Archive | September, 2013

Fall Season with Summer Weather

30 Sep

With the return of pumpkin spice lattes and sweater weather, one would think fall has officially arrived, but is it here to stay?

Forecasts for the current week and upcoming days project warmer temperatures and lack of rainfall similar to summer weather. Currently, the city is well below the average for amount of rainfall, but it is not a record-setting level, nor does it indicate a dry season. Forecasts are not predicting any rain in the next eight days. Wednesday is predicted to be the hottest day of the week, with temperatures reaching the low eighties while the entire week is projected to be just as warm. This warm streak is good for apple orchards, viewing the changing leaves, and other outdoor activities. The heat makes it a great time to start new crops too.

Unfortunately, the heat means the sweaters might just have to stay in the closet for a few more weeks.


ArtWeek Boston!

26 Sep

ArtWeek Boston is a biannual event that, similar to Restaurant Week, gives people an opportunity to experience things they normally would not be able to see. This year, the event takes place from September 27th to October 6th. True to the name, the events will take place over the course of the week, some lasting for the entire week while others are one-time only.

ArtWeek Boston was created out of the Citi Performing Arts Center’s desire to spread art and entertainment to a larger community throughout Boston. Although the event officially begins on Friday, some art installations have already been set up, including Play Me, I’m Yours, which features playable pianos placed throughout the city. ArtWeek Boston manages to showcase all forms of art, from visual to performance, through the many different events offered throughout the week. Not all of the events are free, so be sure to check out ArtWeek’s website prior to arriving at an event.

New Green Line Signs

23 Sep

On Thursday, the MBTA debuted new signs for the Green Line train. With the help of the Celtics’ first round draft pick Kelly Olynyk, the city introduced “Next Train” electronic boards to the Kenmore Station. Unlike last year’s upgrade to other stations on various other lines, the signs at Kenmore Station are not countdown clocks, which state how long before the next train arrives. Albeit having a countdown would be helpful to commuters, the new signs will at least say which train will be next arriving at the platform. Instead of having to wait until the train arrives to know which line it’s on, riders will now know whether the next train coming is the one they want. MassDOT secretary Rich Davey said at the unveiling that the countdown clocks are expected to arrive at the Kenmore Station in the next twelve to fourteen months. Also, signs will be installed in other green line stations over the coming year. The signs are being considered as the first experiment in a long project to improve the current transit system.

New Parks in the City

19 Sep

Mayor Menino has some more ideas on changing the way Boston moves, but this time, he’s not changing transportation. On September 12th, the city opened its first “parklet,” an outdoor seating area that takes the place of parking spots. The idea for “parklets” originated in San Francisco, where thirty currently exist. Boston’s parklets differ from the original in that they are designed to appear like actual parks rather than just outdoor seating. Regardless of appearance, the goal of the parklet is still to encourage community activity in a welcoming space.

Aside from taking the place of parking spots, parklets are placed in front of local businesses, who hope that the location will aid business. There is a trade-off though: while the city paid for the creation of the first parklet, in the future, the city anticipates business to volunteer building costs along with maintaining the parklet’s appearance. Overall, the parklets have been well received, with the only negative being the loss of parking spots. Currently, plans are in works for the creation of several more parklets in Allston, Jamaica Plain, Mission Hill, and the South End.

Homeless Man Returns Bag of Money

17 Sep

A homeless man discovered about $40,000 in a backpack but instead of keeping it to himself, he turned the lost money in to the police department. This heroic deed was committed by Glen James, who has been homeless since 2005, but is currently living in a shelter.  James said about the act that even if he was desperate, he would not even have taken a penny. James attributes his attitude to his strong faith in God, who, he says has always taken care of him.

The backpack has since been returned to its owner and James has been commended by the Boston Police Commander, Edward Davis. In a small ceremony on Monday, James received a special citation from the commissioner for his actions along with gratitude from the backpack’s owner, a Chinese student who was in town visiting friends.

A Virginia man was so inspired by James’ actions that he set up a collection for James to reward him for his good deed. After seeing the story, Ethan Whittington of Richmond, Virginia felt that James deserved some reward for returning the money especially considering his situation. If you’re interested in helping out, visit the website.

Making Biking Safer

12 Sep

There might be a new addition to the Public Garden. The city is currently thinking about installing two-way cycle tracks that run around the garden. Public input is encouraged; a public hearing will be held on September 18th in Beacon Hill to discuss the plans.

Cycle tracks are meant to serve as a safer place for bicyclists to ride since they are a well-marked area physically separated from traffic. They are part of Mayor Menino’s plan to turn Boston into a better city for bicycling. More cycle tracks are anticipated as part of the proposed Bike Network Plan, which aims to safer paths for bicyclists to travel and thus encourage more residents to bike through the city.

The track around the garden would be on Arlington Street, Beacon Street, Boylston Street and Charles Street and would also connect with the Charles River Bike Path. Of course, adding the bike tracks to those streets would cause some traffic interruption during construction, but the city is leaving that open to discussion for the public hearing.

Similar tracks are set to be built in Dorchester and potentially East and West Broadway.

Should You Really Wash That Chicken?

10 Sep

A study done by researchers at Drexel University has found that washing raw chicken is actually more harmful than previously assumed. Through washing, cooks give the potentially harmful germs from chicken a medium of movement, which is the washing water. Using a germ tracking simulation, researchers found that germs tend to be spread in a two to three-foot radius due to splashing. The germs attach themselves to the water particles and are invisible to spot. If one is not exacting in their cleaning practices, salmonella and other dangerous illness could be spread throughout the kitchen. The chances of cross-contamination occurring also increases. Washing of the chicken did not do much in terms of decreasing the amount of bacteria on the chicken itself. Researchers noted that the particularly dangerous germs that could inhabit the bird could really only be killed by cooking the chicken to an internal temperature of 165 degrees, which is the recommended cooking procedure.

If washing the chicken does more harm than good, why do people still do it? Some say that washing chickens has become ingrained in the American cook’s culture. It was something that was suggested for years by iconic cooks such as Julia Child. In many homes, where cooking skills are learned, the idea that chicken should be washed before preparing has been handed down through families. Now it might be time to break tradition, for the sake of health.