The Boston Globe from Boston, Massachusetts on March 6, 2008 · 92
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The Boston Globe from Boston, Massachusetts · 92

Boston, Massachusetts
Issue Date:
Thursday, March 6, 2008
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4 Globe Northwest The Boston Globe THURSDAY, MARCH 6, 2008 Asian grocery chain plans Burlington store KOREAN GROCERY Continued from Page 1 The company does not need Planning Board approval for the supermarket, but it must get a special permit from the board to operate a food court where shoppers can dine on sushi, barbecue, dumplings, and other specialties. The Burlington Board of Health has recommended that the Planning Board approve that permit tonight, Murphy said. After lining up a building permit and other approvals, the company could start renovations in a few months and open H Mart within a year, officials said. H Mart the H stands for "healthy," "humane," "happy," and "heartful" began as a single shop owned by an immigrant family in the Queens borough of New York in 1982. A spokesman for the company, now based in New Jersey, declined to comment for this story. During the past quarter-century, H Mart has expanded into a national business selling fresh and exotic produce, seafood, and meat, as well as baked goods, packaged Asian foods, housewares, and products from Hello Kitty toys to $1,500 Samsung refrigerators specially made for kimchi, a fermented cabbage dish. It also sells mainstream supermarket staples. As a result, its clientele is not confined to Asian-American consumers; some people rely on H Mart for all their shopping, while others treat it as a shopping adventure. In an article on Asian shopping centers, the Asian-American online newspaper said H Mart is "the place you take non-Asian friends when you want to impress them with just how modern and sophisticated Asians are." Elsewhere on the Internet, bloggers have professed their fondness for H Mart's free samples, broad selection, and mall-style food court by posting accounts, photos, and even videos of shopping trips. Myong Sool Chang, editor of the Korean language newspaper Boston Korea and the bilingual website, said many in the Korean and Korean-American community have been hoping for a local branch of the chain, which he described as larger, more affordable, and more dramatic in its offerings and presenta-tion than any Asian market IIMIIIIIIIIMIIIIIMHIIIIHItHIIIIHIIMIIIItllllllMtlllltllllMIIIIIIIIIIIIIHIIIiMIIIIMIItHMUlM What do you think? We want to know what's on your ton.conVhorthwesttalk. Or e-mail mind. Is there a particular story us at, you enjoyed reading in this sec- with your name, hometown, and a tion? An issue you'd like explored? daytime phone number (number Share your comments at bos- for verification only). GUNITE POOLS SPAS PATIOS FENCING RENOVATIONS Think Summer. , POOLSBY ! SINCE 153 800.272.SWIM(7946) it. 1 Veinbol VEIN TREATMENTS Laser Leg Vein Treatments Sclerotherapy Micro Phlebectomy Endovenous Laser Treatment Endovenous Radiofrequency Closure Venous Duplex Scanning Accredited Vascular Laboratory AESTHETIC TREATMENTS IPL Laser Hair Removal Chemical Peels Microdermabrasion Skin Care products featuring "IS Clinical" (. operating in the Boston area. Massachusetts has a growing Asian population, including a Korean population that is expanding and is not wedded to an urban enclave, said both Chang and Paul Watanabe, director of the Institute for Asian-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts at Boston. Between 1990 and 2000, according to US census statistics, the state's Asian population grew 68 percent, to nearly 240,000. In Burlington, the Asian community more than doubled, to 10.6 percent of the population. That's a largely South Asian community, Fields said, reflected in the multiple Indian and Pakistani ethnic markets in the town. Those stores are a fraction of the size of the proposed H Mart Chang estimated the state's Korean and Korean-American population at about 30,000, including college and graduate students. He said the population has spread from urban areas to suburbs like Newton, where the Korean consulate is located, Lexington, and other places along Route 128 and beyond, making H Mart's highway location more important than its specific Burlington address. Watanabe said H Mart's suburban move illustrates the popularity of Asian food and culture with a range of ethnic and socioeconomic groups. The largest stores in Boston, such as Super 88 and Ming's Supermarket, attract recent immigrants from multiple continents as well as US-born students, professionals, and well-versed cooks. "I think it's a good and interesting decision to have one out on 128 and in Burlington," said Watanabe, a political science professor. "Stores of this nature don't survive and they certainly won't survive in a place like Burlington catering only to Korean-Americans. It shows the extent to which other Asian groups, but non-Asian groups as well, will utilize these stores for a variety of Asian goods." Although Chang cheered the H Mart plans, he voiced concern for the 17 small and midsized Korean grocery stores he counted in Boston, Somerville, Lawrence, and elsewhere. "I think it's a good thing for the consumer, definitely," said Chang. But for other grocers, "it's going to have a big impact." Erie Moskowitz can be reached at utions" Lrtidro in Gametic & Therapeutic Vew Cart i'A Sherry Sccwelt, M.D FAC.S. - VemSolutions proudly welcomes Dr Scovell. She is a board certified Vascular Surgeon, who has been the Director of Endovascular Surgery at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center for the past five years and an instructor in Surgery at Harvard Medical School. Dr Scovell is excited to be able to offer our patients the full spectrum of care for all of their venous issues. Call our office today to schedule an evaluation with one of our Board Certified Surgeons. We look forward to hearing from you. Julianne Stoughton. MD, FACS 92 Montvale Avenue Nancy Cantelmo, MD. FACS Suite 3200 Khaled Yehia. MD, FACS Stoneham, MA 02 1 80 Sherry Scovell MD. FACS 78I-438 8II7 Then and now: A Chinatown's story told in new book By Jason Beerman GLOBE CORRESPONDENT It's Chinatown, Jake, and now you can read the whole story. The Boston neighborhood is changing yet again: High-rise con-dos sprout amid its dense blocks of low-slung buildings, new restaurant facades gleam, and a newly constructed park leads to the Chinatown gate, the neighborhood's symbolic entrance. Compare today's street scenes with' the ones in a brand-new book chronicling the tiny neighborhood's first century, and you can see how far Chinatown has come. The book is "Chinese in Boston: 1870-1965" by Wing-kai To and the Chinese Historical Society of New England. In 2004, Peter Kiang and Stephanie Fan, then copresidents of the historical society, urged To, an associate professor of history and the coordinator of Asian studies at Bridgewater State College, to take on the project. Using archival photographs, prints, advertisements, newspaper articles, and lithographs, many from the society's collection, To assembled a rich portrait of the community's establishment and evolution, and he hasn't ignored its setbacks and dark times. "It was good cooperation," To said, "because, as a historian, I have the skills and knowledge and experience and interest in the study of Chinese-American history. As a community organization, the Chinese Historical Society of New England has a lot of contacts with local community members and they have come up with archival material." One of the society's goals is to "preserve and promote the stories of people and institutions who are part of the Chinatown fabric," said Caroline Chang, the society's co-founder and its part-time manag- Officials forge on with By Matt Gunderson GLOBE CORRESPONDENT Despite bitter opposition from many parents, Groton school officials are moving ahead with closing the Colonel William Prescott Elementary School, arguing the step is needed to help bridge an estimated $583,808 spending gap the district is facing next fiscal year. With a crowd of chagrined parents in the audience last Wednesday, the School Committee voted to support Superintendent Alan Genovese's recommendation to reassign Prescott students to other classrooms, emptied by declining enrollments across the district. Genovese plans to keep the building open, perhaps as an administrative area, but the historic building, a 1927 structure that originally served as the town's high school, will no longer be used as a school starting next fall. Parents at the Prescott School have launched a vigorous campaign to keep the school open and even rallied a citizen's petition to that end, garnering hundreds of signatures in support of keeping the school open, said Jeanne Nie-moller, a Prescott parent whose son will graduate from the school this spring. Niemoller, a former School r Lynn Lumber offers the A Largest Selection of Stair Parts in New England. ffi- riiTiXii.iiih-iift'"''"' Call for more information or a free brochure. Visit our website at Lynn Lumber Co. 180 Commercial St., Lynn (781) 592-0400 OPEN M-F, 7:30-5:00. SAT. 7:30-4:00 AO'' r .If! Dill " ' mwiMfi CHINESE HISTORICAL SOCIETY COLLECTION The Chinese Merchants Association set up its headquarters at 2 Tyler St., at the corner of Beach Street, from 1919 to 1951 before moving to 20 Hudson St. Bunting was hung outside the building (left) in celebration of the 39th annual national convention held in Boston around 1943. At right, the same building in a photo taken last month. ing director. Gathering the 200 images for the book was a cooperative effort, Chang said, as it required extensive searches of various library and newspaper archives, as well as the generosity of community members to share their personal collections that portray the neighborhood's history. Boston's Chinatown was settled by Chinese immigrants in the late 1870s. They populated the South Cove landfill area, where Irish, Syrian, Italian, and Jewish immigrants had settled earlier. The completion of the first transcontinental railroad in 1869 made it easier for Chinese immigrants to travel to Boston from the West, where, as laborers, they had been lured by the California Gold Rush. A scan of a Chinese language newspaper dating from 1892 indicates the existence of a stable Chinese community in Boston; early 1900s scenes show the city's first Chinese eatery, Hong Far Low Restaurant, as a center of social life; photos show an elevated railroad over Beach Street, built in 1899; a story about a Chinatown immigration raid in a 1903 edition of the Boston Herald documents the anti-Chinese sentiment that followed passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act by Congress in 1882. In the first three decades of the Committee member, said closing the school as an educational building was done in an overly hasty fashion by school officials and violates the School Committee's policy, which calls for extensive research prior to retiring a school building. Prescott School staff have also piloted an innovative reading program, which helped buoy students' MCAS scores considerably, she said. "This was a very big deal to carry something like this out," said Niemoller, who says Prescott parents are seeking Genovese's resignation. "It wasn't an underper-forming school." "I'm fearful for this district and what will continue to happen," she added. School Committee chairwoman Cynthia Barrett said school officials have been tied up with a state educational quality audit, which prevented the