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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Snow Emergency to be Lifted Tomorrow

The snow emergency will remain in effect until noon on Wednesday. At that time, residents will have two hours to move their cars from school and municipal lots. More information will be sent tomorrow morning.

The Governor has lifted the travel ban starting at midnight, but has urged employers to consider conditions when determining staffing for Wednesday.

In the meantime, as crews continue to work to safely clear public roads and walkways, please do your part and DO NOT PARK, EVEN TEMPORARILY, ON THE EVEN SIDE OF THE STREET until noon Wednesday (unless otherwise posted) or you may be ticketed and towed.

Shoveling hours have been extended due to the extreme snowfall. Property owners will have until noon on Thursdayto clear their sidewalks.

As we work together to clean up from this historic storm, please remember to check on neighbors who may be in need of assistance. If you are able, please assist the Fire Department by shoveling out hydrants.

Magoun Square Open House Set for Saturday January 31st!

Several businesses and artists will be participating in a Magoun Square Open House that includes a pop up art market at Imperial Jewelry (499 Medford Street)!

Details and information on offers from participating restaurants can be found in the post above or on the Facebook page launched for the event!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Snow Emergency Declared for Tomorrow at 1pm

The City is declaring a snow emergency effective at 1 p.m. on Monday. During snow emergencies, parking is allowed on the odd-numbered side of the street only (unless otherwise posted). Cars not moved from the even-numbered side of the street by 5 p.m. Monday may be ticketed and towed. 

Residents may also park in any municipal lot after 1 p.m. or in designated school parking lots after 3 p.m. Again, please note that SCHOOL LOTS WILL NOT BE OPEN FOR PUBLIC PARKING UNTIL 3 P.M. MONDAY. School will be in session on Monday for a full day.

A map of available parking lots, and additional snow emergency information is available at

Residents are also reminded that some snow removal policies and procedures have changed. Property owners are responsible for removing snow and ice from sidewalks abutting their property. However, in cases of extreme snowfall as predicted for this storm, the City may extend timelines for snow removal. Any changes will be announced in advance.

If you have any additional questions, please call 311 (617-666-3311 from outside the City).

Friday, January 23, 2015

Aldermen Encourage Hiring of Union and Local Labor at Assembly Row

majority of the members of the Somerville Board of Aldermen sent a strong message to FRIT last night as they submitted a resolution encouraging the hiring of Union and local labor for construction at Assembly Row.

Coming in as a supplemental item #10983, the legislation states, “That this Board of Aldermen strongly urges Federal Realty Investment Trust to employ union labor for all aspects of construction at Assembly Square and to give preference to qualified Somerville residents when hiring for all construction work performed at Assembly Square.”

The push for Union and local hiring has long been a conversation in Somerville, resulting in picket lines at such big projects as MaxWell’s Green in Ward 5. The drive in Assembly Row has heated up since FRIT was considering the hiring of General Contractor who is notorious for non-union hiring and substandard work. 

In a post featured on Somerville Patch, local activist Rand Wilson highlighted the difference between the two finalists using an excerpt from a letter to FRIT’s Don Briggs signed by more than 75 Somerville residents. He wrote, “The contrast between Suffolk and Callahan could not be starker. Suffolk plans to build the project with all union labor, using skilled men and women who will provide high quality work while earning a decent wage with health insurance and retirement security benefits. If Callahan performs the work, on the other hand, there will be no union presence. Workers on the project will receive substandard wages and few or no benefits.” The letter was sent to Briggs by Good Jobs Somerville and is in reference to a 448-unit apartment complex being built at Assembly Row. 

Read Wilson’s full article here:

Conversations with Suffolk stopped in mid-December, according to a Boston Globe article (, forcing Somerville labor activists to increase pressure on FRIT. A Facebook page ( has been launched and the Somerville Neighborhood News is planning a full story on the effort in an upcoming broadcast.

FRIT’s hesitation to hire Suffolk is somewhat surprising considering they have worked with the company in the past and it would match Partners Healthcare’s commitment to the community as the non-profit, not only will pay municipal services contributions to Somerville annually, but the contractor of the their project has entered into a Project Labor Agreement with the Building and Construction Trades Council of the Metropolitan District and the New England Regional Council of Carpenters according to a City press release issued on August 26th, 2014. I would think that FRIT would want to continue Partner's dedication to Union and local labor as Somerville is overflowing with exceptional trades people who can make Assembly Row a "for the people, by the people" project.

