> "stocks"
about the forum on Somerville's community

One way people earned Community stocks was by sharing things they did to help Somerville's community. Another was by donating to the Somerville Homeless Coalition, and then telling us about it.

Below are things people told us they had done-- as well as current events and news items that impacted Somerville's community.

We updated this page every few weeks for a year, beginning on March 31, 2012 and ending on March 31, 2013.


forum on Somerville's community - 3/16-3/31/13

J. Marechal participated in, attendeded, or was part of the following community or social policy efforts: Attended Mass Housing & Shelter Alliance Meeting; Worshipped at memorial for homeless who passed in 2012 at Church on the hill; Proposed non profit art outreach at Global Ideas Initiative at MIT; Followed up at Humanitarian Engineering Event in Somerville; Signed a petition against the allocation of $550 million for a new women's prison in Cambridge; Nominated the Director of the Creative Expressions Art Program for Homeless Women at WLP for the Mass Conference for Women's 'Be the Change' Award (she won!); Attended Freedom Rally, Interviewed Congressman Barney Frank & wrote article outlining bill to legalize Medical Marijuana, and voted for its passage; The Nat'l Cannabis Industry Assoc. Symposium in Boston; The Mass Breast Cancer Coalition's 15th Anniversary Lesbian Dance for Prevention, followed w/article on proposed legislation and upcoming fundraising events; Multiple articles for Spare Change News; profiles of homeless artists, and essays on pressing issues; Letter writing campaign for Amnesty International Prisoner of Conscience to honor MLK Jr. Day; Received Web of Benefit Micro Finance Business Grant and subsequently have entered two writing competitions and applied for a work in progress grant.

Boston Cares isn't the only volunteer organization in the area; last year, a new organization called One Brick Boston opened up shop. One Brick is a nationwide network that, like Boston Cares, tries to make it easier for people to find ways to volunteer. One Brick Boston organizes volunteer events that anyone can attend. Just take a look at their website for more information.

According to a recent report, the annual salary that are needed to support a family of two adults and two children in Somerville is over $81,000. This is more than $7,000 more (10% more) than the state average of $74,000. This makes Somerville one of the more difficult places in Massachusetts to get by as a family.

Somerville's Respond, Inc. seeks to end domestic violence through "prevention, intervention, advocacy and direct services that promote safe, healthy relationships," according to its webiste. The organization was founded by four Somerville women in the early 1970s, and has been in continuous operation since.

According to a recent article in the Atlantic Monthly, there is a large class divide in the entire Boston area, including in Somerville. The eastern and northern parts of Somerville are largely the homes of people who are in what the article calls the "service class"-- that is, low-paying, low-skill jobs-- while the southern and western parts of the city are where the "creative class" lives-- that is, science, academia and business. Since there is a large pay difference between these types of jobs (around $33,500 for service jobs, and around $85,000 for creative jobs), this means that one half of the city earns almost three times per year more than the other half does.

Wayside Youth and Family Support Network operates a program for Boston-area homeless young adults, aged 18-22, in Somerville. The program is called ShortStop, and offers housing, transitional care, education, and vocational training.

In early 2013, Somerville saw two new initiatives to foster community. First, a resident of Somerville and a resident of Cambridge launched Cambriville Connects. The new organization has been organizing events in order to "to connect Somerville and Cambridge folks to create an even more vibrant community." Then there was Our Common Place, which is a web-based bulletin board that encourages residents to connect in a way that will continue in real life.

Somerville has two Main Street organizations: East Somerville Main Streets, and Union Square Main Streets. Both are nonprofit community development organizations that try to revitalize their neighborhoods by planning public events and supporting local businesses.

Since 1996, Somerville's schools have been supported by the Duhamel Education Initiative. The Initiative gives grants to teachers who work with at-risk youth, and supports innovative programming in Somerville's public schools.


forum on Somerville's community - 3/2-3/15/13

An anonymous resident runs a blog (called I Can Play Too, http://icanplaytoo.blogspot.com/ ) that evaluates Somerville playgrounds. The writer takes photos, describes the equipment, and mentions whether facilities like bathrooms or handicapped parking are nearby. The blog also notes whether the playgrounds themselves are handicapped-accessible.

