With 10 years of offering small community grants to organizations throughout the South Shore, the Blue Hills Community Health Alliance will start a new initiative this year, offering up to two larger grants to worthy organizations.
Geared towards groups in Braintree, Quincy, Hingham, Scituate, Canton, Cohasset, Hull, Milton, Norwell, Norwood, Randolph, Sharon, and Weymouth, the goal of the grants is to improve local health.
As has occurred in the past, several grants, typically 10-20, ranging from $500-$3,500 each, will be handed out for smaller initiatives. Yet for the first time this year, one or two “Impact Grants” will be given out ranging from $3,600-$10,000.
“We did fund many wonderful grants last year,” said Stephanie Nitka, Blue Hills Community Health Network Area Coordinator. “It’s exciting to see what each group does with a small amount of money, and it will be exciting to see what happens with these Impact Grants.”
Last year, grants were given to a variety of organizations after an extensive vetting process, with Quincy’s Germantown Neighborhood Center, Point Webster Middle School, Quincy Asian Resources, and Manet Community Health Center all receiving funding.
Over $39,000 in funding was doled out in total to 13 organizations.
This year, along with the opportunity to win larger grants, the organization has also received more money, preparing to hand out $55,000 in funding to a variety of organizations.
According to Nitka, the funding comes from a Determination of Need funding from hospitals – money that is taken from hospital renovations and given to the Department of Public Health to be dolled out to community organizations.
On the Health Alliance website, funders included the South Shore Hospital, Norwood Hospital, Harvard Vanguard, and Weymouth MRI.
With more money this year, the process will be no less intensive. Those looking to apply will have to attend a mandatory information session on either April 23 from 1 to 3 p.m. or on April 25 from 5 to 7 p.m.
From there, organizations will fill out an application. Projects must either improve access to care, prevent or manage chronic disease, improve mental health in the community, or address substance abuse.
A judging panel made up of reviewers from the community judge the applications on how they fit the criteria and will decide who receives funding.
According to Nitka, applications are due by May 16 and winners will be announced by June 30. Awarded programs will start July 1.
For more information and to register for an information session, visit here.
The Neponset Valley Chamber of Commerce will hold a reception for business leaders and members of the public to speak to their legislators in Dedham.
The event will be held at the Endicott Estate from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 23.
The cost of attendance is $15 for members, $25 for non-members, and $10 for Facebook fans of the chamber.
There will be no formal speaking program; instead participants can mingle and network with one another and with legislative and business leaders in the community. Complimentary hors d'oeuvres, beer, wine, and other refreshments will be available.
Registration is required at nvcc.com or by calling 781-769-1126.
Norfolk County’s sheriff is looking for volunteers to mentor prisoners at Norfolk County House of Correction in Dedham.
Mentors are paired with inmates while they are in prison, and they continue to meet after the release from prison, according to Sheriff Michael G. Bellotti, who began the program in 2011.
“The idea is to help the inmates stay on a productive, law-abiding path after they leave our walls,” Bellotti said.
Prospective mentors are interviewed and screened by Norfolk County Sheriff’s office staff to determine how well they will fit the program, but Bellotti said people from all walks of life could make good mentors.
About 40 mentors have been paired with inmates since the program began.
Funding in 2011 came from a US Justice Department grant received by the non-profit organization Volunteers of America, which partnered with the sheriff’s office to administer the program.
Anyone interested in becoming a mentor can contact Assistant Superintendent Patty Spataro at 781-751-3416.
Norfolk County’s register of deeds will host a free informational seminar about using computers to research property records.
William P. O’Donnell will hold the seminar at the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds at 649 High St. in Dedham on Thursday, May 9, at 4:30 p.m.
The seminar is intended for both real estate professionals and the general public, and will include a presentation, written handouts, and hands-on exercises.
Computer assisted land records research is currently available both at the registry and on the Internet at www.norfolkdeeds.org.
The seminar is free, but anyone planning to attend should register by contacting Alicia Gardner at 781-461-6104 or email@example.com, and providing name, address, e-mail, and a daytime phone number.
Saint Patrick’s Day activities start Friday night at the Irish Cultural Centre of New England in Canton.
Starting at 7 p.m., there will be an Irish music session led by John Kearney in the McGettigan & Stewart Room.
Then at 8, the U2 tribute band Joshua Tree will perform. Tickets to the concert are $15.
