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APRIL 2021 Vol. 25 / No. 4

Fuzzy friends Out of hibernation New parks Go wild Cardboard alchemy

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November 2020 | Vol. 24 | No. 11 Published by Coastal Communications Corp. Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Ljiljana Vasiljevic Editor Sebastian Clarkin

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BUSINESS BUZZ

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By Ron Fortier

At home and abroad

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By Michael J. DeCicco

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By Brian J. Lowney

Adorable alpacas

20

By Steven Froias

14

Cardboard alchemy

6

Out of hibernation

Reimagining Route 18

ON MY MIND

18

Born to be wild

22 Behind the mask By Paul Kandarian

By Elizabeth Morse Read

By Carissa Wills-DeMello

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Mickey is just one of 13 handsome alpacas who call the South Coast home at the Ponderosa Paca Farm. These Middleboro residents, under the care of Suzi Mancuso, love to entertain visitors. Bring a picnic lunch for once things warm up, and be sure to drop by the gift shop for a souvenir! Call 508989-7961 or visit ponderosapacafarm.com.

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Fresh looks for fresh air

By Sean McCarthy

THINGS TO DO

CELEBRATING 131 YEARS!

APRIL 2021

the south coast

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Inside derr

APRIL 2021 Vol. 25 / No. 4

Fuzzy friends Out of hibernation New parks Go wild Cardboard alchemy

Sponsored by:

Correction: In last month’s article by Michael J. DeCicco, the café area of the Marion General Store was incorrectly referred to as “Patty’s Corner” instead of “Betty’s Corner.”

April 2021 | The South Coast Insider


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THINGS TO DO

The Audubon Society of Rhode Island will offer school vacation week activities for kids at the Caratunk Wildlife Refuge in Seekonk

Out of hibernation By Elizabeth Morse Read

We’re hearing it more and more these days, but dare not believe it: “there’s light at the end of the Covid-19 tunnel!” We all still need to remain vigilant (and get our vaccinations!), but there are definitely signs that social life – restaurants, theatres, public events – are carefully reopening on the South Coast. And what better month to re-emerge from our long hibernation than April, when the flowers are blooming, the weather is warming, the days are longer and everyone is just itchin’ for a chance to socialize again! Mini-feasts and picnic weather

If you’re in the mood for street food, Food Truck Fridays will be returning to the Carousel at Roger Williams Park Zoo this month (rwpzoo.org). The ubiquitous farmers markets and Mobile Farm Stands will be moving outdoors again throughout the region, including Virtual Farmers Markets offering delivery and pick-up options. Find one near you at semaponline.org, newportvineyards.com, farmfreshri.org, and coastalfoodshed.org. If you’re looking for an elegant start to the month, check out the Easter Brunch at Newport Vineyards on April 4 (newportvineyards.com) or else sample the brews at the 20th Newport Craft Beer Festival at the Great Friends Meeting House on April 23-24 (newportcraftbeer. com). And plan ahead for the Food Truck & Craft Beer Festival at Fort Adams

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State Park in Newport on May 22 (foodtruckfestivalsofamerica.com/ newport)! And if you’re not yet ready for indoor dining, show some love for all those local restaurants and food shops that struggled to stay afloat over the past year – pack yourselves a picnic of their most delicious take-out fare and head for the nearest park or beach and celebrate the return of spring!

Flower power!

Nothing says spring more than the sunny yellow daffodils that pop up everywhere on the South Coast in April. Make a reservation online to wander through fields of blossoms at Parsons Reserve in Dartmouth (dnrt.org), or at Blithewold Gardens in Bristol (blithewold.org), or the month-long celebrations of more than a million daffodils during Newport Daffy

April 2021 | The South Coast Insider

Days (newportdaffydays.com). Visit the whimsical Green Animals Topiary in Portsmouth (newportmansions.org) starting April 16. Or get involved in local Earth Day activities on April 22 (earthday.org) or plant a tree on Arbor Day (arborday.org) on April 30.

Get everyone outside again!

No more endless weeks of indoor staycations and online entertainment! With the warm weather here, there will be more and more out-of-the-house activities available for kids, like the annual Easter Egg Hunt at Livesey Park in Fairhaven (fairhaventours.com) on April 3. Purchase tickets online in advance to take the kids to the Buttonwood Park Zoo in New Bedford for story walks, scavenger hunts or nature connections activities (bpzoo.org), let them feed a giraffe, meet a sloth or play in Carousel Village at


1955 on the historic wharf that dates McGovern’s Family Restaurant the 1700s, isn’t summer. 310 Shove Street, Fall River As of March 22, the Bay State willto have moved onall toabout the early Last year they served up a feast of turkey, 508-679-5010 steps of Phase 4 re-opening, which roast prime rib, sausage stuffing, and allows large outdoor venues and mcgovernsonthewater.com more. Thefloors restaurant currently offers stadiums to reopen at 12% capacity. Dance at private events This well-known restaurant and bandine-in and takeout, including some ovquet facility overlookingand Laurel Lake will be reopened, overnight summer camps will be allowed for the en-ready dishes like seafood casserole usually packs them in for a large buffet summer. However, many popular summer events and activities on the and stuffed lobster. on Thanksgiving Day. The menu typicalSouth Coast willturkey remain shut down until further notice: street fairs, ly includes traditional dinner with White’s Westport Paul’s stuffing, butternut squash, prime agricultural fairs, amusement/theme parks,of water parks, dance clubs 66 State Road, Westport rib, ham, and much more. The restaurant and nightclubs, parades, and large outdoor group athletic events. 508-675-7185 has been offering dine-in and takeout, shop.lafrancehospitality.com including its more locally at famous corned beef Learn mass.gov/info-details/reopeningmassachusetts. and cabbage, for 50 years. Here’s a proWhite’s has been offering family-style phases and stagesfor in Rhode Island closely align those tip:Reopening if you can’t wait until Thanksgiving takeout and curbside mealswith pickup for a roast turkey dinner, youbut don’t have to –to learn months, so when Turkey Day comes in Massachusetts, it’s best the particulars and dates at it’s on the regular menu. around, it’s a good bet they’ll have a hanreopeningri.com. dle (or rather a drumstick) on that too. Currently, the restaurant is offering meal Merrills on the Waterfront Roger Williams Park Zoo (rwpzoo.org) in playing at and a theatre or concert hall near packages platters like its “Taste of 36 Homers Wharf, New Bedford New England” Providence, or find out what’s happening you this month!that comes with chow508-997-7010 der, quahogs clam Center cakes or Italian at the Capron Park Zoo in Attleboro Already, the and Narrows inits Fall River merrillswaterfront.com package of salad, lasagna, meatballs (capronparkzoo.com). (narrowscenter.org), the Spire Centerand in This favorite restaurant and function breadsticks. Both meals serve Also The Audubon Society of Rhode Island Plymouth (spirecenter.org), thesix. District facility sits on the waterfront overlooking available are dinner-for-two meal packs will offer school vacation week activities Center for the Arts in Taunton (thedisthe busy fishing port. But if fish isn’t your like fish and chips, lobster rolls, bourbon for kids at the Caratunk Wildlife Refuge trictcenterforarts.com), and Your Theatre thing on traditional turkey day, be sure beef tips, and even kid-sized pastahave and in Seekonk (asri.org), asholiday will theofferings. Lloyd in New Bedford (yourtheatre.org) to keep watch for their meatballs for two. With more than 60 Center forMerrill’s the Environment in Dartmouth scheduled a limited number of in-person Last year, served up turkey and years in Likewise, the hospitality industry, White’s (lloydcenter.org), and both the Whaling events. indoor entertainment prime rib, all the sides like apple sage is accustomed to cooking for a crowd. Museum and the Rotch-Jones-Duff venues like pool & billiards halls, laser tag, stuffing, and sweet corn and polenta raviHouse New Bedford (rjdmuseum.org). bowling alleys, skating rinks and escape oli, plusin pies galore. The Fall River Library will be providing rooms have raised their indoor capacity magic trick kits and Dr. Seuss art contests limits. The Pasta House throughout the month (ahafallriver.com). And tickets for the ever-popular open-air 100 Alden Road, Fairhaven You can get back in shape by running/ summer concert series sponsored by 508-993-9913 walking through the daffodils on April Westport Rivers (westportrivers. First you’ll needWinery to concoct cinnamon thepastahouse.net 17 during the Newport Rhode Races com) go on sale starting this month! syrup. Mix ½ cup sugar, ½ cup water, If their Pumpkin Patch Old-Fashioned (runsignup.com/race/ri/ and a three-inch cinnamon stick in a Know before you go (now on the bar menu) doesn’t get you newportrhoderaces) or during the annual smallRhode pan. Bring it just a boil, turn off Both Island andto Massachusetts inside, nothing will. Luckily, you can find West Island 5K Run/Walk in Fairhaven the heat and let it cool. Remove thethe authorities have been cautious over a recipe in the sidebar for this drink and on April 25 (westisland5k.org). And, as an cinnamon stick and discard or use it to past year about indoor capacity restricserve it with your Thanksgiving dinner open-air treat for the whole family, why garnish the cocktail if you like. The syrtions and public health advisories. Even takeout not goPasta on a boat tour through upeach will last three weeks in the fridge. The House served up a spread as stepfor in reopening plans brings us the waterways of Providence To make the cocktail, fill a shaklast year that included turkey dinner, ham closer to “normal,” people are still required (providenceriverboat.com), or an hourhalfwaysocial with ice. Combine ¼ cup dinner, fillet mignon, braised short rib, toermaintain distances, wear masks, long Goat Hike around Simmons Farm pumpkin puree with three ounces and more. Currently, pickup and delivery avoid non-family groupings, and practice inavailable Middletown (simmonsorganicfarmri. bourbon, ounces maple ¼ is from the regular menu, includgood publictwo health hygiene. Assyrup, of early com), or go on acider “Walk Withto a Doc” ounce cinnamon syrup, one ounce oring their apple sangria go. We’ll March, Massachusetts restaurants (but (nbewell.com) onand Saturday mornings at ange liqueur, two just have to wait see what they dream not most bars)and were allowed to re-open dashes orange bitButtonwood Park in New Bedford! up for Thanksgiving. with no capacity limits indoors (66% ters. Shake well. The shows must go on! capacity in Rhode Island), although tables Fill two old fashEvenWharf with social distancing, arts patrons still need to be six feet apart, and the The Tavern ioned glasses with can Water now goStreet, to live indoor seated party of six people is limited to 90 215 Warrenshows and ice, pour in the concerts again! More and more indoor minutes of dining. 401-289-2524 strained cocktail entertainment venues have remodeled Restaurants can also offer live musical thewharftavernri.com and garnish with a and made the physical and operational entertainment. Indoor entertainment While stuffed quahogs nibbled by the twist of orange peel changes needed maintain safety for venues offering live concerts or plays can water may not beto a Thanksgiving tradiand a cherry. patrons staff. Check out what’s in operate at 50% capacity to a limit of 500. tion, the and Wharf Tavern, established

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7 19


COVER STORY

At home and abroad Imagine a tribute to the fishing folk of a fabled town on the Silver Coast of Portugal that is three-hundred feet long. It is, indeed, nothing short of monumental! By Ron Fortier

I

n the town that I once lived in, there is a ceramic mural created by the eminent Portuguese Artist Luís Soares. A self-described Modernist, Soars is quite prolific and executes in a variety of media from paint to ceramics. He was born in Mozambique and attended the Instituto Portugal de Lourenço Marques in his birth country. He currently lives in and maintains his studio in Cascais on the Portuguese mainland. Luis Soares was influenced by the cultural mix of white, Black, and Asiatic culture and art in his homeland, which not only profoundly affected him, but it also became a part of his characteristic styles. He has exhibited world-wide, is included in major collections and is wellrepresented in Europe with his public art installations. His wonderful ceramic mural pays hom-

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April 2021 | The South Coast Insider

Luis Soares


age to the seafaring people of Figueira da Foz, which is situated on the Silver Coast of the Portuguese mainland. More specifically, it is installed in the village of Buarcos, Figueira da Foz, on the wall of the Cemitério de Buarcos. This small town is the original home of many fishermen in the New Bedford fishing fleet. My stepfather was one. Although born in Gloucester, he returned with his parents during the Great Depression to the city of Figueira where they were originally from. His story is by no means unique. Many of the sons of Figueira, and their families, came to New Bedford, made a living doing what they knew best: fishing. Many retired and have returned there to live out their years there as my stepfather did. He and others, many of them his classmates and crewmates, are buried in that cemetery. Did you know that New Bedford and Figueira da Foz are sister cities? And, of course, there are the ties of tradition, language, and culture between two cities separated by the Atlantic. A few years ago, Joao Ataide, the president (the equivalent of mayor) of the city of Figueira paid a visit to the seaport city of New Bedford. During his visit, Ataide met with New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell and they resigned the Sister City Agreement which reaffirmed the commitment of both cities to continue to strengthen their mutual ties. The two mayors attended a ceremony dedicated to Portuguese fishermen lost at sea. The ceremony was bittersweet because it not only remembered those who died but also those who lived and dedicated their livelihood to sailing out of the port of New Bedford.

