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MBTA to open rebuilt Yawkey Station in March, boosting service on Framingham-Worcester rail line

February 26, 2014 12:36 PM

Yawkey Rendering.JPG

(MBTA)

A rendering of the soon-to-open rebuilt Yawkey Station.

The MBTA plans to open the rebuilt Yawkey commuter rail station in Boston next month, clearing the way for the transit agency to boost service across the entire Framingham-Worcester line, officials announced Wednesday.

The station is set to open and a new schedule for the commuter rail line is set be implemented on March 10, T general manager Beverly Scott announced.

“I would like to thank everyone for their patience,” she said in a statement. “We’re very excited about launching this new era in the continuing process of improving the Worcester-Framingham commuter rail line.”

Completion of the $14.9-million Yawkey Station overhaul was delayed by about two months while the contractor worked to address accessibility-related issues, T spokesman Joe Pesaturo said.

That delay forced the T to hold back on implementing increased service across the Framingham-Worcester line. The Yawkey project includes constructing a second track allowing more trains to move through.

The new schedule will bring the total number of weekday round trips on the Framingham-Worcester line to 24, up from 22 roundtrips currently. The revised schedule also allows trains to stop at more stations while making those trips.

The line only offered 10 weekday roundtrips just before the state struck a deal in 2009 to buy a 21-mile stretch of the line’s tracks for $50 million from railroad company CSX Corp.

Since then, the T has incrementally increased train trips and stops, while improving other aspects of passenger service on the line that was once among the least reliable in the agency’s commuter rail network.

The rebuilt Yawkey Station, located steps from Fenway Park, features a pair of 700-foot-long train platforms that are fully accessible to people with disabilities, four new elevators and stairs, track realignments, an open mezzanine and a new main station lobby, or head house, at Yawkey Way.

More changes to the station are planned to be made if and when the long-delayed, yet-to-break ground massive Fenway Center mixed-use development is built around the station.

Those future improvements include building new entrance shelters on Brookline Avenue and Beacon Street and extending Yawkey Way so MASCO shuttle buses, which serve the Longwood Medical Area, can pull up to the station.

When a parking garage for the Fenway Center development is built, solar panels installed atop the garage will power Yawkey Station, which will make it the first “net-zero energy” rail station in Massachusetts, officials have said.

During the recent construction project, the station remained in use. Riders would use one side of the platform while work would take place on the opposite side, officials said.

State officials held a formal groundbreaking ceremony for the project in the fall of 2010, but the actual work did not start until June 2012, about when officials had originally hoped to finish construction.

The project’s start was delayed because the state needed to wait until the track purchase deal with CSX was complete.

The project was paid for by the state, including through the use of federal stimulus funding, officials.

The developer of Fenway Center, Meredith Management Corp., has agreed to maintain the station’s entrances and elevators after the project is complete.

E-mail Matt Rocheleau at matthew.rocheleau@globe.com.
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A look at Brazilian immigration in Framingham and beyond

December 16, 2013 08:45 AM

THE GREEN and yellow Brazilian flag adorns many downtown shops in Framingham, reflecting the pride of the town’s dominant immigrant group. But as much as the waves of Brazilian immigrants have transformed Framingham over the past 30 years, the town has been a melting pot for generations — only slightly more than half of its immigrants are from Brazil. One in four Framinghamites is foreign born.

All the same, immigration continues to cause political friction even in a town seemingly accustomed to newcomers of all nationalities. For here a microcosm of the national immigration debate played out very intensely on the local level: Town Meeting members faced a vote to require the town-funded English as a Second Language program to check the immigration status of its students to qualify for two classes funded by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Globe subscribers can read the entire column here.

MetroWest Regional Transit Authority hosting hot chocolate bar event Friday in Framingham

December 9, 2013 04:22 PM

The MetroWest Regional Transit Authority will host a holiday-themed customer appreciation event this Friday complete with a hot chocolate bar and a raffle, according to the transportation organization.

The event will be held at the organization's central headquarters at 37 Waverley St. in Framingham on Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 9 a.m., and from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. -- during the most popular commuting times, the organization said in a statement,

The hot chocolate bar will feature the popular winter-time drink and different mix-ins, as well as whipped cream and sprinkles. Cookies will be served alongside the hot chocolate.

The organization will also have a free raffle, with two pre-loaded Charlie Cards as the prize. Those entering the raffle do not have to be present if their name is picked as a winner, the organization said.

The authority provides fixed-route bus and paratransit service to 11 communities west of Boston. For more information, visit the MWRTA's official website.

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Jaclyn Reiss can be reached at jaclyn.reiss@globe.com

NECN to air televised debate between two candidates seeking to replace Ed Markey in Congress

December 5, 2013 11:29 AM

With less than a week to go before a special election, Congressional candidates Sen. Katherine Clark (D-Melrose) and Republican Frank Addivinola are set for their first televised debate.

New England Cable News announced Thursday morning that Clark and Addivinola will debate at 3 p.m. Friday and the cable channel will air the debate at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Rebroadcasts are planned for Saturday at 11:30 a.m. and Sunday at 10 a.m.

The special election to fill the seat formerly held by Sen. Edward Markey is Tuesday.

Independent James Aulenti of Wellesley and Justice Peace Security candidate James Hall of Arlington are also on the ballot.

- M. Norton/SHNS

A look at the two candidates in Tuesday's special election to replace Ed Markey in Congress

December 4, 2013 11:25 AM

Katherine Clark, the 50-year-old Democratic nominee for the Fifth Congressional District, is heavily favored in the Dec. 10 special election to succeed Edward J. Markey in the US House of Representatives.

Yet Clark, a state senator from Melrose, still faces one last test.

Her Republican opponent, Frank J. Addivinola Jr., a businessman and lawyer with six graduate degrees and conservative views on the Affordable Care Act, guns, gay marriage, and abortion, says he is going to win.

Here are brief biographies of the two candidates. Go to Thursday's Globe North and Globe West for more.

Katherine Marlea Clark
Born: 1963 New Haven, CT
Undergraduate education: St. Lawrence University
Profession: State senator
Self-described political views: Progressive Democrat
Personal life: Married with three school-age boys
Current residence: Melrose
Grocery store of choice: Market Basket
International adventure: Studied abroad in Nagoya, Japan, in 1983


Frank John Addivinola Jr.
Born: 1960 Malden, MA
Undergraduate education: Williams College
Profession: Doctoral student, teacher, lawyer, owner test prep business
Self-described political view: Smaller government, traditional Republican
Personal life: Married
Current residence: Boston
Grocery store of choice: Market Basket
International adventure: From 2002-2006, lived in Odessa, Ukraine, and ran a tourist-focused business there

Massachusetts hunting, fishing licenses for 2014 available

November 30, 2013 04:48 PM

BOSTON (AP) — The new year is a few weeks away but it’s not too early to think about 2014 hunting licenses.

The Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife says 2014 hunting, sporting, fishing, and trapping licenses will be available for purchase starting on Monday.

They can be purchased at all license vendor locations, MassWildlife District offices, the West Boylston Field Headquarters, and at MassFishHunt.org.

Anyone 15 or older needs a license to hunt or for freshwater fishing.

Freshwater fishing licenses for minors ages 15 to 17 are free and can be obtained online.

The department also reminds hunters that all deer harvested during shotgun season must be checked at a check station. Online checking is not available from Dec. 2 until Dec. 14.

Special meeting set for Ashland water request

November 26, 2013 05:26 PM

Citing a "critical need for MWRA water" in Ashland, the Massachusetts Water Resources Advisory Board has scheduled a special meeting for next week.

The board reported Tuesday that Ashland has just notified both the MWRA and the advisory board of a request for a six-month emergency water supply connection to the MWRA system "due to lower than normal precipitation resulting in low groundwater levels at the Town's wells."

The advisory board said the request triggers a full vote of the board before Ashland can receive MWRA water.

The board is scheduled to meet at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 4 at Newton City Hall.

- M. Norton/SHNS

Diwali celebrations held in Boston

November 4, 2013 05:21 PM

Diwali, a five-day Hindu celebration also known as the "festival of lights," began on Nov. 3 and will continue into the weekend as organizations in Boston hold different events to mark the celebration.

From banquets to fashion shows, groups in the greater Boston area have planned a variety of events where people can join the celebration.

Below are some of the Boston area events. If we're missing an event, add it in our comments section.


Miss India Tristate Contest on Nov. 9
The contest will be held at 6 p.m. at the National Heritage Museum in Lexington.
Go to the website for more information.

