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by Rick Winterson

Volunteer Groups Spread Good Cheer


ou’ll recall that South Boston Online published a story in our December 3 issue about South Boston’s free Thanksgiving turkey dinners. Those dinners, which fed thousands iof people, were prepared at and delivered from the BCEC (the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center). The BCEC graciously allowed these dinners to be made up in their kitchen – the largest such unit in all New England. Countless South Boston volunteers took part in the preparation and deliveries. It was a great success, especially since it took place during the pandemic. The whole affair was arranged and led by that hardworking group from South Boston, who call themselves “The Monsignor Thomas J. McDonnell and Frank Kelley Holiday Dinner Committee”. We’ll simply refer to them as “The Committee”.


The Monsignor Thomas J. McDonnell and Frank Kelley Committee, Local 718 and many volunteers at work on Christmas dinners. It’s said that “History repeats itself.” That was certainly true this year. “The Committee”, along with many other volunteer groups, joined together in Florian Hall to prepare and deliver Christmas Day dinner feasts – over 1,000 in number – to those in need. In their Season’s Greetings letter, Boston Firefighters Local 718 wished everyone a Merry Christmas, a Happy Holiday and a Safe and Healthy New Year. Their letter offered thanks

to Mayor Marty Walsh, Fire Commissioner John Dempsey, The Cape Verdean Association, and Father John Currie, along with “The Committee” (of course). Local 718 then recognized the many Christmas dinner volunteers from the Boston Fire Department, Florian Hall, South Boston’s Catholic Academy, Boston College High, and Catholic Memorial. A special “thank-you” was rendered to South Boston’s Robert



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“Bubba” Cahill, a retired Boston Firefighter, for his time spent on, and devotion to, such a worthy cause as free Christmas dinners. Florian Hall’s 2020 Christmas dinners were based upon baked ham, with all the trimmings. The dinners were blessed before delivery by Fr. Peter DeFazio, the Pastor of the South Boston-Seaport Catholic Collaborative. The preparation of so many complete dinners reflects Continued on Page 3

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The New Year


hat 2021 will be a “Ne w Ye a r” is a sure thing! In our own lifetimes, we have never had a disaster like Coronavirus and its COVID19 pandemic to deal with. Instead, the 2020-2021 COVID19 pandemic has had many similarities to the 1918-1919 f lu epidemic of more than a century ago. First of all, Coronavirus and the f lu are both viruses. Second, both exhibit the same timing the f lu epidemic began in the spring of 1918, went through an intense surge in the fall of 1918, and finally dwindled away in the spring of 1919, just over a year after it began. That’s how COVID-19 has behaved so far. And we expect COVID-19 to recede next spring because our medical scientists have discovered what will likely turn out to be three or more effective vaccines. That will bring (very) good news to our New Year of 2021 at some point. However, all of us have the solemn responsibility to “follow the rules” still, until we are sure when and how COVID19 will be defeated. And you can be certain it’ll go down in defeat eventually. But please also remember that right now

– year-end 2020 – COVID-19 continues to rage in America. For the next several months, we must continue to wash our hands frequently, keep Social Distances (six feet or more), wear face masks anywhere outof-doors, and stay away from crowds, new locations, and unfamiliar individuals. All of these rules have been around for months, of course. But we’re on the last lap before the vaccine becomes available to ever yone in the spring. So let’s really hang in there! And before you make your post-COV ID-19 plans, please allow enough time to win this

Nick Collins State Senator Happy New Year from My Family to Yours

war. Yes, we are looking at April, 2021, for general vaccine availabilit y, but unexpected delays could possibly occur. Let’s aim our thinking and our actions towards victor y happening sometime around mid-year, like the July 4, 2021, weekend. Even if some delays crop up during our fight against COV ID-19, the overall news about the fight is encouraging. A nd we have the local streng t hs needed to beat COVID-19. A couple of recent studies by a survey outfit named “WalletHub” listed Boston as having less pandemic economic problems than most other cities.

More important, another of their surveys listed Boston as being the #1 “Most Caring City” in America. Boston has the nation’s largest work force in the “caring” professions – childcare, nurses and doctors, counselors, teachers, firefighters, service providers, special educators, and so on. We are very fortunate to live in a caring city like Boston, especially in South Boston, which is perhaps the “Most Caring Neighborhood” in the entire #1 “Most Caring City” of Boston. South Boston Online would like to close with one, simple suggestion. If you are fairly well off and have something to spare, what should be your priority for giving as 2021 begins? We suggest you take a look at the organizations and individuals who are providing food to the needy right now, especially to children. Around here, there are numerous public pantries, lunch programs, church kitchens, food bank collections, agency grocery distributions, and so on. And nourishing food is something every single one of us needs two or three times each and every day. And have yourself a (very) Hea lthy, Happy New Year.



