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“Boston Seaport” Construction Enters Final Decade by Rick Winterson


ate last year, South Boston Online had the privilege (and pleasure) of interviewing Yanni Tsipis, who is the Senior Vice President (SVP) of Development for WS Development. WS Development is the corporate entity, which has been in charge of the single largest construction project in the South Boston’s Seaport District. During our interview, SVP Tsipis was accompanied by his newly appointed Director of Property Management, Stacy Cawley. She oversees day-to-day operations and management of all the parks, buildings, and public areas for which WS is responsible in the Seaport. Here’s a brief update on WS Development’s entire Seaport District project that is now formally entitled “Boston Seaport”. The Boston Seaport


project is the largest in the Seaport District, and compares to the largest of any major project in the City of Boston. It originally involved a total of 20 new buildings. Nine of these remain to be built; three of those nine are under construction and will be completed this year (2021). WS Development is sensitive to the need for open space within the Boston Seaport project, so they are planning a spacious system of parks, walkways, and public areas that will ultimately extend from Boston Harbor all the way south to Summer Street. The entire Boston Seaport project is planned to be completed in eight to ten years. That’s approximately 2030 or so, which is Boston’s 400th Anniversary (how fitting!). We have written about SVP Yanni Tsipis and the Boston Seaport project in the past. Yanni grew up in Brookline and attended M.I.T., where he completed his degrees in

The 2021 Plunge Proceeds Last Friday, a couple of dozen plungers entered the water at K Street Beach. When we inquired, they would only say, “We are just a group of family and friends”. The plungers on the M Street Beach side of “the L” were a more random collection of bathers. They went in and out of the water at random, but nevertheless, it was still a Plunge. Above the water line, a group of non-plungers made

hot coffee using a solar heater. So, South Boston’s L Street Brownies’ Plunge #119 actually did take place on the morning of Friday, January 1 (well, sort of ). And oddly enough, there was a State Police harbor craft anchored off the beach at M. There’s nothing like being extra-safe! (Visit our website at South Boston Online for more photos or our facebook page).

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WS Director of Property Management Stacy Cawley; Yanni Tsipis, SVP of WS Development.

Civil Engineering and Urban Studies and Planning. He brought 15 years of Boston real estate experience with him when he joined WS Development in 2016. He has served on the Boston Landmarks Commission and the Fort Point Channel Landmark District Commission; he is passionate about both the history and the future of Boston. Yanni teaches at M.I.T.’s Center for Real Estate and is the author of four books about Boston’s transportation history. Stacy Cawley, the new Director of Property Management for Seaport Boston, was raised in Newport, Rhode Island. She obtained her undergraduate


degree at University of Scranton, where she played Div. 3 soccer and was enrolled in the Army ROTC Program. She served seven years on active duty in the U.S. Army, and then transitioned to working in real estate. She has a Master’s Degree from Boston University along with a Certificate in Real Estate Management. Stacy has been a Boston resident since 2002, and has 15 years of varied real estate experience. One of Stacy’s key strengths is building and managing teams, which she believes results from her athletic pursuits and military experience. Her personal interests include quality time with her family, friends, and dog Duke, along with reading, traveling, outdoor hiking, and soccer paying. When asked about her impressions of working for WS Development, she quickly replied, “I love it!” She refers to WS as taking a “holistic approach to real estate, from the street level on up”. Nicely put, Stacy. We will close by mentioning the WS Development open space plans once again. From the Harbor, across the Seaport Common and Green, past the Fallen Heroes Memorial obelisk, and through Harbor Square Park, this space will connect with Summer Street at No. 400, WS Development’s Foundation Medicine Building where construction has just begun. The renderings of this space are truly striking.


Harbor Way now open to proposed Harbor Square Park.

Foundation Medical Building rendering (construction has begun at 400 Summer).

