Hospital Housekeepers Are Essential Workers, Too. Here’s What Their New Normal Is Like.

By Gaia De Simoni and Shira Stoll

Published on NBC10 Boston

At 6:30 on a recent Friday morning, Kurt Curry leaves his South End apartment in Boston, a disposable white mask on his face. 

He walks in beige cargo pants and a blue button-up shirt to the Symphony T station on the Green Line, making sure to keep six feet from anyone he encounters on his way. 

The train brings him to Longwood, where he’s been fighting against the new coronavirus in the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit of Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center since March.

Curry is one of 321 housekeepers in the Environmental Services Department who clean, sanitize and take out the trash at the hospital, making sure it’s a safe environment for patients and nursing staff.

Continue reading Hospital Housekeepers Are Essential Workers, Too. Here’s What Their New Normal Is Like.

Top Boston Ballet Dancers Share a ‘Reverie’ to Inspire Creativity During Lockdown

By Gaia De Simoni

Published on NBCboston.com

When Boston’s cultural institutions started closing their doors to the public in March, Lia Cirio was rehearsing her leading role in Jorma Elo’s “Carmen” on the stage of the Boston Opera House. 

She was working with the other dancers in the Boston Ballet when Artistic Director Mikko Nissinen came in the theater, telling the company that Carmen “was over” because of the coronavirus pandemic, Cirio recalled.   

“I just remember feeling like the whole stage was pulled out from under us and it was pretty devastating,” said Cirio, a principal dancer at the Boston Ballet. “I wasn’t in a good place, I was pretty depressed. My life as I know it has been taken from me.” 

Continue reading Top Boston Ballet Dancers Share a ‘Reverie’ to Inspire Creativity During Lockdown

Brookline 3D-Printing Studio Transforms Into Factory for COVID-Fighting Face Shields

By Gaia De Simoni

Published on NBCboston.com

When Gov. Charlie Baker ordered all non-essential businesses in Massachusetts closed on March 24, a community “maker space” where members can 3D print, laser-cut, weave on a loom and do other large-scale crafts, found itself having to make a decision.

“It’s kind of a shock to your system when suddenly you realize in one week we’re closing and all of the people who are coming in to take classes and to be part of our community are not coming anymore,” said Hayley Greenberg, an engineer who co-founded The Makery at Coolidge Corner.

Continue reading Brookline 3D-Printing Studio Transforms Into Factory for COVID-Fighting Face Shields

Shelburne Farm: An Orchard on a Hill

By Gaia De Simoni

STOW, Mass. – It is a hot day in late September, but Paul Hesterberg carries his daughter Evelyn on his shoulders. He walks quickly, one tree row after another with Evelyn helping to extend their reach for picking the best apples atop the trees at Shelburne Farm.

She picks one, two, three apples at a time, as many as fit in her small hands. Her mother follows them closely, carrying a bright plastic yellow bag and taking photos of them. They pick the shiniest red apples, Galas, and the crunchiest and sweetest, Honeycrisp, their favorites. Then they stop in front of a Cortland tree.

“That one over there,” Evelyn says to her dad. 

Continue reading Shelburne Farm: An Orchard on a Hill

Blue Hills Reservation: “An Island in an Urban Community”

By Gaia De Simoni

MILTON — It’s late morning and the sun tries to make its way through the trees dressed in their best colors of the year. The green of pines, the gold-yellow of ginkgo and the bright red of maples surround hikers through their walk into the woods. The rustling sound of boots stepping on the trail is the melody they’ll hear for the day. Their breath is short while climbing up one rock after another. 

“It’s a 7,000-acre island in an urban community,” Ken Cohen, board member of Friends of the Blue Hills, says.

Part of the Skyline Loop Blue Blazes Trail in the Blue Hills Reservation, Milton, Mass., Oct. 26, 2019. Photo by Gaia De Simoni

The Blue Hills Reservation is a fairytale setting that resembles a walk in the woods in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. But for this beauty, Bostonians don’t need to go too far: the Reservation is only a 25-minute drive from Downtown Crossing. 

Continue reading Blue Hills Reservation: “An Island in an Urban Community”

Women Inmates and Rescued Horses Heal Together for a Second Chance

By Gaia De Simoni

WINDHAM, Maine – The sun is barely rising and the officers of the Southern Maine Women Reentry Center (SMWRC) have just finished their first roll call of the day.

Claire Marie Valenoti looks outside the only window of her tiny room. On the right, a cork board covered with photos of her two kids and other family members hangs above her neatly laid twin bed.

No bars limit her view of the green hills surrounding the prison, but she is unable to open the window and feel the cold air on her face.

She has been here since December 2018 for aggravated trafficking of scheduled B drugs and possession of crack cocaine, serving four years in prison and three years of probation.

“At least it’s not sad,” Valenoti says, looking outside, her long blond hair gathered in a bun.

Continue reading Women Inmates and Rescued Horses Heal Together for a Second Chance

Follow the Honey: A journey towards Africa’s beekeeping

BOSTON, MASS. – In Swahili, the word “Machali” means to follow one’s instinct and one’s heart. It is an expression of which Brian Woerner, a Boston University Questrom Graduate alumnus.

“I am a big fan of this word. If you asked me in college, what I was going to do, I would not have answered this for sure,” said Woerner.

The Boston University 2018 International Education Week kicked off on November 12, with a honey-themed event hosted by Boston University Global Programs at Metcalf Trustee Center. The event took the public on a journey through Woerner’s experiences in Africa and gave a taste of South America and Africa’s honey samples provided by Follow the Honey, a Cambridge-based shop.

Continue reading Follow the Honey: A journey towards Africa’s beekeeping

Back Bay Neighborhood

Kamal Muvdi skateboarding in Copley Square. Boston, Mass., September 20. Photo by Gaia De Simoni

People crossing Newbury Street, Boston, Mass., September 20. Photo by Gaia De Simoni

Joe Lynch aka Guitar Joe playing his guitar in 200, Newbury St., Boston, Mass., September 20. Photo by Gaia De Simoni

A man and his dog at Pavement CoffeeHouse, 286, Newbury St., Boston, Mass., September 20. Photo by Gaia De Simoni

A man skateboarding through the traffic in Newbury Street, Boston, Mass., September 20. Photo by Gaia De Simoni

Siena Farms stand at Copley Square Farmers’ Market, Boston, Mass., September 21. Photo by Gaia De Simoni

People having lunch at Cafeteria, 279 Newbury St., Boston, Mass., September 21. Photo by Gaia De Simoni

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