Several Memorial Day observances and services are scheduled in the coming days at public parks and cemeteries throughout Boston.
On Thursday, the Massachusetts Military Heroes Fund will host a service at the Soldiers and Sailors Monument on Boston Common at 10:30 a.m. At the service, the names of Massachusetts soldiers killed during current military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan will be read among thousands of miniature American flags planted to honor all fallen Massachusetts service men and women.
Mount Hope Cemetery in Mattapan will host a ceremony and parade Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The short parade will begin inside the cemetery gate and march to the WWI and WWII Monument where the ceremony will be held.
On Memorial Day, an 8 a.m. service will be held at the Fogg-Roberts American Legion Post 78 in Hyde Park. From there, participants will march to a Mass at Most Precious Blood Parish at 43 Maple Street. They will return to the Post for the start of a tour of local veteran’s squares.
The procession will end at the Civil War Memorial at Fairview Cemetery for closing ceremony at 11 a.m.
Evergreen Cemetery in Brighton will also hold a Memorial Day observance from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
That evening, Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino and the city's Veteran’s Services will host a free concert titled, “Remembrance 2013: A Musical Tribute to Our Heroes,” at Christopher Columbus Park at 6:30 p.m. The Metropolitan Wind Symphony and the Boston City Singers will perform.
E-mail Kaiser at Johanna.email@example.com. For more news about your city, town, neighborhood, or campus, visit boston.com’s Your Town homepage.
Jeremy C. Fox for Boston.com
(Wendy Maeda/Globe Staff)
Mayor Thomas M. Menino outlined a five-year capital plan today aimed at improving educational opportunities across the city, enhancing public facilities, and increasing accessibility for people with disabilities.
Menino submitted the $1.8 billion capital blueprint to the City Council in early April, along with a $2.6 billion budget plan for the next fiscal year. The council is required to hold its first vote on the capital plan, which calls for the city to borrow $177 million in the next fiscal year, by June 5.
In a speech outside the new Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital at the Charlestown Navy Yard, Menino provided details about the plan. It includes 341 projects over five years, with $214 million worth of projects this year alone. It would create about 450 construction jobs this year, he said.
Menino said the plan includes $20.5 million to transform the former Mitt Romney campaign headquarters at 585 Commercial St. in the North End into a new K-8 school.
“Imagine Mitt Romney thinking about [how] he’s getting involved in public education,” Menino quipped. “Maybe he’ll send some money to pay for it.”
The plan also includes:
-- Several West Roxbury projects: $11 million in improvements at Millennium Park; a $6.5 million overhaul of playing fields at West Roxbury High School; and $3.75 million for the Draper Pool.
-- $18.6 million to expand the Eliot K-8 Innovation School in the North End.
-- $10.2 million for street improvements in Uphams Corner and East Boston’s Central Square.
-- $16 million to replace granite with glass at the Central Library’s Johnson Building and build new areas inside for children and teenagers.
As powerful winds blew off the Mystic River, buffeting about 50 officials, hospital staff, and reporters, Menino highlighted a project that would turn an adjacent vacant lot into a playground accessible to children with physical limitations.
Proclaiming the waterfront area a “spectacular site,” he asked, “And you know what’s going to be even more spectacular, as we go forward over the next several months? Seeing children with disabilities play on the state-of-the-art playground right behind me.
"Watching people recover from health challenges here and build up strength to walk along the HarborWalk. Seeing families and their kids exercise and have fun along the harbor,” he said.
Menino thanked the staff of the new Spaulding facility, which opened late last month and included survivors of the Boston Marathon bombing among its first patients. He said he hoped to see the park completed by November, allowing him to attend its ribbon-cutting while still in office until January.
Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @jeremycfox.
The MBTA says riders will soon be able to receive faster, more reliable, and more informative alerts, via text and e-mail, notifying them about service delays and disruptions and planned changes.
The revamped “T-Alerts” notification system will launch June 4.
Riders can register for the new service today at www.mbta.com.
The more than 50,000 subscribers of the existing “T-Alerts” system must sign up for the new system to continue to receive alerts. The old system, which launched in 2007, will be discontinued.
