• Massport:Winthrop Sq Tower is Too High

    By Beth Treffeisen
    The proposed mixed use 775-foot high tower slated for 115 Winthrop Square, which is known for casting controversial new shadows on the public parks downtown, has received yet another challenge from the air.
    The Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) came out against the proposed height of the building, saying it would interfere with the flight patterns out of Logan International Airport, if exceed 710 feet.
    Massport stated that a building height greater than 710 feet above se
  • Beacon Hill Women’s Forum Dancing With the Stars

     by Marianne Salza
    Kathy Hull, ballroom dancing gold medal winner.
    When Kathy Hull, a college philosophy and psychology professor, received a phone call one evening from a local dance studio inquiring if she and her husband would like to attend three, free ballroom dancing lessons, she had no idea that it would be the beginning of a new passion and a fierce, competitive drive. She was hooked on ballroom from the moment she was led through her first spin turn.
    “I’m a very analyti
  • Friends and Colleagues Bid Farewell to ‘Bernie’ O’Rourke

    By Dan Murphy
    On the eve of his retirement from a 39-year career with the Boston Police, Superintendent Bernard “Bernie” O’Rourke was feted by scores of friends and colleagues at Ned Devine’s Pub at Faneuil Hall on Wednesday, Jan. 11.
    O’Rourke, who turned 64 the next day, joined the department in 1978 as a member of its mounted unit before serving as a patrol officer for District D-4 and D-14, covering the Back Bay, Fenway and the South End, and Brighton and Allston
  • Downtown View:Shadows vs Money

    By Karen Cord Taylor
    Aren’t we Bostonians better than Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump?
    Millennium Partners beat out several other developers in a plan to demolish the city’s decrepit parking garage at Winthrop Square and build a 700-feet-plus skyscraper, paying the city millions of dollars to be spread around for park improvements, affordable housing and the like, all of which Boston needs. It’s a good project with a good outcome for Bostonians.
    There is one problem, however.
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  • Councilor Jackson Announces Bid for Mayor; Calls for a More Equitable Growth Citywide

    By Seth Daniel
    When Councilor Tito Jackson took to the podium to announce his bid for mayor at the Haley House Cafe in Roxbury last Thursday, Jan. 12, he didn’t paint himself as a candidate for one particular group of people, but for all of the people of the city – in particular those in the neighborhoods and the students in the public schools that he indicated are increasingly getting left behind by a City he said is focusing too much on big money, big events and corporate deals.
  • BPDA Approves Temporary Dorms for Emerson College in Fenway; While Renovating Little Building on Boylston Street for More Students

    By Beth Treffeisen
    The Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) approved an amendment to Emerson College’s Institution Master Plan (IMP) to temporarily lease the hostel located at 12 Hemenway Street for two years at the board of directors meeting on Thursday, January 12.
    The lease will run from the fall of 2017 to the spring of 2019 to house approximately 115 students due to the temporary closing of Emerson College’s Little Building dormitory located at 80 Boylston Street, which
  • Boston City Council News and Notes

    Boston City Council brings in the new year at their first meeting held last Wednesday, January 11, with a number of refiles. The Council operates on a one-year legislative cycle within a two-year term, meaning that proposals that aren’t voted on by the end of each year become inactive and need to be refilled in the next year.
    Below is a list of refiles to watch out for later this year.Boston Residents Jobs Policy: Mayor Walsh refiled an ordinance amending the Boston Residents Jobs P
  • Police Briefs 01-17-2017

    Beacon Hill Beat
    From Boston Police Area  A-1
    01/05/17 – A Charles Street clothing store reported an unknown female suspect stole an Apple iPad off of the store counter, some time between 2 and 3 p.m. A clerk stated the suspect was the only person in the store at the time of the theft.
    Larceny from Building
    01/07/17 – A Walnut Street resident reported she had a package delivered sometime on Jan. 5, which she didn’t receive. The victim stated U.S. Mail delive
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  • Competitive Tobogganing in Maine. Well, Sort Of Competitive.

    In February, the snow-globe town of Camden, Me., holds the U.S. National Toboggan Championships. The Olympics it is not. But my family braved the chute.
  • MFS Pro-Am Squash Tournament

    The University Club in Back Bay hosted the International Squash Doubles Tournament over the weekend for the 26th year. The Pro-Am Tournament went from January 4-8 and was sponsored by MFS. Participants competed for cash prizes totaling $40,000.Tournament action included both professional men and women along with Professional-Amateur teams made up of one professional player and one amateur with many amateur players drawn from several Boston neighborhoods. In the photo Manek Mathur hits the ball
  • Slight Drop Reported in Part One Crimes

    By Dan Murphy
    Area A-1 was on track to see a slight decrease in incidents of violent and property crime in 2016 from the previous year.
    According to Boston Police, 2,471 Part One crimes were reported in the district, which includes Beacon Hill, Chinatown and downtown, between Jan. 1 and Dec. 11, 2016, as opposed to 2,501 during the same timeframe in 2015.
    No homicides were reported in 2016, compared to one the previous year.
    In contrast, rapes and attempted rapes nearly doubled as the number cli
  • Clash of Buttons at Meeting on Winthrop Square

    By Beth Treffeisen
    A rivalry between two buttons, one stating ‘Keep our Parks Sunny’ and the other stating ‘Let Boston Rise’ emerged at the second scheduled open house style public meeting for the project slated for 115 Winthrop Square.
    At an out-of-the-box public meeting held by the Boston Planning and Development Agency’s (BPDA) at 101 Federal Street this past Thursday, residents were able to circle the room, look at the presentation displayed on easels on their o
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  • Downtown View:Good Stories

    By Karen Cord Taylor
    So we’re sitting in a movie theatre at Loews on Tremont Street, waiting for “Manchester by the Sea” to begin. The previews are too loud. The themes are sadistic, violent, cruel, creepy, pathological. Silence is one of movies. The others I can’t remember but they involved cars blowing up, gunshots fired, people disintegrating, mayhem complete. The audience twitters. We’re laughing. The chaos is so profound that it’s ironically funny. The mo
  • Supt O’Rourke Set to Retire from Boston Police Department

    By Dan Murphy
    When Bernard “Bernie” O’Rourke steps down from his role as superintendent of the Bureau of Field Services for the Boston Police on Thursday, it will conclude a career with the department that spanned exactly 39 years.
    “It’s been a long time, but it’s also gone by quite rapidly,” said O’Rourke, who turns 64 on the day of his retirement. “It seems like just yesterday I signed up for the department.”
    A South Boston native, O&
  • Street Closures Planned Around Longfellow Bridge

    MassDOT’s contractor, White-Skanska-Consigli JV (WSC), will close Land Boulevard/Memorial Drive westbound in the vicinity of the Longfellow Bridge overnight through Thursday, January 12. The roadway and sidewalk will be closed from 11:00 PM each night to 5:00 AM the following morning. The closure is necessary to safely demolish Pier 12 of the Longfellow Bridge between the roadway and sidewalk. Detour routes and maps for vehicles, bicyclists, and pedestria
  • Community Building Activities Planned at Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum on Jan 16

    To celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum will open its doors on Monday, Jan. 16 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. for a free day of community-building activities, art-making projects, and performances around social justice and healing.
    Throughout the day, the Museum will come alive with movement and performances. Leslie Salmon Jones and Jeff Jones of Afro Flow Yoga will lead programs around music, movement, and reflection, inspired by Dr. King. Mar
  • Boston’s Use of Dry Ice for Rodent Control is Placed on Temporary Ban

    By Beth Treffeisen
    A successful new program of using carbon dioxide in the form of dry ice for rodent control was recently put on hold after it came to the attention of the State’s Department of Agricultural Resources that it was unclear as to whether or not dry ice needed to be registered as a pesticide.
    City workers under the Inspectional Service Department (ISD) have been burrowing holes and then filling them with dry ice before covering them with dirt. If rats enter those burrows or ar
  • Police Briefs 01-10-2017

    From Boston Police Area A-1
    Assault and Battery
    01/01/17 – A male operator of a Mitsubishi put his vehicle in the park position and got out of the vehicle in front of 8 Park Plaza at around 1:11 a.m.
    At this time, the suspect approached the passenger’s side of the female victim’s boyfriend Chevrolet pickup truck and punched her in the nose. The suspect then fled the area in his vehicle. The victim’s boyfriend said he honked his horn at the suspect preceding the incident.
  • Ringing in the New Year

    The parade of Boston’s First Night ended with fireworks over the Boston Common around 7:15 p.m.
  • New Balance Renews its Sponsorship with DCR

    Boston-based New Balance has renewed a sponsorship agreement with the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) to ensure area runners, joggers and walkers have clear and safe running paths along the Charles River during the 2016-2017 winter season.
    The sponsorship enters its seventh year and is designed to allow those seeking to get into shape, train for spring races, or take a leisurely winter stroll the option of doing so along the iconic Charles River.
    New Balance supports DCR’s
  • Musician Ilana Katz to Perform at J. P. Licks on Charles Street

    Fiddler, singer, songwriter, visual artist and frequent subway busker Ilana Katz will perform live to kick off the Hidden Art Gallery’s “Art and Music” monthly series at J. P. Licks at 150 Charles St. on Friday, Jan. 6, from 6 to 8 p.m.
    Katz, whose music delves into the sounds the blues and Appalachian roots, will play alongside her own paintings, as well as those of many other neighborhood artists. She has just returned from performing at Florida’s sold-out Bradenton Blu
  • Doubles Action:University Club of Boston to Host Annual MFS Pro-Am Squash Doubles Tournament

    By Beth Treffeisen
    For the 26th year in a row, the University Club on Stuart Street in Boston will be hosting the international Squash Doubles Tournament.
    Running from Wednesday, January 4 to Sunday January 8, the 2017 Massachusetts Financial Services (MFS) Pro-Am Doubles will be hosting players from around the world to compete for a cash prize of $40,000.
    Tournaments will include both professional men and women along with Pro-Am or teams made up of one professional player and one amateur. There
  • Philosopher/Dancer Kathy Hull at Women’s Forum January 10

    By Suzanne Besser
    A philosopher, dancer and mother, Bay Village resident Kathy Hull will take center stage on January 10 at the Beacon Hill Women’s Forum with a talk about her journey from a life of the mind to the world of dance and back again.
    Hull’s journey was an emotional one, full of exciting challenges and fascinating people. As a philosopher, she taught for more than a decade at New York University. At Rutgers University, she was founding director of the Byrne Seminars and Pr
  • TEA Names Alexi Conine as New Board Chair

    The Esplanade Association board of directors announced that Alexi Conine has been elected to serve as board chair, beginning in 2017.
    She has served as a member of the Esplanade Association’s board for the past year and has been deeply involved with helping to move the organization forward through her service on the Executive Committee and Project Planning Committee of the organization.
    Conine was an engineer and product manager at Rohm & Haas for 10 years and, more recently,
  • Controlling Winter Weight

    by Penny & Ed Cherubino
    Poppy, our Westie, puts on a little weight every winter. Ed, who weighs her regularly and keeps a log, has noticed this seasonal increase for the past three years.
    This winter, because she’s had more exercise than in past years, we’re scratching our heads to figure it out. We weigh her food and monitor her treats so we’d know if she were eating more. She’s not. Is there something in a dog’s nature that hangs on to calories in winter? Does
  • Police Briefs 01-03-2017

    From Boston Police Area A-1
    Larceny – Shoplifting
    12/24/16 – A Charles Street market reported a male suspect entered the cellar from the rear entrance at around 5:49 p.m., and stole bottles of champagne and vodka. The suspect, who also stole the clerk’s iPhone 5, was caught on surveillance cameras.
  • Obituaries 01-03-2017

    Deborah Brewster Berg dies at age 51
    Deborah Brewster Berg age 51, died suddenly in her home in Largo, Florida Christmas week. Deborah was born in Boston on June 19, 1965 and grew up in Duxbury, Beacon Hill and Mattapoisett. She was a graduate of Derby Academy in Hingham (and valedictorian), St George’s School, Boston College and George Washington University School of Law. She was a 15th generation descendant of Elder William Brewster of The Plymouth Colony.
    She was the daughter of Ruth Ga
  • Elementary Winter Concert

    Aiyana Cruz, second grade student at the Kingsley Montesorri School, gives a clap at the Winter Concert.
  • Celebrating the Holidays

    The West End Civic Association (WECA) held its annual holiday gathering on Thursday, Dec. 8. Members and their guests met in the West End Museum to enjoy good company, food and beverages. They heard from 2016 President Sean Michael Connolly, who presented an overview the organization’s mission and accomplishments and put out a call for members to get involved with their neighborhood. Incoming President Susann Benoit spoke about the challenges facing all city neighborhoods, including the W
  • Councilors Vote Down Alcohol Tax

    By Beth Treffeisen
    The Boston City Council voted down an order that would place a two percent tax on certain alcoholic beverages to fund prevention and treatment programs for substance abuse.
    Backed by City Councilors Frank Baker and Bill Linehan who have seen substance abuse plague their neighborhoods did not prevail in passing this legislation in a 10 – 3 vote. Councilor Baker, Councilor Linehan, and City Council President Michelle Wu voted for.
    Councilor Baker stated that the increase i
  • 2016: The Year in Review

    By Dan Murphy
    On Jan. 19, Mayor Martin J. Walsh delivered his second State of the City Address at Symphony Hall.
    On Feb. 4, the West End Branch of the Boston Public Library celebrated its 120th anniversary.
    On Feb. 6, the Beacon Hill Civic Association held its 44th annual “Winter Gala” at the Four Seasons Hotel.
    On March 28, Mayor Martin J. Walsh was on hand as the guest speaker during the Beacon Hill Business Association’s annual meeting at Hampshire House.
    On April 29, the Fr
  • Council Ordinance Works to Eliminate Gas Leaks in Boston

    By Beth Treffeisen
    Underneath Boston’s streets are miles of pipelines delivering natural gas to residents and businesses, providing energy for heating, cooking, and electricity. But, due to aging infrastructure in Boston, much of that gas is lost before it even reaches its destination through thousands of leaks in pipes throughout the City.
    Many of these gas leaks that are deemed non-hazardous by utility companies have been open for years, killing nearby vegetation, triggering long-term re
  • Have A Happy, Healthy, and Safe New Year

    The upcoming long weekend marks the start of the New Year — 2017.
    The arrival of a new year marks a time for reflection, both as to the year that has passed and as to the year to come.
    In the words of the poet Alfred Lord Tennyson:
    Ring out the old, ring in the new,
       Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
       The year is going, let him go;
    Ring out the false, ring in the true.
    But to put it another way, we might ask ourselves, “Where have we been? And
  • A Winter Wonderland

    Beacon Hill residents took advantage of the snow that fell on Saturday. The fun was short lived as the Boston Common snow melted by Sunday.
  • Holiday Events to Attend Across Boston Listed

    Old South Church645 Boylston Street
    Christmas Eve
    5:00p.m. Family Worship
    Join us as we sing carols and tell together the Christmas story. Children are invited to participate in a no-rehearsal-required pageant. Simple costumes for sheep, shepherds, and angels are provided.
    8:00p.m. Candlelight Service of Lessons and Carols
    Preludes begin at 7:30 p.m. An elegant retelling of the Christmas story in carols and readings with music for choir, strings, and organ culminating in the singing of “Si
  • Bag Ban on Hold

    By Beth Treffeisen
    Those flimsy plastic bags that can be found stuck in the drain gutter, fluttering from a tree, and clogging pristine waterways such as the Charles River may soon be a thing of a past.
    The Boston City Council moved to keep this matter on file under the Government Operations Committee until the New Year at the recent hearing held on December 14.
    “We have waited long enough,” said Councilor O’Malley. “We have enough evidence from nearby cities across the U
  • Ringing in A Christmas Eve Tradition

    By Dan Murphy
    A Beacon Hill tradition was born 92 years ago when Margaret Nichols Shurcliff first led a group of handbell-ringers on Christmas Eve, caroling and regaling neighbors with their jingling holiday melodies.
    “By 1924, our children were able to ring (the youngest was then 9) and on Christmas Eve, we started our carol ringing standing in the front yard of 55 Mt. Vernon St. Our success surprised us. The crowd grew and grew and applauded as loudly as they could, their hands muffled b
  • Spruce Street Nursery School Celebrates 20 Years

    By Beth Treffeisen
    Outside carts that usually transport excited toddlers to the nearby Boston Common laid barren as the calm atmosphere overtook the inside of Spruce Street Nursery School in downtown Boston. In a darkened room that is normally filled with vibrant students, kids were quite as a mouse as they took a break to nap.
    Lining the walls, decorations, colorful instructions, and hand-made crafts filled the space showcasing how lively the nursery school becomes when close to 50 students att
  • City Issues the Do’s and Don’ts of New Marijuana Laws Now in Effect

    With new marijuana legalization laws now in effect today in Massachusetts, Mayor Martin Walsh issued a primer for what is legal and what still is illegal in regards to marijuana in Boston.
    The state will recognize marijuana as a legal substance for adults 21 and over, and the City of Boston reminds residents of the following rules and standards that are to be enacted with the new law:
    Possession of Marijuana
    Adults may carry up to one ounce of marijuana in public. Five grams of that may be a mar
  • New Kenmore Square Sign Marks the Start to the Longest Continuous Road in the Country

