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Friday, May 1, 2015

Land Use Committee to Hold Public Meeting on Zoning Overhaul



The Land Use Committee will hold a public meeting on the proposed zoning overhaul this Wednesday May 6th at 6pm in the Aldermanic Chambers of City Hall.

For those of you playing at home, Somerville zoning has not been updated since the 1990's. Members of OSPCD submitted a zoning overhaul to the Board of Aldermen for approval this past December after conducting a summer-long series of seminars, ward-based meetings and creating a website to gather public comment and zoning map ideas. The 300+ page document has a few more weeks to be considered before expiring and having to be re-submitted. 

For more information, please visit: www.SomervilleMA.Gov/Zoning and/or attend Wednesday's meeting

Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Word Around The Ward


In political news, John Caruso texted me that he's running for Alderman at Large. John is always there for candidates who need help, so it's no wonder that he would like to be the one on the ballot this year. Good luck to Johnny and anyone else considering a run. Monday May 11th will answer the burning question of who is running and for what as that is the newly approved day for candidates to pull papers. 

The Ward 5 ResiStat meeting is set for Tuesday June 2nd at the Kennedy School. The meeting begins at 6pm with refreshments with a presentation, question and answer portion from 6:30 to 8pm.

7Ate9 Bakery has passed their final inspection and is ready to open their doors to the public very soon! Congratulations!


Cedar Street will be discussed on Monday May 18th, 6:30pm, in the third floor community room of the VNA as the street is set to be repaved this summer. 

Members of the public will be presented with the latest design plans for the Community Path by the Green Line Extension Project Team on May 4th from 6-8pm in the Holiday Inn located at 30 Washington Street. Everyone interested in this exciting project are highly encouraged to attend this presentation.

There will be a follow-up community meeting on Monday May 11th at 6:30pm in the third floor community room of the VNA to discuss Lowell Street safety concerns and what steps will be taken this spring/summer as the Community Path is set to open.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Somerville Open Studios This Weekend!


Somerville Open Studios is happening on Saturday and Sunday from 12-6pm at various locations around the City. This is one of the most popular and well-attended Open Studios and I highly encourage everyone to be a part of it. 

There is a sneak-preview on Friday May 1st and a fantastic kick-off event, Beyond the Pattern, set for Thursday April 30th.

You can find a map here: http://www.somervilleopenstudios.org/artists/images/maps/SOS2015_map.pdf
You can find the artist directory here: http://www.somervilleopenstudios.org/artists/
You can find tips on how to navigate the event like a boss here: http://somervillebeat.com/things-to-do/the-2015-guide-to-somerville-open-studios/

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Somerville Democrats to Elect Delegates on Monday May 4th


David Sloane writes, "As you've probably already heard, we're electing our delegates for the 2015 Democratic State Convention on Monday night at the High School. All Democrats, registered in Somerville before January 31, 2015, are eligible to vote and to run for a delegate seat, for the state convention in in Springfield, in September."

May 04, 2015 at 6:30pm - 8pm

Cafeteria at Somerville High School
81 Highland Ave
Somerville, MA 02143
United States


RSVP Online: http://www.somdems.org/2015_democratic_caucuses

Monday, April 27, 2015

Come Review Latest Community Path Design Plans!



Members of the public will be presented with the latest design plans for the Community Path by the Green Line Extension Project Team on May 4th from 6-8pm in the Holiday Inn located at 30 Washington Street. Everyone interested in this exciting project are highly encouraged to attend this presentation.

For more information on the Community Path extension, please see the MassDOT page or Ward 5 Online page dedicated to this topic. 

Friday, April 17, 2015

Spring Clean Up Set for April 25th!



SOMERVILLE – Looking for an opportunity to break out of the winter blues and get back into the community? Join the City of Somerville, Groundwork Somerville, and Comcast Cares for the annual Spring Cleanup and Community Barbecue on Sat., April 25 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. A rain date has been set for Sun., April 26.

Residents are invited to join Ward Captains and City officials in each of the City’s seven wards to help prepare the city for the spring and summer by planting flowers, weeding open spaces, and otherwise cleaning our community following the long winter months.  Refreshments, t-shirts, and hats will be provided to all participants from 10 a.m. to noon at all cleanup locations and all participants are invited to a community barbecue and SomerGreen Festival, immediately following the cleanup from noon to 2 p.m. at the Blessing of the Bay Boathouse on Shore Drive.

Volunteers should meet a Ward Captain at 10 a.m. at the following locations:
             WARD 1:  Cross St. Center, 165 Broadway            
                               Zero New Washington St. (OLRA) 
      
             WARD 2:  Union Sq. Parking Lot @ SCAT Building
                               Albert F. Argenziano School @ Lincoln Park, 290 Washington St.
                               South St. Farm, 100 South St.

