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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

RoundUp: Ward 5 Online's favorite #Somerville photos on the Interwebs

Here's a roundup of Ward 5 Online's favorite #Somerville photos on the interwebs.

This will be an ongoing series where you can nominate tweeted or Facebooked (appropriate) #Somerville photos for this roundup by bringing it to my attention using @Ward5Online in your retweet or Facebook post.

Attending a great #Somerville event, frequenting a great local #Somerville business, or getting a photo-op with a #Somerville somebody are just a few ways that can get you considered for inclusion on Ward 5 Online!

Eric Saulnier is ramping up the ticket sales for the annual Booze Cruise for Autism. Check out his Facebook post below & help out if you can...

Nicole Dillon couldn't help but thank the City of Somerville for the new lanes on Lowell Street...

Monday, July 28, 2014

Storm Aftermath...


Pic submitted by Anthony Adam-corner of Cedar Street & Cedar Avenue.


Friday, July 25, 2014

MassDOT to Hold Meeting on Medford Street Bridge Project



A City of Somerville and MBTA Green Line Extension (GLX) Public Meeting regarding Medford Street Bridge Construction has been scheduled for 6:00 PM on Thursday, July 31, 2014. It will be held at the Public Safety Building (220 Washington Street) in Somerville. 
Green Line Extension construction is underway and will involve periodic traffic impacts near the Medford Street Rail Bridge for the next six to eight months. 

Please join the MBTA and the City of Somerville for a meeting to present the construction schedule for the Rail Bridge area, and all associated traffic diversions. The GLX team along with Barletta Heavy Division, Inc., Phase 1 contractor for the GLX Project, will present information followed by a Q&A.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Word Around the Ward


Arts at the Armory will be hosting some great drop-in arts and crafts activities for kids throughout July and August on Sunday 8/10, 1-4pm and Saturday 8/23, 1-4pm. They will also have a Free paint/collage/writing workshop for ages 11-15 on August 19th from 3:30pm - 5pm with registration ending for this on August 14th. Check out other July events at the Armory!

The Somerville Sunsetters continue their performaces around the City throughout the summer months. Check out their schedule and catch a performance!

Could one prominent member of the Board of Aldermen not be looking for re-election in 2015? This is the word around one ward that may continue the Board's evolution into the next election cycle.

Congratulations go out to the Somerville Arts Council, artists, musicians, businesses and participants of this year's Artbeat! 

Happy Birthday to Ward 5er Sarah Shugars and overall awesome SomerVillen Janine White Duffy!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

SomerMovie Fest Continues...

The SomerMovie Fest continues on Thursday July 24th with a showing of Soylent Green. The movie starts just after sunset and will be shown on the City Hall Concourse.

The movies run from July to the end of August and are completely free and feature movies for the whole family. They are shown at various locations throughout the City that includes Seven Hills Park, Chuckie Harris Park, Nathan Tufts Park, Conway Park and the City Hall Concourse. See the poster or the City's Calendar for movie details. You can also download the Ward 5 Online calendar for saving on your Outlook or Google calendar for quick reference. 

This year's SomerMovie Fest is sponsored by Assembly Row and Comcast.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

RoundUp: Ward 5 Online's favorite #Somerville photos on the Interwebs

Here's a roundup of Ward 5 Online's favorite #Somerville photos on the interwebs.

This will be an ongoing series where you can nominate tweeted or Facebooked (appropriate) #Somerville photos for this roundup by bringing it to my attention using @Ward5Online in your retweet or Facebook post.

Attending a great #Somerville event, frequenting a great local #Somerville business, or getting a photo-op with a #Somerville somebody are just a few ways that can get you considered for inclusion on Ward 5 Online!




This weeks picks include @mem_Somerville letting us know there are many good reasons to donate blood...

Former Ward 7 Alderman Bob Trane Facebooking a photo of the beautiful lake that developed in front of his house during the recent rainstorm in Somerville...


My choice this week is from Something Gud posting...well...Something Gud...

Monday, July 21, 2014

SomerStreets to Take Over Highland Avenue on Sunday


Celebrate the season at “Seize the Summer,” the July installment of the City’s SomerStreets festival, on Sunday, July 27 from noon to 4 p.m. between Walnut and Lowell Streets 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:

· Pony rides at the Central Library (noon – 2 p.m);

· Explore emergency apparatus including a fire truck and an ambulance;

· Pickle Ball, Imagination Blocks, and other recreation activities;

· Family bike ride from City Hall (1 p.m.);

· Knucklebones inventive play areas;

· Food;

· Live entertainment on two stages;

· Craft Fair at the Armory, and more!


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

· Highland Avenue (Walnut Street to Cedar Street): Closed to all vehicular traffic 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.; no parking 8 a.m. - 6 p.m.

· City Hall Concourse and Central Library parking lots: No parking 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.

· Madison Street and School Street (Madison Street to Medford Street) will become two way streets from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. to allow access for abutters.