Giving great credit on Florian Hall, which is located at 55 Hallett Street, one long block to the south of Gallivan Boulevard. Florian Hall is both an activity and an investment of Boston Firefighters Local 718, Massachusetts AFL-CIO. Featuring firefighters’ well-known kitchen skills, the Hall also serves as a caterer and restaurant open to the public. It is very popular with South Boston residents (but be sure to check the Hall’s scheduled serving hours during the pandemic, before you travel there). And for your

Fr. Peter DeFazio (Catholic Collaborative Pastor) blesses the Christmas dinners.

information, Florian is the name of the Patron Saint of Firefighters, based upon Florian’s position around 300 A.D. as the leader over military brigades of highly trained firefighters in the Roman Empire. The 2020 Christmas dinners delivered by “The Committee” from Florian Hall, when coupled with their Thanksgiving dinners from the BCEC, form a unique sandwich of two major good works this year – good works that joyfully occupy both sides of South Boston’s fiveweek-long Holiday Season. Let’s see what “The Committee” can put together for Easter Sunday (April 4, 2021) this coming year.

Marissa, young Ella, and Cathe Walsh of Deja Brew are Christmas dinner volunteers.


The committee gathered on Saturday, December 19th and would like to announce that due to the current and ongoing COVID pandemic the “Friends of Donny Nave and Katie” committee decided to draw the 50-50 raffle and the other raffle prizes that our sponsors have generously donated. It has become obvious that we cannot safely and legally have the friendship party that we originally envisioned running. We used the 50-50 raffle tickets to draw all prizes, so that the folks who have purchased one of those tickets had the opportunity to win more than just the 50-50 raffle prize. We regret that we could not move forward with our original plans and would like to thank the Committee, our sponsors, and all of Donny’s great “friends” who have generously contributed to supporting Donny’s family. Wishing all of our friends and neighbors are safe and healthy new year! The “FRIENDS OF DONNY NAVE AND KATIE” Committee


50-50 Drawing – Winner: Ryan Conley

One Night Stay Westin Waterfront/Breakfast for Two – Winner: “Chunky/Noonan”

Irish Village Weekend Getaway – Winner: Billy Connolly (Sidewalk Café)

The Local 718 Hall is nearly empty, now that 1,000 Christmas dinners are on their way.

$100 Gift Card to “The Chanty” (Marina Bay) – Winner: John Linehan

$50 House of Ivy Salon – Winner: Eileen Griffin

$100 Stapleton’s Floral – Winner: Michele Avelar

$100 Temazcal – Winner: Lauren Cardea

$100 Tony C’s – Winner: Terry Foley

Peter Welch’s Gym 10 Classes ($250 value) – Winner: Tommy Miller

Peter Welch’s Gym 10 Classes ($250 value) – Winner: Shamrock George Glass

A close-up of the decorated bags created by South Boston Catholic Academy.


Deirfiur Home Gift Basket – Winner: Brian Linehan



Island Treasure Pandemic Doesn’t Stop Sully’s from Serving Great Food

Kizito Paganini, Director of Operations for Sullivan’s

By Ginger DeShaney


hen the COVID19 pandemic hit, management at Sullivan’s at Castle Island rallied to keep serving its loyal customers. “It’s been pretty good for a bad year,” said Kizito Paganini, director of operations for Sullivan’s, a South Boston institution. “We made the best of a bad time.” Paganini started with Sullivan’s in January 2020. The restaurant opened in February as usual but by March 13 had to shut its doors because of the pandemic. “We needed time to close down and rearrange how we do business,” Paganini said. Management discussed safety measures, social distancing, flow, and new ways of doing things.  That creative process came up with: A new way to order in person; Online ordering; Catering services. Sully’s opened back up in May with strict safety measures in place. And in a break from tradition, and in an effort to keep full-timers on as long as possible, Sully’s will stay open until Dec. 31, weather permitting, with halfpriced hot dogs (a particular favorite of the many wiener-loving dogs who visit the island with their humans). “I can’t say we had the best year, but we were graced with some business,” Paganini said. “We were able to keep a lot of staff on and provide for the community.” The ordering process no longer allows for customers to come in through the front door and then hang

around inside for their food. Customers now line up outside on the shamrock dots Sully’s has placed 6 feet apart. Customers come in the side door, place their orders, then go outside and wait on the dots in the pickup area. A “runner” then comes out to deliver each customer’s order, providing that personal touch, Paganini said. Because of the addition of runners, Sully’s was able to hire more people.  “We’ve gotten positive feedback from customers,” Paganini said about the new ordering process. “It’s less chaotic. We’ve added another layer of service.” Because of the success of the new ordering process, Sully’s will keep it in place when the pandemic is over. “People have been very positive about it,” said Paganini. Sully’s changed its computer system to create an online ordering platform. Customers can order online (https://www.sullivanscastleisland. com/order-online/), then come in to pick up their food. If customers are not comfortable coming into the building, Sully’s staff will bring it to their cars. Sully’s new catering program (https://www.sullivanscastleisland. com/catering/) is offered year-round. Twenty-four hours’ notice is required. If the amount is less than $150, the customer must pick up the order. If the order is more than $150, Sully’s staff will drop it off in the new catering van. “It’s a really great catering menu,” said Paganini. “And it’s priced perfectly, I think.”  The catering menu includes breakfast platters, finger sandwich platters, tote lunches, hot box lunches, and more. Sully’s offered limited edition DIY hot dog boxes with 24 SnapDogs, buns, and all the favorite toppings. Paganini said he will look into offering shipping on these DIY boxes so people who don’t live nearby anymore can get a taste of home. And as always, Sully’s gift cards and merchandise are available, from hoodies and shirts to dog leashes and now face masks.  Because of the pandemic and fewer tourists, overall numbers are down. “But we are so grateful

for our loyal fanbase,” Paganini said. “They’ve helped us through.” Paganini said the Sullivan family’s true values seep into the business and “people feel good about that.” Going forward, Sully’s will continue to be creative, “but we’ll never get away from who we are.” The Sullivan family opened the restaurant in 1951 to provide quality food at reasonable prices in a family-friendly atmosphere. And it’s still that way today. Paganini came to Sullivan’s after working in management for Back Bay Restaurant Group, Salvatore’s, Tasty Burger, and Border Cafe. He heard about the great opportunity at Boston’s most iconic restaurant and applied.  “It’s the best job I’ve ever had,” he said about working for the Sullivan family. “It’s about who you work for. I work for really great people. They are inspirational to me.” During the time between the Dec. 31 closing and the Feb. 27 reopening --

when Southie residents will be longing for their first Sully’s burgers, dogs, and seafood of 2021 -- Paganini will be busy. In addition to hiring people for next season, Panagini will be getting Sullivan’s ready to be part of Hub Hall, a food hall style venue at 80 Causeway St. that has been put on hold during the pandemic. The concept, said Paganini, is to showcase the best of Boston. The Sullivan’s restaurant at Hub Hall will focus on seafood. According to www.hubhallboston. com, Hub Hall, created and operated by Patina Restaurant Group, will be the one-stop authentically Boston destination for city dwellers and visitors alike to experience 18 diverse yet approachable food and drink options. No open date has been set. As for Sullivan’s at Castle Island, mark your calendars for Feb. 27, 2021, the unofficial Southie holiday when Sully’s reopens for the season!


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Surgical Stitches for a Different Kind of Healing


n a cool winter night, Dr. Sabrina Sanchez is sitting on the roof of her apartment complex surrounded by a socially distanced group of medical students and resident physicians. Dr. Sanchez, a trauma surgeon at Boston Medical Center, can usually be found in the emergency department tending to severe injuries or diligently saving lives in an operating room. But tonight, she and her students and trainees are serving their patients in a different way: through knitting. Sanchez starts off the night’s knitting session by demonstrating “casting on” techniques for newcomers to the group with the practiced dexterity of a skilled surgeon. After getting one of the new medical students started on a blanket, she returns to her own knitwork. By the end of the night, all of the participants in this knitting circle will have carefully knit blankets in various stages of completion. Once they finish their creations, they will donate their knit blankets to critically ill patients in Boston Medical Center’s surgical intensive care unit. Sanchez learned how to knit in medical school herself from Dr. Andrea Plaut, a friend that dedicated her life to advocacy and equity in health care. For her, this is just one of many ways her and