             WARD 3:  Somerville High School Concourse, 81 Highland Ave.
                               Nunziato Field, Vinal Ave. (OLRA)

             WARD 4:  Blessing of the Bay Boat House, Shore Dr.
                               
             WARD 5:  Community Path @ Cedar St.
                               Albion St. Playground

             WARD 6:  Davis Sq., Statue Park
           
   WARD 7:  Dilboy Field, pool parking lot

Special thanks to our event co-sponsors:  Comcast Cares, Groundwork Somerville, Market Basket, McKinnon’s Meat Market, Redbones BBQ, Shaw’s Supermarket, Stop & Shop, and Target.

For more information about participating in the Clean-Up, please contact Gregory Jenkins at 617-625-6600 ext. 2985 or gjenkins@somervillema.gov.

Individuals with disabilities who need auxiliary aids and services for effective communication, written materials in alternative formats, or reasonable modifications in policies and procedures, in order to access the programs and activities of the City of Somerville or to attend meetings, should contact the City’s ADA Coordinator, Betsy Allen, at 617-625-6600 x2323 or BAllen@somervillema.gov.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Mobile App, ParkWise, Now Supports Somerville!

An app that offers real-time information on open parking spots in Boston has expanded to Somerville and Cambridge as of April 1st. Boston’s own Streetinfo Tech developed the app that offers street sweeping alerts along with locations of available or soon-to-be-available parking spots.

For those of you playing at home, you may recall the recent ban in Boston on apps that allow drivers to sell or “hold” parking spots. The (FREE) ParkWise app only notes spots needed or occupied by users with further technology that alerts them to street sweeping. It does not allow selling, saving or renting-keeping it within city regulations and off the radar of the City Council.

This record-breaking winter brought the subject of parking to the forefront as snow clogged streets provided the absolute bare minimum of parking for residents and visitors. More often than not, anything that was empty featured a spot-saver of some sort ranging from orange cones to vacuum cleaners. Of course, the clusterf#%! that was the MBTA, as well as, hiked Uber prices certainly didn’t help either.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh kicked off the street sweeping season with an announcement that Boston would not tow cars in the way of the springtime machines through a pilot program that would have violators seeing their cars, but with $90 tickets.

Somerville has made both positive and negative changes to its parking policies in the past few years, but they did beat Boston to the punch as they were the first to launch a pay-by-app parking system. ParkMobile launched this past fall allowing users to pay simply by inputting a zone and space number along with credit card information. A .50¢ charge is also applied. Hints at demand-based parking and 10pm meter feeding times have been made by Mayor Joe Curtatone, but nothing has been formally announced as of yet. 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

The Word Around The Ward

Tasty MoMo's is receiving rave reviews on social media after opening this week at 503B Medford Street in Magoun Square. Belia Coakley, great friend of the owners, even snapped a few photos for her Facebook page while Maura Vogel gave them a huge thumbs-up during our recent conversation. 

A drunk driver did a number on some light poles and the glass window of the East Cambridge Savings Bank ATM in Magoun Square on Sunday morning. Thankfully, a Somerville Firefighter was conveniently in the CVS and was first on the scene. Although many were shaken up, no one was hurt. 

A big Happy Birthday-all the way to Vermont-to former Ward 5er, Paul Acciavatti! I hope you have a great one!

Charles Chisholm is confirmed to be running for Ward 6 Alderman by the Somerville Times this week. I found this tidbit on the interwebs that gave a pretty good synopsis of Charles. Hey Charles, if you're reading this, I'd love to chat with you!

Ball Square will be bustling with increased construction activity as MassDOT informed us of bridge work commencing tomorrow and Saturday. As previously reported, a crane will be moved from Franey Road to the bridge and back again as part of the ongoing work that's being conducted there. A detour map has been published to help us navigate the area.

I'm not the only Ward 5er that likes to write to local media sources. Be sure to check out Brad Bortner's piece on positive changes in our society, as well as, Brendan McDonagh's thoughts on the zoning overhaul.

The new Massachusetts headlights law went into effect on April 7th. This requires your headlights to be on when driving conditions require the use of your windshield wipers.
  1. Guilty.
  2. Guilty.
  3. Guilty.
  4. Guilty.
  5. Guilty.
  6. Guilty.
  7. Guilty.
  8. Guilty.
  9. Guilty.
  10. Guilty.
  11. Guilty.
  12. Guilty.
  13. Guilty.
  14. Guilty.
  15. Guilty.
  16. Guilty.
  17. Guilty.
  18. Guilty.
  19. Guilty.
  20. Guilty.
  21. Guilty.
  22. Guilty.
  23. Guilty.
  24. Guilty.
  25. Guilty.
  26. Guilty.
  27. Guilty.
  28. Guilty.
  29. Guilty.
  30. Guilty.
Carry on.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Alderman at Large Jack Connolly Seeks Information on Murder of Deanna Cremin



In keeping with an annual tradition, Alderman at Large Jack Connolly has submitted legislation requesting information on the murder of Deanna Cremin to be discussed within his Public Health and Public Safety Committee according to the published agenda for Thursday's full board meeting.

17 year-old Deanna Cremin was murdered 20 years ago this month and, with her case still unresolved, friends and family have been doing all they can to keep her name in the spotlight in the hopes that the $70,000 reward will prompt someone to lead investigators in capturing her killer and giving her the justice she deserves. 

On March 26th, Deanna's Birthday, Kathy Cremin addressed the Board of Aldermen delivering the sad news that no new information has been brought to the public's attention regarding her daughter's murder. In the days following, many media outlets covered the unsolved crime in online postings. 

Boston Globe                  Boston.Com

The Board of Aldermen will be meeting at 7pm on Thursday April 9th in the Aldermanic Chambers of City Hall. Meeting information on Jack's Public Health and Public Safety Committee will be posted as it becomes available. 

Board of Aldermen to Meet on Thursday



The Board of Aldermen will be meeting on Thursday at 7pm in the Aldermanic Chambers of City to discuss the items on this agenda.

Members of the public are more than welcome to attend, watch it streamed online, or televised on channels 13 for RCN customers and 22 for Comcast customers. The meeting is also rebroadcast on these channels at various times throughout the week.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Broadway Bridge Work Information...



On April 10 (Friday between 7 AM & 11 PM) and April 11th (Saturday between 7 AM & 7 PM) the GLX contractor, White Skanska Kiewit (WSK) will offload and install the temporary utility bridge structure at the Broadway Bridge. On Friday April 10th, 2015 between the hours of 4:00 AM - 7:00 AM Bay Crane will pre-assemble a crane on Franey Road, then travel the crane up Charles E. Ryan Road and along Broadway into the work zone. On Saturday April 11th 2015, between the hours of 10:00 AM - 3:30 PM Bay Crane will move the crane back down Broadway to Ryan and onto Franey Road to complete dis-assembly. During these times parking will be restricted in the posted areas to facilitate the movement of these vehicles.

Starting on Friday April 10th at 6:00 AM to 7:00 PM on Saturday April 11th, the contractor will close Broadway Bridge to conduct the construction. Please see the detour plan on the GLX website for how to navigate around the closure: http://greenlineextension.eot.state.ma.us/detour_broadwayBridgeApril.html.

Signage providing direction and detail police providing assistance will be available to assist vehicular, bike, and pedestrian traffic.

This work is in conjunction with the Broadway Bridge work and lane closure which began in January 2015.

Thank you in advance for your cooperation. This work is an important step in bringing the Green Line from Cambridge to Medford and Somerville. Should you have any questions please feel free to contact the Green Line Extension at 855-GLX-INFO (459-4636) or info@glxinfo.com.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

The Word Around The Ward


Tasty MoMo is set to open on April 5th according to an article published by Eater Boston. Earlier this year, it was also reported that the new Magoun Square eatery would offer delivery services per a license they applied for. Anyone that tries it, please send over your thoughts on their offerings.

The zoning overhaul may not be passed within the 90 day (tick, tock) timeframe they’re looking at as many Aldermen are worried about campaigning in the midst of attending meetings and reading through the 200+ pages of the document. Alderman At Large Dennis Sullivan will be setting a date for a Public Hearing and fellow Alderman At Large Jack Connolly wants to have a presentation televised and streamed online. The word around the ward is that most of the recommendations can be easily applied while others will need to be vetted out.

I had a nice chat with candidate for Ward 3 School Committee, Lee Palmer, last week. Lee has some great ideas she’d like to bring to the seat being vacated by Adam Sweeting. If any other candidates would like to talk, please feel free to get in touch!

May 11th is the day to watch as nomination papers will be available for anyone willing to jump into the Somerville political octagon this year. Aldermen pushed the availability back a week to give incumbents time to begin campaigning before budget season commences in early June. As a tradition, a couple of meetings are cancelled over the summer, so expect some serious door-knocking to happen during this time.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Rain Barrels Available for Purchase through the City by April 4th!

Through a partnership with the Great American Rain Barrel Company in Hyde Park, MA, the City of Somerville is offering rain barrels to Somerville residents at a discount to help conserve water and save money.

Barrels can be purchased through by visiting www.greatamericanrainbarrel.com/c-124-somerville.aspx. Somerville residents may purchase the barrels at a discounted cost of $79 (compared to $119 regular retail price). Barrels are available in Forest Green, Earth Brown, or Nantucket Gray.

Rain barrels reduce runoff that can harm existing water sources and contribute to overflow in the city’s water system. Additionally, rain barrels can help offset water usage in New England by saving up to 1,700 gallons of water during summer months.

