News Briefs

June 28, 2018
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2018 BOSTON POPS FIREWORKS SPECTACULAR GUEST ARTISTS

Pop singer Rachel Platten will headline this year’s Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular concerts at the Hatch Shell on the Charles River Esplanade. The concert will also feature artists Rhiannon Giddens from the Carolina Chocolate Drops and Amy Ray and Emily Saliers of the Indigo Girls, a folk-rock group. 2018 marks the centennial of composer/conductor Leonard Bernstein’s birth, so to celebrate, Rita Moreno, who played Anita in the film adaptation of Bernstein and Sondheim’s Broadway hit West Side Story, will make a special appearance as well. The concert on July 3 is from 8-10:30 p.m., and the concert and fireworks on July 4 are from 8-11 p.m.

Road Closures for July 4

For Storrow Drive:

STARTING AT 7 A.M.:

-Access to Storrow Drive westbound from Leverett Circle to Kenmore Square (Bowker Overpass) will be closed to traffic.

-The Storrow Drive Exit Ramp in the Tip O’Neill Tunnel will be closed to all traffic except emergency vehicles.

-The Leverett Circle entrance to Storrow Drive West will also be closed. Traffic will be allowed to travel on Msgr. O’Brien Highway to Cambridge and Martha Way to Boston.

-The following Storrow Drive on and off ramp closures will remain in effect from July 3: Berkeley Street, Charlesgate Area (heading eastbound), Bowker Overpass from Park Drive and the Fenway, and Charles Street Circle (heading westbound).

STARTING AT 3 P.M.:

-There will be no access to Storrow Dr. westbound from Kenmore Square (Bowker Overpass).

-No access to Storrow Dr. Westbound from the Beacon St. on-ramp under the Bowker Overpass.

-Storrow Drive eastbound will be detoured at University Avenue.

For Beacon Street:

Starting at 4 p.m., the Mass. Ave. Bridge is closed in both directions to vehicular and pedestrian traffic from Beacon Street in Boston to Vassar Street in Cambridge. As in previous years, no fireworks viewing from the Mass. Ave. Bridge or the Longfellow Bridge will be allowed.

For a complete list of closures for the July 4th celebration, go to thebostonsun.com.

 

RUSHING SAYS LIBRARY FUNDING WILL BE RESOLVED

State Rep. Byron Rushing said at the WSANA meeting on Tuesday that the controversy over the lack of funding for the South End Library renovations in this year’s City Budget will all work out.

Speaking also as a Library Trustee, he said he is confident that the money will be there when the time comes.

“I think everyone needs to calm down on this one,” he said. “We’re going to have a meeting in a few weeks. It’s fine and it’s going to all work out. Everyone is going to be calm on this one by August.”

The controversy erupted earlier this month when the City’s budget didn’t include Phase 2 construction money for the South End branch – money that was critical to making public safety improvements there. It was to be combined with more than $50,000 raised privately by the Friends of the South End Library (FOSEL). However, at Budget time, only a $100,000 planning appropriation was asked for and granted.

Library Director David Leonard told the Sun that the capital budget can be re-opened within the next 12 months after the planning study is done.

Rushing seemed to indicate on Tuesday that Leonard was to be trusted on this one.

 

COUNCIL PASSES CITY BUDGET UNANIMOUSLY

The Fiscal Year 2019 (FY19) budget submitted by Mayor Martin Walsh was unanimously approved by the Boston City Council on Wednesday.

The $3.29 billion recommended budget represents an increase of $139 million, or 4.4 percent, over the FY18 budget, and follows 28 City Council hearings that helped identify opportunities for further targeted investments and capture additional cost-savings.

Mayor Walsh will sign the final budget once it reaches his desk.
In this final budget, funding for city services, such as streets, parks, public health and public safety will grow by $43 million from FY18, including $12 million in new data-driven investments, and funding for the Boston Public Schools (BPS) will grow by $51 million.
As part of Mayor Walsh’s budget, he proposed to further invest in key initiatives, including:
•Expanding Universal Pre-Kindergarten for over 80 new quality seats;

  • New funding to support the Elder Nutrition Program, to meet the demand in preventing malnutrition for seniors and backfill declining state and federal resources;
    •New city funded position at the Mayor’s Office for Immigrant Advancement to work on the frontlines of supporting new Bostonians, and effectively engage and serve immigrant residents and their families;
    •New mounted park ranger to better serve our city parks and complement the new ranger position, which is also part of the FY19 budget;
    •New funding for workplace sensitivity training that will support expanded training on racial and gender bias, sexual harassment and employee awareness.
    Additional investments included in the final budget for neighborhoods were:
    •Adding new public safety personnel and equipment, including police and 20 police cadets, EMTs and firefighters. In addition, $2 million has been allocated towards a phase-in of police body cameras, and investments in new fire engines, fire houses and new ambulances.
    •Making a permanent establishment of Boston’s Engagement Center, providing space for participants to connect with recovery support services and get connected with housing services offered by the City and partners.
    The final budget includes the adoption of a Boston Public Schools budget of $1.112 billion, representing a $3.5 million increase over the initial proposal of $1.109 billion, a $51 million increase over FY18, and marking the largest proposed BPS budget in the city’s history. The BPS budget was approved by the City Council in a 12-1 vote today.

 

SOUTH END DATES

  • On July 11, a major meeting for the Harrison/Albany Corridor traffic concerns/updates will be held at the AC Hotel in Ink Block from 6-8 p.m. The meeting is seen as a comprehensive look at the many concerns for traffic on the corridor.