The Somerville Homeless Coalition provides resources for homeless and at-risk men, women and children. These resources include affordable housing, food programs, and case management services and counseling. The nonprofit has been in operation since 1985, and currently provides services for over 600 people.

Second Chances has been second-hand clothing and shoes to low-income and homeless people in Somerville and Cambridge since 2005. Second Chances organizes clothing drives, and encourages others to do so as well. So far, they have gathered over 43,000 pounds of clothing and given them to over 2,300 people. The organization is based in Somerville.

According to an article in the Somerville Beat, there are 9 different local farms that offer farm shares pick-ups in Somerville. Residents can participate by paying an annual fee; this fee will then get them a weekly assortment of fresh, locally-grown (and often organic) food during the spring, summer, and fall. Having a farm share is good for a number of reasons. First, you get fresh food for less than it would cost at the store. Second, it supports local businesses, since they can charge more than distributors would give them. Third, it reduces pollution, since the food isn't shipped in trucks from across the country, or in planes or boats from other continents.

Somerville has two groups involved in preserving Somerville's history. First, there's the Somerville Historic Preservation Commission, which is a city board. The board has met monthly since 1985; it reviews plans to change buildings, in order to preserve the city's architectural history. Second, there's Historic Somerville, which is a nonprofit that was founded in 2004. Historic Somerville organizes educational events, with the goal of making sure that "each citizen values [the city's] history and heritage."

The Somerville Community Growing Center is a 1/4-acre garden, performance space, and educational center. Since 1994, when it was created by a group of volunteers, the center has offered a range of activities and events-- ranging from concerts to plays to classes about nature and gardening.


forum on Somerville's community - 2/16-3/1/13

Sam Christy helped start the League of Urban Canners (LUrC). LUrC is an urban food production cooperative where members of the community share responsibility for creating low-cost healthy food using a sustainable economic model. LUrC contracts with owners to farm, harvest and process fruit grown on their property. Each member receives a share of the processed fruit based on their contribution of work. Owners also receive shares of fruit in exchange for allowing the coop to harvest. There is no fee to join LUrC and it is open to all members of the community.

There are a number of private social clubs around town. These are private organizations that are only open to dues-paying members. While they offer services like function rooms, their main purpose is to provide a meetings place for individuals who share a common bond or background. For example, there's the Dante Club on Dante Terrace, which has been in operation since 1908 and is geared towards the local Italian-American community. There's also the Dimosthenes Greek American Democratic Club on Somerville Ave, which is supported by the local Greek community. Another is the Winter Hill Yacht Club. In addition to offering boating facilities for its members, the club has a kitchen, bar, and events room.

There are also a variety of public social clubs in Somerville. These are businesses that cater to a certain community, but are also open to the public and welcome to visits from people from other backgrounds. For example, there's the Greek-American Social Construction, which has been at the corner of Bow and Somerville Ave. since 2010. With the European soccer games on its TVs, its Greek coffee, and copies of Greek newspapers, the club aims to create a social space for members of the local Greek community. Another public social club is Nucleo Sportinguista De Boston, which caters to the Portuguese-speaking community. The club hosts a numbers of local cultural events, and its TVs show international sports.

The Boylston Chess Foundation is also based in Somerville. Since it was founded in 1919, the Foundation's volunteers have taught kids to play chess. The group also sponsors chess competitions for people of all ages.

Cambridge's Just A Start Corp., which is a nonprofit community developement corporation, runs two programs in Somerville. First, there's their Future for Young Parents program, which is open to parents who are between the ages of 14 and 20. It is "a free GED, vocational awareness, life goals, counseling and placement services program for pregnant and parenting teens on TAFDC." Then there's the Just A Start House's Teen Living program. The house is open to pregnant teens and teenage mothers who are between 13 and 20, and their children. The house offers "training in life skills, parenting, money management and housing search."

Somerville's Open Air Circus is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. The Circus offers a wide variety of classes for kids-- including in juggling, stilt-walking, and magic tricks. According to their website, the organization's aim is to "encourage neighborhood participation in the arts, and to promote leadership and self-esteem for children and teens."

