety standards will be in place during the asbestos removal.

The approximately two-day closure in March also eliminates the need for daily closures between now and the full bridge replacement that is currently planned from 10 p.m. on Thursday, May 10, to 5 a.m. on Tuesday, May 15. Public meetings are planned in March and April, prior to the May four-day full bridge closure, and meeting notifications will be distributed to media outlets and the project email list.

SOME LOOKING FOR ALTERNATIVE TO 9-1-1

In what is often a frustration point for police and City service providers, many neighbors in the South End have arrived at the conclusion that there needs to be something besides 9-1-1 and 3-1-1 for reporting issues with homelessness and drug addiction.

“People in the South End are typically not going to call 9-1-1 for someone sitting on their stoop,” said Andy Brand at a recent meeting of the Opiate Working Group. “The conventional knowledge is the South End won’t call 9-1-1 unless someone is bleeding. The belief is that they won’t come otherwise.”

And to a person, that is the experience for almost all neighbors in the South End dealing with the effects of the opiate epidemic on their properties. More than a few Southenders, said Forum Moderator Steve Fox, have detailed their journeys with 9-1-1 and trying to get a response for people defecating on property, passed out on a stoop or any other such situation. He said more and more, the idea has become that the community wants to be able to call someone – most likely a Street Navigator – who will respond in real time.

While the 3-1-1 system is good for reporting City service issues, it doesn’t do much to get rid of a person passed out on one’s steps. Meanwhile, 9-1-1 seems to neighbors like overkill for something that isn’t life nor death.

“There just needs to be something more,” said Fox at a meeting as far back as December.

The issue is raised at nearly every Working Group.

Police representatives and City service providers implore residents, however, to call 9-1-1, even if it’s a low-priority item.

However, there seems to be an impasse on the matter, and it is likely that the Working Group will come up with a recommendation at some point to institute a quality-of-life hotline for such issues.

GARDEN PLOTS AVAILABLE AT TITUS SPARROW

Titus Sparrow Park has community gardens available to neighborhood residents. The 15 public garden plots are assigned on a space-available basis only to those without a plot in any other public community garden. Gardens must be kept clean and in good condition. The annual fee is $30, to be sent by May 1 to:  Friends of Titus Sparrow Park, 800 Boylston St, P.O. Box 990965, Boston, MA 02199.

Titus Sparrow Park garden coordinator is Angela Cirami (angela@ciramimail.com).

A garden plot showing no evidence of being worked by May 15 may be forfeited and allocated to the next gardener on the waiting list.

Pets are not allowed in the gardens.

Gardens must be cleaned for winter by Oct. 30.

IN SEARCH OF DOCENTS

The Emerald Necklace Conservancy is offering a free docent training program this spring for individuals who are interested in becoming Emerald Necklace Conservancy Docents.

Docents are volunteers trained to lead interpretive walking tours of the Back Bay Fens, Riverway, Olmsted Park and Jamaica Pond for the general public and special interest groups. Docents also assist with visitor programming and lead or host activities at the Shattuck Visitor Center or on site in the Emerald Necklace parks.

The program is free and open to the public. No experience necessary. Those interested in the parks, history, landscape design, the environment or horticulture and enjoy interacting with the public and walking outdoors are encouraged to apply.

The training program will be held at the Shattuck Visitor Center at 125 The Fenway in Boston. A series of evening classes, on April 2, 4, 9, 16, 23 and 25 will be taught by Conservancy staff and guest instructors and cover topics such as park history and design, the legacy of Frederick Law Olmsted and the ongoing work to restore and improve the parklands.

Applications are available online at www.emeraldnecklace.org.

WORKING SESSION ON SHORT TERM RENTALS

The Boston City Council will hold a second working session regarding an ordinance allowing short-term residential rentals in the City of Boston on Thursday, March 1, in the Piemonte Room, on the fifth floor of Boston City Hall at 1 p.m. Members of the public are invited to attend.

FAMILY GAME DAY AT KING’S CHAPEL

On Saturday, March 3rd, from 2 – 4 p.m. you are invited to a community event at King’s Chapel. We are hosting a family game day in our Parish House on 64 Beacon St. Families and neighbors are free to join us as we set out game boards, place our pieces, eat some snacks, and enjoy each other’s company.

