A beacon of hope

Dear Editor:

State law requires the 13-acre Lemuel Shattuck site to serve a public health purpose. A public planning process is currently underway and community input is being gathered by Health Resources in Action (HRiA) on the future of the site.

I can think of no better public health purpose than to create a world class location for treatment and stabilization of families with caregivers who have substance use disorders. Working in the field as an attorney for children and families involved with the state child welfare agency, the Department of Children and Families, one of the greatest challenges is the lack of access to treatment that keeps families together. This often results in costly and traumatic foster care placements for children who oftentimes are never reunited with their families of origin. In addition, low income supportive housing is a frequent barrier to reunification.

The Shattuck site could be a beacon of hope for these families. The public health benefits of treating and stabilizing families are significant, and the collateral impacts of not providing family treatment can be catastrophic and contribute to multigenerational trauma. The Shattuck campus could feature onsite childcare, social work services, structured substance abuse treatment, and stabilizing supportive housing. In addition, welcoming open space, playgrounds, gardens would promote public health benefits. 

As a lifelong resident of Forest Hills, I have heard some of my neighbors who have concerns about the community impact of expanding services at the Shattuck site. There are important considerations to address and all voices need to be heard. I feel strongly that we must stand behind children and families in need during this opioid epidemic and grow services critically needed to address its devastating impact. 

The final public meeting on the site before recommendations are made about its future is on April 30, 2019 at 1 Circuit Drive, Dorchester from 6:30-8:30pm. More information can be found on: https://www.mass.gov/shattuck-campus-planning

Rebecca Greening

Put the phone down

Dear Editor:

I have been a resident of JP for just over a year now and can’t express in words how much my family and I love living here. The neighborhood, people, facilities, parks, pond and arboretum make it all a delightful living. However, drivers and driving here is another story. Day after day I see so many people driving on South St. and Centre St. with their heads sunk in their phones, both hands engrossed in typing or scrolling something that is obviously more important than their and others’ safety on the road. Often I have to wait 7-10 minutes before I can make a single eye contact with a driver before I try to pull out of our driveway even on a red traffic signal.

Haven’t we had enough education on what distracted driving can lead to? Why can’t we delay that gratification for another fifteen minutes? Is texting the new intoxication?

I believe there should be stricter laws on phone usage during driving, including fines for texting. I believe we should come together as a community and encourage and remind each other to stop using our phones while driving, even on a traffic stop. I urge people to tune in to the good old radio for entertainment. Let’s make it safe for everybody to be on the roads, pedestrians, bikers and drivers alike. Let’s be a good example to our kids and not use our phones while driving whilst also ensuring their safety.

Shivika Nayyar

No tall tables

Dear Editor:

A big thank you to Sandra Storey for addressing and explaining the problem with tall tables (“Tall tables have little use except to exclude,” February 22).  As a petite woman, I have felt very uncomfortable and awkward at these tall tables and have often refused one when offered at a restaurant.  I thought it was my problem and didn’t realize how uncomfortable they might be for others. I hope restaurants in Jamaica Plain and elsewhere begin to recognize that tall tables are not comfortable, are exclusive, and sexist.

Amy Blair

Broaden your reporting

Dear Editor:

I am pleased with the more extensive reporting in the recent issues of the JPGazette, whether it be development concerns, traffic / safety issues or increased bus routes from Forest Hills Station these stories are exactly what theJP Gazette should be covering.

I am though disappointed that the JP Gazette chose in its latest issue (February 22, 2019) to devote not only a front cover photo with caption but a 2-page photo spread and story of an event at the Turtle Swamp Brewery on Washington Street. The cover photo with caption should have been enough. 

There are many worthy events, classes, activities for both young and old that happen in Jamaica Plain weekly. Could not the JP Gazette cover them? How about stories on the JP Jubilee – an elder singing group (80 members strong) that meets weekly at the JP Library and gives back to the community with outreach concerts; youth classes at the Eliot School; a new Latino bakery “Santina’s” on Washington Street (ironically next Turtle Swamp Brewery) or a story of Boston’s oldest independently owned record store in Egelston Square “Skippy Whites”. All of these are worthy of stories and could benefit from the same publicity given to Turtle Swamp Brewery.

It is my hope that the JP Gazette will in future issues broaden its reporting.

Best regards,

Martha Heath

World Water Day

Dear Editor:                                                                   

In 1992, the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development called for an observance of the crucial role that water plays in our everyday lives. March 22 was declared World Water Day.

This year’s theme for World Water Day is “Leaving No One Behind.”

Water justice is a critical global issue. The Alliance for Water Justice in Palestine focuses on Israel’s use of water as a weapon aganst Palestinians. Israel controls 80% of Palestinian water in the occupied West Bank, diverting it to Israel’s illegal settlements, shooting holes in private and community cisterns and water tanks, withholding water supply to Palestinians during severely hot summer months, and charging highly inflated prices to deliver water to villages and towns.

In the Gaza Strip, where Israel forbids the reconstruction and repair of the water infrastructure that it demolished during its four devastating bombardments since 2008, 98% of the water is unfit for human use.

We all need water, humans and animals alike, to survive, stay healthy and clean, run hospitals, grow crops. The world is facing severe climate change. Fresh water sources are being severely depleted through contamination due to soil erosion, oil spills, seeping poisons from agricultural pesticide use and coal mining tailings. Cities like Flint, Michigan, with their contaminated pipes are just the tip of the iceberg. Flooding and ongoing sea-level rise threaten coastal cities, and small countries are about to disappear.

The Alliance for Water Justice in Palestine is joining, for our third year, the United Nations’ call for visibility and action on World Water Day to highlight all these critical issues.

We invite everyone to stand with us at the BU Bridge on Friday March 22 from 4:30–6:00 p.m., where we will be a visible presence with banners and signs. Feel free to bring your own signs that highlight other issues of water injustice. For more information, go to our website, www.waterjusticeinpalestine.org, or our FB page, Alliance for Water Justice in Palestine.

Hope to see you there for water justice! Sara Driscoll

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