    By Beth Treffeisen
    Bridging together two coastal communities, Boston, Massachusetts and Newport, Oregon, are two mileage signs that mark each end of Route 20, the longest continuous road in the country.
    The Massachusetts Department of Transportation’s (MassDOT) sign will mark the eastern end of the historic Route 20 in Kenmore Square. Meanwhile, the City of Newport, Oregon is installing a similar mileage sing marking the western end of Route 20.
    A related celebration happened on the other
  • Suffolk University Building Upgrades Are Put on Hold

    By Beth Treffeisen
    The Beacon Hill Architectural Commission (BHAC) decided to continue the application for 45 Temple Street, that will transform the former institutional buildings into residential units, at the hearing on Thursday, December 15, due to too many outstanding issues.
    The applicant, JDMD Owner, LLC, a real estate company based in Dedham, Massachusetts, have been asked to return next month with more design changes based on the suggestions by the Commission.
    “It really is importa
  • They Left for a Better Life. It Got Tragically Worse.

    Pete Ambrose and Danielle McGuire put Maine behind them to start anew in New York. They wound up in an apartment for the homeless, where their daughters were scalded by radiator steam.
  • Christmas Tree Lightning on Beacon Hill

    State Rep. Jay Livingstone and Santa counted down for the Beacon Hill tree lighting on Thursday, Dec. 8, on Charles Street. Hundreds of families gathered with neighbors and Santa Claus to ring in the season properly.
  • This Is Not Ghostbusters

    Gas leak impersonator Chris Owens leads a team of Beacon Hillers who tagged trees injured by the methane gas
  • Zakim Gets Street Parking Permits an Upgrade

    By Beth Treffeisen
    Street parking in neighborhoods like Beacon Hill just got some extra needed relief with the passage of the updated version of the City’s street occupancy permit program this past Wednesday, December 14 during the Boston City Council Hearing.
    Boston’s street occupancy permit program allows residents, contractors, and utilities to perform construction, renovations, maintenance, and other important infrastructure improvements to the City.
    But, at the same time, the pr
  • Winthrop Square Project Draws Large Crowd Over Shadows

    By Beth Treffeisen
    A packed courtroom at the Suffolk Law School laid the stage for the first public meeting held for the proposed tower at 115 Winthrop Square by the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) on Monday, December 5.
    Members of the community voiced their concerns over amending the current Shadow Laws to allow a 775-foot high mix-use tower to be built, casting additional shadows onto the historic parks The Boston Common, Public Garden and Commonwealth Avenue Mall.
    On the Boston
  • Appalachian Mountain Club to Leave Beacon Hill After a Century on Joy Street

    By Seth Daniel
    The Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) announced last week it had purchased a new organizational headquarters in Charlestown and will move from its long time Beacon Hill headquarters after nearly 100 years of planting its flag on the Hill.
    The $13.1 million purchase in Charlestown followed the September sale of AMC’s headquarters on Joy Street. The official transition will take place in September 2017 after a renovation of the Charlestown building.
    “It’s definitely
  • December Thieves Places First in Storefront Decorating Competition

    By Dan Murphy
    December Thieves was awarded first place Thursday in the annual Charles Street Storefront Decorating Competition.
    “The contest really shows the diversity of the street and brings something different to the neighborhood,” said Lana Barakat, owner of the boutique at 88 Charles St.
    Second place went to Sweet Bakery at 75 Charles St., and Holiday Boutique at 53 Charles St. was the third-place winner.
    “We’re very flattered, and we strive to have the best window a
  • Police Briefs 12-13-2016

    Beacon Hill Beat
    Larceny12/03/16 – At around 11 p.m., the chef of a Charles Street restaurant reported a waiter stole U.S. currency and a bottle of liquor before fleeing on foot.
    Breaking and Entering – Residence
    12/04/16 – A Piedmont Street resident reported unknown person(s) entered his residence between 4 and 9:18 a.m.
    There were no signs of forced entry, but a handbag, watch, bank/credit cards and personal papers were removed from the home.
  • #FixBigGasLeaks

    By Suzanne Besser
    Last Saturday, members and supporters of Mothers Out Front, a grassroots organization dedicated to addressing climate change, turned to the streets to raise awareness about the estimated 215 methane gas leaks from Boston’s aging pipes.
    They want National Grid to replace the pipes or fix the leaks because methane, a greenhouse gas more powerful than carbon dioxide, is injurious to the health of humans and trees. Under the current law, National Grid is not required to fix t

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