Page 1




October Snowstorm

Fitzgerald Post to Honor Veterans, Will Turn 100 “By the authority of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, the Thomas J. Fitzgerald Post 561 will celebrate its Charter’s 100th Anniversary on the 28th Day of November, 2020”

by Rick Winterson


his coming We d n e s d a y, November 11, the 102nd Veterans’ Day/Armistice Day occurrence, the Thomas J. Fitzgerald VFW Post #561 will honor its veterans, and indeed all veterans, in its 69th Annual Veterans’ Day Memorial Service. At 9 a.m., November 11, Assembly will begin at Post Quarters, 715 East Fourth Street. An unveiling ceremony of the Charter Plaque commemorating


the Post #561 Charter’s centurylong existence will then take place at 9:15. Soon after this unveiling, the guests will form up and march to St. Brigid Church (upstairs church) for a Veterans Memorial Service at 10 a.m. Post #561 Comma nder Thomas J. McCarthy invites all who read this to attend the unveiling and the Memorial Service. He has announced that, due to the COV ID-19 pa ndemic prec autions, t he Post’s usual annual Veterans Day Brunch cannot be held. However, beginning on Veterans’ Day, the Post will be accepting Christmas donations for the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home – hats, socks, scarves, toiletries, etc., for which the Home’s residents will always be grateful. On Saturday, November Continued on Page 3

It’s hard to believe it will be 65 degrees today, when last Friday it was 30+ degrees, the temperature was at or just above freezing, so the snow was heavy and damp. And the snow stuck to wherever it fell, including trees still in leaf, so it formed some unexpectedly beautiful snow scenes. The official accumulation was said to be 3.5 inches, but careful measurements late in the day around South Boston averaged four inches. (More Photos on Page 6).



1.75 % 2.50 % APR+



1st 6 months then prime minus .75% for life

current fully-indexed rate

the best


Super-EASY Online Application at massbaycu.org/heloc, or call (617) 269-2700 or visit our South Boston branch.

Serving Greater Boston since 1936. Federally insured by NCUA



+ APR= Annual Percentage Rate. 1.75% Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is an introductory rate for the first six months. After the introductory period, rate on the outstanding balances will revert to Prime Rate as published in the Wall Street Journal on the first day of the calendar month minus (-) 0.75%. Prime rate as of 04/01/2020 is 3.25%. The APR may vary monthly. Minimum rate 2.50% and maximum rate 18.00%. 10 year draw period. 15 year repayment period. Minimum $10,000 draw at closing and $1,000 advances thereafter. 80% combined LTV to $200,000 (</=70% LTV $300,000). Proof of adequate property insurance required and Flood Insurance may also be required. Subject to credit approval. Other terms and restrictions apply including 620 minimum credit score. Offer subject to change without notice. NMLS ID #615913




ith the distractions of the 2020 Election, South Boston Online has just found the time to consider Gov. Baker’s stricter COVID-19 rules issued on Monday. These rules result from the increasingly difficult fight to overcome (or at least slow) the rising numbers suffering from Coronavirus and the effects (often fatal) of COVID-19. Daily new cases in Massachusetts were over 1,000 all last week. While this dropped to 725 new cases on Monday, it shot back up to 923 on Tuesday, Election Day and Wednesday rose up to 1,700 cases. Compare those figures to the lower numbers – sometimes less than 100 new cases per day

Is It Enough? – that we experienced during much of the summer. It appears there’s a huge problem cropping up around here, a problem that is rapidly becoming much worse! Yes, Gov. Ba ker‘s new rules and restrictions will have some good effect. He reduced permitted hours at places like restaurants, theaters, and gyms; he set lower limits on the number of people who can gather (even indoors at private homes). He established an overnight curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Most useful of all, Baker declared that masks must always be worn everywhere in public, by everyone five years old and up. The new restrictions and rules take effect this Friday, November 6.

This will help control COV ID-19 to some extent, especially the increased mask usage. But, is it simply enough. Sadly, the Coronavirus pandemic has gotten “new life”; many experts in the scientific and medical professions have stated that any new rules must be stricter than Gov. Baker’s proposals. And there are increasing reports of hospitals getting near their 100% capacity, as well as a possible shortage of nurses. We will end this brief editorial with a few questions: Have you he a rd t he growing number of comments that claim Thanksgiving this year should only be a small, private, “stay-at-home” event?