Construction for Partner’s offices will begin in the fall of 2014 with completion set for 2017. FRIT is hoping that work on the 448-unit apartment complex can commence in the spring and complete in 2016-2017.

Scout Somerville Movin’ on Up...Highland Ave!

New Office for Scout Somerville. Photo courtesy of Scout Somerville

Scout Somerville has some new digs according to a recently issued press release and corresponding email sent by founder, Holli Banks.

After years of being cramped in a small office, the popular magazine will be renting space at the historical Armory (191 Highland Avenue) and will celebrate with an open-house on Wednesday January 28th from 4-7pm.

Along with having new office space, the Scout family has expanded with new additions to the team! Banks wrote, “We’ve added a Communications Director and brought on two new dynamos we call our Managing Editors so that we can bring you the best coverage possible. The future is increasingly bright as Scout looks forward to working with the community by moving beyond print to hosting events.”

Scout Somerville can also be found online, on Twitter and on Facebook.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Word Around the Ward

After speaking with the homeowner, I can confirm that the Piro house is under contract to be sold. After suffering water damage, the house is being completely gutted with crews working there everyday.

Is that certain member of the Board of Aldermen getting cold feet after telling everyone (for a year) they are running for Mayor. This may be the case as they have been pretty quiet for the past couple of months when asked about their plans. For those considering running, fundraising season is approaching as nomination papers are prepped in May for pulling by candidates. Conversations have already begun if you'd like to jump in with your predictions.

Please feel free to fill out the new online survey about Ward 5 Online. I'd like to see if changes I am considering for the website will be supported by readers:

Commencing January 19th and continuing through the end of May 2015, it will be necessary for the GLX Contractor, White Skanska Kiewit (WSK) to close the south bound travel/bike lane and west side sidewalk between Boston Avenue and Cedar Street to vehicular, bike, and pedestrian traffic for the purposes of erecting a temporary utility bridge. Residents will be able to cross Broadway Street over to the east side sidewalk to cross over the bridge and the north bound lane will be re-configured to allow for 2-way vehicular and bike traffic.

There will be an amazing pop-up market will be happening in Magoun Square on January 31st from 1-4pm. More details to be posted...

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Legislative Matters to Meet as a Whole and Discuss New Snow Policies

As promised, the Legislative Matters Committee will be meeting on Monday January 26th at 7:00 p.m. to discuss the new snow policies adopted by the City just this year. The Committee will be meeting as a whole to allow all the members of the Board of Aldermen to attend and comment.

Legislative item numbers 198318 and 198319 – both submitted at the January 8th Board of Aldermen meeting – are the only occupants of the night’s agenda.

Snow policies were updated by the Curtatone administration in December of 2014 that had 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 musshovel 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 new policies have been received with mixed reviews according to Aldermen. While some look at it as a serious safety issue (with at least one, saying the timeline is not strict enough), most residents see it as impossible given work and school responsibilities.

The Legislative Matters Committee is chaired by Alderman At Large Mary Jo Rossetti with Aldermen at Large Bill White and Jack Connolly, Matthew McLaughlin (Ward 1) and Mark Niedergang (Ward 5).

Board of Aldermen Set to Meet on Thursday...Click Bait!

The Board of Aldermen will be meeting on Thursday January 22nd at 7pm in the Aldermanic Chambers of City Hall.

You can visit them in person, watch them streamed online, or watch them broadcast live on channels 13 (RCN) or 22 (Comcast). Reruns of the meeting will be shown throughout the week on the same two channels.

The agenda for the meeting has been posted online per the Open Meeting Law and, of course, all interested citizens are encouraged to attend the meeting.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

It's Survey Time!

I'm jumping on the survey banwagon and have setup one of my own to gather data and determine if ideas I have for Ward 5 Online would be supported by my readers.

You can access the form here:

I will also be creating a page on the website to house the survey.

Please feel free to send this along to friends and neighbors as I would like to get as much data as I possibly can!

Friday, January 16, 2015

SPD Assist in Stopping Sale of Counterfeit Football Tickets


News Release

Contact: Deputy Chief Paul TrantJanuary 16, 2015

New England Patriots AFC Championship Game
Counterfeit Ticket Arrests in Somerville

Four New York Individuals Arrested
Tickets advertised via Craigslist

On Thursday, January 15, 2015, Somerville Police received a call from Billerica Police relating that a Billerica resident had reported that he had bought counterfeit Patriots tickets (for the AFC championship game on 1/17/15) from a person via Craigslist.  This transaction had taken place at the Holiday Inn, Somerville, earlier in the day. He had paid $900 for the four counterfeit tickets.

Somerville Police Detective Sergeant Warren Chaille and Detective Paul Duffy conducted an investigation that led to the arrests of three men and a juvenile from New York, including the seizure of additional counterfeit tickets and thousands of dollars in cash. 

The individuals identified below were charged in Somerville District Court with violating MA General Laws Ch. 266 s.30A Larceny Over $250. and Ch. 274 s.6 Attempt to Commit a Crime. They are currently held on bail at the Billerica House of Correction.

The Somerville Police Department worked in conjunction with the Billerica Police Department, New England Patriots and the National Football League as part of this investigation.  

State of the City Set for January 19th

The Mayor, President of the Board of Aldermen and the Chairperson of the School Committee will be speaking at this Monday’s State of the City set for 6:30pm in the Aldermanic Chambers of City Hall.

Traditionally, this speaking portion was part of the Organizational Meeting of the Board of Aldermen which took place earlier this month, however, the City is doing it a little different with a separate event-no complaint here!

In typical State of the… form, all three will be reflecting on the past year and offering their vision for the year ahead. Mayor Curtatone, historically, has used the State of the City to announce major construction projects residents can expect in the coming year. These announcements have included the East Somerville and Central Broadway streetscape improvements.

The public is invited to attend and light refreshments will be served. See you there?

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Important Green Line Information

The Green Line Extension Project (GLX) wanted to inform you of upcoming project work on the Broadway Street Bridge in Somerville. 
Commencing January 19th and continuing through the end of May 2015, it will be necessary for the GLX Contractor, White Skanska Kiewit (WSK) to close the south bound travel/bike lane and west side sidewalk between Boston Avenue and Cedar Street to vehicular, bike, and pedestrian traffic for the purposes of erecting a temporary utility bridge. 
Residents will be able to cross Broadway Street over to the east side sidewalk to cross over the bridge and the north bound lane will be re-configured to allow for 2-way vehicular and bike traffic.
The section of road and sidewalk will be closed to vehicular, bike, and pedestrian traffic starting on Monday, January 19th at 8:30 AM and will not reopen until the end of May 2015.
Signage providing direction and detail police providing assistance will be available to assist vehicular, bike, and pedestrian traffic.
Thank you in advance for your cooperation. This work is an important step in bringing the Green Line to Somerville. Should you have any questions please feel free to contact the Green Line Extension at 855-GLX-INFO (459-4636) or

The Word Around the Ward

Please note that the date for the public hearing on Somerville's Zoning Code proposal has been changed to Tuesday February 10th. This will be held in the Aldermanic Chambers of City Hall at 6pm.

Speaking of zoning, I highly encourage you to attend the Tuesday January 20th Informational Session at the Armory (191 Highland Avenue) at 6:30pm. The code will be presented and you will have a chance to look at maps and ask questions. Check out the zoning website launched by the City to submit map changes and read the specifics

Big Happy Birthday to Chris Murphy, husband of Dimitra Tsourianis-Murphy, who celebrated this week!

In the coming weeks, Ward 5 Online will feature an online survey to see if changes I would like to make to the website will be accepted by readers. Be on the lookout for a link to a Google Doc that will also be available on the Facebook and Twitter feeds.

Looks like Tasty Mo Mo's at 503B Medford Street/Magoun Square would like to deliver their product as they have asked for a license to do so. I'm certainly looking forward to frequenting the place!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Piro House Suffers Water Damage

If anyone walked past the old Piro Printing this week, you may have noticed that construction has been escalated, but not for reasons that you think.

Although the house has not been sold yet, a pipe burst has forced the owners to gut the house completely. Water caused significant damage and a slippery sidewalk.

Crews were there this week ripping out walls, but no timeline has been set as to when the house will be completed. The business and residence was placed on the market this past August and, recently, published an asking price of over $800K with the Bremis Group hired to sell this piece of Magoun and political history.

