State House visitors may now send messages to the people of South Africa through a condolence book for Nelson Mandela set up outside the House chamber.
Legislative leaders and Gov. Deval Patrick, working with Rep. Byron Rushing and South Africa Partners, are hosting the book, which will be available for signing through Friday and presented at a later date to the Nelson Mandela Foundation in South Africa.
An entry signed by House Majority Whip Byron Rushing expresses gratitude to Mandela, “the African National Congress and to all the South Africans who struggled for liberation during Mandela’s lifetime.”
State House visitors from Ireland and various parts of the state have already signed the book. “Our world has been forever changed because of you, President Mandela. Our deepest condolences and greatest thanks. God bless!” says an entry signed by Rep. Alan Silvia (D-Fall River) and staff.
– M. Norton, M. Deehan/SHNS
In a Globe story Saturday, Peter Schworm reported that Mandela stressed the importance of education, saying he was “deeply concerned” so many students were dropping out of school.
“This is a very disturbing situation, because the youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow,” he told the students. He urged students to “try as much as possible to remain in school.”
“Because education is the most powerful weapon which we can use,” he said to cheers.
(Image courtesy MassDOT)
Representatives from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation will be in Mattapan Monday to share with residents their plan to replace the Morton Street Bridge.
A public meeting has been set for Monday, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., at Economy Plumbing, located at 875 Morton St.
The aging bridge, located at approximately 872 Morton St., allows traffic to pass over the Fairmount Commuter Rail tracks. The replacement bridge is expected to be smaller, but will not impact the number of travel lanes.
The $7.67-million project, part of the Commonwealth’s Accelerated Bridge Program, is expected to get fully underway by the spring of 2014.
Plans call for the construction of a replacement bridge adjacent to the existing bridge. Once the new bridge has been constructed, the existing bridge will be demolished and the new bridge will be slid into place.
The procedure will allow the DOT to cut down on the amount of time the bridge and roadway will be closed, which is expected to be 10-days. This technique has also been used in Dorchester and Hyde Park.
Monday’s meeting, which will address road closures and detours, will also give residents a chance to meet the project’s contractor, the Acton-based MIG Corporation Inc.
The project has faced a number of delays since it was first brought to the community. Plans originally called for the completion of the project by June 2012, but do to the demolition of the adjacent police station building and other delays, the project was pushed back and is expected to be completed by the summer of 2014.
(Patrick D. Rosso/Boston.com/2011)
The holiday season will officially kick-off in Mattapan Friday as the neighborhood lights up its tree.
The annual event, sponsored in part by the Mattapan Square Main Streets, will include a number of fun activities for children of all ages, in addition to refreshments and a visit by Mayor Thomas M. Menino and his famed Trolley Tour.
Friday’s festivities will run from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in Mattapan Square. For more information, click here.
For a look at a past tree lighting in the neighborhood, click here.
After more than two months of work, members of a Blue Hill Avenue/Cummins Highway advisory group are preparing to share their vision for the neighborhood with the broader community.
A community meeting has been set for Thursday, from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., at the Mattapan Library, located at 1350 Blue Hill Ave.
The 14 members of the mayor appointed advisory group, which formed this fall, have been tasked, along with the Boston Redevelopment Authority, with developing a long-term strategy for the area surrounding the yet to be completed Blue Hill Avenue Fairmount Commuter Rail station.FULL ENTRY
This ain't your average Frosty.
Freaky the Snowman, or a guy named Brian in a snowman costume, took to the streets of our fair metropolis to film the latest installment of "The Scary Snowman" Youtube video series and terrorize the city's pedestrians.
The clip captures a lot of flustered jumping, several gaping mouths, and a few double takes, as well as some very entertained police officers. All in a day's work.
Not surprisingly, the snowman targeted ice cream franchise JP Licks' Cambridge store as one of the locations of its chilling prank.
The concept behind the Internet sensation is simple: Freaky, né Brian, stands still next to a storefront, assuming the part of large holiday decoration. With the help of the Scary Snowman crew, he targets unsuspecting passersby and moves to startle them. They react. And repeat.
It's a formula for comedic gold but not a perfect science. Jay Lichtenberger, one of the Scary Snowman guys who's not in the suit, said in a Facebook post that oftentimes the crew misses out on a great reaction because they fail to get permission or attract too much attention.
"We average about 10 to 15 great reactions an hour with a lot of not so great reactions in between," Lichtenberger wrote.
Since it launched four days ago, the Boston-based video has received more than 1.5 million views and nods from media organizations like Yahoo! News.
Note: This video features language that may not be appropriate for all audiences.
(Patrick D. Rosso/Boston.com/2013)
Business is picking up in Mattapan’s Morton Street Village after a number of new shops opened up on the corner of Morton and Corbet streets.
