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Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Award-Winning BBC Comedian and Top Boston Folk Acts Collaborate to Raise Funds for Kids with Cancer at Massachusetts General Hospital

British comedian Ben Ashenden (BBC Radio 4’s The Pin, Comedy Central’s Brotherhood, and Bridget Jones’ Baby) is running the 2017 Boston Marathon for the pediatric hematology-oncology program at MassGeneral Hospital for Children. He is joining forces for one night only with top local folk acts Dietrich Strause, Greg Liszt, Sean Trischka’s Corporate Punk, and Lula Wiles for a benefit concert at The Burren Backroom in Davis Square. The evening will feature collaborative performances by the musicians and Ashenden, as well as a raffle with prizes from twenty local businesses including Club Passim, the Friendly Toast, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the Brattle Theater, and Otto Pizza. Every penny raised will go towards life-saving research and supportive programming for the cancer community at MassGeneral Hospital for Children.

The event will take place beginning at 7pm, Thursday, April 13th. Tickets are available. Tickets are $20 in advance, $24 at the door.

Businesses supporting the raffle include: The Friendly Toast • The Brattle Theater • Barrington Coffee Roasting Company • Beacon Hill Chocolates • Deep Ellum • Boston Homebrew Supply • Biyoshi Salon • Life Alive • Benefit Cosmetics • Treasured Hands • Club Passim • Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum • Otto Pizza • Beacon Hill Bistro • DeLuca’s Market.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Update: Somerville Elections 2017: Who? What? Where? Why? (Mayor / Alderman Edition)

With candidates already announcing and rumors flying faster than drivers over the Lowell Street bridge, it's time to discuss the Who? What? Where? Why? for Mayor and Alderman seats, Election 2017. My information comes from late nights at Olde Magoun's, personal observations and unnamed sources.

Mayor: Word on the street is that Joe Curtatone is itching for a political opponent this year. Ready to knock some doors and spend some dough...Mayor Joe has been very open about wanting to defend his seat. The problem is that no one wants to run against him and the closest that someone is considering is 2019. The Mayor may get the summer off this year to attend fundraisers for other candidates.

Ward 1: With his St. Patrick's Day fundraiser coming up, Matthew McLaughlin is gearing up for another two years with no named opponent in sight. With other news sources noting poor meeting attendance, McLaughlin has some shaping up to do if he wants to retain his seat should someone challenge him. His weaknesses are spanning a spectrum beginning with not dressing appropriately for Board meetings observed by one At-Larger to having a more independent voice and not being so predictable with his voting. Hopefully, 2017 is the year he cuts the cord and buys a suit. Luck of the Irish to ya, Matt.

Ward 2: Maryann Heuston (and Bobby McWatters) flexed their muscles recently when it was suggested they have no appointing power to the Union Square neighborhood council leaving most of the attendees impressed with the case they both presented. Her increased email communications have some recipients wishing they were more consistent, but appreciative of the great information. At this time, no one has expressed interest in the Alderman's seat, however, don't be surprised if a local activist group convinces someone to pull papers.

JT Scott, owner of Crossfit Somerville, has softly announced his candidacy for Ward 2 Alderman. A formal announcement will be made soon according to JT.

Ward 3: Dubbed the "Constituent Alderman," Bobby McWatters has been doing quite a bit maintaining his visibility in the community. With tensions always present between him and the Ward 3 School Committee representative Lee Palmer, there will always be suspicion that she may be ready to replace her Monday night yawn fests with Thursday nights under the lights. In order for that to happen, she has to rebuild some burned bridges and reign in her condescending tone.

Ward 4: Could Tony LaFuente be throwing in the towel? The Somerville Times reported that he is not running this year citing personal reasons, but no confirmation has been published on his social media or website. Before the breaking news was leaked, Jesse Clingan threw his hat into the ring and is holding his first fundraiser this weekend. Featured as one of Scout Somerville's Top 40 Leaders, Jesse has been spending his time bringing awareness to the understanding of addiction and the conviction of Deanna Cremin's murderer(s). It will be interesting to hear his plans for Ward 4.

Ward 5: Mark Neidergang continues the streak of candidates filling up their bank accounts with March fundraisers, but it may be time wasted as, despite rumors, no one has stepped forward with plans to add their name on the ballot. He has gold in his hands with the development of his working neighborhood plan, but needs to put pressure on the administration to get some of the ideas implemented.

Ward 6: My apologies to Alderman Lance Davis, but I have heard very little positive feedback regarding his role as Ward 6 Alderman. I also spent a solid 30 minutes explaining why I wasn't interested in moving to run against him to a prominent Ward 6 resident who even offered to find me housing and host fundraisers. With interesting new tenants such as BFresh and a couple of marijuana dispensaries coming in on the heels of such major departures as Johnny D's and not so shocking departures like former Alderman Rebekah Gewirtz (I heard Newton is so pretty this time of year), Lance seems to be more of a meeting reminder than a stance-taker. Only time will tell if this Davis Square streetscape adjustment might shake him up enough to get the momentum going.

Ward 7: With Bob Trane enjoying retirement life, Katjana Ballantyne can rest easy knowing the rumors that the return of the Traniac are just that - rumors. No word from Camp Capuano, either. Katjana might be better off using her campaign skills to see if she can actually become President of the Board of Alderman in 2018.

At Large: Facebook can be the first indicator when a candidate is ready to run, but could it also be the reporter of a long-time member being ready to step down? A name change to his Alderman page got some constituents talking about Jack Connolly recently. After major surgery, could the man who found his political second wind after being defeated as a ward Alderman over a decade ago be ready to cross the finish line?

Bill White will die in the Aldermanic Chambers before he ever considers not running which is convenient because I heard he wants his wake to be held there.

Mary Jo Rossetti will be holding a rally to launch her re-election bid this month at Orleans. Mary Jo has consistent communication with her listserv...something other Alderman may want to start mirroring.

Dennis Sullivan rolled through the City with his mobile hours and is always the darling of our Senior community, but persistent rumblings that he wants a change of pace have always followed him. Dennis?

Things seem pretty good with the At-largers, but they have two little problems right now in the form of Stephanie Hirsch and Will Mbah - both of which have announced - with Stephanie already executing canvassing efforts and setting up house parties. Will Mbah wants to shed light on economic development and affordable housing according to his recent introduction written by Bill Shelton. These are two very likable and viable candidates that should not be ruled out this campaign season.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Somerville Local First Hosts Holiday Marketplace on Sunday November 27th!

Join Somerville Local First and over 40 local vendors at Arts at the Armory on Sunday, November 27th for a day of local holiday shopping. The market runs from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. and the Armory Cafe will be open!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Community Note: Hoyt-Sullivan Playground Community Meeting Sept. 29

Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone, Ward 5 Alderman Mark Niedergang, and the Office of Strategic Planning and Community Development (OSPCD) invite all interested community members to a community meeting to review design plans for the renovation of Hoyt-Sullivan Playground. The meeting is scheduled for Thursday, September 29, from 6 to 8 p.m., in the Community Room of the VNA at 259 Lowell St. City staff will present a plan for the new playground design that is based on community feedback, and will seek final input to be sure the design reflects the needs of the community. For more information, please contact Arn Franzen at 617-625-6600 ext. 2545, or

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like...Election Day!

That wonderful time of the year is two days away! Sample ballots have been posted for everyone's review and can be found on the City's Elections website. The Ward 5 ballot is available here for your convenience and because I love you.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Community Meeting on Hoyt-Sullivan Renovation Set for June 29th

Hello Hoyt Sullivan Playground Friends and Neighbors,

Please join us for a community meeting on June 29th to discuss plans for the upcoming renovation.

The City of Somerville Department of Parks and Open Space, and Ward 5 Alderman Mark Niedergang, are hosting a meeting with our team of landscape architects to discuss the proposed plans. Please join us. Your input is sincerely appreciated as we move the new designs forward.

Since our first meeting a year ago, we have acquired the necessary funding for the construction that we hope to start later this fall. We have been awarded a State Grant, secured Federal Community Development Block Grant funds, and were awarded Community Preservation Act funds, so have the ability build the park that will serve the community best.

We have also hired the landscape architecture firm Klopfer Martin Design Group (KMDG), to oversee the development of the new design, and we look forward to introducing them to you and reviewing the ideas that they have been developing.

Please join us on the 29th. We want to be sure our plans for the upcoming renovation reflect the needs of the community. English, Spanish, and Portuguese versions of the meeting flyer are attached above. Please share these with friends and neighbors that might be interested. The meeting will be Wednesday, June 29th at 6:30, at the Visiting Nurses Association Building in the third floor community room at 259 Lowell Street.

For more information, please contact Arn Franzen at 617-625-6600 ext. 2545, or

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

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Taste of Somerville Takes Over Davis Square on Wednesday!

Produced by the Somerville Chamber of Commerce Dining & Nightlife Group, the Taste of Somerville is a unique way to experience Somerville's dining and nightlife scene. Join us outside and under a pavilion with live entertainment at 50 Holland Street in Somerville's Davis Square on Wednesday June 15th from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m.

Get your tickets!

Proceeds from this year's event will benefit Somerville CAN. Somerville CAN is a collaboration of 11 local organizations that work independently and in partnership to: feed the hungry, train and educate vulnerable youth, improve health and eliminate racism. Somerville CAN is fiscally sponsored by Community Action Agency of Somerville.

Somerville CAN Members include: Community Action Agency of Somerville, Groundwork Somerville, Boys & Girls Club of Middlesex County, Respond, Inc., Somerville Community Access Television, Somerville Community Corporation, Somerville Home, Somerville Homeless Coalition, Somerville Local First, Second Chances, The Welcome Project.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Magoun Square Food & Dance Festival Set for May 21st

Magoun Square is the place to be on Saturday May 21st as local business owners, artists and Gouners join forces for a music and food festival that will follow PorchFest - running from noon to 6:00 p.m citywide. 

Extending along Medford Street between Broadway and Lowell, this section of Magoun will be shut down to cars and opened up to families for business tours, face painting and dance lessons courtesy of The Self Expressions Center from 5-7 p.m. Rounding out the evening will be DJ Fadayz spinning tunes and an appearance by Pat & The Hats rocking some jams later in the night before the dance party commences. 

Come sample cuisine and sips from local restaurants including Daddy Jones Bar, PennyPackers, Modelo's Market Cafe and Olde Magoun's Saloon.

The event starts at 5:00 p.m. and ends at 10:00 p.m giving attendees plenty of time to make the rounds during PorchFest and end their day in Magoun for this first-time celebration!

Check out the Facebook invitation and please feel free to share with neighbors, friends, and listservs. 

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Second Community Meeting Set for Piro Printing Proposal


483 Medford Street
formerly the Piro Printing building

(Proposed addition of square footage to a mixed-use commercial & three-unit residential building)

Dr. Mouhab Z. Rizkallah (owner and developer) will present current proposed plans and welcome comments.
Ward 5 Alderman Mark Niedergang


TIME: 6:30 P.M.

259 Lowell Street, 3rd Floor Community Room

To have the plans emailed to you, contact ELUZAI AT THE BRACES PLACE: ELUZAI@BRACESPLACES.COM , (617) 616-5185

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Warren Goldstein-Gelb Benefit Event and Medical Fund

Just about every non-profit organization in Somerville has joined forces to organize a benefit for Warren Goldstein-Gelb, an outstanding member of the community, and director of the Welcome Project in Somerville. Warren suffered a debilitating stroke in September, and his recovery process has left a long trail of bills to pay by his family.

Since 2006 Warren has been the Executive Director of the Welcome Project, a non-profit organization that has been instrumental in helping thousands of immigrants reach their full potential through educational, leadership, and support programs. Part of their mission is to “build the collective power of Somerville immigrants to participate in and shape community decisions.” By directing the Welcome Project, Warren has been one of the leading forces to make Somerville the extraordinary community it is. Let’s all come together now to support his family during this difficult time!

