Monday, April 20, 2015

Marathon Monday

After reflecting on the race....

"Officials outline Marathon security, traffic plans" by Meghan E. Irons and Martin Finucane Globe Staff  April 17, 2015

The city’s security plan for the Boston Marathon on Monday will include 100 surveillance cameras, a swarm of uniformed and undercover officers, and, for the first time, anti-drone technology in case of a threat from the air, officials announced Friday.

Mayor Martin Martin J. Walsh noted the resilience and spirit among residents who are rebuilding after the bombings two years ago, saying this year’s event is a test of how far the city has come. Walsh said his administration has worked to ensure the race is safe.

“We have significant resources and personnel out there to protect our public,’’ Walsh, flanked by his public safety team, said at a press conference. “The city will be the same positive environment people are used to during the Marathon.”

Just ignore the massive police state around you.

Police Commissioner William B. Evans said officers will take a low-key approach on Monday to ensure this year’s race goes off “without a hitch.” He said the public safety plan will resemble last year’s efforts, when the city stepped up security and the race went off successfully.

Monday will be the second time the race has been run since the 2013 Marathon terror bombings.

“We had a great plan,’’ Evans said. “It was a great day. And I’m hoping that we’ll have a successful day [this year] as well. The energy, the excitement, the weather — we couldn’t ask for a better day last year, and we expect that to happen again this year.”

Evans encouraged everyone heading to the city on race day to leave home early, whether they are heading to work, the Red Sox game at Fenway, or to the Marathon. Many of the roadways will be closed to traffic early. Vehicles will be prohibited and parking restricted on many streets throughout the weekend.

“I would urge everybody to take public transportation,’’ Evans said.

Take the T? After this past winter?


Evans also urged people to leave large objects, such as backpacks, strollers, and coolers, at home. Those items will not be banned, but people toting them may be subject to a police search.

The commissioner said that the city will be using anti-droning technology for the first time in several locations to increase the public’s safety at the race. He said a company offered the services to police, who will give it a try.

“It’s just another piece of technology that is going to aid us that day,’’ Evans said.

In addition to officers keeping guard, Boston firefighters will be on patrol throughout the course of the race to keep an eye out.

The Fire Department will also stage specialized units — such as the technical rescue and hazardous materials teams — at strategic locations....

So which private security companies have they contracted with this year?


Oh, yeah, "race day will be cooler than normal."

Other highlights of the weekend include a bike ride and sacrificial scapegoating that includes Important Lessons:

"The Richard family’s plea for prosecutors to end their pursuit of the death penalty for the Boston Marathon bomber struck an emotional chord across the city Friday, with even some death penalty supporters expressing admiration for the family’s courage and eloquence. But in legal circles, the nuts-and-bolts question of whether their opposition to the death sentence could have a significant impact on the trial’s penalty phase, which begins Tuesday in US District Court, was a matter of more intense debate. Both sides agreed the government was suddenly in an awkward position: arguing for a punishment that two of the most prominent survivors say would prolong their suffering by forcing them to relive the trauma of that day through years of appeals. “It puts the government in a real difficult bind,” said Michael Kendall, a former federal prosecutor. “This is the voice the jury listens to most, the Richard family. . . . This family has been so gracious and dignified in all their sorrow and pain, I think everyone is going to pay respect to what they think.” Nevertheless, two other former federal prosecutors said the statement, published Friday in the Globe, would not persuade prosecutors to drop the death penalty in exchange for life in prison, noting that other survivors have said they want Dzhokhar Tsarnaev sentenced to death."

And dead men tell no tales. I mean, what happens when he gets out?

Maybe you would like to run a few more legs before quitting for some lunch?

"Forum restaurant an empty storefront as Marathon Day approaches" by Taryn Luna Globe Correspondent  April 17, 2015

A year ago, people streamed into the Forum restaurant on the day of the Boston Marathon. Many came to pay tribute at a place that had become a kind of living memorial to the events of April 15, 2013.

Forum was the site of one of the two bomb blasts that struck the Marathon, a place of tragedy and heroism. The restaurant’s devastation and its subsequent rebuilding created one of the many powerful stories of the city’s recovery from those events.