Bremis tempts potential buyers by describing the location as a, "...great opportunity to own this 3F plus garage/former print shop. A large property in a fantastic location just outside of up and coming trendy Magoun Sq. Units feature large rooms, wall to wall carpeting, retro kitchens and baths and open and enclosed porches. This is a great opportunity for developers or investors to purchase a property just minutes from the proposed green line extension."

Aldermen Approve Key Curtatone Appointments

A Mayoral request to approve key appointments back to their positions was approved without so much as peep from the Board of Aldermen Thursday night.

The below items were taken up by Confirmation of Appointments Chair, Ward 2 Alderman Maryann Heuston, who requested immediate approval. After no other Alderman expressed concern, the appointments were made official.

36. 198346 : Requesting the confirmation of Ed Bean as Finance Director.
37. 198347 : Requesting the confirmation of Peter Forcellese Jr. as Treasurer/Collector of Taxes.
38. 198348 : Requesting the confirmation of Angela Allen as Purchasing Agent.
39. 198349 : Requesting the confirmation of Frank Wright as City Solicitor.
40. 198350 : Requesting the confirmation of Stanley Koty as Commissioner of Public Works.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Aldermen Seek to Bring Somerville into the Light

At last Thursday's Board of Aldermen meeting, many members expressed dismay over the length of time it takes an outside vendor to fix street lights around the City.

Agenda item number 198315, submitted by Alderman At Large Jack Connolly and Ward 6 Alderman Rebekah Gewirtz along with number 198322 submitted by Ward 5 Alderman Mark Niedergang dealt with light outages in their respective wards.

While speaking on the item, Alderman Connolly pointed out that he was not happy with the slow response of the vendor that fixes broken street lights and would like to see the issue discussed in Committee.

Ward 2 Alderman Maryann Heuston agreed, calling Somerville, "The City of darkness."

Ward 3 Alderman Bob McWatters, who also serves as chair of the Public Utilities Public Works Committee (PUPW), will be hosting a Committee Meeting of the Whole inviting all members of the Board of Aldermen, City department heads, and outside vendors to discuss the issue and review the contract.

The end of the meeting saw two more light repair requests to add to the list created by Connolly and Gewirtz.

The PUPW meeting has not been scheduled yet.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Niedergang Seeks Addition(s) to Junction Park

At last Thursday’s Board of Aldermen meeting, Mark Niedergang introduced legislation that places focus on Ward 5’s Junction Park. In full disclosure, I was expecting the submission as Mark and I toured the park this summer and shared ideas as to what improvements could be made there to bring new life to the space.

Located at the intersection of Centre and Woodbine (or at the end of the parking lot on Central Street), Junction Park is a beautiful open space that both Alderman Niedergang and I would like to see take on a new definition. Some ideas that were tossed around were the addition of a community garden section and/or a dog park with new seating options. What Mark and I can definitely agree on is the need to have these ideas discussed and expanded through community meetings and visioning sessions.

This is not the first time improvements to Junction Park have been discussed. In March of 2014, residents gathered at the West Somerville Neighborhood School to brainstorm ideas about all of Somerville’s open spaces. It was at this meeting, a few neighbors expressed interest in seeing changes to this under-utilized space.

You can read a recap of that meeting on The Somerville Times.

From here, the legislation has been passed on to Ed Glavin, the Executive Director of Somerville’s Office of Strategic Planning and Community Development, for consideration. Do expect a community meeting to be held because, let’s face it, Ward 5ers are brilliant and there’s no better place to get amazing ideas then in the best Ward in the City.

Please feel free to share your ideas, thoughts and visions for Junction Park by leaving a comment below.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Legislative Matters to Discuss New Snow Regulations


The Legislative Matters Committee will be meeting on January 15th at 6pm to take up an eight item agenda that includes, as promised at the January 8th Board of Aldermen meeting, a discussion on the timeframe for snow clearance off of city sidewalks. 

See agenda:

Originally submitted by Alderman at Large Mary Jo Rossetti, the board order quickly drew support from her colleagues who cited numerous communications from constituents concerned with the cut-throat expectations set by the new regulations. 