A Short Editorial – Based on a Fable or Two

ou k now about stories of the Roman a nd Greek gods. You perhaps read some of them when you were a child. While they were obviously all myths and legends, they made good, exciting reading. Actually, it’s possible to learn some important lessons from stories of olden times and gods, no matter how they arose. Examples of this are the Roman god Janus and the Greek myth of Pandora. Janus is one of the oldest gods of the Romans, perhaps going back the founding of the Roman Empire by Romulus and Remus in 753 B.C. Janus was the Roman god of gates, and eventually he was worshipped

as the god of beginnings (and endings). In the later sculptures of him, he is depicted as having two faces. One of them looked backward; the other face looked for ward. A nd obviously, that’s why the month of January is named after Janus. All of us, especially our government and public officials, must promise to look forward and backward this year, starting right now in January, 2021. We must, as citizens of the U.S.A., decide what we did wrong and did right in 2020, during the Coronavirus/ COV ID-19 pandemic. And even more important, we must plan for doing better before (!) the next emergency arises, even if we believe it’ll be a century or

more into the future. That may mean some very sophisticated projects in medical research. It will also mean paying attention to simple, basic needs, like making sure we always have enough medical face masks on hand in the years to come. The myth of Pandora and her box is more complex, but has its own important lesson. Stated brief ly, Pandora was given a box by Zeus, the Greek King of the gods, who warned her not to open it. After hearing a buzzing inside the box night after night, her curiosity got the better of her and she unlatched it. A swarm of stinging insects f lew out immediately; one of these insects stung Pandora painfully

on her forehead. In a panic, she slammed the box shut, trapping one remaining insect inside. Finally, she decided to let that insect go free as well. It was a butterf ly, which landed on her forehead, causing the pain of the sting to go away at once. There are many interpretations of the myth of Pandora and her box, but one of them claims that the butterf ly symbolizes the blessing of Hope for the future. Is it hard for you to believe in Hope right now? Well, please remember that we have recently discovered more than one effective vaccine against COVID-19 in less than a year of all-out effort. Hope may not be easy, but it certainly is a Blessing.


An Announcement from Fr. Peter DeFazio, Pastor, St. Monica Parish: St. Vincent Church Property Sale Is Finalized

“A few months ago, we had announced to the South Boston Community the anticipated sale of the St. Vincent de Paul parish property. I can now share with parishioners and neighbors that the sale of this property to Cedarwood Development was made final on December 30, 2020. This sale will enable our Catholic community to carry on the rich legacy of St. Vincent’s at our new parish of St. Monica. We look forward as a people of faith, committed to building a community of compassion. Specific questions about future plans for the St. Vincent de Paul site should be directed to Cedarwood Development.”

Christmas Tree Recycling

This is not what the city had in mind for Christmas tree recycling. The city will be picking up Christmas trees this week and next to be shredded for compost. Place your tree on the curb by 6 a.m. on pickup day, without ornaments or lights. Check your pickup schedule:





The Art of Giving

Local Woman Uses Her Talent to Help Others

Erica Hagler By Ginger DeShaney


rica Hagler uses her superpowers for good.

The South Boston artist has a passion for employing her talent to give back to the community. “If you have a talent, you should share it with people,” she said. “It feels really good to give back.” Erica’s mom instilled in her family the importance of giving back. The family fed the homeless every Thanksgiving; they donated toys to families in need; they saved extra toiletries to give out to people in need. So it’s no surprise that Erica is involved in charitable giving every chance she gets. In November and December, Erica organized “The Art of Giving.” This project was born when Erica was sitting in her kitchen thinking, “I made it through 2020. My business grew this year. I was so blessed.” She knew she had to give back. She called Barbara Caputo Kelly at the Condon Community Center asking if there was a family she could bless for the holidays. Erica told a friend what she was doing, and she wanted in, too. And so did many others. All together, 25 families were helped. Erica created paperwork for the recipient families, getting as much information as she could. Each sponsor bought her family toys (such as PlayStations and bikes), items for the parents (such as air fryers and comforters), and $150 Stop & Shop gift cards. “We wanted to make sure everyone got food, too,” Erica said. A Facebook post from the Condon Community Center stated: The true

spirit of Christmas shined brightly in the homes of 25 deserving families this Christmas morning as they were surprised and showered with gifts galore ... This entire effort was created by the amazing (and, amazingly talented artist) Erica Hagler and her many incredible friends from the Artist Community who came together so wholeheartedly and generously to adopt Condon CC families and provide children and parents a very special Christmas - giving the best gifts of all - hope and happiness. Erica also recently painted and donated a chest to a local restaurant group to raffle off to help support the business and its staff. The restaurant/nightclub industry holds a special place in Erica’s heart. She hasn’t always made her living as an artist. She spent several years managing restaurants and nightclubs. “Anything to do with restaurants, I have a soft spot,” she said. “Anything I can do for restaurants …” In high school, Erica took the easiest art class offered, but her art teacher noticed how good she was and moved her to the highest art class, skipping all the classes in between. The new art teacher “made it difficult on me,” she said. “He made it so miserable for me.” The students were required to enter every art contest in town, and being that she lived in San Diego, there were a lot of them. “I kept entering and I kept winning,” Erica said. She was doing huge projects for free for these contests. “That crushed my hopes of me wanting to do art after that.” After high school, Erica started college. “But school was never for me,” she said. “I felt bored in class. I’m a self-taught person, and I don’t want to wait for other people to teach me.” She started managing bars and restaurants in San Diego. Then she went to New York and managed a restaurant for celebrity chef Chris Santos and others. Five years ago, Erica’s boyfriend (now husband) convinced her to stop working in the nightlife industry and focus on her art. At first she said no, “I won’t make any money.” But she is making money, thanks to her talent and hard work. “I’m thankful for everything I learned from managing nightclubs and

restaurants,” she said, including marketing, networking, and the art of competition. For Erica, the first two years of making art revolved around building her portfolio, her clientele, and trust. “It takes time for people to trust you.” Then there’s the marketing piece. “It’s all about marketing yourself, especially in the arts,” she said. “If people don’t see it, does it really exist?” Erica was drawing little things for her house, and her friends took notice. Her first big break came when George Foreman III of Everybody Fights, the boxing club, asked her to create art for a new space he was opening in New York. She painted five canvases of influential people: Nelson Mandela, Ernest Hemingway, Sammy Davis Jr., Maya Angelou, and Amelia Earhart. After getting that chance from Foreman, other people approached Erica for work, and her business, Blind Fox, took off. She credits living in Boston, a big city with a small-town feel, with growing her business. “It’s funny how many people know each other,” Erica said. “It’s a great networking city.” Her recent projects include creating murals for Yoki Sushi in Medford, all 5,000 square feet of the building, Parlr in Framingham, and 300 A Street in Southie; doing backdrops for Reebok photoshoots for the “Wonder Woman” film; and designing Yeti coolers for General Mills Tailgate Nation. She has several jobs already lined up for 2021, including creating art for the fourth floor of 175 Federal Street, and for a few restaurants; and designing a new logo for Barstool Sports.

She hand paints murals, canvases, individual pieces; she designs vinyl wall wraps; she creates fine art pieces; and she does installation and embellishment work. Once a client books her services, Erica walks through the space to get an idea of what the client wants, the color palette, theme, type of establishment, etc. Then she sends the client her file of 80 styles. “People don’t know how many possibilities there are for art,” Erica said. The client will pick 5-10 they like and through a process of questioning, Erica narrows it to the final style. While many artists specialize in one, maybe two, genres, Erica offers a wide range -- and is talented in every style. “That comes from pushing myself,” said the self-taught artist. Her favorite art to create is pop art/ graffiti style. “Pop art is so classic,” she said. “And graffiti style is what the kids like. It blends older and younger generations.” Some of her favorite projects:

300 A Street: “I enjoyed the drip art because it was so out there and messy.” B/Spoke Cape House: “I created a giant wave on the wall. It gave me the flow of movement.” Six String Grill & Stage (Gillette Stadium): She turned 15,300 guitar picks into an image of Dolly Parton. “It was really cool.” In her downtime, Erica is always creating … for herself. “It’s very important for me to paint for myself,” without restrictions. Webs it e :

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Get in the Habit!