Barrels will be available for pick up on Saturday, April 11 from 9 to 11 a.m. at the DPW Yard, 1 Franey Road. All orders must be made by April 4 at 5 p.m.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Final Somerville Winter Farmers Market to be Held Tomorrow at Armory!





The final Somerville Winter Farmers Market will be held tomorrow from 9:30am until 2:00pm in the Armory (191 Highland Avenue).

Five years running, the Winter Market filled the space left open after the outdoor markets in Union and Davis closed up shop for the season. The Union Square Market is set to open on Saturday May 16th and runs from 9:00am to 1:00pm timeframe. Check here for a list of this year's vendors. No word yet on when the Davis Square Market will open.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Mayor’s Fitness Challenge kicks off on Saturday March 28th!



SOMERVILLE – Looking for a way to jump-start your spring and summer training? We’ve got the perfect opportunity! The 6th annual Somerville Mayor’s Fitness Challenge kicks off on Sat., March 28 with a family-friendly event featuring fun physical activities, healthy food tasting, health and wellness information, and free Fitness Goody Bags for participants. The four-week challenge runs through April 25 and offers both a Team Fitness Challenge as well as a non-competitive “Lifestyle Pledge,” with rewards for participants ranging from better health to discounts at local businesses.

Highlights this year include an invitation from Mayor Joe Curtatone for community members to join him for two free fitness events:

· Skate with Joe! Join the Mayor at the Veterans Memorial Ice Rink on Thurs., April 2 at 7:30 p.m. for an hour of free and fun skating.
· Jump with Joe! Join the Mayor at Sky Zone in Everett (69 Norman St.) from 7 to 8 p.m. for some unique fitness at this indoor trampoline park owned by a Somerville resident. (All ages and fitness levels are accommodated.)

Individuals who join the team challenge will earn points for weight loss and changes in Body Mass Index (BMI), while those who take the Lifestyle Pledge will earn Wellcoin points by participating in events and programs and logging healthy eating choices throughout the challenge. Wellcoin is free and offers incentives through local businesses and restaurants in its Reward Center (for more information and to sign up, visit www.wellcoin.com).

Throughout the program, teams and individuals will earn discounts to local restaurants and businesses. All participants will receive extra points for attending validated events and programs, including fitness activities, City-sponsored events, and much more!

Various fitness programs will be held throughout, and special events will be held as follows:

· Fitness Challenge Kickoff: Sat., March 28, 10 a.m. - 1 p.m., SHS Field House, 81 Highland Ave.
· Skate with Mayor Joe: Thurs., April 2, 7:30 p.m., Veterans Memorial Ice Rink, 570 Somerville Ave.
· Historic Walking Tour: Sat., April 11, 10:30 a.m., Walking Tour with historian Robert Doherty, meet at 7 hills Park
· Jump with Joe!: Wed., April 15, 7 p.m. - 8 p.m., Sky Zone jump, 69 Norman St. Everett
· Shape Up Somerville/Recreation Road Race: Sun., Apr. 19, 10:30 a.m., Somerville High School Concourse, 81 Highland Ave. (Pre-registration required. See www.somervillerec.com)
· YMCA Healthy Kids Day: Sat., April 25, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m., YMCA, 101 Highland Ave.
· Awards Ceremony: Sat., April 25, 12 p.m. – 2 p.m. Mystic River Boathouse

Get the scoop on how the Challenge works and updates on events and opportunities throughout the challenge at our new Mayor’s Fitness Challenge website, which will be live by kickoff day: www.somervillema.gov/fitnesschallenge.

More information about the program can be found at www.somervillema.gov

The Word Around The Ward


I would like to encourage anyone who has any information on Deanna Cremin's murder to please use the information found in the flyer below to get in touch with law enforcement officials. This marks the 20th anniversary of Deanna's death and it's time that we find justice for her!




Just as quickly as potential candidates were being mentioned, they are bowing out of Election Year 2015. I received a text message this weekend from everyone's favorite Somerville resident, John Caruso, informing me that Elio LoRusso will be taking this campaign season off. Re-election will also not be sought by Ward 3 School Committeman Adam Sweeting, Ward 4 School Committee-woman Christine Rafal and Ward 6 Alderwoman Rebekah Gewirtz. Do join in on our on-going conversation or leave your suspicions here. 

After delays and confusion, I'm pretty psyched to see that 7ate9 Bakery is coming along nicely and is prepping to open this summer! Sarah's space (199c) is among a section of Highland Avenue storefronts that boasts businesses such as MF Dulock (201a), Workshop Salon (199a) and e. scott jewelers (199). 

This will be the final Winter Farmers Market on Saturday at the Armory! The market has been occupying the space from 9:30am until 2pm, but will be coming to a close as the outdoor market season ramps up in a month or so.