This was not the only legislation focused on snow removal as fellow Aldermen at Large Bill White and Dennis Sullivan submitted a request for a public hearing to give residents and business owners an opportunity to weigh in on the matter. This public hearing has not been scheduled yet as the Board felt an initial conversation in committee was needed first to allow appropriate department heads to explain the reasoning behind the 10am cut-off and how they plan on assisting the members of our community who are physically unable to shovel.

Alderman Rossetti chairs the Legislative Matters Committee with Aldermen at Large Bill White and Jack Connolly, Matthew McLaughlin (Ward 1) and Mark Niedergang (Ward 5).

MLK Celebration Set for January 19th

Thursday, January 8, 2015

The Word Around the Ward

I would like to wish Ward 5 resident, Belia Coakley, a very happy birthday! Belia works for 311 and celebrated on January 1st. Happy Birthday and many more! Also celebrating is David Futato

BaconPalooza is back at Olde Magoun's Saloon on Wednesdays. You're welcome.

You can add 54-56A Elm Street to the growing list of Ward 5 developments. A community meeting was held on the 6th for a project that includes a ground-level storefront and residences above. This certainly goes along with the mixed-use pattern that is popping up around the city and adds some much needed commercial tax revenue to the books. 

What is definitely not going to change anytime soon is the block of storefronts from Woody's Liquors to On The Hill Tavern in Magoun Square. As I previously reported, they have yet to be sold.

The folks at FLOAT are keeping residents informed about their excellent space at 515 Medford Street and, according to their December 10th email, they have acquired permits and are in the midst of construction!

The start of the new year has started some new talk about what will happen this election year in the City. Conversations were started last fall on Ward 5 Online, but I'm also hearing that a former Alderman-At-Large candidate might be going for the Ward Alderman seat instead. Could 2015 also see two longtime serving members decide not to run for re-election? That's what I'm hearing ;)

Please don't forget that snow policies have changed included timetables and monetary fine amounts. Read it all here to avoid being Scarlett-lettered!

I was saddened to read that the Boston Militia has been discontinued by Ernie Boch Jr. I'd like to thank all past and present players and personnel for bringing some great entertainment to Somerville and congratulate them on their SuperBowl wins! I hope that the players find homes in other sports or maybe, someday, the league 

Daddy Jones Bar will be serving dinner until 11pm on Sunday's and Mondays for all of us late night snackers! Daddy has also brought back the Aunty Courtney spiked Hot Chocolate for the winter. The only other thing that will warm you up quicker is the real Aunty Courtney :)

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Board of Aldermen to Meet on Thursday

The Board of Aldermen will be resuming their regular meeting cycle on Thursday January 8th at 7pm in the Aldermanic Chambers of City Hall.

You can visit them in person, watch them streamed online, or (like I have for the past year) watched them broadcast live on channels 13 (RCN) or 22 (Comcast). Reruns of the meeting will be shown throughout the week on the same two channels.

The agenda for the meeting has been posted online per the Open Meeting Law and, of course, all interested citizens are encouraged to attend the meeting.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Top Three Posts of 2014!

Strictly based on pageviews, here are the top three stories featured on Ward 5 Online that got my readers talking, reading, and +1ing!

#3: Storm Aftermath...
Proving that I don't have to be the origin of popular posts here on Ward 5 Online, my neighbor and friend Anthony Adam's photograph of a water filled corner of Cedar Street and Cedar Avenue garnered 509 pageviews to come in third place.

#2: Sketch of Assault Suspect Released by Somerville Police Department
Not all widely-viewed posts are of good topics as our number 2 headline shows. Whether propelled by fear, curiosity or a desire to see this creep apprehended, the sketch of a suspect accused of sexual assaults brought in 853 pageviews and second place on this list.

#1: This Just In... Roche Bros In Davis Square?
Just the idea of Roche Bros being interested in Davis Square landed 1920 pageviews, 21 comments and four +1's on Google+. The chain would eventually be approved by the ZBA just a few months later.

Thanks to everyone who continues to read the website, supporting local media! Entering my 6th year of online residency is exciting! Please email your suggestions and ideas for stories and features.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Public Meetings for CPA Applicant Presentations Set for This Month

Interested in who is applying for CPA money? There will be two opportunities for you to see who is applying for what and how much. Public meetings on Wednesday January 7th in the Aldermanic Chambers of City Hall and on Monday January 12th in the third floor Community Room of the VNA (259 Lowell Street) have been set to give applicants a venue to present their projects to be considered for funding by CPA money...a total of $2.5 million. The Board of Aldermen, ultimately, gets to decide where the money is awarded.

