WGBH Local News

Paul Revere's Bell Is Born Again In Boston

By Cristina Quinn   |   Monday, October 17, 2011
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Oct. 17, 2011

BOSTON — Patriots young and old gathered in front of the Old South Meeting House in Downtown Boston Sunday afternoon to pay tribute to an old bronze bell. But it wasn't just any old bronze bell. This bell was made by Paul Revere and his foundry back in 1801, one of only 49 still believed to exist. And it was about to be hoisted up to the belfry of the Old South Meeting House, which has stood without a bell for 135 years.

Paul Revere's bronze bell before being hoisted up to the belfry of the Old South Meeting House in Boston. (Cristina Quinn/WGBH)

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and members of the Old South Association saluted the bell's arrival with choruses, brass ensembles and a hand bell choir.

The mayor emphasized the historical significance of both the bell and its maker.

"Several hundred thousand people walk by here every day. It's part of maintaining our past for the future. It's very special," Menino said.

The bell spent over 160 years at the First Baptist Church in Westborough until the church closed in 2007. It seemed natural that such an important bell be placed in the meeting house where colonists began the Boston Tea Party.

But for some in the crowd, the Old South Meeting House has a personal and more recent connection. Christiana Fisher and James Peterson of Allston were married at the Old South Meeting House in April, when it was without a bell.

"We wanted a bell at the end of the ceremony, and so my mother arranged for everybody who attended to ring hand bells at the end of the ceremony, which was awesome, and now they're getting a bell, so we came back to check it out," Fisher said.

For others at the ceremony, it was just another day at work. Scott Brooks is the crane operator responsible for picking up the 879-pound bell and assuring its arrival in the belfry.

"I work around here all the time. I make a lot of picks, but this is kind of special. It's part of history and part of Boston," Brooks said.

The crowd watched in near silence as Brooks slowly lifted the bronze. By 2 p.m., Paul Revere's bell was in its new home, and in a few short weeks, the bell will chime at the top of every hour, just as it did for the colonists of Boston so many years ago.

Occupy Boston Grapples With Growing Movement

By WGBH News   |   Thursday, October 13, 2011
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Oct. 13, 2011


In early October, protesters in Boston's Dewey Square posted a list of needed supplies. Now the Occupy Boston group has about $10,000 in its coffers. (Wikimedia)

BOSTON — It's raining, there are no porta-potties and it's only going to get colder. But Occupy Boston protesters are holding on and organizing for the long haul.

Occupy Boston media volunteer Jason Potteiger said about $10,000 of donations came in after Boston police arrested scores of activists in the early hours of Oct. 11.

"We realized that legally we couldn't just be taking donations in willy-nilly," Potteiger said during an interview with WGBH's Emily Rooney on Thursday. Taking a cue from Occupy Wall Street, "We found a 501(c)(3) nonprofit who was sympathetic to our cause and they've agreed to manage the money for us."

So far they've used the money just to print flyers, buttons and stickers, Potteiger said. The group, however, is forming an official finance committee to manage the money. High on the list: A bicycle-powered generator.

Rain is forecast through Friday.

Making Green Energy The Norm

By Kara Miller   |   Friday, October 7, 2011
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Episode 1, Part 1

Wind turbines are seen near the Columbia River in Washington State. (Shutterbug Fotos/Flickr)

America has talked for a long time about embracing green energy.

President Obama discussed the idea last year, saying, "Building a robust clean-energy sector is how we will create the jobs of the future, jobs that pay well and can’t be outsourced. But it’s also how we will reduce our dangerous dependence on foreign oil, a dependence that endangers our economy and how security. And it is also how we will leave our children a safer planet than the one we inherited."

So, what new technologies are available that allow households and businesses to rely on green, clean energy? And how do we scale them? A panel of experts joins us to look at the green revolution and how that revolution might remake America.


Local Innovation: A Tool To Find Green-Energy Incentives

(realmofreals via Flickr)

Many homeowners and business owners are interested in building green buildings, retrofitting existing ones, or buying green appliances — but, initially, such projects can appear to be more expensive than taking less green routes. Jeremy Doochin and Jonathan Doochin, two brothers with combined experience in the Department of Energy, the private sector, and the non-profit sector, know that there's a web of state, local and private incentives available to make such projects cheaper, but it can be difficult to navigate them. They have founded U.S. Green Data, a website that puts information about available incentives in one place to help customers understand how they can save money on green projects, and offers consulting, analysis and ROI reports.

Click the player above to listen.

Can Obama's Jobs Bill Help The Long-term Unemployed?

By Toni Waterman   |   Thursday, October 6, 2011
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Oct. 6, 2011

Watch the segment that aired on Oct. 4 on WGBH's Greater Boston.