· Central Street will remain open, and will be converted to a two way between Highland Avenue and Summer Street from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

· MBTA buses will be rerouted from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. For locations of rerouted bus stops, vist MBTA.com.

Residents of Highland Avenue may call (857) 523-9017 in advance or on the day of the event and city volunteers will assist you in leaving/returning to your property safely during the event. All SomerStreets events will run from noon to 4 p.m., rain or shine.

Public Health and Public Safety to Meet on Wednesday



The Public Health and Public Safety Committee will be meeting on Wednesday July 23 at 6:00 PM. The agenda includes the below listed items submitted by the Board of Aldermen.

1. 197132 : That the Chief of Police enforce the NO BIKING ON SIDEWALK ordinance citywide, especially in business districts, and attend the next Public Health and Safety Committee meeting to discuss bicycle safety education and enforcement.
2. 197329 : That the Chief of Police order a directed patrol to monitor traffic speeds on Fairfax Street and report the findings and actions to these Aldermen.
3. 197278 : That the Chief of Police order a directed patrol on Benton Road, at various times, to monitor traffic and to issue citations for speeding.
4. 196906 : That the Chief of Police review patrols of the Davis Square area, especially around the community path from the T-stop to the Cambridge line, and consider adding an additional foot patrol officer daily from 4 PM to midnight.
5. 194678 : That the Chief of Police provide this Board with the crime statistics near the East Somerville dog park for twelve months prior to, and after, opening.
6. 197167 : That the Chief Fire Engineer share with this Board, the fire safety plan for the newly opened stores and housing at Assembly Square.
7. 196209 : That the Administration inform this Board of any and all supports available to those who were victims of arson this past summer.
8. 196205 : That the Chief Fire Engineer, the Chief of Police and the chief trauma response individual appear before this Board’s Committee on Public Health and Safety to explore training first responders in the use of Narcan, currently being used by EMTs to save victims of drug overdoses.
9. 195880 : Requesting review and approval of the MAPC's 2013 Update to the 2008 Hazardous Mitigation Plan.
10. 194296 : That this Board requests that the Mayor consider implementing a Community Emergency Response Team, a volunteer citizen support group which is part of FEMA, to assist response efforts during emergencies.
a. SKMBT_42313021510220
11. 197367 : That the Director of SPCD (ISD) provide updates on the problems reported at 38 Illinois Avenue and 39-41 Michigan Avenue, detailing a plan of how these properties will be dealt with.
12. 197222 : That the Director of SPCD (ISD) inspect the fire damaged property at 27 Dickinson Street for violations and hazards which negatively impact the neighborhood, and direct the owners to make all required changes.
13. 196910 : That the Director of SPCD (ISD) order the immediate removal of the non-compliant exterior light on the new building at 128 Highland Avenue.
14. 196891 : That the Director of the SPCD (ISD) and the City Solicitor appear before this Board to discuss the city’s schedule of fines and how and/or why they have or have not been used fully.
15. 196890 : That the Director of SPCD (ISD) appear before this Board to provide an update on complaints, fines and resolutions associated with 100 The Fellsway.
16. 196779 : That the Director of SPCD (ISD) contact the owners of 28 and 30 Beacon Street regarding overgrowth and the improper storage of trash and recycling materials, and issue citations for their maintenance of the properties.
17. 196778 : That the Director of SPCD (ISD) cite Walgreen's, at 26 Beacon Street, for all health code violations, and direct them to clean the periphery of their property and remove the trash barrel from 28 Beacon Street.
18. 196766 : That the Director of SPCD (ISD) and the Director of Public Health explain the policy for food and food donations at charity or nonprofit events.
19. 196363 : That the Director of SPCD (ISD) dispatch the NIT Team to inspect 174 Walnut Street for numerous code violations.
20. 195307 : That the Director of SPCD (ISD) and the Director of Public Health appear before this Board’s Committee on Public Health and Safety to provide an update on the city-wide rodent problem, including all areas that have been baited, and to present a comprehensive approach to deal with this problem, including the necessary resources and funding.
21. 190058 : That the Director of SPCD Provide This Board with the Latest Revision to the City's Rodent Control Policies before the Next Meeting of the Committee on Public Health and Public Safety, and appear with Appropriate Designees at Said Meeting.
22. 196432 : That the Middlesex County District Attorney update the City on the investigation into the murder of Deanna Cremin, on this, the 19th anniversary of her death.
23. 197435 : That the Director of Communications place a link on the City's web site to allow residents to complain about noise from Logan Airport flights as had been done in the past and also notify residents via social media about that link.
24. 197268 : That the City Clerk request of MassPort an explanation for the increase of air traffic noise recently in West Somerville, and that the Director of Communications add to the website information about the most effective method to complain about such noise.
25. 193093 : That the City Solicitor and the Director of SPCD locate any documents or agreements made by the federal government regarding the initial construction of Route 93 through Somerville.
26. 195082 : That the City's Disability Coordinator appear before the Committee on Public Health and Safety to update the Committee on pending claims on accessibility issues and the status of plans to improve access to City buildings and sidewalks, including the East and West Branch Libraries.
27. 195502 : That the Environmental Programs Manager report to the Ward 6 Alderman and the Committee on Public Health and Safety, the impact of bamboo and whether it is a plant that should be limited due to its invasive nature.
28. 197253 : DPW Commissioner responding to various Board Orders submitted 6/12/14.
29. 197144 : That the Commissioner of Public Works investigate and remedy the low pressure of the water fountains at the ESCS and the strange taste of the water from the school's second floor faucets.
30. 197032 : That this Board urges the Cambridge Health Alliance to reverse its decision to consolidate its Psychiatric Emergency Room with its general Emergency Room.
a. Resolution - CHA
31. 196958 : DPW Commissioner responding to various Board Orders submitted April 24, 2014.
a. BO#22
b. BO#25
32. 196787 : That the Director of Public Health and Commissioner of Public Works install a sign on the island at Bow Street and Somerville Avenue prohibiting feeding the birds, and that the Director of Public Health distribute a flyer around the neighborhood explaining why birds may not be fed, and that the Police, Animal Control, ISD, and DPW enforce Ordinance 3-3 at this island.
33. 196758 : That the Director of Personnel appear before the Committee on Public Health and Safety to report on the process for, and status of, the search for a new Police Chief.
34. 196613 : DPW Commissioner responding to various Board Orders submitted March 27, 2014.
35. 196458 : That the Commissioner of Public Works repair the broken street lamps at Davis Square Plaza.
36. 196456 : That the Commissioner of Public Works notify the MBTA to repair the broken street lamps at the Davis Sq. Busway.
37. 196433 : That the Chief of Police explain the reasoning for not towing vehicles obstructing a city fire hydrant.
38. 196374 : That the Administration contact the owner of 1060 Broadway and inquire about the reuse of the property.
39. 196373 : That the Director of SPCD (ISD) direct the MBTA to shovel the sidewalk at the bus turn-around by Clarendon Hill Towers.
40. 196353 : That the Administration take steps to address the snow related concerns affecting public safety, especially of school aged children and elderly residents, expressed in the attached letter.
a. Snow email - E Levy
41. 195671 : That the Director of the Women's Commission appear at a future Public Health and Safety Committee meeting to update this Board on the city's domestic violence prevention efforts.
42. 195509 : That the Administration provide an update on air traffic noise over Somerville and continuing efforts to reduce this noise.
43. 195321 : That the Director of Traffic and Parking install an audio tone device for the pedestrian walk signal at Highland and College Avenues for the benefit of visually impaired individuals utilizing that crosswalk.
44. 194984 : That the Committee on Public Health and Safety request that the Executive Director of the Cambridge Health Alliance appear to explain, at a public hearing, its recent proposal to reduce funding for services to Somerville’s youth community.
45. 194939 : That this Board requests that the Cambridge Health Alliance cease, or shelve, its proposed consolidation plan until they convene stakeholders to discuss how best to meet the challenges of an ever changing health care landscape, while meeting the needs of our community.
46. 194408 : That this Board requests that representatives of the Community Assessment of Freeway Exposure and Health study and SPCD's Housing Division appear before the Committee on Public Health and Safety to discuss the recent $675,000 grant from the Kresge Foundation to address health risks to residents from I-93.
47. 193094 : That the Director of Public Health provide the Committee on Public Health and Safety with the CAFÉ study information once it's completed.
48. 192737 : That this Board’s Committee on Public Health and Safety arrange for representatives of Riverside Community Care aka Somerville Mental Health Association, to appear before the Committee to explain where the programs are and how the City can assist them.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Public Utilities Public Works to Meet on Tuesday