Homecoming

Peter Pereira, a local award-winning photojournalist and a native son of Gala, a fishing village adjacent to Figueira, was initially involved with Joao Atiade’s visit. Peter organized the tribute event and was filled with emotion when he pointed to his father in the audience, whom he also called his hero. He continued by pointing out how he felt that his generation was so fortunate because he

the region’s Their new believed thatcoastal he andcharms. others like him had property a former tomato farm, perstood on was the shoulders of giants. fect supporting thearticle couple’s new hobIn afor Standard-Times from June by: raising chickens. of 2018 when Joao Atiade visited New Fortunately for them, that theyalthough had a knack Bedford, Peter related for it. Before too long, the Bishops had many people have the point of view that more eggs than they knew what to do the two cities are separated by 3,000 with. They began selling the surplus, and miles they are united by the ocean. learning about how to expand the farm in “If there are two places on Earth that are a healthy and sustainable way. so united, I dare you to find them” said To give a sense of how successful this Pereira. Joao Ataide, who spent a week in expansion has been, the farm’s chicken New Bedford, those very population hasechoed ballooned from thesame origisentiments. nal 20 to over 3000. Atiade saidhusband that it was greathis privilege While her hasakept IT job, to feel the American presence in Figueria Ester has been able to commit herself to da offull-time. the expatriated families. Sadly, theFoz farm She prides herself on two yearsher after his visit, Ataide, providing animals with joyful,who stressrose to the“People positionshould as theknow Portuguese free lives. where their food comes – you can really Secretary of Statefrom for the Environment, taste the difference,” said Bishop. suddenly passed away.

While on my last visit to my temporary Green acres hometown, I met with one of Presidente Bishop’s commitment “beyond orAtiade’s assistants who to I had first met ganic” farming cuddles while they bothextends were onbeyond their visit. When and words of affirmation to her livestock. he heard that I had a house and studio She ensures all the animals are provided in Figueira and was planning to return to with healthy, organic meals, and that their check in on my mother, he said to let him waste is repurposed as manure. know when I was in town and we could “You can see how green the grass is meet for where thecoffee. turkeys have been,” Bishop I contacted uponthey arriving in Lisbon says. “That’s him because fertilize the and we made an appointment to meet. soil with their manure. Manure is the He took me on afertilizers. short drive up the Serra basis of organic There are no da Boa Viajem mountain which overlooks chemicals added, or needed, when the the city to animals dohave theirthat job.”coffee! Wouldn’t be wonderful totheir havejobs, such Speakingitof animals doing Bishop has conscripted her goats and a monument in New Bedford as the pigs into clearing away swaths of underA Tribute to the People of the Sea I brush on theImagine propertyit!– the “gnarly vines” wondered? that give the farm its name. In further conversation, I found out Gnarly coordinates with neighthere is aVines duplicate of the monumental boring farms to provide its customers ceramic mural celebrating the people of with a variety of sustainable and organic the sea. It’s sitting in storage. products. Angus beef, for instance, will The pandemic prevented further sell out almost as soon as it comes into opportunities to pursue any possibilities stock. of such a tribute for our fishermen in New But the farm is not bound by terrestrial Bedford. A Facebook Memory popped up limitations: the Bishops have partnered and reminded me of the great view with Captain’s Finest and Sakonnet while having coffee myfresh last trip over to there. Lobster to bring seafood market. The scope and details of what be Bishop is particularly proud of awould new iniinvolved challenging. tiative at are the considerably farm: food security commuBut Isupported still can’t help wondering how a nity agriculture (CSA) plans. monument likeamong the onefarms in Figueira would CSAs, popular nationwide, customers to pre-purchase affectallow not just our fishermen, but the “shares” of the produce, which are long-lasting tiesfarm’s of tradition, language, and culture between two cities separated CONTINUED by and united by the sea. ON NEXT PAGE

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BUSINESS BUZZ

This illustration depicts the future Abolition Row Park entrance at the corner of Seventh and Spring Streets.

FRESH LOOKS for FRESH AIR by Michael J. DeCicco

What should people expect to be different when they head to local parks this spring? The answers are more exciting and hopeful than many may think possible.

nance is continuing as usual. So are the usual spring and summer park programs, from soccer, football, and volleyball to karate.

In New Bedford, while most of the public park maintenance will be routine, some work definitely will not be. Construction is starting this spring on Abolition Row Park, on Seventh Street across from the historic home of abolitionists Nathan and Polly Johnson. When the new park opens in the summer of 2022, it will feature landscaping and gardens surrounding a gazebo and a statue of famed abolitionist and lecturer Frederick Douglass. The life-sized memorial to him will portray him at the age when he first arrived as an escaped slave at the Johnson house. There’ll also be informational panels describing Douglas’ significance to the City of New Bedford and the Underground Railroad movement. This year’s Phase One of the construction project will install the garden and fencing and the perimeter. “A year from now, the work will be completed, including the statue by noted African-American sculptor Richard Blake, who has crafted other Douglass sculptures in the past,”

In Fairhaven, park and beach maintenance this year is also business as usual for Board of Public Works superintendent Vincent Furtado. He said his crew is already busy pruning trees and trimming bushes at the town’s parks and beaches. All that’s new is that there’ll be more cleaning than in past years and season passes will be more restrictive, Furtado said. But all of Fairhaven’s parks and beaches will be open, just under new COVID-era restrictions. “We’ll be doing maintenance to the same level, just redirected to what we are required now this year to do,” he said. Fairhaven’s biggest change might be that the town recreation center, at 227 Huttleston Avenue, was closed for a time due to a water pipe break. Recreation Department director Warren Renshausen has reported good news, however. The Recreation Center recently re-opened and will remain open even while it undergoes major rooftop and air-conditioning upgrades – work that will start in mid-April.

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Park, Recreation, and Beaches Department Director Mary Rapoza said. Construction will also be continuing on a new Bowling Green at Hazelwood Park in the South End, she said. The original green dates back to the 1920s, but right now it’s merely lawn. The work on the new greens began in the fall, with the assistance of the national sports organizations, USA Bowling and USA Croquet. The work will conclude with a grand opening next summer. In New Bedford’s north end, Brooklawn Park’s new Daniel Ricketson Nature Center off of Irvington Street will open in time for spring school vacation, Rapoza said. Natural exhibits and drop-in educational programs will be available inside, and outside there’ll be guided nature walks along the nature trails coursing through the park. The center will officially open on April 17, Rapoza said. But there’ll be a soft opening sometime before then. Meanwhile, she said, other park mainte-

April 2021 | The South Coast Insider

Across the harbor


At the opposite end of the South Coast, Marion’s public parks and beaches too will be serving up pretty much business as usual, said Parks and Recreation Director Jody Dickerson. “The parks and beaches will be open,” Dickerson said. “The Board of Health has been very supportive. Things will be as normal as they can be. We’ve taken all the precautions we can. It will be offering as much as we can.”