Although a little late, I did want to wish Hayes Morrison, former Transportation guru for the City of Somerville, the best of luck in her new job at MassPort!

Congratulations to former Ward 5ers Nicole and Ryan Dillon on the birth of their first daughter, Elinor! Noodles must be so excited!

Caprese Pizzeria and Grille (Magoun Square) is under new management. Do stop by and check out what they have to offer.

Please feel free to let me know how you feel about Ward 5 Online by completing this survey! You can leave your name and information or complete it anonymously. 

Tomorrow is the "download" day for comments on the Zoning Overhaul website. OSPCD would like to gather all ideas and comments to disburse to the members of the Board of Aldermen for processing and discussion. Should you have ideas, be sure to send them along to the Board.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Board of Aldermen to Meet Tomorrow





The Board of Aldermen will be meeting tomorrow to discuss the posted agenda.

The meeting begins at 7pm in the Aldermanic Chambers of City Hall and is streamed through the meeting portal, broadcast live on channels 13 (RCN) and 22 (Comcast) and rebroadcast through the week.


Legislative Matters Committee Continues Discussion on Snow Ordinance, Reviews Local Election Calendar



The Legislative Matters Committee will be continuing discussions on the Snow Ordinance updated by the Curtatone Administration and approved by the Board in 2014. After receiving complaints from residents and business owners, members of the Board of Aldermen asked that the ordinance be brought back to committee for further review and discussion.

As it stands right now, Aldermen would like to scrap the 10am – 10pm snow clearing timeframe and return back to the previous allowance of the 6 hours between sunrise and sunset. Alderwoman at Large Mary Jo Rossetti is the lone vote against this as she noted many complaints about this timeframe, as well.

The Committee will also be taking up the local election calendar for 2015. The calendar places the disbursement of nomination papers on Monday May 11th, the preliminary on Tuesday September 22nd, Election Day on Tuesday November 3rd, and the Inauguration on Monday January 4th.

The meeting is scheduled for Thursday March 26th at 6:30pm in the second floor committee room of City Hall. This is a meeting of the whole which allows all members of the Board to attend and vote. Should a full Board quorum not be met, it will revert back to a regular committee meeting.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Wig and 'Stache Bash at Cuisine en Locale


Save the date! Beg, borrow or steal a wig or grow a 'stache! Get someone to look after your kids and come to our Wig and 'Stache Bash at Cuisine en Locale

Help support the Healey School in Somerville raise money for our off-site learning programs. Ball Square Fine Wines will hold a wine tasting from 6-7pm. Wine will be available to purchase by the bottle. Cash bar all night; beer, wine and cocktails. Food from local businesses such as Redbones, Petsi Pies, Capones will be served. Please leave your kids at home. This is a 21+ only event.

Buy tickets here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/wig-and-stache-bash-tickets-15952745090

Three Somerville Streets to See Reduced Speed Limit Following MassDOT Approval



Following a 2014 community meeting between City Officials and residents discussing Lowell Street safety concerns, a simple signature from the Traffic Commission last week delivered on a promise made (at that meeting) for the urban connector between Somerville Avenue and Medford Street.

As part of an overall plan, the City petitioned MassDOT to lower the speed limit to 25mph matching that of the bridge. On Thursday night, agenda item number 5 asked the Traffic Commission to place its signature on the speed limit change which was approved. Signage will be installed by April 1st with the speed limit change enforceable by April 15th. Speed reductions were also applied to Porter and Munroe Street. 


Lowell Street has been the topic of much discussion for several years, heating up in 2013 after two accidents on/near the bridge and in anticipation for the opening of the Community Path Extension. The original timeline had the Path already open by now, but weather has delayed the project.


In order to receive the reduction approval, Police surveyed the street using radar guns to record 100 readings of cars during non-peak hours. Somerville had no say in where the readings would take place, however, according to Traffic Engineer Terry Smith, the City did recommend four key locations to MassDOT.

This approval is the final step needed to get two crosswalks installed on either side of the Lowell Street-something residents wanted to see happen sooner rather than later. No timeline has been set as to when the City will stripe the crosswalks.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Building trades and community groups join together to urge Somerville developer to build union and hire local



What: The Carpenters Union, Boston Building Trades, and Good Jobs Somerville will alert merchants and consumers in Assembly Square about pending developments and the importance of hiring local tradespeople and using skilled union labor. 

Federal Realty Investment Trust (FRIT) is developing a 448 unit apartment building in Assembly Square (Parcel 6), and had initially planned to use non-union contractors, meaning workers would get substandard wages and few, if any, benefits.  

The Somerville Board of Aldermen has passed a resolution encouraging FRIT to hire a union workforce, and the Somerville community is committed to ensuring that the jobs created are good, local jobs. 