The Public Utilities Public Works Committee will be meeting on Tuesday to discuss a 14 item agenda that includes the below listed legislation. The meeting will take place at 6:00 PM.

1. 195332 : That the Commissioner of Public Works attend the next meeting of the Public Utilities and Works Committee to discuss better ways of identifying and citing owners of loose trash.
2. 195521 : That the Commissioner of Public Works and the Director of SPCD (ISD) implement a plan to address trash and code violations each May and September, when student moves have the greatest impact on the City.
3. 195746 : That the Commissioner of Public Works provide the Committee on Public Utilities and Works with a year end report on the performance of the street light repair vendor, including the number of lights repaired vs. replaced.
4. 196302 : That the Commissioner of Public Works report to this Board on the performance of the contractor who maintains the street lights, the terms of the contract and deliverables, and the process to ensure that street lights are maintained and operable.
5. 196376 : That the Commissioner of Public Works explain how the city deals with handicap parking spots on the even sides of streets during snow emergencies.
6. 196450 : That the Commissioner of Public Works contact the appropriate utility to ascertain why the double pole at 42 Columbus Avenue hasn't been removed during the past 3 years.
7. 196608 : That the Commissioner of Public Works notify the appropriate utility regarding the double pole on Perkins Street.
8. 196618 : That the Director of SPCD inspect the newspaper boxes throughout Union Square, especially in front of the Post Office, and remove any that do not have a valid city sticker or are in disrepair.
9. 196621 : That the Commissioner of Public Works contact the appropriate utility and cable vendors to address the low hanging wires on Allen Street.
10. 196769 : That this Board’s Committee on Public Utilities and Works take the lead in securing additional lighting under the Gilman Street bridge.
11. 196911 : That the Administration repave Porter Street, from Elm Street to Highland Avenue.
12. 196970 : That the Commissioner of Public Works contact the appropriate utility companies to remove the double pole at the corner of Willow and Kidder Avenues.
13. 197020 : That the Administration explain to this Board the decision-making process for deciding which streets get repaved and consider adding Porter Street to the 2014 list, as it was not included in a list issued as part of a City news release on May 7th.
14. 197277 : That the Commissioner of Public Works notify the appropriate utility companies to remove the double pole on Cambria Street.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Word Around The Ward


According to the Somerville Times, there will be a showdown for the Pay to Play ordinance that the Board of Aldermen recently approved with a 7-4 vote. September will be the month and I will be there to cover it. Feel free to comment your thoughts below.

Happy Birthday to Ward 5ers Ryan Dillon and Erin Meiman!


Daddy Jones Bar will be before the Licensing Commission on July 21st for their request to extend their license to a patio just approved by the ZBA. The patio is slated to be open to the public by summer 2015.


Just a reminder to the residents of Magoun Square to keep valuables out of view if you leave them in your car as a perp was scared off the other morning trying to grab some change out of resident's truck. 


Also a reminder to keep sending your trash data to ResiStat, so they can log it and adjust the uniform trash program if needed.


Artbeat will be occupying Davis Square this weekend starting at 6pm on Friday July 18th. For the full schedule, check out the Somerville Arts Council Website!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Road Closure Between McGrath Highway & Ward Street to Begin on July 21st

Map of the traffic diversion plan

Beginning on Monday, July 21, 2013 for approximately three weeks, Medford Street in Somerville will be closed to traffic between McGrath Highway and Ward Street to allow for top coat painting of the Medford St. Railroad Bridge.

Pedestrians will still have access through Medford St. as one sidewalk will remain open during the duration of the closure.

A map of the traffic diversion plan can be found on the GLX website here: http://greenlineextension.eot.state.ma.us/documents/MedfordSt_detour.pdf.

This work is part of the widening of the Medford Street Railroad Bridge to allow for Green Line tracks to run alongside the Commuter Rail tracks.

Thank you in advance for your patience. This work is an important step in bringing the Green Line to Somerville.

ArtBeat This Weekend!


From the Somerville Arts Council website...

Friday, July 18 6:00 PM - Saturday, July 19 10:00 PM
Schedule
Sponsors

ArtBeat is one of the area's largest and most innovative arts festivals, with over a dozen bands, dance troupes, 75 craft vendors, food and hatch-themed activities.

We like to think of Somerville as a giant incubator, one in which ideas, dreams and art percolate and ultimately, hatch. And so, this year's ArtBeat theme is "hatch," a celebration of our city's creative endeavors. "Hatch" evokes many things: chirping chicks breaking out of their shells, emerging creative projects and scientific break-throughs, and indie businesses busting onto the scene. Let's also consider "hatch" as a noun, as an opening or compartment in a ship, car or building—places where things can be stashed away from the public eye. TV fans might recall the mysterious "hatch" on Lost, a buried steel entryway to the subterranean Dharma Initiative Station. We look forward to your creative interpretations of this year's ArtBeat theme. Dancers might explore emerging from a confined space; tech-savvy artists might share newly hatched innovations in robotics; an artist collective might showcase work that has been created collectively, within an incubator; pet lovers might organize a photography exhibit of newly hatched critters or stage a puppy parade. It's time to bust out of our shells and let our ideas... hatch.

Songs of Infatuation and Infidelity to Fill Armory


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Youth Services Committee to Meet

The Youth Services Committee will be meeting tomorrow at 6:30 PM to discuss a 6 item agenda that includes:

1. 196226 : That the Director of the Boys and Girls Club update this Board of its involvement with the students of the Healey School.
2. 196728 : That the Superintendent of Recreation and the Youth Programming Coordinator share data on the usage of all recreation programs by season for FY13 and FY14.
3. 197101 : That the Superintendent of Recreation and the Youth Programming Coordinator share participation data for all recreation and youth programs for FY13 and FY14. (See #196728.)
4. 197259 : That the Director of Purchasing and the Recreation Superintendent submit a monthly recreation equipment purchase report for all equipment purchased.
5. 197291 : That the Administration add two youth outreach positions to the Recreation Department, and that both positions be filled after the new Superintendent of Recreation is hired and that at least one of the positions should require skills and experience in women's leadership.
6. 197297 : That the Administration involve this Board’s Committee on Youth Services in the search and selection of a new Recreation Superintendent.

The meeting will take place in the second floor Committee room of City Hall.

RoundUp: Ward 5 Online's favorite #Somerville photos in TwitterVerse

Here's a roundup of Ward 5 Online's favorite #Somerville photos in TwitterVerse!

This will be an ongoing series where you can nominate tweeted (and appropriate) #Somerville photos for this roundup by bringing it to my attention using @Ward5Online in your retweet.

Attending a great #Somerville event, frequenting a great local #Somerville business, or getting a photo-op with a #Somerville somebody are just a few ways that can get you considered for inclusion on Ward 5 Online!

This weeks picks include Mr. and Mrs. Dillon letting us know what to wear in Montepulciano, Italy...

Returning for a second week in a row is Dimitra Tsourianis-Murphy gardening with Charlie...literally.

My choice is Steve Subrizi tweeting out the new Somerville mural along the Community Path.

MassDOT to Hold Meeting on McGrath Highway/McCarthy Boulevard Project



MassDOT will be holding a meeting on the McGrath Highway/McCarthy Boulevard project on Thursday July 17th from 6:30 - 8:30 PM in the Cafetorium of the Argenziano School.

The purpose of this meeting is to introduce the Somerville community to the next phase of the McGrath Highway/McCarthy Boulevard Project.

This new stage begins where the Grounding McGrath planning study ended and the long-term conversion of the elevated McCarthy Overpass into an at-grade boulevard with “complete streets” style bicycle and pedestrian accommodations.

The meeting will also provide residents and other area stakeholders with an opportunity to learn about the status of the short-term improvements to the McGrath Highway corridor and to meet MassDOT's project team for the current phase of work. Following the presentation, MassDOT staff will facilitate a discussion to hear comments and answer questions.

Monday, July 14, 2014

MassDOT Green Line Extension Art Program (Info Session July 29)



The Green Line Extension (GLX) project is pleased to announce the second phase of the GLX Integrated Art Program and that MassDOT & the MBTA have released another Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for the purpose of commissioning multiple artists to design an integral art program for the GLX stations. 

In April, as part of the first phase of the GLX Art Program, three artists were selected after careful consideration and input from the community, and their work will become an integrated part of the first three new stations (Lechmere, Washington Street & Union Square) of the Green Line Extension.

Designs for the second set of four stations to be constructed, Gilman, Lowell, Ball Square and College Avenue, are currently at approximately 60% design, and will be 90% complete in January 2015. Artist selection will be made for these four stations, and may include elements that will be common to all stations.

More information about the GLX Art Program and the RFQ can be found on the GLX website here: http://greenlineextension.eot.state.ma.us/arts_Program.html.

Artists are strongly encouraged to participate in the prequalification/information session prior to the application deadline. This session will take place on July 29, 2014 at 5:30 PM and will be held at the GLX Project Office (100 Summer Street, Suite 250, Boston, MA). 

Submissions must be received using the online platform by Friday, August 15, 2014 by 11:59 PM.

SomerMovies Continue...

The SomerMovie Fest continues on Thursday July 17th with a showing of Fried Green Tomatoes. The movie starts just after sunset and will be shown on the City Hall Concourse.

The movies run from July to the end of August and are completely free and feature movies for the whole family. They are shown at various locations throughout the City that includes Seven Hills Park, Chuckie Harris Park, Nathan Tufts Park, Conway Park and the City Hall Concourse. See the poster or the City's Calendar for movie details. You can also download the Ward 5 Online calendar for saving on your Outlook or Google calendar for quick reference. 

This year's SomerMovie Fest is sponsored by Assembly Row and Comcast.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Word Around The Ward


Another name has been added to a list of people mulling a run for Mayor here in Somerville. A former candidate for Alderman At Large has been rumored to be considering. New names coming in this week have placed races in all Wards come 2015, as well. Have you heard anything? Feel free to comment below!

Speaking of the political scene, Mayor Joe Curtatone endorsed Somerville businessman and current Treasurer Steve Grossman for Governor yesterday. Again, feel free to include your thoughts below.

Twitter was the place to be recently as local activist Keri Lorenzo took to the social media site to call Somerville-Cambridge for Change and the Progressive Democrats of Somerville to task regarding the recent candidates forum they co-sponsored and Carl Sciortino moderated. It seems that one Twitter user pointed out that there were only 2 candidates in attendance prompting KLo to explain that there are members of Somerville-Cambridge for Change and the Progressive Democrats of Somerville who are directly involved with one candidate's campaign and that moderator Carl Sciortino was photographed (and witnessed) wearing the campaign sticker of this candidate at a recent fundraiser. Stating that the forum was biased, it was decided that Medford candidate Erin DiBenedetto would not participate weeks before the event was to take place. Feel free to comment your thoughts below.

