What’s Happening on Main Streets

By Richard Rouse/Special to the Gazette

Summer will soon descend upon Mission Hill, and I’m happy to report that our Thursday Farmer’s Market in Brigham Circle commences on June 20 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. This year the Great Cape Baking Co. joins the mix, featuring an array of goodies. If Great Cape produces banana bread, it hasn’t a prayer competing with “Business of the Year” Green T Coffeeshop across the street. Green T proprietor Braden Armstrong says, “Bring it on!” to any challenge to his savory sweets status. Years ago, when Main Streets began the Farmer’s Market, it was former director Maggie Cohn’s zeal for healthy eating which drove the process. Some local business owners questioned the wisdom of sponsoring farm stands that potentially might compete for precious local shopping dollars. The theoretical trade-off was that by increasing overall shopping foot traffic, business for everyone would improve, which has been the case. When Mission Hill Health Movement selected Maggie as its director, MHMS decided to partner with it to manage the farmer’s market. What a wise decision. Maggie’s nutritional passion has resulted in our opening a second farmer’s market on Tuesdays beginning June 18 in front of the Roxbury Crossing MBTA station from 2 to 7 p.m. In addition to the usual array of farm-fresh fruits and vegetables, Red’s Best Fish will be featuring the daily catch fresh right off the trawlers. A note of thanks to Children’s Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Northeastern University and the MBTA for their support. Come by and check it out.

On Thurs., June 20, the public is invited to attend the Boston Main Streets Annual Awards Celebration at 7 p.m. in the Strand Theater, 543 Columbia Road in Upham’s Corner, Dorchester. This neighborhood version of Oscar Night features the presentation of the local Business and Volunteer of the Year Awards to each of the 19 Main Street districts in our City. Because Mayor Menino first brought the Main Streets concept to Boston, hizzoner considers the program his “baby” and has never missed this event in the past. With this year being the final one of his mayoralty, interest in securing one of the 1,400 seats is intense. The year 2012 was the first time the Academy Awards theme was employed and my fellow Main Street directors and I had a hoot donning our tuxedos and ball gowns, singing songs aside the baby grand in the chandeliered lobby and traipsing down the red carpet with the paparazzi and pampered prize recipients. Since admission is free, I suspect that many in attendance used the money saved to buy a chapeaux or boutonniere at a (local) shop for the snazzy affair. This year’s Mission Hill business honorees, the aforementioned Green T Coffeeshop, and Volunteer awardee, Mission Bar owner Michel Soltani, will receive their awards from the mayor. Mission Hill’s biggest booster, the irrepressible and suave Persian Soltani, appears a bit nervous about accepting the praise. Observing him on a regular basis, I can attest to his kind-heartedness and deeply felt affection for everyone in this neighborhood. His was a wonderful choice. Doors will open to the event at 6 p.m.

Last month, I wrote that several Main Street directors and I considered hosting a forum for the mayoral candidates on issues affecting small business. Several legal hurdles have been jumped, committees are deliberating, volunteers are organizing and you are requested to mark Monday evening, Aug. 19, at the Strand Theater on your calendar if you wish attend what will be a spirited gathering of Bostonians wishing to learn the plans of the wannabe mayors regarding local entrepreneurship. Response has been overwhelming across the city. I’ll keep you informed as the date approaches.

Longtime RTH resident and movie buff L.B. Gratun is hosting her annual Avenue of the Arts Festival on July 18-26. What originally started as a free event by L. B. for her many senior Mission Hill buds has transformed into a popular gala spanning all generations with live music, refreshments and fellowship. See lbgratun.com for more details.

Bravo to Editor John Ruch for dedicating this month’s Gazette to our first responders. Public employees take an awful beating by columnists when the occasional bozo messes up. Outrage and cynicism make for great headlines. However, this month we honor those who run toward disasters when natural instinct tells them to run away. These public servants are our neighbors, relatives and friends who opt for risky careers simply because they care about others. Last week, I observed Detective Donald Lee from Area B-2 working the construction detail midday at Parker Hill and Huntington, guiding a vehicle backing up. An auto whizzing by nearly clipped him; its side mirror had to have brushed his shirt. He wiped his brow, shrugged his shoulders and smiled (all within the shadow of where firefighter Kevin Kelley died when his ladder-truck crashed four years ago). I’ve known Donnie since childhood. He has a beautiful wife and two college aged daughters, family and friends galore. I shudder to think about what might have occurred. To those women and men who daily don the uniform, I recall my father’s admonition about first responders. He would say, “Offer a prayer whenever you hear a siren.” Had he lived, dad would have turned 101 at the end of this month, yet his advice is still makes wonderful sense to me these many years hence. To dads everywhere, Happy Father’s Day!

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

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