On Saturday, leading up to the holiday itself, doors open at the Irish Cultural Centre at 1 p.m. with music continuing all day and night. Bands include The Auld Locals, The Green Rovers, Dan Hallissey and a traditional Irish session with Stuart Peak. There will also be Irish dancing by the O’Shea-Chaplin Academy of Irish Dance.
Food, including traditional corned beef and cabbage with plenty of Guinness, will also be available.
Sunday – St. Patrick’s Day – will begin with a hearty Irish breakfast at 9 a.m. and continue all day with entertainment, food, drinks, and more.
The Centre’s inaugural St. Patrick’s Day Irish 5K will begin at 10 a.m., followed by Mass at 11:30 a.m. Live Irish music will commence at 10:30 a.m., including a traditional Irish session with Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann, the Barnburners and Hells Ditch.
Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) games live from Ireland will be broadcast into the wee hours.
Tickets for Saturday after 5 p.m. are $5 and for Sunday are $10. Children under 12 are free.
The Irish Cultural Centre is located at 200 New Boston Drive. For more information, visit www.irishculture.org or call 781-821-8291.
The following was submitted by Kehillah Schechter Academy
Through a combination of resourceful negotiations with and cooperation from lenders, extraordinary generosity of major donors, and bold steps to lower the cost of Jewish day school education, the Board of Trustees of the Kehillah Schechter Academy (KSA) has successfully completed the transformation of the School into a financially viable, stable and secure institution.
Dr. Michael Agus, Director of the Medicine Critical Care Program at Boston Children’s Hospital and KSA President, said, “Our school has reduced its debt from $11 million to $1.7 million. Now that we have a strong financial foundation, we can focus all our efforts on the School’s mission to inspire and empower our students to become thoughtful, collaborative, compassionate Jewish learners who skillfully solve problems, resolve conflict and excel as Jewish citizens of the world.”
Dr. Agus added, “At the heart of KSA’s success are its pedagogical leadership and vision. While the Board focused on financial sustainability, Co-Heads Dr. Nitzan Resnick and Rabbi David Paskin have been busy reinforcing the historic strengths of the school by focusing on its three Guiding Principles: personalized learning, collaborative partnerships, and Jewish identity and heritage. They have introduced a unique system of personalized goals for each and every student, bringing the concept of differentiation to a new level that personalizes curriculum for all. The Co-Heads have also embraced the latest educational technology, implementing a 1 to 1 Chromebook program for every student in grades 6-8 and embracing the use of laptops, tablets, smartboards and other appropriate technologies in K-5 ensuring that the School is second to none in educational excellence.”
Incoming President Gregg Rubenstein, an attorney and partner at Nixon Peabody, said, "At the end of the day parents seek to send their children to a school committed to academic excellence, a warm, nurturing community of teachers and learners, and to teaching the Jewish values essential to success in our ever-challenging world. With Dr. Resnick and Rabbi David at the helm and a stable and secure financial future, the school can reach even greater heights of Jewish programming, excellence in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, math) essential for tomorrow’s leaders and child-centered learning that has defined the School for the past 25 years."
Rubenstein added, “Academic excellence, cutting-edge curriculum and innovative Jewish learning, however, are no longer sufficient. KSA is also committed to addressing the cost of Jewish day school education, as demonstrated by our tuition freeze for next year. We owe it to our current families, our future families and our community to do everything possible to manage costs and, more importantly, ensure that we provide true value for the sacrifices families make to fund tuition.”
KSA (formerly the South Area Solomon Schechter Day School) this year marks its 25th anniversary. For 18 years, the school was located in Stoughton. In 2007, KSA moved to its new 5-acre campus that includes a state-of-the-art 50,000 square-foot building just off Route 1. It draws about 170 boys and girls from 30 communities in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
Accredited by the Association of Independent Schools in New England (AISNE), Kehillah Schechter Academy has earned a national reputation for excellence in Judaic and General Studies, including its strong science and math program.
Dr. Agus invites parents of pre-K – 8th grade children to contact the school’s Admissions office as soon as possible while there is space in all grades for 2013-14. Financial assistance may be available. For enrollment information, contact Sandi Morgan Dunn: 781-769-5555, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For donor information, contact Sara Ades Goodwin: email@example.com / 781-769-9400. The school’s website is www.ksa-ne.org.
The Neponset Valley Chamber of Commerce has announced the participants of the 14th annual Flavors of Neponset Valley tasting event.
The event will take place on Wednesday, March 20, from 5:30 to 9 p.m. at Patriot Place in Foxborough. Tickets are $40 or $375 for 10.
For more information, visit www.nvcc.com or call 781-769-1126.