By Ginger DeShaney Longtime Southie boutique keeps neighborhood fashionable


hen Pa m Santorelli opened her boutique Habit at 703 E. Broadway almost 15 years ago, she received amazing support from the neighborhood. “There was a lot of positive energy. We had a successful opening,” Pam said. “We got such a great response from the neighborhood. It pushed us to move forward.” That support remains strong today. When COVID-19 forced Habit, a women’s clothing, accessories, and gift boutique, to close its doors for two and half months, right at the start of the busy season, the tight-knit Southie community was there for Pam. “We’re hanging in there,” she said. “We had a great response from the neighborhood. People want to shop small, which is so appreciated.” Christmas sales were good, again thanks to the supportive community. “It was a good holiday season,” Pam

said. “We had a lot of support. People came out and shopped local. Overall, I can’t thank people enough for coming out and shopping with us. “I want to thank the neighborhood for its support. Thanks to everyone who shopped small. “I look forward to a great 2021.” Because Habit is a Southie institution, Pam has amassed a great base of regulars. She has gotten to know people over the years. “I love seeing their lives evolve; I grow with them,” she said. “I’ve been here so long that I’ve become friends with my customers. “It’s nice to get to know people year over year.” What Pam also knows is fashion. In the era of COVID19, what’s popular at Habit? “A n y t h i n g cozy and comf y,” she said. With people working from home during the pandemic, women are buying “Zoom meeting tops and accessories.” Cute loungewear, cozy sweaters, and casual joggers are also popular right now. “Fashion is getting more comfortable,” Pam said. “People want to look casual but cute and stylish.” Pam figures people will be excited to get dressed up again once it’s OK. But in day-to-day business, dressing up may not happen as much as before. Companies are changing focus from dressing up to casual wear now. Pam, who has lived in Southie for 22 years, has seen all the changes here: “There’s a lot of energy in the neighborhood.” Habit keeps up with all the trends. “We always stand behind good quality

Pam Santorelli products at good prices,” said Pam. Gift items -- such as candles, engagement gifts (champagne glasses, ring trays), Southie coasters, wine glasses, frames, jewelry, and scarves -continue to be popular at Habit. “The price points are really great; there’s something for everyone,” Pam said. Pam, who also owned Wears + Wares for five years, has been instrumental in the pop-up community in Southie. “They bring the neighborhood together. It gives people in South Boston and the surrounding areas the opportunity to shop a bunch of different designers and boutiques at the same time,” she said. It also allows for artists and makers without brick and mortar stores to showcase their items. Pam had always dreamed of opening a boutique. “Since I was little, I knew I wanted to be involved in the fashion world. “I loved playing boutique and shopping with my mom,” she added, noting that when she was young, her fashionable parents were always great dressers. Pam graduated from

Chamberlayne School of Design and Merchandising with a fashion merchandising and marketing degree. “I never wanted to be a fashion designer,” she said, “but I like dressing up; I like clothes, jewelry, and accessories.” Her stints at Louis Boston and as a consultant for then-upstart Persona Jewelry helped set her up for opening her own shop. She learned about buying, sales, design, fabrics, customer service, and more. I learned the ins and outs of opening a boutique,” she said. “It was a great experience.” But going out on her own was a new experience: “You don’t know the day-to-day until you live it. Every day is a new day. I’m still learning.” To keep up with the new items Pam gets in every week, check out her website (

and Instagram (http://www. Facebook: http://www. fa c e book .c o m /ha bit bos t on Tw i t t e r : ht t p: //


Seaport Art, 2021 Ice Stroll

by Rick Winterson


outh Boston’s Seaport District featured a 2021 display that consisted of two art installations sponsored by WS Development’s “Boston Seaport”, along with a major portion of the 2021 Waterfront Ice Sculpture Stroll, a signature event of “Boston Harbor Now”. This display actually combined a pair of separate artistic efforts into a two-fold event that was absolutely striking. One of the art installations, which is best viewed at night, is entitled “WALLESSNESS”. It is the creation of Teltta, whose three Founding Partners – Alexandra Waller, Nathaniel Elberfeld, and Lavender Tessmer – graduated in Architecture from Washington University (St. Louis) and are now pursuing advanced degrees in Architecture from M.I.T. “WALLESSNESS”, now displayed on Seaport Common, dematerializes the concept of a wall by substituting hand-braided carbon fibers for construction materials such as concrete block. The carbon fibers interlace with other reflective and fluorescent fibers for a remarkable visual effect, especially after dark. “I’m for You (User Friendly)” spans the entrance to Courthouse Square at One Seaport Courtyard, on the Boulevard. It is the creation of design research practice called Supernormal, who describe “I’m for you (User Friendly)” as a reflection on “real and imagined relationships between places, people, and their machines in a time of

