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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, March 27, 2015

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





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

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

Thursday, March 26, 2015

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Word Around The Ward


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




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Board of Aldermen to Meet Tomorrow





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

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


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



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

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

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

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

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Wig and 'Stache Bash at Cuisine en Locale


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

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

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

Three Somerville Streets to See Reduced Speed Limit Following MassDOT Approval



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

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


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


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

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

Monday, March 23, 2015

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, March 20, 2015

Governor Funds Program to Assist with Winter-Related Repairs



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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Goodbye, Alderman Taylor.



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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Parking Ban Lifted! Message from Mayor Curtatone...



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

Magoun Square Business News




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






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






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


Monday, March 9, 2015

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


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

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

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

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

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

Big thanks to everyone involved in Thursday’s effort!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Decision Made...




Dear Friends and Supporters,

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sláinte Mhaith,
Courtney O'Keefe

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Snow Information for Tonight



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

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

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

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

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Word Around the Ward


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

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

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

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

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

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



Monday, February 16, 2015

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



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

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

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


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

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Public Hearing on Proposed Zoning Code Cancelled




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

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

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


Saturday, February 7, 2015

Snow emergency declared for Sunday at 10:00 AM


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, February 5, 2015

The Word Around the Ward: Who? What? Why? Election 2015


As other news providers have begun giving this topic some attention, I thought I would jump in and give my awesome readers a chance to lay out their thoughts on what the Somerville political landscape will look like by year’s end. Please know that you can go beyond Ward 5 if you wish and you may also repost previous predictions here.

So, what do you think? Who is running? Who should run? Why? What do you think their chances are? Should you be incorrectly mentioned or not mentioned, please feel free to comment or use the survey to be added.

Here’s what’s been spinning the rumor mill as of late…

Mayor
After deciding not to run for Governor, Curtatone breezed through 2013 unopposed. An anti-Curtatone regime has been rearing its head in the media, but is it enough to overthrow Joe? Rumored Mayoral Candidates include Ward 4 Alderman Tony LaFuente and Alderman at Large Bill White. Curtatone’s free summers might end in 2015 as someone may challenge him.

Ward 1
Could Elio LoRusso be ready for another run again incumbent Matt McLaughlin? Construction has kept Matt busy with board orders and constituents rave about his level of communication with them. From what I hear, he does need to get his letters to FRIT fact-checked. Camp Elio has been fairly quiet…different from 2013 which saw Mr. LoRusso commenting on news articles and keeping his Facebook page filled with personal opinions on various city-wide topics. Elio?

Steve Roix has been doing a good job and doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. Although he had an opponent in 2013, no one has verbalized a desire to serve on the School Committee.

Ward 2
Maryann Heuston has been increasing her communications approach with constituents through a re-launched newsletter and increased social media presence, but a longtime incumbent is always on the radar for the Progressive Democrats. The question is who they would put against such a strong candidate?

Dan Futrell also has a great communications approach that included an op-ed published in the Somerville Journal recently. Mike Nionakis has already bid Somerville politics farewell and Dan is a PDS darling, so there’s no worry there.

Ward 3
Bobby McWatters won, but not by much. This could be the motivator for Suzanne Bremer to rally the troops again in 2015. Should Joe Curtatone be uncontested, this will be the race to watch.

Adam Sweeting has announced that he will not be running for re-election, opening the door for a new representative on the School Committee. Lee Palmer and Dorothy Kelly Gay are rumored to be interested. Former Mayor DKG has been more public lately even receiving a shout-out from Mayor Curtatone during this year’s State of the City address. Interestingly, she was seated right next to the Mayor’s Mother. I know Lee has been heavily involved with campaigns for Christine Barber and Denise Provost, has a child in the school system, but I don’t know much more of who she really is. Most likely, PDS will continue their occupancy of this seat.

Ward 4
Tony LaFuente is one name consistently coming up as a potential Mayoral candidate. This will be a repeat for the two-term Ward 4 Alderman who lost in 2003 to Joe Curtatone after both defeated Dorothy Kelly Gay in the Primary. Regardless of LaFuente’s decision, you may see a race for Alderman in Ward 4 as two residents, a member of a neighborhood organization and a strong female candidate, have expressed serious interest. Proposing cutting over $30,000 out of the Council on Aging budget this past June may come back to haunt LaFuente no matter what race he chooses to participate in.

Christine Rafal has held the School Committee seat for years and is comfortable. Her running unopposed will be a godsend to PDS as she will be needed to canvass for candidates in other wards.