Somerville's Elizabeth Peabody House offers a variety of services to children and their families. In addition to afterschool programs and a summer camp, the House runs a food pantry, a social space for senior citizens, sports facilities for teens, and English-as-a-second-language classes. The House moved from Boston in the 1950s, after the West End was demolished.

Welcommunity is a Somerville-based organization that works with immigrants. It offers consultation for new immigrants on how to adapt to their new home, and advocates for pro-immigrant policies.

The city of Somerville has about 30 boards and committees, ranging from the Arts Council board to the Ethics Commission to the Women's Commission to the Condominium Review Board. Each board meets on a regular basis to plan and oversee different aspects of city life. All board and committee members are volunteers.


forum on Somerville's community - 2/2-2/15/13

Several news agencies have noted a recent rise in home prices in Somerville, and real estate websites are predicting a further rise this coming year. This is good news for the one-third of the city that owns their own home. But since rising home prices are usually tied to rising rents, this is potentially bad news for the other two-thirds of Somerville.

Somerville-based Centro Presente is "a member-driven, state-wide Latin American immigrant organization dedicated to the self-determination and self-sufficiency of the Latin American immigrant community of Massachusetts." Since 1981, it's fought for immigrant rights, as well as social and economic justice. It also runs an adult education center; has classes and programming for kids; and offers legal services.

According to its website, "Save Our Somerville (SOS) is a non-profit oranization dedicated to providing a voice to those who feel they have no voice in Somerville, Mass. Through community outreach, arts programs and support of youth events, SOS wants to strengthen what we believe are the diminishing community ties that make Somerville an ideal place to live." The group formed in 2005, during the planned renovation of Lexington Park, which proved a flash point between old and new Somerville; teens who felt alienated by Somerville's changing nature banded together to form SOS. Anyone can join the group by going to one of their monthly meetings.

The Stranger Exchange box disappeared recently, after being part of Davis Square for about 3 years. People used to leave perfectly-good but unwanted items in the box, for others to take.

After the Feb. 8th blizzard, there were two different snow parties-- one in Davis and one in Union. Each event was organized beforehand over the internet, and each drew dozens of strangers who mingled and had fun together building snowmen and throwing snowballs.

Since 2001, the Friends of the Community Path have been involved in maintaining the bike path, and advocating the state to extend it 2.5 more miles so that it can meet the Charles River path. The Friends are a volunteer group. Anyone can join the group by going to one of their monthly meetings.

Boston Free Radio is a member-run, independent online radio station that is broadcast out of SCAT's building in Union Square. Since 2011, the station has run shows in a number of different languages; their dj's have complete control over their own programs. Any Massachusetts resident can become a member by going through orientation, and paying a membership fee.

This past summer, the city's Shape Up Somerville program teamed up with nutritionists and local restaurants to launch their "Shape Up Somerville Approved" rating system. Through the program, nutritionists work with local restaurants to identify which menu items are particularly healthy; the restaurants then note which items have been designated as "Shape Up Somerville Approved." It's part of the city's push to get residents to eat more healthy.


forum on Somerville's community - 1/16-2/1/13

Courtney O'Keefe made a donation to the Somerville Homeless Coalition.

Laura Saunders is on the Board of Trustees of the Somerville Public Library. This involves attending regular, open meetings with the library director to receive updates on library projects and initiatives and acting as a supporter and advocate of the library within the community. She does this for many reasons. First, as a professional librarian and current professor of library and information science, she understands and believes in the power of libraries to enrich their communities, and she wants to ensure that her city has the best possible library that it can. Second, as a lifelong resident of Somerville, she sees volunteering as a Trustee to be a way to give back to her city.

Somerville STEP (Somerville Transportation Equity Partnership) is a group of residents who advocate for better transportation in the city. According to their website, their "mission is to secure transportation for the city that will increase social equity, environmental health, and economic opportunity." They are proponents of the Green Line expansion, the development in Assembly Square, and the extension of the bike path. They have monthly meetings that are open to the public.

