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Annual meeting to feature forum on transformation of neighborhoods

Plenty of parking is available at the Highlands.

Plenty of parking is available at the Highlands.

The Summit Neighborhood Association’s annual meeting this year will feature a forum led by Marc J. Dunkelman, author of The Vanishing Neighbor: The Transformation of American Community.

The presentation, one in a series sponsored by SNA, will focus on the consequences for public policy of an epochal shift in the structure of American life.

The gathering will begin at 7 pm Monday, May 1, at The Highlands on the East Side, 101 Highland Ave., – which has ample parking available – and open with a social time sharing pizza, beer, wine and soft drinks. There will be a review of SNA’s activities over the past year presented by President Dean Weinberg, followed by voting on a prepared slate of candidates for a new board of directors. Nominations also will be accepted from the floor.

Then the main event will begin.

Dunkelman_Marc - Version 2Dunkelman, a Taubman Fellow at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, will present the findings of his research on how the evolving American community has affected government, the economy and the resilience of the social safety net.

During more than a dozen years in Washington, D.C., Dunkelman was on the staff of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the vice president for strategy and communications at the Democratic Leadership Council. He was also a senior fellow at the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation, a visiting fellow at the Bipartisan Policy Center and a fellow at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Advanced Governmental Studies. Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, and raised in Buffalo, N.Y., Dunkelman is a magna cum laude graduate of Columbia University, where he worked to found the Columbia Political Union.

In 2014, he published his book, in which he shows that routines that once put doctors and lawyers in touch with grocers and plumbers—interactions that encouraged debate and cultivated compromise—have changed dramatically since the postwar era. He says that both technology and the new routines of life connect tight-knit circles and expand the breadth of our social landscapes, but they’ve sapped the commonplace, incidental interactions that for centuries have built local communities and fostered healthy debate.

Dunkelman asserts that the disappearance of these once-central relationships—between people who are familiar but not close, or friendly but not intimate—lies at the root of America’s economic woes and political gridlock.

However, his book argues persuasively that to win the future we need to adapt yesterday’s institutions to the realities of the 21st-century American community.

After his presentation, Dunkelman will answer questions from the floor and sign copies of his book.

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What’s missing from this scene?

Snow is missing! Mother Nature cleaned up the mess she left and plowed Hope Street curb to curb.

Snow is missing! Mother Nature cleaned up the mess she left and plowed Hope Street curb to curb.

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Snowflake Bazaar at Summit Commons

snowfl bazzar jpeg at 560

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Vendors sought for Hope Street party

The Hope Street block party on May 21 last year.

The Hope Street block party on May 21 last year.

The Hope Street Merchants Association is going to hold its annual spring block party on Saturday, May 20, and is seeking applications from vendors. The street will be closed from Rochambeau to Fourth and there are to be food trucks, activities and performances as well as room for about 50 juried street vendors.

If you’re interested in a spot, there is an on-line application at: http://www.rhodycraft.com/bull-hsma-vendor-application.html

There is also an information sheet on the Rhody Craft website www.rhodycraft.com next to the application which should answer all of your questions.

 

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Another star at Seven Stars

A snow person magically appeared in the gathering area of Seven Stars bakery on Hope Street after the latest blizzard.

A snow person magically appeared in the gathering area of Seven Stars bakery on Hope Street after the latest blizzard.

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Getting plowed in the neighborhood

Summit residents shoveled their sidewalks to the streets, but then the snowplows returned.

Summit residents shoveled their sidewalks to the streets, but then the snowplows returned.

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Getting a charge out of Miriam

A vehicle in Miriam Hospital's parking lot on Summit Avenue gets a shot from the charging station. Many patients have gotten similar treatment from the hospital

A vehicle in Miriam Hospital’s parking lot on Summit Avenue gets a shot from the charging station. Many patients have gotten similar treatment from the hospital.

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The plots thicken at community gardens with selection of board and gardeners

SNA President Dean Weinberg, right center, presides at the voting to approves the garden board and bylaws.

SNA President Dean Weinberg, right center, presides at the voting to approve the garden board and bylaws.

 

The long-awaited plots in the community garden in the Summit Avenue city park finally have real people dedicated to bringing them to fruition.

At a public meeting Monday, Jan. 10 at Summit Commons, 99 Hillside Ave., bylaws were adopted, a governing board was elected and people who wanted plots received their allocations. There were a total of 25 households that wanted space and there were 25 locations available in the current design of the garden, so a proposed lottery for plots did not have to be held. If more space is deemed available in the future, more gardeners could be recruited.

The next step is for the group to plan the actual construction of the raised beds, so details of that process are being worked out. A meeting of the governing council will probably be held in late January or early February. The slate of officers elected at the initial meeting include Nancy Buron as chair, Read Porter as vice chair with Doug Itkin and Annie Voss-Altman to be secretary and treasurer.

The organization will continue to be a legal subsidiary of the Summit Neighborhood Association until it can stand alone. It is now developing its own web site and is contacting the gardeners so they may sign a gardening contract, get a copy of the newly minted bylaws and pay the membership fee.

The garden development is one phase of the city Parks Department’s proposed refurbishment of the surrounding “tot lot” playground and SNA will also continue to support that plan.

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Traffic signal approved at N. Main, Hillside

Traffic coming down Hillside and turning into North Main is particularly vulnerable.

Vehicles coming down Hillside and turning into North Main are particularly vulnerable.

The State Traffic Commission has approved “the installation of a traffic signal on North Main Street at Hillside Avenue.”

Acting Dec. 7 on a request by Rep. Aaron Regunberg, the commission said in a letter to him that “based on the traffic volumes collected July 19, 2016” plus “crash data for the last three years,” the necessary requirements set out by the Federal Highway Administration were satisfied that “a traffic signal is warranted at this location.”

It stated that there were 15 crashes at the intersection and 10 of these were angle crashes with a majority “pertaining to vehicles attempting to turn out of Hillside Avenue onto North Main Street.”

The letter to Regunberg continued, saying that the improvements “have been added to an ongoing STC design contract, with the intent on being constructed within the next few years, pending available funding.”

It points out that there is already a traffic signal at North Main and Ann Mary Street but which is under the jurisdiction of “the City of Pawtucket.” The letter states that the Rhode Island Department of Transportation will coordinate with the city “to determine the most efficient design between these two intersections.”

sna-signal2

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Caroling For A Cause salutes the season with songs and residents’ gifts

The carolers serenade some residents on Sixth Street.

The carolers serenade some residents on Sixth Street.

Temperatures in the 20s didn’t stop a hardy band from Caroling For A Cause Sunday evening in Summit.

Miriam's cafeteria was the first stop before heading into the neighborhood.

Miriam’s cafeteria was the first stop before heading into the neighborhood.

About 30 people, including one almost newborn in a front pack, assembled at Miriam Hospital about 4 p.m. for cookies and hot chocolate, and sang a few tunes in the cafeteria and the emergency room. Then it was out into the cold in the annual event sponsored by SNA in cooperation with Miriam.

With song leaders Kurt Anderson and Jeff Davis in front, the singers marched up Sixth Street to Bayard to Fifth to Summit to Fourth, laughing all the way.

A mother and child brought cookies to the singers.

A mother and child brought cookies to the singers.

As they proceeded, residents came out on their porches to enjoy the music and donate cash or peanut butter that leaflets a few days before had requested. In all, $165 and more than 25 jars were collected. At two different houses, the singers were rewarded with trays of cookies. The money and food all go to the St. Raymond’s church food pantry.

One family came out onto their lawn to enjoy the songs.

One family came out onto their lawn to enjoy the songs.

However, the cold air took its toll on the carolers, especially the families with small children, so that only about 15 were present for the final “Silent Night” on Fourth Street just short of Hope. With jolly calls of “Happy Holidays” and “Merry Christmas,” they went their separate ways, vowing to meet again next year.

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