Monthly Archives: July 2009

New Community Event Calendar for Cambridge and Somerville

Cambridge/Somerville – In an effort to highlight some of the hundreds of local community events that happen in Cambridge and Somerville every month, this month the community blog will include a more extensive listing of local events. The calendar is linked on the blog under the link titled “Event Calendar.”

The new events calendar, built into the community blog, will bring together event postings from multiple other calendars, including the City of Cambridge, the City of Somerville, the Growing Center in Somerville, and other local and publicly available community calendars. The labels at the top of the calendar can be used to help you to find and filter out the events most interesting or relevant to you.

Every day the calendar page will be updated to only show the upcoming events from today until the end of the next month. Events highlighted by a red border are events I think will be particularly interesting to residents of the 26th Middlesex District.

I hope this calendar will become a useful tool for everyone in the neighborhood, please click around and feel free to share your feedback or suggestions. If you have or know of an online calendar you would like to have linked to and included on this list of events, please contact me by emailing or otherwise contacting my office.

Assembly Sq. Development Receives $65 Million, Breaks Ground

Assembly Sq., Somerville map
WBZ article (with video)
Boston Business Journal: “Somerville development gets $65M boost”
Somerville Journal: Somerville’s Assembly on the Mystic to move ahead with $65M from state
Somerville News: Assembly Square vision more clearly revealed in press conference Monday

SOMERVILLE – I joined local and state officials along with community leaders and the Federal Realty Investment Trust (FRIT) to formally announce the groundbreaking and the $65 million dollar federal commitment to the exciting upcoming development. The money to redevelop Assembly Square comes from federal stimulus funds, and I-Cubed Funding (Infrastructure Investment Incentive Program), which are state funds allocated to go to programs that will result in new jobs and tax revenue for the Commonwealth.

Congressman Capuano, Governor Patrick, and Senator Kerry all spoke about the importance of getting these shovel-ready projects underway to stimulate the economy by making full use of President Obama’s stimulus package funds to put people to work immediately.

Congressman Capuano: “I don’t want to come to anymore groundbreakings; I want to come to some ribbon-cuttings.”

On hand were Senator John Kerry, Congressman Michael Capuano, Governor Deval Patrick, Mayor Joe Curtatone, Senator Patricia Jehlen, Senator Anthony Galluccio, Representative Carl Sciortino, Representative Denise Provost, Alderman-at-large Jack Connolly, Alderman Walter Pero, School Committee member Maureen Bastardi, and myself.

This project is the shared vision for a vibrant, eco-friendly and modern riverfront development along the Mystic. The success of this project to date is a testament to the hard work and collaboration of a wide spectrum of public and private interests, along with the tireless work and advocacy of local community groups such as the Mystic View Task Force, Somerville Transportation Equity Partnership and East Somerville Main Streets.

Governor Patrick flanked by elected officials and local community leaders.

Savoring East Somerville: Submit Your Recipe!

East Somerville Main Streets is creating a new guide to the neighborhood, this time in the form of a cookbook. The cookbook is intended to help tie the residents East Somerville together as well as to provide some really great recipes. Residents of East Somerville can submit their recipes online before the July 27th deadline. The cookbook is scheduled to be released on October 9th 2009.

If you have any questions feel free to contact East Somerville Main Streets at

East Somerville Main Streets
114 Broadway – Suite 112
Somerville, MA 02145

For more information follow these links
Somerville Journal News Article:
East Somerville Main Streets:
Online Recipe Submission:

CAFEH Study To Help Analyze I-93 Area Air Quality

Somerville News – “Comprehensive air quality testing for one years begins soon”
Somerville Journal – “Tufts to test Somerville air, residents, for air pollution toxins”

East Somerville – Residents of East Somerville may be visited soon by a group of volunteers and scientists looking to conduct a study of the air quality in the neighborhood. We have heard for years about the potential environmental impact of living so close to the I-93 freeway, but this will be the first study that works to find the direct link between the health and the direct pollution and air particulate levels coming from the highway.

The Community Assessment of Freeway Exposure and Health (CAFEH), a study funded by a 2.5 million dollar grant to Tufts, is partnering up with The Somerville Transportation Equity Partnership among others to study the health effects for Somerville residents of living near a freeway. CAFEH is working to figure out not only how much pollution people near freeways are exposed to, but what the effects of this pollution are, and what can be done to lessen the pollution.

This will be an extremely valuable study for the future of Somerville and for the future of any urban community dealing with the effects of living next to a major highway.

Earlier this month, CAFEH held an informational presentation and breakfast at the Mt. Vernon restaurant on Broadway Ave in Somerville. Visitors were encouraged to spread the word about the study, check out the actual air quality monitoring van and equipment, and enjoy a sampling of the food at Mt. Vernon Restaurant. Representatives, engineers, volunteers, and other community groups showed up to support the effort and offer suggestions on how to make it work for the neighborhood.

My hope is that this knowledge will be used to help the state and federal governements realize the absolute necessity of mitigating the effects of and avoiding potential environmental hazards. In the same way that federal environmental standards have led to the legal obligation to fund the construction of Green Line through Somerville, there may be additional health concerns associated with freeways through communities that would require federal mandates for financial assistance. It will also be important research for future developments that will hopefully lead to a greener, more healthy planning process for roads and traffic engineering.

If you have any questions please contact Doug Brugge, PhD, MS, at:
Tufts University School of Medicine
Department of Public Health and Family Medicine
Phone: 617.636.0326

For more information follow these links
Pollution Near Highways Factsheet:[1].pdf

Breakthrough Cambridge inspires students, teachers, visitors

Kennedy-Longfellow School,
158 Spring St.,
Cambridge, MA 02141

Cambridge – I had the opportunity to spend an afternoon touring one of Cambridge’s true educational treasures at the Kennedy-Longfellow school in East Cambridge. Breakthrough Cambridge is a local nonprofit dedicated to inspiring middle school students and setting them on the path to college. The summer program, completely free for its students, accepts aspiring 7th, 8th, and 9th graders who show a demonstrated need. Breakthrough then shows these students that learning — even over the summer — can be creative, inspirational, spirited, and fun.

Breakthrough students examine the ethos, pathos, and logos of Supreme Court decisions with their teacher (center)

Along with a rigorous curriculum, students are actively engaged to learn and participate by unleashing their own creativity. During our visit we were fortunate enough to see two skits, written and perfomed by the students themselves, relating facts about the ancient olympics to their modern lives. The teachers, highly motivated college students from across the nation, each brought their own passion and creativity to the job. Both the teachers and students said they learn from each other every day, and the results were evident in their enthusiasm. Breakthrough Cambridge creates an inspirational environment to help these kids reach their full potential.

left to right: (top)Vice Mayor Sam Seidel, Councillor Larry Ward, teacher Nebeu Shimeles, Nace Cohen
(bottom) BTC Executive Director Alison Glastein, School Committee member Nancy Tauber, School Committee member Marc McGovern, students Abdullahi D. and Atianna R., teacher Aquillia Mikel, Mayor Denise Simmons, and myself

If you have any questions about the Breakthrough program please contact the Summer Program Director, Sarah Joslyn at

Phone: (617)599-9826

For more information follow these links
Breakthrough Cambridge:
Breakthrough Cambridge Blog: