03-01-13 News

Newton Upper Falls news, activities and events
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The Upper Falls News is an email newsletter about what's going on in our village.  The Upper Falls News is brought to you by the Upper Falls Area Council but it's intended to cover any and all news in the village. 

Where am I? - Here's a photo of some place in Upper Falls without its surrounding context.  The game is to look at the photo and identify where in Upper Falls it is (answer below).

Feast at the Falls - The plans for a spectacular neighborhood feast for hundreds of Upper Falls residents in Hemlock Gorge in June continue to progress.  The Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation on Summer St has signed on as the sponsor for the event and is delighted to be able to help get this wonderful neighborhood event off the ground.  The permitting with the DCR and MWRA should be completed soon.  Once that's done the nuts and bolts of planning can begin in earnest. Seana Gaherin of Dunn-Gaherin's restaurant has been putting together some fabulous plans for the June event.  The feast will be catered by local restaurants, will feature roving local musicians, and will be 100% free for the first few hundred lucky Upper Falls residents that snap up the tickets when they become available.   "Like" the Feast at the Falls on Facebook and stay in the loop as the plans unfold.

Pet Peeve Department - Within 24 hours after the recent massive snowstorm, nearly every homeowner in the neighborhood had their sidewalk shoveled .... and it certainly wasn't easy.  The snow stopped falling NEARLY THREE WEEKS ago and even today, there's some big stretches of sidewalk on our biggest streets that are still not clear.  On Chestnut St, the long stretch in front of the Chestnut Grove condos has never been cleared, despite the fact that the sidewalks within the complex were cleared immediately.  From what I hear, there's some disagreement about whether that's the condo's responsibility or the city's.  Well whether it's the city or the condo association's problem - figure it out and get it cleared!.  Going up Oak St from Chestnut to Ossipee, beside the brick mill building wasn't clear for about two weeks.  If homeowners can deal with two feet of snow, then condo associations, commercial properties and the city should be able to deal with it too - especially when they've had THREE WEEKS.   Now I'll take a deep breath, and move on to more pleasant news ...

Second Try for the Wizard of Oz - Much like Dorothy and the tornado, the Countryside School production of the "Wizard of Oz" was completely blown away by the recent snow'mageddon.   The production has been rescheduled for this coming weekend (Sat, March 2 at 4PM and Sun, March 3 at 2 PM).   Tickets for the original dates will be honored this weekend.  Tickets will be available on Friday at the school, at pick up time, and also at the door on Saturday and Sunday.  I don't know about you .... but we're off to see the wizard, the wonderful Wizard of Oz.

Birthday Present - The Echo Bridge Restaurant recently celebrated it's 50th birthday.  What do you get a 50 year old that has everything? - a nice looking new web site.  The web site looks beautiful and tells the story of three generations of the Virgilio family at the restaurant.

... And Then There Was None - Right around the corner from the Upper Falls News editorial office there's a curious construction project going on.  On the corner of Chestnut and Winter there's a historic old building that was a shoe shop for most of the 1800's and more recently it was the Moon and Sixpence Gift Shop until roughly ten years ago.  Since then it's been apartments.  A few months ago, construction started and the entire outside of the building was methodically removed, leaving a very interesting wooden shell from the 1800's.  Next, nearly the entire inside and basement was removed leaving only the inside supporting structures.   In recent weeks, much of the remaining frame and roof of the second floor has been removed leaving just the front facade.  If they keep this up, there won't be much left standing before long.

The building permit says that they are putting in three residential units.  I suspect the odd approach to construction has something to do with meeting Historic Commission regulations to avoid knocking down a historic building, by keeping just enough of the original to qualify as renovation rather than demolition.  When it's all done, the only trace of the original building will be buried deep inside the walls - very curious indeed.

Back In the Day - Here's a few Upper Falls photos from a 1977 edition of the long gone Newton Times, courtesy of Nina Kochs, our neighborhood archivist, and member of the Area Council.  The photos are from a special insert to the newspaper called "Upper Falls Life".  One shows crossing guard Dorothy Melnick crossing some Emerson School students across Pettee St.  The other shows some boys in the 'hood, hanging at the old Emerson Playground.  The first person to name any one of the three boys in the photo will win a one year free subscription to The Upper Falls News.  Send answers here.

Where Did All Those Cars Come From? - The state Dept of Transportation is working on plans to redesign the Route 9 / Route 128 interchange.  The plans include three new traffic lights on Route 9, at 128 and removal of two of the four "cloverleafs" that exist today.  People in both Upper Falls and Waban are a bit wary that this new design could lead to new backups on Rt 9, with overflow traffic spilling into the neighborhoods.  Next Wed, March 6 at 7:45, the Mass Dept of Transportation will be presenting the plans to the aldermen's Public Safety and Transportation Committee at a public meeting in the Aldermanic Chamber on the 2nd floor of City Hall.  All are welcome to review the plans and add your "two cents" to the discussion.

Shameless Commercial Plug - The Upper Falls News, as a rule, avoids all overtly commercial advertisements.  In this case though, we're happy to tear up the rulebook.  Local twelve year old, Allie Riklin has just 'hung out her shingle'.  Says Allie, "I recently took a babysitting course at Newton South, and I'm now looking for clients.  Abilities: can cook, creative, responsible, and completed the Newton Community Ed babysitting course.  Experience: Has looked over kids at adult parties and babysat solo.  Phone number: (617)-719-1136" .

We here at the Upper Falls News can also offer a sterling personal testimonial.  Not only do we know Allie to be extremely responsible, reliable and pleasant in general, but we recently entrusted our own daughter to her care when our go-to baby sitter was unavailable. Our house was still standing and our daughter was completely intact and sleeping happily upon our return - good babysitting results.  We (and our daughter) look forward to hiring Allie again in the future.

Barbers in the News - Here's the Newton Tab on-line story about Mike and Sol's new barber shop on Chestnut St, in case you missed it in the Tab's print version a few weeks back.  From all accounts, they're thriving in their new spruced up premises a few doors down from Sol's old shop.

A Mighty Wind (update)-  In last issue's report of the surprise wind storm, we mentioned that "Down on Chestnut St, it looks like alderman Brian Yates might have have some issues to deal with."  Aldermen Yates sent us an update on the aftermath - "I did get my wires fixed.  However, when NStar came,  I still had electric service to my house but couldn't get out of my driveway.  Instead of just pulling it out of the way,  they decided they had to cut it, leaving me without heat, light, and even telephone service for nearly twenty-four hours.  It's very tough to get electricians when your phone's out too. When the electricians fixed the wires and called NStar to get my electricity back, I learned to my dismay that I needed the Wire Inspector from the city first.  Fortunately he was prompt in showing up.  NStar finally returned late in the afternoon after they had cut my service." 

We welcome Alderman Yates back from his unwanted trip to the 19th century

What was I? - Here's some info about last issue's Where Am I? feature.  The house with the fabulous stone work is on the corner of Oak and Pennsylvania Streets. A reader sent in the following history about the house. "It was Dr. Zambonds house in the 60's, he was the best doctor in town!"


Did You Know ... ? that months that begin on Sunday always have a Friday the 13th?  "Did You Know ...?"  features an interesting and random fact every issue, collected by ten-year-old Upper Falls resident Jayla Reilly.

Send Us Your News - If you have any upcoming events, activities, news, trivia, stories, anecdotes or jokes related to Upper Falls just send them to news@UpperFallsNews.org and we'll include them in the next newsletter.  For those who prefer living in the past, back issues of the Upper Falls News are archived at UpperFallsNews.org.

'Where Am I" Answer - The Frank Barney Conservation Area is a pocket park (1.6 acres) at the corner of Elliot St and Circuit Ave (across from the fire station).  It's a nice little spot.  Take a look if you've never been.