Living with Covid-19: Join the Conversation

Covid-19 is going to be with us for the foreseeable future. Be alert for information about an upcoming special BrooklineCAN Zoom meeting on our way of life in the time of Covid-19. In the period ahead, we will be seeing a gradual re-opening of various community activities. But what about older people who are most vulnerable to the disease? To what extent should we be venturing out into the community? What about those who live alone who are feeling isolated?.

Watch for an email blast announcing the scheduling of the meeting. We hope to hold the meeting in the middle of June. If you are interested in
getting involved, contact Frank Caro at frank.g.caro@gmail.com immediately.

Housing Affordability in the Age of COVID-19: Changing the Conversation

“Building a Better Brookline”,  a town-wide coalition of organizations concerned about housing affordability in Brookline, holds its First Forum, “Housing Affordability in the Age of COVID-19: Changing the Conversation,” on Zoom on Sunday, June 14 from 1 to 3:00 pm.

Organized by an innovative partnership of three Brookline boards and commissions – the Housing Advisory Board; Commission for Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Relations; and Economic Development Advisory Board – the alliance came together to overcome barriers to housing affordability.

This first of three Forums, moderated by Frank Steinfield, CEO, Brookline Community Foundation, will discuss how diversity and inclusion, transportation, economic development, and climate sustainability all impact housing affordability. Bob Van Meter, Jewish Alliance for Law & Social Action, will speak on “Confronting the History of Housing Discrimination”.

Co-sponsored by BrooklineCAN, the forums are free and welcome everyone. For additional information please contact Joan Lancourt, jlancourt@comcast.net or Jonathan Klein, jklein728@gmail.com. Register at “Building a Better Brookline

Virtual Book Events at Brookline Booksmith

During June, eleven virtual events are available through the Brookline Booksmith. A complete list is available at brooklinebooksmith.com. For example, Tuesday, June 2, 6:00 pm – Ben Mezrich talks about his new book, Bitcoin Billionaires, about the Winklevoss twins’ redemption and revenge in the wake of their epic legal battle with Facebook. Other events include a book club discussion of mystery-writer Hank Phillipi Ryan’s latest book, The Murder List.

Town Meeting to Vote on Two Senior Housing Proposals

The annual Town Meeting starting June 23 will be voting on two warrant articles of special interest to seniors. Both are concerned with housing. Welltower, a national real estate development company, is proposing a senior living community with 160 units at the site of the former Newbury College. To go forward, Welltower needs approval from the Town for zoning changes on the property. The zoning change proposal is Article 9. For more information about the proposal, see https://www.brooklinema.gov/DocumentCenter/View/21741/WellTower-Newbury-College-Campus-Warrant-Articles-v32-FINAL-copy?bidId=

BrooklineCAN’s Livable Community Advocacy Committee (LCAC) supports the proposal because it will provide an attractive residential option that is not currently available in Brookline. Further, it will bring much needed property tax revenue to the Town.

Town Meeting will also be voting on the way in which the Welltower development will meet its obligation to create new affordable housing units. One option is an 18-unit development on Holland Road on a property now owned by Welltower. Another option is for Welltower to provide cash to the Town that would allow the Brookline Housing Authority to rebuild and expand the existing Col. Floyd senior housing development on Marion Street. The affordable housing issue will be decided by Article 13. BrooklineCAN LCAC and the Board of Directors of the Brookline Senior Center are supporting the Col. Floyd option because of the great need for replacement of the 60 existing units on the site and the opportunity to build 40 additional affordable units.

Readers with opinions about the proposals should contact their Town Meeting Members.

Brookline Older Adults Connectivity and Support

The 26th Age Friendly Cities TV show was recorded as Phase 1 of the Massachusetts COVID-19 reopening plan began. Ruthann Dobek, Julie Washburn and Laura Baber discussed programming and support provided by the Senior Center and Center Communities of Brookline (CCB) to older adults.

As the first show produced under the pandemic lock down this show utilized the production and distribution techniques supplied by BIG.  Impact of COVID-19 on older adults and support of them in terms of connectivity and services was discussed in relation to the Senior Center and CCB.  Julie Washburn described the programming and technology support of the Senior Center and Laura Baber did the same for CCB.

Programs are aired on Channel 3 on Comcast and RCN immediately following The Grandstanders live sports analysis show and are available on DVDs at the Sr. Center, the library in Brookline Village, the BrooklineCAN web site and the BrooklineCAN Twitter and Facebook accounts.

New Google Group for BrooklineCAN Members

BrooklineCAN invites you to join our new Google Group, the BrooklineCAN Network. This is an email forum for BrooklineCAN members to share ideas, comments and news.  It is open to all active BrooklineCAN members.

The Network will enable members of BrooklineCAN to initiate and participate in discussions similar to those conducted in blogs. Communication will be via emails to the BrooklineCAN Network forum. Each email will be distributed to all members of the forum.  Response to an email from the forum will also be distributed to the members.

As a Network participant, you can bring up topics that you are curious about or interested in. These topics might  include  prevention of age discrimination,  elections, housing for older adults, affordable housing, tax work off programs, warrant articles, technology capabilities, coronavirus, AFC-TV episodes, benches, pickle ball, or bocce. You could also request information about  where to find a shop that delivers, what others are doing for exercise these days, or  how to access on-line programs that interest you. You could share news about birds in your neighborhood or walks you enjoy.

The only limit on the Network is that communications should be respectful and mindful of other points of view. To join send an email to mxweiss2@aol.com requesting participation.

Stephen Sondheim’s 90th Birthday Celebration

If you enjoy Broadway musicals and miss going to a show, catch “Take Me to the World: A Sondheim 90th Birthday Celebration” on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A92wZIvEUAw). This 2-hour production, featuring original cast members and stars from other venues, showcases Stephen Sondheim’s music and lyrics from dozens of musicals and a couple of movies.

Taped live on April 26, 2020 in the middle of the raging pandemic, this celebration presents performers from their homes as they enact a stunning variety of numbers that cover the breadth of Sondheim’s talent and career.

If you would like to continue your musical mood, here are examples of other opportunities to access music while we are sequestered.

Annual Town Election June 9

The annual Town election will take place this year on June 9. Voters will elect members of the Select Board, School Committee, Library Trustees, and Housing Authority Board. In addition, Town Meeting Members will be elected. Most interesting this year is the Select Board race with three candidates competing for two seats on the Board. Incumbent Heather Hamilton is running along with Eric Hyett, and John VanScoyoc. In precincts 1, 3, 4, 5, 9, 10, 11, 13, and 14, the Town Meeting races are competitive.

Information about candidates for all offices is available in the
League of Women Voter’s Guide.
https://my.lwv.org/sites/default/files/2020_lwvb_vg_final.pdf

For more information about the Select Board candidates, watch a recording of the BrooklineCAN/Senior Center virtual election forum. Candidates were asked questions about issues of special interest to seniors. The candidates also spoke about town-wide issues. The forum was moderated by Michael Allen, a Social Worker on the staff of the Council on Aging. Here is a link to the video recording:
https://youtu.be/3EhSkcTVnzI

On June 9, the polls will be open from noon until 8 PM. Residents of precincts 3, 7, 10, and 15 will be voting in unfamiliar locations. For voting locations, see the Town Clerk’s website: https://www.brooklinema.gov/DocumentCenter/View/10938/POLLING-PLACES . Early voting by mail is encouraged.

Information for Seniors During COVID-19

While the Brookline Senior Center building is closed to the public, information and many services are available by phone, video, and online.  The social workers are answering voice mail (call 617-730-2770) to provide resources and support.   There are a number of virtual program offerings—see details at https://www.brooklinecan.org/virtual_programs.html

For up to date information on COVID-19, see the Senior Center web site at https://www.brooklineseniorcenter.org/ and BrooklineCAN’s https://www.brooklinecan.org/covid19.html . The Senior Center will be following state and local guidelines as we move toward re-opening.

Batter Up!

Missing the Red Sox?  Well, here is a little something fun in the meantime! Performing a unique and highly entertaining program, local singer-songwriter (and former sportswriter) Howie Newman sings baseball songs, offers up baseball trivia and tell stories about his days as a sportswriter on the Red Sox beat. Howie covered baseball for the Patriot Ledger, Lowell Sun, Boston Globe and Lynn Item as well as several other newspapers and magazines. ​

For three years, he also provided color commentary for the Lowell Spinners, a Red Sox farm team, on WCAP radio. Howie is sure to make you smile so check out his baseball show here: https://youtu.be/brBBIwSTSMo  This program is made possible by your generous donations to the Brookline Multi-Service Senior Center.