Townie Tidbits


“We all must make changes today…Tomorrow may not come.”


 Independent Newspapers publish many community newspapers and among two of its newest are the Mission Hill Gazette and the Jamaica Plain Gazette. These two publications were founded by Sandy Storey over at a little basement office on Harris Avenue off Centre Street. The Mission Hill Gazette came about after the Chuck Stuart Murders in October 1989 when this community was ravaged by the main street area as a killing zone and  it was only after the fact that Boston found out the whole horrible crime was the work of an evil named Chuck Staurt who played on all the stereotypes of Mission Hill’s supposed crime ridden neighborhood overrun by African American thugs. The politicians bought the fake story as did the entire local media both print and broadcast.

   One reason early on in this case that I thought something wasn’t just right had to do with my knowledge of this urban neighborhood that existed in the shadows of the twin steeples of Mission Church.

   I worked in the Mission Hill neighborhood from 1972 until the end of 2003 and knew this community better than my very own community.I was a part of it and eventually started writing in the Gazette on issues of importance to this neighborhood of working class folks many of whom worked in the Longwood Medical Area.

  All neighborhoods need strong voices and one of the best voices to be found are local newspapers whose job it is to be the eyes, ears and conscience of a neighborhood.

   Today, I stay in touch with a regular columnist in the Mission Hill paper by the name of Maurice “Mossy” Martin. His “Hill Happenings’ commentaries are a must read if you care about that neighborhood.

    In many ways, his “Hill Happenings” are very much what I try and accomplish in “Townie Tidbits.” The big stories can be left for the big media outlets. Mossy tries to get inside the news and talks about community leaders and characters who make neighborhood real and filled with passion, hope and a sense for the future.

   Perhaps Mossy and I are such good friends because we believe in lifting up neighborhoods by lifting up its great people.Some are well known. Others not so. However, all have a story to tell or experience to share.

  Mossy and I are two Roxbury guys. He lived in the shadow of Mission Church and I in the shadow of St. Philip’s Church steeple. Both gritty neighborhoods that survived through the strength and determination of its inhabitants.

   I wish the Mission Hill Gazette great success. Long my it and the Charlestown Patriot Bridge live. And long may these two neighborhoods stand up for themselves. Mossy tells it like it is and uses great humor too to do the same thing. We are just a couple of crazy journalists loving our aging baby boomer status.

    Let’s make tomorrow better by welcoming new choices and goals.

Happy New Year isn’t just three little words. It is an attitude found deep within all of us.

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