WENTWORTH PRESIDENT TO RETIRE
Zorica Pantic, Ph.D., the first woman to lead Wentworth Institute of Technology, has announced that she will retire next year after a highly productive era marked by historic transformations of the school’s campus and curriculum.
“Wentworth is an amazing institution that delivers a high-quality education and strong return on investment for our students, which are increasingly relevant in these changing times,” said Pantic. “I’m pleased with the outstanding leaps forward that the university has made over the past 13 years, and believe this is a good time to begin transitioning to new leadership.”
Pantic, who began her Wentworth presidency in 2005, will continue to lead the university until May 31, 2019. The university’s board of trustees has taken steps to begin a transition process that will ensure a smooth transition for the next president.
Major milestones during her tenure included investment of more than $300 million in facility renovations and expansions and Wentworth’s achievement of university status in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in July 2017, following the addition of graduate degree programs in architecture, civil engineering, construction management, facility management, technology management, and applied computer science.
Pantić also oversaw a period of tremendous growth at Wentworth, in both curriculum and the physical plant, including the addition of nine undergraduate programs, seven of which are in engineering, and the groundbreaking of a $55 million, multipurpose academic building for engineering, innovation, and sciences. Set to open in early 2019, it will be the first academic building on campus in more than 45 years.
MAN IN SCARF ROBS STORE
At about 11:04 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 13, officers from District D-4 (South End) responded to a radio call for an armed robbery at One Stop Convenience in the area of 664 Tremont St. Upon arrival, officers were advised that an unknown male with a plaid scarf over his face entered the store, showed a knife, and demanded money from the register. The suspect then grabbed an undisclosed amount of money from the register and fled on foot on West Newton Street, with the store clerk in pursuit. Additional responding officers received a suspect description and canvassed the area for a possible perpetrator. The officers’ attention was soon drawn to a person fitting that description calling out from behind a fence. Officers apprehended the male, and he was identified as the suspect who robbed the store. Officers also recovered a plaid scarf next to the suspect where he was handcuffed, $225 in US currency on the suspect’s person, and a knife along the suspect’s flight path. Officers arrested the 17-year-old juvenile from Roxbury and charged him with delinquent to wit; armed robbery and delinquent to wit; assault by means of a dangerous weapon (knife). Detectives are investigating the possibility that the suspect is responsible for several similar robberies in Cambridge.
SOUTH END CROSSWALK CHALLENGE
City Councilor Ed Flynn and his staff have asked for help from South Enders in compiling a list of every crosswalk where the paint has either deteriorated or been covered over with asphalt following road construction.
Given the amount of gas, water, and sewer-line construction and replacement in the South End, a lot of intersections have lost substantial amounts of painted lines that serve to signal drivers to yield to those in a crosswalk.
Flynn is asking South Enders to send specific locations throughout the neighborhood that need crosswalks repainted.
Send [email protected] and residents will compile a list for the entire South End and hand to the Councilor. While individuals can 311 every request, residents are hoping that a detailed list will get a crew to focus on all South End locations as one continuous work effort.
So have a look at every intersection you walk, bike, or stroll, and share you observation to enhance the pedestrian safety of all South Enders.
Members of the Opiate Working Group addressed a situation they said they hope doesn’t continue, and that is the promulgation of so-called “pop-up” safe injection facilities (SIFs).
Apparently at the end of January, the pro-SIF organization SIF Mass Now put together a pop-up SIF on the lawn of the Boston University Medical Center in the South End. Hoping to demonstrate what a working SIF would be, the group set up on the lawn and had one operating for a short time before taking it down.
With many in the South End adamantly against SIFs, as well as the fact they are illegal in the U.S., many in the Working Group wanted to make sure such things don’t become common.
Bob Minnocci of Worcester Square has been working with a smaller group from the Working Group to address the issue. He said they have been assured these pop-up SIFs will be shut down if discovered.
“Several of us have been assured by the City of Boston that if these pop ups continue, they will shut them down,” he said. “We wanted to be prepared if some radical group starts doing this in a pop-up form in the neighborhood to have safe injection sites…We have received word that the Boston Police will shut down anything like that if it does pop up.”
SOWA GETS GOOD RESPONSE FOR SUNDAY-ONLY
Residents of the Old Dover Neighborhood Association heard a request by the SoWa Market, GTI Properties, to remove the Saturday market that was instituted last year to augment the existing Sunday market.
Bradley St. Amand – who is also the new secretary of Old Dover – said GTI found that the Saturday market was successful in bringing people to the neighborhood, but it wasn’t hugely successful for vendors.
Some neighbors were also still unhappy with the additional market day due to traffic and the high volume of people.
St. Amand said they would focus on making the Sunday market truly excellent, and he also announced that they are now going to put the eating/drinking tables inside the Power Station. He said they hope to create a more fun “beer hall” atmosphere and also keep down the noise for neighbors.
Food trucks will have to remain outside, and St. Amand said they have begun working with a local distributor to coordinate the beer program.
CELL PHONE POLe RAISES ISSUES IN OLD DOVER
Residents of Old Dover Neighborhood Association held a spirited conversation with Verizon Wireless representatives on Tuesday night at their meeting concerning a new pole that is to be located on East Berkeley Street – a pole that will contain new wireless antennae and have a much wider base than a normal pole.
These so-called “Nodes” have popped up all over the Back Bay and South End in the last year, and the matter finally came to a head with the East Berkeley Street pole when it was at the South End Landmarks Commission.
To let the community know more – as most people in the neighborhoods are in the dark about the installation of the Nodes and the agreement between the companies and the City – Landmarks remanded it to the Old Dover for a discussion at its meeting.
One abutting neighbor said she raised the issue at Landmarks because it’s such a wide base and a very congested sidewalk and intersection. She said it has less than five feet clearance, and while the existing 4-foot, 6-inch clearance meets code, she felt it wasn’t enough for those who are disabled.
Others had a broader issue about the spreading of the Nodes in general.
Verizon representatives said in some cases they would share the poles with other carriers, but on this one and some others they wouldn’t.
Arthur Coe said he feared that other providers would come in asking for the same thing, and before anyone knew it, there would be hundreds of cell phone poles all over the street.
“I’m concerned we might a whole street full of these poles to accommodate every single provider,” he said.
Jeff Gates said he was worried that also might happen.
“Verizon is coming to talk about cell phone coverage, and it’s not accurate,” he said. “It’s about video transmission. That’s what they’re trying to solve. The City is making money on these things when they have contracts with each and every company. More and more will come and they’ll make more and more money and we’ll have all these boxes on the sidewalk.”
Old Dover agreed to draft a letter to Landmarks relaying the major concerns the neighborhood had with the pole.
Landmarks hasn’t yet approved the pole on East Berkeley, but it has approved many other similar poles across the South End recently.
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.
Boston Ward 5 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 9:30a.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 [email protected] with any questions.
SOUTH END DATES
- The Worcester Square Area Neighborhood Association will meet at 88 E. Newton St. building (second floor) on Tuesday, Feb. 27, at 7 p.m.
- The Ellis South End Neighborhood Association next board meeting will take place Feb. 27 at 6:30 p.m. at 66 Berkeley St. (use entrance on Chandler Street).
- English Conversation Café will take place at the Fenway Community Center at 1282 Boylston Street on Tuesday, Feb. 27 from 7 – 8:30p.m. Open to all levels, this class offers casual conversations in English with native speakers. Light refreshments provided. Free.
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 Landsowne 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
- The Neighborhood Association of the Back Bay (NABB) next Police Panel/ Public Safety Forum will take place on Feb. 22 from 6 – 7 p.m. in the floor sanctuary of The First Church in Boston, 66 Marlborough St.
- Join NABB members for a performance of Into the Woods at the Berklee Performance Center 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.