Newton Mayor Announces U.S. Senate Run

By Jess Bidgood   |   Monday, May 9, 2011
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May 9, 2012

BOSTON — Newton's Mayor Setti Warren will run for U.S. Senate in 2012.

The Democrat posted a video message online and sent a tweet Monday morning declaring the bid:

Today I’m announcing my candidacy for U.S. Senate: #teamsetti #masen #mapoli #massachusetts #p2less than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

In the video, Warren drew on basic Democratic beliefs. "I believe in the core values of creating opportunity for all Americans, and protecting the most vulnurable," Warren said. "Yes, we need to cut government spending, but we cannot let a crisis born of fiscal mismanagement destroy all that we stand for as Americans."

Warren also referenced his experience in the Clinton White House; as New England FEMA Director; as a staffer for Sen. John Kerry and as an intelligence specialist serving in Iraq. But he admitted he lacks name recognition.

"I'm probably about as well-known as Scott Brown was at this point two years ago," Warren quipped.

Warren announced his candidacy with a video posted online.

Warren dug into Sen. Brown, who he'd face if he becomes the state's Democratic nominee. "(He) has not been the independent voice in the Senate that so many expected him to be. He's voted 87 percent of the time with his national Republican leaders," Warren claimed.

Recent polling shows Brown to be the state's most popular politician with an edge over all possible Senate candidates.

Warren joins a Senate field relatively short on declared candidates (his only official opposition thus far is CityYear founder Alan Khazei and activist Bob Massie), although a number of promiment state Democrats, like Rep. Michael Capuano, are rumored to be considering a run. 

He won't necessarily be the state Democratic establishment's first choice. Last month, U.S. Rep. Barney Frank — a Newton resident — reportedly told Warren not to run, saying it's too soon in his four-year term to commit to a campaign.

Just a few hours old, the campaign is already causing some unease in Newton; the Twitter handle @recallsetti promises to tweet about "how he neglects Newton while he runs for Senate."

Warren will formally announce his bid at an event on Tuesday. 

Customers Worry As Book Fair Goes On Sale

By Adam Reilly   |   Wednesday, November 10, 2010
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Nov. 10, 2010

Art books on display at the New England Mobile Book Fair, which is neither mobile or a fair. (Don Coyote/Flickr)

BOSTON — The New England Book Fair isn’t much to look at from the outside. Passing by on Needham Street in Newton Highlands, you might even mistake it for a shuttered business.

Inside, though, the Book Fair is a bibliophile’s dream. The shelves seem to stretch forever, packed with everything from New York Times bestsellers to esoteric, hard-to-find remainders. Most of the books are sold at a 20 percent discount, while New York Times bestsellers get a 30 percent markdown.

Meanwhile, the Book Fair’s organic layout and funky ambience is a far cry from Borders or Barnes & Noble – which is exactly how its loyal customers like it.

There’s “less of the chain feeling” at the Book Fair, says Aimee Stone of Needham. “I like the gritty feeling of this. You’re in with the books.”

Last week, though, the Book Fair’s three co-owners announced that the 53-year-old store – which they call the largest independent bookstore in New England – is up for sale. The goal, says co-owner and COO Steve Gans, is to find a buyer who maintains the store’s character. To that end, they’ve hired broker Paul Siegenthaler, who arranged the recent sale of Cambridge’s Harvard Book Store.

Still, there’s no guarantee that a new owner will safeguard the Book Fair’s more pronounced idiosyncrasies, which include a huge discount-books inventory, an armada of miniature shopping carts and shelves arranged by publisher rather than author.

“I absolutely would not want it to modernize,” says Carrie Schmidt of Jamaica Plain. “I love the shopping carts! I love the way that the stacks are set up.”

The store’s logic can be confusing for the uninitiated. Some authors get their own turnstile; others don’t. What’s more, you’ll find foreign-language titles sharing a small space with chewable baby books and the latest offering from Dennis Lehane. But loyalists claim the unusual layout creates an appealingly serendipitous shopping experience.

“There’s a stack of books that I just walked by – these little books that I had when I was growing up, and I’ve never seen them again,” says Schmidt. “I would have had to go online to even remember that those books existed and that I wanted them — and there they are!”

Regular customers also lavish praise on the Book Fair’s staffers, who they claim are a cut above their big-box peers.

“People here seem to be much more knowledgeable,” says Rama Chandra of Newton. “They’ve been around here a long time.”

So has the Book Fair, which was founded in 1957 by Lou Strymish, a Harvard-trained chemist. (Today, Strymish’s sons Jon and David own the store with Gans.) But whether the store’s unusual character can survive another half-century remains to be seen.

“If you like it the way it is, and if somebody else could just take it and change it,” says Stone, “then it’s not the New England Mobile Book Fair anymore.”

Wine dinner this Friday at BOKX 109; special discount for WGBH members

By Cathy Huyghe   |   Thursday, August 12, 2010
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Unfiltered wines are all the rage — we’re living in a pared-back, honest era, people — but few wineries get unfiltered wines right.

