Home 'n' hearth
The mayor's office reports inspectors swarmed the areas around Ashford and Linden streets this week and found 40 serious code violations in 25 buildings.
City officials launched the inspection blitz in reaction to last month's Linden Street fire that left one BU student in critical condition with head injuries after he jumped out of a window to escape the flames.
Among the violations found in buildings on Gardner, Ashford and Wadsworth streets: Non-functioning or missing smoke and carbon-monoxide detectors, faulty heating systems, rats, illegal basement and attic apartments, blocked exits and too many students.
"We will not allow landlords to take advantage of students by neglecting their properties and putting people at risk," Mayor Menino said in a statement.
Mike the Mad Biologist riffs on Bostonography's population density maps and ponders how much of Beacon Hill, the Back Bay and the North End approach Manhattan levels of density without anything approaching Manhattan-style building heights:
Boston has two things going for it that most other cities don't have: narrow streets and sidewalks. Not a lot of space is wasted in residential areas. Sidewalks at most are about nine to ten feet wide, and skinnier in other places (e.g., Beacon Hill). The streets typically are very narrow–about ten Mad Biologist paces (my pace length is about average)–if you factor in parked cars, add about four paces. Not only does this making walking around easier, but the real estate is used to house people, not air or cars. That allows much higher densities (although it makes drivers crazy at times) without skyscrapers.
Ed question: Would that also apply in Somerville, still one of the most densely packed cities in America?
Dan Miller reports stumbling onto the lair of the mouse in his house:
While cleaning the basement, we found a rolled-up carpet remnant with several little mustard packs inside, nibbled open and sucked dry.
Our little friend had to climb up on top of a condiment-supply table, carry the pack of mustard with his teeth and scurry to the other side of the basement.
The Boston Business Journal catches up with Harold Brown, who worries that if landlords take advantage of a tight rental market in Boston and jack rents up too much, they could see a serious effort to bring back rent control.
Nikki Frankel asks on Jan. 12:
Hey, Boston, is anyone else being pressured to renew their September lease already? Seems wicked early to me.
John Ford lists uses for this wonder liquid, including:
11. To cure foot odour, wash your feet with vodka.
At BU, students freak out and sleep in common areas.
A more mature Doug Haslam uses a different technique: a cat and a small piece of cheese:
We hear noises, and it sounds like a mouse, but I don't want it to be a mouse. I want it to be the fridge, even though that would be much more expensive. Actually, it sounds like a mouse that has gained the ability to use tiny tools, like a saw or nail gun.
Building Green Boston reports Jamaica Plain is fast becoming a strong niche for green building:
We have 4 active projects in the area and have bid over 10 in the past 6 months.
With photos and details on one house's energy-efficiency retrofit.
Malden Patch reports foreclosure protesters gathered up trash from a foreclosed Malden house they say Bank of America has let go to hell, then took it over to the Beacon Hill home of the president of the bank's Massachusetts division and dumped it there.
Court extends protection of law against stupid evictions to tenants getting evicted before law was passedBy adamg - 9/6/11 - 11:26 am
The Supreme Judicial Court ruled today that a 2010 law aimed at protecting tenants of foreclosed apartments against evictions "without just cause" also applies to tenants who were in the process of being evicted before the law went into effect, but who never left their units.
The Massachusetts Appeals Court ruled today that if the owners of a Charlestown condo want to remove two walls to create a fabulous pass-through view of the harbor and downtown, they're going to have to sign an agreement that the condo board could one day order them to restore the walls.
Good fences don't make good neighbors: Court rules Roxbury man has to demolish part of house built on neighbor's propertyBy adamg - 8/18/11 - 5:46 pm
The Massachusetts Appeals Court ruled today a Roxbury man has to tear down part of the two-unit condo building he put up on Magazine Street because he tore down a neighbor's fence and then built part of the structure where his neighbors used to plant vegetables and repair their cars.
The court said that while it couldn't figure out where the actual property line was, it didn't matter, because the neighbors had gained the disputed land through "adverse possession" - they had used it continuously for more than two decades without any complaints and presented evidence the people they bought their house from had erected the fence even earlier than that.
Dear Mayor Menino,
My wife and I have lived at [elided] in Brighton since 1997. At least a third of the residential units on our block are rental units, most of which are rented to a different set of Boston College students each year. Some years are good: the students are respectful of the neighborhood, keep the noise down, and keep things clean. Some years are bad: the students host loud, rowdy, outdoor parties until all hours of the night; get drunk; throw plastic cups, beer bottles and cans everywhere; throw up or urinate in the street; set off fireworks under cars; etc.
Although we never know what we're going to get in terms of students, we do have a pretty good idea of what we are going to get from the police department, which is that when we call the department at 2:00am on a Sunday morning because the students are playing Denis Leary's "Cause I'm an Asshole" at top volume out of an open window, drunkenly screaming along, and waking up the entire neighborhood, and we call 911 and ask for someone to come do something about it, the odds are that nobody is going to show up.
Don't worry, Molly Galler went, and she took plenty of pictures.
Yes, it's another mortgage-scandal case. Rich Vetstein considers Bevilacqua v. Rodriguez, in which the Supreme Judicial Court heard arguments yesterday - on the heels of its decision on shoddy mortgage paperwork:
This case, which national legal experts are watching closely, may determine the rights of potentially thousands of innocent purchasers who bought property at foreclosure sales that have been rendered invalid after the Ibanez ruling.
Be sure to attend the last Winter Farmer's Market at The Armory (191 Highland Avenue) this Saturday, March 26th, from 10-2pm.
Also, please fill out this survey to help plan next year's market!
As a former educator, I am pleased to report the following information regarding bullying in the Somerville Schools. Please note that all this information can also be found on the "School Section" page ~Courtney O'Keefe
Parents/guardians, students and community members can now anonymously report incidents of bullying, cyberbullying and retaliation in the Somerville Public Schools either online or by telephone:
617-629-5222 – English bullying reporting hotline
617-629-5224 – Spanish bullying reporting hotline
617-629-5226 – Portuguese bullying reporting hotline
617-629-5228 – Haitian Creole bullying reporting hotline.
Jim Sullivan confronts the situation:
I had never thought of what would happen AFTER I caught a live mouse. At least, I hadn't considered what to do with one in the winter when there was about three feet of snow on the ground everywhere in our neighborhood. I had purchased the trap during a summer when it was easy to imagine releasing a mouse in some flowery field, where he would see the abundant food supplied by blooming trees full of succulent fruits and hearty nuts, maybe some shapely lady mice nearby giving him a come hither look, and then he would gaze up at me with big brown eyes full of gratitude for not crushing his head, give me the mousy equivalent of a tip of his hat, and saunter off to live his suddenly wonderful life. Instead, I was faced with the prospect of tossing a cute little furry animal into a snowbank to die.