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April 2021 | The South Coast Insider

55604

For instance, all of the department’s summer programs at Silver Shell Beach are still on the schedule, including swimming, tennis, and golf. “Even yoga for adults and swimming lessons,” he said. And there’s even plans in the works, he said, to expand some of its summer programs, albeit under COVID-era protocols and restrictions. Even Bicentennial Park will still be hosting the Marion Arts Center’s annual Summer Kids Program, “Arts Start,” and, on July 10, its annual Arts in the Park event. For the latter, there’ll be fewer vendors and plenty of hand sanitizer and other restrictions, said Marion Arts Center director Jodi Stevens. But she proudly noted what’s new this year at the park itself. The Art Center events will be held in the shadow of the park’s new Elizabeth Taber statue, which honors the Marion native who helped build six of the town’s most iconic buildings: the town hall, Tabor Academy, the Music Hall, the Elizabeth Taber Library and the Marion Natural History Museum. New Bedford sculptor Erik Durand, whose other work has included the Fisherman’s Family statue at New Bedford’s state pier and the Squid sculpture in front of the city’s Whaling Museum, created the bronze, life-sized image of Taber sitting on a granite bench with a book in one hand, symbolizing her career as a teacher, and a pipe in the other, which historians note Taber was always seen smoking. The statue was unveiled at the park in October 2020.

11


COVER STORY

Adorable

alpacas By Brian J. Lowney

When Suzi Mancuso first visited the famed Fryeburg Fair in Maine as a high school student in that beautiful New England town many years ago, she immediately fell in love with a delightful alpaca named Snowmass Invincible and quickly became enamored by these South American camelids. “To say that I was smitten was a giant understatement,” the Middleboro resident begins. Mancuso says that while her life unfolded through the years and life moved on, she never lost her interest in alpacas. “Those thoughts were always hiding in the back of my mind,” she laughs, adding that the avid animal lover attended fiber festivals, alpaca shows, gathered information, and enjoyed meeting fellow Alpaca lovers throughout the region. “A few years ago, National Grid made some changes to our property and opened up our backyard, and everything just fell into place,” Mancuso continues. “I had continued learning about alpacas and the more I learned, the more I loved them. I was ready to start Ponderosa Paca Farm and the rest is history.” Mancuso and her late husband Steven started the herd with four Huacaya males,

12

Suzi Mancuso with her 13 alpacas at the Ponderosa Paca Farm in Middleboro

whose fiber is softer than cashmere and stronger than wool. “I call them ‘The First Four,’” the proud alpaca owner tells visitors, adding that she provides all of the care for the camelid residents.

latest adoption of two alpacas that were adopted from the MSPCA, whose officers confiscated the animals from a previous owner. Today, Ponderosa Paca Farm has 13 alpacas – all males – that farm guests are

Children of all ages can feel the fiber, hand feed some of the animals, and learn more about these animals whose ancestors were developed in the Andes in South America A year later, the Mancusos met an alpaca breeder from New Hampshire at an event in Springfield who sold the couple two Suri males, Lil’ Timmy and Gus, who they knew would be a perfect addition to their growing herd. “Suri alpacas are known for their soft and silky fleece,” Mancuso continues. “I am very lucky to own both alpaca varieties.” Eventually the herd grew, including the

April 2021 | The South Coast Insider

allowed to meet. In addition, they may shop in the small store where Mancuso sells many fun and unique alpaca products. “I call my program ‘Meet the Boys,’” Mancuso tells, adding that children of all ages can feel the fiber, hand feed some of the animals, and learn more about these animals whose ancestors were developed in the Andes in South America.


the region’s coastal charms. Their new property was a former tomato farm, perfect for supporting the couple’s new hobby: raising chickens. Fortunately for them, they had a knack for it. Before too long, the Bishops had more eggs than they knew what to do with. They began selling the surplus, and learning about how to expand the farm in a healthy and sustainable way. To give a sense of how successful this expansion has been, the farm’s chicken population has ballooned from the original 20 to over 3000. While her husband has kept his IT job, Ester has been able to commit herself to the farm full-time. She prides herself on providing her animals with joyful, stressfree lives. “People should know where their food comes from – you can really taste the difference,” said Bishop.different The gift shop features souvenirs made from alpaca fiber

Green acres According to the busy hobbyist, every

Bishop’s topersonality. “beyond oralpaca hascommitment its own unique ganic” farming enjoy extends beyondofcuddles These animals a lifespan 20 years and words of affirmation to her livestock. or longer, and “eat a lot of hay” and grains. She ensures all thetwo animals are bales provided “They go through or three of with healthy, organic meals, and that their hay a day,” she tells. “They also drink a lot waste is repurposed as manure. of water.” “You can see how green the grass is Mancuso says that the alpacas are kept where the turkeys have been,” Bishop in a fenced-in enclosure. An electric says. “That’s because they fertilize the fence also helps protect the alpacas from soil with their manure. Manure is the predators. basis of organic fertilizers. There are no “I can control the herd by simply holding chemicals added, or needed, when the my arms out,” she adds. “They love the animals do their job.” snow but they don’t like the pouring rain. Speaking of animals doing their jobs, Many will stay inside under cover. Bishop has conscripted her goats and “For me, it’s important to share my love pigs into clearing away swaths of underfor alpacas and teach families about these brush on the property – the “gnarly vines” animals,” she emphasizes, adding that the that give the farm its name. alpaca fiber is brought to a mill in Fall River Gnarly Vines coordinates with neighwhere itfarms is processed. Mancuso shares boring to provide its customers some of the material with other fiber with a variety of sustainable and organic artists andAngus also uses the yarn to crochet products. beef, for instance, will various colorful products that she sells sell out almost as soon as it comes intoat the farm. stock. Mancuso, whoisisnot a member ofterrestrial several But the farm bound by professionalthe alpaca associations, includlimitations: Bishops have partnered ing the New England Alpaca Owners with Captain’s Finest and Sakonnet and BreederstoAssociation, welcomes Lobster bring fresh seafood to guests market. ofBishop ages toisvisit the farm by appointment particularly proud of a new iniand to stop the gift shop to hold onto tiative at thebyfarm: food security commuthose memories. During warmer nity supported agriculture (CSA) weather, plans. guestspopular can bring a blanket and picnic CSAs, among farms nationlunch.allow customers to pre-purchase wide, For moreofinformation, call Ponderosa “shares” the farm’s produce, which are Paca Farm at (508) 989-7961 or visit ponderosapacafarm.com CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE

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13


COVER STORY

Cardboard alchemy By Sean McCarthy

P

eople are turning pieces of cardboard into gold. For most sports card collectors they got their start as a youthful preoccupation, amassing images of their favorite players, whether they were All Stars, members of their favorite team, or someone who had caught their fancy. But for some people, sports card collecting has grown into an adult passion and in many situations the thrill of owning a card of your favorite athlete has evolved into a serious pursuit that is as much about finance as it is about fanhood. For many collectors it’s about the personal pleasure of owning a particular card, not unlike collecting art. But for some it’s a million-dollar endeavor akin to wheeling and dealing on Wall Street. “A lot of people are making a lot of money, the hobby has never been hotter,” says Scott Monize, 47, who owns LTD Sports, a sports card business located in the North End of New Bedford. LTD (which stands for Living The Dream) functions out of a warehouse, doing most of its business online via the auction site eBay. Monize boasts an inventory of more than a million cards. “Because of the COVID-19 pandemic a lot of people have more time on their hands and they’re not spending as much of their money, choosing to focus their energies and resources on the sports card

14

market,” Monize says. “For many years about 20 percent of collectors were doing it to make money, today it’s about 50 percent.” The majority of sports cards are devoted to baseball, basketball, football, and hockey, but there are also soccer, auto racing, wrestling, and MMA cards. For many years baseball was the most popular to collect but Monize says that the current most popular cards are basketball.

“A lot of people are making a lot of money, the hobby has never been hotter” The original sports cards were of baseball players that were found in cigarette packages beginning in 1886. Today they are sold in a variety of ways, ranging from $3 packs to boxes that can go for thousands of dollars. Cards can be bought at retail stores such as WalMart and Target, at card conventions, card shops, or online.

April 2021 | The South Coast Insider

Monize says that he built much of his stockpile by purchasing other people’s collections and continues to buy cards to this day. “I’ve acquired a lot of cards by word of mouth,” he says. “I like that I can make a little bit of money and be around sports, something that I love very much.”

Building a roster

Monize claims that he has the only registered sports card business in a 30-mile radius. He first took an interest in sports cards at the age of eight and has been a professional sports card merchant since 2007 when he bought Southeastern Sports Cards in Fairhaven. He moved the business to Westport in 2010 before changing the name to LTD Sports and relocating to New Bedford in 2016. The value of a sports card is determined by three main factors: the scarcity of the card, the condition of the card, and the greatness of the player. In addition, some lines of cards are considered to be more collectable or trendier than others. “The numbers of a card that are in print is very important,” Monize says. “Some companies will only print one card of a particular player, known as a ‘one-of-one.’ Because they’re so rare those cards can be very valuable as soon as they hit the market.” The condition of a card is also very important. A “mint condition” card will be


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Why risk your health (and sanity) atfrom Submitted by Mary Delaney Murphy crowded malls on Black Friday? Take her late grandmother Mary (Sheehan  Last January, a Mickey Mantle advantage of incredible offerings in your Delaney baseball card from 1952 sold own neighborhood on Small Business n Potatoes (decide on the amount based for $5.2M Saturday, November 28, throughout on the number of people and size of the South Coast. Check out sbsshopri. turkey)  In August of last year, a 2009 com for shop-and-stroll events in Rhode n Butter Mike Trout baseball card that Island. For that special gift, support local n Cream or milk was bought for $400,000 two craftsmen and artists by heading over to n Onion, chopped years earlier was sold for $3.9M the Waterfire Arts Center in Providence n Celery, chopped to the safe outdoor pop-up markets  visit A rookie card of basketball n Poultry seasoning, to taste (waterfire.org/art-mart). And on First star Luka Doncic of the Dallas n Salt and pepper to taste Thursdays (November 5) you can “shop Mavericks sold last February and dine local” Barrington, Bristol, mashin potatoes withpur- butter, and milk Boil forand $4.6M. It was last Warren (discovernewport.org). or cream. Add celery, onion, salt, pepper Kick-off chased for $400,000.at Frerichs holiday season and poultrythe seasoning to taste. Mix all and Farm in turkey. Warren with “Girls Night Out”  Prior to that, the highest the place As the turkey bakes, We are sure to have the purrfect cat on 6, 7 and 8 card – buy was your dressing willbasketball pick-up the baking andajuices orNovember selling the cutest K-9 to steal your heart holiday trees,Antetokounmpo, greenery, and gifts there, of the turkey. so Giannis which if you are looking for love, too (frerichsfarm.com). mark with first!! inThen check went forus$1.9M September of your calendar for the Newport Block Faxon last year. Animal Care Party & Holiday Stroll at Bowen’s Wharf & Adoption Center Submitted by Patti Linhares from her  November The most valuable hockey late on 27 – you can watch 474 Durfee St., Fall River, MA mother Mary Correira the Illuminated BoatWayne Parade while card is a S. 1979 Gretzky

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such as Tom Brady, Michael Jordan, or Lebron James – you can count the greats on one hand. Many collectors will buy a card with the hope that it will increase in value, but if a player tanks, forget about it. You can get crushed. “A card that’s trending up may not continue to go up, but if you’re buying it because you like it you’re not really concerned about the long-term value. Some cards can be an investment while some can be bought for prestige.”

Making the draft

Doug Keating, 48, of Woburn, is the owner of Cardboard Promotions and puts on sports card conventions at the Holiday Inn in Mansfield approximately 17 times a year, mostly on weekends and holidays. Each show includes as many as 50 vendors from throughout New England and New York and draws as many as 500 customers. “When I open the doors at 8:45 in the morning there’s already a line of people waiting to get in,” Keating says. “They’re looking to get the best stuff before it’s gone. There’s the thrill of the chase and you never know what you’re going to find. That’s why people enjoy opening packs of cards – you never know what you’re going to find. “There are different interests for different people. Some people look for old cards, some people look for new cards. Some people come just to browse and see what they can find.” Three times a year, Monize’s passion for sports cards takes him to Philadelphia for a three-day convention where he works a booth for LTD Sports. Most years he will attend a five-day event, the National Sports Collectors Convention, held annually in a major American city. He also attends the annual three-day convention hosted by the Greater Boston Sports Collectors Club at the Shriner’s Auditorium in Wilmington. “Conventions are mania,” Monize says. “At the big conventions you can have 10 thousand or 20 thousand people going non-stop, buying and selling. I’ve had people spend hours at my booth picking out cards while we chat about sports. I’ve made a lot of friends in the industry.”

16

“I see many regulars at my shows,” Keating says. “A lot of friendships are made between vendors and customers.”

An American pasttime

Michael Croteau is a 17-year-old from North Dartmouth with a sports card collection of more than 50,000 cards. At the age of seven he took an interest in the world of collecting when his father began sharing his baseball card collection. “It inspired me to take interest in the history of sports,” he says. “Card collecting is something that allows me to spend such valuable time with my dad. It’s an American tradition and it’s a great way to bond and become closer as father and son. It’s really nice.