Big thanks and job well done to all involved in the City's fireworks display that drew a good-sized crowd despite being in competition with Boston's festivities. Clearly, people prefer Booty Vortex over The Beach Boys ;)

As of tomorrow, the Board of Aldermen will be on their summer hiatus. During this time, some subcommittees will be meeting, but the full Board will not gather again until the end of August.

The food-themed Somerville Movie Fest starts tonight and features a dusk broadcast of Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory at Seven Hills Park. 

I am starting a new feature here on Ward 5 Online, posting the best of #Somerville-themed photos from TwitterVerse. If you post (an appropriate) photo that you think is worthy, retweet with @Ward5Online for consideration.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Board of Aldermen to Meet on Thursday, Then Go On Vacation


The Board of Aldermen will be meeting on Thursday July 10th at 7pm in the Aldermanic Chambers of City Hall before taking a hiatus until August 28th. During this time some subcommittees will be meeting, but the full Board won't.

The agenda up for discussion has been published on the City's Meeting Portal and there are 3 ways you can view the action live:
1.) Show up to the meeting
2.) Stream online through the meeting portal
3.) Watch Channel 13 if you have RCN or Channel 22 if you have Comcast. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

An Open Letter on Zoning from the Somerville Arts Council Advisory Board



The Somerville Arts Council Advisory Board has published the following open letter regarding new zoning changes that will be presented to the Board of Aldermen this year. 

It is worth a read to see what our artist community needs to continue living, working, playing and raising a family here in Somerville.




Tim Devin writes, "Here's an open letter on zoning that the Arts Council advisory board just sent to the mayor, the aldermen, and the planning department. 

Since it's an open letter, it's also here: https://medium.com/@timdevin/a7b1e53d28d1"

Mayor Curtatone, esteemed Aldermen, and members of the Office of Strategic Planning and Community Development,

We board members of the Somerville Arts Council are excited to hear about your open-discussion series on zoning. It is testament to the openness of your administration that you are hosting these meetings. We plan on attending the July 10th meeting on the arts and the creative economy, and offer these thoughts in writing before the meeting by way of broaching certain topics that we and other members of the creative community have been talking about lately.
 

Somerville has built a name for itself as a home for the arts and cultural innovation. Many of our neighbors are writers, painters, actors, storytellers, musicians and every other type of creator in between. Our creative residents have helped make the city the vibrant community that it is — all the while helping to build and sustain to the local economy.

This is far from a secret. A recent NPR episode on what the new Boston arts commissioner should do for Boston included a lengthy discussion of Somerville’s creations; cultural critic Greg Cook, for instance, went into great detail about our festivals like Honk and Porchfest.

But more and more of Somerville’s creators are leaving town for affordable space elsewhere. This is because Somerville’s home values and rents have increased by a third in the past 5 years, with the average home jumping to $462,000, and the average apartment now renting for $2,300. During this same 5 year period, the US has seen a 10% inflation in the cost of living.

As board members of the Somerville Arts Council, we are glad to see the city and various nonprofit organizations take a number of steps to keep residents in town and offset the rising cost of living. We applaud their efforts, and look forward to even more work being done in this area. And we feel strongly that this energy also be directed to keeping the city’s creative community here in town. A Somerville with fewer artists would be a less vibrant place.

One solution is to expand, and strengthen, the 2009 arts overlay zoning district. This district sits in and around Union Square, and is designed to include space for the city’s creators. Among other zoning changes, the district allows for arts-related uses, such as live/work spaces, studios, galleries, etc. Its provisions makes it easier for people who want to set up shop in existing space by relaxed parking requirements, and it awards density bonuses to developers who create new spaces that offer arts-related uses.

When it was devised through the vision of the Mayor, the Alders, and the city’s Office of Strategic Planning and Community Development, the arts overlay zoning district was hailed by arts organizations like the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and by members of the planning community alike as a model. It was one of the first such overlays in the region, and has since served as the inspiration for rezoning discussions in a number of cities and towns in Massachusetts.

The arts overlay zoning district is yet another innovation that we should feel proud of. And it’s an innovation that should be expanded. We’re at an exciting time for Somerville, as we see more and more growth and development. We’ve got a unique opportunity to build for the future, and to redefine what can be built. So let’s take the arts overlay district, and expand it. Let’s expand the overlay to other parts of Union Square. Let’s also look to other parts of Somerville, and find other sections where we can encourage space for creativity. Let’s take the small footprint of the arts overlay district, and make it the blueprint for more creative zones throughout the city.