What: Food, beer, raffle & live music by local bands like the Country Hits

Where: Aeronaut Brewery, 14 Tyler Street in Somerville

When: Wednesday, February 3rd, at 5:00 - 7:00 pm

You can also contribute online at or send a check made out to Warren Medical Benefit Account, Rockland Trust, 399 Highland Avenue, Somerville, MA 02144.

To RSVP or for more information, see also the Facebook event page:

For questions, or if you'd like volunteer to support the event or contribute a raffle item, please contact: 
Lee Erica Palmer (781)330-1740 or

Monday, December 28, 2015

UPDATE: 231 Lowell Street Proposal to be Presented to ZBA on Wednesday January 20th

The Wednesday January 6th  20th meeting of the Zoning Board of Appeals will have a proposal for 231 Lowell Street on its agenda and will take place at 6 PM in the Aldermen's Chambers of City Hall. Concerned residents are encouraged to attend and testify (up to 2 minutes in length) in support or opposition.

The developer is proposing a mixed-use development with 22 apartments (3 affordable) and two commercial units. There are four 3BRs, six 2+BRs (all larger than 1,000 sq feet), and the rest smaller apartments. There are a total of 31 parking spaces, 7 of which are tandem spaces. 

Current plans:

Planning Staff report and recommendations:

The developer is Steven Caruso, Attorney Richard Di Girolamo, and Architects Peter Quinn Associates.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Public Hearing on Affordable Housing Percentage Increase Set for Wednesday 12/9, 6pm

Please come to a Public Hearing this Wednesday Dec 9, 6 PM in City Hall on 20% inclusionary zoning for all new developments of 6+ units

This Wednesday, you can actively support more affordable housing in Somerville!  Come speak out for or just show up at a Public Hearing about an inclusionary zoning proposal to increase from 12 1/2% to 20% the percentage of apartments in new developments (minimum 6 units) that must be permanently affordable.  Anyone will be allowed to speak for 2 minutes to this joint meeting of the Board of Aldermen Land Use Committee and the Planning Board.  It is very important to show decision-makers in Somerville strong support for at least 20% of all new apartments being affordable. If you can’t attend, or prefer not to speak in public, you can email your comments to and

Fred Berman, a Ward 5 resident and expert on affordable housing, wrote a terrific 1½-page letter that sums up what this new zoning aims to do and why it is so important now:

You can see a petition with 511 signatures and the official zoning amendment proposal here:

Friday, December 4, 2015

Arts at the Armory Continues Efforts to Soundproof Main Hall

From the Armory... "It's your last chance in 2015 to help us work towards our $50,000 goal to soundproof the Performance Hall.  Soundproofing will allow us to bring in an even wider arrange of musical and theatrical events.  Concert #4 in the series features a stellar lineup:  Vapors of Morphine, The Weisstronauts, and David Johnston.  Tickets are $12-advance ($10 students) or $15 at the door ($12 students).  Get YOURS -- or make a donation -- here.​"

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Public Hearing on Economic Inequality Set for Thursday December 10th, 7pm

Somerville's Board of Aldermen have scheduled a public hearing on Dec. 10 at 7:00 PM on the problem of growing economic inequality and the merits of passing new legislation at the state level to help address it.

At the hearing, the Board of Aldermen (and other invited elected officials) will be asked to support passage of the following bills currently being considered by the state legislature:
       Paid family and medical leave to ensure workers are not forced to choose between work and the well-being of their children and other family members.
       A Constitutional Amendment creating an additional tax of four percentage points on annual income above one million dollars for new investment in quality public schools, affordable higher education, and improvements in public transportation.
       A living wage for employees of big box retail and fast food companies so that people who work full-time for large, profitable corporations can earn a living wage of $15 an hour.
       Elimination of the subminimum wage for tipped workers, providing restaurant workers with the same hourly minimum wage as workers in all other industries in Massachusetts.

The public is invited to attend and be heard!  The hearing will be in the Aldermanic Chamber, 2nd floor at Somerville City Hall, 93 Highland Ave. on Dec. 10 at 7:00 PM

Good Jobs Somerville gathered over 200 signatures from residents calling for the Board of Aldermen to hold the hearing. 