“At the big conventions you can have 10 or 20 thousand people going non-stop, buying and selling” “My father’s collection gave me an interest in the great players who have come before, a lot of Hall of Famers like Mickey Mantle, Ernie Banks, and Harmon Killebrew.” Croteau collects baseball, basketball, football, and hockey cards. In addition to collecting cards of his favorite players, he is interested in rookie cards and Hall of Famers. His prized possession is a 2000 rookie card of his favorite player, Tom Brady. His grandparents and parents chipped in to buy him the card for his most recent birthday in April of last year. The card cost $350. “After he won the Super Bowl with Tampa Bay I went online to check on the value of the card and it had skyrocketed to a thousand dollars.”

April 2021 | The South Coast Insider

But the Brady card isn’t the priciest piece in Croteau’s collection. In 2019 the father and son were on a trip to Disney World and visited Hulk Hogan’s surf shop in Orlando, FL for an autograph session. They brought with them a 1982 card of Hogan they had purchased at LTD Sports and had the wrestling mega star autograph it. Croteau says that the card with the autograph is worth approximately $15,000. “When you get a new card it’s like being a little kid at Christmas, it’s gratifying,” he says. “If I have kids someday I’ll pass them down to them.”

Boom and bust

“I’ve been collecting cards for 30 years and I’ve seen a lot of ebb and flow in the market,” Monize says. “In the late 1980’s and early 90’s there was a boom in the market, people were buying up cards thinking it could put their kids through college. As a result the card companies flooded the market with cards to meet the demand which caused the market to crash. Since then the card companies don’t print as many of the same card, keeping the demand outweighing the supply which keeps the value of the cards high. “Today cards are flying off the shelf. People are waiting in line to buy them with the sole purpose of turning around and selling them for a profit the very next day.” But according to Monize, for him and many other collectors sports cards are a “fun alternative investment” such as owning precious metals, gold, silver, or diamonds. “The best thing about sports cards is that you can collect just one team or one sport and have more on your plate than you know what to do with. It’s a personal experience. Even if you just collect one player there could be thousands of cards out there. You can collect them for one dollar or a million dollars. That’s what makes it so fun.” “As long as sports are popular there will be collectors,” Keating says. “It’s something you can do whether you’re eight or 80.” “Card collecting is something I’ll be doing throughout my life,” Croteau says. “There will always be another card to collect.”


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THINGS TO DO

Born to be wild By Carissa Wills-DeMello

If you’ve got any sort of green thumb, then you’re surely delighted by the awakening of spring and by the plants rising from their winter slumber. For many of us, spring time means one thing more than any other: gardening. From juicy melons to bright cut flowers, the gardening options are endless. Gardening tantalizes our senses, gets our blood moving, and connects us with the cycles of nature here in New England. For those who want a gardening experience that is manageable and meaningful, focusing on a theme each year may serve you well. Perhaps last year you focused on planting perennial pollinator plants, and this year you’ll fall in love with annual vegetables. How about herbs? Herbs are a gardener’s dream – they can serve as medicine and culinary flavor, pollinator attractors, and cut flowers. They’re sort of a jack-of-all-trades class of plants! While herbs are often quite resilient and

18

easy to grow, studies have even shown that when herbs experience a bit of stress, their flavor and medicinal compounds can be enhanced. So those who’ve struggled getting their garden going in the past might do well starting with herbs. Do I have your attention now? Let’s get planning!

Stewarding the “wild”

One beautifully simple way to grow an herb garden is to start with what you

April 2021 | The South Coast Insider

already have. Go ahead: grab a pen and paper, and possibly a field guide or an herbalist friend. Stroll your yard. Which plants already live there? Which tend to thrive and where? This exercise firstly can serve as an assessment of your growing conditions. But even more so, this can be your jumping off point to “tending the wild.” A multitude of beautiful medicinal and edible herbs can be found wild throughout New England: Yarrow, Saint John’s Wort, Violet, Mullein, Nettles, and Dandelion, to name a few. Befriending the wild plants that you already share your home with is a powerful way to connect with the land around you. You may be surprised by the profound effects on your spirit! While every yard will host a different array of wild herbs, depending on your soil type, sun exposure, and annual climate variations, here’s a few that are quite common and worth befriending:

Mullein (Verbascum thapsus) Proliferates in sunny, compacted soil, by roadsides and in backyards. Mullein is a


hardy, self-seeding biennial. In year one, mullein will present as a basil florette of furry leaves. In year two, this king of wild herbs will shoot up to eye level or taller, and burst forth with countless yellow blossoms. Why love mullein? The best reason: because bees love it. Sit among the mullein in the wee hours of the morning and you’ll be delighted by their gentle buzzing as they gather pollen from the multitude of flowers. As for human uses, the flowers can be sun-infused into olive oil as an earache remedy, and the leaves make a potent (and tasty) tea for expelling congestion. Named after the mythical Achilles, yarrow is associated with much folklore. It’s the plant of warriors and protection, and it happens to grow wild here in New England. If you happen to find a patch, dote on it! Yarrow is a gorgeous perennial flower, with feathery leaves and intricate umbelliferous flowers in shades of pink and white. Yarrow is best known as a “styptic” and anti-microbial. Crush the flowers and apply as a poultice to stop bleeding or prevent infection on minor cuts. Steeped as a light tea, yarrow has long been known to aid the body in lowering fevers and to gently stimulate digestion.

variety of options for cultivating a plot of herbs in your garden. Jenny Prior, herbalist and owner of Jenny Prior Herbal, suggests that “if you’re planting an herb garden I think it’s important to plant herbs that like the same kind of ‘home’ together. I plant my annual herbs in one bed with annual flowers and my perennial herbs in another bed or in the perennial landscape. It just makes life easier for me – you can disagree! Gardening is wonderful that way.” Regardless of whether you choose annuals or perennials, most herbs will enjoy well-draining soil and sunshine. Once you’ve chosen your location and your herbs are growing, make sure you actually harvest them! Frequent harvesting actually stimulates the growth of herbs. Mary Blue, renowned herbalist, herb farmer, and owner of Farmacy Herbs in Providence, explains, “if the soil is too rich, the plants get lazy and they don’t produce the compounds we adore them for – those resinous pungent oils! So don’t be afraid to let them go a couple of days between waterings. Often with those plants you won’t know you’re overwatering until it’s too late.” As for which herbs to start with, why just stick to the common herbs like basil or cilantro? Here are a fun and unusual few worth giving a try:

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinalis)

Calendula (Calendula officinalis)

One of the very best wild foods, dandelion is so much more than the troublesome flower it’s been made out to be! The young leaves can be plucked and enjoyed in a multitude of ways – sauteed, diced in salads, mixed into soups, blended into sauces. The leaves contain a higher Vitamin A content than carrots, as well as protein, iron, minerals, and other bioavailable nutrients. Medicinally, as a food or tea, they gently support the kidneys and stimulate the digestive system – talk about the perfect spring food! And if you’re dead set on ridding your yard of dandelion, skip the herbicide and dig up the roots. Once roasted they can be simmered to make a delicious, smoky tea. Cultivating your Plot Tending the wilds and foraging at home isn’t necessarily everyone’s gardening style. And that’s okay! For those that prefer order in their yard, you have a wide

This continually blooming little flower is practically sunshine incarnate. “I never run out of work for calendula and love how cheery it is,” explains Prior. “Last year I had a whole bed devoted to it and I harvested until October.” The flowers range from deep orange to a glowing yellow, and the more you pick them, the more they grow! Save your calendula for beautiful wintertime teas, or infuse them fresh into oil for a traditional skin-soothing remedy. “The plant contains large amounts of iodine and manganese, as well as carotene,” instructs Mary Blue, “and all of these attributes promote the regeneration of skin cells.”

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

Hops (Humulus lupulus) Hops isn’t just for beer – it’s for beauty, medicine, and pollinators, too! Jenny Prior shares that, “It is a perennial herb climber that is overlooked as a good landscape

plant. It is a vigorous and attractive climber and the flowers are gorgeous and prized by beer makers and herbalists alike. I dry the flowers and make tea or infused vinegar. It’s very bitter so it must be mixed with something like mint or lemon balm.” Come fall, the long, sticky vines make for great decorative wreath material.

Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum) As a member of the mint family, anise hyssop has all the characteristics we know and love, plus the added beauty of gorgeous purple flowers! It is easy to grow, prolific, delicious, and useful. It’s a favorite of Mary Blue on her West Greenwich herb farm “for its very sweet taste, making it a great addition to desserts, chocolates and beverages, jams, jellies, ice cream, whipped cream, and infused honeys,” she explained. “Research has shown that the essential oil of anise hyssop has antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties. The essential oil contains limonene, a compound that has been found to neutralize stomach acid and promote a healthy digestive tract.“ This is another herb that thrives through harvesting – snip it about one third of the way down it’s stalk and watch it bloom back all summer long! Excited to learn more about growing and working with herbs? Both Jenny Prior and Mary Blue offer ways to get your hands dirty and your mind learning. Prior offers an herbal CSA subscription box, with fresh and dried herbs and homemade herb products – check out @jennypriorherbals on social media and her website jennypriorherbals.com in April. You can also find her at Peckham’s Greenhouse in Little Compton. They have loads of great seeds and supplies, and the staff is always happy to help new gardeners choose things that will be successful. As for Mary Blue, you can find her at the annual Rhode Island Herb Fest from September 18-20 this fall. At the festival you can learn everything herbal, from the seed to the remedy, from practicing herbalists and herb farmers. She also hosts an annual “Herbal Foundations” educational program each May to October, online and in person at Farmacy Herbs in Providence.

April 2021 | The South Coast Insider

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BUSINESS BUZZ

By Steven Froias

artially designed to alleviate the traffic that clogged South End streets at quitting time, many of the mills and manufacturers in that area of New Bedford had shuttered or substantially reduced their workforce by the time work was completed. The traffic problem had largely “solved” itself. In the decades since then, Route 18 has been a roadway of derision in the city. Many regard it as a scar across the landscape which separated it from the waterfront, destroyed the fabric of community and literally ran over too much of New Bedford’s architectural heritage in the process of its creation. And that’s largely been the perception of Route 18 ever since – an urban evil to be borne but never embraced. Yet generations later, with a renewed focus on neighborhood health throughout the city, a nascent wind-energy industry centered just off the highway at the New Bedford Marine Commerce

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Terminal, and a still-thriving fishing industry for which transportation is critical, is it time to finally love Route 18?

April 2021 | The South Coast Insider

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) thinks so. In fact, they are in the process of gathering public input for a reimagining of the roadway from Elm Street north to Coggeshall Street. And, this follows some major improvements already accomplished south of that stretch of road. Consider this when thinking about Route 18 today: The redesign at the foot of Union Street has worked. Balancing the needs of industry, recreation and tourism was no easy task. However, the redesign of Route 18 centered at the foot of Union Street and reaching down to Walnut Street and up to Elm Street has been a significant improvement. An abysmal situation has been made manageable for both vehicular and foot traffic. Is it perfect? Of course not. Then again, few such congested urban areas seldom are anywhere.


The pedestrian/cycling approach to the New Bedford-Fairhaven Bridge and Pope’s Island beyond has created a oneof-a-kind, quintessential urban space. It’s not unlike the Brooklyn Promenade across from lower Manhattan, built to accommodate Robert Moses’s BrooklynQueens Expressway. There’s something empowering for the pedestrian or cyclist to literally rise above the traffic on the highway below and make their way up to the bridge. Beautiful views of the city’s fishing fleet, historic harbor, and Fort Phoenix await. The Fairhaven bike path also beckons after crossing the bridge. Lower Route 18 has been transformed

into a true boulevard, and it’s an amazing transformation. Back where we began, where Route 18 becomes what’s now the John F. Kennedy Boulevard, MassDOT, in partnership with the City of New Bedford, has completed an overhaul of the roadway which finally addresses its original sin. An ample new pedestrian and cycling path running right along the boulevard helps integrate it into the surrounding neighborhood, as do new means of egress and entry from nearby streets. Graceful lighting runs down the center and gives this stretch of pavement a touch of bling. Most of all, it finally helps connect rather than divide the city; a walk down Rte. 18 reveals just how close the downtown and South End actually are on the ground. It’s the gateway to Acushnet Avenue and the North End. Building on that successful transformation is what the new project from Elm to Coggeshall is all about. In some ways, it’s a tougher task northbound because the roadway has more limited access up this way. Yet, there is just as much opportunity here as there was down south.

CONTI

MassDOT has held two meetings so far soliciting input from the community, and plan several more over the next months. The goals of the corridor study are to identify ways to improve access and connectivity through the Route 18 corridor from Elm Street to Coggeshall Street. The study will identify improvements to address access, connectivity, and mobility challenges faced by all users of the corridor, including pedestrians, bicycles, transit, and motorists. It will consider access to the new South Coast Rail Station and economic development opportunities as well.