And while we’re at it, let’s sharpen this tool, and give more incentives to landlords and developers, so they will want to provide spaces for creatives in their properties. Since the overlay was approved, only new businesses using existing spaces have taken advantage of the code. No new artist live/work spaces have been created, even though that was an important part of the zoning. We understand that part of this is due to banking practices, but another part seems related to incentives. If the incentives are stronger, then owners and developers will choose to participate more, and the zoning ordinance will become even more effective towards its stated purpose. And Somerville’s cultural vibrance and creative economy will only increase.

As we mentioned before, this letter represents some ideas that have come up in our discussions. Of course, these are only a few potential solutions, and they only deal with zoning issues, not other mechanisms that might solve the issues we’re facing. We have seen the city implement a number of innovative ideas, and look forward to seeing even more.

We’ve spent decades drawing creative people to Somerville, and have enjoyed the cultural and economic wealth that these creative citizens have provided the community as a whole. So let’s spend some time and energy finding ways to keep them here. Let’s keep what we’ve built, and build it even stronger.

Sincerely,

The Somerville Arts Council advisory board
Tim Devin, chair
Valeria Amato
Kelvy Bird
Tori Costa
Jacy Edelman
Michael J Epstein
Nicole Pierce
Robert Smyth

SomerMovie Fest Starts on July 10th!

The SomerMovie Fest starts on Thursday July 10th with a showing of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. The movie starts just after sunset and will be shown at Seven Hills Park in Davis Square. 

The movies run from July to the end of August and are completely free and feature movies for the whole family. They are shown at various locations throughout the City that includes Seven Hills Park, Chuckie Harris Park, Nathan Tufts Park, Conway Park and the City Hall Concourse. See the poster or the City's Calendar for movie details. You can also download the Ward 5 Online calendar for saving on your Outlook or Google calendar for quick reference. 

This year's SomerMovie Fest is sponsored by Assembly Row and Comcast.

RoundUp: Ward 5 Online's favorite #Somerville photos in TwitterVerse

Here's a roundup of Ward 5 Online's favorite #Somerville photos in TwitterVerse! 

This will be an ongoing series where you can nominate tweeted (and appropriate) #Somerville photos for this roundup by bringing it to my attention using @Ward5Online in your retweet. 

Attending a great #Somerville event, frequenting a great local #Somerville business, or getting a photo-op with a #Somerville somebody are just a few ways that can get you considered for inclusion on Ward 5 Online!

My picks include the Mayor hanging with Bootie Vortex rocker Julia Cruz, Daddy Jones Bar owner Dimitra Tsourianis-Murphy gardening with Charlie...(literally), Transportation guru Hayes Morrison wishing everyone a 'Good Morning' and Alderman At Large Jack Connolly hanging with the Aeronaut Brewing guys, Ward 2 Alderman Maryann Heuston and the Mayor at the brewery's grand-opening. 


 


Monday, July 7, 2014

Public Records Requests for 2014 Include Emails and Information on Ward 5 Bar

While perusing the agenda for the Legislative Matters Committee meeting set for July 9th at 6:30pm, I couldn't help but notice the inclusion of a public records request list for 2014-as of May 9th. Always curious to see what types of records people like to request, I took a look and found a couple that jumped out at me.


Among the requests includes a February 25th request of "all records regarding The Pub," which I assume refers to the Ward 5/Ball Square establishment located at 682 Broadway. Of course, the list does not provide any information on the requester. No specific information was included in the request, nor a reason for it. The job was estimated at just over $50 with no indication whether it was completed. 

A March 7th inquiry requesting a list of email data surrounding property taxes is also included, but the report states that no such lists exists. The requester was given the option of receiving the actual emails. The request specifically asks for the following information: 
1. Time and date sent 
2. Author 
3. Recipients copied and blind copied 
4. Subject line 
For e-mails matching all three of the following criteria: 
1. Sent between 12 a.m., Nov. 20, 2013 and 12 a.m., Feb. 1, 2014 
2. Sent or received by one or more of the following: Mayor Joseph Curtatone, Chief Assessor Marc Levye, Communications Director Denise Taylor, City Solicitor Frank Wright 
3. At least one of the following words and phrases appears anywhere in the subject line or body of the e-mail: Property, tax, bill, rate, assessment, letter, Monica, Jimenez, Dan, Atkinson, journal, press release, Enrich 

The compiling of this public records request list is the result of legislative number 196362 requesting that the City Solicitor appear before this Board to describe the process for responding to requests for public records, including fees and redactions, and how this comports with the requirements of state law, the Secretary of State's Public Records Division, and the practices of other communities. This was approved at the March 13th Board of Aldermen meeting and has been included in the Legislative Matters agenda since then. The committee meets on Wednesday at 6:30 PM.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Tree Lovers Rejoice...Somerville to Plant 575 More Trees!

You may have seen the sticks in a jack-hammered line on sidewalks around the City, or even been woken up by the jack-hammers, themselves (lovely, isn't it). Well, today's press release from Dan DeMaina makes sense of it all...Somerville is plantin' some trees!

