Monthly Archives: March 2011

Thousands in Cambridge and Somerville can Claim Abandoned Property

The Massachusetts State Treasurer may be holding property that belongs to you, and you might not even know it!

In accordance with Massachusetts’ abandoned property law, the treasurer’s office takes possession of financial assets after a period of extended inactivity. If the asset holder is unable to contact the owner for a period of three years, the property becomes “abandoned” and falls under the protection of the Treasurer until it can be returned. These assets include cash, savings and checking accounts, uncashed checks, insurance policy proceeds, stocks, dividends, and contents of abandoned safe deposit boxes.

Massachusetts Treasurer Steve Grossman has launched an aggressive campaign to return the estimated $1.8 billion that is owed to over 40,000 individuals, businesses, and charities.

In Cambridge and Somerville, there are more than 2,000 last known addresses of individuals, businesses, and estates that have $500 or more in abandoned property that they can claim. The Treasurer’s office wants to return this property to its rightful owners, and is working overtime in order to do so.

In order to search the abandoned property database, visit the Abandoned Property Division website at:

Street Cleaning to Resume in Cambridge on April 1st

Cambridge – map

This is a friendly reminder that the Cambridge Department of Public Works will begin the first street cleaning of the Spring on Friday, April 1st. The cleaning on Friday will be done on streets in District C (the Cambridgeport area), but most residents can expect to see their streets cleaned in the coming weeks.

For more detailed information and a complete schedule and district map, please visit the Department of Public Works’ webpage. Street cleaning schedules are also marked on street signs posted throughout the city.

A street sweeper in Cambridge. Image credit: Joseph Barillari

Budget Forum to be Held April 12

Brooks School, Medford – map

State Senator Pat Jehlen will be sponsoring a forum on the Massachusetts Budget on Tuesday, April 12. The forum will be dedicated to discussing the problems facing this year’s budget, and their potential solutions.

Noah Berger, president of Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center (MassBudget), will be on hand to explain the state’s budget shortfall, its causes, and potential remedies. As President of MassBudget, Mr. Berger leads a group that is dedicated to providing the public with clear and in-depth analysis of Massachusetts’ budget policies.
Thomas A. Kochan, Co–Director of the Institute for Work and Employment Research at MIT Sloan School of Management, will also be at the forum to discuss labor issues. Comparisons of the wages and benefits public and private sector employees receive have been commonplace in the media in recent weeks, and this is a great opportunity to get the facts about labor in Massachusetts.

There will also be time for questions and discussion following the presentation. I strongly suggest that anyone who has an interest in the budget should attend, as the issues that will be discussed are of vital importance to the short-term and long-term well-being of our state. Most of us know that the fiscal climate in Massachusetts is a tough one at the moment, but this forum is an excellent opportunity to learn about precisely what is at stake.

The forum will begin at 7:00 p.m. at the Brooks School, 388 High Street, Medford. There will be refreshments served at 6:45 p.m.

Longfellow Bridge Information Meeting April 11th

Shriners Hospital Auditorium, Boston – map

A public information meeting is being held to inform residents about upcoming work that will be done to restore and renovate the Longfellow Bridge. If you have concerns or questions about how this project will affect your commute, or if you just want to learn more about the plans, please attend!
Image credit: Larry Strong
Please read the invite below for more information:
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation

Invites you to a
Public Information Meeting 
for the
Longfellow Bridge Rehabilitation Project
Monday, April 11, 2011
6:30‐8:30 PM
Shriners Hospitals for Children, Auditorium
51 Blossom Street, Boston, MA

The purpose of this meeting is to provide a quarterly project update on the Longfellow Bridge Rehabilitation Project. The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) has undertaken this major project to restore and rehabilitate the historic Longfellow Bridge, which crosses the Charles River between Cambridge and Boston. Following the presentation, MassDOT staff will lead a discussion to gather public comments and answer questions.

MassDOT worked with the Longfellow Bridge Rehabilitation Task Force in 2010 to ensure stakeholders were given an equal opportunity to comment on the approach and roadway cross‐section being evaluated, with particular focus on serving transit, roadway, bicycle and pedestrian needs effectively and safely. The Task Force concluded by submitting recommendations to MassDOT for consideration during the environmental review and design process.

The next step in the environmental review process will be for MassDOT to submit an Environmental Assessment (EA) to Federal Highway this spring. The EA will provide an analysis of project alternatives, including those recommended by the Task Force. Other key environmental reviews underway include Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 and review of parkland impacts under Section 4(f), with Federal Highway as the lead agency.