As I have said before, an aspect of the application process that I found particularly uncomfortable concerns the relationship of CPA Committee members and the Board of Aldermen to the applicant. As it stands right now, the State of Massachusetts Ethics Laws apply to this situation disallowing any member of either party (CPA Commission or Board of Aldermen) from financially benefiting from the requested project. It is difficult for me to ignore that in, although a round-about way, there could be some financial benefit if certain Somerville organizations are approved for their projects. I did request that the Committee please take historical/current affiliation, as well as, political contributions made by applicants into consideration before approving. I plan on pursuing these concerns further as I would like to see a level-playing field for the issuance of CPA funds.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Green Line Announcement to be Made on Monday

On Monday, Governor Patrick and US Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx are joining with Senator Warren, Senator Markey, Congressman Capuano, and Congresswoman Clarke for an important announcement about the Green Line Extension (GLX) project.

MassDOT and the MBTA  would like to invite you to join us on Monday, January 5, 2015 at 3:00 p.m. at the Somerville High School auditorium (81 Highland Avenue) to hear more about this next exciting development for GLX.

Community Meeting Set for Lucky Mart Redevelopment

A community meeting has been scheduled for January 6th at 6:30pm to discuss a redevelopment of 54-56A Elm Street. The meeting will take place on-site.

Currently the Luck Mart, the proposal includes a ground-level retail space with residential units above. The meeting is being sponsored by Ward 5 Alderman Mark Niedergang and will include the developer, his attorney and architect.

All concerned citizens are encouraged to attend the meeting.

Monday, December 22, 2014

7Ate9 Bakery Comes to Ward 5!

With construction permits in hand, work will now begin at 199C Highland Avenue - the new home of 7Ate9 Bakery!

Sarah Chester, owner, has been a fan favorite at local farmers markets for years and will now be calling Somerville her home after sharing a space in Winchester on Church Street.

Truth be told, I tried to get Sarah in Magoun Square, but she couldn't find a space suitable for her needs. The former Kick Ass Cupcakes space on Highland is the perfect fit and, lets be honest, I'm just glad that there's homemade cheesecake within walking distance of my house.

Although she doesn't have enough room for seating, Sarah will be a welcome addition in this little business section that also houses MF Dulock.

For more information on the company, check out their website:

Tuesday, December 2, 2014


(DECEMBER 2 - SOMERVILLE) The Somerville Backpack Program is raising awareness among Somerville residents this week about the work the new organization is doing to tackle weekend hunger faced by SPS students and is encouraging families to help this holiday season. 

Somerville Backpack Program volunteers deliver bags of nutritious food containing breakfast, lunch, snack and fresh fruit to students at the East Somerville Community School and the Next Wave and Full Circle Schools every Friday. The program supplements the free school meals students and their families rely on during the school week, but don't have access to during the weekend. 

On Giving Tuesday Backpack program volunteers and community partners encouraged Somerville residents to donate through it’s website,, to provide Somerville students with the nutrition they need to succeed.

“We kept hearing that some students were returning to school on Monday more tired and distracted than when they left on Friday because of a lack of access to food on the weekend,” said Ross Richmond, who founded the program last spring. “Students who rely on Somerville’s breakfast and lunch programs during the week are still required to be students on the weekend. The Backpack Program provides nutritional support outside of school so that these student can succeed throughout the entire week.”

The Somerville Backpack Program is modeled after national backpack food programs and began as a pilot program last spring at Next Wave and Full Circle Schools with seed funding from Shape Up Somerville and the Cambridge Health Alliance. This school year the program has continued at Next Wave and Full Circle and expanded to provide food to students at the East Somerville Community School. The program is based out of the Beautiful Stuff Project and Connexion Church in East Somerville.

A bag of food for one student is less than $4 a week, or $150 to sponsor a student for the entire school year. And a $30 contribution provides a month's worth of food for the weekend for a family with 2 students.

