Posts Tagged ‘Massachusetts’

15 New England Municipal Place Names That Are Fun To Say

  • Belchertown, MA
  • Bozrah, CT
  • Effingham, NH
  • Groton, CT
  • Hooksett, NH
  • Isle au Haut, ME
  • Mashpee, MA
  • Ogunquit, ME
  • Seekonk, MA
  • Tewksbury, MA
  • Thetford, VT
  • Tiverton, RI
  • Wethersfield, CT
  • Winooski, VT
  • Woonsocket, RI

Previously: Words That Are Fun To Say

Beer Reviews: Idle Hands Pandora

Beer: Pandora
Brewer: Idle Hands Craft Ales
Source: 22 oz bottle
Rating: *** (7.7 of 10)
Comments: A classy beer which looks hazy with a bubbly thick head.  The nose is fruity and yeasty, while the flavor is malty with a hoppy kick that tickles your tongue.  The thick head persists but leaves no lacing.

 

Beer Review: Pretty Things Lovely St. Winefride

Beer: Lovely St. Winefride
Brewer: Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project
Source: 22 oz. bottle
Rating: **** (8.0 of 10)
Comments: Lovely St. Winifrede is dark & foamy.  The aroma is sweet with a whiff of alcohol.  The taste is spicy, then hoppy, with a clean finish.  The head dissipated quickly with no lacing.   This is a good “meat & potatoes” beer

 

 

Beer Reviews: Cambridge Brewing Company Sgt. Pepper

Beer: Sgt. Pepper
BrewerCambridge Brewing Company
Source: 22 oz, bottle
Rating: **** (8.1 of 10)
Comments:  Spicy and unique, this beer pours out golden with effervescence and a thin head.  The scent is spicy & yeasty and the flavor is a peppercorn spice balanced with a caramel malt.  I found it went well with a vegetable soup and quesadillas.

 

Boston Public Schools Budget Cuts: The Legislature Needs To Hear Our Voices

The Massachusetts State Legislature is still coming to terms on the Senate Bill 235/House Bill 425 “An Act to Further Narrow the Achievement Gap.”  There’s a lot of pressure on our elected leaders to lift the cap on charter schools without first getting a better understanding of how funding charter schools in the state negatively affects the funding and resources for district public schools.  Whether or not you think charter schools are a good option for educating children, I think we can all agree that all schools should be fully funded to allow for equitable education for all students.

 

If you live in Massachusetts, here are a few things you can do to help:

  • Write your elected leaders. Contact information available from this website: http://www.wheredoivotema.com/ The message I sent today to the chairs of the education committee Sonia Chang-Diaz (Sonia.Chang-Diaz@state.ma.us) and Alice Peisch (Alice.Peisch@mahouse.gov) as well as my representative Liz Malia are below (Chang-Diaz is also the senator for my district).  Feel free to crib for your own message.
  • Sign and share information about the QUEST petition with your friends and family. The petition can be found at http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/adequate-funding-for?mailing_id=21010&source=s.icn.em.cr&r_by=8757554. A Spanish translation can be found at http://tinyurl.com/mk6opsv.
  • Join other parents and students at the State House in Boston at 4:30 today, Tuesday, March 25th. This protest is organized by Boston Public School parents from many schools who see the effects of charters on our schools and our children on a daily basis. (See: Facebook page for event)

 

I am a citizen of Boston residing in the Forest Hills/Woodbourne area of Jamaica Plain.  My 6-year-old son Peter is a Kindergarten 2 scholar at the nearby BTU Pilot School, a neighborhood public school with excellent, hard-working teachers and staff and the heart of our neighborhood community.  In recent months, we’ve learned that our school is facing severe budget cuts that will cause the school to lose teaching staff, social workers, Playworks, a school supplies budget, field trips, and other resources vital to equitable education.  Our school is not alone as most schools in Boston are facing their own budget cuts, and other school systems in the Commonwealth are facing similar challenges with dwindling resources.
 
I believe the Massachusetts Legislature can help address the inadequacies and inequality in funding and resources for public schools in Senate Bill 235/House Bill 425 “An Act to Further Narrow the Achievement Gap.”  One issue is charter schools that are receiving a larger piece of the pie in state funding, while the state has neglected to reimburse public schools (see this chart created by a Boston Public School parent: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BjRzkXVCcAE1WEK.jpg:large).  I’m not opposed to charter schools as an educational option for some children, but it seems grossly unfair that one type of school is fully funded while another has to beg for scraps.  The legislature should make it a priority to fully fund all public schools.  
 
With that in mind, please consider the following steps:  
 
• Remove charter school language entirely from Senate Bill 235/House Bill 425 “An Act to Further Narrow the Achievement Gap;”
• Prior to any consideration of raising the charter school cap read the soon-to-be released audit from the State Auditor’s Office regarding charter school finances and practices;
• Work with constituents to draft a more comprehensive proposal regarding the charter school cap. This proposal must address the inequalities already identified, include clear and quantifiable accountability measures that are put into place prior to such legislation being proposed, and explore more equitable or separate funding methods that do not bankrupt our public schools.
 
