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Via dedicated brother Murphy (the not-mayor one), I was alerted to the upcoming performance of Gráinne Murphy along with band mate and pianist Kathleen Boyle. Gráinne is a fiddler of some renown. They’ll be upstairs at The Old Court Irish Pub on 29-31 Central St. this Friday at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $18, at the door or in advance.
HiL has a great interview with the Lowell native. And if we’re really lucky, we might even get the Mayor to jump in for a spell! (On the tin whistle, apparently.)
Irish music rocks.
I missed this until I went through all my blogs at lunch today, but Greg had an April 2nd post about a Google contest where people “modeled their towns” in 3D. Beryl Reid’s render of Lowell is in the final six. So, go vote!
I have to admit, when it comes to these things, I am totally on board with the “Lowell Firsters.”
The launch of the new arts and entertainment webzine was yesterday, and as it came online, lots of people are talking about it, on Facebook especially. I’d like to offer a toast for what appears to be a very organized and well-staffed endeavor. I couldn’t make it Wednesday night to the kickoff event, but I hear that the snow didn’t stop anyone.
Please follow them on Twitter, and also on Facebook. (Might I suggest a new special hashtag? #lowellhowl?) And you’ll see lots of familiar names in bylines all over the site. I am hoping at some point they’ll be able to offer a feed we can put into blog sidebars - now that would be howlin’!
From Rita Savard:
We’re here and it’s time to Howl! Please join us tonight at the Back Page for open mic and a whole lotta howlin’ at the launch party for Lowell’s new online A&E magazine.
Don’t forget to order up our signature Howlin’ elixer, courtesy of the lovely Courtney Sott. It’s got some bite!
See you there, 8:30 p.m. to close, 15 Kearney Square along the Eastern Canalway
And the snow? Pfffft!
Remember why you came to this city? Longtime residents, do you remember why you stayed? With all the negative news surrounding latenight downtown, it’s nice to come back to all the reasons why this city rocks.
Here’s a great video of a great new venture in Lowell:
James McSwain, employee at the Old Court, was one of those attacked in our fair city in recent months, last December the 15th. Local bands are putting together a show (Facebook event link) at the Old Court for him:
Please join us on Friday, February 17th for a special show at the Old Court to benefit James McSwain. James is an Old Court employee who was severely injured in a vicious attack on the night of December 15th after walking a friend home. James suffered multiple skull fractures and major brain trauma in the attack and is undergoing extensive rehabilitation at the New England Rehabilitation Center in Woburn.
We’re donating all proceeds from our show for a couple reasons - first, the Old Court has always been a great venue for us and we were inspired by their earlier benefit for James. Second, we were all horrified by the extreme violence of the attack and think it’s unacceptable that you can’t feel safe just walking home from work downtown.
We hope you’ll join us and donate what you can. And we’ll try and put on a good show for you.
The Subprime Lenders
Tickets at https://www.wepay.com/events/rock-for-james. This would be a good opportunity to check out Lowell’s rock scene for a good cause. The community needs to come together, and not just to solve the problem for the future, but to help victims of past violence.
Outside of LHA appointment manufactured controversies and a vote to violate the flag rules of the United States on behalf of former City Councilors, tonight’s Council packet included a very pretty, and very ambitious Trolley Study report.
It’s better and more extensive a proposal than even I expected! The report proposes (and mind you, it’s an initial proposal, so lots of changes could happen between here and build out, if it happens at all) to have a trolley line from the Gallahger, through Hamilton Canal District to downtown, and using the existing LNHP track (which they use mostly as historic ambiance than moving people from place to place), the trolley would split and a small branch heads to Middlesex College, and the other down Father Morressette Blvd past University Ave Bridge, then down Fletcher to Broadway to UML’s South Campus. Other stops include the Inn & Conference Center, the Tsongas Arena, and LeLacheur Park, as well as existing locations such as Boott Cotton Mills and the Mogan Center. Follow me after the flip: (more…)
I’m in a back and forth on the Lowell Downtown Neighborhood Association’s Facebook page because yet another late-night alcohol-induced incident sent a young man to the hospital with stab wounds this weekend. To quote Kelly F from that conversation:
On Middle Street in the empty bank parking lot, I’ve seen a stabbing, a person being intentionally run over after an argument, a hundred fights, people screaming at the top of their lungs for an hour either fighting or just out of their minds drunk - ALL ALCOHOL FUELED at 2am coming from the same bars we know are problematic and over-serve alcohol to these kids and then I get to see them in this condition get into their CARS and DRIVE!
This doesn’t seem to be an isolated incident, and it appears to be worsening, or at the least, not getting better.
Now, I am all for alcoholic-serving restaurants and (some) bars being downtown. They are a staple of a thriving urban district, and bring money into the area. However, there has got to be a better way to handle this, then sending ambulances to clean up the mess. And by all accounts, the police are doing their jobs as best they can, sending extra patrols and clearing people out after the bars. Costing the city thousands of taxpayer dollars more.
It is plain to see that this is a policy problem, not a policing one.
Meanwhile, we have the goddamned liquor licensing Commission Chairman Walter Bayliss telling us taxpayers and residents are not as important as bar owners despite the fact that a lot of people (particularly residents) are simply asking for after-work-hour meetings, and Commissioner Brian Akashian attacking Mayor Murphy for daring to make a November motion to move the meetings and accomodate residents who actually work for a living and can’t make the 3:30 meeting time. Akashian on Murphy:
This is his history as a city councilor. …He continuously makes motions that are for his own benefit and never takes into account anyone it affects.”
Downtown resident and blogger kad barma has a lot of background on the hapless, tone-deaf License Commission in this excellent post if you have not read it. (He also has another very recent post about the after-Saturday-night carnage. Yum.) Here is the LDNA (Downtown Neighborhood Association) take on it.
kad barma writes:
the license commission has almost always, and i mean almost ALWAYS sided with the liquor stores and bars, and when they did choose to act, only handed out token and wholly ineffective “sanctions” which hardly ever caused these businesses to pause in their profligacy.
so where is the license commission on all of this? they are trash talking downtown residents for being complainers without the commitment to show up at their 3:30pm afternoon meetings, and then foot-dragging to the point of obfuscational jawboning about possible legal action to stop their meeting times being directed by the city council to the evenings. (none of which is possible because they have no leg to stand on to resist, so meeting times will indeed be changed). commission chair walter bayliss has tried to blow smokescreens about costs, (the police overtime argument being the funniest–the cops who need to testify are on nights, and actually it potentially costs MORE to send them to afternoon meetings than evening ones, but lets not digress), and gotten on his soapbox to bloviate an incredible quantity of nonsense without substance or point whatsoever. he’s been cornered, FINALLY, to follow open meeting law requirements to post agendas 48 hours in advance as had never been previously done, and he’s finally being shown to be the out-of-touch anachronism and impediment to progress that he so surely is. (the other commission members are better, but not as yet taking action to use their majority to do more right things).
You should also read this comment by kmarcin, which ends:
…Both Mr. Bayliss and Mr. Weiker stated at the last meeting that they work for the businesses because they pay a higher tax rate. If city boards weight who they work for by their tax bill then there is not a single one that is working for me…I do not think the tax bill I pay for my small but opulent 856sf. compares to that being paid by any business.
I am just expecting too much?
So, let’s recap, shall we? We have a burgeoning (and very expensive, in police overtime) problem with lawlessness downtown in the wee sma’s when the bars all let loose their puking and belligerent diehards. We have a police force that, despite the tight city budgets, is now having to send extra people to the streets of downtown to sweep up after the problem…a problem they can mostly only react to, but too hard a problem for them to solve on their own. We have many, many people complaining that the License Commissioners belittle residents at meetings, refuse to accommodate them with a simple meeting change because hey, the bar owners pay a bigger tax rate and are more important, right? They give out meaningless and toothless sanctions to bars which violate some pretty serious ordinances and laws (like underage drinking). Mr. Bayliss considers downtown a “business district” despite the sheer number of residents that call it home.
Do any of us think that weekly news stories of stabbings and injuries and worse is going to do Lowell any goddamned good, businesses or residents??
Does this help Lowell’s delicate reputation as an up-and-coming city with a lot of great venues, art, music, theatre, and food?
Every one of these Commissioners, Bayliss, Weicker, and Akashian, have demonstrated a lack of ability to handle their positions - their statements are so out of touch with not only what the residents of downtown want, but also what this city needs, that every. Single. One of them. Has got TO GO.
Of course, they are appointed for a certain term. I am sure that at least one or two of them are not up for quite a while yet. This poses a problem.
Is there an impeachment process or something similar that we can invoke here?
Or are we waiting for the next stabbing victim to die instead, and watch the entire region rolls its eyes and say, “Well, that’s Lowell for you. Scary place. Wouldn’t want to live, work, or visit there…”?
You think that one of the city’s oldest blogs doing this will help Lowell’s reputation? No? Then to those in power to do something, DO IT. Before something terrible happens.
Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.
Today and tomorrow, from 11am to 5pm, Lowell has a citywide Open Studios event. A huge list of studios, galleries, and buildings are open to the public.
You can find a list of participating artists and galleries here. Of particular note is that the new Appleton Mills affordable artist live-work building is now open! If you have not have a chance to see this remarkable space, this weekend is the perfect opportunity. The address is 219 Jackson St, though you can also access it from the Lowell National Historic Park parking lot entrance as well.
I want to make a plea to you to not only go and view the amazing range of artwork available during this weekend. I want you to think seriously about buying some art or crafts. Maybe for your own home, or think about the upcoming holidays and find a special gift for someone. It’s all well and good to see the art, and art needs an audience. But to really keep a vibrant art community here in Lowell, they need to be able to eat, and you can’t eat an oil on canvass. I will be bringing my Christmas budget and list of recipients.
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