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Now showing: Selectmen on demand

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June 15, 2008

It's long been the case that Brookline residents needing a selectmen's meeting fix can view it live, or in reruns, on Brookline Access TV - BATV to those in the know. Soon, just in time for summer vacation, that feature can be accessed remotely via the Internet, whenever you wish to call it up. The live-streaming or on-demand video will commence with the launch of the cable station's new website around next weekend. According to Peter Zawadzki, the station's director, Brookline Access will become one of just a few community TV websites with live and on-demand video. Check it out shortly at

Some like it hot, and outdoors
Speaking of videos, the warm weather means the return of outdoor movies at night. Building on the success of "Stars and Cars at Larz," last year's summer series of three outdoor movies after dark at Larz Anderson Park, the parks department is planning a reprise for this summer. There will be three showings on the Devotion School Field - "Casablanca," July 17; "The Princess Bride," July 24; and "The Wizard of Oz," July 31 - and one at Larz - "Some Like It Hot" Aug. 7. Department head Erin Chute Gallentine's successful application to the Brookline Community Fund for $10,000 will support the programming, and the Coolidge Corner Theatre is returning as co-sponsor, Gallentine said. All shows begin around 8 p.m.; visit

For those who must stay indoors . . .
The heat also suggests a slower pace for business in town government. Reflecting this, the Board of Selectmen annually changes its weekly meetings to a more beach-friendly schedule. Meetings will skip every week or so starting in June; they will be held June 24, July 15, July 29, Aug. 12, and if needed, Aug. 26. Things return to the usual weekly schedule with the Sept. 9 meeting.

Got a news item for Brookline? E-mail Andreae Downs at

Wireless is everywhere in Harvard Square
Davis Square's Diesel Cafe has some new competition for its standing as the area's laptop-toting coffee drinker's destination of choice. Early this month, the Harvard Square Business Association unveiled a free wireless network that spans the square and includes access from restaurants, stores, and even Harvard Yard itself. The business association stayed close to home in choosing companies to deploy the network, using a router made by a company that orginated at MIT, as well as hiring a Boston-based company to install more than 35 wireless access points over a one-square-mile area. The network is identified as the Harvard Square access point in the list of available wireless networks, and the association plans to monitor usage over the next few months to figure out whether there are any dead spots that need to be covered.

Bill Weld has nothing on them
Ever since dozens of men and women leapt into the Charles River for a 1-mile swim last year, that body of water has seemed reasonably clean - almost refreshing, especially during the recent heat wave. Weather permitting, another round of swimmers will take to the river this morning at 8 a.m., and spectators will have several vantage points, including Longfellow Bridge and the Esplanade. The river earned a B++ rating from the US Environmental Protection Agency this year, but some remain skeptical about the water quality. Although it may be only be a precautionary measure because water temperatures will be in the mid-60s, the Charles River Swimming Club, which is hosting the race, is announcing that "wet suits are encouraged."

They'll do it his way
The United States Postal Service recently unveiled a Frank Sinatra commemorative stamp, and Inman Square is devoting itself to all things Sinatra this Thursday. Ryles Jazz Club will host a free concert at 5 p.m. featuring performances of songs from the Frank Sinatra Songbook, and neighborhood stores and restaurants will be awash with Sinatra-themed menus, windows, and events.

Got a news item from Cambridge? E-mail Victoria Cheng at

Hard times for Good Time
OK, Somerville, you wanted an Ikea in Assembly Square. But did you realize those rice paper light fixtures and assemble-your-own bookshelves would displace Skee-Ball? The Good Time Emporium announced it will close July 1 so landlord Federal Realty Investment Trust can demolish the building and make way for Ikea. The end of the lease "was always indefinite - it was a matter of when the project would be ready to move forward," said Good Time manager Michael Crowley. But the average Saturday's 1,500 to 2,000 visitors may be able to get their greasy pizza fix somewhere else. The arcade has "a couple of good opportunities" for a new site, and "chances are pretty good that we'll be reopening," Crowley said. Federal Realty did not respond to requests for comment.

Holding steady on the budget
"We are not going backwards," Mayor Joseph Curtatone said on June 10, presenting his proposed fiscal 2009 budget, which doesn't cut any programs or jobs. The $165.1 million appropriation would be approximately $7 million more that this year's, with state aid of about $53 million declining about 1 percent. To boost revenues, Curtatone proposed such measures as collecting on unpaid, non-criminal violations; setting up additional energy-saving measures; taxing telecommunication companies; and increasing city employee contributions to their health plans. The proposed education budget would rise $2 million to nearly $49 million. Newly funded initiatives could include a police K-9 unit and Emergency Operations center, the reopening of Fire Engine 4, more mental health services for seniors, and 238 new trees. The proposal is available at

Your month in the arts needs sketching
ARTSomerville has revived its calendar of arts events in Somerville and beyond. The group invites contributions, since its only listed option for the next month is Tufts's fifth annual summer art show. (Well, the Nave Gallery also presents reflections from Somerville Arts Council grant recipients in early July.) Enter listings at Separately, ArtsUnion is hosting a "handmade marketplace" of homegrown artists and crafters June 28; and July's ArtBeat festival needs volunteers plus suggestions for bike events.

Got a news item from Somerville? E-mail Danielle Dreilinger at

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