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If you’d like to add your thoughts to the GARDEN study underway, or participate in future CALL SEASON TODAY! online meetings, log on to mass.gov/ IS HERE! new-bedford-route-18-corridor-study for more information. A.G. BETTENCOURT Guided byinthe “urban policies sales area April alongrenewal” with some hardy INC. of the time, bringing Route 18 to the herbs, and May first is when the first big South End of New Bedford disrupted Liste push comes. Tender plants may wait ana part of the city full of emotional conc other week or so. Gardeners come from infrastructure. Most far and wide to indulge in these quality WITH THIS COUPON — OFFER EXPIRES: 11/30/20 Eminent domain bulldozed through are eit plants. a residential, largely Cape Verdean, only lim Peckhams Greenhouse is open neighborhood. And, the final, faded go on! Tuesday through Sunday from 9 a.m.of to remnant of the commercial corridor in-per 5 p.m. Learn at peckhamsgreenWater Streetmore was essentially obliterated during construction. To this day, the the Pe house.com. forlorn and empty Orpheum Theater (spirec sits abandoned by the roadside, the lone in War Paradise Farm Bark Mulch Blue Stone survivor of a once-thriving commercial the Ze At Paradise Farm, found at 103 Cadman center. Natural Stone Clam Shells org), T Neck Road in Westport, Shirley and Ted While that Standard-Times headline Compost Fill Sand in Fall Robbins grow fruits and vegetables but may have reflected the completion of Screened Loam Distric specialize in herbs, sold retail and wholeRoute 18 in the early ‘80s, it may turn out Stone Dust Wood Chips sale it bydidn’t Shirley from the their greenhouses. (thedis that reflect end of the road. She stocks varieties of theto favored also liv It may havemany taken quite a while reach PICK-UP OR DELIVERY… culinary herbs that often double as decspecia that destination, but many decades after 821 Main Road Westport, MA the firstplants asphalt spread,Imagine it may finally orative in was the garden. a in Prov WE be time to love Route in New Bedford greenhouse filled with18 lavender, roseForBc and rescue its reputation. mary, mint, sage, and lemon verbena. A Stream scented workplace! Most of the herbs start from small 2020 | Insider The South Coast Inside April82021 November | The South Coast 21 plants that arrive each March on a tractor trailer that makes its way up the coast from Pennsylvania, stopping along the

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ON MY MIND

Behind the mask By Paul Kandarian

W

hat a difference a year makes. About a year ago, the full impact of the pandemic was just being felt. We were all about to go into lockdown, quarantine, separating from family and friends, our lives turned upside down or more accurately outside in. Worst of all, people were dying from this insidious disease and there was no way to stop it, a situation made worse by an inept, uncaring administration. Now, a year later, the death toll is horrific at more than a half million souls, but the light at the end of the tunnel is at least visible. Still, there are those in government at the state level in this country who want to open the doors to restaurants and other venues and let people in, unmasked, throwing caution and common sense to the wind. That includes Massachusetts, where Governor Charlie Baker, after having the buck stop squarely with him over the incredibly incompetent handling of the vaccination rollout that was pretty much a debacle by any standard, decided to relax the rules in mid-March. Not sure what’ll be happening by the time this article is read, but as of this writing mid of the March, I’m a little doubtful. Here’s the thing, people: don’t

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party like it’s 2019 because the last thing we need is the promise of 2021 to devolve into the dark despair of 2020, a year that, like many bad marriages and idiotic presidents, we’d rather forget about. We’ve grown accustomed to our face, with apologies to Lerner and Loewe, even with masks on. At first, I hated the idea of masks and honestly,

soap and sanitizers, not to mention masks. And on the bright side of a situation with not a lot of them, as we wind out of flu season, cases are at historic lows, largely because of not only mandated isolation, but hand washing, mask wearing, and staying physically apart from people. According to an article in Healthline.com, between

This pandemic is an obvious game changer; going forward, people will adopt mask wearing as a necessary evil which will then just turn into normal wear still don’t like wearing them. They’re uncomfortable and weird but if being uncomfortable and weird can protect other people’s lives and my own, I’m okay with that. We’ve also gotten used to hand washing like a surgeon, scrubbing our flesh clean a zillion times a day, and/or dousing them in hand sanitizers. The economy has surely taken a beating but it’s gotta be a boon for companies making

April 2021 | The South Coast Insider

October 1 and January 30, only 155 people in the US were hospitalized with the flu, a 98% drop in the same window of the 2019-2020 flu season, when 8,633 people were hospitalized. That’s pretty amazing – and a testament to good hygiene, which by comparison, we were pretty lazy about pre-pandemic. When you think about sitting elbow to elbow with people in restaurants,

bars, concerts, sporting events, or worst of all, doctors’ offices and hospitals, it’s rather obvious how illness spreads so rapidly. This pandemic is an obvious game changer; going forward, people will adopt mask wearing as a necessary evil which will then just turn into normal wear, like putting on gloves in winter or shorts in summer. I know that I’ll be wearing one for sure in medical settings and perhaps others where people gather, or at least socially distance as best I can. I was never a huge fan of standing too close to people anyway, owing to the fact that I mostly don’t like people (mostly just kidding), but am now even less a fan because we all spread stuff from our noses and mouths via perhaps the grossest medical term since flesh-eating bacteria and explosive diarrhea – droplets. Just the thought of inhaling/ ingesting someone else’s disease-laden droplets… ewwwww. Honestly, there should be a horror movie made called Droplets. It would make and disgust millions. But I think overall, we’re in a better place at this time than a year ago. There is a vaccine with remarkable efficacy, there is a caring, competent administration in place looking out for the population of all


political stripes, there is an awareness of disease transmission that we haven’t seen probably since the inception of the AIDS epidemic. And there is no need for a repeat performance of this pandemic, if we’ve learned our lessons. But humans in general, and most definitely Americans in particular, are painfully short-sighted when it comes to learning from history, as we prefer to ignore it. Americans are selfish, self-indulgent, woefully unaware (unintentionally and intentionally) of the plight of others, of doing the right thing for the greater good. We are a young country still, one born in the crucible of revolution

where we formed a powerful and sometimes antiquated adherence to rules written centuries ago. We are, laudably, fiercely protective of our independence. We are also, sadly, fiercely protective of that independence when we feel it threatened by government and common sense, two terms historically and demonstrably at odds with one another. But we have to take heart and follow ours, knowing that what we do in these times of pandemic and beyond to protect ourselves and our own, protects everyone else and their own. We’re all in this together. And together is pretty much the only viable way out.

Joint pain is not just something to endure as you get older.

Two-thirds of people with rheumatic diseases are under age 65. These autoimmune and inflammatory diseases cause the immune system to attack joints, muscles, bones and organs. If you are experiencing joint pain that is affecting Luke Barré, MD, your life, it is time to MPH, RhMSUS be evaluated by a Rheumatologist. Dr. Luke Barré can assess your joint pain and, depending on your condition, offer treatment options that could be life-changing. Dr. Barré is welcoming new patients.

535 Faunce Corner Road | Dartmouth, MA For appointments, call 508-996-3991 www.hawthornmed.com

April 2021 | The South Coast Insider

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