What’s Happening on Main Streets

August 5, 2016
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Main Streets Awards night continued…

Our Golden Broom Award recognizes the “Cleanest business in the neighborhood.” Competition is always fierce for bragging rights that accompany this unique annual bauble. First term At-Large City Councilor Annissa Essaibi George, a small business owner and former Fields Corner Main Street director, impressed the audience with her reflections about the economic impacts of local trade as she conferred this year’s Golden Broom plaque to Tremont House of Pizza owner Chris Yianasmidis. For over 30 years, Chris and his family have provided outstanding products and given unwavering support to the entire Mission Hill neighborhood from his spic and span shop. Bravo to Chris!

Earlier this year, John Todd told me he was stepping down from our Main Streets board of directors. Nary a week passes that John doesn’t dropped by my office to share wit and common sense advice to help sustain the quality of life for our local business district. A man well into his ninth decade, John appreciates the special character of this neighborhood. In his youth, this transplanted South Ender flipped for a glamorous Mission Hill blonde named Mary and the rest, they say, is history. It is hard to find a more beloved, devoted, and loving couple than Mary and John Todd. It was an honor to extend a small token of appreciation to the great John Todd from everyone at Main Streets.

Mission Hill City Councilor Josh Zakim and Board President Michel Soltani presented the Mission Hill Main Streets Treasured Asset Award to a woman who for decades has assisted those in need of help with public safety, housing, public health, business, family issues, politics, community enhancement, or her beloved church. Carmen Pola most current passion is the well-being of the greater Mission Hill community of seniors. This night, Carmen’s natural ebullience escaped her as she humbly and graciously thanked, then threw her arms around Michel, startling the dashing Mission Bar owner. The crowd ate it up!

Mission Hill Main Streets proudly bestowed its 2016 Outstanding Public Service Award to Commissioner Michael Dennehy and the Boston Public Works Department. Rarely recognized and seldom described in dazzling terms, the men and women of DPW perform fabulous feats every day for the citizens of Boston. This agency attends to its tasks more efficiently, effectively, and respectfully under the leadership of this DPW chief.

Dennehy rose through the ranks to acting commissioner under Mayor Menino, and Mayor Walsh elevated this visionary administrator to continue improving performance and morale at this vital municipal outpost. Having received the award himself in 2015, Councilor Josh Zakim made appropriate and heartfelt remarks. Josh was pinch-hitting for local state Rep. Jeffrey Sanchez, who was in Washington, D.C. on legislative business. Jeffrey later related to me that while in D.C., he ran into our Congressman Michael Capuano and he said they both lamented not attending our evening celebrating community cooperation. Instead, they had to witness the legislative impasse occurring at the sweltering at the capital.

Our raffle baskets drew lots of attention with VIP game tickets along with an array of Boston Celtics swag donated by New England Baptist Hospital. Three different pairs of Red Sox box seats were donated by Adam Sarbaugh at Cornerstone Real Estate. Two large Mission Hill baskets stuffed with gift certificates from various eateries like Squealing Pig, Mission Bar, Lilly’s Pasta, Mike’s Donuts, and Penguin Pizza also included a two night stay at the EnVision Hotel, along with apparel from Kush Groove, various types of local shirts and hats, wine, Hard Cider pressed from Roxbury Russet apples (a fruit species originally developed on Parker Hill orchards) from Eric Alden’s private stock, and novels that feature Mission Hill. With great food and refreshments, a comfortable setting at Mass Eye & Ear, Longwood and extensive community participation, our Main Streets Awards Night brought out the “Best” of Mission Hill. Thanks, one and all.

Massachusetts grown produce, honey, and farm-baked goods are available at the Mission Hill Farmers Markets at Roxbury Crossing on Tuesdays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and at Brigham Circle on Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The program begins in late June and continues until November with Gary’s Too Farm from Townsend, McArthur Farms from Holliston, and the Ancient Baker from Boston along with the University of Massachusetts-Boston Nutrition Info booth. In addition to cash, we take EBT cards and participate in the Boston Bounty Bucks program sponsored by Boston Children’s Hospital, Whole Foods, and the Mayor’s Office. We accept WIC vouchers, Farmers Market Coupons, Senior Coupons and ABCD senior coupons and are a designated meal site for children 18 and under, which provides a nutritious lunch at 1 p.m. and a snack at 3 p.m. Once again, the invincible Barry Twomey keeps the whole operation happy and hummin’!

Mission Hill Farmers Market is a partnership between the Mission Hill Health Movement and Mission Hill Main Streets. Sponsors include Vela Foundation, Mission Hill/Fenway Neighborhood Trust, Beth Israel/ Deaconess Medical Center and others. At this time of year, a juicy red ripe tomato is my idea of manna from heaven!

I don’t make a habit of plugging businesses outside our Main Streets district. However, two local success stories have recently opened branches not too far away in case you get bitten by the travel bug. Braden Armstrong and Tony O’Brien unveiled a second Green T Coffee Shop at the corner of Walter and South streets in Roslindale, right near Fallon Field. This venue engages customers at a bus stop rather than a trolley platform, but offers the same tasty products and aroma of the Brigham Circle original. Squealing Pig owner Diarmuid O’Neill operates a new restaurant in West Roxbury named in honor of his father called “Eat with Jack O’Neill” with a slightly more formal menu than the “Pig.” Sources say it is a favorite with the locals. I enjoyed the Baked Seafood Pie on one occasion and the Shepherd’s Pie on the second. Both have earned… thumbs up!

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