The city's Family Learning Collaborative aims to support parents as they raise their children. It offers parenting workshops and new parent groups for adults, as well as information about educational options for their kids. The Collaborative also offers literacy play groups for kids. It's funded by the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care and the Somerville Public Schools.

Somerville SCAT (Somerville Community Access Television) is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. Since it began in 1983, SCAT has (according to their website) "served the community through production of PSA's, various staff-facilitated programs, and coverage of community events, meetings, and political forums. We provide free meeting space for community groups, post messages on our bulletin board, provide video training and mentoring, offer access to high quality digital equipment and facilities, and operate an art gallery for local artists. The channel is well stocked with a wide variety of member-produced programs in many languages."

The number of new foreclosures in Somerville dropped from 38 in 2011 to only 22 in 2012. This was especially good, since the rate state-wide only fell about 12%.

The Somerville Yogurt Coop meets each week to make its own yogurt. They use locally-produced, additive-free ingredients to make low-cost, healthy food for their members. Anyone can join the group.

The Intercambio Language and Culture Exchange lets English-speakers practice their Spanish or Portuguese with ESL students who want to practice their English. It's run by the Arts Council, and the next series of nights begins in early February. Participants needs to RSVP, but the program is free.


forum on Somerville's community - 1/2-1/15/13

Encouraged by Somerville's strategy in the late 1980s and other times of trimming workhours for all city employees to avoid layoffs, Phil Hyde of Carver St. designed a very longterm market-oriented high strategy for Somerville and other cities, states and ecosystems to solve the core problem of job insecurity and joblessness, together the biggest source of resistance to urgent eco-initiatives. Most people are focused on the individual level of cleanup and recycling. Phil is focused on the whole-system level of, say, recycling discarded employees. Phil has run for alderman and mayor in Somerville and had a talkshow on Somerville cable for several years. Now he develops, explains and publicizes "timesizing" instead of downsizing in daily updates on the Timesizing.com website. "Tmsz.co" (for short) presents one of the most advanced, long-term and comprehensive political-economic core solutions on the web.

At the Somerville Winter Farmer's Market, Winter Moon Root Farms gives away free bags of vegetables to the other vendors-- just out of goodwill.

There are a number of program in the city to help first-time home buyers. Somerville Community Corporation offers an affordable ($35) class on how to go about buying a home for the first time. The city also offers financial incentives for first-timers. Both are designed to help residents who rent stay in town without being priced out.


forum on Somerville's community - 12/16/12-1/1/13

(We were on vacation. No updates for this period.)


forum on Somerville's community - 12/2-12/15/12

An anonymous person donated money to the Somerville Homeless Coalition.

An anonymous person bought WD40 and oiled swing sets around Somerville with a friend because they were too squeaky.

An anonymous resident participated in The Learning Circle's food drive. He did this because he believes in the power of helping others, and was happy to support his daughter's preschool food drive.

Michael and Elizabeth Grunko moved here in 1968. They purchased their house on Berkeley St in 1971. They have been active in progressive politics, raised two terrific children and are now helping them and their spouses raise their four grandkids. When they walk their dog, Lucy, they pick up trash. It started with the cheap plastic bags. The ones that end up in trees, rattling in the night. They would extract them from bushes and chase them across streets. Later, they added all sorts of other debris to their list: Lottery tickets, empty cigarette packs, candy wrappers, water, soda and beer bottles, Dunkin Donuts coffee cups and whiskey nips. As a result, on most days, the stretches of Berkeley, Westwood, Benton, Summer, Cedar and Highland that theywalk day after day, look pretty good. They want to thank our kind neighbors who keep their trash and recycling bins near the street. "Oh yes," they wrote. "We also do our best to greet every one who we cross paths with. A beautiful smile can make our day."

The city's Shape Up Somerville won national recognition recently. According to its website, "Shape Up Somerville is a city wide campaign to increase daily physical activity and healthy eating through programming, physical infrastructure improvements, and policy work."

Steph Zabel created a community event devoting to educating the public about herbalism and holstic health, called Herbstalk.

At the 2nd annual holiday food drive in Spring Hill, Evelyn Yamauchi donated over 150 bags of non-perishable food to SHC and Project soup. She also helped organize the East Somerville main streets foodie crawl.

