Tonight 5:30-8:30 - LivableStreets Street Social

Street Social! LivableStreets Alliance

Eat. Drink. Learn. Play. Support. Come out and join us for some great food, music, and media at our new office and exhibit space located on the edge of the MIT campus. Vegetarian food will be offered and tickets will be sold at the door. Please invite family, friends, and neighbors to mingle on the LivableStreets patio. There is a play field across the street for the kids, and plenty of bike parking. There will also be a short program on urban transportation. If weather is questionable, call us to make sure the party’s still on. $15 donation includes raffle entry. Prizes donated by Zipcar.

New stem cell research rules said to imperil scientists

New stem cell research rules said to imperil scientists - The Boston Globe

- Maybe another complication for Harvard's Stem Cell ambitions in Allston? -

State regulators adopted rules for stem cell research yesterday that Harvard University and most of Boston's major hospitals and research centers opposed, fearing they could subject scientists to criminal penalties for certain research activities.

``We are deeply disappointed by the council's action," B.D. Colen, a Harvard University spokesman, said last night. ``We believe that it has inappropriately criminalized an action neither specified nor criminalized by the Legislature."

SAT scores for Mass. high schools - Boston Latin excels & a model for Harvard

2006 SAT scores for Mass. high schools chart -

The Boston Latin School results are amazing - out of 336 schools it ranks in the top 4 in all three categories (reading, writing, and math). This is one of the top overall ranks in the state - it is higher than Brookline, Needham, Newton, Weston, and many others. It is great to see Boston public school student doing well.

Amazingly, there is a school that ranks 1st in all all 3 categories - Massachusetts Academy for Math and Science. This school could be an example for Boston and Harvard as Harvard becomes and active part of the Allston community. The Academy is an 11th and 12th grade public high school for 100 academically accelerated youths. Seniors complete a year of college, taking the same classes as other students at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, a nationally ranked engineering school, thus making the Academy the only public school in Massachusetts whose students attend fulltime a university as seniors in high school. The Academy is a collaborative effort among the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and the high schools of Massachusetts.

The Mass Academy is located in a tastefully renovated, turn of the century brick mill-building that is shared with several physicians' offices, the WPI Extension School, and biotech research firms. Across the street are the biotech/life sciences offices and labs of the Gateway Park initiative, and three blocks away is the main campus of WPI. Juniors spend the majority of their time at the Academy building; seniors spend theirs on the WPI campus. The faculty of the Academy is comprised of the master teachers and visiting scholars who teach the juniors and, by association, the professors and instructors of WPI who teach the seniors.

What Harvard students think about Allston

The Harvard Crimson :: Magazine :: Harvardisms: Learning The Lingo

Haven't they heard about Barry's Corner?

"Allston: 1. The current home of Harvard's athletic facilities and a future home of upper class houses. 2. Home of Blanchard's, king of kegs (and painfully cheap gin)."

Primary may draw low turnout

Primary may draw low turnout - The Boston Globe: "Secretary of State William F. Galvin yesterday said turnout for the Sept. 19 Democratic primary could be low, a situation that could help the candidate with the most passionate supporters.

Yesterday, Galvin predicted that if the election were held today, about 620,000 voters, or less than 20 percent of the total qualified to vote in the Democratic primary, would show up at the polls. "

What a sad state of our democracy that so few will take part in one of the most essential acts.

Menino's college try - redefining town-gown partnerships

Menino's college try - The Boston Globe

MAYOR THOMAS Menino is turning up the pressure on the city's leading universities in an effort to eliminate the barrier between Boston's 145 public schools and the city's major institutions of higher education. Recent changes in leadership at Northeastern University and Boston University and the current search for a new president at Harvard make this an opportune time to redefine town-gown partnerships...

The Boston Connects program at Boston College probably comes closest to what the mayor has in mind. Roughly 50 BC faculty members and graduate students from the schools of education, social work, and nursing work regularly to identify students who need social services and health services in five schools in Allston/Brighton and three schools in Mission Hill.

