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Walking The Beat

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

Down with cabin fever, up with art

The theme was wintry, but love was also in the air Friday. Earlier in the day, rose petals sprinkled the sidewalk and a large pink heart lay in a snowbank. (Two small children investigated and verified it was indeed ice.) Nearby, ice sculptor Robert Markey worked from sketches to create a chilly mermaid. The air was warm — warm enough that chunks of snow were falling off buildings — but the ephemeral sculptures kept their shape into evening, as festive throngs took to the sidewalks. 0

Radical renovation

It was a shock to pass the Smith College conference center Tuesday and see that the entire middle of the building had been removed. Considerable digging had been going on in front of the building, but this was radical.  According to the college’s website, Smith is renovating the entrance and lobby of the Conference Center, which is on College Lane overlooking Paradise Pond and the falls. Weather permitting, construction (except for plantings) is scheduled for completion by mid-April, the website reports. Work started in mid-December. Two-way 0

Walking the Beat: On Village Hill

Noticing considerable activity inside the unoccupied front of Village Hill’s Gatehouse building, I called Opal Real Estate Group to see who’s moving in. Liberty Mutual insurance company is the new tenant, according to Opal’s Demetrios Panteleakis. Part of the space will be a retail office and drive-up claim center, he said. When asked about the previously mentioned possibility of a café in the building, Panteleakis said there was still room for a coffee shop, and that Opal is entertaining three “interested parties.” As to the 0

Walking the Beat: Hot Chocolate Run

I had a lot of company on my walk today — runners of all sorts and descriptions warming up for the 10th annual Hot Chocolate Run to support Safe Passage. It was a perfect cold December day, gray skies but no “weather.” The high-energy pre-event had everything: gaiety, laughter, an all-female drum corps, an oompah tuba, recorded James Brown belting out “I Feel Good”; children all over the place, some of them appearing to be pretty serious runners. The 5-kilometer run/2-mile walk event supports Northampton’s 0

Walking the Beat: Skatepark accident

A beautiful fall Saturday, and the kids turned out to skate at the Veterans Field skateboarding facility. Suddenly, three fire trucks, an ambulance and a police car were at the scene. Every parent’s nightmare: an ambulance has been called for your kid. The fire trucks provided manpower, ladders and ropes: a boy lay hurt at the bottom of the bowl. Kids stood around, or floated about on skateboards and scooters, seeming dazed and upset by the accident that had befallen one of their own. Over 0