The T plans to remind current subscribers that they should sign up for the new system by sending them alerts starting Friday.
Under the new system, alerts will continue to be posted to the T’s website, “with visual enhancements made to page layout and format for clarity, ease-of-use, and reader-friendliness,” the public transit agency said in a statement Thursday.
Text message and e-mail alerts will have more “reliable delivery times” through a new partnership between the T and GovDelivery, a digital communication management company.
“Service alerts and notifications will be clearer and more detailed with additional information regarding specific trip times, service schedule changes, and distinct directional, branch, and station communications,” the statement said.
Like the old system, the new T-Alerts allows riders to tailor which alerts they receive. Riders can choose to be sent alerts about a mix of subway, commuter rail, and boat lines, bus routes and elevators and escalators within the system.
Customizing is easier under the new system and allows some additional flexibility when signing up, including letting customers pick certain times of the day for when they want to receive alerts, T spokeswoman Kelly Smith said.
T officials also hope the new notification system will pave the way for third-party software developers to create new smartphone applications and websites around the “T-Alerts” system, Smith said.
Such apps could allow riders even more options for customizing how they receive alerts, she said.
Smith said the T will make new tools available to third-party developers later this month.
“Based on past experience we expect to see some innovative, useful and interesting applications of that information on smartphone apps and websites,” she said in an e-mail.
The new “T-Alerts” system “is built around data structures that enable sharing, encouraging innovative third-party development,” the T’s statement said. “It uses emerging standards introduced by Google in 2011.”
Developers interested in creating software applications around “T-Alerts,” can visit developer.mbta.com.
E-mail Matt Rocheleau at email@example.com.
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Unused or expired medication can be disposed of at newly-installed kiosks in each of the 11 district police stations in Boston, city health officials said in a recent announcement.
The MedReturn Drug Collection kiosks are free, safe, confidential and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, officials said. No questions will be asked of people who use the kiosks.
The kiosks were installed through a partnership between the Boston Police Department, the Boston Public Health Commission, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s Bureau of Substance Abuse Services, which bought for the kiosks.
“Unused or expired medication can pose a risk to children, family members, and the environment,” the city’s public health commission said in a statement. “It can also be misused or abused, leading to serious complications, overdose, even death.”
The health commission said that the 2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that more than 70 percent of people abusing prescription pain relievers got them through friends or relatives.
To learn more about how to properly use the kiosks and for an interactive map of kiosk locations, visit www.bphc.org/DrugTakeBack.
Singles Social Sports
How does a busy graduate student force herself to take time off to socialize — and maybe even meet someone to date? That’s the question Jessica Daniels faced three years ago while living in New York and working on a master’s degree in international relations.
“I did Match.com and hated it,” she said. “I needed a way to be social, that would force me to be social, because otherwise I could just sit inside and study all day.”
Then she heard about Singles Social Sports, a league where teams contain equal numbers of single men and women looking to meet someone in a relaxed environment. She met her boyfriend Joe while playing softball together, and when the couple moved to Boston they decided to bring the concept with them.
“One weekend we literally were walking past the Fens, and we saw some guys playing on the field, and we thought, ‘What if we started our softball league here?’” Daniels, 26, said in a recent phone interview.
The two are coordinating the new league, which will accept registrations until May 31 or until it reaches capacity. Games begin June 22 and will be played at Teddy Ebersol’s Red Sox Field on the Charles River Esplanade, with post-game celebrations at the North Star, at 222 Friend St. in the Bulfinch Triangle.FULL ENTRY
Kennedy Greenway Conservancy, other organizations, honored for environmentally sustainable practices
Jeremy C. Fox for Boston.com
The Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway Conservancy was among a baker’s dozen of non-profit organizations and businesses recognized Tuesday by Mayor Thomas M. Menino for environmentally sustainable practices.
The Mayor’s Greenovate Boston Business Awards were presented at a ceremony at Boston University to businesses that “demonstrated extraordinary performance regarding sustainability, such as employee engagement, operations, renewable energy, storm-water management, and innovation,” according to a statement from the mayor’s office.
“Greenovate Boston’s engagement goals will help ensure that the commitment to our environment and the innovations demonstrated by the Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy and the rest of today’s award winners become the norm in Boston,” said Brian Swett, the city’s chief of energy and environment, in a statement released by the conservancy.