The corner building, which was recently purchased by Christ Stamatos, the owner of Pondside Realty, sat vacant for a number months after the purchase and the departure of Apolos Furniture, the long-time occupant of the space.
Now businesses are now moving in. Aguasivias Super Market and JL Wireless have already occupied two of the storefronts in the corner building and Just Not Subs, a new eatery, and Kathy’s Beauty Salon are expected to open in the near future.
“There were no other businesses around like ours so we saw a need,” explained Jose Anziani, the owner of JL Wireless, which opened in August. “We’re a new business, so it’s been a little slow, but people are coming in and they are telling their neighbors and friends, which is good.”
All the business is welcome news to Christian Williams, the president of the Morton Street Village Business Association.
“It’s great that they [the storefronts] are getting filled up,” said Williams, who also sits on the advisory committee for the Fairmount Indigo Planning Initiative. “Now we want to keep the momentum going.”
With no vacancies along the commercial strip that runs from the Morton Street/Gallivan Boulevard split to Leston Street, Williams said now the association needs to make sure the businesses are getting what they need.
“There are a lot of city and state resources that they [the business owners] don’t know about,” said Williams. “We want to connect them to those resources; the association wants to be that hub of communication for them.”
New construction and future developments in the neighborhood are also on Williams’ radar.
“There’s a lot of planning happening in the area from the Fairmount Indigo Planning Initiative to the Morton Street Bridge, but there is no voice for the local businesses,” said Williams. “Often times I’m the only one in the room, so we want to bring people out and make sure that the planners know what they want.”
Just over a year after raising them, the MBTA is now seeking to drop fares for the RIDE paratransit service from $4 to $3, an agency financial officer told a state transportation department committee Tuesday.
MBTA Strategic Initiatives Senior Director Charles Planck told MassDOT’s Board’s Audit and Finance Committee that the T will put the fare reduction before the full MassDOT Board of Directors at its Dec. 11 meeting. The RIDE is a door-to-door service available for people with disabilities.
The announcement was greeted by scattered cheers from transit access advocates in the audience. Lower fares have been a goal of transit activists since the T raised the price of the RIDE from $2 to $4 in 2012.
About 60 percent of respondents to a state survey measuring the impact on the 2012 hikes on elders reported this year that they make fewer transit trips, while a majority of RIDE users whose income is less than $2,000 per month said they cut back on food, personal grooming and transit trips.
Earlier this month, transit advocates and seniors called on lawmakers to provide relief from paratransit fare hikes, saying the increases had left people choosing between travel and other necessities. Arlington Sen. Ken Donnelly ripped the RIDE fare increases as a “targeted fare hike at a vulnerable population.”
On Tuesday, Planck said the move will have an impact on the agency’s budget as revenue will drop and demand is expected to rise as the RIDE becomes more affordable. Planck was unsure of the move’s exact impact on the T’s budget due to new service contracts with providers.
“We expect to get the best price the market can bear,” Planck said.
When asked by board chairman John Jenkins about the annualized impact of altering RIDE fares, Planck estimated $1.5 million in reduced revenue per year and a $3 million to $4 million annual revenue loss overall when including operations costs.
“We believe right now that we’ll be able to accommodate this change in the budget approved by the board,” MBTA CFO Jonathan Davis told the panel.
At the meeting, Massachusetts Senior Action Council Executive Director Carolyn Villers called the fare reduction “a big step towards more affordable and equitable” service and said her group is looking forward to working with the MBTA and on other long-term solutions.
After the meeting, MBTA General Manager Beverly Scott told reporters the fare agreement was the result of the work of a task force made up of MassDOT officials, transit advocates and the business community.
Scott said she thinks there would be benefits to introducing means testing for riders to help determine discounts, but that the MBTA is not in a position to evaluate incomes. Asked if other state agencies would be in better positions to aid the MBTA at means testing, Scott said she had discussed the issue with the health and human services officials and any possible means testing scenario would have to wait.
Under a new law, the MBTA may raise its overall fares by up to 5 percent next year.
By Taylor HartzBU News Service WASHINGTON—First Lady Michelle Obama welcomed the winners of the 2013 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program awards to the White House Friday – with the Boston Children’s Chorus among them. The chorus was one…
For the third year. the Haiti Movie Awards will recognize the best filmmakers and actors coming out of the island nation.
The annual event, organized and produced by the Motion Picture Association of Haiti Inc. will be held Sunday from 6 p.m.-10 p.m. at Lombardo’s, 6 Billings St., Randolph.
The program will be broadcasted live on Tele Caraibes in Haiti and on Island TV in Florida.
This year’s ceremony will be hosted by actor Benz Antoine and former Miss Haiti Universe Sarodj Bertin. It will feature an array of special guests, including actress Garcelle Beauvais and the founder of the Boston International Film Festival Patrick Jerome.
More information about the program and tickets can be found here.