Ward 5
Mark Niedergang made the smart decision not to support the removal of the Recreation Department from the City’s budget and the reduction of the Council on Aging allowance (as described in Ward 4). He has had two fundraisers solidifying his desire to remain on the Board.

Laura Pitone proved herself to be a door-knocking champion in 2013, but has remained quiet on the mainstream media front. With Ross Richmond recently engaged and Caroline Shea Rosas busy with her family, it looks like Pitone will be free of campaigning for 2015.

Ward 6
Since August of 2014, I have heard that Rebekah Gewirtz will not seek re-election and has been in the process of convincing Paul Bockelman to run for the seat. Should this be true, anticipate her releasing a farewell statement soon that will include an endorsement for Bockelman.

Along with Gewirtz’s departure, the Ward 6 School Committee seat will also be available. As sure as the sun rises and sets, PDS already has someone lined up as they continue their pursuit of world dominance.

Ward 7
Katjana Ballantyne curbed a Capuano, but can she fend off a Fitzgerald? Sean Fitzgerald – former Alderman at Large candidate – may be considering the switch to a ward run despite publicly praising the incumbent on her vote for last year’s Pay to Play Ordinance. Everything’s fair in love and politics.

Carrie Normand is one of very few elected officials I actually like. I hope she gets a campaign-free summer. Campaigning sucks.

Aldermen at Large
Jack Connolly has already squashed rumors that he’s retiring this year. Who’s to blame him…he’s been on the Board for the opening of 2 MBTA train stations (Red and Orange) and now has the trifecta with the Green Line Extension.

Mary Jo Rossetti is the newcomer to the At Large scene and has been a force to be reckoned with. Her community meeting presence has gained her city-wide visibility and her leading the charge on airplane noise and gained her notoriety. She will be the target for a PDS-placed candidate, however, so she needs to stay the course and raise some funds.

Although rumors are swirling around a possible Mayoral run, Bill White will probably continue his tenure on the Board of Aldermen.

Dennis Sullivan has been rumored to be considering retirement with the birth of his daughter being the main reason. I’m hoping to sign his nomination papers a couple more times before he calls it quits.

Rumored At Large candidates include Sean Fitzgerald, Joe Capuano, Mike Capuano, and Todd Easton along with whoever draws the shortest straw at the next PDS meeting.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Did You Lose This?



This handkerchief was found on Medford Street while Ward 5er, Rebecca Cooper, was shoveling. Appreciative of its details, Rebecca is thinking this is special to someone. Is it yours? Feel free to use the survey to claim it!

Somerville Local First Hosts Local is for Lovers Valentines Day Market at Arts at the Armory on February 8



SOMERVILLE (February 3, 2015)—Valentine’s Day is almost here and nothing says “I love you” more than a gift for your beloved AND your beloved community! Find gifts from local artisans and crafters at Somerville Local First’s Valentine’s Day Local is for Lovers Market

The market takes place Sunday, February 8 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 (for a suggested donation of $3) so the kids have a place to get out some pent up winter energy while their parents shop or sip a local brew (coffee or beer!)

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

Tamaryn Design
Beadkreative
Somerville Soap Works
Philosophy Cards
13mL designs
Singing Stones Jewelry
Yeiou {paper objects}
Neighborhood Artesans
Sock Faery
JasmineDoodles

Vendors and shoppers at previous Local is for Lovers Market have raved about their experience and the next market promises to be just as fun. Somerville Local First Executive Director says, “We’ve always aimed to do something different with these markets, creating a shopping and community experience that’s fun for the whole family.”  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.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Magoun Square: Art and Bagels and Businesses...Oh My!



Jewelry Left to Right: Jennifer Weigel, Consuelo J. Perez, Barbara Marder

Magoun Square was the place to be on Saturday as the arts and business community came together to host two pop-up markets giving stir-crazy residents a reason to get out after over 30" fell on the City between Monday and Wednesday.

Artists Barbara Marder, Consuelo J. Perez, and Jennifer Weigel brought their talent to Imperial Jewelry located at 499 Medford Street that included jewelry and painting. Purchasing art at Imperial gave buyers discounts in participating businesses: Some Yoga Studio, King of Wings, Olde Magoun's Saloon, Natural Grocery and Royal Bengal Restaurant. Every $10 spent earned you a ticket in a raffle towards a piece of art generously donated by Marder, Perez and Weigel.

Daddy Jones Bar held a pop-up of their own that featured Better Bagels and Somerville Soap Works. Attendees received free coffee while they perused the wide selection of soap and bought bagels and assorted spreads. By 2pm, all bagels were sold out...a true testament to the popularity of the event.

