|13||TOWNIE, by Andre Dubus. (Norton, $25.95.) In this memoir, Dubus explores his attachment to violence and his relationship with his famous father.||1|
Middlesex Community College Setting Up Tsunami Support Centers for Student, Staff and Community Members
Middlesex Community College is responding to the natural disaster in Japan by setting up support and information centers for students, staff, faculty and community members on both the Lowell and Bedford Campus.
This morning the college posted details on its blog in the following post.
Tsunami Information Center
The devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan today will directly and indirectly affect millions of people. Middlesex Community College is especially concerned about members of our extended campus community whose family and friends are affected by this disaster.
Support services will be offered on both our Lowell and Bedford campuses. In Lowell, please visit the city campus cafeteria at 33 Kearney Square, and in Bedford, please visit the Dean of Student’s Office (Building 9) on Springs Road. All students, staff, faculty and community members are welcome.
The centers will officially open today at 2:00 for any students, faculty/staff, and community members who wish to discuss the personal, local, and global effects of this devastating event. Crisis counselors are on hand, and we are providing internet access for anyone looking to track information via the worldwide web. Please join us and invite members of your extended community to join us as well.
In the meantime, please use this blog to communicate with us your personal experiences, as well as to offer prayers or support for those affected by this devastating tragedy.
Last evening at UMass Lowell’s O’Leary Library, Dr. Colm Donnelly of Queen’s College, Belfast, Ireland, gave a presentation on the results of the archeological excavation that was conducted last August on the lawn in front of St Patrick’s Church. The historical dig, a joint effort of Queen’s College and UMass Lowell, unearthed evidence of a wooden house that was constructed on the spot in the 1840s by one of the early parish priests. The evidence consisted of a packed clay floor and a foundation trench as well as a thousand artifacts including rosary beads, marbles, glass from a jar, window glass, a clay tobacco pipe, oyster shells and cattle bones. A selection of these articles were on display last night (and are shown in the photograph above).
Dr. Donnelly explained that last summer’s work was merely a “reconnaissance dig” to determine whether it was worth conducting a more extensive investigation of this site and that because of its great success, the project will continue and expand this coming summer. The first phase will be conducted in County Tyrone, Ireland on the remains of the home in which Hugh Cummiskey lived before he came to America. The effort will then return to Lowell for a more thorough excavation of the St Patrick’s site and an examination of some of the earliest grave markers at St Patrick’s Cemetery.
Dave McKean, the historian of St Patrick’s parish, in remarks preceding Dr. Donnelly’s presentation, explained that our understanding of the Irish in Lowell and in America is constantly changing based on new research such as that being conducted in this project. Dave will undoubtedly speak about some of these changing interpretations during the Walking Tour of the Acre that he will conduct this Saturday, March 12, at 10 am commencing at the National Park Visitor’s Center on Market Street. Also speaking last night was Dr. Frank Talty, the co-director of the UMass Lowell Center for Irish Partnerships, who told the audience of the many exciting initiatives now underway between UML and several colleges in Ireland.
David Brooks in today’s NYTimes wonders out loud if the contemporary American behavioral trend of heightened self-approval may be weakening the national civic culture. He often asks such “community” questions as he tries to puzzle out the workings of our democratic-republic system. He makes a comment on the connection to toxic partisanship in the political tribes, but I think unfairly leaves the comment on the table as if there is an equivalency among all partisans in the relevance to his issue today. There isn’t. The anti-government rhetoric of the so-called conservatives feeds the impulse some have to think of their own interests first and foremost. I don’t think that attitude reflects actual conservatism, but the term has been twisted at this point. Read Brook’s opinion here, and get the NYT if you want more.
Some of us have vivid memories of the “Blizzard of 1978″ and the harsh toll it took on our lives, our property, our schedules and our peace of mind. Imagine back nearly a century before when another blizzard hit Massachusetts. Mass Moments remind us that on this day – March 11, 1888 – “one of the most destructive blizzards ever to strike the East Coast raged for 36 hours.” Life was different then – with little technology, a reliance on street cars and trolleys for travel and trains for getting coal back east. Rural life was hard hit but farmers seemed more self-sufficient. But all residents of the Commonwealth who were ready for Spring got nasty surprise on March 11, 1888 – one for the record books.
…in 1888, ordinary life in Massachusetts came to a standstill. One of the most destructive blizzards ever to strike the East Coast raged for 36 hours. Called “the White Hurricane,” the storm produced a combination of blinding snow, deep drifts, driving wind, and severe cold. Big cities were especially hard hit. In Springfield, Worcester, and Boston, food supplies soon ran low. So did heat, for most homes were warmed by coal-fired stoves. Coal moved by rail, and trains were not moving. The disruption caused by the storm persuaded city officials to invest in underground utilities and transportation. The Boston subway system, the nation’s first, was one positive outcome of the Blizzard of 1888.