Two new websites opened their doors recently: Yerdle ( www.yerdle.com ) and FreecyclePlus ( www.freecycleplus.com ). Both let you borrow items from people who live nearby, and list your own items that you don't mind sharing. These sites help you build community while saving money at the same time.

There were two ground-breakings. The first was for a new, 29-unit veterans housing project in West Somerville. The second was for the Green Line Extension.


forum on Somerville's community - 11/16-12/1/12

Columbine Phoenix packaged up her excess Egyptian Walking Onions with instructions and left them in the Stranger Exchange box in Davis Square. (The Stranger Exchange box is a white plastic newspaper box across from the crepe restaurant. People leave unwanted items in it for others to take.)

Boston Cares helps people find ways to volunteers and help out in the Boston area (including Somerville). You can search through their website (www.bostoncares.org) by interest or zip code, and choose from one of over 250 volunteer opportunies.

In October, the governor announced that $1m in grants would go to early education in 5 communities. Somerville will be one of the towns to receive this funding.

Somerville voters passed the Community Preservation Act. Homeowners will now pay a slightly higher property tax; this additional money will go to affordable housing, open space projects, and historic sites.


forum on Somerville's community - 11/2-11/15/12

There was a conflict over how to proceed with the Beacon Street Redevelopment. Two pro-cycling organizations (Liveable Streets and the Boston Cyclist Union) had proposed eliminating parking on one side of the street between Oxford and Washington. The city seemed to favor this approach, as did a number of residents. Some of the independent businesses and residents along the stretch felt they'd been left out of the planning process, and were concerned about the effects of losing this parking. The situation devolved into tension, and the situation was cast as cyclists versus businesses and long-term residents.

Neighborland ( https://neighborland.com/ ) is a website that lets community members suggest things to improve their neighborhood-- new services, new laws, solutions to long-standing problems, etc. Users can then connect with each other to put these ideas into effect. Neighborland has pages for a number of cities across the nation, including one for the Boston metro area.

The Somerville Community Corporation had a ribbon-cutting ceremony for their new building in East Somerville. The building had eight units, and will provide affordable housing to formerly homeless families.

The former director of the Community Action Agency of Somerville (CAAS) was found to have used the organization's credit cards for personal expenses. Among other things, CAAS provides Head Start programs for preschoolers in Somerville and Cambridge. The organization is a nonproft, and receives almost 95% of its budget from public funding. Locals are calling for more oversight and financial controls for the organization, to make sure this doesn't happen again.


forum on Somerville's community - 10/16-11/1/12

(We were on vacation. No updates for this period.)


forum on Somerville's community - 10/2-10/15/12

Suzanne Lubeck reuses the plastic bags that her newspaper comes in as pooper-picker-uppers. She puts them in a pink plastic bag container from IKEA that she added ot the fence of the dog park at the corner of Vinyl and Summer Streets. They are for everyone to use. Suzanne has a basket at home where she can quickly stash the plastic bags when she gets her newspaper. When the basket is full, she restocks the container at the park. No, she dooesn't have a dog; she went with a friend once and think it's the craziest thing in the world to take a brand new plastic baggie from the stand for a two second poop pick up duty. These newspaper bags are the perfect size, clean and even come in pretty colors.

The Somerville Homeless Coalition had its annual 5k race fundraiser.

Anonymous Davis Square commuters created a shrine inthe Davis Square T station to commemorate David Tagliaferro, who recently passed away. David had distributed newspapers in the station for years, and was very popular with commuters.


forum on Somerville's community - 9/16-10/1/12

A new study by the Chronicle of Philanthropy looked into how much Americans give to charities and nonprofits, and broke the results down by area. The Boston metro area ranked 49th--which means that almost every other metro area in the country is more generous towards charities and nonprofits than we are. Worse, Somerville reportedly gave at a lower rate (2.9% of discretionary income) than both Cambridge (4.2%) and Boston (4.5%).

The Boston metro area was named one of the most racist cities in America by online news source Gawker. While the article represented the opinion of one journalist, it is also an allegation that seems to keep coming up, and that seems to be shared by quite a large number of people. And can that many people be wrong?