Our game day is a chance for all of us to put our screens aside and reconnect with those closest to us, maybe even connect with a few new friends. Join us for food, games, and fun, and don’t forget to leave your screen behind!

WEAVE A SCARF AT DAHLIA GALLERY

Weave a scarf for a unique gift, or give the gift of this hands-on workshop to a special person in your life! In a four-hour session, Dahlia will guide you through making a gorgeous handwoven infinity scarf using colors and textures of your choosing. No previous experience required, and you’ll go home with a wearable finished piece at the end of the session.

Space is limited to six people per session, so reserve early for your preferred date.

The class is $95 per person, and includes all materials and equipment, and refreshments. Call the studio to reserve your space at 617-527-4456. Upcoming dates available: Saturdays in March, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

LOVE YOUR BLOCK REGISTRATION

The 2018 Love Your Block Spring Cleanup registration will open March 1 and end April 27.

Scheduled for May 5 beginning at 9 a.m. across the city, the Love Your Block mission is to provide opportunities for all Bostonians to become civically involved in their community. This gives Bostonians a chance to volunteer their time maintaining and improving the city one block at a time.

Visit boston.gov to register your neighborhood.

SOUTH END DATES

  • The Chester Square Area Neighborhood Association will meet next Wednesday, March 7, at Hampton House at 155 Northampton St.
  • The South End Forum will meet for its quarterly gathering on Tuesday, March 6, at 6 p.m. in the South End Library. Moderator Steve Fox said it’s a packed schedule, as usual.

FENWAY FUNCTIONS

  • English Conversation Café will take place at the Fenway Community Center at 1282 Boylston Street on Tuesday, Feb. 27, from 7 – 8:30 p.m. Open to all levels, this class offers casual conversations in English with native speakers. Light refreshments provided. Free.
  • The Fenway Family Coalition will hold Kid Zone on Saturday, March 3, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Fenway Community Center. Free, fun, and kid-friendly activities.

FENWAY COMMUNITY BENEFITS

In September of 2013 the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) Board, now the Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA), approved the Fenway Park Demonstration Project. This action resulted in the granting of easement rights on Yawkey Way to the Boston Red Sox for game days as well as air rights over Lansdowne Street to accommodate the Green Monster seats.

As part of the Fenway Park Demonstration Project, the Red Sox agreed to contribute $1 million over 10 years to be used towards beautification efforts in the Fenway neighborhood.

Up to $100,000 will be available in this year’s round of funding. Applications are due March 6, and can be found at bostonplans.org.

BACK BAY HAPPENINGS

  • Licensing and Building Use Committee for Neighborhood Association of the Back Bay (NABB), is meeting on Monday, March 5, at 7 p.m. at the Lenox Hotel.
  • The NABB Architecture meeting will take place Tuesday, March 6, at 6:30 p.m. 424 Beacon St. at the New England College of Optometry.
  • Join NABB members for a performance of “Into the Woods” at the Berklee Performance Center located at 136 Massachusetts Ave. on March 14 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $12 and can be purchased at nabbonline.com.

MASSPORT AIRPLANE NOISE COMPLAINT LINE

Residents who are being disturbed by airplane noise are encouraged to call the MassPort Noise Hotline 24 hours a day. The phone number is (617) 561-3333.

DEMOCRATIC CAUCUS

The Ward 5 Democratic Committee, which covers precincts in Beacon Hill, Back Bay, Fenway, Bay Village, Chinatown, the South End, and the West End, will be hosting its 2018 caucus to elect delegates to vote on statewide candidates at the June 2, Mass. Democratic Party convention in Worcester. The caucus will be held on Saturday, March 3, at 10 a.m. in the Guild Room of Old South Church (645 Boylston St., Boston). Doors will open at 9:30 a.m. All registered Democrats living in Ward 5 are eligible to participate, as is any Ward 5 resident interested in newly registering as a Democrat that day. Please e-mail ward5boston@gmail.com with any questions.

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