In that statement, Steven Anderson, director of park operations for the conservancy, said the award was an affirmation of its staff’s work in embracing and promoting organic landscape practices.
“Our organic landscape care allows everyone, including children and pets, to freely and safely play on our park lawns without the worry of harmful chemicals or pesticides,” Anderson said. “Moreover, our plants are healthier and run-off from the Greenway does not pollute our groundwater or Boston Harbor.”
Tuesday’s event marked the official launch of the city’s Greenovate Boston initiative, which includes a citywide sustainability campaign designed by Mullen Advertising. Under this initiative, city officials hope to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020 and by 80 percent by 2050.
“Celebrating these leaders today is the perfect way to kick off Greenovate Boston,” Menino said in a statement. “They work every day to make Boston cleaner, healthier, and more prosperous for future generations. Now our work continues to get all of our residents, neighborhoods and businesses to join us as we make Boston the greenest city in United States.”
Other award winners in the business category were the Boston Green Academy, Boston Properties – Atlantic Wharf, Boston University, Dependable Cleaners, Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems, G2O Spa, Hostelling International, Samuels & Associates, Sheraton Boston Hotel, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Suffolk University, and Tech Networks of Boston.
Menino also presented awards in the residential category to Federal Management Company, a local property management company specializing in low-income housing; Dorchester resident Elizabeth Charles; and Mark Liu, who led a campaign to bring energy efficiency to underserved neighborhoods.
In the sustainable food leader category, the Mei Mei Group was honored for providing quality sustainable food, and Dorchester-based Community Services was recognized for its service to the sustainable and healthy food industry.
Boston officials are seeking suggestions from the public to help create a multi-year plan ffor protecting and developing parks and other open space throughout the city.
The Open Space Plan for 2015 to 2021, “will look at all public open space, regardless of ownership, including parks, playgrounds, squares, malls, urban wilds, community gardens, cemeteries, greenways, trails, thoroughfares, and harbor islands,” city officials said in a statement Tuesday.
“The plan will also look at city residents to understand demographic and socio-economic trends which impact the use of open space,” the statement added.
The effort to create that plan is ongoing.
The Boston Parks and Recreation Department has developed a questionnaire that asks for information, from residents and visitors alike, about how they use open space in the city, their preferences and how their experience can be improved.
“Public participation is crucial to the success of the plan and the key ingredient to helping us make our parks and open spaces better,” the city said. “Mayor Thomas M. Menino understands the importance that Boston's citizens place on open space and parks and the need for balanced development.”
The parks department said the Open Space Plan’s data collection process will also include compiling an “environmental inventory” that will target “natural areas” – including places with rivers and harbors, wildlife, geologic features, soils and vegetation – for protection and stewardship.
The public survey can be filled out online at www.cityofboston.gov/parks/about/questionnaire.asp. Copies of the survey will also be available during the week of May 20 at all Boston Public Library branches and selected Boston Centers for Youth and Families community centers.
The online and print versions of the questionnaire are available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Haitian Creole, Vietnamese, Cape Verdean Creole, and Portuguese.
Surveys can also be obtained by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org, with the subject line “Open Space Plan Questionnaire Request” or by mailing: Boston Parks and Recreation Department, 1010 Massachusetts Avenue, 3rd Floor
Boston, MA 02118, Attention: Open Space Plan Questionnaire Request.
Boston Girl Scout Treajour Abrams was awarded the scholarship at the organization’s annual meeting on May 7. The scholarship is awarded to a graduating high school senior who “demonstrates a commitment to Girl Scouting and whose courage, confidence and character truly make the world a better place,” according to the organization.
Abrams, who plans to attend Temple University in Philadelphia in the fall, joined Girl Scouts as a Brownie in 2000.
“When I received my Brownie sash, I realized I was no longer a child but a mentally and worldly young girl who was accepting the challenge of making a difference in the world,” Abrams said in a statement.
Her mother and older sister were also Girl Scouts.