Save the date! Pre-election candidates night with our State Senator and State Representatives

Wednesday, September 6
Honan Allston Library
6 - 8 p.m.

Please join us for a panel discussion and Q&A period with members of our State House delegation. Issues will include transportation, the Department of Conservation & Recreation (maintainers of the Charles River and the Chestnut Hill Reservoir), instiutional expansion, and much more.

WGBH Ice Cream FunFest - Sept 16 - Arts & Lifestyle: WGBH news: " The 20th annual WGBH Ice Cream FunFest, a one-day, all-you-can-eat ice cream feast, takes place Saturday, Sept. 16, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., rain or shine, at the WGBH parking lot, 125 Western Ave., Allston."

Next year this will probably be at the new 'GBH site on Market Street, so here is the last chance for unlimited ice cream on Western Ave.

In College Football, Big Paydays for Humiliation

In College Football, Big Paydays for Humiliation - New York Times

I don't pretend to understand the finances of Division 1A college football, but it is interesting that Boston College is paying $325,000 to the University of Buffalo (who won 1 game and lost 10 last year) for coming to town for a football game in October. But it could be worse - Auburn and Wisconsin are each paying Buffalo $600,000 to visit them. BC is getting a bargain!

August ACA meeting - Plans prompt parking worries - Local News: Plans prompt parking worries

One of the projects, proposed by MJR Properties, would add retail and office space to Harvard Avenue. The company that bought the building at 226 Harvard Ave. would like to erect a three-story building with retail stores on the ground floor and offices on the other two. Right now, 13 spaces are available at the property, and Hanley said a tentative agreement has been reached with the owners of 90 Brainerd Road to lease 20 additional spaces. To comply with the zoning code, the building would need 53 spaces.

(This project hasn't been approved by the BRA or the community yet, but there is already a website set up advertising the availability of the retail space -

There was considerable concern at the ACA meeting about the lack of on-site parking and the distance to the satellite parking. Here are links to maps showing 226 Harvard and 90 Brainerd which is approx. 3/10 of a mile away)

Stoneline Development, which recently bought 465 Cambridge St., told residents that they have been in discussions with Walgreens to build a pharmacy on the lot.

(The biggest issue with this proposal discussed at the meeting is that the large parking lot would be on the right side of the building facing both Cambridge St and Hano St. There was concern that this would detract from the appearance of the area and walkability of Union Square. The developers said this configuration was needed because of the slope of the site. I also found it impractical that they suggested there would be no left turn allowed from the Cambridge St exit of the parking lot onto Cambridge St because of the traffic congestion this would cause. I doubt that people who park in the front of the lot would bother driving around to the Hano St exit and then turning from Hano St onto Cambridge. I expect people will make the “illegal” left turn anyway and make the bad traffic in Union Sq even worse.)

Police captains given new district assignments

Police captains given new district assignments - The Boston Globe

Acting Boston Police Commissioner Albert Goslin is moving several captains to different districts and has promoted two officers to captain, in what department officials said yesterday is an attempt to reenergize the department and groom promising leaders.

Mark Hayes, a lieutenant detective, will head to the Allston and Brighton district, where he will replace Captain William Evans, who is in charge of the district that includes the Back Bay, Fenway, and the South End.

Register to Vote!

The last day to register to vote in the September 19th Massachusetts Primary Elections is next Wednesday, August 30. To request a registration form from MassVOTE click here.
To cast a ballot in a Massachusetts primary you must be registered as a Republican, a Democrat, or unenrolled. Unenrolled voters may request a ballot for either the Democratic Primary or the Republican Party.
Voters registered for a major party (Repiblican or Democratic) can only vote in that party's primary. Voters registered for a third party will not be allowed to vote in the major party primaries. Currently no third parties are considered official parties in Massachusetts and while they are allowed to field candidates for the general election, they are not eligible to hold primaries
If you wish to change your party designation before the party primary you must submit a new voter registration form by the August 30 deadline.
Check the following links to find out more about voter registration.
How to Register
Info for New Voters
Election Calendar
Your Guide to Elected Offices
Call MassVOTE at 617-542-8683 or 1-888-475-8683 for more info.

