ACMi-21
Media partner

Site stats: May traffic | Cambridge Day: News >> 

Your View (site blog, not mine personally)

Your View is the place for opinion at YourArlington.com. It is the site's only blog. Please submit your opinions to be considered for publication on this site. The best opinions are those supported by facts. You cannot expect to be published if your views lack factual support or if you make personal attacks. For your views to be published, your full, real name is required.

Raise a glass to Roger Barnaby

Roger BarnabyRoger Barnaby

UPDATED Dec. 16: The following tribute was submitted by Sheri Baron, a longtime Precinct 7 Town Meeting member.

The next time you are dining out and have a chardonnay or Sam Adams in town, you should raise your glass to Roger Barnaby. He was the driving force behind one of the most significant, positive changes in our town.

Barnaby is the reason that Arlington now boasts some of the best restaurants in the area. He is the reason that our town has become a vibrant restaurant destination.

He died on Sept. 3, of complications from Covid-19, after a yearlong battle against pancreatic cancer. He was 75 years old.

Raised here

Roger was  raised  in Arlington, attended public school here and  graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology. He was living on the North Shore at the time of his death.

Many of you knew Roger as an articulate, insightful Town Meeting member. This is where I met him. And I was privileged to be his friend for 28 years.

Some history. In the 1870s and 1880s, Arlington was part of the national temperance movement seeking to rid the nation of alcohol. The town had activist churches and temperance societies.

By the turn of the century, while other towns and cities in the Commonwealth were gradually throwing off the constraints placed upon them by the post-prohibition mindset, Arlington was not. In 1940, Arlington was the only town in the entire state to vote “no” on liquor licensing. Then in November 1964, the licensing of alcohol, beer and wine served in restaurants was defeated by a 5-to-1 margin, with a 92-percent voter turnout in the town election 

By 1977, a Special Town Meeting had voted  to put a proposition on the ballot to allow alcohol licenses for up to five restaurants (with seating for at least 99 patrons and required adequate parking). In 1978, voters approved the question, but there was no provision for serving beer and wine with meals in smaller restaurants.

1993 Town Meeting

At the 1993 Town Meeting, former town Treasurer Stephen Gilligan introduced the owner of Casa Cucina, a fine Italian restaurant on Summer Street, where Scutra is now. Many of her patrons were requesting wine with dinner. Since there wasn’t even a provision for bringing in your own bottle of wine, she hoped that the town might change its restrictions.

Gilligan  proposed a warrant article that would place a question on the ballot in the next town election, asking the voters to  allow beer and wine to be served in establishments with less than 99 seats and with less stringent parking requirements. 

Roger immediately rose and spoke in favor of the question. He offered to start a committee to work on this, and I volunteered. After the meeting, half a dozen other members volunteered. We formed the “Committee to Vote Yes on Question #1.”

With Roger’s creative leadership and focus, we ran a campaign to persuade voters of the potential positive outcome. We asked for support from our friends and neighbors, and from local businesses and restaurants. 

We distributed fliers in front of Stop & Shop, the post offices, on busy street corners throughout town. We appeared on cable TV and wrote guest articles and letters to the editor of the Advocate. (I still have the handwritten “spreadsheets” of donations). It was a homegrown, grass-roots campaign that succeeded. 

Ballot question passes

The  ballot question passed, 70 percent to 29 percent.

Arlington changed. New restaurants opened in the East, the Center and the Heights. New businesses, too. The Boston Globe called it the “sleepy town that woke up.”

It became hard to find a parking place on Friday and Saturday evenings. People were coming from other towns to spend an evening enjoying great food and atmosphere in our town. Over the years, more liquor licenses were granted. 

Our economic boom was not the only contribution Roger made to our town.  During the millennial celebration in 2000, he brought a hot-air balloon into Arlington from Ohio, and we offered rides at Spy Pond Park. He helped me run a very successful senior picnic at Menotomy Rocks Park, and he brought renewed interest to Uncle Sam.  

Roger was a man of intelligence, compassion and great humor. He was kind to a fault and humble about his contributions to our town. And he was a devoted friend.

Raise a glass to him. 

May he rest in peace and may his memory be a blessing.


Nov. 11, 2021: A professor gone too soon


This tribute was published Tuesday, Nov. 30 2021, and updated Dec. 16, to add to cause of death.

Town of Arlington to LGBTQIA+ students: You belong
 

Comments

No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment
Already Registered? Login Here
Guest
Monday, 27 June 2022
If you'd like to register, please fill in the username, password and name fields.

Captcha Image

By accepting you will be accessing a service provided by a third-party external to https://www.yourarlington.com/

YOUR VIEW: Opinions: Alewife, poison, parents, poetry, news, letters

Your People

S. Nicholas Kriketos

Arlington resident honored for years of service to St. Athanasius

S. Nicholas KriketosS. Nicholas Kriketos' service to St. Athanasius the Great parish in Arlington nearly 30 years was recognized by parish members June 12. Now the building and facilities manager of the Appleton Street church, he has served with dignity, loyalty, respect and humility. When he was…
Corwin Dickson is ready to compete.

Arlington artist helps design women's hockey logo

Corwin Dickson is ready to compete. Arlington artist Corwin Dickson has helped design a Pride-inspired merchandise line for the Premier Hockey Federation (PHF), the home of professional women's hockey in North America. A series of unique, Pride-inspired PHF designs are available for a limited time…

Housing Authority

Your Businesses

Latest comments

Bob Sprague What do we do about Arlington's news desert?
27 May 2022
Good question, Eric. Since it became a nonprofit last fall, YourArlington has been led by a board se...
Guest - Eric Segal What do we do about Arlington's news desert?
25 May 2022
I wonder what it would cost to have a local, nonprofit digital news network -- like this but maybe a...
Bob Sprague What do we do about Arlington's news desert?
25 May 2022
I agree withg Mark's comment about democracy and local support for the press. One answer to this iss...

FACEBOOK BOX: To see all images, click the PHOTOS link just below

 



Support YourArlington

An informed Arlington
keeps democracy alive
:
Why we are your news source >>

Donate Button

YourArlington is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.

Your contributions are tax-deductible.

Your Arts

Your democracy

Your housing

Your Police, Fire