As a Girl Scout Abrams has camped all over New England, and has acted as an advocate for the council on the CEO Advisory Committee, which allows a group of diverse girls to come together and share their opinions and provide feedback to the CEO.
She has also attended a national Girl Scout conference in Texas on behalf of the council, traveled to Costa Rica to do community service, participated in an overnight entrepreneur conference, and represented the council on radio and television.
“I love speaking on behalf of Girl Scouts. They have done so much for me over the years and provided so much support. I tell everyone I know who is younger than me to join because it is life-changing and in turn you can change others’ lives too,” Abrams said.
Abrams also helped run a Be Fit, Be FaB program at Orchard Gardens Community Center where she taught girls to sew, walk a runway and to see beauty in recycled clothing.
She plans to enroll in Temple University’s School of Health Sciences and hopes to become a pediatrician specializing in oncology.
E-mail Kaiser at Johanna.email@example.com. For more news about your city, town, neighborhood, or campus, visit boston.com’s Your Town homepage.
(City of Boston)
Boston will debut a citywide advertising campaign this week that uses prominent landmarks and local athletes to encourage residents and businesses to adopt more environmentally sustainable habits, like driving less and recycling more.
The effort intends to promote Mayor Thomas M. Menino’s goal of dramatically reducing the city’s greenhouse gas emissions over the coming decades.
For the rest of the week, the Zakim Bridge, Prudential Tower, and the Atlantic Wharf spirecq will be lit green. Print and digital advertisements will be displayed across Boston, including on Fenway Park’s gigantic centerfield video screen, the marquee outside the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, at the Boston Public Library in Copley Square, and throughout the MBTA system.
“90 percent of Boston is less than five minutes from a train or bus stop,” says one ad. “Take a ride, save the air.”
Another ad urges people to use revolving doors when possible, because standard doors that swing open allow about eight times as much air to escape, increasing the use of indoor heating and cooling.
Other ads say that recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to power a cell phone for about three days.
“We must engage everyone in our city in this effort,” Menino said in a statement. “We have to make the sustainability issue understandable to everyone – what I call turning the ‘science talk’ into ‘sidewalk talk.’ When we help people understand what they can do in their own lives, we will make Boston the greenest city in the world.”
The six-week marketing effort is being paid for through more than $1 million worth of donated ad space; about $100,000 in private fund-raising by Boston’s “Green Ribbon Commission,” a group of business and civic leaders working with the city on sustainability efforts; and through time donated by ad firm Mullen, which has spent the past six months designing the promotion.
The campaign centers around “Greenovate Boston,” a sustainability brand Menino conceived a year ago to boost community engagement.
Ads will direct people to visit a new, interactive website, GreenovateBoston.org, which will list resources related to energy efficiency and sustainability, including how to request support, like local and federal subsidies, for green projects.
The site will also profile sustainable efforts made by residents and local celebrities, including Boston Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference and Boston Celtics forward Jeff Green, both of whom have been advocates for recycling and other eco-friendly measures.
Two years ago, Boston formally adopted goals to reduce 2005cq greenhouse gas emissions levels by 25 percent by 2020 and by 80 percent by 2050. So far, the city has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by about 10 percent, officials said.
The launch of the marketing campaign will coincide with Menino setting new short-term objectives.
He is scheduled to announce Tuesday he wants at least one-third of Boston residents to take on one new, daily sustainability effort per year, such as carpooling, unplugging their televisions at night, or using cold water to do laundry. He also wants businesses representing at least one-third of the city’s workforce to form their own in-house “sustainability teams” or to participate in existing sustainability initiatives.
The mayor hopes to achieve those goals over the next two years, said Brian Swett, the city’s chief of energy and environment.
“Some of these actions are really low-hanging fruit,” said Swett. “So we want people to adopt one the first year and then continue them and adopt other actions in the following years.”
“We’re trying to raise awareness of the simple, everyday decisions people can make to reduce their impact on the environment,” he added.
Menino will announce the ad campaign and new sustainability goals during an awards ceremony Tuesday afternoon honoring three residents, 13 businesses and two food leaders for exemplary sustainability measures. Menino has given out the awards annually since 2007. The event will be held at a new LEED-Gold certified student services center building on Boston University’s campus.
(City of Boston)