Who: The New England Regional Council of Carpenters (NERCC), Boston Metropolitan District Building Trades Council, Good Jobs Somerville.

When: Monday, March 23 and Tuesday, March 24 from 4-6pm

Where: Assembly Square, site of future 448 unit apartment complex.  Supporters will meet in the Kmart parking lot, then disperse to hand leaflets to merchants and the public. 
For a copy of the informational leaflet that will be distributed in Assembly Sq., email rand.wilson@gmail.com.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Governor Funds Program to Assist with Winter-Related Repairs



​Governor Charlie Baker and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito announced that $30 million dollars has allocated to be dispersed through a Winter Recovery Assistance Program (WRAP) to assist cities and towns as they begin the repairing process after this harsh winter.

MassDOT writes, “Under the WRAP, cities and towns can seek reimbursement from MassDOT on expenditures related to patching potholes, pavement cracking, surface defects, paving projects; repair or replacement of damaged signs, guardrail, storm drains, and line striping.”

Should local administrations want to take advantage of the Chapter 90-determined funds, invoices must be submitted by July 31st with all work having to be completed a month earlier. Invoices will be paid as they are submitted. The truncated timeline was established to expedite the work according to MassDOT.

The City of Somerville could get $169,736 (according to the allocation spreadsheet) towards the daunting effort of getting our streets fixed and ready for spring. Mother Nature, however, would have to be extra kind to us if we want to do some of the work specified as it is dependent upon warm temperatures.

In walking around Ward 5, DPW has already started with pothole and sign fixes, but it will take a while before we’re living, working and playing on smooth streets again.​

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Goodbye, Alderman Taylor.



I walked into the Aldermanic Chambers that afternoon excited to hear testimony on the Wage Theft Ordinance and relieved to take the night off from campaigning. While listening to Rand Wilson deliver his thoughts on the topic, I had the following exchange with then Ward 3 Alderman Tom Taylor.

"Courtney, whenever members of the public provide a handout, you need to read it very thoroughly. It's important that you read it because people take the time to gather all this data and come up here and talk to us about it. You know...you've come to plenty of meetings. Take the time to read it and ask questions."

"Thanks, Tom, I'll do that. I really appreciate the advice, thank you!"

"You're welcome. Now, go to the Mayor's Office and grab me a Diet Coke."

That was Tom. Words cannot express how heartbroken I am to hear of his passing. He was a gentleman and an inspiration to anyone who desires to enter Somerville politics, is there now or has been there in the past. It was an honor to serve with him on the Board of Aldermen and I am a better woman after sitting next to him for the short amount of time at the horseshoe I was blessed to. My most heartfelt condolences to his family, friends and all of Ward 3. Rest in peace, Alderman Emeritus Taylor.  

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Parking Ban Lifted! Message from Mayor Curtatone...



As of 8 a.m. Wednesday, cars may park on both sides of the street unless otherwise posted. HOWEVER, to ensure emergency access, drivers must leave 12-feet of clearance between their car and the car parked opposite them or they may be ticketed and towed. Despite DPW’s massive snow removal effort to clear the even sides of nearly all of our streets, some streets remain narrow, especially for emergency vehicles to pass, and we will enforce the 12-foot regulation to ensure public safety. Crews will also be back for targeted snow removal on some streets, which will be posted in advance.
All cars must also be cleared of snow by 8 a.m. Friday or may be ticketed and towed. Additionally, all meters will go back into effect at 10 a.m. Wednesday, and residents parked in municipal parking lots will have until 10 a.m. to move their cars from the lots.
We may be ending the parking ban, but the broader cleanup from these historic storms is just getting underway. Crews are already out patching potholes and will be intensifying their efforts. Damages to signs, curbs, trash cans, meters and more will require repairs, and we will continue to clear catch basins. Finally, turf experts will be assessing when we can safely use our sports fields.

Magoun Square Business News




The much anticipated Float has announced their opening via an email to fans. They wrote, “After over a year and a half of planning, an exciting crowdfunding campaign, and a whole lot of blue paint, I am excited to announce that Float took its first customers last Thursday! And so far things are going well. There are a few hitches to work out, and we're hard at work fixing them. We're committed to giving you the very best flotation experience out there.” Located at 515 Medford Street, the company far surpassed their target financial goal, ending with a pre-sale total of $47,750! Check them out at: http://www.floatboston.com/






514 Medford Street will be home to Magoun’s third hair salon. The new neighbor to Pennypackers had the windows open on Wednesday night revealing a pretty streamlined setup. Salon S already has signage up and hours posted.






As two new businesses are opening, two have shutdown. Magoun said goodbye to the Exotic Bird store last month and the tailor/dry cleaner has vacated their space, as well.


