Last week, the Patrick Administration and the Department of Public Health (DPH) announced grant awards to 23 communities across Massachusetts, including Somerville, to help first responders save lives by providing funding for opioid overdose response training and naloxone (Narcan) units that can be used to reverse overdoses. Police and fire departments in communities with high incidences of fatal opioid overdoses will share in over $600,000 in funding under the pilot program, which was included in the FY2015 budget.
The number of overdose reversals under the DPH Overdose Education and Naloxone Distribution Program have increased dramatically since Governor Patrick declared a public health emergency in earlier this year, and made naloxone more widely available to first responders and bystanders. Additionally, the Massachusetts Legislature passed a substance abuse recovery bill in May 2014 that increases opportunities for long-term substance abuse recovery by supporting a wide range of care and removing barriers that stand in the way of effective treatment.
Phase 1 of Green Line Extension (GLX) construction is underway and that will result in the complete closure of Medford Street, between South Street and Somerville Avenue, to all traffic on Saturday and Sunday this weekend (Oct. 5 & 6). During this time, vehicles will be redirected as follows:
- Vehicles traveling south to Cambridge will proceed to the Somerville Avenue intersection and turn left at Somerville Avenue onto McGrath Highway.
- Vehicles traveling north into Somerville will be detoured left onto South Street to Windsor Place, right onto Webster Avenue, right onto Prospect Street, and onto Somerville Avenue.
Pedestrian access will also be restricted due to pubic safety concerns. As always, you can learn more about the GLX project on www.greenlineextension.com and click here for more details on the construction that will be conducted this weekend on the Medford Street Bridge.
Also, I’d like to remind you that Ribfest is being held this Sunday from noon to 4pm, which will result in the closure of Cambridge Street in East Cambridge, between Fulkerson Street and Fifth Street, so keep that in mind if you’re driving to East Cambridge on Sunday.
This Wednesday, from 6pm to 7pm at the Public Safety Building in Union Square, Mayor Joseph Curtatone and the Somerville Commission for Women will host the annual Candlelight Vigil for Domestic Violence Awareness. Domestic violence or Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) is a complex and widespread problem that affects all types of individuals in every community, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, or ethnicity. According to a 2010 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention national survey, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have experienced some form of physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime while 1 in 5 women and 1 in 7 men have experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime. This physical abuse has severe emotional impacts for victims, with studies showing that there is a link between IPV and depression and suicidal behavior. The physical and emotional effects of IPV are compounded by the economic toll that victims often experience. Studies have shown that IPV causes the loss of 8 million days of paid work nationally each year, and anywhere from 21% to 60% of victims lose their jobs due to reasons stemming from the abuse.
Earlier this year, the Massachusetts legislature passed comprehensive domestic violence legislation that seeks to address these issues by improving prevention efforts and affording victims greater protections. The bill establishes employment leave for domestic violence victims, increases training and education regarding domestic violence, and creates the first offense of assault and battery on a family member and requires violators to complete a certified batterer’s intervention program.
What: Annual Candlelight Vigil for Domestic Violence Awareness
When: Wednesday October 1- 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Where: 220 Washington Street Police Academy – (Union Square, Public Safety Building)
This Saturday, Somerville celebrates the fluffy invention of the great American confectioner Archibald Query at the Ninth Annual “What the Fluff?” Festival in Union Square. The party gets started at 3pm and will feature live music, a cooking contest, and the crowning of the Pharaoh of Fluff. This year, the festival theme is inspired by the creativity of Steampunk, a sub-genre of science fiction that combines steam power technology with the fashion aesthetic of Victorian England and America’s Wild West, so you can expect lots of goggles, protective jackets, watches, and lens to look through. Check out the festival’s frequently updated Facebook page and Twitter account for more news about this fun annual party in Somerville.
“What the Fluff?” is presented by Union Square Main Streets as part of ArtsUnion and is always a lot of fun, as you can see from last year’s photos. Come on down to Union Square this Saturday and see what all the fluff is about!
Yesterday the MBTA opened its first new rapid transit station in 27 years at Somerville’s Assembly Square. It’s the first Orange Line station in Somerville and one of six transit stations slated to open in the city in the next decade with the other five being part of the Green Line Extension project. The station will serve as a key component of the mixed-use, transit-oriented Assembly Row development, and is predicted to be used by 5,000 passengers per day by 2030.
The station was financed through a public-private partnership, with the Assembly Row developer Federal Realty Investment Trust (FRIT) picking up about 30% of the total cost. State and Federal funding will cover the remaining cost of the station. The decision by the City of Somerville to issue bonds for $25 million of other infrastructure improvements at Assembly Square was key to gaining MBTA approval of the project.
Assembly Square was once a thriving manufacturing center that hosted, among other industries, a Ford Motor Company assembly plant which produced the famous “Edsel” brand of cars in the 1950s. However, the site experienced an extended economic and physical decline after Ford decided to close its manufacturing plant. The construction of elevated highways in the 1970s cut Assembly Square off from surrounding areas and played a role in decisions by the remaining industries to move their business as well. In 1980, The City of Somerville declared the area blighted and substandard, and started a 20-year urban renewal plan that would turn the area into a retail mall.
The new Assembly Square Mall attracted some new retailers, but didn’t achieve the economic growth envisioned by the city. The formation of the Mystic View Task Force in the late 1990s was key to the creation of a new 20-year plan that called for a mixed-use concept that would promote economic growth and increase the standard of living for local residents by offering open space and public amenities.
Earlier this summer, phase one of the smart growth project was completed with the opening of 32 retail outlets, a theater, restaurants, the “Legoland Discovery Center,” and a waterfront park at the Mystic River shore, complete with bike paths and an amphitheater.
Although the majority of construction at Assembly Station is now complete and the station is open to passengers, some work at the station will continue through November. Please click here for more information on remaining construction work.
The Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation is hosting a Consumer Shred Day on August 27 at the Davis Square Farmers Market from 12 pm to 5 pm – across from Flatbreads located at 45 Day St in Somerville. Attendees will be provided educational materials on a variety of consumer issues including: landlord/tenant rights; lemon laws; home improvement contracting; low-cost banking options; protecting against identity theft; managing credit and debt; and more. Additionally, a shred company will donate its time to accept consumer documents for secure shredding and hold a press event with local officials to discuss identity theft prevention.
What: Consumer Shred Day, Davis Square Farmers Market
• There will be a short 30 minute speaking program beginning at 12:30-1pm, concentrating on identity theft prevention and the importance of protecting personal information.
• Van on site to accept documents for shredding from consumers from 1:00 to 3:00 pm
When: Wednesday, August 27 from 12 pm to 5 pm
Where: 45 Day Street, Somerville, MA
The Friends of the Grand Junction group is hosting a sequel to their successful February bike ride on Sunday, August 24. The Bike Tour of the Corridor II: Summer Edition will take off at noon at the BU Bridge, and will follow the route of the future Grand Junction Path from the BU Bridge to the Somerville Community Path connection. There will be multiple explanatory stops along the way, and the tour is open to all. For more details and to RSVP, please visit this link.
The City of Somerville and the MBTA are hosting a Green Line Extension (GLX) public meeting regarding the Medford Street Bridge Construction on Thursday, July 31, 2014 at 6 PM. It will be held at the Public Safety Building (220 Washington Street) in Somerville.
GLX construction is underway and will involve periodic traffic impacts near the Medford Street Rail Bridge for the next six to eight months. The MBTA and the City of Somerville will present the construction schedule for the Rail Bridge area, and all associated traffic diversions at this meeting. Also, the GLX team along with Barletta Heavy Division, Inc., Phase 1 contractor for the GLX Project, will present other information followed by a Q&A.
For more information about the GLX project, please visit this link or email the GLX team at: email@example.com.
When: Thursday July 31, 6:00 PM
Where: Public Safety Building, 220 Washington Street, Somerville, MA
Beginning on Monday, July 21, 2014 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.
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, and is an important step in bringing the Green Line to Somerville.
If you have any questions, you can reach the Green Line Extension Project via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 855-GLX-INFO (855-459-4636).
The MBTA will hold a public hearing to review an Equivalent Facilitation Request by the Green Line Extension (GLX) on Thursday, July 10, 2014. The hearing will be held at the Dr. Albert F. Argenziano School at Lincoln Park, 290 Washington Street, Somerville, MA from 6:00 pm-8:00 pm in the cafeteria.
The Equivalent Facilitation Request is required as part of the project’s application for a Full Funding Grant Agreement with the Federal Transit Administration (FTA).
“Equivalent facilitation” permits the FTA and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations to accommodate innovation in accessible design. It allows the development of improvements in vehicle, facility, or equipment design that provides for equal or greater accessibility, but would not strictly meet the required design standards. Equivalent facilitation is covered under federal law by 49 CFR Part 37.
Increasing accessibility is a key goal of the GLX project, but due to sloping roadway conditions near several of the stations, there are a few isolated instances where station designs currently do not comply with design standards created by the ADA. In order to deviate from these standards, the MBTA must do so in a way that provides equivalent or greater access, and receive a “determination of equivalent facilitation” from the FTA administrator.
This hearing is an opportunity for the public to review and comment on the MBTA’s application for a determination of equivalent facilitation before the MBTA formally submits it to the FTA. A draft of the application is available for review on this link.
For more information about the GLX project, please visit this link or email: email@example.com.
When: Thursday July 10, 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Where: Cafeteria at Argenziano School at Lincoln Park, 290 Washington Street, Somerville, MA