This is the second "storefront hop" type event held in Magoun Square. A Market and Restaurant Tour last year brought 16 participants to Olde Magoun's Saloon, Pennypackers, K2 Beer & Wine, Modelo Meat Market, Modelo Bakery and Daddy Jones Bar. Each location provided food and beverages along with talking points about their business. 

Monday, February 2, 2015

Snow Emergency Remains in Effect Until Tuesday at 6pm. School Cancelled for Tuesday



The City of Somerville’s snow emergency will remain in effect until Tues., Feb. 3, at 6 p.m., Mayor Curtatone announced today. At the end of a snow emergency, residents have two hours to move vehicles from municipal and school parking lots. Cars must be moved by 8 p.m. Tuesday to avoid being ticketed and towed.

Please also note the following scheduling information for Tuesday:
• Somerville Public Schools are CLOSED.
• No City or school evening activities.
• Trash and recycling pick up will remain on a normal schedule.
• City Hall will be open with limited staffing, and the Somerville Public Library (Central Branch) will be open.
• The Kennedy School swimming pool will be open for family swim and for swim lessons from noon to 4 p.m., however please note that parking will be extremely limited.

Residents will have until 10 p.m. on Tuesday night to clear snow and ice from sidewalks, and are reminded that snow may NOT be shoveled into the street.

Ball Square: The Book Shop to Close :(

The Book Shop located in Ball Square at 694 Broadway is closing at the end of February according to a post on their Facebook page.

Owner Gil Barbosa wrote today, "It's with a heavy heart i announce the closing of The Book Shop at the end of this month. 

I'd like to especially thank my mom, my sister, my aunt and the rest of my family, i couldn't have done it without your love and support. I've met some amazing people (and doggies too) and made great friends, to the authors, artists, my Ball Square neighbors, my book club members and volunteers and everyone else, way too many to list.THANK YOU !!! all for coming along on this wonderful journey with me. This is a community like no other and i'll miss you all, It's been a great pleasure and i have memories that will last a lifetime."

Gil's shop hosted readings, book signings, club meetings and included DVD's and music for sale along with a wide selection of new and used books always marked at great prices. 

The Book Shop opened in June of 2011 to much fanfare, however, trouble for the Book Shop forced Barbosa to launch an IndiGoGo fundraising campaign in 2013 that only garnered him $450 of the $26,000 he needed to remain in business. 

According to Barbosa's Facebook message, all inventory and storage in the store is for sale. "...everything must go, be sure to stop by and pick up some books, bookcases and fixtures are all available at deep discounts."


Sunday, February 1, 2015

Snow emergency declared for 10:00 PM this evening






SOMERVILLE – In accordance with the City’s Snow Emergency Procedures, Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone has declared a snow emergency for the City of Somerville to go into effect at 10 p.m. on Sun., Feb. 1.  During snow emergencies, parking is allowed on the odd-numbered side of the street only (unless otherwise posted).  Cars not moved by 2 a.m. Mon. morning will be subject to ticketing and towing. Residents unable to find a parking space on the odd-numbered side of the street may park in any municipal or school parking lot for the duration of the emergency, and may park in lots immediately on Sunday as regular parking enforcement is not in place on Sundays. Full snow emergency and snow removal policies may be found on the City’s website at www.somervillema.gov/snow.

Trash and recycling pickup will continue on a normal scheduled for Mon., Feb. 2. Please be sure to put trash and recycling toters curbside where they will be visible to trucks. If your trash or recycling is not picked up, please call 311.

On Monday, City Hall and public libraries will remain open. The City Hall Annex will be closed. Any further closures will be announced later today.
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. In cases of extreme snowfall or difficult conditions as predicted for this storm, the City may extend timelines for snow removal. All changes will be announced in advance.

Residents are encouraged to sign up for the City's alert system to receive notification by phone, email and/or text message in the event of emergencies or with important information for your neighborhood. Residents may also sign up for alerts by calling 311 (617-666-3311from outside the City).  

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

Parking Regulations During a Snow Emergency:

Once a snow emergency is declared, vehicle owners will have four hours (unless otherwise noted) in which to move their vehicles to the odd-numbered side of the street (unless otherwise posted), or they will be ticketed and towed.  Municipal and school lots will be made available at no cost to residents during snow emergencies. It is important that vehicles only be parked on one side of the street as noted above to ensure plows can make all roads accessible and safe, particularly for emergency vehicles.