Restaurants and beverage companies include:
Aquitaine Bar a Vin Bistrot
Bertucci's – Norwood/Canton
Off the Vine Catering
British Beer Company
Dave & Busters
Davio's Northern Italian Steakhouse
Dancing Deer Bakery
Easton Country Club
Edible Arrangements of Foxboro
Ever So Humble Pie Company
HESSCO Elder Services
JP Licks at Legacy Place
Kendall Jackson/M S Walker, Inc.
Kings at Legacy Place
Lemate Cocktail Mix
Narragansett Brewing Co./Colonial Wholesale Bev.
Norton Country Club
Salem Food Market
Skipjack's Seafood Emporium
Tastings Wine Bar & Bistro
Texas Road House
Twenty8 Food & Spirits
Snow fall totals for communities in Norfolk County cleared 30 inches in Quincy and hit 26 in Weymouth, according to a list of reports from the National Weather Service.
Here is a chart with the community name, the number of inches, when it was recorded and by whom.
QUINCY 30.0 104 PM 2/09 GENERAL PUBLIC
1 NW WEYMOUTH 26.0 800 AM 2/09 COCORAHS
WEYMOUTH 26.0 911 AM 2/09 HAM RADIO
WRENTHAM 26.0 702 AM 2/09 HAM RADIO
BROOKLINE 25.5 1125 AM 2/09 NWS EMPLOYEE
NORWOOD 25.4 1233 PM 2/09 NWS EMPLOYEE
FOXBORO 24.5 1200 PM 2/09 TRAINED SPOTTER
RANDOLPH 24.4 947 AM 2/09 TRAINED SPOTTER
BRAINTREE 24.1 951 AM 2/09 MEDIA
1 NW NORWOOD 24.0 700 AM 2/09 COCORAHS
WEST WALPOLE 23.8 1150 AM 2/09 HAM RADIO
WELLESLEY 23.5 746 AM 2/09 HAM RADIO
SOUTH WEYMOUTH 23.0 128 PM 2/09 MEDIA
WALPOLE 22.0 707 AM 2/09 HAM RADIO
DEDHAM 22.0 1000 AM 2/09 NONE
MILLIS 22.0 655 AM 2/09 TRAINED SPOTTER
HINGHAM 21.5 924 AM 2/09 NONE
FRANKLIN 20.9 704 AM 2/09 HAM RADIO
The sales numbers aren’t in yet, but already managers of Braintree’s South Shore Plaza are saying that the 2012 holiday season was a success.
“What I can say from my observations is I believe our traffic numbers were up,” said mall manager Vicki Bartkiewicz.
“I believe our sales would probably be up only because of the amount of various retailer bags I saw customers carrying in the holiday. Some of my conversations from retailers said not only were the traffic and transactions brisk, but in the weekends the traffic was heavy from Black Friday through Dec. 24. Just on observation, I would say we had a good holiday.”
Despite a slightly sluggish economy, the expectation was that the shopping season would be successful, especially after the mall had seen higher sales numbers throughout the year, Bartkiewicz said.
Even managing the crowds and activity went well this year, with little to no problems.
“We’re pretty seasoned here,” Bartkiewicz said. “We’re experienced with keeping the traffic flow with the assistance of Braintree police or our own security staff. We still [have] those people fighting over a parking spot, but it all went well. I don’t see a need for improvement, but we’ll keep an eye out for that.”
Bartkiewicz and the management team, including recently appointed General Manager Rick Tonzi, will sit down to discuss a full recap of the holiday season within the next few weeks.
A similar discussion will occur between Tonzi and Braintree’s Town Council sometime this month.
Yet at this point things seemed to have gone smoothly, and new initiatives, such as a Surprise and Delight campaign – offering unexpected gifts to random customers – went very well, she said.
“That was a program that was new that I think [we] will probably continue. Maybe not just the holiday season, but maybe through some of our peak selling seasons, but we will definitely do it next holiday,” Bartkiewicz said.
The new holiday decorations and Santa set up also went over well with customers, who had favorable feedback about the new designs.
In previous years, approximately 50,000 people sat on Santa’s lap. This year that increased five to seven percent, Bartkiewicz said.
Although the bulk of holiday shopping seems to be slowing down, Bartkiewicz said the mall will continue to be busy with people using gift cards.
“We’re anticipating another week of solid business,” she said.
Store promotions are also ongoing to entice customers to continue to shop.
“People are taking advantage of that,” Bartkiewicz said. “Hopefully, they are starting their Christmas shopping for next year!”