Should Black Friday, just three weeks from now, a nd it s potent ia l ly hu ge crowds of shoppers over that weekend be permitted? What about ongoi ng Ch ri st ma s shopping during cold weather? And could it somehow be all right to have large Christmas and New Year celebrations? South Boston Online doesn’t know enough to accurately answer any of those questions. Please remember that the very first Christmas Holiday was just a family event in a stable. It was very small also, until the angels, the shepherds, and the three Wise Men showed up. Stay healthy and follow all safety prec autions.

An Election Thank-You We are writing this even though the 2020 Presidential Race is still undecided, as it may be for the next several days. But South Boston Online wants to express our sincere gratitude to all those devoted, patriotic volunteers, who worked a 13-hour Election Day at the in-person polling stations. It was not an easy task – lines extended in all directions; a recordbusting turnout of more than 160 million of us voters turned out. Even so, our election volunteers stayed helpful and cheerful all day and evening long. And they took great pride in being a hard-working part of the record vote. Thank you all so very, very much.


100th Anniversary 28, the Fitzgerald Post will reach its 100th Anniversary, after receiving its VFW Charter on Sunday, November 28, 1920. The post was named for Thomas J. Fitzgerald, who was born in South Boston in 1894. He enlisted in the militar y in Februar y, 1918, was killed in action on July 19, 1918, during the 39th Infantry’s Aisne-Marne offensive. He is buried over there, in the AisneMarne A merican Cemeter y. Fitzgerald was a member of the Knights of Columbus at their chapter on Old Colony Avenue – its only member to be killed in action. His fellow servicemen and K of C members applied for the VFW charter, receiving it 100 years ago on the date mentioned above. The newly founded VFW Post #561 later (1932) moved to their current quarters on Fourth Street, a recently vacated firehouse. Guided by John “Doc” Tynan, the Post bought the firehouse from the City of Boston in 1966, while Mayor John Collins was in office. In a phone inter view with Post Commander Tom McCarthy, he said, “I’m very proud that we are honoring that day – the 100th Anniversary of the Fitzgerald Post. All of its members have been such loyal veterans that I’m humbled by them. And many have gone fa r beyond their ever yday duties to help other veterans – people like Tom Lyons, whose commitment a ma zes

me. I’m proud to be a veteran. “Despite the Coronavirus pandemic, we will be honoring Thomas J. Fitzgerald’s memory. He sacrificed his life for his country. His fellow veterans then came back and set up this Post in his honor. I am honored to be a part of that. As Commander, I am dedicated to assisting all veterans, as well as to supporting local community ef for t s l i ke t he JROTC Programs at the High School.” In phone interviews with other Fitzgerald Post members, like Ed Powers - four years in the Marines, 30+ year VFW member, and a DAV (Disabled American Veteran) - Ed mentioned that “Post 561 is one of the best VFW posts. I enjoy their activities and spending time with the other members.” Another Post member, Lt. Cmdr. Matt Mothhander, is on active duty at the Coast Guard Station in the North End. He told us the Fitzgerald Post gave him an excellent exposure to the veterans’ community that is so strong and active here in South Boston. “At the Post, I really got to know them”, he said. As for the article credits from South Boston Online and from this writer, we drew on Prof. Bob Allison and Mary Ryan’s key historical research about the Fitzgera ld Post. Sculptor Bob Shure created the 100th Anniversary plaque that will be unveiled on November 11; Po s t Quartermaster Lew K neeland spent much time and effort helping us to put this article together. Our thanks go out to all of t he m .


Msgr. Thomas J McDonnell and Frank Kelley Thanksgiving Dinner

The details have changed but the mission is the same, being grateful for what we have and serving those in need. We will not be able to gather in person or accept food donations this year. Please call 617-586-5824 if you would like a meal delivered to your home. Meals will be delivered on November 25th between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. (Safety protocols in place). Hosted by: The South Boston Catholic Parishes and the Msgr. Thomas J McDonnell and Frank Kelley Holiday Dinner Committee



Growing Business

Micro Plant Studio also Offers Experiences, Sense of Community By Ginger DeShaney


t was a few minutes before closing time when the phone rang. It was someone looking to buy a gift for a special friend. “Yes, come in. I’ll be here,” Julio Cesar Roman told the caller. A little before 7 p.m. Wednesday, Eben van der Walt walked into Micro Plant Studio. He asked Julio for plant advice. He pulled out his phone and showed Julio a photo of the gift recipient’s living room, which was full of plants. Julio knew each plant in the photo, and, noticing what she didn’t have, suggested Eben get her either a small Calathea Pinstripe or a larger monstera plant to add to her collection. Julio asked Eben questions, told him about each plant, explained their care, and showed him the pots and stands he had available. There was easy banter between the two, laughter, a connection, a shared goal. Eben decided on the monstera plant and Julio carefully wrapped it up, making it look picture-perfect. Eben arrived at Micro Plant Studio a stranger and left a friend. This is a typical exchange at Julio’s store. “It’s very tailored, very personalized,” he said about the interactions he has with customers. “I walk them through it. “I’m passionate about the work I do,” added the owner and sole employee. “This is normal for me. I connect with people in a real way, an authentic way.” In addition to walk-in customers, people also regularly contact him on Instagram to ask questions or seek advice, and he happily