isolation”. The design is in two (very) large parts: a soft, inflatable shape that resembles an undersea creature and a sharp-cornered cube roughly eight feet on an edge that is illuminated by projections . These two contrasting shapes actually seem to “converse” with each other. Almost as a complement to the two artworks on display, Boston Harbor Now set up a formal Waterfront Ice Sculpture Stroll specifically to be viewed on December 31, New Year’s Eve, from 1 p.m. until after dark that evening. Certain of the sculptures lasted for an extended time throughout the New Year weekend. South Boston Online counted a total of 17 ice sculptures commissioned by Boston Harbor Now, which stretched from the Boston Public Library Branch in Roxbury, along the Waterfront, into South Boston’s Seaport District, and over into East Boston. We will only mention the nine (9) of those that we viewed – personally and close up – in the Seaport District, which amounted to just over half of the total New Year ice sculptures along the whole Harborfront. The Seaport District organizations who sponsored these nine sculptures were the Alyx, Echelon Seaport, Envoy Hotel, Fan Pier, One Seaport, Pier 4, Seaport Common, Veeva, and Yotel. In our humble opinion, the Pier 4 ice sculpture, with a lobster supporting the numerals “2021” was the best realized work. Other ice sculptures of note included a yeti, a wishing well, and a three-masted schooner. We stopped for lunch at the new GreCo (yes, that’s “GreCo”) on Pier 4; South Boston Online recommends its authentic, taste-filled Greek cuisine. And we are obliged to point out the considerate behavior of each of the ice strollers. Family groups stuck together of course; all their children wore masks. Each group carefully kept Social Distances of six feet or more between other groups, and everyone (including South Boston Online) waited patiently in line to take quick photographs of the ice sculptures, one-by-one.






SBCA Highlights from the Art Class

rom our Art Teacher, Ms. Valerie Szmurlo… Even though this school year looks a little different, it has not stopped students from being their most creative! In fourth grade, we read the book “The Color of Us” and talked about how we can make our cartoon portraits look like ourselves. Students explored how to create skin tones and focus on defining features (eye color, freckles, glasses, etc.). The second grade students created a pumpkin patch showing foreground, middle ground and background using paper and model magic. They even got spooky with witches and ghosts. K1, students learned about International Dot Day by reading the book “The Dot”. Students learned that no matter what their skills are, they can create their own masterpiece. They learned how to place and overlap paper circles to create their own dot art. In fifth grade we did a Nutcracker lesson where we talked

about nutcrackers, their significance and finally how to draw them. The sixth grade, students learned how to draw realistic self-portraits by using correct proportions and also defining facial features. Third grade

learned how to create hot chocolate mugs showing warm colors for the background and cool colors for the foreground. I can’t wait to see what else my South Boston Catholic Academy students create in 2021!

New applicants are welcomed to email Mrs. Jamie Brown at j. br o w n @ s b c a t h ol i c a c a d e m y. org to learn more about South Boston Catholic Academy.



Virtual Public Meeting

Flood Resilience Zoning Overlay District Wednesday, January 13 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Zoom Link: Toll Free: (833) 568 - 8864 Meeting ID: 161 062 3707

Friday, January 15 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Zoom Link: Toll Free: (833) 568 - 8864 Meeting ID: 160 772 4427

Project Description: Please join Boston Planning & Development planning and zoning staff for a virtual meeting to review the draft Coastal Flood Resilience Zoning Overlay, which will provide new zoning definitions, dimensional and use standards for development projects to promote resilient design and better prepare new and existing buildings for future coastal storms and sea level rise. The meeting will include a presentation of the draft zoning article and updates to existing zoning, followed by Q&A and comments. The same presentation and content will be covered at the meetings on January 13th and 15th. We will take comments on the draft Resilience Zoning Overlay until Friday, February 12th. Translation and interpretation services can be made available upon request by reaching out to at least a week in advance of the meeting. mail to:

phone: email:

Chris Busch Boston Planning & Development Agency One City Hall Square, 9th Floor Boston, MA 02201 617.918.4451