Car Insurance Rates Drop in New Jersey (why not here?)

Car Insurance Rates Drop in New Jersey - New York Times: If NJ can do it, how about some insurance reform in Massachusetts?

Joseph Alfano, who works for an office supply company in Clifton, N.J., got a pleasant surprise when he renewed his car insurance this summer. The premium on his 1997 Mercury Mountaineer dropped nearly 30 percent, to $1,273 a year.

“It went down almost $500,” Mr. Alfano said. “That’s significant money.”

More tellingly, it provides a case study in what happens when competitive forces are unleashed and markets are allowed to operate more freely. And while some drivers are worse off, the vast majority of consumers have gained from the changes.
Throughout the country, New Jersey and Massachusetts stood out for their heavy regulation. Some of the biggest insurers shunned the states. But that started changing in New Jersey when state officials, worried that even more insurers would leave, finally decided to give the industry much more flexibility with prices and driver ratings.

T for tardy

T for tardy - The Boston Globe

THERE WILL always be unhappy customers in any business that measures its own performance based on "mean distance between failures." But that's reality at the MBTA, where state transit officials are trying to prepare riders for sharp fare increases in January.

...Also on the plus side, riders who use both subway trains and buses in their daily commute are in store for free transfers, which could actually lower the cost of their ride. But it is not so clear how fare increases from $1.25 to $1.70 for subway rides and from 90 cents to $1.25 for buses translate into better service for commuters. And occasional riders without CharlieCards could be looking at subway fares as high as $2.25 and bus fares reaching $1.60.

Fare increases might be bearable if they coincided with clear improvements to the T's public address systems, which evoke distress calls from distant ships breaking up at sea, and upgrades of LED message boards to include reliable arrival times for the next train. Grabauskas says that many such communication improvements will be in place by the end of 2007. Major upgrades to security systems, including radio interoperability for first responders, are also coming on line, he says.
Transit riders don't care that the T strains under debt service that consumes about a third of the authority's annual operating budget. They want reliability, safety, and cleanliness. That's what the T must provide before it can justify hiking fares

Puppet show at Watertown Mall - Local / Regional News: Local activities

The Wayne Martin Puppets will perform special Back to School performances on Saturday, Aug. 26, at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. at the Watertown Mall, 550 Arsenal St., Watertown. Martin, since forming his company in 1966, has been featured in numerous award-winning television programs and commercials and has earned two Emmy nominations.

Turnpike economics

Turnpike economics - The Boston Globe

The roof caved in on a turnpike tunnel after massive bolts, held in place with super glue, failed. The question now: Is the financing of the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority any more secure?...

That deal is a window into how turnpike finances were managed -- for today, not tomorrow. Maintenance costs and debt service are up, the contingency fund is down, and revenue from the swaptions and money set aside from the sale of Allston property to Harvard is running out. Tolls are scheduled to rise 25 percent in 2008 along with the end of the toll discount program. That's just what we know -- so far.

Publick Theatre on the Charles

Publick Theatre, Boston MA Outdoor Theater

A couple weeks left to see outdoor theatre in Allston

Man dies in fall from Brighton house

Man dies in fall from house - The Boston Globe: "An unidentified man fell to his death from an outdoor staircase at a Brighton residence early yesterday, and city officials said the building's owner will be cited today for not securing the structure."

An artfully inexpensive bid to slow speeders

An artfully inexpensive bid to slow speeders - The Boston Globe: "The city of Cambridge sees its latest installation of public art as potentially traffic-stopping. Or , at least, traffic-calming.

This month , local artist Wen-ti Tsen put the finishing touches on the mural -- white, green, and red dashes in a 20-foot-diameter blue circle -- he painted on the pavement at the busy intersection of Walden Street and Vassal Lane , pleasing neighbors and pedestrians, but angering some drivers.