Somerville celebrated its 7th annual Fluff Festival, in Union Square. The Festival was in honor of marshmallow fluff, which was invented in Somerville. There were bands, vendors, games, and food.


forum on Somerville's community - 9/2-9/15/12

Kat Rutkin helps run the Somerville Moms list because she knows firsthand how much of a valuable asset it is to the parents of Somerville. Once upon a time, parents had the help of a village to raise their children, and this really brings back that sense of community in parenting. It has been a real lifesaver for Kat personally a few times; she's found everything from secondhand toys to awesome friends through the list!

Charlie Denison is part of LivableStreets Alliance, which advocates for streets that work for everyone, whether they walk, bike, take transit, or drive a car. Charlie does this because he feels very passionately that our streets, which are our largest public space, should be welcoming and inviting to us all, no matter how we choose to use them.

Creative Union, a gallery in Union Square that sold works of art made by adults with disablities, shut down after two years. The space was shared by Outside the Lines and the Walnut Street Center--both organizations that work with adults with disabilities.


forum on Somerville's community - 8/16-9/1/12

As a volunteer in Somerville and beyond, Nia DeYounge has served the "We Got Next: Young Christian Adult Empowerment Movement," the Roxbury International Film Festival, and currently serves as a board member of the Somerville Arts Council. In her own words she says, 'You know you really love doing something if you'll do it for free!' Through volunteering, she has been able to explore Boston, meet people with similar interests, and contribute to grassroots movements that strengthen communities and strive to make the Greater Boston area a welcoming place to live and work. She believes in the power of individuals to celebrate life while making change, and in the importance of building societies that thrive not only on monetary capital, but on meaningful social interactions and cultural exchanges.

Rents in Somerville, and in Greater Boston in general rose higher this year-- a full 7% higher area-wide than last year, while available units dropped from 3.8% to 3.1%. This means harder times for renters all around the city.

Christopher Boucher began working at Metro Pedal Power two years ago because he believes in the viability of pedal power in the city that goes beyond commuting. During his time at MPP, Christopher has hauled recycling, transported furniture, delivered vegetables and collected compost. Delivering via bicycle or pedal trucks brings you closer to folks on the road and always sparks a conversation with customers.

The Nave Gallery organized an event called "Yarnstorming" in Perry Park on Saturday, August 25th. Volunteers wrapped trees, poles and fences in the park with hand-knitted pieces. The event was designed to raise awareness for the Somerville Homeless Coalition; the yarn pieces will stay up until November.


forum on Somerville's community - 8/2-8/15/12

Jacy Edelman is organizing a benefit bike ride for the Welcome Project (a local nonprofit that "builds the collective power of Somerville immigrants to participate in and shape community decisions"). The event is called the "Tasting Tour of Somerville," and will take place on September 8, 2012.

Sprout & Co. has submitted a proposal for an alternative high school in Somerville, one that will focus on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The prospectus was approved by a screening committee; the group is now working on an actual plan for the school. According to their website, Sprout & Co. is a "community education and research organization devoted to creating and supporting the community-driven learning, teaching, and investigation of science"; their studio is just outside of Davis Square.

Hubway, the bike sharing company, recently expanded into Somerville. By letting people rent bikes easily, the company provides a healthy, environmentally-friendly way for people to get around town.


forum on Somerville's community - 7/16-8/1/12

volunteers with the Somerville Community Corporation because she wants to help keep Somerville affordable and diverse, and the projects they do are all about that – their tag line is "Everyone's Somerville" and she likes what that stands for.

Jonathan Buck donated money to Somerville Local First.

A new study showed that almost 14.7% of Somerville lives below the poverty line. This is slightly less than the national average (15.1%), but well above the state average of 10.5%.

Libby is on the board of Somerville Community Corporation because she wants to be more engaged in the way Somerville is developed so that it stays unique and diverse, and doesn't become any less affordable.