Close of Comment Period: 2/12/2021


Teresa Polhemus, Executive Director/Secretary




Mayor Walsh Announces Reopening of Orton Field in South Boston


ayor Martin J. Wa lsh a nd B os ton Pa rk s Commissioner Ryan Woods announced the Boston Parks and Recreation Department has completed improvements to Orton Field located at 200 D Street in South Boston. The fencing, synthetic turf, and entrances were all upgraded with a $570,000 project budget funded by Mayor Walsh’s Capital Improvement Plan, one in a series of parks recently reopened within current health guidelines in Dorchester, Hyde Park, Mattapan, and South Boston. “The COVID-19 pandemic ha s reminded us of t he importance of parks and open spaces for individuals to exercise, relax or take a break. As we’ve

South Boston’s Orton Field recently reopened after $570,000 in improvements funded by Mayor Martin J. Walsh’s Capital Improvement Plan. responded to the impacts of COV ID-19, we’ve remained

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committed to also continuing to support our communities, beyond health,” said Mayor Walsh. “I’m proud of these renovations and improving recreation spaces for Bostonians to safely enjoy.” Since 2014, the Wa lsh administration has invested more than $114 million across t he cit y’s pa rk s s ystems, representing some of the most

signif icant parks investments in Boston’s history. The Fiscal Year 2021-2025 (FY21-FY25) Capital Plan includes enhanced support to maintain the City’s Urban Wilds and tree canopy, increases in funding to plant and maintain trees across the city, as well as $36.8 million for new and ongoing open space projects in Fiscal Year 2021.

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The Boston Parks and Recreation recently completed several field and playground renovation projects citywide including Orton Field at 200 D Street in South Boston. The fencing, synthetic turf, and entrances were all upgraded under Mayor Walsh’s Capital Improvement Plan.



Medicine Wheel Relocates

Newly appointed Executive Director Gregory Liakos (l.) and Artistic Director Michael Dowling look over Medicine Wheel Productions’ new office space.

by Rick Winterson


imes change in South Boston, as do many of our buildings, businesses, and non-prof it community agencies. One such

(very) recent change was the nowcomplete relocation of Medicine Wheel Productions (MWP) and its SPOKE Gallery to the commercial building at 840 Summer Street, located in the block between First and Second Streets. This move was completed earlier in the week, just after New Year’s Day was observed and (to some extent) celebrated. This move isn’t the first time that MWP has relocated – moving to Damrell Street and then over to 110 K Street are just a couple of the steps they have taken over the years – now nearly 30 full years. Michael Dowling, the Founder and Artistic Director of MWP, has been joined in his efforts by newly appointed MWP Executive Director Gregory “Greg” Liakos. Greg is a talented and highly experienced public executive, who has had many years of arts and cultural leadership. He’s an excellent

The sunlit space at 840 Summer Street, where the SPOKE Gallery will now hold its 2021 art exhibits. fit with MWP’s mission, which (briefly stated) is, “The transformation of individuals and communities through the power of art.” We will be profiling Greg in future articles. Right now, you can see the effect MWP’s art projects have on all of us by visiting the green space in No Man’s Land Park behind the High School, or by viewing the solo art exhibits that will be curated by Kathleen Bitetti later this month in the SPOKE

Gallery. When you visit MWP at 840 Summer Street, take a few moments to check out their complete schedule of activities. You’ll be impressed. And for your information, MWP/SPOKE Gallery are already planning their next move, an expansive move. Many details have yet to be worked out, but this move will involve a rehabbed building in one of South Boston’s key residential neighborhoods, possibly as soon as 2022.

Virtual Public Meeting The new location of Medicine Wheel Productions and the SPOKE Gallery at 840 Summer Street, between First and Second.

Hook Wharf / Harborwalk Expansion Tuesday, January 12 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Zoom Link: Toll Free: (833) 568 - 8864 Meeting ID: 160 746 7678

Project Description: The Hook Wharf Project includes construction of a single building totaling approximately 275,000 square feet, comprised of a 357 key hotel, retail/restaurant space dedicated to James Hook & Co., new public open space, Harborwalk, and other public realm amenities.

mail to: Ebony DaRosa Boston Planning & Development Agency One City Hall Square, 9th Floor Boston, MA 02201 phone: 617.918.4419 email:


Teresa Polhemus, Executive Director/Secretary



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