Monday, March 9, 2015

DPW, P.T. Kelley Come to Richardson Street’s Rescue Following Water Main Break


With snow piles slowly, but surely melting in the sun, Richardson Street was beginning to look normal again until an early-morning water main break made the Lowell to Hinckley Street connector look more like a river than a residential road.

With water coming up from sewers, DPW and P.T. Kelley were quick on the scene and immediately shut water off to area residents until 5pm on Thursday March 5th. Cutting a giant hole and removing broken pipe pieces, the crews put in over 9 hours before having to cease work for the day as the sun started to set.

In an effort to prevent water from freezing on side-streets, DPW employee Kevin McDevitt dropped the City’s popular snow eating brine mixture allowing for safe travel. You’re the best, Kevin!

Somerville’s ancient underground infrastructure has long been an issue, causing flooding in residents’ basements. It has proved itself a priority in the ongoing conversations surrounding Union Square’s Urban Renewal Plan. Who can forget that July day when the entire square was under water after a sudden rainfall dropped 4.3” of water in Somerville in one hour.

Cedar Street will be undergoing massive construction soon as it’s 100 year-old water main pipes are upgraded. Conversations on this flood mitigation project began in 2013. Information is available on the City’s website.

Big thanks to everyone involved in Thursday’s effort!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Decision Made...




Dear Friends and Supporters,

I hope this message finds you doing well and looking forward to the spring season. I know I am!

I wanted to take a moment and address recent published reports regarding my aspirations in 2015. After much thought, conversations with family and a weekend in Maine to think, I have decided not to pursue political office in the City of Somerville this election year. Between family obligations and a very fulfilling professional opportunity I have had since last fall, my time is being taken up by the things I love and the goals I would like to achieve.

In the coming months, I look forward to continued change on Somerville’s political scene and learning more about candidates running for various seats on the School Committee, Board of Aldermen and/or Mayor.

I will be spending this campaign season publishing my thoughts and meeting recaps on my blog: Ward 5 Online, supporting local businesses as a member of Somerville Local First’s Board of Directors and reaching out to the community in my professional capacity for the Community Credit Union. Fitting in time with my beautiful nieces, Shannon and Shayne, will be rounding out this busy life of mine. I cherish my role as an Aunty!

I am certainly keeping my options open and have not ruled out a future run for office including a campaign for Mayor. Somerville has been my home all 34 years of my life and I am excited about giving back to the community that has given me so much.

I would like to thank everyone for their continued support of me as a person and as a candidate and would like to wish all entering the 2015 campaign season the best of luck!

Sláinte Mhaith,
Courtney O'Keefe

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Snow Information for Tonight



Hello, this is Jackie Rossetti from the City of Somerville with important parking information for the expected snowfall from Sunday, March 1, into Monday. Please listen carefully as the instructions for this storm are not standard snow emergency procedures. 

Unless the parking ban has already been lifted on your street, the extended parking ban will remain in effect during this storm. On streets still currently under the ban, all cars must park on the odd-side of the street unless otherwise posted.  On streets where the parking ban has already been lifted, they will remain open for two-sided parking. However, plows working this storm need 12 feet of clearance between parked cars to travel down a street. Therefore, all cars parked on the even side of the street must leave 12-feet between their vehicle and the car opposite them on the odd side. If there is not 12 feet of clearance, in most cases the car on the even side will be towed (unless otherwise posted). 

Police will make every effort to contact vehicle owners before towing, but all necessary towing will be ordered. If you are unsure if you have left 12 feet of clearance, please park elsewhere. Residents may also park in any metered spot not under the ban or any municipal parking lot including business district lots and at Dilboy Stadium. School lots are open overnight Sunday, but all vehicles must be out by 7 a.m. Monday and may return during the week only for overnight parking from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m.

A list of available parking lots for this storm, and additional snow emergency information is available at www.somervillema.gov/snow. If you have any additional questions, please call 311 (617-666-3311 from outside the city).

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Word Around the Ward


Our conversation surrounding the Who? What? Why? for Election 2015 has been the top post on the website for two weeks now. Be sure to add your thoughts as to what's going to happen this year!

The Exotic Bird Store in Magoun Square has closed after a good run for few years in the Square. No word, yet, on what it will be replaced with.

Speaking of Magoun Square, another hair salon will be occupying the space at 514 Medford Street next to Pennypacker's - shutting down rumors of an expansion by the popular eatery.

A donation truck made a hefty grab as items from the Book Shop in Ball Square were hauled off to a new home this past week. The Book Shop announced its closing via their Facebook page in January. It will officially close doors at the end of this month.

The public is invited to share their thoughts on the adjusted snow regulations during a public hearing scheduled for February 25th at 7pm in City Hall.