BOSTON — Starting every morning at 5:30am, Regina Logan can be found at her small dinning room table, hunched over the newspaper looking for a job.

Logan is desperate. After leaving a cushy job in Maryland a few years ago to help one of her daughters, she's bounced around from temp job to temp job. But she's been out of work since January — and it hasn't been from a lack of trying.

"Like my license, I don't leave home without my resumes. I'm distributing them everywhere I go: To bus drivers, T-personnel, people that I see in Dunkin' Donuts, people that I see on the train going downtown, my elected officials. All of these people have it," she said.

Logan says it's a darn good resume too, loaded with years of experience as an executive secretary, plus, a recent addition: a Bachelor of Science degree from Springfield College.

"I've done all the right things up until this point, and where has it gotten me?"

It's gotten her in the same boat as millions of other Americans; educated, but long-term unemployed. It's the exact group President Obama is targeting in his $447-billion Jobs Bill, which he laid out to the joint Congress on September 8, 2011.

"Pass this jobs bill and companies will get a $4,000 tax credit if they hire anyone who has spent more than 6-months looking for a job," Obama said.

It sounds like a good deal, but Medfield, Mass. business owner Thomas Erb says it just won't work. He's been in the clock-making business for 30 years, and many Electric Time clocks grace town squares across the globe.

Erb said he'd love to hire more workers, but it wouldn't be for a tax credit. It would be because he needs them.

"We look at our staffing requirements based on our sales. If you're a manufacturing organization, you know what you need for staff," said Erb. "And throwing a little money at it won't make a difference as far as hiring someone."

In fact, Erb said he's been doing the exact opposite, slashing employee overtime and cutting back on outside costs.

"We clean our own offices. We cut our own lawn. We go outside and fix the roof ourselves. We really brought a lot of these things that used to be done outside, inside, and have been able to save a fair amount of money that way."

Besides, Erb said, the one-time $4,000 tax credit offered in Obama's jobs bill is just a drop in the bucket compared to how much it costs to hire and keep an employee on the job.

"For the health insurance, it amounts to about $5 per hour per employee, which is a lot of money. It can cost up to $10,000 an employee per year," said Erb.

Robert Baker is the President of the Small Business Association of New England. He says one big thing the President's Jobs Bill doesn't address is job training.

"It takes a while to get someone skilled if you're doing fabrication or metal bending or braising. It takes training and training takes money," said Baker. "Believe it or not, employers in Massachusetts are having trouble finding skilled labor and I think training money helps them bridge that gap."

The bigger problem with the President's bill, says UMass Dartmouth Professor of Public Policy Michael Goodman, is that it doesn't address the country's and individual's overhanging debt.

"Doing something to resolve a lot of this debt that we're dealing with, not just in the public sector, but in the private sector and our households, will be necessary if we're going to return to something approximating normal," said Goodman.

Goodman said it's going to take bringing creditors and debtors together and recognizing that both parties are going to have to take some loss at some point.

"The inability to do that here in the U.S. and certainly in Europe has been prolonging this crisis," said Goodman. "And I think while a short-term stimulus is welcome and necessary, we're going to find ourselves in a similar situation a few years down the road if we don't take real action."

Not good news for Regina Logan. She said she's hoping the President's bill passes soon. In the meantime, she's going to keep on looking for a job.

"Versus nothing that's out there already, this is another opportunity. I have to stay hopeful."

Remembering Steven Paul Jobs

By Bob Seay   |   Wednesday, October 5, 2011
2 Comments   2 comments.

Oct. 6, 2011

steve jobs

Steve Jobs in 1990. (via WGBH Open Vault)


BOSTON — With the loss of Steve Jobs, we have our own remembrance of him, in a superb WGBH interview from 1990. It's from a series called The Machine That Changed The World, a BBC-TV/WGBH Boston Co-Production. In it, Jobs talks about how that revolutionary device, the Macintosh personal computer, came to be and the particular gifts of the people who made it.

Here are some excerpts from the extended interview with Steve Jobs conducted for that series:

Steve Jobs: "I think the Macintosh was created by a group of people who felt that there wasn't a strict division between science and art. Or in other words, that mathematics is really a liberal art if you look at it from a slightly different point of view. And why can't we interject typography into computers. Why can't we have computers talking to us in English language? And looking back, five years later, this seems like a trivial observation. But at the time it was cataclysmic in its consequences. And the battles that were fought to push this point of view out the door were very large."

Jobs talked about the people on his design team and what they were like.

Steve Jobs as seen in his 1990 WGBH interview. (via WGBH Open Vault)

Jobs: "My observation is that the doers are the major thinkers. The people that really create the things that change this industry are both the 'thinker-doer' in one person. And if we really go back and we examine, did Leonardo [da Vinci] have a guy off to the side that was thinking five years out in the future what he would paint or the technology he would use to paint it? Of course not. Leonardo was the artist but he also mixed all his own paints. He also was a fairly good chemist. He knew about pigments, knew about human anatomy. And combining all of those skills together, the art and the science, the thinking and the doing, was the exceptional result."