The Somerville Public Library teamed up with Shape Up Somerville to offer free veggies on certain days. If this catches on, they'll expand the program. (According to its website, Shape Up Somerville is run by the city, and is "a city wide campaign to increase daily physical activity and healthy eating through programming, physical infrastructure improvements, and policy work.}

Libby volunteered with Somerville Community Corporation at ArtBeat because she got to give away temporary tattoos and talk to people she doesn't know (yet) from Somerville.

Cambridge Health Alliance’s (CHA) Somerville Hospital Campus runs the Spring Hill Garden. The garden is in a lot behind the hospital that hadn't previously been used. The food grown there is given to local pantries and resident programs.


forum on Somerville's community - 7/2-7/15/12

An anonymous person
donated money to the Somerville Homeless Coalition.

An anonymous person is a member of Community Cooks--which is an organization that provides homemade meals for different agencies, including St Patricks' Women's Shelter.

The Somerville School Committee approved the plan to convert the Winter Hill school to an innovation school. This new model lets teachers and principals have more flexibility in their curriculums and policies.

Maureen McNulty is a lay minister (for Sunday services) at Hale House (Boston); is part of the National Board-MBA nonprofit connection; and a volunteer college counselor at high schools who don't have counselors available.

Cheryl Cheney occasionally picks up dog poop their owners have left behind.

The Somerville Community Corporation and Union Square Rising have been at odds lately over a proposed low-income housing development in Union Square. They are going to begin meeting with a mediator, to help resolve this dispute.

An anonymous person is continuing to help support Somerville’s local economy by donating to and joining Somerville Local First as a Community Member.

Mr. Scott is an active user of the public library.

The Green Line extension got full environmental approval from the federal government. This means that the extension is now one step closer to beginning construction.


forum on Somerville's community - 6/16-7/1/12

Jenna Stark
participates in the Somerville community by volunteering on Thursday nights and Saturday mornings for the Union Square Farmers markets.

Sara Davies is volunteering for the summer at the Swirl & Slice farmer's market on Thursday nights.

On 6/25, the Council on Aging held an open meeting to plan future inter-generational LGBT events.

Susan Putnins volunteers at the Union Square Farmer's Market and at Swirl & Slice.


forum on Somerville's community - 6/2-6/15/12

Dvora Jonas is the president of the Friends of the Somerville Public Library. If anyone is looking to volunteer, there are lots of opportunities to work with the Friends on book sales and other events—which help support programming at the library.

The city reopened two renovated playgrounds: Morse-Kelly and Dickerman.

Kristin Parker donated money to the Somerville Homeless Coalition in honor of the Pilgrim--a monthly collection of writings by Boston's homeless community."

Warren Goldstein-Gelb works with immigrant families through the Welcome Project. He does this to help build the voice and power of immigrants to shape community decisions and institutions (such as schools, housing, and transportation).

On Tuesday, June 5th, the Somerville Public Library hosted their New Moms Support Group. This is a free event that happens twice a month, and is cosponsored by the Somerville Public Schools and Jewish Children's and Family Services

On Sunday, June 3th, the city shut down part of Broadway for the first SomerStreets festival of the year. Despite the rain, hundreds and hundreds of people came out to watch the parade, hear bands, and mingle with their neighbors

Ron Newman leads bike tours for the Somerville Bicycle Committee and the Somerville Historic Preservation Commission. He also helps moderate the Davis Square Live Journal, which is an online forum where Somerville community members discuss issues that affect the city.


forum on Somerville's community - 5/16-6/1/12

Jonah Petri
actively advocates on transportation issues, mostly related to the extension of the Community Path to Lechmere and the Charles River.

Michael Messina helped run interactive Somerville’s Green Line Challenge. Residents were encouraged to brainstorm ideas for improving Gilman Square, which is near one of the proposed Green Line stops. The Challenge was aimed at getting residents involved in the planning process.

On May 20th, Progress Together had a “community congress,” to decide what to do next. Over 50 parents got together to decide what the organization could do next for local education issues, now that it has successfully fought a proposed charter school. While they didn’t decide on a single course of action, they all agreed to remain together as an organization, and explore what they could do next.

