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Annual Winter Walk brings awareness to Boston’s efforts to combat homelessness – The Boston Globe

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Annual Winter Walk brings awareness to Boston’s efforts to combat homelessness – The Boston Globe


“I think there are stories like that all over here,” said his mother, Renee Cogan.

Thousands of registered community members, volunteers, students, and advocacy groups gathered on the Boston Common Sunday for the eighth annual walk to raise money for a coalition of organizations, including Boston Medical Center, Pine Street Inn, and the St. Francis House.

“I walk to end homelessness because I care,” read a bright-blue sign that Valerie Gomes wore around her neck.

Gomes is a supportive housing manager at Commonwealth Land Trust, a nonprofit development agency that helps vulnerable individuals find housing.

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“When you see that person come off the street, and see their success afterward, it gives you a reason to get up in the morning,” she said of her motivation to do the work and to participate in the walk.

The Winter Walk was established by Paul English, co-founder of travel websites Kayak and Lola, who nine years ago spent a night riding along on Pine Street Inn’s outreach van, and was incredulous after seeing how many homeless were on the streets, Dr. Jim O’Connell told the walkers Sunday.

“How can we allow this in a city like this?” O’Connell, president of the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program, said English asked him that night.

O’Connell told the walkers how English sought to raise awareness by having the people of Boston walk during the coldest month of the year to gain perspective on the reality that homeless people face daily.

The 2-mile walk serves to raise money, develop connections among people who are personally and professionally affected by the issue, and garner support to combat homelessness in the city. One hundred percent of the money raised by walkers is donated to organizations supporting those experiencing homelessness, according to organizers.

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“This is such an important day for all of Boston,” said Mayor Michelle Wu to the sea of neon-blue Winter Walk beanies congregated on the Common. “We are making sure we are talking about people, and we’re walking the walk, putting our resources and attention where our words usually are.”

Frank Mangini, 61, is one of those people to talk about. He knows firsthand what the experience of being homeless is like and has served on BACHome Council, a city homelessness advisory council, for the past seven years. He told the Globe he’s proud of how far he’s come and how his voice has been given a platform.

He said he uses “perseverance and patience” to help city leaders understand how to help those caught in the deadly cycle and how to improve shelter systems.

Sheryl Katzanek has worked at Boston Medical Center for 20 years as the director of patient advocacy. Along with psychiatric nurse practitioner Dina Sattenspiel and clinical engineer Mike Hurley, she walked Sunday morning to “continue raising support for underserved populations.”

The three recognize the importance of “meeting homeless patients where they’re at,” and “thinking outside the box” to help combat the issue.

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Though professionals say fewer homeless people have been seen living on the streets since the November dismantling of Mass. and Cass, the city’s former epicenter of homeless encampments and drug use, they also say the recent influx of migrants has posed a new challenge to organizations that aim to keep individuals off the streets.

O’Connell, who has spent nearly 40 years at the head of Boston Health Care for the Homeless, said his organization wasn’t ready for the “influx of thousands of families.”

His main concern, he said, lies in how to care for the number of single Haitian men he said the influx has brought, as well as the families.

As the crowd geared up to walk at 9:45 a.m. with coffee in hand, an air of hope and the buzz of conversation about solutions lingered in the air.

Mark Lippolt, former treasurer of Women’s Lunch Place, an organization that provides daytime activities and meals to homeless women, was participating in his eighth Winter Walk with his team from St. Cecilia Parish.

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Lippolt said he found it encouraging that thousands of people got up on a Sunday morning to do the walk.

“We all know how severe the issue is, and you always need that jolt of good news to keep going,” he said.


Alexa Coultoff can be reached at alexa.coultoff@globe.com. Follow her @alexacoultoff.





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Boston, MA

What happened to winter? Boston continues to trend less snowy and cold

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What happened to winter? Boston continues to trend less snowy and cold


BOSTON – Winter, we hardly knew ye. Again.

Thursday brings a close to climatological winter, which runs Dec. 1 through the end of February. And even though we got an extra day of it this time around thanks to a leap year, we didn’t pay the price. In fact, you could make the case that this has been the easiest pair of back-to-back winters in Boston’s recorded history.

Good for your salt and plowing budgets? Absolutely. Heating bills? Certainly helped. But it is all part of an overall trend that, rough winter or two aside, has led to much more tame cold seasons. Winter is the fastest warming season of all in New England, with December and February being the two most rapidly changing months of the year. This year was no exception, and here are all the numbers to prove it.

Warming winters in Boston

Let’s start with the cold, or lack thereof. In that regard, winter was essentially that one week in January coming off of MLK Day. During that week Boston had five subfreezing days, which turned out to be the only subfreezing days for the entire season. It was the first time on record there weren’t any at all during the month of February, and frankly not even close (the lowest high was 35 degrees).

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The coldest temperature reached all season in Boston was 14 degrees. Which, while not Palm Beach, is not exactly punishing extreme weather. Every other year on record, dating to at least 1872, had a night colder than 14 degrees. And at Blue Hill Observatory, this was the first winter on record without a single night in the single digits.

This translated to a fairly startling lack of ice, which any ice fishing enthusiast can corroborate. The only comp for the lack of ice seen is the winter of 2001-02. That year, Lake Winnipesaukee never had ice-in. This year, the lake only had one brief day of thin ice-in before starting to clear back out. Many ponds around Boston never froze over, nor did Lake Champlain in Vermont where an annual hockey tournament was canceled, or Lake George in upstate New York.

Overall, it wasn’t the top warmest winter by average temperature in Boston. It came in at seventh place. But seven of the eight warmest winters have all occurred since 2001. It just isn’t what it used to be. And while Boston wasn’t in the top position, several locations of northern New England did see their warmest on record. The Lower 48 as a whole also had their warmest winter on record.

Where’s the snow been?

How about the snowfall side of the story? Well, I’m still working on the same bag of salt I got at the beginning of *last* winter, if that’s any indication. The biggest storm of the season was one that generally only impacted towns northwest of Boston back in early January. It did produce 12-18″ of snow in the jackpot zones, but only a few inches in Boston and even less south of the city.

We of course know it can still snow in March and April (and sometimes May) so the books won’t close on the season for a while yet. But if Boston fails to receive nearly 11″ of snow from mid-March onward, then it will be the first time on record the city has had back-to-back winters with less than 20″ (last season had 12.4″).

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The whole recent run of winters has been very paltry in the snow department. Over the past five seasons Boston’s average is 26.1″, which is the lowest for any five-year stretch on record. It’s been over two years now since the city had a 4″ or greater snowfall, also a record.

The wildest stat of all to me is that we’ve only averaged three 2″+ snowfalls a season over the past five years. Just three days a winter that we’ve had to think about plowing or shoveling.

Is winter doomed?

Does snowfall come in cycles? Certainly. There are decadal periods of boom or bust, and we were just coming out of an epic boom in the 2010s. Reversion back to the mean was inevitable and I’m not surprised at all that we’ve had a weak stretch. The 1980s were famously snowless, so it does happen. That said, the 1980s also had a lot of very cold winters. That part of the equation is walking out of the building as the climate continues to warm. Recently it’s just been mild *and* with minimal snow instead.

The wild, off the charts winter of 2014-15 was like one big going away party for extreme cold and snow. It was the last time Boston had a colder than average winter, nearly a decade ago. The last time Boston’s average winter temperature was under 32 degrees, something that used to happen 60% of the time but now hasn’t happened in the nine years since.

Do I think winter is doomed? No, we’ll still have big snowstorms and colder winters in the mix. But the general temperature trendline will continue to go up, which continues to affect how long snow sticks around for, how much ice we have to play on, and what plants and animals move in and out over time.

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OBF: NFLPA grades put Pats between ‘Animal House’ and outhouse

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OBF: NFLPA grades put Pats between ‘Animal House’ and outhouse


The Patriots’ final 2023-24 grades came on Wednesday.

Delta House would be ashamed.

Patriots Owner Robert “Hoover” Kraft: “D+”

Former Coach Bill “Otter” Belichick: “B-minus”

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Meanwhile, “Treatment Of Families” pulled a Blutarsky.

“Zero-point-zero.”

An F-minus

Jonathan “D-Day” Kraft had no grade point average.

All courses incomplete.

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These ratings came via the NFLPA’s annual team-by-team survey.

This is what the players think.

Overall, the Patriots are ranked 29th by the players association in 11 different categories.

Their team GPA is 1.71 on a 4.0 scale.

That’s a “D+.”

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The Patriot Way is on double-secret probation.

“We’re a region that stresses family values,” Robert Kraft said 30 years ago on the day when he bought the Patriots.

The Patriots have become a franchise that literally cannot treat player families any worse.

“Family Values” have gone the way of “The Dynasty,”

When it comes to “The Dynasty,” Patriots fans are still wrangling with the various stages of grief.

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The denial thing took about 5 years, but the bargaining phase shows no end date.

Talk of “The Dynasty” here is not limited to the current serialization of Jeff Benedict’s book currently airing in parts on Apple TV+.

We view “The Dynasty” as the entire three decades of Patriots decadence going back to the days when Robert Kraft made James Orthwein an offer he couldn’t refuse.

“The Dynasty” on Apple TV+ sits as a milestone between “Olympia,” “Why We Fight,” and the “NESN Red Sox Post Game Show” in terms of State Run Media propaganda.

While the reel-life “Dynasty” Patriots are streaming on your favorite big-screen of choice, the real-life Patriots seek their new post-Dynasty identity this week at the NFL combine in Indianapolis.

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Eliot Wolf spoke to the world for the first time in his new role as Patriots GM-In-Everything-But-Name-Only Tuesday.

Wolf, 41, is the son of former Packers GM Ron Wolf. He followed dad’s footsteps and worked in Green Bay for 14 years.

And he is bringing the Packer Way to Foxboro.

“Cheese!”

Wolf wasn’t sheepish when it came to stating his priorities. He made it clear the days of “a hard-ass vibe” in New England have gone the way of straight A’s in Foxboro.

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Wolf promised a new way to evaluate players, especially quarterbacks.

It appears he’s already given Mac the knife.

“You don’t want a guy that’s throwing his hands up after a bad play or you can see him physically pointing at somebody. Body language is important. Everybody’s looking to the quarterback,” Wolf said.

Declarative sentences.

Action verbs.

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Cogent answers.

Welcome to 2024.

So much BS has gone the way of “B-minus B.”

The most important thing Wolf said was that he has the final say in deciding what to do with the No. 3 pick in April’s NFL draft. The finger of blame or success points in his direction.

This may be the first time since Kraft told Bill Parcells to draft Terry Glenn that we have definitive proof in terms of who makes the final call on draft day.

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The Narrative says Kraft forced Belichick to draft Mac Jones in 2020. The truth is that assertion never surfaced after Jones’ strong rookie season.

In “The Dynasty,” Kraft is shown at the table when the team chooses Brady.

“Did Bob take Tom, too?”

Episodes 5 and 6 of “The Dynasty” drop late Thursday/early Friday depending on the time zone of your server.

But much is amiss.

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Mike Martz and Michael Strahan are given more airtime than the 2003-2004 back-to-back Super Bowl winning seasons. Never mind Adam Vinatieri.

Vinatieri is the greatest clutch player in the history of Boston sports. In addition to his wizardry in the Snow Bowl, he provided the margin of victory in New England’s first three Super Bowl wins.

And when AI is doing its best to scrub any mentions of male NHL players from the internet, “The Dynasty” conveniently has yet to mention Kraft’s dalliance with the State of Connecticut.

The Narrative says the NFL would never let the Patriots leave the Boston Metro Area at the turn of the century. But in truth, the league could do nothing to stop a move to Hartford. (See: Browns, Cleveland). Rather the NFL worked behind the scenes to keep the team from leaving Massachusetts. A subtle but important difference.

The Nov. 19, 1998, front page “PATRIOTS EXTRA” of Hartford Courant was emblazoned with the headline “Touchdown!” Kraft was pictured with then Gov. John Rowland.

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The Nutmeg State would open its wallet to give the franchise whatever it wanted to move to a stadium alongside the Connecticut River in Harford. The deal would have been the most lucrative, if not ludicrous, in NFL history.

Problems with the Hartford Steam Plant site doomed the project. The NFL got lucky.

Had the sides opted for a cleaner site across the river in East Hartford, Tom Brady may be Connecticut favorite’s son. The Hartford Heartthrob. The Middlebury Missile. The Torrington Tornado.

The “charade” lasted for months. The Patriots were moving to Connecticut … unless.

When the Connecticut deal was announced, Kraft spoke with the same emotion as he does in “The Dynasty” when discussing Super Bowl 36 and 9/11. Kraft and son Jonathan participated in a Hartford pep rally on the same day when his dad got a key to the city.

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The deal would guarantee the Patriots a new stadium by 2002. Kraft terminated it on April 30, 1999, two days before an opt-out deadline.

The Patriots got their “unless” in the form of that $70 million in Bay State taxpayer money to cover infrastructure improvements around Gillette Stadium. That equals $129.5 million today. The Krafts also earned the everlasting gratitude of would-be NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who worked backchannels around Beacon Hill.

That chit came in handy when it came time to smash the “Spygate” tapes.

The Krafts may need a sequel to “The Dynasty” to clean up this current mess and raise that GPA.

“Hard Knocks” is just five months away.

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Bill Speros (@RealOBF and @BillSperos) can be reached at bsperos1@gmail.com.



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Boston, MA

Gamethread: UVA vs Boston College Men’s Basketball

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Gamethread: UVA vs Boston College Men’s Basketball


Boston College returns home from its road trip to take on the Virginia Cavaliers tonight. Despite the Eagles’ rough week on the road, losing at both FSU and NC State, and despite the Hoos being ranked as recently as a week and a half ago, Boston College is a -1.5 favorite. Tune in at 9pm for coverage!

Who: Virginia Cavaliers (20-8, 11-6 ACC) vs. Boston College Eagles (15-12, 6-10 ACC)

Where: Conte Forum, Chestnut Hill, MA

When: Wednesday, February 28th

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Tip-Off Time: 9pm ET

How to Watch: Today’s game will be streamed and broadcasted live on ESPN U

How to Follow: Follow the game on X (Twitter) by checking in with our live coverage at @bcinterruption





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