I understand that you are receiving a lot of attention from lobbyists of the charter school cause.  These groups are backed by billionaires and corporations who have their own ends in supporting the charter school cap that may not be in the best interests of Massachusetts’ children.  Please listen also to the voices of your constituents – the parents, students, and educators of some of the best public schools in the nation and do the right thing for all the state’s children.

 

Beer Review: CBC Spring Training IPA

Beer:  Spring Training IPA
Brewer: Cambridge Brewing Company
Source: Draft
Rating:  ** (6.9 of 10)
Comments: A hazy, golden-colored beer is defined by lots of carbonation and a thick, big-bubbled head.  There’s a grassy bitter aroma and a taste of strong floral hops.  Even after quaffing for a while, the head is still going strong leaving behind some lacing.  Play ball!

Beer Review: Cold Smolder Smoked Lager

Beer: Cold Smolder
Brewer: The Tap Brewing Company
Source: 22  oz bottle
Rating: *** (7.7 of 10)
Comments: A straw-colored beer with a thin head.  The “smoked” scent if faint, but it offers a toasted and pleasantly bitter flavor.  Lots of lace lines the glass post-quaffing.  A nice take on the smoked beer.

 

Beer Reviews: Mayflower Smoked Black Lager

Beer: Smoked Black Lager
Brewer: Mayflower Brewing Company
Source: Draught
Rating: ** (6.8 of 10)
Comments:  This limited beer pours with a mahogany hue and a thick head with large bubbles.  The aroma offers hints of caramel and woodsmoke.  The flavor is a blend of sweet and bitter with a clean finish.  The head vanishes quickly.  I found it paired well with the curried vegetables I had for dinner.

Book Review: Eden on the Charles: The Making of Boston by Michael Rawson

Author: Michael Rawson
Title: Eden on the Charles: The Making of Boston
Publication Info: Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, c2010.
ISBN: 9780674048416
Summary/Review:

This wonderfully researched and well-written history, explores the making of Boston by focusing on the social and environmental factors that shaped the city, its human ecology.  There are five sections of the book:

1. Enclosing the Common – the effort of prosperous Bostonians to enclose Boston Common, changing it from a place of work (pasturing cows and digging up turf) to a place of recreation.

2. Constructing water – the contentious development of a public waterworks, a means by which reformers hoped to improve both the health and morality of the populace, but a process that also forever changed the role of municipal government.

3. Inventing the suburbs – people move from the city, seeking pastoral cities and escape taxation, but they also miss the public works that the city provides.  Some suburbs are annexed by Boston (willingly or otherwise) while some become cities in their own right.

4. Making the harbor – the modern Boston Harbor is human-made not natural, and the processes of landmaking, dredging, damming, et al that modified it so much were a contentious issue in the 19th century when many mariners thought the harbor would be lost with natural water movement.

5. Recreating the wilderness – suburban green spaces such as the Middlesex Fells and the Blue Hills are created as a connection to the colonial forbears and the lost wilderness.

This book is a terrific means of grasping the process of urbanism for modern cities and a unique approach to the history of Boston. It pairs well with Walter Muir Whitehill’s classic Boston: A Topographical History.
Favorite Passages:

“What made that agenda so contentious was that reformers wanted to expand the role of government to achieve it.  Since government had never played a serious role in structuring how Bostonians interacted with their water supply, transferring responsibility for finding adequate water from the individual to the city seemed to some like a radical and potentially dangerous move.  Instead, early experiments in municipal water like Boston’s would prove to be the leading edge of a wave of change in municipal government.  As the century progressed, cities would expand their power to fund larger public works, often through borrowing, and they would pay the cost through general taxes rather than special assessments.  Event the cost of smaller projects that did not require bond issues would increasingly be spread out among all residents of a city.  Public water would encourage urban residents, in Boston and elsewhere, to expand their vision of the public good.” – p. 104

“The Fells and Blue Hills were designed to store information about colonial people and events and prompt visitors to recall the collected stories.  The existence of such places implies a relationship of permanence, lest the memories disappear with the monument…” – p. 269

Recommended books: Boston: A Topographical History by Walter Muir Whitehill, A City So Grand: The Rise of an American Metropolis, Boston 1850-1900 by Stephen Puleo, Boston’s Back Bay by William Newman & Wilferd E. Holton and Gaining Ground: A History of Landmaking in Boston by Nancy S. Seasholes
Rating: ****

Beer Review: Notch Černé Pivo

BeerČerné Pivo
Brewer: Notch Brewing
Source: Draft
Rating: ** (6.4 of 10)
Comments: This is a dark beer, like a stout or porter, but really a dark lager of a Czech style.  The aroma and taste are sweet like molasses with a peaty, earthy undertone.  An interesting change of pace.

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