"And there is no difference in our industry. It's very easy to say, 'oh I thought of this three years ago.' But usually when you dig a little deeper, you find that the people that really did it were also the people that really worked through the hard intellectual problems as well."

On Feb. 10, 1982, the Mac design group had a small party. Along with their cake and champagne, they each signed a large sheet of paper. Jobs had those signatures copied and engraved into the mold for the Macintosh case.

Another frame of Steve Jobs in his 1990 WGBH interview. (via WGBH Open Vault)

Jobs: "The people that worked on it consider themselves and I certainly consider them artists. These are the people that under different circumstances would be painters and poets but because of the time that we live in this new medium has appeared, in which to express one's self to one's fellow species and that's a medium of computing and so a lot of people that would have been artists and scientists have gone into this field to express their feeling, so it seemed like the right thing to do."

If you're the owner of a Mac128K, 512K, or Macintosh Plus, they signed your computer, too. When the new machine was presented at a shareholders meeting in early 1984, the design team was there.

Jobs: "The first few rows had all the people that worked on the Mac. About a 150 people that really made it happen were all seated in the first few rows and when it was introduced, after we went through it all and had the computer speak to people itself and things like that, the whole auditorium of about twenty five hundred people gave it a standing ovation and the whole first few rows of Mac folks were all just crying. All of us were. I was biting my tongue very hard because I had a little bit more to do. But it was a very, very emotional moment because it was no longer ours. From that day forward it was no longer ours. We couldn't change it. If we had a good idea the following day it was too late. It belonged to the world at that point in time."

You can view the entire unedited 45-minute Steve Jobs video interview on the WGBH Open Vault. Please be patient, the interview doesn't start immediately.

'Occupy Boston' Protestors Gather In The Hub

By Toni Waterman   |   Tuesday, October 4, 2011
3 Comments   3 comments.

Oct. 5, 2011

Watch the segment that aired on Oct. 3 on WGBH's Greater Boston.

BOSTON — With a blue and white megaphone, a member of the Occupy Boston camp asks fellow demonstrators how they should welcome the homeless into their movement.

In near unison, the group responded, "we welcome everybody."

This is the population of Occupy Boston: a mishmash of young, old, unemployed, employed, all outraged over what they see as an untenable economic divide.

"I think something that everyone here is thinking about is the fact that one percent of Americans control 50 percent of the wealth in this country," said Occupy Boston media volunteer Jason Potteiger. "A lot of people feel like their voices are being undermined by the fact that there's so much money in special interest — corporate interest in Washington — that their voices are not being heard," Potteiger said.

So since Friday night, Occupy Boston has brought their message to the Financial District's Dewey Square, transforming it into a makeshift tent city. Potteiger, who's an unemployed college grad, says he's concerned about his job prospects.

"Forty-five percent of people 16 to 29 are unemployed and 85 percent of people who graduated in 2011 moved back in with their parents. This is the issue facing my generation," Potteiger said.

Occupy Boston is an unaffiliated spin-off of New York's Occupy Wall Street, a group in its third week of protests. Over the weekend, 700 protesters were arrested for blocking the Brooklyn Bridge. And similar protests have cropped up across the country, including Vermont and Los Angeles. "Stop the corruption on Wall Street," yelled one L.A. protestor.

Here in Boston, the message is the same. A demonstrator who would only give his name as Patrick says he quit his job so he could join the protest.

"My benefits for one person were almost $300 a month," he said, a red bandana hiding most of his face. "That's half my rent right there. So I had to choose between living somewhere or having health insurance."

Fellow protestor David Trauterman, barefoot and holding a sign, said he's looking to end all injustice. "I'm here for a larger movement than just Occupy Boston. I'm here for a revolution of humanity. We need to stop working against each other and come together as one."

But for the most part, the group's intentions are elusive. There are no clear objectives and protestors are making no demands. But demonstrator Nadeem Mazen said knowing what they want so early would be premature.

"I think it's unusual to want to have clear objectives this early. We're saying that we represent the 99 percent and that many of those in the 1 percent use that wealth in order to undermine the democratic process. It's flatly wrong. And it's not democracy," Mazen said.

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As a radio host, Kara Miller has interviewed thinkers from E.J. Dionne to Howard Gardner, Deepak Chopra to Lani Guinier. She is a panelist on WGBH-TV's "Beat the Press," as well as an Assistant Professor at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. Her writing has appeared in The Boston Globe, The National Journal, The Boston Herald, Boston Magazine, and The International Herald Tribune.

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