Hark! The Herald! (Going to Ascot Edition)

February 28, 2016

This is rich.

We’ve long known that the writers at the Boston Globe are bow-tied bumkissers, thanks to relentless mocking by a certain Boston Herald columnist.

But check out Gayle Fee’s Inside Track item from today’s edition of the selfie local tabloid.

 

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That would be Herald managing editor/creative Gustavo Leon, if you’re keeping score at home.

So, what do we call the Heraldniks now? The ascotted asskickers?

Paging Howie Carr . . . paging Mr. Howie Carr.

P.S. Congrats to the Boston Herald photo staff, which “captured 13 awards in the Boston Press Photographers Association annual contest — led by Mark Garfinkel’s first place in the Spot News category.” The flashy local tabloid covers its awards here.

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Prouty Garden Fight Gets Even More Tangled

February 26, 2016

Children’s Hospital, already engaged in an increasingly public skirmish with advocates fighting to save the medical facility’s Prouty Garden, now faces an even bigger and potentially more damaging battle. From Page One of today’s Boston Globe.

‘I’m very angry,’ teen says of ordeal

Pelletiers sue Children’s Hospital, cite misdeeds

 

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Nearly two years after she returned home in the arms of her father, Justina Pelletier was back in the spotlight Thursday, speaking in a small, slightly shaky voice about the 16 months she spent in state custody, much of it in a locked psychiatric ward.

Justina, whose case drew national attention to the power of medical professionals to override parental rights, said she remains outraged that she was placed in state custody in 2013 after Boston Children’s Hospital accused her parents of interfering with her care.

The 17-year-old Connecticut girl clutched a purple stress ball, fingernails painted turquoise, as she spoke from a wheelchair in front of the State House, where her parents had convened a press conference to discuss the lawsuit they recently filed against Children’s Hospital.

 

Boston Herald columnist Joe Fitzgerald frames it as a jump ball:

[W]hat we’re seeing in the heart-wrenching case of Justina Pelletier is a drama that defies easy answers, a high-stakes confrontation in which what we do not know is infinitely more important than what we do know.

 

There’ll be plenty of headlines to make Children’s officials cringe as this case plays out. Meanwhile, the hits just keep on coming in the Prouty Garden rumpus.

Yesterday there was this front-page piece in the Business section.

Amid backlash, hospital defends expansion plan

When Dr. Sitaram Emani, a cardiac surgeon at Boston Children’s Hospital, heard about the baby from Springfield with the failing heart, he knew he could help.

But Emani quickly realized there was no room for the boy at the overcrowded hospital. Under sedation, the boy Screen Shot 2016-02-26 at 1.21.18 AMwaited for weeks until Emani could fix the holes in his heart.

It’s a story that doctors and executives at Children’s, the region’s dominant pediatric care center, tell again and again: They don’t have enough beds, surgeries are being delayed, patients are being turned away and sent to other hospitals. And it’s why executives say they need to complete a $1 billion expansion of their Longwood Medical Area campus, a project that would create an 11-story tower with more room for doctors and nurses to treat more patients.

 

Except for those pesky Prouty people.

Yet the hospital’s message has been undercut recently by a group opposed to the proposal for reasons that have nothing to do with surgeries or beds. They object to the plan to build the tower over the Prouty Garden, a tranquil refuge for countless sick and dying children and their families. And many have emotional stories to tell.

 

But it’s the hospital’s story that’s mostly told in the Globe piece, which includes this:

 

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Advantage: Children’s.

Then there’s the paid portion of the $tately local broadsheet’s edition yesterday: this full-page ad on A12.

 

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(To be sure graf goes here.)

To be sure, there’s no reason to say that the Globe’s financial interest play into the paper’s coverage. It’s just that they sometimes do seem intertwined.

Regardless, the Prouty dustup is back in the Globe headlines today with this front-page Business piece.

Opponents lobby to keep Prouty

Opponents of Boston Children’s Hospital’s proposed $1.5 billion expansion asked the hospital to disclose all the alternative locations it considered before settling on a plan to build an 11-story tower on the site of the beloved Prouty Garden.Screen Shot 2016-02-26 at 1.46.00 PM

They asked state public health officials to deny Children’s application, arguing that hospital executives have not met the state requirements for proving cost effectiveness, particularly regarding poorer patients.

The expansion project, which would add a pediatric heart center, neonatal intensive care unit, and private rooms, has attracted opposition from some patients’ families and doctors, including renowned pediatrician Dr. T. Berry Brazelton, who say that the half-acre garden has served as an oasis for families struggling with serious illness.

 

Maybe even the Pelletiers, eh?


Boston Globe Argues with Itself Over Prouty Garden

February 24, 2016

The Prouty Garden debate continues in the news today, with the Boston Globe of two minds over the planned demolition of the beloved oasis at Children’s Hospital to make way for a 500,000 square foot state-of-the-art intensive care unit for infants, a pediatric heart center, and additional operating rooms.

A Globe editorial makes the case for pursuing the greater good in this case. Under the headline “Children’s has the right vision for Prouty Garden,” the editors say this:

Children’s has demonstrated its willingness to work with the City of Boston, the Prouty family, and others to create spaces that can serve as a respite for families with sick children. [Children’s chief operating officer Dr. Kevin] Churchwell says the hospital recognizes “green space is part of the healing process.” Next year, a new garden is scheduled to open on the roof of Children’s main building. The expansion plans also call for a smaller outdoor garden (about half the size of Prouty), and indoor spaces that can be visited by patients who are unable to go outside. As hospital officials have pointed out, Prouty often isn’t usable by anyone during cold weather months.

 

Then again, “Jim McManus, a consultant working with Friends of the Prouty Garden — a group that has mobilized support for keeping Prouty intact — isn’t impressed. Rooftop gardens are typically windswept, unwelcoming, and devoid of wildlife, he says, and indoor green spaces are too hot in summer. Children’s can grow ‘without trashing Prouty,’ McManus says. ‘If you put a building there, it’s irreversible.'”

Just what that means in human terms is illustrated in Thomas Farragher’s Metro column today. Farragher tells the story of David Horton, a 13-year-old New Jersey boy who died of a brain tumor in 1973 after 13 operations at Children’s. His family spent untold hours with David in the Prouty Garden. “It was the only place in the hospital where you could breathe fresh air and get outside,’’ Elizabeth Richter, David’s sister, told Farragher. “And it was the only way we could see David. We’d spend hours there.’’

And when David died, his family decided he should spend eternity there.

[T]hey wrapped him in a blanket, placed him the backseat of a Volkswagen Beetle, and drove through a snowstorm from New Jersey to Boston for an autopsy. “My Screen Shot 2016-02-24 at 12.44.15 PMparents hoped something could be learned for the future treatment of kids with similar condition,’’ Richter said. “They were determined to do that. They wanted his life and death to be a benefit to others.’’

And then they wanted peace for their son. David was cremated, and on a cold February evening, the Horton family assembled for the last time in the garden David loved.

 

And scattered his ashes in the Prouty Garden.

Farragher concludes:

How can state officials calculate the worth of the land consecrated with the ashes of David Horton? How can Boston Children’s Hospital assess the cost of abandoning its promise — made 60 years ago — that the Prouty Garden would be a refuge for its little patients for as long as the hospital was working to heal them?

How can anyone place a value on something like that? They can’t. It’s immeasurable.

Immeasurable. It’s a good word for the loss that will be absorbed if bulldozers are allowed to plow under David Horton’s final resting place.

 

The Massachusetts Department of Public health will hold a hearing tomorrow on the expansion proposed by Children’s Hospital. You can bet the Friends of the Prouty Garden – and of David Horton – will be out in full force.


NYT Beats Boston Dailies on Local Legal Landmark

February 23, 2016

Yesterday’s New York Times featured this devastating front-page piece by Michael Corkery and Jessica Silver-Greenberg on a Boston area tragedy.

A Nursing Home Murder and a Family’s Arbitration Fight

Elizabeth Barrow celebrated her 100th birthday at a backyard gathering with her son and three grandchildren in the coastal Massachusetts town where she raised her family and cooked lunches in a school cafeteria.

A month later, in September 2009, Mrs. Barrow was found dead at a local nursing home, strangled and suffocated, Screen Shot 2016-02-23 at 12.56.51 AMwith a plastic shopping bag over her head. The killer, the police said, was her 97-year-old roommate.

Workers at the nursing home, Brandon Woods in South Dartmouth, Mass., had months earlier described the roommate in patient files as being “at risk to harm herself or others.”

After a police inquiry, the roommate — despite her age and dementia — was charged with murder. The authorities did not focus on the nursing home, though. Brandon Woods claims that, except for some minor arguments, the two women got along nicely. When the roommate was deemed unfit to stand trial and committed to a state hospital, the sensational case that shocked this corner of New England essentially disappeared.

 

Until the Times unearthed it yesterday, that is.

Mrs. Barrow’s son, Scott, has been trying to hold Brandon Woods accountable for the past six years. According to the Times piece, “Mr. Barrow was barred from taking Brandon Woods to court in 2010 because his mother’s contract with the nursing home contained a clause that forced any dispute, even one over wrongful death, into private arbitration.”