A raised intersection with elevated crosswalks designed to slow traffic, for example, costs about $100,000 , said Avendano. The city paid Tsen $10,000 for his mural and three years of its maintenance."

Let's hear the city's response to traffic improvement ideas

Let's hear the city's response to traffic improvement ideas - The Boston Globe

A letter by Nathan Gunner of Brookline

"Are any of readers' well-thought-out suggestions and points going to be acknowledged or addressed by the city? As someone who has seen little or backward motion on city streets (i.e., Western Avenue in Allston's repaving that resulted in the removal of a formerly well-designed traffic pattern with organized turn lanes, in favor of a basic and cheaper double yellow line only for its duration), I'm curious what the city's perspective is on some of these valid points. Will any action be taken?"

How to be rid of bedbugs

Coming soon to a bed near you?
For more and more Bostonians, bedbugs are no longer bedtime myths, but sleep-robbing realities. Next month, in response: a bedbug summit.

How to be rid of bedbugs - The Boston Globe: "Buggin' out over bedbugs? Here's some advice offered in a pamphlet from the Allston Brighton Community Development Corporation"

Interim Uses for Harvard Property

Harvard owns a lot of property in Allston (everything in red in this map). For much of it, they have no institutional plans for at least the next 10 years. This is particularly true for their holdings west of North Harvard Street.

So what would you like to see happen on this land between now and then?
Please post your thoughts here or on the AllstonBrighton2006 forum. Members of the Harvard Allston Task Force are meeting with representatives from Harvard to discuss physical and cosmetic improvements to Harvard property, as well as businesses or other organizations that could use space in these buildings. There is also the possibility that some of these buildings have no useful future and will be demolished. In that case, there is an option to do something productive with the cleared land before Harvard builds on it.

Some photos showing the current condition of these properties and the surrounding area can be seen here

ONEin3Boston seeks new council members - Local News: ONEin3Boston seeks new council members: "Mayor Thomas M. Menino is looking for applicants for his ONEin3 Boston Advisory Council. The 24 members of the council advise the mayor on key areas of concern for this constituency and act as ambassadors to the larger 20- to 34-year-old community."

This is a great opportunity to get to work with people at City Hall and throughout Boston to make this a better city. I spent two years on this committee and it was a very worthwhile experience.

Ringer Park Ice Cream Social - Saturday - Local News: Community news: " A free ice cream social takes place Saturday, Aug. 19, 1 p.m., at Ringer Park, Allston. "

A museum to stash all the historical bits of this and that

A museum to stash all the historical bits of this and that - The Boston Globe
The Brighton Allston Historical Society will soon have a permanent home at the Veronica Smith Senior Center

UConn Decides to Build Its Own College Town

UConn Decides to Build Its Own College Town - New York Times
Story about the University of Connecticut, Ohio State, and the University of Pennsylvania, where colleges are building "main streets" with shopping, housing, and other amenities to make their schools more attractive.

Roslindale businesses hope to fend off large chain franchises - another drug store in Allston?

Roslindale businesses hope to fend off large chain franchises - The Boston Globe: "Roslindale's flourishing business owners should think twice before toasting its renaissance, says the founder of the new group Local First Roslindale: Chain stores loom on the horizon"

This is a relevant issue for our community, too. At the August ACA agenda includes a proposal to build a Walgreens or CVS at 465 Cambridge St in Union Sq.

The current building there is certainly a mess and it would be nice to see something better looking there. But is a chain pharmacy what we need? There is already a CVS at 1266 Comm Ave and a pharmacy in the Stop & Shop at 60 Everett St at the Brooks Pharmacy at 181 Brighton Ave. How many places do we need to have that can fill a perscription within a 1/3 of a mile?

Zoning Board hearings

9:30 A.M. on Tuesday, August 8, 2006

15 Henshaw Street
Change the legal occupancy from two-family and office to a three-family dwelling.

6 Atkins Street
Confirm the legal occupancy as a one-family dwelling and erect a one-story sunroom addition.

53 Ashford Street
Change the legal occupancy from a three-family dwelling to a six-family dwelling by dividing the existing units, and construct external fire escapes.

55 Ashford Street
Change the legal occupancy from a three-family dwelling to a six-family dwelling by dividing the existing units.

If you wish to express an opinion in regards to the above proposals either in favor or in opposition, please mail to:

Board of Appeal
1010 Massachusetts Avenue, 4th floor
Boston, MA 02118

Boston's new Chief of Public Works and Transportation

City of Boston: Mayor Thomas M. Menino announced today the appointment of Dennis Royer as Chief of Public Works and Transportation. This newly created cabinet level appointment comes as the Departments of Transportation and Public Works are being merged.

In his new position, Mr. Royer will develop, implement and manage all projects and policies that contribute to attractive and efficient infrastructure, and the moving of both vehicular and pedestrian traffic safely through the City of Boston. He will also oversee Public Works and Street Management, the Transportation Department and Central Fleet Maintenance.

The main goals of this new position are to eliminate any overlapping responsibilities between both departments, improve quality and efficiency of services, and oversee the design and implementation of improvements to streetscapes and all pedestrian pathways.

Primary Elections coming up soon

Wednesday, August 30, is the deadline to register for the primaries. The Republican and Democratic Primaries will be held on Tuesday, September 19, 2006.

Click here for a list of offices and the candidates running

Click here to register to vote

Heat taxes power and patience

Heat taxes power and patience - The Boston Globe: "Scott Salman, a spokesman for the Boston Fire Department, said the only heat-related incident his department dealt with was a small fire resulting from the melting of wires in a manhole on Harvard Avenue in Allston"

In defense of Charlesview

In defense of Charlesview - The Boston Globe: "We would like to respond to a letter from a resident of Charlesview Apartments published in this space last week. The letter was written in response to an article that appeared in the July 16 edition of City Weekly: ``Harvard ups the ante on Charlesview.' We found the letter to be a total misrepresentation of the very open process now underway at Charlesview."

On BNN, Councilor McDermott asks "voice or too much vice"?

On BNN, voice or too much vice? - The Boston Globe
What he saw on TV prompted Allston/Brighton City Councilor Jerry McDermott to start a campaign to monitor the station's programming because, he said, it may compound the problem of youth violence in Boston. On Tuesday, the City Council's Committee on Youth Violent Crime Prevention held a public hearing at City Hall, where McDermott and other city councilors listened to testimony from producers at BNN, students, members from women's rights groups, and the Boston Police Department.
At the hearing, McDermott said it's not his intention to criticize BNN's hip-hop shows, but rather a chance for the community to discuss how a local-access station could be used to promote positive values.

Garden transforms a mean street

SAN FRANCISCO / Garden transforms a mean street / 4 years after a scrubby median patch was planted, crime is down and neighbors cultivate friendship as well as flowers

What a great example of making something out of nothing.

Database tracks performances of city departments, response to complaints

Database tracks performances of city departments, response to complaints - The Boston Globe: "There are certain things you don't want lost: an airline reservation, an expensive package, or a complaint to City Hall. So Boston is now planning to take a cue from airlines and companies such as FedEx. Soon, when you call the city to gripe about a pothole or about garbage that did not get picked up, you will receive a tracking number.

By the end of the year, residents who call the mayor's 24-hour hotline will be able to learn what has become of their complaints, which will be assigned numbers and logged in a central database so residents can check the status of their complaints and watch as they traverse the city's bureaucracy."

Commuter crashes eyed as a cash cow - The Boston Globe

Commuter crashes eyed as a cash cow - The Boston Globe: "Looking for new ways to collect from some of the half-million suburbanites who drive into Boston each day, a city councilor is proposing a surcharge on those who cause accidents.

An automatic charge of several hundred dollars levied on out-of-town motorists who are deemed by police to be at fault in accidents would defray costs of emergency services, under a proposal by Councilor Robert Consalvo to be submitted to the council today."