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Walking The Beat

Pining away on Village Hill in Northampton

The pines were nearing the end of their lives, according to Beth Murphy of MassDevelopment. When a row of trees gets that old, she said, the row develops gaps. In Village Hill plans, Murphy added, they were never considered “specimen” trees to be preserved. I’m no forester, but they looked tall and whole and stately to me, and with all the new buildings, they provided a welcome break for the eye — from within the development as well as from outside.  Those trees lined the 0

Apple crisp days become December brittle

Days past ...  First snow this week for grandmother’s house, but we had our mellow days. One morning in early November began with a balloon sighting over the Valley.  Passing the Round House that day, I met the gardeners who keep that building’s gardens so beautiful. They were doing their fall cleanup.  The mastermind, Beth Duryea of Sawmill Farm Garden Care in Whately, was generous with advice to this less developed gardener. She has a way with color, form and harmony, choosing plants in unusual combinations that yet 0

The night they drove Ques. 2 down

 Well, dear reader, the day after. You know I’m sad. Question 2 failed, thanks to a $9 million campaign by Big Beverage: the American Beverage Association, bottlers including Coca-Cola and Nestle, grocery chains such as Stop & Shop and Big Y. Now our legislators can (disingenuously) say the people have spoken. But you know and I know that the people were seriously misled. Anne Borg, co-president of the League of Women Voters, one of many organizations that supported Question 2, said it well. “It’s unfortunate, but 0

Our Polish heritage

 Everybody ready for the Pulaski Day parade? For many in America (though not among the country’s indigenous people) Monday is Columbus Day. Here in the Valley, with its many residents of Polish descent and their strong culture, we mark Pulaski Day, honoring Gen. Casimir Pulaski, a Polish hero who fought and died in the American Revolution. He fought for independence in his native Poland and fled after a failed uprising, emigrating to North America at the recommendation of Ben Franklin. Known as the father of the 0

Feeding body and soul

 On the bike path today, between Veterans Field and the Roundhouse lot, two young men were scything—that’s right, using scythes, not weed whackers—to clear weeds from existing plantings and preparing to plant more edibles along the path. Farther along, several young people were working on the dragon mural under the South Street bridge. The dragon’s tail is almost finished now, with new bubbles filled with paintings. The word Gratitude overarches the tail section. (Community and Harmony are the words framing the body.) Across the path, a woman 0

Thoughts on Question 2

 Nature cleans up after itself. We don’t. That’s why I’m glad Gov. Patrick has taken a stand for the bottle bill update (Question 2 on the Nov. 4 ballot). This would require deposits on non-alcoholic, noncarbonated beverages, Currently, that’s only a requirement for carbonated drinks (beer, soda, etc.). When the Bottle Bill passed in 1982, people weren’t buying water, tea, juice and sports drinks in nonreturnable bottles. Now they are. Although an amazing 80 percent of returnable containers are redeemed for the deposit, billions of nonreturnables 0

Village Hill, Anne T. Dunphy: What's in a name?

The controversy in Williamsburg about possibly renaming the renovated Anne T. Dunphy School (full disclosure: I was a teacher’s aide in the Burgy schools in the early 1980s) raises a number of questions particular to Williamsburg. The interface between the families who have been there for generations and those who are more recent arrivals has always been a bit rough. Friction is inevitable. I’m inclined to think history should be honored. But these matters also arise here in the city. As Village Hill development continues at 2

Music, bread and daffodils

On a lovely Easter morning, most passersby were in happy mode (for many, the most beautiful words in the English language are “three-day weekend.”) Someone was out behind a house on State Street noodling around on a guitar, doing some fine channeling of Jimi Hendrix. I enthused to a young man nearby, and he said, “From ‘Are You Experienced’—it’s on the tip of my tongue—‘The Wind Cries Mary.’” He was right. A flock of high school-age kids (could have been college, I don’t know) came along next, 0

Dragon’s tale

The dragon-slash-snake that’s painted on the abutment under the South Street bridge has cheered me on many a walk along the bike path. It has been there about a year, designed with small circular “windows” in which, over time, artists have painted designs, symbols and pictures. Ultimately, along the top, small circles contained letters that spelled out “community” and “harmony.” Every time I passed by, I wondered who had come up with the idea and who had executed it in such an appealing fashion. Not everyone was thrilled. In 0

Spring not quite sprung

A perfect spring day, Tuesday, March 11. In New England, we know well enough to jump on it. We’ll have some kind of precip tomorrow, rain, sleet, snow, sneet, then a cold day or two; back to warmer on the weekend. Spring tease. Besides birdsong, top-down convertibles and runners in tank tops and shorts, other signs: Industrious young people scrape the chunky slush off the skate park concrete. Demand has been pent up for a long time. Waves flow down the sidewalks, and snowmelt finds 0