For more information residents can contact Ross Richmond at 617.863.0177 or visit

Friday, November 28, 2014

Winter Farmers Market Returns on December 6th, Runs Until March

The Winter Farmers Market will be returning to the Armory on Saturday December 6th (9:30am - 2:00pm) and will run until March. For more information on the market, check out their awesome website (kinda jealous):

The following vendors have been confirmed for this season...

Heron Pond Farm
Apex Orchards
Wintermoon Roots
Freedom Food Farm
Red Fire Farm
Misty Brook Farm
R.I. Mushroom Co.

Lilac Hedge Farm
Stillman's at the Turkey Farm
Jordan Brother's Seafood
Misty Brook

Baked Goods:
Birch Tree Bread Company
Union Square Donuts
Great Cape Bakery
Dan's Brick Oven Bread

Farm Wineries:
Carr's Cider House
Turtley Creek Winery
House Bear Brewing

Fiore di Nonno
Chase Hill
Foxboro Cheese Co.

Specialty Foods:
Apothekers Chocolates
Cafe Barada
Chica de Gallo
Deborah's Kitchen
Doves and Figs
Hosta Hill
Life Force Juice
Matt's Amazing Smokehouse
Q's Nuts
Roving Lunch Box
Seta's Mediterranean
Soluna Garden Farm
Spindler Confections
Stow Greenhouses
Taza Chocolate
Tex Mex Eats
Tipping Cow
Valicenti Organico

Guest Vendors:
Bondat Foods
Boston BonBon
Camberville Dog Treats
Craic & Blonde
Handmade For
Just Add Cooking
Red Door Farm
Sa's Homestyle Sauces
Sunny Knoll Alpaca Farm
Sweet Lydia's
Trill Foods
23 Soap Company

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Word Around the Ward - Early

No, I didn't get my days screwed up. I am posting The Word Around The Ward a day early to give you one less excuse to remain on your phone during Thanksgiving Dinner tomorrow. Enjoy!

The Qwik Mart (Corner of Cedar Street and Highland Avenue) will be undergoing significant changes as commercial space and residences have been proposed for the location at a recent community meeting. Ward 5 seems to be a hotbed for development as the Sons of Italy already has a foundation, 235 Lowell Street has structures, the Shield Gas Station is getting ready to be cleaned up and Royal White (Warwick Street) has been sold.  

Ward 5 Online would like to wish Carlene Campbell-Hegerty the best of luck as she resigned from her position with the Somerville Arts Council for another opportunity. Carlene has been a fixture with the Curtatone Administration and has overseen such events as the SomerStreets Festivals and the recent Restaurant and Market Tour of Magoun Square.

Could the City being changing its snow plowing methods? According to Mayor Curtatone, it is a serious consideration. During a recent ResiStat meeting, the Mayor acknowledged that the issue is pressing, but no changes will be made for the 2014-2015 winter season. 2015-2016 may see a pilot of side-switching in one section of the City. 

With the holidays just around the corner it’s time to start thinking about holiday gifts! And there’s no better place to find the perfect gift than at Somerville Local First’s Local is for Lovers Holiday Markets on November 30th and December 14th. The popular market will take place at the Armory from 10-3pm.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Road Race Will be Gobble Gobbling By...

Hello, this is Jackie Rossetti from the City of Somerville with information regarding the annual Gobble Gobble Road Race on Thursday, Nov. 27. 

Beginning at 9 a.m., roads in the Davis Square, Broadway, Medford Street and Summer Street areas may experience temporary traffic delays as runners pass by. The race route begins on Holland St., right onto Broadway, right on North St., right on Powderhouse Blvd., onto Broadway through Ball and Magoun Squares, right on Medford St., right on Central St., and right on Summer St., ending at Grove St. in Davis Sq. Please note that eastbound traffic on Holland St. will be detoured at Cameron Ave. between 9 and 9:30 a.m. at the start of the race.

Delays in these areas are expected to be temporary, and police details will be stationed in each area. If you have additional questions, please call 617-666-3311. Thank you, and Happy Thanksgiving! 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Somerville Local First's Local is for Lovers Market Set for November 30th!

Somerville Local First Hosts Local is for Lovers Holiday Market at Arts at the Armory on November 30th

SOMERVILLE (November 24, 2014)—With the holidays just around the corner it’s time to start thinking about holiday gifts! And there’s no better place to find the perfect gift than at Somerville Local First’s Local is for Lovers Holiday Markets on November 30th and December 14th.