administration from acting earlier in the fall on the issue of closing the school. Some Committee members disagree, but Barrett does not believe the closure violates the committee's policy, because the building is not technically being retired but remaining open in a noneducational capacity. The decision to close the build- Mahogany Cherry Maple At Affordable Pricing IDEALV siaUtpmis- legacy in iliiali ifcril mhwugf' 1 20th century, Chinatown grew, as laundries, restaurants, and groceries expanded the neighborhood's scope and boundaries. Family associations, founded as fraternal antidotes to the bachelor society resulting from the lack of women and children in the initial wave of immigration, grew in social and civic importance, and thrive today as benevolent organizations. The push and pull of assimilation is exemplified in World War II era photos, with Chinese and American nationalism in images of Chinese-American servicemen and in parade scenes of support for Chiang Kai-shek's Chinese Nationalist Party. "They were always in a kind of balancing act," To said, "whether it was good to support China or become American." By the 1950s and 60s, Chinatown was firmly entrenched, as second- and third-generation Chinese settled where their parents and grandparents had lived. The public Quincy School, which flourishes in Chinatown today, embodied this. "After the 1950s," To said, "the Syrians moved away, the Italians moved away, so the Chinese population of the Quincy School increased from about 20 percent to the majority." But the '50s and '60s also brought turmoil as construction of Groton school closure ing is attributed to the district's looming fiscal problems and a $583,808 spending deficit the committee needs to surmount in order to balance the budget for next fiscal year, starting July 1, Barrett said. Under the plan, Pres-cott's 225 students would attend either Florence Roche Elementary School in Groton or Swallow Union Elementary School in Dunstable, and Genovese needs time to notify parents which students will go where, she said. Barrett said closing the school would allow school officials to cut Prescott's library and custodial staff from the district's budget, saving an estimated $320,000. "Prescott is a wonderful school," she said. "It has a unique culture that everyone can appreciate. But, with the available space in Swallow Union and Florence Roche, it's not fiscally responsible to keep all three elementary schools running." By closing the school, Prescott students are losing their educational environment, but that's a second priority to cutting teachers, which will happen if the School Committee does not come up with ways of trimming the spending deficit, Barrett said. "We are saving jobs and help ing to preserve the people, which is the most important part of the equation," she said. State Department of Education (Ml tnsti Wi - 'Oftar band on $50 ofi dm maioHnd wtfittow, Minimum ora of S windows mquirfld, Olitt Umitad to on wtemption per a jmw Not vW with oltw oftn or prior purchaM AvaHabte onfy al panrntviling rlailri Ratata prima may vary q::W? Marvin Window anu Doom, Hrftayialwed trademark ct Marvin WiihJowi and Ooora. All righU reserved Boston 3is UP? nip 4i5 GEORGE RIZER GLOBE STAFF the Central Artery and the Massachusetts Turnpike extension carved into the neighborhood. The book documents these incursions; though, there's no mention of another challenge the notorious Combat Zone, which festered at Chinatown's edge for decades. The Zone "was at its height from 1974 to 1985," said To, who said he chose to emphasize the neighborhood's formative years. The highway construction, To said, spurred political and social mobilization, and helped create a new Chinatown. It has come full circle, as the Big Dig has freed up a swath of land, called "Parcel 24," once claimed by the Turnpike extension, and neighborhood activists are fighting to reclaim it. "I think Chinatown has a pretty good future," said Chang. "And I would like to see it, because it is also the place that provides a safe haven for new immigrants until they are established." To said: "We tend to forget about the long history of the Chinese community in Boston. Everyone talks about the Irish, the Italians The Chinese are one of the older groups, and in the book, we try to present that." The $19.99 book is at bookshops and spokeswoman Heidi Guarino said student populations are declining slightly across the state but not dramatically. In some cases, she said, it is prompting officials in some districts to close schools in order to economize space, as in Groton. Other recent school closings to save space and money include Swampscott's Machon Elementary School and the Kelley Elementary School in Newbury-port. Guarino said the closings make fiscal sense for some communities combating ever-rising property taxes. "It's better to have one school full than it is to have two schools open with vacant classrooms," she said. "It kind of goes with the ebb and flow of student populations." But Niemoller thinks school officials need to be more creative in their thinking. She floated the idea of making Swallow Union Elementary School a kindergarten through eighth-grade school for Dunstable students, a move that would help reduce busing costs to the district's middle school in Groton. Barrett said she didn't think the idea would work because SwallowUnion is not set up for middle school students. "They could possibly save a half-million dollars a year that way," Niemoller said. "That would be a macroscopic way of looking at the budget." Year-Round Energy Savings! t '. j No Payments No Interest for 6 months No CT Sales Tax f lflITY' 75ThndAve-WalthmiMA Across Irom the Wtln Hotel 888-336-3303 701-672-4200 4 Hi 4JLNWI:

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