Riverfest revelers fill the streets near Harvard Square. Image via Cambridge Arts Council.
I know I’m probably jinxing it, but here goes: the weather is supposed to be gorgeous this weekend, and it looks like summer has arrived in Cambridge and Somerville. If the meteorologists (and me, I guess) are correct, sunny skies will greet two events happening tomorrow, and if you can make it to both, you should.
First, starting at 9am, the Union Square Farmers Market re-opens for the summer. Each Saturday, from 9am-1pm, farm-fresh produce from around our Commonwealth is on display at Union Square, along with delicious pastries and desserts from local bakeries. This year, two new farm-wineries join the rotation, and at tomorrow’s event, patrons will enjoy live music from The Splinters.
When you’ve had your fill of live music and delicious food in Union Square, head down to Riverfest on the banks of the Charles for…more live music and delicious food. I’ve written about this before, but Riverfest is the Cambridge Arts Council’s biggest event of the year, and hundreds of thousands of people are expected to attend. Bring your dancing shoes, bring your family, bring your friends, because with multiple stages and hundreds of artisans and food carts, this year’s Riverfest promises to be a good one.
The plans to replace the bridge over Somerville’s Gilman St. are coming along, and the project’s next public meeting will take place at the Capuano Early Childhood Education Center (150 Glen St.) on Thursday, June 6 at 6:30pm. The bridge was first built in 1908, rebuilt in 1926, and has been declared functionally obsolete. The rehabilitation of the Gilman Street Bridge is part of our Commonwealth’s larger effort to revitalize McGrath Highway.
If you can’t make it to the meeting but still wish to submit public comment, you can e-mail your thoughts to MassDOT’s Tracy Osimboni (Tracy.Osimboni [at] State.ma.us)
When you donate just a few hours of your time, you can bring a smile to our seniors’ faces. Image via Wikimedia Commons.
In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings, we’ve seen a tremendous outpouring of moral, financial, and personal support from all around our Commonwealth. But it doesn’t take a tragedy to inspire people to make their communities better, and there are always opportunities to lend a helping hand. In that spirit, Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services (SCES) offers one-day volunteer opportunities that can fit your schedule, along with a wider array of longer-term volunteer openings.
In association with the Greater Boston Food Bank, SCES supplies some 700 of our seniors with free bags of groceries, and volunteers are always needed. On the third Wednesday of every month, volunteers gather to help unload a food truck, sort groceries, and fill the brown bags that will help our seniors eat a healthy and delicious meal. Or, if you’re a whiz with money, you can volunteer your time to help our seniors balance their checkbooks and manage their monthly incomes. SCES is also looking for drivers to help our seniors get around, pet-lovers to provide resources, and much, much more.
With Memorial Day around the corner, there will be ample opportunity to salute our veterans, but the Greatest Generation deserves more than one weekend per year. Take a moment to check out SCES’s volunteer page and see how you can help.
Just a friendly reminder that MassDOT will present its draft recommendations on the “Grounding McGrath” project tomorrow night from 6-8pm at the Argenziano School. You can read more about the project and the meeting here.
A piece published last Friday by the Cambridge Chronicle asks a fun question: Cambridge vs. Somerville, who ya got!? Kidding aside, this is an attempt to look at the two cities’ long-standing commitments to making bicycling a safe and attractive commuting option. The piece is a bit tongue-in-cheek, but I still love the spirit of friendly competition between our two communities.
The author, Emily Cataneo, correctly points out that both Cambridge and Somerville are leading the way on making cycling both easier and safer. She spoke with several cyclists who seemed to think that Somerville is pushing the infrastructure envelope a little bit further, but that Cambridge is home to more bike-friendy automobile drivers. I’m not sure I agree with either of those assessments, but I walk much more frequently than I cycle, so I’d love to hear from the cyclists online: if you had to choose between cycling in Cambridge and cycling in Somerville, which would you pick and why? Leave your comments below, or just Tweet them at me, @TimToomey1.
While the rest of the country was naming Somerville “the hippest city in America,” our local artists were preparing for an annual tradition. The Somerville Open Studios is one of the largest events of its kind in the nation, and this Saturday, artists from across the ‘Ville will open their doors to the public. The list of artists participating this year is staggering, and they work in all sorts of media, from paints to glass to video and more.
While the main event starts on Saturday, some artists are participating in a sneak preview this Friday night. Every part of the city is represented in this year’s Open Studios, and with the trees and flowers in full spring bloom, I can’t think of a better way to enjoy the weekend. Come out and see what Somerville’s artists have been up to!
Sweet temptation. Image via Dying For Chocolate.
The Somerville Council on Aging is hosting a walking “Foodie Tour” in Union Square on Wednesday, April 24. I have it on good authority that the tour will include a stop at Taza Chocolate, so if you’re on a diet, you may want to make this your “cheat day.” But since this is a walking tour, I think we can actually call these calories guilt-free…or at least that’s what I’d tell myself if it were me standing in line at Taza.
The Union Square Foodie Tour is open to seniors age 55 and over and will run rain or shine. Please contact the Somervill Council on Aging at 617-725-6600 ext. 2300 for more information. You can find a full listing of the Council’s upcoming events here.
Don’t let your e-waste pile up. Dispose of it properly this Saturday. Image via Wikimedia Commons.
Just in time for spring cleaning, the City of Somerville is hosting an e-waste recycling event this Saturday, April 13, from 9am-noon at the Department of Public Works facility (1 Franey Rd.). The event is open to all Somerville residents and businesses, and while residents can simply show up, businesses are asked to fill out this form to help the City estimate the volume of e-waste.
The goal of the event is to keep toxic chemicals and heavy metals from finding their way into landfills. E-waste recycling programs have come under fire in recent years (60 Minutes did an excellent report on the subject a few years ago), but the City of Somerville has contracted with a company called ProTek, which will recycle the materials in an environmentally friendly way.
Bring your old laptops, routers, coffee makers, vacuum cleaners, microwaves, TVs and more to the event. If you have questions about whether your e-waste can be recycled, please call the Somerville DPW at 617-625-6600, extension 5070.
The process of grounding McGrath Highway takes another important step on Thursday, April 4, when representatives of the Department of Public Health will present the findings of their Health Impact Assessment. The meeting will run from 4pm-6pm at the Holiday Inn in Somerville (30 Washington St.) and I encourage you to attend. You can read more about MassDOT’s efforts to ground McGrath here.
Somerville High’s Career and Technical Education program trains a new generation of students for real-world success. Image via City of Somerville.
This past weekend, I had the chance to meet a young man named Edwin. He’s a student at Somerville High School, where he’s earned membership in the National Honor Society, a John and Abigail Adams Scholarship, and Vocational Student of the Year honors in SHS’s Career and Technical Education program. Edwin was my guide on a Saturday morning tour of his school, and I was impressed by what I saw. We took a look at SHS’s carpentry and welding shops where students receive the wisdom of the working trades, the kitchens where Culinary Arts students create sumptuous cuisine, the Health Careers and Child Development departments where the next generation of doctors, nurses, and child care professionals learn their craft. Along the way, Edwin’s poise and soft-spoken optimism showed me the best of what vocational education has to offer. When Edwin graduates from SHS, he’ll not only have real-world skills that will allow him to stake out a future on his own terms, but he’ll also enjoy a self-confidence born of hands-on experience.
I’d like to say thank you to Edwin (and good luck with your plan to earn two degrees!) and to the whole team at SHS-CTE. You’ve inspired me to dust off my old tool box, and you continue to prove that the partnership of parents, teachers, and students is unstoppable.