In a different post this week I was telling my personal tale of woe about our house plumbing. Part of that story involved Bob Sullivan, an employee from Newton’s Water and Sewer Dept coming out to my house and checking out the situation.
There was one fascinating detail of his visit that I forgot to mention – the divining stick. First Bob took a look at our inside plumbing. When we went outside, he grabbed a simple looking tool from the front seat of the car that looked like this (above).
He held it by the handle, read more…
I first heard about this a year ago. I bumped into Alderman Kalis at Newton North High School where we were both working with students who were helping us both with web sites we were working on. He told me that he was writing a memoir about the two and a half years he spent living in Russia, just after he graduated from college. My first impression was “oh a personal memoir with some travel stories” and then he started telling me the details. read more…
Having no children in the Newton Schools I have not been following some of the discussions on school building and renovations. I have visited some of the schools and can see that renovations are really needed. At last night Newton Highlands Area Council meeting we had a discussion on the large expansion of the Zervas school and it dawned on me what folks are talking about when I hear “a 16th school”.
One thing I do value in Newton is my ability to walk to many of the shops and services I use. It seems that we have lost the value of that benefit when it comes to school planning. Bruce Henderson has a column coming out in the tab discussing some of these topics and provided a link (Updated Link) for the more online inclined. One point made resonates with me.
Instead of making our schools too large,
we should do what we can to make
them walking-accessible for as much of
Newton as possible. This means aiming
for three classes per grade instead of
four, and building a 16th school where it
will be needed most for future growth.
Walk-able schools, less busing, less traffic, less gridlock, more exercise for kids, what am I missing?
According to Emily Costello on the Newton TAB Blog, Johnny’s Luncheonette has been sold.
There’s an interesting story on page one of today’s Boston Globe that relates to our recent discussions about high schoolers and stress. Apparently, some kids who want to get into highly competitive colleges plan their summers around building their resumes.
Here’s an excerpt:
Children are going to $4,000-plus boot camps where they practice taking the SATs, and are spending sunny days inside, learning how to write code. Some parents are paying $275 an hour to consult professional summer advisers, looking for programs they hope will be attractive to admissions officers or at least lead to an inspiring personal essay on the Common Application.
Now let’s look at a (made-up) scenario:
You are a teenager who can’t afford these kinds of programs or you need to work during the summer or you want to savor some time off. You know from Naviance that your #1 choice — let’s say Amherst College — takes, on average, x number of kids from your high school every year. You want one of those slots but you’re competing against someone who has been working at getting into college since elementary school.
There are two ways parents and schools can help:
1. Parents can chill out, look inward and realize that they’re making their children’s education about themselves, not their kids. (Magic 8 ball says: Highly doubtful).
2. Guidance counselors can help kids understand that life isn’t all about college and if they don’t get into their top choices, they’ll survive and do fine. They can emphasize that, for the most part, their success is not going to be determined by what college they attend; it’s going to be determined by what they do once they get to college.
In much of Eastern Mass there has been a huge uptick in recent years of heroin use. Nasal Narcan can be administered by EMT’s and police on the scene of an overdose to save a life. In many of the hardest hit communities, first responders now carry and are trained in the use of Narcan, as standard procedure and have saved lives.
Hoss’s question – has Newton equipped its police and EMT’s with Nasal Narcan? Should they?
While heroin has only occasionally turned up on Newton’s police blotter, it’s foolish to think our community is immune to the scourge that has swamped other towns and cities in the area.
The Boston Globe reported today that the Animal Control Officer in Ipswich is trying to convince the town selectmen to set up a DNA database of all registered dogs in the town. The idea is that when the powers-that-be discover an uncleaned up dog poop, a sample will get sent off for a DNA match, and the dog’s owner will get fined heavily.
So which will it be for Newton?
A. Continue to wallow in dog filth
B. Immediately institute a canine police state, and let’s tap their phones while we’re at it.
In my neighborhood I was slipping and sliding this morning over ice on a long stretch of sidewalk on Chestnut St that was never shoveled. read more…
Sometime between waking up and showering and mid morning, the water in our house turned off today. I called a neighbor and their water was fine. I filed a 311 report via the city’s web site and then waited, After about an hour I decided that I need to talk to a human about it to get some idea of how long it was likely to be off.
I talked to a very pleasant woman in the water department. She checked and didn’t see any scheduled work read more…
A Boston Globe story reported this week on a survey of Newtonville residents about the proposed Austin Street development. The survey was conducted by the Newtonville Area Council.
According to the article, the majority of the respondents would rather see a smaller project with more parking. Here’s the details on the survey results.
Boston.com reported this past week that a large 40B project in Needham was turned down by the town’s Zoning Board of Appeals. According to the article, the ZBA said “that the project would also have to follow town setback, elevation and open space requirements, and that the developer would have to pay for a traffic signal there.”. The developer is planning on appealing to the state’s Housing Appeal Committee.
An interesting detail is that this project wouldhave put Needham above the 10% threshold for 40B affordable housing. That means that if it was built, the town would not be required to accept future 40B projects so long as they remained above that threshold.
Here’s what puzzles me about the story: