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Menino marks his 70th birthday back at City Hall

Mayor Thomas M. Menino greeted children at a youth center Monday.

Suzanne Kreiter/Globe Staff

Mayor Thomas M. Menino greeted children at a youth center Monday.

Mayor Thomas M. Menino celebrated his 70th birthday Thursday by returning to his City Hall office for the first time since falling ill in mid-October, his chief spokeswoman said.

“The mayor enjoyed his birthday by visiting with staff, having lunch with people in his admin­istration, and doing city business in his favorite place: at City Hall,” Dot Joyce, the ­mayor’s spokeswoman, said by phone.

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Joyce said city officials briefed the famously detail-oriented mayor on several issues, including a Parks and Recreation Department truck stolen from a parking lot at Franklin Park on Wednesday night. Police Commissioner ­Edward F. Davis and members of the city’s labor relations staff briefed Menino on contract negotiations between the city and ranking officers of the School Department’s police force, Joyce said.

Some school police officers have expressed concern that they are ill-prepared to act in an emergency such as the recent shooting at an ­elementary school in Newtown, Conn., because they are not trained for such situations and have neither guns nor bulletproof vests.

At lunchtime, the five-term mayor and staff members shared a sugar-free ice cream cake, a necessity following Menino’s recent diagnosis with Type 2 diabetes.

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“People in the office gave him a very nice card with lots of well wishes, and they were very happy to see him,” Joyce said.

For dinner Thursday, Joyce said she believed Menino would be joined by close relatives, includ­ing his son and daughter, their spouses, and his grandchildren. “His pride and joy,” she said of the children.

Menino left Boston with his wife, Angela, on Oct. 14 for an Italian vacation but cut the trip short after falling ill, returning 12 days later and entering Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He arrived with a virus and a blood clot that traveled from his leg to his lungs. While at the Brigham , according to his physicians, Menino suffered a compression fracture in a vertebra; he subsequently developed an infection at that site. Later, he was diagnosed with diabetes.

He went to Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in late ­November and remained there until he and his wife moved ­into the city-owned Francis Parkman House on Beacon Hill Sunday.

Unlike his home in the Readville section of Hyde Park, the Parkman House has an elevator, which will help the mayor get around as he works to ­regain strength in his legs after nearly two months in hospital beds, Joyce said Sunday.

As he prepared to leave the rehabilitation hospital, Menino joked with reporters about how speedily he would recover his mobility. “I’m ready to run a marathon next April,” he proclaimed Sunday.

On Monday, Menino made his annual Christmas Eve visit to a youth center in the Bowdoin-­Geneva section of Dorchester. The mayor remained in the passenger seat of a sport utility vehicle but said he was feeling better and was glad to be back amid the city he loves.

“It gives you an energy,” Menino said Monday. “It’s good to be back in touch with people.”

During his convalescence, Menino continued to run the city from his hospital bed, city officials have said. Joyce and other staff said they have met with him regularly to discuss city business.

For some time to come, Menino will shuttle between City Hall and Parkman House, making time for physical therapy to rebuild his strength, Joyce said.

The spokeswoman said Thursday that the mayor will need time to fully regain mobility. But, she said, “he can get around. He can do what he needs to do. And he’s getting stronger every day.”

Joyce said Menino has retained his humor despite his health issues.

“You can tell he’s back and raring to go,” she said, with a laugh. “The only issue is the mobility in the legs, and he’s working hard on that.”

Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at
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