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Newton, Needham, Watertown, Wellesley

Some Taylor Swift fans won't like this.

Some Taylor Swift fans won't like this.

Are you a morning person? Or an evening person?

Or do you swing both ways?

Depending on your style, you’re invited to join us tomorrow morning (Weds.) at 8:30 a.m. for ice coffee and networking at Arsenal Yards in Watertown.

Or Thursday evening we’re holding our big Summer Celebration, starting at 5:30 p.m. for drinks and great bites from Baker's Best on the idyllic Wellesley College Campus.

Many of our chamber friends are attending both. You can too!

Scroll down to let us know you’ll be there.

Swifties aren't going to like the Newton City Council 

“So Newton pols are against having fun, but like gum disease?”

That was the reaction from the head of a state business association the other day when I told him that the Newton City Council is, among other items, considering banning the sale of helium balloons and floss sticks.

The proposal (begins on page 11), also would ban some types of takeout food containers, something that worries many restaurateurs because they’re concerned alternative to-go containers may be leaky, costly, or both.

And the ordinance would ban the sale of cosmetics containing plastic glitter.

That led City Councilor Brenda Noel to wonder if the council’s Plastics Reduction Subcommittee had done its homework. 

“Two-thirds of makeup has glitter in it,” Noel, the mother of two girls, said at a council committee meeting last week.

“Everything Taylor Swift touches has glitter in it. Every teen in the world right now has glitter in their life … in every product.” 

“I can’t even imagine how you are going to begin to monitor glitter and eye shadow," Noel added. "If we can’t enforce this, it becomes a joke.”

And for the record: The overwhelming majority of our businesses are also alarmed by the harm plastics do to our planet. But it's hard to see how these rules wouldn't merely send shoppers to the next town over or to Amazon.

New cardboard recycling rules begin

While the full Newton City Council isn’t expected to vote on the proposed plastics bans until this fall, all Newton businesses and multi-family properties are now required to recycle cardboard under a new city ordinance that went into effect July 1.

And starting July 1, 2024, businesses and multi-family properties will be required to also recycle all common recyclable materials, including aluminum cans, plastic and glass bottles (more on glass recycling in the next item) and office paper. 

Most of our small businesses and commercial property owners support these new rules. But execution can be challenging if you don’t have a space behind your building for a second dumpster for recyclables, or may need to forfeit a valuable parking space to accommodate one. 

The city is hosting two technical assistance webinars – including one tomorrow (Weds) at 10 a.m. -- and in-person events to help businesses and multi-family property owners navigate the new rules. Details.

One more thing about recycling... 

WBUR has a fascinating report explaining why what we think happens to the glass bottles and jars we put into a recycling bin is rarely what actually happens.

But, as reporter Martha Bebinger also explains, this is yet another reason why ice tea, juice wine bottles ought to be included in an expanded state bottle bill.

Mount Auburn Street to undergo road diet 

Coolidge Square

While significant construction is now underway on Arsenal Street in Watertown, planners are getting ready for the eventual redesign of Mount Auburn Street, from Watertown into Cambridge. 

Once finished the artery will have fewer lanes in some places, protected bike lanes and landscaped areas for people to gather as part of a planned major facelift and road diet. (The rendering is of Coolidge Square.)

Watertown News has details and graphics. 

The project page and past video presentations are here.

Tuesday grab bag

  • Six months after closing for renovations, Roche Bros. supermarket on Chestnut St. in Needham will reopen mid- to late August. The revamped store will have a different layout, expanded bakery and cheese departments, a sushi bar, an expanded kitchen for prepared foods and a greater variety of grab-and-go options. (Needham Observer)

  • After 33 years of serving massively long subs (their slogan was “Our small is their large”), Karen and Artie Wright and Ed Neal are retiring and closing Mighty Subs in Needham on July 28.

  • Nonprofits in Wellesley, Needham and the rest of Norfolk County can now submit letters of inquiry to the Cummings Foundation for its annual $30 million grant program. The program had historically served Suffolk, Middlesex and Essex counties.

  • Paytronix founder Andrew Robbins is stepping down as CEO at the Newton-based software company. Jeff Hindman is the new boss. (BostInno)

  • Ivette Mesmar, manager of Wellesley Hills branch of Brookline Bank was presented with the Marlborough’s 2023 Humanitarian of the Year Award by Mayor Arthur Vigeant.

  • Broder, developers of the project proposed for the former Cannistraro property in Watertown, will present its updated project tonight (Tuesday) at 6 p.m. via Zoom.

  • The free Linda Plaut Newton Festival of the Arts kicks off at the Hyde Playground in Newton Highlands Friday (July 21) at 6:30 p.m. with a Pops-style concert by the New Philharmonia Orchestra. Saturday’s lineup features 10 bands on two alternating stages at the Hyde from noon to 8 p.m.

Long term family shelter proposed in Newton

FamilyAid Newton

A recent proposal to use the former Hotel Indigo as temporary emergency housing proved to be too costly to pursue.

But the state is now partnering with the nonprofit FamilyAid on a proposal at a different Newton property that would provide 42 units of transitional housing and offer education, training and other support services, Mayor Ruthanne Fuller announced last week.

FamilyAid is in the process of leasing the former Chetwynde nursing home property at 1650 Washington Street. If all goes well, the proposal could file for site plan approval in a few weeks, Fuller added.

This facility could have an even more upside than the Indigo because the 100-year-old FamilyAid is looking to enter a 55-year lease, offering temporary housing services for many families over many years.

All of the residents at 1650 Washington Street will be families with children under the age of 18. The majority of the residents are anticipated to be single mothers with children age 4 and under.

Families may include both U.S. citizens and new immigrants, including refugees/asylum seekers, Fuller said.

The wheels on the bus help former flyers go around and around 

Sick of delayslost luggage and long lines at the airport?

A surprising number of travelers are turning to another mode they may never have considered before this summer: a bus, writes WSJ’s Ethan M. Steinberg (free link)

“More U.S. travelers are taking intercity bus trips of all kinds, from no-frills to deluxe options, data from national and regional bus companies show. Riding the bus is often much cheaper than taking a flight,” and some bus operators are even offering amenities such as extra neck pillows, blankets, eye masks and snacks.

Plus there are no security checks, waits at the gate and lower potential for lost luggage, Steinberg adds.

Flix North America, owner of Greyhound and FlixBus, says ridership jumped 63% year-over-year for the Fourth of July weekend and 70% over Memorial Day weekend.

Meanwhile, air travel rose 11% on over both the July Fourth and Memorial Day weekends, according to the TSA.

The price of a bus trip from New York to Boston, is down by 22% from last summer, averaging less than $40. 

Before you go, I have a question: 

Would you jump? Or would you chicken out?

I'm worried I might chicken out. Then again, it's pretty hot out.

Let me know.

That's what you need to know for today, unless you need to know about the daily routines of famous creatives.

Hope to see you at one, or both, of this week's chamber networking events. No jumping necessary.

Greg Reibman (he, him)
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