The Ward 5 meeting on the proposed zoning code overhaul will take place on Monday March 16th in the Community Room of the VNA (259 Lowell Street) at 6:30pm. Please stop by and continue submitting your ideas/changes at: www.SomervilleMA.Gov/Zoning.



Monday, February 16, 2015

Public Hearing on Snow Policies Rescheduled to February 25th, 7pm.



A public hearing has been rescheduled to Wednesday February 25th at 7pm in the Aldermanic Chambers of City Hall. This hearing will give residents and business owners an opportunity to voice their concerns over previously approved snow removal regulations from December of 2014.

Snow policies were updated by the Curtatone administration and now have residents seeing higher fines and less time to clear City sidewalks after a storm. The policy states, “If snow ceases to fall after sunrise (during daylight hours), property owners must shovel sidewalks by 10 p.m. If snow ceases to fall after sunset (overnight), property owners must shovel sidewalks by 10 a.m.” Fines for failing to comply start off at $50 for a first offense and can result in a lien on property if the City has to use its own resources to clear the snow. 

Brightly colored decals will be left on the door of those who are being cited…this is also known as being “Scarlett Lettered.” In a press release, the City stated that it would work with those members of the community who are physically unable to shovel by pairing those residents with Somerville youth through a collaboration with the Office of Commissions, the Health Department and the Council on Aging. Residents would be responsible for paying for the snow to be removed. 


The previous public hearing, ironically, was cancelled due to winter weather conditions.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Public Hearing on Proposed Zoning Code Cancelled




The public hearing on the proposed zoning code has been cancelled with Mother Nature to blame. 

Originally set for tonight, the meeting in front of the Land Use Committee has been rescheduled to Thursday March 5th at 6:00 pm in the Aldermanic Chambers of City Hall.

Please see www.SomervilleMA.Gov/Zoning for details and to suggest changes.


Saturday, February 7, 2015

Snow emergency declared for Sunday at 10:00 AM


SOMERVILLE – In accordance with the City’s Snow Emergency Procedures, Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone has declared a snow emergency for the City of Somerville to go into effect at 10 a.m. on Sun., Feb. 8.  During snow emergencies, parking is allowed on the odd-numbered side of the street only (unless otherwise posted).  Cars not moved by 2 p.m. Sun. will be subject to ticketing and towing. Residents unable to find a parking space on the odd-numbered side of the street may park in any municipal or school parking lot for the duration of the emergency, and may park in lots immediately on Sunday as regular parking enforcement is not in place on Sundays. Full snow emergency and snow removal policies may be found on the City’s website at www.somervillema.gov/snow. A video statement from Mayor Curtatone on the historic snowfall and the City’s ongoing response will be available at www.somervillema.gov/snow

Call for Driveway Sharing
Due to the extraordinary snowfall resulting in decreased parking availability, we strongly urge anyone with a driveway to use it and also consider sharing extra spots with friends and neighbors to help keep cars off of the streets for more effective cleaning. 

Additional Parking
For this storm, a portion of the Dilboy Stadium Parking Lot will be available for residents. Additionally, Assembly Row has made 200 parking spots available in its free AMC parking garage for Somerville residents during the storm. To utilize Assembly Row spaces, residents must reserve an Assembly Row-issued parking pass HEREPasses must be visible on your dashboard. The first 200 residents requesting permits for the garage will be able to access the second and third floors for parking for the duration of the City’s parking ban. For more information, call 617-440-5565. Residents in the Davis area may also want to consider parking at the Alewife MBTA station (for the daily rate) and then commuting to their car via the Red Line.

Closures
On Mon., Feb. 9, the Somerville Public Libraries, the Veteran’s Memorial Skating Rink, and the Founders Rink on Somerville Ave. will be closed. City Hall will be open with limited staffing.

Snow removal information
Public safety and public works crews have been out in maximum force since the first in a series of storms that have resulted in record-setting snowfall in the regions. Due to the extraordinary snowfall, more than 53 inches or twice what fell in the area during the Blizzard of ’78, conditions nonetheless remain difficult on many side streets. Crews are out today removing snow in advance of the storm and will continue snow clearing and removal as long as necessary. We thank everyone for their patience and cooperation.

Alerts and Further Updates
Due to the large amounts of snow already on the ground, this storm will present unique challenges, and we encourage you to stay informed by checking the City’s website and social media feeds for additional information throughout the storm. Residents are also encouraged to sign up for the City's alert system to receive notification by phone, email and/or text message in the event of emergencies or with important information for your neighborhoodResidents may also sign up for alerts by calling 311 (617-666-3311 from outside the City).  

Snow Emergency Policies:
A snow emergency may be declared whenever four or more inches of snow are predicted. City officials closely monitor storm forecasts through various means, and will use all available information to make an informed decision as swiftly as possible. Once a snow emergency has been declared, residents will be notified via multiple lines of communication, including: