Monthly Archives: December 2012

7 posts

Washington Post Discovers Somerville Culture

A schematic of
A schematic of “Stompy,” one of the many eclectic projects at Artisan’s Asylum. Image via Artisan’s Asylum.

Well hi there, Washington Post, good of you to drop by!

The Post’s Robin Soslow spent some time in the ‘Ville recently, and she’s put together a nice write-up on the funky, craftsy, DIY-inspired culture that makes Somerville such a fantastic place to live. You can read her story here.

Personally, I’d like to check out “Stompy” over at Artisan’s Asylum, which Soslow describes as ” a 4,000-pound, 18-foot-wide, 135-horsepower six-legged robot designed to carry two riders and 1,000 pounds of payload over rubble, rocks and water.”

If you live in Somerville, it’s likely that none of this is news to you. Still, if you’re ever looking for something to do, this article’s a good reminder that for Somerville residents, fun is never far from home.

Somerville Selected for Community Smart Phone App

Somerville's new app will likely look like Boston's Citizens Connect app. Image via City of Boston.
Somerville’s new app will likely look like Boston’s Citizens Connect app. Image via City of Boston.

The Commonwealth’s Community Innovation Challenge selected the City of Somerville to develop a smart phone app that allows neighbors to connect with their city in a more substantial way. This program follows on the heels of a successful pilot program in Boston and expands Somerville’s existing 311 service into the app world.

The new app still needs to be developed, but the plan is to allow residents to easily report non-emergency issues like potholes and damaged street signs. On the back end, city officials will see a work order management system that will help them prioritize residents’ concerns and report back to them in a timely fashion.

When we talk about the need for smart investments, this is what we mean. With a smart phone app, there’s no need to call up a city employee and explain what you’re seeing; you just snap a photo, post it to the app, leave a comment, and get back to what you were doing. There’s no ambiguity about the size of a pothole, no way for anyone to think, “Well, maybe that street sign isn’t as bad as some people say.” This app will allow the City of Somerville and its residents to see how our community functions in real time, and I think that’s an excellent step forward for a city that has always found new and exciting ways to deliver public services.

Governor Patrick Leads Green Line Extension Construction Kickoff

The speeches are done, and the Green Line Extension construction has officially begun.
The speeches are done, and the Green Line Extension construction has officially begun.

The first phase of construction on the Green Line Extension is officially underway, bringing with it a promise of light rail service to and from a new Union Square station by 2017. Speaking at the event, Governor Patrick and Congressman Capuano emphasized that both sustainable growth and environmental justice require investment for the long term, a sentiment echoed by Mayors Curtatone, Davis, and McGlynn.

I was happy to see so many members of state and local government at the event, but the attendance of local home- and business owners showed what this project is all about. The last two people to speak weren’t politicians but the owners of CasaB, a restaurant in Union Square. The “B” in CasaB refers to one of the owner’s grandfathers, whose love of Latin cuisine inspires the menus of chef Alberto Cabré. Alberto and his co-owner Angelina Jockovich were born in Puerto Rico and Colombia respectively, but they’ve chosen to start their business in Somerville, a decision they said was influenced by the promise of the Green Line Extension.

Alberto and Angelina, along with the tireless community leaders who made today possible, reflect the best of our community. Their speech was brief—they, and we, still have work to do.