On May 19th, the Arts Council put together the second annual Porch Fest. Over 100 musicians gave free concerts from front porches of homes in Somerville. Many residents liked the feel of the event, and the chance to meet their neighbors. Others thought it was too loud, and disturbed their weekend.


forum on Somerville's community - 5/2-5/15/12

Somerville Voices
is a website that serves as an independent, open forum about Somerville. It is moderated by Barry Rafkind (who is also the site administrator), Eileen Feldman and Alain Jehlen. Linda Conte, David Dahlbacka, and a few other anonymous people also volunteer their time to help run the site.

An anonymous person donated money to the Somerville Homeless Coalition.

Somerville Moms was recently named one of the best parenting list servs in the country by Babble, which is a news source about parenting. Somerville Moms is a list serv that "covers a wide range of parenting topics, such as what to expect when having a new baby and activity ideas for older children. Somerville Moms maintains a tight focus on activities and events for families in the area." A number of smaller, real-world parenting groups have formed because of the list; these groups have included people who trade babysitting duty, and parent get-togethers.

Eileen Feldman, volunteer director of the Community Access Project, spent more than a year and a half on making Citizen’s Bank in Union Square become an accessible facility. First, she met with senior and nonelderly residents of Properzi Manor and Hagan Manor, who asked for her help in getting an accessible bank near where they live in Union Square. Next, she did research on what the bank needed to become accessible and got buy-in from bank managers and senior staff about this community need. They, in turn, got an agreement from their landlord and performed the design and construction. Because of her work, the Bank’s stone step front landing was ground down to create an accessible and integrated front entrance and door; their parking lot was restriped, providing the necessary handicap parking spots; and the bank purchased a lower table for smaller people and wheelchair users, and changed their policies and procedures to accommodate individuals and families with disabilities

Joe Beckmann has a long-standing involvement in local politics and education issues. He began by serving on Capuano's Affordable Housing Task Force. This lead to him working with the Board of the Somerville Homeless Coalition, the Community Action Agency of Somerville, and the Somerville Community Corporation. He also did consulting for the Regional Employment Board, which lead to interactions with the School Committee and the High School School Council. This experience, in turn, got him involved in politics in and out of schools--such as helping with some races for Aldermen and School Committee; working with teacher unions and educational tech advocates; working with people at the Harvard School of Education, Tufts and MIT; doing consulting work with media advocates and the Democratic Ward and City Committee-- and even working as an evening school and substitute teacher. To him, the most valuable themes of Somerville are multicultural and class divisions and alliances.

The Green Line expansion took two important steps forward in early May 2012. First, the city of Somerville began buying property for the expansion. Second, Boston Meteropolitan Planning Organization approved $8.1M in funding for the Route 16 Green Line station.


forum on Somerville's community - 4/16-5/1/12

On April 13th, Somerville was voted the best place to live in the Boston area, in the Boston Phoenix's "Best of Boston" readers' poll.

David T. volunteers weekly as an ESL instructor in a class run by the Welcome Project.

In late April, tensions and disagreement came to the forefront in Union Square over Somerville Community Corporation's proposed affordable housing development. Local property owners were unhappy about the plan.

On April 21st, the Somerville Homeless Coalition had its annual fundraiser. They brought in over $60,000, which will go to support the homeless and hungry in our community

Seth Itzkan hosts the monthly meetings for a local volunteer group at his office space in Davis Square.

On Saturday, April 28th, dozens of people helped clean public parks, as part of the city's annual Spring Clean-Up.


forum on Somerville's community - 3/31-4/15/12

An anonymous
person bought a sandwich for a homeless person.

Anyahlee Suderman directs the Art Program for the Walnut Street Center, where she works with over 90 adults with disabilities. The Center is a non-profit, human service agency providing residential, day, employment and individual support services to adults with developmental disabilities.

A group of Somervillians banded together to fight the MBTA fare increases. While the fare hike ended up going through, it was nice to see people working together like this.

An anonymous person donated money to the Somerville Homeless Coalition.

Jon Bernhardt helped organize TedXSomerville, which was a day-long event, featuring talks by influential Somervillians.

EA organized benefit raffles for the Somerville Homeless Coalition.

Loki has produced a large number of public events and fundraisers.




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