"Our main objective is simple: we want the City of Somerville to formally recognize that economic inequality is a growing problem and to support a number of state initiatives that address some of the causes of inequality: low wages, underfunded education and transportation, and the need for paid family leave," said Jesse Clingan, a Good Jobs activist from Ward 4 who helped lead the signature drive.

In addition to Good Jobs Somerville, the public hearing is supported by: Immigrant Service Providers Group/Health, Building and Construction Trades Council of the Metropolitan District, New England Regional Council of Carpenters, Restaurant Opportunities Center, Somerville Community Corporation, Somerville Municipal Employees Association, SEIU Local 32BJ, SEIU Local 888, Tufts Labor Coalition, UFCW Local 1445, Heat and Frost Insulators Local 6, Welcome Project. 

Good Jobs Somerville is a group of local labor and community activists working together for the good jobs our community needs. For more info, please contact: Rand Wilson at (617) 949-9720, or email:

Sunday, November 8, 2015

It's ResiStat Time!

Ward 5's Fall ResiStat meeting will take place tomorrow, Monday November 9th, from 6-8pm at the Kennedy School (5 Cherry Street).

The City of Somerville writes, "ResiStat neighborhood meetings are back. Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone invites residents to the Fall 2015 ResiStat Community Meetings, a twice-yearly effort to share the latest City news and neighborhood updates directly with residents and gather their feedback. ResiStat is more than a great way to get an overview of what’s happening specifically in your neighborhood as well as citywide. The social time before and after the meetings also offer an easy opportunity to talk one-on-one to the Mayor, your Aldermen, and City staff and police—and to connect with your neighbors. (We serve pizza and kid-friendly, healthy snacks to make it more fun to come and chat.)

Seven neighborhood meetings, one in each ward, will be held in the coming weeks. (See schedule below.) Mayor Curtatone, ward and at-large aldermen, members of the Somerville Police Department, and City staff will discuss issues important to residents and there’s always a lively Q&A where residents can pose questions directly to the Mayor and Aldermen. Topics will range from crime and safety reports by cops on your neighborhood beat, neighborhood improvements such as road and park projects, to a review of citywide issues ranging from Green Line Extension updates to Union Square planning news, and the opioid crisis.

Refreshments will be served at a meet-and-greet before each meeting. Interpretation into Spanish, Portuguese, and Haitian Creole will be provided."

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Somerville Local First Harvest Fest Set for Saturday!

Somerville Local First will be hosting their annual Harvest Fest this Saturday October 17th at the Armory! The event is made up of two sessions: savory and sweet!

Harvest Fest is Somerville Local First's major annual fundraiser. All event proceeds go towards SLF's operating budget to build and strengthen the local movement and local business community in Somerville all year long.

Tickets are still available, but are going quickly! Get yours while they last.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Community to Gather for Second Meeting on 231 Lowell Street Development

A second community meeting on a proposed development at 231 Lowell Street will be held on Monday September 21st, at 6:30pm, in the third floor community room of the VNA (259 Lowell Street).

Developer Steven Caruso, his Attorney Richard Di Girolamo, and Architect Peter Quinn will be in attendance to present the updated plans, as well as, answer resident questions. Plans are available online at: I have also exported the plans into images below.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

SomerStreets Coming to Highland Avenue

SomerStreets is comig to Highland Avenue on Sunday. See the details tomorrow...

SOMERVILLE - Celebrate the season at “Seize the Summer,” the August installment of the City’s SomerStreets festival, on Sunday, Aug. 9, from noon to 4 p.m. between School St. and Lowell St. on Highland Ave. SomerStreets is the City of Somerville’s take on the internationally renowned Open Streets concept, closing busy city streets to vehicles, and opening them up for cycling, walking, dancing, running, and other modes of activity. Through SomerStreets, the City and its community partners aim to promote and encourage easy access to physical activity, fresh foods, and reconnecting with neighborhoods and businesses and their unique cultural elements in a thriving urban environment. 

Activities along Highland Ave. will include:

·         Live music including the Somerville Ukelele Club, School of HONK, and The Undercovers;
·         Explore a fire truck or ambulance;
·         Hockey, football, and other kids’ activities;
·         Skateboarding performance and free skate – bring your skateboards!; 
·         Drills with semi-pro Somerville Rampage Football; 
·         Craft vendors, and community vendors; 
·         Local restaurants and food vendors including Scoopsies ice cream;
·         Craft activities on the MUSCRAT bus;
·         And more!

To ensure public safety at the event, the following road closures and parking bans will be in effect. 

·         Highland Ave. (School St. to Lowell St.): Closed to all vehicular traffic 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.; no parking 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. 
·         Belmont St. (Summer St. to Highland Ave.), Spring Hill Terr., and Sycamore St. (Highland Ave. to Madison St.) will become two way streets from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. to allow access for abutters.
·         MBTA buses will be rerouted from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For locations of rerouted bus stops, visit
All SomerStreets events will run from noon to 4 p.m., rain or shine. 
Remaining 2015 events include:
·         Strike Up the Bands @ SomerStreets: Sun., Sept. 20, Holland Ave.
·         Monster Mashed-Up @ SomerStreets: Sun., Oct. 18, Somerville Ave.
For more information, visit, or

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Hey Adams Street Peeps, Hide Your Trash and Recycling Totes!

Residents of the Adams Street 60 block woke up to some serious criticism regarding the placement of their trash and recycling totes yesterday!

Notes taped to the totes are requesting that they be placed in the back of the building, so this particular neighbor doesn't have to look at them. 

One neighbor wrote, "We're not sure who did it, but thought it was pretty funny - who does this sort of shit after high school, anyway?" 

Neighbors are requesting that notes be submitted in for the creation of a Tumblr Feed. There might be enough content to for the feed as the neighbor noted that this is not the first time notes have been left. 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

What's Up With the Old Piro Printing, Yo?

Want to know what's up with the old Piro Printing site? A community meeting has been set for Tuesday July 14th at 7pm in Daddy Jones Bar (that's a plus)! See the official flyer and renderings below. Feel free to comment your thoughts!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Public Hearing Set for 515 Somerville Avenue Land Taking

There will be a public hearing hosted by the Finance Committee on Monday night to gather feedback on a request to take land at 515 Somerville Avenue. The meeting begins at 6pm and will be held in the Aldermanic Chambers of City Hall.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Filming in Magoun Square Begins Monday

From Monday June 29 through Thursday morning, July 2, a production crew will be filming scenes for an upcoming movie in the Magoun Sq. area. For this work, parking restrictions will apply on Broadway between Medford St. and Cedar St., and you may notice large trucks and other vehicles in your neighborhood, though they should not cause any significant delays or other issues for residents in these areas at most times.

Filming will take place primarily inside a private business. However, beginning at approximately 8 p.m. on Wed., July 1, a small portion of Medford St., between Broadway and Lowell St., will be closed to all traffic until approximately 2 a.m. on Thurs. “No Parking” signs will apply beginning at 5 p.m. Detours for vehicles are as follows:

Cars traveling east on Broadway to Medford St. will be detoured onto Hinckley St. to Richardson St.
Cars traveling west on Medford St. will be detoured onto Central St. and Norwood Ave.
Cars on Lowell St. will be detoured at Vernon St. and Richardson St.

Somerville Police personnel will be stationed in these areas to assist with any traffic or safety issues.

If you have questions or concerns during this work, please contact Assistant Location Manager, Jeremy Fiske, at 508-864-6422.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

240 Elm Street Closure Update

Due to public safety concerns over a structurally compromised front exterior of the building at 240 Elm St. in Davis Square, Elm Street between Dover Street and Russell Street will be closed to all cars and there will be no access for pedestrians between Chester Street and Grove Street until further notice.

In the course of work to repair the parapet wall and façade of the building, a structural engineer from the firm Roome & Guarracino LLC, hired by the building’s owner, determined that “along [the Elm Street] wall, between the steel beam bearing piers, the masonry has been taken down below the roof framing level and no longer engages the wall with the roof diaphragm.” This unstable wall condition creates the risk that the front exterior wall could collapse onto the street and sidewalk below, the engineer concluded. The engineer also advised the building owner that masonry was being removed from the building’s façade on the Elm Street side of the building without shoring installed, and that the sidewalk should be closed during the installation of required shoring.

Upon being informed of these unsafe conditions, City inspectors ordered the closure of businesses within the structure and immediate vicinity, worked with Somerville Police and Fire to establish precautionary sidewalk and lane closures on Elm Street, and reviewed the site. Based on the engineer’s findings and subsequent review, the City closed all street lanes, the opposite sidewalk and nearby businesses to ensure public safety. These closures will remain in effect until the structure and area is deemed safe. Business owners and the public will be kept informed in real time on the situation. To review the advisory from Roome & Guarrancino LLC, please see below.

During the street closure, the following temporary detours and traffic pattern changes will be in place, however if at all possible, please seek alternate routes, particularly during morning and evening rush hour commutes:

· Highland Avenue between College Avenue and Grove Street will be temporarily converted to accommodate two-way traffic.

· Vehicles traveling east on Holland Street may take a right onto Dover Street, or continue onto Highland Avenue.

· Vehicles traveling west on Highland Avenue may continue onto Holland Street, or right onto College Avenue. Cars will not be permitted to turn left onto Dover Street.

· Vehicles traveling into Davis Square on College Avenue may only right onto Holland Street. Cars will not be permitted to travel straight onto Dover Street nor take a left turn onto Highland Avenue.

Somerville Police will be stationed in this area to assist with detours, and message boards will be placed in Teele Square and at the Powder House Rotary.

MBTA buses that normally stop at Elm Street and Chester Street—Routes 87, 88, 89, 90, 94, and 96—will stop in front of the Citizens Bank building at 212 Elm St. For more information please check the MBTA’s Service Alerts page at

Text of letter from Jason Ferris, Structural Engineer for Roome & Guarracino LLC


Jason Cohen, Jim Logue and myself just met on site to review the shoring on the Chester St side of the building. We find the shoring methodology acceptable, except for three missing towers on the first floor level where there are towers directly above and directly below. It is essential that the tower legs transfer load directly through to towers below all the way down to the basement. Jim Logue is aware of these locations. I also pointed out to him where we’d like two additional post shores in the basement. Once these are adequately installed, we will come out for another inspection and sign off prior to further demolition proceeding.

We also observed that masonry is being removed on the Elm St side of the building where no shoring has been installed. Also, the sidewalk directly below and Dunkin Donuts remains open to the public. We did not authorize for masonry removal to proceed on this side of the building prior to shoring and feel that it currently presents a dangerous condition. Along this wall, between the steel beam bearing piers, the masonry has been taken down below the roof framing level and no longer engages the wall with the roof diaphragm. Not only does this result in an unstable wall condition, it also results in weakening the stabilization of the piers supporting the steel girders. These piers had already been deemed precarious as were and we did not want to exacerbate their condition prior to the roof and floor framing being shored. In addition, debris is falling while the demolition is in progress. I understand there is another level of staging platform below, but is this considered an overhead protection system that is completely sealed off while open to the public below? We urge that no further demolition of this wall commence until its shoring is completed and signed off on and the sidewalk and Dunkin Donuts is closed to public traffic.

Jason Ferriss, PE
Structural Engineer

Friday, June 19, 2015

Cedar Street to Reopen Tomorrow June 20th

Looks like work has been completed on Cedar Street as the City announced today via their reverse-311 system that the street will be open for traffic tomorrow.

In order to construct a raised crosswalk on Cedar St. at the intersection with the newly expanded Community Path, the section of Cedar St. at the Community Path was closed to all traffic starting Monday June 15th with work completing today.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Raised Crosswalk at Community Path (Cedar Street) Construction Next Week

In order to construct a raised crosswalk on Cedar St. at the intersection with the newly expanded Community Path, the section of Cedar St. at the Community Path will be closed to all traffic from Mon., June 15, through approximately Fri., June 19. Work will be conducted between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.; however, this section of Cedar St. will remain closed at all times during this time period to allow the structure to properly set. Please follow posted detour signs.

The newest section of the Community Path between Cedar St. and Lowell St. is expected to open in July.