her colleagues can further support the patients they dedicate their lives to treating. The knitting circle began as a spin off from a group called Socially Responsible Surgery, led by Sanchez and fellow trauma surgeon Tracey Dechert, who founded the group in 2014. Socially Responsible Surgery is composed of faculty, residents, and students in the surgery department who strive to achieve equity in surgical care through education, advocacy, and service. Says Sanchez, “This knitting circle provides us with the opportunity to do something for our patients beyond treating their medical conditions, or even advocating for them at a community level. It allows us to give a bit of ourselves to our patients in every blanket, and this act of caring, especially for patients that are used to not having very many people care about them, is incredibly meaningful to both us and them.“ Member s of S ocia l ly Responsible Surgery have put social activism at the forefront of their mission, whether by marching to end gun violence or homelessness, presenting or i g i n a l r e s e a rc h a b out disparities in surgical care, or taking their patient advocacy all the way to the Massachusetts Statehouse. Sanchez’s knitting circle has allowed them to bring

Surgical knitters Melanie Fritz and Miriam Neufeld are hard at work on blankets to donate to patients in Boston Medical Center’s ICU.

Knit patient blankets with the Socially Responsible Surgery logo. that spirit of activism into one of their favorite hobbies. The surgery trainees and medical students have found that knitting is an enjoyable and relaxing way to show their patients how much they care. For the medical students, taking a night off from studying to knit with friends helps them unwind from the intense pace of medical school. Training their fingers to nimbly throw stitches with knitting needles also provides excellent practice for placing sutures and tying knots in the operating room. Most importantly, they see knitting as a rewarding way to support the patients and caregivers that they see suffering on a daily basis. Even when patients are on a ventilator and unable to communicate, wrapping them in a blanket is a small but meaningful act of humanity and compassion. The staff at Boston Medical

Center know as well as anyone how cold and isolating it can be to be admitted to an intensive care unit. That is especially true this year, when ICUs all over the country are filled with patients suffering from the dire lung complications of COVID-19. Because of the risks of transmitting the virus, most of these critically ill patients are unable to be visited by the people they love. But thanks to Sabrina Sanchez and her fellow surgical knitters, the patients in Boston Medical Center’s ICU will be a little bit warmer this winter. If you would like to donate your knit items to patients in Boston Medical Center’s ICU, you can mail knit items to 840 Harrison Ave, Dowling 2 South, Boston, MA 02118, to the attention of Dr. Sabrina Sanchez, or reach out to spenc er.w i l son@bmc .org to coordinate pick-up or shipping.

Sabrina Sanchez teaches medical student Aliyah Gaines (BUSM’21) how to “cast on” to start knitting a blanket.


Mural at South Station Project

Stone at Hockey Court Honors O’Brien

South Boston Online has frequently featured the artistic and eye-catching murals to be found in and around South Boston. Murals are perhaps the most ancient form of fine art. For example, the highly evocative cave paintings in the Lascaux region of France could be as much as 20 millennia (20,000 years) old. We have just noticed a striking screen along a security fence at the South Station expansion project – colorful as well as effective.

The newly constructed street hockey court on Moakley Park’s northeast corner (near Preble Circle) is already well-used. A sculptured stone dedicates the court to John “Jackie” O’Brien. The bronze plaque fixed to the stone states (in part), “In grateful appreciation of your humble dedication and endless support of the South Boston youth clubs and sporting teams over the years …” Be sure to take a long look at Jackie’s stone the next time you pass by. The inscription closes by saying “One of Southie’s Finest”.





Welcome to our 6th Graders’ Enchanted Village!

rom our 6 th Grade Teacher, Ms. Sarah Hoisl…The theme of the Grade 6 Enchanted Village is old fashioned.  Each of the students picked a building that would be set up in an olden day village to make. This was however a very extensive project in math. They had to find the area of the front of the building, the volume of the building, the perimeter, along with hiring a painter and find the total amount of money to pay the painter. Then finally, they had to create an addition to the house and find the area of that. They did a phenomenal job. They did a number of different buildings from a firehouse, to a police station, candy shop, church, school, etc.    To make it even more fun for the children, we also created a Scavenger Hunt for the students to go through the village and complete a sheet with 21 questions to note what they found.  Some of

the questions were… What is in the window of the firehouse? In what shop is there a Christmas tree in the window? What is your favorite building? Each class took turns visiting this Enchanted

Village and were very excited to see for themselves this special class project made by the 6th graders.   Shout out to all th of our 6  graders and their teacher, Ms. Hoisl!

All of us at South Boston Catholic Academy would like to take this time to wish everyone a Happy and Healthy New Year!





Virtual Public Meeting

Virtual Public Meeting

776 Summer Street

Flood Resilience Zoning Overlay District

Wednesday, January 6

Zoom Link: bit.ly/3aynUhV

6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Toll Free: (833) 568 - 8864 Meeting ID: 160 491 2840

Project Proponent: HRP 776 Summer Street LLC Project Description:

Wednesday, January 13 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Zoom Link: bit.ly/CFRODJan13 Toll Free: (833) 568 - 8864 Meeting ID: 161 062 3707

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

Zoom Link: bit.ly/CFRODJan15 Toll Free: (833) 568 - 8864 Meeting ID: 160 772 4427

HRP 776 Summer Street LLC proposes to redevelop an approximately 15.2-acre site located at 776 Summer Street in the South Boston neighborhood. The proposal entails approximately 1.78 million square feet of occupiable space, including: approximately 636 residential units, approximately 960,000 square feet of office/research and development uses, approximately 80,000 square feet of retail uses, 240 hotel rooms, and up 1,214 parking spaces. The proposal will also preserve several historic buildings on the site and provide 5.5 acres of new outdoor public spaces, including approximately 2.5 acres of open space on the waterfront.

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.

mail to: Stephen Harvey Boston Planning & Development Agency One City Hall Square, 9th Floor Boston, MA 02201 phone: 617.918.4418 email: stephen.j.harvey@boston.gov

Translation and interpretation services can be made available upon request by reaching out to chris.busch@boston.gov at least a week in advance of the meeting.

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.

mail to:



Teresa Polhemus, Executive Director/Secretary

phone: email:

Chris Busch Boston Planning & Development Agency One City Hall Square, 9th Floor Boston, MA 02201 617.918.4451 chris.busch@boston.gov

Close of Comment Period: 2/12/2021



Teresa Polhemus, Executive Director/Secretary

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Virtual Public Meeting

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

Zoom Link: bit.ly/3nTwXhk 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: ebony.darosa@boston.gov BostonPlans.org


Teresa Polhemus, Executive Director/Secretary



New England Patriots, New England Revolution and Patriot Place Donate 2,500 Masks


he MBTA is pleased to announce that the New England Patriots, New England Revolution and Patriot Place recently donated 2,500 face masks and 5,000 bottles of hand sanitizer to distribute to MBTA riders in support of the T’s Ride Safer campaign. “The health and safety of our riders and employees continue to be our top priorities during these challenging times,” said MBTA

General Manager Steve Poftak. “The MBTA greatly appreciates t h is c ont ribut ion f rom t he Patriots, Revolution and Patriot Place as we strive to provide safe, essential transit services to those who rely on buses and trains.” “We are proud to support the MBTA’s R ide Safer program to help meet the ongoing needs for masks and hand sanitizer in our surrounding communities,” said Brian Earley, Vice President and

General Manager of Patriot Place. “We are thankful to continue our strong partnership with the MBTA by teaming up on this great initiative to keep members of our communities safe and healthy.” The MBTA’s R ide Sa fer c a mpa ig n c onsist s of t h ree c omp onent s: prov id i n g f a c e coverings to riders in need at key stations during peak travel times; signage and messaging to promote the importance of keeping

a safe distance and wearing face coverings while on the T; and the Ride Safer webpage at mbta.com/ RideSafer that provides travel tips and a behind-the-scenes look at the MBTA’s expanded efforts to clean and disinfect stations and vehicles. For more information, please v i sit mbt a .c om /R ide Sa fer or connect with the T on Twitter @MBTA , Facebook /TheMBTA, or Instagram @t heM BTA .

Fourth Church on Christmas Eve

The Rev. Burns Stanfield (at right), the Pastor of the Fourth Presbyterian Church, leads a few church members in caroling on Christmas Eve last Thursday. The Fourth Church’s Christmas Eve liturgy was conducted entirely via ZOOM until its conclusion. At that point, a small group of 15 congregants gathered outside the Church

on Dorchester Street to sing “Silent Night” as a finale to the 2020 Christmas Eve liturgy.


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