If you have questions or would like more information about the project, please contact Mike O’Dowd, MassDOT Project Manager, at 617‐973‐7475. To be added to the project distribution list, please contact Stephanie Boundy, Accelerated Bridge Program Public Outreach Coordinator, at 617‐973‐8049 or The Shriners Hospital Auditorium is accessible.

Residents Speak Out about Grand Junction

As many of you know, the state’s potential expansion of commuter rail service from Worcester to North Station via the Grand Junction Railroad has raised a large amount of concern in our community. I share many of the same worries that my neighbors have expressed about the potential impact of more trains coming through East Cambridge and East Somerville. While it appears that expanded use of the Grand Junction Railroad could bring additional noise, pollution, traffic, and safety problems with it, it is not clear whether the proposed expansion would bring any added benefit to the community.

With that said, I am very pleased to see that so many members of our neighborhood have spoken out about this. It sends a strong message that the residents of Cambridge and Somerville are engaged, informed, and ready to take a stand on the important issues that will directly effect their community and quality of life.

Image credit: Mike Goralski (C)2007

Two East Cambridge residents, Jai Chawla and Peter Zaroulis, have developed web-based software that they have used to create an online petition for residents to sign, comment on, and view. The petition can be accessed at

In addition to Jai and Peter’s electronic petition, residents have collected dozens signatures from their neighbors on old-fashioned paper petitions, have written letters, made phone calls, and attended meetings. Thank you to everyone who has reached out with your concerns and ideas about this issue in any way.

Representing the interests of East Cambridge and East Somerville residents in this process is a top priority of mine, and I have been in close contact with senior Department of Transportation officials since the State’s initial purchase of Grand Junction. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me or my office (617-722-2380) if you wish to voice your concerns about this project, or if you have questions that you would like answered.

Constituent Tours at the State Library

State House, Boston – map

Are you interested in the history of your city? Do you want to learn more about the Commonwealth of Massachusetts? Come and experience the rich history that the State Library and its archives have to offer. The State Library is once again inviting the general public to come and tour its extensive collection. This may be of special interest to anyone who is looking to arrange a tour for a school group with a desire to learn more about the history of the area.

Anyone who would like to set up a tour can contact Pamela Schofield at pamela.schofield [AT] or call 617-727-2590. You can also contact the reference department directly using the above number or by e-mailing reference.department [AT]

Key Green Line Extension Deal Reached

Somerville/Cambridge – Map

There have been some important new developments this month in the path to constructing the Green Line Extension.

Earlier this month, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation approved a landmark deal between the MBTA and Pan Am Railways that sets the stage for the construction of the Green Line Extension. This agreement brings the track, right of way, and other land that the MBTA will need to complete the Green Line Extension under its control.

The Green Line Extension will provide public transit to chronically under served areas.

Perhaps most importantly, this agreement will enable the MBTA to construct the planned new Lechmere Station. While I have been slightly apprehensive about plans to move Lechmere station to the other side of the O’Brien Highway, this is an important and necessary step in the process of constructing the Green Line Extension. It has been a priority of the MBTA, MassDOT, community groups and state and local officials to ensure that final plans for the station will include robust pedestrian safety protections. I am certain that all parties will be able to work together effectively to agree upon a plan that is not only very safe, but something that East Cambridge can be proud of.

MassDOT and the MBTA are to be commended for also extracting a significant cost savings for the overall project through the deal with Pan Am. While the state had originally planned to pay around $18 million for the railroad track and property rights, it ended up making the deal with Pan Am for $5.5 million less. While not a part of the land agreement, Pan Am has also agreed to take on the cost of improving the streets and sidewalks around the Lechmere area, saving Massachusetts an estimated $9 million.

I am pleased to see the MBTA and MassDOT making steady progress on the Green Line Extension. The vision of a safe, efficient, and clean means of public transportation running through East Cambridge, Somerville, and Medford is something that many, many people have devoted a great amount of time, energy, and hard work to. The agreement with Pan Am is a strong step forward on the path to making this vision a reality, and I am looking forward to working with transportation officials to make sure our collective efforts stay on track.

I will be continuing to update this blog with information about the Green Line Extension and other transportation-related news, so stay tuned!

Celebrating Dr. Seuss’s Birthday at ESCS

East Somerville Community School, Somerville – Map

For Ms. Morales’s third grade class, Friday, March 4th was a chance to honor the birthday of Dr. Seuss and the legacy that he has left for generations of children to cherish.

To celebrate, we read The Sneetches and Other Stories, a collection of tales with simple messages of compromise, respect, and fairness.

Dr. Seuss’s rhymes demand the reader’s full attention!

They were a great group!