What’s Happening on Main Street

By Richard Rouse/Special to the Gazette

On Memorial Day, we honored the men and women of our armed forces who have made the ultimate sacrifice for us all. We thank those in the VFW, American Legion, AMVETS and others who give their time and effort each year to remember and honor those selfless members of our community who put themselves forward to preserve freedom throughout the world. A note of thanks as well to the public employees who seem to make an extra effort to make our public spaces look sharp with flowers to commemorate the holiday and welcome summer to Boston.

For the past 16 years, the Boston Main Streets program has conducted an awards celebration for the various Main Streets programs throughout the city. The 2010 and 2011 celebrations were hosted by Mission Hill Main Streets, and both events brought a substantial turnout of locals to cheer those businesses and volunteers who’ve earned the approbation of their neighbors.

Naturally, we in Mission Hill started feeling a little cocky that other neighborhoods couldn’t measure up to the success of our festivities. I’m happy to report that, for the 2012 celebration on May 17, Dorchester’s Uphams Corner Main Streets kicked up a row with an Academy Awards-themed frolic at the old Strand Theatre, complete with lights, cameras and a long red carpet to greet the attendees.

Our 2012 Volunteer of the Year, Mary Todd, was ushered into the VIP green room for champagne and hors d’oeuvres while her husband John belted out a few tunes from the big band era to the delight of his new pal, the piano player. The evening’s emcee was radio great and “voice of the Boston Symphony Orchestra” Ron Della Chiesa, who regaled the attendees with stories about showbiz legends who appeared at the Strand while guests learned about the awardees in their “Playbill”-style programs. Mayor Menino upped his game, making wisecracks throughout the evening, while the Boston Latin School a cappella group the Wolf-Tones performed their extensive repertoire throughout the night. Those boys can sing! It seemed that every person in attendance has enjoyed a honey dip sometime during the past 41 years that Maria and Bruce Weinograd have owned 2012 Mission Hill Business of the Year Mike’s Donuts, because they clearly garnered the loudest applause of the evening.

In business news, state Rep. Jeffrey Sánchez scored a major victory on Beacon Hill this month with the passage of his economic development bill in the House. This legislation will provide more than $400 million for new local infrastructure investments that Boston and the rest of the state needs during these uncertain economic times.

At the same time as the Main Streets awards, the much-anticipated “Neighbors versus the Students” softball game took place following the scheduled Mission Hill Little League games. I’m told the event was a huge success and district City Councilor Michael Ross is attempting to make it an annual event. Blessed are the peacemakers.

While writing this column, I learned of the passing of Mike Ross’ stepmother, Mary Hennessey. Such a sweet, kind and beautiful woman, Mary had been waging a tough battle with cancer. Everyone at Main Streets extends their best wishes to Mike and his sister Jules, and special prayers to their wonderful father, Stephan Ross.

Retired Boston firefighter Joe Connell from 170 St. Alphonsus St. is at Mass General and his family is requesting prayers. While you’re at it, add to your list the mom of first-rate Mission Hill man Bruce Smith, who died last week.

Thursday, June 14 marks the reopening of our Mission Hill Farmers Market, where MacArthur’s Farm and Gary’s Too will return with their wide array of fresh Massachusetts-grown produce and fruit. A new bakery named Proofed is scheduled to provide goodies. Other features will include the Boston Cyclists Union providing free bike tune-ups; SPARC, the MassArt van, offering art activities; chair massages by Christine Rose; and nutritionists from UMass Boston. Once again, we will be offering Boston Bounty Bucks with SNAP Card purchases. These provide a match of up to $10 for those who qualify. Eat well and shop at the Farmer’s Market and patronize our local businesses, the lifeblood of our community.

The writer is the executive director of Mission Hill Main Streets.

Mike’s Donuts owners Maria and Bruce Weinograd (second and third from left) accept the 2012 Mission Hill Main Streets Business of the Year award from Mayor Thomas Menino (left) and Department of Neighborhood Development Director Evelyn Friedman (right) at the Strand Theatre in Dorchester on May 17. (Photo Courtesy Mayor's Office)

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