After planting over 500 between 2010 and 2012, the City is looking to plant another 575 on it's way to 2,000 total by the end of 2015. Please call 311 if you would like a tree planted near you!

As for those sidewalk stakes, DeMaina writes, "First crews make sure the proposed tree pit will work and meets certain criteria before cutting around the full pit, and then jackhammering a small strip marked with stakes to avoid the tripping hazard created if the whole sidewalk slab is dug up and left sitting before the tree is planted. Workers will return in July with a backhoe and tree, lifting up the entire slab and planting the tree."

Woke Up This Morning to Humidity and Chicanes


When I noticed that the City was moving forward with safety initiatives for Lowell Street, I didn't realize how fast they intended on making changes. 

I received a notification through the Magoun Square Nextdoor site that the City had started painting Lowell Street between 11 PM and midnight last night. 

Waking up this morning, Lowell Street greeted me with new center lines and the chicane warning signs that were black-bagged as of yesterday. 


There is also parking allowed (and removed) throughout the street as the City aims to slow drivers down coming from Highland to Medford. The painted grid lines act as the chicane.



The Word Around The Ward

Tonight is the annual Independence Day kick-off at Trum Field featuring music, vendors and a 30-minute fireworks display. Please check out the details here and, remember, that bags are subject to inspection and please leave all dogs at home.

BaconPalooza is back at Olde Magoun's Saloon. Carry on.

There's an empty storefront in Magoun Square that is becoming quite the hot commodity. Formally a hair salon, 515 Medford Street has been vacant for a few weeks, but the owner has received 30 phone calls from potential tenants that include artists and a dentist. Umberto, the owner, has made it clear that he does not want a food establishment and that he wants something that will compliment the Square. It will be interesting to see who wins the lease!

Happy Birthday to Ward 5er Dawn Sicari!

It is the 4th of July weekend and that means vacation time for some Ward 5 businesses. Closed until next week are MF Dulock and Eat at Jumbos. Plan accordingly ;)

Confirmation was made on Monday night that the block of Broadway storefronts from Woody's Liquors to On the Hill Tavern, as well as, the house behind On the Hill have sold to one buyer for $10 Million. No word yet on the buyer or their intentions.

Me here at Ward 5 Online would like to wish a Happy Independence Day to all of my readers! I hope you have a great long weekend!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

City Moves on Lowell Street Safety Initiatives



After meeting with residents last week, the City has moved on safety initiatives on Lowell Street. No Parking Any Time signs, as well as, mysterious covered signs have been placed in various locations between Albion Street and Medford Street.

During the June 25th gathering, various traffic calming measures were discussed and eliminated, with chicanes being determined as the cheapest and quickest method of slowing down vehicular speeding, according to volunteer Jason Schrieber of Nelson\Nygaard.


Wikipedia defines chicanes as an artificial feature creating extra turns in a road, used in motor racing and on streets to slow traffic for safety. Incorporated on Columbia Street in Cambridge, chicanes force lateral deflection, naturally, slowing down traffic as it makes the driver perceive the road as unpredictable. 

Chicanes can use permanent features such as bump-outs and plantings or basic grid painting and moving some parking spaces on the opposite side of the street, creating a zig-zag effect that would force cars to slow down. By decreasing the speed of vehicles down Lowell Street, cyclists will be able to exit side streets safer and pedestrians can cross with more confidence. City Officials noted their preference to be grid painting and diversified parking locations at the June 25th meeting.


BaconPalooza is Back at Olde Magoun's! Carry on.



The fifth annual BaconPalooza menu is back at Olde Magoun's Saloon on Wednesdays only throughout the month of July. Check out the offerings on the 2014 menu and be sure to stop by and get your fix before it's all gone! The menu starts tonight at 5pm.

Devilish Eggs – 6
pureed shoshito peppers, crumbled bacon dusted with smoked paprika

Fig-Alicious – 10
figs wrapped in smoked bacon and stuffed with goat cheese

Yummy Guacamole – 8
avocados, smoked applewood bacon, crumbled blue cheese, assorted chips

Bacon Poutine – 10
waffle fries, cheese curds, bacon gravy topped with a soft fried egg

Lobster Bacon Scallion Pancakes – 12
black pepper bacon, sweet lobster, ginger plum sauce

Chicharrones – 10
crispy slab bacon drizzled with chimichurri sauce

Twice Baked Bacon Potato – 8
with chive sour cream

Bacon Bahn Mi – 12
lacquered pork belly, crunchy asian slaw, cilantro mayo on baguette

Bacon & Shrimp Pad Thai – 14
traditional preparation with added jalapeño bacon and shrimp

Bacon Bomb Mac & Cheese – 16
jalapeño bacon, slab bacon, chicharrones, smoked bacon and pancetta

Bread Pudding – 7
served warm with maple bacon, salted caramel and bourbon ice cream