What’s Happening on Main Streets

Mission Hill’s version of the Normandy Landing called Move-in Day benefits greatly when the first of September falls on a Saturday. Municipal officials, college representatives, and landlords work together to pre-plan and organize the onslaught as best they can. Police officers re-route the traffic flow at the intersections and discourage those “I’ll just be a second” types. Responsible landlords hire cleaning and moving crews to supplement the scores of volunteers from the schools tasked with aiding the movers. Private rubbish haulers toss discarded furnishings and trash into their hoppers while City inspectors traverse the hill clutching citation books in their grip.

Mission Hill Main Streets works in advance with merchants to reschedule their deliveries to help lessen the traffic woes and storefronts sport all manner of greetings to entice new patrons. The Boston Police greet U-Haul drivers with a friendly welcome and a stern warning that revelry and misbehavior will not be tolerated on Mission Hill. BPD Captain Terry Thomas instructs his officers to deliver this message to every renter personally, instructing parents that there will be swift and severe response to any foolishness by their precious offspring. Handshakes and smiles abound while reminding these young people that they are joining a long-established neighborhood of families. Attempts to turn this community into an off-campus amusement park will not be tolerated. Despite the logistical pressure of moving so many in a short time, the consensus is that each year seems better than the last one.

Construction underway at the Mission Park development on Huntington Avenue proceeds smoothly. Roxbury Tenants of Harvard (RTH) director Karen Gately’s enthusiasm for entryways, retaining walls and cheery landscaping will provide a welcome facelift for that busy thoroughfare of Mission Hill. Dramatic improvements to the development have occurred since her arrival. I’m heartened when a successful local product like Karen returns to her roots and gives back to her neighborhood. Bravo.

A new season of community art exhibits commences in the old Sparr’s Drugstore windows at 635 Huntington Ave. at the corner of Longwood. Owned by Harvard School of Public Health, the art space is a collaborative effort with Mass Art and Mission Hill Main Streets aptly named “Sparring Partners.” This series of presentations by talented locals is dutifully arranged by the amazing Alison Pultinas and Elena White of Mass Art and runs throughout the year.

Please let your neighbors know that a free Wentworth Institute of Technology education is available to qualified Mission Hill students called the Jimmie Beverly Community Scholarship. Community activist and longtime local resident Jimmie promoted education for local kids before her untimely passing from a massive stroke ten years ago this coming January. Wentworth has endowed this altruistic memorial to an inspiring woman specifically for this neighborhood. For more information, contact Wentworth’s Johanna Sena at 617-989-4526.

Congratulations to David Passafaro on being named incoming President of New England Baptist Hospital, succeeding current President Trish Hannon this Oct. 1. Having worked with and admiring David since the early 1980s, I know his to be a solid selection. Overseeing America’s premier orthopedic hospital requires enormous effort and David is well equipped to handle the challenge. With 125 years of The Baptist providing excellent care to all, it is the top choice of athletes from Ted Williams and Jack Nicklaus to our current Boston Celtics squad. NEBH’s new chief executive will unquestionably provide leadership on a championship level.

I’m passing along this handy tip given by that New York neurologist bitten by a shark while swimming in Truro this August. Dr. Lytton recommends punching the brute in the gills when he clamps down on you, thereby causing the shark to release and flee. Please don’t complain to me that I never impart useful information from this column!

Like many Americans, I was saddened about the passing of Senator John McCain. I’ve been a fan for many years. Although differing with him on several issues, I admired his integrity and tenacity in fighting for what he believed in. He was no one’s lackey and took his responsibilities seriously but never himself. McCain possessed that refreshingly rare political gift of admitting his errors publicly. I enjoyed reading his books and had the pleasure of spending time with him. Like him, I worry about the current trend of rabid ideological purists drowning out differing viewpoints in our public discourse. Our political process discourages moderation, but I’ve found that the many people are wary of extremists. In recent years, the extinction of liberal republicans and conservative democrats has not been helpful toward achieving progress. We need diversity of opinion. Hopefully, it is only a phase we’re going through.

Much has been said about the late senator, pro and con. His classy concession speech upon losing to President Obama elevated him forever as a statesman. McCain loved the promise and aspirations of this country. I’ll close by sharing words John gave on the Senate floor after being lambasted by both liberals and conservatives over the release of the embarrassing unclassified report on the CIA’s use of enhanced interrogation techniques. He challenged all Americans to live up to our nations ideals… “We are always Americans, and different, stronger and better than those who would destroy us.” Senator McCain will be missed.


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