Newton Vineyard, which wine critic Robert Parker calls one of the world’s greatest wine estates, is one of those few.

This Friday night offers a chance to taste Newton Vineyard’s work for yourself, when BOKX 109 American Prime restaurant hosts a wine dinner that includes three of their unfiltered wines — a chardonnay, a merlot, and a cabernet sauvignon. Better yet, WGBH members can get $10 off the price of the dinner (keep reading to find out how).

Here’s the plan:

Walk into the Newton Vineyard wine dinner and they’ll hand you a glass of the 2008 Red Label Chardonnay.

Retail price: $20/bottle.

While you’re getting settled, catch a server (or two, or three, it won’t be hard) and indulge in the passed apps of poached oyster shooters, lobster and ricotta cavatelli, and wing confit.

Once you’re seated, they’ll place your first unfiltered wine of the night in front of you — the 2007 chardonnay — to pair with the seared petrale sole with spring peas and morel cream.

Retail price for the wine: $45/bottle.

Then comes the second course with another unfiltered wine — the 2005 merlot — along with barbecued pork belly with Boston baked beans and sweet corn nage.

Retail price for the wine: $45/bottle.

Next up is Newton Vineyard’s iconic Bordeaux blend, called The Puzzle (2005) at $78/bottle retail. It’s matched up with Long Island duck served two ways — smoked breast and confit thigh — with melted leeks and lentil fondue in a red wine and shallot jus.

For dessert you’ll drift back to the unfiltered wines with the 2006 cab and a dark chocolate tart with drunken berries and toasted meringue.

Retail price for the wine: $40/bottle.

Is a $95-five course wine dinner worth the price? Well, here’s what you’d pay course by course (and this doesn’t even include the food):






You do the math — then email your reservation to me at WGBH:, and your WGBH membership gets you a $10 discount. See you there!

Details: Newton Vineyard Wine Dinner, hosted by Dr. Su Hua Newton. BOKX 109 American Prime restaurant, inside the Hotel Indigo, 399 Grove Street, Newton. Friday, April 30, at 6:30 p.m. Cost is $95 plus tax and gratuity; WGBH members get $10 off when you email Cathy Huyghe with your reservation.

Cathy Huyghe writes the WGBH Foodie blog. Read new WGBH Foodie posts every weekday, in which Cathy expl

Wine and personality: Dr. Su Hua Newton at BOKX 109

By Cathy Huyghe   |   Thursday, August 12, 2010
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At first glance, Dr. Su Hua Newton seems an unlikely winery owner. She is a scientist by training. She wears a red blazer and black tights that just might be leather. She and her husband, Peter Newton, came to Napa way back in the day, when the valley’s landscape was more likely to be growing walnuts than grapes.

But then Newton begins to speak — as she did Friday night at the Newton Vineyard wine dinner at BOKX 109 Restaurant in Newton — and you realize the roles of winery owner, winemaker, and marketer suit her to a T.

That’s because she is intelligent and pragmatic (useful for one of the first-comers to the Napa wine scene). And because she is vivacious and charming (you’d have to be, to pull off some of the achievements Newton Vineyard has accomplished).

Plus, she is self-effacing and funny, and definitely not taking herself too seriously.

That last — an energy of self-deprecation and humor — helped open the door to the lively, even boisterous crowd that gathered in BOKX 109′s private dining room recently. Newton Vineyard’s reputation typically inspires a hushed reverence, thanks to wine critic Robert Parker’s 96-point rating of Newton’s wines, its inclusion in Parker’s ranking of the world’s 100 greatest wine estates, and premium price points per bottle. Newton Vineyard’s history, in other words, evokes an expectation of stuffiness.

Until Su Hua Newton is in the room.

That was the case on Friday. Maybe some of the guests came to the dinner anticipating a certain level of seriousness. What they got instead was communal seating around just a few tables in the room, exciting food (and I do not say that lightly), and the edge and the flair of BOKX 109, packaged with the unusual — even daring — flight of unfiltered wines from Su Hua Newton’s vineyards.

Maybe the next time these guests see Newton Vineyard on the wine store shelf, they’ll remember Dr. Newton’s sense of humor more than the unfiltered character of most of the wines. Maybe they’ll remember their conversation with fellow guests more distinctly than how well the Red Label Chardonnay paired with the oysters (outstanding though the food at BOKX 109 is).

Or maybe what they will remember is that Napa is full of personalities like Dr. Newton’s — personalities that flavor more than the wines.

Cathy Huyghe writes the WGBH Foodie blog. Read new WGBH Foodie posts every weekday, in which Cathy explores myriad ways and places to experience good food and wine.

About the Authors
Jess Bidgood Jess Bidgood
Jess Bidgood is's news editor and producer.
Adam Reilly Adam Reilly
Adam Reilly is a political reporter and associate producer for WGBH's Greater Boston.


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