Our first market takes place on Sunday, November 30, from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at Arts at the Armory (191 Highland Avenue), is FREE and easily accessible by car or public transportation. Knucklebones will be setting up their mobile playspace on 11/30 so the kids have a place to get out some holiday energy while their parents shop or sip a local brew (coffee or beer!)

The Local is for Lovers Holiday Market will feature 30 local vendors selling everything from jewelry and handmade soap to sweets and clothing.  Here is a full list of vendors:

Esoterica Jewelry
Barefoot Books (by Michele MacLean)
Somerville Soap Works (
The Bead Lady
Jasmine Doodles
Le Pants King
Original Antique Maps
MJ Paperflight
Designs by EVFB

In addition to the many local artisans selling their crafts, the Local is for Lovers Holiday Market will include workshops sprinkled throughout the day- Local love includes more than just shopping! Visit the Healey School PTO and make arts and crafts with the whole family all day! In addition, look at the following schedule and come learn with us this market season.

Jewelry making project class with Beadkreative

Learn how to make a chain cord bracelet. With 5 color options to choose from, this project takes about 30min, and will teach you how to make some of your gifts this holiday season! Class is free, but there is a $5 dollar material fee.

Cuisine en Locale cooking demo

Learn how to make your own condiments for the holiday season! CeL is here to show you the way!

Happier, Healthier Holiday Hints
with integrative nutrition health coach, Dillan DiGiovanni

Want to cruise through the holiday season feeling a bit healthier and happier than last year? Join local certified integrative nutrition health coach, Dillan DiGiovanni, for a fun and interactive workshop. You'll meet like-minded people and learn simple, practical hints including recipes and habits to shift your focus and feed your mind and body to welcome the New Year feeling better than you've ever felt in your life. Satisfaction guaranteed. :)

Shiso Kitchen cooking demo

Watch Shiso Kitchen make a Chipotle Tomato Soup which is a great seasonal recipe whether as a first course to a holiday meal, or as a weeknight dinner to cozy up to a fire with. It's a 'grown up' version of classic tomato soup, and is also perfect for dipping, parmesan crisps, cheese toasts or gooey grilled cheese sandwiches. Whether looking to learn the basics, fine tune your culinary skills, or just for some new tips and tricks, Shiso Kitchen offers fun cooking classes for all skill levels. As a date night, with a friend or two, or as a solo adventure, Shiso Kitchen is a unique way to experience local food for a night on the town.

Holiday training tips with The Training Room
This all-levels metabolic class is set up as a continuous strength circuit. Participants rotate through a series of stations, spending equal time on each exercise. Rest periods are minimal between stations, and longer when the entire circuit is complete. Exercises vary from class to class.

Vendors and shoppers at previous Local is for Lovers Market have raved about their experience and the Holiday Market promises to be just as fun. Beth Rosa of Pink Pigeon Creations said, “The crowd was great, and with the focus on kids, there were lots of families and people buying gifts for people with families, which is exactly my market.” Shoppers have commented on the community feel of the markets, a place to gather and see friends while seeing some of the best local vendors around.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Davis Square to Host ParkMobile Launch

Davis Square will host the launch of ParkMobile technology

The Communications Department (Hi, Jackie!) issued the following press release just now...

Join Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone, Director of Traffic and Parking Suzanne Rinfret, and Parkmobile on Monday, Nov. 24 to launch the latest parking technology in Somerville with Parkmobile’s smart phone app. 

The official launch ceremony will be held at 9:30 a.m. on Meacham Rd. in Davis Sq., adjacent to Seven Hills Park and the Davis Sq. T station.

Beginning the week of Nov. 24, drivers in Somerville will be able to pay for parking at every metered space in the city by using Parkmobile’s smartphone app available for iPhone, Android, Windows and Blackberry phones, or by calling a toll-free number from any phone (no smartphone needed). 

Somerville will be the first city in the metro Boston area to offer this convenience through Parkmobile.

Although a huge supporter of new technology, ya'all know how I feel about changes to parking. I'm hoping this doesn't lead to later feeding times and increased prices for meters in Somerville. From what I understand, however, the cost is .50¢ and is charged by ParkMobile. 
Have you used similar technology? Feel free to comment your thoughts below!

Like Mike from Monsters Inc., I will be keeping an eye on it.