But next month a Massachusetts state court will hear his case against Brandon Woods in “a crucial test of a legal strategy to prevent nursing homes across the country from requiring their residents to go to arbitration, where there is no judge or jury and the proceedings are hidden from public scrutiny.”

And the Times had the story – which is staggering and wide-ranging – before the local dailies did.

To be fair graf goes here.

To be fair, the Boston Globe did pick up the Times piece in its Business section yesterday.

 

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But still – a bit of a Boston beatdown, eh?


Boston Globe the Skunk at Prouty Garden Party?

February 22, 2016

As the hardreading staffed has extensively noted, the PR battle over the demolition of the Prouty Garden at Children’s Hospital has been waged on multiple fronts in the news media, both paid and unpaid.

Representative samples of paid media in the form of full-page ads in the Boston dailies:

 

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Representative sample of unpaid media – compliments of Children’s CEO Sandra Fenwick – on last Thursday’s Boston Globe’s op-ed page:

 

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Beyond that, yesterday’s Globe featured this full-page ad for at least the second time:

 

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So here’s our question, again:

Will the Globe give equal op-time to the Save the Prouty Garden folks?

Or does just money talk at the $tately local broadsheet?

Well . . .

Today’s Globe provides the answer in the form of yet another costly full-page ad from the pro-Prouty forces.

 

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Nuts ‘n’ bolts graf:

 

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That’s all well and good, but once again, Globeniks: When does the Prouty gets its freebie?


Boston Globe Passes Over Dive Bars of Brookline

February 19, 2016

Nice piece by Beth Teitell in yesterday’s Boston Globe on disappearing local dive bars.

Boston’s Bars Taking a Dive

Rising rents, changing demographics have toll on corner taverns

One by one, Boston is losing its dive bars.

There’s a hole in the ground on West Broadway in Southie where the Cornerstone Pub once stood, the bar and its turner020916LIVdyingdives47-kbxG-U821746220283zIC-300x225@BostonGlobe.comlottery-ticket vending machine razed to make way for 49 LEED-certified condos.

A few blocks away, on A Street, Bob Desimone, the owner of the Williams Tavern, is still pouring beer for his regulars, but not for much longer. At 69, he’s retiring and a developer is seeking approval to replace the one-story brick building with The Residences at One Hundred A.

 

And etc.

But what about all the Brookline dive bars that have taken a dive over the past several decades?

There was Jacquals, which is now the Village Smokehouse.

And The Charlton, which is now the Coolidge Corner Clubhouse.

But best of all was Irving’s, a bar most Brookliners wouldn’t enter at gunpoint. For that very reason, it was the hardquaffing staff’s favorite watering hole for decades.

It also helped that the sign said IRVING’S LOUNCE.

 

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Some highlight of the Irving’s Era:

1) We had our bachelor party at Irving’s, which the Missus crashed.

2) We have always insisted on living within walking distance from Irving’s.

3) We created this ad – pro bono – for Irving’s in 1987:

 

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That was actually one of a series of ads. Another one had the headline “When the phone rings at Irving’s, the barkeep asks ‘Is everybody here?'”

(Along similar lines, Teitell’s Globe piece features this list of “Bartender’s phone rates” at Tom’s English Cottage in South Boston: “Not here” = $1. “On the way home” = $2. “Just left” = $3. “Haven’t seen them all day” = $4. “Who?” = $5.)

Anyway, Irving’s is now the Corrib Pub, and the hardlyquaffing staff still goes there. But we do miss the Lounce acts.


Finally! ADvantage Goes to Boston Herald!

February 18, 2016

As the hardreading staff has noted many many many times, memorial/institutional/advocacy advertising in the local dailies almost invariably migrates to the Boston Globe – and the Globe alone.

The ad war over demolishing the Prouty Garden at Children’s Hospital, however, is the exception that’s proving the rule.

Last week’s setback for Children’s, in which the Department of Public Health forced the hospital to postpone its plan to replace the garden with a billion-dollar expansion pending a cost study, has seemed only to increase the hospital’s desire to win the battle for public opinion.

Thus, this new full-page ad in today’s Boston Herald.

 

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Unusually, the ad did not run in the Globe. But that doesn’t mean readers of the stately local broadsheet were deprived of Children’s spin du jour. Instead of an ad, they got this op-ed by Sandra Fenwick, president and CEO of Children’s.

 

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Hey – why buy the cow when the milk is free, eh?

Let’s see if the Save the Prouty Garden folks get equal op-ed time.