Diwali Gala on Nov. 9
8 p.m. - midnight
NetSAP Boston, a group for South Asian professionals, is hosting a Diwali Gala at the Taj Boston Hotel (15 Arlington St.). The event will benefit the Akshaya Patra Foundation, which provides food for school children in India. Tickets are on sale here.

The Festival of Lights on Nov. 10
3 p.m. - 7 p.m.
The United India Association of New England will celebrate Diwali at Newton South High School (140 Brandeis Road, Newton Center) with worship, a fashion show, dinner and a children's fancy dress parade. Entrance is free for members, kids under 12 and participants in the cultural program, fashion show and children's parade. Non-members pay $10.

Diwali Banquet on Nov. 10
4:30 p.m.
Gurjar, the Gujarati Association of New England, is holding a banquet at the University of Massachusetts Lowell Inn and Conference Center (50 Warren St., Lowell). The event has a formal of traditional Indian dress code. Tickets cost $20 for students up to 12th grade, $35 for college students with an ID, $55-60 for regular tickets and $75 for sponsors. To book tickets, call Ramila Thakker at 781-229-2401, Deval Kamdar at 978-409-1350, or Eshani Shah at 781-942-1690.

Diwali Dhamaka on Nov. 17
2 p.m.
The Indian Society of Worcester will celebrate with dances, music and food. Included in the event, which will be held at Marlborough Middle School (25 Union St.) is a dance competition. For members, tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for kids and free for participants. For non members, tickets are $15 for adults, $5 for kids and participants, and all children under 5 enter for free.

Shandana Mufti can be reached at shandana.mufti@globe.com.

tags diwali , hindu

Shafik Gabr Foundation sends its first class of fellows to Washington

October 28, 2013 09:58 AM

This press release was provided by the Arab American Institute

The inaugural class of Gabr Fellows will visit the nation's capital from October 26 to November 3 as part of a 5-city tour of the U.S.

The group of 20 Fellows—10 Egyptians and 10 Americans—are young professionals in the areas of art, science, law, media, and entrepreneurship, chosen to participate in the newly created Gabr Fellowship Program, whose mission is to improve cross-cultural dialogue and understanding between the U.S. and the Arab world. They began the program in Egypt in June, where they met with public figures and experienced first-hand—and for the Americans, for the first time —life in Egypt.

One of the Fellows is Beth Cartier, originally from Southborough, She is currently the assistant director of New York Meetings at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. Before working in the Meetings program, Cartier was an intern for CFR's Women and Foreign Policy program. Previously, she worked with the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and the Striking Viking Story Pirates. Cartier received an MA in Politics and International Relations from New York University and a BA in theater from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Beth is originally from Southborough, Massachusetts.

“Egypt is no longer an abstract concept to me and that makes a powerful difference in how I find myself viewing her,” said American Fellow Daniel Lansberg-Rodriguez.

The Shafik Gabr Foundation established the diplomacy program with private funds in order to provide “new platforms for people-to-people communication” which, it says, are urgently needed.

“If I am Exxon, for example, and I am working in Saudi Arabia or Qatar, or wherever else -- I would likely be funding social development and corporate responsibility - but if I really want to keep doing business in that part of the world, my priority should be to encourage young emerging leaders in that area to develop a better knowledge of the West, and vice versa,” said Shafik Gabr, Chairman and Managing Director of the ARTOC Group for Investment & Development.

The group will meet with Administration officials, Members of Congress, policy experts, business leaders, journalists, and academics, among others, while in Washington.

The Fellows have collaborated in teams on six project ideas aimed at addressing the challenges facing Egypt and the U.S. - from establishing microclinics in Egypt to installing large interactive TV screens in Cairo and New York.

The Fellowship is sponsored by the Shafik Gabr Foundation. The American portion is being carried out in partnership with the Arab American Institute. For more information, visit www.eastwestdialogue.org. To schedule an interview, contact Deborah Akel at (202) 706-8435.

Commuter rail to Boston from the suburbs? Not worth the hassle.

October 28, 2013 08:54 AM

Hopkinton, where I live, is 26.2 miles from the heart of the city, as every runner knows. Realtors around here talk up the ease of the commute to the city, and technically, they’re right. We can walk to the Ashland station, bike to the one in Southborough, or drive to either and take advantage of usually ample parking.

Yet in the past six months, I’ve taken the train into Boston just once. Some of my neighbors never use it all. The service is too much like convenience-store coffee: promising, but ultimately disappointing. It takes too long and costs too much.

Globe subscribers can read this column here.

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