Julio Cesar Roman provides answers and feedback. Even though Julio runs a retail shop, “I don’t feel the need to sell the plants. They sell themselves,” he said. Julio, who is originally from Puerto Rico and noted he is one of the few Latinos in the plant industry, knows the healing power of plants. After an unexpected surgery in 2017, he turned to plants during his recovery. He started caring for succulents and explored the propagation process (removing the leaves and starting new growth). Julio found that caring for the plants made him happy. “The power of plants has a way of healing,” he said. “With plants, you get a sense of optimism. The color green gives a sense of hope.” Seeing things that are growing helps people feel more optimistic, he said. Plants help ease anxiety, reduce stress, and boost mood. Julio ended up with more than 250 plants in his art studio apartment. By this time, Julio, a lifelong and trained artist, had spent many

years working for others, in the nonprofit sector (managing, creating, and implementing youth and adult programs) and in public schools. Most of those jobs had a garden component. He knew it was time to work for himself and create his own opportunity. “I wanted to be in a neighborhood setting; it’s important to build community,” Julio said. He found the perfect spot at 365 W. Broadway in Southie. “Southie has been great to me and my business,” said Julio. “People have been super supportive.” Micro Plant Studio boasts a showroom, a creative arts studio, and an online store.  Micro Plant Studio sells air plants, succulents, houseplants, holiday plants, orchids, balloons, decor, and more. Julio creates arrangements for various occasions (he delivers in his new van) and offers premade arrangements from his Grab & Go fridge. Julio also offers community

and corporate plant workshops either at the shop or on location, but these events are on hold because of Covid19. The workshops are customized to what the participants want to do … anything from potting a plant to flower arranging to building a terrarium. In the studio, Julio encourages people to create art, be inspired by art and nature, learn from each other, and increase their sense of community. It’s more than just a store; Julio is offering an experience.  As a product of public education, Julio has a passion for working with youth and is always looking for ways to create opportunities for underserved youth. “Small business has an obligation to create access and a responsibility to respond to needs in the community,” he said. To that end, Julio offers programs catered to kids, such as hosting field trips (when safe), launching a prom corsages program, and doing Mother’s Day promotions. Julio has been rewarded for his hard work. Boston Magazine honored Micro Plant Studio with a 2020 Best of Boston designation in the home category. And he just recently received a 2020 Latinx Amplifier award, given by Amplify Latinx, whose mission is to build Latinx economic and political power by increasing Latinx civic engagement, economic opportunity and representation in leadership positions across sectors. Follow Micro Plant Studio on Facebook (https://www.facebook. com/microplantstudio) and Instagram (@microplantstudio).



This Library is Open Bakers Share Their Love of Reading

By Ginger DeShaney


achel and Billy Baker are avid readers. And they are hoping to instill that love of reading in others through their Little Free Library, the first one in South Boston. “We want people to take books,” Rachel said, noting that she anticipates the

Little Free Library will encourage reading, especially in these times when people can’t use the public library as they normally would. According to its website, Little Free Library is a nonprofit organization that inspires a love of reading, builds community, and sparks creativity by fostering neighborhood book exchanges. On Oct. 22, Rachel announced on the Southie Community Bulletin Board Facebook page that her Little Free Library was open at 430 E. 8th St., in her front yard and easily accessible from the sidewalk. The responses have been wonderful, with many people saying they would be dropping off books as well as taking books. Many people thanked Rachel for putting one up in South Boston. “We’re in business,” Rachel said. “Every couple of days I see more books in it.” But she’s never actually seen people using the library. She noticed that the Stephen King book, “It,” was in the library, then it was gone, and then it was back. 

The Little Free library is actually pretty big, holding up to at least 40 books easily, she said. The Little Free Library website has plans and blueprints to build your own library; Pinterest has thousands of building ideas; you can reuse other objects as libraries. The Bakers went on Craig’s List and bought a dog house that they converted into a library, replacing the door with a picture frame with glass so people can see inside. They also painted the library to match their house. Rachel, a special education coordinator for Boston Public Schools, spends her summers in California with her grandsons. “There are Little Free Libraries on every block,” she said. When Covid-19 hit and the libraries were closed, friends gave Billy books to read. When he was done reading them, he didn’t know what to do with them. The friends didn’t want the books back and libraries are not accepting donations. Her son in California suggested

she start a Little Free Library. So she went to the website, https:// littlefreelibrary.org/, and got started. She registered her library on the website and now has an official charter, with the charter number displayed on the library. The charter gives her placement on the Little Free Library map. Rachel realizes not many people have yards in South Boston, but encourages others to offer Little Free Libraries, too.



