|I hope you are enjoying this recent stretch of great weather. Here is my August update of goings on in Newtonville and beyond.
It was a bummer when the 4th of July fireworks had to be cancelled but it is a nice late summer treat to have them tonight. They take place in Albemarle Park in Newtonville. Festivities begin with a concert at 6:00 p.m. followed by fireworks at 8:30 p.m. There will food vendors, face painting and light-up novelties. Please bring blankets and lawn chairs.
Lowell Ave repaving postponed until 2015
Lowell Ave south of Washington Street was scheduled to be repaved this summer but according to the Department of Public Works, they “received one contractor bid for the project and it was rejected due to Irregularities in the bid proposal.” This is a big disappointment to all of us who drive or bike on Lowell. However DPW has offered assurances there will not be similar problems next summer.
Don’t Pave Me Bro!
Twice in the last month residents have asked me if their beat-up, potholed road could be left as is – that is, NOT repaved. In both cases they said the bumpy condition of the road acts as a natural traffic calmer to slow down speeders. Excessive speed on residential streets – especially “cut-throughs” -- is a common complaint but also challenging to address. Drivers routinely ignore posted speed signs and while police can and do undertake enforcement efforts, they cannot be everywhere. We are all so busy and often rushed so it is easy not to notice that the speedometer has crept up to 35 or 40MPH when the speed limit on most local roads is 25 or 30MPH, or even lower on windy roads or near schools. One fix that has worked for me is to use my cruise control. I fully acknowledge how slow it can feel to actually go the speed limit, but it is the right thing to do for safety and for each other. (I have had cars and a motorcycle literally pass me on Walnut while I am going the posted speed limit of 25MPH.)
Book Event Tues Sept 2, Brookline
My friend Eric Schwarz, the founder of Citizen Schools and a Brookline resident, has written a part personal narrative, part Citizen Schools founding story called The Opportunity Equation. I invite you to join me at what I expect will be an inspiring and thought-provoking discussion at The Brookline Teen center (40 Aspinwall Ave in Brookline) on Tuesday Sept. 2 from 6 to 8 pm. The book describes the growth of what Eric calls a "tsunami of privatized extra learning opportunities" for upper income children – a trend that has caused a doubling of the learning and achievement gap between upper and lower-income children over the last two generations. It also details how Citizen Schools and similar programs are narrowing and sometimes even reversing achievement gaps by providing to low-income kids many of the same opportunities that their upper income peers take for granted. All proceeds from the book will be donated to Citizen Schools.
Primary Election September 9: Heads Up Precinct 2
Tuesday September 9 is primary day which means voters will be winnowing down candidates for statewide offices. In addition in Newton there is a special election for the Ward 3 Ward Alderman that day. Of note:
- If you are a Ward 2 Precinct 2 voter and have traditionally voted at Cabot School, your voting location has changed. You will now be voting at Cabot Park Village, 280 Newtonville Ave.
- I will put in a pitch for my preference for State Treasurer. I have known Barry Finegold for fifteen years. He is honest, straightforward, and independent-minded. While serving in the Massachusetts House and Senate he has been a leader on pension reform, raising the minimum wage, and improvements to education. As Treasurer he wants to direct more investment into Massachusetts small businesses (as other states have done), and offer increased opportunities for financial literacy.
- For Governor’s Council I am supporting Charlie Shapiro. Charlie is a former Newton Alderman, a great listener, and I am sure will help guide judicial appointments with fairness and progressive values.
Ice Bucket Challenge
Unless you have been in a yurt in Mongolia, you have probably heard of the Ice Bucket Challenge. Participants videotape themselves dumping a bucket of ice water on their heads and then calling out others to either do the same within 24 hours or contribute $100 to an ALS group. I was challenged by my Horace Mann classmate Sheila Muise Carter and you can see my video here. (I was unaware of my 9 year old mocking me at the time!) I have known several people who contracted this disease and it is truly horrible. I love the way this idea has taken off and has brought in millions of dollars to support those who are suffering.
The Newtonville Email Listserve offers an opportunity to ask neighbors’ advice on contractors, let people know if you’re selling something, or engage in discussions about wider community issues such as the Austin St development. Let me know if you’d like to be added to the list.
No Office Hours This Month
Being the slow month of August I will not be having my usual office hours at the Senior Center on the last Friday of the month. I will also be away the last week – our family is taking a road trip to Gettysburg PA, Washington DC, Fredricksburg VA and New York City. (2 adults, 3 boys ages 6, 9 & 11, ~50 hours in the car, what could go wrong?) Next Office hours will be Friday, September 26th at 9am.
Enjoy the waning days of summer!