But as memorials go, the Forum location on Boylston Street is vacant and unwelcoming now. The restaurant went out of business a couple months ago, and the storefront windows are clouded over, draped with signs offering retail space for rent.

The sidewalk is empty, other than the potted daffodils lined up in a row along the building Friday. A very small, handmade peace sign was tied the door handle. A string of blue and yellow crocheted flowers was wrapped on a pole near the street.

“It feels kind of funny,” said Back Bay resident Elaine Ouellette, who stopped to snap a picture.


After the attacks, the restaurant underwent a massive four-month renovation. When it reopened, Forum attracted people from all over the world who stopped in to grab a drink and ask about the attacks. The workers, some of whom were commended for springing to action to help the injured, answered as best as they could.

“I felt for those employees,” said Bob Luz, president of the Massachusetts Restaurant Association. “They had to answer those questions every day they were open.”

Near the race finish line, at the site of the second bombing, Marathon Sports is busy fielding similar questions and serving as a gathering place for runners. More than 200 people met outside the store on the anniversary of the attacks Wednesday morning for a ceremonial run....

“It’s very sad,” owner Colin Peddie said of Forum’s closing. “We got to know them a little bit after. They were symbolic. But eventually business is business and unfortunately that’s the way it goes.”

Luz, of the restaurant association, agreed. He said the restaurant’s recovery was heartwarming and gave hope and inspiration to the region, but “you can’t make a memorial out of a revenue producing asset.”

Forum’s owner, Euz Azevedo, said the restaurant closed March 1 because the landlord raised the rent.... 

Comes with the gentrification that is driving all the the elite out of Bo$ton.


And if you are still hungry, you can reclaim some leftovers. I will be leaving the table before dumping you off at the finish line. You can find your way around from there and see who you want to see.

Sorry to cut it short, readers, but I've got to get my shoes on and get running myself. I suppose the biggest danger this year will be the potholes, so be careful out there. You don't want to end up in the hospital.


"Marathon back on the road to normal; Amid reminders of the bombings, Marathon regains a celebratory air" by Michael Levenson and Kathy McCabe Globe Staff  April 21, 2015

I think I'm going to be sick.

A year after the Marathon became a powerful rallying point for a wounded city, the feeling this year was still emotionally charged, but less fraught, as the 119-year-old race began to return to its roots as a civic celebration and internationally acclaimed athletic competition.

Despite falling just before the start of the penalty phase of the trial of convicted bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, whose possible death sentence has sparked anguished public debate, the race took on a festive mood.

They have even found peace from the anguish.

The crowds were generally thinner, due to the rain and cold, but there were fewer spectators weeping than at last year’s race, and more simply happy to huddle under umbrellas, wave handmade signs, and cheer on runners.


There were many reminders of how the race has changed: men and women sporting “Boston Strong” T-shirts, blue and yellow memorial ribbons tied to lampposts....

The police presence was designed to not feel intrusive. Most officers on the sidewalks were armed with handguns, not rifles, and many were dressed in fluorescent yellow jackets, not black tactical gear; others were in plainclothes.

Boston Police said they were using 100 video cameras to monitor the crowds, an expanded surveillance system that has sparked privacy concerns from civil liberties groups. For the first time, the department also deployed a system, called Drone Shield, to detect the buzzing sound of drones in the air and alert officers via text message.

“Freedom is lost,” said Betty McLellan, who was at the starting line with her family in Hopkinton. “It’s much harder to get here. It’s just different.”

Debby Frohbieter, 64, of Hopkinton, said the race finally felt like it was getting back to normal. But she said it was still hard seeing barricades, armed officers, and police dogs.

“It’s sad it has to be this way, but this is the way it’s going to be,” Frohbieter said. “I’m just glad it’s not stopping people from coming out.”

Crowds were thinner, but they weren't stopped.... sigh. Wasn't this the day of Rosie Ruiz?

Boston Police Commissioner William Evans said during an early evening news conference at the finish line that there had been no arrests or major disturbances.

“The 119th running of the Boston Marathon went off without a hitch,” Evans said....

No drills this year, huh?


That was as far as I made it. Sorry.