October Snowstorm Sets Record(s) by Rick Winterson


lease take a few moments and try to remember the last time when you saw snow on Halloween, either just before Halloween or on that day itself. And after that, try to remember how much the accumulation amounted to. Now, it’s often cold at the end of October and the displays of autumn leaves are nearly over, but actually, snow in the month of October is extremely rare. Not only that, even when it does snow, the October snowstorms and accumulations are best described as “flurries”, a “dusting”, or “tenths of an inch”.

The snow fa ll set new records by far. As of this date, the biggest snowstorm so far in 2020 happened in mid-January and left only three inches. Let’s see how the rest of this year goes. More significantly, in the nearly 150 years of keeping weather records, last Friday’s storm was an absolute record-breaker. At four inches locally and 3.5 inches officially, it was many times larger than previous record-breaking October storms of just an inch or so - many times larger for an almost unbeatable new October snowstorm record. That held true over much of Massachusetts, because the storm extended from west to east over more than half of

the state, from beyond Worcester to Boston Harbor; it stretched from border to border – Rhode Island up to New Hampshire. You have no doubt heard that old Boston weather joke: “If you don’t like Boston weather, just wait a few minutes.” Halloween was the day after the storm and was sunny to beat the band. And please be optimistic. An early snow has nothing to do with whatever may (or may not) happen over the upcoming winter season. Mother Nature wasn’t trying to send us a signal – the record setting snowstorm in October just happened that way, aided in part (believe it or not) by global warming trends.

And speaking of the weather’s quick changes around here, we are experiencing spring-like temperatures the upcoming days. Enjoy them while they last, and please (!) take care of yourself.



Councilors Flynn, Flaherty & Breadon to Hold Hearing on Large House Parties During COVID-19 on November 6th, 11am


oston City Councilors Ed Flynn, Michael Flahery, and Liz Breadon will be hosting a virtual hearing regarding large house parties this Friday, November 6th, at 11am. The Councilors filed this hearing order in mid-October to discuss ways to better enforce rules regarding house parties and indoor gatherings. There have been concerning reports from neighbors regarding large house parties and their potential to become superspreader events due to a lack of proper physical distancing and mask wearing. Neighbors have also highlighted loud noise and trash removal issues as negatively impacting their quality of life. This hearing order aims to discuss methods that the city can use to ensure that public health and noise regulations are followed, including the possibility of raising fines. As we remain in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, large house parties are concerning not only because their potential to become superspreader events, but also due to their noise and impact on the quality of life for our residents, as these partiers often leave behind trash and litter on the street,

attracting rodents and pests. In Governor Baker’s COV ID-19 Order #52, it states that there should never be more than 25 persons in a single enclosed, indoor space, and failure to comply may result in a civil fine of up to $500 per violation.  Councilor Flynn held a Zoom meeting last month with 90 neighbors and officials from the Inspectional Services Department (ISD) and the Boston Police Department (C-6), who continued to encourage residents to contact 911 for them to respond and enforce regulations on noise levels and gatherings. If a property is a repeated of fender, residents are encouraged to email Aisha Miller, Assistant Commissioner

with ISD, at A isha.Miller@ boston.gov to investigate the property and potentially place it on the city’s Problem Properties List. As we continue to hear these reports of house parties, we need to talk about stricter enforcement of the Governor’s order and further mechanisms to disincentivize people from having large parties, including stricter enforcement, and increasing the fines on repeat offenders. “As we continue to hear about COVID-19 cases spiking not only nationally, but with rising positivity rates locally in the city and state, these reports of large house parties in our city remain a serious concern,” said Councilor Flynn. “The Governor has stated for several

More Good News In our last issue, South Boston Online told of how the 2020 Farmer’s Market will be staying open on South Boston’s Mondays all through November. Now, Sullivan’s has announced it’ll stay open all during the month of December instead of closing shortly before Thanksgiving, as it has done in previous years. So, in advance, have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year’s Eve on December 31 (at Sully’s?)!

weeks that our young people are driving the single biggest rise in cases. It is critical for our young professionals, and all residents, to refrain from reck le ss a nd inconsiderate behavior with no physica l distancing or mask wearing that could potentially create superspreader events, along with other quality of life concerns. With winter approaching and the potential for a second wave locally, it is crucial to discuss strict enforcement, higher fines and penalties for offenders.”   For more in format ion on the hearing, please visit h t t p s : // w w w. b o s t o n . g o v/ public-notices/13670436, or cont act C ou nci lor Fly nn’s of f ic e at 617- 635 -32 03.



South Boston Catholic Academy News Highlights from Halloween 2020!

South Boston Catholic Academy is a proud partner with the Lynch Foundation. With the help of Lynch and our amazing Early Childhood Educators, we are creating a strong learning environment for all our young students. K0 and K1 celebrated the Halloween season by creating â&#x20AC;&#x153;Franken-facesâ&#x20AC;?, Halloween shaped collages, bat marble painting and listening to Halloween stories. All the students had a chance to wear their Halloween costumes and have a Halloween party in their classroom! All of us at South Boston Catholic Academy, hope everyone had a very Happy and Safe Halloween!





Virtual Public Meeting

Dorchester Bay City Thursday, November 4 6:00 PM

Register: bit.ly/DBCNov4 Call-in: 833-568-8864 Webinar ID: 161 909 0401

Monday, November 16 6:00 PM

Register: bit.ly/DBCNov16 Call-in: 833-568-8864 Webinar ID: 160 760 2881

Wednesday, December 2 6:00 PM

Register: bit.ly/DBCDec2 Call-in: 833-568-8864 Webinar ID: 160 776 4081

eighty-four 18” Christmas wreaths on light posts along Dot Ave and Boston Street from Columbia Road to Washburn Street.

Meet at Paul’s Triangle at the intersection of Washburn, Howell and Dot Ave.

The next topic-specific Virtual Public Meetings are as follows: Wednesday, November 4th: Open Space, Public Realm & Resiliency Monday, November 16th: Transportation & Infrastructure Wednesday, December 2nd: Topic TBD

mail to: Aisling Kerr Boston Planning & Development Agency One City Hall Square, 9th Floor Boston, MA 02201 phone: 617.918.4212 email: Aisling.Kerr@Boston.gov BostonPlans.org

On Saturday, November 21st, this Association will be placing

Masked volunteers will be needed from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.

Project Description: The Boston Planning & Development Agency will be hosting a series of Virtual Community Advisory Committee (“CAC”) and Public Meetings in connection with the proposed Dorchester Bay City project. A Virtual KickOff Public Meeting was held on October 19th, which was followed by an Urban Design focused Virtual Public Meeting on October 28th. • • •

Save the Date


Teresa Polhemus, Executive Director/Secretary

The Law Office of

Paul J. Gannon PC General Practice of Law

Criminal Defense Personal Injury Motor Vehicle Accidents Establishment of Corporations, LLCs Wills & Estate Planning Real Estate Litigation Probate No Charge for Initial Consultation

82 West Broadway South Boston, MA (617)269-1993 pgannon@paulgannonlaw.com

All volunteers should follow the Massachusetts Covid 19 Guidelines. We are asking that neighbors volunteer in teams of two from the same bubble!

Please sign up by emailing mccormackcivic@gmail.com.


Halloween 2020 Was a “GO” Despite the pandemic, this year’s Halloween was celebrated. Not only was Halloween 2020 celebrated, it was carefully conducted in responsible conformance with COVID-19 precautions here – Masks, social distancing, and all. Way to go, South Boston! by Rick Winterson


alloween, one of ou r c h i l d r e n’s favorite holidays, was well and truly celebrated last Saturday in South Boston. It went smoothly, despite the

precautions needed to prevent the spread of our ongoing, increasingly widespread pandemic. The celebration began with a motorcade of private autos decorated in Halloween motifs. Led by its President Rachel “Rae” Pearson and her family, the South Boston MOMS Club formed up their motorcade in the Pappas Way parking lot of the Athletic Club and proceeded to Farragut Road and then along East and West Broadway. Please visit Southbostononline.com/or check out our facbook page for all the colorful parade photos.



Are you considering selling your ho1ne or condo? Real Estate is Thriving in South Boston Knovv the True Value of Your Home Today With a Free Market Analysis Q

(j Facebook.corn/RooneyRealEstat e

Rooney Real Estate, LLC 700 East Broadway South Boston, MA 02127 Jackie@rooney-re.com

Over 30 years of professional service • Over 2,000 real estate transactions #I sales agent in South Boston for 25 of 30 years rooney-re.com • office: 617-269-1000 • cell: 617-645-5370

Profile for South Boston Online