11-12-13 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. 

Upper Falls Historic Trivia - What traditional neighborhood activity happened every January in Hemlock Gorge back in the 1930's?

Greenway Construction - At first glance, it looks like not much has been going on with the Greenway construction project ... but first glances can be deceiving.  Standing at Oak St, the right-of-way looks almost unchanged.  Walk down the tracks a bit towards Tower Rd and you'll find that all the tracks and ties have already been removed, all the way to the end of the trail at National Lumber.

While work has not yet started between Oak St and the Charles River, we do have some news to report about that stretch.   The Biltmore Bar & Restaurant has agreed to pull their parking lot back a few feet from the Greenway and plant and maintain a vegetation border (trees, shrubs etc.) at the edge of the parking lot.  This will definitely help spruce that area up a bit.

Here's a video of NewTV's coverage of the Greenway ground breaking.  Also, the Newton Conservators just added a page to their web site in preparation for Newton's newest park - the Upper Falls Greenway.  They've got lots of photos too.

Major Renovations - Bruce Marcy's house at 59 High St, the one with the fun front yard with the pond and the statues has been sold.  The Upper Falls Historic Commission will be meeting this Thursday to review the developer's plans to build three units on the property along with a three car garage right at the sidewalk.  All interested neighbors should attend the commission's meeting on Thursday, Nov 14, 7:30 PM in Room 202 in City Hall.

Coming to a Theater Near You - Local resident Jim Lerner has long been a film buff.  A few months ago, Jim decided that it was time to try getting behind the camera.  He signed up with NewTV, took a series of free classes to learn the equipment and techniques.  He's now shooting a documentary about the Making of the Upper Falls Greenway.  In recent weeks he's been doing lots of filming - interviewing participants, filming the construction details, capturing the groundbreaking, etc. 

Last week I noticed that there was one very important person in the Making of the Greenway story that was not on Jim's interview list ... so we turned the camera around and interviewed Jim too.

Upper Falls Poetry - In 2003, a poet named Douglas Worth published a book of poems called "Echoes in Hemlock Gorge".  The entire book is poems he wrote about our favorite park.  Here's the first poem in the book - "Hemlock Gorge"

Speak Out Against Bus Fees - Until recently, all elementary students that lived more than a mile from school could ride the school bus for free.  That rule was quietly changed from one mile to two miles a few years ago.  Since then all of Upper Falls elementary schools students now pay hefty bus fees ($350/year) to get to their public school.  The original rule was based on the premise that no child should need to pay to get to school.  If they lived within a mile, it was assumed that they could walk, if further than a mile, it was the city's responsibility to provide free bus service.  With the newer two mile rule, the city has washed its hands of any responsibility for transporting Upper Falls students to school.

Various Upper Falls residents have been raising this issue with The School Committee in recent months.  We urge local residents to go to the School Committee meeting this Wed (7PM at NewTV on Easy St) and speak out on the issue.  The Committee accepts public statements at the start of the meeting so get there a bit early and put your name on the list.

Relaxing by the Falls - Perched right above the waterfall, above what used to be the Mills Falls Restaurant, is the Newton Chiropractic and Wellness Center.  They just moved in and would like all the neighbors to stop by for their Open House this week.  Tell them that you're from Upper Falls and they'll let you try out their "Hydro-Massage" for free.  You lie on it a warm cushion, fully clothed, and it massages you from the tip of your toes to the top of your head.  Click here to come by on Fri Nov 15 from noon-2PM or click here to stop by on Sunday, Nov 17 from 2-4PM.    Here's an account of our visit to their premises including a tale of strange stuff streaming out of the pores of my feet.

Kids Funs Stuff - Another new business in another mill building is having its own Open House this weekend.   Boston ReadWrite just opened in the red brick building at Oak and Chestnut St.   Bring your kids on Saturday from 2-5PM for "a fun-filled afternoon that includes demos, activities, and give aways".  To RSVP or for questions, click here.

Stay off the Streets At Night - The winter overnight parking is upon us.  From November 15th through April 15 its illegal to be parked on the streets of Newton between the hours of 2:00 AM and 6:00 AM.

Did You Know ... that the first golf balls, way back in 1400's, were made of wood"Did you know ..." features an interesting and random fact every issue, collected by eleven-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.

"Upper Falls Historic Trivia" Answer - According to Ken Newcomb's Makers of the Mold - "In those days it was customary in early January for us kids to lug our Christmas trees down to the river bank to create a huge bonfire. The flames and sparks shooting high in to the air provided not only a spectacular sight but also much appreciated warmth on a cold, blustery day."