Old North Church to charge admission fee
Admission to the Old North Church will no longer be free because, as the vicar Stephen Ayres said, the church has begun to start cutting corners in order to accommodate the wear and tear from high traffic that comes with free admission. There will now be an eight dollar fee for adults, six dollars for students and seniors and four dollars for children. Admission will remain free for Boston residents, Boston Public Schools students and those on food stamps. The Church, built in 1723 in the North End neighborhood of Boston, is the oldest in the city. The Episcopalian church is famous for its role in the Revolutionary War and is the third most popular stop on the Freedom Trail. Made popular in a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, the church served as the location where Paul Revere hung lanterns to signal the British arrival. The site receives 500,000 visitors per annum.
MBTA rolls out new update system
The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) is continuing its efforts to become more user friendly by replacing vague delay announcements with time estimates that are available on social media and to users who receive alerts on their phones. Previously, train delays were categorized into what some users found to be unclear categories of minor, moderate and severe. Now, users can check the MBTA’s Twitter page for travel updates and other current information. Passengers will not only receive an estimate of delay length, but also the reason for any delay. The delays should be added onto the already posted wait times and are not an exact science, but the more transparent communication is much appreciated by MBTA patrons. In other MBTA news, the C and D lines of the Green Line will be operating on buses between Kenmore and St. Mary’s Street as well as between Kenmore and Brookline Hills due to track repairs this weekend, March 10 and March 11.
Comic shop with a purpose opens in Lexington
Omar Masood is now the proud owner of Omar’s World of Comics and Hobbies on Waltham Street in Lexington. Masood is 22 years old, has Down syndrome and loves comic books and superheroes. He wants his small business to be a safe space for the disabled community. His parents, Sohail and Mona Masood, are helping fund the store and say that the goal is not to make money but to make sure that Omar has meaningful employment. The Masoods are active members of the disabled community in Massachusetts. They have long worried about what happens to disabled children as they reach adulthood and age out of special education programs and services. Omar’s World employs students from the Lexington, Arlington, Belmont, Burlington and Bedford (LABBB) Educational Collective, a special education program where Omar is also a student. The Masoods hope to acquire non-profit status to alleviate some of the costs of running the shop and to open more stores across the state.
Nor’easter reveals Massachusetts’ vulnerabilities
The storm over this past weekend exposed the dangers Massachusetts will face as the effects of climate change continue to worsen. The death toll of the storm was seven people, most struck by downed trees that fell in the hurricane-force winds. As of March 4, thousands of people were still without power. The Friday storm managed to strand a Red Line train and stop Green Line service from Kenmore to Riverside after trees and a wire came down. A downed wire also started a fire in Wenham. Dramatic photos were posted on social media of sea walls being bombarded as the swollen ocean tore away at already eroding shores. The heavy rain, coupled with high tides, led to flooding serious enough that some residents of coastal areas had to be evacuated in boats. Quincy and the Seaport District were underwater for much of the weekend. The Seaport District is of particular concern as it is an up-and-coming neighborhood into which millions of dollars have been invested.