Jamaica Pond Reopens after Blue-Green Algae Bloom

The Boston Public Heath Commission said in a statement that recreational activities, including fishing and boating, may resume at Jamaica Pond following last month's detection of blue-green algae, which the Commission said was potentially fatal if ingested. The announcement comes after two consecutive weeks of testing showed algae concentration below the state-recommended limit of 70,000 cells/milliliter. However, residents looking for place to beat the summer heat with a cool evening swim can keep looking: Swimming has been banned in Jamaica Pond since 1975 because it serves as one of the city's backup water supplies, according to boston.com.

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Rendering of equestrian and pentathlon facilities for Franklin Park in Boston 2024's '2.0' plan

With Death of the Olympic Bid, Franklin Park Coalition Urges Community to Support the Park Renovations

A community organization that speaks for the preservation of Franklin Park has called on the community and Boston 2024 to ensure efforts to revitalize the park continue even after the death of Boston’s Olympic bid. Since Mayor Marty Walsh refused to sign the Olympic agreement that put taxpayers on the hook for cost overruns, the U.S. bid will likely go to Los Angeles, WGBH reports. In a statement released Tuesday, the Franklin Park Coalition said Boston 2024 could “repair their reputation” by working with the community to leave a legacy that “creates goodwill and greater opportunity for future park-goers.”

“The city, state, foundations and corporations who worked together on the Olympics bid should remain focused on opportunities to invest in our city,” said the Coalition in a statement, “including Franklin Park.”

By working in concert with Franklin Park-goers, Boston 2024, the Coalition said, could show that residents—not the monied elite—are the true catalyst for community investment. As the bid evolved, Franklin Park was slated for various improvements, such as better transportation to the park, re-paving, a swimming pool and renovations to White stadium, according to a statement by the Coalition. Anita Morson-Matra, who serves of the Coalition's board of directors, said that Franklin Park is unique for its size and location--its 520 acres border Mattapan, Jamaica Plain, Roxbury and Dorchester.

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Dangerousness of Algae Bloom Takes Residents By Surprise

The big neighborhood news this week has been Jamaica Pond falling into the grip of a toxic bloom of blue-green algae. Some residents, though aware the Pond is closed, say they didn't realize the seriousness of the danger. Though officials say the toxin is not known to be absorbed through the skin, the blue-green algae is potentially deadly when ingested. Signage posted in multiple languages around the pond cautions residents to refrain from contact with the contaminated water, and advises pet owners to keep dogs a safe distance from the shore. Residents should refrain from entering the pond as contact to humans can result in eye irritation, organ damage, and in extreme cases, death, according to an advisory from the Boston Public Health Commission.

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Screen grab from video of vet explaining pet first aid

MSPCA-Angell Teaches Pet Parents Life-Saving Techniques

Have you ever wondered how to give your pet lifesaving CPR? Did you know that in large enough quantities, garlic can be toxic for your cat or dog? Attendees of the JP-based MSPCA-Angell's Centennial Anniversary seminar on pet first aid learned this and more as veterinarian Kiko Bracker outlined basic lifesaving techniques pet parents can use as a first response to toxicity or injury to their furry family members. If you missed Saturday's event, check out the American Veterinary Medical Association's page for more important information on how to respond to your pet's medical needs. More information can be found at the American Red Cross.

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Still from video on Porchfest 2015.

Thousands Groove to Porchfest 2015

Music: "Nothing to Say" by Johnny Blazes and the Pretty Boys, "Otrov" by Boycott. Video credit: Amanda Burke

JP on Saturday welcomed thousands of revelers for performances of dance, theater and nearly 120 bands during the neighborhood's second annual Porchfest.

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Porchfest will Bring Music, Dance, and Community to the Streets of Jamaica Plain

On Saturday, the streets of Jamaica Plain will be filled with the sights and sounds of music and dance, as thousands of attendees comb the sidewalks for the JP's second annual celebration of art and community, Porchfest. Porchfest co-producer Mindy Fried--who, along with coproducer Marie Ghitman and a handful of additional volunteers, organized the festival--described it as "six hours of art", a free event during which multi-genre performances will emanate from over 72 porches, driveways, community centers and green spaces. Ghitman said JP is one of the 23 cities and neighborhoods to have organized their own Porchfests. The ideas was first conceived in Ithaca, New York in 2007 as a music festival held directly on community members' front doorsteps. Jamaica Plain, said Fried, was "ripe for this kind of event," which has expanded from last year to include not only music, but dance, storytelling, spoken word, theater and more.

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Boston 2024 Meeting in Jamaica Plain Draws Passionate Crowd

A Tuesday Boston 2024 community meeting went off-script and off-agenda when activists opposed to the games demanded their grievances be heard by city and Olympic officials. By 6 p.m. activists had gathered outside English High School in Jamaica Plain with signs reading “Don’t Play With JP.”

'Why Can't We Just Do Projects That Will Help?' One protester, member of No Boston Olympics Claire Blechman, of Somerville, said she thinks the Olympics would invariably overrun its budget, destabilize Boston communities, and lead to increased police presence. Blechman also said she wished the city of Boston would commit to making improvements to its infrastructure without the glitz and glam of the Olympic games as its sole motivator. “Why can’t we just do projects that will help?

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William Morales (far right) looks at photos of the late Father Jack Roussin

Egleston Square Gathers to Remember ‘Father Jack’

Members of the Egleston Square community gathered for a special Wednesday night Mass in remembrance of local community leader Father Jack Roussin. Known to his parishioners as "Father Jack," the late pastor began his tenure at the historic St. Mary's of the Angels in Egleston in the mid 1970's, where he worked until moving to a shantytown outside Lima, Peru in the early 1990s. From the outset, Roussin was a force within the community, working to help unify a neighborhood that was gripped by drugs and violence. "He walked as our brother, he walked as our father, he walked as our Shepherd," said the Rev. Wayne Belschner, who was mentored by Roussin.

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Rough map of JP sites for Boston 2024 in the 2.0 plan released Monday, June 29, 2015.

Boston 2024 Releases Olympic Proposal 2.0, Including Plans for Franklin Park

Boston 2024, a private group spearheading the city's bid to host the summer Olympics, unveiled an updated proposal Monday morning. One major change affecting JP would be that a pool is no longer being envisioned for Franklin Park. Looking at the new proposal from a city-wide perspective, the ambitious plan calls for the construction of two entirely new Boston neighborhoods. The proposal, dubbed 2.0, outlined plans for a temporary Olympic stadium that would seat 69,000, and would be completely repurposed or recycled after the games. Adjacent to the stadium, in "Midtown," are plans for 4,000 permanent units of housing, including 500 affordable units.

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A customer orders at Pikalo, 378 Centre St., in June 2015.

Pikalo Serves Fusion Empanadas to Hungry JP Residents

José and Elsa Pimentel opened Pikalo Empanadas and Sandwich Bar earlier this year, and today, the Hyde Square restaurant serves a diverse array of empanadas to a community equally as unique. This is not the first foray into the restaurant industry for chef-owner José Pimentel, whose first Pikalo location in Lawrence established his concept as an empanada eatery, while also building name recognition. Ultimately, though, the Pimentel’s knew they wanted to expand to Jamaica Plain, and so when a location opened up that was within their price range, they jumped at the opportunity to open a second venue in the area. “The neighborhood is extremely diverse,” said Elsa, who spearheads front of house management. “That’s what attracted us to the area.

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