 

BACK BAY HAPPENINGS

  • The Friends of the Public Garden are looking for champion volunteer weeders to help maintain the beautiful Boylston Street border and the Beacon Street border in the Public Garden. ‘You supply the enthusiasm, we supply the gloves, kneepads, and some brief instructions on weed identification!’ Volunteers meet up on alternating Thursdays, starting April 26, 5-7 p.m.

 

FENWAY TIMES

  • DCR Pedestrian Advisory: Through the month of May 2018, and into June 2018, the Department of Conversation and Recreation (DCR) will commence sidewalk improvement work along Park Drive (the residential side) in the City of Boston between approximately Peterborough Street and Brookline Avenue from 7–3 p.m. A detour route will be clearly marked and a police detail will be on site.
  • The Fenway Community is invited to a public meeting on July 19 from 6:00-8:00p.m. to hear from Boston Parks and Recreation, Boston Police, Recovery Services, and Healthcare for the Homeless about their effort in the Back Bay Fens and how the community can contribute to safety in the neighborhood parks. The meeting is sponsored by the Fenway Civic Association and the Fenway Garden Society and will be held at the Fenway Community Center.

 

FIOS COMING TO SOUTH END

Representatives from the City and from Verizon FIOS appeared at the South End Forum this month to announce they will begin fiberizing the neighborhood in order to offer FIOS internet, phone and cable to the South End.

The citywide effort began in 2016, and many neighborhoods like Dorchester already have FIOS wired and offered. Others, like the South End, are just now getting the work done.

Representatives said the plan is to begin offering services during the first part of 2019. They would continue building out the neighborhood through 2019. They said they would be working on the “backbone” first, on streets like Belvedere, East Newton, Shawmut, Harrison and Columbus. They would move section by section and use existing poles and alleys as much as possible.

Some digging might be necessary though. It was predicted the buildout would take 18 months.

 

CONCERTS AT TITUS SPARROW PARK

The Friends of Titus Sparrow Park have once again brought a slate of great summer concerts to the South End park. Below is the remaining lineup of concerts for the summer – including kids’ concerts in the mornings.

  • Weds. evenings at 6:30p.m. (unless noted):

July 11, Legends of Summer

July 18, Grupo Fantasia

July 25, Big Ol’ Dirty Bucket

August 1, Booty Vortex

August 8, Pan Neubean Steel

August 15, Gretchen and the Pickpockets

August 22, Slim Jim and the Mad Cows (6:15 p.m. start)

August 29, TBD (6 p.m. start)

  • Childrens’ Concerts, Tuesdays at 10 a.m. (rain location, unless noted, basement of Union United Methodist)

July 10, Little Groove (no rain location)

July 17, Matt Heaton

July 24, Karen K & the Jitterbugs

July 31, Vanessa Trien

August 7, Kira Helper

August 14, Wayne Potash (no rain location)

 

UNION PARK CONCERT JULY 8

Union Park Neighborhood Association (UPNA) summer Concerts in the Park (formerly Evenings in the Park) are back. UPNA will be kicking off the 2018 season with the first of three concerts on Sunday, July 8, 4-6 p.m.

Come join neighbors and friends in beautiful Union Park for an afternoon of music and fun with the sounds and vocals of the Carl Eisman Group.

Appetizers will be provided compliments of Kava Neo Taverna, followed by pizza compliments of Ameriprise Financial Services, and doughnuts compliments of Blackbird Doughnuts. The event sponsor is Hi ngham Savings Bank.

 

LIBRARY PARK BACK ON FOR CONSTRUCTION

After intensive lobbying, the Friends of the South End Library (FOSEL) are reporting that the reconstruction of Library Park is back on schedule to start mid- to late-July. Earlier this month, bids on the contract let by the Parks Department came in twice as high as anticipated (close to $200,000 instead of about $100,000), halting the much-anticipated reconfiguration and infrastructure overhaul of the long-neglected park. Thanks to the support from the Mayor’s Office and Parks Commissioner Chris Cook, the City’s Budget Office added the funds required to proceed.

 

YMCA OF GREATER BOSTON ADOPTS SAFETY AROUND WATER INITIATIVE

Massachusetts YMCAs have adopted a statewide safety around water initiative in an effort to reach at-risk children, according to a press release from the YMCA of Greater Boston.

The release states that the YMCAs in Massachusetts have used $400,000 of their 2018 Youth-at-Risk allocation to work with each other, the community, and statewide organizations to provide “education, training, employment, and swim instruction to the community’s most vulnerable populations.”

The YMCA hopes that the funding will allow more children to be reached and prevent more drownings, as water safety is a priority for the YMCA of Greater Boston, the release reads.

The World Health Organization says that drowning is the second leading cause of death in children ages 1-14 and one in five people who die nationally from drowning are under 14 years old, the release states. Other factors such as age, socioeconomic status, and lack of higher education contribute further, with the greatest impact being on ethnic minorities and rural populations, according to the release.

The National Autism Association said that children with Autism are 160 times more likely to suffer drowning fatalities than the general pediatric population. The YMCA of Greater Boston says they have well-trained staff who can provide swim instruction to 150 children with Autism.

WORCESTER SQUARE CONCERT SERIES

The Worcester Square Area Neighborhood Association (WSANA) announced its first concert of the season will be Thursday, June 28, in the park.

Other concerts will be July 19 and Aug. 16.

 

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